"I don't know anything about Coalgate, memsa'ab," remarked Basanti, my maid. "I just know Colgate. Who uses coal these days? I paid Rs 2,500 for an LPG connection and I use a stove," she added.
Basanti, Bittu, Raman and the rest of the staff don't know what is happening; they are not even bothered about the embezzlement done by a few. And we are back to doing what we do best: thinking up corny one-liners. You have to give it to the country we see humour in every situation. The dark side keeps us going.
India bounces back primarily because we all live in the hope that makes the ordinary man survive not because he doesn't know what is happening but just because life goes on. Basanti's daily drudgery to eke out an existence is sufficient to burden her rather than be bothered about Coalgate.
In her nonchalant way, Basanti hands out pearl after pearl of wisdom: "What difference does it make to us? We will still stand in a queue for water, ration and kerosene, send our kids to government schools and wait for government handouts. Even if the government we elect loots us, we still live. Life goes on, it doesn't stop for anything. Life and death are both two cosmic twins which do not stop for any disaster, man-made or natural."
Basanti's stoicism shook me. Here I was fuming over coal block allocations, allegations, mudslinging and the fact that all decorum was lost in the highest echelons of power, while my maid was dishing out the facts of life.
We all profess to be educated and knowledgeable about affairs of the world, but we live in a bubble, crying for the masses but never really taking out time to know what they really want. The only way forward is to step out of the bubble and enter the real world.
According to a news channel, Baba Ramdev believes that multi-national companies are sponsoring a campaign against him. The sale of his indigenous products may take a hit and the 'phirangi' toothpaste may be lapped up by the masses. He is busy advocating the use of "jadi-booti dant manjan".
Well, Coalgate or Colgate, all is black and white in this country.