Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Potholes of Soormapur


Citizens of Soormapur were resilient to the core. They would be satisfied and would get used to anything given to them. Anything. They were very adjustable. In fact, they were not purely Homo sapiens. They were Amphi sapiens. If Homo sapiens have problem with even the puny issues, which bothers them a little, they fight till it is changed. Amphi sapiens are special breeds. They are humans with characteristics like that of amphibians. Yes, they merely look like humans beings. They survive in any hell of a condition given to them. Like amphibians, they sustain living in both water and on earth.

Two weeks of continuous monsoon showers overfilled the blocked drains with joyous waters. They were now overflowing everywhere. And a large amount of that water intruded Mr. Filterwala’s low-lying house one night. Next morning he stepped out of his bed and placed his feet into his own private-bedroom-pool. Furiously, he burst out of his house and straightaway walked to the neighbor shopkeeper, Mr. Lazyani, whom he accused for blocking their common drainage by throwing his shop’s waste. But, Mr. Lazyani talked and understood only one language: Money. Mr. Filterwala and his family had a hard time filtering out all the water whole day.

On the other side, there were a few people who were enjoying this situation. Mrs. Greedita, along with her children was pestering her husband to buy the new low-budget car. Now, they had their own new boat.

Soon people started singing Anti-Megh-Malhar raagas to ward off the rains. And the monsoon finally retarded. The rains not only revealed the real face of the city’s sewerage system but also washed away the low-quality roads leaving behind more potholes.

“We want a new, better sewerage system”, a rare intelligent journalist published in a popular local newspaper. The article became viral and the citizens repeated this after him “We want a new, better sewerage system.”

“Sir, what will you do now? The people of Soormapur have suddenly become demanding”, the Big minister’s P.A. asked, curiously.

“I will give them want they want”, the Big minister said confidently.

The P.A. was surprised. “Are you on drugs, sir?”

“Not today. Do you not know? Elections are near and Soormapur is where votes rain for us.”

“Oh! Good gracious! And I thought your heart melted. Silly me.”

“Talk less and fix a meeting with the Fraudscam Constructions ASAP!”

The meeting took place successfully. The deal was sealed. Fraudscam Constructions were given the project to build the new sewerage system. After handling over the work to the company, the Big minister departed for a foreign trip to Singapore.

“Tell us something about your foreign trip, sir” the rare intelligent journalist asked.

“It’s basically a study tour. To study about their culture and ways and how we can amend our lifestyle. Our party wants to benefit our people.”

“Sir, what is the budget of the sewerage project?”

“Its 30 millions. More or less”

“And sir, what is the budget of your foreign trip”

“No comments” the Big minister ignored and flew.

Meanwhile, the construction work began. Or rather it was destruction. The chief engineer ordered “LET THE DIGGING BEGIN!”
The enthusiastic bulldozers and laborers started the drilling.

Within two days all the important roads of the city were dug and then there was a long pause.

A failed satellite landed on the roads of Soormapur and started sending images of the craters filled with water to the world famous space center JHASA. The scientists were happy as they had finally found ‘life’ in the outer space.

“When will you resume the work?” the rare intelligent journalist asked.

“We are waiting for the Big minister to return from his foreign trip and fund for the rest expenditures” the chief engineer of Fraudscam constructions explained.

“How much budget do you expect will be spent in this project?”

“60 million. More or less.” The chief engineer said confidently.

In another two weeks the minister returned. His P.A. welcomed him.

“How is the election campaigning going?” the Big minister asked.

“Absolutely fantastic, sir. Your sewerage system plan worked. Now people just need a promising new speech. I have already prepared one for you, sir.” He handed the speech to the Big minister.

“Hmm. I feel I have read this somewhere.”

“You are genius, sir. What a memory! It’s actually the same speech you read last year. Just that instead of ‘Happy Diwali citizens’ its ‘Merry Christmas citizens’.”

