As Arvind sauntered out of his house and into the courtyard, mulling over the day’s plan, thinking of speeches he was going to make, the funerals he was going to attend; pondering over which member of his flock would earn the motivating ‘proud of you’ statements from him, who would be the target of his choicest abuses, what non-achievement would he boast about without being caught, his reverie was interrupted by a noise overhead.
It was a helicopter; Narendra was going to work, as usual.
No one would know whether it was a sense of hopelessness of his position, anger at the unreachable height of the helicopter, jealousy due to vast schism in their status or simple pique that drove Arvind, but in a fraction of a second, his face darkened and with an expression of willful primitiveness he removed the slipper from his right foot and hurled it towards the helicopter.
Unfortunately, the sleeve of his extra large sized shirt and loose end of the muffler suddenly decided to come in each other’s way, clashed with each other and what was intended to be a fast and vertical trajectory for the slipper turned out to be a stuttering, parabolic one, and it hurled towards a spot where, accidentally and unfortunately, his wife was standing, with a broom in hand, sweeping the floor and landed perilously close to her.
It was the turn of the other half, the better one as some would say, to experience the sudden change in visage, from a busy thoughtfulness to an enraged one. As a Nirupa Roy turned into a Lalita Panwar, or for those who were not born in those interesting times, as a Daya Gada turned into a Dolly Bindra, her diminutive, arched figure became ramrod straight and what was looking like a broom a few seconds ago began resembling a sword, Arvind felt his own outrage dissolve and morph into a mortal fear. Sheepishly, he tiptoed toward his slipper, picked it up while avoiding eye contact with his wife who was looking like Rani of Jhansi, and rushed out, rather escaped from the courtyard and started breathing again.
Ashu and Kapil, who were waiting for him outside the gate and admiring the brave action of throwing the slipper. It motivated them, inspired them and showed them the path. They quickly searched for a suitable projectile to throw but unable to find anything around, used the biological output of humans and spat at the helicopter.
While Kapil, having studied the projectile motion under the influence of gravity knew maximum achievable height could be obtained by a precise vertical throw, Ashu, having come from a profession where one was supposed to be ‘Jack of no trade but still claim to be master of all’, launched his biological missile at an angle of 65 degrees.
A couple of seconds later, Kapil’s projectile returned to land where it had begun its journey, stunning him and he began running towards the direction helicopter was proceeding, shouting abuses, just as Ashu’s projectile landed on the face of little Alka, playing marbles alongside. A second later, Alka was chasing him with almost similar abuses and he was running away to escape.
Arvind was relieved to see that his cronies had not witnessed the scene in the courtyard but there was another one, named Prashant, lurking at the corner of the alley, had seen it,.
As Prashant caught up with Arvind and patronizingly, said, “Whenever you see Narendra going to work, you try to throw your slipper, despite knowing that your slipper can’t even reach 30 feet while he is at around 5000 feet. He would not even notice that you are doing this. Why do you do it?
Arvind, with his bottled up rage, shouted back, “You forgot the kick I gave you last year? Do you want a repeat of that?”
Prashant, a bit subdued but persistent, tried again, “Curiosity gets the better of me. If you don’t know the reason, it is okay.”
Arvind could not let this challenge to his ignorance, especially about his own actions and reasons thereof, pass without a fight. He said, “My people like me doing that. And you know that very well.” The twinkle in his eye was a reminder to Prashant that he was referring a year old incident.
“But they also know the hopelessness of a slipper against a helicopter and on a daily basis, they are witness to you not being noticed, forget being acknowledged, as I saw today.” Retorted Prashant again.
“Okay. You are too insignificant to be a threat to me, so I will tell you.” Arvind began.
“It is very simple, almost elementary when you think of it.
One day, the helicopter would develop a snag, on its own, due to some part failure, due to adulterated fuel or due to pilot’s error, when the law of averages will catch up or Murphy’s law will kick in, and that moment, when people ask, who brought the helicopter down & grounded Narendra, there would be only one obvious answer. My slippers!
So, till then, I have to be keep on this act even if I am spectacularly useless, otherwise.” Explained Arvind.
“And if that doesn’t happen, ever?” Persisted Prashant.
“Then we would request him, beg him to land here for the benefit of people and the city, for the country, for the love of humanity, whatever. And when he does, we will tell people that it was the slipper that hit it and made it land.” Pat was the response.
Stunned into speechlessness, Prashant stopped and stared at the receding figure of Arvind.
And as Ashu returned after bribing Alka with a lollipop, followed by Kapil who had lost his race with helicopter, the group began walking towards the community centre or the place where they assembled together every day.
Another day had begun, in Delhi.
Disclaimer: All characters in this article are fictional. Any resemblance to any being, living, dead or in coma, is purely coincidental & unintentional.