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Record of an Era

The City of Happiness

Posted by chimeki on December 1, 2016

Dear Mr. Turnbull,

I am very happy to write to you and I am sure you too are happy there.

Ever since the Emperor has declared showing disgust, pain, remorse, sympathy and all such old human feelings a crime we all have become very happy.

Let me confess to you that initially I was quite unsure of this Royal Proclamation and I thought this wouldn’t work. But one day when my son got a good beating from the Spread Happiness Armed Force for showing disgust while standing in the long ATM queue, I realized that this one is a coup. I can’t tell you how happy I am today to see my initial inhibition proved wrong.

I learnt that your mother passed away last week. I am glad happy to hear that. And I am sure that she must have died happily. Your father must have been very happy man now and her happy demise would have added to his happiness. You too must have been very happy too to see your mother gone who, you told, loved you very much.

How is your son? Has he got a job? Here, my son is still hanging around happily without a job since the lockout. His wife, overcome with happiness, has filed for a divorce and left the house happily. I am much old now to tell my grandchildren how fortunate they are to live in this happy time where they don’t have to go to schools as I have no money to pay fees and buy them books.

'Instant Christmas happiness! ?1.'

Now I learn that the Emperor has ordered to prefix Happy with every citizen’s name and soon we will be issued new Aadhar Cards. So Mr Turnbull, are you ready to be called Mr Happy John Turnbull. I am sure you are. And I am so glad happy too that I will be called Happy Joe Smith. In our neighborhood people have already started adding Happy in their nameplates. There is nothing better than being happy all the time.

Oh God, I was about to forget telling you that I have bought a pair of smileys. My wife and I wear it all the time. First I thought, this plastic smile wouldn’t work but when the shopkeeper told me that even the ministers of our Emperor wear it all the time I decided to try them. You know what the shopkeeper even changed my 2000 rupee note which I was not able to use since my bank issued it last year. Now my wife and I put the smileys on our faces all the time. Only when we have to speak or eat we get them off but never for longer. Anyway we don’t have much to share these days. In our city this thing is a hit. On roads and on metros every second person is seen wearing it. Wearing it is good for the jaws too. The strain that comes from smiling all time is gone. I read in the newspaper the Happy Times that soon our government will be selling it through the PDS in subsidized rates. What an idea. I just want to forewarn you that don’t sleep or go in front of the mirror with it for you will think yourself an intruder.

At last we have seen happiness. I wish my parents were alive today to see this happy time. I am sure they would have died with this overdose of happiness.

Hail the Emperor,
Happily yours,
Happy Joe Smith
Happy Homes
Happy Street No. 2
The City of Happiness

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The Emperor Teaches Swimming

Posted by chimeki on November 29, 2016

‘You can do it. You can. Move your hands fast. Faster.’

‘Bubble bubble bubble bubble’.

‘Now flap your feet. Flap fast. Faster.’

‘Gulp gulp gulp gulp.’

‘Now breathe. Breathe. More breathe.’

‘Bubble bubble bubble bubble.’

‘No no. Not like that. Breath from your mouth. See. Like this. Yes. Innnnhale, Exhaaaale. Innnnnhale Exhaaale.’

‘Gurgle gurgle gurgle, burble burble burble’.

‘No no. Don’t drink the water. You may drown. Just breathe from your mouth. Like this. See. Yes yes.’


‘Ok, now turn on your back and do backstrokes.’


‘See, he is floating. He has learnt to float in water’, the emperor said.

‘I think he too is dead, His Majesty,’ said the almost bald minister feeling the pulse of the old man.

‘Ok now you can imagine. He was 70 but didn’t know swimming,’ the emperor said.

‘I am appalled, His Majesty’, the other minister replied.

‘Shameful’, the almost bald minister added.


‘But I am not’, said the emperor, ‘I knew it he would drown. The rulers of yesteryears never cared for our people. They never understood what people wanted. They only wanted to rule them. But I am not yesterday, I am today. I am not a ruler but a servant.

