Monday, 25 June 2018

P for Paplu, J for Joker

Paplu is a very popular game of cards in our country. You can see people playing the game at homes, in clubs, in buses, in trains, in parks and on the streets. For addicts, any place is good enough.         

The rules of the game are very flexible. The minimum conditions are to have a set of two players, a pack of 52 cards and a place to play. If there are more players, they can play in group of four and even six (the maximum number of one group of players). Naturally, the number of packs of cards will also increase. When six persons are playing together, they need three packs. The game can be played just as time pass, without any stakes, or for stakes, small or big, depending on how deep the players’ pockets are.   

Each pack of cards has two joker cards also. They do not belong to the category of ‘hearts’, ‘diamonds’, ‘clubs’ or 'spades’. On their own they have no value but have the advantage of going with any combination in the game to fill the gap. Usually, jokers are not needed when there are only two players. When there are more than four or six persons playing together, jokers become important.

If you like, you can call these jokers clowns. In circus, clowns also entertain people, often more than the regular artists.

These days, non-NDA political parties are also preparing to play the game of paplu. The preparation was announced on March 13, 2018 at a grand dinner hosted by Madam Sonia who and whose loyal devotees believe that she has come to India all the way from Italy and sacrificed everything to save this country from the ‘merchant of death’. She and her devotees ignore the bitter truth that she has always enjoyed power without responsibility. Even now when she has no official position, she is occupying a house bigger than Prime Minister's house at tax payers' cost.

      She is so determined to achieve her goal that she has not allowed her only son to get married until he gets the job of Prime Minister of India. If he really gets that job, he will be the most sought-after marriageable ladaka (boy) in the matrimonial market in the entire world.

As a part of the preparation, the prospective players are busy discussing formation of groups. Since the stakes are very high – the ultimate winners will take on Narendra Modi and the final reward will be 7, Lok Kalyan Marg (official residence of Indian Prime Minister) – each party wants to select a partner or partners with the highest chance of victory. As the date of the grand finale – general election in 2019 – is drawing closer, their nervousness to finalise the formation of groups is also increasing.

When the game is going to be so exciting and full of high stakes, can the jokers remain quiet? Like jokers of cards, they have no value on their own. They have been completely ignored by the present winners but they think that in the new power game their time has come. As is the rule of the game, jokers would go with any combination. 

Look at the picture at the top. You may identify some jokers in the crowd of guests at the dinner party at 10, Janpath who think that they are going to be main players but do not ignore those who did not have the honour to be invited to the royal dinner. They are meeting the prospective players and lobbying for their role in the game.

Please, do not take ‘P for Paplu, J for Jokers’ as PJ (poor joke). The future of our country is at stake.

Quite a few members of the NDA are also watching with interest the formation of groups and their prospects. They’re already flexing their muscles to join the rank of jokers, if not the main groups of players. 

If you want to guess the outcome of the grand finale, please keep an eye on weathercocks in the NDA.

Devendra Narain