Auspicious day

“In our country can you even dream of doing anything without picking an auspicious day?”, the candidate rhetorically asked his supporters while filing his nomination for the forthcoming general elections, just a day prior to the deadline set for the same.

The supporters roared in approval as they had no idea what he was talking about. It was an auspicious day for them as well. They were getting money in return for supporting him for the day.

“The Gods are with me. If they were not, they would have ensured that the auspicious day fell after the deadline was over”, he said with irrefutable logic.

“I will ensure that all important decisions are taken on auspicious days only”, he said, coming out into the still-pleasant March sun from the darkness of the office of the Election Commission, after filing his nomination, referring to the tried and trusted management technique followed in the country. “Historically, while the private sector has used this technique to their advantage, enabling it to abdicate responsibility for wrong actions, the government, as usual, has dragged its feet on the issue.”

It was like a video in playback mode that he conjured up for his supporters who were left wondering about what might have been. Thousands of lives lost in the Uttarakhand floods last summer could have been saved if only the unauthorised construction on the riverbed had been done on an auspicious day. The repeated humiliation of the cricket team could have been avoided if only the team selection had been done on an auspicious day.

Still, the question uppermost in their mind was, “in a country of this size, how does one ensure that an auspicious day is chosen?”

He was nothing if not an understanding and sensitive leader. He smiled and chided them gently “don’t you even know how an auspicious day is chosen?”

Seeing the blank looks all around, he continued, “Look, first you pick a number, any number. Then you add the sum of its digits.”

There was a mad scramble for pen and paper as he spoke those words. They wanted to capture every nuance of the process. Some even turned on their phone video recorders.

“The sum of its digits will then be multiplied by two. Always remember that. If you multiply by any other number you will get a different result”, he helpfully and knowledgeably advised, nonchalantly giving them a Math lesson that they would remember lifelong. “The resultant number should be increased by one-fifth of its value after which the digits should be reversed. Then seven added to the number and the resultant divided by three.”

He had their attention. People were busy writing down the formula. Some of them were scared of Math. But the way he explained it made it easy even for them. You could hear a pin drop.

“And then”, the words came out like a cannon-shot in that silence, “if the resultant is a number less than a hundred, proceed to destroy it.”

The supporters busily wrote it down. They even checked with the neighbour is they had got the number right. It was bound to be a critical step in the process.

“And if, if”, he stressed on the word, “the number happens to be any other number”, he boomed, “a number that is not less than a hundred”,


More pause

“proceed to destroy it”.

The throng of supporters clapped. The suspense had been cleared. Pens started scribbling on paper once again. Phone videos were anyway rolling. They sensed a logical break in the explanation, and carefully tore off, folded and pocketed the paper on which it had been written, for use at an appropriate time in their lives.

“After that, you need to add the numbers in your date of birth or the digits assigned to each letter in your name.” Sensing the question in people’s eyes, he said, “Randomly of course. You will assign random values to each letter in your name.”

There was a sigh of relief. They could handle this. Assigning random values. It was clear now. They quickly made the required notes on a new piece of paper. The videos kept rolling.

“These numbers, as you might have guessed, will reveal a great deal about character, purpose in life, motivations, talents, etc. It may not be about the person doing the calculation, but someone in the world who has no idea about it will surely answer to the character, purpose in life, motivation, etc. revealed by the numbers.”

They could only marvel at this ingenious way of getting an insight into the character of someone they knew nothing about and were unlikely to, ever.

“After that you would need to add the digits of the number so obtained, divide by two and raise to the power of seven”.

The pens were slowing down. He could sense the growing unease. Despite his facility at explaining complex mathematical equations, there were limitations. He swiftly moved to a solution.

“I understand that all of us may not be able to do this on our own. We will need spiritual leaders to guide us. We will select a spiritual leader based on the most outrageous claims of healing body and soul being made and give him free land for building ashrams. In a crowded city like ours, we could either take land from school playgrounds or cut down some forests. After that we will make him richer and richer so that he can give us guidance.”

“But then, we all know that revered spiritual leaders are subject to occupational hazards. Hence, we will create a panel of spiritual leaders. As soon as the selected leader has sexual impropriety charges levelled against him, the next one on the panel will take his place. And so on.”

Who was this guy they wondered. A politician who even has a Plan B. Unheard of. This guy was likely to go far. And so, on that auspicious day, they mentally made a note to hitch their wagon to this guy in the forthcoming elections.