Junglistan Cricketer in Parliament
"Why do we have so much pain around us, so much suffering, so much poverty, so much hunger? No one has answers friends, not even Gautam Buddha. I can't claim success where he failed, but I can help reduce your pain, make life easy for you."
Over 10,000 people had assembled to hear Komal Baba's sermons, paying Rs 2,000 for a seat in the largest centrally air-conditioned sports complex of Junglistan. Quite a few had shelled out over Rs 25,000 to sit closer to the Baba, and if fortune favoured they would get to ask one question also. One, not more than one. Baba's time was precious, and he had many calls to attend.
Baba turned to his most favoured shishya Swami Paramananda, gesturing him to take over. Paramananda, a management graduate, had failed to sell soaps, newspapers, televisions, movies, condoms and everything else he tried his hand at. That was before he struck gold with the Baba. He had big competition to contend with - Yoga Swami, Magician Swami, Sex Swami, Medicine Swami, and few hundred others, each catering to different caste, religion, sect, sub-sect, etc. Paramananda drew from his earlier business experiences to package Komal Baba - the Style Swami.
Komal Baba's philosophy in life - live like there is no tomorrow, whatever you do, you do in excess.
Paramananda introduced the first applicant - Shambhu, the elephant.
"Baba, my life is very boring. Everyday I do the same thing, eat, drink, bathe, eat more, drink more, bathe again. What should I do?"
"Your life needs some spicing up, needs pace. Tell me, have you ever travelled in a Shatabdi Express?"
"Exactly why! When you return, take the Shatabdi."
"But Baba, there is no Shatabdi to where I go."
"Then go wherever it takes you." Shambhu's time was up.
"Baba, I run a tea stall. My business is bad these days, what should I do," asked Ittooppu, the goat.
"What do you think could be the reason?"
"A new tea stall has come up, he is selling food at cheaper rates."
"OK, you do one thing. Start selling at much more cheaper rates and give one vada free for every vada sold."
"But Baba, won't that ruin me?"
"Do you have faith in Baba or not," Paramananda cut Ittooppu short and led him outside.
Model Neelima took the microphone next.
"Baba, nobody takes me seriously. I offered to pose nude if Junglistan won the World Cup, if Junglistan lost in Kangarooland, if Machaan hit his 1000th century, but no one seems interested in seeing me nude. Isn't that quite rude of them?"
"Absolutely. But you must understand the fundamentals of sales and marketing. You have to find the right audience. The cricketers are perhaps not interested because they have better options. Why don't you turn your attention on politicians instead? For example, pose nude if Junglistan National Congress wins a state election, or pose nude if JJP wins the bypoll in Malluland. It gives the party workers an added incentive to work. Maybe you could offer a bonus point or a loyalty reward. Do I need to elaborate?"
"No further Baba," Neelima shed a few feathers right in front of the Baba, a memento for the timely and sage advice.
Next in line was Chathunni Vakil, an articulate, suave, scholarly legal eagle and a politician, who was forced to quit a few jobs because a certain CD of his went viral on the Net.
"Baba. You are trikaalajnaani. You know what is, was and will be. Do I need to say anything at all? I seek shelter in you. Hari Om, Baba."
"I can feel your pain," Baba said affectionately. Sometime back he too was involved in a similar scandal. But some deft handling by Paramananda saved the day. The CD in question was now openly available in the grey market with some cut and beeps, sold as a 'to do guide for dummies', and another copy with a few modifications as a manual for increasing libido.
"Can you believe it Baba? What crime did I commit? Purely a private and personal matter. Do I ask anyone who they are going around with? And see what they have done to me."
"My sympathies are with you beta."
"And think of it Baba, my rival party's members have been caught watching it in the Assembly. Did I do any of that sort?"
"That was very smart of you son."
"Now what should I do to revive my career?"
All eyes were on the Baba.
"Beta, my shishya Swami Paramananda will brief you separately on how you can climb the CD to success. In the meanwhile, continue doing whatever you were doing. Only one word of caution: make sure the curtains are drawn."
"The last question now," announced Paramananda.
A monkey walked to the stage, drawing gasps from the audience.
"Isn't that Machaan?"
"Hitter of a 1,000 centuries."
"Winner of a hundred trophies."
"The God of cricket."
Komal Baba stood up, bowing to the cricketer who made bowlers across the world quiver in fear, an icon for fans all over, the role model who earned respect from all with his conduct, the hero who brought many a war to stop so that soldiers could see him in action one last time.
"What brings God to my sabha," Baba asked.
"Baba, for years I have served this nation with my sweat and blood. For years this nation adored me, till last week to be exact. Today half my fans detest me, and the other half, lampoon me. Why? Simply because I have been nominated to the Janwar Sabha?"
"Seems so," Baba responded.
"Why, Baba, why? What have I not done for them?"
"I feel your fans feel let down by you for accepting JS membership."
"Isn't that an honour? No sportsperson has ever been there. I am the first to enter that august hall. Shouldn't my fans be proud of me?"
"Beta, let me explain. We have a ruling alliance and an opposition alliance in our Junglistan. The ruling alliance rules because they have more members, just in case you didn't know. Now they have nominated you, which makes it look like you are their man, even if you aren't. And your fans thought you were above all that, you get what I mean."
"But, it's an honour."
"Beta, an honour is when you get the Junglistan Ratna."
"Still, I am the first sportsperson to be in the JS."
"Let me explain it this way," Machaan was testing Baba's patience, "Can an elephant live in a cowshed? Can a lion live under a monkey's rule? You, who ruled the cricket field, what will you do there? JS is where visionaries should be, average and scheming politicians make it to, and frauds like us aspire to be."
"Exactly. I am a visionary. I want to make serious contribution to the way this country is run. For instance I have very strong views on the rural employment scheme, the national health mission, the rising fiscal deficit, the decreasing forest cover, the perceived governance deficit, the policy paralysis, the widening rich-poor divide, the persecution of the middle-class, the energy crisis, the land loot, the lowering moral values, the gender gap, infant mortality, female infanticide, the Sikh riots, the Gujarat riots..."
"Then it's very unfair of your fans," said the Baba, giving up.
"Baba, it's not the fans who are behind the propaganda."
"I see a CIA hand. They are scared of my views on non-proliferation and India's no-first-use policy."
Maybe we were all wrong.
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