Lottery, Ravi, Rent, Bond Boy and Washroom

Silently contemplating

Sunday Times

My dear Ravi,

I thought I should write to you this week because you seem to be in the news right now for so many reasons. Many people are saying many things about you and some are even asking you to leave your job – and all you have done so far is to maintain a silence that can only be called deafening!

I think, Ravi, the root cause for all this fuss is the promise the Greens and Maithri together made to usher in what they called ‘yahapaalanaya’. That was quite useful in getting rid of Mahinda maama but now, the problem seems to be that the people truly believed that all of you would do just that.

I am sure you thought that our people would have short memories and let bygones be bygones. Instead, they are asking you to show results. They want you to prove that Mahinda maama’s chaps did horrible things during their time and to punish them for that – as if you have nothing better to do!

There you were, the man in charge of the nation’s purse strings, busily making decisions that mattered to every citizen in the country, following in the footsteps of greats like JR, NM and Ronnie before you. Surely, you are not someone who would breach the trust and honour bestowed on you, are you?

That is why I was surprised when, in the guise of having a full Cabinet reshuffle, Maithri simply asked you and Mangala to swap jobs. It seemed to be the unkindest cut of all, taking away that prestigious job from you after two years and giving it to that Johnny-come-lately, Mangala.

It maybe that Maithri doesn’t include The Banker magazine in his regular reading at the breakfast table. If he did, he would have known that you were chosen as the ‘best Finance Minister in the Asia Pacific’. Ah, it is not for nothing that they say a prophet not being honoured in his own country!

Maithri then made a mockery of it even more, by allowing you to remain in charge of lotteries – surely you must be the first Foreign Minister who is in charge of lottery tickets! Or is it that Maithri sensed, correctly it seems, that you are someone who liked to be in charge of projects that make easy money?

Then, Ravi, now there is this big hullabaloo about you moving into an apartment where the rent was paid by that ‘bond boy’, Aloysius. I must say that, as far as revelations go, it was startling indeed but even then, I can’t understand what all this fuss is about, with people even demanding your resignation.

They are amazed because you were moving into an apartment where the rent was more than a million rupees a month and also because that bond boy didn’t think twice about paying that kind of money on your behalf. Where else do they expect you to live – in that ‘hostel’ for parliamentarians at Madiwela?

I suppose the big question is why the bond boy paid your rent so readily. He must have known that our ministers are paid peanuts because, as they say, when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. So, what are friends for, the bond boy would have thought, when he doled out those millions to you.

Besides, the bond boy is the son-in-law of the bond man, whose signature was on all the money in the country anyway. When the bond boy was busy making billions of profits, surely it doesn’t hurt to part with a million here and a million there, especially when you have a pauper minister who is in need!

I think you should be happy that you live in Paradise, Ravi. Just imagine what would have happened if you lived in nearby Pakistan, for instance. Their PM just resigned because he couldn’t explain his family’s wealth and their Supreme Court said he could no longer be an honest Member of Parliament!

Anyway, Ravi, I don’t think you should worry too much about these commissions of inquiry, when they demand that you attend to their summons and answer their questions promptly. After all, we all know you are a busy man- the only Foreign Minister in the world who also has to look after lotteries!

Ravi, you have nothing to fear because you would have heard about what they say about these commissions of inquiry – they are like a morning visit to the toilet: at first there is a sitting, then there is a little deliberation, then some noises are made but finally, the matter is always dropped!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: I heard that Maithri refused to give you a Chief of Staff and also declined to your request to use ‘Visumpaaya’ to entertain your foreign guests. He is giving you step-motherly treatment but you need to be careful, Ravi, because there are some people who are talking not about ‘Visumpaaya’, but about ‘apaaya’!