Thursday, December 22, 2005

This Day, That Age: Meerut

“So, you want to force yourselves on to the spotlight, huh? Welcome, gentlemen, I mean, gentlewomen, please occupy centre stage.”

They blink, and stare at me.

I ask the Chief, “Why do they stare that way?”

“Use simple English man!”

I clear my throat.

“I mean, you want to see yourself in the media, is it not?”

They look confused.

“Okay, you want to be in photo, in TV?”

They beam. I sigh of relief.

“Good. Could you move a bit on to the right . . . No, no, not to my right, your right . . . yeah, that’s right.”

“Okay, this is an action scene. But, this is not the usual scene where you come after the fight is over. You come and start the fight here. Okay?”

They nod, suggesting they might have understood something.

“The name of this programme is “Uniformed Thugs” . . . I mean, “Uninformed Thugs” . . . or, “Lady Thugs”, or, “Rowdy Lady” – it’s your choice”

The Chief is not satisfied. I search for some action-packed code name and come up with a brilliant “Operation Laila”.

The Chief is delighted!

“Operation Laila!” The Chief repeats proudly.

By now, one of the lady thugs is about to doze off. Her buddy wakes her up.

“Oh, no, you can not sleep today. Yeah . . . I know it’s difficult. But, don’t you want to be in the media, I mean, in photo, in TV, in Paper tomorrow?”

They agree! They try to keep their eyes wide open . . . they try hard.

“Good. So, today, you can not sleep. You have to slap women.”

The intelligent Thief, oops, Chief, asks “Why?”

“What do you mean ‘why’? You are not P*****men, you are P*****women! You can only slap women. You can’t do anything else to them, I guess!”

(My Editor censored some obscene words that were recorded; can’t help it)

I question the Chief: “Further, how else can you make news? Taking bribe is old fashioned. If this is a male team, may be we can try a grape scene. But, you want to make this woman squad popular. I think this is the best way.”

The Chief agrees half-heartedly. “Whatever, just make us popular. All the time, the men are in news. We want to prove we are equal to them.”

I sigh, and continue with my direction.

“So, we will have the cameras ready. When I say “Action”, you must go and slap the first woman you see in the Park. When you see the second woman, you must pull her hair, and if you see a couple, I mean, a man and woman together, beat both of them. If you see a lady in saree, pull it off. Then, you drag them out of the park and shove them in front of the cameras. When I say “Cut”, you stop. Is it clear?”

The team looks dumb, with an odd expression. The Chief seems bored.

I decide to break the instructions into parts and I repeat them, sentence by sentence. I point out to and mark people in the park and give roles to each uninformed woman, allotting victims in pairs to the stouter ladies in the crew. I make sure that every Rowdy Lady is allocated with a victim or two.

I get back to my place; make sure that cameras are in position, and then, “Action”!

It being late afternoon, normally sleeping hours for them, they amble lethargically into the park. The ladies walk up to their designated victims and start acting out their roles, lazily. However, the unexpected happens. The crowd in the park seems larger than expected. While initially taken aback, shocked at the arrival of the thugs, the crowd decides to take on the assault. In a sudden turn of tables, the crowd get together and bundle the uninformed ladies into one lot and start beating them up!

I shout “Cut, Cut . . . Stop it!”

The crowd keeps beating the Lady Thugs up. In a while, they are badly beaten up! The Chief is shocked!

“Abort! Abort Laila!” The horrified Chief screams over the microphone.

Our cameraman, whose wife’s name is Laila and who is on her family way, is shocked and momentarily drops the camera before he realises that they are discussing “Operation Laila”.

However, the Lady Thugs are in a bad shape by now, in no position to hear the commands, least of all to obey the command.

The Chief calls for emergency rescue teams and ambulances to the spot. The Bloody Ladies are taken by stretchers into the ambulances. The whole episode is, however, shot in cameras, thanks to Mr Majnu, our cameraman.

Later, Operation Laila screened in the P***** Head Quarters, is analysed and the reasons for its failure are debated, discussed and found out!

“We should have chosen some other venue, not Meerut!”

However, this incident in Meerut in 1857, which was the very first spark in India’s Struggle for Freedom from the Thugs, never seems to have been reported in the media. And such a revolt is all but forgotten, ever since!


Mridula said...

Meerut was just shameful.

krish said...

Which one? 1857 or 2005?