Christmas that wasn’t in Chamundeshwari

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: After supper, Ajji usually keeps herself busy reciting ‘Rama, Krishna’ till she falls asleep. Since I didn’t hear that, I called out and asked whether she had gone to sleep.

“No,” she said, briefly, and after a while called out my name. I reckoned she was still busy with worldly affairs.

“Ramu. Aren’t these Election Commission officials heartless? Our neighbour Sunandamma told me that they did not allow our CM to distribute the gifts he had brought for all of us. Also, it seems the Congress leader who brought cash for us was not allowed to distribute. It has come in newspapers it seems. ‘Idu Christmas time alweno! Yellaru giftu liftu kodtharalla… Why should the officials stop them?”

“Ajji! They wanted to buy votes by giving presents. That is the reason they were hauled by the officials.”

Howdaa? They must have spent a lot of money in the Chamundeshwari election?”

“It is in crores, I understand.”

“One crore is one followed by seven zeroes, alwa… .?”

Howdajji. They say Rs 200–300 crore must have been spent in Chamundeshwari constituency!”

“If they spend so much in a ‘Bayyo’ election, how much would they spend, when they fight in a general election all over All-India? If you write ‘1’ at one end of India, and keep writing ‘zero’ till you reach other end, won’t that many crores be spent on a general election?”

I was amazed at Ajji’s acumen in Number Theory! She was like Sourav Ganguly, not willing to give up.

“Ajji! I don’t know how many crores they usually spend. But, it will be close to what you have just described!”

“Our neighbour Puttathayamma told me that from now on, Sonia Gandhi’s birthday would be celebrated as ‘Hennumagala Dinaantha. (Girlchild day). Instead of pouring so much of money down the election drain, if they use the same money wisely, why girl-child, they can solve the problem of  ‘Hotte-Batte-Hatti’ of the entire population, alweno! If you add the suitcase money and all the gifts, Juttge mallige hoovanu agirodhu!’

“Ajji! What you say is so true. It’s such a simple thing to understand. But they don’t want to do it.”

There was silence quite sometime.

“Ajji, Have you gone to sleep?”

Illappa. Manassige bejarayithu, Ashte.”