Me: Sir, what do you think of all these writers returning their awards?
Alleged Sahitya Akademi Guy: It’s terrible, terrible.
Me: At this rate, you’ll run out of space to store all the returned stuff. Are you getting new cupboards?
ASAG: What? It’s our image I’m worried about.
Me: Can’t you do something about it?
ASAG: We’re trying to persuade the writers to protest differently. They could do hunger-strikes or candle-light marches. Even a nude protest is better than this.
Me: Won’t work, boss. What’s plan B?
ASAG: These chaps are writers. Why don’t they protest by writing?
Me: Absolutely. They could write gut-wrenching novels about the horrors in our society.
ASAG: Ummm…maybe look on the positive side? Don’t want to run the country down, eh?
Me: You wouldn’t want to spread disaffection against the state?
ASAG: Precisely. Nor besmirch the country’s image abroad.
Me: Obviously not. Historical novels?
ASAG: Best avoid history, it’s a touchy subject.
Me: Also shun all mention of caste, creed, religion?
ASAG: Naturally, why focus on the divisive?
Me: Romantic novels then?
ASAG: Sure, sure…as long as they’re of the same religion and they remember their gotra.
Me: Ummm…how about cookbooks?
ASAG: Fine, of course you must leave out you-know-what.
Me: Eh? Ah, of course.
ASAG: Not good to hurt people’s feelings. And we have lots of easily hurt feelings.
Me: Er.. This might not work, boss. You have plan C?
ASAG: Yes. See, it’s my constitutional duty to give literary awards, right?
ASAG: So returning them is hampering me in performing my constitutional role. It’s an act of literary terrorism.
Me: Look boss, arresting them won’t help. Plan D?
ASAG: I call Plan D the master plan.
ASAG: Yup. I agree the writers have a right to protest. But we too have the right to protest against the protest.
Me: It’s a free country.
ASAG: So we can either refuse to accept the awards they return or, even better, re-return them to the writers.
Me: Wow. What if they refuse to take it back?
ASAG: We’ve already told the couriers to quietly sneak it into their houses.
Me: What if they re-re-send it back?
ASAG: We’ll just re-re-re-send it to them. We can continue this game as long as we want. They’ll run up a fortune in courier bills. We, on the other hand, have already got bulk discounts from courier companies.
Me: Sheer genius, sir.
ASAG: I’ve thought of a back-up Plan E too, to be used only if this award jihad gets out of control. We’ll just pour ink over them, non-violently, the Shiv Sena way. Not black ink, of course, that’s fascist.
Me: Red ink then?
ASAG: Red is communist.
ASAG: Blue should do.