Manoj (manojk) wrote,

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The white-man

Back to year 1991: [rough guess] At TD-high school Alappuzha. Inauguration of some event is going to happen. As planned, some selected good-looking girls in the school are dressed in neat-uniform, standing in 2 rough, careless lines, talking to each other, with "taalappoli". Police jeeps were parked inside the school compound with a few policemen roaming around. A few were deployed near the gates and corners. Several people sat on the fold-able iron-chairs, in front of a temporary stage. The stage has a few of cushioned chairs and rest all ordinary chairs. All the teachers were running around, tying a round badge with ribbon to showcase the event and their part in it. Some teachers along with a few girls were standing near the gate. They were probably discussing about who will welcome the guest first by garlanding him. Several fellows, not from the school are gathered in white-and-white attire, with the tricolor in their hands. A few minutes passed by, and the number of people whom I never saw in the school increased near the school gate. In another 10 - 15 minutes, I saw everybody running towards the main gate. The "taalappoli" girls ran to form 2 strict lines preparing for the welcome. I heard some "Sindaabad" slogans, and after a few moments I saw a small man with full white attire, with white head, white mustache and a big smile, walking very fast  in between the 2 lines, along with a flock of teachers, several unknown people and policemen. I amused seeing this guest "white-man" and his speady walk. The flock went to the teachers room. An announcement came regarding arrival of the guest and that "the event will start in a few moments". When I turned, I saw that there was no place to sit. People started climbing on the wall. I tried to get a place to watchthe front stage, but ended up near the teachers room door. Suddenly the guest "white-man" came out on the way to the stage, and in some push from the behind, I ended up in front of the guest. I smiled at him, when he looked at me and patted on my shoulders and cheak. This was the first [and last, so far] chief-minister-touch I got. The white-man was Sri. K.Karunakaran. I never felt anything special, but my friends were amused telling that "Eda, mukhyamanthri ninne tottteda..." ["the chief minister touched you"] The white-man went to the stage and programme started, but my feelings were around the "touch". I think he did a nice speech, because I head a thunderous clap after his speech. The only thing struck my mind then was "kuttikale, ningalaanu naale keralathinte manthrimaaraakendatu., ividem bharikkendatu.. ningalaanu ividathe doctormaar, engineernumar, teachermar"... ["kids, it's you who will be the ministers of Kerala, and should rule here., you are our future doctors, engineers and teachers"]. I was bored of this sentence as it was used by every speech in the school for many years. But I liked the way he put it. I don't remember anything else from his speech. After his speech, he bowed everybody and walked fast with the flock and went away in his short convoy.
Today: For past 2 days, all the TV channels are showing live news about the veteran leader's death. Despite the frictions inside the party, everybody [including the Prime minister, several INC leaders] paid their last tributes. I was astonished at the way people standing in the queue to see their leader for the last time. Anyway, I feel slightly depressed that I was not able to completely fulfill what he said 19 years ago, and I inherit same words to my kids now. He was indeed a Leader.
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