Action Hero Citizen

Smile. Smell. See your niegbourhood- your people. Reach out. Intervene. Collaborate with the guardians of the State to make a difference. Inviting citizens to be Action heros through small acts sincerely coming from the heart.

Tag: Action Hero Citizen

Yesterday I met a boy

… who made me feel safe.

I saw in him profound Action Hero Citizen like qualities.

I wanted to give him a jaadu ki jhappi and may be a chocolate or a flower!

I felt reassured.

I felt thankful.

My friend Mamta and I were at MG road last evening. We walked where the streets took us, satiated our food fantasies at K.C Das and MTR, carrying with us street posters of the Step by Step Guide to Unapologetic Walking. These posters are here at the studio in Blank noise. Have you seen this poster? It’s damn cool and legendary and inspiring. And I’m going to try to put these up in as many places that I possibly can. Look out for these- Bangaloreans and Punekars!

So we were at the bus stop at around 9 pm to catch our bus (G9) back to Yelahanka. Someone told us that the bus left from under the metro station. I saw a young boy waiting for the bus too. On reaching the site I confirmed with him if this was the place from where the bus left. He nodded in agreement gently and smiled. He seemed to be a student. He was carrying a backpack, was tall, wore rimless glasses and was clad in a t-shirt and blue jeans. He looked to be around 25 years old. We waited for the bus to come for about half an hour, yet there wasn’t any sign of our bus.

Then another bus came. We asked if it would go to Yelahanka and the driver told us that it wouldn’t. It was heading to go to Shivaginagar. Everyone else got into the bus except the two of us. It looked like we were going to be alone on that street now, in the wait for our bus.

Just then, the Action Hero boy whilst entering the bus made a gesture to us. It indicated a sign to get onto this bus for it seemed to be the last one to come. On entering the bus, another middle aged man who was sitting in front of our seat told us that we’ll get a bus to Yelahanka from the Shivaginagar bus depot. And that it was hard to get a G9 at this hour from where we were at.

I thought about the boy’s gesture. No words were spoken. Just a sign to enter the bus. And somehow I knew he was right and instantly complied with his instruction. All the while that we were waiting, he came across as perfectly non-threatening. And that’s why I think I trusted him. He was staring into his phone, minding his own business the whole while. And yet when the time came, he instantly cared to reach out and help us. He didn’t come close, intruding into our physical comfort zone. Nor did he scream out to us from a distance. He showed care for us like we were his own —  and that too in such a non-threatening, subtle but meaningful way through a sign.

I wanted to thank him and decided that I would when we were getting off at the depot. But when we reached the depot, I couldn’t find him. The depot, like all depots, was hustling with people and amongst that chaos I couldn’t locate this Action Hero boy.

I don’t know what his name is. I don’t know anything about him. But I have a memory of him, a memory of his gesture in my mind. And I write this in the hope that even if time fades away the memory of my hero, in the characteristically flippant manner that it does, I can return to this post and relive the memory of his very kind, Action Hero citizen like gesture!

@ Action Hero Citizen Boy: If you’re reading this- A heartfelt, sincere and warm thank you! 🙂

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The first time I walked into a police station..

I decided to go visit and hang out at a Police Station in Yelahanka, where I am staying at the moment. I did this for several reasons amongst which the foremost was to know my police personnel better, know what a day in their life looks like and know about the process of filing a First Information Report(FIR). My attempt is at being an aware citizen. To know better and be empowered by knowing.

I went into the Yelahanka Police station (near the NES Bus stop), greeted the police personnel who were hanging out outside, introduced myself briefly and told them that I was interested to do volunteer work with them. They were amused. Faces smiled at each other, some amusing remarks were exchanged between them in Kannada and they led me onto the police people at the reception desk. When I told him the same spiel, he was amused too, had an expression that said “Hmn.. This is the first case of such a sort and I don’t know how to deal with this” and led me to go on and speak to the sub-inspector in the thana. The Subinspector asked me what my purpose was. I told him my purpose was to know better, know how a day in the life of a police inspector looks like. And he asked, again- “But, what’s your purpose? Like a study or some such?” Somehow my purpose was not good enough. Or rather it was hard to explain. I smiled. And nodded and repeated myself this time trying to be more coherent. He told me to wait and speak to the Inspector (Station House Officer) and I said that I’ll be happy to hang around.

