Collection Kings

3 Apr

Ended up at home early on Tuesday evening and took a walk with Nikhil. We stopped by a Pani Puri gaadi to get a snack.

Suddenly this guy on the bike shows up and demands “collection” money from the Gaadi guy. “Yen guru ninne nu kotilla. Hege madidre boss ge kopa barutthe” (Loose translation: You havent paid up yesterday as well. The boss will get angry). So the guy hems and haws and makes excuses about how collections havent been good etc. The guy leaves with a promise/threat to show up later in the evening.

Exactly 5 minutes later 2 cops show up. The guy puts something in their hand and they walk away.

I ask him what this was about. Turns out that this guy has to keep both the cops and goons happy to stay in business. He wouldnt tell me how much he paid out.

So much for guardians of the law.


10 Responses to “Collection Kings”

  1. greatunknown April 3, 2007 at 3:28 pm #

    I’ve been a witness to cops harassing vegetable vendors for money in my area countless times. Their roll call doesn’t end there; the poor folk are forced to give the rotten men in uniform a bagful of vegetables… you guessed it… for free!

    This is why at times I feel that those who beg for a living are far more honourable than these goons… with or without uniforms.

    PS: How does Nikhil spend his time these days? And what was his reaction to the episode?

  2. Vijay April 3, 2007 at 3:56 pm #

    Anand: I have seen that in Gandhi Bazaar as well… These days Nikhil plays cricket in the mornings with his buddies and goes for TT coaching in the evening… He did not quite understand the situation when the guy came in and demanded money… he didnt ask about it and I didnt tell him.. let the innocence remain for some more time… when the cops came he was busy chasing a “batani” in his plate 🙂

  3. neel3 April 3, 2007 at 6:35 pm #

    It is a good thing that your young son didn’t observe.
    Once he obseves a parent in his/her eagerness to be honest explains ..and then that is the end of innocence.
    Time spent with one’s child is a rich investment with bountiful returns.My son too plays TT.
    And he too demands (and gets!!) a lot of our time. So your chronicles on N remind me about the pleasures of parenting.

  4. praneshachar April 4, 2007 at 2:31 am #

    yes it is ;haptha which they have to pay to stay in business
    all these petty vendors borrow in the morning and pay interest
    varying betwen 5 to 10% per day they repay principle with interest
    in the evening and after paying these cops goons and muncipal people
    carry home the left out which is their earning for the day and they have to
    live in that money. It is simply exploitation of the less priviliged. for
    more priviliged it it bribe for everything and anything in business
    yes it is pathetic and but it is fact very sad. we all are helpless

  5. Veena April 4, 2007 at 4:40 am #


    Did you see the other side of it ? these folks might not have the legal permissions to have their road side stalls & hence these collection kings exploit the situation. Well, may be if they can get along & have some place do their business legally then the haptha can be atleast saved!!

    I have also noticed that in the normal shops, one guy comes & collects some amount & take the shop keeper’s signature. Does he collects some pigmy from the shop vendors? that I was not sure.

    And, probably one journo or somebody can write about these folks & this would get some imporatance. I appreciate your concern towards the guy selling the pani puri and your care towards your son…

    One thing I have noticed is, these folks how much ever rich they are , the don’t tend to shift their gaaDi’s to regular shops.. if they can do it then they are saved. If one is correct from his side then the chances of getting harassed is low. If they say they don’t have money, then they should check out for some govt loan facility available for such folks ( I saw one Ad recently, Rojgar yojana is to help people who are above 18 & I think 9th fail )

    Just my thought.

  6. Ramesh NR April 4, 2007 at 5:28 am #

    My viewpoint- We can’t do without the footpath vendors,to stop them would also be aginst the spirit of free enterprise.Why can’t the collection be legalised….issue receipts and use the collected amount for maintaing cleanliness & hygeine?

  7. silkboard April 4, 2007 at 6:26 am #

    I had caught a cop in the act once, even heard the amounts they were negotiating. Here is that post on Metblogs

    And do you know that they fight for corners and space on pavements? The ones with better muscles and contacts get the space, of course, for a lot less than what the space would be worth (rental wise).

  8. greatunknown April 4, 2007 at 9:35 am #

    “Let the innocence remain for some more time…’ What a beautiful sentence Vijay! A sincere wish of a father.

    Veena is right, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes which one glosses over.

  9. Murali Partha April 4, 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    It is sad and what’s worse is that we have come to accept this as a way of life!

    I too agree with Veena. It is the cops’ jobs to ensure that LEGITIMATE small vendors are protected from the self-assigned “protectors”. But they not only harass the violators, they take their dues from the legit guys too. The cops’ problem is that they are paid a pittance themselves (not that this justifies their actions, but it explains it to an extent). Cops themselves are victims of utter exploitation with long hours, pathetic work conditions, extremely poor pay and no respect from any strata of society. I feel sorry for them.

    The highest priority for the govt should be to increase their pay to decent levels first and then attempt to rein in the corruption in the department.

  10. praneshachar April 6, 2007 at 2:39 am #

    agree with muralipartha it is true the salary of cops are so meager they tend to do
    but definietely this is not corect even with this salary people are there who live within
    their earnings and follow the rules of spend to the extent you earn “hasige iddashtu kalu chachu” system is so bad now once easy money is tasted it is very difficult to come out of this so they tend to harass legitimate as well as others so too many exploiters for them

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