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The Great Indian Political Circus - 4
|by Ramendra Kumar|
'Obviously. I have been waiting in this damn queue for the last one hour and it hasn't moved an inch.'
'If you want to go in immediately give me a hundred rupee note.'
'But why the hell should I? This is s a Government hospital, the treatment is supposed to be free of charge.'
'The treatment is free of charge. The hundred rupee note is to jump the queue. You have been waiting for only one hour. That farmer there has come all the way from his village, which is two hundred miles from here. He has been waiting for around seven hours and he'll continue waiting for at least four more. If you want to keep him company it is not my problem. I was only trying to help you,'
Unthonee though for a moment and then gave the peon a hundred rupee note.
'Come, saab, follow me.'
He opened the door of the cabin and pushed Unthonee inside as the people in the queue started protesting.
'Shut up! Saar had prior appointment with Doctor Saab - that's why I allowed him to go earlier.'
Unthonee entered the cabin and found a tall, well built man, clad in a T-shirt and Bermudas, sitting with his feet on the desk reading a bestseller by Robin Cook.
'Dr. Injectionwala, what is this? We were gives the impression that you are very busy and here I find you relaxing.'
'Relaxing? You fool, can't you see? Instead of coming to me you should have gone to an ophthalmologist. I am reading medical literature.'
'You call this pulp fiction medical literature?'
'This is not pulp fiction. This is a book by Robin Cook. After all, I have to keep pace with the latest developments in the field of medicine. Anyway, how did you barge inside? I had told Jhadulal not to disturb me,' he said ringing a bell. Jhadulal entered.
'You idiot, why did you send this joker inside? He is acting as if he is from the Anti-Corruption Bureau.'
'Saab, you have forgotten. He is a green card holder.'
'Green card holder? Arre, gentlemen, why are you standing? I am so sorry for keeping you waiting. Please tell me what's your problem?'
'What is this Green Card?'
'Green Card means top priority. You must have given hundred rupees. Fifty rupees means yellow card and thirty rupees means orange card.'
'And no money?'
'No money is red card meaning no entry. Achha, tell me, what is your problem?'
'Doctor, I am suffering a from very severe cold.'
'Cold. Oh my God! That is a very serious problem. Now quickly tell me, is your right nostril more affected or your left nostril?'
'I think my left nostril is more affected.'
'Then you will have to go to my colleague.'
'You must have seen my board ' Dr. Tokru Injectionwala, FRCS, Magadishu, GM (RN). GM(RN) means specialist in General Medicine and Super Specialist in the Right Nostril.'
'My God! This is unbelievable. You have specialization to this extent! Then for teeth do you have 32 Super Specialists?'
'No, in Dental, the specialization is of a different sort. We have different Super Specialists for Gums, Molars, Incisors etc. Anyway, as far as you are concerned there shouldn't be any problem. I can recommend you to my colleague, Dr. Enema Compounder.'
'Okay, please fix an appointment with her. I'll go this evening.'
'I'll ring up Enema right away. But it's better you go to her private clinic. There will not be much rush and she can examine you properly.'
'Thanks, but will I have to get a green card again?'
'No, an orange card will do.'
At around seven Unthonee was sitting in the air conditioned cabin of Dr. Enema Compounder. She was a young lady of around twenty five with a cute face and a great figure. She was peering into Unthonee's left nostril.
'I think we will have to carry out a number of tests.'
'Tests for common cold?'
'Unthonee, common cold is never to be underestimated. It can lead to number of very serious complications. People have even died as a result of this dreaded ailment.'
'Died, because of common cold? I don't believe it.'
'Last year a young man had come to me. He was suffering from common cold. In spite of my repeated advice he did not undergo the tests I had recommended. And that poor fellow died in a bus accident.'
'Bus accident? But what does that have to do with the common cold?'
'When he was crossing the road he had a sneezing fit. As a result he could not see properly and was run over by a bus. Had he taken my advice he would have been very much alive today.' Dr. Enema wiped a non-existent tear from her left eye and sobbed into her handkerchief.
'Okay. I am convinced. Give ma a list of the tests and I'll get them done right away.'
