The fault lies with “our” system, accused my friend amidst a heated discussion we were having about corruption having become a way of life.
It’s a pity we are not able to do anything about cleansing the system, I said.
What do you mean by not being able to do anything, we can do something if we are determined because it is all in “our hands”, he said.
You make it sound very simple. Where do we begin and how do we proceed? I said looking expectantly at him.
We can begin with “ourselves” for instance, he suggested.
You mean to say we are corrupt and we should put a stop to it? I asked quite shocked at what he said.
Y E and S, he spelt out the word for an answer.
I don’t understand, why don’t you be more explicit, I said.
How old are you? he suddenly shot the question.
What has my age got to do with corruption, I asked thinking he must be off
Everything. Tell me your age, he insisted.
I told him.
Is it your true age? he asked.
Well, you don’t expect a woman to tell her true age, do you? I said with a sense of guilt.
See, this is the starting point of corruption – lies, lies and more lies, he accused.
Age is something very personal and you don’t go around showing your birth certificate unless you are applying for a job, I said in defence.
Are you fond of sweets?
Though I wondered why he was asking me, I said I do have a sweet tooth.
And your doctor would have told you to keep a check on your weight and cut down on sweets, he said, scrutinising me from top to bottom.
Well, I parried.
Now do you understand when I say that “we can begin with ourselves”.
First we should begin to cleanse our system by changing our lifestyle and then go on to cleanse other systems – be they bureaucratic or political, he said.
When shall we begin? I asked him staring at his D shape.
Why don’t “you” begin first, I shall “try ” to follow suit, he advised.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao