Sandalwood Revolution

Update for week ended 4 February 2011

The planning was meticulous. The soldiers had met at the joint training drills organized prior to the Republic day parade. They had formed a clique that on the surface looked like an oddball collection of people from different classes of society and backgrounds, and would be seen having fun, goofing around and generally hanging around during the 3 breaks during the day – the breakfast schedule at dawn, the noon lunch tent and the evening tea break grounds. At night, all the different regiments held their own little bonfires, and other bonding exercises. But this cloak of disguise was perfect for their planning. After the celebrations were over, they returned to their respective postings. At day break, the soldiers went about their duties like they would on any ordinary day, but this was no ordinary day. The trucks rolled out and headed straight to the radio and TV stations. They had armed soldiers who quickly took vantage positions at the communications centre. 3 convoys of trucks headed to key government buildings including the Presidential Palace. The Army general could always meet the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces – the President. He drove straight to the main entrance of the 19th century Colonial Palace which was now used by the President to house his family, his “friends” and out of bounds for the rest of the “democracy”. And given that this was the weekly holiday, there were few people on the roads, except for the newspaper delivery boys and the milk vans. The Army General and his posse of soldiers took the entire security staff of the President under arrest and the President and his family was not to leave the palace. The Army General called the TV-station stationed commander to inform him that Operation Sandalwood was successful. Sandalwood was the sacred essence that was reeverd in the Republic. Nothing more revered than this could occur at the moment.

Phase II was triggered, as the Satellite dish bearing van drove out and headed to the Palace – just a kilometer down the road. The crew was ushered in and did not need much of preparation to start rolling their cameras. The General faced the camera and announced to the Republic that the President had stepped down, and in the interest of the people of the nation, he would take over as interim ruler before he passed on power to the real democracy. He sang out the national anthem and the army song and declared a state of emergency. News spread as wildfire not only in the republic, but across the border to the neighbouring democratic nation, while the BBC and CNNs tried desperately to get to the capital and report the proceedings “Live”. The suppressed populace was overjoyed, but not knowing how to handle the newly found “freedom”, decided to express it by showing solidarity with the men in uniform and congregating in hordes at the Town Square – down the straight road that resembled a 5 km long runway from the Colonial Presidential Palace. This part of the city was pristine on ordinary days, unlike the ghettos that over 80% of the population lived in. Power, water, sanitation, security was at par with international standards in this part of the city. Even the lawns of the Town Square were evergreen like the Swiss Hills even in the scorching 40C summers, unlike the hovel- like neighbourhoods that most of the democracy lived in, which swarmed with crime, unemployment, poverty, torturous life. And given the limited access the democracy had to these “luxuries”, they were overawed. The over-enthusiastic people walked onto the lawns of the sprawling bungalows of the ministers, and drove out the shiny limousines, they stood atop the Statues of the President and his Father, crying out slogans.

The Jasmine revolution spread across North Africa and Middle East as despots starting getting wary of their surroundings. The D Street Boyz were also tracking the new Pharaohs and shivering at every piece of news that they got on their blackberries, or tweets or facebook statuses. So if one day, they thought that the Tahrir Square March would be a one sided affair, they were calm and so was their pet SENSEX, but as the pro-government troops retaliated, then the D Boyz shuddered and lost control of the SENSEX – and end of the week, the SENSEX dropped to 18000 (or eight points above it). Some days that saw Somali pirates blindfolded being led to local courts and police stations, enthused the D Boyz that speared the SENSEX into the sky. But MENA returned to take central stage, so what if A King was under arrest, and the inflation was getting more inflated with milk prices unanimously raised to benefit politician run dairies. So if uncut onions led to teary eyes, looks like Indian democracy will now have to cry over spilt milk. 

The cathartic changes in the lives of the people was difficult to digest in the beginning. But people were smiling and putting back to order the damages at the street corners. The markets opened again, and the farmers brought in the fresh produce to sell before they perished. The lack of middlemen did cause some hiccups at the beginning, but soon the spiraled prices fell and the farmers got good money for their produce, while the citizens paid less for the goods. They also got a lot more than they were used to. Things were changing for the better and although their President and his cohorts had scooted away with all their wealth, the democracy was determined to rebuild their Republic.

On that optimistic note, I would like to wish you all a very happy weekend. Try and do your grocery shopping at markets that don’t fleece. See if you can start a mini revolution against the politicians and others of their ilk who are milking us dry ……

Cheers and have a nice weekend….

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