Some months ago, when the great aging sage of Absurdistan declared mass promotion for all school kids, there was instant jubilation all over. And why not. Who doesn’t want to skip the torture of exams. The great sage was immensely happy at his masterstroke. He had finally made his opponents bite dust, thought the learned sage. These guys were out to destroy the career of kids, while the sage and his boss were just taking potshots at the kids’ eyes, which obviously was far more benevolent. But the sage’s joy was short-lived. Suddenly there were strange calls for another kind of promotion. It is said some smart asses asked the great sage to give himself a life-time promotion.
They said the sage should promote himself from wazir-i-tardeed to wazir-i-dirri-dirri. They had a point. The great sage’s Gobbelsian statements wrapped in Orwellian double-speak topped with Shakespearean tragicomedy effect always produced mountains and mountains of repugnance for the entire wazarat that ruled Absurdistan. Everyone else knew it except the great sage. At least, that’s how the story goes. If you are wondering what dirri dirri means, it was a vocal expression used by the ancient Abusrdistanists to shoo away stray dogs who would approach them pretending harmless and then suddenly bite them left and right and leave them rabid.
But the mass promotion thing created other serious issues in the Republic of Absurdistan. Some species too wanted mass promotion to the ‘venerated’ folds of humans.
The street dogs of Absurdistan were the first to come forward with this demand. They had strong arguments to backup their petition. The dogs were everywhere and in large numbers. Towns, villages, cities, lanes, by-lanes, nukkads, shopfronts, bridges, parks, riverbanks – they occupied every nook and corner of Absurdistan. Interestingly, they also practised a 24×7 reproductive cycle to add to their already booming numbers.
So the dogs of Absurdistan called an emergency meeting and formed a committee of experts tasked with putting a Powerpoint presentation together about their case of mass promotion. This, it was decided, would then be put online. Another group of tech-savvy dogs was asked to ensure this presentation floods all social media sites, goes to all possible emails and Twitter accounts, gets maximum hits and likes and wide media coverage apart from being covered in The Daily Bitch Times and the immensely popular online magazine Barks, Bones and Bitches.
But something suddenly went wrong. While vital things were being given final touches in this summit, one dog let out an unusual bark. It alerted everyone as they turned towards this dog. They thought a bone had perhaps got stuck in this dog’s throat and needed immediate medical attention. But the dog was perfectly alright and just wanted to make a point. He cleared his throat and said something that got the goat of all other dogs present there. “This shouldn’t happen. We can’t throw away what we have. We shouldn’t join the humans of Absurdistan because…,” the dog said. But he was abruptly shut down by scores of angry dogs around him.
They thought he was being a traitor. “This B****d is against us. He won’t let us progress,” one dog yelled deriding the dissenting dog’s position on this vital matter. Another called him a son of a bitch. Other dogs also mouthed unprintable invectives. One dog with some literary background and a suave tongue also made his displeasure known. “Array miya’n, tum khamoush nahin reh saktae kya? Kyu’n khwa makhah hamaray kabab mai’n haddi bun rehay ho. Hum sub kuttoo’n kee taqdeer aur tareekh badalnay waali hai. Aisay waqt pay kya aisee ma’yoob baatai’n zaeb daetee hai’n kya?,” this dog put his take on the situation across in a carefully cultured way, a rarity among dogs of Absurdistan. Another young dog wearing a hooded jacket and dark glasses tried to explain it in a different way.
“See, if we become humans we too can be doctors, engineers, lawmakers, businessmen. We can buy land in Absurdistan and build ourselves permanent shelters,” the youngster reasoned. The dissenting dog sensed the angry mood and quietly retired to a corner. The other dogs thought they had barked him out of the summit. The proceedings began all over again. But the dissenting dog hadn’t quite given up. He stood up once more and launched himself into a speech. “You may abuse me, but you don’t understand what catastrophe you’re bringing upon yourself by asking for a mass promotion to be humans.” Other dogs barked, howled, made catcalls, booed, yelled insults and there was absolute pandemonium. One fuming dog leapt at him, grabbed his jaws and delivered a threat. “You son of a bitch, if you do that again I’ll crush your bones.” Another one clutched his balls and barked into his face.
