This morning when I reached my office and checked the news, I was shocked to learn that comedian Jaspal Bhatti had died in a car accident. He was in Punjab promoting his forthcoming film, Power Cut!
Imagine promoting a movie called 'Power Cut' and suddenly your lifeline is cut by the almighty. What can one do? R.I.P Mr. Bhatti!
Bhatti Saheb showed his talent in Flop Show, a TV series that used to be broadcast on Doordarshan decades ago (actually, 1989). As a school-going kid, I used to love the show--comedy used to be in short supply in those days (there was no YouTube then).
To remember this great comic talent, who did not get his due in Bollywood, I am sharing with you this little comic piece that I wrote a few days ago on a whim. This is my tribute to Bhatti Saheb, my way of remembering him as he wanted us to laugh at ourselves.
This is the chapter 1 of I Break The Leg of Inglis, a book that I began to write a few days ago. The idea came to me on the bus on my way home. Let me know if it tickles your funny bones.
I Break the Leg of Englis
Hello! So please to meet you. I take the honour of shaking your hand. My name is Parvesh Sharma. I am a Bihari and I am here to break the leg of Englis.
Breaking the leg of Englis has been my lifelong dream. When I was a little boy in a little village called Angsola, I broke my own leg climbing a stool. I was reaching out to steal the rasgullas from the peak of the almirah. I was doing something wrong. God punish me badly. I become a little langda, but I become god-fearing from that time. Every mishappen has a lesson on it and that is why it is called a sting in the tale.
If you don’t fully understand me, I bend my behind in forgiveness and fully seek your support. We starting a new bank branch of Englis called Binglis. If there can be Hinglis, why not Binglis? If you don’t allow this facility, where is justice, haan?
Any way, when my father see my broken leg, he scold me black and blue. ‘If you have to break anything, break the leg of Englis,’ he shout. At that time I think Englis is name of some mild animal. So I remember what my father tell me that day and I tie it in the fold of my antenna.
Before I tell you more of me, I tell you the behind of my family. I belong to a long tradition of family history full of writers. My grandfather write letters for other people in deep trouble of not able to write a word. He write their happiness, he write their sadness, and he make money like that. He make money but my grandmother still not happy with him because he give lot of money to Congress and Gandhiji.
My father also a writer; he write big big words on walls and on big tin signs—the village people call him PhD master. He no PhD from some big university. He not even high school pass. But people call him that surname because he can talk Englis like a convent pass Angrej. My village very proud of my father.
When I born, my father tell the whole village: ‘My boy when grow up, he become even better than me. He break the leg of Englis in his own surf.’
What he mean is I talk and walk like an Angrej from England. And become a writer.
So, every time I do mistake my father remind me of his promise to his village people. ‘Don’t make keema of my ijjat,’ he tell me. ‘Break the leg of Englis.’
So, that became my possession—breaking the leg of Englis.
When I in primary school, my father give me Father Kamil Bilke dictionary. Every day I remember ten words. He become very happy and give me round round sweets to eat.
After primary, he send me for tuition to an Englis teacher for grammar. He very strict man. He talk with a ruler and hit your head if you make a wrong mistake. But he a man of bad habit. When he talk, he take out his tongue too outside his mouth like a snake. The spit from his mouth also fly out of his mouth and make us dirty. In few days I loss my appetite for grammar.
I never recover the loss till today. My guru Ketan Bagat says never mind. ‘You think all writers write books with perfect grammar?’ he tell me one day. ‘Beta, you can become a writer even with bad grammar.’ ‘How? I ask. ‘There are people in publishing house, mostly ladies, called editors,’ he say. ‘They clean copy like you clean a tea pot or a gwala cleans his cowshed.’
I turant understood what he mean. ‘You mean the press house like white house,’ I say. ‘Writers come, take shit and go out. The editors clean the shit and get money for their job.’
‘Correct,’ say my guru.
I touch his feet and say, ‘They are noble people. They clean dirt of others. God bless them.’
(Copyright: Zafar Anjum, 2012)