The clouds gathered dark

The clouds gathered dark

15 August 2015

 

Courtesy hdwpics.com
Courtesy hdwpics.com

 

Stars shone eerily

Dwarfs competing with giant

Moonlight’s faded thoughts

There was no time I recalled

Where the weaker ever won

 

Withered jasmine died

Summer’s heat was but prelude

For hay set on fire

Shoulders bracing for onslaught

Ice in my heart melted not

 

Daytime’s dust lingered

New stars between Sky and Earth

Spread out shimmering

Like fragmented souls they flew

Wasted speckles of Earth’s skin

 

Distant dogs barked shrill

Crying to the moon they wailed

Loss of their masters

Gone remnants of your essence

What died once will die anew

 

The sea’s hue deepened

The horizons threatened stark

The clouds gathered dark

Mind’s eye looked over the waves

Hoping for glint in black hues

dark Robertlfoster etsy cm
Courtesy Robert L Foster on etsy.com

Tomorrow no more

Tomorrow no more

13 February 2015

  ashes4

 Silent voices called

The trees that relayed to leaves

Distant summer breeze

The sun shone on his dead skin

That sparkled in summer’s heat

 

A peacock spread out

Eyes alit with promises

Of awakenings

Tightly shut lids woke no more

To colours smeared across skies

 

The earth exhaled sighs

As waters bubbled in seas

That stretched vivid blue

Velvet languidly silent

Gushed forth with bubbles no more

 

Pale blue skies turned grey

Listless grass swayed to strong winds

Like wings of pixies

Fairy tales moaned of parting

As the mind like banshee wailed

 

Withered brown leaves writhed

Under winter’s sun that glared

Talked no more of warmth

Neither warmth nor melody

Reached the still mind in winter

 

Shadows changed their course

The river flowed now upstream

Undoing prayers

Spell-cast in its deep waters

That lovers took as refuge

 

Silver fish shimmered

Slithering among the blue

Tails blazing with light

Of mystic scales that split gills

Whispering waters spoke low

 

Earth cracked in blisters

For the pain of leaving you

As the birds too cried

I, chest heaving with goodbyes

Washed my face in your ashes

 

ashes

 

 

 

 

Outpost is Red Hot, light and dark and above all beautiful

Outpost is Red Hot, light and dark and above all beautiful

29 January 2015

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Yesterday I was at the opening of Outpost. Knowing my friend Samar Jodha and the fact that he had been working on this display for a while, I was expecting something significant and was not left unsatisfied.

 

Jodha is not the usual artist whose artworks would just be an ornament on a gallery’s walls. His work, whatever form it takes, is meant to induce thought, a sense of responsibility and social awareness and at the same time inspire and elevate with its embedded display of how beauty can originate from and perfuse all things living or dead.

 

Walking into the Gallery’s outer space, you are greeted by an open flame flickering, a gateway between the necessity for some heat in the Delhi night’s biting cold and the sense of where the artwork came from, how it was born, a prelude of the show awaiting.

 

The ground floor where most of the artwork is displayed showcases the artwork like any other gallery would: you get to see on the whitewashed walls and under carefully chosen lighting these huge glistening in parts works of art in copper or brass with ink imprints and sometimes with the apparent line of welding which reminds one of the Japanese art of Kintsugi when the crack becomes part of the object’s history and not something to disguise. Although I looked around and found only beauty on the walls, I was somewhat disappointed because this was not exactly what I was expecting of the Jodha that I knew.

 

It is then that I was told there were other parts of the exhibition and so following the guidance of one of the gallery personnel, I walked upstairs. Starting from the stairs, light had grown scarcer and I walked up carefully into an open sky exhibition where other artworks stared at you from different angles. Here, gone were the whitewashed walls, the parts of the ceiling that still existed were bare with rods protruding and the artworks were immersed in a darker atmosphere with very few spots and the moon as the only sources of light. It all lay there, under the sky, and somehow this display got to you and you started thinking more about what the artworks were, how and from what they were created. It slowly pushed you into the concept that beauty sometimes had a darker side to it and that in the half-light lay the beginning of a key to understanding the artwork.

