Gujjar riots: Life goes haywire…

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 9:40 PM in ,

It’s easy for our vote-athirst politicians to trigger off rows regarding reservations. Following in their footsteps, it’s even easier for a certain segment of civilians to get together and create a havoc to attract media attention and to get their baseless demands fulfilled. Now I’m not here to bash the changing role of the media in today’s India, cause that topic deserves a different post altogether. I’m here to ‘throw light’ on the physical and mental traumas that we, the aam-admi, are made to go through during these times of crisis.

Anyone with a speck of alertness is aware of the whole ordeal that Rajasthan was made to go through recently. Now it so happened that I was in Jaipur around that time and was planning to return to Delhi on 30th may for my exams that kicked off from the 2nd of june. A day before the 30th, I had booked a Volvo ticket and was all packed to leave for ‘the city of djinns’ the next day. When I switched on the t.v. at night, first stir of the ensuing riots was hogging the headlines. Not anticipating it to blow up into a full-fledged revolt, I sat back comfortably and relished my dinner.

Next morning, when I switched on the t.v., reports of a blocked NH-8 caught my eye and I quickly called up the roadways office to confirm if my bus was still going. It wasn’t. Infact all the buses from jaipur to delhi had been cancelled… the highways were blocked with the protestors. The magnitude of the protests soon sunk in and I frantically left home to get myself rail or air tickets for the same day in a hope to still make it on time for my exams. Turned out that all trains had been cancelled as well and I was left with only one option to make it back on time- air. The scene at the airport betrayed the hopelessness of commuters who were virtually stuck in the city because of a ‘transportation-breakdown’. Because I’m very frugal with money, I first checked with the low-cost carriers to know if their flights were still going. Some flights had already left early in the morning and the rest were all booked to the brim. Soon it became very clear that I wasn’t reaching the capital today in any case. A call to my travel agent didn’t help much either. Reluctantly, I asked if tickets for the 31st were still available and fortunately got a reply in the affirmative. Timings for Go-Air were very convenient and I decided to opt for the same. My eyes literally popped out when the guy at the counter told me the prices (withheld to condense public outrage)! I asked him to wait for two minutes while I made up my mind. I started scanning all my options--- there was no way I was reaching delhi today by road, so there was no point fretting over that fact any longer. I figured if it essentially has to be tomorrow, then I might as well just pay some extra bucks rather than swing in the air of uncertainty and wait for the roads and rails to clear up (the riots had gathered steam by then and all fingers pointed in the direction of a political deadlock). While I was scrutinizing all my options, a now-familiar voice from the counter pulled me out of my musings and announced- “Only two seats left on tomorrow’s flight, ma’am, and their prices just went up from rs.x to rs.x + 300. You should make up your mind fast.” Shucks! Zap… I asked him to give me a ticket immediately before the prices shot up any further. With the ticket clutched tightly in my hands, I strolled my way back to the car.

Now to explain how much agony the whole episode caused is out of question. There’s no way I can explain how it feels to see days melt away so fruitlessly just 2 days before your exams and absolutely no way to tell how much it hurts to pay 8 times more than what you usually would to get from one place to another. Seeing airlines cash in on our helplessness didn’t make it any easier. The hole in my pockets just got deeper the next day when I was charged another grand at the check-in counter on account of my bag being ‘20 kgs heavier than the prescribed limit’ (dont blame me, I was carrying my exam books and there was no way I was leaving them behind). On reaching delhi, I had to pay another couple of hundreds to get from IGI airport to my place in a pre-paid taxi. And not just me, I saw a host of people going through the similar not-so-obvious torture. All of this… simply because this one class of people were defying laws somewhere and enforcing a bandh on a matter as trivial as shifting from one backward category, already reserved under the tainted reservations, to another…

Hail the politicians.

Hail the ‘intelligentsia’ who prompt such riots.

And most of all, hail us civilians who actually manage to live through the whole ordeal with no apparent fault of ours! Life cant get any ‘fairer’ than this x-(

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