Corruption or A Thoughtful Act

EB (Electricity Board lineman) Vellian came by one morning, a couple of weeks ago, to say he “thought of me”. There had been a terrific hailstorm the previous evening; and I had been very surprised to find that the electrcity supply had been restored pretty soon after the rain stopped.

Vellian informed me that one kambam (post) had broken in the storm, and the line beyond the big jackfruit tree towards Valagapattu was a mess, with many insulators broken etc. And that it would take a week to restore the supply. [I was expecting visitors the next day!]

“They” want the villagers to come to the EB office and formally complain before taking any action. “They” also wanted to disconnect the supply at the Transformer, but Vellian (sweet Vellian, glory be!) “thought of me”, and decided to do the disconnection at a point beyond our forking point.

He repeated this scenario to me a few times, hinting, but never asking outright, for some baksheesh/mamool, but I played dumb. Finally, he turned to go, when I said, “Come, come, I’ll give you some tiffin kaas” . (That is the accepted euphemism, as also Tea kaas or Petrol kaas)

He broke into a broad smile, relieved that (dumb) I had understood at last, and complained about having worked in the storm the previous evening, and not even being offered a cup of tea by the villagers.

So, was this a futures-bribe? service tax? baksheesh? Whatever: Vellian could very well have disconnected the supply at the transformer (rather than climb a wet electricity post), waited for me to complain and then restored my power supply. He would definitely have got his “tiffin kaas”.

So, though perhaps not quite as prescribed by the Bhagavad Gita, (Do your work without regard to the fruit) it was a thoughtful act, nevertheless.

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One Response to “Corruption or A Thoughtful Act”

  1. by the window sill Says:

    nice to see so many posts on your blog…. checked it first in august 2008.
    nice pics, illustrations and such fresh stories,
    cheers,
    by the window sill 🙂

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