Mulla-Periyar, seems to have quite dropped down in the news channel ratings, it doesn't any longer come top of the list. The after marks, like Keralites being supposedly mobbed by Tamilians in their cities did float on the surface, but then the Fourth Estate is all about living up to the expectation of the amnesic modern man. But, then, none can blame them, "the damn dam didn't break. How long is one supposedly to wait and lie in patience about the breaking of an adamant dam, which fails to break even after past its life expectancy?"
The long festive weekend during Christmas had began in my city, with not the slightest fear about the dam. People were out, either rushing to get back to their homes like me, the lucky ones were already out with family, to shop and some to drive away for the vacation. An early drive back home, in the evening made sure, I was caught in the thick of action. My friend was driving me home and I was happy snuggling in the luxurious seat, aimlessly gazing at the people around, the spring in their steps and some untold sadness on their faces. What ever the secret behind the sadness, for one I was sure, it was not Mulla-periyar dam. The cold air from the AC, formed frost on the wind-screen, a layer of insulation, beneath which I sat pondering, about the year that was getting over.
Being immobile, moving a hundred yards and then returning to the state of rest, for some weird reason made me peaceful and not grumpy. I was enjoying my seat of a spectator, absorbing the order in chaos. A rogue Tamil Nadu registration tourist bus, broke the harmony with its maneuvers and jumped a signal, cramping us on to a side, and almost ran over the police cop, who tried stop it. It was unbearable, when a whole city, arrayed with miles of vehicles maintaining peace, what the rogue had did. The gears were changed as my friend had this sudden urge to chase the rogue bus and instill in them, the general etiquette of driving in traffic.
When you could christen every pothole in the roads of your city, even Sebastian Vettel would have stood little chance of breaking away and the poor driver of the bus, fared no better. In a matter of minutes, we were at the side of the bus, horns blaring, then in the front, gesturing the bus driver to stop and he had so little chance of breaking free, without running over us, my-self, my friend and his sedan. The traffic police cop, who almost had a whiff of the world on the other side, was not left behind, as he came riding pillion on a bike by the time we had got the bus to stop. The law enforcement agency of the State was in action and our role in aiding was over. Dutifully we stood watching the scenes un-fold in front of us. To a fast gathering crowd, the police guy narrated being almost killed and people kept a distant circle, when the driver of the bus stepped down fearfully.
It was a bus packed with Tamil devotees of the God Ayyappa, after their darshan of the deity. Maybe after the ants pace with which they got to climb the 18 golden steps to be blessed with the darshan, they were trying to get the blood flowing with the fast maneuvers on the road. The cop had the driver by the collar, the people gathered watching in silence and some old men stepped out from the bus to plead the drivers case before the cop. Fear was written all across their faces and the ones which were staring from inside the bus. They had the look of being caught in enemy territory during war, a prayer to be spared in their eyes. I couldn't quite understand the fear, because the quantum of the act was not in proportion to the fear in the eyes. The fear was not about just the repercussions of the rogue act with the bus on the road, but the fear was much more instinctual, of being mobbed, on account of Mulla-Periyar.
The average Malayalee, on the eve of Christmas, have much better things in mind than working out a mob frenzy, beating to pulp a group of Tamil pilgrims, who contribute heavily to the States exchequer. The average malayalee has chores to do for his family or himself and the time spend on pelting stones at a group of Tamilians stuck in the crowded road, never seemed appealing. The green bills with the father of the nation imprinted, exchanged hands and the grip from the collar was relaxed. Emotions could seldom be evoked in a group of Keralites, to go berserk and vandalize, unless the group in question, is one with a poltical or religious ideology. The average malayalee is the master of mob emotions, he knows to threaten, to make the necessary sounds, but he is wise to make himself richer than just making the other party grow poorer. He is an opportunist for sure, but still his emotional balance ranks high among his peers, for he doesn't believe that the group of Tamilians stuck in the bus had anything to with the Mulla-Periyar dam and its height !!