 

I came down the stairs my head full of thoughts for the origins of that beautiful artwork, of the lives of those workers who had once used those panels as a home for themselves and was guided to the basement. The personnel at the top of the basement gave me a torch mentioning I would need it and to watch my step and need it I did. You walked down a flight of stairs and now were totally immersed in the life of the workers as you were no longer walking down stairs but down a narrow corridor, into the darkness, representative of the mines. A lady beside me asked in a nervous voice “Is there somebody there or is it empty?” and I wondered what must have gone through the mind of the workers as they entered the dark mines day after day. Did they too want to be able to rely upon one another? Did they feel nervous the first times they entered their dark workplace?

 

Upon entering the basement, one could barely see the artworks which were no longer even in half-light. They somehow lurked in corners with a faint source of light indicating where they were and as you walked on, the distinct noise of water dropping caught your attention and there it was in your mind’s eye: the mine with its darkness and the earthy and moldy smell of it around you, the noise of the water dripping above your head. The panels hung loosely in the room and with your torch, you were able to see more of what seemed initially small jutting pieces of copper alit and discover artworks that differed in shape from the ones above. It seemed like these works with their jagged edges and stronger linings that seemed like spines hanging wanted to speak more of the true lives of those who had once used these containers as a house. I was all at once elated and sobered by this glimpse into the harsh reality that lies beyond beauty and thought Jodha, my friend, you have done it again.

 

When I ponder upon the panels, I have to say that each corner of them seemed so different and so lovely and yet the artwork as a whole was beautifully harmonious with no part of it clashing with the other. It was such that I had had to take pictures of the whole artwork and at the same time of several parts of it and the more I did that, the more I had the sense that this artwork could be admired in every corner and each part of it would have a whole different outlook when examined in isolation.

 

So for those of you who are in Delhi, do go and see the artworks at Apeejay arts but see them if you can by night rather than by day because I sense that by daytime, the experience would be different although the artworks would still be as beautiful.

 

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IMG_5863 IMG_5858

IMG_5857 IMG_5859

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IMG_5865 IMG_5880

 

Exhibition at Apeejay Arts – New Delhi

 

For those whose mother tongue is French:

Outpost est Rouge Feu, lumière et l’obscurité et surtout très beau
29 janvier 2015

Hier, j’étais à l’ouverture de l’exhibition « Outpost ». Connaissant mon ami Samar Jodha et sachant qu’il avait travaillé sur cette exhibition pendant un certain temps, je m’attendais à quelque chose de significatif et ne suis pas restée sur ma faim.

Jodha n’est pas votre artiste usuel dont les œuvres seraient juste un ornement sur les murs d’une galerie. Son travail, quelle que soit la forme qu’il prend, est destiné à provoquer la réflexion, un sentiment de responsabilité et de prise de conscience sociale et en même temps inspirer et élever avec la présentation implicite de comment la beauté peut provenir de et imprégner tous les êtres qu’ils soient vivants ou morts.

En foulant l’espace externe de la galerie, vous êtes accueillis par les ombres dansantes d’une flamme nue, une sorte de passerelle entre la nécessité d’un peu de chaleur dans le froid mordant de la nuit à Delhi et la reconnaissance de l’endroit d’où vient l’œuvre d’art, comment elle est née, un prélude au spectacle qui attend.

Le rez de chaussée où la plupart des œuvres d’art sont affichées présente l’œuvre d’art comme toute autre galerie le ferait: vous pouvez voir sur les murs blanchis à la chaux et sous un éclairage soigneusement choisi, étincelant en partie, ces énormes œuvres d’art en cuivre ou en laiton aux empreintes d’encre et avec parfois la ligne apparente de soudage qui rappelle l’art japonais du Kintsugi lorsque la fissure devient partie intégrante de l’histoire de l’objet et non quelque chose à dissimuler. Bien que je n’aie trouvé que beauté sur les murs en regardant autour, j’étais un peu déçue parce que ce n’était pas exactement ce à quoi je m’attendais du Jodha que je connaissais.

