It’s monsoon time in India and being an agrarian economy after 60 years of independence all eyes are on the skies.Monsoon is delayed by two weeks.
The Television channels are blaring out forecasts and interviews by the dozens,the leaders are giving hopes,The Met department is correcting itself a thousandth time ,The stock market is shaking,The priests are performing Yagnas,The professors are lecturing on theories of poverty,the corporates are keeping an eye on the Macro environment……….the farmer is praying for mercy,he is scared.It is business as usual.
In the morning today my 4 year old son was singing a rhyme :
Rain Rain Go away
Come Back another day
Little Johny wants to play
Like a lightening it flashed my mind,I thought about all the Little Johny’s in this big country of mine who want to play if it does not rain.I realized that they would be chanting the same Mantra albeit with a sinister design.
No rain or drought does is not actually bad.It spells great fortunes and goodness for a variety of reason for all sections of our imbalanced society.
I would say broadly everyone benefits from a drought sans the farmer.Its just the Question of changing your attitude and looking for opportunities where ever they exist. Let’s make a list to further build upon this great Aha :
The Gods : Folks who would never bother to bow their heads in front of temples become overtly religious overnight.They offer prayers,prasadam and other goodies to the almighty and seek their favor.Going by the Geeta when Arjuna ask Bhagwan Krishna O knower of all things please tell me what do you eat ? Bhagwan Krishna replies I eat Bhaav ( emotions ) of my Bhakts ( followers).So clearly it is a feast for the Gods.
By making sure that Indra stays at home they can continue their party.And believe me if the followers pray from the heart the food gets even tastier.
I don’t want to annoy the almighty so I will quickly move to the next one who will smile even if you throw your shoe at them.
Politicians : After gods who else ? Demi Gods.They are the biggest beneficiaries of this largesse from heaven.The best thing is that the politicians benefit regardless whether they are in power or in opposition.You must be thinking I’ve lost it.But think again – If you are in power you get yourself photographed with emaciated farmers a few times and waive off all outstanding loans to ensure that you are back in power.The Dogs have to be faithful to their masters.
And If you are in opposition you can always blame the misfortune of the current chief minister which has befallen on the janta(public) and proclaim that the only way out of hell is to vote against the wretched man.Even the Gods don’t like him and they are punishing you for the public for his misdeeds.The opposition has a very good chance of coming back to power if the Government in power cannot arrange for the ransom money in condition one above.
If monsoon fails for two consecutive years the government will most certainly fall.
Police : It’s hay day for them too.Drought means more fights,more andolans ( crusades),more people fleeing the hinterlands and flodding the slums,more black marketing, more crimes and everything else that desperate people do.And desperate people also pay a lot of money to get out of desperate situations.
From the money made over the years and your unquestioned access to power you have more often then not managed vast tracks of well irrigated lands which will produce what ever the market demands.Even the Gods can’t touch the rich and mighty.A shortfall translates to premium.It is demand and supply – simple.
People may not buy clothes,they may not entertain themselves,They make stop sending their children to schools but they will certainly eat.So go ahead make money.Nothing personal against anyone.
Media – Oh my God ! how tragic is this scene the otherwise plastic face of the anchor will anounce.
A mother is mourning over the dead body of her only son.They had nothing to eat for days and they kept themselves alive by eating leaves of plants but even they dried up this season.The camera pans left and you have the dead body with a tight close up of the howling mother ,the camera pans right and you have long shot of the dried and barren landscape for miles on end.
Don’t get scared there is a disclaimer that some of the scenes may disturb you.And you say No way.I have seen worse – Last time when you showed us that amazing video of parts of the body blowing away from a train in motion in Mumbai I tried to calculate the speed of the train and the speed at which the parts were blowing out to understand the concept of relativity.
One mans’ folly is another man’s fortune.The adage cannot have a better example that the media.When hunger strikes , the poor will hang themselves or starve to death and both will present an unsurpassed opportunity for the media to make the most of it.
In today’s newspaper Shekhar Kapoor says ” We are all vouyers ..” and nothing can be more gratifying than watching a man die while you finish your 4 th course and thank good heavens that the face on the Tv screen was not mine.
At the awards Ms . Dutt can walk away with all the kudos for showing the “reality” so sensitively.
I strongly feel we should have ” reality show” if it does not rain this time.
We can have ten families fight with hunger,pain,humiliation and disease every night on prime time.It will be Mega Final when finalistwill die on the stage just when he was going to get the cash prize of Rs100000 from Bill Clinton.Everyone will be crying but you will be laughing your way to the bank.I am telling you you can rake in millions with this baby.
Anyways lets move to a more sophisticated set.
Professors : Poverty strikes a chord with the audience immediately whether it is governments or corporates or the general Public.Talk about it and link it to your theories of wealth distribution and the noble prize is yours for the asking.It is important to maintain a certain ‘look’ so it seems that you are one of the impoverished souls from your doctrines; its just that you have better clothes to wear.If you can muster a tear or two while emotionally explaining the irony of the situation,nothing like it.You can tell Dr . Singh over high tea about your plan to do away with poverty and he will be so impressed with it tha he will make you the Chairman of the steering committee on Poverty and Drought relief.Its your choice the if you steer everyone towards or away from it.
Some fools may wonder that with so much Gyan(knowledge) available for free why millions die of hunger every year.But Like I said they are fools and they will not invite you to guest lectures at Harvard and Stanford nor offer you publishing rights for your next rambling”What poverty.Let’s Party !”
So don’t bother Rock on .
Priests -You stand to gain the maximum.Who bothered about doing homas and yagnas ( rituals ) in good times.Now you can really make use of your cellphones and the Mobikes chanting Gayatri Mantra from one Kalyan Mandapam to the other.God called me and said that he is very angry this time so we need to do the Koti Sahastra Maha Paropkari Yagna.It requires the sacrifice of a 100 cows,1000 kgs of Pure Ghee(purified butter) , 5 tonnes of firewood,1001 kgs of Ladu prsadam and 51 pundits chanting shlokas for 555 hours at a stretch.You can always change the merchandise mix depending on who gives you the maximum commision.
Another big source of revenue is predicting the future.It will It won’t.It may , it may not.Astrology is the best source of comfort in times of uncertainty and by saying something as vague as Water Water everywhere but not a drop to drink you can get away with either outcome.”Ghor nahin Ghanghor Kaliyug hai Bhai”
Then there are small links in this big chain of prosperity :
District Magistrates,officers and Babus – Drought relief from centre,Aid from world bank.Donations from HNI’s ( high net worth individuals).Its raining Money,Money Money !!
Engineers and Overseers – New plans for building dams and canals.Another portion of the house can be completed this year and given for rent with which you can pay the engineering fees of Munna.
Traders,Pawn Brokers and money Lenders – Who said cash crunch is bad.Its damn good.If it does not rain you can always double the interest rate from last year.And whatever mortgage is there from last year is obviously yours as no one will be able to pay up.
NGO’s – with so much coming in as donations you can finally shift to your new offices at Nariman point with a view of the Arabian see.Tell Papa I have arrived in a noble fashion.
And yes it’s time to change your old Fab India Kurta.Someone was saying you smell bad.Tell them you don’t get time to change your clothes doing community service and there is no water to wash clothes.You have to use tissue …..even though you are a Kanyakubja Brahmin.After all you work in drought affected areas.
Lastly a small business can also come to the lowest in the hierarchy the undertakers – when so many die you can up charge for performing the last rites before the body starts to rot and smell.
** Disclaimer – this part may disturb you**
But why did you read it ? I said ” we are all voyuers ‘ .Aren’t we ?