Bombastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Image Credit: Pixabay

All right, that is a shameless rip off from the latest opus of J. K. Rowling, also churned into a movie by Warner Bros. But isn’t this the joy of being a nobody on the Internet, that you can pilfer and filch from the mighty and live to tell the tale? I mean, like, the blogger who lived?

 But similarities of context end there. Unlike the fantastic fantasy I have alluded to, here be pustules of perfidy. In other words, I wish to speak of the pestilence of politics that has been plaguing the earth in general and this nation in particular. Such is the terrible state of affairs that dare I be graphical in my arguments, I may sooner be the blogger who did not live.

 Allow me to bare my heart before long: I am a supporter of the demonetisation missile fired away by Prime Minister Modi to curb the tar black wallets of the filthy and the corrupt, not to speak of shiploads of fake currency nourishing the terrorists. I am absolutely besotted with the act of disrobing all rupee notes of values higher than one hundred of all their honour. Oh, I understand I am an incorrigible imbecile. Perhaps that explains why the bombastic words of the intelligentsia swim through my ears without friction and vanish into the ether. I reckon that presents a contradiction to the famous theorem of Einstein but that is the stuff nincompoops are made of. As for the bit about danger to my life, when a prize has been set on the scalp of someone as potent as Modi, I am but a twitching caterpillar, worthlessness being my best defence.

 But, hear, hear. The congress of crows that claims to be the forebear and progenitor of this state but has driven it to the brink of perdition instead, thanks to its talons of corruption wedged to the bones of the common man, is screeching shrill. Their crown prince is foaming at the mouth, swearing if people are allowed to wriggle free of their ill-gotten wealth they will fall to a gory death. One of the loudmouths wouldn’t even spare the honour of the soldiers fallen for the country to add weight to their arguments. I tend to agree. It is those, perchance like them, with the Albatross of stashed riches who will take a nosedive. Fortunately, the poor and the featherweight will drift away on the slightest wind.

 Then there are the Measles and Mumps sisters who have broken into a whooping cough after the banning of high denomination notes. They have developed high fever, rash, goose bumps, runny nose, pinkeye and are displaying symptoms of acute distress and permanent damage to their coffers. Massive garlands of currency notes have turned into bogus wreaths. Entire clubs ranging from the footmen to the generals have turned paupers. Up there in Delhi, the man who rose from the ashes like a phoenix promising a corruption-free nation to the man on street but has whisked up a putrefying clique of vulgar bandits, and has since been sprinkling cinders on his electors as a mark of gratitude, has woken up like Dracula, as is his wont. Woe betide the day when he and his henchmen miss a chance to outrage the modesty of women and sink their fangs into every neck that happens to pass by. A bit down under but in a northern province still, there is the curious case of the clan whose chariots are propelled by mullahs and milkmen, whose errant scion with Pinocchio Syndrome is vying for a Nobel Prize in Economics by threatening to make black money mandatory. Such is the lot cawing in a reverberating chorus against the sudden move to ban the high value bills. As they say, birds of the same feather fornicate together.

 And how does one stand up to the bilious beliefs of the columnists and panellists with bad cases of verbal incontinence and their delusions that the sole reason of their existence is to carpet bomb the hapless readers and listeners with their self-righteous discharge? Given a chance they would look the other way faced with a Hitler, a Laden or a Baghdadi and tell everyone the villains will vanish of their own accord if we continue ignoring them long enough, and the corrupt will mend their ways if we let them bleed the nation every which way they wish?

 It turns out I haven’t answered the original question tossed casually at the outset. I would say the answer is easy enough, but is uneasy at the same time. There is no dearth of such beasts blaring at us through broadsheets, journals, and the more ubiquitous television, and the omnipresent social media. The uneasy answer, or perhaps it is a question, is that are we allowing them to beguile us, or worse, hypnotise us with their slick, insidious verbiage, and in the process, make us a part of them? Even at this moment, the country is tumbling, manifest in the crumbling railways, roadways, industries, housing, employment, legal system and economy, much of it due to the entrenched corruption. If the cancer has to stop, someone has to begin the chemotherapy forthwith, but how?


  1. Whilst I agree with everything this twitching caterpillar says (I think), I am in awe at the stylish control of language that you’re able to master amidst uncorked angst. I simply swear like a yokel most ineffectively. You’ve driven me to read with greater care the current currency events of India. I seem to be so Sturm und Drang-ed about everything at present that life floats over my head – or perhaps, as with your good self, it passes through the head with no resistance or bending of light. It’s a way of coping. Yesterday I got a puppy! That’s about as much as I can cope with these days.

    1. Dear Bruce, life has been a nightmare of logistics and milling queues of late and the fact I have been able to exhale through the dust and debris of cadaver currencies and turn the counter at my blog one more time speaks of the love of my friends who keep this flame going. Thanks for those kind words; I am equally Sturm und Drang-ed and I trust getting a puppy is not a bad idea after all!

