Within days of my being chargesheeted in the 2G kickback case, I received a mail from someone calling himself ‘Spirited Malayali’. He claims he had penned a few lines of poetry which he wanted to share with me. It went like this:
‘My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of Spect(rum) I had drunk
Or emptied some dull wavelengths to the drains
One minute past, and Raja-like I am sunk...’
Now, the spirited gentleman claims the verse is an original, but it’s plain to see that he’s adapted the opening lines from Keats’ Ode To a Nightingale. Not that it particularly bothered me. You see, funny poems always cheer me up and, as for originality, I’m not the fussy type, being a fan of ‘inspired’ Tamil films and songs.
Incidentally, ever since I was framed by the CBI, several friends in the DMK have been trying to make me see the silver lining. “Kani, every mass leader, from Gandhi to Nehru, has spent time in jail. So, should they arrest you, it will do no harm. In fact, a few days in Tihar will only add to your stature,” said one leader. Azhagiri anna was certain the experience would strengthen me, maybe even teach me some lessons in time management. Stalin anna advised me to write a Gandhi-inspired ‘My Experiments With Spectrum’. “I understand that fellow Raja is writing his version of Mein Kampf. So you must not miss out on the opportunity. It’s time you wrote something more substantial than poetry.” He felt the book could be turned into a hit film or a puppet show with the Radia tapes as the soundtrack.
All that is very well but what about all those horror stories about life in jail? My friend Khushboo feels one should not think too much. “To think is to be full of sorrow,” she observed, quoting Keats again. Then she launched into some inanities one wouldn’t expect from a liberated, intelligent woman like her. “Kani,” she said, “you should think of Life as a magazine which was last published in April 2007.” I pointed out that Time too was a weekly publication. Pat came the response: “That’s the spirit, Kani! You have to look at the lighter, brighter side of things. As Shakespeare put it: ‘Make not your thoughts your prison’.”
Well, it’s easy to offer words of wisdom when it is someone else who’s going to jail. Supriya (Sule) was a tad less frivolous. She sent me a box of Nashik grapes and a John Steinbeck omnibus. Ironically, among them was Grapes of Wrath. Was I to see any symbolism in that? Supriya said it was sheer coincidence and I’ll take her word for it. As for my father, he was gracious enough to part with his copy of Peter Navarro’s Always A Winner. This was the tome he looked to for inspiration during the recent poll campaign. I guess I’ll need all the motivation I can get in the days to come as I stand guilty till proved innocent.
(As imagined by Ajith Pillai)