Cruising down the Ganga

Cruising down the Ganga

Representative image. Credit: PTI Photo

Maha Vishnu was reclining on Adi Sesha, reading his favourite newspaper and sipping a steaming cup of heavenly ambrosia.

“Listen to this.” He waved the paper excitedly. “They are setting up a Ramayana luxury cruise in Ayodhya on the river Sarayu. Imagine the money it will bring to my temple.”

Lakshmi yawned. It would only mean more noise, crowds and corona. Who will spoil a holiday wearing masks and sitting ten feet apart? But Vishnu continued, unfazed.

“Smart guy, this Modi. He will smear his forehead with turmeric, perform homa and havan and chant mantras, while calculating the revenue that Ayodhya will generate .”

“He is better than all your economists who win the Nobel Prize,” added His consort.

“I also think he is a great strategist,” continued Vishnu. “He wins elections by promising temples. Then, he himself will perform pujas in them. He builds roads and canals for devotees to visit them. Then gets film stars to make biopics on himself traveling on them. And now look, he is converting my Ayodhya into a tourist center.”

Lakshmi looked pensive.

“He may do the same with the Kashi Viswanatha temple next. Do you think Siva will agree?” Maha Vishnu laughed.

“Who cares what that mendicant thinks or says? He can open his third eye for all that Modi cares.” Lakshmi did not like her husband’s tone.

“Don’t underestimate His powers,” she warned. “If He blocks the Ganga flowing from His locks, your prime minister’s touristy dream will end.”

Bur Vishnu was not listening.

“Mathura will become a paradise on earth,” He mused. “They will install a son et lumiere on the banks of the Yamuna. When the PM presses a button, hundreds of gopis will jump into the water to bathe. A helicopter will carry me to steal their clothes and dance my fearful Kaliya Marthana. Tickets will be sold out in minutes. I tell you, this PM is a genius.

Lakshmi was thoughtful.

“Do you think it is fair to waste resources on theme parks and luxury cruises during a pandemic? Maha Vishnu was not listening. He was lost in a reverie. “You and I will go on that cruise in Varanasi and sing “Under the bridges of Kashi with you…”

He fell asleep with a beatific smile on His face. The time had arrived for His next avatar on earth.