WHO ARE DR. N. C. ASTHANA AND DR. ANJALI NIRMAL?

“Tell us something more about our Mum and Dad, O Illuminated One.”

“I will enlighten you, my dears. Dad is a genius; a veritable polymath; a rara avis in terris, a sui generis myriad-minded progeny of learning who embodies a singular synthesis of an unprecedented depth of knowledge in the most diverse fields and an exceptionally creative intellect. I trust you guys have not wasted your lives in stupid schools and colleges of the day, and can understand a bit of Latin, isn’t it?”

“He is a nuclear physicist by training with a Ph.D. But one cannot survive on his genius alone; something must be done to keep the kitchen fire burning. For a living, therefore, he works as a very senior IPS (Indian Police Service) officer at the rank of Director General (a three-star officer with as many as nine Medals and seven Commendation Discs). I emphasize ‘for a living’, because you must know that other IPS officers are assholes—absolute duffers! It is actually an insult working with them but one needs his daily bread! He is obliged to work for the system; he is not obliged to believe in the system. He is obliged to give his brain to the system; he is not obliged to give his heart to it. His heart is where God has ordained it to be—fighting ignorance!

“Dad may be misunderstood; he may not be understood at all; but he can never be wrong—he is not designed for that.”

“Mum is a political scientist with a Ph.D., a historian and an aesthetic consultant. She is a ‘prim and propah’ relic of the Raj, with a cleanliness fetish. We cannot help it though. The world is our piss-field, and occasionally shit-field too if the sofa covers are appealing enough. But the good thing about her is that she seeks happiness in small things in life. And they range widely—from watching Lt. Col. Candy banging his front feet on ground in a style so very characteristic of his while galloping towards her in the lawn to having a quintessential Indian meal of mutton curry and rice. She is the bulwark against which the waves break and waste themselves. We knew it when Col. Mickey had fallen sick—she pulled him through on the strength of her faith alone.”

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