The Travails of E-Mantriji

LP has been sworn in as Minister of the newly created portfolio SPIT (Software Protection and Information Technology), after winning the recent elections by a landslide. Harlem Johnny, LP's childhood friend, now based in New York, hears about LP's rise to the pinnacle and decides to siphon some money from him to make his dream movie. Meanwhile Keerapan, a software pirate whose fortunes have swelled and ebbed lately after an economic downturn is hatching a plan to kidnap LP! At the same time, far off in Atompur, a mad scientist calls LP and says he wishes to sell him.'

Scene I
LP: Where is everyone today....Secretary..Secretary Dinanath, where are you?

(Sensing no answer from anywhere, LP slumps on his sofa and turns on the TV). 

....Good afternoon, this is 'C ' TV. Here is the News. The Nationwide bandh announced by the Opposition parties today has so far turned out to be a big success, they claimed a short while ago.....

LP: What! A nation wide bandh today and I was not even informed about it....that's it, Dinanath u are fired! Where the heck is Dinanath?

(Dinanath walks in looking very tired and exhausted)

LP: Get out of here you nincompoop! You are fired!

Dinanath: Sorry Sir, I had to hitchike 10 kms to come here.... you see, no transportation available due to bandh.

LP: But why did you not inform me about the bandh, you halfwit..

Dinanath: All of us tried to tell you about it sir, but you were in a deep meditative state the other day and did not wish to be disturbed. When you came out of your trance, you were so visibly disturbed, that none of us dared speak to you about the bandh.

LP: Who called for the bandh and why?

Dinanath: It was Jorge Menendez sir, the opposition leader. He has become very powerful you see. He was cashing in on the public rally last week regarding the fodder scam and the kickbacks you have received!

LP: That fool.....we need to throw all of them into the gallows so that this nonsense does not occur again.

Dinanath: Sir you mean bring back Emergency!

LP: Dinanath, you son of a gun, do I always have to take a leaf from old books? We got to do something original, ekdam taaza!
Accha, Dinanath, tell me how many e-mails have I been receiving lately from my adoring fans

Dinanath: Sir, actually there has been an exponential decay in the fan mails....but I guess the hate mails have been growing logarithmically

LP: Well, all that will change once the stock market goes up!

Dinanath: Sir, wanted to remind you that a foreign delegation will be in tomorrow to see you...This is the group coming over from Madagascar to invite you to join in the celebrations in memory of your late grandfather.

LP: Wah, long live my grandfather the great LP! Did you know that he was a freedom fighter and the best mud wrestler in the world!

Dinanath: Yes, yes I remember that.

LP: Memories of my grandfather bring tears of joy to my eyes.

Dinanath: And Sir, later in the day, your childhood friend Harlem Johnny will be here to see you.

LP: Yes.... that scoundrel may want some money

Dinanath: May I ask why?

LP: It is a long story...but we are indebted to his family for a stupid mistake my father made!!!
(There is some noise outside. Dinanath checks and comes back in)

Dinanath: Sir, your friend Harlem is already here, and a day early. Shall I send him in?

LP: (amused) Teek hain!

(Enter Harlem Johnny)

LP: Well, well, well'. Harlem aren't we a bit too early?

HJ: LP, you see the only transportation I could find today was this camel on the beach and the owner siphoned all the money I had. I hanging on for my dear life while camel running, thinking it is in the Indy 500. After a few diversions and route changes, I decided to come and see you today. Phew, what an adventure ..good promotion for tourism, I say!

LP: You have not changed a bit, my friend.... you have watched too many B grade movies!

HJ: Chodo yaar, LP, tell me how come you made it to Yes Minister!

LP: Hard work and destiny my friend,,,,it is all in the stars! It is nice to see you after so many monsoons!

HJ: Yes, yes, I have been dying to meet you since you became world famous! You see LP, I am thinking I will make a fact an Oscar worthy movie...Look how Lagaan made it to the Oscars..

LP: But why movies.....Harlem weren't you running some stupid business in New York?

HJ: Yaar LP, you call my hawala business stupid? Yaar, complete trust you know and good roaring business.... But too much kitpit yaar. I am thinking I want to diversify like Don Trump!

LP: Arre Harlem why don't you move back to Apna Desh,,,,you can manage my fodder business!

HJ: Yaar LP, first you finance my movie then we take that profit and put it back into fodder....what say.....c'mon yaar, it is my dream to make movie.

LP: Do you have a script...even a name for this stupid movie...

