“We need your support” A big placard said as they entered our premises.
They came and stood in the corridor. They had a head leading them. Dressed in posh white shirt and a black trouser. Washed, ironed and starched. Spectacles on his eyes and neatly combed hair. Clean shave to add the grace. Dhananjay. The spokesperson of the dumb arse youth organization on the campus. Every year they had this relationship program. With the sole motive of recruiting new members for the organization. Every year Dhanajay visited all the classes in the free hour. Every year spoke of the on-campus problems. Every year he threw the same big words. And every year he was able to get of with some new members for his organization. Or support in his terms.
It was a classic act. He would enter the classroom. And he would start speaking.
“Hi friends!...Myself Dhananjay…the spokesperson of the MYO…Maharashtra Youth Organization…and I am here to help you people. Because we are an organization which always stands up for students’ questions! Our aim is to solve all the problems faced by you and give you a better campus. And what we want in return is your support.
As you must’ve seen, we have so many problems in our campus today. We don’t have good facilities. We don’t have good administration. We don’t co-operative staff and to add to it all….we lag behind many colleges in many fields like sports, cultural and educational activities. We are always struggling to solve all these problems. But this is not possible without your participation. So I ask all of you to participate by being a member of our organization and help us in our work. So….who all is ready to be a part of our organization? ”
And few hands rise up. As if they were waiting eagerly for this moment. It seems that sometimes these hands always expected them to be raised. They wanted to be raised. Like they always knew that they would have to be raised. That they were the ones, who would be the first ones to rise. That it would be their moment. That it would be their chance to steal the show. That it would be them who would be supporting. That they would be the new members. With their political inclining set right in their cradle days. They came with the dream to be included in the large brigade of the youth politics in the nation.
The organization is just a name. It is an on campus political party. Fed by a state-level political party. Which is in turn fed by a larger national level political party. Struggling to be a part of the students’ committee formed through elections. Bloody affairs. More the support, more the votes. More the votes, more the representatives in students’ committee. More the representatives in students’ committee, more power. Economic, political and administrative. And other perks like alcohol, food, expenses, conveyances and women. And the dream of this power, pulls the so called support towards them. And other such organizations across the nation.
It took Dhananjay an hour to complete endorsing his organization through all the new classes. He came out with his men. Walking straight. Upright. This was a rather unusual way to campaign for his organization, going classroom to classroom repeating the same speech every time. Sheer stupidity that comes with a price of exhaustion. Like a recorded message he plays himself. Every time. Time to time.
I look at him from where I stand under the Neem tree. With all that effort to visit every classroom, he should look weary. But he doesn’t. Maybe it doesn’t tire him. Maybe it’s not an effort for him at all. It’s his elixir. It gives him life. Or it’s elixir that keeps him going. Early morning consumptions.
He moves on to the next building. I stare glumly at them. They move silently from one building to another. Like a large bug made out of humans. Crawling with a hurried lousiness. In a silent buzz within itself. They move. On his way to the other section, Dhananjay throws a look at me and smiles. I pretend to smile wholeheartedly to him. He does the same. We know each other since the day when I had involuntarily yawned in his speech in our classroom, spreading a small wave of laughter. He had smiled the same smile then and asked for my name. That was it. Just my name and a smile. A poisonous one. I don’t know how he had taken me then. As an opponent or as a challenge. A challenge to make me a part of his movement. I had managed to keep myself away from the MYO or any of its counterparts in the year. And I don’t know how he takes me now.
The effortful smile on my face was about to fade when suddenly he stopped in his way and turned back. He looked at me and called me towards himself. Bewildered, I shake out of my momentary languor and take steps towards him. He leaves behind his men and starts walking towards me. A weak wave of fear runs through my center. We meet each other at the axis of the distance between us. Facing each other. He wore a friendly look. I wore any look I could find at that moment.
“How are you?” He asks me.
“Fine man” I reply safely.
“What’s happening in life?”
“Nothing…usual stuff!” I say smiling.
He smiles in return.
“Feel like doing anything unusual?...” He grins this time.
“Sorry…what?” I am a bit baffled.
“Join us….and I bet you won’t give this answer to anyone else…” the grin doesn’t fade from his face.
I just smile. I think of a political answer. I get it.
“I am always with you sir!”
“Baaheroon paathimba?” He speaks in our mother tongue to connect with me. The organization itself is based on this issue. Just like their maternal organization. Mother tongue is the word. Their prominent political agenda in the state. And their reason for the overwhelming response in the state politics.
External support his question means. His smile darkens.
“Aata tari…baaheroon paathimba…vel aalyavar aahoch aamhi” I hold myself proud of giving the most politically appropriate answer. No, I wasn’t supporting him externally as I said in my answer. I wasn’t supporting him at all. I don’t support anybody except myself. Everybody else have their means of supporting themselves. And against what I answered him, I haven’t yet seriously thought about joining him later too.
He pats me on my shoulder with a smirk.
“Alright….your wish!...But remember…Anything you want…..Anytime…We are there…After all….You and me….we are born to the same soil…to the same mother tongue”
I just nod. I stretch out my hand for a shake hand. He pats me on my cheek and leaves.
I stand there. I don’t know how to react to him. To patronize with him or to dispose him. I just stand there blankly. He hits me on my identity. He categorizes me on something that I don’t prefer to be categorized as. My mother tongue. Categorize me on my talent. My qualification. My choice of vocation. These are the choices I made for myself. These are my identity. Not what I was born with. I did not choose it. I did not demand it nor did I earn it. It’s just a mere coincidence that I was born to this. Or in any other region, religion or caste in that case. Sorry Dhanajay! You cant classify me so. I decline this label.
But your proposition is not that bad. I will think. I smile to myself.