Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Fine.

Dhanusha was sitting in the train .The train was moving at  medium speed .It was an Express train. The Sun had set.It was getting pleasant. The setting Sun had painted the sky in softer hues of orange,yellow & pink.It was getting cooler slowly & surely.Dhanusha was sitting near the window. Dhanusha 's hair was flying.She had short hair & so it fluttered ..Dhanusha felt great with short hair.And yet , her flying hair made it very rough & tangled.She sighed as she loved the wind in her hair, as the setting Sun disappeared on the horizon.

Dhanusha was returning from a family wedding. Dhanusha 's daughter was in college, Dhanusha decided , it was high time, she renewed her ties with her extended family. Dhanusha had been right.She met many aunts, uncles,cousins, nephews, nieces etc.And they all had a great time in the wedding. And now, she  was  returning home.

Dhanusha looked around & saw that it had become darker .Passengers on the side berths were men & they were talking & joking among themselves. They seemed to be  simple town people.One of them was smoking a beedi. The beedi was getting passed about between his friends who were chatting him up.Dhanusha failed to understand how people could light up just like that.All knew, that smoking caused cancer .And yet, so many continued to smoke. It was money going up in smoke followed by life going up in smoke as well.

And Dhansusha sighed. Men  are such damn fools .They drink, smoke & endure the aftereffects. Not only that, their families bore it more than them.Who would know it better, than her ? Her dad had been diagnosed with cancer five years back.And this, in spite of the fact, that he had smoked just for two  years when he was very young.And that too not daily.He would smoke when his friends would light up. And that had cost him dearly.She had been unable to see him suffer from cancer.Slowly ,life had ebbed away from her dad.She had been praying to Almighty to lessen her dad's suffering.And God had obliged.In one year, her dad was no more. Dhanusha was glad that he suffered no more. It was unbearable .In that one year, she had seen horrific cases in the hospital.And now ,these smokers had reminded her, all that was past.

Was it all past ? This was the present.It was happening right now.The smoking that is.Dhanusha saw , a railway guard walk up to the men who were chatting .He pulled up the person who was smoking.He asked , " You have to pay  fine as I have caught you smoking." All chatting.  stopped.The man who had been caught smoking ,dropped his beedi & tried to stamp it out. The gaurd said," I saw your beedi.You have to pay up. " The man pleaded," Saab, please let go.I will not smoke again." The guard said to others, " Please tell him to pay up..He has committed an offence.Can't you see, the sign which reads that smoking is prohibited in trains ? " The guard continued "I  am going on my rounds.When I return,I will collect the fine ." He left.

As soon as the guard was out of sight, there was loud laughter.Many men advised the culprit to pay some cash to the guard, to cover up the matter.Some recalled their brushes with the prohibition aspect.They  seemed to have committed similar offences. And none, seemed to be wiser after those episodes. The guard returned.He was pacified by some cash .He left.

And Dhanusha wondered if the cash offered would prevent cancer in the smoker who was caught smoking.That even the hefty fine could not prevent cancer after being paid, was a  foregone concluison.And yet, there was a belief ,that fines are only to make the public, law abiding.To make people civilised. And yet , civilised people try to cover up by bribing so that they can get away cheap.What they do not understand is that smoking kills.It hardly matters if fine is paid or bribe is paid.The effect is the same.Unless, it is understood that fine is to prevent smoking, smoking would continue with  its deadly spree.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...