Thursday, October 22, 2009


"Dad, you have no choice but to buy the Street Cat bike you promised me. I have the backing of mom and Vicky," said Amit's eldest son, 15-year-old Mittu. Amit's wife Aditi and Vicky nodded their assent. Their 9-year-old daughter Maggie, youngest of the lot, was the lone dissenting voice. She had, after all, nothing to gain. At least Vicky was promised an occasional ride in return for his vote.

The venue where this drama was unfolding was their dinner-table. The main item on the agenda was how to appropriate Rs. 3000 earmarked under the head ' Fancy Purchase in the family budget proposals for the month.

Well, with 'Mummy', Mittu and Vicky voting in favour of the bike ( through a 'Noise vote'), Amit reluctantly yielded to their demand. He was in a minority in a household of five. As Mittu said, he had no other option. Especially since he was instrumental in introducing the ' Domestic Democracy Doctrine ' (DDD) in the matter of family budgeting. Now he regretted that he had not retained the power of veto. 'There goes my Electric coffee maker,' Amit thought with a sinking heart. He slept fitfully that night.

Next morning, while he shaved, Vicky crept silently into the bathroom and whispered in a conspiratorial tone: " Dad, you can still get your coffee maker. But only if you get me that Chinese video game which, at the most, would cost you Rs. 300. I will throw in my lot with you, lock, stock and barrel, if you concede my demand. With Maggie on our side, we can carve ourselves a cozy majority." Amit jumped at his offer. Their clandestine pact was sealed.

At the breakfast table, Amit triumphantly announced their newly-emerged alliance expecting to see the crestfallen faces of his wife and Mittu. Instead, they burst into guffaws, sharply ridiculing his naivete. Apparently, in anticipation of such a turn of events, they had enticed Maggie back into their fold with the lure of a silk Churidar at their midnight rendezvous. Little Maggie had defected overnight! The opposition had pipped Amit at the post.

This happened last Tuesday. Now, here he was, at the wheel about to start the car on the way to their weekend shopping to buy the bike, when his wife Aditi threw an unexpected bombshell. She informed him with a touch of pride in her voice that she along with Vicky and Maggie had forged ' third front ', dropping Mittu like the proverbial hot potato from the new Front. The conditionality of the new alliance gave her a sari, Vicky, his video game and Maggie, the churidar. Amit's wife who had all along been a neutral umpire got greedy and threw her hat into the ring claiming a chunk of the spoils. This was quite unsettling for Amit, even though, that in no way altered his position vis-a-vis the coffee maker ( which was, in any case buried in the graveyard of domestic democracy).

With his spirits dipping to an all-time low, Amit drove into the main thoroughfare. As the cool breeze hit his face, his dejection began slowly melting as a new scheme took shape in the crevices of his brain. He decided to take the family to the park on the way to the shopping arcade. Though his wife would be watching her coalition partners with a hawk's eye, he hoped to find some pretext to draw one or two of them to a corner and try to win them over to his side. His horse sense told him that he certainly would.

Long Live DDD.

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