Author of The Land of the Wilted Rose, of the The White Mahatma Quartet, Anand Ranganathan studied Chemistry at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and went on to pursue a doctorate from Cambridge. A man of varied interests, he is researching dengue and tuberculosis at the International Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at Delhi. We told you, varied interests!
Greetings dear readers! Please re-read the first sentence but without the emphasis of the exclamation mark. Good. Now you can sense the mood of Rangarajan. Yes, dear readers, I bring bad news – and that exclamation mark was just so I could break this bad news to you gently. As Dharmalingam sir always instructed me: “Rangarajan, first eat your meal whole-heartedly and only then proceed to the funeral”.
The bad news is that I’ve been transferred from I & B ministry. Yes, dear readers, the ministry for which I worked so tirelessly for 30 years, filmed so many government sponsored scheme videos and what-nots, that very ministry has transferred me. You will cry buckets when you learn the full story, but only small 10 litre buckets not 20 litre ones, for I am crying those. You want to know why? Then hear this: I was transferred because of one among you snitched on me!
It all happened last Wednesday when my boss, Manish Tewari, pressed the bird-chirp call-bell – that’s generally the signal that boss wants to see us forthwith. I’ll be honest, dear readers, I thought boss is going to congratulate me for my camera-work in the extended Pongal episode of Krishidarshan. I thought he’ll say, “Great camera-work, Rangarajan. Wonderful close-ups of ballworm and red hairy caterpillar. My felicitations!”
Instead, dear readers, he threw a double-folded letter at me and said, “Rangarajan, you are transferred with immediate effect”.
That was it, just that single sentence, and all my world came tumbling down on my bald head. Stunned and tongue-tied I opened the letter with trembling hands, and learnt that I’d been transferred to the Ministry of Culture, that is headed by the hon’ble Chandresh Kumari Katoch.
I was still shaking and trembling and unable to speak and so Shri Tewari did all the speaking.
“How could you do this, Rangarajan?”, he said with ample emotion.
My lips parted but then departed again.
“I trusted you completely. And now I receive complaints from one of the commentators of this site, this website that all my media friends and favour-seekers are talking of, this – what is it called, Gajodhar?”
“Newslaundry, sir”, replied Gajodhar, boss’ secretary.
“Yes, Newslaundry. It seems you’ve been uploading some content on Newslaundry. Are you not aware of the Official Secrets Act?!”
“But, sir -”
“Quiet! You’ve uploaded – what are those things called, Gajodhar?”
“Yes, whatever. How dare you, Rangarajan!”
I knew there-and-then the snitcher must’ve been the commentator who said ROFL-MAO upon reading my Sagarika’s Doodles upload. It’s all the fault of these Maoists and Naxals, I tell you, dear readers. To accuse me – me – of being a Maoist?! I thank lord Balaji that boss didn’t bring in those RAW fellows.
Meanwhile, boss was in full flow. He shouted: “I will not take this sitting down!”
And with that, dear readers, he stood up, and said: “Rangarajan, you are lucky that the driver of my decoy Ambassador, Swaminathan, hails from your village in Palghat. When he got to know that I was going to actually suspend you pending enquiry, the fellow begged me to only transfer you. And since I know Chandresh Kumari quite well – wipe that smirk, Gajodhar!”
“And since I know Ms. Kumari well, I called her and fixed you up in her ministry. You can do all your blogging nonsense from there for all I care. Dismissed!”
Dismissed and transferred, heart-broken and liver-troubled, you favourite blogger moved the very next day to Shastri Bhavan – that’s where we Ministry of Culture fellows sit. Stinking toilets. But thankfully nothing to do all day, except attend a few cultural shows and take pictures of the hon’ble minister leaning against the 10th century replica of Nataraja at the National Museum for our brochures. As they say, dear readers, the lord taketh with one hand but giveth with ten. I’m very happy here, can’t complain. In keeping with my jasmine-scented happiness, I now upload my next doodle. It is of our PM Manmohan Singh ji, whom I had seen scribbling while the editors were having a heated discussion during the Editors meet.
Here it is:
Don’t laugh, dear readers! I know what you are thinking – that a blank page is exactly what you’d expect from our PM. And it is true: he is so silent and stoic that if he were to stand for half an hour in a thick forest, vines will start to snake up his legs and termites will begin to make his body their home.
Hah! Little do you know! As I said, like you, even I was amazed by the blankness of the PM’s doodle page. Then one day, I bumped into this old friend of mine at Sagar Ratna. Anand Ranganathan is his name. He does some silly research – dealing with all those bubbling test-tubes and squiggly bacteria and things. Anyway, I told Ranganathan about the PM’s doodle page being as stark as a freshly born baby’s bottom. And I must congratulate Ranganathan for the way his geeky brain works. He said: “What rot, Rangarajan! I’m sure the PM is using invisible ink!”
“Hah!” I laughed, “You must be crazy, Ranganathan.”
“I am not! Bring the doodle over to my lab first thing tomorrow morning and we’ll put it under Ultraviolet transilluminator.”
“Listen to me for once, I say!”
I did. And lo and behold – may 1001 temple bells chime in unison, dear readers, that mad scientist Ranganathan was absolutely right! We put Manmohan-ji’s doodle under UV and this is what we saw:
Hahha! Who would’ve thought our PM was so naughty-naughty! A person who’s been labelled invisible actually uses invisible ink! My respect for him has grown immeasurably after this. I will go to any length to hear him speak, which unfortunately he never does. But maybe he does! One only has to drag him under the Ultrasonic transilluminator to find out.
Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/4085347268/]