Yeddy Current and Freedom (to die on railway tracks) at Midnight
As some dude said, based on a fake Gandhi quote, “The measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members,” and we, I’m proud to say, have measured up to the highest level. In these times of corona, we knew who those most vulnerable were. The builders, of course! Quite clearly, they have been suffering for long and Yeddy knew that instinctively. And, to his credit, he acted immediately. He rightly and rightfully instructed those inconsiderate migrants to go round and round in circles in their tin bungalows. This, he knew, would generate a current known in scientific circles as "yeddy current" (no relation to the eddy current you learn in physics). Another thing is that this Yeddy current is also beneficial to the environment according to some NASA studies.
Even then, some of those migrant guys are defying government orders and selfishly walking and cycling home, insensitive to the fears of the vast middle class. Why can't they buy one of those exercise bikes or treadmills off Flipkart or Amazon and install it in their balcony? C’mon yaar. Anyway, it's heartening to note that people like Yeddy and Yogi and the police are rising to the challenge and imposing strict measures and scrapping these stupid human and labour rights.
Also, it’s about time these people learned where their respective places are in the society. When you think about it, we did have an excellent ancient system, with in-built social distancing rules and all, which was screwed up by all these new-fangled ideas.
In the olden days, people knew where they stood in the pecking order. Sivan knew that. Remember Sivan? I had written about Sivan some time ago. Though his name was Sivan, nobody called him that. Partially deaf and considered by many as being a few cards shy of a full deck, he was “pottan” to everyone. Pottan is a term used generally for a deaf person, and often also used to paint someone as stupid. My mother used to call Sivan that. Her household help and driver called him that. Everyone in the neighbourhood called him that. Those who came looking for his service called him that. Even I used to nod when someone asked the confirming question “Pottana?” when I say something about Sivan. The only person who seethed every time she heard that word was my wife, who always addressed him as Sivan-san. But then, being a foreigner, she doesn’t understand the nuances and intricacies of our ancient system of keeping people in their respective places.
Well, one day, Sivan was on one of his evening jaunts, unkempt and unshaven, bundle of belongings hanging from his shoulder, trudging along as usual, exchanging pleasantries with a utility pole here and a stray dog there, but generally being harmless, when, out of the blue, there was a stinging pain in his bottom. He turned around and saw a police jeep with a policeman swinging his thick cane at him. Sivan did the only thing that he knew he could do. He ran. He ran like hell. The police did the only thing they knew. They chased and kept swinging that stick at him. “F#$%ing a$$%*+#! The temerity to walk with bundle and s#$% on the road,” the policeman shouted. Sivan kept running and ran into my parent’s place. The police stopped at the gate. They didn’t open that gate and charge inside. That gate had certain rights that Sivan didn't have, which the police didn't dare infringe on. They noticed my parents’ household help standing there and asked about the bad guy who just ran in. She said she knew the person and saved Sivan’s ass for the day.
A few days later I heard about this incident and went to Sivan. I was all indignant. To be honest, I still don't know what had gotten into me at that time. Could've been a mild bout of anti-nationalism. “C’mon Sivan. Let’s go file a complaint,” I said, spouting highfalutin words like human rights, etc. Sivan, however, just plainly refused. Under normal circumstances, I would expect such a refusal to be accompanied by a sarcastic smirk, but Sivan was all sincere in his response. He was adamant that he didn’t have any complaint against such big-big officials, who have the right to punish people like him as and when they pleased. He was also scared of the revenge they’ll take out on him for his insolence once I went back to Japan, if he complains.
I thought over it. I will be leaving in a few weeks. And, I am no activist. Neither I’m a man of action, like certain leaders who can take dramatic overnight decisions. For example, someone like Bollywood villain Ajit says, “Aaj aadhi raat ko theek barah baje, Hindostan ke baarder pe apna helikaapter aayega (Tonight, at 12 o’clock sharp, my helicopter will come to Hindustan’s border). Michael, tum cycle leke jaa (Michael, take your cycle and go)”. Michael will dutifully take his bicycle and go to the border. If a supreme leader gives such an order, every Michael in the country will dutifully get on their bicycles and go to the border. That’s the power of supreme leaders. I wouldn’t go, because I’m not named Michael. But, I’ll be standing in my balcony, clanging my vessels in moral support when those Michaels pedal by. My train of thoughts was going crazy as if in search of migrants on tracks. Anyway, good sense prevailed, and I got out of my reverie and thanked Sivan for teaching me the right concept regarding rights.
Looking at the things happening now, I beseech the government to grasp this golden opportunity and eliminate or modify those foreign concepts, while lobbying internationally (Trumpji, I’m sure, will be amenable) to amend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to reflect the real issues faced by vulnerable sections of the society such as builders, stockbrokers and jewellers. Clauses granting nations the right to split people into first-class, second-class, and so on should be included when revising the declaration. As mentioned earlier, we have the ancient blueprint for that. The possibilities are infinite if you can sub-divide those classes further. Everyone will know their responsibilities and will stop going walkabout on railway tracks and all. Let’s hope we don’t miss that train of progress this time at least.