Archive for April, 2010
In a vast country like India, it is difficult to get things done as planned, mainly because the approach of the people differ from state to state. For example, certain states faced food-shortage for a brief period last year. While state ‘X’ contacted surplus states and made quick arrangements to lift the available surplus to make good the shortage, the state ‘Y’ woke up only when they got a strike notice from various political parties. The food minister called for an urgent meeting and after a prolonged debate, decided to contact the surplus states but since there was an indefinite strike, the lorries meant for transporting surplus food from one of the neighboring states were not allowed to proceed by the very same people who raised a hue and cry over food shortage. The reason was that the indefinite strike had not been called off. By the time everything was clear, the surplus states had exhausted the surplus food! But fortunately for that state, a bumper crop was anticipated in the next season but the farm laborers were on strike when it was time for harvesting! When these states face unemployment problem some private companies would step in to solve the problem, much to the relief of educated youngsters who are on the lookout for jobs; but the next day you would witness huge processions all over the state in protest against this company’s venture.
The slogan is “Down, Down capitalists”!
When the Coimbatore-bound bus, coming from the main bust stand, arrived at the first Bust stop, there was heavy rush to board that bus. Since there was no queue, it was a free-for-all affair, while the ‘smart’ ones pulled and pushed their way into the bus, the polite and the orderly ones waited out side for their turn, though it would be a stand-and-travel all the way. Such predicaments are quite common during rush hours. What excited me was the feat of a smart young chap who was well behind the crowd that was rushing into the bus but was the first to occupy a comfortable window seat. I don’t know how he managed it.
He seemed to be restless though he was occupying a comfortable seat. He was looking here and there till he found that elderly woman who had just managed to get into the bus, though destined to stand in it all the way. But, to her joy and surprise, that young chap got up and offered her his seat, though he did not wait for her “Thanks”. The bus was on the move when he was dashing towards the exit door. He almost lost his balance when he jumped out of the bus.
“Are you crazy?”, one of his friends asked him. Breathing heavily, the young chap said, “That lady has already missed two buses. I though I must help her….that’s all”.
A mummy-gimmee-a-choc girl was standing in a corner of the road. She was not plump or chubby but a lanky dame with an expressionless face. She seemed to be restless at times and that was evident from her body language. She kept on biting her nails and spitting them in the air. When you come across umpteen girls like her, why do you single her out? You might wonder. There is a reason for it. She was in her uniform but not a student because she carried a baton in her hand and there was no fancy dress competition anywhere in town on that day.
“Pappa (Child), are you hungry? A passer-by asked her rather sarcastically and she just smiled. May be, she was hungry and that was why she appeared restless. Woman cops are not rare these days but most of them are hefty and as ‘competent’ as men, but this girl looked more like a salesgirl in a textile shop.
Suddenly there was a commotion at the other end of the road, near a petty shop. Some Schoolgirls were in trouble. “Hey… You Romeo, Stop it… or else…”, the above said Police Woman shouted in a shrieky voice.
“Or else what? I’ll… Your mom”, one of the rowdies shot back. The cop immediately dashed towards that spot. All but one ran away. She caught the rowdy by his collar and pushed him away, saying, “Ger lost, or else, You’ll get some special treatment for eve-teasing”. He apologized and said “No need… let me go”.
“Get lost” She warned. We are reminded of the good old saying, “Appearances are deceptive”
Just Ten minutes left. I must hurry. Where on earth can I find an ideal spot when Lorries, cars and Jeeps are parked in a line along the foot path?. My mind was full of that spellbinding One-hour show last evening when all other shows including the TV serials came to a stand still. It came all of a sudden and pat came those wonderful lines into my mind: ‘There was a roaring in the wind and the rain came heavily and fell in floods”. It was pitch dark when the welcome showers thrashed the earth. And, to add to this, there were hailstones as well. It was as if somebody from the heavens was throwing them on the impatient people who were blaming the sun for the unbearable heat throughout the day. It was dark all right but there were heavenly fire works at regular intervals.
Yeah, my mind was pre occupied with these thoughts when I was in search of the ideal spot to watch the first show of the summer. At last, I found the spot just in time when the horses were dashing ahead. “No.3 is in the lead” The man next to me said “Can’t be otherwise,” said another guy. “it is the chairman’s horse”. Let it be X or Y, I thought what mattered was the race… The first race of the season! There was a tough competition between two horses. I don’t know which one came first.
Every country in the world is facing some problem or the other. Some are minor and some are major, but what makes these problems difficult to overcome is the attitude of some people or some political parties who take advantage of the problems.
As far as India is concerned, what looms large now is the Price rise, or can we call it food inflation? Prices of essential items have increased two-fold or more, mainly due to crop failure resulting from monsoon failure. On top of this, the country has to put up with the fluctuating prices of petroleum products and cooking gas in the International market. These items are made available to the consumers at a highly subsidized rate, mainly because even a slight increase in the prices of these items will push up the prices of all other items. But, the government can not afford to be liberal beyond a limit, since too much of subsidies will endanger the economy of the nation.
Every political party is aware of these facts but some opposition parties, notably the leftists are clamoring for some drastic steps to bring down the prices of essential items and their deafening slogan is “Roll back” the prices of diesel and petrol. Towards this end, they are organizing protest rallies and what not, just to create an impression that they are with the people. It is easy to put up a show but very difficult to do something constructive. The Government too has failed to explain to the people why the prices of petroleum products cannot be reduced at this juncture.
Evening walks ought to be a leisurely affair, free from the hum and bustle of the town. Last evening, I was moving along my favourite route, listening to the songs of those naughty birds and the music of the wind. It was cloudy and somewhat dark and the possibility of a rain was bright. Of course, summer showers are welcome but not when you are on the road. So, it was time to say ‘About turn … forward march’. But, just when I was responding to my own ‘order’, I saw that chap. I would just smile and say “Hi” and move on, I decided. But that chap could not recognize me when I smiled. It seemed he was under the influence of alcohol and I could hear him blabbering something.
He was not my friend or acquaintance… Just a stranger whom I happened to meet at the Ooty Bus stand in the afternoon while I was returning home. In fact, it was he who introduced himself and gathered some information like the distance to the Boathouse, the garden etc. He also told me that he was from Chennai and the purpose of his visit was to find out some ideal locations for a Tamil movie. Of course, he looked like some one attached to the film industry. Tall and handsome, he was well educated too.
Just when I was wondering what had happened to this fellow, I heard him shouting, “Sorry sir, Sorry sir, I came here to see my lover… She is also from Chennai… but that bitch…” I could guess what he was driving at, and off I went!
“You disobedient little ones,
We elders speak our bitter experience
They are powerful, they are cruel
Don’t cross the barriers, Don’t cross the barriers
We din into your ears time and again”
“No. You didn’t say so.
Instead, you repeated Parrot-like…
‘Once bitten twice shy; once…”
The little ones said.
“There was a race between me
And one of their kids. I won and they hit us”
May be a domestic quarrel, I thought
And left the place.
My job over, I was returning home.
Out of curiosity I stood for a while
Where they had their noisy session
None of them was there
Would they have left for safer camps?
To my surprise I saw them
Beneath a cluster of eucalyptus trees.
Besides the sparrows, there were other birds as well.
One of the bigger birds repeated the word ‘Unity’.
“Unity is the need of the hour,
Dear sparrows, rest assured;
We won’t harm you any more.”
“Cheers”, they said in a chorus,
And flew back to their respective shelters.
It was a bilateral agreement
And there was no room for Birds’ Right Association.
How else could it be
If you view things from a human angle?