The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram
In the Winter (Summer in that part of the world) of 2003, I was staying with my sister in Melbourne. A week before, she had been hit by a car while crossing the street and was very badly injured. I had just finished a job in Fremantle, so flew over to Melbourne where my Christmas Holiday was basically taking care of my sister until she could walk again. She was also out of a job: it was rather depressing time as Christmases go.
We rented a lot of movies, and there was one that I remember with great fondness: Lagaan. It lifted our spirits enormously, and while it may not be the best movie ever (or the best Bollywood movie ever), it stays in my mind as a bright spot in a dark period. When I read “The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram”, it was as if I was thrown back to that Christmas: it bursts with energy, joy, inventivity and sheer exuberance.
My sister and I had a hard Christmas time, but we overcame it. Now, Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram has a very difficult Diwali, indeed, as literally almost everybody seems to be up against him. Will he overcome the barrage of problems thrown in his way (and Jeff Soesbe isn’t holding back in that regard, far from it)? Will there be song and dance? Find out in this extravagant story about a Diwali like you’ve never seen…
CRAMMED INTO HIS unicopter, patrolling above Bengaluru, Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram nervously surveyed the scenes below. It was the fourth day of Diwali and the city was slowly, carefully, and exquisitely going mad.
On the unicopter’s monitors the city-wide SHIVA surveillance system presented a constant stream of dangerous situations, courtesy its Bayesian threat analysis algorithms, for Raja to evaluate.
HIGH-SPEED SKATE GANG OFF BVK IYENGAR ROAD turned out to be children reenacting the victory of Rama over Ravana. Raja assigned Patrol Officer Mitra to corral the kids and calm them down.
LARGE ROLLING MOB, SUNDAY BAZAAR ON SULTANPET. A dramatic reenactment of Satyabhama slaying the demon Nakasura. To shut down the battle and claim all weapons, Officer Pandey was assigned.
There were quarrels, pickpockets, misunderstandings, and a generous helping of celebrants intoxicated on beer, honey wine, or psychedelic chai. The monkeys were out in full force as well. Bonobos and ring tailed sahas scampered through the crowds, scaling buildings and apartments, stealing food and valuables. Definitely on the edge, tensions in the city were growing.
This was the flow of Raja’s days during Diwali and at nighttime it would be even more chaotic, as the streets of Bengaluru burned bright with the light of oil lamps and ran thick with the sound and smoke of millions of firecrackers. Firecrackers were too much like gunshots for SHIVA, every bang another HIGH PRIORITY WEAPONS FIRE to be checked.
The Bangalore City Police did what they would with foot officers, scooter patrols, and Sub-Inspectors like Raja directing efforts from the sky. But it was just too many people, too much craziness, for any number of BCP officers to control. Raja hoped the city would maintain itself over the last weekend of Diwali, and by Monday the people could return to the peaceful work of running the strongest economy on the planet. Continue reading