Saturday, October 02, 2010

Smart politicians at the zoo

“The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They're dumb.
Orangutans are skeptical ….”

I couldn’t help but sing along as I listened to Simon & Garfunkel’s extraordinarily simple and catchy At the zoo as I was strolling down a nearby lane on my way back from work. Which is probably why I didn’t initially notice the disconsolate middle aged guy sitting on a pile of stones on the side of the road.

“Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.

Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecyowwwwww! “

I was hopping on one leg as I realized that I had been hit on the foot by a stone. Looking around for the miscreant I realized that there was a guy sitting on a pile of stones and throwing them across the road at no one in particular. My rather melodramatic scream seemed to have awakened him from his lost in thought & hence throwing stones mood.
“Did I hurt you?” he asked with apparent concern. “No, I was actually screaming along with the song” I replied, each word dripping in sarcasm. “Oh I thought you got hurt by the stone I threw” he said and sat down again with a glum look on his face.

Now I take immense pride in my sarcasm and if he was a guy who didn’t even realize it there must have been something seriously wrong with him. I looked up and down the lane, there was nobody else around. Sigh! Why do I always have to be the nice guy? I asked him if he was ok. “It’s these smart politicians” he mumbled. “Bud, did you say smart politicians?” I asked him incredulously. “That’s what I said. They don’t let me do my job these days.” He sounded really sad. As in my wife ran away with my best friend sad.

I told him that what these politicians did wasn’t right. How could they stop a man from earning his daily wages? I was indignant and decided to do something about it. I asked him to explain his predicament and this is what he told me.
“My job description was pretty simple. With the upcoming Ayodhya verdict all I had to do was to whip up communal sentiments in this area. The people who hired me told me that Ayodhya issue was on the top of everyone’s minds and that the more trouble I incited, the more votes they would get. And the more I would get paid. So I went to meet the local troublemakers and started talking about the Ayodhya verdict.
But before I could get 2 sentences in, they interrupted me and started talking about some commonwealth games and how our government is bringing shame to the nation with our shoddy preparations. They were using the choicest abuses for one Suresh Kalmadi. Who is this @#%@&^ *%$^$ I asked them. They said he is the biggest crook in India and that he was a bigger thief than Lalit Modi. Imagine that !

Anyways, before I knew it I too was debating the CWG preparation when I got a call from my new bosses. I told them everything was under control & they seemed pleased. I tried one last time to bring the topic back to the Ayodhya issue but I had no luck. I went out on the streets and tried talking to some youngsters about the Ayodhya verdict. They asked me “What Ayodhya verdict?”. I asked them what was the most important issue facing the nation right now. They told me they were worried about whether we will be able to nail at least half the crooks who have profited from the CWG. I tried explaining the Ayodhya issue to them but they said they haven’t seen anything on that in bookface. I didn’t even know what bookface was so I didn’t ask them anything else. I tell you, there is something wrong with a country when the youth of the nation are not bothered about its historical conflicts. “
“But what does all of this have to do with smart politicians?” I asked as I still hadn’t figured out the connection.

“Don’t you see? It’s all been done by the government. I always thought politicians were dumb and out to make money but the current lot is smart. They have smartly made the media give so much coverage to the CWG fiasco these days that nobody talks about the Ayodhya issue. Which means nobody is ready to go out on the road and throw stones whatever the verdict is and however much I am ready to pay them. And that puts me out of work. What do you have to say to this friend ?”

But by then I wasn’t listening to him. My sympathy had vanished and I was already on my way with my earphones plugged in. I couldn’t help but smile at the irony of the lyrics
“At the zoo,
At the zoo,
At the zoo …..”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well written :) cant believe i actually enjoyed this