Sweety and the Arab Revolution: A satire(Re-issue with corrections)

New Delhi, Feb.26 (ANI): This Arab revolution better be over soon or else it is going to play havoc with my summer travel plans. The Dubai Shopping Festival is also coming up. Wait; is there a revolution there too? Mental note: have to check. Seriously, how inconvenient is this 'one country at a time of revolution'? Why can't they all change simultaneously? That would be good for them and the rest of the world.

I was telling this to Sharada the other day at the 90 degrees coffee shop, you know that 'food is rotten but everybody goes there to be seen place'. Sharada smiled at me as if I was saying something ludicrous. You see, she is married to an IAS officer and thinks she understands global politics so much better than poor old me. I am a lesser mortal you see, married to a rice exporter. How I hate saying that, but then I can pick up a Prada at Selfridges with such practiced ease, the same way as Sharada can discuss the Indus River water issue. Both of us are quite comfortable in our reflected glory as spouses of successful men, but feel the other has no reason to be.

Sharada in her crisp cotton saree pinned in at least four places, Kolhapuri chappals worn all through the year, is one of my 'contact friends'. You need them in Delhi. Those who can get your documents attested, get you passes for Beating Retreat ceremony (for my maid, you know), get municipality no objection certificate for digging a bore well and a myriad other things. Sharada and I know the equation very well. There is a comfort in 'knowing equations' in Delhi.

So, Sharada and I were discussing this Arab revolution over our pathetically grilled sandwiches of wilted spinach and cheese of indefinite lineage, in this pretentious five star coffee shop.

Me: Sharada, do you think it is safe for me to go for the Dubai Shopping Festival, with all this Middle East crisis and all?

Sharada: But Thoopai is not having a crisis, no Sweedy (smilingly with one eyebrow raised and her gold jhimkis, that's what she calls jhumkas, shaking fiendishly)

Me: Of course I know that (checking done without seeming ignorant) but do ask your husband whether there is any risk of Dubai also blowing up. I mean I don't want to end up in a dreadful Air India flight, with all those labour class people flying back in distress. They won't have any business class seating and no excess baggage allowance either. And just imagine if my picture comes on TV, coming back in an evacuation flight. My sister-in-law will toh die laughing.

Sharada: Firstly, Thoopai is nod a coundry, it is the UAE (now the other eyebrow arches) Moreover, the people there are quide condend nod having a democracy. Venkadesh is in the I.YAY.YES ma, not I. EF.YES. See this faarin service people, they thing they are very indelligend.

They are resguing people lefd ride and cendre free of caast. Those people can afford to pay for ticgeds so why for we should do free ferry? Jusd two three ardicles come in paper means the minisder is gedding nervous and saying free free. Tcha! Rubbish all this. Vengadesh says the faarin service yiz wonly concerned aboud yimage, nod rooded in reality. See how they are jumping up and down wanding talks with Pakistan now. Yin fact they shoud yencourage revolution in Paakistan wonly.

Me: But don't they already have democracy in Pakistan?

Sharada: (looking a little ruffled..Aha I must have gotten under her skin) What democracy in Paakistan, some Yamerican comes and shoots dead people in Connaughd Place, how our people will react, dell me now? Angry or not? Wond there be some roll back? What democracy ma in Pakistan. They need a revolution to curb their army.

Me: But a revolution will bring back the army! (I love asking her uncomfortable questions) and then how can our foreign office engineer anything in Pakistan anyway? We barely talk to them.

Sharada : (giggles) See Sweedy, we have a South Yindian faarin minisder and a South Yindian faarin secredary. Also a South Yindian Home Minisder. The Pakistanis find it very hard to undersdand South Yindians. They thing we are all Chanakyas, wily and conniving. They like sardarjee type you know. Saying what feeling. Like the Prime Minister you know. He says peace means he means peace. He says, sdable sdrong Pakistan good for India means, he means it. Bud when Mr. Chidambaram says same thing, people are wondering and wondering, whad he could be meaning (giggle). Thad is good for coundry. People should wonder.

Sigh! This conversation was going off track. At the end of the one-hour I was none the wiser-whether the Arab revolution was going to mess up my travel plans this summer. I do want to go to London but via Dubai. Shop at the sales in Dubai and tell my South Delhi friends circle that I "picked this up from Harvey Nicks." The husband says I should make my travel plans regardless of the Arab revolution. Does he want me out of the way? Must go on that diet. Delhi has too many pretty young things these days. By Sweety Kapoororkhanna(ANI)