If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

It’s an epic tragedy, please do not gloat!

Online newspapers and the social media, that is, everybody whose opinions matter, is exulting today – with unparalleled smugness and malignant pleasure – about the conviction of a could-have-been chief minister of Tamilnadu, a state with a glorious tradition in graft. I hope this sweeping statement wouldn’t hurt readers from other states of the Indian Republic, and let me quickly add that this is not to belittle anyone, we are all experts in milking cash cows, and our politicians are the finest in the art. But what sets them apart from ordinary thieves is that they are equally good at slipping out of jails. Good that Harry Houdini is no more; had the poor bloke been alive, he would have died of shame.

Take the case of late lamented Dr JJ, in whose case, an honourable judge of the Karnataka High Court goofed up his maths and acquitted the mother of Tamilnadu in a DA case (DA stands for Disproportionate Assets, which is essentially similar to the DA or Dearness Allowance paid to babus to tide over cash crunch). I’m sure you’ll agree we shouldn’t question such minimal errors. After all, the laws of the land don’t stipulate that judges should be good in maths! Arithmetic is not even a part of law curriculums anywhere, please correct me if I am wrong. But coming to think of it, the political future of a state of nine crore took a different turn because of an error in addition committed by some otherwise brilliant IT officials, which went undetected by an even more brilliant judge.

Sorry about the digression. Being senile, I tend to veer off the main topic. Let me return to the theme of this incoherent babble. That is, please think of Sasikala, the tragic heroine of this sad tale.

For long, she unflinchingly served a leading light of the Great Indian Cash-and-carry Democracy and helped her make a little money on the side. And if she (Ms Kala) picked up a few crumbs, that is, a few hundred or thousand crores (please forgive me, beyond five or six zeroes, all figures look the same to me – and that makes me even more sympathetic to judges who botch up maths!) for her hubby or sonny, no one should grudge. But bloody crabby Indians – they just cannot accept if a poor person, particularly a woman, manages to climb close to the rim of the filthy bucket of poverty.

Dear Reader, please forget everything else, just put yourself in Sasikala’s humble shoes for a moment. God opened a door for this poor woman – after a life of slavery under a reportedly ruthless and vindictive master, after decades of humiliations that no one would ever know – to lay her hands on a huge safe, the finest Kanjipuram silks, and shoes (700 as per the last census) plus a chair that the Almighty had added almost as an afterthought. So sweet of Him!

When good fortune smiles at you ear to ear, you can overlook minor doubts about a court case that has gone into a coma, and look forward to entering the ornate door. And dream of the power … the glory … Cayman Island bank accounts … foreign trips with ambassadors fawning on you … earning even more by voting for this bill or that in the parliament … roads paved with flower petals and beds made of solid teakwood processed out of freshly minted post-demonetisation high-value currency notes … and ah! the almost erotic thought of Triple-X-L men in dyed black mustache and starched white dhotis falling at your feet!

But alas! Such a rude awakening ... the road suddenly leads to a walled home with rough floors and pre-used blankets with petty thieves and prostitutes to keep you company!

The dreams shattered so rudely by two mere mortals who dare to close the door opened by God. They will surely pay for it, if not here, in the other world!

And the bigger shame is people gloating over it. If it were two thousand years ago, new epics would be written on this tragedy, and people would read it for another two thousand years.

Bengaluru / Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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