Monday, 27 July 2020

Unpaid Internships in India : In Conversation with Divya Suresh


                             The moment we think of internship, what comes in front of us is a long wish list of premium companies, dreams of working there, a first-time exposure to the world of corporate & job scenario and a gleaming certificate shouting out your experience! An outer attractive shell that pulls millions of career aspirants who are yet to complete their graduation, but eager to see the real world.

So, what actually internship means?

Technically, by definition, “internship is the brief work experience provided by companies to potential students/employees resulting in practical learnings of the intern.”

Well…sounds good! But is it all that encompasses the companies and the intern? Let’s find out!!

HOW Internships transform you!!!

There is no doubt that Internships play a major role in giving the intern, first-hand exposure to practical aspects of working in the industry, set of knowledge and enhanced skills required on field. Apart from this a certification for the same validating the brief work experience as well as prospective job offers! The certification details when reflected on a CV, add the overall value to the candidature of the job aspirant. At times, companies also offer a minimal stipend for the basic expenses of the intern on a monthly basis or at the end of the internship.

Given all this, there is simply no reason for any career aspirant to not think of an internship. An offer from a company on the wish list is all that is required to trigger hopes and aspirations of someone to accept any terms and conditions of the internship. One of the prime, being, unpaid internship offers. This has become a point of rising concern, as with the surging numbers of interns as compared to limited companies offering internships have led to exploitation and devaluation of on-the-job training.

VibzContentCart welcomes Divya Suresh, a budding content writer to the first session of ‘Dialogue with Vibha Gupta’. Divya Suresh is the author of ‘Unpaid Internships are at a Tipping Point’, awarded as the best article by HRidaya, esteemed HR club of IIM Sambalpur in December 2019.

Welcome Divya! First of all, congratulations on your achievement. Can you introduce yourself and also highlight whether your article is a translation of your opinion and experience?

Thank you for having me here. I am Divya Suresh, an aspiring content writer. My native is Chennai, India and I’m from a commerce background.

The article is truly in my opinion and a follow up of my experience. The striking chord to me behind choosing this topic was to write about my internship experience before going for a full-fledged job, that’s what even a recruiter would expect, but the way of gaining or having the experience to me or for anyone really matters. I would do an internship and expect a return, learning something new if it’s a training or definitely compensation when it’s work. But not always does such a matching opportunity is found.

That’s great. So, these days ‘internships have become quite a trend and an attractive resource to gain industrial exposure. What is the starting point of internships and what is the scene now?

The conceptualization of internship roots back to the 11th century. The process of learning trade from the experts slowly started transforming into set practices.

Gradually, the practice evolved in different fields, and started to be coined as “internship”. In the  1920s, more specifically in medicine, students who pursued training in an organization while in college began to be called “interns” meaning - learning by being in touch with the work/place.

Since the early times till the status quo, the objective behind the internship is “learning work” for mentees and “training for work” for mentors. As the competition rose, internships sprawled across organizations to create an ice-breaker (an occupational experience) before taking a job with an opportunity to learn while studying or after.

The striking question, when it comes to the remuneration aspect is what is the take on payment, for organization and the interns?

Since the earlier times, unpaid aspect in internship exists but today in different fields it is in the tipping point especially in India where the job-seeking population is quite high and the number of talent and skill matching jobs is unmatched.

Interesting to know the age-old history! Moving forward, Divya you talked about the rising numbers of unpaid internships in India. What could be the probable reason behind it? Are we not able to bridge the demand and supply gap of companies offering internships and internship seekers?

The level of competition has led to the disparity of demand and supply of internships. There is a sort of mismatch when it comes to the rise in potential talents and the number of opportunities in India. Unpaid Internships is on the rise to bridge this gap, organizations have come up with unpaid internship aspect where some reveal as unpaid initially in the offer and some don’t. To cope with the disparity of supply, candidates incline to work for free to gain experience.

The expectations for a job and upskilling to meet the expectations go in tandem with the level of increase in competition as well as the resultant surge in the level of expectation by the recruiter. A mode to upskill is internship apart from the academic background, to get the desired job.

