“Economy at Doorstep of Recovery, says RBI guv” the headlines in today’s paper said and immediately felt a sense of deep peace settling over me. I was startled out of my restful repose by the clanging of my doorbell. Hastily wearing my mask, I opened the door, to see two men in business suits, “We are from an advertising agency!” they said, “And heard you are a writer!”
“Yes,” I said sheepishly, “That’s nice to know you’ve heard of me!”
“We haven’t!” said one of them sharply, “We had a look at your bank account and found you needed a cash influx, so here goes. We need you to write some powerful, imaginary headlines every day! Anything that will bring a ‘feel good feeling’ to our people!”
“Something like this,” said the other man, looking at the paper I had just read. “We would employ you immediately if you could come up with a sample right away!”
“For whom is this?” I asked.
“We are lobbying for a government contract,” said the first man, “And a storyteller is just what is needed! Come on put your best foot forward, it’s a lucrative job!”
“Well,” I said, “I do need a job, so what about, “A Covid Free India!”
“What’s so great about that?” asked the second man skeptically, and then found the first man jumping up and down, “It’s brilliant!” he shouted, “It means all the tourists in the world will come here, because they believe we have no Covid cases in the country! We will become a tourist hub, and beat the rest of the world’s economy. Brilliant!” he said.
“What about one more, so we can immediately give you an advance cheque,” said the second man, pulling out his cheque book, as I looked at it longingly.
“Well,” I said, suddenly brimming with confidence, “This is a job right up my street, what about, ‘Rosy National Harmony!”
“What’s that?” both asked together.
“Rosy Harmony!” I said brightly, “A country where people of every caste, creed and community, live harmoniously together!”
The two men in business suits looked at each other hesitatingly, then leaned forward as the first one said, “Just as you need the job, we need the job too!”
“But your first one was good, so we’ll take you on immediately!”
“Thanks!” I said, and then looked at the paper lying on the ground, “Don’t tell me most of these headlines have been created by storytellers?”
“Many of them,” said the first man with a smile.
“What about this,” I asked, “The one by the governor, about the economy at the doorstep of recovery?”
“You are a storyteller, you should know,” said the second man, as he made out the cheque and laid out the contract form.
Suddenly I wasn’t peaceful anymore, as I stared at the headlines..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at email@example.com