Yawning and visibly bored, I checked my watch for the umpteenth time. Mom has been gone for ages! What is that paper she need to get from these boring offices? Visiting government offices were never my cup of tea! But yet, I found myself dragged to every possible government office as mom had to get some paper’s corrected, collect her transfer orders and so on! New reasons seemed to pop up every day and I almost pleaded with mom! Not again! I’m not going to tag along with you to those boring offices! But, it was my semester break at college and there was nothing much I could do sitting alone in my home. As we stayed far away in the city away from my cousins and as I didn’t have any siblings to goof around, the only option left was to follow my mom wherever she went. And she used to smile at my sullen face and pamper me with chocolates and ice creams. That made these trips worthwhile for me! I could pretend to be angry at her and get ice creams!
A dry leaf fell on my face waking me up from my thoughts. I gazed at my watch again and tried to catch a glimpse of my mom. There she was, waiting in a long queue. It was almost lunch time. Now these guys will go for a lunch break and we will have to wait till evening to get this done! The wind was blowing hard and dry leaves from some old, withered tree was flying here and there. Oh! Gosh! Now it is going to rain too! I checked my bag to make sure I have taken an umbrella. That is when I noticed this old man sitting in the corner of a bench. The bench creaked a little as the old man shifted his position restlessly. I observed him from a distance. He looked weak, worried and maybe stressed out. He wore shabby clothes and I almost wondered if I should offer him some water from the bottle I had in my bag. He seemed as though he might faint and fall down any moment. He was muttering something and gazing at the large clock filled with cob webs. Does that clock even work? I wondered!
I stood up again trying to catch a glimpse of my mom. She turned back to me and signed, asking me to wait. Oh! The queue is still long. I might as well set up a tent here and sleep. I muttered angrily. I looked back at that old man. That is when I noticed that he was sobbing a bit. Concerned, I slowly went up to him. Wondering what to ask him, finally I mustered courage and asked, “Uncle, is everything alright? Can I help you? Do you need water?” He looked up at me and shouted, “No! No one can help me in this wretched country!” Flabbergasted and slightly frightened, I looked around to see people staring at us. I gathered up my courage and sat next to him. “Maybe I can help uncle. Can you please tell me what is the problem?” He stared at me and this time spoke softly, no dear, but it feels soothing to see that at least someone seems to be genuinely concerned!
I felt sorry for him, even though I didn’t know what his problem was. I probed him further, can you please tell me what is the matter? Tears started rolling from his eyes! My son, he sobbed. My son is no more! They killed him! This nation killed him! Clueless and dazed, I sat looking for answers from this frail man. He started explaining his story. He had a son, his only son! This young guy had gone near secretariat to meet some friend of his. That is when some riot broke up and the opposing parties started fighting with each other and hurl abuses at each other. The police were trying hard to control the mob but was left helpless. This guy unknowingly got involved in the angry mob and got hit on his head! He died on the spot! Since that day, this poor man was going from office to office, meeting all the higher officials asking for just one thing- justice! Justice for his son! To punish the ill doers of his son! But since the political parties were involved in this incident, no one paid heed to his words. He was sent from office to office on the pretext of getting papers and never getting justice!
As I stared in silence at this sobbing old man leaning on the creaking bench, I realized the importance of the need to have strong rules in this country. Strong rules alone won’t suffice! What is the use of strong rules if there are no efficient and ethic people heading the concerned departments? The change has to start from us, the present generation! It might be difficult to correct the present crop of unethical officers. But, we as the new generation parents can build up a stronger nation by teaching our kids morals and values right from a tender age. We should motivate them to join IAS, IPS or Defense forces to build a better India that ensures all the guilty will be punished irrespective of their status or position. An IAS Academy in Chennai that can focus on building the morals and ethics of the candidates along with grooming them for the exams can help build a better nation. They focus on building the morals along with coaching the aspirants to pass the exams in flying colours! Let us join hands together and strive hard to build a better India! Let no father sit dejected and deprived of justice on the benches of government offices ever again!