Monday, May 20, 2013

Lifestyle Crimes...

Anasuya Devi is not looking too pleased! While her Naani is all smiles!

This appeared in the Asian Age...

                             Young, restless, ambitious and murderous…
Aditya Rankha, aged 13, was assaulted with a kitchen knife, stabbed several times and finally burnt to death a little outside Mumbai , after a ransom plan didn’t pan out the way his assailants had planned it. The two men who kidnapped and killed Aditya this week were not strangers, but people he had grown up with, trusted and perhaps, loved. Especially , Himanshu, the 28 year-old-cousin Aditya called ‘Bhaiyya’. Himanshu’s accomplice Vijesh Sanghvi (26), lived in the locality and had hatched the clumsy conspiracy to pick up Aditya from his home and demand 30 lakhs from his father for the teen’s safe return. Nothing all that unusual about the story, right? Absolutely. We are getting so used to urban crimes of this kind that they don’t really register any longer. But here’s the sub- text : This Mumbai teenager was killed by two desperados who had  lost 10 lakhs in illegal IPL bets. Obviously, the bookies involved in the 500 crores IPL betting racket had turned up the heat.The 10 lakhs debt had to be settled, and fast.  That two married, middle class men living in Central Mumbai, who claimed they were management graduates running small businesses, could hatch such a bloody plot and kill an innocent relative in cold blood, provides its own chilling narrative of what is shredding our society  -  greed . Both killers have mentioned splurging wildly at nightclubs and ‘enjoying’ themselves. This idea of ‘enjoyment’ has become a social disease that recognizes no bounds. Faced with a staggering debt, these men thought nothing of kidnapping a kid, and subsequently butchering him when the kid’s father didn’t follow their script and meekly pay up. He went to the cops instead. Meanwhile, the terrified teenager was begging his ‘Bhaiyaa’ for forgiveness and calling out to his own mother in anguish, when the knife was plunged into him over and over again.
 Did such grisly crimes take place ten years ago in our cities? A few… perhaps. But today, there is a virtual murder epidemic raging in our cities,with horrific reports emerging on a daily basis.These are lifestyle crimes. Committed by people who want to move up the social ladder, at whatever cost.Men like Himanshu and Vijesh can be spotted at any upmarket lounge bar, drinking like beasts, eyeing pretty girls, getting rowdier with each refill, speeding down Marine Drive, often in borrowed or stolen cars, shopping at fancy malls with  credit cards that are dished out like free chana. Soon they start to believe they belong to a class that stubbornly refuses to accept them despite their throwing names and money around. Frustration follows, leading to further flashy acquisitions and higher borrowings. Scaling up socially replaces hard work and genuine success. The only markers are those the world recognizes -  fancy cars, expensive watches, designer clothes, the latest gizmos, foreign holidays and upgraded homes in the city’s better areas. Some of these stories are worthy of epic novels and movies. From a slum in Central Mumbai to a penthouse on Pali Hill - it is no longer a distant dream or fantasy. It is happening. It is achievable. It is worth murdering a cousin for.
This is the point at which a hard luck story turns macabre. It is the casualness on display that is both baffling and sinister. Aditya’s life was taken to settle a 10 lakhs IPL bet. The additional 20 lakhs demanded from Jitendra, Aditya’s father, would have financed a few more hedonistic indulgences, had the ransom been paid. The two idiots had not thought beyond getting their hands on the much needed money. The murder itself was so foolishly executed, they’d left the dead teenager’s colourful sandals in the car, as they drove to the cop station with Jitendra. It was an alert Jitendra who spotted them and told the cops. The accused are neither hard core criminals, nor professional killers. They represent the aam aadmi on every level. So what is the malaise in our society that is leading such people to commit dastardly crimes? Do they really think they’ll   get away with murder?Do they think at all? Or is the glitter and glamour of instant gratification far more compelling than the risk involved? What about the reactions of their young wives and children? Other family members? The shame and ignominy of it all? The scary truth is the lure of a luxurious lifestyle has completely blinded young urban India to consequences – moral or otherwise.  There seems to be nothing at stake anymore. Everybody is chasing some impossible dream that promises paradise. Sometimes, one looks at tv commercials (especially the ones that are telecast during the ongoing IPL) and wonders. They are so clever, so subversive they startle and shock the unwary! Most tap into middle class frustrations, with wives and children demanding more and more and more from harried husbands and fathers (exotic summer vacations, bigger tv sets, pricy air conditioners). Banks offer attractive 0% interest on loans ( come on, guys! Who are you kidding?) urging the gullible to splurge on the latest smart phone or even a  beach villa. Irresistible and heady as such offers are, there is always a catch. That’s where the Himanshus and Vijeshs get phasaoed. Unwilling to wait for goodies that require some effort to acquire, they start gambling , first with currency, then with life itself.
Young Aditya’s murder is emblematic of this rotten syndrome.As of now, one can only see a further escalation of similar crimes.The stakes may get higher. But lives will definitely get cheaper . Soon a time will come when a similar story will be reduced to a mere footnote in the dailies.We’ll read it wearily,get bored… and turn the page. Yes, we will passively accept it as another day in the life of a metro. Be warned.