C’est alors que l’on m’a indiqué qu’il y avait d’autres parties de l’exposition et suivant les conseils de l’un des membres du personnel de la galerie, je suis montée à l’étage. Déjà à partir de l’escalier, la lumière s’était raréfiée et je suis montée en faisant très attention pour arriver à une exposition à ciel ouvert où d’autres œuvres d’art vous fixaient sous des angles différents. Ici, loin les murs blanchis à la chaux !, les parties du plafond qui existaient encore étaient nues avec des tiges en saillie et les œuvres d’art baignaient dans une atmosphère plus sombre avec très peu de spots et la lune comme seules sources de lumière. Tout était là, sous le ciel, et en quelque sorte cet affichage s’emparait de vous et vous commenciez à penser davantage à ce que les œuvres étaient, comment et à partir de quoi elles avaient été créées. Cela vous poussait lentement vers le concept que la beauté possède parfois un côté plus sombre et que c’est dans le clair-obscur que résidait un début d’une clé de compréhension de l’œuvre d’art.

Je suis descendue par les escaliers la tête pleine de pensées quant aux origines de cette belle œuvre d’art, à la vie de ces travailleurs qui avaient autrefois utilisé ces panneaux comme une maison pour les abriter et ai été guidé au sous-sol. Le personnel à l’entrée du sous-sol m’ont donné une torche mentionnant que j’en aurais besoin et m’ont recommandé de faire attention où je mettais les pieds et j’en ai bien eu besoin. Vous descendiez quelques marches et étiez maintenant totalement immergés dans la vie des travailleurs car vous n’étiez plus en train de descendre par des escaliers mais empruntiez plutôt un couloir étroit, vers l’obscurité, si représentative des mines. Une dame à côté de moi a demandé d’une voix nerveuse “Y at-il quelqu’un là-bas ou est-ce vide?” et je me suis demandée ce qui a bien pu traverser l’esprit des travailleurs alors qu’ils entraient dans l’obscurité des mines jour après jour. Voulaient-ils eux aussi pouvoir compter l’un sur l’autre? Se sont-ils sentis nerveux les premières fois qu’ils sont entrés dans leur sombre lieu de travail?

En entrant dans le sous-sol, on pouvait à peine distinguer les œuvres qui n’étaient même plus dans la pénombre. Elles se cachaient en quelque sorte dans les coins avec une faible source de lumière indiquant leur emplacement et pendant que vous continuiez à marcher, le bruit distinct d’eau qui s’égouttait retenait votre attention et voilà que tout se révélait devant votre œil intérieur: la mine avec son obscurité et l’odeur terreuse et moisie qui vous enveloppait, le bruit de l’eau qui s’écoule au-dessus de votre tête. Les panneaux étaient suspendus lâchement dans la pièce et avec votre torche, vous pouviez voir un peu plus ce qui semblait initialement des petits morceaux saillants de cuivre éclairé et découvrir des œuvres qui différaient en forme de celles au-dessus. Il semblait que ces œuvres avec leurs bords dentelés et lignes prononcées qui ressemblaient à des épines dorsales qui pendraient voulaient raconter plus sur les vraies vies de ceux qui avaient autrefois utilisé ces conteneurs comme une demeure. J’étais à la fois exaltée et dégrisé par cet aperçu de la dure réalité qui se trouve au-delà de la beauté et j’ai pensé Jodha, mon ami, tu y est arrivé encore.

Lorsque je m’attarde à penser à ces panneaux, je dois dire que chacun de leurs recoins semblait si différent et si beau et pourtant l’œuvre d’art dans son ensemble avait une belle harmonie sans qu’aucune de ses parties ne soit en antagonisme avec l’autre. Cela était tel que je avais dû prendre des photos de l’ensemble de l’œuvre d’art et en même temps de plusieurs parties de celle-ci et plus je le faisais, plus je avais l’impression que cette œuvre pourrait être admirée dans chacun de ses recoins et chaque partie d’elle aurait une toute autre perspective si on l’examinait de façon isolée.

Donc, pour ceux d’entre vous qui sont à Delhi, allez donc voir ces œuvres d’art à Apeejay arts mais voyez-les si vous le pouvez la nuit plutôt que le jour parce qu’il me semble que, de jour, l’expérience serait différente bien que les œuvres d’art seraient toujours aussi belles.

The remains of a lifetime

10609589_10152371753687338_5361030637030697182_n10363263_10152179581152338_4036722137441037835_nDad between my nephew and me

For those interested in the matter, I just wanted to update you that while nothing has moved on the India front, at least my father was able to obtain a residence visa in the UAE and is currently living a dignified life and also enjoying the presence of his grand-children. Indeed, in India, nobody seems eager to sort the problem of an old man having been swindled of his property in Chennai as it seems to be the usage there rather than an exceptional event to sort out promptly. In summary I guess that people (including the police and the government as a whole simply don’t care about their senior citizens). In the UAE on the other hand, they accepted to provide a residence visa for my father after a decision by a consultative council based on humanitarian grounds.

