Reality Bites: Love from Kashmir

If I had been incarcerated and humiliated like those Kashmiri leaders, I’d have said some rather unparliamentary things and perhaps even slyly sprinkled itching power on their chairs at the meeting

Bonhomie at 7, RCR
Bonhomie at 7, RCR

Rupa Gulab

The nation was terribly curious when the Dear Despot and his henchman invited Kashmiri leaders for talks a few days ago. Most of these leaders had been under house arrest for months, some for well over a year, as the Dear Despot’s party fiddled around with their state, demoted it to a Union Territory, revoked Article 370, and did all manner of their usual bumbling and inexplicable things.

Even worse, they accused Kashmiri leaders of terrible, unforgivable crimes. Mehbooba Mufti, for instance, deserved to be locked up because she was a (gasp) “Daddy’s girl”!

I must congratulate these Kashmiri leaders for behaving with decorum at the meeting after their long incarceration. Pragmatism is a part of politics, and besides they didn’t suffer quite as much as the ordinary people of Kashmir. I did raise my eyebrows when they posed for photographs with the Dear Despot and his henchman—instead of scowling, a few cheerfully said “Cheese” to the photographer. Now, if I had been incarcerated and humiliated by those two, I would have said some rather unparliamentary things and perhaps even surreptitiously sprinkled itching power on their chairs.

News channels showed us a few fleeting shots of the meeting in progress (only bits where they were seated and staring blankly at each other). I was deeply disappointed that they didn’t show Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Dear Despot clutching each other fondly and weeping buckets—that’s what they always do when they are in the same room together and I find it rather entertaining.

The meeting lasted for over three hours, and I suspect that either all the Kashmiri leaders have Stockholm syndrome or potent hallucinogens were slipped into their tea, because when I heard two of them speaking to journalists after the meeting, my eyebrows shot up so high they could have collided with an airborne plane.

The first Kashmiri leader I heard was Sajjad Lone—he said that the meeting was very cordial, there was deep emotional bonding with the people who had jailed them, and other fuzzy wuzzy nonsense. I’ve never trusted him, so I dismissed his utterances.

The second leader was Omar Abdullah, and he had me gob-smacked. He praised the Dear Despot so frequently and so fulsomely, he sounded just like any old sycophantic BJP minister. I strained my ears to catch sarcasm but there was not a trace of Mark Anthony’s “Brutus was an honourable man” tone of voice. Then I strained my eyes to see if there was a little Dear Despot doll in his hands (like the one BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra carries around with him to TV studios) but I couldn’t spot it. Oh well. Maybe he was using it as a footstool?

I get the feeling that Patra’s Dear Despot doll is destined to play a huge role in reviving our sluggish economy and turning it from its current “Zzzzz” shape to a “V” shape or whatever letter of the alphabet economists want. Earlier, the Dear Despot had said selling pakodas would make us wealthy but now that we cannot afford to buy oil to fry the pakodas in, we have to settle for dolls made in his image.

The Dear Despot spoke warmly about the “toyconomy” a few days ago and warned us that India imports 80 per cent of toys, so we must start making our own. And before you smirk, let me assure you that it’s merely a coincidence that one of India’s crony capitalists bought a famous UK toy store chain in 2019. Stop being so cynical, will you?

I’m trying very hard to be positive for a change, and hoping that those Dear Despot dolls will do wonders for India. See, it’s like a never-ending purchase: First you buy the doll. Then kids, inspired by the Dear Despot, will clamour for more outfits and accessories like his favourite granny shawls, weird headgear, clip-on beards like the forked one, the unkempt Amar Chitra Katha sadhu one, etc.

It won’t end there, oh no! They will also demand two jumbo jets, a new Parliament building, a new house and whatever else it is the Dear Despot is currently buying (also with our money)! After that, parents will be poor, but the economy will be booming and, like those Kashmiri leaders, we may start praising the Dear Despot too.

(Any resemblance with real events or people is a coincidence)

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