Sunday, September 9, 2012

‘The School of Core Incompetence’ by R. Chandrasekar

Noise

"Poojya Guruji did not like traffic jams.'

"In his discourses he often spoke of the flow of life and the necessity of living in sync with the divinely ordained flow that formed a backdrop to all lives. In the more congenial environs of Delhi, he had the means and influence to ensure that others adjusted to his flow. Progress – material, temporal and spatial – formed the pulse of his life. Prior to his arrival in Coimbatore there had been unwelcome reminders that he had to march to another drummer's beat. Now that he was here, though, there was no beat at all. His car was involuntarily stalled, surrounded by buses filled with noisy, excited Tamilians.'

"He wasn't sure if the loud shouts of paapaan were exuberant greetings or something worse. The acolyte seated in front had a grim look about him.'

"'What are they saying?''

"'Poojya Guruji, I think they've noticed our saffron robes. Paapaan is a derogatory term for Brahmin.''

"'Do people here always make so much noise? Are we safe?''

"'I don't think they would actually do anything. They like to imitate local film stars but it's mostly bark rather than bite. But better we play safe and smile and wave at them.''

"This Poojya Guruji did, his lack of enthusiasm concealed by the tinted windows. His wave provoked another round of whistles and cheers. He waved nervously again and was rewarded with cheers once more. One group got out from a bus and began dancing on the road. Their movements bore the influence of alcohol. They beat out a cheerful tattoo on Poojya Guruji's car to accompany their moves. This did nothing to further Poojya Guruji's sense of calm and general well-being. His features settled into a fixed look that his followers would have recognised."

(pp. 196-7, 'The School of Core Incompetence' by R. Chandrasekar – Hachette)

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