‘Yes yes, the ministers said in chorus.

‘I want to learn from people. I want to know what they feel. And I want to teach them how to swim.’

‘Mashallah mashallah’, the ministers cried looking at sky where chandelier swung left and right.

‘Can anyone tell what people think about me? What is the result of our recent survey,’ the emperor asked.

‘The result is 100 per cent,’ the almost bald minister said, ‘the survey conducted with TheEmperorApp tells that people are happy about what you are doing’.

‘Good good.’

‘All three who participated in the survey including His Majesty, His Majesty and His Majesty say that your style of teaching is perfect’, the other minister added.

‘Of course of course.’

‘And they say swimming is good for health and everyone must know how to swim so that we can make our nation great again like it was in Lord Rama’s time.’

‘You all must have learnt by now that I don’t want to be remembered as a ruler but as a great teacher.’

‘Ameen Ameen’, the ministers said in chorus.

‘I will teach everyone swimming. There is no art or exercise or recreation greater than swimming. And no man worth his salt can disagree with what I say standing on this podium.’ The podium creaked from the emperor’s weight but he didn’t care. ‘Only those who know swimming have right to call themselves people of this land.’

‘Long live His Majesty, Long Live the great emperor,’ resounded the voice of the ministers. People showered flowers and sprinkled scented water.

‘Next,’ the emperor ordered. The minister threw one more into in the pool.

‘Take a deep breath and flap your feet and move your hands. Fast fast’, said the emperor and turning to the almost bald minister asked, ‘I am sure your wife knows how to swim’.

‘Yes, His Majesty.’

‘Good. Bring her here tomorrow I will teach her to fly.’



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The Emperor’s Experiment

Posted by chimeki on November 24, 2016

The emperor checked the temperature with a long thermometer and poured the transparent liquid in the heated beaker. An acidic smell filled the hall. Entering the nostrils of the courtiers it quickly froze into crystals. All gasped for breath.

‘I think something good will come out of it’, he said more to himself than to his ministers.

‘Yes Yes’, they nodded in agreement.

He turned to them and smiled. He had a divine smile, a sign which said that everything was good in the empire as long as he was at the helm. Like wit his smile too was rare. Until he became the emperor, people made stories about his always serious face.

‘He doesn’t smile because his front teeth are missing’, one would say.

‘No no his mouth stinks’, the other argued.

‘Nonsense, he is a strong man’, the third corrected.

‘Oh yes, oh yes’, all agreed.

modi-pmThat day emperor was in good mood and, for a change, he sought counsel of his ministers. ‘Now tell me what if one day I make a mistake and my experiment fails?’, he asked them.

‘You can never make a mistake’, said his ministers.

‘How kind of you, my comrades. But anyway tell me without fear or hesitation of any kind what if one day I really make a mistake’, he asked smiling. Nothing is a greater threat than an emperor in a happy mood.

‘You can never make a mistake’, all said louder.

‘You people are very very generous to me but I really want you all to tell me frankly what if one day I, myself, tell you that I have made a mistake’, he said.

‘You can never make a mistake’, all said in the loudest of their voice. The beaker and the chandelier over it shook as if an earthquake had struck. The emperor smiled and removed the safety goggles he was wearing over his glasses and unbuttoned the apron. Once a white apron had changed into yellow a long back and now it was fading back to his original color. ‘Will it again become as white as it was when I bought it a year ago?’ the emperor often thought. Once he even made a note in his Diary of Experiments: WHAT COLOR DOES WHITE COLOR FADE INTO?

‘Ok now tell me what do you think of my new experiment?’ he asked turning to his almost bald minister.

‘Something good will come out of it’, the minister replied scratching his nose of crystals.

‘What do you say?’ he asked the other minister.

The minister gulped the spit and said, ‘something good will come out of it.’

