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Friday, 14 September 2012

Blah! The Common Man!

Venue: The Market Committee office
Event: Market Committee meeting
Agenda: Hiking the price of kerosene

(Legends: C – Chairperson; RM – Any Ruling Member; OM – Any Opposition Member)

C:      I welcome all of you to this important meeting. As you know the agenda is hiking the price of kerosene sold in this market.
RM:   Yeah, we know. We have been talking about it since some time now.
RM:   Let us get on with it.
OM  Hey, wait, don’t be in a hurry. Let’s discuss the whole thing threadbare before taking a decision.
OM:   Why do you need to hike the price of kerosene now?
C:      Well, you see, prices in other markets have increased. So kerosene dealers in our market are forced to spend more money.
RM:   [In chorus] Poor fellows!
OM:   But they are still getting a huge profit.
RM:   Yeah, they are. But their profits have come down from 150 rupees to 130 rupees. So they need to make up for the fall in profits.
OM:   What do you mean by 150 rupees?
C:      Per consumer per month.
OM:   Oh! Oh! Pathetic, profits have come down drastically.
RM:   [In chorus] Profits have come down drastically.
RM:   Let us also discuss what we are going to tell the people.
C:      We shall tell that other markets have raised their prices, and that the dealers are incurring losses.
OM:   But they are not. It is only that their profits have come down.
C:      Yeah, I know. But that is a loss. Isn’t it?
OM:   [In chorus] Yes, it is.
RM:   [In chorus] No doubt!
C:      All right, we have all agreed to raise the price of kerosene. Now let us decide how much to hike.
RM:   To nullify the loss of profit, what is the estimated quantum of rise?
C:      As per the dealers, we may have to hike the price by at least three rupees.
OM:   But how are we going to justify our stand before the people? They have elected us to oppose every decision you take.
C:      Yes, we know that. Don’t worry, we shall give you opportunity for that.
OM:   Mmm.
C:      [Calls somebody and talks in hush-hush voice. He ends the talk with a smile.]
RM:   Okay, so how much is it?
C:      We are increasing the price by five rupees.
OM:   [In chorus] But you said three rupees will wipe out their losses.
C:      My wife [looks at the phone] says it has to be five rupees.
OM/RM: [In chorus] Then let it be.
OM:   But how can we accept it without a fight?
C:      You don’t. You make a huge hue and cry and issue all kinds of strongly worded statements. You strongly ask us to withdraw the hike. You resort to hartals, bands, dharnas, processions, and anything you want.
OM:   But in case the common man, whom we will be using as baits, turns violent?
RM:   Well, police will take care of that.
OM:   All right. Then what happens?
C:      After three days of protests, we roll back the hike by two rupees. We are happy, you are happy, kerosene dealers are happy. Also, remember, elections are due next year.
OM:   Yeah, but what has elections got to do with the price hike?
C:      The two rupees they have collected for three days will be contributed to election funds in 60:40 ratio. Sixty for us, 40 for you. This is democracy and everybody has a right to be happy.

One lone voice from a corner: But, what about the common man’s happiness?

C/RM/OM: [In loud chorus] BLAH! THE COMMON MAN! [They all laugh wildly thumping on the desk.]

C:      When we talk about elephants, horses and bulls who talks about donkeys?

[The lone voice dies.]  


  1. There is a ray of hope. At least one voice was there in support of the common man.

  2. Interesting. Satirical, yet piercing truth.An actor that you are, can work on a full stage skit, I feel, will attract audience.

    All your Onam scribblings, brings out the nostaligia in you, missing the paradise(?), i.e God's own country. Yet, this Paradise was not so four decades ago. Thererore we are here, you and me and many more like us. Even if we go back to the Emerging Kerala, would we have a place there?

    Namboodiri's belong to the 'Devas' side, who migrated to Kerala from ,Sarayuu' par to check Mahabali like 'Asuras'.

    Keep writing and welcome thoughts, and debates, happy to join.

  3. Thank you very much, all of you, who have commented in these columns and through mail, for your comments and encouragement for this and earlier postings.

  4. Some comments received through mail:

    Great! Good narration of poor Indian situation. The title - The Common Man -
    made me to think about R K Laxman's popular cartoon figure common man.
    I do not how to comment below the write up, hence this message.

    Dear Jayanthan, congratulations...!!! I am thoroughly enjoying every bit of
    the content. I have also forwarded the blog address to some of my contacts.
    Many thanks again and keep it up.

    nice one
    Siju KS

  5. Thank you all very much for your comments and for your encouragement. And please continue reading this. Your comments are very valuable.

  6. very well written......i enjoyed every bit of it...keep writing..:)

    1. Thank you very much, Renu for your kind words. Your comment is more important because this is the first comment I have from an IndiBlogger member. A Special thanks for that.