Many physicists today postulate the existence of multiple universes, even when sober. We used to live in a world of infinite possibilities. Now we live in an infinite number of worlds. India shines. Democracy thrives. The economy booms. A hundred flyovers bloom. This is not that India. If you see your picture here one day, don’t worry. That’s not you.
He takes one last look at the diamond belt before they take it away. ‘When I first ordered it, they had to bring it three times,’ he says, ‘Because each time I was slightly fatter. Finally the jeweler said, sir, why don’t you try a necklace instead, or perhaps some earrings, but I told him, rascal, go give your mother a necklace, I want a diamond belt. But he was right, it was too much. Next day one IT officer came to my house, asking, where did you get the money? This was just after I ran over three people with my BMW.’
‘Were you were wearing your diamond belt at the time?’ I ask. ‘No, that was my driver,’ he says. ‘He may have removed a few diamonds. Afterwards, it was feeling tighter. Of course, this was just after I had consumed large quantities of endangered species kabab, so my waistline may have expanded. I had shot the endangered species personally, along with two of my friends, in the face of stiff opposition from villagers.’ ‘Did you face any trouble from the police?’ I ask. ‘Oh, immediately,’ says the man. His name is Gurdeep. He is the son of a driver from Jullunder. Despite the handcuffs, and the fact that he has been beaten up repeatedly by the police, he seems cheerful.’ ‘What were you trying to do?’ I ask. ‘It was the Guinness people,’ he says. ‘They encouraged me. I was trying to set the record for most crimes committed by a non-VIP.’
‘How did that work out for you?’ I ask. ‘Not well,’ he admits. ‘Soon, I found myself pursued by the police, the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate, the Vigilance Commission, the Intelligence Bureau and the Niti Ayog, not to mention Madhu Kishwar. Maneka Gandhi also came to my house, with a Doberman, but I managed to distract it with some deer meat, which I had kept in the fridge. I was very polite to all of them. I told them I was very happy to form a committee, headed by me, in order to investigate myself, but they said that this would be conflict of interest. What is this conflict of interest? I have never read about it in the newspapers.’ ‘It’s a foreign thing,’ I explain. ‘What are your future plans?’ ‘Well, I did Gabbar’s speech from Sholay, and also a small item number, to show my qualifications, but the police were not convinced. Unless I stand for election, they said, there is no hope for me.’
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*And remember, popcorn is fattening, and the movie could be Bombay Velvet.