So I sat near the reception and the police station guard. I had my notepad with me and I was scribbling in it intermittently. I looked around, observed keenly- their ways, movements, reaction and actions but was cautious not to be intrusive. The Police inspectors passing by looked at me and I at them. I smiled. They found it strange. They smiled back and asked the other police man about me. They heard my story, looked back at me with a smile and walked on. Half an hour went by and they still saw me sitting there. A Crime branch inspector called me. I went into his cabin and we chatted. He asked me questions about what sort of a project I was doing, why and how I wanted to volunteer at the Police station. He asked about university, the course I am studying. He asked where I’m from. Somehow, I’ve noticed that whenever I say that Kerala is my hometown there’s an instant smile on the enquirer’s face- such was the case too with the crime branch officer. His face lit up and we talked a little about the natural beauty that is my hometown-Kerala. The officer sitting next to the crime branch officer said that he likes people from Kerala. And I sat there feeling amused and smiled at him. It amazes me how Kerala works in my favour every time and how my religion plays against me at other times. The fascinated station writer called me next and he wanted to see my ID card. I showed him my college one and it carried my full name with my middle name “Joseph”. I don’t like how it gives away the fact that I’m catholic. Or at least supposed to be one. What interests me is how dynamics change instantly by descriptions like where you come from, which religion you follow or don’t follow and the language that you speak.

 

 

100 questions I want to ask my Police

I think the task of policing a country, state, city or even an area is quite a task. While the Army, Navy and Air force- the guardians of my country go about their mammoth duties of protecting my border amongst many other things that they do, I am curious to know how the police force in my area organize themselves to protect me at the local level. I am curious to know what a day in the life of my police personnel (Civil police as they are called) look like. I want to set my enquiry into this field since I see these police men and women on the streets in my area; interact with them sometimes but not enough and somehow don’t understand sufficiently about the lives of these everyday native heroes. These are the men and women who protect me while I sleep at night residing in this area of Yelahanka in Bangalore presently- they’re tangible and I feel in control when I see and know about my surroundings well. Hence I am on this quest.

My mind is racing with questions…

I am curious to know who you are. How many people you are? I want to know how you work. What departments have you organized yourselves into to protect me? I want to know about your ranks (am fascinated by your insignia) and how you have divided your work between the different ranks?  I’m not too big a fan of hierarchy since I think it curbs creative, independent, free thought. That sense of one above the other may hinder uninhibited thinking that each one of us has through our own experiences- each so different from the other. But is such a hierarchy required for your functioning? And if yes, what is the rationale behind it? I want to know what work you do. Do you have too much of it? Can students possibly volunteer to help you with your work? If yes, How? Which areas? In what way? Do you know how accessible you are? How approachable you may be? And all of your employees? Do you know your citizens? The people under your jurisdiction? Have you met them? When? In what context? How many times? What have you spoken to them about? Has the conversation been around a crime? Or a problem which they seek your help with? Or have you spoken to your people about how they might feel today? Ask whether they are happy? Have a conversation with them about a new Bollywood movie or song? Conversations over chai and samosa?

And to the citizens I ask:  Have you asked the police officers that you see around you in your locality, about how they might be feeling today. About whether they have eaten well and are getting enough rest. Have you thanked the police that patrol your area in the night and keep you safe? Do you know how the life of an officer who is on night duty looks like? They sleep during the day and work when you sleep. They may have families. How do these police officers spend time with their families with such work timings? Do you understand how hard their work is? Their difficulties? What it takes to do what they do?

I want to ask these questions and more. I seek to explore these areas, understand the interface between the citizen and the police. My hope is to arrive at possibilities that may exist. My attempt is at being an aware citizen. To know better and be empowered by knowing. My attempt is to develop an action hero citizen profile and BE an Action Hero Citizen. How do I say “I Never Ask for it” while being an action hero citizen? What am I ask for while being an Action hero Citizen?

I invite you all here to my experience.

O yeah! Bring it on!