I was to attend an important event last week but missed it because I got stuck in traffic for more than an hour. In fact, I was the Chief Guest at the event. I had the foresight to, after 20 mins of looking this way and that, call ahead, and tell them that it would not at all be possible to come over as there was no way forward, only backward. They said, no problem, we will manage without you. I didn’t know whether to feel relieved or insulted.
There were vehicles all around me. Stuck in my car for almost an hour, I was reminded of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s Poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” about the Battle of Balaclava fought in October 1854 – The second stanza reads like this
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
In the end I had to turn back as none had predicted the unexpected blockage – not google maps, nor the commuters who went ahead of me. Apparently, the blockage was caused by a procession ahead – a procession to improve road conditions for pedestrians – for which permission had been denied, we learnt later. It was spontaneous, walk in procession! Perhaps, in hindsight, or maybe foresight, one of us could have got out of our vehicles, walked the short distance to them and engaged them in a fruitful dialogue that might have parted the red sea…and bridged the gap; but that was too pedestrian for us – each one of us thought why should I? it’s my right of way…. I’ve paid my taxes; they have not paid theirs…
None apologized – Not the processionists, nor the concerned authorities for turning a blind eye to the procession or those in charge of managing the traffic enroute. But that is only to be expected – we are used to it. And there was no assurance, forget about re-assurance, that it would not happen again. We are used to that too. We are used to a lot of things – that is where we get our immunity from good governance. We could have raised a stink about it, but only to find the kettle finding a pot to call black. The kettle is the superior vessel, a vestige of the British Empire! It has not earned its coil, but is always coiled to strike…
Anyway, I was glad I missed the event. It was thinly attended due to the battle of the Balaclava fought against the omnipresent omicron…. And of course, the battle of wills and legacies – I know what’s good for you vs you don’t know what’s good for you… Generally speaking, I’m not used to empty spaces. I just love them when they are in my head… which is most of the time…. Still, nobody can notice – I’m that good! Just read this column!
By now you must be wondering about parallels you endured or read about last week. Parallel is a good word because the three l’s in the word will never meet! Neither will the two a’s! There is also no comparison though you might be inclined to make one. That’s your choice! It’s probably one of the few remaining ones!
With Elections to five states just around the corner, politicians have been cutting corners to inaugurate a slew of projects that are ostensibly meant to help us – or the selected contractors, it’s not clear – lead a better quality of life; and convert us to their way of thinking by allurement! Luckily, that is not yet banned.
Anyway, faith must lie eternal that all the money spent on inauguration of projects does not go waste…but goes to the waist – our waist – right now that’s all that matters – roti, roti, roti. The cost of veggies is over the top – Brinjal and Cabbage at Rs: 90 a kg? at least in my city could be higher in yours. You could liquefy them and use them in your vehicle if need be. Same cost!
That’s a lot of baggage to carry into an election, but by the time you remove the balaclava to show your face before you vote, it will be just a bad memory, just like the bodies floating in a river shown (for some time) on the news. That memory is short, is evident from the fact that all those bodies we saw on the news in the river are now anti bodies! The percentage of anti-bodies to bodies has already been determined, if you have been following the news carefully and so will not be an issue! In any case, these will be elections with a difference – with a balaclava. But mind you, not the ones thieves use to prevent identification, when they rob you…. Also, candidates will be screened. Literally.
The third wave has prompted a new round of vaccinations, and we now have the pro and home version of Covid Test kits, just like windows! The Pro version administered at a variety of mark ups at hospitals and airports, make one feel distinctly inhospitable. But once you get omicron, you will be hospitable – in both its letter and spirit. Otherwise I’llCU!
And this is exactly how you’ll be verse off….
When your throat begins to itch
That’s when you’ll start to bitch…
About omicron and its eco-system
Its restrictions and prescriptions
It’s when everyone begins to spout their Wisdom
And you get poorer, while they become rich!
Enjoy your weekend at home, forced, or otherwise. One thing’s for sure. If you do go out, you won’t get stuck in traffic like I did! There’s Car few to contend with! But there’s no event to attend? that can be arranged, can it not? like a Padayatra?
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.
Image by OpenClipart