The watchman at the door gave me a smart salute and handed me a piece of paper to sign.

‘There is a managing committee meeting in the society office sir,’ he said.

‘What’s the emergency?’ I asked.

‘We have to choose a painting contractor, said the chairman, ‘to paint our buildings. We have already received three quotations.’

‘Personally I feel we should give it to Chunnawalla & Co.,’ said the Treasurer. ‘I liked Chunnawallah’s face!’

‘I feel we should give it to Exterior Coats,’ said another committee member, ‘the name sounds very good and I am sure he will do an impressive job with such an impressive name.’

‘Sounds more like a tailor to me’ said a senior member, ‘are you sure it is not exterior coats and pants?’

‘Chunnawallah & Co. is a good man,’ said the treasurer again. ‘He is good company and he said he would throw a party for us, if he gets the contract.’

‘Tell him we want it in a five star hotel,’ said a new committee member, ‘and only foreign drinks to be served.’

‘Most of your foreign drinks are adulterated’ said the chairman wisely. ‘it is better to stick to desi ones.’

‘Indian or foreign’ said the secretary stubbornly. ‘I don’t want to attend any party with strangers, I would prefer this man whose son-in-law I know took me to a hotel where they served excellent butter chicken.’

‘So you’ve already met him?’ I asked suspiciously.

‘Only the son-in-law’ said the secretary, ‘I am sure the father-in-law’s butter chicken will be better.’

“I still feel Exterior Coats is good’ said the committee member, "sophisticated people have very expensive tastes and I am sure he will give us a little more than just butter chicken.’

‘Why don’t we ask each one of them to give us a party,’ said the new committee member’ then we can have three parties.’

‘Good idea,’ said the chairman looking at the new member approvingly.’ I think it was a good idea to induct you into the committee, our society will surely benefit from it.’

‘I second the idea,’ said the secretary,'we will meet each one of them over drinks and dinner.’

‘At a five star hotel’ said the treasurer.

‘Meeting adjourned’ said the chairman.

‘Wait,’ I shouted, what about the quotations, shouldn’t we at least go through them?’

‘Quotations?’  shouted the committee together, glaring at me, saliva drooling from their hungry mouths.

‘What are pieces of paper compared to……

‘Butter chicken,’ said the secretary.

‘Foreign drinks’ said the chairman.

‘A five star party,’ said the new member.

‘At least let’s discuss the colour schemes for our building’ I shouted.

‘Black label’ shouted the secretary.

‘White rum’ shouted the chairman.

‘Green peas biriyani’ shouted the new member.

I fled before I saw red…!

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