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of electioneering should have the power to rattle, then glide to sanity and ponder in silence. In Delhi after an expectant eight-month wait, a hectic period of electioneering followed all that unwanted and wanted noise that melted down to fine tuning and one voice emerged…AAP. That is poetic justice. Recalling a month that went by that was laden with apprehension about who would win the Delhi elections? Many kept ruminating like cattle, or forecasting that the party at the Centre will rule Delhi. Or pleasant longings and wishful thinking made an inactive Congress feel optimistic but the bristling Broom which kept feeling the city’s pulse reached the finishing line triumphant, puffing and panting to a thumping majority …. AAP win. They won and once again if etiquette permits, the Mango Man Party came out in flying colours to the dismay of a few who detest the term AAP, still walk with noses pointing to the sky. Yeah the ‘common man’ rules..
AAP the small party with big aspirations
First on the agenda for the party should be to fix small businesses in the Delhi. Of course a major section of Lutyens' Zone is disallowed business for political reasons, except for a few snack bars, paan shops (for tobacco) and Kendriya Bhandars (government-styled provision shops). After all, Delhi is the Country’s capital, the surroundings bear a faint resemblance to Washington. The latter on grounds that it holes the government departments,just shuns jaywalkers with police patrolling on mobikes, vans and the K-9 vans (with sniffer dogs). The very prevalence of CCTV cameras are omnipresent, makes you blush even if you look towards the sky(?). Yeah they hang there too for choppers to help the FBI. Although Washington is the busiest airport for official carriers, the kind of business that goes on there has a multi-layered wall of security.
Coming to small business, the toilers start and end business in fits and starts. The famous Sadar Bazaar and Shahdara provides the goods but these places are basically big warehouses we like to call wholesalers and protected in a very haphazard manner. If it is Holi, Raksha Bandhan or Diwali or any festival the market is abuzz with doling out goods to small businessmen.They ply vehicles of all sizes to fetch goods to adorn their shops. In short the Delhi businessman is still traditional in approach, ruthless & diplomatic. Seasonal demands do prop up the market trends desperately tugging at the upswing. They are industrious and will stoop to any depth to make a profit even if they have to fill some hidden wallets and that is corruption in the common man’s eye.
Another area that has hidden methods of profiteering is the landlord-tenant business. I can say this confidently because I have lived as a tenant in Delhi for more than a decade feeding a few landlords who in turn rarely pay taxes. The money they (landlords) amass goes partly to the broker and other expenses like renovating the house (not tenant’s portion), partying, booze, gambling and family marriages. Easy Money. Now you know why Delhi residents have big ‘Kothis’ either inherited or tenant sought money. Thank God the apartment culture has not caught up. Let us not go to the DDA skeletons. Scary.
Sam Smith won four Grammys, a soulful voice, his repertoire may have been magnetic enough to win, a pleasant surprise, but Pharrell, Beck and Rihanna stole the show. Two Americans of Indian origin who made it to the Grammys in a small way were Ricky Kej (Bengaluru-based) for ‘Winds of Samsara and Neela Vaswani for Chidren of Afghanistan. Kudos to them. Down here in my own country my ears scorched with distaste to hear some unpleasant “show”, the hype that rose and fell like the heartbeat of a dying heart patient….now dead. The AIB show, a totally crass show, the ‘Interview’ was better, at least it looked like a fantasy.
At times it pours ‘death’
Last month was starred with death anniversaries in the family and incidentally an uncle passed away after occupying a hospital bed for a month. With due respect, he was a retired dentist whose cheerful look and who possessed an innocent view of life made him endearing. God bless his soul.
Departing from this earth is another way of saying ‘my job is done’ or ‘I tried my best’, but those near and dear and living keep discussing the ‘subject’…the dead person. It would not be wrong to say birth and death are relative because relatives go gaga and sob (in that order) intermittently as both these situations attract a lot of attention. Nice way to keep in touch with relatives. So we are part of nature with emotional tags.
Condolences can be boring?
The reason why I hesitate to go for a condolence meet is because I love to evaluate and ratify tears. The other day a friend who felt like me, refused to attend a meet to condole the death of a man (old man), a family friend. The man had pompously handed over money to her father, who was needy, but the father did not return the money. One day, the man who was pompous but generous lost his temper and created a scene at the friend’s door…so the grudge should evoke tears of regret (relief).
Another funeral of the father of a love-struck daughter who married a rapscallion, it was presumed that the father died of a broken heart as he felt the son-in-law was unworthy of attention. This mutual dislike between the father and daughter made her stay away at the funeral. How mean? How degrading? How boring? But after the funeral the lady sneaked into her own house to pacify the widowed mother….were the tears genuine?
Tears of celebration
In parts of India and some tribal locales the mourners indulge in song and dance, beating drums to celebrate death. Death here is welcome and they rejoice which can later graduate to a fight for wealth or property, if the dead person was not a pauper. Highly strung people but not lachrymose.
This piece is not written with a cynical note but all said and done we are obliged to our fellow beings in joy and sorrow. The need to instill mutual admiration helps us stick around and make a place in the memory of others.