‘Ok then,I must go and announce the success of my new experiment to the people of our land’, the emperor said and left for his personal studio from where he delivered his regular radio talks on his vision for the nation. Lately, he had made hearing of these talks mandatory for all the government employees and his ministers and during meetings asked questions based on them.

‘In my last talk I said something about hygiene.’

‘Yes my lord, you said we should work hard to make our nation clean’.


‘And you said cleanliness is godliness’.


‘And… and… and…’

‘30 lashes’, the emperor announced.

As soon as the emperor announced his experiment the people knew that something good would come out of it. The government and private news channels showed that people were themselves doing the emperor’s experiment in their leisure time, which they now had plenty, in their houses and offices. Wherever the government radio and private news channels went they found people telling them, ‘something good will come out of it’.

A week after, the ministers told the emperor that people were very grateful to him for experimenting and wished him more such ideas. They said the emperor should experiment on daily basis. ‘They are ready for small inconveniences’, told the almost bald minister scratching his nose.

The emperor smiled.

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पत्रकारिता के खिलाफ पत्रकार

Posted by chimeki on November 18, 2016

journalism2002 नेपाल के एक साप्ताहिक अखबार जनादेश के संपादक कृष्णसेन इच्छुक की पुलिस हिरासत में हत्या कर दी गई। दूसरे दिन तमाम नेपाली अखबारों ने इस हत्या के विरोध में अपने संपादकीय पृष्ठ को कोरा छोड़ दिया। ऐसा कर सभी अखबारों और पत्रकारों ने राजनीतिक विचारधारा उठ कर पेशे की एकता का परिचय दिया था। उनके इस कदम का मतलब यह था कि माओवादियों और सरकार की टकराहट में उनका पक्ष जो भी हो लेकिन पत्रकारिता पेशे की एकता सर्वोपरि है।

कृष्णसेन इच्छुक की हत्या के विरोध जो व्यापक विरोध हुआ उसने तत्कालीन सत्ता पक्ष को यह एहसास दिला दिया कि उसे स्वतंत्र अभिव्यक्ति के अधिकार पर हस्ताक्षेप नहीं करना चाहिए। और उसके बाद माओवादी जनयुद्ध को कवर करने वाले पत्रकारों की हत्या अथवा उनके दमन की कोई बढ़ी खबर नेपाल में देखने को नहीं मिली। और वो भी एक निरंकुष राजतंत्र में। यहां तक कि माओवादी पार्टी का मुखपत्र माने जाने वाले जनादेश में काम करने वाले भूमिगत पत्रकारों की हत्या नहीं हुई। लेकिन जो कुछ आज के लोकतांत्रिक भारत में देखने को मिल रहा है उससे चेतना बहुत जरूरी है। रिपोटर्स विदाउट बाडर्स् की 2015 की रिपोर्ट के अनुसार भारत पत्रकारिता के पेशे के लिए तीसरा सबसे खतरनाक देश है। एशियाई देशों में ये अव्वल है। पाकिस्तान और अफगानिस्तान एवं इराक से भी पहले।

हाल के वर्षो में खासकर पिछले दो वर्षों में भारत में मूल पत्रकारिता का दायरा बहुत छोटा होता जा रहा है। 2014 तक भारत में पत्रकारिता में सत्ता विरोधी स्वर प्रमुख था। पिछली सरकार के जनविरोधी फैसलों को उजागर करने में पत्रकारिता का बड़ा योगदान रहा। लेकिन वर्तमान सरकार में पत्रकारिता सत्ता पक्ष की प्रोपोगेण्डा मशीन बन गई है। जो कुछ भी सरकोर वाली पत्रकारिता दिखाइ दे रही है वह ब्लाग अथवा सामाजिक संजाल जैसे ट्वीटर या फेसबुक में सिमटा दी गई है। 2011 के जनगणना की माने तो भारत में मात्र 4 प्रतिशत लोगों के पास इंटरनेट से जुड़े कंप्यूटर की सुविधा है। इसी तरह मोबाइल इंटरनेट, जो अभी भी काफी मंहगा है, के जरिए फेसबुक अथवा अन्य इंटरनेट सुविधाओं का उपभोग करने वालों की संख्या अभी भी बहुत कम है। अधिकांश लोग टीवी अथवा रेडियो या समाचारपत्र जैसे पारंपरिक माध्यमों पर ही सूचना के लिए आश्रित हैं। ये माध्यम ही दुनयावी जानकारी के लिए बहुसंख्यक आबादी के स्रोत हैं।

