The charismatic leader’s centenary is fast approaching and instructions had been given that this ought to be celebrated in a manner befitting his status. The Man from Madras Musings assumes that no clear detailing was done as to how the revelry was to unfold. Clearly, money had been handed out and every street corner was to celebrate it the way it felt best.
Those who are regular readers of MMM’s outpourings will know that his residence is pretty much the centre of things – drunken brawls, rash driving, road rage, political meetings, wedding bashes – all of them happen just below MMM’s window. And so it was with the centenary of the people’s hero. Early last Sunday, when milkmen had barely stirred, MMM and those who lived nearby were all woken up to the sound of song hits from the various films in which the man of the masses had acted before he went on to great heights in politics. The volume was a tad too loud but MMM does have a liking for film numbers of a bygone era and so he lent his ear – not that he had a choice anyway.
However, there were clearly only a few songs with the celebrants below MMM’s window and so they played them over and over again. Within a couple of iterations, MMM had enough and hoped that the commemoration would be over by lunchtime. A peek out of MMM’s verandah revealed a large portrait of leader, on a small makeshift platform. Potted plants flank­ed the picture and on either side were giant speakers, connected to a CD player and amplifier that rested on what is known in our city as the fish cart. This struck MMM as rather ironic for it was during revolutionary leader’s tenure in power that this excrescence first made its appearance, was challenged in court and was finally banned. A couple of the faithful followers hung around the ensemble, seemingly unaffected by the high decibel levels.
The music ceased by lunchtime and between noon and around 4 pm there was complete silence, allowing MMM to have his afternoon siesta. But given that the picture and the potted plants had not moved, it was clear that the revelry would resume in the evening. And certainly it did. MMM and the neighbours shut their windows and doors to keep out the sound as much as possible. Some made bold to complain to the local police booth where the personnel said that there was nothing they could do as this was an event sponsored by the ruling party.
What was surprising was that the fiesta did not attract anyone other than the two or three organisers. And there was nothing done other than the playing of the music. At around 8 pm, MMM’s good lady declared that she had had enough. Despite MMM’s entreaties to the contrary she marched off to the event organisers and demanded that they turn the music off. Rather astonishingly, they complied at once. MMM’s good lady returned with a triumphant smile. They were all in a highly ‘spirited’ condition, she declared, but were willing to take instructions from a lady.