It’s 2013. Imagine we are all passengers in a plane flying at 30,000 feet above sea level. Now let’s make it large and say we are in an Airbus A380, an aircraft built for long haul flights. Some of us are under the impression we’re headed for Utopia. Yet others dream of Shangri La or El Dorado. And some of us are merely content to escape without bodily injuries when the plane lands at some unknown yet to be determined destination.
All goes swimmingly well for some time. And then, it becomes disconcertingly obvious that we haven’t heard from the pilot for a while. So, I decide to go check things out. As I walk along the aisle towards the pilot’s cabin, the whispers get louder. Turns out that we are running out of gas and we have just a few hours left. But the good news is that we can refuel in mid-air if we manage to not crash the plane first. So it has become obvious that unless we find a good pilot, we’re all screwed.
Naturally I appoint myself chief problem solver and decide to interview candidates for the job. Now, read the interviews carefully because I’m going to ask you to vote for a pilot at the end.
What Ho!: State your name, please.
WH: OK. I get it. Your silence speaks a thousand words. But if you don’t want to get fired, I must ask you to speak. Aren’t you our current pilot? What the hell happened? Why are we in trouble?
MS: Winds of global turbulence. My wings got clipped. My crew didn’t cooperate. You have no idea how hard this is.
WH: Hmm.. From your resume, I see that you’re not even a trained pilot. You have a PhD in air traffic control. Who on earth went and made you our pilot?
WH: Sir, what happened to the fuel? Why are we running short?
MS: I swear to God I don’t know how that happened. They told me to make a few unscheduled stops in Switzerland. Next thing I knew, the fuel gauge showed ‘E’.
WH: What’s the most important thing you’ll do if we let you keep your job?
MS: I believe in inclusion. I won’t throw anyone off the plane. Even if it means crashing the plane first. Either we fly together or we die together. I say we die together. And please don’t let me keep my job.. I beg of you.. please..
WH: OK, you want us to die together. And you don’t want to pilot the plane. Got it. Thank you Sir.
WH: And you are..?
< random voices from the back.. “Dey, how dare you ask his name? Do you not know that he’s the Lion of Gujarat?” >
WH: Ok..ok.. Sorry. Modi-ji, I’m having a hard time hearing you over the cacophony of your supporters. Can you ask them to pipe down?
NaMo: <waves imperially and an immediate hush descends>
WH: Sir, have you flown a plane before?
NaMo: Yes. I have. Not an A380. A smaller one. I’ve logged 11 years of flying experience. It’s all on my website. All my fans know this by heart.
WH: That’s good. I’ve heard that you had some trouble with passengers from a certain community on your flights. How do you respond to that?
NaMo: When you fly a plane, a few birds tend to get caught in the engines. C’est la vie.
WH: No regrets at all? Come on sir. Don’t be a Darth Vader.
NaMo: What’s that got to do with flying a plane? Look, I’m the best you’ve got. Everyone knows it.
WH: Come on sir. You’re not making this easy for us. Tell us the truth.
NaMo: You want the truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH. You’re screwed without someone like me. Namaste-ji. Nice talking to you. < smiles and leaves>
WH: Hey Rahul, how’s things in London these days?
RG: Don’t even ask, dude. I can’t even go peacefully anywhere without a flood ravaging a state somewhere in the country.
WH: We all love you. You’re our Prince. We want you to share our joys and sorrows with us. Please understand.
RG: <distracted> Hey what’s that shiny object over there?
WH: Okie. Now, coming back to our interview.. You’re clearly not a pilot. Why are you even interviewing? Why bother? What’s wrong with London? Or Rome?
RG: Hello? I’ll have you know that my dad was a pilot. And his mother before him. And my great grandpa is the great grand daddy of all pilots. And my great great grand pa was a lawyer…
WH: Ok ok, i get it. Stop. Umm, let’s see.. what’s the most important thing a pilot has to do?
RG: That shiny object over there is distracting me.
WH: I think we’re done here, young Rahul. Stay blessed.
WH: And who may you be?
NK: I am the SECULAR man.
