The final frontier
The Starship Enterprise has burrowed through a wormhole and ended up in the early 21st century, in the vicinity of planet Earth. We are in geosynchronous orbit above an ancient civilisation called India, where we are observing some amazing goings on.india Updated: Oct 16, 2011 00:44 IST
Captain’s log, Stardate 67321.09.
The Starship Enterprise has burrowed through a wormhole and ended up in the early 21st century, in the vicinity of planet Earth. We are in geosynchronous orbit above an ancient civilisation called India, where we are observing some amazing goings on.
The natives have discovered an extraordinary device that can eradicate inflation, corruption and similar stuff. This rath, as it’s called, will travel around the country zapping things that end in -tion. Competition has already been decimated. The locals hope the nation will be spared. But while perspiration is in danger, the device is helpless against ambition and hallucination.
The natives also believe in something/someone called LP Bill, supposed to eradicate corruption. Spock says he’s a close relative of Clinton Bill, a great leader of another decaying civilisation. Dr McCoy thinks it’s a pill and not a bill and you’re supposed to pop one after lunch for a corruption-free day. It doesn’t seem to have worked, though, because I know for a fact the bill for this starship was almost double its cost, in spite of being the lowest of three quotations.
Some Indians think that adding the prefix ‘Jan’ before anything makes it infinitely superior. Examples include the Jan Chetna Yatra, the Jan LP Bill, Janata, January and Jangled. A mere mention of jangled nerves to convey nervousness is far better than going on and on about gled nerves.
India has developed a unique political system. I had beamed Scotty down to study it and he says there are two main political parties: the Pseudo-Secular and the Pseudo-Nationalist. The Big Boss is supposed to be someone called ‘Aam Aadmi’, but the person who really runs the show is a ‘Khaas Aurat’. Parliament, where decisions are taken by walk-outs is, however, above both of them and Anna is above Parliament. Decisions are also taken by fasting. They have a prime minister, but opinion is divided about him — while he believes he is not responsible for anything, others say he’s responsible for inflation, power cuts, scams, terrorism, earthquakes, spoiling relationships with their girlfriends and for keeping taps open when they leave the house on vacations. The locals often hark back to their glorious past, when they had a gala time fighting each other and life expectancy was low, so they didn’t have to see old men go on yatras. Now they fight only the Klingon kingdom to the west.
The country’s main religion is Cricket. Spock, who has researched it, says it’s based on the battle between Good and Evil. The Evil Ones are referred to as the Wickeds and the purpose of the creed is to take as many wickeds as possible. Vast crowds attend the religious ceremonies where a ball is hurled at the Wickeds, the aim being to hit them. These symbols of Wickedness are also known as Stumps. I’m a bit stumped, though, about why they ‘run between the Wickeds’. I can understand their hitting the Wickeds, or running away from them, but Spock says running between one Wicked and another is illogical.
The country has two economies: one white, the other black. The gap between them is being papered over by a White Paper on Black Money. They constantly monitor the economy by moving a poverty line up and down. As for the natives, in spite of penury, disease, politicians, do-gooders, khap panchayats, godmen, economists, TV anchors and editorial writers, they are determined to boldly go where no man has gone before.
James T Kirk
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint n email@example.com The views expressed by the author are personal