Date: 14/10/2011 Place: Nagaland Time: Feeling real
“Today, I was so glad to hear about a particular plan proposed by our political leaders…”
and before I could finish my sentence, a Minister’s convoy with soldiers sticking out from all sides screamed and ripped through the afternoon’s slow traffic.
“Glad? Political leaders? Blessed?” My beautiful daughter aped me word by word. The entire family burst out laughing. The geek, curled up in front of his laptop, hissed ‘ROTFLMAO’. Sometimes, I wonder what I did wrong in my life to deserve all these clowns.
“That’s a very confusing statement,” my simple wife said very shyly before making a brown cream-bun disappear into her mouth. Chris Angel could certainly learn a thing or two from her.
“Are you serious?” my daughter finally asked trying to control her crafty smile. Now, if you are thinking whether this is the same Lady Gaga wannabe I used to talk about then no! She is not Lady Gaga or Katy Perry anymore. She is a cosplayer. Seriously? A cosplayer? Yes! She said a cosplayer is ‘someone who dresses up and take on the personality of a character from an anime or manga’. I thought it was more about redesigning outfits using my old bell bottoms, disco shirts, curtains, bed sheets and socks!
Her brother geek continued spewing gibberish- Rofl, lmfao, brb, whateva, lol!
“I’m very serious,” I said, now staring at the bunch of jokers in the kitchen. There was a minute of silence. The wife then took another cream bun and looked at me from the corner of her eyes with the ‘what? I’m your wife and you don’t scare me” attitude. Another bun vanished.
“Look, the Government has announced a plan to groom future leaders to run the State,” I said in a guarded tone.
“What?” my old dad seated in his wheelchair enquired, his working ear directed towards me.
“Look, the Government has announced a plan to groom future leaders to run the State,” the entire family screamed back at him.
He smiled and said, “Good! The government should also have a program to keep old people active, healthy and happy. We also long for company, proper medical care and although I’m lucky to have you all, some of my friends live alone and they are in need of money to keep up with their expenses. Is the Government doing anything for us old folks?”
“That’s true dad and nice to hear you talk about something different from your usual Second World War stories’” I replied with a smile. The rest agreed with a smirk each.
“I remember the time when NSCN was formed in…” the old man gushed out with a sparkle in his eyes. Raju looked at me and, on my sideways glance, whisked the old man out to the veranda for some air.
“So, as I was saying”, I continued, “the Government is going to groom some future leaders so that these leaders can one day run the State efficiently and fulfil the dreams of the people.”
“But who are these future leaders and how are they going to be selected?” The reasonable daughter asked. The geek piped up, “If I can buy it, I’ll try-har, har, har”
“Hey, just because you failed the NPSC exam doesn’t mean that you can talk like that,” his mother scolded him. He dropped his head on the laptop acknowledging that he was going to hear that you-failed-NPSC scolding for some few months.
“These young leaders will be selected while they are still in high schools and selection will be purely based on intelligence, performance and commitment in their academic and social activities. They will be asked whether they want to serve the Country and if they agree; the Government will sponsor them to study in top colleges anywhere in the world. In this way, the government is going to nurture a pool of well-qualified people to lead the people as top-class politicians. This will herald the dawn of a new era- an era of some fine thinkers with integrity and an era of development.”
“Wow! That’s incredible! ” My daughter screamed in excitement. “Can we then expect a Government which can provide proper water and electricity services?”
“Yes! That will a piece of cake for them,” I shrugged.
“Can we expect good roads, highways and nullahs?” she asked with her hands on her face.
“Yes! They will know that bad roads will reflect badly on their government” the wife added.
“Can we then have a government that can provide recycling plants and waste management solutions?” she shouted as though she was in a state of euphoria. Her eyes about to pop out!
“Yes! Those intelligent people will try to encourage tourism by avoiding crude and rampant methods of dumping wastes on highways” the son said in a robotic voice and raised his rock-on fingers.
“Can we then have regular sincere teaching staff present even in all the remote villages?” she jumped wildly.
“Yes! And our neighbour who is a government teacher will finally get to see where he had been posted” I contributed my sarcasm.
“Can we then have hospitals with State of the art facilities so that people doesn’t have to die while on their way to Vellore or Delhi?” she said in a sad voice and fell on the floor like a wounded manga character.
