Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Politician's Speech

During my school and college days, I was fortunate to have a bunch of good friends. One of our favorite past times was sharing jokes. One popular joke was about a politician, a minister of something, who loved giving long speeches.

Once this politician, went to one of the third world countries on a friendly mission. As part of the mission he had to address a large gathering of people and pass the message of goodwill and friendship of his country. Before being seated on the podium, the minister hugged the local dignitaries with such warmth as if they were his childhood “buddies”.

After the master of ceremonies introduced him to the crowd, the minister began his speech with his usual “elan”. He thanked the dignitaries for inviting him to their great country and how he was happy to be in their midst. There was clapping from the dignitaries on the podium. There were scattered clapping and faint murmur from the crowd.

The minister then got into his charismatic demeanor with his outstretched hands and benevolent smile, he started his long monologue in a hushed tone, “I bring good news to you! The good news is, I am extending my hands of friendship to you, to redeem you from your poverty, your squalor and misery”. The people in the crowd stared at him with grim faces, but there were some murmurs, a little louder than before. The minister thought he heard the people chant what sounded like “Oom Galagala”. The minister thought to himself “hmm...that is good, the crowd is warming up to my speech”.

He continued, his voice rising few decibels, “I can understand your hopelessness, your desperation, because I have been there. I perfectly understand what it means to live in such misery”. The minister paused for his message to sink in. More people joined in chanting of “Oom Galagala”. Some grim faces broke up into broad smiles as they chanted. The minister was extremely pleased. Glancing around, left to right, right to left, the minister said to himself with a pleased smile, “now I got them where I wanted”.

The minister was sweating profusely from the extreme heat but it did not deter him, he continued with his long speech, every now then mopping his face and forehead. He started telling the crowd about his great philanthropic work, his caring for the poor and the downtrodden and innumerable development work. He went on to churning out string of his success stories back home. Every time he paused, the crowd went into rapturous chanting of “Oom Galagala” which got louder every time he paused. 

Soon the whole crowd joined in, some clapping in excitement, some thumping the person next to them on the shoulder or their arms. Even the dignitaries on the podium could not control themselves any longer, they too joined in, chuckling with every chorus of chanting.

Finally, the minister decided to stop as one of his aides was signalling him about time. The minister was very pleased with himself at the impact he had created with the crowd. He thanked the crowd for their patience. As the minister sat down, he asked the dignitary sitting next to him, what “Oom Galagala” meant. 

The dignitary answeredcovering his mouth, trying to suppress his laughter, “it means, bullshit”!

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