Monday, May 28, 2012

The Higgledy-Piggledy Democracy of Indiana


DISCLAIMER: All characters are real. Any resemblance to living or dead is purely intentional!
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

Once upon a time, there occurred some geological changes in Asia which lead to the formation of the country Indiana. What Lincoln said long ago fits completely in the context of Indiana.
The Indiana has been suffering from democratic paralysis right from its birth, but the recent hullabaloo is due to the upcoming presidential nominations. The presidential house awaits its new president and this has evoked the dormant dreams of many.

The two major alliances of Indiana are- UPA [Useless Pernicious Alliance] and NDA [National Derogatory Alliance]. Both are morally (or rather ‘immorally’) on a par with each other. At present UPA is in power and, like most coalition governments, the political parties in this ‘coalition’ too, suffer frequent collisions with each other. Still, one party needs to ride on other party’s coattails.  To solve the problem of presidential nominations UPA has organized a meeting with all other alliances and regional parties in a ‘Seven-star’ hotel, under the pretext of discussing the means for the development of ‘slum’ areas. [Pun intended].
The meeting started with a huge feast and after watching some ‘hardcore’ action movies, the political leaders accumulated in the air-conditioned conference hall to put forward their choices for the nominations.

NDA started with nominating a well-known scientist cum ‘missile man’, but it was strongly opposed by some parties of UPA because they feared that he might use his missiles to force them to take right decisions, as he did earlier. Next, the major party of UPA put forward the name of a well-established industrialist. It was agreeable to many parties, but the female leader cum ‘common man’ of TNC [Taking No Commands] refused straight away. ‘Didi’ said that the industrialist once wore a ‘Red’ shirt in a party and hence he was a ‘Maoist’!  
After this heated discussion, SP [Showbiz Party] voted for a political leader from ‘minority community’ (keeping in mind the minority votes), but it was opposed by NDA and by the female leader cum ‘Behenji’ of BSP [Building-only Structures Party]. ‘Behenji’ alleged the leader of once saying in public that he doesn’t like ‘Elephants’, and so his nomination was also cancelled.  Following this some parties from the South-Indiana put forward the name of present Finance minister of UPA government, highlighting his vast political experience. To everyone’s surprise, this nomination was opposed by parties of UPA itself. They feared that the ‘Bhadrapurush’ would overshadow their ‘future prince’ and may even take some below the belt decisions.

In between all the chaos, some ‘Linguistic’ parties of the west raised their objections that they will support only their lingual ‘Maanush’ and will not allow any ‘Bhaiya’ to succeed in nominations.  Despite the air-conditioner, the temperature of the hall increased and different arguing pairs were omnipresent in the room. After arguing for hours, finally, it was settled that none of the nominations were worth selecting. The politicians were under the gun for selecting a nomination. A cloud of despair floated around the politicians which was a rare occasion.
At that precise moment, out of the blue, one party suggested that this time a common man should be nominated for president. When this suggestion met loud cries of protest, the leaders of that party put forward their theory. They explained that this would not only make the public ecstatic, but the public would even forget about the recent faux-pass of the government. Moreover, because of his total inexperience of political tactics, the man will be a mere puppet of the government, just like the present president. He would be happy to act as rubber-stamp and visit the international embassies.

Thus, the decision was made with a majority of votes, (excluding some NDA parties), and a bourgeois working man was selected by the HR [Humanity Repugnant] department of the government.
After some weeks, the common man was invited to the exclusive farmhouse of the ruling party, where most of the leaders of different parties were present. The man was full of hopes and he dallied with the illusion of causing a change and working for the welfare of the country. When he reached there, he saw drunken leaders loitering around lewdly with some women. He was received by certain leaders of the parties. While going inside, one leader told him that in politics one must know which side one’s bread is buttered on. Another leader added that one must be shrewd enough to feign innocence in each and every situation.

