Friday, January 19, 2007

The Bitter Harvest...

They say I am a 50 year old...I am not sure though. They honoured me and celebrated my birthday with great pomp, confusion and disunity. I puffed up with pride...though only momentarily...hearing the great man who made missiles for my Mother and before that had lived with me for 20 years...heap lavish, mostly undeserved praise on me. This is my story, but I wonder what I am in this tale...the narrator, the stage, the prop, the bystander or just an onlooker.

When I was but a year old, Mother decided to turn me over to my people, hoping they would bring me up well, as she had her other 15 children too to look after, not knowing yet how many more would be carved out of her womb. Not a bad decision because she gave birth to twins a few years back, i suspect her 27th and 28th child...pardon me, but i have lost count. As for my Father he died 8 years before my coming...a sad, disappointed man he was when his end came. I leave it to you readers to let your vivid imaginations take flight, to figure out if i am a case-study for divine conception or bastardy. Anyways to take my story good people, both the poor and the enlightened of the land handed over my upkeep to something we will call a trust, which I must say did well. They gave land to the landless farmer, ushered in affordable education for all and a good many sweeping changes.

Before I could turn 4, the Rich, the Establishment, the Church and Mother's people colluded in what they called a struggle for liberating me and things were never the same again. I fell into the lap of a Governor for the first of many future ones.

Throughout my early childhood I was witness to a great dichotomy; the men who spoke great principles and supposed to nurture and lead me on forsook all their responsibilities in the quest of an eternal mojo...they called Power. And so for, with and by Power they flourished as a great multitude of associations they called Parties which swore by bigoted interpretations of religion, caste, the oppressed, the middle class and the farmer. And the greatest tragedy was my poor people who were beginning to make a name amongst my Brothers for their intelligence, hard work and education become toys in my name but everyone elses for gain.

In my teens we got a fellow companion, a mean bully, who went by the name of Trade Union. He struck us hard when we worked, studied or tried to usher in changes. Because of his adamant stand, I saw many people losing jobs, others bidding me farewell, some watching the tamasha in approval and a majority feign apathy or helplessness. Our backs had all begun showing signs of rubber than any presence of spine or bone.

The teenage years almost went past, when a woman who came so close to taking Mother's position in my mind, decided I had turned a juvenile and had me and brothers put in shackles for plotting her fall. A friend of my age studying for engineering was taken away never to be seen again but his father's struggle for justice will remain the stuff of legend for as long as I live.

Soon I was in my 20's and yearning to break free but the men who made my life miserable in the past was in no mood to let go. The storm in my life refused to was decided one front would pull me from the left and another front from the other side. And so they prostituted me in the farce they called coalition which continues to this day, though they have sucked me dry.

Then I turned 30. Not too late to learn computers, i thought and turned towards it. But rowdies, though they call themselves students, in one stroke, obstructed the one avenue I had hoped would lead to my survival. Meanwhile some of my Brothers latched on to IT and today almost all my educated young friends work for them while so many capable men and women who could have helped me out remain lost forever. Of course they built two lopsided parks which continue to grow belatedly; in two unplanned, unclean and unscalable cities called Trivandrum and Cochin where chaos is waiting to happen not too far away in the near future.

And 40 I turned. A time to invest, dream big and a plan to empower and emancipate my people ended with them looting me and leaving my coffers dry. The loans to help people get self-employed and develop subsidiary incomes was a ready reckoner to the poor businessman I was, and recovering none of the spent money, in desperation I turned again to the two hydra-headed monster brothers they affectionately or otherwise call adb and wb whose loans today keep me afloat despite the quicksand of unreasonably huge interest payments that eat into my revenues viciously.

Now I am 50. In the pangs of a large mid-life crisis. The fighting doest happen anymore between my two fronts...but within them. I turn away from them for some relief to the movies but the rot has set in there too, elsewhere mosquitoes with their vicious fangs bay for my dying lifeblood as the darkness approaches. I see the future written boldly but none else bothers to listen or see me crying...the roads will choke, the rivers run dry, crops fail further, more heads hanging on ropes.

Well that was one story on my life, there are others too...I know tales of losers don't sell, but if you are good at it, someday you can tell it with conviction to your grandchildren and sugarcoat it with a nice moral that appeals to them. As for me...
I am bitter at all the pent-up potential gone down the drain,
I am bitter as past achievements pale away into stagnation,
I am bitter that I am the luckless ground that stands beneath your all-stomping feet.


Sarah said...

And I am bitter, for the Kerala that I knew is gone..

mathew said...

interesting take Jiby..frankly no one cares one does anything to make things better..gets frustrating!!

This one should be shot to all the politicians ruling our state.

Anonymous said...

No offence meant...

But from all my readings, it feels like everyone is upset that no one else does anything to make things better. No one has said anything about their own contribution to make things better. Maybe everyone else is waiting for the other person to make a move:-)

Is it fair to sit in some far off place and complain? (Just my own contemplation)

Jiby said...

sarah, very true...but i believe it can come bacK!

mathew, i intended this more for the people than the politicians...our politicians are an exact microcosm of our society and people.

anon, no offence taken. if you have been an old reader at this blog u will have known of an attempt i made. u cant say i am complaining or we bloggers are waiting for other ppl to make moves...if u look at any political movement in the was writings that first created an air for new political thought. what ppl like me can do now is to write...u have this contempt because we dont have as big an audience as newspapers, tv and magazines. my dear friend...isnt it people from far-off places whose remittances are ensuring the kerala economy doesnt collapse! am not in for a debate...nor do i have the pls accept this reply graciously.

Anonymous said...

hello jiby
i thought your article on kerala had great passion and compressed hitory/ sociology in it.however....the title is all wrong! find somethng less direct, more poetic and ironic. Dont devalue the substance of your own article

somethng like "once upon the coast of Heaven.."

best wishes
Mini Krishnan

Jiby said...

Mini Aunty, thank you for the encouragement and the suggestion...realized it only after you pointed out...this new title is the best I could think of.

silverine said...

Lovely piece!!....the anguish of the State has been bought about so well. I am past bitterness, I am sad and have lost all hope...but I still hope for a miracle.