Sunday, May 28, 2006

Those Nostalgic Years - Part 2

K was his name. A natural leader, philosopher, knowledgeable and who stood front in every event that happen in our world. He was short, dark – somewhere I have read that most of the dictators the world has seen are short stature – and K was one in such a mould! He was our savior on all those fights with the next street boys, he had the courage to climb over the electric post to retrieve the cricket ball that was hit to the neighborhood terrace during street crickets, and he knew how to ride a bicycle with both hands off the handle bar! As kids most of us were naturally attracted to him and we followed his rules - without any questions.

He and I were class mates from classes One to Seven. The very first incident I could remember was when we were at class 3. K took my ‘balpam’ without my permission – for those who are not familiar with it: imagine a smaller version of Chalk that as kids we use to write in black slates. When I asked back for my priced possession the answer I got from him was a pinch using a safety pin on my thighs. Like all kids I screamed suddenly at the class and I was loud enough to attract the class teacher towards us. I complained about what K had just done and the teacher decided that this was too big a case to be handled at his level. So he sent us to the principal’s room with the class rep to represent the neutral view! Now the class rep was no real great leader and was afraid of K. In one earlier instance, during a lunch time rumble, K managed to emerge victorious – ripped off the rep’s shorts and thrown it to the exhaust fan opening near the ceiling! And the rep ran back to his home half naked to come back only the next day!K walked towards the principal’s room briskly urging the rep to speed things up. Being a bony guy physically, I could barely manage to enter the principal’s room two minutes after both these guys. In this small gap, all that the class rep could manage to convey the half deaf principal was the exact opposite of what happened– that I used the safety pin on K’s thighs. Being a busy & angry man, the principal didn’t think much – he took his bamboo stick and promptly landed two blows on my thighs – tit for tat!

Weeping loudly I conveyed that it was the reverse and in both the instances my thighs were punctured for no reason. By now the seriousness of the whole issue was lost and K got only a knock on his head. I can never forget this gross injustice committed to me. And for the rest of the years we managed to stick around, K was always the winner.

K led the things from front in our street as well. He decided who would get to bat and bowl. He decided who would stand in the third man position. All of us were somewhat mesmerized by him. He had a charisma to attract people; He knew many of the Tamil Bad words with meaning; Sometimes he would be so nice to me, with a hand around my shoulders; talking loosely; sometimes he would also attack, push, hit me suddenly from behind; He was never predictable. He had many things to share with us during our afternoon meets at the backyards; like how he felt when he smoked a cigarette! In our world those days, girls never had a schema of things in our routines; they had their own games and functions (like Thirupaavai, Paavai Vizha) separately. We all used to feel very shy to talk about them; talking about girls was considered inferior. The best way to humiliate a person was to call him a ‘pottai’ (meaning a lady!). But K had many stories to tell us which were beyond this border! He explained us about the primary physical differences between male & female. He would narrate some of those posters he had seen in the barber shops – we were never allowed to go to the barber shop – the barber would come to our homes for his duties! He would explain us his heroics – like how he followed one of our street girls to find that daily she used to meet a person behind the temple chariot! He had seen a couple from the street at a closed house in the street during noons. When we tried to do the same invariably we found nothing! He would show some of those torn pages from some old books – that would have content and words which most of us couldn’t understand. We would beg him to explain them – he would not! He would demand for 50 paisa! That was a big money for us in those days! Or he would demand for fifty match box labels or ten glass marbles per word. We could not afford them – and till the end I never got the chance to look at those pages! His stories were exciting – something we never heard of!

K used to be very much a leader with a lot of partiality. Most of the times he lied; he favored his own people; if I would have got into a brawl with him directly, probably I would have won! But though physically I was taller than him, I never had the courage inside me to fight back. He would never pick up the cricket ball from the gutter – I had to do it!

