Venue: The Market Committee office
Event: Market Committee meeting
Agenda: Hiking the price of kerosene
(Legends: C – Chairperson; RM – Any Ruling Member;
OM – Any Opposition Member)
C: I welcome all of you to this important meeting. As you know the agenda is hiking the price of kerosene sold in this market.
RM: Yeah, we know. We have been talking about it since some time now.
RM: Let us get on with it.
C: Well, you see, prices in other markets have increased. So kerosene dealers in our market are forced to spend more money.
RM: [In chorus] Poor fellows!
RM: Yeah, they are. But their profits have come down from 150 rupees to 130 rupees. So they need to make up for the fall in profits.
C: Per consumer per month.
RM: [In chorus] Profits have come down drastically.
RM: Let us also discuss what we are going to tell the people.
C: We shall tell that other markets have raised their prices, and that the dealers are incurring losses.
C: Yeah, I know. But that is a loss. Isn’t it?
RM: [In chorus] No doubt!
C: All right, we have all agreed to raise the price of kerosene. Now let us decide how much to hike.
RM: To nullify the loss of profit, what is the estimated quantum of rise?
C: As per the dealers, we may have to hike the price by at least three rupees.
C: Yes, we know that. Don’t worry, we shall give you opportunity for that.
C: [Calls somebody and talks in hush-hush voice. He ends the talk with a smile.]
RM: Okay, so how much is it?
C: We are increasing the price by five rupees.
C: My wife [looks at the phone] says it has to be five rupees.
OM/RM: [In chorus] Then let it be.
C: You don’t. You make a huge hue and cry and issue all kinds of strongly worded statements. You strongly ask us to withdraw the hike. You resort to hartals, bands, dharnas, processions, and anything you want.
RM: Well, police will take care of that.
C: After three days of protests, we roll back the hike by two rupees. We are happy, you are happy, kerosene dealers are happy. Also, remember, elections are due next year.
C: The two rupees they have collected for three days will be contributed to election funds in 60:40 ratio. Sixty for us, 40 for you. This is democracy and everybody has a right to be happy.
One lone voice from a corner: But, what about the common man’s happiness?
C/RM/OM: [In loud chorus] BLAH! THE COMMON MAN! [They all laugh wildly thumping on the desk.]
C: When we talk about elephants, horses and bulls who talks about donkeys?
[The lone voice dies.]