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Plastic Surgery
By Richie John Pais

November 19, 2012

Since I had a holiday my brother phoned me to give us a surprise. He said he would join us for lunch. Before deciding what to cook, my wife told me to ask him what he would like for lunch. My wife seldom asks this question even if the Prime Minister is invited for dinner. But she asked this time because she likes her brother-in-law very much though she likes nobody else from the human race. My brother is generous to her. He always gifts her something expensive because he does not want to hear that he is bad. Let the whole world call him bad, he does not care, but not his sister-in-law as he is aware that she may not call him so once but every day.

He said he wanted fish and mentioned expensive names like pompret, silver fish, prawns, squids etc. I asked my wife to give me a gunny bag to bring fish as plastics are banned. She said it is very difficult to find it. She gave me four plastic carry bags. Instead of taking an auto to the market I decided to take a bus because auto these days is more expensive than tiger prawns. The main market which is only two kilometers away was where I wanted to go since expensive things are comparatively cheaper there. In between we find so many local fish markets. But we hardly find fish there.

After a few stops, suddenly the bus was stopped by some people. The bus driver was told to park the bus. Around ten people alighted from four cars and boarded the bus. All these tight faced men looked serious. I thought daylight robbery had entered my city also. Later I came to know that they are officers from corporation, environment department and from police. Thank God it was not ordinary daylight robbery. But some sort of Government sponsored robbery. They posed as if they had come on some important duty.

“Dear all, as you are aware, plastics are banned. We have come to seize plastics,” said their chief.

 “You were doing it in shops. Why in the bus? You are inconveniencing us. This is a wrong place,” said one of the passengers.

“Stop it. Law does not stipulate that we should not do it in the bus. We can do anything anywhere. We are authorized to do it. So we are going to search the bus and every person”. The officer said angrily.

While some of the officers stood around the bus, four officers started searching us. They found so many things including spades, blades, knives, fish, meat, vegetables, and what not. But all in carry bags. No one carries these things in a suitcase anyway.

People carrying anything and everything in plastic bags were called outside the bus. All went except me because I carried nothing in carry bag. But they came and searched me. When they found four empty carry bags in my pocket, they looked at me as if I were a terrorist. People stood like prisoners outside the bus carrying their things in carry bags.

“Dear all, I request you all to take out the goods from your carry bags and put the carry bags here”. ‘Here’ he meant the pavement. I did not understand what sort of corporation officers were they.

Everybody followed one by one. They threw the carry bags on the road and were allowed to go into the bus carrying their goods in hands. It was funny to watch people carrying beans, tomatoes, fish and so many things in hand. It was embarrassing too. The person who was carrying five kgs of onion had to board and get down the bus ten times. A lady who had sardines with her carried them by catching the tail. she too had too many trips. All must have kept the things on the floor of the bus. Where else? And in what else?

I was told to stand aside. I thought I am the least in breaking the law. But that was not the case unfortunately.

“Dear Gentleman. Do you kow you have commited the highest offence by carrying the empty carry bags?” The chief said.

“ Why the highest offence? Empty or full, all carry bags are same.”

“But I have a doubt that you are carrying them for sale”

“But by selling four carry bags, I can get only four rupees”

“It is not how many bags you carry or how much it fetches does matter. What matters is- You intended to sell the bags. You are a seller of bags….”

“Its bad. Very bad. And you people are really mad. If you wanna get rid of plastic, close the plastic factories. In a month plastic will not be there in the market. And if you are really in a hurry, please raid the plastic shops. Do not punish the innocent. First tell us what is the substitute material. You can prohibit anything on earth including food because you are policy makers. But find a substitute first.”

He stopped me from talking further. “You are talking too much just because I allowed you to talk. Our duty is to seize the plastic from everywhere other than from factories. Do not tell us to go to factories since we are not told to do so. Keep in mind this is an enviornment issue”.

“Your government allowed the soil to be taken in thousands of tonnes and exported it to china. Then there was no enviornment.It spoilt the enviornment more than what you perceive plastic is doing”.

“We do what we are told to do. Your argument is only good for a television debate. Please pay a fine. Please do not argue. Plain clothed policemen are here. If I tell them they can charge you and take ‘plain’ action which may hurt you. They can even give you aeroplane treatment which is very famous here”

“I do not care; tell them to take those people who are carrying spades blades and all. They are more dangerous than plastics. Who knows, who are they?” I think my resistance here was a turning point. It seemed their temper was coming down.

“Even if they are criminals or terrorists we do not catch them. We are on a special duty. ‘Operation Plastic’. And TADA is no more there. Anybody can carry anything, even a bomb, but without a plastic carry bag,” said one of the plain clothed policemen in a plain language. Since I had already owerpowered them in argument, that big moustached officer with barrel stomach could use only plain language. He could not afford using strong words as they often do.

“Can we go Sir? Only one is caught. We need to hurry up. We have lost already half an hour. We do not want further delay,” said the bus conductor.

“You can go, but give me my refund” I shouted “Why do you leave me alone and go, as if am an animal?”

“Wait a minute you conductor” said the chief. He called me aside and said “lets not make an issue here and argue in public. Lets talk private”.

“What private”?

”You are very disturbed, you argue a lot. If we take you to court or even if you take us to court I know ultimately you win, since you are innocent. But your lawyer will make you poorer by Rs. 20,000. And we do not want you to appear in front page of a newspaper tomorrow with hunderds of plastic carry bags. Save money, Save time, Save enviornment”.

I wanted my enviornment to be clean. I knew what he meant. More arguments meant more problems for everyone. Even if I do not land in court, they will just make me lose my money which was meant for fish.

