Sun, 05 Jan 2003

Professor Ganaro

M.M. Bhoernomo

The sparkling political world finally attracted the attention of Professor Ganaro, especially because his wife had, of late, often ridiculed him as the world's poorest professor. His own car was even older than his marriage, from which he had begotten two children, both university graduates.

In the beginning, Ganaro was allergic to politics. In his eyes, politics was dirty, full of intrigues and betrayals. He strongly clung to his premise that politic could give you respect and a life of luxury, but not a morsel of peace and happiness.

This premise was justified when a colleague active in politics came to him with complaints of fatigue, stress and panic.

Recently, a friend of his, now deputy chairman of a major political party, came to him complaining of a stressful life as he was confronted with conspiracies that could threaten the survival of his party.

"I'm under really great stress. I may lose my position in the party, which means I will have no chance to run for the party's chairmanship, which also means I will have no chance to run for the presidency or the vice presidency," his friend said, with tension running through his face.

"If you have changed your mind, let's set up our own political party. The chance for this is now wide and open. Once we have a new political party, it will be very easy for us to raise the level of our welfare. We can easily buy a new automobile once we get the sympathy of big businessmen. They need a political party, as they hope to receive some political protection or be appointed ministers," his friend continued.

Professor Ganaro could only smile. His thought was far away somewhere. He had yet to drink the cup of coffee that his wife had prepared. It was a bright morning.

"Well, daydreaming something nice, I bet? Look, your coffee is getting cold," his wife said. She brought him the day's newspaper and sat beside him.

"What do you say about a possibility that I might set up a new political party?" he inquired, in a slightly shy manner.

His wife gave him a broad smile and opened her eyes wide in surprise. "Well, well, well! Finally you've gotten interested about getting involved in politics, ah! Of course, I will agree to this idea. Only when you are in politics can you drive a luxury car and take me to other towns or even abroad and stay in star-rated hotels."

Professor Ganaro suddenly felt embarrassed upon hearing his wife's words.

His wife was still smiling. She was looking at the faded and termite-eaten wooden frames of the door and windows. "If you are a political elite, you can have this house repaired. You will get easy money, just like your friends who are now famous as part of the country's political elites."

"Will you not worry that I will be brought to court for alleged manipulation of state funds?" Ganaro asked his wife. There was a note of doubt in his voice. He remembered that in a seminar once, it was said that political figures -- at home and abroad -- could be easily be tried when their days of glory were over.

His wife only gave a bitter smile. "If you have this worry, you'll always feel doubtful. You will not be tried if you are involved in large-scale corruption. In this country, no legal apparatuses can handle big-wig corruption cases. Just keep your optimism. To get involved in politics has its own risks, but it all depends on your destiny, right?"

"OK. I'll contact some friends of mine who are still staying away from politics. I hope they will change their stance and support me."

His wife gave a sweet smile. "Last night, I dreamt that you became president. Perhaps my dream will come true when you become chairman of your political party."

Shyly, he said, "So, you must get ready to be the First Lady. Last night, I dreamt that you were the First Lady, visiting poor areas in remote parts of the country. In my dream, you ravenously ate some dried cassava with the poor villagers."

His wife could not help chuckling. She pinched her husband's arm out of love. "You are indeed very good at making a joke. You must have the talent to become a political elite!"

The professor was very busy receiving guests in his plan to set up a new political party. He received support from friends and relatives. Some big businessmen supported him, too, and some were ready to join the executive board of the new party.

The presence of quite a large number of guests only made his wife happy. She was lulled by her beautiful dreams of a new life. She would say good by to her modest life, supported by her husband's salary, which was just enough to keep both body and soul together every month.

One night, the professor did not feel like making love when his wife wanted it.

Patiently, his wife tried every way she knew to arouse his sexual desire. But the professor seemed to have lost all his desire.

"Stop fondling, honey. Let's just go to sleep. It's nearly daybreak," he said. However, his wife, still burning with passion and desire, could not sleep a wink. Nor could she stop fondling her husband, especially the parts of his body usually sensitive to amorous touches.

The professor could not sleep either, out of pity for his wife. Something heavy was pressing hard on his chest. For several days, the professor had been busy thinking about the name of the party and its ideological principles. Reporters had been aggressively inquiring about these things. They telephoned him time and time again, barraging him with the same questions.

That morning, after a sleepless night with his wife unable to arouse his sexual desire, the professor received dozens of reporters in his house. They asked him all sorts of questions based on various rumors about the type of party he would set up, including a rumor that it would carry the communist ideology which was banned during the New Order regime.

In front of these reporters, Ganaro categorically dismissed these rumors as being untrue. The reporters also asked Ganaro to immediately declare the establishment of the new party, because this matter had become a hot topic of discussion, not only in the media, but also among the public.

Ganaro felt a splitting headache and his head began to swim. He asked the reporters to leave.

When all the reporters had left, he walked weakly into his bedroom and laid down on the bed.

His wife -- a smile blooming on her face -- said, "You will soon see your picture on TV. Don't sleep. Let's sit here and wait for the report on TV."

Ganaro did not respond. His splitting headache became more severe and the world seemed to be spinning round him. His heartbeat raced faster and faster. Cold sweat drenched his whole body.

"Come on, let's wait for the TV report. You may want to take a look at how you appear on TV. Perhaps there may be something to improve," his wife pleaded.

Professor Ganaro did not respond. In addition to the splitting headache and fluttering nerves, he began to see stars in the air. His heartbeat sped, faster and faster, and finally the rhythm became irregular. Finally, he fainted.

His wife, shocked at Ganaro's state, tried to wake him but failed. He was taken to hospital.

He had had a heart attack and lay weakly on a hospital bed. Still, many reporters tried to interview him about the name of the new party and its ideology.

In all probability, however, Ganaro would never set up any party.

Translated by Lie Hua