Those of us who have to drive via Lloyds (Avvai Shanmugam) Road everyday to work have to put up with a certain monotony. The same face will be smiling at us from a million posters, cut-outs, handbills and whatever else. Today there was variety. We had Pranab Mukherjee for a change. Sure enough, he too was all over the place – kiosks, cut-outs, posters, vinyl hoardings, banners and what have you.
The vertical kiosks had him in the same pose – walking briskly while waving to the audience. Only the posture of waving made it look as though he was chucking stones at us. Is that an indication of what the next budget holds?
The FM incidentally is here in our humble quarter of the city for inaugurating the new headquarters of the Indian Bank. This is a glass monstrosity which will no doubt guzzle energy and emit huge amounts of gases, that latter not only from gadgets I am sure. The only thing going for it is that it is not a huge multi-storied structure. But like Bangalore Nagarathnamma, it makes up in width what is lacks in height.
What used to stand in its place was Lalita Sadan, a bungalow with a garden of a size that can only be imagined in these days of land scarcity. It belonged to a dubash of Best & Co- Lakshminarayana Iyer who went bust following a speculation in steel rails of German origin just when World War II began. Apparently Lalithapuram Street in the vicinity commemorates this bungalow which spanned 18000 square feet in two floors.
But to get back to Pranab da. I did not know that he was so popular in our city. Even in Calcutta from where I come, he was always something of a lightweight, preferring to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, thereby putting the maximum possible distance between him and his land of birth. But obviously years of being at the top has ensured that he has his followers as was evident from the cut-outs, kiosks etc. There was even one by the ‘Raghul’ Gandhi Welfare Association about which I wonder as to whose welfare it ensures. The bulk of the posters were by a ‘Manitha Neyar’ Haroon MP.
Wonder how the supreme one who holds absolute rights on posters, kiosks, cut-outs and banners on Lloyds Road feels about this temporary invasion of turf.