21September2019

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

No War, No Peace, No Books..!

High Court Judge: Explain why you kept ‘War and Peace’ at Home?

Times of India 29th Aug

 “Can I borrow a book from your collection Bob?”

“No!” I squeak, “I have no books at home. I don’t know how to read. See, I can’t read what bus is coming down the road. What are those things on the glass?”

“That’s the number of the bus!”

“Oh! Oh! Thank you!”

“Bob, I just want a good book, like…”

“No!” I shout, “What is the meaning of what you just said?”

“Book?”

“Yes, I don’t know what that word means! Is it some kind of food?”

“Yes, food for the brain!”

“Brain? I don’t have any brain to feed!”

“That seems obvious Bob, but what’s got into you, all I want to do is to come home and borrow a..”

“Don’t say the word!” I plead, “Don’t say that word. I don’t want to go to prison! No! No! I love life too much!”  

“But Bob, I remember coming to your home and seeing your huge collection of…”

“No!” I shout.

“Okay, I won’t say the word, but I’ve seen that you’re quite a reader, all I want is to borrow Freedom at Midnight!”

“You’re under arrest!”

“For what Inspector sahib?”

“Do you have such a book at home? You want to create problems at midnight? You want to start insurgency here? You want to engage in terror activities, you want…”

“No, no, no Inspector sahib!”

“I heard him telling you! You want to create problems at midnight for our country? You coward, you cannot face us during the day, but you want to do anti-national things at midnight? Does he have any other kind of anti-national literature?”

“I think I saw…”

“No!” I shout, “Don’t tell him anything! I will be hanged!”

“What else does he have?”

“I think he has To Kill a Mockingbird sir! I think I saw it on his bookshelf!”

“Aha!” shouts the inspector, and shouts into his phone, “Please send me twenty men, I think, we have a terrorist here. He has got books on how to kill in his home. Bring an armoured truck…”

“No!” I scream.

“What’s wrong Bob?” asks the wife as she switches on the light, “You were screaming, did you have a nightmare? You shouted something about prison? Did you commit some crime?”

“No!” I whisper, “No crime, no punishment, no war, no peace, no books..!” 

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