Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Don’t Need Amma

It was the early man who began the very notion of civility.

I give you my dog, you give me your goat.

Two handfuls of rice=a grass skirt

Two cows=one girl, well, that wasn't very civil.

However, the very idea of fair play evolved from these early exchanges.

In a rather weird twist of fate, a very modern form of barter continues to take place in the state of Tamil Nadu to this day, devoid however of any sense of fair play.

I give you television sets, fridges, gold jewellery, saris, “you name it, you have it”, except we need your votes.

The first time, this scheme was introduced by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party to sway voters in their favour, it turned out to be a success.

However, as intelligent as voters are in Tamil Nadu, they couldn't succeed the second time.

That the last elections in Tamil Nadu were a little short of pre-Neanderthal style barter system, is an understatement.

It was an all out freebie war- who will lure the voters with the most attractive freebie?

For the first in the history of a democracy, voters were literally spoilt for choice.

With the DMK's dismal showing, Amma has more than one reason to party and she does it in her own style.

For a woman with a houseful of shoes, so many that she wouldn't have to worry about repeating the same pair, it wouldn't seem a ludicrous idea to spend state expenditure on free laptops for every child.

“That's brilliant!” some said.

“What a political gimmick”, others rued.

I stood divided.

I speak Tamil and I'm still in university, does that entitle me to a free laptop?

Neither my name, nor my parents’ figures in Tamil Nadu's electoral rolls but when Amma says 'every Tamil child', will she forget me?

Well, I should ask for a free Mac, I told myself.

At that opportune moment, when I was lost in contemplation on what laptop I should own, I accidentally knocked over my tea and spilt it all over my keyboard.

There was a moment of panic- the battery was dismantled, the laptop upturned and my keyboard furiously blow-dried.

I called up Dell, enquired about warranty, resale value and what to do next with the laptop.

Gingerly, I switched it on.

The track pad was ruined, the keyboard that was only half-working, now completely stopped working.

Worse, my laptop gave a violent beep and switched off.

In a frenzy, I called up my father and berated my woes.

A patient Tamil father listens and provides and how!

Within an hour after I dreamt of a free Mac, I was going to actually receive one from my uncle.

I no longer cared for the free laptop every Tamil child will get to enjoy.

For you see, you don't have to wait for Amma to get you one, a kindly mama will do the trick.


Amma- popular Tamil nickname for Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalallitha

Mama- ‘uncle’ in Tamil

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