Some five or six of us would collectively put some money and rent a cycle for an hour to learn cycling. K was an expert already. In the name of showing us how to ride, he used to ride the cycle for almost half hour. We were made to run with him till the street end and back – just to watch how he rides! The rest of us had to share the remaining half hour! He taught most of us to cycle! I was very slow to learn – one day suddenly he took his hands off from the back of my seat when I was still very new to cycling. I didn’t realize that! The instruction was to look straight! I was riding the cycle at an angle for some distance suddenly to realize that there was nobody to back me up! I was scared – I could not stop the cycle as at that time I could only climb or get down from a cycle from an elevated ‘Thinnai’. I could not find a suitable place to stop – I didn’t know how to turn – the buttermilk vendor was coming right in front of me – shouting ‘Saami – paathu; paathu’. She tried her level best to get away from the way – she climbed to the parapet wall of the gutter – As I was looking at her ‘straight’ as per the instructions, without my control the cycle was running towards her. I collide with her and both of us slipped into the gutter! The pot was broken and her per day wage was in gutters! None of my mates were to be seen around! I got up and ran towards my home and went to the terrace and hid behind the chimney! The vendor came to my home – shouted – got the compensation and went away! To my surprise, instead of being angry with me, my grandparents were busy checking if I was hurt! And they consoled me saying it was all normal when we try to learn new things and the next time I should be more careful! That day I thought I understood my grandparents better! K made me pay for the damages done to the cycle conveniently overruling his contribution – stranded me in the middle when I was quite new to the learning process!

A game of Bambaram

K was an expert in the game of Bambaram.The game of Bambaram had again very simple rules. All of us had to go at the same time for the ‘Goes’ – this was the ‘toss’ for the Bambaram game. The ‘Goes’ process was – one of us would count get, set, go. All the players should wind their Bambarams with their ropes, unwind it on the ground to rotate and then pick it up with the rope as quickly as possible. The primary skill on this relies on shortest rope length usage and still make the bamabram to rotate on the ground allowing you to catch it back with the rope– K used to do it with simple two winds of the rope; I needed atleast four winds; some others needed to wind to the full extent; If the Bambaram failed to rotate on its nail on the ground – we call it as ‘Mattai’, you lose the toss. Or if you fail to catch the Bambaram through the rope then you lose the toss. Similarly the last person to finish the ‘Goes’ lose as well. Their Bambarams would be placed inside the circle drawn on the ground. The rest of the members would have a go at the Bambarams inside the circle. If you manage to land your nail on the Bambarams inside the circle it would leave a mark – called as ‘Aakkar’ in our circles. The best player’s Bambaram will have the least number of Aakkars – and as usual it was a matter of prestige. To avoid our main Bambaram getting too many Aakkars, we would always keep a spare on – we called it as ‘Pondatti Bambaram’ (Pondatti means wife in Tamil). We used the ‘Purushan Bambaram’ (Purushan means Husband in Tamil), to give Aakars to others’ Bambarams and used Pondatti Bambaram to receive Aakars from others. We take special care of the Purushan Bambaram. We would hand pick the nails from the black smith work shop, sit with him to see that he inserted the nail to our Bambaram without any cracks. We also would do a couple of dry runs to ensure that all was well before paying the blacksmith his 60 paisa! We would collect the lids of the soda or cool drink bottles – which we used to decorate our ropes. We would put a hole at the center of those lids and inserted the rope such that the lids would form one end of the rope and the other end would be used to start the winding process. In our petty fights these ropes with solid lids at one end used to serve as our weapons as well and those blows really hurt!

K started the culture of playing Bambaram at the school also. Normally we get around 45 minutes lunch break. We would all finish our lunch as quickly as possible and used the rest of the lunch time to play. Normally we played football with a small rubber ball and one could imagine the pathetic looks of our legs – without shoes playing on hard sand that too chasing a rubber ball! The person who carried most of the cuts was hailed an expert! Some of us broke our nails! We had scars all over our legs that are left by others' nails! But nothing stopped us from playing that game! I didn’t join the Bambaram gang initially – my grandma used to check my bag before I leave for school and invariably she removed all the ‘unnecessary’ items from it. So I could never manage to get my two Bambarams to school! K started bullying me, consistently stirred my ego at the class rooms – that I am afraid of receiving aakars and I didn’t dare to face him in the game. In between periods he would shout 'Pottai' - the whole class would laugh including the girls! Slowly it acted on my mind. The only other way to handle this pressure was to participate in the game – but I needed a Bambaram for that! I checked with some of my friends if they would be able to lend me theirs, in vain. I realized that I needed to get a new one for school!

