Our dearest friend, Corruption.

“Paisa Bolta Hai … (Money talks).”

This is one lesson you learn if you live in India. With the rate at which our country is growing, it’s not surprising to learn that money talks.

Over the last few months a certain Anna Hazare has become the hero of the anti-corruption war. With tabloids tagging him as the modern day Gandhi and the fiery Satyagraha protests, the Gandhi topi and white kurta – he has embarked on a refresh of the anti-corruption movement with a fast-unto-death. His indomitable spirit is yet again ready to crack the whip on corruption. Anna Hazare has been weaved into our consciousness.

What made this man stand out? He did not have the strength of big shot politicos pumping steel in his spine. He did not have legacies of ancestors earning him the limelight. He had but one and only one thing – Resolve to Fight. Fight for the truth. Fight against corruption – the evil of our times.

But tell me really, is Corruption evil? And what constitutes an act of corruption?

Money laundering worth crores on 2G scams, Commonwealth Games or industrial contracts by a A Raja, Kanimodhi or Kalmadi are hard to escape notice considering the magnanimity of their crimes. But is corruption restricted to well-known personalities? We keep throwing dirt at a Lalu Prasad Yadav or want to slap a Sharad Pawar because they have it all. They have mastered the art of cheating, of corruption and reached the top of their game. Quite honestly, even that takes some amount of hard work. They are good at what they do and hence have achieved what many couldn’t.

Rupaiya ek numbari ya do numbari, does it matter? Because at the end of the day money talks.

We all want to reach the top and have stashes of cash cushioning our beds and we don’t stop at anything.

It starts at school, when success was governed by your academic scores. With the pressure of acing exams, we resort to copying during exams – hidden chits, Bharat Natyam mudras, lip syncing, notes on benches, paper exchanging – bet James Bond could take a tip or two from the youngsters about these innovative stealth techniques.

In college, we set up papers, buy out professors in order to pass. At a traffic signal, we pay an extra 100 bucks to the

Hawaldar to go scott-free for lane cutting. We buy tickets in black to watch Salman Khan strip in Bodyguard from special balcony seats in Gaiety. We tip the waiter with an extra 200 bucks to get the best seats in an over-booked restaurant.

Let’s admit it. We are Indians. We like comfort. We like to get things easy. Luxury and laziness are our pet peeves and Corruption is deeply imbibed in our genes.

To remove corruption from this country would be as good as abolishing burger outlets in USA or banning pasta cooking in Italy or having butter chicken without chicken in it. We are morphing the basic culture of a country of a billion!

Of course, we all feel the pinch of Corruption but we don’t really bother until it stings us. We will not mind literally buying an engineering seat for a son until we see that somebody else paid double the amount and got away with it. We will not mind pulling strings here and there to get a loved one out from jail for being caught at a rave party until someone else gets away with murdering someone at the same party because of heavy political weight lifting.

We are like that. We do it for love. We do it for greed. We don’t mind getting our hands dirty.

So, in the distant future if the Lokpal bill gets passed our lives will change. Maybe finally we may have to let go of our dearest friend – Corruption. However, mind you that the soul lives on. So even if you die a graceful death, my dear Corruption. Your soul lives on in our hearts forever. Thanks for being there for all of us. May you rest in peace. Amen.