Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kuckoo and the Frog

Another mango season is here.  This is the season of "The king of fruits", as those fond of mangoes call it.  Many varieties of the fruit will flood the market in a few days. Advancement in transportation has made it possible for almost all varieties of the fruit to reach all corners of the country and the world.

Another election season is also here.  We are in the midst of one of the most fiercely contested elections of our generation.  The then familiar sound decibel levels of our younger days have made way for the modern cyber fights.  Internet, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. have been used both imaginatively as well as brutally to further the prospects of the user's favorite candidates.  This is also one of the longest election process we have ever seen.  We were used to see a new government in place before the indelible mark put on the finger on the voting day moved out of our nails.  Those who voted in the very first phase of this election may not be able to see the mark on their fingers when their votes are counted and the new government takes its stance!

As the mango season and election have converged again, comparison with a similar situation four decades ago appears quite in order.  This is all the more apt in an environment where even the rare breed of civilized leaders are losing their cool and inventing lower and lower levels of words, phrases and jargons to castigate their rivals.

Forty years ago, mango and election season had similarly converged.  I had come home for the New Year festival Ugadi, from a distant place where I had started by work-life.  There was the usual noise of the loudspeakers outside the house, doing their job as part of the election campaign. In a corner of the house my younger sister was rehearsing a verse repeatedly for her forthcoming examination.  That election scene as well as the verse she was mugging up are relevant today.

The two candidates representing the major political parties in that election, belonged to the same dominant community in the region.  They both had many things in common, except age.  There was another interesting twist to the contest; the younger candidate was a disciple of the elder statesman and was an active canvasser for his success in the earlier elections.  Politics had now drawn them apart and the realities of life manifested sharply.  The elder stalwart did not retire to make way for the disciple since there was no retirement age for politicians.  The younger aspirant could not wait any longer and had to migrate to the other party to seek his fortunes.  The other party was looking for a promising candidate and he was the logical choice for them.  Thus the circumstances pitted the veteran guru against the young follower. Though the fight was close and strong, there was no bitterness between the two.  On the day of filing nominations, the junior went to the senior to seek his blessings.  The elder statesman blessed him and said that victory is his if either of them win.  "If I win it is my victory; if you win, it is my victory too!", he said smilingly. The campaign did not have any bitterness at the personal level.

A healthy campaign was followed by brisk voting.  The younger one emerged victorious.  The Guru had probably smelt the result. He was not present at the counting center when the results were declared.  The supporters of the winner had arranged for a public meeting to celebrate the victory of their leader.   But the winner urged his followers to cancel the celebrations. Instead of proceeding to the venue of the meeting, he went directly from the counting center to the house of the defeated guru and prostrated before him.  The guru congratulated him and urged his student to go ahead with the meeting as it was his duty to thank all those who worked for his victory. "There are no victors or vanquished after a democratic election", he declared and said the baton has passed on as per the wish of the people. The public meeting went on thereafter, but was a low key affair.

Now back to the verse my sister was busy mugging up.  It was about the Kuckoo and the Frog:

पक्वं चूतफलं भुक्त्वा गर्वं नायाति कोकिलः|  पीत्वा कर्दम पानीयं भेकः रट रटायते ||       

Pakvam chootaphalam bhuktvaa garvam naayati kokilaha, 
Peetvaa kardama paneeyam bhekaha ratarataayate!     

The Kuckoo bird feasts on the sweet juice of ripe mangoes and yet does not shout with pride or vanity. It only exudes with a sweet voice.  The frog drinks muddy and dirty water and yet continuously makes deafening croaking sound (called ribbit), as if it has achieved something great!

This election is not about Mangoes or Kuckoo birds.  It is only, unfortunately, reminding us of the frogs and their never ending ribbit.              


  1. Prof.Keshavamurthy, good one for the election day. More such pieces please.

  2. A good one on the election day. I am wondering from where you get such relevant and ideal stories for the occasion. More such pieces please

  3. Right time, it is very unfortunate our politicians behave like usual there are no words to express how well you have written... Too good.

  4. Very apt for current times

  5. Very nice and it is relevant for the present day politics also..
    R Jagannathan

  6. Good one ! Thanks for sharing with me !

  7. How blessed will be this country if god brings back such a political personalities back into the system. The breed is really rare and fast extinguishing. Again as usual moved by the narration and timing.


  9. Election & Mango Season - Perfect Timing by Seasoned Prof Murthy -Nice reading - Regards - Vasan

  10. i enjoyed reading.
    Great it is Professor.
    B M Rai

  11. Nice to read your expression , I have read all the ones sent & really appreciate . couldn't mention anything till date , henceforth will not miss to comment.

  12. The politicians of yore were of a different breed - up-right, self-less and cultured. It is too much to expect these qualities in the leaders of today. Your article was very timely and makes us (60+) feel elated to think that as youngsters we were brought up with those values and culture!! Compliments for a wonderful narration.

  13. Great post sir