E.R. RAMACHANDRAN

THE BREAKFAST THAT CHANGED THE FATE OF KARNATAKA

Former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda released the ‘Gowda Papers’ recently. This was quite different from Pickwick Papers or the more recent Anderson Tapes detailing President Richard Nixon’s omissions and commissions in the Watergate scandal.

The papers released were only a fraction of the treasure trove the ex-PM had painstakingly compiled over the years.

I had a chance to peep at some of the papers which were what you could call ‘History in the Making’ (or ‘Unmaking’, depending on how you view it).

A stickler for details, Gowda had neatly compiled the papers into various folders and given appropriate headings and subheadings, as his wont.

For instance, he had a file, ‘NICE Papers’ and understandably, next to it was ‘Not so NICE’ Papers! Probably it listed the unsuccessful attempts to scuttle the project and the recent SC verdict.

Some folders were labeled, ‘Dharam’, with sub-headings such as ‘Daily visits’, ‘Hourly discussions’, ‘Coaching’, ‘Advice to CM’, ‘Advise against the previous Advice!’ Some files were marked ‘ Come Right Now!’ in which points were scribbled in a great hurry.

There were a few files marked ‘VERY IMPORTANT’ or ‘VERY URGENT’ and had papers of over five years bursting out of the files. They must be the papers pertaining to the Metro rail project and the Devanahalli International Airport!

Whereas ‘Delhi Metro’ was written in green ink, red ink was used for ‘Bangalore Metro’. There was several box files, which could easily weigh few tons marked ‘Mono’. Probably it was the Monorail project, thought of as alternative to Metro by the Ex. Since these files could not be carried out of the room, the ‘Mono’ papers never made it to the Press and that’s how’ Metro’ got lucky and scraped through and probably will see the light of the day some day!

One shelf had folders labeled ‘Madam’ probably meaning Sonia Gandhi. Another, with some loose sheets in a new file had ‘Rahul’ written on them. For a second, I thought the former PM had words of advice for Rahul Dravid for the World Cup next year. But cricket was the last thing he would ever think of, and the name he was referring must have been Rahul Gandhi. It was a big box file with only a few sheets.

The ‘Rahul Papers’ will follow later, when Arjun creates enough smoke through reservations, for Manmohan to dash out of the burning kitchen and poor Rahul is forced to take over as the chief chef! Rahul Gandhi, that is.

In a file marked ‘Madam-URGENT’, there’s an interesting line: ‘7:41 hrs. I am on my way to meet madam for Breakfast at 8’0 clock.’ The next line reads, ‘7:42 hrs. I asked the driver to take a U-turn and go to the airport to catch the Bangalore flight.’

Historians would be chewing nails off their little fingers or back of their little pencils unable to decide whether:

a) Mr. Gowda had inside information that he would be served Pasta with Lasagna which he hated, but was willing to gulp it down for the sake of Karnataka, or,

b) At the last minute, decided ‘enough is enough’ and dashed home for his favourite ‘Raagi Mudde and Soppina Saaru’.

This is crucial, for, had he put up with the breakfast and discussed with madam, the recent political history of Karnataka might have taken a different course. Who knows, it’s quite possible, the first son might have become the new CM with Janarardhan Poojary as his deputy and the present CM might have been doing what he did best at National College—that is, throwing paper arrows as a backbencher in Vidhana Soudha and producing the odd movies!

Strange are the ways Fate makes its moves thro’ breakfast meetings that don’t take place and U-turns which spark off deft political moves.

The last file, which caught my eyes, was the one, which was marked: ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. ONE MORE TO GO.’

**

PYAARE MANMOHAN, WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

In the last one week, there have been terrible calamities striking India one after the other.There was the communal clash in Baroda. There was the Lashkar attack in Doda. There was the Taliban killing of Suryanarayana. There was the death of Pramod Mahajan. And there have been innumerable bus and train tragedies involving the loss of lives of tens of simple Indians.In the midst of all this, has any one seen or heard our Honourable Prime Minister, aside from his inane boiler-plate statement that India will not ‘tolerate’ terrorism!We needed a hands-on Prime Minister who would have talked tough to the Taliban. We needed a statesman Prime Minister who would have attended Mahajan’s funeral. However, to see Manmohan Singh use all his time for electioneering should leave you wondering if he has a mind of his own.

