Meenakshi Shedde: The diary of Mrs Todphod Singh
Raja Andhayug was gobsmacked. Mrs Todphod Singh had come to his royal court to demand a divorce from her husband Mr Todphod Singh
Raja Andhayug was gobsmacked. Mrs Todphod Singh had come to his royal court to demand a divorce from her husband Mr Todphod Singh. Guru Tamasoma roared, "Impossible! As a woman you have no right to exist at all; if you survived female foeticide, it's your duty to be your husband's slave for life. Get behind your ghunghat and stay there, woman!"
"Too late for that, Guruji" said Padmavati with a calm confidence; her first name was revealed because of court records. "Todphod Singh has not done a stroke of work in his entire life," she said. "He talks grandly of women's honour, but if he survives today, it's only because he has lived off my earnings all his life. It's only because I did not wear a ghunghat and washed vessels in eight houses, that I could feed him and our family, and put our children through school. Todphodji is a layabout who smashes whatever he can blackmail. He even tried to thrash me, but I thrashed him right back and told him I'll put it up on YouTube, so he immediately shut up."
Alarmed, Guru Tamasoma said, "Maharajji, we must hold in-camera proceedings. Otherwise everyone will know that Todphod Singh gets solidly thrashed by his wife at home, and won't be able to blackmail any longer." But Vidhushak insisted, "In fact, the proceedings must continue publicly. Let everyone know the truth about Todphod Singh."
Now that all his valour was out in court khullam khulla, Todphod Singh meekly said, "Maharajji, I work hard. I'm a professional tod-phoder trained under the new Skill India programme. Even earlier, me and my goonda friends tried to stop the screening of Jodhaa Akbar, because it celebrates a love jihad between the Muslim King Akbar and the Rajput princess Jodha. Then I vandalised theatres showing Salman Khan's Veer, I forget why. Now I have threatened to cut off Deepika Padukone's nose and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's head for making Padmavati the film. But I have not yet been paid for this."
Mrs Padmavati agreed, "Our son showed him ISIS videos so he could deliver threats professionally, and also uploaded them on social media, but Todphodji still hasn't been paid for it. I told him his boss Naak Kato Singh of the Bharatiya Gau Rakshak Party is exploiting him. But in reality Todphodji is a chuha, like the holy chuhas he prays to daily in the Karni Mata temple, he cannot ask for his dues. In fact, even I have not slept with him in 20 years." Todphodji pleaded, "Please don't tell everyone our ghar ka mamla. And please don't divorce me -- or at least wait till the elections are over. The Bharatiya Gau Rakshak Party has promised
me a ticket."
Guru Tamasoma roared, "How dare you refuse to fulfill your conjugal duties, woman?" "He's a psycho," said Mrs Padmavati. "He keeps a sliced nose under his pillow, insisting it is Surpanakha's, as a reminder of his great former Rajput valour. I definitely want that divorce." "Forget Todphod Singh," Vidhushak told Raja Andhayug, "Make this woman the chief minister of Rajasthan. Just write in all our school textbooks that Mrs Padmavati was the finest chief minister Rajasthan ever had, and we're sorted."
Meenakshi Shedde is South Asia Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival, award-winning critic, curator to festivals worldwide and journalist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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