time in history, there was a proposal to make some cabinets
for filing (more appropriately storing) important documents.
Because of the significance and gravity of the matter, it
was placed before an inter-ministerial meeting.
minister was first to speak. "We have to make sure that
in the making of the cabinet there is no material used Made
in India. There is too much trade deficit already," he
ministers, some publicly-elected figures that choose to speak
in anonymity to the press, made big eyes, he quickly added,
"I am sure this will improve relations between the two
of finance was next: "I do not know how this project
would be implemented, as we do not have any specific budgetary
allocation. It may again be necessary to rely on my oft and
much-criticised Very Alarming Thought, that is, impose special
V.A.T. on all the different materials and labour used for
any similar works done in the private sector over the next
colleague pointed out that the party may not be in government
till then, he expressed amusement at his ignorance and added:
"One must create a field for the future. We have not
become politicians out of thin air."
for law, justice and parliamentary affairs: "I believe
this will allow me to claim several time extensions to prolong
minister: 'Time may be extended but not the size. Please remember
that under no circumstances the length of the cabinet should
exceed 40 feet as that is the size of our largest containers."
ministers in chorus: "I wonder if we can accommodate
all our files in such a small cabinet."
and family welfare minister: "Although I do not usually
advocate for more than two, but in the case of cabinet we
can relax the number."
minister: "As I will not allow overloading of our vessels,
the weight of the cabinet must be kept as light as possible.
But with one inspector for over two thousand launches, it
may be possible to ignore any excess weight."
for health and family welfare: "Excess weight is bad
for health especially if you have high blood pressure."
for labour and employment, "It is because of this high
blood pressure that many of our best carpenters have left
for the middle-east."
minister: "Perhaps the honourable minister means economic
for industries: "Howsoever you put it there is a bloody
international pressure to avoid employing child labour."
minister: "Children should be sent to schools, where
cabinet-making must be included in the SSC syllabus and text
books written in such a way that no subsequent government
can change the history of this country."
and employment minister: "History is a small matter when
time is moving so fast, when the entire world is changing.
In this day of increasing mechanisation and automation, it
may not be a good idea to employ manual labour in the making
of this historic cabinet."
for fisheries and livestock: "But only human hands can
shape the rack that will hold a goldfish bowl to symbolise
that we are a nation where fish can be caught on the streets
after a heavy shower."
for law, justice and parliamentary affairs: 'It is inappropriate
for you to be concerned with fish only."
for fisheries and livestock: "Surely a cow will be too
big for the cabinet."
for civil aviation and tourism: "But goldfish is like
a tourist. It is not indigenous."
ministers in chorus: "Let's go for our puti."
voice that could not be identified: "Oh, my God! My nickname
resources minister: "Don't forget the fish, however little,
will also need water. Equitable distribution must be ensured
among the parties concerned, big and small."
minister: "Please do not bring up the subject of India
minister: "Thief's mind police-police."
for textiles: "Thieves need a cover-up, so do wood. In
view of fiscal constraints, we can hide the cheap wood behind
a fabric material."
that could not be identified: "Thieves are not cheap."
ministers in chorus: "Choop!"
cultural minister: "A cabinet covered in jamdani
would look oh so very pretty."
minister: "Nowadays, we need to conserve our natural
resources. Therefore, jute plastic is the order of the day."
for environment and forest: "But that is why for every
wooden cabinet we make, we shall plant at least ten trees."
for housing and public works: "For a forty feet cabinet
that would mean ten four-foot tall small trees; the girth
may be a little too thin."
minister: "Furthermore, I cannot provide you with that
much land coverage."
minister for information: "For proper coverage throughout
the land, private channels shall be encouraged (heh! heh!)
to improve our bhaab-murti in special Live programmes
on the daily progress made by the carpenters. Major newspapers
shall carry special supplements."
for finance: "Under explicit condition that banks and
insurance companies are all well known and do not need to
advertise any more."
for law, justice and parliamentary affairs: "This work
the government cannot do alone. It also requires the cooperation
of the bureaucracy and our carpenter brothers. Let me apply
for a time extension."
for housing and public works: "Please, sir! The work
has not yet started."
for cultural affairs: "Carpenters! Did they not sing
that song ...?"
for communication: "This road will lead us to nowhere."
for cultural affairs: "No! That definitely is a not a
for law, justice and parliamentary affairs: "Such confusion
is good; I can visualise a number of time extensions."
for commerce: "Under the circumstances we have no option
but to rely on divine intervention."
affairs minister: "He is overstepping his line."
for youth and sport: "Overstepping is a No Ball."
affairs minister: "In terms of design, the cabinet must
incorporate arches and domes to reflect our rich heritage
for youth and sport: "Our culture demands a foreign coach.
We can sack him after we are successful and even if we fail."
for communication: "No Ball! Wide! Only my ministry can
import coaches, petrol or CNG."
for science and communication technology: "Let us rely
on local talent. It may be possible to get an appropriate
cabinet design if we hold a competition during a science exhibition
minister: "But that's my domain."
minister for education: "No, mine!"
for LGRD and cooperatives: "Cooperation is the key to
the success of this cabinet."
food minister: “Manoniyo mantree, the best
way to a minister's heart is through his stomach."
for women and children affairs: "I have heard that somewhere."
for disaster management and relief: "Perhaps we can raise
for youth and sports: "Howzzzat?"
for disaster management and relief: "…and send
a message to some donor countries to come to our aid."
for post and telecommunications: "Now you will realise
the importance of SMS."
minister: "We have to build a special force like the
SMS to guard these cabinets."
that could not be identified: "One of our colleagues
has not spoken a word."
minister without portfolio: "Who wants to listen to this
third bachcha of a goat?"
home minister: "Police mind thief-thief. Thukku!"
this time the prime minister was listening to the lively discussion
very intently. Finally he spoke: 'If there will be so much
fuss about a piece of furniture, then I think we have to DOWNSIZE
there was a big hush in the chamber for what seemed a long
a few seconds, they all burst into a loud cheer.
was in jeopardy but they had all survived.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004