Today was a day of contrasts. On one extreme was experience of immense human potential; on the other, the lowliness of Government officials. Our eyes had already experienced moisture on the chants of ‘Jai Dev Jai Dev …’ as the Hawaizaada plane took off, albeit unsuccessfully, prior to intermission. The door-bell just rang then. Saturday afternoon, unexpected, in the midst of positivity.
There was a paraphernalia of sorts, mainly the supervisors of the CPWD maintenance department. And introducing vehemently , ‘Yeh AE sahib hain . .’. The AE sahib introduced himself and stated they wanted to come inside. It was difficult to guess what the emergency was. I let them in, and the AE sahib, started, as if trying to justify hard something, that he wanted to show me something and wanted to inspect our AC. ‘Sure’, I said, and brought them to my bedroom. Pointing at my AC, he said –‘ the water from this AC is dripping on the CVO Madam’s AC, who’s come in the flat beneath yours; she’s complaining since yesterday, and there are continuous calls from her, that this is the maintenance you do!’ And then he instructed the maintenance staff to come and rectify it, of course, at Government’s cost.
There are a few other facts to this story. One, dripping of water from ACs on to ACs below is a common issue. We have stayed in this building for almost a year now, and have both got our AC rectified, as well as requested the ones above us for the same. This is something that neighbours sort out amongst themselves! Add to this the fact that the AC in our bedroom runs for 2-3 hours in the evening only. I asked, for the sake of asking, if the CPWD would mind extending the favour to me as well, and ask ones above us, whose water also drips. The AE sahib did not want to give answer, and I did not want to press him. Within half an hour the job of rectification of our AC was done. I personally thanked the AE sahib for being so dutiful, and he thanked me that his problem was sorted!
Post this incident, we watched Manjhi – the Mountain Man. The selfless character of Manjhi stood in greater contrast to the officials. This is no one’s case that one has the grit and madness of Manjhi –that may be one in a million trait. But increasingly, energies of officials being over-diverted towards seniors was disturbing. Families, seniors, bosses – when will people count ?