He stood up once more and launched himself into a speech. “You may abuse me, but you don’t understand what catastrophe you’re bringing upon yourself by asking for a mass promotion to be humans.” Other dogs barked, howled, made catcalls, booed, yelled insults and there was absolute pandemonium. One fuming dog leapt at him, grabbed his jaws and delivered a threat. “You son of a bitch, if you do that again I’ll crush your bones.” Another one clutched his balls and barked into his face. “Kutae, kameenae mai’n tujha kutay kee maut maaroo’n ga,” he said foaming with fury. But the dog doggedly continued. “Do you realise what tragedies humans of Absurdistan are going through?,” the dog asked. There was more jeering. These dogs thought this dog was being unnecessarily dogmatic about expressing his opinions. But one old, wise bespectacled dog thought the dissenting dog may have a point or two. So he asked others to give him at least a patient hearing which, considering the buzurgee of the bespectacled dog was agreed to, though reluctantly.
So the dog explained his position. He told his detractors there was a law in place in Absurdistan which authorised the killing of its human inhabitants. He couldn’t correctly recall the title of this law but somehow managed to call it Afsoospa. “Afsoospa or no Afsoospa, humans of Absurdistan can anyway be killed at will – for money, for promotions, for securing political careers or just because they happen to be inhabitants of Absurdistan,” he argued as he found some new confidence to make his point. Other dogs began to see some meat and bone in this line of reasoning. So they sort of warmed up to this dog’s speech. He felt encouraged as he further narrated the misfortunes of the inhabitants of Absurdistan about torture, extra-judicial murders, disappearances, rapes, mass detentions, mass blindings and so on.
At a point, emotions got the better of him. He choked on his own voice and struggled to go on. He picked up a potato chips wrapper from the ground, wiped his tears and started again clearing his throat and spitting on a nearby dog who had earlier called him an SOB. He then pulled out a rumpled, soiled piece of much-used and extremely-abused tissue paper from under his armpit and read out some statistical data about the killings, torture, blindings, rapes and other tragedies that had befallen the humans of Absurdistan. Moved by these horrific details, a pall of eerie silence fell all around. All other dogs were now ready for a grand sermon. Some dogs even sent some weepy-waily emoticons to each other on their Facebook accounts.
One dog, an incorrigible chain-smoker, was particularly moved by what was being said about the tragedies visiting the humans of Absurdistan. He flung a cigarette butt on the ground, stomped it with full force and blurted out the ‘eff’ word in one short croaky angry burst, “F*** you!” One more dog flashed out his mobile and quickly captured a selfie with tears rolling down his drooping face and posted it on his FB account along with this message: Bhonk, ki jabdaazad hai tera. Bhonk, yeh dumm abb takteri hai. Bhonk, insaanbun’nay say pehlay. He also urged dogs all over the world to pee every Monday outside the embassies of Republic of Sickularistan, the occupier of Absurdistan.
Another dog watching this dog thought of outdoing him. Armed with his newly-acquired 4G connectivity, he streamed his live video online showing him weeping, wailing, howling and peeing all at the same time. The dissenting dog then explained that dogs in Absurdistan already enjoyed more rights than its human inhabitants. “If any human harms you or god-forbid kills you, he will be put in jail and punished. All this thanks to laws enacted under pressure from Aunty Maneka. But when humans of Absurdistan are killed, nobody goes to jail let alone be punished. Instead, the killers get rewards, promotions, and incentives to kill more. What more do you want that you don’t have as dogs of Absurdistan?”
The dog then thundered a powerful line. “So do you want die a dog’s death by becoming lawful human inhabitants of Absurdistan or do you want to enjoy the right to life and dignity already available to you in Absurdistan?” And then he delivered the ultimate line as his mood and tone became heavy with emotions. “I have a dream that you sons and daughters of a bitch are judged by the content of your character to stand up for the right to life and dignity that you already enjoy and not by the content of this petition to be humans and these disastrous emotions of being promoted as human inhabitants of the Republic of Absurdistan and be killed like a dog under Afsoospa.” There was a thunderous applause from all around as all dogs let out a roar of approval in unison. The dog who had earlier abused this dissenting dog quietly went up to him and begged forgiveness. It was summarily and unqualifiedly granted. To mark it, the erring dog held out his face and the other dog pissed on it. This was part of the dog culture of absolution.
