“Sir, Common Singh has come to see you,” said my house help just when I had sat down to write the preface to my upcoming book.
“He comes at odd times when I’m doing something important, but nevertheless usher him in,” I replied. Common Singh was one such character that I just couldn’t ignore if I had to update myself with the latest mood in Punjab. He was the one who provided me with all the ammo required for a drawing room discussion where everyone is under constant pressure to prove that they know all.
Common Singh: Sirji lot of palties (parties) in Punjab?
Me: Yes, so which one are you going to? Palties are fun. Aren’t they?
Common Singh: I haven’t decided. But the politicians have already started palty hopping. They are recycling from one palty to the other.
Me: Nothing new. But if you were to choose a party, which one would you go to? Sidhu and Pargat bhaji’s looks good. So does Bhagwant Mann’s and apna Ghuggi’s. Lot of sports, games, comedy and entertainment up for grabs. No scope of getting bored.
Common Singh: Ha ha! Sirji, you are very joky. I know you are fond of Bhagwant Mann’s comedy. You used to buy his CDs from a Balachaur shop while driving to and fro from Hoshiarpur to Chandigarh.
Me: This does not answer my question. Which party are you going to?
Common Singh: Sirji one thing. Which language does Sidhu bhaji speak, Punjabi, English or Urdu?
Me: Common Singh, this still doesn’t answer my question. So you are the traditional party type: Bhangra and Gidda types. Not for the ‘New Punjab’ slogan of AAP. Though God only knows what new means.
Common Singh: Sir ji, Congress palty’s social media adds have lots of Bhangra and Gidda and nothing else to show. I don’t need to go to a Bhangra website.
Me: Are you implying you prefer the Blues. Since you are sidelining all others? That’s what I can deduce.
Common Singh: Yes sirji, entire Punjab is feeling the blues. Utter confusion. One palty says new Punjab, the other talks about bringing back old glory and the third says the present is beautiful. Who do we believe?
Me: Common Singh you are evading my question? You should RSVP by now. It sounds rude otherwise.
Common Singh: Rondey saare viaah pichhon?
Me: Shhhh! You’ll get me killed.
Common Singh: Sir ji don’t do mazzak. We all know the reality, except that we fail to read it even though it’s clearly written on every wedding card.
Me: Stop joking. In the West everyone RSVPs. The organisers have to plan the pandals, the langar, and especially the social media cameras. They have to be placed in a manner to make the party look large and grand.
Common Singh: In Amrika, people know where they have to go. Desis don’t RSVP till the last moment because they keep their options open to go to the best palty in town. I will also do the same. Till then why not bargain hard for sops, enjoy the raunak mela and the gups. Abhi to party shuru hui hai.
Me: Dost, do whatever but don’t do a Rondey saarey votaan pichon.