Friday, April 27, 2007

The Airport Crescendo

The 'tony' people who say that the Shiv Sena holds no threat have not seen them when they are celebrating a victory. If you see a Sena victory celebration, you will never ever make the mistake of doubting their volatility.

For an accurate description of the Sena, no book, not even Maximum City will suffice. You need to experience one of their assaults on your senses: either they make you perform sit-ups on Valentine's Day if they catch you with your GF; or make you tie a rakhi on your BF's arm; or be a victim of their celebrations or violence. Thats when the brute strength of the Sena hits you; its not a sucker punch that you will feel; but a full fisted IMPACT on your solar plexus!!!

I experienced one such assault on my auditory and visual nerves on the night of 12th April 2007. I had just returned from Nagpur; and on the same flight was a prominent Saffron leader . It was the same day, the saffron alliance had won the Ramtek Lok Sabha by-election. As one entered the baggage collection area to pick up one's baggage, the roars of the joyous Sainiks rang out in the clear humid night. The public address system of the airport cut a sorry figure in front of these enthused masses.

One exit gate was sealed off for the dignitary, with a police chain desperately trying to prevent frenzied Sainiks from entering the terminal. Bouquets flew like missiles and slogans; which, in an imperfectly co-ordinated manner obeyed the laws of destructive interference at the point where I stood to collect my baggage; were liberally let loose by the party workers.

It was only when I ventured outside that I could feel the full blast. A frenzied drum beating was in motion; transporting me to a 16th or 17th century Pratapgarh or any other garh where the Marathas would return after a victorious campaign. The battle drums were reverberating to the frenzied pounding; women party workers were trying to make their presence felt from the background and there was a vulgar firecracker display right outside the airport; believe me from the spot where you are allowed just 90 seconds to alight from your vehicle (not that this rule is enforced very strictly)

I was shaken out of my reverie by the arrival of my auto; soon another din was to welcome me --> that of the heavy traffic on the Western Express Highway. The transition from "Mumbai" to "the city that never sleeps" was swiftly complete.

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