You know guys, there’s a place known as India. Yes, it’s the same country which you never knew where the hell it was on the map until the IT Boom and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ happened. Yes, the same place, witnesses some kind of crazy standstill during the Elections. In India or elsewhere, Elections are meant to select the best hood from the worst one. But I guess the worst always has a special edge when it comes to competition. And I would like to remind everyone that to be a politician in India is a damn difficult task. All your pricey degrees at Harvard, Yale or whichever stiff upper lip universities won’t sell a thing here. The first criterion is the ability to be Illiterate. Now I know that’s a tough thing to ask for. But cant help, as quality demands are quite high. The candidates are often seen as the ones with lot of ambitions and a strong desire to uplift the country, yes lift it high and throw it down. Speeches are special events during elections and are worth listening to, due to its inspirational nature. It’s hard not to grab a tissue paper.
Last year, I was on my own touring the whole of India. One day, due to my over zealous nature, I got lost and wandered into a town. There, I happened to get stuck in a tide of humanity pushing me over. Before I knew what hit me, I was sitting in a large open ground and listening to the oratorical skills of a high rung politician who had just begun campaigning and this was supposed to be his 100th year as a politician. Mighty impressed I was with a man whose words were harder to decipher than Einstein’s screwed up numbers. He had apparently recorded his speech beforehand and now it was booming from a screeching loud loudspeaker. The speech, I assumed and guessed and found out from a fellow follower, was recorded approximately 50 years back or later, right when the recorders came into existence in this country.
One observation though, that politicians from all over appear to be the sole propagators of Peace, Love and Understanding, thus making them the rightful descendants of the Bhooda (Buddha for the Yankees) and the Dalai Lama. No doubt there has been remarkable 0.00001 % decrease in the overall criminal and terrorist activities over the last few decades.
Ok coming back to our Centurion man, his recorded speech overwhelmed me so much that I couldn’t help but be under whelmed. The aforementioned recorded boomed something like this:
(Translated from the local language, no subtitles here)
“My dear cousins, uncles and aunties, am here now, standing in front of you and you can say am a beggar. No, I don’t mean to say that I was a beggar before I became the nation’s servant (a dignified word); I mean to say that I am indirectly begging for your support and encouragement.”
(Suddenly, a shabby looking man stood up and shouted “Hey it seems we are brothers, why don’t we meet at a joint and start planning a large begging scheme”? The Centurion man nodded as if agreeing to the plan and then smiled back with the same Buddha like demeanor. Clearly, he was on a different astral plane to be affected by all this)
“As I was saying, am here to serve you all and am also here to save you from the wrath of other politicians, for whom debauchery and failed promises are 2nd nature. I am a staunch follower of Gandhiji and Nehruji and other Freedom fighters of our country, whose names I would be announcing in my next speech. Now, you all have come from far off places under the blazing sun just to be with me today. Everyone must be eager to know what I shall bring to this country and what the promises I will keep are.
At this moment, a young man in his early 20s stood up and shouted, “Sir its ok. Me, my father and his father and his father and his grandfather have been admiringly and patiently listening to these inspiring promises for so long and it’s all etched in our memory now. Thank you for making the promises on TAPE. I have been your biggest fan, even though our town is yet to see the sight of a ceiling fan”.
The centurion man smiled at him and his face was beaming with pride. Quite an accomplishment, I thought.
(The speaker boomed again) “For all those who are listening to me for the first time (I was all ears), I present you with a list of promises that are going to be implemented, if I win at the elections”.
The following were the proud promises of a proud guy:
· “I promise, first of all, that I won’t leave any promises unturned and even if I forget them, I will make sure I vouch for them with double vigor and keenness during my next campaign.” (i.e, if his tape recorder is still working).
· “I hereby declare (yes declare was the word as if he’s the PM announcing the 5 Year Plans) that the country will get more holidays than usual and that there will be 4 days off before and after the elections. This is a special offer which would depend upon how many votes I get, and there may be other terms and conditions applied to it, such as the person who castes the maximum proxy votes will get a whole month paid leave and also a chance to scratch and win a trip to “Pak Occupied Kashmir”.
· “I am also proud to inform everyone that once I get elected, I will reduce the daily working hours of a common working man like you and me ( oh!! he does work, surprised) from 9 hours to 90 minutes. Those 90 minutes will include lunch break, tea break and also a short time for a quick nap”.
(By this time, I could sense a sense of eagerness and euphoria amongst the gaping people. Boy, they wanted more)
· “My dear friends, I also proudly announce that once I get elected, I will legalize a lot of things. I will try my best to get the “Open Bribery Activity” approved by the Supreme Court in a couple of years and I will also make sure that many of the those talented and underutilized gentlemen living behind bars, who are lining up in the queue to get into politics, will get an equal chance to contest along with the Respected and Wrongly Accused Scamsters and the Unfairly Ridiculed 5th Std Fail Congressmen.
(To this grand announcement, came a loud roar from the crowd which resembled the sound of hungry lions before they devour a rabbit on a dry day).
The tape recorded now stopped as the Centurion man, who was taking a good matinee nap all this while, stood up amidst shaky feet and ungainly stance. He looked at us all. It seemed maybe he was checking his eyesight or maybe I thought he was going to throw up the samosas and jalebis he was eating, on the hungry crowd. But no, He slowly lifted the microphone (as if he was about to belt out a rock song) and said “ I know am old, but my heart is very young” ( I could say that was true, as I could see 2 minimally clad almost unknown actresses behind him as possible IPL cheerleaders).
“I have embraced the new technology and I believe in moving with the times (his Blackberry was ringing vehemently as he was saying this). So, proudly, right now, at this very emphatic moment, I have a surprise for everyone. (I was hoping he will say “I am quitting politics”).
“The surprise is that I have bought you gifts from my own money and am going to distribute it personally to everyone who is sitting here and listening to my inspiring speech. I will be giving you Television sets and Music Systems for free and plus a 1 year Cable Channel Subscription as a token gesture. My dear countrymen please come forward and accept your gift.”
This was amazing. How gracious of him to do this and that too from his own money. As the crowd stood up to grab their gifts, a huge truck arrived and as usual there was a loudspeaker attached to it. The only difference was that the volume was louder than the volume of Centurion’s recorder. The truck loudspeaker beamed, ” Bhaiyon and Behenon, yeh budda toh sirf TV aur music system de raha hai, par humaare neta, joh doosre ground mein apna speech de rahen hai, woh toh aapko Computer, DVD player and free High Speed Internet access bhi de rahe hai. Aur yehi nahin, veh aapko ek lucky draw mein bhi hissa lene denge, jiske jeetne par aapko milegi ek shaandar Tata Auto yani ki TATA Nano ya ek Maruti 800 (1985 model). Hai na yeh Khushi ki baat. Yehi sahi mauka hai aur yeh offer limited period tak hi hoga. Jaldi see Aajaaeye aur time waste mat keejeye”.
On hearing this, there was a stampede equal to a thousand elephants and good enough to trigger a tsunami. Everyone was running helter-skelter. They wanted their share for sure and how. I somehow escaped the stampede and hid under a semi torn tent. Within minutes the whole ground was empty and remarkably or sadly, what was left of the Great Centurion Man and his campaign was his gold teeth, his thick to thin rimmed glasses and a faint voice coming somewhere from the now defunct tape recorder that burped,
“I am Proud to be an Indian, Jai hind”.
This is a guest post by Neeraj Sridhar, who takes a huge dig at the “Great Indian Politician”. The puns in the post are intended!!. Neeraj is a fellow blogger who loves to laugh, think, eat and read (?????) in that order.