If winter comes

Of winter blues and common man’s problems



 This October in Kashmir was supposed to be a pleasant time wherein the peasants would reap the harvest, Chinars would shed the golden leaves and the weather would be warm. The only thing which struck with surprise was the stance of our Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on the Panchayat Raj Act Amendments and the Block Development Council (BDC) elections. The weather and administration – both proved unpredictable. 
          The common man has bills to pay. The bills that kill him. Many agitating people at the Maisuma  Chowk believed that the power consumption as shown on the electricity bills had been exaggerated but then what had not been exaggerated. Omar Abdullah exaggerated on 21st October last year when announced that AFSPA would be rolled back in 2-3 days ‘not more, not less’. A few years down the memory lane the then Prime Minister of India had promised that Jammu would be connected to Srinagar via a rail link by 2007, again an exaggeration. The common man believes that one day everyone would stop exaggerating. He is wrong.
          Wronged by fortune and political setup both, common man becomes frailer and frailer. The only plump beneficiaries are the ones in proximity to power circles and probably the LPG dealers and sheep owners. One plump sheep named, ‘jumah’ priced at whopping 55000 was seen in advertisements in local newspapers. There are major beneficiaries of Government who could afford to buy such a plump sheep. The common man has other priorities.
The other day common man was seen at an uptown locality.  He assiduously wrapped the forms for registration of  LPG connections around a stone and tossed it over a fence barricading the official on the other side. The other common men  in the crowd also followed suit much to the dismay of policemen deployed there to save the official from the ‘wrath’ of the ever-increasing crowd. The official dodged the raining registration forms well as the people tirelessly kept on shouting, ”just one glance at the paper we just flung at you”. A man carelessly lifted his pheran over his shoulders and said, “stone pelting of a different kind”. The common men thought their adventure would help them tow away a few cylinders to home but in the evening the same man was quoted as having said” stone pelting did not help. It is time for some quite negotiations”.
          At the Malkah area in downtown Srinagar , the largest graveyard of Srinagar, few people were seen photographing the epitaphs of dead parents for registration of death. The municipal officials of different ward offices were seen directing the photographers that the dates on the epitaphs should be visible clearly and lamented the overgrown grass and the blotted lines which blurred  the clarity. The people were told that the registration of gas cylinders could not be transferred to their names unless they had the registration of the death of their parents done for which they had to pass the ordeal of photographing epitaphs of the graves of their relatives.          
          The common man was last seen in Sunday market haggling over the price of used clothes. As the common man tosses the used clothes here and there the dust gives him allergies and he is on bed. The smooth-tongued, high-heeled ones who rush to sing panegyrics for men of power are vying with each other to buy the clothes of foreign brand at renowned shopping malls and watching the plight of ‘powerless’ common man on television using an inverter. The rising prices of food items have inverted the budget of common man and he gingerly spends on candles whatever he can save.
          The common man is advised by an English poet “If winter comes can spring be far behind” or the vernacular “wande chale sheen galle, beyi yi bahaaar”. The common man however knows that spring is a long winding road away. The Babus are in Jammu for winter and he is here all by himself squatted on Masjid Hamaaams settling the age-old sectarian debates and occasionally telling upon the ill-gotten wealth of his neighbors. The wintry blues would end with the greenery of spring only.

(Feedback at jamyhere65@yahoo.com)

Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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