Lal Bahadur Shastri: It’s absolutely wonderful to see the old country from up here, what?
Mahatma Gandhi: Yes, after all these years, it’s great to watch the 69th anniversary of Independence from so high up.
Sardar Patel: You’re the father of the nation. You’ve got roads all over the country named after you.
Jawaharlal Nehru: You aren’t doing too badly yourself Sardar, what with having the world’s tallest statue.
Patel: Oh yes, completely forgot that. Anyway, we’re in a movie called ‘Gandhi’ they screen every year on Independence Day.
See in pics| Readying for Independence Day parade
Subhash Bose: It won eight Oscars. So did Slumdog Millionaire.
Shastri: Don’t squabble, it’s great meeting you all again. Subhash, I’m so glad you’re here. There was some confusion about you being alive or dead. Where’s Jinnah?
Nehru: He’s in the other place, the very hot one.
Patel: Deservedly so. Where’s Bhagat Singh?
Bose: He said he’s not interested in bourgeois ceremonies.
Gandhi: I can see the entire country from up here. Everything is so different. I seem to be father of a nation of lunatics — why is everybody talking to himself?
Patel: No, no, they’re talking into things called smartphones.
Gandhi: Is that Bombay? It’s become huge.
Nehru: Best call it Mumbai, one never knows if some Shiv Sena chaps are up here.
Patel: They also have Google, Facebook, Twitter. I tweeted, ‘Nehru is a pseudo-secular socialist’ last evening and got 10,000 retweets.
Gandhi: Stop twittering, Patel. I can’t see a single charkha.
Nehru: Thank God. Instead, we’re making smartphones in my temples of modern India.
Shastri: Actually, they’re being made in the sweatshops of modern China.
Nehru: China beat us again? What do we do?
Patel: We’re an information technology superpower. It enables our boys and girls to go in droves to the West.
Gandhi: Good God. Has nobody told them the Quit India Movement is over?
Shastri: Those shiny shopping malls down there are the temples of modern India. You loved curd, Bapu? You can get 30 varieties of flavoured yogurt down there.
Gandhi: You forget one eats to live. What do the headlines say?
Nehru: The front pages are all about things called Amazon and Flipkart.
Shastri: Those are ads. Amazon and Flipkart are modern deities.
Patel: The headlines are mostly about cows and atrocities against Dalits.
Ambedkar: Told you so.
Patel: There’s trouble in Kashmir and the northeast and upper castes trying to get reservations. A war of words with Pakistan.
Nehru: Some things never change.
Gandhi: How are my precious Indian villages doing?
Nehru: Distressed farmers committing suicide. Mass migration to urban slums.
Bose: Look on the bright side, Bapu. If we kicked the British out, fixing all this is child’s play. Chin up, I hear they might name their next missile the Mahatma Gandhi Intercontinental Ballistic Destroyer, in your honour.
Gandhi: Hey Ram.
Manas Chakravarty is consulting editor, Mint. The views expressed are personal