STORY OF A ROAD

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During my brief stay at kausani in the almora district of up, some funny things happened.  The water coming from the tap suddenly stopped.  Nothing unusual about that. For, if there is one thing that can be called most erratic in its behavior in india, it is water. It comes and goes at its well. It may be raining cats and dogs outside your house.  Inside you may not have a drop to drink. People gave to make do without it for days together even at cherapunji which gets the heaviest rainfall every year.  But then behaviour of water has to be measured in relative terms. Like”Thou, too, bruts” in shakespeare’s julius caesar.

Le me elaborate. The hon’ble minister was in the wathroom of the circuit house in kausani.  He was taking his bath. And just as he had finished applying soap all over his body, the water from the tape disappeared.  The minister screamed. But there was none to listen. None on security duty outside the bathroom.  The poor cgap had no alternative but to rub the soap off his body with the towels he could lay his hands on. The first thing that he did on emerging from the bathroom was to call the sub divisional magistrate on duty to to maintain law and order within the vicinity of the ministers location.

The poor chap explained to the minister that kind of thing was not unusual at kausani.  Peasants living at higher levels often cut the pipeline to divert water to their own fields. ”arrest them, arrest them all,”thundered the minister.

I can’t say what happened thereafter. But what I know is that one evening, the two of us staying together, in separate rooms of course, in the nearby forest rest house saw a huge black buick car gliding into the district board rest house down below. Hectic activities followed the arival of that car.” Whoose car is that?” I asked the SDM. That is car of the overseer sahib. Think of it. A petty non gezetted official rolling in wealth. I requested him to throw some light on the gentleman greatness. ”He wishpred the sdm to me in confidence, ”supervises the building of roads. The cost of constructing a road on the hills is ten times the cost of constructing the same road on the plateu. And every road he constructs anywhere, even on the plains, he shows it as a road constructed on the hills. ”

‘Why don’t you catch him” Shocked and bewildered, I asked him.”and lose my job?” Said he, scratching his head,”so many before me have tried and have been pushed out of this area. You knom who is he?” I did not know that and  pleaded innocence. ”He is,” said the SDM , ”known here as the prince of wales. He is the brother of the chief minister’s grand daughter’s hisband.”

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