Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An interesting conversation!!

Yes, I am writing a blog entry after quite some time. What prompted me to write is an interesting encounter or rather conversation I had this Saturday night with a Mumbai auto-rickshaw driver. I was coming back from a dinner, and had taken this auto from the station to my place, it was around 11 in the night. Our place is very close to Bal Thackeray’s, and as we passed his place, we saw a mini-congregation of TV reporters and cameramen outside, which had actually been a feature last few days, owing to the sudden increase in importance of politics and consequently our high profile politicians due to the trust vote facing the government.

The rickshaw driver wondered aloud what the fuss was all about, and politics being one of my favorite topics (we Bongs love to discuss politics, you see!), I launched into a full-fledged gyan session about the current Indian political scenario, the impending fall-outs of the trust vote, and so on. The driver was listening quite attentively, and once we reached our place, asked me if I have some time. Of course, I was totally vella, and sensing he wanted to talk about the topic, couldn’t resist it. He parked the auto at one side, and we, an unlikely discussion pair of an auto-rickshaw driver and a pseudo-intellectual wannabe, started discussing one of the most discussed national topics- Indian politics.

To my surprise, I found him to be very sensible and with strong views on Indian politics. He hailed from Uttar Pradesh, the state with the highest number of MPs in Lok Sabha, I guess that had an effect on his interest. We covered the full range- him talking about Rajiv Gandhi- his favorite politician, about how anyone who tries to do good work in politics either ends up dead or out of reckoning, to the dirty divisive politics being played by some of our current politicians. He had strong views on the recent attacks on North Indians in Mumbai, and how politicians are using the common people to foment hatred and thus keep themselves from losing political relevance.

We talked for about half an hour, during which we straddled the murky political world and the socio-economic issues as well, and we established a connect as many of our views matched. We parted with the decision that it’s the responsibility of people who understand and realize the wrongs that are perpetrated to try and spread the awareness among people, and when he mentioned he would try and do this in his own and nearby villages in U.P. and that he would approach the local councilor with the peoples issues and their stated support, I felt a sense of comfort, a sense that as long as there are some people like him in our villages and interiors, we need not worry.

Moral of the story- Sometimes you can have the most interesting conversations in the most unexpected places!!