Tuesday, 29 January 2008

A Visit to the Central Jail, Nashik

Part II: Sensation

Like mentioned at the beginning in part one, am juxtaposing the events and commotion it caused in my head at that time.

Meeting room: The emotion of interacting with your people at the mercy of others is something, we, who belong to the other side of the fence won’t be able to empathize at all. Confronting this lifestyle calls for a high level of acceptance and courage. But the one convicted goes through this for his proved crime. It’s a horrendous anguish for the one who comes to visit him. To not touch your loved one, to see him through blurred glass, to talk only for 20 minutes, to see his deterioration by every meeting, to encounter the humiliation for being associated with him are few of the obvious inevitable repercussions that innocent has to wrestle with all the time…

Work Stations: Prima facie, the use of man power instead of machines seems to be a very backward management approach, but after knowing their logic behind the same, makes it the best way. To keep the time and minds of 2500 prisoners occupied in it self is a crucial assignment. The implementation and effectiveness of this logic-based Strategy is impeccable. The production techniques go through research and development with an approach of utilising maximum man power and generating more demand for it. It is very impressive the way their training is conducted; top class house keeping is maintained; ‘store to ware-house’ circulation is established; inspection techniques for the quality assurance is determined and sales is generated for their payments. Rightfully it makes an impression of one observing a large scale industry. The most formidable aspect according to me is to set up a productive organisation with the people who are sentenced by the court as harmful to society!

The Food: The given quantity is sumptuous in all possible ways. But there is no say for the menu. They have to accept whatever is given. The coupons and the allowance limit highlighted very sad facts of today’s lifestyles. People have very bad food habits, they throw tantrums at the table, and they waste food. There is no limit to their expenses (applicable to the youngsters who spend at their parents cost.), 1500/- is spent at one entertainment centre! There is a certain amount of responsibility that goes when we have all these things, a sense of accountability when we have parents to support us, a limit to our behaviour and egos when we have all the freedom around. Sad but true, this is really missing in our society today.

The Show: The performance was a tight slap to all the supposed singers who have an air about themselves. In a hall with open windows for ventilation, a stage with an obsolete sound system, 3 musical instruments collected from discarded materials and singers condemned for life sentence created a magic that, an a/c studio designed with acoustics, installed with the most modern sound systems and all the possible musical instruments with the glamorous singers, can create once in a blue moon. I was stunned to see the prisoners’ drive to enhance themselves with these leisure activities while coping up with the depression of being cut-out from the outside world. It was then it struck me that the time most of us spend claiming to be busy could be utilised for self enhancement by indulging in our hobbies…

The life in cells: To live life at someone else’s will, is the worst form of demoralisation. The reason why lions of the outside world lead a life of a mouse can only be the helplessness that comes with the boundaries. We all are too fortunate to be on the other side of this world. It was after the visit that I realised the emergency to kill the sympathy seeking syndrome in our world. My mind was screaming out loud in response to some evident symptoms of sympathy seeking: “I never get what I want.”- Be happy about what you have, is not snatched from you; “The mistake I make and the sufferings I have to face are just not fair!”- Did you choose to make a mistake to demand for a choice for its repercussions? At least you don’t have to pay for what you never did; “Life has been cruel to me”- Not at all, you are one amongst the most fortunate to get what you have today; “I need a break from the turbulence in my life”- Don’t wear it on your sleeve. At least you have the option to take a break; “I am trapped in my own house”- Freedom is an understatement to what you have. You are rather surrounded by your loved ones. And the list can go on and on. I seriously fear Sympathy Seeking Syndrome reaching the list of fatal psychological disorders in the near future.

A visit that lasted for a few hours made me numb for a while, because even I was in that premises. We had guards around us everywhere we went. They had continuous attention and they never let us alone even once. It was obviously for security purpose but was enough for me to feel what it must be to live without privacy. My oh-so-claimed-strong-mind failed to stop it from affecting me, there must be something incomprehensible in the management system to make such circumstances successful!!!

A Visit to the Central Jail, Nashik

Part I: Narration

Following is the exact sequence of my visit to the jail. I have tried to the best of my abilities to remember it as an episode and pen it down. It was an experience of a lifetime that shook my outlook of life to its foundations. And to give justice to it, I wish to divide it in two parts. Part one has the actual events. Part two will depict its impressions on me...