लेकिन पिछले दो सालों में ये माध्यम तेजी से सरकारी प्रोपोगेण्डा मशीन बन गए हैं और पत्रकारिता के सरोकारों को भुला दिया है।

नोटबंदी के सरकारी फैसले के बाद जिस तरह की अराजकता और परेशानी व्याप्त है उसे सामने लाना और सरकार को इस बात के प्रति चेताना हाल में पत्रकारिता का प्रमुख कार्यभार है। लेकिन सभी समाचारपत्रों और चैनलों ने अपने इस कर्तव्यों से किनारा कर लिया है। जो एक या दो समाचारपत्र या टीवी चैनल इसे दिखा रहे हैं उन पर हमले हो रहे है। अभी पांच दिन पहले कारंवा पत्रिका के पत्रकार पर हमला हुआ। और परसों और कल फील्ड से रिपोर्टिंग कर रहे रवीश कुमार और उनकी टीम को डराने की कोशिश की गई। जिन लोगों ने यह किया वे एक पार्टी के समर्थक थे। और वे ऐसा ही करते हैं और करेंगे। ऐसे लोग बस या मेट्रों पर भी होते हैं लेकिन हम यह मानते हैं कि इन्हे सरकारी संरक्षण प्राप्त नहीं होगा इसलिए हम प्रतिवाद करते हैं, उनकी सुनते हैं अपनी सुनाते हैं। लेकिन पिछले दिनों में यह आभास हो रहा है कि पत्रकारों पर इनके हमले के खिलाफ अन्य मीडिया संस्थानों का खामोश रहना अनिष्ठ का संकेत है।

सुधीर चैधरी का डीएनए क्या इनता विकृत हो गया है कि अपने ही पेशे पर हो रहे इस अशलील आक्रमण के खिलाफ एक लाइन तक नहीं कह सकते। वे जिस कदम को ठीक मानते हैं उसके प्रति उनका पुर्वाग्रह रखना कोई गलत बात नहीं है। लेकिन अपने पेशे के प्रति इस कदर उदासीन रहना उनकी बड़ी भूल है। अर्णव गोस्वामी या दीपक चौरसिया जो भारत पर आने वाले तमाम खतरों को दूर से ही भांप लेते हैं क्या लोकतंत्र पर मंडरा रहे इस खतरे को नहीं समझ पा रहे। पिछले दिनों कारंवा के पत्रकार और इन दिनों रवीश और उनकी टीम पर हो रहे हमले दरअसल पत्रकारिता पर हमले हैं। और इसलिए भी यह वक्त पत्रकारों को अपनी विचारधारा से उठ कर सोचने का है। रवीश पर खतरा एक व्यक्ति विशेष का मामला नहीं है ये पत्रकारिता के पेशे पर दवाब है। साथ ही यह फेसबुक और ट्वीटर के पत्रकारों पर भी हमला है। इसलिए पेशे को बचाने की लड़ाई बेहद जरूरी हो गई है। विचारधारा इसके बाद।

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The Emperor’s New Clothes

Posted by chimeki on November 15, 2016

The emperor thought for a while and then agreed.

He had such a hypnotic charm that people around him couldn’t believe their eyes that their emperor wasn’t even wearing a proper underwear. His white loosely fitted panty betrayed the swell of his testicles, one small the other smaller, and when he took deep sigh of relief both of them shrank as if he had none. Anyway, they were not used to blaming the emperor for their misfortune but their own stars. ‘Whatever good happens, happens because of him and for everything bad they must see their own flaws’, the people read and heard almost every hour in the government radio and private news channels.

