When The ‘Tour’ Dal Fuelled Govt’s Jet

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I remember the prices in the 80’s. When my mom would send me to fetch little provisions from the nearby Kirana store (read ‘Kirana’ and not ‘Ratnadeep’ or some such). Most of us would have watched the grocery prices growing as we grew. Classic case would be that of oil and Dal – the two main provisions that most of us cannot do without. Toor Dal, for one, is the foremost for the ‘non meat eating’ lentil lovers and the rest. The journey of this Dal has been quite a roller coaster one. From what was like 20 Rupees a pop back in the day, has seen exponential progress. Now, the great Toor Dal costs 200 bucks every kilogram. Let us leave the debate of polished, unpolished and other technical terms aside. The fact is, Toor Dal had practically redefined the pathetic inflation going on in our economy today.

Let us not even dare to remember our grandmother days when we would frequent hear phrases like “You know, back in my days, Dal came for four annas”. But the interesting fact is that, those days, economy was stable and booming even without technology.  People did not have the luxurious and taxing ‘IT BPO’ lives. They had normal nine to five jobs and modest livelihoods. The groceries would actually match the earning spending pattern of our grands.

Travelling a little more ahead in the nineties, we have seen the term ‘inflation’ slowly crop up. When the governments promised us better jobs, education, health and all that. The term ‘tax’ started taking a dangerous turn. The financial situation was ‘bad’. Most of our dads would have been out of work, if not for those eternal Sarkaari jobs that few parents hung on to. The private sector was in shambles when the ‘Father of Privatization’ was busy making better plans and enforcing ‘workable’ strategies for the middle class EMI guys like some of us. Still, no luck indeed. Toor Dal was still expensive, but we could buy it anyway.

Welcome to the new world of technology, start up entrepreneurs and brain drains. The great times when our benevolent ministers would continue to make their glorious promises and ‘travel’ the world to fetch us investors and high prospects. Where great strategies in the name of enriched India with foreign investment, Make In India and the rest prevail. The magnificent times of multiplexes, malls and luxurious gated communities. The earning and spending has hit the rooftop. But the middle class remains. The Toor Dal remains. Our ostentatious pragmatics called ‘Tax’ and ‘Inflation’ are singing their loudest tunes.

Finally, the great old Toor Dal is abused once again, to fuel the jets of our leaders. The Toor gives up today for the poor. “Two hundred bucks and you can take me home. Have a larger family, try hard then” it says, unwillingly.

So where is that ‘Modi’fied India and the economy that we have been so promised. Why do we have to see Toor Dal fail along with the failures of our great governance? Most importantly, why Toor Dal? We will settle for the lame excuses called ‘supply not meeting the demand’ one more time. Continue to pay the rest of the EMIs and swipe exorbitant monies for monthly groceries. Let us just hope that we do not have to pay in instalments for Toor Dal one day! What a horrifying thought!



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