In our great country not many awards are won through merit or hard work, most are won through right connections!

The stationmaster of the local suburban station came and stood by me, leaving his office in the capable hands of his assistant, “ There’s an award for the best kept station,” he whispered to me, spitting a wad of red betel nut leaves onto the platform.

 “Interesting,” I said as I watched the red juice flow over the concrete surface.

 “My station will win the award!” said the stationmaster with a determined glare.

 “You’ll have to work hard at it,” I said watching with renewed disgust, a pair of urchins passing water straight onto the tracks.

 “It will be a great day for the passengers of this station!” said the stationmaster smiling at the people around him who frowned back at him.

 “I am sure they are already delighted,” I said watching with horror an old lady slipping on the red betel nut juice that had trailed onto the railway tracks.

 “Stupid woman!” said the stationmaster to me as the public poured water all over her face to revive her, “Now she has made them dirty the platform. Come let us move from here and have some tea!”

  The canteen boy at the tea stall poured some soapy water into a glass, rinsed it, and threw it onto the platform. “He always washes the glass when he sees me, “ said the stationmaster proudly, “He knows I am strict about cleanliness!”

 “Looks like the award is yours then!” I volunteered sarcastically.

 “Of course it is,” said the stationmaster moving amicably out of the way of a passenger gargling after he’d eaten something from the stall, “See how particular this passenger is to clean his mouth! The award is mine!”

 “You better start working on it right away,” I told the stationmaster seriously, as an express train rushed by and raised a cloud of dust that later lay thick on the betel nut juice and gargled water, “There is a lot of work that needs to be done!”

 “I have already done everything!” said the stationmaster, “The award is mine! All the newspapers will write about it, the minister himself may come here to be photographed with me on this platform. It will be a red letter day for all of us!”

 “You must talk to your juniors and other employees immediately!” I said.

 “I already have, and they are overjoyed!”

“Overjoyed?” I asked, watching a railway sweeper sweeping all the platform garbage onto the tracks, “Don’t they realize they will have to work hard to win?”

“They are overjoyed they have already won!” said the stationmaster as he spat another wad of betel nut juice onto the platform.

“But, what about all this?” I asked, looking at the filth all around.

“Who cares,” said the station master as he looked at me with a grin, “Who cares when the railway minister’s PA’s brother is a close friend of my wife’s sister. You must come for the award ceremony tomorrow..!”

Like I said, in our country it’s all about the right connections.

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