I started saving some money towards it – it took me two whole months to save the Two Rupees I needed to buy the Bambaram. I used to get 25 Paisa per week from my Grandma towards the expense of filling air to the cycle tyres. If you could help yourself at shop with the mechanical instrument to fill air it would cost 10 paisa. The normal air compressor machine would cost 25 paisa. I preferred to use the cheaper option, sweating it out as I saved the rest towards buying a new Bambaram. I practiced hard at the backyards of my home throughout. Finally I managed to buy a new one on my way to school! I also fixed up an agreement with one of my other classmates that he would maintain the Bambaram for me and bring it to school everyday! The very first day, at the lunch time rumble I proudly displayed my Bambaram and joined the gang. I was always good at the ‘Goes’ and so I managed not to get into circle. I had a field day displaying very good form! A couple of rounds went by – I managed to leave some Aakkars as well. I had a proud look at my face – looking round to realize that even some of the girls were watching the game!

In a rare event of concentration lapse, as K was trying to get rid of a person from the circle, he failed to take the catch smoothly and so his Bambaram went inside the circle. I was excited to the core – the moment I was waiting for! There was my chance to prove K and especially the girls that I was better than the best! I took my time to wind my Bambaram tightly - Aimed properly at K’s Bambaram which was kept at the center among the rest of them. I whipped my rope with full force to release my weapon and I was on the dot! My Bambaram’s nail landed right on the top of K’s Bambaram and left a nice, deep Aakkar on its pink face, sent his out of the circle – but then the lady luck deserted me once more. My Bambaram went on to ‘mattai’ after hitting K’s Bambaram and I could not complete the ‘catch’ process! Mine went inside the circle and K had his weapon on hand! He was enraged to see the plight of his possession - the Aakkar from me - He aimed, released his weapon – on the dot – my Bambaram broke into two pieces! Once again K was the winner! My two month’s savings was lost in a second! Two tear drops on my eyes! Not willing to stand there anymore, I collected the two pieces, ran into the classroom! My agreement with my friend to ‘maintain’ my Bambaram never got materialized! And on that date I swore that I will never again play Bambaram at the school and I managed to keep that promise till this date!

… to be continued …

Monday, May 22, 2006

Netaji -Why Not?

In the heat of reservation debate the Government has silently gone ahead and thrashed one of the most critical historical myth - The Nethaji's death! Why should the government thrash 'Mukherjee Commission report' even without taking it for analysis? The commission has spent 7 years of tax payers money in search of the truth and finally exposed that the 'History' our text books taught us is indeed WRONG! Is it not a big deal? Is this the kind of respect one can give to the great Indian? I mean, how many of us feel proud when we just utter the word Netaji? How fascinated are we when we hear or talk about him? I always felt that we were not fortunate enough to live with such greats! The Mukherjee commission has given a glimpse that my feeling may be wrong! Two of the conclusions in Mukherjee's report excites me!

(1) Netaji did not die in the plane crash, as alleged;
(2) The ashes in the Japanese temple(Renkoji temple near Tokyo) are not of Netaji;

There is a strong notion that Bose actually lived and died (1985) in India in Faizabad, UP as a hermit namely Gumnami Baba aka "Bhagavanji". This means he lived among most of us! He has seen what Independent India is (am sure it would have hurted him)!!.

Now why should the government reject Mukherjee's report categorically? Why the government did not approve the previous two commission reports on the same issue - namely the Shah Nawaz commission (1956) and the GD Khosla's commission (1970)? In 1978, then PM Morarji Desai had to concede that the "findings" of the "inquiries" conducted by Shah Nawaz and GD Kholsa were not "decisive". These two commissions agreed with the populist view!

It is also learnt that Justice Mukherjee did not get the cooperation he needed from this government and infact he has been humiliated in many of the instances. He has also reported that the PMO has destroyed some of the top secret files. It is also proved that the Government destroyed several relevant 'classified & top secret files' and the 'contemporary official documentary records' based on which the govt was constrained to reject the findings of Shah Nawaz & GD Khosla panels.

