Shades of grey is what my husband referred to corruption as. It has, for a long time, been a topic that would be spoken about anytime of the day. Recently a columnist for who I have great respect said if anybody is corruption free he is a 'satya harishchandra'. I was a little disappointed with her but she just stated the truth. It was while I was narrating her article that 'shades of grey' happened.
Black - have I taken my wallet out and slipped anyone money to get work done my way illegally? No. Dark grey - yes - a constable asked me for 'entry' fee at the Karnataka/ Tamil Nadu check post, my boys were asleep in the car and there was no way I was going to ask "why?" or "receipt engey?". Now I can think of so many shades of grey I was a part of - the money we paid to the lawyer to get our home registered included some under-the-table-money, the money the apartment paid the plumber to get a water pipe connected included some under-the-table-money, the pendrive a constable 'requested' when he had to get our verification documents to the HO "floppy corrupt aguthey" .... The list may not be that long but yes I have been a part of some grey shade - and I must say it is just not a good feeling admitting that. And yup! Shades of grey are subjective to go easy on one's conscience (if there is such a thing), I'm sure all politicians think of corruption as light grey if not white - after all, it's for the country's 'development'.
My husband (and I and the family mentally) was recently acquitted in a false traffic offence case. All that because this cop wanted was 5000 Rs for *long story* and when he realised he was not getting a pie he went on to show us how deep the rot ran. It took us 5 years and many many court hearings to be grinning from ear to ear. I very much doubt if us going to court even tickled the cop (though the husband says the cops present at many hearings were pulled up severely by the judge) and no matter what anyone says "waste of time, money, blah blah", that feeling - one of not giving in and standing for what we believe tops everything and makes the whole exercise worthwhile (I speak for the husband also because at the end of the day - he did all the running around and was in the middle of it).
While I will not openly admit how hopeful I am that things will change someday, I am aware that if I accept things as they are and put myself in a shade of grey - that is what my kids are going to believe is a way of life. I hope I can choose to live a shade of grey closest to white if white is not possible, I'd choose that as a way of life.