Thursday, August 13, 2015

From Saki Naka to the Parliament: A letter from a common man

Saki Naka: the land of chaos. So is Ghantaa Ghar of Ghaziabad, Dadar station or Bakaara market of Mogdishu in militant era Somalia – I am pretty sure you all have a list of places you dread all your lives. 

I, for instance would give a limb to escape this silly city and annihilate that hell on Earth called Saki Naka. I don’t need cigarettes to kill me. For each time I pass Saki Naka (which is twice every-day), my life reduces by a fraction. The rowdy crowd, the filth of the planet and eternal chaos on whatever’s left on the road: leads to a remarkably high blood pressure and mental agony – slowly rotting my flesh and soul.

This had to be the most dreaded place on the planet, or so I thought. Until today, when I happened to watch Sushma Swaraj soldiering her way, to make herself heard in that place they call the Parliament of my nation.

Dear Ms. Swaraj,

Respect. That’s the word for you. For having been a real worker throughout your life, for maintaining a commendable work ethic and surviving between maniacs. I salute you for braving those mindless morons shouting slogans yesterday and managing to get your message across.

I was let down a bit when you pulled up the Gandhi family so blatantly, for fighting an accusation with an accusation was the forte of those hollow ones. You -  I see as a firebrand fighter, who ought not to stoop to such levels. Come on! That “Mumma, Quattrocchi ne kitna paisa diya” was too much for the Gandhi junior.  Maybe this is the only way left for you to work with these rogues; but I still expect you to be above this.

Anyway, I am so glad that you fought within the system, right in the house, amidst that chaos and came across victorious. Somehow, maybe even unknowingly, you have set an example for the youth:  That this is indeed a country riddled with scum of people (as proven in the parliament yesterday), and maybe we all need to fight to make our own way rather than waiting for a fair & conducive redressal system or a systematic way to proceed.

I have to say, Mr. Jaitley's speech was very impressive as well. How he calmly explained the issue in detail. I am happy to see the support you have within your own party, which in these days, remains a luxury not many afford. Congratulations!

Dear Prince Pappu,

(#pappu.. While I expect a person of Ms. Swaraj's stature to maintain dignity and limit her mudslinging, I have the luxury of slinging mud behind the veil of a common man, who in some limited way is empowered to express him/herself freely by our constitution  :) )

You are certainly not ready for what has fallen in your hands. Please explore the world and get back once you have proven something. My recommendation to you is to embrace an environment (preferably in India) which mandates struggle. Pick your stuff: sports, business, journalism, baba-ism & spirituality (quite in rage these days), services, acting – whatever you like. Struggle is what characterizes the way of life (and possibly some success) in our nation. How a commoner manages inflation, feeds his family, how a middle class wars to get his family a scrap of so called luxury of electricity, food and a home (otherwise a basic amenity in many countries I am told) and how a businessman struggles to keep his enterprise afloat in this hostile environment – You have a lot to learn.

It would be great if your dear bro-in law accompanies you for these lessons; at least he could come to terms with how different life is for the common man and the least he could do is be discreet about his loot.

Ah, one more thing. Please stop playing the bhola-bhaala boy. Please do not ever pretend that you had no control over what your hooligans were doing in the parliament yesterday. If you are still the leader in your party, I hold you responsible for all that happened yesterday. 

Or should I be asking for your resignation? 

When people say you are the ‘opposition’, that does not mean you are meant to oppose each and every thing. For the act of your idiots has cost my nation a lot of money, has stalled many bills critical for the economy and hit the image of India by your acts of hooliganism. The Parliament is not a place for such acts and I urge you to get some sense into your people and uphold the dignity of this country.

Dear Speaker,

I can’t thank you enough. Thank you Ma’am: for managing the house yesterday; for not allowing the catastrophic parliamentarians to murder democracy. You reminded me of an old teacher of mine who had a hard time making us cacophonic brats sit in the class or abate any form of destructive plan incubated by us. Now a mature person, I always feel ashamed of the trouble we created for our poor teachers. However, yesterday you stood through and bravely managed something beyond what I had seen or experienced in the past.

“Show them on TV. I am requesting Lok Sabha TV. This is not the way. I won't adjourn the House... Let people see what kind of behavior they are showing. Let the whole of India watch. Forty people are hijacking the rights of 440 members”- Your move was a masterstroke.

Dear Hooligans,

Shame on you. For your behavior, for creating a ruckus in the Parliament, for your shallowness and for the lack of sense & brains.

I was left aghast by your lack of intellect – a point proven when I tried to hear your slogans: 
  •  “Ek. Do. Teen. Chaar.. Band karo ye atyaachaar..”

