Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Honest Bribe

In the book Shantaram, there was a moment when comparing India with rest of the world, the character Didier told the protagonist about the way bribes in India work. One line stuck to my mind:

There is a difference between the dishonest bribe and the honest bribe. The dishonest bribe is the same in every country, but the honest bribe is India's alone. - Didier Levy
Since I have never left India, I have no idea about the way things work outside. But I saw a movie today, and a scene in that movie very clearly depicted what Didier must have meant when he said what he said.

The movie is Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
It was  the last (almost last?) scene, when people from both India and Pakistan were standing on the border. The policemen who were earlier torturing Bajrangi to confess being a spy were trying to convince the soldiers to open the gates. To this and the accompanying moral lecture, the Pakistani soldier answered to the policemen with something like, "we are a few, and you are a lot .... if you know what I mean..."

The soldiers on both sides then got a bit away from the gates. The people proceeded to break open the locks. And the rest is a great Bollywood ending.

Even though (1) this was just a movie, (2) technically, it did not happen in India, and, (3) no bribes were taken or given, this scene reminded me of Didier in Shantaram.

This movie was not the most plausible of stories, but I loved watching it. It showed a human side. Also, I felt the character Bajrangi/Pawan was Munnabhai of Munnabhai M.B.B.S. meeting Harold Crick of Stranger Than Fiction. I suppose each man is weird in his own way. I am not so sure about women, but I love both these movies.

Last but not the least, neither my employer nor my dog has anything to do with what I just wrote.