The other day, I received a circular from our society - The Happyman’s Cooperative Housing Society Blocks A and B. Written in Arial Rounded Himalaya Hindukush Bold, our General Secretary, Mr. Happymon Esthapan Chacko, was inviting the members to celebrate August 15. It read:

“We thank our Dear, Beloved, Esteemed and Visionary Supreme Leader that we are mostly alive (except for poor Mrs. Hathiramani, who went to visit Mrs. and Mr. Mirchandani on their 75th wedding anniversary without the due permission of the society; and Mr. Paul Menezes who had not paid his maintenance for last 8 years, citing lack of funds while using two parking slots instead of the allotted one) .

With his august blessings, we are proposing to celebrate New India, Happy India, Atmanirbhar India on August 15.

Children of our society will present skits on the above theme. Please consult Mrs. Braganza for further information.

Our local corporator, Shri Madhavrao Vinayakram Bhagwat, will be the guest of honor and will do the flag hoisting and give away the prizes

Those with Vaccine Certificates and proof of their Aadhar card and Pan card linkage will be provided seating. Remaining will stand and watch from 50 feet. The corporator, Shri Bhagwat, has provided 10 Marshalls from All Will Be Well Security & Allied Services Pvt Ltd to ensure we maintain discipline and conform with the new bye laws for cultural events as proposed by the Ministry of Cooperatives.

Snacks will be served to those in conformity.

May Lord Ram save us all from Corona and confer our Dear, Beloved, Esteemed and Visionary Supreme Leader with eternal life and wisdom.”

I read and reread it over a cup of tea. Was a samosa, half of a crummy chutney sandwich and 10 pieces of Sneha wafers adequate motivation to join this jamboree? Before I could do justice to that question, a loud banging on the door resulted in a torrent of kids gushing in, mostly admeasuring 2-3 feet in height, followed by the portly Mrs. Braganza, who had the habit of borrowing assorted consumables that were contributing to runaway inflation. Before I could raise my voice in protest, she chanted, “Son, you will help me choose the right skits for these kids to perform on Independence Day”. And then a chorus, “Yesssssssssssss, Uncle, we want you!!!!!”

What followed was an assault of ideas on my early morning febrile mind.

“Uncle, can I do a skit on how India beat China? I will wear Daddy’s jungle jacket and threaten Mr. Chi with chopsticks, and I will do laal, laal, aankhen,” said Farhan, brandishing his hockey stick.

“Uncle, can I do a skit on how our Prime Minister helped our Olympic team win so many medals? Can I grow a white beard quickly?”, asked Happy, who was adept at getting snacks at will at any neighbor’s house.

“Uncle, if he is playing the Prime Minister, then I will play Momta Deedee. He can say “Deedee O Deedee” and I will show my rubber chappal and shout “Khela hobe!””, said the righteous Jeejee, who never shied away from a just cause.

Not to be outdone, Meenu, brushing her hair, offered humbly, “I will play a cow, and you all can worship me. I will tell everyone that if you eat beef, you will be beaten up”. Helping herself to a few cookies, Mrs. Braganza looked conspiratorially at me. Both of us silently wowed to be careful, as the society now had even kids doing a Pegasus on us.

Brimming with imagination, Bittu volunteered to play a Hindu savior rescuing a damsel from love jihad.

Pinky, often the quietest of the lot, wanted to a play a dead body floating in a river, “I will bring my mother’s white saree and I will wrap myself in it”. Her mother wore only Kanchipuram sarees.

Seizing the moment, Krish, the budding entrepreneur, demanded to be a Minister who will say “I now announce the money in your pockets is black money, and if you want to save it, you will give me half. If you don’t, I will demoney it”

Little Sunny, who happened to be Mrs. Braganza’s naughty son, had been angrily watching all the best ideas taken. “Children, what can he play?”, asked the concerned mother.

“Aunty, he can be Nehru and we will blame him for the bad music and the smelly food and all the vegetable we have to eat. He will also be blamed for all the boos we get. He can then kneel down and say sorry to all of us and promise to be a good boy forever!”

Chandru Chawla is a freelance writer and satirist who writes at night to keep his insanity intact.