Monday, August 07, 2006
PRINCE BAAHAR AAYA,TOH PAANI LEKAR AAYA
i was in titilagarh having dinner quietly to myself on the night of 21st july. i normally watch tv for those 15-20 minutes and catch up with the day's news. i was a bit puzzled when i read a streamer saying 'prince in the well'. i thought it must be a grammatical error on the part of the news channel and presumed that prince charles or some other prince was unwell and ignored the news.and a few minutes later swithched the tv off. i was then reminded of how there were jokes in our company on the word well. about 25 years back,we decided to set up a new factory in dhaaru hera to make constant velocity joints for front wheel drive cars. the company was called invel transmissions. as it generally happens,the early stages were very trying. when i would ask my colleagues in delhi about the progress of the project they would say " invel is in the well".or "invel is unwell". out of curiosity to find out the connection between the well and the prince,i again swittched on the tv.
the news was being broadcast on all the news channels. a 6 year old boy named prince had fallen into a 9 inch diameter well and had dropped to a depth of 60 feet.this happened in a village called haldera in kurukshetra in haryana. it was a 50 hours' ordeal.the media sprang into action and covered the whole episode non-stop. for a change there were no commercial breaks! "the digging is in process. here are the updates on the general mahaul.messages are pouring in from all over the country for the prince's safety and welfare.people are doing pooja and the whole country is watching with bated breath". and on and on and on. one boy's fall became the focus of the nation.how the boy fell,how the initial attempts to save him failed and so on and so forth. a simple heroic act by a brave boy deserving all the kudos was turned deftly by marketeers to their advantage.they had spotted the real indian idol.
the boy's eventual rescue by the army was expedited no doubt due to the media intervention. prince has now become richer by about rs 7 lakhs and many corporates gave him expensive presents and hogged the limelight alongwith their subject.salman khan's father salim khan met the prince when he flew in to mumbai and handed over to him a cheque and a blue kiddies bike.mallika aurora khan and her hubby arbaaz khan cuddled prince and showered gifts on him.prince is now a rural page 3 kid. he gets invited to homas and jagrans organised to pray for his better health.the armay has offered him a job in addition to a certificate of recognition.
the village also reaped a windfall.now clean drinking water is assured.the village was suffering from acute water shortage.no more high iron content water or high acid content water,the villagers were repeatedly assured. new pipes are being laid and the village will not depend on ground water anymore. pucca roads and drains are being constructed.a veterinary dispensary is being built. the chaupal is being repaired.old electricity wires are being replaced.the four approach roads to the village are being patched up. chief minister hooda who had probably never visited the village made two trips in quick succession.an indescrepit village is now firmly on the india map.and there is a general feel-good mood in haldaheri.
from the pit rose a new star.after the tenyear old budhia singh,the marathon runner from orissa it was now the turn of the prince kumar kashyap from haldaheri .the village folks are hailing him as "vikas purush" (man of development) and the tv anchors went berserk with hyperbole. "dharthi maata ki god mein pachaas ghante bitanen ke baad,ab apni ma ki goud mein hai prince". "apne janmadin pe hua prince ka punar janam".besides prince,the tv channels and the sms providers raked in the moolah. and ofcourse so many others enjoyed the spinoff effects.
the prince of well is now truly well. and well off.