“Who will you vote for?” asked Moh diffidently, for she knew the responses she would get.
“Ugh!” said Eeny with disgust, as if someone had recommended her Patanjali instead of Pepsodent. “Who goes to vote?”
“I heard there is no AC in those trolling booths,” added Meeny with a concern.
“Polling booths,” corrected Moh, and was promptly ignored by the others.
Mynie just shuddered at the thought.
“I meant,” lied Moh, “that if you were to hypothetically vote for someone, who would that be?”
Eeny thought about this, and said more to herself, “I love those dimpled cheeks.”
“Me too,” said Meeny with a dreamy smile.
“I adore his dimples too,” said Mynie with her characteristic bubbliness. “He was bloody brilliant in Chak De! After that…”
They all laughed and ordered another round of drinks.
“How about Modi?” asked Moh, with even more diffidence than when she had asked the first question.
Three glasses of wine met the ground with an acceleration of 9.8 m/s2and the spilt contents looked like blood on the splattered shards. Three pairs of baleful eyes stared at Moh. She was, however, made of sterner stuff than the broken glass.
“How about Modi?” she repeated, but this time with an air of defiance.
“Moh!” shouted Eeny, “How can you be so stupid? Modi is a murderer.”
“Hitler,” said Meeny, taking the tally to four cents. Nowadays Godwin’s law acted faster than Murphy’s.
“Scamster,” added Mynie, making all of six cents.
“Really?” countered Moh. “What murder and what scam are you talking about? Where did you get all these brilliant insights on Modi? On WhatsApp?”
“It’s everywhere, Moh,” shouted Eeny, evidently disappointed by the ignorance of her friend. “Just open your fucking eyes and ears!”
“Are you a secret Modi admirer?” asked Meeny with menace in her voice.
“Are you a secret Modi admirer?” repeated Eeny, with the same menace indicating that the quartet can become a trio in a jiffy.
“All I am asking,” said Moh, reading the menace correctly and accordingly shifting the goalpost, “is who the alternative is. Rahul has nothing going for him, and as for the rest, where are they?”
“Dollar is at like, you know, a 100,” said Eeny, ever the expert on the foreign exchange since her cousins were in the US, and adding two more cents.
“Petrol is at 100 too,” said Meeny, who had never stepped inside a petrol bunk but obviously did not want to miss an opportunity of adding two more cents.
“Oh, is it?” asked Moh, and added in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “How about toor dal? Is it at 200?”
“Ugh! Toor dal? Who eats that shit?” said Mynie with disgust, and used the pause to order herself a cheeseburger.
“What does it matter to you about petrol?” asked Moh generally to the group.
“We can’t be all selfish, Moh,” said Eeny pointedly. “We have to consider the uh…welfare of the uh…poor people too.”
Meeny, touched by this evident moral compassery, did a mock applause to praise her.
“Oh, I agree with you there,” said Moh and added, “and from what I understand, you are saying that this rules Modi out?”
“Of course! He works only for a few rich businessmen while Rahul works for the poor,” said Eeny, whose own father had built his business empire by being close to…well, let us leave it at the ellipsis.
Moh shook her head and poured herself some more wine.
“Rahul is one big comedy and so are you guys to believe him and whatever nonsense he blabbers,” she quipped.
Mynie, who came out of her silence on hearing the words ‘comedy’, ‘nonsense’, and ‘blabber’, commented, “Did you watch the latest stand-up comedy video, fellas? It’s fucking hilarious!”
Eeny picked up her iPhone to check it out and her eyes stumbled upon some comments on the stand-up comedian.
She gave it to Meeny, who gave it to Mynie, who gave it to Moh.
“It’s horrible,” said Moh with a shudder. “What a low-life creep!”
The rest just stared at each other, confused.
After a minute of silence, Meeny said, as if explaining what she had just seen, “He has had a horrible childhood.”
“Really?” shouted Moh.
“Yes,” nodded Meeny, without understanding the tone behind Moh’s outburst.
“The worst part is that these uh…right wing trolls have only made it worse for him,” said Eeny.
“Really?!” shouted Moh again.
“Yes,” said Eeny with a shrug. “They pushed him to a point where he could not uh…evolve. He did not know what he was doing.”
“Really?!!” shouted Moh for the third time. “Do you even know what you are talking about? You are literally supporting the creep – do you know that?”
“He has explained it himself, Moh,” said Meeny, indicating that that was sufficient for her to believe him.
“No need to be all sanskari on us,” said Eeny. “By the way, even yoursanskariBabujiis involved.”
Moh tried ignoring the jibe, but she couldn’t – she certainly couldn’t miss the sting of your in Eeny’s comment. It was them versus her now. For a hard minute, she asked herself what she was doing there.
She looked at them. They had always been good to her, and she loved them all even now.
“He is still a funny stand-up though,” said one and sighed.
She stood up, this time for herself, looked at them one last time, and without saying anything, left the place.
Author of “Twisted Threads”, a satirical book on power, politics, and pollution set in the post-2014 era about connected machines and disconnected ideologies.