Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Republic of Marina

The kids had demonstrated to perfection the Gandhian method of peaceful protest. An ordinance legalizing the sport of Jallikattu had been promulgated the previous night. When I started for my run that day, my thoughts were similar to that of a Bull let out to face a crowd of testosterone raged youngsters. I was not sure if endorphins were enough motivation or I should have temporarily kept aside my Gandhian qualms and had a few quick stiff ones!
The ‘Occupy Marina’ movement had virtually relegated the police, politicians and reel heroes from their midst. The youngsters had given a stellar example of how to implement Swatch Bharat, the young man riding a Corporation garbage lorry proudly adorning the protective gear made a lasting impact compared to all the celebrities ceremoniously wielding the broom for the media cameras! The volunteers regulating traffic without use of power or challans, but, just a cheery smile set the bar high for their counterparts in white who have tarnished their profession by demanding bribes not far from the War memorial! That the conventional politicians of all hues were rattled was best seen in the way the leaders of a popular political denomination trying to stop suburban trains were made to appear foolish by kids travelling in the train with me. They asked the protesters how they would reach Marina if the trains are stopped. The protesters beat a hasty retreat shamefacedly. Clearly, the rules have been changed by the younger generation!
Most telling image was that the who’s who of the state bureaucracy, who used to strut around pompously in the dress rehearsal of Republic day, were relegated to a side road in the Army area this year. The policemen who used to be brash with commoners were appearing suitably humbled. In my last loop near RBI when one traffic policeman with sporting a trademark paunch imitated my running, I took him on and said had he been more genuine and regular in his copying of my running, he would be more healthy and could get rid of his paunch. He had the final laugh when he said that I do not seem to have conquered my temper despite Gandhian wear and regular exercise. Guess, I was feeling emasculated by the crowd of youngsters shaming the entire state machinery (not that anything could hurt more than the top civil servant of the state having been caught with a stash of money recently!)
In my last loop near Napier bridge I was stopped by a posse of determined policemen who absolutely refused entry to me on to the Marina beach road. I tried Gandhi, then anger, but, to no avail. I cursed them that may they be relegated further away from the public discourse for their insensitive behavior to an old man for extending his run by four more kilometers by asking him to take an unfamiliar and alternate route. Little did I know that the young man in uniform was doing his duty and preventing me from getting embroiled in the police protestor tussle on the Marina.
In my opinion the victory coming so easily made the youngsters feel that that had bid low and could have asked for more. Having won the ‘Right to Fight’ the bull, were they doubting their ability and the bulls will to fight? My take is that we as elders have failed to define virility and manhood to this generation of Pokemon chasers that they had to go as far as Sangam literature to resurrect Bull taming. My prescription would be taking to running to woo a girl as well as staying as a united family!
All in all let us celebrate the youngsters at Marina for validating Gandhian methods, even if for a doubtful cause, hoping that they would come back with worthier causes. If nothing else, I am sure it would give pride in work to the many sanitary workers, humility to the police and the powers that be! Long live the Republic!

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