Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Of four-letter words

Kashmir Assembly

Scene I, Act II
Play: Who shouts louder?

Dramatis personae:
Akbar, the Abusive: Sharp-tongued, wildly gesticulating. Chair.
Moulvi: Opposition member with a huge fan following, throws fans occasionally.
Mehbooba: Leader of the opposition, will trade anything to be the Queen.
Omar: The scion, damned if he opens his mouth, damned if he doesn’t.
And the sundry.

The house is in session. There have been slug-fests -- drop-kicking, jumping on benches et al -- in the last few days for entirely different reasons.

Penultimate day. Enter Akbar in over-sized headmaster glasses. Slightly boorish, hair dyed charcoal black. More black than Prof Soz’s little moustache. Takes his seat.

Akbar: Let the proceedings begin, ladies.

Moulvi: I object. There are men also present here.

Akbar: Don’t rub me the wrong way. I know where you come from.

Moulvi: You are being partisan.

Akbar: How many parties have you changed? I have lost count.

[Laughs a sinister National conference laugh]

Moulvi [red in his ears]: This is such a shame!

Akbar: We have many shame. Oops, damn this English language. Bahut Sharam hai hamare paas. Apni fikir karo. Your party is shameless.

Moulvi: You sound like a farmer, who never went to school.

Akbar: I don’t have farm-houses like some people.

At this Mehbooba jumps to her feet and butts in. Scarf tighly around her face.

Mehbooba [to Akbar]: You must be the most biased farmer ever.

Akbar: Javo ji, kissi aur bagh me javo. I am the gardener here. And I will not let you pluck any peaches.

Mehbooba: Please remember you are not a national conference worker here, like the one killed yesterday. You are the chair.

Akbar: I am Al-baain. Plough. Get it. [Switches over to Kashmiri for easy cuss-word delivery]
Saeri meel chakvo aabas. [We will pour all your ink into water]

Mehbooba: It is clear. You are full of spite.

Akbar: Not a word will go on records, Mehbooba ji. Not a word.

Mehbooba: We haven’t spoken a word. What will you enter and not enter in the record?

Akbar: Shut up, I take no dictations from Muftis or Molvis. Akbar only gives dictations.

At which point Molvi gets supremely agitated and attempts to throw a fan at Akbar but Allah saves the speaker.

Omar: What was that? An earthquake. Lets move out of here.

Akbar: Beth jayiye. Sit sit. Billions of billious barbecued blue blistering barnacles, what a rude bunch I got here.

Akbar continues his rant. Beth Jayiye. By now all courtiers are up. There is noise, commotion. TV guys have got news of the day. They are pantomiming in front of the cameras. As if describing an assembly free-for-all is the most terrible thing in the world to do.

Diplodocus! Duck-billed platypus! Dunderheaded coconuts! Voices from the speaker’s chamber can be heard.

The yapping gradually dims out.


© Sameer