From time to time my father recollects that he has lost the property and his life earnings as well as all the money we sent him over the years. After questioning me about it (he keeps forgetting as he has Alzheimer’s) and remembering some of the events, he is very sad but thankfully this state of mind soon is dissipated as my youngest son likes making jokes and they get along very well.

For those of you who have elderly parents in India, please be very careful about how they are taken care of. You also need to bear in mind that sometimes, even your relatives (unless you know them really really well) could actually become a problem for your elderly parents. This is due to what I coin as the “NRI syndrome” where people who remain in India and have little access to the facilities that we enjoy as NRI in foreign countries think that somehow we should pay them dues whether directly or indirectly and often your elderly parents could become an unwilling hostage within this mindset. This regardless of the fact that the lives of many NRI in foreign land is not really that fantastic and they are sometimes far from the situation that the relatives imagine back home.

Personally, I have been lucky enough to be blessed with a good life in all the foreign countries in which I have lived. Hopefully this will continue and may all those who attempt to help their elderly parents back home also have the means and continued inclination to do so. If you have any doubt on how your parents are being treated back home you really only have two choices: bring them to the foreign country where you live or go back home and take care of them yourself. All else seems to not be a viable option for now as even old age homes have their perils and chances are that your parents will not be treated with the same care that they would have given you throughout your years of growing up.

Please keep in mind that this is not something that only affects others because for all you know, your own parents could bear the brunt of this kind of happening. Independence and the capacity of your parents to manage their own situation only lasts as long as their health and finances allow that and as we have witnessed both can be abruptly removed with no other warning.

I also wanted to thank you for your personal messages of encouragement and sharing of your stories to my hotmail. I don’t know how some of you found that mail as I am not sure it is visible on this website but as you only had good wishes to convey, I consider it my good fortune that you were willing to reach out to me. Please don’t hesitate to continue sharing with me on geethap2007@hotmail.com

Best wishes to all and blessings from my father (who is aware of this blog and approves it) to all those among you who take proper care of their parents whether directly or indirectly. Make the remains of their lifetime worth living.

For those of you who have not followed the story from the beginning, further details on the whole matter are available in the following explanatory parts (the retrieval of my father from that place where he was kept is in itself an epic story that deserves to be properly written about):

https://geethaprodhom.wordpress.com/real-life-experiences/india-land-of-spirituality-no-more-post-mortem-of-a-successful-fraud-only-possible-in-india/

https://geethaprodhom.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/the-plight-of-the-elderly-in-india/

India land of spirituality ? no more! Post mortem of a successful fraud – only possible in India

Getting back to the epic of my father’s woes with his maid Anita Madhavan who kidnapped him after she sold off his Chennai based 2.5 ground property and ran with the money in demand draft and cash, we went from discovery to discovery all the while shocked and amazed at how easy it is to swindle an old person and how little the government, the police and any laws actually protect them from losing everything. A maid whom my father had accepted into his household, for whom I had sent the money to pay the costs for her wedding to a Mr. Madhavan and whose two children and husband my father had also subsequently welcomed into his home all the while treating them with dignity and respect. A dignity and respect they neither reciprocated nor even slightly hinted at.

We first discovered that unlike what we thought were small amounts she was able to take from my dad’s money, she had been swindling him for years of all the money that should have been available to him. This included the money we sent to him on a regular annual basis for savings, most of the money he had on arrival to India in 1998 and the money he earned working as a medical doctor from 1998 until 2003 when he turned 71. Her most amazing feat (though beaten subsequently by the amount she subsequently swindled of 2.15 crore) was to swindle an amount of 2.2 lakhs in less than a year between 2009 and 2010 without any of us, including my father realising that this amount which I had sent through Western Union and for which he had given her a power of attorney to retrieve never reached his bank account nor obviously his personal wallet. As she was also the only person given access to his bank account because he could not walk easily or wait in queues anymore, he did not have the possibility to realise that the amount was never deposited in his bank account.

