“Get lost, you common aadmi,” shouted Meena. She knew too well that it was her boyfriend, her beloved, her fiancé, that was at the door. A door that any beggar could knock down with one punch.
“I’m sorry, Meena. Can’t you forgive me? Please yaar.” Arvind pleaded.
“Go to your Deepa.”
“Please understand yaar. Deepa is a party worker, a senior member of the Average People’s Party. APP zindabad.”
“Get lost with your APP. You think I’m just average and you can play your male chauvinist games with me.” She had learnt that phrase ‘male chauvinist’ from her slum mate, Sugandha.
“Dee... Mee.. Meena, I love you, and I love you only. Open the door at least yaar. Let me explain the whole bullshit.”
“Cowshit, you mean, you scoundrel! You are running after a lot of cows these days. If I open the door I’ll have to slap you.”
“Okay, slap me, but open the door yaar.”
She opened the door and gave a slight slap on her fiance’s face. He was not prepared for the slap though he had asked for it. He was a politician, nevertheless.
“Marry me, Meena. I can’t live without you. The politics is becoming too demanding. Please be with me in the times of hardship. I love you more than you can imagine.”
“You love me, you cowshit? Then why did you go with that bitch Deepa to the mall. You thought I wouldn’t know? You...”
You fill in the blank, dear reader, with all the expletives you know since I cannot print them here.
“Shut up and get lost from here,” a new voice demanded. The voice belonged to Sugandha, the well known feminist in the city.
Arvind was not sure how to deal with yet another woman in his personal life. So many women, he thought, and yet they are saying that the sex ratio is skewed against women. Bloody statisticians, fools, he thought. Every statistician should be killed in a riot. Gujarat is the best place for that.
“Get out or I call the police,” said Sugandha. “Love is out of place here. This is a ladies’ apartment.”
What will the police do? Wondered Arvind.
“A man in a women’s apartment is like a chicken soup in a veg rest,” she said. She meant vegetarian restaurant, Arvind understood though he was a politician.
He didn’t want to be a chicken soup. And least of all he didn’t want to be in news for being slapped by a feminist in Hindustan. The worst that can happen to a politician.
“What will I do now?” Meena asked Sugandha when Arvind left like a dog that hitches its tail between its hindlegs. “He is the star to which I had hitched my bloody sewing machine.”
Meena was a tailor working with Zinda Fashionware whose stock market rates were rising ever since the present government had come to power in the centre. Her boss had, however, cut down her salary saying that he had to donate a huge sum to keep the government alive. Why a government should be kept alive was beyond her understanding. But her fiancé was working for a government, a future government, of course. A government of the Average People. She always imagined the Average as a line. A line. A line that could be drawn, for example, between where she lived (a slum in the city) and the city with all its glitter and glamour. The line can be drawn and redrawn, she knew. Because she had seen the line shifting nearer and nearer to her slum. Every election redraws lines. Elections are all about redrawing lines.
“You really want to marry that scum?” asked Sugandha who had been trying for the last five years to win some man of her dream.
“The hell! He’s a political leader though the party failed in the last Assembly elections. But just imagine him becoming an MLA. Oh, so wonderful to be the wife of an MLA. And the wife of an MP in future. And the Prime Minister’s wife in the futurest future. Oh!!!” Meena looked orgasmic.
“Stop it!” ordered Sugandha. Feminists detest orgasms, especially if men are involved in the imagination. “You want that scum as your husband? Yes or No?”
“Fall in the sewage,” ordered Sugandha.
“Shit out you witch,” screamed Meena.
“Don’t fall yaar. Just pretend. I’ll cal that scum and tell him that you fell. Leave the rest to me.” Sugandha took out her mobile phone.
Feminists are no match for politicians, learnt Meena soon. A phone call was all that was required to bring Arvind to her slum once again.
“You mean, you didn’t actually fall in the sewer?” thundered Arvind.
“Where is a sewer in a slum, you stupid?” asked Sugandha. Feminists can make sewers appear and disappear with a phone call.
“But you love me, don’t you dear?” cut in Meena. “Otherwise you wouldn’t have come so soon.”
“But...” stammered Arvind. Even politicians can stammer before their fiancées.
“Never mind buts and ifs. I love you, you know.” Meena wore her heart on the sleeve of the latest kurta that she was stitching for a feminist whose boss had ordered that the formal dress in the office was sari.
“I accept your love, my dearest darling,” said Arvind patting the cheek on which he had taken her slap a few minutes ago. “But we will have to marry right now. I have to leave for Ahemadabad tomorrow. My party has given me the orders to work there for converting all the alcoholics into the party.”
“Isn’t Gujarat a dry state?” wondered Sugandha the feminist.
“Only on paper, madam,” said Arvind the politician. “You want to sip your favourite wine in any village in Gujarat and we will get it for you there.”
“But...” stammered Meena, the average woman. “Aren’t you going there to campaign against wine?”
“Campaign is different, life is different,” said Arvind authoritatively. “Do you want to come with me or not? Party is important for me. I’ll be an MLA soon.”
“I have nothing to pack. When shall we leave?” asked Meena.