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07 September 2008

Story of Ramu and the Caretaker

Let me tell you a story.
There was this mango orchard, very near where Ramu was staying. Full of ripe mangoes, you know.
The mali who used to guard the orchard had a hawk eye and Ramu was never allowed to pluck any mangoes from the orachard. Once or twice Ramu had successfully plucked the mangoes before being caught by the hawkish mali. Countless times Ramu tried to pluck mangoes without any success.
One day mali called Ramu.
"I have been watching you. You are a good boy. For a long time you have not thrown stones at my mangoes. You behave very well. I will make you an offer. I will give you any number of mangoes you want whenever you want. I will also ask all the malis in this village to give you mangoes when you wish. All free of cost", said mali
Ramu couldn't believe his ears. Mangoes till eternity! Seemingly without any cost. There has to be some flipside.
"What is the flipside? What do I have to give up?" He asked.
"You should not throw stones at my mangoes in future", replied mali.
"That is all?" asked Ramu.
"That is all", replied mali
"What if I throw stones at mangoes?" Ramu asked.
"Immediately you will stop receiving mangoes", mali informed
"Let me think about it. I will talk to you tomorrow" said Ramu
Ramu had a mind trained to look for loopholes. That night he sliced and diced mali's offer in his mind for any loopholes. The only cost for him in this seemingly most favourable arrangement was that he had to give up throwing stones at mangoes. Eventhough he hadn't thrown stones at the mangoes and had no intention of throwing stones in future, mali should have some ulterior motives in offering this sweet deal, decided Ramu.
Next day, he met mali.
"I can't give up the right to throw stones at mangoes", Ramu told him.
Mali was surprised. "You haven't thrown a stone at the mangoes for a long time", he told Ramu, "Beside, why do you want to throw stones when you are getting free mangoes?" he asked.
"What if Badmash Shyamu, throws stones at mangoes? Then I will also need to throw stones?"
"OK, I will modify my offer. If I catch you throwing stones at any time, then you can tell me your reason for doing that. I will reserve the right to react in anyway I like based on your argument. Is that fine? This is the best offer that I can make. Remember, this is heavily loaded in your favour. Some may say that you are getting mangoes for nothing." mali concluded.
Ramu decided to accept this generous offer. When he told his friends of this offer, some were very happy but some remained sceptical.
"Suppose mangoes stop growing in mali's farm?" asked doubting Dabbu.
"Then I can get mangoes from other malis. I am not tied only to this mali" Ramu told him.
"What was mali's exact words?" continued Dabbu "probably there will be something in the fine print."
"This is the fine print" Ramu told him.
"I don't believe it, I think that mali has somehow taken advantage of you" persisted Dabbu
Confused Chetan butted in. "Assume that you start getting mangoes. You will alter your lifestyle to fit this flow of mangoes. Then one day, Shyamu will throw a stone at the mangoes, you will retaliate and the mali will stop the supply of mangoes. Then what will happen to your altered lifestyle. You will be left with no mangoes and a number of mango receipes".
"But currently also I have no mangoes and a lot of recipes. So the situation then will not get worse than the current scenario. Moreover, I am also growing up and there is less likelyhood of my throwing stones at mangoes any way." responded Ramu.
Confused Chetan was confused and did not know how to respond.

Does it sound like the story of India's nuclear deal? Here we have got a deal of a lifetime offering significant future opportunities, and the political parties like BJP and left are trying to pick holes in a hermetically sealed deal. The views of Left parties you can understand, they and their friends in China do not care for India to prosper. Also single handedly they have no chance to come to power. It is not the case with BJP. It claims to be a responsible opposition party. It is in power in different states. One day it is expected to come to power in the centre. For them to talk the way they are doing is downright irresponsible and callous to say the least. Their NSA, Brijesh Mishra is totally for the deal. The Bhishma Pithama of the party, Vajpayee is maintaining the most eloquent silence. Doesn't it say something?

I am reminded of the following joke that I heard some time back.

There was once a very highly successful lawyer, who was regularly criticised by his less accomplished rival. His friend asked him how he maintained his calm amidst this constant diatribe against him.
"Let me tell you a story" said the successful lawyer, "Once there was a dog which started barking and continued to bark whenever the moon came out." he paused
His friends waited for him to continue the story.
"Then what happened?" friends could no longer hold their curiosity.
"The moon kept on shining" said the lawyer.

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