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It has been a long time since Shaila suggested I write a guest blog. I know you must be wondering why I don’t call her Shail which is her name. Well, she is an excellent writer, so for me she is Shail with an A (grade), hence Shaila. You bet even she did not know that. I know I am digressing but that is what she does in her blogs a lot so I am sure she will tolerate my digressions too. I was rather surprised that she had asked me to write on her blog page. I do not know whether her blogs are high brow or low brow… but I certainly know some of them are ‘knit brow’. You see, she is a serious blogger – I mean she does write humour, – but she takes her writing seriously whereas I am the opposite. One day she did tell me she was not a serious writer but one who enjoys her writing. My answer to that is if one is serious about something it does not mean one does not enjoy it e.g. Sachin Tendulkar is a very serious cricket player but primarily he enjoys his cricket. Shaila is a huge P.G. Wodehouse fan and I too have a liking for his writings. So I have decided to write this essay as a tribute to him too by following the adage, ‘Imitation is the best form of flattery’. So here goes. 

I was just about to take a sip of my favourite tipple mahua fresh from the forests of Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh when the bell rang. I had barely opened the apartment door when the Master tottered in. Pale and agitated he sat down heavily on the sofa. The fact that he forgot his regular rocking chair (a reminder of his rocking horse from childhood) made me realise something had really upset him. He was pulling agitatedly at his hair which made him look more like a golliwog.

“Gyan,” he said in a tortured voice, “The whole world is going to be converted to that religion, umm… what do you call it? It begins with an M…?”

“ Islam sir?”

“Yes, yes Islam. Imagine everyone in beards. What will happen to those barbers, poor chappies?”

“Did you happen to attend the Sadhvi’s rants discourse Sir?”

Recently the Master has been infatuated with a saffron clad lady who works for a right wing organisation. He follows her like a puppy and drinks in every word she speaks as if it was “Akashwani”. But this is not the first time he is infatuated with some pretty face. The history of his amorous adventures is full of broken hearts (his) and healthy bank accounts (their). Good thing about him is he gets over them in due course if guided properly, by me of course. Till then I have to ride these storms in the tea cup of our Master-servant idyll.

“Yes I did Gyan. What a wonderful woman she is. Do you think she has a direct line to God?”

“I don’t know sir but I gather from her aunt that she has a history of hallucinating.”

“What is the meaning of this word ha..ha.. hal…? Gyan we are not playing tongue twisters are we?”

“Never mind sir. You look disturbed. Would you like a drink? Oh I am sorry I forgot Riddhi (the Sadhvi) has forbidden you from drinking.”

The light in my master’s eyes that had lit up at the mention of drinks went off at the mention of his heart’s desire. I could see a battle was going on in his mind. “To drink or not to drink?” that was the question our Prince of Denmark’s beseeching eyes were telegraphing me.

Taking pity, I went to my room and poured a stiff Royal Stag for him. Royal Stag is his preferred brand of what the Government describes as Indian Made Foreign Liquor. “What does the word foreign mean?”  you might ask me. “Beats me”, is my answer. If something is made in India how could it be foreign? I prefer the more common name it goes by, Whisky. However I advise you not to call it Whisky in front of a) a Scotsman, b) his photograph, or c) his grave. If you do so there is every chance that a) he will have an apoplectic fit, b) the photograph would crack c) the dead man would arise from his grave in protest.

An intelligent reader might also ask a question as to why the drinks are kept in my (the lackey) room rather than in the bar. “You are so intelligent” I would answer, “but so lacking in powers of deduction. In order to impress his new found love, the Master had me hide his vast collection of bottles in my room and the erstwhile bar which had labels from all over the world now displays all the Gods in the Hindu pantheon. Simple huh? Even Sherlock Holmes could have deduced that!” Sadhvi Riddhi was pretty impressed by the Master and had promptly given him some ash that she conjured out of thin air. The master bravely ate it and then surreptitiously slipped into the loo to vomit.

I took the drink and handed it to the master. “Err, ah,gnn..aarrgghh”  That was gurglese for ‘Please don’t mention any of this to Riddhi’s aunt’ . You see the master frequently talks in gurglese when overly excited. “No Sir, I won’t” I said and only then did he put the glass to his lips. After a few sips he settled down and looked for chips. The plate was at his elbow.

“You know me so well Gyan but do you know the Muslims are going to outgrow us in population and by 2030 we (Hindus) will be in minority or would be forcibly converted?”

Now this was a pretty long and complicated sentence for my Master, so I would have to be extra careful in dealing with him today lest he suffer a break down. I decided to get to the bottom of this problem step by step.

“How will this happen, Sir?”

“You know every Muslim male is allowed to have four wives?”

