Quite a few decades ago I moved to the city of Bombay with a few rupees in my pocket and started peddling the product I was selling, from door to door. In one of the homes,I met a doctor, who became a close friend. “Bob!” said Dr Ashok Desai as we sat in his home cum dispensary and I sipped tea his wife Meena so kindly had made for me, “In this city you can fool people once and get away, but you can’t fool them a second time!”

I heeded his advice and built a successful business.

In the political results that have just come out, I see how true the latedoctor’s words are. Our nation believed each promise made in 2014, and today the results show most didn’t believe them a second time!

I was called to accompany a group of residents who had a water problem in their society. I decided to go as an observer. “Did you se the newspapers?” asked the secretary to the gathering, “Our city has received only 20% water!” Now as a newspaper columnist, I knew he was referring to a report about the drought in Marathwada. It had nothing to do with Mumbai whose lake capacity being around 14.2 million litres, had received over 13.2 million litres, with a small shortfall of 7%, only in the month of September!

Yet, I saw protestors swallowing his words and even shuddering as the secretary warned them of riots on the streets of Mumbai as people would fight for water tankers!

In our country, in the last four years of believing a lie, much damage has been done to our delicate fabric as divisions have formed deeply and widely and purposefully.

Which brings me to a question, “How do we prevent the Chanakyas from getting away with their first lie?” Because, between the time of the first lie and the second, irreparable damage has been done.

I believe we should be vigilant. That however convincing the rhetoric, the speech and the tone of delivery, we need to question the content!

I watched that day in the meeting as a very convincing, and considerate tone had members believing how lucky they were with the little water they were receiving. If they had only studied the facts, if they had only compared their situation to the neighboring housing societies, they would have gone home not placated but demanding their rights!

The Chanakyas of today’s world use cunning, they use your insecurities, they use fear, and pretend to everyone they are saviors! But if you don’t want to learn your lesson too late, if you don’t want to see destruction before you realise what is happening, start using your mind to question, analyze, and refute, not just accept and wallow in the fantasies painted so charmingly for you..! 

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