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Old June 16th, 2011, 12:35 AM
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Lightbulb Tintin in the land of Black Money

Those of you who are fans of the TinTin comics will surely enjoy this.

Quote:
Tintin in the land of Black Money

DNA / Aditya Sinha / Sunday, June 12, 2011 2:01 IST
Tintin and his philosophical white fox terrier Snowy had reached Marlinspike only to discover that Captain Haddock was on a fast unto death. “Not even Loch Lomond whisky?” Tintin asked his friend.

Captain Haddock gravely stroked his beard. “Not until they bring back the Black Money.”

“Captain,” Tintin exclaimed, “this could be another adventure with a colour in the title! Like Land of Black Gold, The Black Island, Red Rackham’s Treasure, The Red Sea Sharks, The Crab with Golden Claws or even The Blue Lotus.”

“Don’t forget The Castafiore Emerald.”

“But, surely, the ‘emerald’ there is not an adjective but a noun,” Tintin sniggered.

“Don’t call me Shirley,” Haddock replied. “In any case, you’re digressing from the topic at hand, the recovery of Black Monies secreted away in foreign banks by corrupt and venal politicians.”

“Oh. How much money would that be?”

“Billions of blistering barnacles, how should I know?” Haddock roared.

“Well, in which banks is it stashed?”

“Ten thousand thundering typhoons, how do you expect me to know that?”

“If you don’t know how much black money there is and where it is hidden, then how in the world do you expect anyone to bring it back? Maybe you should ask the prime minister to do something.”

“Cuthbert Calculus?” Haddock said before dropping his voice to a whisper. “I’m not sure about him. He’s highly intelligent, but appears to be deaf. His ministers are looting the government, there is crisis after crisis, but he reacts as if he didn’t hear anything.”

“Maybe he has capable deputies.”

“Capable isn’t quite the word. He’s put two men on the job, the finance minister and the home minister.”

“You don’t mean…”

“Yes, Thomson and Thompson. Even as we speak they must be hot on the heels of some money-launderer or terrorist or real-estate developer or pick-pocket or child molester or even marketing executive.”

“Captain, if they’re twins, then why are their names spelled differently?”

“Again you’re digressing, Tintin. The point is to bring Black Money back home!”

“But Captain, in Flight 714, Rastapopoulous couldn’t get the secret Swiss bank account number out of the millionaire Laszlo Carreidas even though he used truth serum!”

“True.”

“Captain, wouldn’t it be simpler perhaps to enact legislation; to have a Lokpal or a Corruption Commission; to put an effective check on corrupt public servants in the bureaucracy or at the political level by investigating cases, framing prosecution and pursuing exemplary punishment that will act as a deterrent and bring probity to our public life? After all, wouldn’t it be easier to frame pre-emptive policy to prevent future CWG or 2G scams rather than the impossible task of tracking down stolen money, even if Thomson and Thompson are up to it?”

“Tintin, are you a reporter or an edit writer?” Haddock asked. “A Lokpal might just add another layer of bureaucracy. It might not prevent Jolyon Wagg and his family from another 2G scam. And it may not satisfy the people. After all, our country appears to be having a crisis of confidence at the moment.”

“Woof-woof,” barked Snowy. (Translation: Yes, I agree Captain, the leaders seem to have dishonoured the Social Contract, and have therefore lost the Consent of the Governed. Quite obviously Plato’s ideal of a Philosopher-King is ineffectual and no one follows Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative. We Indians seem to share Aristotle’s disdain for democracy.)

“Though I agree with Snowy, I’m afraid Prime Minister Calculus is lost in his own world, roaming the corridors of South Block with his pendulum, searching for something that isn’t black money.”

“Maybe he’s pretending to be deaf.”

“No,” Haddock said. “If I had to listen to an Italian lady sing ear-splittingly day and night even I’d go deaf.”

“You don’t mean…”

“Yes, I mean the Milanese Nightingale, Bianca Castafiore. It’s incessant, the ‘Ah! My beauty, past compare! These jewels bright I wear!’”

“Do you think The Jewel Song from Faust has anything to do with black money?”

“Tintin, don’t even utter it if you value your life,” Haddock whispered, looking over his shoulder.

“Captain, it’s a hopeless wish, this recovery of black money. And with all this drama — fasting, dancing, asylum-applying — do you think the government is ever going to tighten the leaky ship that it is? That it will even bring forth a Lokpal?”

“No, I guess not,” Haddock said, dejectedly.

“Then why continue?”

“Now that I’ve retired from a life at Sea, I figure the best way to make Rs 1,000-crore is to become TV’s foremost yoga-master. What better way to get more eyeballs, and thus more revenue, than to have a high-pitched, all-news-channel confrontation with the government? The longer it goes on, the more people will tune to my channel. My empire will grow!”

“But Captain, what will you do with all that money?”

“Stash it in a foreign tax haven, of course.”

The writer is the Editor-in-Chief, DNA,

based in Mumbai

URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/colu...ey_1553991-all
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Old June 16th, 2011, 06:23 AM
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Re: Tintin in the land of Black Money

Brilliantly written
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