“Yes Sir.”

“And they resist family planning.”

“Yes Sir.”

“So every Muslim male can have 20 children.”

“Maybe! But Sir, how will this affect us sir?”

“Gyan, I thought you ate fish daily.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Then the fish are, what’s the word? Starts with a P…”

“Pomfret, Sir?”

“No, no. It is a big word.”

“Polluted sir?”

“Ah yes. I remember it from Science class. Polluted fish have affected your brains.”There was a pause and then he went on. “It is simple math Gyan! If every Muslim has four wives and twenty children they will outnumber us very soon.”

“That is what Riddhi said?”

“Yes and she is right too.”

“I can prove her wrong sir, if you will allow me, but I have one condition.”

The Master was confident I could never prove such a brilliant woman wrong so he nodded and said “Ok go ahead. What is your condition?”

“You will not wear those saffron pants again Sir.” Master almost spilt the IMFL aka Whisky on his precious saffron pants. “Oh no Gyan!  I can’t do that. This is Her favourite colour.”

“If you are done sir I will go back to my room.”

“No, no, please don’t leave me now. Okay I will stop wearing these.” His confidence in Riddhi’s powers seemed to have returned. Or maybe it was liquor induced bravado.

“Right, Sir.” I refilled his glass. “Consider there are 1000 Muslim males.”

“Ok considered.”

“So for every male to have 4 wives how many women will be needed?”

“Simple! Four thousand.”

“Good, Sir. So we need four thousand women for one thousand men. Capiche?”

“What’s that? Oh okay.  I understood.”

“But in India we have only nine hundred forty women for every thousand men. So how will that be possible?”

“Hmm you have a point.” He said. “But what if they kidnap our women?” he had a brainwave.

“Ah yes that can happen in a lawless State but we are not one. Also they are Muslims not barbarians. So if one thousand men marry four thousand women that will leave another three thousand men unmarried.”  I know that is bad math but the Master was not in the state to nit-pick.

“Aghh grrrr..gnnnn..hrrmph..” Gurglese again!

“Ah you mean to say there will still be twenty thousand Muslim kids to every eight thousand Hindu kids considering the Hindu rate of two kids per family?”

“Mmmm gmmmm”

“Deduct five hundred for the brides we burn for dowry?”

“Yes. See they still will outnumber us soon

“Yes, but there is one more false premise. Each one will have twenty children. It is not borne out by facts.”

“Facts what facts?”

“Sir in 1951 Muslims were a little more than 9% of the population. By 2030 they will be 19% according to most surveys and projections.”

The Master nodded then suddenly remembered something. “What about the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh?” He said triumphantly.

“Yes sir you are right. It is a major problem and has to be dealt with immediately. However the birth rate growth religion wise is Islam (1.84%), Sikhism (1.62%) and Hindu (1.52%). So even at these rates it will take a very long time for the Muslims to outnumber us.”

“Like in 2050?”

“No Sir…more than that.”

“So ultimately they will outnumber us sometime in the distant future.”

“Maybe! But we have even more pressing problems for the near future to care for sir.”

“Like what, Gyan?”

“Like scarcity of water, disappearing forests, food insecurity, poor dying of hunger…the list is long sir.”

“I agree Gyan. The list of much more important problems is very long. Tell me, how much fish do you eat daily? You must eat a lot to have such knowledge.”

“Yes Sir.” I replied just to satisfy him. Personally I think fish is over rated. All one needs is an internet connection and the common sense to differentiate truth from propaganda. Or maybe the Master is right after all, one does need brains to differentiate.

The intelligent reader might ask how come a nincompoop like the Master can afford a Man Friday like me. “You are intelligent” I will say “but I leave the answer for a Prequel. Simple, eh? Even Sherlock Holmes could have deduced this.”

“Thanks Gyan for your help. These saffron p…”

“No, no, Master. Let me go to my room. You can deal with the saffron pants at leisure.”

Note: Some of the data I have referred to is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_population_growth

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Vivek of Ramblings has been a reader and commentator at Shail’s Nest since its inception in 2008, though we have known each other longer than that, almost as long as I have been blogging. Many of you might recognize him as the Penguin from Antarctica. In Vivek’s own words, he is a ‘civil engineer with pretensions of being a writer’. If you ask me, it could easily have been the other way around too, if only he put his mind to it. To have him write a guest post for Shail’s Nest, especially when he has not been updating his own blog page for ages now, is an extremely generous action on his part and an honor for me. And for this I thank you, Vivek. People, do not miss Okulli Bullae and Surfing Under Influence from among his blogs. And wait patiently, like me, for that novel that is brewing inside him. It has to be written sooner, than later!