In the race, where candidates want an internship of their interest and organizations want to tap the suitable and best talent for offering internship, to accommodate the gap and fill, several portals have been come into existence as a platform to facilitate an information exchange medium between candidates and companies.   

Most of the companies expressed their concern over not being able to reach out to an organic pool of talent and that is exactly why they choose to not pay to the interns so as to test their real commitment to learning things even if it is at the cost of zero stipend or uncertainty of future call. How far can we justify this? 

What any company would look for is a commitment on a serious note. Even in case of an internship, as it is a cost of time and effort to train and stall an intern to learn. Internships have also become competitive when the search is for the best talent from the lot. 

A juncture of poor performance, uninformed absconding /informed withdrawal in an internship period involves significant cost incurred by the HR team of companies, which later  becomes monetary spending of no value to them via the internship.

As candidates set objectives to take an internship, a company definitely do have their set of goals in initiating an internship forum. For a company, internship is an investment of time on a candidate for which return is expected. To invest money too, as a stipend, it involves the objectives to meet the ROI- Return on Investment.

From the perspective of candidates, they require experience, validating certificate, letter of recommendation, and learning where many of them look for remuneration. It is a cost of time and effort for students/graduates/job-seekers for which they deserve a gratification (pay).

From the company’s purview, the profitability is the objective, from the internship more than the training about the corporate culture, value addition of interns to the organization is what is most sought. Depending on their objectives and financial strength, companies agree to pay/not pay interns.

It is upon the candidates to chose internships that best suit their objectives – be it learning or earning, and be vigilant of not being exploited.

If we go with the circumstances that you have highlighted just now, what can companies do to ensure that even if it is an unpaid internship, the intern will have a training worth his/her efforts? Don’t you think that if terms are not set in the beginning, exploitation can happen for the sake of industrial exposure?

My opinion in a nutshell is that there are professions that require the essential training to become well-equipped and specialize in the field of work. The objective of the intern would be to gain the practicality of the work ambiance. But unpaid internships are spreading like wildfire. Training is different from an internship, amongst which the latter may be a blend of training and work.

The looming question is why is an internship offered and why has it become popular? The objective and the nature of the internship differ with the work ethics from company to company. In the buyer’s journey, there is lawful advice called “caveat emptor” – let the buyer beware. Similarly, the analogy lies in a candidate's journey. Before one jumps forward to apply and commit to a place as an intern, it is necessary and rightful to enquire with the recruiter in the subject manner of the job. Yes, a candidate has to be aware of the organization, work volume, hours of work, tenure, and compensation and has the right to be informed before the decision to be on the hot seat. So, let the intern be aware!

I agree Divya. So far, we discussed unpaid internships from various angles. We have still a lot to do when it comes to enabling more companies to come forward and offer internships as a practical learning platform. In such a scenario what are the important tips you would like to give to a career aspirant enrolling for an unpaid internship?

For a job aspirant inclined to set a career, paid/unpaid aspect of the internship is not what a recruiter needs to know. It’s about the experience. For a financially upright candidate, an unpaid internship would not matter. For the others, it does if they are compelled to do an internship as part of their curriculum or profession when they are already in a debt to pursue their studies.

 But it’s upon the career aspirant to carefully select the internship of their interest in such a manner that there is a scope of upskilling. When work is involved, the candidate has the right to ask for payment. The wake-up alarm should be when he/she is subjected to extraction and exploitation, to which candidate should be vigilant – for a minimal or no payment.

One should aim to do an internship to learn and not just for the sake of Certificate, Letter of Recommendation to make the resume better. The aim should be to make oneself better where also lies the responsibility to search for the prospective Internship that can offer the desired experience.

 Thank you, Divya. That was a very insightful and thought-provoking Dialogue on Unpaid Internships in India. We hope that companies are more sensitive towards the inclination and commitment of an intern to learn from them. At the same time let candidates be more vigilant about the possibility of work exploitation during internship tenure as well as responsible when they are getting a one-time opportunity to upskill themselves through an internship. 


Saturday, 25 July 2020

Do we teach or simply preach!



