With thanks to Sananda Gopalakrishna for bearing with my incessant nagging.
This is an entry to the The Great Indian Blogging Contest, as a part of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2015.
More on the same can be found at:
What on earth is a chamcha, my sister asked me the other day.
A spoon, I replied with a well-duh eyeroll.
No, no, she said. Not a chammach. A chamcha. They just classified that as a new species on the news.
Well, the news is wrong, I said, mind blurring over 68 years of Indian history. The chamcha’s been around for at least the past 19 years of my existence. There is absolutely nothing new about it.
It is specifically Indian? My sister asked.
Yes and no, I said, pretty sure some other breeds exist the world over, but the Indian ones, man, they are something else. Darwin would embrace them as his mascots.
How so, demanded she.
Well, I said, adapting is their middle name. They change habitats like the ayahs change a one-month-old’s diaper, depending on which way the wind’s blowing. They thrive in the filthiest of places, in the most troubled of times, kind of like real-life Dementors. They are masters at surviving the diktats of the foodchain, creeping up the rungs, consuming vast quantities of butter and delivering death to everyone who does not do the same. They are more or less an infestation, having outlived every single organism alive today in the subcontinent, and they will, I suspect, continue to do so as long as humanity is around.
Wow, said my sister. You don’t sound too fond of them.
No, I’m not, I said. They have no right to survive when peaceful doves and silly but harmless sheep die out.
What are you doing, anyway. My sister tried to peer over my shoulder.
I’m enrolling at the Chamcha Training Camp, of course, I said. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and one’s gotta survive. If I can’t beat ‘em, I’m joining ‘em.
That explains the 200-kilo bag of butter delivered to the house yesterday, my sister replied.
Shhh, I scolded. I’m learning to shut up and silence my doubts, rightful voice and conscience. That’s rule number one of Chamcha Training Camp.
But they said on the news that the Indian chamcha is known to roar! My sister looked puzzled.
Oh, yes, I agreed, the sub-clause says that roaring and-slash-or beating others in defiance, to be classified as self defence, is allowed only when the chamcha’s master is rightfully criticised.
That sounds sensible. One must always defend their master, my sister agreed gravely. Let me know how it goes, she said.
I nodded, bounced and wagged an imaginary tail. Why, that is rule number two of Chamcha Training Camp, of course.
The Great Indian Chamcha in its natural habitat.
A terrible drawing by me.