The following article appeared in my Sunday column 'Un Intended' in the New Indian Express.
WAR OVER MY COLONY'S 2011 RESOLUTION
An important looking paper landed on my doorstep the other day. It was one of the many that my colony welfare association sends on a regular basis. Sometimes these papers talk about functions and donations, but mostly they talk of some resolutions - some extraordinary, some really extraordinary, and sometimes even really really extraordinary resolutions. One needs to have a special kind of a mindset to understand resolutions, which I don’t, so I keep away from them. But since it was New Year and I had no resolutions of my own I decided to see if they were passing any resolutions that I could also endorse.
A motley group of 30 had already assembled in a tent, resolve written large on their face. The president put forward a proposal to construct a structure covering the tiny 800 sq. yard plot that passes off as the colony ground, so people are not inconvenienced during functions. That got me wondering. Why cover this little ground as if it was some government secret when the colony kids have no space to play anyway and were playing cricket innovatively and dangerously on the busy roads. The ground must be for kids to play I resolved. Not for noisy and messy functions for people who can go elsewhere anyway. But being new to this resolution business, I watched.
The proposal got everyone suitably worked up. Some of the people started shouting noisily, some in favour and some against. Some others wanted to shout but could not, and shook violently as if possessed by some fever. Some got up and sat down. Some ran up and down the aisle meaninglessly. Some tried to enforce discipline on some people they fancied.
Then one of the members got up, walked to the dais, and said he would like the ground to remain uncovered because it is the only breathing space the colony has. We all clapped. He wound up with the sad observation that since ‘people’ know how to subvert laws, bye laws and stuff and pass resolutions by themselves, no good would ever happen in our colony anyway. He left sadly on that bleak note. Another gentleman also stood up for not covering up the ground. The general mood, it seemed, was for leaving the ground alone.
Then the older and wiser gentlemen got up. They said that a high roof, 25-30 feet high with few or no columns to support it, could cover the ground, so children could play as well and there would be cover. How they proposed to construct such a miraculous roof was beyond anyone but soon everyone was resolving how a ‘good’ architect must be consulted, how a stadium like facility could be built, how the best structure should be made. Someone wanted to know if this was a playground or a function ground.
Meanwhile one member started an unrelated issue about the Association’s dealings which the President did not like. The President wagged his finger at the errant member and asked him to shut his mouth. The offended errant member wagged more fingers and yelled back. We all joined in and yelled at everyone to shut up. Nothing was resolved in those two hours. The only progress made was that a couple of members appeared to have had minor cardiac attacks. The association people asked us to eat lunch. Someone told me this is what happens all the time because they never get a quorum to pass any resolutions. Something like what happens in the Parliament. I resolved not to go back there. If I do, I resolved to go with some sharp weapons.