Vishal Khedkar said...

Very shameful. It must be stopped. This IPL must be boycotted.

Pooja Rathore said...

saalam namastey was a great read- quite practical ....there is one zodiac sign who will make sure customs and traditions which make sense should remain and practised..its sun sign capricorn ...u...DE!smart post!

About lifestyle crime how true..its really sad ,the change is not good..hope people learn from others mistakes and dont fall prey to the same.

Tsomo85 said...

There's a reason why somebody's wealth and education were never a first priority in sensible home and it's members! These things are extremely vulnerable and could be achieved usually via fraud in any circumstance. If you've it; it can either be abused by the century old tradition called "marriage, or by crime. And if you don't have it you get burned, trashed out, and etc. In either way, its the easiest way to destruction! Pretty dangerous!! Life isn't that easy when one lacks sense or wisdom! If the home where I grew up doesn't have that much of wealth and wisdom perhaps I would have never inherit this secret! Let me tell ya, the more you have the more you sacrifice your peace of mind. Thankfully, it's a joint family and we don't own anything to it. But I know that my Aunty peaks out of her window 24/7 all her life. She properly knows the every inch of neighbors and workers behavior more than those people's own parents. The suitable son in laws are tough to get unless ready to risk all your wealth and reputation. So having ALL/ both wealth and brain/wisdom at same time is not so easy to survive, but thankfully they did it well so far. SO LIFE IS TOUGH MS.DE! And those who does not have any should never feel less. Life is too short to run after unknown happiness! Passion is all we need!! The worst is when one lacks brain. Imagine someone marrying you only because of your money, fame, status, etc. Scary! My cousin sister told me the reason she never got married is because of all these wealth. And she can never afford to lose her parents over all these if anything would happen down the road. And all her life we spend great amount of time ROFL over people who suck up and etc. Because it's pretty obvious and in the house it's always about poking lots of fun over such a people. Most of time these were extremely serious and craft their reputation pretty carefully. It's hardly the ones that are less fortunate. And mind ya she is extremely good in controlling her inner feeling in public. Will never let the others feel like she's actually rofl in her head till she reach home. Hahaha perhaps this must had really opened my eyes in very very young age! If both my cousin had RISKED their life by marrying to someone oh so rich and decided to lead a fake life perhaps I would had never seen the brighter side of world! Same goes with education,,,,could be abused easily in the name of "marriage." So,,,,never be blind folded by uncertain happiness! Reality might hit us worst possible way! Same goes to all those greedy criminals!

Tsomo85 said...

By the way looking pretty in your pix!

Unknown said...

I am glad you have written about it. The Rankas are jains and vegetarians and I just cant imagine them doing this. They are taught not to kill even mosquitoes.
The boy's cousin must get severest of punishments.
If it is not cricket betting, they would have something else to kidnap and kill.
Few years back one grandson killed his grandmother when she refused to give him some lakhs to buy a new motorbike. They belonged to a respectable gujarati family and it was a shame that the father and the entire family tried to hush up the murder to save that criminal boy.
The things have come to such a position that we cant trust our servants, our relatives and our own friends1

Tausif R. Tamboli said...

How inhumane is this !!
In this modern era Indians are getting more brutal than the Westerns who were assumed to have no feelings for their own family. Let's not get influenced by the movies to such an extent that we practically apply those stunts in our lives.
Wake up India...wake up !

Siva Kumar said...

What would be true and real punishment for this fellows would be the one that comes from within. Hopefully the idea that "what have i done?" and "what for?" can torment them for the rest of their sane existence.

Its sad that people can't look beyond toys to feel happy. Its something free and can be found from within and in others too.

Jyostna said...

So inhuman...morals are now mere words...they don't exist to most of the society and those who talk about it are considered foolish/useless.
In the search for better life, many have erased the boundaries between better & luxury.A smart phone is still a luxurious item in most developed nations, but for our folk it has become a necessity.
Therez no room for content anymore.

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