Now as the government has rejected all the commissions' reports on this, what do we ought to believe? I believe the government has the obligation to this country. They should request USSR to open up their views about Netaji - I still believe we have a very good equation with Vlamdir Putin. The theory suggests that Netaji has escaped to Russia and not to Japan as we have been taught in schools.

Netaji has been one of the most admired Indians in the last century. This great personality truely deserves a great tribute - bring out the truth! Why Not?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Those Nostalgic Years - Part 1

The place, where I spent my first 20 years of life is, Tenkasi - a small beautiful town near Tirunelveli, down south of Tamilnadu is an integral part of what I am today. Like most of us I too had an exciting and fun filled childhood. Some of those incidents are everlasting memories, very green in my mind - those petty fights we had, our kinds of games & rules, our own street girls whom we used to be so possessive about etc. – these thoughts always make me fresh from the dull routine life as a professional at Chennai. For reasons we all know well, the names are faked in this blog – am sure if my old friends happen to read these they can map to who is who – but for the rest, this would be some kind of ‘nice to read’ and might kindle some of your own childhood reminiscences.

Tenkasi has been a lovely place to live. Situated geographically closer to Kerala, at the bottom of Western Ghats, nature has been very kind to that town. Green fields irrigated by Sitraaru (Small River), cool breeze gifted by the Western Ghats, the famous tiny rain droplets called Saaral, and the imposing Raja-Gopuram of Lord Kasi Vishwanatha temple – I have been fortunate to grow up there. Our street comprised of about 30 houses next to each other, a very typical south Tamilnadu’s agrahaaram with a Krishna temple at one end.

My father being a government employee, used to get a transfer very frequently. Considering my educational needs he left me at my grandfather’s place. Given that my grandfather was a powerful personality in that town – his fame has given me both – the unwanted visibility that prevented me from being a part of most of my childhood secretive fantasies and some benefits like some of my petty mistakes are forgiven easily than others by the general people in the street, I was always welcome in anybody’s home anytime which the other guys didn’t enjoy.

We always had atleast about eleven guys in our street and so naturally we always had a cricket team. Every year we would participate in the local tournaments - whether we managed to play cricket or not - we ensured to change the name of our team every year – one year it would be ‘Tiger 11’, the next year it would be ‘New Street Wonder 11’ – I wonder why it always ended with 11! And we had a wonderful method for selecting the playing eleven with just the right mix - seniors as playing eleven and juniors as twelfth man, thirteenth man etc., regardless of their capabilities. I owned four stumps, two pads, a pair of gloves, one bat and two cricket balls – and so a lot of things depended on me. So I used to somehow make it to the playing eleven (well most of the times!).

The rules of these local tournaments are very simple. Played as twenty over each side match, the prize will be a brand new cricket ball for the winning team. There were no sponsors and so the teams would need to collect the money somehow to buy a new cricket ball – some of us would beg our grandmas, some of us would steal it from the kitchen boxes, some other bold guys would pick up some from their dad’s Wallets (those brave souls!) – now this is the easier part of the game. The tougher part happens at the end of the match - as per rules of the game, the losing captain should sign the scorecard and give it to the winning captain. Now that is not easy! It is viewed as a huge prestige issue as the winning captain would go around the town showing the signature to all the street cricketers. An act that ensured to create a lot of embarrassment wherever you go. That too when you get to be bullied in-front of your sister or younger brother the impact on your ego would be tremendous! To counter this embarrassment, in our team meeting we decided to select the youngest of the kids as captain! He would not be playing the game as he would be just about the height of the bat– he would go for the toss, while walking back he would get sick (mostly stomach upset & so would run towards the toilet!) and we would get a substitute to play! As a kid he would not bother signing any paper if we lose, in fact he would be happy to do that! But sadly after five games, one of the other teams identified this trick and all others started objecting to this. So a new rule was passed at the inter-committee meeting - the captain who walks in for the toss should also play. Else the other team would ‘walk-over’! This rule brought us back to the main stream!

