' An Aam Aadmi's Padyatra!

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An Aam Aadmi's Padyatra!
By Ayush Prasad

July 9, 2011

There are people who are lucky to be born as SC or ST or OBC and get reservations for Government Jobs, while some are born with reservations to being Government! Rahul Gandhi, a 41 year old youth, who has been blessed with reservation for the PM's job and also youthfulness which lasts even in his forties. A lot of  things have been done with the "padh"! Amitabh Bachchan has danced on an entire song, where he basically told everyone that, "Meera had tied ghoongaroo to her padh and danced". But what the young Gandhi did with his padh or in literal terms- feet, has inspited this story!
I am a typical urban educated young man, who belongs to the growing Indian Middle Class. Reading a few newspapers and watching TV news, I am intellectual enough to have strong views on everything from Lok Pal to Telangana. I passionately love my country; my blood boils when I hear about 2G Scam to Commonwealth Games Scam to Aadarsh to Maria to Yeddy and also Reddy. I feel true happiness whenever a Ministers walks into the 7RCR to resign. I thank the heavens. I work for an MNC and am extremely well connected. Well, in the modern way. I have access to Internet thru my phone, my laptop and also my tablet. The world is at my finger tips.

Well, watching TV news one afternoon, I came across "Rahul Gandhi’s padyatra", where he was walking some 60 Kilometers in 4 days, to meet farmers in villages to understand their miseries. The media was excited and the opposition was angry. Nonetheless, it captured my imagination.

The closest thing, I knew about Yatra was Yatra.com! I searched their site; they had everything from cruise to rail yatra, but not Padyatra. So, I called up the Call Center of another company to make my Trip. A call center executive picked up, stating "My name is Shalu, How may I help you?" I fumbled and said "Hello" and she repeated, "My name is Shalu, How may I help you?" in the same voice diction and speed.

"I would like to go on a Yatra."

"Where Sir"

I thought for a while and said, "Bhatta Parsual"

She was puzzled and said that she didn’t have any package to that country. She offered me exiting offers to Dubai and Malaysia. I politely refused. I was already furious about the discrimination. The politicians had special travel packages to special places, while taxpaying common man like me, had nothing! My thoughts were disturbed by a call. Well, it was from the Call Center, who wanted a feedback about the call. For a call that lasted less than 2 minutes, I gave a feedback for 17 minutes.

Finally, left with no other option, I thought of consulting the "Know it All" genius of the world. I went online and Googled. And there it was - 23123873 results on Padyatra in less than 0.21 seconds.

I read about Padyatra and was enlightened to know that it was a journey which usually took one to power. Mahatma Gandhi, most probably invented it, but he did not file a Patent for it. I read about the famous Padyatra of S M Krishna in 1999 and Y S R Reddy in 2004. It was in infallible route to the throne. BJP on the other hand, had their own Rath-yatra. Advani ji has gone on several of these Yatras. There was an analysis by statisticians which said that the chances of the Throne were more for the Padyatra. I later read about the aim of Rahul Gandhi’s Padyatra - to hear from people.

Well, I wanted to be the next most powerful man in India, the Lok Pal or Friend of the People. I quickly tweeted about it and waited for two hours. But none of my seven followers had any comment or question. Well, I changed plans. I posted it on Facebook. Within no time, there were 18 Likes and 3 Comments! I was excited and encouraged.

Like Rahul Gandhi, I set out early in the morning, from my middle class dwelling on the outskirts of the city, a concrete jungle built on lands which were once lush green farms, acquired by bullets and tear gas shells. Though I had strong views against the Government of the day, I also had a beautiful house and a recreational center to spend my weekends. I walked out of the gate and reached a taxi stand a furlong away.

A manager was garlanding a small statue. He stopped his activities and turned to me. I politely told him that I come to hear his problems. He was puzzled and said after a thought, "You hired a taxi and had problems?" I shook my head and said, "What is your problem?" I was expecting him to start complaining about Price Rise to Corruption to Traffic, like they do on TV. But then two minutes later he got irritated and pushed me out of his small office.

Still determined to be successful in my Padyatra, I walked into a gated colony. This colony housed professionals and richer of our middle class. I had seen on TV that Rahul Gandhi was offered a Chaupal to sit on and given tea and biscuits. Old Ladies lovingly blessed him, while he listened to the problems. I was expecting the same treatment. It’s a democracy and it was 8 am after all.

I went from house to house, but the gates remained closed. Well-trained dogs barked their lungs out and the neighborhood guard was suspicious and trailed me for a while, before being the first one to talk to me. I asked, "What is your problem?" Well, he did answer my question. Alas. Success. He said Neighborhood Residential Welfare Association Secretary had instructed him not to let strangers linger around. So basically, I was his problem.

I continued my Padyatra as the traffic was building up on the roads. There was no media following me, neither was the SPG arresting people with guns who wanted to shake hands with me. Nobody was telling me their problems either and all I could hear was angry voices shouting at each other in the jams and the horns blazing. It suddenly rained and potholes got filled with water.

JNURM  sponsored buses, left the potholes and came on what was left of the footpath following the road expansion. A pedestrian walking a few paces in front of me was hit by a bus and died on the spot.

We talk a lot about drunken driving or air crashes or train derailments, but I discovered that Padyatra was the most dangerous form of travel in this country.

