If Naxals don’t, Didi will get you instant moksha

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji was watching the gas cutters extracting the dead bodies and near-alive ones on TV. Horror was writ on her face.

“What a terrible way to die. It is happening with sickening frequency.”

Howdu, Ajji. This has become a monthly feature.”

“Ramu. Earlier when I used to go to Bangalore from Mysore, it would take a whole day, but we would reach safely.”

“Mysore to Bangalore even now takes almost four hours! But you are right. It’s not safe any more.”

Alvo! Instead of making the journey safer why they are spending money on superfluous things like compter bookings, payment from mobile and all that?”

“This is the modern system, Ajji!”

“Modern mane halaaga! We don’t even know whether we will reach our destination at all!”

Ajji. Railways spend more on computerisation. You can charge your mobile from a plug point now. They now give wi-fi too.”

“Wifeu kodthara? Chee-chee, Rama Rama.”

“Wife alla, Ajji!! Wi-Fi, wireless fidelity antha, to use with the computer.”

“Thank god! I was thinking something else! It seems now they have a system to prevent accidents, anti-kollishn antha.”

“Correct Ajji, your hardware- software friends told you?”

Illa, corner house Railway Rathnamma’s son told her, it seems. He was earlier working in Konkan Railway.”

“That’s right. They have this device which prevents another train coming on the same track. This is available since last 10 years.”

Ayyo! Why doesn’t the railway minister use this?”

Mamata didi, our rail minister is busy preparing for the  next year election in Calcutta. She gets very upset if she is disturbed.”

Ketta hengasu! She is playing with the lives of people. Why do we have such people in helm of affairs who don’t bother when passengers are dying like mosquitoes?”

“That is all politics, ajji!”

“It seems a death track for passengers one way or other.  Either Naxals will get you or your Mamata-less didi. When the railway budget is announced, we all want no increase in fares and now look what happens when safety is thrown to winds. There is a lot of nataka whether it is Lalu or this selfish woman presenting the budget.”

“People want no increase in fares.”

“How can you not have increase in fares? Haven’t the cost of petrol and other goods increased? Isn’t it better to pay more and travel safely than feel sorry? And who wants all that nonsense of line-line booking, computer etc?”

Ajji it is not ‘Line line booking, it is online booking.”

Yeno sudugadu. I  still remember going to Kashi. It took more than 4 days changing 3 trains. But we reached safely and had Vishwanath darshana.”

Ajji, now till you get down at your destination, they can take you to the darshana of God anytime!”

“That means every train journey is some kind of yatra. You can get instant moksha.”

Howdajji. That seems to be the motto of our rail mantri.”

“I remember many years back there was a train accident in Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu. The rail minister resigned owning up responsibility. I don’t remember names anymore. Some poojari or purohitha, I think.”

Poojari-purohita alla, ajji. It was Shastri.”

“Lal Bahadur Shastri! Now I remember. He became prime minister too. He was inconsolable when so many died and that is why he resigned. Now they issue printed statements and some cash and that is the end of it.”

Howdu, ajji.”

“It is so sad. Somebody was saying ‘Namma desha banana agutthe antha.’ Koletha baale hannu agutthe.”

“Banana republic, Ajji! But you are right. It is heading towards becoming a rotten banana republic.”