HJ: Yes, yes, I am calling it American Pulao.

LP: Dinanath, this Harlem's brain is on it charas or ganja?

HJ: always making fun of me ever since I was wearing knickers...what is wrong with the name American Pulao? People making American Chai, American Masala so why not American Pulao. Also all my friends in New York liking Pulao with curry, you know.

LP: Arre, which idiot will give you money for such a movie, not even me!

HJ: Yaar LP, flop movies in India making it hit in Amerika...I tell you before you release it in villages, first release it in New york. LA etc....I am telling you,,..,super box office hit.

LP: Harlem you are wasting my time....

HJ: No, no LP, you don't understand, it has always been my dream to make movie! And who better to finance it than you, my childhood friend. 

LP: Listen Harlem, ever since you went to Amerika, I haven't heard from you, And now all of a sudden you appear and want to create hangama! I am the Minister of SPIT and I will not tolerate this.

HJ: Arre LP, listen, everyone knows about the fodder kickbacks that you got..why don't you help out an old friend by giving me some of that loot. I promise you 30% return on your investment'yaar that is mucho better than the stock market.

LP: You good for nothing fantoosh, get lost and don't ever come back again. Dinanath please show him the way.

HJ: LP, you throwing me out of your house...Teek hain, I will show you that Harlem is made of sterner stuff.

Scene II
(LP is about to give a press conference. All the reporters are gathered in the HavaMahal)

Dinanth: May I have your attention please. I know you have been waiting for a few hours, but Mantriji will be here any minute. Thank you.

Enter LP.

LP: Namaste. Dinanath has told me that you have some questions. Ask them in plain Engleesh.

Journalist 1: Tell me Sir, your popularity is on the decline, any reason?

LP: Hmm, uhm, you see, my popularity has never been better. The last popularity polls were totally flawed,,,,the sampling was skewed and the poll results tampered with.

Journalist 1: You make it sound worse than an election rigging. Talking about elections, when was the last time you legally won an election?

LP: Are you insulting me? Everything is fair in polling and wrestling!

Journalist 2: Sir, what do you do for recreation?

LP: Ah, er....,you see, I have written several short stories under the pseudonym, Popcorn Tiger.

Journalist 2: Who reads them? I have never seen any of your writings!

LP: I have written e-books only.....these are meant for gifted children, you see, maybe that's why you never heard of them, He He..

Journalist 3: What do you make of the fact that for every step our nation takes forward, we seem to be taking two steps back,,.....,any solutions.

LP: You see it is like a dance, I once read that Tandava dance was performed the same way in the is a very skilful art...yes yes...

Journalist 1: Sir, how come the population continues to explode and the poverty line never goes down?

LP: Er. that is rather complicated,,,have you heard of Fibonnaci's is something like that..

Journalist 3: Tell me what is the one good thing that you have done for society that you are proud of.

LP: I can tell you a number of things...i have improved education in my state...more than 33% of the people know how to read a book upside down... people pay more do you think all the civic improvements take place.....the computer literacy has gone up....even I know how to play Tic-tac-toe on my PC.

Journalist 2: Very well, where have you hidden all the stash from the fodder kickbacks that you received?

LP: You see the opposition is playing virtual reality games with me the fodder and I will show you the money! By the way do you have any hidden cameras?

Journalist 1: Do you believe in the stars?

LP: Yes I do. When I was very young, I too wanted to be a Star like Dilip Kumar!

Journalist 2: Is it true that you are about to venture into films?

LP: That is absurd!

Journalist 2: But The Rational Enquirer has reported that one Mr Harlem Johnny is secretly making a movie for which you are the producer!

LP: Dinanath, please put up an Enquiry Commission to enquire about the Rational Enquirer!

Journalist 1: Do you have visions for the future such as changing the agrarian base into a technology base?

LP: I don't think I follow your question.... I suggest you read the newspapers! Next.

Journalist 3: Why not adopt a two party system like the West?

LP: Are you crazy? Why should we always do what the West does. I tell you it is time for them to follow us! We will lead the way. Good Night!

Scene III

(Keerapan's den. Keerapan is bemoaning his fortunes and is quite perplexed. Meanwhile Harlem has joined Keerapan in his HQ)

Keerapan: All right, what happened to the new software consignment that was supposed to arrive today?

Ekanki: Well, Bubbles dotcom went bust and they could not ship out anything.

Keerapan: How are we supposed to run our business if all these guys fail? And now we have to deal with the E-Minister'.BP!!