One gets a feeling that the Prime Minister is content warming his seat and dreadfully waiting to be told his time is up!

The gung-ho talk about FDI and 8 per cent growth is all very well. Respecting the ‘inner voice’ is OK, but the country is bigger and much more than just economics.

Manmohan has turned the reservation issue into a one-to-one fight between Arjun Singh and Kapil Sibal and hasn’t said a word! At this rate our P.M. will become a nonentity. It looks like Rahul Gandhi is wrong. He is not ready for Uttar Pradesh; maybe he is ready for India!

Will the last person who has seen or heard our Honourable Prime Minister say or do something remotely relevant or meaningful to us please leave a comment?

***

ON THE OTHER HAND, AS RAHUL DRAVID WOULD HAVE SAID

As the Supreme Court ordered the rehabilitation of the displaced villagers and their families, the Prime Minister’s office swung in to action.

They knew that if it didn’t take place within the stipulated 3 months, the SC would order the damn dam moved across to any other river except Narmada. There wouldn’t be a dispute about the height of the dam, as there would be no dam.

The spokesperson meant business and was on the job. He was quite open about the options he and his boss–the PM—were considering.

“Rehabilitation is the mantra, right now,” he said.

“Normally that word is used when, say, the chairperson of a party, decides to dump a politically inconvenient pawn as a governor or an ambassador to a third world country! Now how are you going to use it?” I said.

“We need places right now. Period. First, we are looking at the unoccupied ministerial and MPs’ bungalows. Second, quite a few ministers and MPs are still occupying their accommodation long after losing their deposit in the election. Some of them have stayed put from their great grandfather’s days, who, they say, was a minister in the Nehru Cabinet! We will drive them all out!”

“Are there other areas you are scouting?”

“Indeed. Advaniji has been kind enough to offer his place as he is out on the yatra. He might start one more in the reverse direction to counter Rajnath Singhji’s yatra. Not to be left out, Rajnath Singhji has offered us both his official and personal residences. I don’t know where he is going to stay once he finishes his yatra!”

“That’s nice of them.”

“The UPA Chairperson has offered her villa in Italy. We might have to arrange visa etc, but still that’s an option, as Dravid would say, we might use.”

“These options, again as Dravid would say, are fairly limited. What you need is a massive scale of operations to rehabilitate the landless and the ousted.”

“You’re right. We are on war-footing right now. We have drawn plans to put them up in Purana Qila, Lal Qila, Humayun tomb etc. We might even use the Taj Mahal, except, on full moon days we have to vacate the place for the tourists for 3 to 4 hours.”

“Do you get help from outside agencies?”

“Many have offered. Swaminarayan Temple, Balaji Temple in Tirupati, Chamundi Temple in Mysore, Jama Masjid in Delhi, Portugese Church in Mumbai have all offered both lodging & boarding. The PM and the UPA boss want rehabilitation work to go on in full swing before the deadline.”

**

CITY CORPORATION UNVEILS REVOLUTIONARY NEW BULLSHIT TECHNOLOGY

It is heartening to note that the Mysore City Corporation is seized with the idea of stopping the ‘Stray Zoo’, which normally operate in various parts of the City. However, this awakening has come a bit late in the day, as the Traffic Police have already worked out a scheme to use them effectively.

Unable to get the MCC moving whether it’s the cattle, pigs or horses that line up in the city roads and coupled with the fact they are short of staff, they had to come out with something unique.

‘Necessity being the mother of invention’ and ‘adversity brings the best in you when you are driven to the wall by mules’ seems to have guided the Traffic Police to search for answers to their problems.

Their Spokesperson was at hand to give details on their initiative.

“I understand you are planning revolutionary steps with regard to traffic control,” I started off.

“We don’t have much choice, do we? We are trying to be innovative, wherever there is scope….”

“Could you please elaborate?”

“Certainly. You’d have seen cattle in the middle of the road whole day all through the year. We found, with a little bit of training, they can serve as ‘live’ median. We will paint them with the usual yellow and black stripes and just let them be on their regular route. Vehicle users will automatically keep to the left when they see street-smart painted cattle. This will solve lane cutting, overtaking from wrong side etc….”

