Tuesday, September 14, 2004


On countless occasions, I have seen people showing their disgust about politics. "All are of the same breed", they say about politicians. Politics is an ugly word for them, being "the domain of corporate sleazeballs, greedy officials and lazy bureaucrats". What I have noticed is that the very same people have their own political prejudices, unreasonable loyalties, and more often than not, they do support greedy officials and lazy bureaucrats. Those who are openly 'political' are willing to discuss and debate on what they think, whereas these 'apolitical cynics' fanatically cling to their beliefs.

A few months back, I overheard a conversation between two co-passengers in a city bus. One was a political guy, in his fifties, slightly disabled with his underarm crutches, who looked as though he had infinite time with him. The apolitical one sitting opposite to him was also in his fifties, broad forehead, aquiline nose, penetrating gaze, the very soul of rectitude and goodness (too much of Llosa there!). The political one badly wanted to start a conversation. He asked the apolitical one: "So what's up with elections?". The apolitical one replied: "I do not understand them. Better not to pay any attention." The political guy went ahead, ignoring this show of disinterest, and mentioned Kerry's name at some point. This apparently provoked the apolitical guy.

"Pigs will fly", quipped he, "if Kerry generates the millions of jobs he promises now." According to him, Kerry is "wrong on taxes, wrong on defense". (He uttered the words as though he had patented those.) "And look, this is a guy who said he voted for that bill before voting against it". (What an effect these TV ads have! I'm happy that the Supreme Court of India banned election ads on the cable.) In the same breath, he continued: "They want to repeat Mogadishu in Fallujah. This time it just will not work." I was struck by the sheer power of his logic. In order to win the elections, Kerry instigated the Fallujah "insurgents"!

The political guy, it turned out, was not with Bush nor with Kerry. He wanted things to improve in his country, and he thinks everybody should take an interest in political matters. More importantly, he thought Bush and Kerry are two sides of the same coin. I guess that was wisdom on his part.


At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a man set up shop in a fish market with the board: 'fresh fish sold here'.
another seller cribbed 'hey, you mean the rest of us sell stale fish?'
the board was changed to 'fish sold here'.
someone remarked. 'obviously you are selling the fish HERE not somewhere else'.
the board became: 'fish sold'
a customer remarked: 'you are not giving them for free, are you?!'
the board now showed: 'fish'
another customer said: 'hey this is a fish market. does one expect you to sell color tv's or what?!'
the board was left blank; the vendor hoped no one would have reason to complain.
along came someone who said: 'hey why the blank board. how do we know what you have??'

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Anand said...

Remember reading sth like this in Boban and Molly! But I don't see how it's relevant here. Hopefully you are not implying that one needs to align with Bush or Kerry if one is "political".


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