Meenakshi Shedde: Permanent Mafia Fund
Paavam held his head in despair. He was sitting on top of 330 mattresses stuffed with cash — Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes — looking not so much like the Princess and the Pea, as a Baahubali VFX version of it
Paavam held his head in despair. He was sitting on top of 330 mattresses stuffed with cash — Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes — looking not so much like the Princess and the Pea, as a Baahubali VFX version of it. “What am I to do with Raja Andhayug decreeing that all these notes are null and void now?” he moaned.
Meanwhile, we eavesdropped in the court of Raja Andhayug. “I’m determined to curb the black money menace,” Raja Andhayug declared. “Did you check your whatsapp, Vidhushak? It’s got the pulse of the people.” “Yes, I did. The latest whatsapp message suggests that since millions of Indians have so much black money that they are dumping it in dustbins or burning it, they should instead deposit it in a special Permanent Maafi Fund for the Indian Army, where no questions will be asked, and there is no ceiling on the amount of deposits you can make,” Vidhushak replied. “Idea achcha hai,” said Raja Andhayug. “Gustakhi maaf, Maharaj! Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson said. Don’t you see that this is actually a Permanent Mafia Fund? The Indian Army has already become a dumping ground for blackmail money, as happened when the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena tried to arm-twist Karan Johar into ‘donating’ Rs 5 crore to the army welfare fund before releasing Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Now, the Army will also get dumped with black money. Did anyone ask the Army if they want to receive blackmail money or black money? Is that how Bharatiya sanskriti proves its patriotism — by insisting on the Indian anthem being played before movies, while dumping black money on the Indian Army?”
“Nonsense,” said Raja Andhayug. “It’s a great way to honour and help the Indian Army, whose soldiers are dying because of Pakistani attacks, frostbite in Siachen and so many other challenges.” But Vidhushak interrupted him: “Did you see that explosive Indian Express “Swissleaks” report that revealed that the top 100 account holders in HSBC Bank’s Swiss arm includes Two Famous Brothers, along with so many other Indian industrialists?” “Surely you know that the Two Famous Brothers are a separate category of VIPs — Very Indian (Patriots), so rules don’t apply, bhai.”
There was a knock on the palace gates. “Ah, Vijay Mallya, please come in,” the Raja said. “Your Highness, what is going on in this country?” Mr Mallya demanded to know. “A consortium of banks has moved the Supreme Court to help them recover Rs 9,000 crore that they claim I owe them! But no problem, I will simply put the full Rs 9,000 crore in the Permanent Maafi Fund to help poor, suffering Indian soldiers who are sacrificing their lives to guard the Indian borders.” “Don’t worry, Mr Mallya, anyway you are a VIP,” the Raja said. “In exchange, I hope you will ensure that Bengaluru has a Vijay Mallya International Airport, Vijay Mallya main station road, Vijay Mallya Bank and Vijay Mallya Hospital,” Mr Mallya replied, adding, sotto voce, “Soon, all that you see will be Akhand Mallistan.”
Vidhushak took the king aside. “Dawood Ibrahim is knocking at the palace gates. He seems to be leading a convoy of SUVs stuffed with cash,” he said. “Oh, tell him I had to leave on some urgent work,” said Raja Andhayug, before scuttling through the back door.
Meenakshi Shedde is South Asia Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival, award-winning critic, curator to festivals worldwide and journalist. Reach her at email@example.com
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