In June 2022, Delhiites narrowly escaped something deadlier than the Covid pandemic! The danger still lurks…
Not too long ago, in June 2022, a lady was hit on the head by a bottle in an uncultured club in South Delhi. She had to be treated in a hospital. Apparently, an FIR was also lodged but was withdrawn later. A show-cause notice was served to the owner of the bar cum café for running well past the permissible time. This was followed by suspension, and subsequent cancellation, of the licence.
How procedurally methodical!
The court took a serious view of the case and dismissed the plea of the owner to reopen the facility, but then, hoped that the police commissioner would take a sympathetic view since the last two years had been catastrophic on account of Covid-19. The restaurant and service industry in particular, had been severely hit by the pandemic. The court added sympathetically that the restaurant had been providing employment to a number of people since 2017.
How socially conscious and considerate too!
The club did reopen after it was established that ‘nobody hit the lady.’ Some recalled the film No-One-Killed-Jessica-Lal with a sense of déjà vu. Now, all that has little to do with what happened behind the closed doors of the club before it was so conscientiously reopened in the public interest.
Unbeknown to the outside world, a meeting took place behind the sealed ‘bar and café’ doors. Numbering more than a hundred, the members of the group occupied every nook and corner of the premises. And, although all of them, without any exception were slurring (“Zzzuzzu-ing,” to be more accurate), they definitely were not suffering from speech sound disorder. They weren’t drunk either. They were very much in their senses and knew their agenda well.
The oldest and most revered member of the group began, “My friendzz,… Aedez, Anophelez, Culex,… before we prozeed, I want to requezt you to ztand in zilence, wherever you are, for two minutez, to mourn the untimely death of 47 of our brethren.” The gathered members stood motionless––one could hear only the zzzuzzuing caused by their breathing. Tears rolled and the cheeks of some of the members, mostly female, glistened in the intermittent glow of the blue and red LED light emanating from the RO water filter installed behind the bar counter of that dark and gloomy complex.
After two minutes, which lasted barely ten seconds, the revered member continued, “They died young… in fact, if you azk me, they didn’t die… (emphasis) they were killed… yez, ladiez and gentlemen… they were K-I-L-L-E-D…. And we will avenge their deathz,” he paused and looked around for attention as the zzzuizzing rose in decibel. “They were trampled to death when they lay unconsciouz on the floor of thiz very bar. Our expertz have dizcovered that… I’m zad to zay… they were inebriated. They were intoxicated becauze they had conzumed the blood of the drunken lot in thiz bar. Their blood had unuzually high levelz of alcohol.”
“Death to Delhiitezz!!” one member sitting on the shade of a fancy light expressed his rage.
Another one, perched precariously on the brim of a wine glass screamed, “Aedez! Anophelez! Culex… mozquitoez of the world, unite… zzz.” Shivering with anger, he lost balance and slipped and fell into the empty glass and hurt his head.
“Ladiez and gentlemen, maintain zilenze! Zloganeering will take uz nowhere. Let the revered leader zpeak,” a volunteer who looked like a muscular bouncer gestured to the crowd to settle down. “And… ladiez and gentlemen, let me make it clear… we are not mozquitoez… we are M-O-Z-Q-U-I-T-E-E-R-Z… and let’z behave like MOZQUITEERZ,” he stressed before letting the revered member resume.
The response of the audience was exactly as the revered member had expected it to be. He proceeded with his melodrama with a heightened sense of satisfaction, “Thankz to the new excize rulez in zome Ztatez… more and more people are now dying of drunken driving, brawlz in the barz and road rage… there is no account of zpike in the deathz due to increazed domeztic violenze. Thoze rizing numberz, my muzquiteer friendz are alarming. Our worry iz that in due courze of time, thoze numberz will exzeed the numberz dying because of Covid, malaria, filaria and chikungunya… we’ll loze the leftover trazez of rezpect.” The voice of the revered member crackled with grief. “It is a viziouz zircle,” he became philosophical, “Free electrizity, free water, free buz-ride… haz left the aam aadmi with enough money to zpend on himzelf. A mazzive cut in liquor prizez haz brought it within the eazy reach of everyone. Of courze, it iz a beautiful trend… fatherz, motherz, zonz, daughterz,… familiez and friendz drinking together from the zame bottle of cheaply and readily available Glenlivett and zpeaking in just learnt farratedaar Englizh… I don’t mind those people blowing up the government largezze… but my conzern is the long term ill effectz it’ll have on our young mozquiteerz, and our breedz.”
There was silence in the bar; even the zzzuzzuing had stopped. Faced with existential crisis, the mosquitoes had gone into introspection.
Sound of footsteps and human voices broke the chain of their thoughts. Concern and fear writ large on their faces, their heads turned towards the bar door. With bated breaths they heard the keys clink and the door knob rotate. “Thank God, they have finally accepted our plea. Victor, I have organised a Hawan at nine tomorrow. Please get the bar cleaned and sanitised before sunrise tomorrow. And… oops… these mosquitoes! Spray some odourless repellent,” said the bar owner as he killed a mosquito who had mistakenly landed on his chubby cheek. Then, there was commotion. The last thing heard as the mosquitoes ran for cover was the voice of their revered leader: “Dizperze! Dizperze! Each one to himzelf…. We’ll meet again zoon… until then take care of yourzelf and avoid conzuming the blood of drunken Delhiitez. Don’t worry, there haz been a brawl in another bar… more will follow… we’ll have a wide choize of venuez to get together… the addrezz of our next meet will be communicated to you. Remember we have to avenge the killingz of our fellow mozquiteerz. Zai Zind!”