Sunday, May 3, 2009


I sit in the out-patient on a light Wednesday afternoon and the patients attribute the thin attendance to the ‘lagan’ .Lagan is the season of wedding in the area.All the private vehicles are booked ,if not for the wedding then certainly for the elections and we also have the added excitement of the anti-establishment groups trying to make their presence felt in the area.

Elections,are an occasion in the family.We have the whole clan descending on the family bastion Mangan to caste their ballot.Every member with a mind of their own,even the spouses are uninformed as to which button their partner has pressed behind the curtain.However,it is an occasion to celebrate so there are hosts of dinners in different houses everyday for the week.It’s one of the two regular occasions when the family gets together. My brother,a seismologist had a very weird answer for the candidate who came to our house to ask for vote.He told the person very seriously that he would vote for whichever party his mother would ask him to vote for.He meant it.Knowing my brother ,that does not speak too well about the election process or the hyped results.He is an idealist ,I hope not turned cynic.As compared to that, Tumbagara is really uncomplicated.The chaiwala ,Raju will loudly declare his loyalty to a particular party and so will all the staffs.

I got talking to one particular gentleman from Bihar.,a rustic but a little different from the usual lot.I asked him what party he would cast his vote for?Without batting his eye-lid he said congress-I decided to probe a little further and the flood-gates opened.he was actually voting for Nitish’s party.Apparently,they had fielded a handicapped person from his region.Sharad Yadav had ,under Nitish’s advice, given the first timer the ticket The next line he worded was what interested me.He said all the harijans and the tribals would definitely vote for the congress –they were an adamant lot!This gave me a food for thought.Why congress?If I had gone out to vote ,which I did not because my name is in the voter’s list 2000 kms away and I am not Amir Khan that I can fly back the kms to dirty my fore-finger(just kidding)-if I had I would have voted for Manmohan Singh because I think he hasn’t compromised the way the other national party has.I still ask why congress?Especially when it comes to the marginalsed,why the general idea?.The legacy has to be the magic formula because otherwise the party is studded with well-meaning elites-I find something else more intriguing- how can that party full of intelligent,conscious(not dead),well-educated individuals so haplessly toe the line of one family of now average individuals-Rahul?....Priyanka?.......Sonia???.....even Rajiv…..with his sauveness , was another cup-cake altogether,Indira also put up and won her own fights.

Coming back to the OPD ,during my regular rounds of advices I ask a lady to drink milk daily for her bones.She promptly responds ‘ no milk is available’ .This is the second person this week who has given me the same rebuttal,so I generally snoop further.They tell me it’s a wedding season so all the available milk is taken,they tell me it’s the heat which is to blame-‘Loo’,to be exact, the cows are dehydrated so they hardly give much milk and the third reason they give is that there is no grass in the jungle.Am I really job-less or is it just me who finds these small exchanges fascinating.

Even as I write this, there is a small newsline in the CNN-IBN ?It says the Dy.DC,SP and the DIG Palamu have been transferred out of Palamu in lieu of the fake Latehar encounter case where eight villagers were killed.Although ,I am happy that the authorities have noted and addressed the issue-I wondered at the nature of the punishment.I am sure the officers concerned must be thanking their stars that they are out of Palamu but who is to blame really?The heads of the officers may role on moral grounds but…..I don’t know.

I was listening in to the interview that Prabhu Chawla was conducting with Narendra Modi, (I think Prabhu Chawla likes BJP guys-his eyes were gleaming as he prodded Modi).Modi was trying to dodge awkward questions –he almost looked like Amitabh Bacchan with the same patronizing expression ‘Vijay’ dons each time he has to deliver a dialogue or a wise-crack till Prabhu asked him that awkward question.Point to be noted ,Prabhu fumbled on the question and Modi just gave Prabhu a cold,cold stare…..and no response.

The question was -do you have any reason to repent about?The obvious pointer being ‘the carnage in Godhra’.He just stared coldly at Prabhu for a full minute and the interview was over.I have never seen an interview of that kind –was it staged?was it what actually happened ,if so, it looked eerie.My first thought was I wish I could laser through Modi’s mind and read it.

Another character that has really caught my fancy is that of Teesta Setalvad-her name has been going around for sometime now but I had never had the opppurtunity to put a face to the name.She was on TV.I wouldn’t like to have her for my enemy.She sounded dogmatic,absolutely clear but most of all I really did admire the sort of commitment it might require of her to get involved with people who are in such dire straits-it must be costly ,pretty costly…..


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