Achhe Din?

By Radharao Gracias
04 August 2014 21:25 IST

“We keep to our election promises. The onion prices are raised high that no one may buy”. A BJP functionary tells me. I look at him with uncomprehending eyes. He explains “If you do not cut onions, you do not shed tears. If you do not shed tears it means you are happy.”

And BJP had promised happiness to all in the pre election campaign. “We are sincere about our promises”.

The logic is impeccable. I am stumped without even having stepped out of the crease. It has never happened before. I slowly walk back to the pavilion.

At home, it is dinner time. My wife says “I do not see how I can cook without onions”. I tell her that she may have to learn, as the Govt. wants us to be happy. I narrate to her my conversation with the BJP functionary.

Happy? My foot, she says with vehemence. You sit at home and listen to these politician friends of yours. You come to the market and I will show you how the people suffer. So reluctantly, the following morning I trudge behind my wife into the crowded market place.

As I watch, an elderly woman, seeks to know the price of onions. “Fifty rupees a kilo”, responds the grocer. The woman bursts into tears as if Selaulim dam has started overflowing notwithstanding the deficit monsoons.

My wife turns towards me and with all the wisdom (gained after marriage?) says, now look “you do not have to cut onions to cry, you hear the price and the tears flow”. Tell it to your BJP friends. “And ask them” she adds as an afterthought. “Why have the prices of tomatoes and chillies touched the sky?”

My wife delivers the ball with vicious reverse swing which would do Wasim Akram, proud. The stumps are shattered and I am clean bowled. No scope for referral to the third umpire. Head bowed I walk slowly back to the pavilion.

I bid my time until I meet the BJP functionary, and this time in the Court premises. “Forget the onions, what about the price of tomatoes and chillies?” I confront him.

 

“Blame the Portuguese”, he says without batting an eyelid. “You see, neither tomato nor chilly are indigenous to India. The Portuguese introduced them here with ulterior motives and made us give up our native diet. They have made us culinary slaves. Why do we need tomatoes and chillies? We were the greatest civilisation on earth before these dubious vegetables tickled our taste buds. It is time we go back to our roots. We expelled the Portuguese and it is time to remove their last vestiges.”

The Portuguese are a perfidious lot and are determined to undermine Indian civilisation” he continues. “The tomato and the chilly originate in South America and attuned to their weather conditions. Now the prices are rising because of weather warming which also originates in the Pacific Ocean off South America. The result is draught in India. And all this is a long term strategy of the Portuguese to destroy Indian agriculture.” He looks triumphantly at me.

I look at him non pulsed and he sees my discomfiture and volunteers “The Portuguese came to India with the sword in one hand and the Cross in the other. They have long since lost use of the sword but they still hold the Cross. The El Ninho is responsible for the draught. Do you know what El Ninho means? After an Atal Behari Vajpayee pause, he triumphantly proclaims “it means Christ child. Once the draught comes food grain production will decrease and provide a fertile ground to increase “Rice Christians. You see, that is the strategy. The Portuguese are still out to convert us all. And this time El Ninho  is the weapon.”

The BJP, I realise knows its onions. And tomatoes. And chillies, too. I slowly walk out of the Court, as my case has been adjourned.  I realise “Achhe Din” have also been adjourned. Perhaps sine die.

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Radharao Gracias

Radharao F.Gracias is a senior Trial Court lawyer and ex President of the South Goa Advocates Association. He is also former independent MLA of Goa. He has been an activist on issues related to Goa for more than three decades.

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