So J Jayalalithaa’s photograph is on every aid packet in Chennai like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. And some people have found it in bad taste.
Some people? Who would find it in good taste?
Not that it reduces the comfort factor of the emergency supplies, whatever picture you put on the boxes and bags, but why is everyone surprised if minions wish to slaver affection on their political and cinema icons. They probably thought they were doing the right thing by their boss lady and the fact that someone thought it all up and got the leaflets of her pictures printed and distributed and arranged, to make it mandatory before it could be distributed, required a fair amount of planning and execution. Sorry, you cannot take those meds they don’t have Amma’s pix on it.
It hasn’t struck many people or they are afraid to say it but, Amma Mia, there we go again, the collapse of the system in a city of ten million and the totally post-torrent response occurred under her regime and the poster on the packets could well serve as an indictment if you can read between the lines... like hey there Chief Minister, this mess happened on your watch, your government, so can you tell us why? Wanted, an explanation.
Not that we will get any answer, she is far too powerful for anyone to annoy her and synthetic gratitude will be at the core of the reaction. Amma cares, hence the care packets.
We’ll never learn, not even in the midst of crisis.
On this canvas of self gratification (she could have disallowed it by just saying stop embarrassing me, people have died, thousands are homeless and mired in misery, take my photograph off) come three individuals whose picture I would put up any day, anytime, anywhere and salute it.
Twenty year old Bharath of Saidapet died the day before while rescuing strangers in the floods. He saved several people before being pulled away by the current. His picture made me cry for the guts and glory he displayed. That’s the Chennai where I studied some 45 years ago.
Then there is this 14-year-old kid and this is the story sent to me unchanged by Chennai resident Srikanth Karthikeyan who was delivering food packs.
"There was this dilemma for the kid when the last food packet being distributed was being given to him. He handed it over to another kid whom I had ignored and said ‘pravala na enakku pasi palagiduchu.. Ivanala kandippa pasi thaanga mudiyathu’ (its ok brother, I am used to hunger... Let him eat, he doesn’t seem to be familiar with hunger). And with a grin that could break your heart he walked off.
A kid like that I’d put him on the cover of every package any day.
And then comes this incredible story from a resident in Kilpauk who says his milk lady has never missed a day of delivery in 25 years. She waded through waist deep water, her pan in hand and called out to her customers to come get their milk on every day of the week long agony from the skies.
Business as usual.
When asked why she took the risk, she said, “The children need their milk.”
Put that on the package. In full colour.
Updated Date: Dec 07, 2015 16:44:29 IST