I finally completed my Padyatra, reached office without hearing a single complaint and was covered in the dust and splashes from the pothole on my trousers. I seemed out of place for my swanky office and that was my little Padyatra! Unheard & Uncelebrated, but certainly a Padyatra.


Ayush Prasad - Archives:

Comments on this article
G. Bhat , BantwalFriday, July 15, 2011
Would love to see Rahul Gandhi doing paadhyaathra to hang Kasab, Afzal Guru, atleast against terrorism.
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TERRY, MANGALORE /MUSCATFriday, July 15, 2011
Its really good see Rahul with the crowd rather sitting and commenting, blaming each other. like our great politicians. Whether its a drama or reality, let at least appreciate his step towards an issue, so that our political representatives learn a bit from this young man
Comment on this message     

Benjamin, Puttur-MuscatThursday, July 14, 2011
In my opinion padyatra/ rathyathra is just wasting time or money and moreover it's for publicity.Instead every politicians should organize mah-panchayaths,especially in their own constituency, take notice of the problems of common man and try to solve them ASAP.
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Vivek Baliga, Bangalore/FirozpurThursday, July 14, 2011
during all so called padayatras, pl check out the build of the people who are conducting the yatra and there target audience, the same thing with poltical dharna and fasting sessions, its all a farce, nothing more, just to hide there corrupt money.
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Clitus Tauro, Mumbai/QatarTuesday, July 12, 2011
Keep Walking Rahul Bhai...But petrol/diesel/LPG cylinders/daily foods is keep on increasing...is there any profit for the people by the way you walk!!....Stop Corruption first and continue your padayatra...
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Ahmed, MangaloreMonday, July 11, 2011
We, who write comments here have the education and wisdom to determine what is right and what is not. But, less privileged can be easily manipulated in the name of Pad-Yatra, Rath-Yatra etc.,
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Leo Dsouza, M'loreMonday, July 11, 2011
No Matter whether its a Drama or fake yatra, but atleast by this time rahul might have realised the real pain, poverty and the problems of the farmers....no youngster who is having name and fame would have ever dreamt to go for a Padh Yatra even if u pay him. Rahul god bless u we want u as a leader not a ruler
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Umesh Rai, Purrur/Saudi ArabiaMonday, July 11, 2011
This guy making pad yathra only where non-congress government is ruling.. trying to make fool of poor and uneducated people. why he is not doing this kind of drama in Rajasthan where gujjar problems are remained unsolved. He is a cartoon of North India and we have one Kumara swamy gowda in South India.
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akash, MangaloreMonday, July 11, 2011
Total drama....paid media...paid people..:)
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Harish Poojari, Kadekar UdupiSunday, July 10, 2011
Rahul , your Padayatra is waste of your energy, frist of all your party and ministers aam aadmika paisa kaarahahai, frist clean your home,(congress party) then you talk about aam aadmi. kaisa thumara shakal aam aadmi ko dikarahahai, it s shame for you.
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Alwyn, MangaloreSunday, July 10, 2011
I agree with reema & Kareem,stop corruption development follows us.
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Dr S Kamath , Mumbai Sunday, July 10, 2011
Without any doubt the Padayatra is by Rahul Gandhi is a Good step .Trying to Find out the Probelms of Rural People in India .But the Goal is not very sacred that is making them get the right price for the Land .The Real Farmers will not like to sell their Lands in many cases the real Farmers are the Tenants of Landlords even now in UP .Hence this deal is not going to help the poor farmers
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Uday Shetty, Shirva, Doha/QatarSunday, July 10, 2011
Nice article. All paid media, to be in the news we need to buy everything media, judiciary, administration. As you rightly said, most powerful tool to reach the power is Padh Yatra. Since people have to choose between UPA or NDA, will go for more secular(???) UPA. Naturally Yuvaraj will be Maharaj by next elections with all Doggyvijay etc surrounding.
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William, MangaloreSunday, July 10, 2011
I agree with Reema Shetty
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Nandan, USASaturday, July 09, 2011
Well said Kareem. This is for all power hungry Politicians..If they want to help poors.. they can do it without going to Padayatra..using their powers.. so why this gimmicks..
Comment on this message     

kareem, mangaloreSaturday, July 09, 2011
if some one is honest and looking to help for farmers..he shoiuld sit in side office and collect details thru his govt. agencies. by making few good teams..
with this pada yatra no leader can meet 100 crore indians individually to find their problem..if leader is honest .then also problem cant be solved..its useless pracitce..
and rahuls padhyatra..farmers in both haryana and maharastra are worst effected..delhi is become rape capital..but he never went their..hmm..both are congress ruled stated..
even though its waste of tax payers money thru beef up security to rahul..i m sure rahul can loose some fat from his body..
and will be a good exercise for him when after yatra he is going for a royal holiday in uk or switzerland...
dear all..am not a bjp supproter or anit nehru ..but ..this is fact and truth.
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vijender, haryanaSaturday, July 09, 2011
very nice article....
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Reema Shetty, MangaloreSaturday, July 09, 2011
Looks like he is holding trophy of 60yrs achivement..poors are still poor villiages are remained villaiges only... :)
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Louis D'Souza, Udupi/KuwaitSaturday, July 09, 2011
God bless Rahul Gandhi, our would be Prime Minister.
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Jayarama, Udupi/RiyadhSaturday, July 09, 2011
Nice article, Raul Vinchi's (Rahul Gandhi) all yatras were stage managed is a trial run to the top spot.
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