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Jan 12, 2018 20 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
White Beard and Black Beard were seated in large comfortable chairs across each other in a simple room, sipping Assam tea.

The wall facing them had several niches in a neat array, each with a diya glowing steadily. Behind them historical stalwarts gazed from their portraits. 1/
White Beard, lost in distant thoughts, recited some lines:

वो जितने अँधेरे लाएंगे मैं उतने उजाले लाऊंगा
वो जितनी रात बढ़ाएंगे मैं उतने सूरज उगाऊंगा
इस छल फ़रेब की आंधी में मैं दीप नहीं बुझने दूंगा...

In came Andhakar slowly and hissed, "Namaste!"

A diya got snuffed out. 2/
White Beard was shaken out of his reverie even as Black Beard stood up to light the diya.

Holding an old-style phone in his hand, Andhakar sibilated in a low whisper, "Radiation causes cancer." More diyas were snuffed out.

"Is that what you came for?" retorted White Beard. 3/
Black Beard came back and shouted at Andhakar, "Sit down and do not hiss!" Andhakar took out a ribbon from his pocket and started fidgeting with it.

"I don't understand why you retain him," said Black Beard to White.

Meanwhile, a little girl sitting in a corner came forward. 4/
She had a cherubic face that radiated wonder. Her eyes were intelligent and curious, but with a tinge of anxiety. In her hand was a deck of playing cards whose top faces had the Aadhar motif. A Joker lay on the ground.

"Why are you tired, #Tina?" asked White Beard, concerned. 5/
Tina had materialized magically after the incredible election win in 2014, and both the Beards had adopted her lovingly. She turned out quite happy and healthy, until now.

She looked at White Beard, but did not reply.

"Is it Andhakar?" asked Black Beard, as Andhakar cringed. 6/
"Him?" she pointed at Andhakar. "He doesn't matter to me."

"Then who troubles you? Annē Cessarey?" asked Black Beard. "Or is it the Dhimmendra Duo?" added White.

Andhakar asked feebly, "Is it Torn Kurta and his new chaddi-buddies?"

Tina opened her mouth, but didn't reply. 7/
White Beard, reading her unspoken words, said, "The newly evoluted Torn Kurta is worrying you, hmm?"

Black Beard said, "We are firing on all LPG cylinders, Tina! Sam Osa-ji is building 130 kms of road every day. Visalakshi-ji is giving 260 visas every day. What can Kurta do?" 8/
Tina shouted, "You know why I am tired? None of you tells me anything, and what you do doesn't make sense. All I hear are Torn Kurta jokes. I am sick of them."

White and Black Beard exchanged glances, and then said as one voice, "Do you want Vikas to talk to you more often?" 9/
Even as the Beards summoned Vikas, Tina shouted, "I can't bear this boredom. I need story books and comic books, not these workbooks!" Angrily, she strode out of the room.

Vikas tottered in, lean and frail, as if he'd had no nourishment for some days. White Beard was aghast! A/
From a basket nearby, White Beard picked up a handful of dry fruits to give to Vikas.

As he extended his hand, three incredibly corpulent people, like orca fat, dressed similarly in white pants and shirt materialized magically in front of him, extending *their* greasy palms. B/
Black Beard raised his eyebrows. "Babus!" he spat out! "You cannot dole out anything without them around."

An unctuous smile adorned their oily faces. "We will take care of Vikas," said one of them, stretching his pudgy hands, the flabby fingers decked with huge golden rings. C/
White Beard dropped the dry fruits in one of their greasy palms. All the cashews, pistachios, walnuts and almonds disappeared into the palm and what remained was one tiny shriveled raisin, which the Babu grudgingly gave to Vikas.

The Babu's girth increased ever so slightly. D/
Black Beard said, "No wonder Vikas is stunted!"

In an effort to intimidate them, White Beard took the Aadhar playing cards that Tina had left, and asked them to pick one.

One of them pulled out the Queen of Diamonds. "We've house-trained Annē Cessarey!" they laughed smugly. E/
Saying so, they vanished.

Suddenly remembering the other kid, White Beard asked, "How is Ram?"

"Still sleeping," said Black Beard.

"We should probably wake him up."

An old man dressed in an all-black gown materialized magically and said, "Not until I allow you to, OK?" F/
"Who are you to allow us?" bristled Black Beard.

"Well," said the black gown suavely, "let's not be hasty! We have more important things to pass our verdict on, OK? A few more decades will not destroy your civilization, OK?"

Andhakar, who was still sitting nearby, twittered. G/
"Milord," asked White Beard sarcastically, "What is it now? The thickness of agarbathis? The viscosity of ghee? The length of sindoor in micron?"

The black gown said, more to himself, "Ah! I have an idea!" and promptly vanished.

Meanwhile, the djinn appeared out of nowhere. H/
"It's a shame," he shouted at the Beards, "that Kumbhakarnas are wide awake in your rule, and you have the audacity to let Ram sleep!"

Although the Beards squirmed, the saffron-clad djinn continued, "If *you* don't wake him up now, Torn Kurta surely *will* in a few months." I/
"Yes, we should," said White Beard sheepishly.

The djinn retorted, "Goswami Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitamanas so that the common people could appreciate the life of Ram. You cannot even explain your *own* achievements to the common people! Haven't you learned anything at all?" J/
On seeing Tina peeping out of her room, the djinn told the Beards, "If you want her to remain here, wake up Ram. Let him take care of Tina and Vikas."

Andhakar was hiding behind a chair. The djinn looked at him and raised his right hand. All diyas started glowing brightly. /END

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Oct 6, 2018
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Nehrendra Chol̠an was the greatest ruler of the Chol̠ā dynasty, whose influence extended to all past, present, future, and unknown regions of the Universe.
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Pidi waited.
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