“And can we have big shopping malls selling clothes, shoes and bags?” she asked adoringly.
“…and computers?” the son added affectionately.
“…and gold?” the mother murmured tenderly.
“No, No and No!” I said lovingly.
“Dad, I think this is such a brilliant idea and truly a laudable step taken by our Government’” she exclaimed with excitement and danced across the floor of the kitchen in what she calls a cosplayer victory dance.
“Oh! Since you’ve reached that end, can you kindly wash the cups?” her mum took advantage of the situation.
“But dad, just one question,” the son inquired looking at his laptop, “When was this news released? I can’t find it in the local news websites?”
“Er..ah..honestly, I didn’t see it myself but I heard it from a reliable source.”
“Hummfff! The wife hissed scornfully “so is this another cock-and-bull story from the neighborhood’s joint?”
The geek stood up after hitting the enter key (judging from the sound). The cosplayer pouted her lips and drove the steel-wool into the cup like the way Shana, the Flaming-Haired, Blazing-Eyed Hunter of Shakugan no Shana fame, kills her antagonists with her sword. My lovely wife, the extra-blazing-fast-roller pin-master, simply stood up and adjusted her mekhela. I sat down in total submission.
“But look “I said raising my poor face, “the news might not be 100% true but it could happen. You just have to wait and see.”
“Do you think our Government will think that far for the society?”The nerd fumed. “If they can even provide proper electricity supply then they can proudly say they have done something during their tenure and...” before the nerd could finish his sentence, the tube light flickered. We watched the tube go from bright white to orange and then pink…kidding…but yes! The lights went out.
“Lol” I whispered in the dark.
“Dad, I can’t believe that you took us for a ride. For once, I thought this was an intelligent move by our Government. I had even imagined a bright Naga student going on to become a first class Harvard graduate and competing in a general election against a simpleton who doesn’t know what to do after being elected. You ruined it dad” and she lit a frail looking candle with puffed-up cheeks. Grandpa and Raju rolled back into the kitchen.
“But hey, our simpletons are very good with money,” the brother quipped.
Finally, it was the wife’s turn. There was a lingering discomfort in the air.
“How come you bring all these stories from the local...”
“Did you iron my clothes for Sunday service?” I asked in a stern loud voice with a straight face and a wobbly head.
There was another minute of silence. The lights came back and there were the clowns with their funny smiles except for Raju who was sniggering uncontrollably. A whack on the back of his head from Grandpa calmed the situation.
“Daddy, are you sure you are going to church tomorrow and will you stop going to the local bar?” The cosplayer asked in the same breath and hugged me.
“Of course!” I squealed as she drove her fist into my ribcage. I think that was for burping whiskey when she hugged me.
The little nerd turned into a fashion advisor and rushed out screaming, “OMG! I better hide his favourite orange shirt because that one doesn’t go with his red teeth! Dad, can you wear tight pants?”
The shy but stern wife was on the verge of crying and although she had her back towards us pretending to be busy cooking, we heard her sniffling and blubbering. Then all of a sudden, she turned around and dashed towards me with flaming red nose, tears of joy streaking across her face, mekhela ripping apart and...Okay diary, I’ll leave the pouncing part for another day.
But we were in the mood to celebrate.
At the command of grandpa, Raju (with his curly locks and white teeth) did a quick Michael Jackson’s ‘beat it’ dance routine (sans the crotch-holding part or else!) on the kitchen floor.
A big round of applause and laughter, followed by a short prayer over pork and bamboo shoot dinner by grandpa, rounded off the day.
Dear Diary, we need to groom bright leaders no doubt but I think we can all be good leaders in our own families. I simply said I’ll do something to change myself and that brought a smile and an atmosphere of change in my family. There are so many things we want to change but we hardly try to change ourselves and funny enough, the things that we want to change are sometimes in our very own hands. But, while we try to change ourselves, I’ll sign off with what my wise partner at the pub said, “I need a smart intelligent leader who has a PhD degree in Road Construction from ‘Osfort Univershetty’ right now so that I don’t fall into all the potholes on my way home! Hic!”
Now, that will be one move better than Jagger’s.
Good night diary, I’ve got a big day tomorrow!