Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The long and the short of it.

This is the sixth story in the Bata Thatha series.

The Walkie-Talkies were on their morning walk at the Marina, discussing the details of the ongoing Test match, at the Chepauk, between India and Australia. The home team, sadly, was getting clobbered.

“Just look at the Australians. They are so big-made and strong. When they pound the ball, it races like a bullet to the fence” observed Polo T-shirt.

“And they are so tall. Take Symonds or Hayden. And compare them with Gambhir or Sehwag, who are barely five and a half feet each” added Nike Shorts.

“I have heard that the Australian coaches go around and identify small babies in their cradles, and make them undergo special surgical procedures and hormone treatment that would make their bones and muscles grow disproportionately” claimed Reebok Wrist-Band.

“Maybe so, but cricket is not basketball. Height isn’t everything in this game. A Tendulkar or a Gavaskar can smash the ball better than any tall batsman.. It is just a question of technique and timing” chipped in Adidas Track-pants.

“Gentlemen, you are forgetting Ishant Sharma” interjected Bata Thatha. He is one of the tallest cricketers around and he is not Australian. I follow his fortunes closely, as I have a grand nephew by that same name.”

“Was your relative a tall cricketer too?” asked Puma Socks.

“No. He never played cricket nor was he tall. Let me tell you more about him”

“My cousin’s grandson, Ishant, (said Bata Thatha) had always been fond of plants. Even as a young boy he had learnt many grafting techniques and, by the time he reached adulthood, had his own collection of bonsai trees. Whether his fascination for bonsai was because he himself was rather short – he was about 4’10” – or because he was born with a skill and keen desire to miniaturise everything, I can’t say. But he was constantly in the company of his bonsai trees.

As he grew up, this hobby turned into a fetish. He wanted to extend the concept beyond the realm of plants and into other areas. He became increasingly convinced that tall human beings were highly inefficient and were draining more resources from this planet than was warranted. No purpose was served by having people taller than 5’, he would argue.

“If adults were shorter and smaller, houses could be more compact,” he would explain. “Planes, trains, cars could have smaller seats and occupy much less space. Office cubicles, workstations, bathrooms, toilet seats, doors, would be more optimally sized. Sizes L, XL and XXL could be eliminated from the range of trousers, shirts, salwars, etc and shelves in shops would be less crammed. All in all, the world would be more efficient, less resource-consuming and more carbon friendly’, he would conclude.

After much thought, he came up with a diabolical plan, one he ominously referred to as “The Final Solution to the Problem of Inefficiency”. He would divide the human race into three distinct categories: unborn, those born and still growing and finally the fully grown. The first category would be taken care through genetic engineering methods that would inhibit growth hormones suitably and restrict the height. The second would be tackled with bonsai methods. A little snipping of the hair and nails, wiring and clamping of the bones here and there, some pruning of the muscles and trimming of the fingers and toes, followed by grafting and de-skinning as necessary. The third category, namely the adults who had already grown beyond 5’, would simply have to be eliminated. Inefficiency must be rooted out, after all.”

The rather enthused manner in which Bata Thatha was narrating the story seemed to suggest that he was fully endorsing Ishant’s scheme. Adidas-trackpants, with a worried expression on his face, asked him, “So, how far has the scheme progressed?”

Bata Thatha said, “Not too far. Just when Ishant was about to roll out his plan, Cupid struck, Yes, he fell madly in love with a girl, Jaya, who from her height of 5’2”simply towered over him. They soon got married.”

“And what about his plans to miniaturise the human race?” asked Nike shorts.

“I am sorry to say” said Bata Thatha, “Jaya put an end to it. Apparently, ever since she had been a small girl, she had been captivated by psychic phenomena. In particular she had closely studied the methods of one, D.D.Home, who had lived in the nineteenth century in London. Home had demonstrated the capacity to elongate his body by a good 11 inches, as if he was being pulled up by his neck. Later he could cause elongation in others. He had written down his methods in great detail. A copy of the manuscript had fallen into Jaya’s possession and she made it clear that she planned to test it out very soon.

“So, would you care to assist me in my research?” asked Jaya

“I shan’t, I shan’t” replied Ishant emphatically.


Sankar said...

Congrats Raj Great You weave your plots ala Wodehouse You start with Height Cricket and slip in an Ishant which meanders to Bonsai with romance thrown in a good measure and end it with a play on words for which you have established the base earlier.

Raj said...

Thanks, Sankar. But, don't reveal all my methods to the public.....

quartyc said...

bata thatha's Ishant suffers from napoleon syndrome

Raj said...

quartyc : I never trust a person who is less than 5'11" tall.