Fifth Column

2nd July 2000

Belated birthday wishes and
good luck at elections!

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My Dear Satellite,

I thought of writing to you once again because we were told by the Daily Noise that you were celebrating your birthday. Best wishes to you for Thursday then, but you must not forget to reward those in the Daily Noise because though they said it was you birthday, they conveniently forgot to mention how old you are! - you don't ask a lady for her age, do you?

Satellite, how does it feel to be fifty-five, with the gray hair spreading from that stylish patch at the forehead? Some people would like to think of it as nearing retirement, but then, you don't have any plans for that, do you?

If I remember right, your term of office ends in 2007 and you will be sixty-two then! Even Ranil, young though he now looks for his fifty years, will be a bit old by then, won't he?

Anyway, Satellite, I think you won't be receiving many presents on this birthday. It is not that people are angry with you, it is just that they cannot afford it.

Everything is expensive, you know, since those gas and diesel prices were raised and the rupee was devalued. I strongly suspect you are not even aware of all this because you don't do your own marketing anymore and those nasty officials surrounding you wouldn't have told you about it, anyway.

But it was heartening to note that you were giving presents to others - lifting bans on newspapers and relaxing emergency regulations. Why, you even agreed to Ranil's request to have an independent Elections Commission.

Now, Satellite, don't be too generous - or you will suddenly find that the greens have won the election. So, you might need to have a few undemocratic tricks up your sleeve as well.

And, Satellite, what will Seeni Bola say about all this independent Elections Commissions? There the poor man was, preparing the ground-work for you-know-what with his Samurdhi chaps and telling the Supreme Court why he thinks elections are evil: all just to ensure that all of you would be safe for another six years. And then, you suddenly talk of independent Elections Commissions!

No wonder he had a tiff with you and ran all the way to Australia! I heard Satellite, that you were on the look out for some good 'nekath' days for the election.

Now, before you do that, find the fellow who gave you the nekath for the last election and send him to prison, will you? He didn't tell you of the dangers during the campaign but instead said it was an extremely good period for you, didn't he?

In my opinion, Satellite, an extremely good day for elections would be when we are playing a one-day cricket match. Then, people will be glued to their television sets, forgetting about the war footing and everything else and Seeni Bola and his little army can do everything to bring about a favourable result. Think about it, will you?

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha.

PS - Even though it is nice to see you hale and hearty at fifty five, I feel sorry for you too, Satellite. Why, you can't even have a small party in that prison of yours - Temple Trees - without the newspapers writing about it the next day!

But I think you could still do that - and then ask your loyal and faithful servant, the government censor, to censor any references to that in the media - security reasons, you know!

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