Flood of thoughts

In a full year of events just December dominates, with the rest eleven evaporating into oblivion. The lasting, lingering memory of 2015 would be the devastating deluge. Now, how can a committed column not take the easy way out by resorting to some wet cliches and rhetoric to highlight all happenings too? Here we go with the favoured flavour of the season: Flood.

The waters may recede but not the woes, which are likely to spill over into 2016. As a reeling populace tries to rally and rise from the piles of debris and despair, relief, repair and rehabilitation will remain the collective concern. With the State abdicating and people left to their own devices, literally, for support, succour and salvation, the road to recovery is punctured with potholes or sunk in stagnant cesspools. The flood has totally dissolved the trust in the system and State. One can now predict the weather but not the arrival of the paltry packages peddled with much fanfare. Indeed, all that people want presently is relief from sticker-pasters and sick politicos scavenging for credit and stealing cash and commodities meant for the masses.

The real loss to property and business can never be estimated nor compensated. The true number of lives of lost too will never be revealed. This is not a catastrophe like the arrest of a pompous politico whence more is good for that leader’s pride. For a natural calamity, less is a blessing. Facts will be fudged, data will be drowned and fingerprints erased clean. The mass murder caused by official and political lapses in lake management will go the way of all such Governmental atrocities: A sham inquiry, white-wash white paper, some stray scapegoats and finally to rest in a grave called archives.

The hail-havoc was socialist and secular and cut across caste, colour, creed and class. An egalitarian Utopia emerged unwittingly as barons rubbed shoulders with beggars on rubber dingys, hitching hikes on roads-turned-rivers. Water also leveled the political playing field what with infallible favourites now faltering and forgotten faces finding their feet. The flood has infused fresh blood even to political fossils while draining the palour off some fair facades. Past animosities are drying up faster than the till-recently overflowing lakes.

The scent of a common enemy has brought the Secretariat into the sights of some. That the incumbent is largely invisible barring through photo ops … and even photo shop, is, besides the showers, deemed another god-send even by rationalists. Yes, this flood is unlikely to abate until April polls. And as ever, rain or ruin for us voters, it is always shine and hay for the political class.

Now, let’s go national. Yet another session of Parli was completely washed out. No, we are not saying the Chennai floods did that. Nor do we care a hoot about what happens in those two mad Houses. Indeed, those dens and wells more and more seem like good places to send our imposed reps and keep them engaged with their official business of shouting and stalling for a few days rather than having them run loose in our midst.

But this time around, those round walls reverberated with insensitivity to boot, as even the chosen reps from TN chose to await orders from here to talk about their home State’s plight. Ironically, Chennai, which did not reach our Parli however made it to the Paris climate meet! The pinch was more stinging when we realise that LS and RS could have adjourned sine die right at the first hour and sent their running cost running to several crores as relief to those dying of starvation and sickness here. But that is wishful thought and the Parli, if anything, must have promptly passed many important bills of its members like lunch, snack and tea bills, pay bills, perk bills, phone bills, travel bills et al.

The rising tide of dissent in the BJP in Delhi is not due to Chennai floods either. Kirti Azad is the latest of the pinch hitting insiders wanting to make a punch and point to Modi. The FM is the PM’s weakest link. In fact, Arun Jaitley must have jet-setted to ravaged Chennai for some relief from the heat around him in the cold Capital. It is time Modi stays put in the country for some time, even wear a seat belt if necessary in his PMO chair and stem the flow of creeping skepticism in a calibrated manner before the banks … and ranks break. He can recall the visuals of Chennai to draw a political lesson.

By the way, is the indignation that is inundating the State vis-a-vis beep song, orchestrated? If yes, we should feel ashamed and outraged at how easily the ploy to divert has worked. If no and the anger is real, we should examine our priorities, which now seem dictated by media.

Now, let me not take that reverse flow of thought any further.

Happy new year.

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Jawahar T R