There was a burst of crackers downstairs, and thinking they were gunshots I ran to the window. It was my rich neighbbour letting lose fireworks round his fancy Mercedes, “What’s the occasion?” I asked.

“I’m taking out the car today!” he said gleefully, sitting behind his smartly dressed chauffer.

“I thought you use it everyday?” I asked.

“Not since the petrol hike!” he said sadly, “But today our beloved government reduced the price by two rupees, fifty paise! Come down, come down, I am distributing peddas and we will have a grand party in the evening!”

I went down, and saw him putting the wheels back in his car, “You took off the tires?” I asked surprised.

“After the petrol hike, didn’t want to be tempted!” he said, pulling out a gold-leaf handkerchief and wiping a dribble of sweat that ran down his chin. “So, I started taking a bus and going to work!”

“Bus!” I shouted, “You took a bus, like an ordinary man?”

“Why not?” he asked, “If others are suffering, why shouldn’t I suffer with them?”

“It must have been a harrowing experience!” I said, “All the people crowding round you, sweaty and..”

“There were no people!” said my rich neighbor, “Except the driver and myself. There it is! That’s the bus I bought for myself, when the petrol hike took place, I enjoyed being one with my countrymen!”

“It looks fully airconditioned!” I said.

“It’s got it’s own toilet, dressing room, and even a conference room!” said my neighbor sincerely, “And let me tell you I used it throughout the petrol hike!”

“What happened to your driver throughout the time you stopped using your Mercedes?” I asked.

“Poor fellow!” said my neighbor.

“Why what happened?” I asked curious.

“He had to stay home all day, and listen to his wife and children, so we gave him double pay for the sacrifice! He’s the one who brought the fireworks. He’s so happy to be back! In fact he wants to write a letter to the government!”

“About his family?” I asked.

“No, no, thanking the government for the two rupees fifty paisa decrease! He says its like a new lease to his life to be back on the road!”

I watched as the double decker bus was reversed back into its garage, as the driver put his car in gear to drive his master around, and then watched as the mechanic put the last of the tires back and my neighbor sat regal in his gleaming Mercedes, then turning towards Delhi I thanked the government for giving relief to so many in the nation with their two rupees fifty paisa decrease in price..! 

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