Beyond the moat and the high gates

A satirical take on the conversation taking place at 10, Janpath, perhaps.

The Matriarch put her fork down.
~So, you’ve got the anticipatory bail? Good.
Our friends & employees are working hard to create the perception that the crimes and misdeeds of Are-You-Serious? are his alone.
They will paint a picture that Heir-Spare has stuck by him through thick & thin, devotedly brazening out & brushing off the allegations & controversies involving Are-You-Serious?

The image of your cotton saris in dusty Amethi, your sacrificing Madre (me), your dear departed father & grandmother always hovering in soft focus in the background will be subliminally conveyed to the country.

I know its not working very well because these people are now very cynical but as I have learnt over the many years, Indians like my compatriots are pliable to grease & graft and we just might pull it off.

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Unfortunately, the persona of Are-You-Serious? is such that with his pink pants or the ones matching his Aston Martin can’t easily be hidden away.
And I’m told he goes around Delhi saying
~Tu Jaanta Nahi Meri Saas Kaun Hai? ~

Really, Are-You-Serious? you have brought too much attention to yourself.

Considering you come from no ‘lineage’ so to speak, we thought you would make yourself useful in some way to La Famiglia.

We got the best in the business to create those companies that do no business.
We opened the doors of real estate giants for you.
Two CMs bent backwards to help with your business expansion plans.
We bought that monstrous looking, concrete hotel in the heart of the capital.
We even asked you to bring your friends in when we were procuring fighter planes….
Do you believe that someone in an ordinary business trying his hand in costume jewelry could reach here without us?
Please remember your place~

Are-You-Serious? looked suitably chastened and The Matriarch showed her irritation by spearing her cannelloni- the recipe of which was being sent out to at least two top journalists.

~ As they say there is no perfect murder & no perfect heist~ she continued.
~ The one mistake, you my Son in Law have made, was not keeping to the perfect script.
Your visibility & your So Fcuking What? Attitude in neon trousers will have to be compensated by Heir-Spare in her cotton saris copiously crying vendetta! Remember we have to bring up all the stories of how they hounded me, your mother, your father, your grandmother!
I mean, these people just won’t allow us to make a living!

~Look at me. Do I have a car? No.
Does anyone know if I have my own house in this country? No.
Not that I need one when we have practically every fifth property in Lutyen’s Delhi but…. ~

Heir-Spare interjects ~But Mama you wanted those helicopters & see where that got us? If you had bought a few fighter aircrafts too they would have shut up.
So, don’t get angry at him. He hasn’t spent his life in fortresses. He likes going out, flaunting it, pumping it.

By the way, I’ve booked appointments with a dentist on Harley’s street for fixing sonny’s teeth. Could you have those offices which conduct no business book us a flight & a hotel suite for a month? ~

Are-You-Serious? immediately on his feet offers ~Sweetie, they haven’t sealed those offices which do no work as yet so I’ll have them book you on a flight to Dubai from where you can take the plane parked & ready on the tarmac to where ever you want.

~Dubaiiii! ~ Screeched The Matriarch
~They are picking up people from Dubai & you want her to go there? ~

~Okay, okay. Directly to London then and I will call Jeeves at Canneston Square to let him know you’re coming~

~What?!? How can I use a plane & a mansion that are not ours~? Asks wide eyed Heir-Spare.

The Matriarch smiles ~ Heir-Spare, they believe you are more intelligent than your brother. Please act the part~

~But. But. I thought they were borrowed …~ stammers Heir-Spare

~Borrowed like your brother’s jacket? Naah! Ours sweetie. All ours… ~ Are-You-Serious? expansively includes everyone on the table.

~Goody! Now at least we won’t have to slum it out at the Ritz~

The Matriarch gently turns to her daughter ~ Mio caro, this is good time to tell you that the luxury cars you own, worth several crores & the homes you own also come from the offices that do no work~

~That’s interesting~

~Do you know that your personal wealth is estimated at about 450 crores and your brother, you and I have never done a day’s work in our lives…. ~

~450 crores? Is that it? Then we must win 2019! But after the Budget yesterday it does seem a little difficult. I still haven’t understood why these people are so excited about Rs.6000/-?!~

The Matriarch looks out of the window at the verdant lawns, the flowers, the shrubbery, the retinue of gardeners…
~There is so much to lose. Wazir has explained the dangers of this Budget to The Heir. Though he has begun to attack it, his expressions during the Presentation have done us so much damage.
I don’t know what to do with you children? All my work can go to waste…. ~

The one thing that would have struck anyone listening to this conversation is the grace & culture that we have come to expect from La Famiglia. Speaking of ill-gotten wealth in English with a European accent can only add sheen after all.

Seeing them enjoy a simple meal amidst silver cutlery and candelabra, Royal Doulton or is it Villroy & Boch crockery on pristine damask could bring tears to the eyes of the most hardened. Their special touch & connection with the unwashed masses remains a mystery on which reams have been expended.

That’s exactly what a jaded literary critic in BullSh*t writes “voters appreciate in leaders the promise of humility and common touch that Heir-Spare has over the PMs arrogance & swagger”

~ Mio caro, remember to ask them to pack some ordinary bone china when you decide to drop in ‘unannounced’ for a meal with a farmer’s family in Amethi. You are the last arrow in our quiver now & so much depends upon you~

To distract themselves from the unimaginable that awaited them, The Matriarch tells her daughter
~Let’s read more of what they are saying about you Heir-Spare.
We have held back all those promising second generation dynasts so that you & your brother are not overshadowed.
Trust your brother to almost forget to mention that royal while announcing your name. But then poor boy – his mind wanders & his attention span is limited~

~I always say Democracy is not for Indians. They love powerful Kings, Queens and bending over~

Her eyes flitted over the fare of cheeses from across the world, the most succulent cuts & the choicest of wine sent from the vineyards of Tuscany.

She smirked ~ These people in government now probably think that gruel, that Kitchdi is God’s own culinary delight! Ha! ~

Spare-Heir reads out a beautiful paean –
~ This one says since I share my birthday with Swami Vivekanand so great things await me. Wow! It couldn’t get better! They absolutely love me Mama!
Don’t you worry I will save us all! ~

The Matriarch finally smiles when she pulls out another glowing article
~Loving mother! Tiger enthusiast! Heir Spare, in no time these people will forget Are-You-Serious? Has taken anticipatory bail & all the trouble he has caused us~

Not to be left behind Are-You-Serious? reads
“Not only does Heir-Spare listen, she listens to how others listen…”

~What does that even mean? ~ he asks.

~It takes a Renaissance Man to understand that~ says Slick-Flick making an entry.

~I’m working on sending out this message~

~In simple English I hope, Slick-Flick ~ the Matriarch smiles

~Simple enough~
With a flick of his hair, he reads it with great flourish

~Friends! Indians! Countrymen!
We’ve been ruled down the ages by one dynasty or the other, followed by British colonization that broke our spine & our spirit.
Keeping with that great tradition we offered you another dynasty that has mastered the art of governance learnt so well from our predecessors.
What more can we poor natives expect? Only the largesse & the goodwill of The Famiglia.
Its indeed our privilege to have these good-looking siblings lead us into the 18th century, oops! 21st century!
Whose empty top storey, we can surely overlook because all the stalwarts of the extended family will be there to hold their hand, guide them & of course take the bullet if necessary.
Moreover, they are offering us a very good deal & we all know how Indians love a good bargain.

~Forget about the minor pilferage & give your vote of confidence to one so that you get two for the same vote~

This is where Are-You-Serious? interjected excitedly

~And also, me for free~

~What vill ve do with heem?!~

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