Saturday, January 09, 2016

“Pathankot: A short tragic play”

(Published today in Business Standard)

Pak handler to Terrorist: Look boys, this airbase area is so thick with Indian Army and Air Force moustaches that you’ll have to cut your way through with barbers’ shears, and the Indians know you’re coming. But don’t worry—the lights don’t work, the fence is holier than our book, the guards are retired and unfit, they don’t have the budget to patrol at night, and we’re already using their infrastructure.

Police SP, offstage: They took my car and phone! I have escaped and reported this to my colleagues after a suspicious three-hour gap.

Terrorist on phone: Mummy, I’ve sneaked into India, either through a border tunnel or from J&K, to bang a bunch of virg—become a martyr.

Mummy: Okay, eat something before you croak. Hello? I think we have a cross-connection with the Punjab Police, the Indian Air Force, and Indian Intelligence.

Pathankot airbase: We have hours and hours to defend this base. Who needs thousands of army personnel nearby to help lock it down? Everyone hang at the main gate, that’s where they’ll come from.

Nobody: How do we know that?

[Hours and hours later: Loud bangs, dead people]

PM Modi: On June 21 more than a million people in 192 countries came together to celebrate the first International Day of Yoga.

Indian press: Here are some Pakistani panelists to explain the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase, while we keep looking for some Indian panelists who can explain it.

[More loud bangs]

Some of the Army: Which genius brought in the National Security Guard when we’re right here?

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval: I like the NSG. Why is everyone looking at me?

Delhi Police: Delhi is on red alert for terrorists visiting from Pathankot.

Delhi: Hey, you in the hijacked car, with the grenades. Here are some flowers and an awareness-raising pamphlet about odd-even. Next time it’ll be Rs 2,000.

[VVIP phone rings]

Pakistan PM Nawaz Shareef to PM Modi: When we were holding hands, was it as good for you as it was for me? Cos I think about it all the time.

PM Modi: Across the world there are moving stories of transformed lives and rekindled hopes due to Yoga.

[48 hours later]

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance minister Arun Jaitly: It’s all over. We salute our martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice to annihilate the dastardly enemy.

Part of the Indian press: Doval, Doval, Doval!

Air Force officer: Hello, it’s totally not over.

The rest of the Indian press: Sources say nobody knows their elbow from their ass.

[Loud bangs]

BJP: Criticising the operations at Pathankot is anti-national.

India: Yawn.

PM Modi: Seriously, guys? Yoga is really very good for you.

Army General: All nonsense. Brilliant synergy between the army and the NSG, couldn’t have been better, got on like a house on fire.

Indian press: Er, that actually is a house on fire.

India: How come our super-duper airbase is so thick with Indian Army and Air Force moustaches that you have to cut your way through with barbers’ shears, and we knew they were coming, and six guys have still had the place upside down for longer than a French working week?

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar: A lot of this was bad luck.

[80 hours later]

BJP government: Please, can we never talk about this again?

World: ROTFL. Oops, live mike. We stand firmly by India in her fight against terrorism.

Terrorist on phone: Mummy, they’ve asked me to sneak into India and bang a bunch of virg—become a martyr. Yes, yes, I’ve eaten—a piece of cake.


Anonymous said...

Mitali, I read this piece in the Business Standard the other day. It's the first and only article of yours that I've come across so far but, like it or not, you have acquired a committed fan. I can't recall reading anything equalling this in its combination of wit, intelligence, modernity, and restraint in our country's English media for years. Looking forward to more of your brilliant work, and wishing you success.

Shahid - Spiritedly Fondling Boy said...

like it!