So when the guy from a brand management firm offered him those pair of clothes which he said belonged to the King whose order the emperor had longed to restore, the emperor as well the people around him couldn’t say no.

For a brief moment the emperor too had hesitated. Conscious, as he was about his appearance and impression, he even felt an uncontrollable urge to kick that guy out of his court who the emperor thought was carrying nothing but an empty hanger. But he didn’t for he had come with a recommendation and a visiting card of a firm subsidiary to the firm which gave him helicopters and private jets to fly across the continent and the money to buy people who mattered at a time when his own men schemed against him and desired his fall.emperor

‘What do you think?’ he asked his almost bald minister whose head spilled oil and lubricated his remaining hair as to give them the wet look.

The minister instantly agreed and even praised the emperor’s quick wit. He knew the emperor liked that way. The minister wasn’t born yesterday like the lady in the red saree, who liked to show that she could also think. Once the emperor liked the lady’s remark and even praised her boldness, next time he sent a messenger who told the lady to play down and lastly the emperor pulled the chair just when she had adjusted her green saree to sit on it. The emperor laughed on his own joke and rest laughed because feeling sorry wasn’t an option. Even after the meeting when the emperor had left for the USA no one came forward to console her. She sucked her pride in and put it safely in the depth of her chest.

‘What do you say?’ the emperor looked at other minister. The minister shuddered and felt like he was slipping. The almost bald minister gave him his hand in a way no one saw.

‘Spectacular’, the other minister said. He too knew the emperor liked that way. Once, just before the emperor had taken over the reign of the empire of sea of people and vast stretch of natural resource which leaders of the world envied and wanted to come over and loot, he had dared to cross the line, which he was sure he didn’t see. Next day, his son was imprisoned by the authority for misusing his own father’s authority and private news channels speculated on his future as the minister. He pleaded the emperor and cursed his fate for being the father of such rascal. The benevolent emperor forgave him and reinstated him on his former seat but with a clear yet unspoken message.

Then, uncharacteristic of him, he thought of seeking for his counsel of his subjects through MyGov.in but stopped just in time. ‘They know that I know what they want’, he said to himself and agreed to the proposal of the guy with the recommendation and the visiting card of the firm which was subsidiary to the firm which had supported him when no one was ready to help him.

It is a week now and the emperor has refused to change the clothes. The private news channels and the government radio are telling people that they are living in a historic time and they should cooperate. And the subjects are awaiting the restoration of the order of the King the emperor has promised to restore. He wants just 50 days to do so.

PS: Four children of a neighborhood knew that the emperor was naked but their voice was silenced by a long hush of their parents.

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मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि मेरा नोट चल गया

