How Babus Won the Battle of Troy

Humour

How Babus Won the Battle of Troy

Illustration: Akshita Monga

T

welfth century BC. Greek ships bob on the azure waters of Troy. Achilles and his men wait on the beach: Glowing in the victory of their first battle, raring for another skirmish.

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The war may soon be out of control, so Agamemnon and Priam have recruited extra officials to help them manage the war. Summoned from the far-off eastern land of the Indus, these officials are famous for their bureaucratic skills. Shukla ji is managing the Greek side, while Sharma ji is managing the Trojans.

Achilles: I thirst for the blood of Hector! Give me my chariot and I will give you victory!

Shukla ji: Actually, Achilles sir, you will first have to prove yourself worthy of chariot. We must know you have a chance to win, only then we can be providing you with chariot.

Achilles is stunned. The greatest warrior in Greek history, the leader of the Myrmidons, the son of Thetis being asked to prove his valour! That too by a gutkha-chewing Barbarian.

Achilles: By Zeus, if Agamemnon had not appointed you, I would smite you right now! Don’t you know that I’ve never lost a battle? All of Greece knows that I am the best and yet you have the temerity to question my record.

Shukla ji: Yes, all that’s fine, but we can’t keep handing out chariots to everyone, na? I mean we also have a budget to maintain and superiors to answer. You practice without the chariot for now, prove yourself, and then we’ll see.

Infuriated, Achilles lunges at the official but is held back by the Myrmidons.

Achilles: Where is my chariot, you Barbarian? Answer me or by the might of Zeus I will cut your head off!

One of the Myrmidon soldiers approaches and whispers something in Achilles’ ear.

Myrmidon soldier: Sire, your chariot has been sent to the beach to receive Shukla ji’s family and friends. They have landed this morning and are excited to see the war. Also, pardon me sire, but Mrs Shukla and Shukla junior weigh so much that two wheels of your chariot have been badly damaged.

Achilles, who has never bowed in front of any man or God, buries his face in his hands and begins to sob.

***

Meanwhile, in the Trojan camp, Hector stands proud and tall in the court of Priam.

Hector: My dear Trojans, the time has come for me to show Achilles who the greatest warrior of this generation is. With Apollo on my side, I have no fear. I will bring you his head on my spear!

There is much cheering and clapping. Sharma ji clears his throat.

Sharma ji: Ahem! Hector, my dear boy, there’s a small problem.

Hector: What?

Sharma ji: You see, we need to do a doping test before we send you into battle.

Hector: Surely this Barbarian indulges in mockery! I, Hector, am the most honourable warrior in the world.

Finally, the two great warriors, collapse to the ground with fatigue and thirst. They lie there dying for their great nations as their managers enjoy their day in the sun.

Sharma ji: That might be true Hector, but you aren’t the strongest. I mean I know that you know that you can’t beat Achilles. So you must have taken some performance-enhancing herbs to be so confident.

Priam: Is this true, my son?

Scowling, Hector draws his sword and steps towards Sharma ji menacingly. Once near him, he raises his sword and brings it down on his thumb. The blood drops into an urn below.

Hector: Father, your answer lies in that container.

Disgusted, Hector leaves the court. Sharma ji sends the blood sample to a physician for testing.

The next morning the court assembles again. Hector stands in front of the king with his thumb bandaged. Sharma ji gets up and clears his throat.

Sharma ji: Warriors and noblemen of Troy. Your prince Hector has tested positive for performance-enhancing herbs.

A huge uproar rises in the court and Priam has to shout at the top of his voice to calm things down. Hector sits there holding his head in his hands. Sharma ji sidles up to Priam.

Sharma ji: My most gracious and honourable king, this doping test result could also be a misunderstanding. You know how prone physicians are to mistakes. We can fix this test with some help from you.

Priam: Speak clearly, Barbarian.

Sharma ji: I can manage the test for two lakh silver coins, two chariots, three women from your harem, and one night with Helen.

Priam: You must be out of your mind!

Sharma ji: Ok, let’s leave Helen out of it.

***

The following morning in the Trojan court, Sharma ji announces there was an error with the first test and Hector’s sample got mixed with that of Dionysius. The troops prepare for battle.

In the Greek camp, on Agamemnon’s insistence and after a hefty payment, Shukla ji finally allots Achilles the chariot necessary for battle.

And so, on the 20th day of the war, Achilles and Hector prepare to face off.

Achilles: Hector, bravest of the brave Trojans! Are you ready to meet Hades?

Hector: My nemesis Achilles. You will soon float down the River Styx. Your shield is broken.

Achilles looks at his shield and finds it has been glued together with Fevistick.

Achilles: Damn you, Shukla! But you are still no match for me, Hector.

With that, Achilles leaps and lands a solid blow on his opponent. Hector protects himself with his shield. The two charge at each other, with fire in their eyes. They trade blow after furious blow. Achilles is skilled but Hector is tenacious. After three hours of fighting, both warriors are almost dead with thirst. But their officials are nowhere to be seen.

As the battle rages, Sharma ji is busy peeping through a hole in Helen’s room as she is changing her gown. In the Greek camps, Shukla ji is roaming the Trojan beach, checking out the priestesses abducted from Apollo’s temple.

Finally, the two great warriors, collapse to the ground with fatigue and thirst. They lie there dying for their great nations as their managers enjoy their day in the sun.

***

On getting news of his son’s death, Priam sits in his royal tent soiling his hair and tearing at his gown. A tinny voice calls out to him.

Piers Morgan: Oi, mate! An army of 1,00,000 soldiers and you are mourning the death of one warrior. How embarrassing is that?

Agamemnon: Who is this buffoon and how did he enter my tent?

Piers Morgan: Look mate, you’re the one wearing a gown, so don’t call me a buffoon. I am a subject of the greatest empire on Earth. Well, the former greatest empire anyway.

Agamemnon: Enough, you insolent dimwit!

Piers Morgan: What are you going to do? Hand me over to Hector? Oops, he’s dead!

Agamemnon: I have an even better idea. I am going to hand you over to the Indians. Shukla! Sharma! Take him away and hand him over to Chetan Bhagat!

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