Friday, January 3, 2014

Tough Season

The New Year season is usually great for business but this year, it has been tough. Trouble is not from outside, demand has hit an all-time record, but from within.
My main partner has gone dry. Before, all it took was a whiff of country liquor for him to gather his cronies and put in a hard day’s work. This year, he has taken a resolution. As if that was not enough, his long-suffering wife has changed her opinion of him and decided to love him a little. Only a person who has ‘found’ God can be worse than an alcoholic turned teetotaler with a woman to love. I have asked him to go on leave. His sermons are that insufferable.
Another partner, the loan-sardine, has decided to be debt-free. A week is over and he has not finished his salary. In the good days, it rarely lasted a day and he lived on loans, taking one to feed another. And, he and his ilk worked hard for free, or rather, paying off the interest I charged them.
Then, there is my man to handle the women’s group. He is into his fourth marriage and sixth extra-marital affair. I have stopped wondering how he manages this, without losing a buck in alimony or gifts; in fact, well-fed, well-taken care of and even well-funded by his harem. Whenever I wanted a large gathering of women, he never disappointed me. But, this New Year, he says that ‘even a womanizer has to have ethics’. He is acting real stuffy about using his women connections.
As if these resolutions were not enough, my youth-wing partner hammered the final nail into my coffin. I want to study and work, he says. Come on, man, can’t you see that this is your time, I advice like a father with a prodigal son. Guys and gals with half of your wit are becoming leaders, even ministers, I tell him. That does not budge him, hardly. I want to study and work, he repeats, so do my friends. If I had a hammer in hand, I would have socked him.
Till a few years back, I was in the business of creating USP’s for groups. But then, that went out of fashion. When all are crying ‘corruption’, how creative can I be?
I turned away from creativity and moved into mass-production, that is, event management. I managed small meetings at first. Nouveau-riche who wanted a group of cultured suave set of relatives at their weddings came to me. Religious groups with dwindling flock asked me to fill the rows at prayer meetings, to give the faithful company. Then, the big fish came to me. And, my partners brought their crowd.
It is not a new idea. It used to be easy till the eighties and even nineties. If those times lasted, I could have managed with just the daily wage of Rs 250 or so, plus a plate of chicken biriyani, and a bonus once in a while of a movie or a bottle of liquor or easy loan. But now, with cameras everywhere, I have to invest in disguises and training. My alcoholic-turned-evangelist partner used to be great. In the mornings, he used to lead a rough set of revolutionaries, still bleary-eyed, stinking of liquor and puke, snarling to beat a raging hangover. By afternoon, freshly-bathed, shaved, he and his kind turned into common middle-class much-aggrieved protestors or abusive sanctimonious moral bull-dogs. By evening, with the first mugs and chasers downed, he and his army filled the ranks of soft, fattened good-for-nothings out to have a good time. In a single day, he used to be interviewed by the same news reporters at three or four rallies, and not even once did he get the ideology wrong at the wrong place at the wrong time.
 I am hoping that this is a temporary glitch. After all, for how long can people stick to idiotic resolutions? I will just have to wait for my partners to turn the old leaf, and the new order shall change yielding place to old. After all, there’s plenty of money to be made in the next few months.


  1. Well well well... Arjun Mashe... I am lost in here... Is this is a story of an Event manager, who loses his partners to some resolutions or is this a generalised what if scenario.. like what if an womanized turned new leaf.. ??? or someone looking at resolutions and wondering how long it would stay.. please enlighten me..

    1. Well, KP, this is about the political scene out here. A cousin recently told me that it is the same people who actually appear as protesters in all hartals, strikes, etc. irrespective of party. That is given to "event managers", it seems. It is not an old idea - do you remember an old Malayalam movie (satire) "Panchavadi Palam"? Even that has it. As for the characters who appear for such, it must be all the good-for-nothings in town, I feel... and thus my main characters. :-)))

      Thx a lot for reading,
      Best wishes.