“Very Interesting. Any more ideas?”

“We have been using words like ‘ Zebra Crossing’ without really showing our children what they are. In a week’s time we will be stationing stray ponies painted with Zebra stripes, at busy pedestrian crossings like K.R. Circle, Kuvempu Nagar etc! This will be an addition to the Pelicon, pedestrian button operated crossings.”

“Something unique, I must say!”

“Since MCC couldn’t solve the pigs’ menace, we thought we could use them at night once we paint them with light reflective paint. Since most pigs generally travel in a straight line, they can be a natural guide to scooterists and motorists. If this works out all right, we will use LED / LCD Displays embedded on the pigs. This will look attractive at night!”

“How are you doing all this?”

“We are collaborating with Chamarajendra Zoo Authorities. We together train the animals on the traffic norms. In fact, it was their idea of Emme Thammanna Stand–how to use buffalos. Since buffalos are sturdy and hardly move at all, they suggested we paint them with ‘ reflecive red’ and station them at dead ends and at T-junctions. This will avoid accidents at night.”

“One of the major problems is potholes after the rains. I don’t know whether your indigenous technology has any solution for this.”

“Why not? We have trained the animals to aim their ‘droppings’ on the potholes. This is ‘bullshit’ technology. Once this happens, our staff cover it with cement and Jelly. We can arrange a demo of this!”

“Getting animals to take care of traffic is a revolutionary idea. But there could be teething problems such as unfamiliarity of surroundings etc.”

“Most of them know their areas as good as the back of their palms, er, hoofs! We are also using Balarama and the young one who ran away and came back recently, Indira. They all can read Mysore Map upside down!’

“Do you think your experiment will end as soon as MCC starts rounding up the animals?”

The Spokesperson laughed and said, “the animals were there even before MCC came into being! They have seen Mayors, Commissioners and District Ministers come, talk and go. We only want to use their perennial presence to regulate traffic.”

MIDWEEK MASALA: THE CM AND THE ELEPHANT

As the Chief Minister was walking towards the entrance at the Vidhana Soudha, he saw a crowd surrounding an elephant.

The mahout was calling out, “Come one, come all! Make the elephant cry, you will get Rs. 100! Entry fee is only Re. 1.”

A number of people tried their luck, narrating heart-rending stories to the tusker. The elephant was unmoved. Seeing this, the CM wondered, “Why not take a chance here too?”

After paying the entry fee, he went close and whispered something in the elephant’s ear. Miraculously, tears started rolling down its cheeks.

While handing out the Rs. 100, the mahout asked him what he told the elephant. “I just told him my name and said, ‘I am the new C.M. of Karnataka!’”

Next day, at the same time the mahout was back with the same elephant. This time he was offering Rs. 1000 for anyone who could make the elephant laugh! The entry fee was Rs. 10.

As the CM approached the place, he found people telling all kinds of jokes, but still the elephant was unmoved. The mahout was initially reluctant, but allowed the CM to try his luck.

As the CM whispered something in the ear, the elephant burst out to uncontrolled laughter!

When the mahout asked him what he whispered this time, he said, “I again said I am the CM of Karnataka, and that the car I use for official use is an Ambassador!”

JOKE OF THE WEEK #2

As the patient was about to be discharged from the Mental Hospital, the ward staff had organized a small farewell party.

“George, you are completely all right now. What do you want to do when you get back?” asked the medical director.

“Doc, I want to join politics, work hard and become the President.”

“That’s nice, George. What will you do first thing as President?”

“We will form the Government. I will take colleagues from here for my Cabinet.”

“Get back to your ward, young man!” the doc said. “The last time we released a chap years back, he did just that!”

THE CHAPPELL WAY

Keeping in mind Guwahati and the past reputation of Jamshedpur, I entered the Keenan Stadium wearing a helmet, where the Indian team was practicing under the watchful eyes of their coach Greg Chappell.

My fears were largely unfounded.

Under the protection of Jharkhand police, the coach was putting the players through the grind. At the end of a hot day after supervising the ‘Nets’, the Indian Coach was resting.

Resting is what I said, but the Indian coach never rests really.

His mind is always ticking. He readily agreed to speak for a few minutes, but ‘No Interviews’, he warned. “You must be happy, the way Indian team is playing the last 6 months,” I started off.

