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   Yesterday, at a friend's house, I saw for the first time a serial... (December 8, 1986)

Yesterday, at a friend's house, I saw for the first time a serial called Nukkad. As it happened, it was also for the last time. So my friend and his family had a lot of explaining to go.

This policeman you see here is very tough and literally rules over his Nukkad locality, my friend said, pointing to a rather plump policeman on the screen.

You mean he accepts bribes, collects haftas for his police-station, drives away poor stall-holders who set up business on the public payment, I said.

No, no, my friend explained, he is a policeman with a golden heart, he helps all the poor, tolerates petty criminals, does all the things that will never get him beyond being a constable.

Very strange, I said, I have never heard of a policeman like that.

My friend's wife pointed to a hungry looking actor, in tatters, on the screen and said: This is a beggar, he is always hanging around Nukkad, seeking alms.

Then the residents of the locality must be kicking him out of the place and writing letters to editors complaining about the increasing beggar menace.

Not really, said the wife, they all like him very much and treat him as one of their own.

Very odd, first time I heard of beggars being treated so friendly, I said. Who is that young man with a sad face?

He is a student and he wants to pass him examinations badly so that he can go to college, the son of the house said. Everybody in Nukkad is trying to help him to pass.

Then they must have bribed the examiner or told the examiner the chief minister's name, I said.

That is terrible, it never happens like that, I said. Will somebody tell me what is this man doing with a bicycle?

My friend's youngest son told me with great enthusiasm: He is trying to establish a world record of continuously cycling while leaning on the shoulder of his girlfriend. The girlfriend is trying to establish a world record of continuously running at the side of a bicycle.

Then they must have established the record, bravo, I said.

No, they did not, at the last minute the cyclist fell down and almost died, the son said.

I find it difficult to believe that anybody should fall down from a bicycle at the last moment, especially when there are so many people around to help him it stay up, I saud. Who is this drunkard who keeps tottering on to the screen like a Hindi film extra. He must be a nuisance to the residents of Nukkad and the policeman must have arrested him.

On the contrary said my friend, everybody loves him and the policeman loves him more than anybody else.

This whole serial is not at all true to life, I said. No wonder Doordarshan is removing it.

 
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