THE man at the store counter, was apologetic, “Sir, no change, but can give you fevicol!” It was only five rupees, so I smiled and told him to keep the change, “No, sir, take the fevicol!” said the man, “Passing me a small sachet of the instant glue!”
“What do I do with instant glue?” I laughed, but the man at the store was serious, “Lots sir, Lots!” Since I was on holiday and time was no constraint, I looked at him as pleasantly as I could and said, “Tell me!” “Imagine sir, what you would have otherwise got, a five rupee coin, which is hardly of any value today, but now you have in your pocket, something far greater.” The man seemed to be a philosopher more than a store keeper and I leaned forward across the counter and listened as he went about shining each jar and polishing his table counter, “For one, fevicol helps stick a good mask on your face!”
“Mask?” I asked, “What mask?” “Look around you sir! Look at the lines, the queues, the agony, the anguish, the people are suffering after demonetisation, but see how happy they look!” “Yes,” I said as I looked around and saw people happily going about their work, “It sure looks honky-dory around here!” “It’s a good glue sir! Instant! You put it on, press the mask and nobody knows the discomfort you are hiding inside!” I touched the five rupee sachet in my pocket and delicately fingered it. I had never realised that so much could be held in so small a packet. “Look at your face sir!” “What’s wrong with it?” I asked a little annoyed.
“Shows how angry you were when I told you, no change. Showed your anger against this sudden disappearance of all the currency. Shows how you resent not being able to take out your own hard earned money from the banks or ATMs! You are bristling with rage, but with the fevicol and a mask, you can join the rest of the nation, smiling, laughing, applauding our beloved prime minister and his team!”
I pulled out the glue and smeared it on my face. “I need a mask!” I said. “That comes free sir, along with the glue. “Do you want a happy one or a triumphant one?” “What’s a triumphant one?” I asked. “Triumphant that all the rich have lost all their money, jubilant that now they have become as poor as you! Victorious that all are equal now in India!”
“That’s not true!” I said. “Well your face says so now!” smiled the shopkeeper as he helped stick my mask firmly with the instant glue, and I joined the rest of the people with their happy faces..!
—Email: bobsbanter@gmail.com

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