Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Black Bucks of Chennai

The Year of The Buck

It was man’s worst nightmare come true. Chennai city was on the brink of yet another crisis. And this time, it had nothing to do with the deficiency of a colourless fluid. Years of care and nurturing of the black buck population in IIT Madras had resulted in a population explosion of sorts. Chaos theory experts in the Physics department were nodding their heads in acknowledgement. The black buck population had undergone something known technically as a rampant population explosion, similar to that of dogs and humans in the rest of the country.

The whole thing in a nutshell was this: There were too many black bucks around. So many of them, that the IIT campus could sustain them no more. They ran out of the gate when the security was not looking, were thrown over the wall by irate staff – and also stowed away in water tankers. They gradually became a fixture in Chennai roads. The black bucks drove the once ubiquitous cows to a state of extinction – the same way the pigeons drove the sparrows to extinction – and man drove everything else to extinction.

In the beginning it was all okay. The black bucks looked a lot better than the cows. And it always is a novelty to see an endangered species in abundance on city streets. People used to pass by black bucks and pat them on the back. Live and let live was the motto. Even the SPCA was impressed.

As is with every civilization, anarchy pops its ugly head up every now and then. The black bucks metamorphosized from friends, philosophers and guides into rodents. Kitchens were never the same again: if you had a sack if rice, there was bound to be a black buck gnawing at it. If you were going out to the Besant Nagar beach in the dusk, a black buck would stalk you in an aggressive way. If you went to the neigbourhood Food-World, black bucks would wrestle with you when you came out with your grocery bag. The residents of Chennai put up with this menace for quite some time. However, matters reached the point of no return when a black buck made a meal of the charge-sheet that the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu had framed against his arch rival. (Chief ministers of Tamil Nadu frame chargesheets against opponents). The poor thing (the black buck) had, as usual popped its head into a car (a procedure popularized by the mendicants of today) and made a meal of the nearest paper. Little did it know that it was the chief minister’s car! The black buck thought that it had had better – perhaps memories of the millions of Xeroxes in IIT after exams.

The Chief Minister, never one to lose a chance, reckoned that the Black buck menace was a machination of his opponent. Something had to be done!! Who can help Chennai cope with the black bucks? The Chief Minister knew whom to assign the task to.

P-Man and Salamander

Deep within in Chambal ravines in that eerie border between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh existed a cave. And in that cave existed Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, that once popular Cricketer and that noblest of all noble men. He was in hiding: an arrest warrant had been issued against in way back in June 2005. He had adopted a reclusive lifestyle for he did not want to face the ignominy of arrest. He lived only in the shadow – and under an alias. He was known as P-Man to the elite English-educated. (the children, unfortunately called him Pee-Man). To the masses he was P-Admi. (The hindi children too were not kind to him. They called him Padmi). He was known as the definitive black buck exterminator. However, he had never got an assignment. He had, of late, begun to feel as if his expertise was going waste.

Did we say he was a loner? Perhaps not. He had only one friend in the world – his sidekick - the trusty Salamander. The Salamander was actually the famous actor, Salman Khan. He was also absconding from the world, though for an entirely different reason. Lots of young women (with amorous thoughts in their heads) were pursuing him after his customary chest baring scene in a recent movie. The Indian government was after him for smoking on screen as well as for nailing a black buck and accidentally lynching a human. A passion to see helpless black bucks bleed to death united him with P-Man.

A red telephone lit up in the cave at Chambal. P-Man hurried towards it. It was the hotline. It had never rung before. Finally, an assignment! Chennai!

They were both to be on their way to Chennai. P-Man got his P-Mobile (of the automotive variety) and hurled a briefcase of cash in it to pay for his Petrol to Chennai. Will P-Man and Salamander rid Chennai of its black bucks? Or will they be consumed by the overpopulating mammal? Read on, dear reader.

The Pied-Piper of Marina

P-Man and Salamander came over to Chennai in their BMW. Salamander was intoxicated in the fresh air of the city and lost control of their car. They ran into a human and a black buck. The black buck escaped unhurt – and the human later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

How does one terminate millions of rodents at one go? Many approaches came to P-Man’s eternally alert brain. He could bonk all of them on the head – but that approach lacked finesse. He could put cyanide in the city’s water supply – but the city had no water. Shooting all of them down would be a noisy affair – and the environmentalists would never agree. He looked up biographies of Hitler and Saddam – and even Laloo Yadhav. But all their methods needed significant investment. Gas chamber exterminations needed gas chambers – and they did not come cheap. Salamander, could, of course inadvertently ram into all of them with his car – but Petrol was not cheap either.

Salamander came up with the winner. He remembered something about a Tsunami – and some aid work that his friend Vivek was doing long ago. He decided lure the bucks to the beach and create a Tsunami to kill all of them somehow. He could persuade the Sri Lankan government to conduct nuclear tests near the Chennai coast. That would certainly create the requisite Tsunami.

How does one lure so many black bucks to the coast? Salamander (always full of Ideas) knew how to. His chest baring act had never failed to gab the attention of the opposite sex. And some black bucks were of the opposite sex too. If they ran, the jealous males would run too. So, a semi-nude salamander ran through the streets of Chennai. The entire human female population of the town was kept out of the streets by airing a rerun of Kyonki Saans bhi Bahu Thi on all television channels – so they were not susceptible to the raw sexual charms of the Salamander.

On the beach next day after a tsunami struck, were found the bodies of all the black bucks of Chennai and a few men draped in Pinkish clothes. Salamander and P-Man saved the day!

National Attention

This heroic deed did not go unnoticed. P-Man and Salamander became celebrities yet again. It was as if they were reborn. A rather ancient looking L.K Advani, in an emotional speech said that Salamander had never killed a fellow human (even inadvertently) and that P-Man had never killed a black buck. An equally ancient Praveen Togadia asked him to step down from active politics. Déjà vu?

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