Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Ultimate Pot-boiler.

Ok, this certainly is not the best of my posts.It was inspired by this and the sorry state of roads in my home-town Dharwad.This was the best I could come up with after traveling almost the length and breadth of Mumbai for JMET and NMAT(One more post definitely needed for that).Dharwad->Thane->Powai->Koparkhairane->Vashi->CST->Dharwad.That was quite a trip and this post was written during the return journey. This was the best my tired mind could come up with.Have some more posts in the offing on my father's experiences as the returning officer during the upcoming Gram Panchayat and Zilla panchayat elections here. They talk of decentralisation of power and village empowerment, but all that has happened is that the rot has precipitated down to the bottom.Imagine a village being divided not only along caste lines,but also along political lines now.Politics is one of my favourite subjects and I saw how little of that is reflected in this blog.

Returning to the current post, it could have also been titled

The Monk who drove his Ferrari over a pot-hole.
Zen and the Art of pot-hole maintenance.
The Autobiography of an Unknown Pothole
The Argumentative Indian Pothole

I don’t exist on paper.(I exist on road, of course!). what I meant to say was that I don’t have an official existence like most of you. The census of 2001 was conducted well before my ‘birth’ and I doubt if I’ll survive till the time the next census is carried out in 2011. Actually, the whole pot-hole community around me has been officially declared . In the dusty files of the Public Works Department consigned to some corner, they have been given the best possible burial a pot-hole can ever imagine. Covered with the supreme quality tar, and then rolled over by the strongest road-roller in the whole region, specifically ‘bought’ for that purpose. That is all ‘for the record’. The actual story is something else. Neither the tar came nor the road-roller. The holes weren’t filled, what were filled though were the beds of the executive engineer who floated the tender, the bank lockers of the contractor and the cup-boards of the minister. The minister actually made money twice. Once, while awarding the contract and the second time a 20% cut in from the same contractor after he began working on the ‘project’. That was two years ago. Some work was indeed done. It was the perfect patch work ever done. It was patchy both in terms of the quality of the work and also that it left lot of patches were still left untouched. Those which were covered up soon opened up and in pothole-speak, they are called ‘ghost-holes’ . The whole colony talks about them in hushed voices. Children pot-holes aren’t allowed to go close to them. That is why the area around those ghost-holes is quite deserted.

In the slum world, I live in what is the real world equivalent of a small locality in a city. there isn’t much of an activity, but once in a while I’m woken up from my slumber by a truck or two running over me carrying heavy goods. It hurts, not only physically but also in the heart. Not only these people run over you but also abuse you with choicest expletives for no fault of yours. It may sound a bit cynical, but we potholes do extract our pound of flesh. The faster these guys run over you, more is the pain they suffer. These humans are so strange. I’ll never be able to understand them. Two days back, this handsome hunk was riding what has been our latest nuisance, the hayabusa. He mutters such obscenities under his breath it spoilt my whole day. And yesterday he comes again, with his friend in the pillion, runs over me again and thanks God for my presence there. The reason?. He gets that ‘close touch’ with his -friend. These humans think that Gods must be crazy, but what they don’t know that it is them who are crazy. Just the other day he was cursing me no end, but at that moment he was glad I was there. I could make that from the gleam in his eyes. I pray to God to give me enough strength and make me grow in size such that the next time he runs over me, he gets such a ‘touch’ he’ll never forget in his life.

I often wonder about my parents. The elder potholes in our colony have taken such care of me that I don’t really miss my parents. But sometimes during the night I wonder if my parents might be among the countless stars in the sky. I dream of leading a quiet, peaceful life with papa pot-hole, mama pot-hole and a lil’ brother pothole until another one of the devils runs over me.

Let me share a secret with you all. We pot-holes are not actually very sure about our gender. Most of us assume our genders. What makes our situation even more piquant is that we are not ‘born’ normally. We come into existence by an , a tiny somewhere ‘evolves’ into a fully-grown pothole. I often wonder about what my name could be. Few days back, a bespectacled engineering student was almost kicked to by his friends when suggested a name for me. ‘Harry Pot-holer’!. His idea didn’t quite appeal to his friends. I guess I know what name I like. A female, the most beautiful I have seen till date, came close to me, slowed down and passed over me with such gentle care that I almost felt like I was in an embrace with her. Then with her soft, silky voice she gave me a name-‘Oeemah’. Yes, my name is Oeemah.

Ok, I guess it’s time to move on. I wish you all the best in this roller-coaster jouney called Life. And remember, no profanities the next time you come across a hurdle(pothole) on the road or in your life. It’s your creation and that your backache is not my headache. Don’t fall down, but recover soon and keep your eyes wide open and reach your destination without any hitches.