Magic Wand

“But this was not part of your promise”, she screeched, the volume knocking meandering satellites off their orbital path.

It was just yesterday that she had gone to the meeting. And gone with high hopes. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the new kid on the political block, had vowed to change corrupt practices and put political power back in the hands of the common man. And they had invited the common man to a public meeting where they could register their complaints. People passed over for promotion, youngsters feeling cheated in parental bequest, people charged ten rupees for a bank transaction, were all queuing up to join the party and serve the nation and the common man. Of course, in the rush, some other undeserving causes may have also slipped through.

Nobody had ever invited her before. But that was no hindrance. Cometh the hour cometh the man. Or woman. She was ready. Ready to do her bit for the country and the common man. There were worthy causes all around. Like the smooth, blemishless road in her colony. Roads in the nearby colonies had recently been relaid without needing the relay. Why should her colony not get the benefit of being relaid without needing the relay. It was an apt example of the corruption that had seeped into the previous government.

On her way to the complaint registration desk, she had jumped the queue several times and battered and bruised several complainants standing in the queue awaiting their turn. After all, every common man has a voice. Isn’t that what had been promised by AAP? Why should she not have one? She was happy that her complaint had been heard and registered.

On the ride back home, her face was all aglow with the knowledge that the common man was finally going to reap the fruits of independence and democracy. She parked her car on the pedestrian path in front of her house under the “No Parking” sign and went inside whistling. It was a momentous occasion.

She knew action would be quick. She had awoken early that day and was ready for the Vigilance department staff when they came calling. A pot of tea was on the stove and cookies were neatly laid out on a tray.

The Vigilance Officer held out a letter for her. She smiled, took the letter in one hand and held out the tray of cookies for him with the other.

“Bring the pot of tea, you idiot,” she said as she slapped her underage domestic help, illegally brought in from a nearby country, admonishing her for her tardiness.

Taking a moment to look at herself in the mirror, she carefully opened the letter. It did not take long for her face to turn from glowing to ashen.

The letter was a show cause notice for throwing garbage from her house in front of the neighbour’s house. It appeared that the neighbour was also fighting against injustice done to the common man. She was aghast. “What right does the neighbour have of fighting for the common man?” she wondered.

Struggling to maintain her external composure, she managed to ask, “Where does your manifesto say that you will take action against the common man?” In the same breath she added, “Show me where you have said that the common man has responsibilities. We have lived with other political parties for so long without any responsibilities. Nobody has ever bothered about it. Who are you to tell me where I should throw my garbage? Next you will tell me not to park my car under the “No Parking” sign”. Who are you to tell me that I need to behave responsibly? And who are you to take cognizance of my neighbour’s complaint against me? Even if she is common, I am more common than her.”

The Vigilance Officer tried to offer an explanation. She could only see his lips move. She could not hear anything he was saying. She could hold it no longer. “But this was not part of your promise”, she screeched, the volume knocking meandering satellites off their orbital path.

Meanwhile, outside the house, happiness was coursing through the streets like a pleasant breeze. There was expectation of magic once again in the air. To be performed by someone else.