I can’t remember now, from this morning, how I wanted to start this post.
There’s always THE phrase that begins it, na?
I had it, the moment I shook off the shattered glass from the shoot out. At the Ashram flyover. They were chasing Manmohan Singh’s envoy off the road, while guerrilla snipers [they might’ve been Mayawati’s commandos] from distant peripheries shot sleek bullets through tense air.
And where was I going, during curfew hour amid political turmoil? I think either to attend a sanity defying 11-part film at the festival, or a swim. [Don’t we have such an acute sense of juxtaposition, irony and drama? The Greeks really knew their shit.]
Somewhere, an official, high in the ranks plotted with cold precision. They had amputated his conscience gland decades ago. Apparently, it is a compulsory drill when you enrol. Those who don’t survive the operation are, naturally, considered martyred to patriotic duty. And I recollect thinking: so this is why… Why didn’t they tell us before?
Daylight, I’ve decided, creates confusion.
So Manmohan was whizzed away; his quiet, turbaned dignity bundled off in a dark screened, red-light-flashing blur.
A circus set up camp, just off the flyover. They had sharp shooting snipers and fire juggling politicians, bicycle balancing actors and lion taming heroines. A million sycophants thronged the gay canopied gates, and a raging stampede was born. Barkha captured the frenzy with valiant persistence while Renuka Chaudhury juggled offal-shaped slippery words with an experienced glove. Pranoy wielded a joystick in a remote OB van on Lodhi road. And then I saw, the road was crawling with an epidemic of cockroach winged OB vans.
Meanwhile, a sad eyed, blue turbaned fugitive snuck into the laundry room of a crumbling government bungalow in Moti Bagh. Nimbu pani was served and no one spoke. Least of all a shell shocked girl rudely stopped short of a sanity defying 11-part cinematic experience. [Or was it a swim?]
I awoke with the guilt of his downfall on my conscience. The Bhopalis had their best chance with him. Na?