It was the year 2050. After decades of virtuous, incorruptible rule that eclipsed even that of the mythical Raja Harishchandra, the AAP leadership decided to make way for the new guard and retire from temporal affairs. Accordingly, Master Pulkit Kejriwal was anointed the next ruler of Delhi.
The time had come to put their own conduct and character to test and seek a ticket to swarga lok after making a career out of doling out character certificates to others. So the five venerable AAP leaders – Arvind Kejriwal, Dr Yogendra Yadav, Manish Sisodiya, Ashutosh and Somnath Bharti – so set forth toward the Himalayas in Kejriwal’s rickety Wagon R for the biggest test of their lives.
Abandoning the Wagon R at the Himalayan foothills, the AAPians began to ascend, trekking their way through thickets, wading through streams, and negotiating steep ravines, clad in the simplest of attire – mufflers and sweaters purchased from Delhi’s downscale Sarojini Market.
Suddenly, Somnath Bharthi uttered a cry of despair and fell to the ground, clutching his twisted ankle in agony. “There is no question of his even being considered,” a celestial voice boomed. “Vigilantism bordering on racism, shady businesses including spam, and a foul tongue. I’m afraid he belongs elsewhere.”
Leaving Bharti to his fate, the rest nonchalantly proceeded forward with grim determination. Ashutosh was in his elements, eagerly climbing trees to charter the course forward, making strange noises to scare away the wild life, and generally trying to make himself useful. Alas, his simian enthusiasm proved to be his undoing as one of the branches cracked and the journalist turned AAP leader plunged to the ground and broke his leg. The rest looked up in dismay and the celestial voice replied: “Do you really want me to disclose the reason?”
“No need, O Father,” Dr Yadav, ever the repository of all that is wise, replied. “I think we know. Over the course of fifty years, Ashutosh has perpetrated unmentionable atrocities on the English language. We completely understand why he is not fit for your abode.”
“Thank you, son,” the celestial voice boomed. “Rest of you may proceed.”
“Why the God has foursaken me? What is his angel? (sic),” were Ashusotsh’s final words before he slipped again and plunged down a deep ravine.
Kejriwal and Sisodiya shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads as though to say “Bandha kabhi nahi sudhar saka [the guy could never reform himself]” and the entourage resumed its peregrination. The air was becoming thinner, the habitations and cities in the expansive Indo-Gangetic plains were appearing like mere specs as the three AAP leaders attained elevation step by painful step.
Suddenly, Sisodiya slipped on a banana peel, landed on his head, and rolled down to the plains. Kejriwal looked up aghast, his features contorted into a grotesque expression of rage and fury.
“The guy was simply too dour,” the celestial voice said, a trifle apologetically. “All his life, he remained Kejriwal’s sidekick, never managing to stamp his personality on his fellow humans. There is no room for such feckless people in the top league, I’m afraid, good conduct notwithstanding.”
Dr Yadav, who couldn’t help but smile at these words, helped a grief-stricken Kejriwal recover himself. “Come Arvind, who are we to question His judgment. Our days of giving character certificates are past us. Now let us resume our journey without much ado. It is my dream to see you ascend the top.”
The duo had now entered the rarefied zone above the permanent snow line. Icy crags and bone chilling winds were their only company as they trudged forward, the silence occasionally punctured by Kejriwal’s spasmodic coughs.
Suddenly, Kejriwal slipped on a sheet of ice, fell on his back and slid down to the very edge of the cliff, before holding on to a rocky outcropping.
“Oh no way I’m going to let this guy proceed any further,” the celestial voice said. “The guy’s made so many U turns in his life, that if one were to place them side by side, they would cover the equator seven times over with a few still left over. And as for his proclivity to call others corrupt while…”
“Looks like I will have to expose you too!” a furious Kejriwal hissed. “You are also Ambani’s agent!”
“See what I mean,” the celestial voice said.
Suddenly, Kejriwal’s fist unclenched and he slid down the steep slope to join his comrades back the base, his plaintive screams of “You are corrupt” echoing through the surrounding hills,
Now only Dr Yogendra Yadav was left and the gleaming peak of Mt Everest came into view. Much as he wanted to break into a bhangra, Dr Yadav, ever a stickler for sobriety, remained calm and serene to majestically scale the pinnacle. A golden chariot was waiting for him at the top.
“Your conduct was spotless, my child,” the celestial voice said. “Always calm, a voice of reason amidst the cacophony and shrill theatricality of your comrades. Very boring, I admit, but unimpeachable integrity. You alone are worthy of coming with me. Mount this chariot to take your rightful place in the court of virtue.”
Yadav hesitated, a crease appearing on his brow. “But I too must do the penance, O Father for I have also erred on many occasions. Conducting fake internal surveys, fibbing about AAP’s prospects, appearing holier than thou…”
“That’s ok, son. Mere peccadilloes that can be overlooked.”
“Yes, you are indeed right, Father, but one must be judged objectively. I too must reckon for sins of omission and commission, however trivial they might be. Is that too much to ask for?”
The celestial one was now beginning to get impatient.
“Boss, stop preaching to me also. This is getting a little annoying.”
“I am sorry if I am annoying you, Father, but one must be free of bias and go by rules in evaluating characters,” Yadav reasoned in his angelic voice.
“Oh @#$@#$, why are you so bloody annoyingly sanctimonious, yaar?” the celestial voice rasped.
Yadav was slightly taken aback but resumed in his calm voice of reason.
“Of course you have a reason to be annoyed, O Father, but is it too much to expect that we maintain a decorum of civility while we debate this?” Yadav pleaded.
The celestial one could take it no longer. “AAARGGH,” the voice boomed. “You actually are the most annoying of the lot. Even Yudhishtir of Mahabharat was not half as annoyingly self-righteous. So you go right back with the rest.”
As soon as these words were uttered, the sheet of ice under Yadav’s feet was pulled like a rug by an invisible hand to upend the AAP leader and send him tumbling down the steep slopes with such great speed that he rolled back to the base even before Kejriwal and the rest could.