The dogs then dispersed for some refreshments, some quick fornicating sessions and a bite here and there at passing by humans of Absurdistan. Later, they assembled again. It was quickly resolved that the petition to be mass promoted as humans of Absurdistan be hereby withdrawn for good. A word was put around that no news of dogs ever having considered such a proposal should go out as it would badly reflect on the dogs’ sense of judgement. Almost all dogs were happy at the quashing of this proposal. A few had some serious issues though. They thought it was a life-time opportunity and the great aging sage of Absurdistan could have helped them in getting full rights as citizens of Absurdistan in return for participation in the sage’s party conventions.
Before trooping out of the summit site, the dogs stayed back for an important ritual. They put their hinds against each other and profusely farted in unison until the air reeked with rotting rats. This was a part of an ancient socio-cultural practice of redemption from bad omens among dogs. This time, it was done partly in condemnation of the old sage’s misleading ploy of mass promotion and partly in celebration that good sense not to become humans of Absurdistan had prevailed among dogs and thus a calamity avoided. Soon after the ritual, the dogs dispersed and returned to their respective mohallas and lived happily ever after reproducing in numbers unknown before.
The mass promotion demand also came from the crows of Absurdistan. They wanted to be mass promoted as parrots. Officially, the crows said humans have always valued parrots while crows have received little else than blanket condemnations for their taav-taav, so it was time for them to become parrots. But insiders privy to crow affairs gave a different reason. It is believed that since humans always talked about tota-myna and never about kawa-myna, this was something crows found emotionally unbearable. The crows are said to have had a terrible crush on mynas and several times made sexual advances towards them outraging their modesty. The mynas had always spurned the crows splattering them with generous amounts of their droppings. The bitterness between the two only grew though the crows could never get over their secret carnal feelings for the mynas. So the crows thought now was their time to become parrots and fornicate with all the mynas as much as crowly possible.
Intelligent as they are, the crows thought of a clever method of moving their proposal for a mass promotion. They had heard the Queen of Absurdistan was open to negotiations with all stakeholders of Absurdistan including those in her prison cells and the ones her men had already put in graves or blinded for life. So the crows decided to send a delegation of senior crows, experts in taav-taav, to hold talks with the Queen of Absurdistan. Fourteen crows were picked up for the job who would go for negotiations with an open mind and without pre-conditions. One young crow made a clever suggestion to make the case for mass promotion stronger. Clasping his cell phone with his claws and throwing his jelled hair left and right with sudden jhatkas, he said, “Look, we spend all our life on vantage points – tree tops, electric wires, etc., and we watch humans all the time. We have firsthand knowledge of what humans do when nobody is watching them.
We know all the secrets of their private and public life. We must,” the crow continued, “put a dossier together documenting these shameful acts of humans of Absurdistan.” The other crows wondered how this will help. “This,” explained the young crow, “we can use to pressurise, and if need be to blackmail humans that we’ll out there disgraceful secrets if they don’t OK our proposal.” The crows found this suggestion very valuable. A dossier about the secret lives of humans was assembled in no time since all crows knew in great detail what they were. Armed with this dossier and their natural cleverness, the fourteen crows launched themselves into a flight towards the palace of the Queen of Absurdistan.
When the crows arrived at the court of the Queen of Absurdistan, they quietly perched themselves in a neat row on an electric wire. They were instantly welcomed at the court by the darbaris of the Queen, the great sage of mass promotion fame being among them. The Queen ordered all crows be provided ‘toffee and milk’. She was all praise for the crows for showing the wisdom of joining the ‘mainstream’ through a negotiated settlement as their taav-taav all these decades, the Queen said, had yielded no results. She told them she will build them nests on all mobile towers with fibre glass shelter over them and provide interconnectivity between all nests. The crows were not interested in all this. They yawned and looked left and right to show their boredom. The Queen then spoke of a 6/6 ‘vision’ of some man dead a long time ago. Since there is no ‘vee’ sound in the lingua franca of crows, one crow thought the Queen had referred to some ‘pigeon’.
