Telegraph Calcutta

After That Shock, Others

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Ghar mein shaadi hai paise nai hain… tilli lilli, tilli lilli!!! Can’t remember who said that, the ghar mein shaadi hai thing. Sounded like a terrible taunt at the time, still does when memory, that mostly unkindly thing, fetches the echoes back. Can’t remember who did that, the tilli lilli, tilli lilli thing, you know the one in which you wag your thumb left and right to mock whoever it is you want to mock, and which is only barely seemly when little children do it to each other and unseemly at all other times? You must know tilli lilli by now, it happened on television live, and it was played in a loop on prime time. Can’t remember where the performance was enacted and aired from, but probably some foreign land. Can’t remember why the trip was taken or trip number what it was to some foreign land. Impossible to remember with such a frequent tripper what trip was taken when and to where. But this we remember and this we cannot forget, not in a hurry – the tripper tripped the nation, and having tripped flew off on another of his countless trips. And from there it was that he waved us his memorable and unforgettable tilli lillies. Still can’t remember who it was but whoever it was must have particularly scorned us and our ways. Imagine. Imagine someone mocking that rite we hold so dear and take such care and pains over – ghar mein shaadi, a wedding at home. Nothing probably comes as close in our attentions and investments – material, emotional, social, cultural, ritual, spiritual and so many other als that may have been missed out here for lack of recollection or of space or both – as the rite of a wedding. Shaadi! Ghar mein shaadi!! Can’t imagine what could, at the approach of arrangements for a shaadi, be more important than a shaadi. Par paise nai hain! Tilli lilli, tilli lilli!! What sort of person taunted us so? Can’t remember but can’t have been anyone who had the slightest care for who we are how we do things in this country of ours. A country that he tripped before going on that trip and doing that tilli lilli gig. Takleef to hogi, lekin sehna padega… Can’t remember who said that but whoever said it said right. Takleef to hui, sehna bhi pada… Our moneys in our accounts and nobody to account for why we could not access our moneys, honest, hard earned, tax-paid moneys. Our own thousands coming to us in drip-fed bits of tens and twentys, if that. If the queues ahead moved and melted. If the ATMs were given and still gave. If it still was the case that the rupee you had finally laid hands on after redoubled labour had not also been declared illegitimate and ill-earned, although how it had been earned in the first place those slogging the queues knew. Takleef to hui… beggars had to buy POS machines to earn their daily alms and there were no alms to be earned even so because what’s a beggar to do with a cashless transaction conducted in ether? And what were we to do with the frightening news about the new notes that would issue from ATMs, as and when they would, will come embedded with chips. Chips? Or so was that all we were now going to be allowed to have? Withdraw your notes, get chips instead, and munch them all the way home, end of story? Such horrific rumour and mongering we lived through.

Takleef to hogi, but burn me if I do not prove to you I am doing the right and just thing within 50 days. Can’t remember who said that. Bring to any chauraha and hand me any punishment, I am prepared, if I am not able to demonstrate that this takleef is a good takleef. Can’t remember who said that. We have given a body-blow to terrorism and Naxalism with one stroke notebandi, you will see this will break the backs of terrorists and Naxals. Can’t remember who said that. All the black money will be obliterated, GangaMaiyyaKiKasam. Can’t remember who said that.

And Mahadeb’s tea isn’t available to jab and jog memory. If I remember right, this is about the time he vanished. Or was it not? Or was it the same time another year? Can’t remember. Can’t remember anything without a sip of Mahadeb’s piping tea. But just as well it’s not there to be had; just as well some memories are lost. And nothing’s gained. Not even black money. And the gang that has it is singing:

Naa biwi naa bachcha

Naa baap bada naa bhaiyya

The whole thing is that ki bhaiyya

Sabse bada rupaiyya.

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1 thought on “After That Shock, Others”

  1. I remember that I mailed all my friends with the video clip of the speech and I said he was drunk. He sure looked drunk. Apart from Ram Manohar Reddy, most friends were incensed that I had mocked the PM and that I had gone too far, criticizing a good move. Needless to say, none of them remained my friends and good riddance. But what was so depressing about it all was the fact that all these people were highly educated, living in cosmopolitan cities all over the world and this country. The kind of abuse I got in return was unbelievable and worthy of the trolls that get paid for it. The Bhopal encounter happened and then I lost most others who had remained as friends when I wrote about the injustice. So we never know what people think until their bigotry comes out. A good thing that we have Mahadeb, he brought out the true colours of the people of this country and you finally discovered who are friends or not.

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