So here we were believing that my father should have had deposits of at least 25 lakhs from which he should have been earning at least around 2 lakhs on a yearly basis and to which would have been added the amounts he earned as a medical doctor (less daily expenses) as well as over 50 lakhs we sent over the years which were supposed to have been put in recurring deposits earning him an interest varying between 8.75% and 10% which he should have been able to use for any additional requirements. Simple equation and comfortable life one would think. Utterly and amazingly wrong! Over the years, amounts were withdrewn by this shrewd maid and her husband which were used for her own personal expenses and lifestyle which included buying herself a plot and building a house in Puttagarm, her native town nearby Mayavaram.

During that time, my father lives a hardly decent lifestyle – which we found amazing on our visits but hey, my father assured us that Indian standards should not be compared to western standards and life was much costlier than we thought and he anyway was more into the spiritual realms than into material appearances. While dismissing this off as an eccentricity, we failed to identify the deeper reason, which was that apparently my father was simply not aware of how much money the maid had swindled and how much he had left and just believed that we were not sending enough to compensate any of his shortfalls which – in his mind – he thought better not to confront us with. Thanks to the clever swindling and typical elder abuse pattern that this maid had installed in my father’s daily routine, he simply did not have an idea of how much money he should have had left at the bank as that was totally controlled by the maid, did not know how much we were actually sending and had no clue on how much it actually cost to live in India. The maid would for example provide him his medication for 2,000 INR while the actual medication cost 200 INR and all items of his daily life were thus inflated accordingly if he would chance to ask her accounts, which my sister had started asking him in 2011 because comparing what existed on the net with what it seemed to cost him for what we considered a low lifestyle gave us little comfort on what was happening financially and my sister had started suspecting an elder abuse pattern.

Our biggest mistake though, was not realising the onset of dementia in my father’s life. He had always taken care of all family matters single handedly and brought up in the traditional way, we had never questioned his authority nor his ability to continue to take care of financial matters. This, coupled with my father’s pride in not renouncing his independence (or at least what he thought to be independence) and refusing to come live with one of us thus helped the wretched maid who continued spinning her web of deceit, swindling and isolation. She made sure he never went to any of the gatherings to which our relatives in India invited him, including when they attempted to stop by his house and take him to the gatherings and made any visits of relatives to his house very uncomfortable so gradually they started going less and less to visit him. By coincidence, none of my siblings and myself were able to visit him from 2011 until 2013 for various personal reasons but we remained in touch with him over the phone.

This is when the maid got a little greedier and moved to the next level. Somehow, we still have to discover exactly how this was done, she had more and more of my father’s property registered in her name between 2011 and 2012 before she finally got it sold off (including what was supposedly her share) to a group of (hardly) gentlemen who did not make much of the fact that an 81 year-old man only accompanied by his maid was selling off a house within a large land in Chennai without having any other place to live in while all his children were living abroad. It was obviously convenient considering the price they bought the land for to pretend that they actually believed the deceitful claim from the maid that his children and all his family had abandoned him instead of investigating further and finding out the truth. Beside that, they also allegedly chose to pay a large amount in cash knowing very well that such an old man would be more easily swindled out of a large amount of cash paid out of the banking system than when he is paid the amount within the banking system.
Obviously this is what happens and the maid makes a run with the cash but not without having made sure she is securing her tracks. To do this, she takes away every document my father has including his passport, his ID card, his medical card, his Electricity bills, bank pass and anything that could possibly serve as identity or residence proof and then kidnaps him to a remote location some 8 hours from where he used to live. For over 45 days my father is kept in dreary conditions (we found him subsequently in a shed-like construct in her hometown village) and he recalls that he was drugged (which coincides with the fact that we found him in a dazed and incoherent state) and we finally find him but are incapable of doing anything officially because the Police claim that without any identity proof they are not able to take his complaint (see my earlier post on The plight of the elderly in India for more details at this link https://geethaprodhom.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/the-plight-of-the-elderly-in-india/).

That is for the brief recount of what we found out.
Now where it would get hilarious with hindsight – if it were not such a bitter experience of human greed and corrupt behaviour – is how most people around this tragedy reacted when we attempted to sort things out. It obviously did not seem to help that allegedly at some point, the owner of the Vels University in Chennai had wanted to get the land my father’s house was on as this would have helped build some sort of extension he had been contemplating and my father had refused as for no reason would he have let go of his house and land acquired officially in 1990.

