“Didi, Didi,”the man Friday came running into her room at the Reuters building. “I got the censor board to ensure that movie was not cleared.”
“Oh. Very good,” replied Didi. “It was all Maoist propaganda against me anyway. Making fun of me like that.”
“Yes Didi,” he replied looking at the bouquet of blue roses lying in front of her and wondering how the roses had turned blue.
“I got them specially made,” replied Didi sensing his doubt.
“I have never seen blue roses before this,” said the man Friday.
“Red signifies Maoism, so I got special blue plastic roses made for myself,” she explained.
“What a good idea Didi!” exclaimed the man Friday.
“And I have asked the state agriculture department to start working on developing real blue roses,” Didi continued. “Till then I will have make do with these artificial ones though.”
“I hope they are able to crack the formula for blue roses soon!”
“Acha call that police commissioner,” said Didi. “He seems to have arrested some of our boys.”
“Yes Didi,” the man Friday said. As he was leaving he gave her a left hand salute.
Didi reciprocated with the same left hand salute.
The police commissioner came ten minutes later and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” shouted Didi.
The police commissioner came into the room and made himself comfortable in the chair in front of Didi.
Meanwhile, Didi continued to stand with the fingers of her left hand touching her forehead.
“Do you have fever?” asked the police commissioner slightly worried. “Shall I get a thermometer? I normally have one in my car.”
“Ki moshai,” replied Didi. “You seem to have forgotten.”
“What?” asked the police commissioner, trying to figure out what this was all about.
“This is the neela salaam. The blue salute in English,” Didi explained patiently.
“Oh!” said the police commissioner, gradually getting up from his seat.
“And this is how you do it,” said Didi, lifting her left hand and bringing her fingers very close to her forehead.
“It is the exact opposite of the lal salaam Didi,” the police commissioner said, trying to state the obvious.
“How dare you say that?” shouted Didi. “I will suspend you.”
“Sorry Didi,” pleaded the police commissioner. “This won’t happen again.”
“Good. Anyway, lets get down to working.”
“I hear you have caught some of my boys in Jadhavpur.”
“Your boys?” asked the police commissioner. “But Didi…”
“Your police force has caught some workers of my party in Jadhavpur,” trying to get to the point.
“Oh. I did not know they belonged to your party,” explained the police commissioner. “I was just trying to maintain some law and order.”
“My boys are not at fault. Some students, you know how these intellectual types are, opened up a Facebook page.”
“Oh. They really shouldn’t have,” interrupted the police commissioner.
“First let me complete. There is nothing wrong with opening a Facebook page. After all we are an advanced state. What we think today, the rest of India will think fifty years from now.”
“Yes Didi. Of course Didi,” said the police commissioner. “So what is the problem?”
“Oh. The background of their Facebook page was red. And so some of party workers went to them and suggested they change it to blue. And you know how these intellectual types are, they started shouting cholbe na cholbe na.”
“Oh Didi. But that used to be your line. They stole it. They shouldn’t have. Do you want to file a copyright infringement complaint?” asked the police commissioner. “I still remember you walking down Chowringee in your white cotton saree with a slight grey border on that rainy day in the mid 1980s.”
“Yes. How can I forget that day. You really beat us black and blue.”
“Orders from above,” said the police commissioner. “But I was always with your cause.”
“So getting back to the point. These intellectual students started shouting cholbe na cholbe na and refused to change the colour of their Facebook page to blue. So my workers were left with no other option but to beat them up, like you did on that rainy day in the 1980s.”
“And to tell you the truth I am so used to shouting cholbe na cholbe na, if I don’t shout it five hundred times a day, I don’t get sleep at night.”
“Foolish students. They just had to change the colour of a Facebook page. Why invite trouble?”
“And they didn’t relent at that,” continued Didi.
“As in?” asked the police commissioner.
“They started singing a song,” replied Mamata.
“It must be one of those revolutionary songs written and sung by your party MP Kabeer Rumon.”
“It was a new song from a Hindi movie.”
“Oh, which one?”
“Some new song which Amitabh Bachchan recently sung for this Kahani movie.”
“You know, I don’t watch new movies anymore,” said the police commissioner. “The last movie I saw was Manik Da’sHirek Rajar Deshe in 1980, after that I lost interest.”
“Manik Da?” asked Didi. “Who’s he?”
The police commissioner thought it was best not to answer that.
“So madam you were telling me about that Amitabh Bachchan song.”
“Can’t remember it,” said Didi. “Let me call Proteek, he might know.”
“Yeah, please do.”
“Ae Proteeeeeeeek,” shouted Didi for her man Friday who came running in.
“Yes madam. I was just getting your Nano painted blue.”
“Never mind that,” said Didi. “What was that Amitabh Bachchan song which you had set as your ringtone and those students were also singing?”
“Ah madam, that one. It went like Jodi Tor Dak Shune Keu Na Ase Tobe Ekla Cholo Re (If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone),” replied the man Friday. “Mr Bachchan has sung it very well.”
“Yes, but I don’t like it,” Didi yelled. “It smells of revolution. It smells of Maoism. Plus it shows women in the midst of sindoor khela during Durga Puja and that reminds me of red. And red reminds me of Maoism.”
“Oh!” exclaimed the man Friday.
“Also, remind me to issue an ordinance to change the colour of sindoor to blue,” said Didi.
“But Didi…” the police commissioner tried to intervene. “Women love the red colour Didi. So many of their beautiful sarees will go waste Didi,” the bureaucrat said, trying to rescue the situation.
“Never mind! The women of this state have made sacrifices in the past and they will continue to make sacrifices. Look at Bipasha she makes so many sacrifices to stay fit and bring out that DVD of hers,” Didi said vociferously.
“Yes, yes!” the men in the room agreed.
“Also getting back to the point lets arrest Amitabh Bachchan,” said Didi.
“But he has just sung the song Didi,” the police commissioner tried to explain. “And he lives in Mumbai, so we won’t be able to arrest him.”
“Yes, doesn’t come under our jurisdiction,” Didi conceded. “So let’s arrest the person who wrote it.”
“It was written by Robi Thakur, Didi,” said the police commissioner.
“Lets arrest him,” said Didi.
“Robi Thakur as in Rabindranath Tagore,” said the police commissioner.
“I don’t care. Put your entire police force behind this man and arrest him,” said Didi. “I want him by the evening. Or I will suspend you. And remember that if I could make Tatas leave the state…” Didi, threatened and walked out of the room.
The police commissioner sat there wondering what had hit him and felt blessed that the sky was already blue.
The article appeared on www.theunrealtimes.com on March 4, 2013
(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He tweets at @kaul_vivek)