Dear Know-it-all – The accent and changes to RTI

It’s time for another edition of your beloved column. Let’s face it, you can’t really do without me. I should probably check to see if I can claim this column as a tax deduction under 80C.

Our first question comes from a gullible reader who has fallen prey to yet another Internet hoax:

Dear Know-it-all,

I went to the movies with my friends today. We only had two options at our local theater – The Conjuring and Chennai Express. Since we were in the mood for some scares, we chose to see Chennai Express. I recently received a forwarded email which mentioned that anything Deepika says in her Tamil accent, when played backwards, reveals Satanic messages which affect the viewers subliminally. Is that true?

– living in fear

Dear living in fear,

Don’t be silly. It’s common knowledge that you don’t need to play her dialogues backwards to hear those messages.

It’s like no one has even heard of snopes. The next question comes from a self-proclaimed Indian patriot. Yeah, one of those guys:

Dear know-it-all,

Why is the government trying to push the changes to the RTI act? Does it think that all Indians are idiots and will let them do it?

– A true patriot.

Dear true patriot,

I don’t know about other Indians being idiots, but you certainly are one. Can’t you see that the call for amendments to the act has finally united all the political parties to fight for a common cause? Even the Independence Day speeches could not do that. I say it’s absolutely worth it even if takes a Right To Information Pact(see what I did there?) to get them to act together for once.

Dear Know-it-all,

I’ve heard rumours that the recent cricket series between India and Zimbabwe was fixed. Was it?

– A cricket fan

Dear cricket fan,

You’re right, that series was fixed. But now how you think – there were no towels or other signalling infrastructure involved. After making some detailed inquiries which included some frenzied Googling and asking Prabhakar to shoot some grainy videos, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion – all the games were computer generated by the BCCI(I think Randy may be involved too). Now before you dismiss my claim citing the Law of Averages(even I have to be wrong one day), just answer the following question – have you ever met anyone who has claimed to have seen that particular series in person or on television? Exactly. Also, repeated attempts to get any information from Kohli who was the ‘captain’ for this ‘series’ were met with non-committal responses like ‘Who are you and what have you done to the real milkman?’ and ‘What are you doing inside my fridge?’ and ‘No, I will not give you my autograph on that!’ I rest my case.

That’s it for yet another edition. Just remember what a wise person once said before hitting that send button – ‘There’s no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people who ask said questions.’

The messy state of BMC workers

A shocking article that appeared in the Times the other day, appalled my friend and I to the core.
According to the latest data released by the BMC courtesy of the RTI act, twenty five BMC conservancy employees die every month on an average due to the inhuman work conditions they are subjected to! These include the municipal sweepers, the nullah cleaners, the garbage collectors, among others.Twenty five people! That’s twenty five families whose lives are changed forever each month. That’s twenty five lives that could have been saved if the state had done its job! That’s twenty five times we fail as a country as well as human beings each month.

Most of the employees do not have access to elementary equipment like gloves or facilities to bathe after they finish their jobs. These workers are exposed to the deadliest kind of filth and disease everyday. Studies like this prove that this plight is shared by cleaning staff all over the country.
To top it all, they are subjected to humiliation by everyone around due to the stench that stays with them the entire day.

A little search of our own brought up this interesting petition filed by the various rehabilitation organizations in 2004. It asks the Supreme Court to abolish the manual scavenging of garbage. It has been two years since the petition was filed.

How can we, in this day and age, subject our fellow human beings to such horrifying torture? India is one of the few countries in the world that still allows the practice of manual scavenging to continue.

We need to do something about this and we need to do it now! The blogging community needs to take up this cause and bring the plight of these helpless workers to everyone’s notice. We need to ensure that this is not forgotten as just another piece of news. We can’t afford to let them down again.

My friend Pankti has done quite a bit of research on the matter and you can read her views here.

For more information on how you can help, contact the Safai Kamgar Parivartan Sangh (the body which represents the BMC workers) at +91-22-24102694.