Chappell rolled the statement over in his mouth, chewed it and after turning it over between his eyebrows was ready with an answer: “You are never really satisfied with any performance and as a coach, you shouldn’t be. I am thinking of rotation policy all the time.”

“Could you elaborate, Greg?”

“Of course. I want to experiment and strategize all the time and at all positions. I will explain. I want to try out Kaif in all positions from I to XI. You’d never know when or where he would fire, until you try him out! Got it? Ditto with Sehwag.Thanks to Robin Uthappa, I could try Kaif in the opening slot. It didn’t work. So what? Next match, I will send Kaif above R.P. Singh and Sreesanth. This will make him think about his game. If he fails there, in the following match, he could come between Powar and Harbhajan.”

“That’s very interesting! No wonder it’s called ‘Chappell way’. Incidentally, Sehwag thought his earlier captain Ganguly was History!”

“Sehwag, although a captain material, is still raw and prone to make mistakes. Of course, I don’t agree with him at all. Ganguly is not history. He is now a relic! I wish Kolkata public would put him between mothballs and preserve him in their museum. Give Sehwag time. One day, He will improve his English and Batting as we go along.”

“What about Sehwag himself? Where do you want to send him next?”

“To the moon. I was joking! I want to give one more off day to Raul and give Sehwag additional responsibility. I will also take a day off and make Sehwag manage all the three as coach, opener and captain! A lot of responsibility should ultimately make Sehwag fire.”

“You mentioned about Dhoni’s potential as captain in Jamshedpur.”

“Sure. So are Sreesanth and Munaf Patel. I think I mentioned Sreesanth’s potential as captain before we played our one-day match in Kochi.”

“What do you think of Rahul’s captaincy?”

“Well, he’s good and is already a captain! I can only tell about chaps who have the potential to be future captains like say R.P. Singh, Suresh Raina and of course there’s Kaif.”

Robin Uthappa was practicing nearby. “The kid is good. Although we took him as an opener for Jamshedpur, I want him learn to use the opener while serving drinks as twelfth man! He will come around O.K..”

Meanwhile, Greg corrected Robin Uthappa’s throw to the keeper and explained.

“If he learns to throw underhand, he will be more useful to the team one day or other. Robin almost reminds me of my younger brother Trevor!”

APRIL SHOWERS

Surprises! Surprises!! Won’t they ever end?

The Congress President and UPMA Chairperson, known for her shrewd but unexpected moves, exploded a bombshell of sorts, when she joined Advaniji in the Rath Yathra II!

While Analysts thought this move had the effect of deliberately deflating Advaniji and the Rath tyres, both Congress and BJP were seen feeding laddu pieces to each other.

Brinda Karat and Baba Ramdev signed an Agreement under which Ramdev will train the entire Left Cadre in Yogasana and Pranayama.

In return Karat will arrange to manufacture ampoules at Honda factory, to bottle the medicines from the Baba’s Ashram. When last seen, both Karat and Ramdev, wearing white coats were doing Quality Control tests.

Elsewhere there was harmony everywhere. When the newly restructured UN General Assembly opened in New York, an estimated audience of 3 billion people worldwide, watched live coverage of President Bush and Saddam Hussein escorting Bin Laden Osama to the chair of Secretary General.

After taking over from Kofi Annan, Bin Laden promised to wipe out the scourge of terrorism from the face of the universe with the help of Musharaff, Dawood and Chhota Rajan in that order.

Nobody Expected India to suffer a shock defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in the world Cup finals at Barbados. But then, nobody expected India and Zimbabwe to come to finals after beating Australia and South Africa.

That India lost the final despite Ganguly cracking the first double century in one-day cricket under the shayri spewing – cum-new coach Punjab da puttar Mohinder Amarnath, was beyond anybody’s imagination.

As Zimbabwe captain Taibu took the world cup and washed his team mates with champagne there was,

Clap, Clap , Clap……

‘Thud’, ‘thud’…

My wife Maya was banging the cot and shouting…

‘Wake up. It’s quite late and it’s April 1st. Be careful and don’t get fooled today’!

One Response to “E.R. RAMACHANDRAN”

  1. MANOHARAN Says:

    I WANT MOORE INFORMATION

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