               Recently the nation was latched on to the board exam results, both for 10th and 12th.  Yes, probably they were results of an external examination conducted by the central board, mistaken to be an examination of life. Going by that, some passed, some just managed to hook on and some failed. We definitely can't ignore the repercussions of the numbers, but the question arises, are our efforts worth seeking those numbers? Is the double-digit percentile enough to stamp us with the label of 'educated'? 

Are the students ready for facing real-time challenges? Do we teach or simply preach?

It's high time, we need to revamp the ongoing school education parameters and structure right from the foundation level. Examinations should not symbolize a test of a student's memory or his ability to keep in sync with notes and formulas. So where are the areas of concern? 

It is a long long story!

Image Courtesy: Wikihow

Lengthy and wordy chapters characterize the textbooks in schools. Despite being illustrated with pictures, bold italicized headings, often the content in the chapters fail to connect with students. It looks more of a study material dumped in front to rote and keep it in store till required. For example, an average chapter in history ranges from some 10 to 15 pages. Loaded with information, but is it effective to generate interest of a student in history? Won't it be wonderful if we have snapshots where ever possible to make students focus on the concept rather than text in bulk? 

 We need to understand that not everyone is a reader.

Observational Comprehension

One of the good things about primary and middle school is more emphasis on 'reading comprehension' activity as a part of the Language & Literature syllabus. The purpose of this activity is to train the student in becoming a good reader who can interpret the text and come to a meaningful conclusion of the text and the purpose. Addressing the fast-paced changes in the present times, let observational comprehension also, be given its due importance as compared to the mere dissection of text. No wonder, field trips are conducted 'once' in an academic year in schools followed by a report preparation task. 

Observational comprehension becomes a point of concern especially when all A to Z answers to any curiosity bubbling in mind, is easily available through the google genie search bar, so eventually what will prompt a student to make an effort to observe things in real life and learn? 

"Wrote 15 pages on Chowmahalla Palace for History Project and an impressive Bibliography.....Google hai na!!!"

One Night Stand with Q & Answers

Are we not turning our students into some living dump trucks? 'Yaha se uthao, aur waha daalon?' The night before the examination, students turn on their active digestion cycle to process as much as 'Q & Answers, True or False, Multiple Choice Questions, Fill in the Blanks......' and hold it till the next D-day to vomit it out on sheets and score their rote memorization? Now some may argue that if it is digestion, then there has to be some absorption too! But what seems to be as 'absorbed knowledge' can just be a memory! 

'Read and forget, is simply fidelity with the concept!"

Practial implications & monetization aspects

Schools can play a pivotal role in shaping the learning attitude of students right from the foundation years. Why wait for years to imbibe real-life implications of the knowledge gained from grade 1 to grade 12?  Whatever they are learning with schools can be way more meaningful. Search anything on the internet, and we are catered with options like All, Images, Videos, News, Maps ...and more. How beneficial it can be if we broaden our teachings the same way?  For example, a study on 'life cells' in  Grade 9 Biology chapter is incomplete without knowing that what are the practical applications of life cells in the medical world. How are we commercializing and what can be the future monetary impact of development in this field?  

Can school education sow seeds of entrepreneurship in young minds?

Syllabus mein hai kya???

The all famous tag line and a million-dollar question perhaps in the mind of every student. 

Last but not the least, our role as an educator. Are we here only to guide students about what all will come in exams? What chapter can be optional? What is the weightage of long answers, multiple-choice? Smart memes and tactics to remember dates and sequences? 

Let us honor natural instincts, question banks, and the quest for knowledge. Let classrooms turn into live interactions and not a pressure dome to complete the syllabus for the nightmarish exams. the same time, it won't be wrong to say that educators have to simply teach or better preach what they are asked to in a 40 min class with the sole target of unit tests and periodic assessments. 

A few changes in the education delivery system can go a long way in making school education more meaningful. We can avoid the illegitimate panic that every examination brings in the life of a student as well as parents. 

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Thought Strings of July

Here I kick start days of July with thoughts, thoughts and, thoughts! Every day teaches us something new and that makes me zero down to a string of thought...
Let's get indulged!!!!!!

July 1, 2020 💖

"Let the countdown begin, to another month of anticipation, home station, and unlocked nation!"

July 2, 2020 💖

"There is a hell lot of difference between legal and illegal.....and wrong and right....can you get it clear please and stop the fight....?"

