Monday, September 14, 2009

Austere Penance

Doesn't the word Amar Chitra Katha conjure up images of yellowed pages, their glorious rustling and those pages after dripping with glorious 4 color art(i hate the desktop era 16 million print) ? In my case, Uncle Pai's merry crew served as my first introduction to the rich, under explored and ill understood world of indian mythology.

There were certain formulae, certain rules which every story followed. There would be an Asura, who is fuelled by certain motivation, to seek certain boons from either Bramha or Shiva. And the way to get your boon? AUSTERE PENANCE!!! I am not kidding, right from Hiranyaksha to Rahu to Chanur, and so on, every major antagonist undergoes severe meditation (with the classic anthill forming on their bodies) and god miraculously appears, grants their boons, (indirectly sowing seeds for chaos) before god/goddesses save the day.

Well, imagine my surprise when i opened today's paper, to see the word "Government's Austere Drive". Having once watched the Lok Sabha channel once (don't ask, it was a dull and lonely afternoon), i could not for the life of me imagine any of our beloved saints in delhi undertaking fasts and chanting sessions. But then again, i could imagine them as the Asuras of myth, seeking forbidde boons to obtain forbidden fruits.

But as i read through the article, i couldn't help but laugh. Austerity in India means a minister must fly economy class and make a fuss about not making any fuss. Austerity in India means only taking 3 additional people along( when only the minister is needed). Austerity in India means "Sacrificing" five star hotel stay and "only" living in posh government guest houses, situated in heart of the cities.

Do away with austerity and start collecting their dues i say!! the mountains of unpaid BSNL bills. The Crores of unpaid travel bills (for family and friends on official trips), electricity overuse, and plain old bungalow grabbing, even after being booted out by their constituencies! levy charges from their personal pay and disqualify them, when they fail to attend even 30 % of the parliament sessions.

Cynical i know. perhaps i should switch over to Hindustan Times. what say?