Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Democracy, Bombay Smells, Yetch!

There I am, as usual, waving to rickshaws that would take me to my place of work. Usually somebody takes pity, nay, compassion seeing my distraught "I am late for work, I will lose myjob" look. But today, no one stops, no one. Why? I am so upset and angry that after asking the twentieth owner of the beetle-shaped-contraption I feel like dunking them into hot oil and boiling them. What is wrong with the tribe today?

They all shake their heads, stocially, their noses touching the roof of their grimy chariots of dust. I have contempt for their types, these guys who drive with one leg up on their seats, they all have the lean and hungry look of starving sharks in some brackish sea, ready to eat their own kind. See that one in the dirty khakhi shirt and trousers, eating betel nut and spitting freely around him?

No, they are protesting, they are unionized and it seems one of them was roughted up by the police. See how even a minority can ransom the majority in our "loktantrik" nation. How fragile life is. Somebody called this the "thin line of democracy." Indeed it is.

So I decide to take a bus to work. But the queue for the bus winds long, twisted, serpentine into god only knows where. And, dear reader, picture this. There I was standing at the end of several "S" shapes, kicked and trod on several times, pushed and yelled at ("chalo, chalo, chalo"), by these smart, surly guys on their way to some sweat shop or the other. This I deduce from their sweaty smell. I make it to office by bus.

Speaking of smells, Bombay has a variety of smells, which meld and sit like a veil on Bombayites. People in Kerala, my own dear ones, say that "They (meaning Bombaywallahs) have a smell, you know." Quite possible, it's a smelly city.

But then, ah, damnation, apocalypse, utter despondency, I don't believe it one bit. I smell myself, pointing my nose et al at me. Do I smell? I have been accused of BB, early in my life, and I guess I do smell after revelling in epicurean delights. But that's the subject of another blogpost.

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