I’ve got to put this down on paper, well figuratively atleast. Remember that frail, old Muslim gentleman in Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, the one who was carried off by the lynch mob. Do you know who he was? Bhisham Sahni. The casting was so ironical, and yet so very apt in so many ways. Mr. Sahni, go in peace.
Scene : 11: 30 this morning. I have my timetable charted out in front of me, the to-do list staring at me right in the face. Reach the bus stop and what do I see? A massive, gargantuan rally which has completely blocked all kind of traffic. Buses? *#@$! Forget it. They are more busy plying the CPI (M) party cadres to whichever hellhole (in this case, the Maidan which is actually a pretty nice place, esp. to play cricket), they’re having their rally in. And how could our beloved cabbies be left behind. They had to join in the festivities, charging around three to four times the normal fare. The scene at the bus-stop had to be seen to be believed. Choc-a-bloc with people, most of them as exasperated and annoyed as I was, muttering and cursing under their breath. And once a bus came along…..not carrying one of those frigging red flags, pandemonium, bedlam, chaos, the works, you know. All these people were running like maniacs, pushing and shoving just to get on that bus.I actually saw one character jump on a bus already in motion, trying to grasp the conductor’s hand, who by the way himself was halfway thrust out. For one fantastic moment, suspended in midair, he looked remarkably like some kind of a trapeze artist.
I haven’t launched into this diatribe merely to convey my annoyance and displeasure at the inconveniences which I and thousands of people throughout this city were subjected to. What really gets me, is the sheer futility of these rallies. I admittedly, am woefully ignorant of the nitty-gritties of whatever political causes espoused by any party. I, at best, can only pretend to have a general notion. But, the very idea of seeing busloads upon busloads, truckloads upon truckloads of men being ferried, just you know, to fill up the numbers, is something which I find exccedingly repulsive. And from what I have heard, most of these people are actually paid to attend these rallies. Forget about ideology, this is plain, bloody hypocrisy. Well, I guess thats the way it is and it shall always be, and lets face it, I’d take CPI (M) anyday over Mamtadi.
P.S. A person died the day before. A certain Mr. Heinrich Harrer. One of the greatest mountaineers the world has ever seen and the author of possibly the best travelogue I have ever come across. Herr Harrer, you shall never climb alone.