Friday 31 July 2015

Excerpt - Electioneering

“The best place to begin,” an old geezer who knew a thing or two about horses once told me, “is at the beginning. Then, one should go on to the middle, and if the end is in sight, make a dash for it.”

He was referring, I believe, to the Grand National in the year that Kais-Kous won it by a nose from Muslintang, but I’ve generally found the approach to work just as well in telling stories. But…I don’t know, one gets restless – it seems to make sense to try something different, even if for no particular reason, and of this urge, I suppose, the following story is born.

It all begins (though this is really the middle, if anything) at the Socialist Club of Upper Mumbai, that hoary bastion of the anti-Capitalist movement, ensconced comfortably between the woods of the National Park and the club’s own golf course. A picturesque post-colonial structure houses the club, which is the meeting ground of the leading members of the Socialist Party and functions, for all intents and purposes, as the Party HQ. It was the last day of the monsoon session of the State Legislature and we had won a significant victory over the ruling capitalist coalition, blocking a new Bill that proposed preventing employees of private flour mills from forming a Union.

The sounds of revelry ringing through the halls of the S.C.U.M were unmistakable. Glasses clinked, uproarious laughter broke out in places, and every five minutes or so came the sound of someone slapping someone else’s back. Wine flowed like water, and I had the distinct feeling that getting the stains of red wine off the carpet might turn out to be rather an ordeal the next day. But that was for the next day; for now we were celebrating a significant political victory, and it was a time to clink glasses, laugh uproariously and slap each other’s backs.

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