Bertie was sitting up in bed when Jeeves shimmered in bearing the matutinal cup that cheers but does not inebriate, and a copy of The Bilayati Times, as The Times, London, had been retitled after being bought over by BCCL, Bharatya Communications Corporate Limited.
Bertie: Top of the good old AM to you, Jeeves. What are the badlines in the paper this fine morn?
Jeeves: Good morning, sir. Though I believe the salutation of choice these days is ‘Namaste’. And the correct iteration of the term you employ is, in the lingua franca of journalese, headlines, and not badlines.
Bertie: Dash it all, Jeeves. Never mind all this lingam franker stuff you’re blithering on about. Just tell me what’s happening.
Jeeves: Well, sir, the headlines – or the badlines, if you prefer – are all about how the Delta variant, originally known as the Indian variant, is sweeping across the country, and is 60 per cent more efficient in transmission than our own home-produced UK variety.
Bertie: You don’t say, Jeeves. But why was this wretched variation’s name changed from Indian to Delta?
Jeeves: It was changed because of what is referred to as PC, or Political Correctness, as it was felt that giving the variant a geographic location might be construed as racism and xenophobia.
Bertie: Xeno-whatcher? Don’t tell me it’s another virus that’s been let loose on the world!
Jeeves: I’m afraid it is a virus, sir. But of a different sort, and it has been around for a very long time.
Bertie: Golly, Jeeves. I can hardly wait to go to the Drones Club and tell all the chaps to be sure not go and catch this xeno-whatsit.
Jeeves: A most admirable sentiment, sir, and one which the philosopher Spinoza would approve. But I must venture to correct you, sir, in that the Drones Club is now the Dronacharya Sammelan, having been acquired by an individual who is the cujjin-brother, which I am informed is the correct appellation, third time removed of one Mr Adani.
Bertie: Good heavens, Jeeves! It seems that all these nabobs like this Adman, and Tito, and Fitall, are buying up the whole place like there’s no tomorrow and making Oofy Prosser look like he’s on the dole.
Jeeves: If I may essay to correct you, sir, the names you are endeavouring to enunciate are Mr Adani, Mr Tata, and Mr Mittal. And, as you have so demotically put it, they are indeed buying up the place like there’s no tomorrow. I am told it is called The Empire Strikes Back.
Bertie: Talking of strikes Jeeves, Aunt Dahlia informs me that her French chef Anatole, God’s gift to the gastric juices, has gone on strike because his chicken tikka masala was pipped at the post by one dished up by the local takeaway, Kasim’s Kurry Kartel, whose cook is being hailed as the Ooperwala’s tofa to the taste buds, whoever and whatever this Ooperwala is and whatever a tofa might be. And now if you’ll lay out my lavender mask, Jeeves, I’ll get dressed and set forth for the Droning Chameleon, or whatever the place is now called.
Jeeves: I have already disposed of the lavender mask by giving them to the rag-and-bone man, now known as the raddiwala, sir, and have laid out a saffron mask, which are what the well-dressed gentleman is wearing these days. And with that, sir, permit me to tender my resignation from your service.
Bertie: Good Lord, Jeeves, whatever for?
Jeeves: I have found alternative employment as a sethji’s personal sethji in a stately home called Antilia….
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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