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“Sunita! Darling, please!”
“It’s over Srinivas. It’s over between us, there’s no use crying now, you’re always….”
“Hello! Suni, hello! Hello! Hello!”
Behind me going to the jungles to live the life of a commie bastard and assuming the post of communication director in the infamous green army obsessed with Mao bullshit, there’s a reason. There is love, there is pain and there is something intangible called network signal.
How did I ever enter this never ending jungle drama?
Is it because of that nagging girlfriend who lived in the next city and always believed that I couldn’t express myself? I tried following her wherever she went and try out different ideas but all in vain. She got fed up that I wasn’t connecting well with her and said she couldn’t deal with me anymore and we broke apart. A stupendous mound of cell phone bills started eating through my pockets and started corroding through the little change I had.
And then as if my girlfriend wasn’t enough my Dad left away for the Himalayas on a trip which he aptly named connecting India but failed miserably in the first step itself wherein he couldn’t connect a call to my phone. With all these tragic hoo – hahs taking place at the same time I couldn’t do anything but to look towards the jungle and shout “Noooooo!”
Firstly, people misunderstand us. And secondly we misunderstand the people. And finally the government misunderstands us both. We fight on the behalf of the people, for the people and we are the people. Isn’t this what true democracy means? And the government accuses of being hypocrites and double faced terrorists. Then what about those illegal mines which those old farts are digging? What about those lands they are taking over. What about the people who are getting affected by them? They dig are lands like termites minus the mounds. They made Chhattisgarh virtually into rat holes and sewer lines. The journalists pair up with them and show us in poor light. And inside the vicious circle, it’s the tribals who suffer, considering deadly diseases as a punishment from God and build more temples and do more black magic. In the end everybody gets killed but nothing happens.
It was that kind of a day in the forest that you wouldn’t know what to do and when to pee. After our daily dose of stale news and Mao chit chat I wanted to pee. We were camping a few kilometers away from the nearest police station and our target was to attack a nearby mine and create a small blood parade. But practically we’d only do the demolishing part as for the latter it’d be like asking a snake to kiss us. So I walked a bit away from our group so as to spare them from the aroma of my urine and I got to work. A tingling electric sensation passed through my body as I let out my liquid ammonia. I was admiring the serene beauty of the rotting trees and bird dropping when….
A phone started ringing. I switched my AK 47 from my arm into my hands and got ready to attack. I took my position behind the tree where I’ve just peed and started savoring the smell, but nothing happened. Not even a movement. I slowly looked from behind the tree. No one. The forest ended just a few feet from my right where bundles of rocks jutted out into the valley. And two my left were my commie brothers and there was no possibility of anyone hiding there. I got out and started following the sound. The sun shone brightly in the sky and a small reflection of the sun’s rays hit my eye. I looked down and there was a phone which was belting the ringtone. I picked it up and I was shocked by one thing. Full signal. This thing had a full signal deep here down in the forests of Chhattisgarh, am I dreaming?
“Tata’s? Do the Tata’s own it? Then it’s reliable!”
“Full signal? WHAT!”
“Man look at the screen”
“Arre!, Lookey here, Shah Rukh Khan’s image is here”
“What the… Arre is this a phone or a mini theatre?!”
“Hey, there’s a camera too!”
“Srinivas! Where did you find it?”
I was reluctant to go with the team first but my mates dragged me to the mining site as they felt that the forest was a bit vulnerable at that time. The truth is, I wanted to spend more time meddling with the phone but what’s an ant before an anteater? I was mercilessly dragged down the rocky slopes towards the lime quarry, supposedly the biggest illegal mine in the state.
“Saar! I am naxalite. I help people and kill with Mao and guns. But why blood I think. So I take this video and send. We are good people, people are good people, but people in video are not good people. They steal land from us. We don’t kill them because of police, but I shoot them in phone. Hope you take action, because then I can leave jungle.
P.S: Give me missed call, I will call you back.
P.S: Give me missed call, I will call you back.
Master in Arts, Naxalite.”
First I thought that it wouldn’t work. But what’s wrong in trying? I added the Prime minister’s, Chief minister’s and a few other minister’s and police officer’s email ids to the send to list and uploaded the video file. I was prepared for an error message but five minutes later, I realized that I was successful in sending the mails. Around the evening my mates called me for some Mao pep talk and I forgot everything about the phone. And sleep came calling in after a long day’s work.
I dreamed about my phone growing into to a colossal monolith of silicon and crushing corrupt people under its tremendous weight. Blood started sloshing here and there and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, second movement started playing, I was enjoying the beauty of it when I found myself awake with the phone blaring out the ninth symphony. And that call changed our lives. It was from the Prime Minister of India,
“Hello Bangladeshi bhai! What brings you here today?”
“I brought new guns! I’ve even brought 8 bazookas which you wanted, all top class and tip top.”
“What?! Don’t you know?”
Everyone started laughing except Bangladeshi bhai who couldn’t make out the situation.
“No more guns now, we’ve found a better weapon”
Two Months later:
The naxalite groups have almost disbanded as of now. Many of my old comrades got hi tech jobs in corporate news houses and in civic development departments. A few got remanded to jail and a few died with the Mao ideologies. There was a sudden bullet famine in Chhattisgarh and the social communities became happier. Everyone has one became the motto and those Alcatel phones became quite a rage. I’ve even heard that a few farmers are using it to know more about weather and soil information and a few enthusiastic kids started talking about share markets too.
And me? I joined the ruling party’s regional empowerment squad. My email became so popular that it landed up in the party’s election manifesto and it went on to win the elections. One day,
“Oi! Forgotten me?”
“Yes, it’s Sunita. Will your call get cut again? Because I’m fed up with it”
I was silent.
“Hello! Hello! Hello Sri…”