The first lawyer whom we contact suggests that we pay 1.5 lakhs as a start to attempt to get back the passport from the maid by resorting to the police in the Manilmedu station. We shake that off as my siblings feels it is ludicrous although I have to say that I am slightly tempted having undergone the harrowing experience of journey back and forth between Chennai and Mayavaram with a sadly useless trip to the Manilmedu police station. It is decided in the family that I better get things sorted out myself by commuting to India as I am the closest, being based in Dubai. After I start commuting between India and Dubai, get a couple of papers done that could prove his identity (mainly duplicate bank passes), I go visit a travel agent who promises to get my father’s passport done using a method deemed infallible and which only requires an ID and residence proof (which I give in the form of the bank pass with my father’s photograph, the bank stamp and bearing his address) as well as a Non Traceable Report from the police regarding the passport stolen by his maid. It seemed crucial now that he had lost his only place to stay that we get him out of India and into my home in Dubai. The process is supposed to cost 12,500 INR and require 7-10 days so I pay up immediately and gladly the cash thinking that finally my father will be in Dubai with me and can lead a peaceful and dignified life. Around 15 days later, nothing has happened and upon my next visit to the agency, all sorts of excuses pop up but as nothing is happening, I ask her to reimburse me and get 11,000 INR back. At around the same time I visit a lawyer who has been contacted by my sister to get the EC documents as nothing can be done in terms of complaint without those documents being produced to the police. He asks for 4,000 INR which he pockets without a receipt and of course, 10 days later, we have no copies of the EC and he stops answering me. Thank you very much KSR B. for making us a tad more sceptical about the integrity of lawyers in Chennai. After that experience, we decide it is better not to pay before we actually have something happening. Subsequently I pay a taxi driver who offers to help through a person whom he knows and charges me 1,000 INR for the initial EC document which he is able to get (for some reason, the person directly gives it to the lawyer he refers subsequently to us saying he will take care of obtaining the documents pertaining to the entries in the EC rather than giving it to the taxi driver who had promised to send it to me via scan and ordinary mail).

This is that initial EC ec

This is how we get this lawyer JG M. who is supposed to be an honest man according to the person who is referring him. The first impression is that we could have possibly found at least one honest lawyer in Chennai. He promises to produce the documents before he asks us any money and says that he will tell us the costs before he moves forward. I am a bit surprised when he comes up with a figure of 15,000 INR for the documents related to the 10 entries in the EC (Encumbrance Certificate) but my siblings and I devise that this probably includes his fees as it is such an inflated amount so we agree. What a surprise we have when not content with the 15,000 INR he then out of the blue says we need to pay him an extra 26,000 for his own fees and expenses, which would take the simple act of getting EC certificate and related 10 documents to the whopping cost of 36,000 INR. If he had asked an extra 5,000 INR we might have paid that which would have multiplied the actual cost by 4 times but would have been acceptable but not this, it is simply too blatant swindling. He says that we should realise his fees are commensurate with what lawyers do usually and that we will find this out for ourselves if we have not already found out and even puts his request through saying “pay it or else.” and lets us imagine what would be the consequences of not paying up. I fail to see what consequences really other than ending up having paid around 5,000 INR himself for a bunch of documents that will be useless to him and that we were willing to pay 15,000 INR for (except of course if he is able to corrupt people at the registrar so that we don’t get any documents subsequently – which by now I believe is very likely with my freshly acquired knowledge of how the system works in India). During this time, on the passport front, what seemed to be a promising beginning with a very nice lady introducing me to a man working within the central government who could help turns out to be yet another swindling story. Initially asking 30,000 INR to get the passport done, the person mentions that he would actually need at least 50,000 INR as it would also cost to pay the police off and funnily enough I would have to do the whole thing over the internet (like a normal request any travel agent would do) but I should make them believe that no passport was ever delivered before and I should only call him at the point of having already undertaken the request with a Kendra and gone for the meeting. At this point, there is no way I would be paying up 50,000 INR to a person whom I did not know at all without getting anything in advance and having on top of it to lie about no passport existing (while we had already filed a complaint for the stolen passport). Obviously that plan went down the drain too, not just because the corrupted cost of it with no identifiable countervalue but because it was simply ridiculous and riddled with problems.

