Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Conversation

[The ensuing Dialogue consists of five characters, which are-

1. Legislature- L
2. Executive- E
3. Judiciary- J
4. Media-M
5. Constitution-C

Meeting in the evening, over a cup of tea, the following discussion occurred]

L: Hello, both of you, How do you do?

J: Very well, thank you. How are you?

L: As good as I always am. Well, my question was even for E. How are you E?

E does not answer and looks down, as if completely intimidated by someone.

J: (in a sarcastic tone), E is not in the habit of answering back to you.

L: Are you trying to say that I have frightened E? I have given him every liberty that I could.

J: Is it so? Well I disagree. Everyday I get lots of cases to deal with that prove your point wrong.

L: (in an annoying manner), You anyhow have lots of cases to deal with J. Just sort out the pending ones, and then talk of what points can you prove wrong.

J: (clearly angry), Don’t speak to me like that. This is absolute contempt. You can be sued for this.

L: And who will sue me? Who has the power to? (Looks at E, who is now staring at L, wide-eyed), This one will? (Points at E), This E- who doesn’t even have the strength to move a muscle before me?

J: (in a mocking voice), And then you say I have given him complete liberty.

L: I have! (Exclaims loudly and bangs a fist on the table, rattling the tea cups), He dosen’t know how to use it.

E, who seemingly has shed his initial inhibitions by now jumps into the conversation.

E: I support Honorable J at that Sir. You control my Liberty in every which way you can.

L: (stares long and hard at E and then replies), I control you because I need to see how efficiently you manage to implement my laws- That’s my right.

J: That isn’t. (He interrupts), I deal with Law and I can see to it very well- E doesn’t need your supervision.

L: Is that so E? (Looks at E arching his eyebrows) Don’t you need my supervision?

E: That is not what I meant Sir (E says, trying to cover up the rude way he had spoken to L earlier), I need your expert guidance at each step. I can’t do without you.

This statement apparently angers J, who interrupts again.

J: Do you mean what I said was wrong? (Stares at E with derision)

E: No Sir, You too were right in your own way.

L: (bangs his fist on the table again), Both of us cannot be right at the same time you understand?

J: (stands up with a look of scorn) I am in full agreement with L. You have to choose. Who is right? L or me?

E knows that he is now in a tight spot. He wonders why even after his careful choice of words did he land up in such a situation. Why at all did he speak?

Just then, M enters the room.

M: (correcting the fall of her sari), I guess I am late Gentlemen.

She smiles.

J immediately sits down, L recedes his hand back to his pocket and E appears relieved-M has almost been his savior.

M: (sits down), seems like there was a heated argument going on here. I could hear the voices outside. Is everything all right?

L: Oh yes it is (L gives a huge smile)

M: Then what about those voices?

J instantly tries to mask the previous occurrences of the room, putting up a beaming face.

J: That! Oh, that was not an argument. We were just discussing a few topics of concern.

L: Exactly, (L joins in), after all, we have to run the country and therefore we must collectively discuss everything that matters. Am I right E?

E looks at L and J in amazement. What a transition!

And now they were trying to garner the support of the same man they had been after, a few moments ago.

E: Sir L and Honorable J are right (he says and looks at M, his words betraying his expressions)

M smiles again.

M: Nice to see that you people are so concerned about the nation. That reduces half my work!

L: Half your work? (L asks curiously).

M: Yeah, No more do I have to conduct sting operations & expose corruption. (She laughs heartily)

L, J & E are instantaneously red-faced. M too senses her wrong choice of words. ‘Corruption’ was probably not the right word to use. She too feels a pang at the bottom of her conscience. An abrupt silence prevails with L, J, E and M reminiscing the days gone by. A few names and a few thoughts begin to haunt their minds.


L: Kargil Coffins, Food for oil, Urea, 2G, CWG, Mining scam, Adarsh Housing Society

J: Jessica Lal, Naina Sahni, Tandoor, Quattrocchi extradition.

E: Telgi, Amarnath Shrine Board, fake currency, Fake encounter.

M: Uma Khurana, Aarushi murder, Coverage of Mumbai attacks

Suddenly, the door opens, Enters C.

Everybody stands up as a mark of respect to the senior gentleman. 62 years of age, his face is wrinkled; dark hollows have appeared below his eyes, his body trembles. He looks as if he is more than Eighty- decaying with each passing moment.

After the general salutations, all four help him as he occupies his chair.

C: (in a quivering voice), How are you all doing Children?

It seems as if all four have been caught off guard.

‘How are you all doing Children’, what irony this simple enquiry contained. How are they doing? And what are they doing? Their thoughts haunt them again.

C senses their uneasiness. He smiles.

C: Come Children, Sit here. (Points to the chairs around him)

All four quietly obey. They feel safe in his presence, comforted in his vicinity. All heated disputes appear to have vanished from their minds. The blame-game has been put to rest. A sense of embarrassment has encompassed them.

C: (clears his throat & says), You are the four pillars of democracy children. You have to run this nation. Everything lies at your behest and at your disposal. Each one of you has a vital function to perform-

(Points at L)- You are the elected representative-you handle every department that involves the development of this nation-Education, health, economy, law, home & foreign affairs, Finance, defence and so on. You shoulder the greatest responsibility.

(Points at E)- You have a distinct identity- L is incomplete without you. You implement what he decides, by reaching through to the grassroots. All his plans, policies and programmes need your assistance.

(Points at J)- You curtail both of theirs whims and fancies. You, in itself are an institution of justice, of impartiality, righteousness, fair dealing and most importantly, faith. On your hands lies the trust of scores of people who implicitly trust your decisions.

(Points at M)- And you dear, are the Fourth Estate. Your work is as important as theirs. They may legislate, execute and judge, but it is you who takes them to the masses. You are a connection, an inevitable interlink, that may either ‘make it or break it’.

Everyone looks down. The words of the old man seem to be hammering themselves into their entities-their entire being.

C: I won’t trouble you by delivering lectures children. But it is my duty to keep reminding you your duties. I have been doing that since the last 6 decades. You have sought changes in me, you have amended me, you have dishonored me, but you can’t have ignored me. I am the set of standards you have to adhere to, children.

Each and every one feels as if they have been shown the mirror. An extensive reality check has just been done.

C: Function collectively children- respect each other. That is the only way this nation & its people would benefit. That is the only way you can replace the tag of being ‘developing’ to being ‘developed’.

All four stand up, hand in hand, with a harmonious look, visibly prevalent on their faces.
“We will do as you say Sir”, they say in coordination, “We will never let you down.”

C too stands up, wavering, though, with a new found confidence.

“Let not the citizens of this country down children”, he says profoundly, “Let not the Nation down”.