Monday, December 30, 2013

Modi or Rahul?

Few days back, around afternoon, I was relaxing in balcony on a winter Sunday while reading newspaper (I generally say I was taking Vitamin D :D), I was struck with a question from my wife, "Modi ya Rahul?". I glanced at her then again sunk back quietly. "लगता नहीं कि तुमने अपना मन बना लिया है, अभी भी confusion में हो?"  she asked again. I said, "कुछ picture तो बनी है दिमाग में , फैसला भी है… देखते है ". Soon, me appearing in a trance while reading, threw a challenge to me, "अच्छा तो फिर दोनों के +ve और -ve points बताओ & how would you explain it in simple terms to one who has just crossed 18?".  
I looked at the sky for a second, asking god, "अभी तो paper का  पहला page ही पढ़ना चालू  किया  है , इतनी  जल्दी ?". I finally agreed to give it a thought. Since I love to make analogies with real life scenarios(and funnier) to understand better, as the confusing and almost similar manifestos of both parties are harder to digest, I tried my way in answering to her.

Assume that we are at a bus stand. There are many to choose from(each has its own party symbol) but there are two buses at short distance to us, one is saffron(BJP) in color and the other has a "face palm" (congress) on it. They both are in ideal position with their engines roaring (like the 'Nagar seva' of Indore :)) and the conductors are shouting their hearts out to call us for a ride and both are promising to get us to 'a' destination.When we enter each one of them, what do we see ...
Try to visualize...we move towards the BJP bus first... a decently old bus which looks like has just got servicing done and some broken glass windows at the back and its conductor(Rajnath Singh), who was shouting at the door hanging half of his body outwards and beating sh$# out of the glass window with the Rs.5 coin, "हा भियो, ...टेसन टेसन टेसन ....चलो भिया चलो, अपने NaMo भिया कि गाडी है...टेसन टेसन टेसन". I said, "भियो, direct टेसन चलोगे न… घुमा के तो नि ले जाओगे "". "अरे तुम बैठो तो भिया, क्या यही पूरी पत्री छपवाओगे",  he said. We entered and talked to the driver and had a quick look at the others inside the bus. The bus driver's name is Modi. He seems to know where all of us want to go and is animatedly assuring us of taking all of us to the destination but his way is little different. His sleeves are folded up, two top buttons like Tapori Anil Kapoor are open, his rustic face and local slang which he throws while telling about the tales of his numerous days he spent in driving shows his knowledge of route, confidence and experience in driving this bus. Midway, I started feeling un-comfortable about my pick, I felt that bus was waiting earlier for too long and it is stopping on the non-designated bus stops too frequently and not going with the speed which we had expected. On argument with helpers & conductors, we are told very rudely not to ask questions or suggest anything, "driver knows it all and will go according to his will (ज़यादा  ग्यान  बाटने  की ज़रूरत नी है )". Unless the bus is overly occupied, bus will be stopped at all possible bus stops. We are denied of any freedom of speaking, moving inside bus, could be asked to vacate seats at any point of time or could be un-boarded without any ticket refund. There are some people at the back seat making their presence terrifying because of way they are shouting in drivers praise and don't give a damn with what the passengers might be going through. His helpers are wielding weapons without fear in bus although assuring us they will get us to our destination without any trouble or worry. Although I paid for a seat, and the iron seats had a nice appearing cushion with leather cover but, what the hell, actually there is no cushion but just cover that too of ragazine! If this was not too much, then intermittently I had to vacate seat for the driver-helpers, saying, "don't be bothered by standing for few will get to where you want to and ..(if he wants to!)". There is an elderly-looking lady sitting right besides driver(Sushma) smiling at us and assuring not to be worried of whenever driver jumps red-light or hits another vehicle on road. I checked this travel company's rating on Google, it would be around 3 out of 5 with mixed feedback.Being inside it, gave a strange combination of feelings, fear of losing independence along with sense of assurance of reaching where I want to.

