June 5, 2014
We live in a fantastic universe. There is so much to discuss.
- Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Space Scientist
Hooray! BJP wins in landslide.
I was watching the election coverage on TV, bored to the bones, of course, because I had been into it for days. My dog Dogma and cat Mewfur were giving me company stretching lazily on the carpet, their eyes on the idiot box.
For a change, I picked up a newspaper from the side table. Immediately my eyes fell on a news tidbit that the animals are humorous too. Not only humans, animals too have funny bones.
As soon as I enjoyed reading it, it struck me that I had a whole lot of household chores ahead of me commencing with the house cleaning. Or else the wife would go ballistic. I threw away the newspaper, grabbed a duster and wobbled my way across into the bedroom greatly desiring how funny it would be to hear animals talk and, laugh to their jokes as I carried on with the most boring work on Earth.
Inside the bedroom, dusting every nook and cranny obsequiously, I arrived at the shelf. I picked up the Aladdin’s lamp - a showpiece and began to dust it. As I rubbed it hard, a genie appeared.
“Your wish is my command,” the genie said with her trade-mark opening line.
Suddenly 3 wishes flashed across my mind: (1) To hear animals talk (2) To be a witness to the realization of the BJP’s election manifesto (3) Enlightenment to my wife to gladly take on her at least half the burden of the household tasks.
As if the genie read my mind, she blurted out. “Sorry sport! Just one wish! What you scratched is a imitate Chinese-make lamp. Don’t expect too many favours out of fake things. Which one of the three wishes you most desire?”
“The first one,” I said urgently.
“Your wish is granted.” The genie smiled and disappeared.
As jubilant as those people on TV over BJP’s win, I dashed out. The bedroom door opened into the wondrous world of animals wherein the hitherto mute pets were now engaged in chatter to my utter amazement. Oh my God, my pets with a gift of gab. I exclaimed happily.
As I stepped into the hall, Dogma muttered. “The henpecked sir came out quickly.”
Mewfur craned her head up and ordered. “Enough of the news channel, you Dumbo politico. Flip it to the Animal Planet.”
“No point in saying anything to the deaf sir.” Dogma remarked.
I muted the TV and feigned a picture of being out of earshot of the four-legged chatterboxes by going to the window and cleaning while simultaneously eavesdropping on their conversation.
Mewfur said. “I’m fed up of this news channel running 7x24 with no action at all.”
“What about the recent slaps galore?” Dogma reminded. “Wasn’t that action?”
“Oh, yes. It was a little entertaining. But for me the real action is to watch a big cat chasing a deer and mauling it on the Animal Planet.”
“You and your big cats! Cricket gives me all the thrills. Sirs running after the ball just like us and retrieving and returning it to the master.”
“Don’t ever mention about cricket to me. It’s a lousy game and ours is a lousy team, lost to Sri Lanka recently. I love football, which combines both alacrity and agility. “Goal,” her high-pitched screech almost stopped my heart.
“Hey, here comes the hero,” Dogma invited attention. “Our new leader is gracing the screen.”
At once, rearing on hind legs with forelegs elevated, Mewfur swiped at the air with her paws angrily while gritting her teeth, “You idiot!”
“Are you mad at me or Narendra Modi?” Dogma asked.
“Not you fool. Neither him! It is an irritant fly droning ceaselessly around my ears.”
Dogma squeaked. “I’m fascinated by Modi not because of his gray beard that resembles your whiskers, but he is a man of action and man of implementation.”
“Come on, Dogma. Are you telling me the cat-o-nine-tales? The actions of a ‘man of action’ surrounded by men and women of inaction will lead to friction resulting in re-election. The Congress has already said that they had bounced back in the past and would bounce back again.”
“My dear Mewfur, I enjoy your poesy-comedy lines, but this is a question of 1.27 billion people, 0.3 billion cats and 0.5 billion dogs. Almost all are pinning hopes on the new leader. We all had been fed up with the Congress..,” Dogma paused mid-babble and got to his feet. “Excuse me, please!” He swung round, faced the main door and woofed wildly, not in Bow Vows but “Go Away, Sod Off, Get Lost.” All too soon, the diligent dog stopped barking and sat down. “Sorry Mewfur, I sniffed danger erroneously, thinking it was a burglar.”