I had a hard time believing this and had to confirm this again when you kept on yelling this multiple times. For this slogan served us last when we graduated from class 3. Is that all you could come up with? Just shows how dead your brain cells are.

And what good did you achieve, I ask? Asking a minister to resign does not mean that you can stall the parliament. Do you realize the futility of your argument? The country does not lose money when Lalit Modi travels to UK, Sweden or Nalasopara. But we certainly do lose money when you sit in that house and carry out your antics instead of facilitating something fruitful.  If the papers are to be believed, each session costs somewhere in the tune of Rs. 2 crores. This is direct cost; I am yet to factor other costs and as far as we citizens are concerned, we need to see some concrete returns for our taxes. I do not shell out that money for your drama.

This brings me to my request for coming to terms with reality. You primary accountability is to the citizens of this nation, Pappu’s and Madam’s orders ought to be secondary. Did you see how Pappu and Madam maintained a silent stance, leaving the dirty work to you people? Do you even comprehend the kind of fools you have been proven to be? Chanting a rhythm of slogans without an iota of inkling on the proceedings in the Parliament: you could not have been dumber. Your antics (under the leadership) have ensured that I will never consider your party worthy of any meaningful outcome in the near future. In fact, if you could legalize murder, citizens of the nation will make sure you are crushed in seconds.

I thought I had found the perfect profession for you: Fish mongering in Saki Naka. But then, careful deliberation of the matter proves that you are not even worthy of that. For the trade certainly calls for hard work and some basic intelligence, which I doubt you possess. So in conclusion, you might just be worthy of being sycophants to Pappu and corporation. 

Dear Prime Minister,

Congratulations for completing a year in office. Amongst many, some of the facts that have helped you earn respect are as follows:
  • ·         You have worked your way up the ladder. I am sure you understand our country well
  • ·         Winning an election in a country as diverse as ours is no easy feat, so you are marked an achiever
  • ·         You have given that much needed push of positivity  & hope everywhere, investors included
  • ·         By addressing basic, and even in some cases, embarrassing issues of our country, you have brought hidden discussions in the foreground. Addressing the toilet issue in our country, cleanliness, etc. does provide a starting point
  • ·         Make in India: Brilliant move.. While we are trying hard to directly jump from being an agrarian economy to a services based economy; I am still not convinced if we would get far skipping the production stage.  Make in India is my hope of setting the basics of an economic cycle right. 
  • Hitting the fundamental problem for women safety: Asking mothers to question not their daughters, but their sons on what they were upto, their whereabouts (not eve-teasing, eh?), berate them if they ever considered women anything less- You made sure that I became a fan
  • ·    While we have a long way to go, I feel that accountability has somewhat increased, with questions being asked across the bureaucracy and officials turning up on time

But now, that dreamy image is coming to an end. And one thing I agree with those ruffians shouting slogans in the Parliament is that: Please.. Get back to real work.

All those trips around the world are fine with the promises of investments etc. but that is not exactly what only you are supposed to do. Some pointers:
  • ·         Gentle reminder: Ms. Swaraj is the external affairs minister, not you.
  • BJP is not equal to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. We would like to see the core team empowered further.
  • ·         There are pressing issues back at home: that call for leading by example
  • ·         Your personal interest in our domestic projects ensured that things went on as per plan and the officials were monitored and questioned periodically, pray get back and continue
  • ·         I, as an Indian am never convinced on promises until they are delivered- The ‘hope’ of foreign investments needs a lot of ground-work before they are realized
  • ·         Don’t get a bad bargain for us just to make news. For eg: the $35 billion investment from Japan sounds great as a headline. But there’s nothing in it for me. The Japanese banks are responsible for managing disbursements with no mention of Indian financial institutions; the asset creation proposed and the emanating revenue is still not clear. Plus, these investments come with riders. The money will never reach here until we assure that our reforms take off and the environment is worthy of a constructive development

I have to say: of late, your behavior is somewhat in the lines what the country would expect a village idiot to do, once elevated to a position of power. For instance, if you put me in a position of power, the first thing I would do is scamper around to get myself invited to snazzy places, make sure I am pampered by an army of dignitaries, clock as many air miles as long as I am in power, and create a cocoon to protect myself from the problems of the system.

Sounds good when I do it for myself, but not what is expected from the Prime Minister of a nation.

Your current strategy of hard-selling without a robust underlying product can take us only so far. May I remind you of the number of investments that have returned thanks to the real environment at home?

Let us talk accountability in terms of numbers in a fair period: say two years. Discounting problems back at home, delays etc., if there is even a 35% realization of the commitments emanating from your foreign tours, I may contemplate lauding the efficacy of your travel and may ask you to continue with your globe-trotting spree. If that goal seems un-achievable, please get back and work, before I place you in the same category as above.

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