THE GREAT PLAYWRIGHT
This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.
Have any of your jokes, given out in a social party, backfired on you with some force? Perhaps, an offended person thrashed you mercilessly over it?
Well, it did actually happen to me and it indeed backfired like an artillery gun shell. Permit me to share a true story with you, which took place some 50 years back.
If you look at the world map today, you would see only 'one
I was a member of the Indian delegation as its communication officer posted at
Lt Col Advani and I (a Captain then) were not used to this kind of atmosphere in social parties. Army socials are occasions to remember; one spent those couple of hours in laughter, gay abandon, jokes and what not.
Whereas in these diplomatic parties, if you heard some kind of sounds, it was mostly due to the clanking of glasses and never a medley of voices. Of course, liquor flowed freely. That was all the attraction in these evening get-togethers.
It was also customary in this community to return the courtesy. Even when we were hosts ourselves, we had to be somewhat subdued in our actions. Once or twice I tried to activate some diplomats into a sort of burst out. However, nothing doing. Absolute silence and mum was the word.
When my turn came to entertain the consortium, I organized, with the help of my soldiers, some skits and plays, that would generate a good dose of merriment. Activities such as, the Indian Consul General at Hanoi receiving a pair of live chickens in the diplomatic mail bag from India, a couple of our soldiers trying to eat their rice and chapattis with a pair of chopsticks or some men trying to talk with the locals in sign language and so on, thus having a dig at ourselves. The hall truly echoed with dins, giggles and splits at each item - something unique in the diplomatic circles of
The finale was a play wherein, two cows cross the DZ line because the grass is found to be greener at the other side. The incident was duly brought to the notice of the Commission that held a full meeting to sort out the issue. Both the cows were arraigned at each side of the DZ. Then an NCO, gives a drill command, "
The entertainment was followed by Rum-punch and a sumptuous lunch.
Every participant enjoyed the variety show and I received compliments and congratulations.
But, the North Vietnam members, who had also been invited for reasons of protocol compulsions, took exception to the playlet and lodged a formal complaint to the Commission headquarters, at Saigon (Now, Ho Chi Minh city). The
Chairman cum Ambassador had to forward the complaint to the External Affairs ministry at New Delhi which was then headed by the Prime Minister, (Late) Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, himself.
One fine morning I was asked to submit the script of my famous playlet which I did promptly.
Some ten days later, I received a posting order back to
I smiled with elation. "But," Dr. S.S.Ansari continued, "Sense of humor is alien to the communist world. Will you please remember that for the rest of your service in
"No. It isn't a stricture of any kind," the Indian Ambasador assured me.
But what I received from my wife who was on the Indian soil then, was a 'severe reprimand' in the Army parlance. "Who do you think you are? Shakespeare the Second?"
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