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Raju Ganapathy

Abstract Others


Raju Ganapathy

Abstract Others

I Too Eat Poha

I Too Eat Poha

5 mins 6 5 mins 6

 Johny, Johny yes papa

Eating poha, yes papa

Enjoying poha, yes papa

No telling yes, yes papa

    ---a modified rhyme

Somebody had asked in Quora.com what has poha got to do with CAA and NRC? The question hit me, stirred my brain, and a deluge of words burst forth. The story got written.

3300 BCE, Bharata, some remote village

Krishna and Sudhama were best friends. They often talked about their dreams of the future. Krishna said his goal was to become the prime minister of the country. Sudhama said his dream was to marry and have at least two dozen children. Krishna laughed heartily.

Some thirty years later Krishan did become the prime minister. Sudhama too achieved his dream and had 26 children. But he was in poverty being a chandala. His wife one day asked him to meet Krishna and seek his help. She gave him the last of her silver coin for expense for the journey and packed him some hand- made poha. She knew Krishna was fond of poha. Anyway, she could not afford anything else. She was a town-bred woman and advised Sudhama on the etiquette of the city people.

Sudhama soon found himself on the bullet train. He had a good breakfast and dozed off immediately. When he opened his eyes the bullet train had reached the destination. As he got out of the station, he looked at the Sun and guessed the time in a fraction of seconds. Wow! He thought to himself. The Bharatiya Rail arrived punctually. You can set your time by the bullet train’s arrival he thought. Sudhama took a cab as advised by his wife and told the driver to take him to the tallest building in the metropolitan. When he arrived at the destination, he gave the cab driver the last of the silver coin.

Sudhama got impressed by what he saw. Amidst squalor all around Krishna’s building stood tall almost reaching the sky. He saw a poor watchman and said he has come to meet Krishna. The watchman looked at the skeleton of a chandala and wanted to laugh but something about this man’s sincerity withheld him. “what is there in the jhola you are carrying?” He asked. Sudhama looked at the watchman and thought he seemed so hungry. Maybe I can give some poha and said “I am carrying hand- made poha for Krishna. Do you want some?” He asked. The watchman’s eyes popped out when he heard the mention of the word poha. Yes, he said. When he took a mouth-full he was left speechless by its excellent taste. He pressed the intercom and said Sudhama has come to meet you, Sir. The watchman got further impressed when the master told him to escort Sudhama to his dwelling.

The watchman was a witness to a spectacle. He could not believe his eyes. For good measure he whipped out his smartphone and took a video of the scene. Krishna embraced his child mate Sudhama and washed his feet. He grabbed the jhola and took two mouthfuls of poha before Rukmini his wife stopped him. The show went viral and washing the feet of a poor man became a pious ritual in time to come.

Sudhama child-like in his heart was so enthralled and quite forgot his mission’s purpose. He partook some food and took leave of Krishna. Krishna not to be left behind in his hospitality arranged to drop Sudhama by his private AI operated vimana. 

Sudhama could not recognize his home as he landed on the terrace of a stately building, his wife and children. He could see wealth in their bearing and his house. All his children grew up to become stars. So, began the saying “poha a day may bring you wealth someday” an ancient proverb.

New India, 2020 AD

A nutritionist would tell you that poha is an excellent food for it is pro-biotic content. I have grown up eating poha occasionally in a combo: poha sweetened with jaggery and then onion bhaji downed with a cup of tea. In the Madya-Pradesh where my classmates and I did fieldwork poha was a ubiquitous breakfast. If you had more money in your pocket you could also add some jalebis on to your plate.

If the train you travel passed through Maharashtra, poha would get sold at the stations. That made me wonder what had happened to the Maratha valor when a bhakt guffawed that he can identify the termites because they eat poha. I am quite sure the preceding statement has left you curious. As it is said the devil is in the detail. I give the details below.

That power makes you heady and with headiness one gets easily prone to foot and mouth disease is a much-understood topic. Since the beginning of the modified era-2 the powers that be had shown their tendency to fall to the infection of foot in the mouth disease. I don’t work with the health ministry otherwise I would have given the vector data. Of the recent times a few episodes stand out.

A very learned bhakt said that Arjun’s arrow in the Mahabharata got tipped with nuclear warhead and that there were flying machines in the times of Ramayana. Not to be left behind the leader had said he could identify protestors by the clothes they wear. One does not need face recognition software in the time of insecurity. Then other bhakt said he could identify the poor pardeshis by the poha they eat.

The Maratha warriors seem to have forgotten their famously militant Shivaji Maharaj’s gene and more recently pre-independence hero to whom the Bharat Ratna has remained due. All this was perhaps due to the power-sharing arrangement, the Shiv Ganas had given up on their orange ideology. Otherwise the bhakt should have been wiped away by a tsunami of tidal words by the Maratha warriors or by their mouth speak newspaper.

Before any such calamity occurred another bhakt confessed he too ate poha and one should not make much should of the other bhakt’s statement.

It was too little too late as the social media buzz had already picked up poha episode; a poor man’s meal had become the talk of the town so much so in the Republic parade the central government showcased a varietal display of poha preparations from several regions excepting from Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab and Rajasthan. Like Azadi, poha has become a protestors’ favourite symbolism. itooeatpoha# had become a rage in the social media world all over at the time of writing.

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