Telegraph Calcutta

Come ye all to our collective Fall

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Ever been to Rupaiyah Falls? No? Are you quite sure? Check again. Look down, look hard, and please take precautions against vertigo, if you have the tendency. Conditions apply to looking down, it could be injurious to your health. To the health of all others. You won’t find Mahadeb there in case you’re wondering why you are being exhorted to look down. Mahadeb is not a fallen person; he has a cart and a high stool to sit on. He is not down there, he is just gone, laterally. But there can be no denying where you are. The GPS location ping of a billion and many many many more is stuck at the same point: Rupaiyah Falls. It cannot be said this is a good or recommended location, but some things can’t be helped. Like someone spewing lies all the time, day in and day out, day after day after day. Can’t be helped. Like someone talking like they never had the benefit of education. Can’t be helped. Someone who thinks Alexander came right down the Gangetic plains to what is now Bihar; someone who confuses Taxila with Vikramshila; someone who recalls the time Kabir, Gorakhnath and Guru Nanak sat together in a conference of mystics; someone who says Ganesha was the outcome of plastic surgery; someone who says #NothingHappened before I arrived on the scene and after I did #EverythingHappened; someone who says he is a Chaiwala and a Chowkidar and Pradhan Sewak all rolled into one. Can’t be helped. Which Chaiwala or Chowkidar or Pradhan Sewak could afford changing clothes every time they appeared another time in public? Which Chaiwala or Chowkidar or Pradhan Sewak could imagine ordering a pinstriped suit monogrammed with their name? And then proceed to preen in it? Just can’t be helped. Which Chowkidar deserts station and loafs about the world? What Sewak can spend many hundreds of thousands getting himself shot while he does a wellness walk around his fairy garden and then falls convex upon a boulder? But it can’t be helped. There are so many things that can’t be helped. There are jobs, you see, there’s just no data. Can’t be helped. There’s no climate change, folks, the truth is we have changed. We have electrified each village in the country, but transmission and distribution do not work. And most of that is not someone’s fault because it is not in someone’s hand; it is in private hands. Can’t be helped. The Ganga isn’t filthier than it ever was, it’s just that you got the wrong sample from the wrong place. Too many people defecate there you know, the faecal content has doubled. And that has happened because folks have begun to heed the call of Swachh Bharat and are not defecating in the open. They are defecating in the water. Can’t be helped. And in quite the same manner, it can’t be helped that we are all at Rupaiyah Falls. Just the other day it had taken a charming little further fall and become the shape of two integers shaped like the opposite of each other and separated by three intervening integers. It is supposed to mean something when those two integers, which are separated by three integers, form a union. Not sure quite what that is supposed to mean but folks were going nudge-nudge wink-wink in a rather meaningful fashion when those two integers separated by three integers met and became the shape of Rupaiyah Falls. Since then, of course, Rupaiyah Falls has made amends and forsaken that shape and recovered some shame. It has also exhibited an anaemic will to defy gravity and decided to fall a little less than it had fallen. That was a record fall; some even likened it to some sort of shameful level of fall. But that happens at Rupaiyah Falls; it’s a yo-yo place, it falls then it recovers, then it falls again and sometimes it falls to depths of shame. Can’t be helped. A while ago parts of Rupaiyah Falls were suddenly ordered frozen, and we all know what happened: parts of all of us froze. Then, slowly, it began to flow again, in different sizes and colours of runnels, but it was never quite the same again. And since then, it has been falling and falling and those that railed and screamed about Rupaiyah Falls being such a treacherous and precipitous fall are saying nothing no more because they are part of why it is falling. Can’t be helped.

So come, be not shy
We’re all in it together
It’s not ours to ask why
Or if or but or whether.

TTLink

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