‘Peepli Live’ Live

This was one of the movies that I knew I would like even before I saw it and I did. The trailer showed glimpses that the backdrop of the movie was somewhere in the Hindi heartland of India, the area where I come from. The movie turned out to be shot in Raisen, even closer and the state is called Mukhya Pradesh, a not so subtle reference to the state. Well, this post is not about the movie but about my experiences here which I always wanted to publish.

Every once in a while I make journeys in buses and trains there, more specifically these are non ac buses (the only ones we have there)  and general compartments of trains. I do it with minimum of liabilities (i.e. no luggage, no company) because I believe I can’t do it peacefully anymore with luggage. Every single time I do it, I feel fortunate that I don’t have to do it as a need or as a regular part of life.

MP is unique in the sense that there is as much poverty as most other popular poor states i.e. Orissa, Bihar etc. but it never makes any news for it. The invisibility is what defines it; nobody knows about it and doesn’t care about it either.

Peepli live paints a very real picture of how majority of the villages are. Abject poverty, overfilled tempos (locally called bhatsuars), a real huge market for desi thurra, an abundance of time and acute lack of work. Now at the verge of labeling folks here a total loser, a comfort is there in their own condition and no real effort to get out of it. Highlighted by the fact that Nattha’s plan out of his misery was not to try harder but to give up and die, the only possible state more laidback than his current one.

A major part of the state is immune to shining India’s GDP growth of post liberalization era. The state is somehow against emigration to other places (mostly true for unskilled labor which forms the major part of the population) in search of jobs unlike Bihar which is accused of spiraling out everywhere. In fact one of their pet peeve is people coming from outside and spoiling their state of being (if that is indeed possible).

It is stuck in some kind of treadmill time, it keeps slipping by your feet, yet everything stays as it were.

Every time they enter a queue to buy a train ticket, I think they are prepared to have a fight; the next one would be when they enter their compartments. Classic case of scarcity of resources! It is easy for me to be patient since it’s not a daily routine for me but for them showing any kindness is damn too difficult if not impossible and yet you see them doing that quite often.

The buses here still play the music of 90s like the songs of “Dilwale” or Altaf Raza. I found this similar to the fascination a few friends and I share for the songs popular during my college years. May be it is indicative of our desire to be in that time, like my state’s desire to still remain in 90s, a time they are comfortable to live in.

While a lot of places have issues due to increased traffic, we are facing the same. Only difference is that we have it because of lack of roads and not due to any increase in traffic which would be a nicer problem to have.

In one sweeping analysis, I am inclined to label the problem is a lack of vigor/life. Indifference, idyllic drinking, drugs and endless and mindless discussions about everything around yet without any desire to ‘do’ anything even for their own good.

Like every time you cite a problem you should have a solution, I don’t think I would like to do that because the problem seems to be more basic than systemic. At the bottom of it is probably laziness or some such silly reason. The morose attitude once replaced by a little enthusiasm can take care of most of the issues in due time.

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