Once a match is fixed between two teams, the practice sessions would start. We would choose locations where the rival team could not watch us practice – fearing that they would study our bowlers & batsmen to learn our little game secrets!. Fortunately we had a wonderful place for this. The river Sitraaru runs behind our street –a fifty feet wide bank separated the river and our houses, forming long backyards for all the southern rows of houses in our street. Mostly these yards were neglected, occupied with bushes and open air toilets (not many houses had septic tanks those days!). There is a common way from our street to the river which served the purpose of pitch, run up for bowling & the wicket keeping. (I have promised my great grand mother that I will convert this lane to a concrete lane – which will benefit the public to reach the river comfortably – for their daily needs like bathing, washing clothes etc. A promise that I am yet to fulfill and I am serious about it!). The fielders would spread over the backyards of the houses over the bushes. The seniors get to bat for long and the juniors like me get to bowl a lot. At the end when I get my chance to bat I would be so tired that I would end up losing my wicket mostly to the second ball I face. The seniors always encouraged us to bowl – I was not matured enough to understand this trick for long – until one fine day I realized that even the opposite team’s batsmen always loved my bowling! I realized that I was not in Kapil’s league as my seniors used to encourage me during the practice sessions. Later on I also realized that I bat far better than many of the other seniors! So I applied my veto in one of the meetings – threatening to go home with my kit! And that worked – in all the practice sessions, I started getting to bat right at the top! Our cricket fantasies continued until my under-graduation without a break beyond which I had to move out of Tenkasi. But it was fun, entertainment, a lot of noise and a great memory!

The seasons change and so are the games we get to play. And with the absence of television sets we had our entire holidays to spend together with laughter & petty fights. We had a wide variety of outdoor games to choose from – cricket – the all timer, Bambaram (modern days’ bayblade), Kitti Pul (Gilli), Kucchi Game (Stick Play), Paandi (a girls game), Goli (glass marbles), kabadi, Volley ball, Vattu (driving a cycle tyre with or without a rim, with the help of a stick) etc. We had indoor games like Carom, Hide & Seek, Trade, Ludo, Pallaan-Kuzhi and some customized games with toy Cars & Jeeps. We also had various collection hobbies – stamps, coins were not within our reach – they cost money. Our pet collections included the labels of match boxes, glass marbles, small magnets that we got from broken fan kits, bi-cycle dynamos (a lot of our afternoon times were spent to collect these from the nearby repair shops), different kinds of flies, moths and butterflies pinned to thermo-coal plates, and some self sculptured clay idols. All these had their own prestige and ego associated with them and used to be the deciding factor on ‘who is the best?’ among us.

But for these, we had a host of other outdoor activities that were mostly associated with the rich vegetation in the backyards. Climbing the trees, making customized swings using a truck/bike tyre & rope, building small structures at the backyards using clay & sand (we call them temples with toy statues inside), diving & swimming in the river, stealing a variety of fruits from Mangoes, Guavas, sappotta and coconuts etc. A lot of other activities would surround the temple involving cleaning the temple premises, washing & polishing the lamps & other ornaments, making sandalwood paste for the lord using the huge sandal wood & stone and other such things. Amidst all these we also managed to learn a bit of Vedas, Bhajans, a little bit of Sanskrit, a lot of Slokhas – thanks to the “Aasthiga Samajam” that was run by our grandparents. Most of our parents were very strict in participating in the temple & Samaajam activities. And all of us were made to learn music in one form or the other – Carnatic vocal, Violin, Mirudangam, Tabla, Veena etc.

I never remember being idle during my childhood not knowing how to spend my time! We always wanted extra time to spend together. Round the year we used to have some festival or the other at the temple. Some of our favorites include the morning Bhajans during the Tamil month of Margazhi and the Garuda Seva on the Saturdays of the month of Purattaasi. But for these we also celebrated other festivals like Krishna Jayanthi, Sri Rama Navami, Chittrai maasa Thanneer Pandhal, Kolaattam, Hanumath Jayanthi, Sankara Jayanthi, Paavai Vizha during Makara Sankranthi etc. We would decorate the entire street with festoons made of palm leaves. We had a lot to share, lot to enjoy and a lot to laugh. And most of us (rich or poor) were brilliant students as well. Today as I think back, all these things always kept our mind fresh, continuously stimulating, making us physically & mentally strong!

