Sunday, April 5, 2009

VOTE FOR LAXMI BAI

The phone rang shrill, jolting me out of a nice warm bed. ‘Who in the blooming galaxy calls at 9am on a Sunday?’ I snarled. ‘Well no one except your mother’ mumbled my husband digging deeper into the blankets. I reluctantly rolled out, grabbed the wretched instrument and got blasted by ‘Gud marning memsahib. I not coming today!’ it was Laxmi Bai on the other end, all bright and early for a change. ‘And tomorrow and the phooool week’ she declared serenely through a mouthful of paan.
‘Why? Did somebody die?’ I asked nastily, expecting her to break down and pour out another sob story of yet another drunken relative throwing himself into the Mula Mutha.
She laughed, ‘nahin nahin, everybody ekdum phine. Arrey Memsahib’ she paused and dropped the bomb, ‘I now becoming corporator for my jopadpatti. Vote for Laxmi Bai everyone is saying!’
The phone crashed to the floor.
Minutes later my world crashed to the floor.
‘Whaaat! You can’t do that! What about me? What about us?’ My wild shrieks got hubby scrambling out of bed, lunging for his golf clubs, ready to bash my imaginary paramour’s skull. ‘But Laxmi, you can’t do this to me….’ I crumpled like a deflated balloon. ‘She’s dumped me, she’s gone, abandoned me…to become a politician!!’ It was hubby’s turn to laugh his guts out.
No, this can’t be true. I kept telling myself, I’m sure she’ll realize how much she misses chopping onions at my place and come right back. The week wore by painfully. Every pot I scrubbed, every new maid I interviewed seemed to fall short in every way. No one seemed to have that special zing, that spark and of course that sharp witty tongue which Laxmi Bai wielded with such superiority.
‘It’s all that Danny Boyle’s fault! He’s got everyone thinking they can become slumdog millionaires!’ declared my girlfriends sympathetically. We sat forlornly sipping our glasses of wine, pondering on the unfairness of it all. ‘The kids have lost weight, heck I’ve lost weight! Mother in law doesn’t grumble anymore and the house is too darn quiet for comfort!’ and I was about ready to jump into the Mula Mutha myself. When my London returned pal suddenly sat up all excited, ‘Aren’t you supposed to have a criminal record to become an Indian neta?’ she pulled out a magazine from her Prada bag, ‘Look it says here - only if you’ve killed or kidnapped someone, do Indian voters know you can handle anything’
I almost choked on the dim sum with joy! ‘That’s just it! You can’t become a politician in India unless you’re a liar, a cheat, a killer, a kidnapper, in short, really wacko. I picked my glass of wine, all tipsy with happiness, ‘my Laxmi Bai doesn’t stand a chance in hell! Her biggest heist has been a kilo of sugar at the most….’ And just as I had prophesied, the doorbell rang post elections and Laxmi Bai strode in red-faced. ‘No one voted for Work Hard with Laxmi …’ tears filled her eyes as she clanged about the kitchen, ‘everyone voted for Haath ki Safaee with Sarita’
But I still have my vote left and so do you. Let’s not let Laxmi bai down.
Let’s vote for the truth.

DNA SUNDAY Funny Bone 5th April 2009