Long ago, Soviet Russia decided that a good way for them to propagate propaganda in India would be to distribute magazines at subsidized rates. My father had taken the bait and subscribed to all such magazines available – Soviet Union, Soviet Woman and Misha. All of them were available at dirt-cheap rates (don’t exactly remember them). It was so cheap that buying the magazines and giving them to the raddiwala was almost a profitable business.
This is the extent to which the Russians went to propagate their propaganda. And sadly, in those days, the world was yet to hear about anti-dumping duties.
For some reason, I never liked these magazines. My father would sit with me and make me read Misha. He would help me set up and play some of the games mentioned in that. Even then, I never managed to appreciate the magazine, and most of it went straight into the raddiwala’s hands. However, given the extremely low cost, my father didn’t particularly mind.
It was a jobless summer afternoon – as jobless as you would expect a seven-year-old kid without siblings during summer vacations would be. The postman had just dropped off the post – two fairly heavy books. The latest editions of “Soviet Union” and “Soviet Woman”. I don’t clearly remember, but looking back, it seems like I wasn’t in a terribly good mood that afternoon. And so I set to work.
I decided to tear the two magazines to pieces. Each and every page of them. I tore it out carefully from the book, and using my hands, tore each page into innumerable shreds. I must have either had tremendous determination, or tremendous patience, or both, for these books were fairly big. However, I diligently sat down and did my job. And I wouldn’t budge until I was done with each and every page.
I think seven (or maybe I was eight then, but I tend to believe I was seven. Even my super-strong long-term memory can’t? give me a clue on this) years is an early age to display your political leanings. However, watching me having diligently and efficiently torn down the Soviet Union and Soviet Woman to pieces, I think my parents were convinced that I’d grow up to be a right winger.
Shortly after this incident, I was taken to a field near my house and enrolled into the RSS.