Current Affairs

Funny take on how high gas prices will impact our lives and the economy

In the last few years the gas prices have been coming down. USA’s strategy of mess-with-every-fuel-rich country seems to be paying off. Actually I may be way off the mark if I blame just the United States. Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan, the East and South China Seas – every conflict is driven by oil and different countries are fueling these conflicts. Naturally, their investment in guns, bombs, mines etc have to be taken out sooner than later. So, don’t be fooled into complacency for the gas prices are going North soon. Your dream of a perfect is still far away.

I have a few thoughts on why we are where we are today, and how we can laugh it over. Let us start with a joke I read sometime back.

A horse and a chicken were playing in a farm. Suddenly, the horse falls into the quicksand and starts sinking. He quickly shouts out to the chicken to go and get the farmer so that he could help in pulling out the horse. The chicken goes out …tries her best but is not able to find the farmer. Desperate to help her friend, she drives back in the farmer’s Mercedes Benz C Class bought on Mercedes Star Lease Plan. The chicken then ties a rope to the car’s bumper and throws the rope for the horse to latch on to. She then drives the car fast out…and the horse gets out on land, safe.

Being animals, the horse and the chicken don’t learn their lesson and continue to play in the same area. A few days later the chicken falls into the quicksand. Faced with the prospect of dying, the chicken requests the horse to run to the farmer and fetch him for help. But the horse refuses. He says, “I think I can stand by the edge of the quicksand and pull you over. So he stretches over the edge and says, “Grab my ‘thingy’ and pull yourself up.”

And the chicken does precisely that and gets pulled to safety.

Here is the moral of the story: “If you are hung like a horse, you don’t need a Mercedes to pick up chicks.”

We all know that 99% of the men in the World aren’t as well hung as we would have wanted. Which helps us conclude that we all need cars to pick up chicks. Extrapolating further, one can safely assume that it is the men who will be most affected by high fuel prices.

Fuel price hike: The Current State of Affairs

I don’t need to tell you the current scene with fuel price hikes. There are jokes all over Facebook and Whatsapp that the fuel price hikes is Vijay Mallya’s conspiracy to make beer look cheaper at Rs 65 per bottle before he gets arrested.

While on the subject of Vijay Mallya of the Kingfisher fame, I have to tell you about the real life incident which happened at Hyderabad Airport and which I heard from a pilot friend. This was before cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines closed down. This friend of mine had to take off with a full plane but a half-full fuel tank. Midway through he realized that he couldn’t land at the Hyderabad Airport with the fuel he had so he radioed the Control Tower at the Hyderabad Airport. He blurted out into the radio: “Quick! Urgent! Emergency! Call me a mid-air refueling plane immediately!”

The Tower replied: “You are a mid-air refueling plane,” and cut the conversation.

However grave the problem, I don’t think Vijay Mallya is worried about getting arrested. As is, he has not let the Kingfisher Annual Swimsuit Calendar die down. And why should he, as long as he can manage the shoot on a shoe-string budget. In fact, if you check out the latest Kingfisher Swimsuit calendar the models are wearing only their shoe strings.

Anyway, coming back to gas – it isn’t just about the airplanes. Even folks who have fuel guzzlers on the land are affected. So much so, that Harbhajan Singh who owns a Hummer has found a new expansion for the abbreviation HUMMER: Hungry Ugly Monster, Mostly Eats Rupees.

To be honest, I am really worried about the current state of affairs. I mean, imagine having to exchange arms and legs for a tankful of petrol.

“Sir, that would cost you an arm,” the fuel pump attendant would say.

“Here, keep my right hand as well. I had already given my left hand when I did a tank full last year.”

“Thanks sir. Would you prefer the Premium petrol? That’s available for a leg…and if I were you, I would go for the Premium Petrol. At least you will be able to drive your car with one hand.”

“OK fine. Give me a tankful of premium petrol please.”

“Sir, be happy that you are driving a small car. You see that Harbhajan driving away in his Hummer?”

“Yes…was that him?”

“Yes sir. He just got a tankful and in exchange just offered his first born male child.”

Crazy, isn’t it?

This is why I am not surprised when I hear of stories where people try to cheat the system. In Mathura if you give your credit card to the fuel pump attendant after doing a tank full, he will ask you for your car key as well.

“Sir, can I also have the car keys?” He told me.

“Why?” I asked.

“Sir, we have had incidents when people have done a tank full, given expired or stolen or no-cash-left credit cards and made a dash for the highway,” the fuel pump attendant was apologetic.

“Ok, here you go. I would still suggest you have an eye on the car. Because for a tankful of petrol I wouldn’t mind handing over stolen car keys.”

While waiting for the attendant to come back and give my credit card, I struck a conversation with my five-year-old daughter.

“Rhea, did you know that when we were your age we used to walk five kilometers to our school – every day.”

She immediately looked up from the Barbie doll on her lap and asked: “So, your parents couldn’t afford gas, either?”

And then she turned towards her mother (that’s my wife) and asked, “Amma, why don’t the cars go a long distance with little petrol?”

“Because cars are not horses, Rhea.”

That’s when it struck me, cars with amazing fuel efficiencies should do the trick. We are talking about mileages such as 100,000 kilometers in 1 liter of petrol. But how do we achieve that?

All this Multi Point Fuel Injection (MPFI) shit is hogwash. We need to start building cars which will have three-monthly appraisals to check on performance (defined as fuel efficiency). And we need to build cars which can be shot at and killed if they didn’t perform as per expectation. Are we really naïve enough to think King Maharana Pratap’s horse Chetak went all the distance because he was dedicated to his master? No! He had seen what happens to horses that don’t last
the distance.

Fuel price hike: The Future Scenario

At the rate at which we are going, burglars, bandits, robbers will soon start carjacking the vehicles which fill the ATM machines with money and surprise all of us by returning the cash but siphoning off the petrol.

Or maybe, New Zealand will become the next Dubai – the tax free, shopping destination. With no petrol, all lawn mowers will be replaced by sheep. And who has the highest number of sheep in the World? New Zealand, of course. And if all goes well for New Zealand in 25 years or so we will start complaining that the cost of sheep have started going up. Imagine, elections will be fought on the price of sheep.

The property prices near Police stations will increase many-fold. Rich and smart people will start moving near the Police stations. In the mornings they will reach their offices in their cars, but park their vehicles in no-parking zones. Once the Police tow them to the Police stations near their houses….the car owners will reach the Police stations, pay the wrong-parking fine and retrieve the vehicles. Thus, the return trips will cost them next to nothing.

The way we propose to girls today will change. Eager boyfriends will buy barrels of gas before proposing to their girlfriends. They will point at the barrel and pop the question: “Rekha, will you marry me?”

The girl will look at the barrel of gas and shriek. And say: “Yes! Yes! Yes! I will marry you.”

Car or no car we are poised for an exciting ride.

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