Dr Doom: We’ve called this press conference to sorrowfully inform you that one of our distinguished patients, a geriatric gentleman called Mr I. N. Congress, whom you all know well, has slipped into a coma and had to be put on life support.
1st reporter: Is it Ebola?
Doctor Doom: It could well be. The patient has been haemorrhaging all over the place. He almost bled to death in May this year, when he was admitted to the ICU and he’s started bleeding again.
2nd reporter: We heard it started with a chap called Modi bashing him up badly?
3rd reporter: I heard a guy called Rahul did him in?
Doctor Gloom: No, no, it began well before those incidents, when he started suffering from the medical condition known as policy-paralysis.
3rd reporter: Any other medical issues?
Doctor Gloom: He’s practically riddled with them. He’s been suffering from chronic dynasty-itis, acute kowtowing and high corruption-pressure for a long time. Recently he also suffered from driving-the-economy-down-the-tube-itis and inflationosis, including onionoplexy.
2nd Reporter: Could you spell those diseases slowly please?
Doctor Doom: But the biggest problem is psychiatric.
1st Reporter: He’s gone round the bend?
Doctor Doom: He’s delusional, completely lost touch with reality. That’s apart from an inflammation of the ego, of course, which is a professional hazard.
3rd reporter: Ah, like gas.
Dr Doom: Oh, yes, they all suffer terribly from gas.
1st reporter: Just how loony is he?
Doctor Gloom: Well, he makes all kinds of preposterous claims. For instance, he insists he was a close pal of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
1st reporter: Har, har, har.
2nd reporter: Hahahaha. He’ll say he gave the country independence next.
3rd reporter: Does he suffer from dementia?
Doctor Gloom: Well, he’s very old. He claimed he was born in 1885.
1st reporter: What has he been smoking?
2nd Reporter: Malana cream?
Doctor Gloom: We aren’t qualified to comment on the brand of hash.
1st reporter: Do you think he has AIDS?
Doctor Doom: He’s led a promiscuous life, you know, hooking up with partners rather indiscriminately. But we’d like to withhold details to protect the family.
3rd reporter: We heard his partner NCP has been infected too?
Doctor Gloom: Firstly, they’re divorced. And secondly, NCP has merely had a heart attack.
2nd Reporter: Is his ex-partner Ms CP Marxist suffering from senile decay?
Doctor Doom: It’s called Karatitis, a related disease.
1st reporter: Any words of wisdom before Mr Congress became comatose?
Dr Gloom: Ah yes. Just before slipping into a coma, he asked us politely, ‘Theek hai?’
2nd reporter: Has he said anything about donating his organs?
Dr Gloom: Oh, we can keep him on life support for a very long time. You never know, sometimes these coma patients wake up after years. Besides, nobody wants his organs.
Dr Doom: That’ll be all, folks. We’d like you to tell Mr Congress’ friends and well-wishers it’s natural to have feelings of anxiety and despair during these traumatic times. We provide counselling services for grieving folks at very reasonable rates.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed by the author are personal