2 January 2011

The "ruling" democracy

Watching TV is not my favorite pastime, but it does substitute for dinner table conversation at our home sometimes. Recently though, thanks to the scams and countless exciting things that our dear countrymen & women are up to, we have been tuning in to the 9pm news regularly. Sitting agape, as usual, during one such evening we were treated to Chidambaram's masterful oration at the 83rd Congress baithak. He said something like the BJP won't rule the country for the next decade ( one report here). I sat up.

Rule? Wait a minute, aren't we in a democracy? I thought we elected you to govern the country.

Now Mr Chidambaram is one of our most well educated politicians, who I would have thought, would pick his words carefully. What, unfortunately, they do reveal, is the real mind set of our politicians. No one wants to govern and serve the nation. They want to rule us and we, like twits, don't mind that.

This ties into another unpleasant experience that N and I had around that time. Most restaurants in Hyderabad offer valet services. Which means that when you drive up to the entrance, a gentleman in a white suit will offer to park your car in a public parking area, not as you might assume, the parking garage of the restaurant. If you wanted to park yourself... well that option doesn't exist. To avoid the valet service we parked in the side street ourselves, next to yet-another-palatial home at Jubilee Hills. Two champs immediately asked for our car to be moved. The argument - its' the MLA's house, you can't park there. Hmm... we retorted, it's public space, we aren't parked in front of the gate, so that's a pretty unreasonable expectation. What happened next was an explosion of noises, with the MLA's goons threatening to beat up N and me trying to get a chump from inside the house to intercede. We tried to make the argument that actually the road belongs to us, the tax payers and the MLA had no right to the particular stretch in front of his house. The MLA BTW is a chap called Chandrashekar Reddy. Not sure what party he is in; he lives by Road no 36, Jubilee Hills, if that's of any help.

It was an unsettling experience to say the least - basically even a road can belong to someone in power, when in theory, it's we the citizen that these politicians are supposedly working for.

I do feel discouraged by our leadership. If you are in power, you just run with it. Electability has more to do with whom you know and your bank balance, rather than intelligence and humility.

Well, if you can't beat'em, join'em. So this year I am contemplating joining a political party. Stay tuned. And meanwhile, if you have any good ideas for a scam, do let me know. I would like to strengthen my national credentials - you just aren't an Indian till you have been in a scam and fleeced the country.

Happy New Year.