Friday, June 6, 2008

Struck Again

Calvin was asked by his teacher “What state do we live in?” He did not know. So he just said “Denial.” The teacher could say nothing.

Whenever we calculate leave for the upcoming year, we crack the same joke. We can count on three extra holidays, because the political parties would be calling at least three “Bandhs” every year. The S word which ends with “trike” was illegitimised. But what it denoted is perfectly allowed. Such is the system in our great country. The number of Bandhs used to be one, one day of great fun playing cricket and standing in the middle of the usually killing Barrackpore Trunk Road; but since no party is number one right now (at least on a National basis) we have a coalition system of protest as well. Here in the East, in a state called West B, we have become habituated to this regular thing called a holiday if you have no money to lose, called a work-busting day if you have some money to lose, and a life-losing day if you are either dependant on daily wages or are sick. Of course, we have many such religious/ political / religio-political occasions over the year, but these days are hard to digest because of their motivation. Having said that, one may question this motivation. Political muscle-flexing is a good motive. Making a show out of an issue which is already settled is another motive. Envy, or competition is a much more idiotic motive. The first Bandh is to be followed by a second the very next day! And the second day’s action is a direct and opposite reaction of today’s tools-down. Only the result will be somewhat similar.

What has happened with all these stoppages, is that we are slowly forgetting to move forward. If you have any experience of the private bus system in Kolkata then you know what I am talking about. They stop everywhere. But the moment they see a competitor they become machines of destruction. They do not even bother to let passengers get off. If you object, anything can happen. If the operators are in their best of moods (the safe way of intercourse) then you get only a handful of learned descriptive socially explosive expletive appellations. If the conductor-helper-driver trinity is angry then you might even be pushed out of the moving vehicle! Such is the wrath of the street-gods. Similar things are happening in the state (development-wise) as well. After many stoppages there seems to be a sudden change of gear taking all by general surprise and some by nasty ones. And if you have anything to say, then be prepared to be shoved off. Even a couple of bullets may answer your query. Intercourse, sorry, talks or discussions are no longer fasionable.

The first bandh by the ruling party was favoured by the gods. It rained very hard all morning, so even if it was a normal day, the waiting-to-be-piped and dug and water-logged roads would have ensured low turnouts everywhere. The second one will have the entire management and political machinery against it – in such situations non-violence is unexpected. This fear becomes the perfect excuse for immobility. The holiday mood is creeping over, and once this inertia takes firm root, any kind of progress will become difficult.


Peter Rozovsky said...

Kolkata sounds like quite a place to visit for those with an eue for unusual sights. If I should ever spend any time in the city, I will make sure to allow myself plenty of time to get where I'm going.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

jyotsana said...

hey siddhubaba i m for the first time visiting u. o how did i miss this one? i lovd the humor knitted alongwith. its best to laugh coz can v really do anythin about this. and why kolkata india anywhere tastes the same.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I do get nostalgic about bandhs, though. It's been three years without a single bandh for me in madly-moving Mumbai.Just joking, I know the frustration you feel.

As for the tag I set you,
since I've been tagged for the first time myself, I'm giving very elementary advice: you have to write a post on your own blog where you do the job that is asked of you.
In this case, you have to take the book you are reading these days, open it to page 123, reach the fifth line, write out the 6th-7th-8th lines and your own comments on the book/author/tag/etc.
In you post, you must also mention the name of who tagged you (in this case, yours truly) and tag 5 other bloggers (write their names on your post AND visit their blogs and leave a comment regarding what you've tagged them about).
To create links, when you are writing any names, block the name, go to the hyperlink-icon (the bull's face icon) on top and add the url of that person's blog.

Hope this helps and happy tagging!

Mystic Margarita said...

Loved this post. Yes, it's become a norm for every party worth its salt to decare a bandh at the drop of a hat! Hopefully, the city will thrive and live up to its legendary spirit, despite such hiccups!

Will be back to catch up on the older posts.

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