July 3, 2020 💖

"What makes an orange, orange, and a blueberry not blue.......?"

July 4, 2020 💖

"The problem with a stupid man.....except him, the whole world knows his problem......"

July 5, 2020 💖

"Need to vent out....but not getting the privacy? Start chopping onions...and take your time..."

July 6,2020 💖

"To 'let-go' is a virtue, not a sacrifice or adjustment. If you do it by force, the virtue disappears, which actually doesn't allows you to .....'let - go'..........."

July7, 2020 💖

" Attachment is the false armor, you think will support you in times of adversity."

July 8,2020 💖

"Sentiments matter not sensitiveness. Sentiments are logical. Sensitiveness is mere emotion riding at that point of time."

July 9, 2020 💖

"Someone's acceptance and rejection should not matter to you unless you are happy with yourself and you are accepting what you are. Thinking bad about self is as good as being the first to reject yourself!"

July 10,2020 💖

"The morning dew touches my feet, as I walk on the grass...and evoke me to the core...."

July 11,2020💖

" The sky can be pink too. If you fix the colors, where is the creativity!"

July 12,2020💖

" Silence is power, only when you use it to calm the situation, but not when you are vulnerable."


"Perfection is a myth which we all believe to be true!"

July 14,2020💖

"Selfie selfie on the wall, who is the beautiful of them all! ....Damn the selfie camera on the phone!"

July 15,2020💖

"She is a pedestrian for life, walking through the garbage, and picking valuable things, thrown by us...."

July 16, 2020💖

"Looks are deceptive in the short run. Only thoughts are receptive in the longer run."

July 17,2020💖

"Common sense is not so common. But a common man is. Until....he decides not to!!!"

July 18,2020💖

"It's fair' to conduct online classes, but not so 'lovely' to make a kid understand life on screen!"


"Longing is inevitable in a 'long' distance relationship, questioning the longevity of the relationship for long!"

July 20, 2020💖

"It's never late to start, if not the easy way....just kick it! physiology of a moped...physiology of life...."

July'21, 2020💖

" Life is indeed a bed of roses.....but the untrimmed roses....making you 'ouch'  at times!!!"

July'22, 2020💖

"Flaunting ego is as good as gifting a child a toy gift-packed in gold. Who's interested by the way!!!"

July'23, 2020💖

"What an irony! Separation can be a source of both grief and happiness!" 

July'24, 2020💖

"Let education 'enlighten' and not 'tighten' your hold over rank and marks! "

July'25, 2020💖

"Emotions blindfold practicality. "

July'26, 2020💖

"Creativity nourishes the soul."

July'27, 2020💖

"A mother can sound right or wrong at times, but never misguiding."

July'28, 2020💖

"Thoughts evaporate don't take everything seriously!"

July'29, 2020💖

"Setbacks should not push you to the backseat. Be the driver, strong and determined."

July'30, 2020💖

"Do your best and leave the rest to fall in its places!"

July'31, 2020💖

" July ends but not the thought process. See you soon!"

Sudha Murty - Redefining Perspective of Life!

Opulence. Money. Fame.

These all things categorically fall in her lap, as the co-founder of an Indian multi-national IT giant Infosys, wife of Narayan Murthy, a billionaire business tycoon,  as well as a chairperson of Infosys Foundation, a non-profit organization running social welfare programs under health, education, rural development and much more. 

Yes. We are talking about none other than Sudha Murty.

Source: Wikipedia

But the seemingly powerful introduction depicted above is not enough to define her caricature. She is someone who has crossed all recognition standards set by society. Her every role is a candidature that inspires and influences us. A queen of many extraordinary achievements in her glide. A  dedicated computer science and engineering teacher, who has set an example for many in terms of leveraging the educationist in her and empowering thousands of government schools in Karnataka with computer and library facilities. Her journey as an educator was the key milestone in giving her a far more distinctive identity; a writer. What more we see in her is a strong-willed woman, a practical human being, a true idol of class, and mutual respect. 

