Thursday, May 23, 2024

Monsoon Opera

Editorial 2

Met Department noted deficient rainfall in Naga land, besides few other Northeastern States,
on July 1, 2021. But that is an ‘average’, any lay person would presume. The scientific assessment or calculations are way above and beyond most of us mortals. However, even the unlettered know how much rain have poured on us this Monsoon and the last and the last. We feel it in our bones, as also in the produce of our kitchen gardens and khetis ~ including the disruptions of our lives due to landslides, mud-slips, water-logging, floods, translating into loss of our homes and livelihood. Then there are price escalations in the market, even non-availability of essential and other goods. Mosquitoes, painful prickly-heat, Malaria and other “seasonal” diseases, of course. Monsoon rains determine the humidity levels of the day and night, which create disagreeable moods and aching joints. Monsoons are beautiful ~ Kerala has successfully created an entire tourism narrative on them. Monsoons are indispensable for agrarian communities and regions ~ Monsoon rains determine India’s economy. These fiery and feisty rains have led to the emergence of a whole cornucopia of literature, drama, music, films and other visual and performing arts that have become an industry by themselves, as also the food industry related to this season. Granted that describing the Monsoon as “fiery” is oxymoronic but that’s what literary or poetic license all about ~ Monsoons are pure poetry too. Yes, the Monsoons come with its own baggage of the good, the bad and the ugly ~ as also the beautiful. Without these rains, we would be bare, barren and brown ~ listless and lifeless. And that would never do. The Monsoons are Nature’s distinctive boon packaged in wrappings of banes ~ but that is Nature’s sense of wry humour wrapped with the pretty Purple of Karma we have either learnt to live with or will never learn to live with. Nature and Karma are possibly twins and we fail to differentiate one from the other ~ we are but mere mortals and will always be so. So, in this drama of Nature (playing the role of the Monsoons at this time of the year) and Karma (playing the role of the woes of this season), what role does the Nagaland Department of Power play? For we have all experienced the presence of this Department by its absence particularly at this times of the year, haven’t we? It takes a very special role and extraordinary talent to make an ineffaceable presence simply by its absence ~ and for this the award goes to the State Power Department. Let’s give it up for this Department ~ talia, please. In the larger scheme of Nagaland’s development drama, our Power Department does make significant entries on the stage of our local newspapers ~ though, this Department plays more of a ‘dramatic’ role in our lives and livelihood every day more by its absence than by its presence. But is it aware of that? The Monsoons may be a convenient scapegoat for this Department’s incompetence ~ as much as the dry seasons ~ but that suggests the Department has surrendered; it has no ammo left in its arsenal; its weapons are not as up-to-date as they are made out to be and its soldiers are battle weary and out of sync with contemporary war-fare. That suggests that we are stuck with an obsolete infrastructure hence its presence is absent ~ like the past, which is no longer here but paradoxically always here; like the sins of the past, which always cast dark shadows on the present and future; like the gurgling stream flowing by the village but its water is never the same. Okay, however imperfect the analogies, you get it. But does the Power Department get it too? Actually, in the first place, does our State Government get it? Especially, that our COVID-19 management (never mind other aspects of life) is enormously dependent on quality and uninterrupted Power supply ~ well, dependent on the Power Department? Till it gets it, we mortals can only twiddle our fingers with sticky sweat drowning us and look out of the window at the sun, rains, clouds, thunder and lightning harmoniously performing the exquisite Monsoon opera against the background of our Power Department’s unlit screen. We can only celebrate Nature’s power and lament Karma’s blights. Still, we will be none the wiser why we have no Power but does even the Power Department know? More pertinently, does it care?