Mamba: mean LP?

Keerapan: Yes, LP'he has made life difficult. 

HJ: That is true..i got to settle scores with him, too!

Ekanki: We are in the same boat, Harlem.

HJ: Does anyone have a good plan or what?

Mamba : We still don't have the details...but a good plan maybe finally brewing!

Ekanki : The only thing brewing here is Java....anyone care for a sip.

Keerapan: Aha that's it! We got to kidnap him and get some ransom'. that is the best solution.

HJ: How would we do that?

Keerapan: Leave that to me'we don't have much time left though. Mamba, find out when LP's convoy leaves next week for the Technology conference. He will probably go through the Cyber pass' we will have to ambush him right at the turnpike.

Ekanki: Excuse me, but the Oracle states that next week is an inauspicious time...

Keerapan: Damn the Oracle! Listen we need to consult Homi Baba...

HJ: You mean the spirit of the great scientist'.

Keerapan: No you dunce, there is a Baba called Homi who lives in San Francisco. His name is Homer, but people call him Homi.

Ekanki: Jai Ho Homi Ki.

Keerapan: Send him an e.mail and ask him for a simulated gameplan.

(Mamba is checking Keerapan's PC)

Mamba: Keer, the virus that you sent to LP has is eating into your is multiplying faster than the population of India!

Keerapan: Dammit, that's what happens when you rely on Windows.......we should have stolen that Mac!

HJ: You mean from MacDonald's....

Keerapan: You twit, are you still living in the Dark Ages...I meant a Macintosh!

Mamba: Keerapan, it may not be that bad, I guess the virus was just a demo.... some geek trying to scare us...

Keerapan: This is it folks'..our last chance, you can't bungle it like you did last time. 

Mamba: But the last time, you couldn't debug your own codes, Keer!

Keerapan: You have no idea how complicated parallel processing is! It is like trying to drive a car in NY and negotiating on your cell at the same time!

Mamba: So what will this Homi guy do for us, Keer?

Keerapan: You will find out when the time is ripe, like Homi would say. 

Scene V:

Telephone rings in LP's chambers...

Receptionist: Sir there is a Scientist from Atompur here to see you

LP: Can't I relax for some time? OK OK send him in.....

Scientist: Greetings Sire, my name is Prof Fishan. I come here to share my plan with you.

LP: What kind of plan?

Scientist: I have in my possession a recipe for making a New Clear Balm!

(LP hears Nuclear Bomb)

LP: Oh my in a low tone...even walls have ears....

Scientist (in low tone) You see Sir, I have heard that you have been troubled lately

LP; Yes, yes that is somewhat true.....It is very painful...

Scientist: You see sir that is why I have brought the recipe with me' cure your pain

LP: Well I am glad that we have a genius like you right in our midst,,,,at last we don't have to go for Imported maal.

Scientist: He he, thank you Ji very much.

LP: Ok tell me what is the plan.

Scientist: Saar, the thing is first we make it in small quantities and you can try it out daily...morning and evening 

LP: Oh my god, you think this will work somehow

Scientist: Why yes definitely Saar, this is time tested,,,,,,,only last month I tested it on my Mother In Law.

LP: I like that,,,,sounds like a secret code word for the enemy.

Scientist: As you wish, saar.....this is guaranteed to work.

(Dinanath enters)

Dinanath: Arre Professor Fishan, are you here on some Mission?

Scientist: Namaste DinanthJi, I have come to show the great LP Ji my latest invention, the New Clear Balm.

Dinanath: Very good and he does need it for his backache

LP: What are you talking about Dinanath, the Professor is here to talk about a Nuclear Bomb.

Dinanath: He he,,,,sorry sir.....but the Professor dabbles in Ayurvedic herbs and he has come up with a remedy for acute backache.

LP: Get out of here...who let this mad guy in. 

Scientist: But Sir, this will really cure your backache

LP: And what about my headache........get out of here, you twit. Aagh,,,,I need to go see some mud wrestling......

Scene VI

(LP meets with his arch rival DeenDayal in his mansion)

LP: Namaste DeenDayalji how are we doing today?

DD: Just like yesterday' look very happy!

LP: DD, a wise man once said, Spread some happiness around and it will surely bring you some joy!

DD: Come straight to the matter LP, what is cooking in your alley?

LP: DD, I have a deal'you and I have known each other since the days of the Raj, alas with differing viewpoints. Why don't you switch camps and enjoy life?