The Writer in Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty set the perfect example of how a 'guru' connects with the students. Her humble down to earth nature and the camaraderie exuded by her, whenever she was in the middle of her students in the class, made her cherished lecturer students looked forward to.  She connected through storytelling in the first ten minutes of her class. Her storytelling didn't stop and the love she got in return from her students prompted her to start writing stories. 

It was difficult to hold back. Sudha Murty discovered the inner call to write and with time it became her passion. Initially, her preferred language was Kannada. Later she started writing in Kannada and then translating them to English. Her fictional stories written for children soon became a roller coaster of vivid imagination, a trip to the mythological scene, fascinating drama, and life lessons. 

What was worth noting was her juggling with English. Till the age of 50, she only wrote in Kannada. Sudha Murty was not sure if her writing in English, would upbeat the classy version of an English Literature. But this didn't stop her. She continued to write in English. In 2002, she came up with her first English Book, 'Wise and Otherwise. She continued to serve the best of novels, technical books, travelogues, collection of short stories, and nonfictional works along with four books for children. 

Some of her notable works are 'Dollar Bahu', 'Gently Falls the Bakula' in Fiction, 'Wise & Otherwise', 'The Old Man and his God' (Non-fiction), and, 'How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories for Children. 

Source: Pinterest

Her unparalleled works made her the proud recipient of the R.K Narayan Award for Literature, Padma Shri in 2006, and Attimabbe Award from the government of Karnataka for excellence in Kannada Literature in 2011.

What makes Sudha Murty the 'writer next door'?

In an interview given to Hindustan Times, she expressed her desire to be the 'writer next door' for her readers. As a writer, she wanted to connect with her readers through her placid style of writing everyday stories and life experiences.  In yet another amusing interview by an eminent writer, politician and, international diplomat, Shashi Tharoor,  interestingly, she accepts her being against too much use of dictionaries, even though she respects the language and literature. She reasons it by saying that she doesn't want her readers to strangle with a dictionary for finding meanings of words every now and then, disrupting the flow of reading. She is much more interested in writing in a colloquial language and not use complex vocabulary. 

It is worth watching the cheerful writer in her and the natural positive vibe that comes out openly in the interview. 

Her viewpoint is very much evident in one of her classics, ' The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk', a heartwarming collection of real-life stories, a reading delight for all age groups.

A woman, practical human being and, an instrumental soul

Her own journey after engineering started new dimensions of equality and the welfare of society. She could not settle with the fact that only male applicants were entertained in TATA Motors. The rebel in her forced her to write a letter to JRD Tata, throwing light on the ongoing orthodox practice, and finally, she became the first woman engineer to be hired by TATA Motors.  
Even though a rock strong support for her husband Narayan Murthy, she always strived to build her own separated identity and never thought of leveraging the reputation of Infosys or being the co-founder as her identity. 
The woman in her commands huge respect, the moment she declared, " I would rather be remembered as an author as well as a social worker rather than the wife of a billionaire business tycoon."

Her practical observation of life is very inspirational. Not only on the professional front but also in personal life, her son and daughter in law reckon her as the source of positive radiance in the family. She believes in detachment rather than attachment that bounds and forces relations and rituals. Her ideology is to practice mutual respect and detaching self from expectations, overflow of emotions, and false attachment.

Her words on 'letting go' and relations:

" If you let go of the ones you love, they will never go away – 

this is the beauty of attachment with detachment! " 

Going strong at 69, Sudha Murty is the true epitome of 'simple living and high thinking'. Her easy-going nature resonates with her modesty and mission to serve society. From time to time, she has set many examples that shun the societal images of 'class', 'luxurious lifestyle', and 'freedom'. 

She continues to inspire us as a philanthropist, a teacher, a visionary, a successful businesswoman, a dedicated social activist, and a prolific writer next door.  This is not the End

After Feelings
Yes, this is certainly not the end.  There may be thousands of tabloids, articles, stories, videos that tell us about Sudha Murty. But none is perhaps complete or sufficient enough to describe an entity like Sudha Murty. She is a true inspiration for me and my quest to know more and more about her may never end. 

My heartful thanks to all the sources and references that made this short tribute possible and bring to my readers a brief glimpse of Sudha Murty. 


Thursday, 2 July 2020

Discover the Writer in You!