Now as I get to visit my place pretty regularly, I feel very sad for the current generation of kids for what they are missing - The TV occupies most of the parents’ time, kids are rooted to the computer monitors with all illusionary games shooting and kicking each other. I can hardly see the crowd for the functions at the temple. Today I curse myself for not capturing many of those events in our old camera. There I sit on the stairs of the Lord Krishna’s temple – staring on the empty street, longing to re-live those moments, to hear those joyous shouts, to continue with those petty fights – the moments that stay only as fading memories in my mind…

…to be continued...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Road Rage - A Social Crime?

Driving on Indian roads – Hell or Heaven? I am sure a lot of study and research effort has gone into this in the western but I doubt if many of us would understand what it is. I find this very strange – in western countries, if you happen to have an eye contact with a stranger, mostly he/she will smile, say a hello, good day, etc. Imagine what happens at a similar instance in India? You stare, he stares, you stare back and he stares back & so on. There is no smile – there is no wish – there is no friendliness. A huge ego inside each of us prevents us from giving that smile. And if you are just out of your gym or with friends whom you consider macho, you might end up starting a fight with a stranger – his only issue with you is he happened to have a direct eye contact with you.

If you are male & your eye contacted with a female – no need to say. Instant Love! Immediately the same ego that went on to fight with a male now blossoms in the form of soft love for a female and you turn to your friends to say about your heroics with that girl – that you made her look at you, you smiled/winked at her and she didn’t react or made a huge issue out of it. And that means she is okay with you! - Without realizing how you just managed to scare the s… out of an innocent girl with your ugly stare.

Coming back to road rage, I believe this instant hatred on strangers that is so entrenched inside us is the root cause for our behavior at roads. And definitely in Indian Roads, Size does matter! A pedestrian has to fear a cyclist, a cyclist has to fear a motor-cyclist, a motor-cyclist fears a car & so on. As far as Chennai goes, there are four cadres of people who never care for anybody else – Auto Rickshaws, the fish carts, Metro water tanker trucks and the government buses. They literally rule the city roads.

Just today morning, while I was driving, I noted down some of our qualities on the road:

-- Drive like you're walking. If you see space, feel free to drive on it, be it the divider, the curb, or anything/anyone.
-- Ignore all mirrors. Drive on impulse. Look forward at all times.
-- Drive as if you were the only one on the road, until you realize that the other vehicle is two inches away from you.
-- Use the horn liberally. It adds to the atmosphere of the road, especially in traffic jams.
-- It is OK to tailgate, cut people off, or otherwise give them a heart attack by driving precariously close to them.
-- Eat while driving. Drink while driving. Read while driving. Talk on your mobile while driving. Do anything while driving. It's all good.
-- Remember, signals are for wimps. Feel free to swerve across 3 lanes without signaling across heavy traffic.
-- It's the survival of the quickest. Whoever hogs the road space wins!

And we get angry when we come across a person who does not follow the above rules. And so how do we deal with it? The answer is ‘Road Rage’

Road rage is an emotional demon that haunts the roads, particularly in cities & highways. A person in a highly emotional state may become aggravated by the actions of another driver -- resulting in a sick, twisted attempt at revenge which much too often steps outside both laws of reason and laws of legislature. This is road rage.

Most Common Symptoms
The first and choicest weapon in a road rager’s arsenal that I managed to notice is the act of tailgating -- Our enraged driver will move himself closer to his victim, generally to within a few feet. This is often employed when the victim is going too slow for the rager, who would as a general rule of thumb prefer a speed more on the order of "too god damn fast".

Road ragers also tend to swerve a lot, not being terribly concerned with picking a spot in their lane and sticking with it. They also like to yell at you out the window if at all possible, and hit their horns a lot. These last two become extremely popular with them in traffic jams, at which time they believe that the person immediately in front of them is responsible for the entire ordeal.

Then how to protect yourself? I cannot get a real answer. The question is about survival and for that you need to be one among them. If you try to prove that you are not one among them, then be prepared to face the wrath of them. Then who will change the nation?

