Last week was interesting, as all weeks are, for both the weak, the strong and those in between, trying to just survive, and not even survive justly!
There was thunder and lightning and a lightning storm which came and went unexpectedly, exactly when we prayed for rains to combat the unbearable heat brought upon ourselves. Most of us however did not think it necessary to carry an umbrella even as we processed our prayers for rain and got drenched! So much for faith in a country, where faith rules, through the rules of faith!
Beyond the usual processions, followed by clashes, war, its media coverage and its aftermath, I found something more interesting and intriguing to dwell upon in this piece. Already intrigued? Well, that’s a job half done!
A friend of mine, as well to do as much as anyone else who can draw a poverty line in the sand and place himself above it, said to me, “I want to join active politics. I want to become a politician”. Oh! that was a googly because he didn’t seem the type. Is there a type? Like in Blood?
“Why? I asked, “after all these years of being on the side-lines cursing them for their inequity, incompetence, incandescence, insensitivity, and information deficits.”
“Well”, he said, “it’s a long story; but my desire was triggered when I was stopped from reaching my destination – I had an important appointment – for almost 30 mins by the authorities who I feel had no authorization to do so, but their uniform; a uniform is a great thing to wear these days, whether at school or on the street – you know the / that uniforms rule – all because a VIP was to pass by that way.”
“This information I gleaned from neighbours in the queue of vehicles and the concerned authority who stood in front of the vehicles to prevent them from proceeding literally in the heat of the moment – it was so dammn hot. So dammn hot, I used to carry a cold lime juice flask as I moved around, but not anymore, cant afford it.”
“In fact, they were not even allowing pedestrians to walk on the now pristine roads – also recently done up to reflect a perfect world. We are waiting for a VIP, I was told. Confused at first, I quickly realized I was wearing a different brand of inner wear and could never be a VIP that way. But I could if I became a Politician! Then others would wait for me, and on me, rather me on them or for them!”
He continued, “I switched off the engine when I was told that it is uncertain how long the wait would be. Fuel costs and gone up, but my budget for fuel has remained the same, like my salary and I thought I must save on it while I can”.
“Oh”, I said, “I commiserate with you, but what to do, wars, calamities, extremities are taking their toll.”. “Yes”, he said, “it’s a calamity that I can’t go to war over! But the greater calamity was yet to make an appearance.”
“After about 30 minutes of waiting, suddenly, with sirens blaring a huge convoy of vehicles passed by. So many of them, I stopped counting after the first 5 which included a couple of SUVS, with the third row of seats in the 60:40 combination to provide more boot space – when required; It took 5 whole mins for the convoy to pass by!”
“I was amazed, that in these times of fuel shortages and hikes, there were so many vehicles for one VIP? who was paying for the fuel and the maintenance, I wondered. I was sure he / she was not, but unsure how I came to that conclusion; it just seemed most likely. So nice, that he is not paying for it, but then who? maybe I as a taxpayer? How cool is that in this heat I thought! Abroad you can’t even dream of these things, that’s why I was not interested in politics until now!”
“I noticed he was not even driving himself as I caught a glimpse of the VIP! Maybe he had forgotten how to drive once he achieved this distinguished position? I don’t know, I don’t think so, because my father had told me you can never forget driving, swimming, and cycling! These skills stay with your forever. So, it must be being a Very Important Politician, to get these privileges on a platter, at someone else’s cost. I was already perspiring, but it is then I began to aspire, like so many others. These privileges are worth killing for I thought, not literally of course!”
“What strengthened my resolve to join politics, is”, he continued, “seeing all those guys dressed in black wielding guns surrounding the VIP as he alighted from his SUV, after someone opened the door for him, much like a chivalrous newly wedded groom does – at least on his Wedding Day! Men in Black like at a funeral? And then I quickly realized that they were security personnel as they surrounded him!”.
“Why security,” I asked, and I was told “Y Security!” Is that a question or an answer? Some get Zzzzz security! that’s us of course. “But why security,” I asked my neighbour in the queue. He seemed quite knowledgeable and quite unruffled by the wait! In fact, he seemed to be enjoying it waiting for a glimpse of the VIP! Like a football fan! I didn’t know then that he was going to the same destination as the VIP.
He said, “there must be a very high threat perception! Totally ignorant, I asked, “but whom did he threaten so much to feel threatened? That’s the way it works doesn’t it”, my friend asked me rhetorically and not waiting for an answer, continued…
“You don’t understand,” my neighbour told me; “Of course I understand, I argued with him. Trouble does not trouble you unless you trouble trouble! He stopped talking to me.” “Did I say anything wrong,” my friend asked me, again rhetorically! I didn’t know what to say, but I was beginning to understand his motivation. He seemed quite impressed with the trappings of power! Not knowing he was being trapped!
But this transformation fascinated me, and I wanted to fully understand his transformation. So, I asked the question. Is that it? just the trappings of power? “No”, he said, and continued, “I was in the line of sight of his destination. And as he alighted from his vehicle, so many people stood behind him, so many Infront of him asking his opinion on so many things, that I felt insignificant! What if people were to ask my opinion? How nice it would be?” That was a rhetorical question, so I didn’t answer! But then he fell silent and so did I. Lots to reflect on as mirror on the opposite wall reflected us.
After a while I told him, “The trappings of power aside, I would encourage you to join Politics and become a VIP if your prime motivation is service and not power. He pondered a while and then said, “Politics has three dimensions – serve the powerful, a powerful serve and the power to serve in that order! All three are important, and are interdependent not independent of each other, though the most popular are the first two!” Made sense, common sense. Looks like he’d done his homework, and just wanted me to sign the book, before going to school!
But which of those is your prime motivation I asked. “I want the Power to serve!” “But” I remonstrated, “you can serve without power too”. “Not in this heat, no,” he said jokingly, but then turned serious, “Yes, but then there will be no statute for a statue for a person of my stature, loved by all, but in need of protection from those who love you to death! nobody will hang my portrait, they will just hang me! and none will remember my birthday with a garland, after I’m gone. They will just have the cake and eat it too. That would be terrible. So, there you have it. Hope that answers all your questions.”
Unbelievable, how my friend had changed. Anyway, its his funeral which will be prevented by the Men in Black, I thought, but let me remind him that its not all roses, but Guns and Roses! I said to him, “you know there are pitfalls too, no?” “Oh yes, I am aware, but the odds are good; 40 percent is good enough for me!”
“Fine, but what’s your next move,” I asked. “How will you take this further?”
“Oh, that’s easy; I plan to carry out a protest against all these practices that are against the interests of the taxpayer and the common man – they are not the same you know – the common man and the taxpayer? WhatsApp People will recognize me as their Saviour. From there on its easy peasy!”
“Pegasus or Unicorn – which horse are you, my friend?” I asked, but continued. “No matter which, Ill bet on you winning the race; after all you are my friend!”
“Go on, its time to serve the powerful, and pay for it, so that they may have the power to serve!”
This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.
Photo by SlinkyDragon