Indeed given a choice I would any day place my bets on an amateur rather than one of your much touted 'specialists'!
And mind you this isn't anywhere near a 'blind' faith because numerous examples all around us show that amateurs invariably perform much better than your so-called 'specialists'. Some days back I was caught up in a traffic snarl in one of those tight by-lanes in 'down-town'. Hundreds of vehicles got stuck in this narrow old road which was so tight that some of the vehicles actually looked wider than this lane. Now this happens to be the sort of area where a traffic cop is an unknown species so cursing myself for making this ill-advised detour I reconciled to the possibility of remaining stuck for an eternity.
But no that was not how it turned out to be. A gang of youth – mere kids actually – brandishing sticks seemed to materialize from nowhere and took charge of the whole situation and very soon had it in hand, the situation I mean. Maintaining a tight control on when and which vehicle was to move and which not they untangled the snarl and before one had even time to think about what was happening the lane was cleared. Now had it been the 'specialists', the traffic cops that is, who would try to sort out this mess then I am sure we would all be in that very lane till date.
Even the quaint old time-piece ticking away on my writing desk will bear testimony to the fact that specialists more often add to the muddle rather than helping sort it out! Once long back it stopped working. Considering that it has been with me since almost my birth I tend to be rather sentimental about this old clock. So once it stopped I felt sort of bereaved. There I was taking it to one specialist and then the other but they could not restore it to a working state.
After all these specialists had shaken their heads and pronounced the clock dead and beyond resurrection even, I placed it (with a heavy heart!) at its usual place on my writing desk and there it lay dead – a mere mummy of its former ticking self. One day feeling nostalgic I wistfully picked up this dead clock and caressed it and just for old times' sake wound it up and gave it the gentlest of shakes. Lo and behold! It started ticking in front of my unbelieving eyes and ears! A decade has gone by since then and there it is ticking away cheerfully. A simple shake worked where all the specialists failed!
In fact specialists seem to be doing more harm than good these days that is when they actually do get around to doing something. For most of the time they just seem to be holding meetings or giving longwinded statements couched in mystifying technical jargon. Indeed have you noticed this strange thing? Whenever a disaster strikes the 'specialist' who was supposed to do something about preventing or at least partially mitigating the disaster gets on prime time TV and starts explaining why and how the disaster has come about and what should have been done to prevent it or lessen its severity. You really feel like grabbing the smart aleck's collar and asking him, "So wise guy who's supposed to do all that?"
Last year's devastating flood is a pretty good illustration of what a mess the specialists can create and how it takes the efforts of amateur volunteers to take us out of this mess. It must have been some specialist who got a road constructed in the middle of the flood channel isn't it? Then again didn't the 'specialists' keep reassuring us that there is no need to panic. 'What flood?' they said till the water reached our chins! After that of course the specialists went off air and we saw them only after the TV network and radio got restored doing what they do best, that is giving half-baked 'scientific' discourses on how disasters, in this case floods, occur.
Once the specialists went under it was time for amateurs to put in their presence and for days after the devastating floods struck it was these amateur 'volunteers' who were managing everything, which probably accounts for the fact that only 300 or so people died in spite of the flood being such a large scale one! For every one 'official' boat, the army's included, you could see 10 improvised ones made out of wooden planks, a ply-board or two, plastic cans or rolls of thermocoel bound together, rescuing people in droves. The amateurs did not stop at rescue only, hoisting you on to dry ground and then leaving you to your own devices. No way! 'Langars' catering to thousands of 'refugees' came up on the spur of the moment and no soul went hungry. These were not your typical 'soup kitchens' too but in fact served sumptuous meals with cups of steaming nun-chai as a comforter.
It does seem that if 'specialists' stay away and the amateurs' hold sway things do have a way of working out on their own and perhaps in a better manner too, doesn't it! What is more the amateurs' do not slap a bill of 5000 million bucks on you at the end of the day!
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at firstname.lastname@example.org)