We began with the meeting room. The room was divided in two parts with a partial glass framework. And the prison’s side had small cubicle-like structures for security purpose. Both the sections were connected through telephone hand sets with intercom. There was a woman on our side weeping and talking to her husband. Just then another woman came in running with a baby in her hands. She was holding the baby and describing its developments. The convicted on the other side was pressing the glass with desperation and trying to hold back his emotions. We were told the frequencies of such meetings are: for convicted its 20 minutes per month and for under trails its 20 minutes per week.

Next we went to see the actual interiors. They have made a small remembrance out of the cell where Sane Guruji was imprisoned and wrote the famous novel, ‘Shyam chi Aai’. We stopped at all the places where the prisoners worked. We started with kitchen, barracks, furniture shop, handlooms, leather shop, bakery, chemical department, tailoring department and farms. There are only those jobs that demand human labour. They work from 7.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

There were over 2500 prisoners when we visited. They require 600 kilos of vegetables daily to support this number. The measurement of dough of breads and rotis, recipes and quantity is standardised. The quantity fixed per person is 2 rotis and 1 jug of vegetables or curry. If they wish they can buy from the canteen with the distributed coupons. Every prisoner is entitled to spend only 1500/- per month. They cannot have anything from outside. It is mandatory to eat the food made in the prison. They have library to read books, all the gym equipments for exercise, regular and emergency medical check ups and bank transactions to save the earned money or send it to their families or relatives outside.

The attendance is conducted thrice a day. First is in the morning during the wake up call, and only when everyone is seated not asleep. Second one when they are sent for work. And third is when they get back to their barracks. There is a colour code for different categories in which the prisoners are identified. Amongst them some branded as high attention are the ones who have tried to escape the jail once or more. They are called as ‘Lal Patta’ (Red Tagged). This identification is made in such a way that it should be visible from far away. These prisoners have red tags tied on their sleeves which make it possible for the guards to notice them from any distance.

Towards the end, the prisoners who were convicted with life imprisonment put up a show of music and mimicry. The way they sang proved they had inherent talent. They knew the fineness of variations in vocals. It was a fabulous well rehearsed performance.

We left with the view of high security cell from the CC TV. It’s called ‘Anda Cells’ (Egg Cells). It is a round structure which has cells around its circumference and has a grilled opening in the ceiling for sun light. The prisoners who are kept there are never allowed out but for their trials, that too only with high security. They are usually the criminals who are categorised as impossible to be rehabilitated.

The initial 10 days of imprisonment are used for strict observations, counselling sessions and medical check-ups. A report based on this study is submitted to the Superintendent where his barrack location is allotted. According to the staff, they come to know if the condemned can be rehabilitated or not. From the criminals who prove to be harmful to others in the jail as well, to the prisoners who accept everything and transform totally stay under the same roof here. The only difference being, everyone is equally helpless once jammed between the walls.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Unwanted Advice!! ;-)

Why to say I hate or I shall never meet or it’s a time out with…etc (A person)? In other words, mean to cut someone out of one’s life. Firstly, there is always a reason for any association. There is something in that person which sort of fills the jig-saw puzzles within us. Of course this applies to the connections which stick on to us since donkey’s years. And secondly relations are not child’s play that ends after you grow out of its novelty.

If there is a fundamental flaw in the purpose, it has to lapse. Like, if the motive is selfish, intentionally temporary, replacement of someone else in ones life, etc. it ends. Reason for the correlation defines the end.

People, who claim they have forgotten someone, often talk more about them since their stated split up. Or worse, a sense of retribution gives their happiness to that person. Indeed an associate, friend or foe is never forgotten.

It affirms one thing. There is definitely some reason why people never forget a person once associated with. It is advisable to forget the past in stead. People stay forever, times change! So blame it on the past and start afresh if there comes a time when one reconsiders the association.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


There is a slight difference between being born matchless and conditioned to be matchless. To subjugate them one needs to focus on self. Sounds very self-absorbed, but a dear friend thought me how important it is to begin from self. He was born with a handicap, so no conditioning could alter that fact. His focus remained on what he can do to overcome the effects of the handicap. And today he is indeed matchless at it. He exemplifies the worth of choices. No wonder he says, “Our choices make a difference!”

मेरे अपने

आज आसमान मुझे देख रहा है,  सितारें कुछ ज्यादा चमक रहे हैं,  मेरे अपने जो उनमें बसे  हैं! शायद वहां रहकर खुश है! पीछे रहना बड़...