In normal situation no officer lets anybody go ‘scotfree’. He makes sure the ‘offender’ is fined or at least paid certain percentage of fine as bribe. But since so many people were there and my arguments were strong enough to shake their spirit, They let me go anyway. Before I was about to board the bus, I heard a junior officer telling his chief “Sir, We have gathered all the plastics here. We need at least ten carry bags to carry them”

“I will buy six bags from next plastic shop. Till then use those four empty plastic bags which that argumentative Indian left”.The chief said

Our bus sped off.

Before buying fish I bought a plastic bucket to carry fish. I knew other bags cannot be used again if I use them to carry fish. I had to rush home. I had lost lot of time. I did not want to go by bus. So I took an expensive deecision by taking an auto.. On my way back my auto too was stopped. The same chief who talked to me earlier put his head into the auto, saw me and my bucket and said “This time its ok. Only carry bags we sieze. But next time even bucket can be siezed because it is also a plastic product. Total plastic ban will come soon”

I said “Ok. I will buy alluminium or copper bucket then. Bye”

My wife asked “You took carrybags and now you have brought fish in a bucket”

I replied “My dear wife. It’s a plastic surgery. We will talk about it later. Do you not think we should cook the fish first?”


 

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Comments on this article
Cyril Rosario, MangaloreThursday, November 29, 2012
Dear Richie, I liked your writing style, witty yet meaningful... looking forward for more!
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Dr. Edward Nazareth, MangaloreSunday, November 25, 2012
congratulations...You see things in different angles...nice to read
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jerald almeida, mangalore/sharjahSaturday, November 24, 2012
hey richie good articl. u r good in konkani and english both. but dont take long brake in english. keep writing for our favourite website daijiworld
Comment on this message

lenson dsouza, mangaloreSaturday, November 24, 2012
nice to read the article . Hope to see more.
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ruchir agarwal, mangaloreSaturday, November 24, 2012
First it was said bags above 40 microns allowed just few months back. Then they said us not to give it free to customer with the goods.And now they say a total ban !!What does the hapless shopkeeper do with his existing stock of carry bags ?
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anita britto, Mangalore/AucklandFriday, November 23, 2012
Fantastic piece on Plastic. Enjoyed reading this as well as “A stint with tint”. Amazing powers of observation and a writing style which seems so effortless – hoping to read more from you.
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Sindhu, MangaloreFriday, November 23, 2012
Enjoyed reading the article.........its so funny..........but true. Good Article
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Anita Pinto, MumbaiThursday, November 22, 2012
Enjoyed reading the article. It was hilarious. Well written and would definitely want to read many more like this.
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P.A.SHANU, MangaloreWednesday, November 21, 2012
Dear Richie,
This can happen in Karnataka the place where law and order went in vein. Stupid decisions can be taken at any time.
They feels only plastic carry bags can be the danger for enviorment. The same authority giving permission to to manufacture and sale of plastic carry bags through their so called trade licence.

funny creatures
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pramila , mangalore Wednesday, November 21, 2012
how will i carry fish from the market without plastic bags
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Donald Roche, Mangalore/RuzaiWednesday, November 21, 2012
Enjoyed by reading satire archive by a well known Konkani language satirist Richie John Pais. This reminds a quote from Edgar Johnson, ..."satire is enjoyable compensation for being forced to think". Thank you Richie John for giving us enjoyable compensation for reading. It is correct that plastic bag is not Eco- friendly to our environment. Let the government give alternative like 100% Biodegradable and easy to compost,M B M -C F resin and its bags .This is simple and cheaper way to solve the problem. There is no need to ban plastic bags. As banning of plastic bags will cause loss of jobs for many, specially in manufacturing units.
Comment on this message

CyGyEss, ValenciaWednesday, November 21, 2012
Congrats to Dr.Richie John Pais,for his is successful Plastic Surgery!
Comment on this message

nelson lasrado, mangaloreWednesday, November 21, 2012
good artical Richie interesting to read. Carry on
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Vincent Pinto, Adu MaroliTuesday, November 20, 2012
Right time Richie you hit the humor nail..nice one
Comment on this message

Ashna dsilva, mangaloreTuesday, November 20, 2012
very good article....just loved reading it.
Comment on this message

Marina, DubaiTuesday, November 20, 2012
Very Good Article Mr. Richie John Pais. All smiles throughout. Keep writing..
Comment on this message

thyagaraj, kundapuraTuesday, November 20, 2012
Dear john sir well wrote....shame to our enviornement officer sir they are told to ban the plastic but they are using tooth brush daily that is also plastic sir ha ha ha....
Comment on this message

Wilson Saldanha, Shirthady/KuwaitTuesday, November 20, 2012
Yesterday I watched 'OMG' (Hindi Moo vie) and today your article. Both are mind blowing. Keep it up and continue writing.
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Societal Web, DubaiMonday, November 19, 2012
Very well written.
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FAZIL, DXBMonday, November 19, 2012
Good Humer and well written, thank you for make us smile.
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Mohammed Shafi, KandlurMonday, November 19, 2012
GOOD ARTICLE GOD BLESS YOU
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Aravind, MangaloreMonday, November 19, 2012
it's aweeesome :)
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Anthony Dsouza, Panakaje/BahrainMonday, November 19, 2012
The title of the article struck my attention and thought that it might have been composed by a doctor. As I proceeded to read the article I could not but appreciate the subtle irony the article insinuates and the heartful laughter that goes with it...Keep it up! Well composed and indeed could be an eye opener to the policy makers in India!
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Mohan Salins, Mangalore - DubaiMonday, November 19, 2012
Good article by Richie John Pais...keep writing GOD BLESS
Comment on this message

Anita Soans, MulkiMonday, November 19, 2012
Well written and every word brought smile on my face. Thanks for the good written article. Hope to see more of these.
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