Red India

2 Oct


This week’s guest writer is Piyush Chhajed. He is a Brand Manager in a Multinational Pharmaceutical Company. This is an account of his tryst with the Red India.

The cities have not been named so that they would not be maligned


5’ clock… Its Monday morning…

I am tired…. It’s been a long week, tough month… I have been working through rainy days, sunny patches… Juggling through 6 towns, buses & rickshaws, dozens of Doctors, 6 mithi chai a day, dhaba food, bisleris et al… I am going to travel 120 kms today… via state transport bus… I was supposed to do this yesterday… But I, true to my habit, procrastinated…

“Bhaiyaa, kya ye bus Rampur jati he?” “Haan ji, jati he.”

So I get in the bus, which is choc-a-block with people…

“Babuji, yah ap baith jaiye.. aaram se safar katega”. I look at him, cross with myself that I ever got in this bus…

I get to sit in the driver’s cabin with atleast 10 more people.. I try to sleep.. I fail.. I try try to read… I fail.. I give up & try to avoid getting hurt as the bus hurtles through roads with water filled craters… It’s been raining entire week & half the state is in high alert zone… The transport services have just resumed.. It’s the week leading to the famous Durga Pooja… hence the crowd…

7’ clock…

As the bus keeps moving towards the capital city, I start noting down the people I need to call… Its 26th of the month & CLOSING is upon me… Crores of business you see….

All of a sudden,

“Rok mat..rok na mat.. Chalte reh… ye sale harami he.. pata nahi, kitne honge… Jaldi Chal… Jaldi Chal”.

Accordingly, the bus driver shifts gears & cranks up the old machine..

Screech.. Screech… the bus stops… Obstacles on the road….

“Jai Ma Durga.. Jai Ma Kali.. Jai Ma Durga.. Jai Ma Kali..” Thundering voice shakes me up from my slumber…

As I see outside the window, a strong black forehand appears…

The conductor is hurled out of the bus.. As he cowers,

‘Khadak, Khadak’. He gets slapped 5 to 6 times within a span of 15 secs..

He cries out loud.. He tries to protect himself…. But he is defenseless… as always…

As I see around, I am looking at a RED SEA….

Hundreds of people.. running towards the bus…. Bare chested.. lungi clad… red flags..

Adults.. kids… tall… Short.. All of them…

Anger in their eyes… Chants flying…

“Jai Ma Durga.. Jai Ma Kali.. Jai Ma Durga.. Jai Ma Kali..”

The driver is taken out at vastra-point (vastra being the big knife)…

The driver is surrounded by all the people & they start abusing him.. the driver pleads & begs…

But to no avail.. He too gets slapped…

“Hey Bhagwan… Aaj kyu… Hum is bus me kyu aaye…” The big gentleman started to console his crying wife…

“MAOVADI… AATANKWADI”

“Jai Ma Durga.. Jai Ma Kali.. Jai Ma Durga.. Jai Ma Kali..”

I am scared.. I am shit scared… Why should this have happened.. I could have had the next bus…

I am trying to think that this is not happening… this cant be true..

I am trying to make some sense out of the situation… but my brain seems to have got stuck…

The crying in the bus keeps getting shriller.. the people outside start closing on the bus…

The Red sea is upon us with its fury

“Uncle..” I look at a 10 year old boy who comes to me crawling to avoid the glares of the Red Indians..

“Uncle, please inhe bacha lijiye.. yeh sab inhe chodenge nahi… ye inhe maar denge… aap bahar se aaye ho.. Ye aapki baat man jayenge.. please uncle…’

This is Punit, younger brother of the conductor…

I am dumbstruck.. why should he have asked me.. of all the people.. why should I make the all important decision…

I panicked.. I could feel the love for his brother in the young kid’s eye

“Uncleji, hume niche jana chahiye.. nahi to ye log inhe mar denge..”, I found myself blurting to the Old man sitting beside me

“Thik He”, he agreed. As I got up, 3 more people joined us…

We got down.. I was the first..

