A delegate to the Congress centenary session in Bombay returned to his village in North Bihar yesterday and narrated his experiences to his fellow villagers.
"So how did it go?" asked the village patil, garlanding him on his safe return.
"Things could not have gone better," the villager said. "From the minute we arrived in Bombay, they looked after us. We were put up at one of their new housing complexes called Tilak Nagar. I tell you, I have never seen so many lavatories in my life, lines and lines of them. Bombay people are very hygenic."
"What about food? I hope you ate well," his wife said.
"You are always worried about my eating," the delegate said. "There was a truck which used to come every morning, filled with bananas. We had to climb on that grab as many bananas as we could and eat them."
"You ate bananas all the time?" the delegate's brother said.
"Not at all, I tell you we were well taken care of," the delegate said. "In the afternoon, we used to walk from Indira Nagar, a big stadium that belongs to our party, to Gokhale Nagar, where they gave us, where they gave each one of us, where they gave each one of us puri-bhaji which was packed in a bag. We were told they serve it the same way in big airlines, in their first class."
"You brought back anything from Bombay?" one of the younger women in the village asked.
"Everything was very expensive and they said things had become more expensive because we were there," the delegate said. "Some of the delegates, who stayed in guesthouses, took back with them towels, bed-sheets, forks and spoons. There was nothing like that where we stayed. But then you can't have everything."
"True," the village elder said, "Gandhiji had taught us to live simple and diganified, not to want too I have never seen it and now I am too old to ever do so."
"Well, first and foremost, you must understand it is a Congress city, it is full of our flags, wherever you go. The people of Bombay are also very fond of our leader, there are pictures of Rajivji all over the city," a the delegate said.
"Did you meet any citizens of Bombay?" a villager asked.
"I was very keen to meet one and exchange views, unfortunately, I could not," the delegate said. "The people of Bombay had all left their city and gone away, so that they would not inconvenience us. I told you, they are very considerate."
Finally, the village teacher said. "You keep talking about food and shopping. You went there to participate in our party's centenary session. Tell us about the speeches made, what our leaders had to say."
"I do not know whether any speeches were made," the delegate said. "You see all the microphones failed and nobody heard a word that was said in the three day."