Exempt !

I clicked this on the highway. A huge hoarding. Listing out all dignitaries that are exempted from paying toll on the highway.

Starting from the President of India ! Vice President of India. Ministers (only if they were in vehicles)….hmm ! The list was long. The hoarding was huge. But the cars on the lane closest to hoarding moved slowly, and i couldn’t see it fully.

This exemption from payment, amounts to a grand sum of Rs.38/- only. I am sure the President of India, the Vice-President of India, and those ministers in their vehicles will be pleased as sugar syrup, to get that exemption of Rs.38/- only.

And then, i think…Of course, its not about the money. Its the iconic status that such ‘positions’ mean to the national highway authority. Now, that sounds logical indeed.

If that’s the case, this list is incomplete without names of certain ‘global icons’ of the film industry. A film star is a global icon indeed. And if you are a Tamil film star, you are well on your way to becoming chief minister.

There is a fit case for the National Highways authority to put up another hoarding extending the exemption of the Rs.38/- toll, to other icons too.

No stoppage. No questioning. Not even a toll fee. That’s the least we can do. To global icons & other VIPs.

We then, will have a proud model to display to the rest of the world. As proof of how iconic our stars really are. Even on the highway. To the last Rs.38/-

I wonder how toll roads in distant places like Newark, Chicago, Toronto etc work. Any ideas ?

Now…Newark and other cities are just other cities that came to my mind. Just like that. This post, obviously has nothing to do with this ‘major news’ (thats been the only vaccine for the media against Swine Flu).

Or whatever else you are thinking.

22 thoughts on “Exempt !

  1. Arunn says:

    hey kavi, here the Toll is called Salik and the system is highly automated with just a RF ID chip fitted on the car windshield…. I jus hav to cross the toll and 4 dirhams (Rs.52) is immediately deducted from my Salik account corresponding to my car plate number…. at even high speeds, we cant escape (exempt!!!!) from the toll…. but atleast i can feel good that there is no stoppage, like the VIPs in India do….. not sure if the king, ministers and their relatives are exempted here…. i am sure they wud be…. but in india, i am sure, there must be a longer annexure attached to the list mentioned in the board….

  2. Swatantra says:


    I somehow has the similar feeling!! This list may go on long.

    The only exemption in the other few countries is for the ambulance. Which seems quite logical.

  3. Rush says:

    People are citizens first and iconic symbols later…why the distinction?
    rather the so called dignitaries should be the first guys to step up and pay their toll and other obligations towards ones own country rather than being exempt of their obligations.

    In India, a person is defined by the tag he or she carries, always being partial..always distinguishing one from the other…most of our energy and effort goes off in maintaining this balancing act….yaar SRKhan hai yaar, uski chaddi kaise utarva sakte hain?
    Isn’t he as much an outsider to US as are other non citizens?

    Can anyone be truly exempt of ones responsibility? i guess the onus is on us!!

  4. Rush says:

    yea…and i am grateful..tolls here are automated..no one, not even the president of United States is allowed to make a distinction between who gets to pay and who doesnt.

  5. Those who need they never get the benefit its always targeted to the wrong segment!!
    I hav always wondered as to why its so easy for Tamil Filmstars to be successful politicians..as when u compare them with Hindi Film Industry!!!

  6. Aleta says:

    After the trip from Boston to Niagara, the tolls were all over the place! Nobody is except.

    I forget what it’s called, but it’s almost part of the Interstate. You get to a toll booth and instead of paying, you are given a stub.

    When you get off of that particular part of the Interstate or Freeway or whatever it’s called, after you are at the exit, there’s another booth and you pay per the distance that you went. And there are lots of exits along the way. It’s an interesting concept, but it’s costly!

    We have a toll booth to cross the Causeway bridge (goes over Lake Ponchartrain). Other than that, not many tolls around here. But watch out parking in New Orleans, the meter ladies are all over the place!

  7. I have no idea but since I definitely haven’t seen any dignitaries in the toll queue, I would say that they have a similar chip installed in the car, not to deduct money from their accounts but to make them exempt in a hi-tech way!

    About the SRK incident, it would have made a good point about minority targeting if only he had brought it up in that way. Being singled out simply becoz of his surname which is probably the single most common surname amongst muslims is ludicrous and he could have used his star-status to highlight it…would’ve could’ve should’ve!! Oh well!

  8. manju says:

    Are there actually hoardings like these? 🙂

    If all the VIPs had their way, I guess we would need a hoarding ten times larger to list them all!

  9. Poor SRK! Never having to pay any toll in India took a heavy toll on him when he was treated like us “aam junta” (remember your aam post?) in the US!

  10. A tax paid for some liberty or privilege, particularly for the privilege of passing over a bridge or on a highway, or for that of vending goods in a fair, market, or the like.

    Meaning of Toll.

    Exemption ? Why not?

    The future will have a digital Signage.

    My marketing Idea. When it detects any of the VIP within 1 km raidus it pops up the list. The rest of the time it displays ads that earn revenue that can pay for the VIP’s

    Out of the box!!!

