In certain regions of the US, there is an animal that goes under the name armadillos. I don’t want to give you a lesson in zoology, but I do want to tell you that it goes under something else. Tyres of four wheelers, in Texas and other states too. This is where the phrase originates: You find nothing but yellow stripes and dead armadillos in the middle of the road.
The above signifies that if you do not take a position on an issue, you are no more alive than the yellow stripes or dead armadillos.
I thought of this when I had no way of escaping the carpet bombed news, about Salman Khan’s conviction and prison sentence. I truly wanted to give it a royal ignore just as I did the news about the new arrival in the family of the British Monarch. But, I couldn’t just as no Briton could have escaped the other news.
Having heard the news, I did not want to be either the yellow stripes or a dead armadillo and I got out of the middle of the road in double quick time. I had help, in the twitter space. No, I am not talking about birds chirping. Birds are sensible and that is more than you can say for human twitters.
Before I talk about human tweeting, let me refer to a movie, perhaps about 2 years old starring Arshad Warsi. Who? Oh, “Circuit” in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S? Yes. Not a box-office draw, of course.
The movie was Jolly LLB. Warsi plays the protagonist, a lawyer entering the profession. I now feel that the story writer anticipated how the Salman Khan episode will play out. It, sans tiresome sermons, concludes that if one drives over people sleeping on roadside kerb, one will be found guilty. This is where the movie ends. The exact place where the Salman episode stands today.
To twitter now. One tweet says that kerbs are not the property of the poor. If they sleep on the road, yes, they will be run over. Let us for a moment forget that the victim in the instant case was not sleeping in the middle of the road. Still, he met the fate of an armadillo.
He was sleeping on the sidewalk. In the movie, the lawyer extends exactly the argument put forth in this tweet. But, Warsi the lawyer had a readymade answer. The sidewalks are not for driving a car either. It was so obvious. Strike one, two and three, in my ballgame. If cricket is your favorite game, clean bowled, all three stumps uprooted.
Obviously our human twitter was not aware. After all, he is a playback singer and he was going through voice training. He had no time to go and see a film with Warsi in the lead. But, he could have used his brain. Oh, he did not even have birdbrains, I forgot! (pardon me birds!)
I do not recall whether it was the same person; but another tweet said something like if dogs sleep on the road, they are bound to die doggy style, under the wheels of a car. So very humane of him/her. Equating a homeless migrant worker to a dog. What is ironical is that it is not improbable that the very same “dog” – the migrant worker – worked in constructing the apartment block in which the twitter sleeps.
That gets me to another part of this one – the twitter claims he was homeless for one year but never slept on a sidewalk. Obviously he had networked effectively and acted the perfect parasite. Is it something to be proud of? I will take the dead armadillo any day.
This is the level of the 140 character space. No, I am not condemning that space altogether; but any space that can spread these thoughts need to be reined in. Curbing the freedom of expression? Hmm … I have to think on that.
If we don’t, the answer to the title question is obvious - dead homeless migrant laborers.