My Journey

I am an accidental writer. Never thought that I would land up this way in the writing field and words will be my second skin.  
Having done everything.. corporate job, teaching in a college, tutoring to management, never felt so satisfied as I am now, a writer.  
But there were times when I used to ask myself. What defines a writer? Am I truly justifying or even somewhere nearby to the definition of a writer. Is there any benchmark for denoting someone as a writer?
Complex vocabulary?
Sentence Structure?
Writing Style?

 All these questions bothered me. But I didn't stop and kept on writing. My mind and heart started directing my fingers, bringing down the whirlpool of thoughts. Mind and paper continued talking. That white sheet was not blank anymore. It had words....the blueprint of my thoughts. There was no looking back as I couldn't find the STOP button later.

So this was me. How did you discover the writer in you? 

Often we think, how to start? Does writing happen all of a sudden?  The following steps can slowly guide you to the pavilion. 

Step 1: Understanding and Sorting Yourself

  • A clear mind is the first necessity for a start. You can't sort your thoughts if they are already tangled with ten other things running simultaneously. 
  • Stop questioning yourself about your ability to be a writer.  Especially when you underestimate yourself in terms of vocabulary. Putting simple words into clear and meaningful sentences matters. 
  • Don't write just because you are pretty impressed by someone's writings. It has to be your inner call and the passion that will drive you to the writing desk. 
  • Writing doesn't happen overnight. Be mentally prepared that it will take time to reach a particular point. 
Step 2: Read → Process → Write 
  • Start reading blogs, stories, articles, or anything of your interest. This will generate a pool of thoughts in your mind. In simple words fodder for your mind to process into expressive thoughts. 
  • Dump your thoughts on paper. It can be random. 
  • It can be even two to three lines stating your inference on whatever you read. 
  • Start writing your opinion or review. It exercises your brain to process thoughts faster. 
  • Be consistent in doing this. Soon the length of your write-up, as well as the comfort of writing, will increase as your thought process gets used to the stimulation to write. 
  • So you writing now? Good! But don't stop reading. You still need lots of fodder to go on!
Step 3: Take Care of the 5 C's
  • Clarity: Make sure whatever you write is clear and precise. Too much detail or long paragraphs may drive away your reader. The reader should understand what your write-up is trying to convey. Clarity also matters when you are penning down a technical subject. Factual information should be well researched and then only stated. Support with strong and valid examples. Remember your thoughts can be vague, but not facts based on primary research!
  • Connect: Your hours of effort on research and then juggling with the keyboard or pen goes for a toss if it doesn't connect with your reader. Write as if you are conversing with your reader on that white sheet. Be expressive, be creative, and let your words be descriptive enough to take your reader in a different world. As someone rightly said, " Write what you want your readers to feel and not read...". Fictional write-ups connect through stories, emotions, drama, twists, humor, and a labyrinth of situations. Free yourself with worries of vocabulary and grammar for once and allow your heart to dictate the ink as long as it flows free.

  • Corrections: After you are done, read, read, and read it. When you read it from a reader's point of view. This helps in continuous improvement of the text, recollect any missing point or information. The length of the write-up can also be adjusted. Grammar corrections can help you with a flawless write-up in the end. Along with reading, view your write-up. This is like the final touch up to your plain text. Focus on sentence and word highlights, fonts, the addition of graphics and relevant pictures, and last but not the least cross-checking the sync of the title with the write-up. 

  • Consistency: It's OK to take a pause but beware of a full stop. Your mind has just started exercising. Just like how regular exercise keeps you in good health, the same way regular writing makes you more and more skilled in writing with ease. You may not start a new article every single day. There may be bad days. But don't leave the page blank even then. One sentence. Good to go. Make it a fun activity, not your to-do list, just because you have to. Take breaks. Start afresh. Welcome new ideas and note them somewhere so that you can always work on it when the writer in you is in full gear. 
  • Contemplate: Feeling Good Already?? So now you are writing. Your words are on the roll. But the real test happens when the reader reads it. You are now at the receiving end of feedback, appreciation, applause, opportunities, suggestions, and even negative comments. Take everything in a conscious and positive stride. Let appreciation not make your overconfident and let criticism not make you over conscious of whatever you write. Accept it with full grace and work on continuous improvement. Take a pause and contemplate how you could have made it better. 