RED SEA.. Red Indians with Red eyes

The old man led the way… he asked people to take us to the ‘mukhiya’.

The mukhiya came ahead.

“Please don’t harm them”, the old man pleaded.

“You stay out of this, you old man. These people tried to run away. They broke the law.”

“Sir, please let us go. We are ready to give whatever you want”, my lips uttered.

I pursed my lips. They were not supposed to do that.

And then the biggest silence of the land dawned. All of the 250 eyeballs turned towards me.

I could feel them.. Looking, thinking, smirking, whispering…

At that moment, I could have counted a thousandth of a second to perfection.

None spoke, for about 5 seconds.

They were the longest of my life.. I could feel the heat of the sun, the sweat on my brow, my drying throat, my shaking hands, my quaking legs, all of it…

I tried to smile.. I remember that…

Strangely, my voice didn’t shake…

“Dekhiye, hume jane dijiye… please.. Aapko jo chahiye, hum de denge… please hume jane dijiye”.

Mukhiya smiled… rather smirked..

It was at this moment that I thought that I have landed myself in a soup.. that he is going to reach for the Vastra and plunge it into me… his mustached smile lingered through all these thoughts…

“Dus Hazar… Dus Hazar dijiye aur nikal jaiye”. (Note the ‘adab’(respect) as he addresses me).

“Thik he… Bus 2 min dijiye.. Kisiko mariyega mat… Main abhi aaya”

I went back to the bus. All of us contributed and conjured 10,000/-

“Lijiye… Ab hum ja sakte he? Please”

“Thik he. Ja sakte ho”.

WHAM. He turns around & slaps the conductor. It was the hardest slap I have ever seen in my entire life. The conductor fell about 10 feet far.

He was crying. I got him to his feet.

We went back to the bus…

The bus started & we left…

“Nobody to call the police.. Nobody to ever mention it.. Nobody should call anyone with his mobile till we reach the destination”, the old man said.

“You never know, they may have informants in the bus also. Good Beta. You were brave today”, he whispered… I again tried to smile…

It was during the next 10 mins when I truly was afraid… I recalled every moment.. I could not help feeling that they were going to come back & kidnap me… I was wearing a Benetton Shirt from last night… I had stood out…

I tried to relax… Remember all the good incidents of my life.. My beloved…

But the mustached smile & vastra were not giving up.. they had conquered my imagination…

I could feel my eyes giving up… with relief… with fear…

The next 45 mins were filled with fear & anxiety… relief.. prayers.. love…

We reached our destination.. I Went to my hotel… Slept.. Showered.. Went off to work.. Closed my sales..

I did not sleep a wink that night..

RED flags, RED vastra, RED Durga, RED blood

they obscured my sleep.. Cheese Sandwich.. Chips.. water.. Star Movies.. the day ended….

————————

I was in the revolutionary city of India. A city which witnessed Indian foray into the industrialization era. A city which fulfilled the dream of many Indians. A city which is known for its magnificent urban planning. A city which was the Kohinoor of the Pre Liberalization era.

My destination was the young Indian city. The city which shot to fame because of its famous son. A city which till now was playing a second fiddle to the erstwhile capital was truly getting into its own. A city which believed that they can change their future. A MODERN CITY.

The distance between the 2 cities was not only of 120 kms but of 100 years…

And it was full of Red Indians…. Red Dreams

The melting coal had filled the eyes of the people with that terror….  The terror which I can still feel..

RED TERROR…

Why did it take 100 years for the next city to develop.. Why did it take so long.. Why are people just 20 kms outside the city waiting for State ration outlets to open so that they can meet their hunger… Why are the people of one of the most naturally rich state in such poor living conditions… Why is the literacy rate of this state which houses one of the first Industries of India only 40%… Why is the female genocide one of the highest… why are they seeking answers to every question from Durga Maa when we have a sound democracy….

