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A bill of goods

A few years after the Lokpal Bill has become law…

india Updated: Apr 24, 2011 00:56 IST
Manas Chakravarty

A few years after the Lokpal Bill has become law…

Uncle: Hey Ramu, what brings you here?

Ramu: Uncle, great to see you. I jumped a traffic light and tried to bribe the cop.

Second prisoner: Where's the cop?

Ramu: Oh, he's saying hello to his ex-boss and the ex-DIG in the next cell.

Second prisoner: Yes, almost the entire police force is here.

Ramu: So Uncle, what did you do?

Uncle: I fudged my expense account. And they got your aunt for not paying tax on her fixed deposit interest.

Ramu: Who's taking care of little Bittu then?

Uncle: Oh, he's the one who denounced us. I had spanked him for not doing his homework and he went and snitched to the authorities. But I'm proud of the little tyke. They gave him a medal and made him kidpal, a sort of a lokpal for kids.

Ramu: Great. Hey, isn't that Gupta saab, our neighbour?

Gupta: Yes, many of my colleagues from income tax are here too.

Ramu: Wonderful. I've always wanted to know what Section 532(3)(a)(1) means. But is Bhabhi-ji in too?

Gupta: No, she's in the private sector, they can't touch her. But they took Bunty to a remand home.

Ramu: What for?

Gupta: He tried to bribe his class teacher into passing him. It was a government school, you see.

Ramu: Bribe him with what?

Gupta: Chocolate. Cadbury.

Ramu: He should have tried Lindt. Isn't that cousin Rajiv from excise?

Rajiv: Hi and this is my brother-in-law Pratap, ex-PWD. Guess what? Even our jailer is here among us.

Ramu: How come?

Pratap: Oh, we complained he was getting a cut out of our rations. He had a lousy lawyer.

Ramu: Say, aren't you the reporter from the local paper?

Reporter: Yup. My editor told me to do a story on Anna. "Anna Kournikova or Anna Nicole-Smith?" I asked. He gnashed his teeth. So obviously I thought he wanted a story on Anna Karenina. But when I handed it in, the editor blew his top and next thing I knew I had been framed on a charge of swiping Gandhi caps off the heads of bald politicians.

Ramu: Too bad. But where is Jaggu Dada?

Uncle: Oh, he only does rape and armed robbery, so he's out.

Ramu: And Mastan Saheb, our local MLA?

Reporter: Why on earth would he be here? He's too smart to get caught. He's got smart CAs to cook his books and smart lawyers to get him off the hook. But how's it outside?

Ramu: Oh, fine. Nobody fasts any more, except Irom Sharmila, and nobody gives a damn. Who knows where Manipur is anyway?

Second prisoner: I think he went out for a leak.

Ramu: I see. But I'm worried about the lokpal. The pressure gets to them. The first guy died of overwork, the second ran away to Antarctica, the third took an overdose of cocaine, and the fourth has gone round the bend. He thinks he's Nero and parades up and down dressed in a purple toga and a laurel wreath and plays the harp, that too tunelessly.

Reporter: Can't they sack him?

Ramu: They forgot to put that provision in. Anyway, it's good to see all you friends. Uncle, can I sit next to you, out of the sun?

Uncle: Of course, of course.

Ramu: Thanks.

Uncle: You're welcome. That'll be fifty bucks.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed by the author are personal.