Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Hemantha Kalam - 19 'It's all Money, Honey!'

‘Dhanam Moolam Idam Jagath’ goes the old Sanskrit adage. It means ‘the root of this world's existence is but money’.

And how? ‘The Hindu’ Newspaper dated the 1st May, 2014, published 3 unconnected news items which resulted in amusement to annoyance.

The first one was where a pet cat was stolen, yes stolen, in Chennai, and the emotional pet keeper went to the police station to give a complaint on his loss only to be ridiculed by the police. The pet keeper, out of his emotional attachment mustered the support of all his friends and searched everywhere in vain. Finally they correctly guessed that the chances of the cat being sold at the weekly pet market called the ‘Sunday Animal Market’ are high and lo, as rightly surmised, his cat was offered for a sale of Rs.5,000. When called by its name, ‘Bholi’, the Persian cat responded, confirming the identity.

The pet keeper and his friends overpowered the ‘seller’ who turned out to be the thief too and handed him over to the police. While the thief stole the cat for some small monetary benefit, the police apparently were reluctant initially to take any action as the loss was only emotional and not ‘monetary’. What happens if a person is ‘stolen’ (kidnapped) instead of a pet-cat?

The second incident was where an amount of Rs.25,000,000 (Rs.2.5 crore or about US $ 413,000) was burnt in a car, ostensibly belonging to the company again ostensibly promoted by a sitting MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) belonging to the ruling party in the state and the country. It, apparently, was not an accident, in the normal sense of it.

In the wake of the elections on 30th April, 2014 in the state of Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere in the country, it has become a (woefully) practice, to use money power for ‘buying’ votes. Hence, the Chief Election Commission (CEC), that takes the responsibility of conducting fair elections, has given a diktat that searches would be intensified for unaccounted money in the country, and especially that is being transported, would be seized by the government. Hence a serious search operation is mounted across the country in all state and district borders and vehicles were being subjected to ‘complete’ searches.

Ever since the politicians, with great uniformity-belonging to all political parties, with a rare exception here and there, have been following multi-various methods of transporting the much needed lolly (mostly money and liquour) for enticing votes.

In this case, apparently, the money was ingeniously hidden in the engine compartment itself under the bonnet of the car. As, in almost all the cases, when a vehicle is searched, only the passenger and boot compartments are checked.

But what the master-minds have not bargained for was this amount being paper currency and packed in paper bundles catching fire due to combustion and burnt, as happened in this case. When the smoke and flames were seen, the driver and the attendant abandoned the car and fled.   

So what exactly happened and what the money is for and why it was concealed under the bonnet are some of the questions which might be answered, eventually, as time passes and more developments take place in this amusing case.

Instead of trying to make a one-time payment to buy votes, if the burnt amount could have been used in the constituency of the politicians, towards some beneficiary programme for the people in general, probably the people would have voted him to power again? Now the amount is wasted and as it looks clandestine, there is no hope of recovering it by insurance either. But over a period, the burden will be on the people again, when replenishments would be sought, for what has been lost.

Now the third news made it to the headlines. A matinee idol, with a huge fanfare and who entered into politics, has now become a Union Minister. While trying to use his franchise on the 30th April in Hyderabad, he and his family members apparently tried to skip the queue for voting. 

This is no news in India, as the ordinary man in the country is always at the mercy of the Important Persons (IPs), Very Important Persons (VIPs) and Very Very Important Persons (VVIPs), their whimsical programmes and protocols. But the reason why it made headlines was that a young man found courage in stopping the minister and in giving him a piece of his mind, making the minister humble in acquiescing to stand in the queue and vote, thus now robbing the peace of mind for the Union Minister, who, for sure, must be fretting and fuming for the incident, that questions his and his family’s privileges.

At the beginning of his film career, some three decades ago, when he probably would not have thought of becoming a politician, this minister was quite humble while searching for opportunities in the film world. The father of a cousin of ‘yours faithfully’ was a film financier and as such could wield quite a good amount of influence on the film world in India and persons such as this current minister, but then searching for a foothold, also were meeting him and requesting for his favours. On one such occasion, the gentleman was coming down on a flight of stairs of the cousin’s house and 'yours faithfully' was climbing on to meet the cousin. The gentleman was so humble that he bent backwards to allow space on the narrow staircase.