WH: Nitish-ji, at the risk of asking the obvious, what the hell does that mean? And what does that have to do with flying a plane?
NK: Hey, I’ve flown a plane too. Unlike the Lion of Gujarat, I don’t hit birds.
WH: Do you wish to fly this plane, Nitish-ji?
< voice from the back: Saar.. he’s 100 percent tunch pilot maal material.. >
< WH: Is that Diggy or Shotgun? Either way, khamosh! >
WH: So, do you want to fly this plane or not?
NK: I don’t want THAT guy to fly THIS plane.
WH: Ok, I hear you. See ya later.
WH: Hi Arvind, how’s the rabble rousing going?
AK: Things are pretty good. I have 1 lakh followers on Twitter. And I’ve disconnected 24 electricity meters till date.
WH: Have you flown a plane before?
AK: Plane-aaa? I haven’t even driven an auto yaar..
WH: Ciao. See you later.
AK: Hey this is unfair! If you don’t give me a chance, I’ll remove the batteries from this plane.
WH: My advice. Help us pick a pilot instead of trying to become one yourself.
WH: Hazare-ji, do you really want to do this?
AH: Not really. I prefer to spend my time tying drunken fellows to trees and whipping them.
WH: What are you then interviewing for?
AH: All I want is a Jan Lokpal watching the pilot and crew. I don’t trust these guys.
WH: Nice meeting you, sir.
WH: Hello Arnab. What are you even doing here?
AG: Straight question for What Ho. Who’s going to pilot this plane?
WH: I take it that it’s not you.
AG: Dei.. don’t avoid. The nation needs answers.
WH: Dei. I thought the nation had already written to you saying it doesn’t need answers?
AG: Be careful. Be very careful. One does not simply use ‘Dei’ with Arnab Goswami.
WH: Ciao, Arnab. I’ve got work to do.
WH: Welcome Subramaniam Swamy Sir! You are a veritable international man of mystery. A fountain of conspiracy theories. A source of inspiration for anyone who thinks Twitter is a source of inspiration…Sir,it’s an honor having..
SS: What Ho, let me cut to the chase. I have filed a PIL with the Supreme Court asking for it to urgently appoint a new pilot. Hearing is next Tuesday.
WH: Next Tuesday? We’re going to crash in 2 hours.. Anyway, please go on. Will we get any results?
SS: Results and all may or may not come. Keep filing PILs and tweeting. That’s my game.
WH: What’s your typical day like?
SS: Some days, I file more PILs and send less tweets. On other days, I send more tweets and file less PILs.
WH: What do you tweet about?
SS: I tweet about how TDK controls MMS’s joystick. About how CRTs are really Buddhu chelas.
WH: What the hell does that even mean?
SS: Well, you appear to be more idiotic than those Buddhu chelas. Let me put it this way. By TDK, I am not referring to a Japanese corporation.
WH: Have you flown a plane before?
SS: I was a mechanic 20 years back. And I got a degree from Harvard 40 years back.
WH: Sir, do you want to be the pilot or not?
SS: Crazier things have happened. Why not? Let me tell you one thing. If I become the pilot, I’m taking you all to Disneyland.
WH: Thank you sir.
WH: Ma’am, why are you crying?
SG: I’m moved by hearing that people from a certain community on this plane are going to die if this plane crashes.
WH: Ma’am, if this plane crashes, people from all communities will die. BTW, rumor has it that you have a lot to do with this mess… that you haven’t allowed Manmohan to use his joystick?
SG: Nothing of the sort. It’s typical Indian mentality to blame foreigners for their mess.
WH: Ma’am, why don’t you just take over and fly the plane? I have a feeling you’ll be good at this. Democracy be damned, I’ll give you the job if you ask for it.
SG: Sorry. Thanks but no thanks. I can’t be the pilot and manage bank accounts at the same time, no?
WH: I’m sure it’s our loss. Thank you, ma’am.
Sorry folks, if this has been exhausting. I will now lean back, pour myself a stiff one and hand over the unenviable job of voting for a pilot to you.