A fairy tale without fairies
Once upon a time Babas were confined to hermitage and holy things. Those were the days of fairies and mermaids, tree nymphs and water sprites. Then one day a disease called sickularism entered the forests and rivers. Sickularism spread like wildfire or plague or TV ads. The fairies and mermaids fell prey and died one by one with apparent vengeance. They became extinct. So did the nymphs and sprites.
The Babas were starved of nymphs and sprites. So they migrated in search of the steroid of inspiration. Political slogans spiced up with the right measures of patriotic herbs and nationalist leaves and cultural roots brought them ecstasy and heavenly bliss.
The bliss spread like an exhilarating amrit and the nation became spiritual. Sickularism was declared the national disease. Schools were converted into ashrams in order to deal with the national malaise. Textbooks were rewritten. The new knowledge intoxicated the whole nation.
Pappu lost his job as school teacher like many others who were found not qualified enough to continue in the job on account of being sickular. The manager and the principal of his school summoned him to the office.
“We regret to inform you that you are not wanted here anymore.” The manager said with her characteristic curtness which was accentuated further by neo-nationalism and neo-patriotism . Her silver hair fluttered in the gentle breeze of the fan and caught Pappu’s attention.
“There are many organisations doing charity works for treating the sickulars,” said the principal trying to ameliorate what she interpreted as shock while Pappu was still admiring the manager’s fluttering silver hairs. In spite of the silver hairs the manager’s face reminded Pappu of some nymph of his imagination.
“Are you all right, Mr Pappu?” asked the principal. The question brought Pappu back to the reality at hand. The reality of the world without nymphs and fairies. With patriotism and nationalism.
Having absorbed the harshness of the situation with all the equanimity he could muster, Pappu said, “Before I leave I’d like to say two things.”
Manager and principal stared at him.
“One, you’ve ruined one life mercilessly. Two, Pip-Pip.”
Manager and principal looked at each other as Pappu walked out of the office calmly.
“What’s Pip-pip?” Manager asked.
“Pip is the hero of Great Expectations, Dickens’ novel.” Principal explained sounding pedantic as usual.
“So he is going with great expectations.” Manager muttered and laughed as if that was the joke of the year.
When Pappu came out of the campus to the street, a victory march was going on celebrating the election of a Baba as the new Chief Minister of the state. Having nothing else to do, Pappu joined the march and repeated the patriotic and nationalist slogans. He felt very relaxed.