theindialog

October 22, 2009

Tryst With Lalooji

Filed under: Bihar,Conversation,Humour,Politics — loggers @ 11:46 pm

Over the past 3 months, we have had encounters when curtailing laughter has been extremely difficult. Our tryst with Lalooji was one such occasion when we struggled to maintain a straight face. His fortress at 10 Circular Road is over-guarded by sleepy sentry. It is always overcrowded as animated party workers throng their chief’s residence to get a glimpse of the man who has been one of the longest serving chief ministers of an Indian state and has, allegedly, transformed the Indian Railways. We arrived at his residence at noon but were told that we were late as Mr. Yadav had retired for his afternoon siesta. We were asked to return at 5pm.

Our excitement to see Lalooji ensured that we returned at 4.30pm, only to figure out that he was still asleep. Finally, at 4.50pm he emerged from his makeshift bedroom which is located adjacent to the waiting area. Half a dozen staff members emerged from nowhere and waited for orders as a sluggish Lalooji made his way to his throne-like chair which looked undersized compared to the silver spittoon abutting it. He rubbed his eyes and proceeded to scratch vigorously before he uttered his first word for the evening – chashma. One of his helps ran to procure his spectacles which were cleaned and presented to his highness. He proceeded to glance at the waiting area and asked everyone he didn’t know to present their case. A significant portion of this communication took place in sign language. As one of us began to explain our presence he proceeded to utter 2 other words, paani and khaini (tobacco mixture). Water was brought to the table and khaini was manually refined and offered to Lalooji who took a pinch of it and placed it strategically behind his lower denture. While all of this was happening, a poor logger was supposed to deliver an explanatory speech!

Finally, he delivered a whole sentence. It was not a response to our introduction. He spoke of the excruciating heat of the summer months and of the soporific lunch which compels him to sleep endlessly. 3 party-men seated beside him nodded passionately. Of course, they understood. Lalooji proceeded to acknowledge our presence and lauded our initiative before he asked us how long it would take for us to finish our excursion. We were just about getting into a conversation when one of his lackeys interrupted us to announce the arrival of another group which wanted to meet Lalooji. After a short, pointless debate on the duration of the proposed interaction the group was sent in. Lalooji looked at the obviously diverse group which had young and old, Hindu and Muslim members and said, “Right combination.” He turned to us and wished us the best for our future endeavors. We told him that we had a few questions for him and would be grateful if could answer them. He said, “Anytime. I am here now. Come in the morning.” Satisfied by his mannerisms, we made our way to the parking lot.

Mr. Yadav can be moody. In Patna, we met a Lalooji who was distracted and tired, perhaps characteristic of a politician who has been out of power for a few months now.

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September 28, 2009

Tawang — Bumla

Filed under: Arunachal,Humour,Tidbits — loggers @ 8:46 pm

As a follow-up to our Srinagar to Leh road sign post, we thought we would share the signs that kept us occupied on our way from Tawang to Bumla. The messages had a deeper and more patriotic tone this time around, which we thought was appropriate for a drive consisting of numerous military parks and security checkpoints leading up to the Indo-China border.

Here goes:

-Logic is the anatomy of thought

-Don’t worry, be happy

-Progress is like a wheelbarrow, if you don’t keep pushing, it stops

-Life is enjoyable

-Only those who dare to fail can achieve greatly

-Catch someone doing the right thing and say great job

-If you lead wisely, you’ll be obeyed cheerfully

-Visit Bumla, forget Shimla

-There is no substitute for hard work

-Hard work is equal to prayer

-Life is like a novel with the end ripped out

-Lord make me worthy of the men I serve

-Life is long if you know how to live it

-There is little difference between being lost and exploring

-Your world is as big as you make it

-Freedom without discipline leads to destruction

-Success without fulfillment is empty

-Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion, you must set yourself on fire

-The best of ideas will not work, unless you work the ideas

-You will be disappointed if you fail, but doomed if you don’t try

-Fear is only as deep as the mind allows

-Either lead, or follow, or get out of the way

-BSNL: Basic Social Need for Life

-Life is not too long, but there is always time for small courtesies

-One bullet, one enemy

And our personal favorite:

line

August 6, 2009

Comment of the day

Filed under: Humour,Tidbits — loggers @ 12:40 am

This one is for our regular readers:

Naman: Do you mind jhootha?

Alok: My jhootha is Japani anyway.

August 5, 2009

Srinagar — Leh

Filed under: Humour,J&K,Nature — loggers @ 9:18 pm

Under the sadness of leaving behind everything we had experienced in Srinagar, was our excitement to explore Leh. The ride began with an elaborate price negotiation process outside the tourist taxi center in Srinagar. While official taxi operators charged INR 9100 for the journey, we managed to strike a deal with a Leh taxi driver who was on his way back home. Interestingly, he is not allowed to solicit customers from Srinagar due to union politics, and was hence willing to give us a hefty discount (we paid INR 6500).

The non-air conditioned Toyota Innova picked us up at 8:30 am, and drove towards Leh after picking up the driver’s uncle and girlfriend. This company was certainly unexpected, and we regretted not having discussed these elements in our negotiation. After driving through Sonmarg, Drass and Kargil on a bumpy road (those with weak back, heart and respiratory conditions should not attempt this drive), we reached Leh at 10:00 pm. It was one of the most serene drives we’ve done.

Intangibly, Kashmiriyat is absorbed by the mountains and a different face of India in the form of Ladakhi lifestyle appears. This graceful transition is perhaps a chapter of Indian accommodation.

Gems found along the way:

-Drive on road, drink on bed

-Pay attention to safety, so you can reach home for tea

-Drink and drive, you won’t survive

-If married, divorce speed

-Short cuts may short cut your life

-Better be Mr. Late than Late Mr.

-Live for your today, drive for your tomorrow

-Road is hilly, don’t drive silly

-A cat has nine lives, but not the one who drives

-If you sleep, your family will weep

-Don’t be Gama in the land of Lama

-On the bend, go slow friend

-Don’t race don’t rally, enjoy the valley

-This is a highway not a runway

-Speed is a knife that cuts life

-Love thy neighbor but not while driving

July 25, 2009

Comment of the Day

Filed under: Humour — loggers @ 1:32 am

“Alok, you go find pulses in the Dal Lake.” -Naman

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