Radhu dada and I were sitting in my garden indulging in our favorite sport : SOS : Satirizing of Society.
I decided to change tracks and asked him, 'Dada don't you think NDTV, by launching the Save the Tiger Campaign, is doing a great job of protecting our national animal.'
'Yes. I would have been equally happy if they would also unleash a campaign to protect our national game. At the rate at which it is going it will become extinct far quicker than the Tiger.'
'You're right. My son doesn't even know it is the national shame, sorry the national game. He thinks India's national sport is cricket.'
'You know Ramen there are many values and institutions which have become extinct and several others which are in the process.'
'National pride for instance.'
'I don't get you.'
'See, earlier joining the Defence Services was a matter of great honor and pride. Not any more. As a result our Defence Services are wooing their customers like private tutorials or beauty parlors!'
'Even playing for the country is no longer a matter of honor,' I added. The sportspersons are playing only for the moolah.'
'Exactly. Soon we might not have any national team left. It will be the Ambani Acrobats taking on the Mittal Monsters and Birla Badshahs slugging it out with the Tata Titans.'
'What about the institutions that you were fearing would become dodos?'
'The institution of the 'till death do us apart' marriage is fast becoming anachronistic. The 'live in', 'living together', 'just friends', 'going steady' and various other phrases passing off as apologies to a marriage, will grow in number. In the near future even when marriage happens it would be ephemeral. The solemn vow to solemnize 1 marriage would be not 'Till death do us apart' but rather 'Till a better one comes along'.
'Then what about the landmarks to celebrate marriages? Would the celebrations stop?'
'No of course not. A couple completing 25 days would celebrate silver jubilee and the one making it to the 50 day mark would host a golden jubilee celebration bash.'
'And the seven year itch.'
'Oh, each partner would start itching for someone else in seven hours.'
'These splitting couples would obviously remarry wouldn't they? Then what about their kids?'
'They would be shuttling between homes and parents and keep gathering surnames. For instance a kid of 16 who has weathered seven fathers and six mothers would have a name like Anamika-Thadani-Punde-Pillai-Chadda-Tulang et al.'
'Is there any institution which will survive?'
'Yes, the institution of corruption. It will not merely survive, it will prosper and grow.'
'India, which is a wee bit behind in the corruption charts, will soon become the most corrupt country in the world. We will even start exporting this knowledge to the rest of the globe. Other countries will begin outsourcing corruption enriched learning packages from India.'
'But how will all this be possible?'
'Indians have this basic instinct for corruption. It is in our genes. It only needs to be fine-tuned. Once the potential for corruption as a knowledge tool is known the education system in the country will swing into action. Kids will be taught the various shades of corruption from a very young age. The government will open specialized institutions to teach corruption such as IICs or the Indian Institutes of Corruption.'
'That's great. So at last we shall have one talent which would be the best in the world ' make us truly proud to be Indians.'
'What about satirists like us?'
'We'll become extinct very fast.'
'In a world which is more or less okay a satirist points out the blemishes and caricatures absurdities. In a world which is completely full of warts, where the absurd is cherished and the incongruous worshipped, there is no place for satire. A satire would just end up looking like a news feature or at best a lesson in history.'
'Then what do we do?'
'We have only one option ' we better start observing our politicians closely and start learning the various nuances of corruption.'
'Why? To start practicing corruption?'
'Of course not. Being writers and that too satirists we lack the basic qualification. We can however become expert columnists in different newspapers and start dishing out our news, views and analysis on different facets of the art and science of corruption.'
'That sounds good.'
'I know. We can start a joint column and call it 'Ramen corrupts and Radhu Corrupts absolutely,' declared Radhu dada.