Saturday, October 18, 2008

The other side of the line

Accept it or not openly, we do have lines to demarcate those ‘others' who think and behave and live differently from us .

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about how the terrific power cuts in Tamil Nadu are going to bring down Karunanidhi. This is the middle class talking.

Yesterday, in my class I heard echoes of what the ‘poorer class’ is talking through their children. Obviously the children echo what their parents say. This was part of an idea suggested by Swarna to get children to voice their own thoughts.. something they are not encouraged to do. After holidays, we moved on to ‘politics.’

‘Karunanidhi has given 1 kg rice at 1 Re.’
‘Karunanidhi has given us a gas stove.’
‘He has given each family a TV.’
‘The chief minister is doing so much for the people.’


Sops work.

Another 'across the line' experience was this morning, when I met Jaipunissa.
Jaipunissa used to be a cheerful, energetic, never-say-die girl who dressed to kill everyday when she came to work in the small factory I used to run long long ago. We had a batch of Muslim girls who vied with each other in colourful dressing.
She was already nearing 30 when she left, to marry a 70+ man to secure her future. When he died a few years later, he did leave her a little house and some money. His sons took away the house after some litigation.
Now, after leading a life in relative comfort, she can't bear the thought of going back to work and exists on whatever she has.
But the major change was the black-cover-all burkha she was wearing. I could just about see her eyes, dispirited, sad, tired.
But truly, with just two inches of face showing, it is really difficult to connect to a person.

8 comments:

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

That poor woman - marrying a man so much older to 'secure' her future, and having that security grasped away.
Some matters are just too 'un- straightforward' and devious for us to simply think about and opine.

kallu said...

So true, Raji. Life is not fair and unpredictable. All our calculations and theories can come to naught.

ayyo.... said...

@Kallu
Sops do Work. But isn't it pushing the state backwards?! Talk about terrific powercuts...isn't that the need of the day?
Very unfortunate that leaders like him can so easily capitalise on the myopism / ignorance of voters..

My Mom is a ardent follower of TN politics and she mutes te TV set when Karunanidhi comes on air. Maybe thats the most she can do...

Gardenia said...

Too true - we must look at the 'other side' now and then to get a better perspective of our own worlds.

kallu said...

Ayyappan,
Sops are for political reasons. Lots of people make money on them. and a fraction trickles down to the section they are supposed to benefit. So, at least some people are benefiting. I dont know whether this is good or bad.
There isnt any power in the state they say.. so we have to bear it. But IT companies get 24 hours power.. is that fair?
Wise Mom. But is JJ going to be any better? :-)

kallu said...

Gowri, yes, we have to know how other people live. To put our lives in perspective as you say. But its still so touch-me-not.

When I read someone like Amitav Ghosh I am so flummoxed. How can he know? How can he get into the life of someone so remote from his own?
That's the imaginative writer??

ayyo.... said...

Well, Malls don't and it seems so stupid to have escalators that dont work and with the heat inside (ah! the ACs won't work either) , they witness a low turnout...
A mall in the suburb gets 3 hours of power from the Govt !! Somewhere , the Govt's being fair.. but Our CM (read Maharashtra) consumes enough power that could feed a whole town...
And the poor aren't even 'promised' sops here!

ayyo.... said...

Besides, how can such sops benefit people!! A TV set...to air his Sun TV!!! Rice at Rs.1 per kg would only make them all the more dependent ... and burden the state economy... seems like we are set to see another Bihar!!