Bengaluru (Bangalore), India. Monday the 1st of August 2016. Exactly one week before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill was passed in the Lok Sabha (House of the People or the lower house of Parliament); my friend Amit Jain was having his breakfast at a restaurant. Being a vegetarian and a hardcore fan of South Indian food, his breakfast mostly consists of idli-vada.
“Saar! Why is it so difficult to get a bill passed in the parliament?” Narendra, a waiter at the restaurant, enquired.
Amit had absolutely no clue, but in his defence he do not watch Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India) TV channels. Additionally, even his bill was pending for more than a week. As a rule, all the bills had to be cleared by Sunday and no one gets a credit for more than a week. So what could he tell him? He got nothing; He wasn’t carrying even a single rupee – not that it would have made any difference.
Somehow Amit had a feeling that this was merely a polite way of asking him to clear his dues. To make matters worse his memory isn’t that bad and the restaurant owner, Babu, snatching the watch of a customer who failed to clear his dues flashed in his head. Now, Amit wasn’t wearing a watch and the shorts and t-shirt he was wearing were old and slightly damaged. And yes, he wasn’t wearing undies. It was too early in the morning to wear one, and the very reason why we stopped going together on my bike for breakfast.
In short, even if Babu took everything Amit was wearing; his dues still won’t be cleared. Additionally this restaurant is about one hundred and fifty meters from his accommodation, which is not much of a distance. But walking nude on a street with a reasonably good population of malnourished street dogs, the very thought of it made a cold shiver run down Amit’s spine as his eyes widened with horror.
Amit wanted to forget the incident, but the images of the episode kept on flashing in his head, in high-definition format, for the next few days. But with the passage of time all memories start fading, and so happened with this one.
But there is one that I still do not understand “Why is it so difficult to get a bill passed in the parliament?” Maybe it is the word ‘bill’ that gives the impression that we have to pay something. Although some bills do generate revenue, and the revenue thus generated is used for paying salaries, infrastructure development and things like that. Not that anyone is questioning the integrity of our parliamentarians, but probably the best way to get a bill passed in the parliament would be to call it as a ‘pay-order’, at least the ones that generate revenue.
As about Amit, when he came out of his trance, he heard Narendra saying “Saar!” Next to him was the restaurant owner, Babu, he asked him “Should I put this bill also into your account?” Amit merely nodded his head, all the while expecting a series of spectacular events to unfold right before my eyes. Instead, Narendra and Babu gave him a smile and walked away. Not wanting to take any chances, Amit finished his breakfast quickly. On his way out he told Babu that he will clear his dues on the way to office. Which he did, and from that day onwards Amit started clearing bills promptly.
Images: Wikimedia Commons