Posted by chimeki on November 14, 2016

notesमेट्रो कार्ड पर जबरदस्ती 500 भरा लिया

बस का पास रखता ही था

इसे भी आज़मा लिया

मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि मेरा नोट चल गया


गाड़ी में एक हजार का पेट्रोल डला लिया

मोटर साइकल चलाता नहीं था

पर अब उसका टैंक फुल करा लिया

मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि मेरा नोट चल गया


मदर डेरी में जमा हैं हज़ार

बदल न जाएं डेरी वाला इस डर से

रोज़ लेता हूँ दूध दो बार

आधा काम आया आधा फट गया

मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि मेरा नोट चल गया


‘सफल’ में एक 500 का नोट रख दिया

सूखी भाजी और सड़े टमाटर से फ्रिज भर लिया

थोड़ा पकाया और बांकी सड़ गया

मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि मेरा नोट चल गया


8 की रात बिग बाज़ार निकल गया

अण्डशण्ड जाम, सॉस और चीज़ खरीद लिया

ड्राई फ्रूट से थैला भी भर लिया

घर का इनसे बुक शैल्फ भर गया

मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि मेरा नोट चल गया


जाना था अलीगढ़

जम्मु का टिकट कटा लिया

फिर डेढ़ सौ कटवा कर कैंसल करा लिया

मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि मैंने नोट चला लिया ।

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मिस्टर शाही के नोट

Posted by chimeki on November 12, 2016

मिस्टर शाही के बारे में उनके कर्मचारी बताते हैं कि ‘चोर है स्याला’। बात ये है कि काम तो वे खूब लेते हैं लेकिन जब India Currency Overhaulवेतन देने की बात हो तो उनका सिद्धांत है कि ‘काम तो ढेले का नहीं आता लेकिन तनख़्वाह सभी को टाइम पर चाहिए’।

उनके दफ्तर में महीना 10 तारीख का होता है। याने वे इस तारीख से कर्मचारियों के वेतन के बारे में सोचते हैं। और उनके सोचने की एकाग्रता इनती तीव्र होती है कि सोचते सोचते कब 20 या 22 तारीख आ जाती है पता ही नहीं चलता। फिर एक दिन अकाउण्टेंट जोशी बताता है कि आज वेतन लेते जाना। ‘वह दिन जोशी का दिन होता है’, राधेश्याम बताते हैं। उस दिन वह ऐसे पेश आता है जैसे मालिक शाही नहीं वह खुद है।

‘मोहन टेबुल पर झाडू मारा?’


‘इधर आ। ये देख। स्याले कामचोर हैं सब के सब। साहब पेमैंट काटते नहीं इसलिए सर पर चढ़ गए हैं सब के सब।’

‘जी मारा था।’

‘तो मैने हग दिया क्या यहां?’

इस तरह वे उस दिन को खूब इंजॉई करते हैं। दूसरे दिन से वे अपनी टेबुल पर होते हैं और फिर अगले महीने इसी किसी दिन जागते हैं।

लेकिन इस बार ‘उनका दिन’ पूरे 20 दिन पहले ही आ गया। प्रधान मंत्री ने ऐलान किया कि 500 और 1000 का नोट नहीं चलेगा और मिस्टर शाही की तपस्या एक ही क्षण में भंग हो गई। उन्होने जोशी को फोन लगाया और एलान कर दिया कि कल सब की तनख्वा दे दो। उनहोने यह भी कह दिया कि जिन्हे एडवांस चाहिए उनको भी दे दो।

जोशी जी को अपने साहब पर ऐसे ही गर्व थोड़े ही है। वे जानते हैं कि साहब जो घर की गुप्त अलमारी में पैसा रखते हैं वे ऐसे ही बुरे वक्त के लिए होता है। देखा कैसे बुरे वक्त में साहब ने अपना पैसा अपने कर्मचारियों के लिए से बाहर कर दिया।

9 तारीख को उस कार्यलय में वेतन बांट दिया गया। आज 12 तारीख है और राधेश्याम सोच रहे हैं कि कब वे अपनी तनख्वा को इस्तेमाल कर पाएंगे।


नोट- 500 और 1000 के नोट को प्रचलन से हटाने के केन्द्र सरकार के फैसले के बाद आम जन जीवन में जो असर देखने को मिल रहा है उसी को दर्ज करने की एक कोशिश है यह स्तंब। इस श्रंख्ला में यह कोशिश रहेगी कि उस आम जनता पर इस फरमान का असर दर्ज किया जाए जिस के हित में इस फैसले के होने का दावा किया गया है। सड़क पर चलते हुए या बैंक में लंबी कतार पर खड़ा यह आदमी खुद को कैसे देख रहा है यह सुनाने की एक कोशिश है यह स्तंब। आगे जिन पात्रों का जिक्र है वे असली हैं लेकिन कहीं कहीं आवश्यकता अनुसार इनके नामों पर थोड़ा सा हेर फेर किया गया है।

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