'Let's see, we'll have to take an X-ray of your nose, chest, mouth, left ear lobe, neck, hair, teeth, gums, chin, toes, left ankle and tongue. After that blood test, blood culture, urine test, stool examination, allergy tests, sputum examination, Ultrasound, CT scan and MRI.'
'Ultrasound, CT Scan and MRI! But those are for much more complicated ailments. Are all these sophisticated tests really necessary for common cold?'
'Dear Unthonee, please have faith on me. If these were not necessary why would I have suggested them? And please remember get these tests done only at the clinics suggested by me. Otherwise we will not get proper results. And also keep taking these 23 pills and 37 capsules every day.' Dr. Enema scribbled some more and handed over the paper to Unthonee.
'But why so many capsules and pills?'
'After undergoing all these tests you will feel very tired. These capsules and pills will energize you and make you feel fit. And please buy all these medicines only from the Gol Maal Medical Centre. All the other medical shops sell fake medicines. Please meet me again a week later, same time, same place.'
Unthonee shook hands with Dr. Enema and walked out in a daze.
A week later Unthonee was once again sitting in front of Dr. Enema Compounder. Dr. Enema was leafing through a bundle of reports and X-rays.
'Good, good. We have eliminated almost all the major diseases, The CT and MRI confirm that you neither suffer from Myesthenia Gravis nor Lymphocircoma of the intestines. Ultrasound confirms that you are not afflicted with AIDS. Now let's have a detailed look at the X-rays,' Dr. Enema said peering at the X-rays.
'The X-ray of the nose is all right, ears, neck, hair, teeth, gums, chin ankle, earlobe, toes all seem to be okay.' Suddenly she stopped, looked at one of the X-rays, got up and placed it on the stand. 'I think there is some problem in the chest X-ray. See, Unthonee, there is a black spot very close to the heart. This can be very dangerous.'
'D'.. dangerous,' stuttered Unthonee.
'Now, now, dear Unthonee, not to worry, not to worry. Dr. Enema is there to take care. We'll do one thing. We'll get the MRI scan and Ultrasound done once again. I'll ring up Dr. Z-Ray. He will charge seventy per cent extra but will do the tests himself. In the mean time you keep taking these capsules and pills and also 17 injections daily.'
Loking pale and shaken Unthonee left the clinic.
A week later Unthonee was sitting in front of Dr. Enema who was looking at the reports. 'That's strange: both MRI and Ultrasound reports are perfectly alright. Okay, what you can do is go in for the chest X-ray once again and come and meet me tomorrow.'
The next day Unthonee was once again sitting in front of Dr. Enema and watching her look at the X-ray.
'Wonderful Unthonee! We have done it. Congrats! You are now perfectly all right. I had told you that my diagnosis and treatment can never be wrong. Two weeks under my care and you are a new man. Congrats once again to you and me. I'll compile the details of your case and send them to USA. The whole world will know about my fantastic treatment and your patience, dedication and cooperation. One never knows, I might also win the Nobel Prize for treating your case. In case that happens half the prize money will be yours. You truly deserve it,' Enema Compounder said, the sparkle in her eyes lighting up her pretty face.
'Enema Compounder,' said Unthonee, gnashing his teeth, 'your name really suits you. You deserve to be only a Compounder not a doctor.'
'What? What do you mean?' asked Enema taken aback.
'Your diagnosis was bullshit and treatment horseshit. I was suffering from a common cold and you made me undergo all those goddamned tests. You wasted more than ten thousand bucks of mine. After eating all those capsules and pills and taking the damn injections I feel like a cross between an Egyptian mummy and ventriloquist's dummy.'
'Common cold! You imbecile, you had a hole in your stupid heart.'
'Oh shut up and listen to me. Then was no bloody whole. In the lapel of the gown which I had worn to take the X-ray, a metallic badge was pinned. That is why there was a black spot in the X-ray and the ass that you are, you assumed it was a hole. Compounder, I don't have a bloody hole in my heart ' you have a damn hole in your head.'
Unthonee threw the X-ray and reports on Dr. Enema Compounder face and walked out in disgust.
