Sunday, July 21, 2013

Three really short plays that no one can perform


One person with a mike ...
One person or many persons who perform while the person on mike speaks out ...
Basic props ...

It should have a fairy-talesque quality to it ..


(Pointing to person who will act).

This is me.
Well, look carefully, it's almost me.
There's a certain uncanny resemblance.

If you observe carefully.

Our RED blood corpuscles, they match.


You could call me what you want.
But good people in these parts call me A BEMUSED COMMONER.
That's what is mentioned on my ration card.

Also my driver's license, my birth certificate, my adhaar.

One day I've a dream.
It's a terrific dream about utopia.
You see, I suffer from a disease.
It's called idealism.
And idealism as some of you know is ... a fatal illness.
Medical science has no cure for it.

Yet, I've these terrific dreams about say, the nation.
It is simple, really.
In my dream ... I ... THE BEMUSED COMMONER ... am the PM.
I am going to save this nation.
A kind of fictional nation.
Which my friend, and she is very clever, says is what all nations are.
A fiction.

It is my first day at the job.
It is 4 a.m. my PA wakes me up.
I start to do yoga.
Breathe in.

Breathe out.

While I am breathing my PA hands me a pink coloured vanilla folder. 
It notifies me about the itinerary for the day.
I've 13 meetings, seven inaugurations, 29 briefings.

A few chances to have my salad with nimboo paani and chew on coca leaves.

I bathe.
Nothing quite like a cold shower in the New Delhi winter.
Good for the brains.
I don't say that. 

FDR does. 
And FDR is FDR.

So much to do ... 

So much to do ...
I'm so busy.

Rush Rush Rush.

Files to read.

Decisions to make.
I have to hoist the flag and listen to blind children sing two patriotic songs.

Rush Rush Rush.

In my Ambassador car.
I meet the additional secretary.

He briefs me about the committee on raw minerals promotion in Ghana.

Rush Rush Rush.

I lay a single flower on the memorial of the 6th Vice President.
They say, he died.

All because of a vice.

Rush Rush Rush.

I Skype with the Governor of Tripura. 
He tells me, his bitch has bred puppies. 
He wants me to suggest names. 
For ... all 99 of them.
Then he tells me seats are vacant. 
What to do? 
Fill them, I guess, is what I say. 
How, he asks? I say, with people. 
He says, we don’t have a policy for such a thing. 
Find the policy, then, I say. 
My PA tells me, we can't do no such thing. 
We are government. 
We are not in the finding business.
Okay, I say.

Rush Rush Rush.

I attend a two-hour lunch with the foreign minister of Guatemala.
In this meet our President recites Rabindro Sangeet.
Yet again.

Rush Rush Rush.

I attend a secret meeting.
It is so secretive that no one knows what the secret is.

Rush Rush Rush.

I attend a V.VIP meeting in which everyone is so V.VIP ... 
Except me ...
Since I am a BEMUSED COMMONER ... remember!
Everyone munches on their V.VIP biscuits.

Sip tea from their V.VIP crockery. 
Make suitable V.VIP sounds. 
It's all very very very very VIP. 
I want to take a pee. 
But I can't since a V.VIP don't pee.
Did you know that?

They simply don't pee. 
Someone removed their bladders. 
Peeing is a wasteful activity. 
It disrupts national productivity.
And V.VIPs can't waste their time.

Rush Rush Rush.

I have two Mosambis for dinner.

Rush Rush Rush.

I still have 13 meetings, seven inaugurations, 29 briefings.
It is late in the night, I am tired.
Very tired.

I ... THE BEMUSED COMMONER want to resign from the post of PM.
But I cannot.

Since I'm too exhausted to sign the said document.
My pathos is toppled by my state.

I sigh.

It is ALMOST 12 on the night of 26th. 
My PA walks in and says: SIR: we've a crisis on hand.
I sigh, again.
It's the start of another fucking day


Freeze tableau.

The end.


