29 July, 2021

Where Did The Jholawallah Go?

Interminable minutes in a waiting hall. Fruitless fariyadnamas, a clutch of courtiers in election khadi, a fleeting durbar. Joshi was here, or was he?

S. K Yadav
Where Did The Jholawallah Go?
When I arrived at Murli Manohar Joshi’s house in Allahabad, I thought I had come to the wrong address. I saw an open gate, outside which, behind sandbags, stood a sentry. The contents of the bags had spilled out and some looked only half-full. On the gate was a freshly-painted sign. It said ‘Eureka Academy, 12/11 Tagore Town’, and below that, ‘IIT/PMT, CBSE/ICSE, IAS/PCS, BCA/MCA’. It was a coaching institute. I peeped inside and saw an empty field. In the foreground were two metal poles, on which was strung a faded volleyball net. Towards the back were some sheds. I must have appeared lost, because the sentry asked me what I wanted and then pointed to a two-storey structure with a tiled roof behind Eureka Academy. From a distance it looked like an American-style ranch house on which had been grafted a colonial bungalow. Compared with modern mofussil architecture, which is more hairdo than building, it didn’t look too bad. It would not have been out of place in East of Kailash, New Delhi. It was only later, after coming out of Joshi’s house and into the lane at whose...

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