'My dear FFIL and friends. Time is running out for us. The election is only three weeks and the things are really hotting up in the Janata Khichdi camp. They have engaged 'Hot Air International', the biggest advertising agency in the country. And I am told that the agency has planned the most ambitious advertising campaign in Indian history. If we don't do anything to counter the campaign immediately we'll be wiped off.'
'Dude, you are our one man brain trust. Tell us what is to be done?' Lala said.
'I think we should also go in for engaging the services of an agency. Let them plan the entire campaign for us. In fact I have already taken the liberty of inviting Aleck Goddamasee, the Chef of 'Bakwas India' the number two agency in the country, to make a presentation. I gave him the briefing yesterday. In a few minutes Aleck and his team will be here for the presentation.'
Just then there was a knock on the door. Dude opened the door and said, 'Welcome Aleck. Please come. I am glad you could make it at such short notice. We are all waiting for you.'
A sixty year old man wearing horn-rimmed spectacles, sporting a French bread and long, matted locks entered. He was clad in pink Bermudas and a bright orange T-shirt. Behind him was a young girl of around twenty who was wearing a tight red T-shirt and iridescent-green hot pants. Accompanying them was a young man of around twenty five, immaculately clad in a three piece suit.
Dude introduced Aleck to the audience and requested him to take the floor.
'Thanks, Dude and gentlemen. I am Aleck and with me is my sixth wife and fourteenth girlfriend Hairan Tight Pants. She is a singer, model, dancer, actress and also our Creative Director. We also have here Murugan Muthu Pillai, Director Client Servicing, Bakwas India. We request you gentleman to lend us your eyes and ears.'
The team got busy setting up a huge plasma screen. The lights were switched off, the screen came alive and Aleck appeared on it.
'Welcome, gentlemen, to the presentation on the New Ultra Super Strong, Congress Alpha ' the latest party with the tingling freshness of lime. We have for you a series of Ads for the electronic media. These Ads are basically aimed at creating awareness about Congress Alpha. Please watch.'
Aleck disappeared ad Hairan appeared. She was clad in a two-piece swimsuit and gyrating to Hamesha Resham's lyrics:
'Kitney armaan, armaan, armaan,
The Ad was greeted with a burst of applause. Aleck came on the screen grinning from ear to ear. 'Well gentlemen, I am sure you must have lusted...I mean' loved my wife and also liked the Ad. Now we have another Ad, which in marketing jargon is called 'Comparative Advertising'.'
Aleck disappeared and two ladies appeared on the screen. One was young and beautiful and was clad in a barely there mini. The other was old, homely and dowdy and was dressed in a faded yellow cotton sari.
The young one: 'My name is Pretty Preeti, my heart beats for Congress Alpha.'
The older one: 'My name is Matrusri Mamtabhari Kanakdale, my heart beats for Janata Khichdi which has SS in it.'
Voice Over: 'What is SS?'
Kanakdale: 'SS means Samaj Sewak ' it also means Super Strong.'
Preeti' 'Cong Alpha has GS in it.'
Voice Over: 'What is GS.'
Preeti' 'GS means Garam Singh. It also means Ghazab ka strong.'
The older lady disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Preeti pouted prettily and declared: 'Vote for Congress Alpha ' the only party with GS.'
There was complete silence for a split second and then Garam Singh got up and started clapping. 'Very, very good, very, very Good,' he said. The others also started applauding.
Aleck appeared on the screen. 'Gentleman, we have another sensational Ad featuring my wife Hairan.'
Hairan came on the screen in jeans and a see-through top. The scene was inside a polling booth. There was a huge ballot box right in the middle and Hairan started writhing around it crooning throatily:
'Ballot ke andar kya hai
She came out of the polling booth. A young man was standing outside with a bundle of notes in his hand. She took the bundle, tucked it in her top and continued singing:
'Ballot ke andar kya hai
The lights were switched on and Aleck addressed the audience.
'Gentlemen, this was a preview of the Ads. We will also be publishing posters and stickers of Congress Alpha. Plans are on the anvil to introduce a drink called Alpha Sip. To promote the product and the party we will launch a massive promotional campaign. With every bottle of Alpha Sip we'll give two straws free. We'll also hold a quiz contest. The entry form will carry three simple questions: What does GS stand for?' 'What is the full name of Dude?' and 'What is the age of Lala?'
