Friday, March 23, 2012

When India's yes-men politicos empathise...

What happens when the supposed docile of our nation's politicos decide to communicate with one another? Here's a fictional account...

Inside a room in the corridors of power of Karnataka...

He looked at his reflection on the mirror; that trademark smile of his could not be brought back even with a great deal of effort, and seemed at best only a smirk. During his heyday, it was said that this smile was his lucky charm – which too seemed to have now deserted him. He sighed, ruminated briefly before deciding how to react. He reached for a pen and paper for possibly his last letter, a suicide note.

Unsurprisingly, he did not have to hesitate over whom to address it to, Mr Y would do. “Must get to the point straightaway,” he thought as he wrote: “I may be referred to as the smiley CM, but the number of times I have cried in private because of you may easily outstrip your public shedding of tears.” He examined the sentence feeling satisfied that it may set the right dramatic tenor, something which he had picked up during his days as a barrister in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada district. “Many refer to you as my political guru; however, I beg to differ. You anointed me only when your continuance in the hot seat was untenable.”

A cold sense of satisfaction set in him, signalling the return of his smile, almost involuntarily. “The nail has just found its way in, it needs to be hammered in further,” he heard himself telling, as he continued: “I tried to resurrect the sagging image of the government that you handed over to me. I befriended many an Opposition party leader, not to mention the Governor, and made some progress; thanks to you, my tenure is now on the tenterhooks.”

At that instant, his eyes scanned his room. He only rued that he was unable to spell this out in public. All that would soon be rendered irrelevant.

He could feel his heart beating louder as he continued: “What contribution have you made to the party apart from bringing it a bad name? Some of your die-hard supporters only lent it infamy after being caught watching porn inside the Legislative Assembly. In contrast, my supporters have conducted themselves in a far more dignified manner.” He paused, as if an artist painting a fresco would, and added: “For starters, you could compare your pictures that appear in the media with mine, Mr Y.”

Deciding to keep the note brief, he added: “I am disheartened at how you have tried to unseat me. I only wish my death will knock some sense into your head, signed Mr SG.” He then retrieved a rope from underneath his table, tied it to a ceiling fan; he was about to insert his head into the noose, when he heard a knock on the door, and a bearer barged in. The bearer gave an incredulous look before recovering to place a letter on the table. “This is from the finance minister of Tamil Nadu. It was meant to be delivered to you personally, sir,” he said and thought as he walked off, “Did I not anticipate him to do so two days ago...”

Upset at his suicide bid being scotched, SG slumped on his chair and let out a curse. Even at that instant, he could not help smiling as he stared at a looking glass placed on the table.

He opened the letter and read, “Dear Mr SG, it is only after a scrutiny of the political situation in your state and your precarious situation, am I writing this letter, for I empathise with you. If you would remember, around the same time you were elected as MP, I was the chief minister of TN briefly. All I did then was to carry out  instructions from Amma dutifully. However, my political opponents, the media and political commentators – thanks to whom, I started finding even Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri’s cricket commentary insightful – labelled my service to the party as governance-by-remote. Amma, the bearer of the late MGR’s legacy, was then facing innumerable litigations, these courts, high, medium... all that have no idea of politics then ruled that she must step down. I was even likened to Laloo’s wife, Rabri Devi; I was mocked for prostrating before Amma’s portraits. However, I felt I was the mythological character Bharatha from the epic Ramayana, who was the stand-by ruler until Rama returned from exile. The moral is, don’t feel disheartened if you are asked to step down. You must be the proverbial water droplet atop the lotus – detached but still in contact. And yes, if I have forgot to mention, my name is O Panneerselvam; I acquired this tendency to put the party first before myself since my days as CM.

No sooner did he finish reading, did a facsimile in his room creak into action. It was a message from the Rail Bhavan, Delhi. It simply read: “Didi and Yeddy may derail our plans, but they may never do that to our ambitions. Wishing you luck and support in all your endeavours, signed Dinesh Trivedi, former railway minister.”

For the second time that day SG felt gladdened. A moment ago, he was contemplating suicide, now he was elated; the vicissitudes of human emotions surprised him to no end. On an impulse, he stood up, removed the rope and discarded it.

The very next moment, he heard a knock on the door again; it was the bearer. Suppressing surprise at the change in SG’s emotions, he said: “It’s a call from the PMO in Delhi, sir. The caller identifies himself as a “rubber-stamp” Singh. Shall I put him through?”

SG tore up the suicide note into a thousand bits.