A Deck Full of Jokers:
If the discerning readers of Fundamatics have not figured it out already, Grumblebee is the true God of Satire within the beehive. Back in 2012, when the controversial JEE reforms brought out the latent grumblers in all of us, we were sure that it would send Grumblebee on a long extended holiday. Instead, Grumblebee’s rusty keyboard went into overdrive venting, fuming and doing what he does best – grumble. He took on the erstwhile government at the centre while remaining smart enough to camouflage names, camouflage the narrative as a fairy-tale and above all, to camouflage his identity.
What emerged was a series that was sheer genius of comic timing as Grumblebee ranted and raved at the murky goings-on at MGPL – Madam G’s Private Limited – a private estate where the dramatis personae are all assigned tasks in which they have to bungle. The bunglers also get shuffled like a deck of cards that contains only jokers. So when they bungle – which they do with unfailing regularity – they are all promoted and given other jobs so that they can bungle up all over again.
Grumblebee reported on bungling around the JEE Huzoor scam by Uphill Cymbal, and Coalgate scam and Vadra-danti scam by Raabert. P Chillum Humdrum, Shudder Jowar, Pepsodent Prefab Musterjee, Uphill Cymbal, Jari Rummage, A Roger, S Calorie-Muddy, Menace Tawry, Salmon Cursed-it, and a few more are the bunglers led by COE (Chief of Estate), a blue-turbaned, remote controlled head nodder. As the series progressed, Madam G attempts to save the estate from a hostile takeover by a saffron T-shirt, khakhi short wearing Marauder Moody. But by the final episode of this 5-part series, the bungling level had reached such a feverish pitch, that Grumblebee had taken up a permanent station at Madam G’s bungalow called 10, Warpath. MGPL as a unit was out of control with bungles in all directions.
As the centre piece of this ‘Humor’ themed issue, we reproduce the entire series and end with a fervent wish that GRUMBLEBEE start sharpening his satirical wits to take on the bungling of Marauder Moody with equal fervour.
Once upon a time, there was a huge estate controlled by one family. The Estate was known as MGPL-short for Madam G’s Pvt. Ltd.; named after the current head of the family. The Caretaker of the Estate (COE) was a simple man with a simple blue turban who never spoke ill of anybody. That’s because he hardly ever spoke and only nodded every time Madam G spoke. He also volunteered to be implanted with an electronic device that allowed him to be remote controlled by Madam G, from wherever she chooses.
But the other staff members of the Estate were a frisky lot. For instance, there was a Shudder Jowar who was in charge of cultivation of the Estate and he aspired to be the COE. But he spent too much time playing cricket and rather than growing Jowar, he measured the fields and planned on constructing concrete jungles on them and was hence out of favour with Madam G.
Then, there was a P. Chillum Humdrum who was formerly, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Estate. After he managed to successfully bungle the accounts big time, he was promoted as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the Estate. He was brought in because he had it in him to hit a “home” run, but instead, he managed to spend more time scoring self-goals.
He wanted everyone to address him as JEE Huzoor. Now Cymbal was a HaRD nut to crack and he always wanted to be HeaRD and not hear anyone, not even the guys who were manning the stations.
And there was this Prefab Musterjee who came in as the CFO after P. Chillum Humdrum. Musterjee managed to pre-fabricate muster rolls and bungle the accounts and finances of the Estate even more than his worthy predecessor and for this act of mucking up things he was rewarded with a huge promotion. He, with his beaming smile that earned him the nick of Mr. Pepsodent, was moved to a sprawling mansion in the Estate, from where he would sign on dotted lines and make liberal use of his new found toy, a rubber stamp and its readily inked pad.
And let us not forget the PT instructor S Calorie-muddy who bought hockey sticks at the cost of gold sticks and converted the Estates commonwealth into his personal wealth.
A Roger was a telephone operator of the Estate who drew some Spectrum Graphs in 2D. For some reason, this caused a huge loss that the accountants could not evaluate, since no one had learnt to count up to that much. As a reward, he and some of his cronies were rewarded with an all expense paid stay at the Tahir Hilton hotel on the Estate. After a brief stay at the Tahir Hilton, these guys were welcomed back to bungle some more and await their next promotion.
One of the members of this staff was Jari Rummage and he was in charge of keeping the gardens and the pool clean. He did not know how to bungle this seemingly easy task and hence, in order to join the brigade of the bunglers, he decided to look at the electric sub-stations on the Estate and declare that these were not world-class. This remark got him the attention that he wanted.
And this incident brings us to the hero of our story-Uphill Cymbal. It was an uphill task to talk to him without getting interrupted because he always beat his own cymbal drum at the drop of a drumstick. Cymbal was the Estate’s attorney who had figured that bungling would win him just rewards and taking a cue from Jari, he decided to target the electric sub-stations on the Estate which were running flawlessly for over 50 years now. Cymbal also had another fetish. He wanted everyone to address him as JEE Huzoor. Now Cymbal was a HaRD nut to crack and he always wanted to be HeaRD and not hear anyone, not even the guys who were manning the stations. “One Station, One Quest”. That was Cymbal’s new mantra for all the stations on the Estate. He wanted to be the Sole Questor who would InQuest all the Station Heads into listening to his cacophonic rendition of his cymbal drums.
Now these efficient Station Heads were running their operations smoothly and generating sufficient high quality power without any JEE Huzoor to report to. Cymbal wanted to change things. First, he ordered the commissioning of many more Stations in all corners of the Estate. He then insisted that all power cables should flow through a “Board”. He did not understand the concept of MCBs and insisted that all wires should be routed through a Board that led to the “Mains”. ITI trained electricians would check the Board and the Mains and if they were satisfied, they could let the Station Masters do the “Advanced” Questing that would lead to power generation. Few realized that Cymbal had a hidden agenda. The Stations were generating power because they used some smart transformers manufactured in Kota. Cymbal did not like Kota. He only believed in Quota. So, to break the stranglehold of Kota made transformers, he brought in Quota controlled Boards and Mains that would bleed Kota and make his Chandni Chowk shine like silver.
Needless to add, this move by Uphill Cymbal did not go well with the Station Honchos. They met and decided that the quality of their power should not be tempered down by power mongers. They all went to the COE who continued to remain silent and nod his head. Two Station Heads protested and threatened to cut Power and break away from the Estate. Realizing that this would diminish his Power, Cymbal mellowed a bit, but only a wee bit. He continued to beat his drum into a loud cacophony. While the hapless Station Honchos mulled over the next steps, a wise man offered them this advice: “Do not do anything. Cymbal is trying to bungle up and he has succeeded. He is bound to be rewarded by Madam G and moved somewhere else. Someone else will come in and it will take a while before he starts to bungle. Be patient and wait. After all, you want to march to the tune of a different drummer, right?”
Should the Station Heads take this advice? Yes, they should. Why? Because this is a Fairy Tale and Fairy Tales end with, “everyone lived happily ever after.”