Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bangaradha Manushya!

When a big tree falls, the earth below shakes... that's how Rajiv vindicated the anti-Sikh riots after Indira's death. Well, Bangalore really got a shake on its head after Dr Rajkumar's death. And unfortunately for most of us he chose the wrong day to pass away. Couple of days before Vishu (and Easter too ), when so many mallus, who had booked all the tickets available so much in advance, eagerly awaits a passage to Kerala.

I had also managed a ticket. A 2-30PM bus on Thursday, to Palghat, from there I could catch a bus to EKM and reach my Valiachan's home just in time for Vishu kani. But from morning itself we were seeing the lathi-charges and tear-gas shells in TV, and buses being burnt outside. So I had more or less lost hope. Still as a last throw of dice we called the control room in Majestic, and enquired whether the inter-state buses are plying or not. The voice at the other end was very re-assuring. He said there was no problem whatsoever, and buses were running as usual.

So then I packed up quickly, left from my home in Airport road. Not a single city bus (BMTC) was on the road. Again called the control room, he said since the crowd had burned a few BMTC buses, they had stopped service in some routes, but KSRTC buses were still running. Alas, I should have interpreted this as since the crowds haven't yet torched a KSRTC bus, they were still running!!

Thankfully I could find an Auto. Considering the situation I expected him to ask for twice the rate, or at least one and a half. He didn't ask anything, just put on the meter. I thought, at the time of getting down I am in for a long quarrel with this guy. How I hate the Bangalore autowallah's. Nothing short of extortion most of the times, and to compare them with their counter-parts in Calicut... oh!! But I always had trouble with the younger ones, the old guys were good everywhere, and this man was also pretty old.

So we continued our journey. There wasn't much trouble in Airport road. I picked up my friend near Intel, she had to go Erode. And we carried on. The first signs of trouble started near Richmond circle. The police had blocked that road, so we took a left turn. From then on we went through the roads and places which I had never seen before, left right, I felt we were going circles, but there was no other way , each and every road was either blocked or had tyres burning in the middle. And all the while our old driver was telling, rather apologetically, how great a person Rajkumar was, and there was no one like him, and such things will never happen again. We agreed. I was wondering what will happen in Chennai, when (god forbid) Rajani dies. Considering the ingenuity and audacity of Rajani fans, nothing short of burning a train will satiate them... may be since this is the age of low cost airlines, an Air Deccan flight will make an obvious and ideal choice!.

At least once we were so close to the mobs. They threw obscenities at us but thankfully no stones. To make matters worse this guy even didn't have a Rajkumar photo on his auto!. But he still carried on. What would have happened if he had left us there... a mallu and a tamil among a frenzied mob of kannadigas!... May be I am getting far fetched ideas. But later in the afternoon when we saw in TV, the way they lynched ( a fellow Kannadiga) policeman, anything could have happened.

Finally we reached the bus stand. We got down, he asked us not to speak in Tamil, speak in Hindi or English only!. And he would only take the meter charge... Dr Raj's most famous movie, as I am told, is Bangaradha Manushya (The Golden Man or a man with a golden heart), here we were seeing another true Bangaharadha Manushya!. We thanked him and went to the Bus stand. And (as expected!) not a single bus in sight. All buses till 6PM were cancelled. I thought about the not-so-bangharadha manushya of control room, who said everything was normal. May be he was right then. We went to the railway station to see whether she could manage any train to Salem or Coimbatore ( I had already dropped plans of going home). But seeing the queue there we decided to return back home. There were some autos in the station, and this time we were not so lucky. They asked for 3x charges, and finally after some bargaining we brought it to 2x. Although we saw mobs and lots of police, the return journey was much less eventful, and reached back from where we started exactly after two and half hours.

Back home, there was a complete cable black-out also. Only Kannada channels and some news channels were shown. I sat down and watched Dr Raj's old movies. Since it was a mythological movie (Bhakta Kalidasa or something of that sort), there was no issue in following. Brought back memories of Prem Nasir!. Rajkumar has this serenity and sincerity with his acting, and a beautiful dialogue presentation, something that you can associate with a Sathyan probably. Can't believe such an actor's fans could be like this- but then it was very clear, there were more anti-socials than fan's out there. As someone said on TV, all the frustrated bangalore youth were having a field day!!.

4 comments:

karthik said...

i like ur respect for kannada

snigdha G said...
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reshma M said...
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reshma M said...
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