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Spring in the holy land

By: Ranjita Biswas/TWF

Spring in the holy land
“The Spring festival is here. The flowers are in bloom and the cuckoos are calling. Let’s go to the earth and enjoy it with the people for a change.”

The devtas in heaven were in their weekly meeting.

“Let’s go, let’s go!”  the younger devtas  were the most enthusiastic as they appealed to Indra, their king.

Brahma, the wise one, said sagely, “But you may be sorely disappointed.”

The young ones whispered among themselves. “He’s an old fuddy-duddy;  we don’t have to listen to him. After all, we young rule Bharat,  our punya-bhoomi. The whole world is  talking about how our bharat  has the biggest young population in the world. Poor China, with their one-child policy it’s losing out.”

Indra could not afford a rebellion now. After all he was getting on years and a coup was the last thing he wanted to precipitate.  So he consented but request Brahma to accompany them lest the young strayed and got lost  among the billion people. Brahma agreed reluctantly.

The devtas set off in their celestial raths to visit their beloved bharat enjoying the Spring.

But on landing where once Indrapuri was, the hub of power, they were in for a shock. In their hurry they had forgotten to do their homework and did not know that the land was in a frenzy  with people chanting ‘Vote! Vote!’

“Is it bhoot?” A the  youngest devta wondered and got a scolding from his elder brother.

“This is not bhoot, but vote,”  he reprimanded.  “The common people, the proletariat,  elect kings to rule them every five years,” he explained.

“And are made fool of each time ,”  Brahma muttered .  Obviously he was more aware of what was going on in this sacred land.

Anyway, they decided to explore the land since they had come all the way. Sure, the flowers were in full bloom in reds, pinks and whites; sure ,the cuckoos were singing their beautiful songs. But people didn’t seem to care or notice. From one street to another they only saw processions of people with strange looking posters; from street corners meetings were addressed by few white-haired men throwing gaala-gaali at  the rivals and the young audience clapped.

 

Suddenly one of the devtas exclaimed noticing for the first time, “Why, none of the devis came with us!’

“Oh you fool, don’t you know they are not safe in  this punya-bhoomi? Their beauty and splendid clothes will make all these men, young and old, chase them. So they declined to come when I asked. God decision,” Brahma said .

Things were not getting to be what the devtas had  expected. They decided to fly to Varanasi, the holy city, to avoid all the brouhaha in Indrapuri they called Delhi now.

By the bank of the Ganga, their favourite river they thought they could rest in peace and   decide where to go to enjoy the spring in bharat. But alas!  The fight seemed to be fiercest in this holy city. People in weird masks with some leader’s face were pouncing on another group with  caps; they shouted, they acted as if they were taking part in a  jatra style folk theatre killing the demon in one stroke in what they called election campaign. The saddest of all, they rode in boats in the mother Ganga’s  water and continued to practice the power of their vocal chords.

The young ones were crestfallen. “Are they going to talk this way all through  Will they do anything for the poor people  standing in queues under the hot sun to elect them?” They asked Brahma.

“Of course, not! But the fools think they are getting a better deal every time this happens which they call chunaw.”

Suddenly the devtas lost interest in enjoying spring-coming in their beloved martya-bhoomi.

“Let’s go back!” they said in one voice. Brahma smiled and said, “I told you so!”