Lala jumped up at this and started shouting, 'Ek minute ek minute. Why my age?Do you want people to know how old I am? Change this question, it is quite stupid.'
Aleck bowed, 'No problem, sir. We'll rephrase it. 'What is Lala's birth place?'
'Yes, that is a lot better.'
'There will also be a slogan competition. Respondents will be asked to complete the slogan ' 'I love Congress Alpha because..' in not more than 20,000 words.'
'Will you give any prizes?'
'Yes, of course. But we haven't yet decided what prizes to give.'
'You can offer lifetime membership of Congress Alpha as the first prize,' suggested Garam Singh.
'As the second prize you can offer an autographed copy of my life-size portrait,' suggested Lala.
'As a consolation prize we can offer ten thousand copies of our Ten Commandments,' Moong Dal said.
'Of Course all the ideas are truly original but' Aleck hesitated and looked at Dude.
'I think what Aleck is trying to say is that the people might really not be interested in life-size portrait, autographed or otherwise, of Lalaji or even life membership of Congress Alpha. I think what we should offer is a dinner date with Makhmal, in a restaurant of her choice, as the first prize,' suggested Dude.
'But will that not be costly?' enquired Garam Singh.
'No, we'll ask Makhmal to take the winner to her favourite chatwala and order three plates of pani puri. It will not cost more than 25 rupees.'
'Wah, kya idea hai!! But what about the other prizes?' asked Lala.
'We can give autographed postcard-size photographs of Makhmal in an itsy-bitsy bikini.'
'That is an excellent idea. But we will not be able to do justice to Makhmal's proportions in a postcard,' Aleck said.
'Yes, you are right. Okay, then let us print 100 posters of Makhmal in a string bikini and offer them as consolation prizes.'
'I have one more idea. Why don't we make spittoons, paint 'Janata Khichdi' on them and distribute them all over,' said Aleck.
'Yeh spittoon kya hota hai?' asked Lala.
'Spittoon is a place where you can spit. Yes, we could make them of very poor quality and distribute them. We can also draw faces of Samaj Sewak and the rest of his gang on them,' suggested Dude.
'Theek hai. Now friends, I think Aleck has done a wonderful job. We should assign him the complete campaign.'
'Yes, yes,' Lala said, and the meeting broke up with a formal vote of thanks.
'GS, we have forgotten to discuss a very important aspect of our poll strategy,'
'Which one?' asked Garam Singh.
'That of booth capturing. Don't you think we have to plan something on that front too?'
'Yes, Lalaji is absolutely right,' said Garib Das.
'But how do we plan something like this?' asked Garam Singh.
'I know a professional booth capture. He has a Doctorate in booth capturing from Jesus Christ Peace University, Texas,' Dude said.
'Acha. Is he an Indian?' asked Fakir Chand.
'Yes, of course. His name is Professor Bheegi Billi. He is a bit expensive but we can employ him in key constituencies like Garam Singh's and Lala's.'
'Waah kya idea hai!!' said Lala.
'Now we come to another very crucial aspect: violence,' Garam Singh said.
'Violence?' asked Moong Dal. 'I don't understand.'
'See, for booth capturing we are getting Bheeeji Billi, but for inciting violence during rallies, browbeating voters and fighting pitched battles with the opposition goondas we need a trained, dedicated and committed team of thugs,' explained Garam Singh.
'But can't Bheegi Billi manage both the aspects?' asked Lala.
'No, these two jobs need different kinds of talent,' replied Garam Singh.
'I know the ideal thug,' Garib Das said. 'In my locality there is a fellow called Yakub Bhai Chakuwala. He and his gang of hoodlums have been jailed for raping a school teacher. If convicted Chakuwala will be inside for a minimum of seven years. Is we can get him released he will be indebted to us for life.'
'But is he talented?' asked Lala.
'Talented? He is a real genius. He has already committed nineteen murders and seven rapes. In every riot he increases his tally. Even the police is scared of him. The new DSP of the area is a real gutsy fellow. He himself arrested Chaku. Otherwise no one would have dared to touch him.'