This is me.
Well, it's almost me. 
Cause it could also be my clone.
There's a certain uncanny resemblance. 

If you observe carefully, our WHITE blood corpuscles, they match.


You could call me what you want.
But good people in these parts call me A BEMUSED COMMONER.
The thing is, like everyone else in this country I have a super specialisation.

Some are kumbhars.
Some are dhobhies.
Some are mochies.
Some are plain lazy.

And I?
I'm a statistician.
This is my calculator. 
These are its solar buttons. 
I love to press buttons.

You see,
Statistics is the elixir of my life.
It's a genetic thing. 

Totally hereditary.
Pressing buttons.

All together.

As most of you know, five men, Conring, Achenwall, Süssmilch, Graunt and Petty have been honoured as the founder of statistics. 
BUT unknown to the rest of the universe, the sixth is my grand-mother.
This is she - my grand-mother.

The one with a clueless mustache. 
All people in my family have a clueless mustache. 
It's a family patent: cluelessness.

I always carry her passport picture in my wallet.
My grand-mother is a one woman plenary committee of statistics.

She is a one woman golden jubilee celebration of statistics.
Everything is a statistic for my grandmother.

Using bio-statistics.
She has calculated the number of sugar crystals required in a cup of kaafi.
Using Mean Square Weighted Deviation MSWD, she has worked out how many droplets of water required for a perfect bath.
Using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient she worked out how many shoves and pushes are required to produce a perfect baby.

My point being.
Not that statisticians have a point.
My grand-mother had a statistical enumeration for everything.
Famines, riots, floods, earthquakes.
Everything has been worked out to a statistical nicety. 
From road accidents to dowry deaths.

Consider this.
Kosi river:Two million homeless because 85 per cent of the 1.5 lakh cubic feet per second of river water displaced them
1,800 people were killed and hundreds missing on the Tamil Nadu coast due to a Richter 8.9 earthquake.
1000 diarrhea deaths among children.
Daily, again:
42 farmer suicides.

In this way all things in the world are reduced to the orderly world of numbers, numerals, and their computation.

Everything is well.
Until one day my grandmother attends a ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION about the best statistical system in the world.It is the grand-mother of all ROUND TABLES.
The reason it is called ROUND TABLE is: 
Everything will go ROUND and ROUND in a circle.
This is my grandmother's favourite joke.
She cracks this joke in all the 17 languages she knows.

I love my grandmother.
She asks me, you love me, in how many languages.
I say seven; since I know only seven. 
All of them pretty awfully though.
Grandmother says, love is unconditional. 
You can love awfully.
I like that.

Anyways, sorry for the digress.


So, as I was saying.
All these statisticians are locked up in a room.
There is a BIG DEBATE on:
What is the best system in the world. 
The Epidemiology system v/s Structured data analysis. 
Chi-square test v/s Econometrics analysis.
And so on.

The statisticians start to quarrel.
Biff Baff Boom.
Numbers are hurled at each other with impunity.
Prime numbers hurt the least.
Fractions cause maximum damage.

A Pause.

A BEMUSED COMMONER (that's me) asked my grandmother what happened at the ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION?
Grandmother curls her mustache (the one that is clueless).

She looks at her notes.
She smiles: 11 abuses. 13 slaps. 23 scratches. One hospitalised.
The ROUND TABLE is suspended.

I thought the days of statistics are numbered ...
As always, I am wrong.
One day, grandmother perks up and says ...
On 26th November, 173 people were killed and 308 were injured.
I say, that's right, grand-mother.

She says: Son (although, technically, I am a grandson).
Can you get me a proper statistical break-up of the figures? ....


THE BEMUSED COMMONER (that's me) kicks myself 22/7 times. 
And my grand-mother, she cackles 3.14 times.

Statistics zindabad.
Baaki sab kuch murdabad



Freeze tableau.

The end.


This is me.
Well, it's almost me. 

