... very proud to post this evocative pieces by writer friend, the feisty, Aarttee Kaul, who is currently perusing her doctoral from the Rajasthan University, and as you would have guessed, her subject it Sita. You can say hello to her on her Facebook page HERE.
By Aarttee Kaul
DM Sita Kaul’s white ambassador pulled up into the porch of the collectorate. The peon ran to open the door.
That they were still using those cars was a point of great amusement for the youngsters present in the campus getting their affidavits and certificates made by notaries who typed away with their typical ennui and lack of interest. The babus sitting under the shady trees on wooden benches sipping a ‘cutting chai’ puffing smoke to break the monotony of their job inside ill-lit dusty offices smelling of papers files folders and typewriter ribbons got up to rush back to their seats. Their favourite topic of discussion these days was ‘madamji’.
DM Sita was a stunner who became the talk of the town ever since she came into office. Her personal charisma and charm apart, her numerous press interviews and the media coverage made her a kind of an icon in the city. Her rosy complexion and curly hair, her gentleness mixed with confidence and conviction coupled with a happy disposition always endeared her to the people. Her personality had her extraordinary upbringing, education and family background written large all over. In a matter of days she was hot and happening!
Additionally there was some rumour about her personal life too. There was an interesting piece of gossip floating around as in a society like India digging for behind the scene info is always a popular pastime as what is on the surface is never enough for most. Educated people with regular jobs had a regular pastime as did the housewives and others (for e.g. most relatives) - discussing people.
It is a fine art to look into their lives, families and past for juicy pieces of information shred them to pieces in minutes calling for great skill and practice which is honed over a period of time before one can call oneself adept at it. It also requires a particularly sharp sense of smell one that equates such gifted people to blood hounds smelling and sniffing furiously for a whiff of a scandal -real or imagined they little care, to feed and survive on. The nature of a snake is to produce venom of scorpions to bite and of vultures to devour the flesh till the bones.
Last month’s piece of gossip that made its rounds was that madamji’s daughter Ana (which meant self- respect in Urdu) is a child born out of wedlock. The father was believed to be a British national as madamji believed most Indian males had a problem in treating their wives right.
With role models as Ram and the Pandavas what could be expected. Myth and tradition endorsed and validated ill-treatment of women in India. Of course this piece of gossip was never confirmed. The latest was that madamji was keen to send her daughter to a reputed engineering college in Delhi. Ana was a bright student who did very well in AIEEE and other entrances.
DM Sita marched into the office and marched out in exactly fourteen minutes after receiving a phone call. Her resignation letter on the desk stunned all. The collectorate was in a state of shock. She was an officer par excellence honest straight-forward forthright and passionate. She loved her country and the people and had long back decided to serve it with single minded devotion and commitment not commonly seen in bureaucrats.The latest buzz was that a prestigious University had asked her for a sum of Rs ten lakhs to allot her daughter admission in her preferred stream.
Sita had resigned and if her PA was to be believed madamji went to join Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption extending an invitation to all who felt strongly against the deep rooted malady of institutionalised Corruption in India - the country of the Vedas! Within an hour the wooden benches under the shady trees were all occupied, the tea vendor looked very busy, the cigarette smoke was thick in the air and the majority of the collectorate staff had congregated. I could sense a rebellion building up.