'What is this DSP's name?' asked Garam Singh.
'Vijay Kumar! Then our job is done,' exclaimed Dude.
'How? Do you know him?' asked Garam Singh.
'No, I don't know him. But he has been a great fan of Makhmal for the last ten years, Every time Makhmal does a show this guy is in charge of her security. I'll ask Makhmal to speak to him. I think the job will be done.'
'If Makhmal agrees there is one more bird we can kill with the same stone,' Fakir Chand said. 'There is a goonda called Pyaare Dulaare who runs a daru ka adda close to my house. This joint is also a den for hoarding and distribution of brown sugar. Last week there was a raid. Pyaare escaped but some of his associates were caught. DSP Vijay Kumar conducted the raid. Pyaare has gone underground - he is in fact hiding in my house. Vijay has threatened to close down his den and is in hot pursuit of Pyaare. If we can get Vijay off Pyaare's back then we'll have another goonda at our beck and call,' Fakir Chand said looking hopefully at Dude.
'Hmm. Getting Vijay to agree to excuse both Chaku and Pyaare will be difficult. But I think if Makhmal uses her charms she can manage. But these two will have to mend their ways,' Dude said.
'But what can they do? They cannot become doctors or engineers. Nor can they join the Civil Services,' Garib Das said.
'We'll make them members of our party and give them important portfolios. Chaku can be in charge of Law and order, both within and outside the party, while Pyaare Dulaare can take over as the minister of Educational Reforms,' said Lala.
'Yes, that is a good idea. Dude, you go ahead and talk to Makhmal,' Garam Singh said.
'And now we come to another very critical and controversial issue. Allotments of tickets.'
'Yes, this is a very sensitive issue and can create a lot of controversy and heart-burning if not handled properly,' Garam Singh said.
'This has to be done in a very democratic manner,' suggested Lala.
'Yes,' agreed Garam Singh. 'We'll form a two member committee consisting of Lala and myself and we'll decide whom to allot the tickets. Is it okay?'
'Yes,' Dude nodded.
'But will Lalaji and GS ji know all the candidates?' asked Moong Dal.
'No, but we can, in this forum itself, formulate broad guidelines for the selection of candidates. And we promise that we'll stick to these guidelines,' Garam Singh said.
'Guidelines? Such as - ?' asked Fakir Chand.
'For instance, we should encourage people with a criminal record,' Garam Singh suggested.
'But why?' asked Moong Dal.
'The common man fears and respects only such people. We are taking Chakuwala and Dulaare also for this very same reason.'
'This apart, we would be doing a kind of social service by encouraging them to join the mainstream of politics,' Lala said.
'Social service? I don't understand Garib Das said.
'Once these people join the political mainstream they will be too busy indulging in high levels of corruption and will not be able to indulge in run-of-the-mill crimes like rapes, murders, looting etc. As a result the common man will be immensely benefited,' explained Lala.
'The second guideline is that we should also encourage our own relatives,' suggested Garam Singh.
'But then people will accuse us of nepotism,' Dude said.
'So what? Nepotism is a good quality. And in India we have always encouraged and cherished nepotism. Right from the time of the Kurukshetra war to the present day we have ardently pursued the art and practiced the science of bhai-bhatijawad. So, friends, believe me, nepotism is good for the political health of our nation,' Garam Singh said.
'Yes, GS is right,' Lala nodded.
And on this note of mutual agreement the meeting came to an end.
'Good evening, Lalaji,' said the vulture.
'Good evening, Laddoo. How are you? Seeing you after a long time. Take a seat.'
'I am fine, Lalaji. I just came for your darshan.'
'My darshan? Why, Samaj Sewak has gone on a foreign trip or what?'
'Ha, ha,' sniggered Laddoo. 'I always appreciated your fine sense of humour.'
'Tell me, what brings you here?'
'Lalaji, CM himself has sent me to talk to you.'
'Lalaji, what is this we hear about Congress Alpha and you?'
'Some like-minded individuals who were sick of the impotence, inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the present Government have formed a new party called Congress Alpha. I am the General Secretary of the party.'
'But, Lalaji you should have at least told us. CM felt very hurt. He came to know of it only from the newspaper.'
