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Let’s pretend

Fly on the wall dispatch from the bug that got stuck under the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s office desk

Intellectuals, economists and government officials met the Hon’ble Finance Minister in her chamber to brainstorm on a Covid rescue package for the economy. The Hon’ble Finance Minister opened the discussion with her remarks. Agent Chewing Gum Bugreporting live.

Hon’ble Finance Minister: Ordinary citizens’ lives and livelihoods have been shattered by Covid-19 and the lockdown. People are demanding a stimulus package. Where will the money for providing economic support to people come from? Please share your ideas one by one.

Amitabh Can’t: Have our livelihoods been shattered, Madam?

Hon’ble Finance Minister: You don’t know ordinary citizens?

Amitabh Can’t: Sorry Madam.

S Demonetisation Purthy: Aiyo Amma. Didn’t complete demonetisation as I had proposed. Now you see, the matrubhoomi suffers. You do full demonetisation now. You did cash demonetisation. Now you do next level demonetisation. Take people’s property and real estate, bonds and shares, gold and silver, land papers. Make them stand in a queue. Deposit everything with banks. After all, it is all national resources.2 Is it or is it no? Had you done it before only, coronavirus would never have landed in India, no? No money. No affording air ticket. No airline. No flying to China. No bringing corona.

Bhramit Kupatra: Thugs of Hindustan, abhi karo na! (Do it right away.)

Dhat teri ki Roy: Yes! The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability,3 their air tickets, their coronavirus.

Ramchandra Chooha: What, no Jet? No Spice? No Go? How will we fly to the lit fests? Will we walk?

Jairam Rash: Yup. India After Gandhi. Do the Dandi March. Karo na Dandi March.

Bhramit Kupatra: Dandi marKiso? (Beat with a stick? Who?)

S Demonetisation Purthy: Kupatra, tell me, how many zeros in a trillion?

Bhramit Kupatra: Kuch na kaho. Kuch bhi na kaho. Kya kehna hai. Kya sunna hai. Tum ko pata hai. Mujh ko pata hai. Kaho na. Kaho na. (Please don’t say a thing.)

Ramchandra Chooha: Can we return to the topic of the discussion if you two are done? How will those of us who write fly to the lit fests? Should we read from our balconies or what?

Prof Jayati Behosh: No more balcony baazi please. It’s peak summer and my balcony isn’t airconditioned.

Shashi Zaroor: I’d say something but don’t want to be accused of mulierosity.

Ramchandra Chooha: How will we fly? Dhat teri ki, any ideas?

Sitaram Nichori: Have you heard of the French Revolution? No bread? Let them have cake! No Jet? Let them have Air India!

Prof Jayati Behosh: Full Marx! 10/10, I say! This country needs a Revolution. I have dreamt of Revolution since my 16th birthday. It’s time. Indira, Rajiv, PV, Atal, Manmohan were sissies. Strong prime ministers must do what the weaklings could not.

Ramchandra Chooha: Bhagwa ko Laal Salaam hai. Sweat red and what do you get? You get saffron.

Shashi Zaroor: Sita! Ram! Can’t even imagine going to book readings in the cattle class!

Dhat teri ki Roy: God, you’re stuck in small things, Shashi!

Prof Jaan Baaz: Revolution is not a birthday party.4 This country needs Jholawalla Economics. Not Sell Outs.

Jairam Rash: Professor, banks have no money to pay for demonetised property, gold and farmland. No selling shelling. Taking-taking only.

Baba Raah bhool Gandhi: Yeh kaisa NYAY hai? (What sort of NYAY is this.) NYAY gives. NYAY doesn’t take.

Garbard Goswami: Do you have no shame? No shelling? Be quiet. Don’t open your mouth. You are comic but I can’t take you as a comedian. Because you are dangerous. How dare you demand we stop shelling? Watch it on the screen viewers. Watch how the Pakistan army is shelling our border. You are a good-for-nothing, sir. You want no shelling. While the Pakistan army, ISI and ISIS shell us. At least have some regard for your own hairstyle. Have you forgotten what the lady prime minister you copied it from did to Pakistan? She had it cut into two parts.

Jairam Rash: Nationalisation. She did nationalisation. Madam Finance Minister, you demonetised cash. She demonetised banks. Please think big. Listen to Purthy.

Baba Raah bhool Gandhi: Jairam Rash uncle, do you remember my grandmother gave me jeans.

Hon’ble Finance Minister: Raah bhool ji, she gave you genes. That’s what you wear. On your sleeve.

TuTu Swami: No giving. No taking. No cutting. Only abolishing. Abolish income tax. People should have money to spend.

Amitabh Can’t: Absolutely, when aggregate demand in the economy has collapsed, we need more spending. Already, all the IAS people have donated one day’s salary to PM Cares. Can you imagine the loss to the consumption power in the economy. Prof Jayati Behosh could have airconditioned her JNU flat’s balcony if she did not have to contribute to both income tax and PM Cares.

Prof Jayati Behosh: Amitabh, PM Cares does not care, I agree with you there. But not on income tax. How will you and I get our salaries without income tax? We have to do what Purthy is saying. Full-blown demonetisation. Create a new fund with the money collected. JNU Cares. Don’t forget your roots. Madam Finance Minister, you too.

Amitabh Can’t: Ek cheez saaf dikhti hai. Aapko apne liye kuch nahi chahiye. Ek fakiri hai aap me. (You are aglow with selflessness.)

Ramchandra Chooha: I can see new books, new lit fests, new marches, new flights, and new fights. Badiya hai! (Nice!)

Baba Raah bhool Gandhi: Not done. Not done. What about us, Uncle Rash? This is injustice.

Jairam Rash: Let money come from Delhi for PM Kisan baba. We will rename it NYAY. Same to same, baba.

Hon’ble Finance MinisterBeta padao, Beta bachao. Please.

Prof Jaan Baaz: Jholawalla Economics! Yay!

Hon’ble Finance MinisterBhagwa ko Lal Salaam!

***

1 In September 2009, then finance minister Pranab Mukhrejee wrote to prime minister Manmohan Singh asking him to launch a secret enquiry into what he called “a serious breach of security” in his office: the presence of planted chewing gum in 16 key locations that suggested a possible surveillance attempt. The prime minister launched a probe into the alleged security breach.

In May 2020, eminent economists and activists urged “nationalisation of property” to fight the coronavirus crisis, but deleted the controversial suggestion after one of the signatories claimed he hadn’t been shown the recommendation in that form.

3 War Talk.

4 “Revolution is not a dinner party.” A phrase by Mao Zedong, extracted from his full statement that “revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

For further queries or complaints of resemblance to anyone living or dead, or events, which, it’s assured are purely coincidental, write to thechewinggumbug@financeministerdesk.in.

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