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Why for India become Japan, asks J. Mathrubootham

Respected Madam/Sir,

Yesterday morning, quite early, I got one ISD WhatsApp call from my friend Mohammad Usman’s number. I looked at the clock and it was 6.30 in the morning. I picked up the phone and said, “Hello Mohammad Usman, first of all I want to put condolences to you.”

“Oho! What happened, Mathrubootham,” he asked. I said, “Either you are already expired, otherwise why you will call me at 6.30 in the morning. Or you have called to do time-pass and I will come to the U.S. personally and expire you, you bloody fool.” (Madam/Sir, Mohammad Usman has gone to Kansas or Baltimore or something to meet one son who is studying MBA. Very bright boy. Usman is manda shiromani. Maybe there was some mistake in hospital during delivery.)

“Sorry, sorry, my dear Mathru,” he said. “International trip means time and all so confusing. Just you forgive pannunga sir, how are you? What is news in Chennai?”

“Dei bloody fool you left from Chennai on Tuesday only no? What you are talking as if you left in 1947 along with British. Everything here is OK. How are things in the U.S.? Hope you are not facing any problems?”

Atithi Devo Bhava

“What problems, Mathru,” he asked. I said, “Muslim fellow and all in the U.S., these days you have to be careful, no? Poor and stupid country is OK. Rich and stupid country is very, very dangerous, Usman.”

He said, “Hahaha. Don't worry, Mathrubootham. Just put on one duplicate Rolex watch and say you are from Saudi Arabia, and full-full ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ only in the U.S.. OK, now I shall tell you why I called? After sleep and tiffin and all please check your email. I have sent one interesting article.”

I said, “Usman, if email is having even one Modi, Gandhi, Nehru and all I will first burn my computer, then I will come to your house and burn yours too. Whole country is going mad.”

“Oh my god, Mathru, you wake up like this every morning or what? How Kamalam is managing I don't know, god bless her. Mathru, just read the email when time is permitting. OK? OK. Good night. Bye.”

Pensioner prisoners

After one relaxing breakfast I opened my email. Madam/Sir, Mohammad Usman sent one article, it is about koreikashakai prisoners. Have you heard before? It is a Japanese word that means ‘pensioner prisoners’.

Madam/Sir, it is a very sad story. Apparently in Japan so many old people are living totally alone and without any family or friendship or anything. No money also. And these poor fellows are stealing food from supermarket and all. Many are going to jail.

But you know what is making my heart melt like anything? Madam/Sir, some fellows are saying, “Please, don’t release us from jail. At least jail means friends and food and time-pass. Outside what is there? Nothing is there.”

Madam/Sir, everyday I am talking to at least 20 people. Kamalam, 10–15 people in yoga class, 3–4 auto drivers, Ganga Sweets waiter, bank manager, housing complex security fellows, like that, like that. Talking about this, that and all.

What will happen if there is nobody to talk? Cannot even imagine.

Everybody is saying India should become Japan and Shanghai and Singapore. Ellam good ideas. But good things are here also, no? Immediately I called Mohammad Usman.

“Mathru, do you know the time here? Is this revenge?” “No, no, Mohammad Usman,” I said. “You please come back quickly from U.S.. Let us meet for tea party or dinner party.”

“100% OK,” he said. “Coming in two weeks itself. Should I bring anything from U.S. for you?”

“Anything except measles,” I said.

Yours in rumination,

J. Mathrubootham

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Printable version | Jun 8, 2021 7:18:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/why-for-india-become-japan-asks-j-mathrubootham/article26744829.ece

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