Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Circle of Control

Having only an RAC (Reservation after Cancellation) ticket on my journey from Hyderabad to Coimbatore, I was hoping that I would get a berth. For otherwise, I would have to sit for 21 hours. I met the ticket checker before boarding the train. He asked me to sit in my seat and assured me that in case a berth was vacant, he would assign it to me, being RAC 1. He seemed a very calm and quiet person.

He came on his usual rounds and checked all our tickets. He also had a string of people queueing up behind him asking if they had a chance. And he kept moving up and down the three A/c compartments with this string of people behind him. He did not even by glance give any idea of whether I had a chance.

So passed two hours before he made his arrival. And, there he goes directly to the person having RAC 2 and looks at his chart to assign the tickets. My co-passenger asked me what my number was. I told him that mine was number one, but he was assigning it first to the others and that I was wondering why. The co-passenger told the ticket checker that I had RAC 1.

The ticket checker looked at me and said, "Yes, yes". And then he announced in a loud and pompous manner, "Single ticket(meaning, you are travelling alone). You have to get out of this compartment ?" I found that a little rude, given that he made the announcement loud enough for people in three coupe's to hear. Taken aback a little, I managed to keep my cool, laughed and said, "To where ?".

I was to move to the next compartment. RAC 2,3,4 were allocated berths next to each other because they were travelling as a family.

Set me thinking, he was showing of his authority, wasn't he ? And he did get maximum mileage out of it. So, every person within their purview or circle of control, tries to throw their weight around. The ticket checker, outside the circle of the particular train he is in, has no power at all. So, that is the only place where he rules, and he ensures that he rules.

Go to a government office. The peon throws his weight around. He decides whether to let us into the officer's room or not. And he ensures that we know who is in control there. Especially, if you are a common man. So much for a peon in his territory, the government office. Same with teachers, bank officers and people in many other professions.

Don't we all do the same ? At home, at work, ........ Funny how much power means to us......

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