Chicken Makhani was almost ready when Tony de Miranda walked into the kitchen with his usual greeting, “Hi, Dosa.”
Aditya Dasa never took offence when his friend called him Dosa. They were bosom friends. Both of them belonged to the same low caste. But Tony studied in an English medium school while Aditya laboured in his father’s dhaba. Tony’s father was rich enough to send him to school. He made money by arranging people for the rallies and other functions of the political parties in the town. Whenever any party wanted people for their function, a leader would approach Rajendra, Tony’s father. The people who attended the functions never became rich though they were paid for their services but Rajendra did.
Tony’s original name was Tanmay. People used to call him Tony. It was Father Robert de Silva of his school that added ‘de Miranda’ to the name. Tony was a brilliant student who stood first in all the exams and many other things like quiz competition and elocution. The Principal, Father Robert, was very fond of him. So he took him to the church one day, poured some water on his head, and said, “Thou art a Christian from this moment. Jesus has redeemed thou from eternal damnation. And thou shalt be called Tony de Miranda.” Rajendra being the most tolerant man in the town giving equal respect to every political party and religion and god was happy to know that the Principal had waived off all the fees of his son just for changing his name. “What’s in a name?” He mumbled to himself though he had never heard of Shakespeare who raised that question before anybody else.
The name Miranda came from Shakespeare, though. Father Robert was particularly fond of the character Miranda in Tempest. “O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t.” That dialogue of Miranda was the priest’s favourite quote. It revealed God’s greatness in creating our world. He loved Miranda’s innocence and optimism.
“I thought about what you told me yesterday,” Tony told his friend who was stirring Chicken Makhani which was getting ready for lunch.
Aditya’s eyes sparkled. “You did! You did! And…”
“Take it easy,” said Tony. “It takes time. You don’t become the Prime Minister of the country overnight.”
Aditya Dasa’s ambition was to become the Prime Minister, nothing less. He had asked Tony to find the way. Tony was a genius, the most brilliant mind Aditya Dasa had ever known.
“You are a member of the Dasa Seva Sangh,” said Tony. “Slowly introduce a new myth into the Sangh’s meetings.” Tony explained how it’s always a tiny fraction of the population that created myths with which they controlled the whole vast population.
“There are plenty of gods who have their pet animals,” Tony carried on energetically. “Well find out a god whose favourite animal was chicken.”
“Murga,” blurted out Aditya exultantly.
Tony looked at him struggling to suppress his contempt. “That’s just a Bollywood stereotype invented for ridiculing the Madrasis.”
“What’s a stee-, stero- …?”
“Never mind,” said Tony with an air of superiority. “Madrasi Murga has nothing to do with chicken.”
“OK, you help me find the god then, god with a chicken.”
“I will,” Tony promised solemnly.
“Then you and your political party will make chicken a holy animal. Ban the slaughter of chicken in the country. Beat up those who consume chicken. Establish Chicken Squads…” Tony had a well-thought-out plan. Attack some MNC chicken outlets first. The spice of nationalism will be added then.
Aditya looked at the Chicken Makhani steaming in front of them. He was rather dubious about Tony’s plan. “It’s a matter of time,” Tony explained. “And the support of some people which my father can easily arrange along with your Sangh.”
“But chicken…” Aditya looked at the Chicken Makhani again. A delicious aroma wafted in the air.
“If you want to be a hero, you have to make some sacrifices,” exhorted Tony like a motivational speaker. The whole world is waiting to make sacrifices, he explained. There’s Kim Jong-un of North Korea who is toying with the idea of unleashing a nuclear war on America. Donald Trump is no less a toyer of aggression. There are the Jihadists aspiring to conquer the whole world. The time is just right for sacrifices.
“Yes,” Aditya was enlightened. He had not understood much of what his friend had just said. He loved the sounds like Kim, Jong and Trump. “I will make the sacrifice.”
“The sacrifice will be made,” said Aditya as he served Chicken Makhani into the bowl and carried it to the customer in the dhaba.