Scenes from Hysteria

Scene 1

“This is the third Farzana we have had since morning,” she said.

I gave the polite smile one manages at beauty salons. This was at the reception counter and I was hoping to get myself some quick-fix solutions for the world problem during these trying times –a moisturiser to prevent the skin from drying.

She hesitated, “Parsi or Muslim?”

Ah, they had such brand names now?

She gave me the details of the other two.

Okay, so I was a Muslim. She then said her brother had been honoured “for fighting the Pakistanis”.

Right. Kargil?

“I don’t know. Indira Gandhi was there.”

“No, can’t be Kargil. Must be the Bangladesh War.”

“No, no, when India fought Pakistan.”

I wanted to say forever, but by now we had become an item. She was attending to others, but she would glance at me. The expression was a mix of indulgence and confusion. She is a Parsi. I have no idea where she fished it out from, but she brought out an old clipping of her brother being decorated.

“You know I want to join one of these citizens’ movements.”


“Do you know all these CEOs came out in the streets?”

I went full-throttle about what I have written. It was time to go to the inner chambers…the wax seemed hotter.

Scene 2

The lounge at the airport. No announcement about delays. The television is blasting news about how we should deal with Pakistan. The channel is Headlines Today. Some punk who is referred to as ‘our defence correspondent’ is taking on Defence Minister A.K.Antony for saying that we had no immediate plans for military action against Pakistan.

The punk is screeching, because the lady in the studio is asking him to give his expert view from some strip of road he is standing in. He is screeching that this is not how the Defence Minister of the country should talk. His comments are “False and needless.” What?

This fellow knows more? These studio jerks are going to decide on such important decisions when some of us question even the powers-that-be? What is false about it? And why is it needless? Because these people won’t have anything to keep them busy and away from murders in our country, ordinary murders?

Mr. Antony has goofed up as Defence Minister on occasion, but the Government of India had not made any firm decision. He was merely reiterating the position he had expressed. It was needed because going to war is not like barking comments into a mike. Or sitting in on panel discussions. Or even writing. Yes. I am saying it.

Immediately after this they were showing Yousuf Raza Gilani saying that Pakistan does not want a war but if they were pushed in a situation they would fight back. This they thought was a pugnacious stand. What was he expected to say?

Then they had one more major reason to promote this nonsense. It happened to be Vijay Divas. I don’t know of many channels that make an issue of this day on other occasions, but now it was huge.

Does a person travelling from one point to the other on some work or whatever wallow in such sponsored bitterness?

I added lots of sugar to my coffee.

Scene 3

The checks at the airport are not as stringent as made out to be. They merely look at your photo ID before you enter.

After security check, my handbag stood on a counter. I waited. The security person waved me off. I kept standing. Don’t they want to see again what’s inside? My name, read my name, I wanted to tell them.

The guy smiled, “Theek hai.

Ah, well, I had a new lipgloss. And I can use it as a weapon.


  1. FV:

    As a nation, we love loud, theatrical stuff. Just go and watch some of the TV shows and movies that this nation likes so much.

  2. The gardener tries to dig a trench in the lawn because there are F-16s zooming about overhead. Hyper-hysteria!

    Lip gloss makes a good weapon, stealthier than the stick.

  3. The first scene shows how this is become a chat show.Media us useless.Last scene expresses your anger

  4. PS:

    No. Watch our news channels. I have begun to respect our soaps after this.


    Thanks for the green thumbs up to lipgloss :)


    I did not think of this as a play, but...the last scene is not so much anger. I am trying to convey a certain paranoia that is seeping in.


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