The over crowded bus trundled from the depot. After a failed attempt at seat-hunting, I resorted to standing, holding the camera in one hand and the side handle to balance, with the other. My job depends on the coverage of this political brigade, which was the destination of this bus.

But, there was more to the agony as my nose suffered from the obtrusive sweat smell attack coming from the neighbouring pot- bellied man, who unlike me, held a high handle. With no hand to cover the suffering nostrils the journey became insufferable.

After an hour, which seemed like ages, we reached a widespread field, where numerous similar buses had lined up. All of them carrying todays guests of the rally, now scattered all over the place.

The main arrangement was however in the adjacent, more decorated field. This gathering was to show the power of ruling political party and no single village or suburbs were left to send their local representatives. Mostly farmers or daily wagers, they were visibly happy for the free ride and the promised lunch. A knock on my shoulder and I turned to face a sweet non local girl.

“ Will you help me translate a question? I can’t speak Bengali.”

Well, for any young lad, responsibility to help any beautiful girl comes first. So I translated for her, “ Why do you all come here?”

“Machh Bhaat”, pat came the reply.

Her eyes got bigger as she received the same answer from three more interviewees. Then without asking me to translate it back, she left scribbling something fast with a bewildered look. With a quick glance when I deciphered what she wrote, I knew one news headline will beat us all. She had jotted the colloquial pronouncing of Mach-bhaat as Marxbad(Marxism)!!!


MachBhat – Fish and Rice

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