Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How did BNP sir become a partisan to a global scare?

For long I had resisted the temptation to pen this but given the exuberant spate of tabloid spills about the topic, I just had to get it in black & white. But before I spell forth my rather irrelevant musing, I am reminded of that beloved old chap who taught us English back in my days of ironed uniforms, nervous dictations and Parachute oiled hairdos. (On an equally amusing side note: I still don’t get why a coconut hair oil brand would be labeled ‘Parachute’ when it has nothing to do with either the tree or the hair! Is the company telling us that this oil is the ‘life saver’ for hair like a parachute is for life? Or is it that the gaudy brilliance of the oil will ensure our hairdo remains intact even if we jump off a plane with a parachute on? I can’t help but think that if that indeed be the case, our hairstyle will be the last thing we would care about. Ah well, moving on.) We used to call him ‘BNP sir’ for as long as I can remember without realizing the man actually had a nice elongated name which I now forget. I am tempted to say probably BN Padmanabhan but well, I am sure I am miserably uncertain there as well.

Anyway, the only reason even today, after close to two decades, I still remember BNP is because of his colorfully verbose feedbacks to the versions of Caesar or Macbeth we used to religiously hand in on a regular basis. His devoted South Indian upbringing, while palpable with the prominent red exclamation mark on his forehead, had somehow made it impossible for him not to call a student everything he wouldn’t eat – monkey, dog, donkey, swine (this being his favorite!) etc. It was common knowledge that if someone got stuck with one of these titles, then it was obvious that BNP was close to ripping off the author’s head that had inadvertently unleashed such monstrosity upon the world of words. My years of elementary education of Shakespeare were thus spent understanding that the word ‘swine’ was possibly the worse thing one human being could call the other. Needless to say, life later on taught me otherwise. So, reader, this was about BNP for now. I will catch up with our old mate a little while later.

Now let us return from this minor detour on to how BNP became an unsuspecting partisan to a theory I have. For years now there has been a curious pattern I have noticed emerge every time we have disrespected prominent members of the animal, bird and insect world. Among them, primarily, is the mosquito. We not only are hell bent on wiping off its blood sucking race but also use the revered insect in songs that demean other members of our diversely personified species. Much like that B-City song which claimed that one such pest could make you a eunuch. Not the best metaphor in my books but nevertheless a rendition that caught our fancy temporarily. So, to make things equal, these little pests that had been murdered generously since the beginning of time got their vengeance in a dozen different ways. Malaria, dengue, yellow fever et al. Then we moved on and began smashing off Lord Ganesha’s much adored disciple – the mouse (do read up about Lord Kroncha to know why exactly the elephant headed one ended up with such an unlikely escort). Just the mere hint of one of these in our homes and we are standing on table tops poised to remove this troublemaker while acknowledging that the God he serves so humbly, according to our own admittance, is a trouble healer. This probably could classify as the height of divine irony. So, after a million unplanned deaths, the little fellows brought with them plague, rat bite fever, meningitis et al. Again, ailments that wiped off almost half of Europe! Our next target to ensure our superiority over the races continued was the meekly moving cow. We prayed to it, slaughtered it, decorated it, milked it till it fell off its feet, used it in verbal abuse for the feminine kind and even drank its liquid refuse in hopes to cleanse our sins. It returned with a vengeance to kill off its own kind as the mad cow disease and sent shivers down every cow eater’s arrogant spine. We were not done yet: we then targeted the next best thing to roasted beef – spicy chicken. Everything from labeling cowardice with its name to brazenly chomping on its delicious legs and devouring its unborn on our steaming omelettes took place (and continues to!) with unrelenting aplomb. But then how long could the scary-easy flightless creature take it? An equally delicious stab of avian flu peppered itself across the planet leaving millions of defenseless birds out of our kitchens for good. Again, disrespect reigned supreme as the arrogance of humans continued to loom large.

And then we come back to feedback friendly BNP. After this havoc of a decade, I am reminded of his one choice word that is now making front page news – ‘Swine’. His five years of (at least containing my blessed attendance) inexorable fuming with every kid who ever denied him the pleasure of appreciating the bard’s genius, seems to be hole punching the globe bit by bit each passing sun. ‘This is ridiculous work I say! Lazy old swine! How about paying more attention in the classroom!’ he would scream into our dumbfounded faces that shivered from under an intact mop of oily organization. And so, millions more like him I am sure, have forever disregarded and given this animal the least possible benefit in the history of mankind. For that, here it is now. Back with the complete weapon to demand retribution. With each newspaper reading I see the number of Swine Flu patients rising steadily in every part of the world. While the other members of the non human clan either attacked us directly or one another, the swine family has decided to let us get infected without their presence at all. Sort of like the ape origin based HIV that still continues to loom large on the planet.

Another carefully plotted revenge drama. Another redemption sought by means best left to rather drastic seeming theories like this one! Hence, the next time you call someone an ass, watch it. Who knows what sort of reprisal our silent slaves are planning! And also, don’t forget to blame folks like BNP for the subtle little role they played in disrespecting another life form without any provocation from it. Considering how we are always reminded to give guru dakshina, I am sure he can use a little consignment of our “thank you” notes in return to his contribution to this epidemic. Of course, if he is still alive, that is. Thanks a lot, BNP sir!

Phew. Alright, I am done.

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