April's Fool in February

Yesterday I was on my way to a meeting at Foreshore Road, Colaba , when I found myself stuck in the most awful traffic snarl. Funnily enough the other side of the road leading to Marine Drive was empty which meant that there was some hold up in front of the Mantralaya and because this is a no honking zone and there were menacing looking policemen with ineffective looking  lathis standing on the road, the cars lined up were actually patiently waiting their turn to go one at a time.

For a while I actually fell asleep and when I woke up twenty minutes later to find we hadn’t budged an inch I asked the driver what the matter was. When he rolled down the window and asked a perched policeman what the reason was, he was given the official reply ” we don’t know”. A while later I found myself alongside a lalbatti car so I put down the window and signalled to the driver to put down his even though he was a cop in uniform and the passenger in the back seat looked important enough to have a security detail sitting in the front seat. The cop told me it was a morcha. 
Morchas now seem to be a thing of the past and the word brought back memories of sit ins in front of the  University peopled with jholi carrying, kolhapuri wearing, scruffy bearded or kohl lined activists agitating for something or the other. Or there were peasants in white caps or turbans, women in colourful saris marching down the streets of Mumbai with placards and party flags demanding something or the other. While their concerns and grievances were genuine, so was the inconvenience they caused: exams were not held on time, trains were delayed and generally many people were more vexed end annoyed rather than sympathetic to the agitators’ cause.
However, the crowds in front of me seemed neither students nor peasants but just a rag tag bunch of people literally standing over one another, some of them waving papers in the air. As we came to the end of the road, we found out that someone had put out a rumour that the Government was offering houses at  only Rs . 54,000/- to those who applied for them at the Chief Minister’s Office, hence the crowds because as usual the T&C that applied were : first come, first served. So here were all those who had come first with their applications duly filled in triplicate and others who were clamouring for the “writers” to fill in their applications which were the papers being waved in the air.
With housing in Mumbai being a scarce commodity , high end homes being sold at starting rates upwards of Rs.100000/ Sq.ft and  affordable homes being out of reach of the common man, this offer seemed too good to pass up even if it was a rumour. And it seems that not only were there hundreds of hopefuls who bit this bait, but several people from the Mantralaya who abandoned their desks  to join in the lines that led to the CM’s office. 
Obviously this  year’s April Fool came two months too early!

Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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