No, this is not an episode of Mr. Charlie Sheen’s stupor or the sauntering princesses in the Malibu beach house. How often do you pass beside a paan shop just to hear the most preposterous conversations? I swear I once overheard something which came across as drawing similarities between Ms Sonia Gandhi and Ms Katrina Kaif and how, astrologically speaking, foreign blood is necessary to succeed in India!
But today was different. FDI had effectuated a trader’s bandh, along with the Parliament Bandh, of course. How the former benefits the latter by averting attention from other significant issues like Lokpal Draft and Kishenji’s surreptitious death is not up for debate. May be how the latter hopes to benefit anyone with a bandh is definitely worth arguing. But reflecting my Indian-ism, let me keep this important issue aside and digress to something less important.
I saw a man lighting a cigarette almost as graciously as Mr James Bond would light a cigar before an evening of business. This man felt strongly for the Congress’ predicament. The cigarette he smoked cost him 5 bucks. It was a non-Indian brand and about 15% cheaper than the regular Indian brands. He was obviously happy about it! The paanwaala, in all wisdom, exhorted the fact that FDI in any sector would clearly control the price rise and might even make common items cheaper the same way his Marlboro was cheaper than the Classic. After a few minutes of discussion on how the competition between the Indian and Foreign retail would be a calculated risk with one winner – the Indian consumer, the conclusion was an overall exasperated mood over the saffron invoked unnecessary bandh. After all, the trade union was well aware and consulted before the decision. Surprisingly, the two men also blamed themselves for the current impasse. They felt that their vote would need better discernment next time. For me, there was just one winner! Indian Democracy – A discussion between a bunch of semi-literate men pondering over how important their vote is and how it affects every decision the ruling party makes was a sincere reaffirmation of faith in the system. While some see the scope of participation in improvement, others just hope for the same. Who are you?
Just in case you're wondering, being mere audience to this enlightenment, I'm the half man.