M.P. (Missing Person)
Hey, I can spot my representative! He’s on a huge billboard, his benevolent face a big, radiant disc in the centre and several other smaller faces around that, radiating like ray florets of a sunflower.
The General Elections are around the corner — the time to figure out who the hell the representative from my area is! I’ve never seen him around. Guess he doesn’t like driving on this road. Because of its size zero figure, maybe? It’s really slim. On both sides of our anorexic road are several memorabilia — dollops of garbage, sleeping dogs, slumbering men (did I mention there is an arrack shop nearby?), some pipes and rods, and a bunch of kids playing. They don’t have anywhere else to play: their parents are labourers who are repairing the road with methods and material that will ensure they are re-employed very soon. It’s like a permanent home for them.
Actually, their earlier permanent home was a building, a few hundred metres away. They lived in the basement, their parents worked on building the illegal fourth floor. It was all going well till that building came crashing down last year, killing their uncle. They lost their clothes. Their father lost one hand. But, his other hand is really good, luckily. God is so kind.
Hey, I can spot my representative! He’s on a huge billboard, his benevolent face a big, radiant disc in the centre and several other smaller faces around that, radiating like ray florets of a sunflower. There are some leaves too, below the inflorescence — smaller faces of local workers who have been recognised for their work. My driver is there, too! What is he doing up there? What has he done to earn the place of a leaf? He’s as obtuse as a 179 degree angle; he sleeps in the car all day, he watches shows on his phone and grins at them. He also makes emergency calls just when negotiating the trickiest parts of traffic. The most recent one was to tell his friend to check a mutual friend’s photo on Facebook. URGENT BASIS, he insisted. So, what is he doing on the billboard?
I make some inquiries and learn that he is a valuable party member and helps it ‘get rid of issues that are hurting it.’ I don’t know what that means. I don’t even want to know. During the last elections, he claimed he had made a sum of Rs 8000/- ‘working’ for three parties and had voted for the fourth party. I am very impressed with his abilities. I think I should drive and make him sit in the backseat to express my admiration.
I am still looking for my representative. Maybe, he does not come here because it’s tough to get an Ola these days. The cabbies don’t like coming to this road. So, they make excuses like they need cash instead of ‘Ola money’ and so on. Then, one is locked in a battle of nerves, insisting the other party ‘cancel’ the booking and bear the cost of cancellation.
Can he even afford a cab? With a salary of barely Rs 1.2 lakh, how does my representative survive in this city? It must be so tough — feeding a family, paying bills and taking care of medical costs. I shouldn’t complain. Maybe, I should go over and visit him. Take some gifts for the family. Who knows — I might be a leaf next year. Or, maybe even a ray floret.
Best-selling author Rachna Singh (www.rachnasingh.in) is a sit-down comedienne