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Saturday 19 October 2019
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Pappu’s Wet Dream

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap] dreamt I had a crown on my head and everybody was very happy for me. But I was sweating buckets in it as if the air-conditioning had been switched off. First, let me pinch myself to make sure I’m really awake now. Well ouch, and yes! Maybe it’s a waking dream. I must be a genius or a madman. No silly, I’m a hereditary politician and have been called prince for the longest time. Much longer than that nice musician that likes the colour purple.

Now I know they can’t switch off the electricity where I live, but I wasn’t where I live. I was in some great big tent, with lots of cheering delegates in pyjamas just like mine, sitting on rows and rows of chairs, in front of me. But the tent did have air-conditioning all this time, just like the ones in Rajasthan and Goa. The generators must have conked, and somebody must be out fixing it. Men, mummy says, can in any case sweat, even sitting down, with the AC on, without getting hot flushes.

I couldn’t understand the crown either, though the heaps of garlands and flowers are always there, specially all the genda, because I wasn’t, in any case, a king. But all the uncles sitting next to me, and all my friends sitting in the first row, said it was one and the same thing, and I should enjoy the moment. I was, to be sure, at some level, but I also had to go to the bathroom soon.

Besides it was a pugree, like the baratis wear at weddings, not a crown. And I was president of the party, not the country, though everybody was calling me prime minister now, and congratulating me double time. I don’t know who let this happen and have no idea how to get out of it. But does it mean Modiji — Babbar Sher to you and me — has gone back to selling chai at his Gujarati station?

Rahul-Gandhi-best-FunnyimageWell if he has, it serves him right! All the time they made me read out the messages calling him names, and criticizing his dress sense, and contradicting everything he said, and Khargeji getting everybody from our side to shout so that nothing could be heard over it; must have worked. Not that Modiji didn’t hit back. He put cases on me, and mummy, and jijaji, and if I didn’t just get crowned, I might have landed up in jail for all the mistakes Voraji made on the paperwork for some work. Voraji is so old, he hardly knows who he is; but mummy says he’s very important, and to always do namaste to him. I keep thinking he’ll fall on his face when he walks, but he never does.

Jijaji didn’t come to this function. He’s anyway in London with sis and their children, meeting up on weekends with all the people Modiji drove away from India. He might come back now that I am king.

Mummy was very pleased today, but once she saw the crown, sorry pugree on my head, she went home after telling me to keep reading her messages on WhatsApp on what to do.

I think I can wear this big pugree sometimes, when it’s not so hot, and point at people, just like mummy, to delegate all the work. She said Reagan, a cowboy actor who became president of the US and was very nice to mummy and papa when they went to visit, always did it. He personally hardly did anything at all, except for staying awake and eating jelly beans. After a couple of hours in the office, he went off to ride his horse every day.

I don’t get it — all this government stuff — anyway, and bureaucrats bore me half to death, droning on about this and that. I’ll tell them to look into it. I know they crowned me because they think I’m stupid, but watch, let’s see who’s stupid now! I’ll give all the work to all those happy friends of mine sitting in the first row, with those other happy people, must be sons and daughters of all the uncles on the stage with me. Besides, I have a feeling that’s exactly what everyone wants me to do.

I can goof off in style now, with everyone bowing and scraping more than before. Much better than working 20 hours a day like Modiji, only to go back to selling chai on the platform. And never ever taking a holiday. But then Modiji was always getting away, travelling here and there, on his own plane, living in big hotels. Hmm… clever! Why call a holiday a holiday when you can call it work?

rahul-gandhi-meme-1But look at me! I went to rehab — the uncles said it was Bangkok — and never heard the last of it. And if I fall asleep where there are cameras, or read messages on my phone, everyone has something to say.

These uncles on stage, I don’t want. They’re very old and talk funny and think I’m stupid, just like they or others like them thought granny was stupid. They thought she was a wooden doll, but she showed them. I won’t show them to be sure. But they will have to show me, and now you tell me who’s smarter! But, in any case, they don’t look like they would shift even if I want them to.

Somebody, one of the uncles, said coalition dharma, nodding at me, and another one said common minimum programme, like it was a new religion, and the programme was its rules. But that is what they say every time they get to sit on stage. I’m not worried. I’ll just keep them busy, and give work to their sons and daughters, and they’ll be fine with that. And we can go back to making money all around, now that Modiji is away.

Otherwise, these uncles are going to be a problem. They’ll act out like they always know best. How can they, when they make no sense, with 50 of them saying different things?  That one, with the little moustache, is always desperate and needy. He’s sweating more than me. Nobody is taking any notice of him, even though he put his hat in the ring, and they just returned it to his head. They bought me a new pugree though, and so there.

Not having mummy tell me what to do all the time, I hope, may be the best part of this. She went home after the crowning. Must be feeling bad because she was Queen for 21 years, and didn’t even need to wear a crown for everyone to know it.

Now all I have to do in my speech is blame Modiji for everything gone wrong, and take credit for everything that’s right, and do it every time they ask me to speak. Blame him first, and the Hindu communalists second, and Pakistan third and China fourth. That’s it. That’s all I have to do as king, sorry prime minister.

blogger-image-1464073107Mummy wants me to man up. She always wants me to man up. She says be like Mussolini whom she sometimes calls Il Duce, which means Duke or big leader or something like that, in Italian. Anyway, this Duke is from mummy’s childhood, actually from mummy’s father’s time, when my Italian grandfather was a young man. Anyway, he’s famous for running every Italian train on time. Mummy was always telling me I have to take over her job. But with all this train talk, I think she wanted me to do Prabhuji’s job too. Of course, Prabhuji’s gone too, leaving his half-built bullet train behind. I think I’ll get Laluji’s son to finish it off.

Anyway, this Duke’s picture was on the living room wall, in her father’s house in Turin, and made a big impression on her growing up. I can’t tell her that becoming a Duke just like that, when people  have been calling me prince and sahabzada and future president, for years, just might not work.

And anyway, I don’t care about running trains. I’m happy if Laluji’s son does. I know nice cars come from Turin because jijaji is always on about these things. But mummy won’t talk about cars. Just the Duke, and trains, and manning up.

She never says anything to sis. But then sis shouts back and calls mummy a foreigner, just like Modiji. Sis says mummy is nobody to say anything, because   she has much more money than jijaji and refuses to share it. Mummy doesn’t like anyone talking about her money. So there’s a problem there, and it’s probably better that sis has gone to London.

But for me, it’s man up. Man up, like the Duke! There’s another Duke too, John Wayne, another cowboy, and Duke Ellington, that daddy liked to collect — all that jazz. But mummy is fixated on Mussolini, probably because he was Italian, and the boss when her father was young.

Mummy and her ‘build India’ messages from home! This is the latest, now that I have the pugree. I’m not building India, OK? Even mummy and Modiji never built India. Nobody ever builds India. It isn’t even building itself. But how do I tell her this?

Me, I prefer to drink up, or smoke up, or snort up, or get up, and go to Colombia. But mummy always starts shouting when I say this, saying she can’t talk to Vajpayeeji who’s very old now, and can’t pick up the phone anymore. If I get caught by the American police again, Modiji, who’s not like us, or Vajpayeeji, will just laugh.

But guess what, she doesn’t have to worry. Modiji is back on his platform, and I am king now, with a pugree on my head to prove it.

[stextbox id=”black” float=”true” width=”860″]Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them…

— a portion of the disclaimer in Dave Eggers’ memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius[/stextbox]

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Gautam Mukherjee
Gautam Mukherjeehttp://ghatotkachseriesthree.blogspot.com/
Commentator on political and economic affairs

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