By now, we are totally disgusted by the behaviour of most of the people we encounter and how money oriented their mindset is and how far, far from any type of integrity or spirituality they are.

To add to our woes is the way in which the police handles the matter. Despite our complaint to the Commissioner, things do not go as we expected. First I am told to come back to India within two days of the complaint failing which no action will be taken. True to the logics of how I was brought up and how I have behaved in my own profession, I take this to be a binding matter and turn up two days after in India but am told that I have to come back on Monday (while I had been commuting from Thursday to Sunday making use of the fact that Friday is a day off in Dubai while it isn’t in India). So back to Chennai again on Monday after having just returned to Dubai on Sunday morning, I am on my way to collect my father and go to the inspector’s office. My father wishes not to come as he is growing really weary of all the useless trips to the police station and other places but as the inspector seems to have questioned why it is only I and not my father who had come for the complaint at the commissioner’s office, I tell my father that his presence is really required and he has to bear with me at least this one last time to hopefully conclude the requirement for his presence. He has signed a power of attorney for me to represent him for the complaint matter arguing his old age (81) but this does not seem to be relevant as far as Indian authorities are concerned.

Now the amusing thing here is that while we are entering, a police officer stops us and says my father cannot come with me. When asking why, I am told and this totally beats any logic out of me, that it is because he is old. It would seem that old people are not allowed into the premises because it could be problematic (we are told for example that they could have loose motion, could faint while waiting, could pee and possibly even die, etc). When asking what then of the old people who have no young relatives to do the complaint on their behalf, the police officier looks at me quizzically. Oh yeah! I should have figured that one out myself. An old man on his own even thinking of making it this far to the commissioner’s office to complain? Get a life, this is India. What am I talking about? This is not Europe or the US. After some going back and forth between us and him as well as another onlooking officer, he finally decides to let us in with my father.

At the inspector’s office that Monday, we discover that the inspector who is responsible for the investigation is out of post and cannot meet me. My father and I are met by a head constable who takes down scrupulously the recount of what happened (this had already been done normally at the commissioner’s public complaint open room) and then questions my father and myself in Tamil (with a relative helping out for the translation as I don’t understand properly their Tamil). We ask for the famous Non Traceable Certificate so that I can finally get my father’s passport done but the constable declines. He says we need to get it from the Pallavaram police station and although I point out that we have already attempted to get that done without success he dismisses this by saying that they have to give it to us.

The same evening, we are called in again as the inspector is back but I go without my father who truly cannot take it anymore and just with a relative for the translation. There is some shuffling around, some pointless talk during which the inspector says that we don’t seem to be able to actually prove that the maid has been embezzling my father. I am quite nonplussed as I have given them bank account statements which show the methodical documented withdrawals by Anita Madhavan and her husband from my father’s account as well as Western Union statements which show the additional money sent to my father’s attention. A relative has also stated that my father did certainly not live like someone who was receiving that sort of money (aside from what he was supposed to own in terms of deposits and savings). The inspector says that the fact that she took out the money is not proof that she has used it for herself and the fact that she subsequently swindled the house cannot be proven because maybe my father had decided to gift her his land out of his own free will. Nobody seemed to make any case of the fact that my father had repeatedly mentioned (as he had instructed us in the case of his demise and as we would inherit as per his will) that he was willing to give her 600 sqft of his land if she served him until his death. How she ended up with around 3,000 sqft from his 2.5 grounds (or 5,680 sqft) in her name is a mystery that my father has no recollection of.

Every attempt I make to show him that his reasoning is flawed because it was clear elder abuse and swindling of my father is thwarted by him simply averting his eyes and telling me it is going to be very difficult to prove anything and definitely there is nothing much they have on her for the case to go forward. As for the land documents which we were unsuccessful in getting from the initial lawyer KSR B. and for which we had asked JG M. subsequent to the Monday interview with the inspector, he claims that these should be easy to get for no more than 4,000 INR. He does not ask for any money but says that as a police officer, he should be able to get them without any trouble but that it is for us to obtain those documents paying 4,000 INR to the registrar as it is our complaint against the maid and we should be able to document it. Again I question if it is not their duty to investigate and find out all the criminal acts themselves once a complaint has been lodged but my reasoning seems to be totally out of proportion for the way the Indian system works.
We again get to the point of my father’s passport and he again helpfully indicates how the system works, mentions that the actual archiving of the information and the deliverance of some document which indicates that the passport has been stolen is just next doors, pauses and ends up saying again that we have to get it from the Pallavaram police station. There is possibly something that has escaped my attention but owing to the stress and the language barrier (Tamil in Chennai when spoken fast is absolutely incomprehensible to me, despite my study of Tamil as a second language during my childhood) I have possibly missed out on something that could have made the process different.

