the buffalo and the jackfruit

The buffalo and the jackfruit. Sounds like a Panchatantra tale or a La Fontaine fable. Not quite. One could call it a tale of a fable but not of yore times but of India today! In February the entire police force of a district of biggest State in India went into a tizzy. The reason: seven buffaloes belonging to a political bigwig were apparently missing. Within minutes of the theft being reported, the whole police hierarchy sprung into action. Even sniffer dogs joined the search. The more the merrier! The buffaloes were found seven months later.

Yesterday or is it the day before it was the turn of two jackfruits were 'stolen' from the Delhi residence of a Member of Parliament. As soon as the call was received, a police posse with a team of the finger print bureau arrived in a jiffy. It aspired that two jackfruits were missing from the jackfruit tree. There were nine at night and seven in the morning. I guess the politician counts his fruit every night. Unlike buffaloes, jackfruit can be chipped and eaten in no time and probably have turned into poop by now. No one would keep them rotting for the cops to find and anyway being jackfruit season how on earth can you identify one from another. I wonder how the police will solve this one. They are waiting for forensic results and the poor staff must be under the scanner.

The two stories made headline news of course. Oh darling this is India! And the jackfruit story is nowhere ended. I hope some poor kid is not nabbed so that the case can be closed. As I write these words a police team is on the job.

These stories raise many issues. In a country where so many crimes remain unsolved because of the paucity of police personnel, where a city like Delhi has one cop for 671 citizens, it is absurd that more than ten cops are busy looking for two miserly jackfruit that are surely digested by now. They should just hand the MP two jackfruits and be done with it, but the man is a Shylock and will want his pound of flesh in the form of a culprit to punish I guess. Why did the man just not let this go. the fruits must have been stolen to be eaten by someone who must have been hungry. Now the whole affair has been given a security angle and this is serious matter. But I ask, what about the security of the common man who gets you elected and puts you in a sprawling bungalow in a city when many live in black holes!

This is again a case of two Indias where in one children go missing and the Police refuses to file an FIR and another India where two humble jackpots have all the sleuths on their toes. Sadly this is a reality we have learnt to live with and even accept. I wonder how 'we' react at a news item such as this. Smile! Sneer! Or simply move on without a thought. Actually we are the so called educated have turned into tortoises who conveniently slink in our carcasses when we are most needed. That two darned jackfruits should create such a shindy is unacceptable in a country where girls are raped, thousands of children die of malnutrition and millions sleep hungry. It is probably a bunch of kids who scaled the wall of the bereaved MP and stole them. Maybe they were hungry. Maybe they could not bear their mother's despair, or maybe simply being children they felt like eating JACKFRUIT! I remember sneaking into the neighbour's house with my cousins to 'steal' a mango or two. My nana's garden had its own mango tree but somehow the forbidden one tasted better.

Is it not time we found her voices and raised our concern over such perry matters. Come to think of it all the salaries of all the men on khaki examining foot and fingerprints are paid with our damn money and if I have no objection in them spending time looking for a rapist or a kidnapper, I certainly am livid when they spend my hard earned money looking for a piece of crap, as those two jackfruits have by nod turned into shit.

And talking of human excreta, I found a delightful story while researching for this blog that should make us sing the praises of the JACKFRUIT! Did you know that the biggest contribution of this underrated fruit is, guess what, to the Indian Railways. It was because of this humble fruit that toilets were introduced on trains in India. This is recorded history. Don't believe me then click here!