Shri EEEALOFI is a newly appointed state official. Crisp white cotton designer kurta, a waistcoat straight from the Lakme Fashion Week and perfectly dyed hair.
“You see I am a socialist socialite,” he boasts.“You have no name, only initials. Why is that?” “Oh, each alphabet stands for a particular portfolio that I have held over the years. I have used them as initials, much like serial killers tattoo their victim’s names on their arms.
So my name is Shri Education Environment Energy Agriculture Law Order Finance Irrigation.”“Right, and what is the portfolio that you have been given now?”
“State Transportation — my responsibility includes taking care of all forms of transportation — roads, railways, metro, monorail, etc.”
“So under your able guidance, we can expect much improvement in the area of transportation,” I ask, hopefully. “No, in fact just the opposite, it is my job to create maximum inconvenience to our citizens. I have to really strive to make your lives as difficult as possible in the area of transport,” he says, gleefully.
“Like what?” I ask with much trepidation. “For example, I have to make sure the PA Announcement System in all railway stations breaks down every time there are train delays. I have to orchestrate that flyovers take years and years to build. Or when monorails are being built in the rains it is my job to publicly blame the monsoon when concrete slabs fall.”
“I see, and now that you are in charge of the Mumbai roads, you’ll be doing something about the potholes?” “Potholes, how dare you call them potholes ! Potholes are ‘small khaddas’ in the road. We have done our utmost to make sure that we have created craters. And in some areas, big ditches. Then there will be a real problem for drivers.”
“And what are your other tasks?” “I have to prevent immigrants from entering our city.” I was aghast. “How does disallowing Biharis and Bangladeshis from entering Mumbai, fall under the purview of State Transport?”
“Arre, it’s obvious, they will be travelling from other states to Maharashtra by road or rail, right? Also one of my perks is that I will be in charge of breaking up parties and slapping innocent partygoers.”
“But surely that’s not a State Transport function.” “Uh no, that I have added. You see most of these rich people have expensive vehicles like BMWs and Mercedes, while important officials like me have Ambassadors, so it is purely a jealousy thing.”
At that point Shri EEEALOFI’s phone rings. “Yes, sir, thank you, sir...very obliged sir,” he beams over the phone. “I have just been given an additional portfolio,” he informs me. “What?” I enquire with fear.
“Coal.” “Come on, you cannot tell me that coal falls under State Transport.” “No, but at least I can change my initials to be named after Mumbai’s main railway station.” “What is that?” “Shri CST — Shri Coal & State Transport.”
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.