OPINION

Saza-e-Kalapani - Can We Bring Back The Andaman Experience?

August 13, 2010
Being Cynical

Saza-e-Kalapani - the whole phrase is dreaded, isn't it? After 80 years even the thought of it gives anyone a strong tsunami straight down their spinal cord. So when we were planning our first anniversary trip to the Andamans, I confirmed with the guy arranging our trip on the possibility of visiting that dreaded place. Sahabji, this is definitely an attraction for anyone touching down here and a visit to this place is for sure a part of your package, he affirmed. There is in fact a light and sound show to make this tsunami effect richer, he added. Well pain and horror for many some nine or ten decades back is now a sound and light melodrama for all. Quite a disjoint I would say as I am still sceptical about the whole idea of this light sound stuff. Are we trying to pay homage to all those who suffered for our better tomorrow or are we just revisiting the horror without thinking much beyond?

Why it is called Kalapani? I asked my wife while she was packing almost a truck load of stuff. We are not shifting there, are we? The water surrounding the island might be black, replied my wife. A judicious answer, but how the heck does water in the mid of Bay of Bengal turn black? Do the Andamanese produce enough kachra to make its surrounding water body as black as the Delhiwalas did to Yamuna? I thought of clarifying these points when I was there with someone native to that part of India and didn't bother my wife with her never ending packing.

We reached the Veer Savarkar airport (thankfully none of the Gandhi names here) after a 2 hours flight from Chennai, early morning. As a token of hospitality the cab of the tour office was waiting right outside. Once we were dropped at our hotel, I took the guy to the corner and asked, when are we going for that light-sound thing. Aaz sham ko hi, and he nodded his head vigorously. I have never had a longer wait for the evening, let me tell you.

The visit to the Cellular Jail comes with a price and an additional ticket for the sound and light show. Once done, we were seated in the garden of the building. The light sound show started finally with Tom Alter being the narrator. For the first time I came to know that, actually the cellular jail had seven wings which were later on trimmed, with four of the wings gone for the local hospital usages and the remaining three wings (one of which contains Savarkar's cell) were left for the light-sound narration. Some horror was trimmed to a hospital. Good decisions. The history was revisited via Tom's voice and we were done with the thing in close to one hour or so. Was all this true? asked my wife. Well, how can I say as I never had a grandpa who was an inmate nor I am that tree in the garden which they claim is there from the beginning and witness to all those horrors. If Tom is to be believed, then it should be.

Leaving behind the wing containing Savarkar's cell for sentimental reasons, can't the other two be used for a better purpose, was all I was thinking on my way back to the hotel. Ahh we never have enough population to fill all the four wings of the hospital, so we don't really need two more wings to be attached, would be the likely answer from the Andamans administration. Hang on. I am not suggesting that either. A hospital is not the only re-engineering option available. Can't we re-convert those two wings to jail again? Not to mention keeping the same condition and torture mechanism as it was seven decades back.

Few of the modern day creatures are in some serious need of Saza-e-Kalapani, and if we can make it too literal then what else do they need and what better punishment can there be? There could be more than 200 cells in those two wings and I am sure we will fill those up with prospective candidates within no time. The likes of S.P.S Rathore, Madhu Koda, all three Yadavs, all three Thakerays, Lallu Yadav, Suresh Kalmadi, A.Raja, Mayawati could be the first lot deported there. Has the flight left? If not, hold it on the runway and take Afzal Guru along, as he is far from getting the noose, looking at the strong vote bank. And yes don't waste 6 crores in Arthur Road jail and take this brat Ajmal Amir Qasav also. There we go - a flight full with criminals and another Conair in the making. I am sure we would run out of space in days and might end up taking on rent few of those unused wings of the hospital.

Well after an eventful trip and some horrifying revisit of the history we were back at the airport for our return journey. Thanks to two of the screening machines not functioning and almost 5 flights there to take off in half an hour, I had no option but to stand in a queue for 1 hour for me to be screened. Once there in the fuselage, it struck me. Hell forgot to ask the main question. Why it is called Kalapani? I don't see the water black at all. Might be for the millions of corals I thought. But the corals are so colourful, at least not black or Kala. Will figure out next time I am there. By that time I hope to see only one wing participating in Tom's narration and rest two along with a couple rented from the hospital full with all those crooks and scoundrels whom we don't necessarily need roaming around and creating nonsense in open air. Amen!

Fun is the next essential ingredient after Oxygen for this author. This chap is writing humor for quite some time without realizing that no one is reading. An IT coolie by profession he took to writing as he found Mayawati is not doing enough to balance out the daily dose of Humor needed by the human race. He could be found in all suspicious looking cyber spaces - From Orkut to Facebook, From Linkedin to Desibaba. The author can be reached via his Email which he invariably checks every 5 minutes (as he has nothing better to do). So if you are deprived of a big useless mail for sometime then just drop a test mail to this chap. You won't be disappointed. If you want a reply in double quick time then don't forget to add 'HOT PARTY GIRLS' or something like that somewhere in the subject line. Though he titled his blog as 'Being Cynical', regular readers feel, it should have been 'Occasionally Cynical, Mostly Mental'. P.S :- Befriending this human being is at the sole responsibility of the individual. It could bring unimaginable mental agony.
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