Spruce-up time!

I had been in hibernation mode so it was nearly a week after I set foot out of my house. At first I did not notice anything. It was the shopkeeper who literally opened my eyes.After having visited not less than ten shops and having received the same answer everywhere that is ‘Sorry we don’t have any bathing soap left’, I asked this guy at the eleventh store, “What is the problem? How come there are no bathing bars available anywhere?”

“Jenab,” the shopkeeper said, “Bathing soap, and even washing soap is ‘short’ because every mulazim big or small, policemen, traffic cops…everyone is on a buying spree for these items.”

“Why? “ I asked surprised.

“Why?! Jenab are you from phoren that you are asking such a question?” the shopkeeper said with a smirk.

Well considering that I had been hibernating for the best part of a week I guessed that I had been missing something. I decided to have a look around. As I ambled along the road I could see no potholes on the roads. Now this was quite surprising because only a week back this road lookedas if it had been through a cluster bombing! Now instead there were these neat patches of fresh black-topping where the potholes had been.

“First Aid!” said this cheeky fellow as I almost collided with him my eyes peering down at the road. “That’s First Aid for the roads!”

When I reached the main road I saw painters drawing interrupted lines in the middle of the road. As I looked on a strip of painted line got off the road and scrambled away, yelping and barking. Actually the painters in a hurry had not noticed the dog sleeping in the middle of the road or maybe it was deliberate mischief. The painters broke into laughter pointing at the painted dog that was barking its indignation at them. The contractor who was sitting in a chair nearby did not find this interruption amusing. He shouted at them, “I don’t pay you for wasting paint. You got to finish this today. Hurry up!”

Meanwhile another fellow came up to the contractor and started arguing with him pointing at the dog. By this time I had got close enough to the duo to hear what the visibly angry guy was telling the contractor. “Why are you adding to our work? That dog was already done. Now I will have to get him done once again.”

As I was wondering what it was all about a pick-up truck jam-packed with dogs lumbered past. The angry fellow, whom I had recognised as the local Jamadar, hailed the truck and pointed out the painted dog to them. A couple of guys got down from the truck and after an interesting chase they managed to shove the doginside the truck.

“Good! They are taking away these stray dogs.” I said to the contractor and the Jamadar. They both scowled at me in unison.I must have walked a couple of hundred meters when another pick-up loaded with dogs came by and the driver’s companion got down and released the dogs there only.

“Hey what is all this. A truck just came to takeaway dogs and here you are releasing more of them here.”I protested.

“These dogs are from this area only. The ones you saw being taken away will be back by evening,”the driver of the vehicle informed me.

“Why! What is all this? Taking them away and then bringing them back!” I said as I found the whole thing pretty strange.

The driver said, “We only take them away for a bath and shampoo and manicure and pedicure and all that! Can’t you see the difference?”

Well the dogs did look quite spruced up. Before I could ask him any more questions he got into the truck and left.

Looking at the coiffed and permed canines I felt pretty shabby myself so I made towards a barber shop. On reaching the place I found it over-subscribed. It was as if the whole town was out to get a haircut. I tried other saloons but the situation was same everywhere. I thought that I might as well go to a roadside barber but on reaching the place where they would normally be lined up I found none of them around. On enquiring I came to know that they had all been taken to a nearby playground. While going towards the place I noticed other strange sights as well. Like there were these guys up in the trees with vacuum cleaners trying to reach the furthest branches while some more people were employed in painting any brown spots on the leaves green.

A strange sight greeted me as I reached the playground. Sweating officials were directing people while the roadside barbers appeared to be pretty busy. If this one here was plucking the hairs from donkeys’and horses’ nostrils the other one there was trimming their tails. I could see an assembly of cows around which a crowd had gathered. As I got near I saw that while a couple of his assistants were helping the owners to lift the legs and tails of the bovines, a guy was meticulously spraying their exposed under-limbs and hind quarters with a deodorant.

“My God! Has the whole place gone crazy? What’s all this fuss about?!” I cried out.

A guy standing nearby looked at me in surprise and said, “Why don’t you know!”


“That it is coming?”


“The Darbar move!”

(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at snp_ajazbaba@yahoo.com)