The crow instantly launched himself into a train of tav-tav. The other crows looked at him urging him to keep quiet. “Hey, shut up. The Queen is speaking,” one middle-aged crow angrily mumbled to him flapping him with his wing. But this crow was angry no end. He took a few crows on a side and told them, “She is talking of a pigeon, while we have come here so that every single crow of Absurdistan becomes a parrot. What the eff is this?” By this time, the Queen had referred to ‘vision’ several hundred times. It angered all the crows. Soon they began a chorus of incessant taav-taav.
It didn’t bother the Queen. She went on and on with her ‘vision’ speech matching the taav-taav of the crows with her own, at times outdoing them. She also referred to some obscure document called the ‘Agenda of All Lies’ that, she declared, was a remedy for all problems of all the inhabitants of Absurdistan for all times — past, present, future. The crows realised how they were being short-changed and perception-managed in the name of talks. They were now fuming and in a fighting mood. One of them darted into a ‘surgical strike’ and pooed on a darabari instantly whitewashing him. Sensing the mood of the crows, the Queen left the darbar in a huff pouring scorn on the crows for doing too much of taav-taav. But before exiting, she secretly gestured to a few sepoys standing nearby. Soon a shower of pellets was let off on the crows. All 14 of them fell instantly in the darbar of the Queen of Absurdistan.
Later, the Queen came out, picked a dead crow, held it close to her chest, forced out a stream of tears and said to the dead crow, “Meray laal, tumhay dekh kay kaleja munh ko aata hai. Tumharee qurbaanee raigaa’n nahi jaayaegee. Mai’n tum kawwoo’n kay liyay CBMs kay liyay ladtee rahoo’n gee.”
The darbar of the Queen of Absurdistan tried to keep the killing of the 14 crows a top secret. All that the darbar said was that some crows had stopped over at the darbar, and were offered generous amounts of ‘toffee and milk’ by the Queen of Absurdistan. The darbar also said one old crow among the visitors was presented a shawl to help him ward off the winter chill, a young she-crow was given a scooty to ride between treetops. The darbar said after this, the crows broke into a chorus, singing in praise of the Queen and her darbaris and then flew away to some distant forest.
But soon all other crows of Absurdistan got air of what had happened to their comrades. They called an emergency meeting on a giant 800-year-old Chinar just outside the capital city of Absurdistan. The Queen’s darbar came to know of it and had the Chinar felled. The crows then decided to have the meet in the open at the TRC ground. The air space over the entire city was ordered closed by the darbar with snipers all-around ready to kill anything on two wings. Somehow, the crows managed a secret meeting and took some vital decisions. One among them was to launch ‘surgical strikes’ across Absurdistan by pooing every symbol of the darbar – buildings, traffic lights, electric poles, vehicles, anybody who worked for the darbar and anybody seen in the company of the Queen or the darbaris. The crows also unanimously decided not to sit on any electric wire as a mark of resentment and resistance. They also resolved to do as much
Somehow, the crows managed a secret meeting and took some vital decisions. One among them was to launch ‘surgical strikes’ across Absurdistan by pooing every symbol of the darbar – buildings, traffic lights, electric poles, vehicles, anybody who worked for the darbar and anybody seen in the company of the Queen or the darbaris. The crows also unanimously decided not to sit on any electric wire as a mark of resentment and resistance. They also resolved to do as much taav-taav as they can to make their voice heard.
The darbar responded to all this. First, it banned any kind of taav-taav of all the crows of the Republic of Absurdistan. Then it barred all crows of Absurdistan from pooing – in public, in private, in secret and even in officially-constructed shouchallas since, in the unfathomable wisdom of the darbar, pooing constituted an act of defiance and resistance. But the crows, intelligent as they are, had other ideas. They responded in their own clever way. They ate more, consequently pooed more and carried out even more ‘surgical strikes’. It is said the great, illustrious ancestor of the modern crow, the Rev Thirsty Crow, who penned the all-time bestseller The Manual of Troubleshooting in This and The After World sent an old-time telegram from his heavenly abode, congratulating the crows of Absurdistan for their ‘vision’ and living up to his grand never-say-die legacy.
Hail the great Republic of Absurdistan and its inhabitants including all the parind-o-charind!
(This column is a piece of humour and satire. Any resemblance with real- life characters is a mere coincidence.)