2018, Column, LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

Outsiders on the inside of the Hill

There is the CapitolHill and then there is the CapitalHill. Similar men look down the two hills, men who seem to get along like a house on fire, as they say, and since they came to assume their respective positions of vantage, they’ve caused enough fire around them, not that they mind. You get the drift, though you should be careful about keeping that drift away from fire’s way. We are talking about TheTossOfAllThings and TheBossOfAllThings, both brassy Outsider-Insiders upending their respective hills, alpha males both, one Genghis, the other Khan, although neither would take kindly to being called either name. They make that clear, unpretty clear – names, or any other thing, from that stable are unacceptable, anathema.










And so it is that they have softer, more likeable monikers – BlondieDuck and BeardieLuck, so called because he once bragged to an assembly of poll-bound people that all the luck was on his side. It came to happen that all the votes that election gathered up on the opposite end. But BeardieLuck remains a lucky man. The jury is out on how long it will take to run out on him. We are a democracy and democracies are fickle systems, picky, choosy, re-electy, rejecty. Unreasonable. Capricious. Wise men are aware of that sort of thing, or (psst) they should be for their own good. BeardieLuck knows because nobody can disagree that for all his numerous frailties, he is a wise man. He was just treated to a close shave at home. He got away pretending he’d only got himself a cut he’d desired, close-shaven, almost too close to the skin. Luck stayed, it trimmed him but it spared him any bloodshed. He’s safe on top of CapitalHill.

Below which, like FoggyBottom of CapitolHill, is SoggyBottom – a vast water-squelched bank of grass upon which stand mannequin trees, their branches pruned to perfection, their leaves coiffured, not one out of place. Ravens rule here, pecking about on the knoll as if they were peacocks; but that works, it’s the age of pretenders. There are other birds about, some circling overhead, others on the edge of the grass, afraid to step on. There’s no great mystery to why. The ones preening on the grass are all Aadhaar-linked, the others haven’t subscribed to the grand scheme, they must live deprived, in banishment from the perk of the park of CapitalHill.

Would you reckon it’s strange that nobody calls it that? Not so, not strange at all. Because most folk are incapable of adding one and one. They keep adding two and two because those are the integers they have been brought up to add in the idiom class, and when they come up with four each time and not five they are like, Eureka!, what a bright thing I’ve discovered for myself! Lakeer ke fakeer! Such a simple thing to add one and one. A capital. A hill. CapitalHill. There! And remember, whatever two and two might make, one and one make one. A capital. A hill. CapitalHill. Some people also call it RiseInAHill, although why, nobody seems to have a notion for nothing seems to rise in the hill, at least not in public view. The sun, that most public of things, rises on the opposite end from it and comes to set behind RiseInAHill, in which case RiseInAHill would surely have been called SetInAHill. Which would have been a fitting name because that’s the angle at which the sun takes CapitalHill each twilight and then plunges it in darkness for varying periods depending on how elliptical angles and distances measure at varying times in relation to other objects whirring about in the cosmos.

Anyhow, let’s get away from such complex trigonometry, it’s not a Sunday thing, this trigonometry. Personally speaking, it was never an any day thing, no metry was, they all, singly and collectively, for some reason reminded me of cemetery. And so, banish the thought, not on a Sunday. Not when our thoughts, or at least some of the thoughts of some among us, are on Mahadeb, may he be well, wherever it is that he has chosen to be gone. He’s nowhere here, the sentries would have surely got him. CapitalHill is no place for people on the loose, such a tight place it is. Wonder where he is, though.

Perhaps he too is not

Linked to Aadhaar yet

And so perhaps he thought

Best to be gone while I get.

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