Fireworks Behind the Scenes
Act I: Scene I
‘Patakha’, a colloquial word for fireworks is a very unusual nickname. Often used in a rather different sense, the Mayor’s trusted secretary had been christened with it since his childhood. When queried about it, he had a rather amusing explanation for it, “I was born on a Diwali Day. I guess my Uncle saw a great deal of mirth in calling me so.”
“Patakha”, called the Mayor. “This Holi we must plan something special. Atlam me Katleyam ho jaaye bas”. The Mayor’s bright ideas generally originated from Patakha’s Eureka moments.
“Done Sir! Lemme think”, replied Patakha as he geared his ‘grey cells’ towards overdrive.
“Sir, the crime rate in our district has gone up in the last one year. I suggest we organize a Body-building competition. This will reinforce your macho image which will be very helpful in curbing crime. In a way, you will be sending out a strong message without sending in the bulldozers. It will also be sound preparatory work for the Lok Sabha elections next year.”
The Mayor didn’t mind such reassurance of an impending ticket.
“Sir, we will plan the event a few days before Holi to coincide with the CMs birthday.”
“That sounds good but do you think we will be able to muster sufficient crowds for the occasion? I will need to justify the cost, after all.”
“Hmm Sir, your point is valid. I have just the fix in mind. I suggest we also add a rather exciting dash of colour and glamour to the cultural evening!”
“What exactly do you have in mind Patakha?”, the Mayor’s curiosity had clearly been awakened.
“Sir, while the event will be advertised as a male competition, we will also get some female body-builders to do an inaugural parade. It will be just the right platform to showcase their talent. After all, we can’t be gender biased when it comes to pitching for votes.”
“Appears innovative Patakha but what about our party’s image? We are stuck with our ‘sanskari’ philosophy.”
“Sir, you need to be bold to be noticed by the High Command. Trust me Sir, nothing adverse will happen. And I am always there to take the blame should anything get out of hand.”
Act I: Scene II
“Bloody Idiot Patakha!” yelled the Mayor. “I should have never listened to you. Look at the soup that we are in today. The opposition is having a field day and crying blue murder. This was your idea of Katleyam! It is my neck which is on the block!”
“I am awfully sorry Sir”, a remorseful Patakha muttered under his breath, “Who could have ever thought that the decorator would position the Balaji idol right up on the stage? And that too such a huge one. I presume he just went according to standard procedures. Our fault clearly that none of us went to inspect the venue.” By using the plural form, Patakha had cleverly diverted the blame to an imaginary collective body.
“Forget all that! What do we do now?”, glared and growled the Mayor.
“Sir, I have another brilliant idea!”, said Patakha.
The Mayor, glum and devastated, was willing to hold on to any straw that would keep him afloat. “Yeah?”, he queried with trepidation.
“Sir, lets overturn the narrative on its head.”
“Sir, beauty or obscenity lies in the eyes of the beholder. If our celibate God is not objecting or feeling insulted, why are they getting so worked up? Let’s project ourselves as the progressive party. And the opposition as the one needing the progressive lenses. Our media army will do the needful. We will get them to cry hoarse that the opposition is fundamentally discriminatory and anti-women. No love for sports and no respect for sportswomen.”
“Fine, I will go along. But what about their Ganga-jal sprinkling and the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa to purify the venue?”
“Can’t you see Sir that is a masterstroke in our hand? Finally, we have been able to convince these anti-forces that all sins can be washed away by chanting and sprinkling of Gangajal. And they are proclaiming it to the entire world on our behalf. It is actually a victory of sorts for us.”
“I can see that perspective Patakha. Where did you pick up such street-smartness?”
“Sir, you only taught me that politics is about finding common ground”, said a redeemed Patakha. “A damp squib ‘once in a while’ and the occasional singeing of the hand like this time. But Patakha will never let you down. And like Golf Sir, it is the recovery from a bad shot that is vital.”
“You champion swine!”, smiled the Mayor who was now clearly in a patronizing mood. He knew that he had a spin bowler for all seasons.
A rascal indeed. But clearly worth his weight in gold!
First published at seekmediation.com on 09/03/23
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