The Alia-Sonam Tapes: #Panamapapers


The Alia-Sonam Tapes: #Panamapapers

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré

Alia: What’s this whole Panama leaks thing, ya? Everyone’s talking about it.

Sonam: (looking at her phone) Yeah, I’m just reading about it. It says Ash aunty, Amit uncle, and Adani uncle – all have some offshore accounts or something. And they have all been leaked.

Alia: Well, duh! What do you expect? If it’s an offshore account, it will leak. That, too, sea water, chee, full of salt. Then money will get spoilt, na. I wonder where they are drying it.

Sonam: Yeah, I also hate salt water. Gross. I had severe hair loss. That’s why I use that shampoo. Ash aunty, Kat, and I did that ad. Those three different types, remember?

Alia: So Ash aunty didn’t tell you then?

Sonam: Tell me what?

Alia: That she is putting her money in a beach account.

Sonam: Not beach, silly. Offshore. That means past the beach. You have to go into the water.

Alia (giggles): I can go into the water anytime (lifts tee and displays abs), I’m bikini-ready. But tell me, seriously, what the hell’s a shell company?

Sonam (looking at her phone and scrolling): Shell company matlab… wait, I get it. See, before you go offshore, you have to go to the beach, right? What does a beach have?

Alia: Pani puri? Vada pav? Merry-go-round?

Sonam: Stupid. Shells. The beach has shells.

Alia: So?

Sonam: So they make the company out of a big shell, dumbo. Offshore account – shell company. Simple.

Alia: Why can’t they make it with cement like other companies in Mumbai?

Sonam: Because it will sink, dodo. If you make it with shell, it will float.

Alia: I get it now. Plus, shells are waterproof.

Sonam: Correct. So how come there were leaks? Maybe shells in Panama are not waterproof.

Alia: You think we should also get offshore accounts, Sonu?

Sonam: Yeah, I wouldn’t mind, you know. Only thing, withdrawing cash will be difficult.

Alia: What’s the problem? They have ATMs, don’t they?

Sonam: Silly, how you’ll get there? Swim all the way?

Alia: We can use a boat. Didn’t you go once in Mallya uncle’s yatch?

Sonam: Idiot, it is yacht, not yatch! Yatch is that big buffalo you have in Bhutan. Anyway, where did I go in a yacht? Only once. That sly Dippy went so many times.

Alia: Sonu, long back, no. When I went on an excursion, I saw dolphins, penguins, and seals. But I never saw an offshore account.

Sonam: Moron. How can you see an account? What do you think, it’ll be just there floating on the sea or what?

Alia: Then?

Sonam: It’ll be underwater. So no one can see it. That’s why Amit uncle, some Putin fellow, and all put in money there.

Alia (giggling): Putin put in money. So who pulled it out? Little Tommy Stout?

Sonam (giggling): I also love ‘Baa baa black sheep’.

Suddenly, Hemaji walks in. Sonam quickly reverts to Rajshri mode and touches her feet. Alia does the ‘Ladki Beautiful’ move. Hemaji blesses Sonam with one hand while imitating Alia’s move with the other.

Alia: So, Hema aunty, what do you think of the Panama leaks?

Hema: I trust wonly Kent. It never leaks.

Sonam (showing her phone): No, Hema aunty. Amit uncle, Adani uncle and all are caught, no? With that seashore account? That leak.

Hema (looks at phone): See, beti, I don’t believe in all this offshore-soffshore nonsense. I put all my extra money in Bharatanatyam jewellery. I buy real gold and put fake gold plating on it. No one can guess, na?

Sonam: So clever, Hema aunty. What if someone finds out?

Hema: I yam always prepared, beta.

Alia: How, aunty?

Hema: You know my Sholay tonga? It’s fully done up. It’s loaded with my stuff. And Basanti has been given steroids. One word I hear means, take off.

Sonam: What about Dharamji?

Hema: His Sholay bike also same-same. Good to go, as you youngsters say.

Sonam: I hope he’s told Amit uncle.

Hema: Why?

Sonam: He can escape in the sidecar.