Thursday, 27 February 2014

The green chilli

She sat there not knowing what to do. She had a party to organize the next day and a bandh was called today by some unknown political party for some unknown reason. Before she could learn further on the news from her son, the line went dead.

What was she going to do? Her son was coming home the next day to be with his mother on his birthday. She was paralysed.

Her neighbour knocked on the door to check if she could spare a green chilli.

For the next one hour the green chilli was a lost cause, as the two women cursed every single politician that was born thus far on this green planet.

“The state that we live in determines the state that we live in”, she told her neighbour. “These things don’t happen in the state that I hail from. The 20 odd years that I lived there, there was only peace and happiness. But the state of affairs here is pathetic” she complained to the potential chilli borrower.

The neighbour simply nodded in agreement, more out of her need for the green chilli.

Encouraged by the silent listener, she continued, “If I were given power I will arrest every single person that calls for a bandh. They are actually public nuisance. In fact the law does not permit such protests called for by small parties. This is illegal, you know.” She felt better after sharing her knowledge with her friend.

“What are you going to do now” inquired the worried neighbour? “How many people have you invited? Will the hotels be shut down too? Don’t forget the return gifts, huh”, she gently reminded her. Her green chilli occupied her thoughts completely as hunger took over.

“I will borrow a green chilli from you and finish my cooking first. Then let me see how we can salvage the situation. Don’t worry, you can count on me” the neighbour had successfully presented her case.

"I will borrow a green chilli from you..."

Once the neighbour borrowed the chilli and left, she picked up the phone and tried calling her son once again.

This time the call went through. “Yes, ma” sounded a tried voice on the other side.

“There is a state wide bandh and I do not know what to do for your birthday tomorrow. Looks like the hotels will be shut down”, she was quite concerned.

“I cannot hear your voice clearly. I wanted to speak to you since morning, but there is a lot of noise here”, said her son from wherever he was.

“Can you speak louder”, she strained her auditory nerves to the hilt. The background noise was preventing her from listening to her son’s voice. “Move away from the noisy place that you are in. I can’t hear you”, she wanted to tell him to buy some ready-made food from the supermarket. They may keep the supermarket open for public convenience. That was her last hope.

And yes, she had to remind him about the return gifts too!

The phone rang and this time she could hear her son’s voice better.

“Ma, I will not be coming home tomorrow. We have called for a bandh. Please switch on the television and you will know why. Watch the news channels that I watch, not the serial channel.”

The line abruptly went dead!