Well, we were away for a vacations, or, that is what we thought. One week at Hyderabad, one week at Bhubaneswar and one week at Mumbai itself.
We reached Hyderabad on the 16th in the afternoon, the day when the reseults for the general elections were declarred. We made the mistake of coming by local train from Secundrabad and had to wait in the station for more than an hour. Not a good decision. We should have taken a taxi.
The election result was sort of status quo at the Centre as well as in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa though with changed equations in alliances. The Central government did not have Lalu, their partner for five years, or Mulayam, who bailed them out with the Nuclear fiasco. It seems that the Yadavs (including the one from Janata Dal (United)) are together when it comes to opposing women representation. Unfortunately, I do not have a good example from the most illustrious Yadava we know - Lord Krishna. Those days women were not rulers. But, Rukmini, still ruled. She was the embodiment of wealth, Godess Lakshmi incarnate.
On way to Bhubaneswar we had some lively discussions with fellow travellers. A couple of them confirmed that the debt waiver is an election gimmik. A co-passenger, who is a small manufacturer, benefited. He had taken some loan showing some agricultural land in his native villagem, which was waived. Despite this, he himself voted for the anti-cooruption crusader Jaiprakash Narayan, who won from Kukatpally in Hyderabad. Cheeranjivi's Praja Rajyam's debacle was not unexpected because of high-handedness in giving tickets by taking money (three crore rupees). In fact, one candidates wife committed suicide as he had mortgaged all land to get this money. Further, Cheeranjivi's personal record in contributing to social welfare in his native village was not good either. Long back he had sold off his land after he requested by people from that this could be used for a school/community centre, he had shown disrespect to one of his teachers and so on and so forth.
The economic downturn had negative impact on our co-traveller's business initially because stocks which were made with inputs purchased at higher prices had to be sold at lower prices. Ater the stocks were cleared in one-two months things are fine because inputs are also cheaper. This gentermal entrepreneur has an interesting story because he was not a sucessful student. After completing schooling he left village for higher studies (Engineering) but the world of English teaching and away from home was totally new and he could not cope up. He returned back and dabbled with odd jobs, took to real estate, gave it up to take up shrimp farming in native village, but heavy losses forced him back to Hyderabad looking for odd jobs and now he is producing aluminium products in two/three manufacturing centres and has plans of further expansion.
On Satyam people think that there is more than what is obvious. Showing profits when company is not doing is a common practise so that one gets funds, but this happening for a continuing period of time when the IT sector was doing well means something is fishy. The Maytas group dabbling with land and the fall in real estate must be a concern. Getting arrested could be a ploy to avoid going to the US where Mr Raju faces other serious charges.
Next day (23rd May) we passed through Chilika. Nerika enjoyed taking a number of snaps; see Chilika Tire. I took Solitude, the cowherd with his catle taking rest from the May heat under the shade of a tree.
On 24th, we went to my school, Stewart School, Unit VIII, Bhubaneswar. Very close to where we stay now. As children when we were stydying there our house at BJB flat was quite far (eight-ten kilometres; not much in Mumbai standards). It was nostalgic, but the camera's memory stopped me from taking a number of pictures.
Nandini had warned that Nerika is going to ask some serious questions; be prepared to answer. Yes, she did. Why is it that Jejebapa and Jejema are not staying in the same house. We were putting up at the Nuapalli house where Nana (Nerika's Jejebapa) was. Bou (Nerika's Jejema) visits this place ocassionally, but stays at the fourth-floor LIC flat, which I happend-to-own. Why is she staying there alone? Is that an old-age home? To add to it she had a plastered leg. I do not know what all questions went through Nerika's mind, but I am not sure whether I have convincing answers for them.
Nerika, however, went with me all the times that we went there and also enjoyed the toys she got from her. Once when Bou came to Nuapalli she also played cards, which Nerika has picked up at Hyderabad while playing with her Tatta-Ammu (the other grand parents). She also played once or twice with her Jejebapa, a serious Bridge player who was not enjoying it as much. The other more serious question she had was about maid servants (see Another Lesson at Bringing Up Momma by Nandini).
On our last day in Bhubaneswar, we taxed Neri taking her all around under the sweltering May heat. The result was that she suffered from indigestion which had an adverse impact on her health for the next week back in Mumbai. It did not do much good because one of my frinds with his family came with us. The extended vaccation fro Nerika as also her birthday celebrations were subdued.
Staying with my friends family was different. At Bhubaneswar we visited them but we never stayed together. This time when we stayed it was different from our days in hostel 20 years ago. Nerika was not well. Nandini was taxed and to add to it I was busy trying to meet some deadlines in office. My friend and his family were also busy. They had come with the expectation of travelling and going out. They did, but we were not part of it. It is time for all of us to get back...