Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vandalraaj!

Last week someone scratched my wife’s brand new  car. Being new, the scratch stuck out like a sore thumb (pictures). My residence is located in a building in one of Kolkata’s prime locations where the residents are mostly highly educated and well endowed.
I registered a complaint at the local police station. The initial inquiry seems to point the needle of suspicion to my own building as it was done at night, sometime between 12 pm to 4:30 am, when the main gates are closed to the outsiders.
It set me wondering as to what benefit or kick can anyone get out of such an act. What amazes me is the sheer amount of energy and pains taken by the vandal who even risked the possibility of getting caught in the act. 
This reflects a sick mentality and it afflicts the so-called `high society’ or prime areas in the city as much as any other place.
Getting the damage fixed, though it involves additional expenses, is hardly the issue compared to when I think where our society is headed. Despite education, globalisation and improving standard of living the mind set remains narrow and parochial.
Graffiti on the walls of the government buildings, public toilets and train compartments is commonplace. But now I know that it very much extends to the upmarket areas as well. Whether it is defacing any wall, toilets, new cars or putting chewing gum on theatre seats or for that matter distorting or tearing down posters - the mindset is the same. Even the statues of national figures are not spared. In a recent incident that caused public outrage, mischief mongers had dabbed the statue of Gandhi ji with blue paint.
The fact that there are too many people out there who get a kick out of such act is for everybody to see. Our whole city itself is the proof and the victim of this kind of thinking disorder. It would be unfair to blame only the uneducated people. Multiplexes are largely visited by the educated and the well-heeled, yet it has its own share of woes to address.
Vandalising property and defacing walls it seems is fast becoming a national past time. This should not come as a surprise in a country where we have Gandhi brand of biris and Subhash wine stores. And to top it all, a gentleman who appeared in a popular Scotch ad even became the health minister of the country.
Those who have honed their skills in such acts are only a step away from damaging public property – breaking glasses of train windows, setting buses afire, vandalising shops and phone booths etc. We hardly protest and have come to accept it as a part of our Indian life. This has paved the way for a Vandalraaj.
Sixty years after independence we haven’t learnt to preserve and safeguard our public property.
When will we ever learn.
ess bee

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