I am sure all the questions are valid… I am sure that the people are angry, agitated & afraid at the same time.. they must be feeling that they are not a part of this growing India… I would have felt the same…

I am not going to promote non violence.. I am willing to appreciate the feeling that one must be having when he sees that his child has just suffered a death due to malnutrition whereas he has worked for 16 hours a day in the most inhumane conditions for last 20 years… the anger cannot be expressed in words..

We should be pulling you people through… we should not be afraid… we should be standing with you.. shoulder to shoulder…

But such hideous acts are only making us ever more afraid of you.. I am afraid of you…

FEAR drives people like nothing else.. FEAR of RED INDIA

You are losing support of the educated middle class Indians who should actually appreciate your feelings…

We will run away.. We will not listen… We will act in self defense (assumed)….

The country after 60 years of Independence should not be still fighting battles with its own people…

RED INDIANS… are INDIANS after all…

PEACE OUT….

————————————————————————————————-

Piyush Chhajed is living the corporate life. Jet-setting to cities, towns and even villages alike. All the while accompanied by his monstrous laugh. He only wishes he had a little more time to enjoy his life. You can mail him at chhajedpiyush@gmail.com

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18 Responses to “Red India”

  1. Anuj Kaushal October 2, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Awesome man!!!
    Can’t believe its TRUE!!
    Had Goosebumps while reading it…
    Hey u can think of freelancing as a copywriter buddy!!

  2. Piyush Chhajed October 2, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Thx Mann…
    I hope dat such instances dont repeat though!!!

  3. Shreyas Nair October 2, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    2 reasons why I loved this blog:

    1. The brilliant content
    2, The simplicity of the language used

    Makes an awesome read. 🙂

    • Piyush Chhajed October 2, 2011 at 8:17 am #

      Thx buddy…
      Content was taken care by d incident..
      and simplicity.. well.. u knw my angrezi…;)

  4. nupurajmera October 2, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Wao ! Too good amazing story. Just perfect words to explain the situation. I am literally scared.

    Its hard to believe that behind the tri colors, lies a ignored red color, which is being ignored by so many uncountable years.

    Its a hard truth to believe by every Indian, thanks for bringing this open . Keep posting 🙂

    • Piyush Chhajed October 2, 2011 at 8:19 am #

      Thx Nu..
      Something of dis order was reqd to catch ur eye, i guess..
      Kiddin;)
      Cheers…

  5. Saumyadeep October 2, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    The naked truth presented in a simple way.
    Loved it.

    • Piyush Chhajed October 2, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      Thx Saumya

  6. parveen October 2, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    wow piyush. it was really nice piece of writing, simple language but a touching story, the bitter truth of rural india came out brilliantly. keep writing..:)
    cheers

    • Piyush Chhajed October 2, 2011 at 11:54 am #

      Thx Parveen…

  7. Zephyr October 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    It should make the rulers see red… to see all the shades of this colour in the stark truth that confronts everyone if only they cared to look and do something about it. Wonderful post.

  8. Olven Fernandes October 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Doest seem like a first timer writing :).. Rich content beautifully conveyed… Gr8 Work..

  9. Rohan Joshi October 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    simply superb….more than the incident..i an awe of ur “simple story telling” way…!!!!

    GR888 work..!!!…

  10. Ankur Agrawal October 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Abbe Duhkiyon ki mukhiya… Control kiya kar!!!
    Beautifully written although!!!! especially the Afterword….

  11. Ravi Jaiswal October 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Good Work Dude!!!
    See you soon

  12. Shivani Bhatia October 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Piyu!!
    This was awesome!!! When do we get to read your other blogs?? You need to write more often dear! 😀

  13. vaibhav jain October 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Next chetan Bhagat,
    I can understand content was real but written it beautifully!!!

  14. Sharad Bhat November 7, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Piyush…

    Simply jst one word for u bro…AWESOME !!! …such an eye-opener…its a naked truth which we avoid to see or believe unless we ourselves actually experience it…
    Truly a very touching content…finely crafted…way to go bro !!!

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