Millennium Post

How secure are we?

The Mumbai mayhem at Taj is long over; a few blasts that shook the country are also phasing out to down the memory lane; we still feel unsecured and restless with a hope that our dear ones whose lives and property wrest on a few uniformed civilian guards are secured. One just happened to walk in to a complex when a security guard stops me and asks a few questions that reveal his intelligence quotient and his dedication to work. Whom do you want to meet?  Where have you come from? What’s your mobile number? Please enter all the details in this visitor book. And before he finishes I probably would have lost my cool and gotten into a verbal fight. I am not a thief, I said. When the actual thief enters you would be found sleeping, and words to the extent.  The guard looks at me for a while and says, ‘Saab main to apna duty kar raha hoon....nahi karo to gali milta hai aur ziada sawal jabab karu to naukri chali jayegi’. (Sir, I am just doing my duty and if I fail to comply with the instructions and argue, I may even lose my job). He is right. Why? He is the most easily available commodity at a price range of 3,000 to 5,000, who can be abused if he doesn’t comply with the instructions, if he forgets to switch on the water pump, refuses to go to the post office or vegetable market or even forgets to hand over the couriers and letters delivered by the postman (though very rare these days). Even a late night dinner for family with a drink or two costs close to 4,000 to 5,000 these days. We don’t mind it because either the company is magnanimous or you feel you deserve those extra bucks on you after all those hours of toiling.

Found sleeping on duty, a crime, which is unpardonable in the local courts formed by the hierarchy of secretaries and cooperative presidents.  ‘The security is useless Das, can’t we get a better service provider? He doesn’t even open the gate properly when we get home. He is somewhat slouchy and is generally found dozing on the chair’. The comments pour in like the monsoon shower. Every inmate at the complex has a point. Fortunately unfortunately the points are all against the security. The poor security guard who didn’t wear or adjust his belt tight enough, opens his cap too often, his top button of the shirt is generally open and he doesn’t carry a whistle with him. We are paying so much for this kind of security? I am sure we can get a better deal with smarter people around.
I managed to purchase a flat toiling day in and day out for the last 27 years for 40 lack somewhere closer to the city. To mine and my neighbour’s satisfaction I called in the best painter and spent another two lack on the interiors. I managed my wardrobe and basic furniture’s (thanks to the Mauritius and Korean stuff) for another three odd lack. I noticed the vehicle had grown old and we need a quick changeover for a better brand for another seven lack. At the end of the month I had coughed out close to 55 to 60 for a meagre 1,000 odd square feet like the other 12 inmates in the complex and felt a king at the top of the world, the legacy of the age old zamindari and anarchical culture per se. Having completed on the basic mathematical calculations the group of 12 had already raised the price of the property to close to seven crore to be precise. A handsome young man dressed in grey shirt, black trouser and a smart cap in scripted ABCD was at the gate and at the beck and called 24x7x365. How happy we are with an ear to ear grin each time he opened the gates for you on time and each time he reached out to your half filled vegetable bag and called for the lift. It all happens in a jiffy. Ramdin, and he was there at your service. There are moments when you felt tired and stressed and deserved a break and little did we realise that we left behind a property worth a few lacks and crores to care of Ramdin, who beyond call of his duty ensured nobody trespassed, burgled, or even peeped into your property. A year goes by and you prosper under the clout of an able boss. Your family grows with your children hopping one class to another. Your hair grey, with litres of popular brand hair colours, the walls of building thicken with a coat of extra paint every passing year and your one time favourite car has a few extra services yet the wipers fail to behave during the rainy season. A rogue taxi had already slammed the steel bumper on to your fibre rear bumper and it’s time for a change again.

The cycle continues without a break. But, what pinches every year is the extra five hundred (am I
asking too much) that Ramdin asks for from every household. The questions shoot like poisoned arrows... didn’t we increase it just a few months back? He is as it is very slow and we need to inform the service provider about him sleeping while on duty. So much are we paying for security but look at the plants, they have not been watered for months, the staircase is full of muck and cobwebs and if you call for him he hardly hears you and pretends to be busy. More so he cares for Mr X, because he gives him a bakshis each time he does his work. The remarks are endless. Little did we realise that during the job change last year Mr Y felt like biting the ear of the HR head since somewhere down the line the expected and offered CTC didn’t match. This year he felt like visiting the naukri portal and also bang the head of the boss on the wall once again since the incentive rolled out was too less to the output, he felt. But seldom did he realise that Ramdin provided the service to him at 1/10th the cost of his living and yet protected his property without too many hang ups in life.
The corporate too is quite a challenge by itself and equally ridiculous. A company worth a few thousand crores gets its security needs for just a few lacks. Yet there are so many complaints. ‘He doesn’t even greet you each time you walk through the glass door trying to tie the knot and already late by a few minutes.

Sometimes one doesn’t even carry his identity/punching card and have to request the security to open the door for him. But he is a perfect person after all and the security is just a person who has a lot to be desired from. He requires training. Look at the neighbouring company. The guards are so smart and properly dressed. We should give a feedback for change of guard. You know why? Because, the grass has always looked greener on the other side.

People like Ramdin are part of our daily lives who make things comfortable for us. Little do we realise that the person on whom you rest the security of your company, property, and the likes are the most meagrely paid yet the most sought after. Even when the machines at a project site tire out, the lights dim out, the man stands with his lathi in one hand, a torch in the other, to wrap the chilling winter nights all by himself  while you are cosily tucked in the comfort of your house. He has to face the wrath of the weather and present a smiling face so fulfil his job.

The author is a retired Colonel and former NSG commando
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