“Happy 10th anniversary, my dear,” I said. “We’ve come a long way, holding each other’s hands or throats, but I’m afraid we might have to part ways after the parliamentary polls.”
“It will happen sooner than that,” my missus shot back, “since you have again ‘gifted’ me a `- 60 Cadbury bar instead of something glittering in gold or diamond.”
“Forget about jewellery for a microsecond,” I pleaded, unwrapping the chocolate’s golden foil. “This is about you, me and the country. I have observed striking parallels between our marital journey and the UPA regime. We tied the naughty knot in 2004, the year this not-so-United, not-so-Progressive Alliance came to power. A new chapter began for us with our daughter’s birth in 2009, when UPA-2 took charge. By this logic, our marriage will survive only if the Congress-led alliance does a hattrick, which seems highly unlikely.”
“Your logic is rather illogical. And your comparison is pretty farfetched,” she snapped, trying to burst my thought bubble.
“Not at all, hon,” I clarified. “Here’s another point to back my argument. While the union government was rocked by Coalgate and Railgate, our house was shaken and stirred by Maidgate and Flipgate, which luckily went unreported.” “Which ‘gates’ are you talking about?” she asked.
“Maidgate happened when you came back home from work and saw me lovingly giving first aid to our maid, who had cut a finger chopping onions. And Flipgate was unearthed when you caught me shopping on Flipkart.com, placing orders disproportionate to my sources of income. In both cases, I barely escaped your no-confidence motion.”
“That’s true,” my better half agreed. “And how can you forget Girlgate, when our hawk-eyed neighbour spotted your nephew with his girlfriend in our first-floor annexe? I was out of town, but you were right here in the house. How come you didn’t notice what was going on upstairs?”
“I’m not responsible for my nephew’s raillery. And he did it all without my knowledge,” I said, defending myself like a veteran liar, sorry, lawyer.
“Really?” she wondered. “Haven’t you read what a celebrity candidate said the other day about her mighty rival? ‘If a minister was not aware of what was happening in his ministry, it’s because he was either incompetent or complicit’.”
“My competence and integrity are beyond reproach,” I roared. “The UPA might not be sure of its PM pick, but I’m undoubtedly the unchallenged Man of the House. There is no antiincumbency under my roof.”
“Don’t be too sure,” she said with a teasing smile.
“What? There’s someone else? Is it the 49-day-CM Arvind Kejriwal or the 49-year-old Aamir Khan?” I enquired.
“NOTA,” Her Highness replied, already in the EVM mode.
“Then who? Hope it’s not Na-NaNaMo,” I guessed, fearing the worst.
“Why not?” she asked. “After all, change is the spice of life – both at home and at the Centre.”
“He’s double your age, darling, and said to be at least half a Hitler. Don’t let the saffron tsunami sweep you off your high heels. Spare a thought for our baby doll,” I implored.
“Open her LKG notebook for once and you’ll see that she writes N-D-A much better than U-P-A. And like me, she wants change. She’s had enough of her weekend papa,” said my wife, twisting the knife.
Pushed to the brink, I shot off an SOS: “Dear UPA, please don’t be a homebreaker. Not sure whether the country needs you, but I do. The chocolaty Rahul Gandhi can afford to be single in his forties, I can’t.”