Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Crime partner

Its been a long hot summer already - and we are not even out of April yet. 2 full months of heat simmer before us - and then the blessed rains are due.

One of our interns told us that his parents in Bhusaval, Maharashtra have seen temperatures of 47 deg. Celsius! I cannot even imagine how hot that is. Naveen tells me that his parents - and everyone else in the town stay indoors after 6 AM in the morning - and stay that way till 7.30 PM at night!

Yesterday our dear leftist friends called a "Bharat Bandh" to protest against an immanent price rise in petroleum products. This national strike went by without us noticing it at all. Only today's papers that mentioned it in passing. It seems to have been most successful in the two states where the Communists still have some rule - West Bengal and Kerala. The spectacle of the state government shutting down - and effectively keeping private citizens from travelling and doing their business would be comical if it were not so pathetically sad.

From being a stirring method of challenging oppression - the general strike has become one endless cycle 'protests' organised by the small political class of all hues - right, left and as most of our political parties are - hounding after a certain person or dynasty. The loser is the man on the street - who needs his or her daily wages to survive - and has to sit idle while the goons on motorcycles drive by making sure that shopkeepers have pulled down their shutters - and pelting the odd car or two that dares to venture out with stones.

The police? Well, they are here to ensure law and order - to an extent at least. Hence the classic shot above of our finest in khaki - whiling away their time reading newspapers - sitting in front of what must have been a shut movie theatre. Who is the real 'crime partner'? The lurid ladies on the poster? The political lads who have ground at least that part of the country shut? Our bureaucracy that cannot make a decent set of decisions? The constables on display?

And so we hunker down - to see if we can get through the next few weeks. As a family we have the blessed hope of 10 days of cool in Mussoorie looming like a mirage - but with the magical date of May 14th coming tantalisingly closer...

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