Thursday, 3 January 2013

Meet My Friend Prof. Santa!

“Corruption is not only eating into the vitals of our country, but makes us morally bankrupt,” Prof. Santa’s metallic voice stirred my otherwise somnambulist drawing room.  I was sitting mutely by her side and watching her glib tongue showing dark caves of corruption one after another. Prof. Santa was my chance acquaintance and we became friends the moment we met at the Connemara Public Library, Chennai.

 She was brown complexioned with fluffy cheeks, got her long hair braided on top of her head. Exuding heavy aroma of French perfume, she had decked herself up with heavy jewelries: earrings, bangles, necklace et al. She was articulate, spoke English without any tinge of regional accent. She talked like a visionary, but looked antique in Kancheevaram silk sari, sporting tons of jewelries.

She would visit my house thrice a week, mostly during afternoons. Since cervical spondylosis held me back from books, TV and computer, I was only happy to invite her home and took refuge in the deluge of her talks on corruption , which went hours on end on every occasion. No sooner had she entered my house than Neela, our domestic help, arranged a plate of butter cookies and a glass of tea on a tray.

 “Do you know, Easwar?” the Prof would always begin her diatribe against corruption with one or two questions. “Our country ranks a dismal 87th out of 178 countries on Transparency International 2010 Corruption Perception Index. The cost of corruption to the country might as well exceed Rs. 250, 0000 crore. We condemn corruption in public, but never cease from giving bribe whenever we want to get things done.”

 Whenever Pro. Santa was reeling out data to drive home her point that corruption had become our sixth finger, I was sitting duck before her and grinning sheepishly at her wisecracks and cursing my addled head for not having such a pool of information as the Prof had.

 Every day Prof. Santa analyzed corruption from various perspectives saying that corruption is like diabetic, can only be controlled, but not totally eliminated. I began to admire this middle-aged woman for her righteous anger against corruption. Her concern for the society and readiness to fight against the corrupt carved a niche in my heart. I even admired her a la Joan of Arc.

  Over enthusiastic, Prof. Santa once attempted to cross borders and shift focus on corruption prevailing world over. However, Neela, after spilling some unsavory beans about the Prof’s husband, snapped my further towing with Prof. Santa. Neela said: ‘Sir, the Prof is a cheat. She talks about corruption just to hide a host of skeletons in her home. Her husband, a Chief Engineer in the PWD is corrupted to the core. The Santas have properties worth over a crore of rupees. They live in a posh Bungalow with fleet of cars and retinue of servants. The Prof herself is having kilos of jewelries staked in her bank lockers.”

 I didn't give a damn to the aspersions Neela had cast on the Santas. I brushed them aside as maids' gossips. However, when one of my friends confirmed what Neela had told me about the Prof's husband, I got miffed not because that a fair-sex is going in tow with a corrupt husband, but because how the corrupts are astonishingly articulate in hiding their misdeeds, making tall talks about the corruption and cursing the corrupt. Possibly, a wise and conscientious man or for that matter a woman can never be corrupt since to be corrupt he/she needs an extra, 'large' head and a polluted unclean mind.

 Prof. Santa is only a figure-head representing the collective thinking of a nation on corruption. We make noise and fury about corruption and the corrupt in public just to hide our misdemeanors- we either indulge in corruption or abet it when we need things to be fixed. A Good Samaritan, I found my heart frayed and tattered because a woman, with her eloquent articulation, had completely hidden from me the dirty side of her life.

 ‘Each of us needs to look within and determine whether our action fuels corruption or weakens it. The fight against corruption is ultimately our choice- it begins and ends with people, not systems’ I thought and wanted to covey it to the Prof, when she would call me next time.

 Unfortunately, Prof. Santa stopped calling me forever.
Image courtesy: Google


  1. Hi,

    Very true. Humans generally indulge in the self-fulfilling prophecy habit, always taking credit for the good things to themselves while blaming the evil attributes on others. People just talk, nobody does anything to improve the situation.
    Quite an interesting conversation you have depicted here.


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  2. sir,
    I can understand your anger against corruption.It is exactly correct to say corruption is needs to be controlled.
    I totally agree that corruption cannot be eradicated /avoided.

    There are so many Santas in our society.
    It is not that easy to identify them as they are disguised.yes. A pathetic situation indeed we are in.
    thankyou for sharing your view via post.

    A very nice post.


  3. Our Nation in the reflection of our mind-sets and deportment. Thanks Rajalakshmi Ma'am for your beautiful comments.

  4. Thanks Jay Singh Ji for your nice and opt comments. I agree with you.

  5. Yes, Iswar you have made it out in a very imaginative manner, how has corruption managed to be one among us; unless we do have a mind to see them and discriminate tt, we cannot differentiate it from what is normal.

  6. Thanks Prasannakumary ma'am for your nice, opt comments. A nation is the reflection of the mind-sets of its people.