E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: With Dasara festivities only a few months away, furious preparations are underway at various levels.
Who’s thinking what?
Chief Minister (while addressing the Dasara celebration committee): “I want this year’s Dasara to be the grandest ever. If you want money for anything—anything—as long as it has something to do with Dasara, you have only to ask me.”
CM (to himself): “I must get Advaniji to open the Dasara at Chamundi Hills come what may. That way Ananth‘s plan to get Raj Nath Singhji will be nipped in the bud? I hope the President doesn’t accept Shobha‘s invite, or the Ambani Brothers, the Reddy Brothers’ invite.”
Reddy brothers: “Abbayi! Yentha hungama idi! How much will it cost to get Chamundi Hills here, fly the elephants and organize the 10-day stuff including torchlight parade? Let’s throw a challenge and do Dasara in Bellary. And we must set up a website: dabbudabbudabbu dot mysoredasara in bellary dot com with a Twitterulu and Facebook accountulu.”
Meanwhile at the Dubare elephant camp:
Mahout leader: “If the government does not cough up more TA/ DA, I will make sure there’s no Jamboo Savari this year. I will say Balarama has broken his leg. We will not be fooled again by the DC and district minister having khara baath, rava kesari and jamoon for breakfast with us in front of TV and newspaper wallahs.”
Balarama: “Gajapayana, my foot! There’s no way I am going to walk all the way and trek back once again. I would like to be picked up, along with my girlfriends at the camp and dropped back, sort of door–to-door service. We should also have some majaa like the others. Otherwise let them manage with elephant cutouts from Rangayana!”
At the City and district offices:
Contractor: “Only Rs 2 crore for tarring the roads? I just did that stretch last month. Luckily the rains, though late, have washed off all the tar. I must ask for more money as the number of heads to share has increased. Otherwise I have to do a ‘remix’ with more sand and less cement!”
Mayor: “Dasara is almost upon us and hope it goes well this year. But what’s the guarantee? Will I even get an invitation? Will they give me enough time to put on my robe before hauling me up the crane to garland Balarama? Most important, will I get a chair to sit in Bannimantap?”
Corporation Commissioner: If the phata-phat JNNURM subway doesn’t come up after so many months, I will become naram. Hope the pourakarmacharis don’t strike work on those 10 days!”
Hotel: “Doubling the room rates is not enough to make up for bleak business for the rest of the year. Also the touts sweeping the railway station and bus stand for customers are asking for more commission. If we cannot increase room tariff, must ‘adjust’ in lunch and dinner with holillada sambhar and neeru saaru.”
Autorickshaw driver: “We have to do something with our meters; must get them ‘refixed’ again at the rate of at least 1: 1.5. Duplicate petrol rates have also increased. Must get association to do a directory of the main duplicate petrol depots in the City so that we don’t have to burn a hole in our pockets filling the real thing.”
Sub-Committee Member: After spilling lot of blood, sweat, tears and you-know-what, I have become a sub- committee member. If I don’t get a sizeable mamool, it will all be a huge waste and Dasara will be a dead loss for me.”
Police Commissioner: “I can make sure Dasara is trouble free despite communal and terror fears. But how will I control the ministers’ families, aunts and nieces, nephews and grand nephews, first and nth cousins with their dogs and goats. I am already getting nightmares in the mornings already.”
Deputy commissioner: “There are a zillion and one things to do and only 24 hours in my organiser. I also have to keep my bags packed each day as I may be asked to move and report at Bidar, Bookana Kere or wherever.”
The general public: “With thogari bele and hesaru bele prices hitting the roof and aloo gedde becoming something like gold to be sold only in C. Krishnaiah Chetty & Sons and Bhima Jewellers, what shall we eat? How can we fill our stomachs listening to Sonu Nigam, Kunal Ganjawala, Guru Kiran or dancing with Vasundara Doreswami and singing with Vasundara Das…?