Abe sale kya kar raha hai tu! When we say the word “abuse” we think of the words like “sale” or stronger ones; I am not going mention stronger ones for obvious reasons. Sometimes we abuse as we have a serious difference of opinion or sometimes we do it out of extreme affinity! I will explain to you what I mean. I had read a story about Mohammad Rafi, the great Indian singer. In Mumbai’s Shivaji Park area, Rafi used to sometimes stop to eat paan (Beetle Leaf). Of course the vendor never knew about this, as Rafi would sit in his car and ask his driver to get a paan. Once Rafi saw a serious argument between the driver and the owner of the paan shop and things started turning nasty! In the background Rafi song was heard. Rafi got down to check up what was happening. The driver said the shop owner was abusing him! The vendor was, of course, speechless when he saw Rafi standing in front of him in person!

What happened was, as Rafi was crooning in background, the shop owner was so involved in listening to the melody (of course while creating paans) he told another customer, “Arey yaar, ye Ma…..d (choicest of hindi abuse) Rafi kya gata hai! Muze to rulata hai!” (This xxxxxx Rafi is singing so beautifully he almost makes me cry!) Now this was his way of showing affinity to the great Rafi. When Rafi heard this he told his driver that this was the way the shop keeper was expressing his love to him! Driver should not take the literal meaning! Matter resolved.

Now the word used was abusive but not the meaning. We use so many such expressions during our day to day conversations that we sometimes forget that this can create misunderstanding. But there is one abuse that cannot be misunderstood; is this abuse built in Indian DNA? Let me explain.

This event happened years back in the UK. 10/15 Indian families were staying in a locality; the common thing between them was that they were from the same village from India. Telephone bill of one person was very high for a period. This person went to the telephone company office and showed them the error. They found out that one telephone call to India was logged for 12 hrs. Obviously this was a mistake. Mistake was immediately corrected and credit given to customer. Customer said thank you and went home. Where is the catch? What was done was that, the person called an India number in their village and different families spoke with their dear ones for 40/45 minutes each, of course it added to 12 hrs! Why do we do this? Is this not system abuse?

On some flights they offer unlimited alcohol in certain classes. Our friends will drink so much because it is free. Why? I don’t know. I call it system abuse. Many people make a lot of money from various business activities. Since farming income in India is tax free, they show most of income from farm sector to avoid taxes.

A friend of mine was telling me that many parents of Indians living in USA, take green card for enjoying mainly the medical facilities. They are supposed to file tax returns in US even if they make money only in India. Taxation treaty ensures that there is no double taxation. But except my friend, all were NOT filing returns! This is bad form of abuse by so called educated people!

When Pizza Hut opened up in India, they were offering salads from Salad bar. One could go and create his own salad. People would go to the Salad Bar and fill up the plate in a huge heap! By huge I really mean huge! They would have tough time walking back to their seat as the balancing of the heap was pretty tricky! Just because they gave option to create own salad, was it right to abuse the system? Pizza Hut stopped offering make your own Salad facility!

The way we abuse road system in India is to be seen to be believed. Two wheelers are supposed to carry two people, we started using them to carry a child with husband and wife, then two children! Later we have started using them to carry four adults. Is it just to oppose any rule that Government proposes? Why wear a helmet? So what if there is a rule? What is your problem, if someone is going to die it’s me and not you. So why are you bothered? This is especially true in Pune. In Mumbai on an average 10 people die every day as they are run over by local trains. How does this happen? People cross tracks instead of climbing the bridge to change platforms! Why? Why?

Red traffic signal! What is that? It’s a place where fools stop. What happens when there is a policeman around? People wait because they have no option. I have seen “round-abouts” in other countries working very smoothly without any signal or a policeman.

No form of abuse is good but the system abuse is the worst because it is done by people deliberately knowing that they are doing something wrong. Are people not bothered about cheating? These people are probably not cheats or thieves but are like you and me who just abuse the system when the system is not looking into details. I try to tell people whenever possible when I see them abusing the system. Do you?