Although bits and pieces of me are disintegrating. 
Especially my smile. 
It wanes, daily.
There's a certain uncanny resemblance. 
For example, if you observe carefully, our BLACK blood corpuscles, they match.



You could call me what you want.
But good people in these parts call me A BEMUSED COMMONER.
What am I doing?
I'm running.
Please nb: It is NOT for health reasons.
Although my doctor advises me that I should run for health reasons.

Since I'm over-weight and obese like a hippopotamus.

Anyways ... 
Here I am
Running because I'm a coward.
Every time there is half a problem I run away from it.

Once I ran all the way to Sanjan. 
This is in between Umergaon and Thalliserri
On the west coast.
Zoroastrian refugees sought asylum in Sanjan.

In c. 936.
Perhaps I seek it now.

Why am I THE BEMUSED COMMONER telling you all this?
Because in Sanjan I saw a walking mango tree.
This is fact not fable. 

Cause, trees do walk, you know.
It is a 1,200 year tree with upside down roots.

These roots enter the ground. 
Due to a unique botanical process, this ensures the tree "walks" one metre, every year.

The BEMUSED COMMONER that's me, is impressed.
I salute the tree.
A gentle breeze is in the air.
I sit under the tree.
There is silence.
Followed by suffocating silence.
For THREE minutes.
After that it IS pretty easy.

So I sit some more.

Time passes.

Suddenly, a local mob appears.
The mob applauds lustily.
Copies of my silent speech are distributed to the audience.
Everyone reads it in silence.
Re-prints are ordered.
Blogs and such carry a bit of my silence.

Arnab Goswami comes to interview me.
Since the nation wants to know the answer.
But he can't.
Oh yes, even he can't.
Since I'm silent.
So he lights a candle.

And SILENTLY goes away.

I'm the new oracle.
I'm the new knowledge.

I am the new truth?
I am something for every someone.

Some say, I'm advocating socialism. 
Others say its Gandhism.
No no, it's communism. 

Yes, yes, its Hinduism.
I think, he is an imperialistic stooge. 

Did you know, his wife's wedding was funded by Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia.
He is supporting democracy. 

No, he wants military rule.
BEWARE: he is a neo-liberal proto-secular quasi-capitalist.
Arre, arre, did you know, he attends Modi's rallies.
Arre, arre, he writes letters to Mayawati?
And so on.


THE BEMUSED COMMONER that's me, is mythologised.
Editorials are written about me.
The Speaker moots a special session ABOUT ME in Parliament. 

He wants to host a joint session.
BUT the BEMUSED COMMONER that's me, remains silent.

World leaders come to me and start to seek my advise.
Obama can't come. 

So he sends me an eMail. 
Will you be President in 2016?

The other leaders want to know how we can solve this problem
(They are building a fly-over through my bedroom, one says) 
Or an emergency 
(They are building a bedroom on the fly-over).

The BEMUSED COMMONER that's me, remains silent.
The world leaders persist. 
Gates comes with his wife. 
So does Ambani (both brothers) with wives and chamchas
They place a cheque at my feet.

So I open one eye.
I ask the world leaders to follow me.

They do.

There is silence.
I raise my right forefinger.
Everyone follows.
I place it into my left nostril.
Everyone does likewise.
I raise my left forefinger.
The leaders follow.
I place it into my right nostril.


Then I proceed to dig my nose.



It's pleasure.
Unmitigated pleasure.
And as you must have realised.
Such a simple answer to the problem.
There's silence.

A silent sort of silence.
Everyone is busy digging their nose.

The United Nation issues a notification.
It says:
One way to solve the problem is, for everyone in the world to follow THE BEMUSED COMMONER, that's me.
Everyone must dig their nose, all the time.
Come what may.
That's how it is.



Freeze tableau
During the freeze tableau all actors ...
And hopefully members of the audience ... 
Plus world citizens, big and small ... 
Should put their right forefinger in their left nostril ...
And left forefinger in their right nostril ...

This is repeated one million and one times, approx ...

The end.