“Aare? How is it that you are working? Haven’t you gone on strike?” Lulu, my parrot, asked as he descended fluttering his wings and settled on my table.
“The employed protest by stopping work, but the retired protest by working hard!” I said. “So, you must have had the bird’s eye view of the strike. Tell me about it.”
“Hahaha! I wish if India had not had any ‘demographic dividend’ and had more retired men; the country would have prospered, because somebody is always on strike in this country. We would have found all retired men working.” Lulu observed.
“The bird’s eye view please.” I brought him back to my question.
“There is nothing much to say…..no impact in Mumbai all went about their business as usual. Kerala promptly stopped everything. But surprisingly, mixed reaction in Kolkata.”
“If that is the case then strike must be losing its relevance as a weapon.” I said.
“I would agree. Nobody wants strike. Nobody wants their life to be disturbed at all. Joining street protests is no longer okay with many young people.” Lulu observed. “When the young people take to streets it is only for running marathons – half or full marathon – it all depends on whether they prefer full or half a bottle of beer in the evening! In that order!!”
“The so called leaders are seen leading the rally when it comes to protests, but they do not run a marathon with ‘aam janata.’ What could be the reason?” I asked.
“Because it means hard work, silly!” Lulu said in a condescending tone.
“Don’t you think the leaders have lost touch with the masses?”
“It seems so!” said Lulu.
“Don’t you think we have also lost touch with the masses? Are we not becoming increasingly indifferent?”
“Certainly so.” Lulu.
“Don’t you think the Government has become insensitive to a common man’s plight?”
“No doubt.” commented Lulu.
“So what should be done?” I asked.
“Perhaps a long march like the one Sunil Dutt undertook. He walked through Punjab during the height of militancy. And Chandrashekhar walked from Kanyakumari to Delhi. Hopefully it will heighten sensitivity of leaders to the common man’s problems.”
“Good thought. Make it a qualification for giving a party ticket for election.”
“Ha ha…. And many would retire from politics instead of walking long distance of 4000 Kms from Kanyakumari to Delhi! And that would be welcome!!” Lulu said as he jumped and settled on the table lamp.