    My view of improving the countrys Shitty Ideals!

  11. Neha says:

    well it happens all the time na…all our ministers and even govt officers ask for toll exemptions…BWSL also faced the same problem as the BEST ppl wanted an exemption from paying the toll money..

  12. sujata says:

    no tolls in Muscat for anything!!but in Dubai they have introduced it and its called salik and is automated. Am not sure about exemptions though. But I feel there shouldnt be any,the icons should pay up..they should set the standards right for us commoners to follow..thats what the role of an icon is!!

  13. Aparna says:

    I am just wondering whether all this claim about all dignitaries /politicians/celebrities in US being treated equally is really true. Corruption exists every where, somewhere it may be more. But to think that every thing in US is hunky dory is also not true.

  14. I have to pay tax and toll so that these ‘illustriuous leaders’ can have a free ride!

    Long live our leaders!!


  15. Lou says:

    In Texas the toll roads are the best maintained and the least crowded. Definitely worth the small amount of money to travel them.

    And as far as I know, everyone must pay the same!

    About the film star..the computer is programmed to flag people based on risk factors. I know not everyone agrees, but I would rather mistakes be made on the side of caution. I too have been detained, but for some reason it did not make the newspaper;)

  16. Jeevan says:

    But I think those carry a post listed on the board do take up roads and even if they don’t display the board, they aren’t going to pay. The people those having Cars esp. those in urban Chennai had come up with a idea to make fly some political flags on the bonnet to avoid paying on toll gates!

  17. Call me cynical, but the key phrase that will be roundly abused and ignored here is “while in vehicle”… So many cars with beacons and flags and tinted windows and AC, accompanied by a few more similar cars, and they will just sail through these toll booths.

    These boards are just put up by the bridge authorities to be on the safe side. The question is whose side and is it safe….

  18. Kavi says:

    Arunn : Salik ! Seems like a nice name. And for every RFD chip, i am sure, we will be able to invent something by which some one elses account will be deducted. Hmm. That sounds like some possibility.

    Swatantra : The ambulance is fine. And a few other vehicles are also fine. But the few extending to a minister and his entourage ( i cant imagine an entourage paying up) is just not going to work.

    Rush :
    .most of our energy and effort goes off in maintaining this balancing act….yaar SRKhan hai yaar, uski chaddi kaise utarva sakte hain?

    Hmm. Thats interesting. It sure is one heck of a balancing act. No. Its quite an ‘unbalancing’ kind of act. And i just dont like it..

    NR : Tamil films stars make different movies…errr…have you watched a full blooded tamil movie…!! Then you understand. I grew up on them…! So !!

    Aleta : Your comments always throw light on the life over there. The intestate i have heard of.

    But the meter ladies..well, i havent. Pray tell me, what do they do…!

    Roshini : Could have and should have !! Hmm. Life would have turned tables quite a bit otherwise. Right !?!


    Manju : Oh yes. There are hoardings like these. Quite close to the toll booths. And maybe…all the VIPs didnt have it their way..

    Wonder who pays… really !

    Sucharita : yes. ofcourse, i remember the aam post ! Ofcourse ! And being treaded like a proper aam types is not pleasant for the likes the SRK

    Ryan : Man ! What did you have for dinner !~?! Your brains been working over time i guess !!

    I hope this idea sees the light of the day !


    Neha : The BWSL was a different problem i thought. The buses are for the common man. These tolls are for individuals. Uncommon individuals. Thats the problem !

    Sujata : Yes..my friend Arunn ( 1st comment here ) mentions that. Interesting. How the other Arabian sea has chips and this side is all down !

    Aparna : I dont think everything in the US is hunky dory. Not by a long shot. And the other point, is that they dont have hoardings like these. not by a long shot too !

    VSP : Well said sir ! i guess its taking a toll on our finances to finance our leaders and their tolls !

    Lou : I am with you. Ofcourse, err on the side of caution. Next time you are detained ( God forbid ), i’ll atleast post it on the blog. Let me know !!


    Jeevan : This political flag flying class is a very omnipresent class. Especially in TN !

    Ugich Konitari : LOL ! Whose side is safe side. Thats a pertinent question indeed. And i guess, the side that has the direction toward the Mantralaya must be powerful.


  19. nsiyer says:

    ‘For whom the bell tolls’.The list says for whom the bell tolls.

    I liked the sequence of events in your post – some connection you make.

  20. I wonder why there’s a big hooplah when a VIP’s detained for questioning at airports (for whatever reasons). In case of a calamity, I’d guess, they’d be equal victims so why not let the law take its path? just something that crossed my mind…

  21. Priya says:

    No discrimination here and everyone pays their taxes. NO VIP treatment the so called like in India.

  22. amreekandesi says:

    I too noticed a similar list at the Gurgaon expressway! It’s a rather fascinating notification of VIPness. There may be many important people in India, but only a few get exemption from the highway authority of India.

    Once you get on this list, you have truly arrived!

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