Tuesday, 23 July 2013

I Kinda Have a Dream

Next month is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech (March on Washington, August 1963). To think that it’s been only about 50 years since black people got equal rights in that “shining city on the hill”, “the beacon of democracy”, “the indispensable nation” is mind-boggling. But that is another story. Here today is my own ‘I kinda have a dream’ inspired by the great MLK speech.  
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as just another stupid day in the history of our State.
Some years ago, some great Mallus, whose statues might one day cast shadows on garbage piles, signed some worthless proclamations. This came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of mallus who had been searing garbage piles here and there.
But many years later, the Mallu still is not free to do what he pleases with his garbage, which he has to slyly dispose off in distant neighbourhoods in the middle of the night. Many years later, many Mallus live on lonely islands of opulence in the midst of vast oceans of waste. Many years later, the Mallu is still languishing in all corners of the world and finds himself an exile in his own land, only able to come here once in a while to throw tissue papers around.
In a sense many come to the State's capital to take a dump. When the architects of our city, if there were any, drew up the plans, they were thinking of the hordes of people who will come here with their flags and plastic bottles and Styrofoam food packets and their bodily orifices for excretion. So our architects ensured that all men, some women too, would be guaranteed the unalienable right to choke this city to death in addition to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that the State has given the people a bad cheque; a cheque which has come back marked "insufficient funds" to give them the freedom to throw stuff. But we refuse to believe that the bank of government inefficiency is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity for corruption in this State.
It would be fatal for the State to overlook the urgency of the moment. This stinking monsoon of the Mallu’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating season of dengue and Chikungunya. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst by drinking from the tap of municipal water supply.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here to throw a few stones. Some of you have come fresh from the Middle East or Singapore where your quest for freedom to poop by the street side left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Kasaragod, go back to Alappuzha, go back to Kochi, go back to Idukki, go back to Kannur, go back to the slums and ghettos of all our cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be replicated in your cities too. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in wet Mallu dreams involving sultry sirens silhouetted against solar flares.
I have a dream that one day this State will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that some, if not most, men are idiots."
I have a dream that one day on the green hills of Ponmudi the sons of rich guys will get sons of power shovel (JCB) drivers to raze down the hills and make it motta (bald).
I have a dream that one day even Attapadi, a place apparently overflowing with rice and ragi given by our State, will have the freedom to throw the plastic sacks in which the rice and ragi come there.
I have a dream that my children will one day live in a State where they will not be judged by the colour of the plastic packet they throw on the street but by the contents of that packet – Lay’s, Pringles, Kurkure, etc.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, right here in the capital, the vicious caste-ists, their lips dripping with the words of tolerance and love only for their own kind will throw filth at each other; and one day right here, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little wheatish-complexioned boys and girls as well as fair and lovely boys and girls, as sisters and brothers to go to the Secretariat and the Corporation Office and dump their diapers there.
                                 (Diapers and other garbage that some lovely parent throws near my house every few days)
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be filled with Big Bazaar bags, every hill and mountain shall be made low to build monuments to greed, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the garbage dumps shall be revealed, and all the fish and flesh and organic waste shall be in those dumps too.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back with.
And if we are to become a super-duper State, this must become true. So let garbage flow from the prodigious hilltops of the Sahyadri. Let garbage flow from the mighty peak of Anamudi. Let garbage flow from Mookunnimala of Ananthapuri!
Let garbage flow into the Ashtamudi Lake of Kollam!
Let garbage flow under the kothumbu vallams of Alappuzha!
But not only that; let garbage flow from the high ranges of Kottayam!
Let garbage flow from Sabarimala of Pathanamthitta!
Let garbage flow from every hill and molehill of God’s Own Country. From every mountainside, let garbage flow.
And when this happens, when we allow garbage to flow, when we let garbage flow from every village and every hamlet, from every town and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all men, Nairs and Ezhavas, Protestants and Catholics, Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims, and all other caste, religious permutations and combinations and even atheists will be able to join hands and take the next flight out of the country singing, "Free at last! free at last! we are free at last!" “But we will come back once in a while to throw tissue papers!”

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Back in GOC!

It’s been almost a month since I landed back in GOC capital, and I don’t even know where to start ranting.
First up is the garbage issue. We’ll soon be celebrating the 2nd anniversary of our hard-fought “freedom to throw garbage anywhere” rights. I am sure our Mayor-ess Moonlight will come up with some novel ideas for celebrating this in style, given her stellar (lunar?) track record.  And hopefully, the state government would chip in with its own stuff, given its deep, anal-expulsive love for the city. Can’t wait for the s#&t to hit the fan. Oh, wait! It has already hit the fan.
Today, Mr. O “Quicksilver” Chandy opened an office for building monorails in Trivandrum and Calicut, which some people say could be run using solar power. Anyway, this man is awesome. One day he is in some Middle Eastern country receiving some major award specially created for him, the next day he is in some other Middle Eastern country with some major “businessmen”.  And then he is in Delhi meeting with the High Command before going back to his ancestral land for some good, clean adulation involving elephants and stuff, and before you could say Jack Robinson or Jose Thettayil, he parachutes into Kawdiar to open an office. You are almost tempted to think that he is somehow deriving all his energy from the “Sun”.  Meanwhile, his office staff members were also making hay while the “Sun” shines. Good for them!
I’m pretty much certain that he parachuted in because there is no road connectivity between Trivandrum and the most important city near it – Kollam. This, unlike what you think, is part of a grand scheme of building waterways connecting major urban centers. In the 1st phase they have converted a 2-km stretch of the highway, from the IT-hub Kazhakootam to Kaniyapuram, into a waterway. The only problem was, as usual, the authorities didn’t notify the people. Nor did they offer any ferry service. So, people like me, who would have otherwise hired a boat, had to drive on the narrow, muddy banks of this canal jostling for space with other vehicles of the non-seaplane variety. It took me two hours. Next time I’m taking my inflatable dinghy.   
By the way, how did the Brits come up with the Quilon spelling?
1st Brit: Hey, where are you stationed?
2nd Brit: Kollam
(Mind you, this is all happening in Morse Code – K is Dah-di-dah; Q is Dah-dah-di-dah. Maybe one guy just wanted to say Po-Dah)
1st Brit: How do you spell it?
2nd Brit: QUILON. And you?
1st Brit: I’m in Koilandi, spelt QUILANDY
1st and 2nd Brit: Ha, ha, ha. Aren’t we brilliant?