Inside he saw a strange wagon. To the large cart was harnessed a small and feeble mare. Many intoxicated party members began to clamber into the wagon amidst laughter and jests. The leader standing with him saw his bamboozled look and explained to him, “The mare signifies the Republic of Indiana cum the ‘Mother Indiana’. The politicians ride on the mare mercilessly and make her to gallop. The more she gallops, the more we earn. We have no interest in her well being and development.” At that moment, he saw some members beat the mare with the whips. The mare moved some inches, but couldn’t take that much load. She snorted and winced under the constant blows from the whips. Agitated, the people struck her on ribs and even on the eyes to make her gallop, but to no avail. One member, being too irritated, took a hatchet and hit the mare 2-3 heavy blows with it. The mare sank to the ground, all four legs giving way at once. She groaned heavily and expired.
The leader then told to him that, “This is what we do to the people when they are no longer useful to us or when they turn against us. We have invited you here so you could know that you will serve just as our puppet. Any nasty step and you would suffer the same fate as this mare. Welcome to the real politics.”

The man was covered with perspiration and vomited. Next day, the newspapers bore the headlines about the sudden disappearance of the president nominee just one week before the consecration ceremony.
The politics made the common man gallop a long way.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This is the picture which was provided in the contest and we were asked to write a short story/poem on this picture. It's my first attempt at writing short stories.
So, here goes my story-
                                             BOATS OF LIFE

It’s a Sunday morning. I’m feeling like king of the world. No appointments and no meetings for today. Last night, it rained and suddenly the dull dry surroundings transformed into a lively one, bearing the early fragrance of monsoon. I woke up late, thinking of the things I would do today - maybe a new novel or a football match with the students of my colony. I don’t know how people spend their holiday sleeping on the couch! I believe that the more you rest, the more you rust!

I got up and opened the curtains of my window to welcome the mesmerising view outside. Children were having fun in the small pond formed due to rain. Some were collecting the raw mangoes (kairi) which were dispersed on the grounds, like the poor patients dispersed outside a government hospital, owing to the powerful winds which followed the rain. But my attention was caught by a small girl who was trying to make boats and float them in water. She was my neighbour’s daughter. She was making two boats - a large and a smaller one. It was like a deja-vu for me. Something stirred inside me, and I noticed that a lump was forming in my throat. I sat in the time-machine and reached my favourite destination- my childhood.

The surroundings were similar; I was having ‘just after the rain’ fun with my best friend Gautam. We always used to hang out together. As in every relationship, we had our own differences. While I was a cheerful kid, he used to be the pig-headed one, but these differences never created a rift in our friendship. 

That day, we were playing our most favourite game- Boat racing. We used to make boats and leave them in water. The first boat to reach the other end would win the race. While making boats, I asked Gautam why he always fought with other children and what made him follow Rajeev, the infamous bully of our school, and Rahul - the kleptomaniac? He just sat there, lost in making boats, without looking at me. After some time, he showed me two boats, a large and a smaller one, and asked me what did I see? On seeing my bamboozled face, he explained - “Look, here we have two boats. You and most of the other people are the smaller one; small, fragile, and without any support. I’m the bigger one. Large, strong, and people like Rajeev are my support. I can cross this whole sea, against the winds and storms of life, because I have such people supporting me. And I’m not following them; I’m just using them for my own benefit. This is the real life, you have to be a bootlicker or con someone for your own success”. After explaining this, he left the two boats in the water and said, “You will see that the bigger boat will cross the river, while the smaller one will sink in between!” and left. That was the last time I talked to him as the following week my dad was transferred to a new town.

After some years, I came to know that Gautam was arrested by the police and he was charged for a forged business deal and a harassment case. When he tried to use his contacts, no one helped him. At that instant, his words came back to me and I was really sorry for what happened to him but somewhere deep down my heart, I always knew this outcome. He didn’t know that at that time too after he left, that bigger boat never reached its destination. A small stone/hurdle came in its path, and it SANK owing to its own heavy weight. The first part to sink was its support, whereas the smaller boat, without any support, reached its destination safely!

Suddenly the doorbell rang, and I was hauled back into reality. I opened the door and found that same girl on my doorstep. She came and hugged me, and asked me to accompany her as she was having some problems in making boats.

I always thought that I never got a chance to explain my views to Gautam and to make him understand his faults; maybe that would have changed him. Today, I’m not going to repeat that mistake. I’ll help this girl in making boats and explain to her the ‘reality’ of life - that you have to survive in this world on your own and no shortcuts can take you to the top. You ought to have some principles and a little faith in humanity. As the French proverb goes, “There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.”

I held her hand and started towards the grounds. From behind the clouds, the sun was trying to appear on the horizon.