While I was trying to elaborate on a complicated non point, she interjected, “Yeh kya Oot Patang bolte rehte ho!” Perhaps without any hope of being listened to at length, much less being understood I was, for the nth time, asserting how I was not even in the remotest way anything like Alu Persad, despite several frenemies having gleefully noted, quite vehemently (and sadistically), my near resemblance to that eminent personality. But now having been again accused of “Oot Patang”, I thought I’ll hit back.
Said I, “Look, I’m sorry. I should have realised by now what it is like to have the same mental state as Arbi Devy. After so much multiplication, women do get a little soft up here”, putting a finger on her temple. “Itni platoon ko palte-palte, Yeh hardware, software ban jaata hai” I teased her, tapping her head.
“Phir, Oot Patang”, she exclaimed, hitting back on my hand.
“Zindigi mein kuch nahin kar sake to kurta, pyjama pehen kar election mein kahre ho jao. S’curty main bhar doongi. Jeet gaye to kaee guna wapis aajaeegi.”
“Magar”, she continued in afterthought, “Sirf Alu Persad ke tarah lagna hi kafi nahin, uski tarah bolna bhi parega. Bhojpuri mein”.
“Aur agar main haar gaya to tumbari S’curty bhi jabt ho jaegi” I played on.
“Koe nahin, tumhe baal kale karwane ka mauka to melega. Na koe tumhe pehchanega aur na log hansege, “woh gaya Alu Persad!”
“Baal Katwane, woh Kyon?” I shot back.
“Ab behre bhi ho rahe ho kya? Waise baal katwana sasta parega. S’curty jabt hone ke baad”.
I was silenced; compelled to think. All this Oot Patang I thought could actually be funny, were it not so serious. Had not some Movers & Shakers made a fortune and some name imitating Alu Persad? And in this era of scams, an udder (or was it fudder?) scam or two would come in handy to provide for in old age.
This woman could be relied on to handle any unsavoury aftermath. Why? She could even take over and represent me ex-officio were any sham Commissions of Inquiry instituted to look into trumped-up charges?
“Kuch Oot Patang soch rahe ho kya?” she quizzed, her big grin resting on the palm of her hand as she swayed slowly on the moorah. She seemed to be reading my thoughts.
“Agar main phans gaya, to kya tum meri jagah jail jaogi?” I ventured.
“Ho sakta hai” she countered; “magar uske liye tumhe Alu Persad nahin, Arbi Devy banna parega!”
“Aasan hai; hardware nahin, software ka istemal karna padega”, she hit back.
“Shukar hai” I declared, “Main to bachoon ka soch raha tha”.
Disclaimer: Resemblance to any person, dead or alive or moribund, is purely co-incidental.
Nodnat – is a pen name that the writer with deep knowledge of Himalayan flora and fauna and a keen environmentalist has adopted. He hails from Kotgarh, in Shimla Hills and retired as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests from Himachal Pradesh forest department.