Such a person went on to become a Mega Matinee Idol, probably earning so much money that could not be counted easily and to protect the same and for enhancing his image, took to politics and succeeded in becoming a Minister to wield enough power to get easy and quick entrances and work done.

Coming back to money, what is money if not a medium of purchase? Now the word purchase is not all that innocuous.  It gives power to the people and many a time, to acquire this power, people in turn bargain for losing humility, love and affection.

I just wonder the role of care, love and affection in all these three cases.

In the two cases of the politicians, how nice it would have been, if the money and power were used to become closer to people emotionally by gaining their natural love and affection instead of making everything so conditional and inanimate?

Is not the case, where the love for a cat made the person search on his own to retrieve his love even at the cost being ridiculed, proving that?

What do you think? You tell me! 

Till then, 

Krutagjnatalu (Telugu), Nanri (Tamil), Dhanyavaadagalu (Kannada), Nanni (Malayalam), Dhanyavaad (Hindi), Thanks (English), Dhonyabaad (Bangla), Gracias (Spanish), Grazie (Italian), Danke Schon (Deutsche), Merci (French), Obrigado (Portuguese), Shukraan (Arabic), Shukriya (Urdu), Aw-koon (Khmer), Kawp Jai Lhai Lhai (Laotian), Kob Kun Krab (Thai) and Asante (Kiswahili).

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy
Chennai, India


  1. Thank you very much for writing and sharing- just read this piece. Will visit again.

    It is refreshing like partaking nourishing food. Has all the ingredients of good observations, good experiences, good wisdom - good food-for-thought. Even while drowning in ocean of information, still there seems a thirst and hunger for such food-for-thought. At least I have been enriched by many such writings of yours thru rb for long time. Please continue to share. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Srinivas garu. _/\_ :-)

  3. Too much of anything is bad.... And money is no exception ...

    Power corrupts and absolute power more so .... But money .... is the ultimate corruptor .....

    Too many of us are struggling to find the right balance between our emotional and monetary requirements. And end up focussing more on the monetary angle .... always thinking on the unseen and improbable difficult days in the near future .... and sacrificing our present day happiness ......

    While ours is ordinary, the events narrated in the above article are extra-ordinary ... only the degree varies ....

    Good article and fodder for thought .....

    Keep writing ....

    1. Thank you dear Raju (I know you are being upset when I am using 'garu') for your thoughts on this. :-)

  4. This is the first time I am reading your blog posts and I was captivated. I am now a 'follower' in blogspot terms. Keep it up.

  5. Dear Sureshji,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am always indebted to friends like you who have always been my well wishers and encouraging me. :-)

  6. Dear Hemanth,
    I read some blogs, though not very regularly and this is the first time I am writing in one.
    About the Cat, I fully agree with you, it is the intense love for the cat, the owner never stopped with the complaint to the Police. I am taking the liberty of sharing with you one instance. I belong to a family of animal lovers. We had a cat whom I had named Bulchuski ( having run out of names), and one grand nephew of mine, who is studying Engineering, refers to me as Bulchuski thatha, even now. The cat used to accompany my father every (early) morning when he used to go to collect the milk packets from the booth. One day while returning from the booth my father found the cat missing and saw a gypsy with a sack walking fast. He immediately caught him and opened the sack and Bulchuski jumped out and ran in to the house. My father must have been in his 70 s.
    Regarding the other two topics the present situation is digusting. Only a revolution can change the situation. The children must be taught in formative age the about self discipline and good aspects of life, which will help form a future generation of right thinking citizens. Crazy thought?
    With good wishes

    1. Thank you so kindly for your time and thoughts VAUji :-)

  7. HKP,
    I felt this blog a little lengthy, possibly, the fully narrated incidences were already read by me. IMHO.
    I agree to your "crazy thought"
    With wishes.

    1. Thank you dear Senguttuvan for your time and thoughts.

      Though, in my opinion this blogpost has been a little lesser in length (my longest so far was on the art of writing) I do understand the need to make it a little smaller, which I will strive for.

      The problem is after leaving the corporate sector and coming into the development sector, I tend to write more on things which IMHO I think could be useful to society however little it might be and in the process get carried away.

      I shall see how best I can balance.

      Thank you once again.