During the subsequent discussion with the third lawyer to dabble into the matter, he mentions to my relative who had offered to go again to the Pallavaram station and get the in-famous Non Traceable Certificate that in doing so she would be breaking the law. He says that if she gets the NTC, this could be held against her if subsequently the same police station is able to retrieve the stolen passport from the maid and it could be claimed that she ab-used influence to get the NTC while the passport had actually been traceable. So exit this possiblity as far as my relative is concerned. Weirdly enough, after he has scared my relative into inactivity, the same JG M contacts me saying that he can get the NTC if I pay up in order to “grease” the wheels. His reasoning is that if we get the NTC through the influence my relative has and not pay anything some people could take it badly as they would not have made any money out of the matter and subsequently the police verification of the passport could go wrong and therefore we would be back to square one, my father would have no passport so would be unable to travel and things could become difficult with the ongoing investigation itself as it normally reverts back down from the Commissioner’s office to the original Police Station. A request I make to Shri MK P. from the Ministry of External Affairs listed as the person to write to in cases of stolen or lost passports which are unsolved goes totally unheard. Neither my father nor any of us is an extremely wealthy or famous person and therefore the matter is probably of no concern to the authorities and is dismissed accordingly…

It is at this point in time that I am totally and utterly disheartened by the level of corruption and absence of reaction from the authorities in such cases. Back to Dubai, I post this temporary state of mind as my facebook status. Yet I don’t think I will let this quest go and although I refuse to accept this corrupt and inefficient system, I am sure that somehow, at some point in time my father’s passport will be done and he will be able to leave Chennai finally and live a more dignified life than what he thought his hometown would offer him.
For now, we are resorting to have lawyers from outside India directly use a lawyer in India that they usually work with in order to reign in the utter greed that exists in India. As far as we have seen on the internet and browsing through law offices websites, the usual fee that an Indian correspondent lawyer asks is between 30 USD and 100 USD an hour (100 USD being for the more qualified ones although not the star lawyers) which would equate to 1,800 to 6,000 INR an hour. It would seem that the fact these lawyers usually work as correspondent lawyers binds them to not inflating their figures as they would do when meeting an NRI directly and at least the lawyers in the other countries would be bound by the stringent rules existing in their countries on establishing an engagement letter and respecting it.

For now, while I await my passport to be returned to me after cancellation of my current visa and the transfer, I guess I have to keep mum and watch and listen while the matter unfolds. More to read as and when the matter progresses and I am able to travel again…

La vérité nue

La vérité nue

1 mars 2012

Quand son mensonge se cache

La tension jamais ne se relâche

Et peuple comme classe élite

Surveille ce non vrai qui s’effrite

°

Edulcoré donc en lumière vive

Aucun doute parmi eux il ne ravive

Etalé aux yeux de tout un chacun

Ce mensonge noircit tout parchemin

°

Ferveur de scribe, plaisir de mondain

Aucun ne le traite avec juste dédain

La vérité perdue dans leurs dédales

Est au nu-pieds valeur des sandales

°

Ecoutez le mensonge le plus juste

Pérore cette élite qui stance rajuste

Et croyez en nos mots doux et émus

Croyez en cette vérité vous venant nue

°

Through blood and tears

Through blood and tears

17 May 2011

Through the light of hope I kept

Darkness in my dreams had crept

Slowly gaining in on me as I slept

Two tears, a heart of blood I wept

With bloodied sight I pause to gaze

At webs of spiders turned a maze

A turn of mind left to spin in haze

With reeling heart my eye did glaze

And as I watch my face lily white

With gaunt cheeks and lips tight

I recover from this ghastly sight

And slink back into an eerie night

I talk no more turned silent stone

A tongue for them I still will hone

And acid bite for those that shone

Heart and soul would not condone