Wednesday, April 12, 2006

This is one hell of a crazy city. An aged superstar, well past his prime, who had a massive heart attack a couple of months back, dies. And the whole city is thrown into a frenzy of grief -- or a show thereof.

I mean, why would you burn tires, stop buses, close down shops, stop autos from running and bring the city to the brink of riot out of grief? Where's all the anger coming from? More importantly, who is it directed against? A cruel fate that takes away the hero at, well, the time of life when it was not quite unexpected? The doctors who couldn't save this one precious life, Karnataka's pride? Veerappan, for kidnapping him years ago and possibly causing enough trauma to take away a few years of his life?

Even as I write, there are groups of young louts on the streets, circling around the neighbourhood on bikes and crying slogans that sound positively bloodthirsty. They would be frightening if one could get over the absurdity of the situation. All shops around my place are shut, even the chemists. Maybe they are all mourning, too crazed by grief to stand there and sells Crocin. It is possible.

Earlier in the day when the news just broke, I sniggered when people said 'let's go home quickly. The city's going to turn crazy very soon.' I was condescending towards a friend who called to ask me to stock up on supplies because the shops might be shut for the better part of next week. I thought, secretly amused but very happy to leave office a whole hour early, how we unwittingly contribute to general panic.

They seem to have known what they were talking about, for they had all lived through Rajkumar's abduction when schools, colleges, markets and cinema halls were shut in the city for a fortnight.

There was this man on TV standing outside Dr Rajkumar's gate who started keening 'annnnnnnaaaaa' the minute the TV cameras turned towards him.



At April 12, 2006 11:45 PM, Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I remember when it happened in 2000. Morons.


At April 13, 2006 12:20 AM, Blogger Draconian Devil said...

Boo hoo hoo. I had gone to the local market in search of a starter for my room’s tube-light. In vain of course, due to the colossal loss and collective grief of Bangalore. Even the pan–bidi shops are closed.

Which makes me ponder what kind of fury would have been unleashed on this city had this ‘Thespian par Excellence’ (as the news channels are describing Him) had met with an accident or died an unnatural death. God forbid.

At April 14, 2006 12:35 AM, Blogger 4WD said...

just imagine what might happen when amitabh dies! :)

TV cameras tend to bring out the craziest in people, though. I've seen people stone buses and vandalise buildings just for TV crews. ``Do it again, we weren't rolling.'' ``Ok, lets wait for the next DTC bus.''

At April 14, 2006 3:37 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Rajkumar nata saarvabhouma! Long live the doctor!

At April 15, 2006 3:02 PM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

J.A.P.: I still can't fathom the whole thing. I've run the gamut of all possible explanations -- mass outpouring of frustration due to lack of parity between economic classes, rival political party orchestrated violence, attention-seeking mob loving 15 seconds of fame on TV etc etc. But 15 years ago, when none of these factors were very applicable, the same thing happened in Tamil Nadu when MGR died. I'm stumped.

DD: Tube light, jala kya?

4WD: I don't quite think Bombay will go as crazy when AB dies. For one, i think people there are more concerned about getting to work. And secondly, HOW CAN YOU EVEN TALK OF THAT? (bursts into tears and hurls paperweight at passing colleague)

FOTH: shoo, shoo.

At April 18, 2006 4:22 PM, Blogger Ron said...

in 8 years, the only time i have seen bangalore shut down completely was when rajkumar was kidnapped and of course this time. i my mother has an interesting explaination to this, according to her its the local way of making their clout and importance clear to non kannadigas in the city. too "conspiracy theory" ish for me, but cant help but think...maybe she has a point.

At April 18, 2006 6:31 PM, Blogger LAK said...

Yep, how could someone even think that for AB? Bhagwan unhein lambi umar de! Anyway, when he was so unwell, people didn't go about marauding!(heh, heh)!You might like to read my take on this:

At April 18, 2006 9:12 PM, Blogger Lahar said...

This is just a once-in-a-lifetime excuse for people to go berserk and throw stones/ destroy stuff. This is probably the only time that people could have had a "legitimate" reason to burn a Honda City.

Oh, and be thankful you arent in Chennai. 20 lakh- TWENTY LAKH- people attended MGR's funeral...

At April 20, 2006 12:33 AM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

i am sure the God Almighty must have given an option to doctor rajkumar for resurrection, seeing the grief of his mortal creations, but rajkumar refused out of sheer shame. or is it that actors love such adulations? don't know.

BTW, how many heads do you have on your shoulder?

At April 20, 2006 5:14 PM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

Ron: I think your mom has hit the nail on the head. This could be an attention seeking gesture by the section of society that has missed the gravy train.

Lak: Good points!

Lahar: Such madness, really!

Ghetu: Are you congratulating me on the guts to speak out on this? ;)

At April 24, 2006 10:27 AM, Blogger Rohan said...

Misplaced Diga pride!

Bless the mans soul. Glad, he didnt have to see this stuff happen.


At April 24, 2006 1:23 PM, Blogger Sue said...

I was in middle school when N. T. Ramarao died and remember the curfew then. And it all only subsided once Lakshmi Parvati became CM. Mind you, it was apparently a completely different affair that she made such a serious hash of things that people were only too glad to see the back of her soon enough and settle for Chandrababu Naidu. This is why I don't follow politics!

At April 27, 2006 9:16 PM, Blogger Patient Portnoy said...

Enough on this.

But liked your dramatic "Grief?" at the end. What flourish man, what flourish !!!

:-) :-)

At April 27, 2006 10:41 PM, Blogger babelfish said...

I think Dr. Johnson said something along the lines of there being little grief where there is leisure for fiction or all seemed far too contrived a response, I find it hard to believe that people could react this way.

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