  2. If I were in India I think I would be, like you, a fan of Modi’s demonitization ploy and not of his demon-izing opposition. In my own country–as well as in anglophile nations who think we all think alike—the aftermath of elections is stupefying by the hordes of weepers and wailers who have no reasoned opinions but receive everything they know from Facebook, and are devastated that things didn’t turn out as they were led to believe. “Led to believe,” is the operative phrase.

    1. There is a fine wordplay in your comment; the demonetisation ploy and demon-izing opposition captures and cans the whirlwind in a nutshell. I am not oblivious to what is unfurling under the Stars and Stripes today and for a moment was tempted to reflect on that too but backed out doubting my locus standi. Yet, the connotations of both ‘republic’ and ‘democracy’ have been teetering dangerously on the brinks of individual abysses, so much so that a culture is no bigger than a man or a woman. Will someone tell those weepers and wailers we have been Led to Believe from the day we decided to live in groups? We have been Led to Believe about the Almighty in one shape or the other, about the central position of the Earth in the universe, about the supremacy of the humans over the others, and so on and so forth. Quo Vadis, Americans and Indians?

  3. Most approve of the economic exercise in fighting corruption but are questioning the logistical shortcomings and asking if this was the only way to go about it. While an assortment of views have created confusion, those involved in Sarda scam, 2G scam and the likes of Pinocchio have no moral right to create ruckus. You are a banker, you have an insider view of the relevant numbers. Perhaps March April would be a right time to asses the pros and cons.
    Very well written, as always.

    1. The secrecy and suddenness of the move have had a devastating effect on the blackguards of the nation, not to speak of the terrorist outfits. I would be remiss if I aver there are no logistics and replacement issues; for a moment it threatened to break the fragile backs of the bankers. But the dust has started to settle and a huge percentage of those queuing up for currency exchange have managed to swap their notes more than once using different IDs or different institutions as against the original intention. Similarly, depositors and withdrawers have been getting used to the quantum and the notion; special concessions and provisions have been made for occasions like marriage and the farming community. However, the key to the chakravyuha will lie in how the common man, especially the farmers, farmhands, labourers, vegetable vendors, the corner grocer, eateries and chaat wallahs are weaned away from cash. If the vacuum created by the withdrawal of the old notes is fully replenished by fresh currency the apocalyptic exercise will fail. There is an immense need to propagate and popularise a cashless culture through plastic currency, mobile payments, mobile wallets, RTGS / NEFT /IMPS /Internet Banking with rewards and bonuses. Use of cash should be discouraged with taxes.

      1. This is such a well thought out and hence an unbiased voice. Modiji’s move has divided the nation (or so it seems), no arguments there. But most people don’t even know why they are fighting tooth and nail to be on the wrong side of history this time. What that side is, well well, I’ll just say that it was about time, wasn’t it?

        Striking essay Umaji. Enjoyed and learnt things, as i do always when I go through your works.

        1. Thanks, Anupam, for the encouraging feedback. What beats me is the needless fury of the folks who have neither black money nor such proclivities. The temporary inconvenience caused by demonetisation is a necessary therapy for the future well being of the common man. People are reluctant to switch to a cashless system for the fear of technology even though they have already embraced elaborate apps of social media. But, as you said, it is about time.

  4. I never comment on political posts Umashankar ji but love the way you write Your style is as interesting as always . Seeing a post from you after a long interval and its worth reading for the beautiful flow of words

    1. By and large I too stay away from the political muck but the damned thing is threatening to give us a mandatory drubbing. Thanks for the compliment.

  5. I thought I’d written yesterday but maybe not because my comment has not appeared. What can I say? Your writing is as brilliant as Modiji’s idea. I’m disappointed that some Bharatiya would rather live with the disease than strengthen the hands of the man who is trying to find a cure. In Marathi we say, kavlyachya shaapani gaayi marat nahit – hard for me to transcribe but in essence the crows have no power.,,,,,
    Thanks Umashankar for articulating the thoughts of many who have not your eloquence.

    1. These days, I get more spam than comments. I checked the spam bin but didn’t find your comment there and I am grateful you wrote again your thoughtful feedback. That was brilliantly said, the fact that crows have no power. And yet, they are bound to dampen the spirit. Not for long…

    1. At least it is promoting parsimony and boosting savings of everyone including the worst of the worst of the worst. To compulsive plastic peddler like me though, whose credit limits are eternally stretched, even a total recall of currencies will do no good.

  6. Beautifully written as always. Words are definitely your friends ! Have been reading a lot of pros and cons of the move. It’s a bold decision and truly a chemotherapy. I just hope that it will finish off the cancer cells and leave the healthy ones in peace.

    1. And like chemotherapy, there is bound to be some lasting scars. But it is in the general good of everyone including the villains. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Umashankar, your post is very thoughtful and well expressed! I am only somewhat aware of your politics there since I live in a different country, but I understand your reasons and support whatever can stop terrorism.

    1. Terrorism of all kinds must end. In the Indian context, the situation has become perilous due to blatant, relentless state-sponsored terror let loose upon us by Pakistan with whom we share open borders. Scrapping the higher denomination bills have set them back for a while as they were thriving on fake Indian currency mastered by them.

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