The Future

Our children grow up watching us commit the same mistakes. And I don’t think we are showing them how to behave in public. Most of us don't use the dust bins, spit at our will, use electrical transformers to unload ourselves without any public sensitivity.. and you can add atleast 50 items to this list at one go. Pundits say we are 50 years behind some of the western countries, and we will never bridge this 50 years in the recent future.

Japan happens to be what it is today because of their social discipline I would say. Their children are brought up in the same environment and am sure they will surge ahead. We lack that discipline. We do not respect our society, our children, our elders. We abuse nature. Everything has an egoistic, selfish & sadistic background. We will not leave back our children a beautiful place to live on!

God save India…

Monday, May 15, 2006

Being below poverty line in TamilNadu...

This is my first post and I thought of blogging about the recently concluded TamilNadu Assembly elections would be just the right beginning. As soon as I think about this election, immediately my attention goes to 'The Hero' (according to P Chidambaram) - the DMK election manifesto! Some of the important schemes annonced in 'The Hero' and how they would change the life of an ordinary person - here you go!

I have tried to connect only the relevant promises and not all of them.

(1) I will get rice for Rs.2/Kg – that too of good quality. So naturally I own a rationcard and I will not be a fool to buy rice from a good shop for about Rs.15 and above. So what will happen to that business & people doing that business? Who cares – my money saved!!

(2) Free color TV and if required free cable connection. Great. Let us all sell our old TVs so that they can be bought at cheap rates by government and re-circulated – why to go for china for this? What do I get? I get money from my old TV and Govt gets to fulfill its vision! And it is a vicious cycle. Money rotation!

(3) Free Gas Stove – Ok great. A stove without gas connection will not be useful. So I can sell and make some money out of it.

(4) Rs.15000/- per marriage – WoW! A dowri from government! Great way to eradicate this Dowri problem in India! And will I also be eligible for this when I marry more than once? If yes, this is a fantastic minority friendly scheme! All I need to say is 3 words after 3 months! And I am free to get the next 15K! If I am a Hindu, hard luck- I need to ‘work’ to get second, third time married! But given that the government expects me to do nothing else, I am sure to invest my time to this!

(5) And what after marriage – ofcourse getting pregnant! What else job do I have? For 6 months I will get 1000 Rs.! Step back – Did we expect the government to propagate about ‘one family – no/one child’ among the rural poor?? That is not what people want – you are wrong. So now the government will entertain and reward people for becoming pregnant! Great!!! Every year, for 6 months I can earn 1000 bucks for doing nothing (I mean only one thing).

(6) And for youth without job – Government will give upto Rs.300/Month. WoW! Rewarding for laziness! Great!! Anyway, I can be idle and do 4 & 5 full time. This is my favorite!

(7) And If I live at a rural place, as a youth I will get free computer training!

(8) Then here comes the Jackpot! I need to declare myself as a farmer without land. The government will give me 2 acres of land free!! Wow!

(9) Once I declare myself as a farmer, the first thing I can take is a loan from the cooperative society Bank! The government will anyway waive it! Great! Free money! No questions!!

(10) Once I become a farmer, I get free power! Great! Free Power for my house and for my motor and for my etc…Wow! And as second choice, I can also opt to declare myself as weaver to get this benefit (but then I will missout on 8 & 9 -- not so good)

(11) And if I fail to gain all these, the government has promised to fulfill 3laks jobs at the government offices immediately. How will they fulfill - go to 12.

(12) Beyond all this I have a central government which will ensure that I will qualify to some kind of reservation as long as I am not a Brahmin! So someway or the other I will get education (no need to study), medical seat (no need to score top marks), and if all goes well a good job at a good private institution (no merit required)!

Looking all these, I believe I am fortunate enough to be born and live inTamilnadu. Now sky is the limit for being idle! This is my pet government! I mean I love it!

These are the things that will drive India through the next 5 years. And these are the things for which we voted for! Now an open challenge to other states of India - Can you match us?

And some years back, I heard somebody blabbering about vision 2020! (Is that APJ Kalam?). Poor soul!! May his dreams be dreams and RIP.

God Save TamilNadu!