Sunday, July 06, 2008

One for the Road

Bottoms up:

Malayala Manorama, 6th July, 2008.

A very interesting news item with a title “Hartalinu Ernakulam kudichuteerthathu 3 kodi”.

This roughly translates to “Ernakulam drank up 3 crores on Hartal day”.

Ernakulam district ‘celebrated’ a hartal day recently by consuming alcohol worth Rs 3 Crores! There was a 30 to 40% increase in the alcohol sales on the eve of the hartal day. Which means all “Bevadas” in Ernakulam decided to stock up their favourite brands to celebrate the hartal day!

Beverages Corporation, which has 46 outlets selling alcohol, recorded a rise of more than 50% increase in sales.

Another interesting development was the price of chicken. From Rs 50.00 per kilo, the price rose to Rs 62 for the hartal rush and all sellers enjoyed a two fold increase in sales volume. A few days before the hartal, the market was facing a shortage due to a truckers’ strike, but the hartal rush solved all the problems of the chicken market.!

So many people are happy! All wine shops, bar owners, chicken sellers and all alcoholics—hic!

Who “ordered” the Hartal? Why? What did they achieve from it?

Who takes responsibility for the consequences of the Hartal?

What happened to the court ruling banning all such Hartals in Kerala?

Who wants the answers?

Filled up with our favourite whiskey and belly stuffed with chicken, we are too drowsy to seek the answers…

One for the Road:

There was one more news item, tucked in a small box in a last page, with a small photograph of a 59 year old man.

“Hartal dinathil 10 kilometer cycle chavitti kuzhanjuveenu marichu”.

Which means “Died after cycling for 10 kilometers on Hartal day”.

Mr. M. A. Augustin (59) had to be present in a court on the Hartal day. Since all bus services were stopped, he was forced to cycle for 10 kilometers. He fainted after the 10 kilometer journey, in the court premises. Policemen in the court rushed him to the nearest hospital, but it was too late.

May his soul rest in peace.