'He felt hurt! Serves him right. Has he ever bothered about my feelings and aspirations?'
'But, Lalaji, you were always treated with the utmost respect in Janata Khichdi. You were always regarded as a senior member whose experience and advice were held in the highest esteem.'
'Yes, a senior members who was good enough only for the Ministry of Child Welfare.'
'But, Lalaji, we thought you were very happy in that Ministry.'
'Don't talk like a donkey, Laddoo. How can a person of my eminence be happy in that stupid Ministry where the only job I had was to attend functions in tribal schools as a chief guest and preside over one idiotic seminar or the other? You know how much I had spent in the last election? More than two crores. And all that money I had got as donations from various industrialists liquor barons, contractors and grain merchants. I had promised them government quotas and licences thinking that I would get Industry or Finance.'
'But, Lalaji, these ministries were never promised to you.'
'Don't talk bakwas, Laddoo. You know that after the election results were declared Samaj Sewak needed 43 MLAs to form the Government. I had 48 with me. At night around twelve thirty he came to me with folded hands. He sat exactly where you are sitting and begged me to join his party along with my men. He said I could get either Industry or Finance, the choice was mine. I opted for Industry and he readily agreed. After my joining he kept Industry with him telling me that he would give it to me in the first reshuffle. Finance he had already given to his sala Natwarlal. Then gradually, by giving various sops, he weaned away my followers one by one. In the first reshuffle I found that Industry was given to his son - what's-is-name-that stupid looking fellow with long hair and buck teeth ' '
'Barfi!' Laddoo said.
'Yes, Barfi. At that juncture I hinted that I would be satisfied if I was made the President of the party. That too was denied to me and Samaj Sewak's younger son Kachori was made the party President. And yours faithfully Lala was given Child Welfare. Sala, luchha, haraami, your bloody CM is a crook. And in this election I will ensure that his face is smeared with dung.'
'Easy, Lalaji, easy. I didn't know all this had happened I am really very sorry. On behalf of CM I apologise. But, sir, are you sure in Congress Alpha your aspirations will be fulfilled?'
'Of course. This time I am not taking any chances. Garam Singh has promised me the post of Deputy chief Minister with additional charge of Industry, Commerce and Finance'.
'But, Lalaji, how do you know he will not backtrack like CM?'
'Listen, Laddoo, 112 of my followers have been given tickets. They are all originally from my district. Half of them are my relatives while the other half belong to my caste. Out of 112, even if 56 win then my position will be pretty strong. If Garam Singh refuses I will sit in the opposition. He will not be able to form a Government without me. And moreover, this time I am not going to wait for the first reshuffle or anything like that. Right on day one if I am not given my due I walk out.'
'But, Lalaji, there is a very strong rumour that Dude is after the post of deputy Chief Minister.'
'No, no, he has been made the Party President and he is quite happy.'
'I don't think so, Lalaji. I know his close friend. He was telling me that Dude and GS want to use you and then chuck you out.'
Lala got up frowning and began pacing the floor.
'Achha, these rascals are planning to ditch me! We'll see.'
'Lalaji, I have an offer. You contest on the Congress Alpha ticket. We will field our weakest candidates against your followers. I am sure no party is going to get a majority and we will have a hung assembly. And when this happens, please join us. We'll give you Finance, Industries or whatever you want. Even if you want to become Deputy Chief Minister there will not be any problem.'
'But, Laddoo, what about Natwarlal, Barfi and Kachori?'
'They will be no competition to you. Both Barfi and Kachori have joined hands against their Mama Natwarlal. He might not even get a ticket this time. Even Barfi and Kachori's position is a bit shaky this time after the two scandals.'
'You didn't know? Barfi was accused of raping a tribal girl. We had to spend five lakh rupees to hush up the case.'
'Kachori landed in a mess in a real estate deal. He took a hefty commission and granted permission for setting up a distillery on a plot of land which belonged to a church. There was a hue and cry and it took all of SS's resources and cunning to get him out of the mess.'
'Achha, very good, very good.'
Laddoo got up. 'So, Lalaji, please remember.'
'Of course, of course.'
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