"Hmmm, now, how would you describe that bus with face-palm sign?", I was asked. Looking at the Congress' bus, which is very old, definitely needs a lot of overhauling but was recently painted in a bid to look good, but alas, the horrible engine noise and signs of its parts getting worn out gives highly contradicting image. There are helpers who are tightening screws here and there to keep this bus running. Looking at all this, I gather some strength to take a chance to have a ride and step into it. Conductor(Digvijay & few others interchangeably) is unconvincing and no better than BJP's bus. We got a glimpse at the window panes, shocked to see that most of them are either not there or broken by stone pelting at the bus. I inquire about it from fellow passengers in the queue and they said the bus' helpers either steal them or people in the route throw stones at this bus b'coz they are angry with the noise it creates!

We get into the bus but there is no driver! Conductor said, 'Sir is coming in his BMW", I was awestruck at his answer & the look he gave to me like, I was supposed to know this. After 2 hours of waiting, I saw few BMWs coming towards the bus, meanwhile a lot of passengers had already left the bus but I was still trying to be hopeful. A clean shaven, nice looking guy in a suit came out of a BMW, waived hands at us first and then steps into our bus. I felt like telling this guy not to board this bus b'coz its just a cheating going on, but OMG! He waived at us again in the bus and then helpers rolled out a red carpet in the aisle to the driver's seat and sprinkled flowers on it. He walks on it and before turning to driving seat he says to us, "I don't know where do you all want to go, but we will try to figure out together"! I have no idea what's happening there.

He sat on the driving seat but, while trying to sneak a peek I found, one guy holding the steering wheel, one takes care of gear and another one of the brakes and accelerator. After gaining some strength, I dared to ask, "भियो, अपन चल कहा रिये है.। ticket तो हमने टेसन का लिया है, वही ले जाओगे  न सीधे-सीधे , सही सलामत पंहुचा दोगे ?". He laughed first and then said "don't worry, we will go everywhere where the road is(does not matter where you want to go) and till we have diesel with a great Escape velocity". Then a lawyer looking, grey haired man ran towards me asking to shut up and sit down quietly."Today is baba's first day at this, don't dare to make it complex or you will loose all your privileges", he said to me. "First day? For what?", I asked."Driving a bus, you idiot common man of banana country. Baba will go where he want to, rest assured you will have zero loss", he replied! I felt like putting a bullet in my head(or his head) at that time, then looked at the options of getting on to any other bus, but, damn it, this was the only last one! Other passengers said, this guy does not know driving, he does it everyday, he will only give instructions and if he finds some interest then he might try his hand on steering wheel today for the first time. Although we paid for ticket when we were in queue before boarding, but had to pay again in the bus thrice, whenever a lungi dance doing conductor passed through the aisle. The seats did not have any sign of cushions! WTF!! Restrictions here were same as in other saffron colored bus but I could talk to other passengers, rest all was same circus!

"Are these the only options?", she asked. "For now, yes, AAP is far behind to come with a good count in parliament, I think, although Delhi has been won. They will be वोट -कटुआ for both parties at that time :)", I replied. 
Looking at the options again, the former does give me a sense of belief that the driver knows where passengers want to go; has experience in taking them there; may not be giving too much freedom or comfort to the passengers and will support his helpers in whatever they do. He needs passengers to fuel the bus but where the bus will go, passengers will not have any say once done! We may loose your freedom, rights, may be bullied in-between and still hope that we will get there. Everything is shiny but they all seem hollow and you can't touch them. There is a sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

The picture is not quite green in the later case too. A driver only playing NFS till now is thinking of riding this about-to-die bus without even touching it. The staff's eyes tell the truth of him as a holy burden but are rock solid fan of this old bus. We will be bullied by the helpers with no hope of relief from anywhere. Where will the bus go, is completely uncertain of because it is for fun of Baba not for passengers(us). The money collected as ticket to give basic facilities would end up in the fuel for BMW he takes to ferry between his home and bus stand. He might crash it into a valley or kill thousands on road and rest assured that no police will come to rescue. Forget the sign of light, driver does not even know how does a tunnel look like!

She was convinced with the scenario I portrayed and enjoyed the story, and has mostly made up her mind too... I know too whom I have to vote for if these are the only choices but I wish the picture could be different this time at least. 

This was an attempt to picture both of them in a different manner which I hope have been able to create.

ऱाजीव  शर्मा