Sunday, November 4, 2007

A chance encounter

It was a typical Sunday morning, when I came out of my house in my faded Tee and crumpled shorts to make my weekly pilgrimage to the local cyber-cafe. Emerging from the gate, on the side of the road where most times of the day, a beggar makes his voice heard, I almost walked into a most famous gentleman called Biman Bose. Seeing a face seen so frequently on the television standing right near my gate, took me by shock and with my three day stubble and wild, fresh from sleep hair I also seemed to have taken him by surprise. For an amusing 5 seconds or so, we regarded each other with mild suspicion and for want of anything else to do, I moved off while he climbed into the Bolero which by then had materialized from somewhere to deliver him to his party headquarters.

Now Biman Babu as the local residents call him, may not be a national news creating political figure but as state General Secretary of the CPI(M) party in 'Red' Kolkata, there are few politicians more important. I always knew that he stayed in the house opposite mine but never actually expected to literally bump into him in the flesh. To find someone capable of bringing this entire city to a screeching halt within half an hour, and responsible for moulding decisions that influence crores of people, waiting with a significantly irritated expression for his car to show up adds a curiously human face to the powers that be. To see an emotion like surprise on a face that normally is busy extolling the latest achievements made by his party or debunking the Opposition's accusations made me do a rethink. Its funny how after seeing all the dramatics that politicos put up for daily consumption on news channels I had stopped seeing them as normal human beings and part of some larger soap opera in which they had their roles and one in which I had no stake. But as I felt then, the people that rule are actually not so different from the people that they rule.

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