Saturday, July 24, 2010

Modest Proposals

The neighbour's maid's eight year old tomboy daughter who owns a prophetic squirrel told me that she had heard from a man who knows all things that the world as we know it will come to an end in 2012. It sounded complicated as the sentence itself. I tried to verify the prophecy from the rest of the informed neighbourhood. The ironing woman next to the gate, the odds and ends seller across the road, the kindly house help who walks a blind dog every morning, the litti maker and his bootlegging wife: each one said the same thing. The world as we know it will come to an end in 2012. Each one said that Kimli's daughter Simli had heard it from the man who knows all things and that her prophetic squirrel whose chirps she can interpret accurately had also chirped the same thing. In some ways reminiscent of Isabel Allende's fiction. As a sign of the coming khatam shud, Mars would come ominously close to the earth in August this year appearing like a second moon as a dress rehearsal for 2012. Trusting the squirrel more than the man who knows all things, I decided to be smart about my life. I called up all my friends and shared this secret about the future of the world.
At this very existential conclave, it was decided that if it was indeed true that the world would come to an end in 2012, we could all recast our lives and have a good time until the end came. We have twenty-four months for Epicurean ecstasy.To live it up. With the sensex touching 18000, we can sell off all our shares, stop paying the insurance premium, skip paying bank loans, better still apply for a huge bank loan and book a one way ticket around the world, stopping at Kerala as the last destination. The logic of course was that if it is God's own country, even if the end comes, we would still be there relishing appams with Prawn Moily and Currimeen Polychathu. With God in his own country.

And for letting us know of the future early we could buy train tickets for our neighbourhood Samaritans to travel to Kerala before the apocalypse. After all if destiny had other plans, our neighbourhood soothsayers and collaborators would inform us in advance and we could once again take remedial action.

If you believe all that I have had to say, you could take appropriate measures and redefine your lives. And yes, when I shared the news with a colleague in the academia, the Book who Speaks told me to insert this in my piece. Philanthropy guides a blessed destiny to heaven. Raise funds for those who have been deprived, denied and dispossessed. For the Mahadalits of society. At least for two years, for that's how long we have, remember. After all they are called the nation builders every 5th of September. Religiously. At public functions, in institutions, in Government Houses and in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Complete with marigolds and mementos. They are the University teachers and they have not been paid for three months. And the Book who Speaks says the drought will last ten months more. And some people love droughts.

Their condition has been manufactured by the dregs at the bottom who have become the scum at the top. Isn't that what a civil rights activist said and what Suketu Mehta quoted in Maximum City? The morphing of dregs to scums?


  1. 2 more teachers' day and then the world ends! No teachers and no liabilities. Remedial actions can be taken by all but the scum at the top who never learnt while in the class and will end their lives without learning any further!I like this proposal...btw do you love droughts?

  2. Between floods and droughts its a tough choice. But both are welcome because both yeildeth pots of gold. If you can swim the former is better. If you can't, the latter. Some fools get caught with the gold and serve their turn in prison or hell, the others make earth their paradise.

  3. The litti maker and his bootlegging wife probably live it up everyday like there's no tomorrow. The Book who Speaks seemeth autumnal in the way she sheddeth leaves of doob grass but now I know why I have been getting this nagging suspicion for the past two years that the fifth of September is a collective spit on the face. Hooray for the Fifth of November where everything can go up in firecrackers, like the Brit's first Coal-ition! Come September is no longer the Calcutta brass band's number one Wedding Song. Sigh!