DD: Are you offering me a swap deal so that I become your chamcha?

LP: Now now DD, let us not be kids'we will throw in some stock options from some top American firms, and of course kickbacks from the Swedes'.you cannot refuse such a deal

DD: LP, you think I have eaten a raw bullet (humne bhi koi kachi goli nahin kaayi hain). You think we don't know how much kickbacks you got from the fodder scandal? And how about the Mercedes in your back yard? 

LP: You are crossing the Laxman Rekha, DD'..don't dig your nose into my private matter'..I am accountable only to the public! And besides, what about the phoren trip that u and your family took last year'was that accounted for?

DD: Well let's get to the point'dhandhe ki baat karon

LP: Listen DD, we are planning to improve the IT infrastructure in the country, Every village will have access to the Internet in a few years. And to achieve this I need your help.

DD: You mean you need someone who can set up a phony business for you or what?

LP: Look, the only way to reach this insurmountable goal is to work together at the grassroots level and who better a person than you who understands that? Just like the good ol' days when we worked together on the Family Planning programme, he, he ,he

DD: LP, this had better be good, because this is a totally different scam unlike the FPP. Besides, I need to cater to more people who depend on me to share the loot.

LP: Arre listen, you are a genius on how to cook the books and besides we can give you some tips from our phoren contacts! So I take it that the deal is done'and don't worry about the loot, you know you can trust my word.

DD: Acha, LP tell me I have heard that you are making a movie, is that true?

LP: DD, I am not sure who is tarnishing my clean image'.I surely suspect a phoren hand'..nahin yaar, this is all humbug.

DD: Teek hain, I believe you, but don't you dare think that you can do this without involving me.

Scene VII:

Keerapan: Ok listen up'here is the plan of action' first we go on horseback upto Godadham, then we switch to motor-boat and reach Naavghar. 

Mamba: Do you have a map Keerapan?

Keerapan: It's all up here in the gray cells.......Harlem will meet us there and bring his Lamborghini....from there we will reach Pulakesin's garage...he will retrofit the car and install a Bubble telescope on the front so that we can see the convoy from several miles away...

Ekanki: Bravo K, you are a genius!

Keerapan: Also we change into Kathakali see we are the Dancing Nymphs headed for Door Darshan.

Mamba: That is very apt, with the Bubble telescope we will see Door ka Darshan

Keerapan: And make no mistake, we have to strike at the right moment or else we will be toast. Do you have any questions?

Ekanki: K, but you haven't told us how we are going to abduct LP!

Keerapan: That's exactly my master-plan.......only I know how we are going to abduct just have to follow me and everything will become clear. Let's go.

Ekanki: Once we kidnap LP, what do we do with him...what if he knows Kungfu or Taek won do?

Keerapan: The only thing LP really knows is Mud Wrestling and is bad at that' see I have done my home work!

(Harlem meets Keerapan at Naavghar and then'

Harlem: This is straight out of a Bond movie'I want to say, 'shaken but not stirred'

Keerapan: Harlem, you better watch what you do, or else the papers will be saying, Minister's buddy shaken up for causing a lot of stir!

Harlem: No no Keerapan, you see I am just getting some inspiration for my movie! 

Keerapan: I am tired of all this SmallTalk. Get to business. I will give you 30% of the loot!

Harlem: He he, Keerapan, you have shown your true colors'you see I am the one that is taking all the risk'..just like in Reality show'.so you must give me at least 50:50.

Keerapan: Harlem you have just joined the show'.I hatched the gameplan'.so there will be no argument here'..or else Checkmate!

Harlem: He, he, Keerapan, now there is no need to take tension' sound just like my brother Sam.

Mamba: Harlem, where is the Lamborghini

Harlem: Er, you see my contact was unavailable, uh, eh, so all I got was this Fiat!

Ekanki: What good is that, when we could have lifted a LandRover!

Keerapan: So much for 50%, Harlem'.. we will now have to depend on Pulakesin.

Mamba: It is getting dark, Keerapan'..time to march.

Scene VIII:
(LP is alone in his chambers reading the newspaper)

LP: What do the newspapers have to say today.... half human half klingon leaps from Kutb Minar'Muhnochwa mystery improves sleep, researchers say......Kidnapping attempt on LP foiled? what.. that about me...Dinanath, dinanath where the heck are you...How come no one told me about this...Security where is security...dammit I am the Minister of SPIT......


More by :  Subra Narayan

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