The stage was set for campaigning and the microphone was tested. “1… 2… 4… Check…1... 2… 4… check”. The front rows of the audience were booked for the sycophants, jobless college leaders and impecunious crowd who were promised free liquor. As the Big minister entered, he was welcomed with their colored cheering. “Hail the Big minister”, “Long Live the Big minister”.

He delivered a promising speech, telling people about the 100 millions that has been sanctioned for the development of the city and that the work is in fast progress. After his promising speech, he felt more confident that the people of Soormapur were now in his fist.

“Sir, digging of the roads is causing a lot of problems for the citizens. When will the work be finished? The people of Soormapur want to know,” the rare intelligent journalist enquired.

“You see, how busy I am with my campaigning as well. Multitasking is not easy. The work is in progress.”

He returned home and slept peacefully. He dreamed about swimming in a pool of currency that he would earn as per his next five-year plan.

Next morning was a nightmare for him. There was a group of people in front of his palace. They looked agitated and were in no mood to calm down.
“JUSTICE FOR MANGONATH”
“WE WANT SMART ROADS”
Fanatic crowd cried out.

“What is all this nonsense?” the Big minister asked his P.A.

“Sir, Last night a common man, Mr. Mangonath had an accident and he died on spot. They are protesting against the bad condition of roads.”

“What are you doing? Go get it stopped right now. All this is not good for our party’s reputation.”

“Yes, sir. I have already called the police to handle it. They will use tear gas and onions to ward the people off.”
Meanwhile, a social activist Ms. Ravenoushri declared a hunger strike and soon became a phenomenon on every news channel. The media people flocked around her house.

“I would not eat a grain of rice or drink a drop of water, until our demands are fulfilled.” She declared on the national television.

Watching this live on television a Bigger minister planned his next step. “I finally have a ground.” He said to his P.A. “Look at those mics and cameras. That’s where we’ll get publicity.”

Without wasting a second, he reached the activist’s house. With folded hands, he sat beside her and entered the camera’s frame.

“In my presence, no one shall be hungry. I can’t see this sacrifice. I will join her.”
Soon the headlines of every news channel changed.

“Sir, but what about the pizza we had ordered.” His P.A. whispered.

“Bring it to the bathroom, later.” He ordered.

People of Soormapur were soon diverted towards the new Bigger minister. He looked more promising and cultured when he recited Sanskrit Shlokas on the national TV.
He became a hero when he, with his own hands, broke the social activist’s hunger strike. Slowly the Bigger minister started his campaign too.

“I would have never used the Palm brand’s materials for construction. Before putting money into something, they should research about it first. I support the strong and powerful Lotus brand. Unlike the Big minister, I would have never let this happen to our Soormapur.”

People started loving their new leader. He was highly followed on the micro-blogging site Quitter by the young generation. The 55-year-old, young and dynamic leader was the new youth icon.

Summer had begun. The results were clear before the Election Day. The Bigger minister took over the Big minister’s chair. To gain people’s confidence, he started the construction of roads. Using the Lotus brand materials, they built thick concrete roads. Mr. Filterwala’s low-lying house was now even lower-lying.

“Sir, the new roads have covered all the holes that were dug for the sewerage system. Now how will the people tackle the Monsoons?” the rare intelligent journalist asked the Bigger minister.

“I have already sanctioned 200 million, more or less, for that. People will have no difficulties.”

Monsoon struck again.
Mr. Filterwala’s bedroom was pool again.
Mr. Lazyani chuckled.
Boats floated in Mrs. Greedita’s backyard.
Ms. Ravenoushri declared another hunger strike.
Only Mr. Mangonath could rest in peace.

***
Written under 'The Nine Flavors'
Flavor: Laughter (Hasya Rasa)

-Ashish


8 comments:

  1. Good one. Pretty much the story of our nation.

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  2. Very well written story. Sad state of affairs.

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  3. A thought provoking story....Good one Ashish.

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