Thursday, January 22, 2009

A bandhday

Today 22nd, was another bandh. 23rd is Netaji’s Birthday, a holiday. 24th is Saturday and the weekend for many, a holiday for lucky people (in my office where we work on Saturdays too) whose leave applications were accepted, 25th is Sunday and 26th Republic day.

I just wanted to point out the really long weekend. Which meant it was important to figure out the logistics of coming in to work today, bandh notwithstanding. Luckily for me, I have an aunt who live close to work and my cuzz dropped me off this morning on his bike. And this meant I got to feel the ‘winter’ – it was shivery cold here this morning whereas at home, it’s almost like winter and yet not quite (although its only 15 km or so away…yes – pollution). I had told him to drive his bike really slow – he is a rash driver – and I am getting old and more afraid of my mortal state. The roads were empty. Mostly a few bikes and cycles and empty autos. He drove so steadily and slowly that soon, cycles were over taking us! Anyhow, reached office uneventfully (thankgod) which means no road blockage, no ‘untoward' incidents like pelting of stones, burning buses and unruly mobs.

It was fun to see who made it and who couldn’t and almost everyone had a story to tell about their commute this morning. And then there were those (who lived really close but wanted to take a day off) who called up the person who lived the farthest off – for moral support – surely he or she living so far away can’t come in and somehow my excuse of not coming in will get support – but alas, those living farthest did come in and those living closest were absent. All in all, it was a normal working day.

Also there were guests who had come in for some training session were leaving today. They had to be taken to the airport before the bandh was over and so as a safety measure we were told that we should have a sign on the car saying any one of the following: Delegates, Emergency etc. The car finally went out with loads of signs: Disability + Emergency + Delegates and the icing on the cake was a sign on the wind shield “Apod Kalin Service”! This was a typo …The sign should have read Apot Kalin which meant emergency and not Apod which meant ‘nuisance’!! Thankgod the guests couldn’t read bangla. Ofcourse the sign was changed before the car left.

Similar discussions and phone calls before we left for our homes – whether the bandh was over, were buses running, auto plying, was there any jhamela anywhere…and all of us reached home safely, as usual, through empty roads but crowded buses. Well that’s it then, isn’t it for the bandh story. Oh yes…it’s the first bandh in West Bengal for the year 2009.

Some managed to not go to work, others managed to; Daily wagers lost one day's wage, SUCI said the bandh was a total success, Oppositions said it was a total does not merely sound familiar, it is infact cliched, tired as can be, stale and infact it doesn't sound like anything, anymore and if it does, we dont hear it. It's just another day: you know, Monday, Tuesday,….Sunday, Bandh day.

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