Yesterday was Gandhi Jayanti. As usual the State did its bit. Prayer meetings, discussion on Gandhi and his philosophy, book releases, launch of some poverty alleviation program or other. The politicians did their bit too. Churned out sound bytes and more sound bytes. Particularly Mr. Kumaraswamy, who refused to resign and facilitate transfer of power to the next government who are just dying to claim their 15 minutes of fame.
But how does all this affect us, the common people?
All liquor stores are shut and none of the restaurants serve alcohol, atleast officially. What usually happens is that the lovers-of-the-bottle stocks up enough to run Oktoberfest at home.
Personal experience: I had planned a japanese lunch with a friend at Harima. But lo behold! I reach their minimalist-designed sliding door, to find it shut. Unbelievingly, I tried to slide the door open only to notice a tiny sign stuck on the door in English and Japanese saying “In honour of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, we are closed for today”.
This was a surprise. I have worked in India’s booming ITeS/BPO industry and I know how we fail miserably to negotiate with our foreign clients to stop work on our national holidays. In my last organization, we had managed to get 15th August and Diwali as holidays for our people. But mostly, organizations work with shutters down and give free lunches and sops to dull the blow of working on a legitimate holiday.
Knowing the Japanese stickler for heritage and national sentiment, I should have been better prepared for the proverbial shut door.
Finally, we ate at a Mediterranean lounge–style restaurant located at the floor below, which served a decent buffet.