FLAP-JAW

The story did not end there, since the angry residents also planted saplings in the small potholes around the ditch.
 
Party around crater

Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

Arup Chakraborty

Party around crater

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been ruling Madhya Pradesh for more than 17 years. The current ruling dispensation claims that the condition of roads in the state is better today than it was when the Congress was in power. On the contrary, about the nick of the roads in various districts across the state, including that of those in its capital, Bhopal, the less said, the better. The ruling party’s tall claims on maintenance of roads fall flat during the monsoon when the thoroughfares in the capital city turn into ponds. If the condition of roads in the state capital is so bad, one can imagine the state of the roads which the people in remote areas have to walk on. A few residents of an area in Anuppur district of the state recently resorted to a novel protest to draw the government’s attention to a road, a part of which has caved in and developed into a crater. Because of the ditch, the road, which connects Anuppur with Bijuri-Manendragarh, remains filled with water in the monsoon. A volley of letters, written to the civic body to repair it, came to nought. Ergo, a few residents put up some chairs in the crater and sat on them, dipping their feet into its muddy water, enjoying music, soft drinks, snacks. They also danced to the tune of Bollywood numbers, as though they were having a blowout on the banks of a river. The story did not end there, since the angry residents also planted saplings in the small potholes around the ditch. When a video clipping of the protest went viral on social media, a resident of Bhopal said, “The Bhopalites should draw a lesson from it and protest against the poor state of the capital’s roads.”

Read also: Height of sycophancy

Monsoon wedding

Monsoon wedding
Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

The other day, it was raining heavily in Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh. No sooner had the rain begun than many pedestrians and bikers scurried to the roadside shops. On such a day, a bridegroom’s party was going on the road and a group of people were dancing to the tune of an old Bollywood number ‘Dum … Dum … Diga … Diga …’ The Baratis, as the members of a bridegroom’s party are called, were hardly bothered about their wet clothes. Suddenly, some of them brought a tarpaulin sheet to shield themselves from the rain. Dulhe Raja who was in a four-wheeler looked restive, because he must be cursing himself for getting spliced on such a day when he could easily caper in the rain with his friends. Most of the Baratis took shelter under that tarpaulin sheet, but, by the time they did that, all of them were soaked. It was not known whether the Baratis had some extra habits to stand in lieu of the wet ones. The scene, however, triggered a lot of sniggers among shopkeepers and bystanders, because it gave off all the elements of hilarity – rain, dance, Baratis.

Penned in the past

Penned in the past
Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

A long time has passed since the era of Nawabs ended, but the residents of Lucknow, especially those living in the old city, believe that the Nawabs are still present in their life and culture. Such residents always speak about the rulers of the city. Many historians have spilled gallons of ink on reams of paper to pen that. Yet, the common man is not tired of telling those yarns with many spins. The other day, a man was buying Dussehri mangoes from a vendor in the old city. The buyer wanted to know whether the mangoes were of good quality. Immediately after hearing that, the vendor said, “Do you know the mangoes have been grown in the Nawab Sahib’s own garden? So, you cannot doubt their quality.” The buyer, no stranger to the city’s culture, said, “Yes. I saw one of the Nawabs and his Begum relish these mangoes, sitting outside the Bada Imambara gate.” Immediately after that, the vendor handed over the mangoes to the buyer, and went away, throwing a benign smile at him.

Read also: The untouchable?

Tailpiece

Tailpiece
Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

A man enters the transport department office in Lucknow to take a test for a driving licence. He is handed over a set of questions, one of which says – which traffic sign allows you to make a U-turn on a road in the city?

The man writes: The road that leads to the Lucknow transport office.