Why is a Nano-owning farmer like a plastic surgeon?
The Soundtrack: Protect Ya Neck by Wu-Tang Clan
Lying next to the Nizamuddin Bridge that connects New Delhi to its subtler, more expansive outer regions of Mayur Vihar and beyond, there’s a patch of land growing potatoes. The land belongs to a Harmant Sukhia, but he hardly spends his time here. Instead, the man in charge of the field and responsible for growing the potatoes is Satyen with a variable surname of Dev and Mohan.
Some two years ago, two people wearing bush shirts and spectacles and living closeby at the Indian Administrative Service officers-infested housing society of Purvasha Anandlok had dropped by, making more than cursory notes about the fertile farm lands on the banks of the Yamuna under and across the Nizamuddin Bridge.
A year later and after a series of conferences at Vigyan Bhavan near India Gate, the two gentlemen descended again on some specific plots. One of them was the land used for farming potatoes by Satyen Dev/Mohan. A specific sack of potato seeds (batch no. 21A) was handed out free of cost to Satyen Dev/Mohan as part of the classified Operation Spud.
Months later, Satyen Dev/Mohan has been producing an excellent crop of potatoes on the land owned by Harman Sukhia. The output has been twelve times the annual average and with the wages of success, Satyen Dev/Mohan had just bought a Tata Nano, and was driving his new car for the third day in his life on Nizamuddin Bridge when the car in front of him, a Maruti Esteem, screeched to a halt, with the consequence of his yellow Nano’s nose banging into the back of the car in front.
The car being driven by Jamshi Naripointwalla shuddered the way a hand does after it comes crashing on a wobbly corrugated metal sheet with nothing below it. “What tha…?” she exclaimed, the seat belt pressing into her right shoulder.
“What tha…?” the man with his face wrapped up in sheets of white gauge bandage uttered some two seconds after, knowing that not to say it would suggest his willingness to take all kinds of shit in life.
Only a few minutes ago, as the two of them were rolling down the moderately empty channel of the Nizamuddin Bridge, Inder, to show that he wasn’t all dead serious, had asked Jamshi, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
She had looked at his face — well, not at his face, as there was no face visible — and shook her head with a laugh. They were approaching the house of M. Morarji and C. Charan, two bureaucrats whom Jamshi had been told to contact by her source — the same one who gave her free Rs 14 corporate box seats at the IPL match at the Feroze Shah Kotla where Delhi lost to someone – for classified experimental-stage Bt potato skin. Which is when a car banged into them.
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” Inder said, turning to Jamshi again after she had got out of the car, almost pummelled the moron in a Nano whose damage had been more severe than the Esteem they were in. After buckling up again and hurling the choicest of invectives at the person whom the next day both Jamshi and Inder would be introduced by Morarji and Charan as India’s top grower of Bt potatoes.
“No, I give it up,” Jamshi replied. “What’s the answer?” “I haven’t the slightest idea,” said Inder. Jamshi sighed wearily. “I think you might do something better with the time,” she said, “than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers.”
[Next week: CWG Work - - Reconstruction time]