So these were the basic steps to get started as a writer. There might be failures. There might be disapproval. But nothing should deter you until you have the passion to write and it gives you a kind of creative satisfaction. 

Write from your heart. Let your write-ups connect with the audience. It's never late!

As I sit down....holding my pen,
I wish to write, as long as I can.

In my reeling can see me,
Life in joy and sorrow, let it be.

Moments and Experiences, all dark and bright,
Shades of feelings color this white.

Every day  create something fresh and new,
Keep going to discover the writer in you.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

GOD Sent Messenger!

WhisperingWoodz welcomes Vidya Rungta, as our guest blogger of the week. It always feels good to bump into your old classmates. She is just one of them. After having a hearty conversation bringing back the yesteryears, it was time for me to bring Vidya on WhisperingWoodz. She happily agreed and here is a memoir of her intriguing face-off with the legal system. 

"Escape from a Thief or our Legal System?" 

It was my usual route from Office to my residence in Powai. After getting off at Vikhroli station, I generally take an auto to Powai.  I was hardly one kilometre away from my residence.

There is always a traffic bottle neck near the entrance of my residential society. And I was deeply engrossed, watching an episode of my favourite Series ‘Sherlock Holmes’.  Before I could react, a lean dark figure appeared from somewhere and snatched away my cell phone before I could realise and started running. I rushed out of my auto and started chasing after him. I shouted at the top of my voice, “Chor-Chor… Mera mobile leke bhaaga!” It was dark with dimly lit streetlights and chaotic evening hours - a scene straight out of a Bollywood movie. I followed him but he ran towards the busy market place and disappeared into thin air!

I helplessly started asking people passing by but got no response. A few passers-by stopped and enquired about the incident. Someone said that he saw him running towards the park. People asked me not to panic but look out for any suspicious people lurking around the park. As I was approaching the entrance of park, a boy approached me and informed that he knew where the thief was. To my shock the thief was hiding below a parked car.

People gather and caught hold of him red handed and started beating him up. He was a lanky boy in his early twenties with a swollen eye and pleading and crying for forgiveness. One of men in the crowd called the nearby police station. I called up my husband and informed him about what had happened.  He just asked me not to get into further trouble and come straight back home. I requested the crowd to let him go with a warning. But the crowd didn’t pay a heed to what I wanted to say and surrounded me. They kept insisting that an FIR should be registered to curb the frequency of such petty crimes in the locality. Finally, I agreed and called my husband.  He understood my situation and came over to accompany me to the police station.

Meanwhile, police personnel came in plain clothes and took the thief to the police station on his bike. My husband and I started walking towards the police station with a few others from the crowd escorting us. After a wait of thirty minutes, a police officer asked about the incident and said that he would take time to file the FIR. It was already 9.00 p.m. I requested the police to let the boy go with a warning but he didn’t agree.

Then he asked about my phone and took a look at it. He further asked whether it was the same boy and what the price of my phone was. “Madam, you will have to deposit the cell-phone and undergo legal procedure.” He said.  The phone would be retrieved only from court. I was taken aback. To that I replied that I don’t want to get into this entire process. That peeved the officer for he replied, “Since you found the mobile, you don’t want to register the complaint; else you would have definitely filed FIR!”

I tried to convince him, explaining my situation.  My office was in Worli and it would be difficult to manage this additional responsibility to go for court hearings in order to recover my phone.  Plus, I didn’t even want the boy to be taken to the police station in the first place! After much coaxing, he finally agreed after consulting his senior. They informed me that they would further investigate with the thief and also took a note of my details, to contact me in case of any requirement connected to the case

Walking back with my husband, I realised, that this is how our (British era) legal system works! That’s why, as on today there are more than 3 CRORE cases pending in our courts. My case would have been one minuscule sheet of paper lying with the rest!

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I am Vidya Rungta and a Mumbaikar. I have written few blogs though not a full time writer but I have interest of narrating life stories via writing whether through a blog, a secret diary or a letter to my daughter. I am a mechanical engineer, a law graduate, a wife,  a mother and a self made woman. 

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