By Sudarshan Varadhan

Aziz Acharki

Paati (grandma), I have been asked to interview a dead celebrity, so I chose you.
Celebrity? I was no celebrity or hero.

But you were my hero…
Good attempt at flattering me, but that’s not going to get you extra kanji (porridge) because I am dead. Hahaha die.

Dark humor I see
Ya, now I can say whatever I want. I don’t have to deal with stupid people now.

Interesting. Elaborate.
I educated myself after I died, and I realized that I invested so much in things I shouldn’t have given a firetruck about.

Like what?
Your thaatha (grandpa) for one. He, a grown-up man, was terrible at dealing with problems, and he showed all his frustrations on me. And he was a selfish baskar. He gave me an insignificant percentage of what he earned, never told me what he did with his money, but wanted detailed explanations on how I spent my money.

So how did you manage the household?
I’d buy more rice than required and sell to the neighbor, and I’d play the poor card to the rich neighbor and get a small premium. I’d save that money and invest in a secret saree business.

Wow. You were always different. You actually cared about people regardless of their birth. Then why did you raise my dad as a Brahminical patriarch?
I had my limitations. I am happy that you are not like him and take after your mom. She is the best thing to have happened to the family.

Really? I thought you hated her.
I succumbed to some of your thaatha’s ideals. I will tell you, at least in India, women’s worst enemies are other women, especially the ones in the same household. But I wouldn’t blame them, it will change.

Paati, why were you religious? I never understood that.
You try being at the receiving end of the wrath of control freaks like your grandpa. I had nowhere else to go. So come up with an alternative or shut up. Marx said religion is the opium of the masses, it is half-true. Religion is much more, it is better than opium, it is ecstasy. Hehehe

Comparing opium with ecstasy. Naughty paati. You’re living the… Well. What else have you been up to?
I said I have been reading, and just quoted Marx. That didn’t catch your attention, but this did. You men are all the same.

Internalized sexism, paati. Forgive me, I will learn. What else have you been reading?
Keynes, he says we are all dead in the long term. The rate at which you’re smoking, you’ll be joining me here soon. I’ll give you kanji.



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