Wednesday, 21 September 2011

“Southern Railway Owes Me Rs. 9”

-Ashok Sri Krishna

 It was when, after the long waiting, he finally reached the ticket window that it happened. What he called ‘disaster’.

 The price of the onward journey and the return together came to Rs. 791. He counted out eight hundred. The man inside snatched it from his hands.

 “Do you have a rupee?” “No” he only had another hundred.

 “Now from where am I going to get nine rupees change?” the man said in an irritated voice as he threw the money in. “Get me a rupee and take ten in return.” The man waved him aside and took the next form. He stood aside looking at the man. There were some coins inside, he felt but was not sure. “Get me a rupee and take ten in return.” The man repeated in a guff voice. He checked his ticket and left.

 “Was I to beg around for a rupee so that I get nine?”

 “This small incident is not worth writing about.”

 “Of course it is. The people should be made aware of it. The point here is not that I lost nine rupees, which may mean very little, but his behavior. He didn’t even look up properly at me as I stood there. Again, nine rupees mean a small thing for many. How many people use ticket windows? If he takes something like that from about hundred people a day he will easily make a thousand at least. Who knows how many more are there like him?”

 Shouldn’t there be proper change in the counters? After all how many train charges are perfect numbers?

 “The problem is also serious in public and private bus services. The southern Railway owes me Rs. 9. I wonder what to how many others.”

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Extract (the prophecy) from 'The City And The River' novel by Arun Joshi

Who knows, who can read the signs,
The workings of immortal time?
A king I see up on a throne,
In the astronomer’s grove the boatmen mourn,
A thing of darkness growing dark,
On the city walls the shadows mark.
The river, I see, from a teacher rise.
The hermit, the parrot, the teacher die.
Under a rain the waters burn,
To his kingdom at last the king returns.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


 An artist committed a serious crime and was brought before the king. The  king asked the minister, “Shall we send him to jail for three years?”

 “His is a serious crime, maharaj,” the minister replied “Three years won’t be enough.”

 “Let it be ten years then?”

 “No, maharaj ten years aren’t enough either.”

 “Well, should it be for life?”

 “Even that’s not enough, maharaj.”

 “Should he be hanged?”

 “No, maharaj, that’s still not enough!”

 The king was exasperated. “What can be worse than that?” he asked

 “Let him be tied to a post,” the minister replied, “then have some people praise other artists before him!”