Mewfur chipped in angrily. “You are as disillusioned as those people on TV, who think a change is on the anvil. No way. While the entire world is going to the dogs – pardon me for putting it this way - it is not easy for India to transform itself into a rosy economy.”
“This man will,” Dogma asserted. “He is our great hope. The Congress messed it up. The prices of all commodities went to the roof. The tensions ratcheted up all over including in this house. Food became scarce, rationed, madam nagging helpless sir all the time to bring more money and more food. Our sir, with his swinish slavering over food, chews mutton bones as if there is no tomorrow, throwing them at me in ‘sun-dried’ condition. You are not better placed either, always getting fish skeletons. So I am hoping with a marvelous change on its way, we would get juicy bones, succulent meat and mouthwatering fishes soon.”
Mewfur grinned. “It’s said that the power of dream hitches your wagon to a star. Let me ask you one thing, Dogma. Can you single-leggedly eradicate the countrywide burglaries?”
“No! But with teamwork, yes! Like you and me conniving and gingerly thieving food from the kitchen. Unity can truly perform wonders.”
“Unity, my foot,” Mewfur snapped. “You and the neighbour’s dog Tommy don’t see eye to eye, you jump on him every time you see him. If unity is absent amongst dogs that are far-famed as man’s best friend, how could it be expected amongst sirs and madams?”
The cricket aficionado Dogma was bowled over.
Mewfur continued. “Ours is a mystic land where they use animal symbols on ballots without paying the royalties. Tell me, what these leaders do for our welfare? Nothing! Worse, the stray cats and dogs are captured, treated woefully and slaughtered. Conversely, the Western world treats animals with the utmost care and love and clothes them. We often watch this naked truth with envy on TV, don’t we?”
I glanced at Dogma who had become emotional, tears welling in his eyes. Even in sadness, he observed something. “Watch out, Mewfur, the goofball ‘sir’ might step on your tail,” he warned as he watched me moving closer to the cat.
Mewfur hissed. “Let him stomp through it. I will bite off big chunks of meat from his bare feet. As it is I’m famished.”
“Shanti! Shanti! Nehru, Gandhi,” Dogma pacified. “Cheer up! A fairytale change is coming in a big way into our country 67 years after the independence. We all will live happily ever after.”
As I pulled a sofa while cleaning, a rat scurried out, went away and stood below the money plant and began teasing the cat. “Mewfur, don’t you know that Modi’s Tea Stall used to be infested with rats?” the rat posed, smiling devilishly.
“What’s that got to do with me?” Mewfur counter-questioned.
“It is the reason why Modi has a soft corner for rats. He will enact a law to ban rats from being used in scientific experiments and make it mandatory for cats to go under the knife.”
“I’ll kill you,” Mewfur spluttered and chased the rat, with the latter whizzing away singing: “Catch me if you can.”
Suddenly, the main door opened and the wife entered, who had been attending a kitty party in the neighbourhood. She gave the surrounding a quick once-over and blurted out. “I don’t see any work happening around here. You goofball are still wasting time on a colossal scale on election drama?” As she flopped on the sofa, Mewfur returned empty-mouthed to the hall.
I couldn’t afford to be the butt of pets’ jokes any longer. I ran inside the bedroom, locked the door and grabbed the magic lamp. After 10 minutes of vigorous scratching the genie showed up belatedly and agitatedly. “I knew you would summon me back with your two remaining wishes in a piecemeal manner.”
“No, no more wishes,” I stammered and begged. “Please delete the one earlier granted.”
“It cannot be deleted,” the genie shrugged. “It is used by another user.”
“What do you mean by another user?” I scowled. “My request was for a single user version.”
“It indeed was. But since you and wife had taken a marital oath, you both are one, in good times and bad times, having everything in common, like one remote control unit for TV for both of you. I am sorry, but it is the universal law. I can see your wife rolling all over the carpet laughing her heart out to your pets’ jokes on you.” The genie giggled and disappeared.
I threw myself onto the bed and buried my head under the pillows in shame just like the vanquished Congress heavyweights who had vanished abruptly from the limelight.
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