Oh! No, not again!

One more cassette or was it a committed journo who could recite and reply the brigand’s views even better than a cassette? Either way, the CM was busy today too, listening to the now routine Vanakkam Veerappan, brought to you and solely sponsored by Third Eye. The emissary was heard with the due respect normally accorded to ambassadors of absconders.

Three conditions, but none of them new says the CM; all of which we have already agreed to, he reasons. The emissary returns to his lord again, unstopped, not even his shadow to tail him to the hideout. Such is the power of brigands and such is the might of the press.

But the new twist is the sudden appearance of one more media protagonist espousing the cause of the dreaded Mr. V. Of course, the original editor cum emissary cum what not insists that he is still in business and remains truly his master’s voice. And like the raging cola wars, as the two magazines take on each other in the true spirit of upholding a brigand’s press freedom, the long arm of the law remains folded.

The mega–hit surrender drama, that had regaled the audiences, especially in the State Secretariat, to no end, is back on show again, with his characteristic gimmicks on display. At the very utterance of the word ‘Surrender’, the STF has promptly downed its defences and has once again gone to sleep. Mr.V is indeed a master psychologist, and seems to know too well how to throw red herrings and also ensure that the pursuers, other than his media, consistently remain off course.

For the helpless government, it is once again the same old frustrating waiting game, as they await intelligence tip-offs from the media, the only source close to the brigand, as we journos call it, who a while it appeared that the government has indeed thought enough was enough and had somehow mustered the courage to venture into the vicinity of Veerappan, with the STF Chief himself rushing to Kovai, but it eventually turned out to be just another of those damp squibs that we have gotten ourselves so much used to.

The STF Chief promptly returned sans Veerappan but was reportedly convinced that the brigand would give himself up soon. After all life thrives on hope, they may philosophise, but then even the elusive Ayesha promised to surrender a couple of days back. Our police are indeed a tender lot, full of warmth and goodwill for those on the wrong side of the law. In all probability hide & seek must police not seeking, the STF personnel must certainly bury their absence during some of those crucial classes on how to catch brigands.

It is quite obvious and we too agree, that given the unfortunate state of affairs in the STF, Mr. V will have to himself take the trouble of walking out of the thickets, flanked by… no not his cronies but a few brave journos instead, and then chain himself and clamber up into the waiting police jeep- of would it be Tata Sumo, air-conditioned , of course- and expect the police to just escort him safely (remember the first condition-guarantee to his life) to the mainstream for law to take its own course.

Though routine stuff, there is of course an interesting sidelight. Keen Veerappan observers would not have failed to notice the change of guard at the I&B portfolio. To date there is no official word from the brigand on the sudden shuffle of that crucial portfolio, but it certainly appears that his bosom chum from the brigand media who pioneered his course first is no longer his Man Friday.

Jungle grapevine has it that the moustache magic had worn off, while we in the civilsed(?) world tend to believe that the trend in the Capital has cought on to the undisputed ruler of the wild too as he has also embarked on a minister-shedding spree. It was just the other day that the well–known, much feared and notorious Defence Minister Thuppakki Chiththan was sacked from the Veerappan cabinet.

The former promptly addressed the ever eager media, in the company of the sacked Information minister and elaborated on what was wrong with Veerappan. As if anything was ever right with him, we do deserve all this and even more.

e-mail the writer at
[email protected]

Jawahar T R