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(Published in on 25 May 2011, retrieved from

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“Rahul, what exactly happened in Bhatta-Parsaul?”
“Uncle Diggy, I...I see dead people.”
“In your dreams?”
[Rahul shakes his head]
“While you're awake?”
[Rahul nods]
“Dead people like, in pyres?”
“Walking around like regular people. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead. They sat on the ash heaps. See, I have photo evidence.” [Holds out pictures.]
“Damnit, Rahul, how many times must I tell you not to go near those opium dens?! These people are stoned!”
“No, they weren’t stoned; they were burnt.”
“I didn’t mean stoned to death, I meant...”
“Mummy says we can’t talk about that.” [Recites] “We must appease the minorities.”
“No, I meant they were stoned. On drugs.”
“Mummy says we can’t talk about drugs.”
“All right. What about rape?”
“I don’t think Mummy has a problem with us talking about that.”
“No, I meant did anyone get raped? In Bhatta-Parsaul.”
[Sulkily] “That’s what they said.”
“Look, you’ve made another blooper. Uncle Janardhan’s taken care of it for now. But next time, say assault, not rape. Keep it vague. And when you’re not sure about murder, say atrocities. That way, we can blame the media even if they’ve got the whole damned thing on video.”
“What do you mean, another blooper?”
“We’ve been through this before, Rahul. 2007.” [Opens a thick file on his desk, marked ‘Campaign Bloopers 2007’.] “Okay, the Badayun rally. You said ‘You know that when any member of my family decides to do anything, he does it. Be it the freedom struggle, the division of Pakistan or taking India into the 21st Century.’”
“Okay, I meant 'division of India'.”
No! You meant ‘liberation of Bangladesh’. And, again, Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is not an ancestor. Well, not yours, anyway. Neither is Mujibur Rahman. And time and tide waits for no man.”
“Okay, so one other ‘blooper’.” [Rolls his eyes]
“Three-in-one. And that same year, you said Babri Masjid would have been saved had your family been in power.”
“I still don’t see what’s wrong with that.”
[Groans] “We were in power. Mr. Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister.”
“Well, last time I checked, he wasn’t my ancestor either.”
“We’ll deal with that in Lesson 591 – Diplomacy and Nepotism. But you can’t bring up family and Ayodhya anymore. Now, you’ve got a cousin who’s been talking about cutting off hands, and swearing on the Gita and yelling ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and...”
“I’ll swear on the Bible and Quran that I’ll cut off his...”
“No!!! Never go against the family, Rahul!”
“The Godfather!”
“No, this is not movie quiz time!”
“Is it about Signor Quattrochhi?”
“No. And you are not to mention him when we speak about the mafia. Which reminds me of why I called you here. All right, let’s move on to Lesson 386 – Banned Topics. This has been updated to include India’s Most Wanted List.”
“Do you have to sound so patronising, Uncle Diggy?”
[Gently] “It’s not you, my boy. Foot-in-mouth is hereditary. Why, after the Anti-Sikh riots, you know who said ‘When a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little.’”
[Sighs] “You know, if I were M K Gandhi, I’d be suing your Grandpa Gandy for misappropriation of my name!”
“Oh, yeah?! I’ll tell Mummy to ask the Prime Minister to sue you, Mr. Singh!”
“Enough study time for today. Now, run along, Rahul. It’s time for Uncle Diggy to have grown-up juice.”
“I want some too!”
“You’ll catch a cold. Why don’t you go to one of your sleepovers? Just make sure you don’t invite your hut-mates back to 10 J for a return nightcap.”
Having got rid of the 40-year-Young Gandhi, Diggy pours himself a glass of grown-up juice. Then, he logs into his secret Twitter account, grins and types, ‘How many Gandhis does it take to change a light bulb?’


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