25 January, 2011
When Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh was launching Aadhar Yojna on 25th January, 2011 at Hamirpur for Aam Aadmi, I was one of the few fortunate Aam Aurat to have captured the golden “Aam” moments on my camera. I posted those pictures on FB that very day but ignored conveniently the pictures of an Aam Aadmi. But, today, I am writing this post to pay my gratitude to all Aam Aadmis of Himachal!
As the function of Statehood day was being celebrated at a stone’s throw distance from my home, I had simply rushed to the venue but only to realize how “Aam” I indeed was! I had believed that my “Aam” status would be used to its best ability today as the Chief Minister was launching scheme for Aam Aadmi. But all my euphoria came shattering down to earth when the police officials stopped me from entering from the nearest entry. They were not interested in my “Aam Aadmi” status as the gate was meant for “Vishist” and “Ati Vishist” guests and not even for guests. Translated in plain language this gate was for “Distinguished” and “MOst Distinguished guests”! And the fact that i was not even an invited guest, made me retreat from all entry points. The only place for “Aam Aadmi” was fully packed and was literally bursting at its seams, but even that was not for “Aam Aadmi” as I found Government officials and their family members occupying those seats. The “Aam Aadmi” was sadly ignored. But I was curious to know what great freebies would be offered to an Aam Aadmi so was stubborn enough to rush scramble to a small hillside near the local degree college where from I could take the Darshana of the Chief MInister and could listen to his sermons as well.
I clicked some pictures from the hillside and to my surprise I realized that the police officials standing nearby, to block the advent of Aam Aadmi beyond a permissible limit, looked at me with a strange mix of respect and awe. I thought privileged and honoured but only to realize soon that this respect was, in fact, not for me, an Aam Aurat, but for my camera! A woman with a camera in hand and that too a professional looking camera is not something that these police wallahs were accustomed to see. But when they realized that I was an Aam Aadmi having a Khas camera but had nothing to do with Press, their awe turned to scorn! The Aam Aadmi in me was seething with anger at this indifference and scorn when the Chief Minster of Himachal was loudly claiming to have done wonders for Aam Aadmi!
My ego or truthfully the remnant of my ego already deflated when denied permission to enter the holy ground was further deflated and I stood up on my feet with great difficulty and ambled slowly towards my home. It was while walking towards the NIT gate that I saw a painter giving a fresh coat of paint to a sign board. Ironically the message on the board said, “May you have a pleasant jouney!” He was deeply engrossed in his job, unruffled and un-bothered of all that the Chief Minister of Himachal was blaring nearby for the Aam Aadmi.
I found him to be my soul mate! I asked him, “Didn’t you go to listen to the speech of the CM?” He gave me a comforting look as if he was able to see the sense of loss in my eyes and said, “Why should I go when I have work to do.” Call it ironic coincidence but at that very time the Chief Minister was getting applauded as Himachal had won the best big state award!
And the thought that it is people like this “Aam Aadmi” who run my State, get awards for the State, made me so respectful for him. That Aam Aadmi was still busy doing his job. The fact that Himachal has been adjudged the best state is only because of Aam Aadmis of the State who work without being pushed for it!
And today when I looked at this picture on my laptop, I pay my gratitude to all Aam Aadmis of Himachal for making this State a wonderful place to live in!