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By Mar 1, 2013 • The News Pages

They were caught red-handed cutting a tree

It took one blow of an old rusted axe to horrify the capital last night. Had it not been for the quick action of the police, cruel chaos would have shaken the most insensitive of men. Despite their desperate pleas of innocence, two young men were handcuffed and marched into the police station.

If rumours are to be believed, the two youth were driven by greed in committing the murder. “They brutally chopped off a tree with an axe,” onlookers whispered. But the tree was not the victim. As the tree slowly fell and split into two on this side of the equator, a penguin (the victim) reportedly took its last breath on another side of the planet.

In initial investigations, the most important statement is that of a one-eyed-witness: “You see,” recollects Mrs. Sharma with a shudder, “I was out for a walk with my bitch Britney, when my years of experience of prying told me there was something fishy going on. So Britney and I went around the corner where I saw it happening with my very own eye. Two boys—they looked quite well educated I might add—of around 24, were cutting a tree! Wasting no time I called the police!”

Amidst the confusion, we asked a police constable to shed some light on the matter. He was completely clueless. Not too surprised, we plunged headfirst into conducting our own little investigation. It took a thorough screening of middle school NCERT books for full 15 minutes and a pinch of rare common sense to figure out the link between the tree and the penguin. The formula goes like this: cut trees = increase in temperature = melting of ice peaks = a dead penguin. The pieces of this maddening puzzle couldn’t have fallen together in a better way.

***

PenguinsThe official statement of the two prime suspects was released earlier this evening. As the world watched glued, one of the two accused roared from the TV sets, “This is outrageous! I was nowhere near that tree! My friend and I were bursting crackers in the neighbourhood to celebrate Sachin’s performance in the ODI that day, when suddenly this mad lady came up to us with the police by her side.”

Meanwhile, the poor, poor penguin; he had absolutely no idea that his seemingly insignificant death would highlight not only the rampant razing of acres and acres of forests—to which these idiotic youngsters contributed in their own way—but also the vanishing fishes which has both the fishing industry and its own kind getting caught in the net of environmental ruin. Never mind the fact that the crime of those two was nothing more, I repeat, nothing more than just hacking down a tree; they might have been in need of firewood, for all we know.

This minor incident has brought many major questions into perspective: questions regarding human greed, environmental degradation, endangered species and above all, the various possibilities that would compel two well-educated boys to look for firewood in the 21st century.

The Government has come up with an ingenious scheme to put an end to this tragedy. At an air-conditioned press conference room, we were told that these rules will be strictly enforced with effect from next month:

  • Plucking of leaves is punishable by immediate arrest.
  • Use of deodorant twice in a single day will be heavily fined.
  • Government employees must return their allotted cars and use bicycles to commute to work. Employees with huge paunches will be denied these privileges as well.
  • Big-Fat-Indian-Weddings cannot exceed Rs. 200 as their budget. Food and desserts will command top priority in expenditure. If money is left over for crackers, the hosts must present themselves for an official inquiry at the nearest police station.
  • Harbhajan Singh and Ram Jethmalani must cool down.

As has become the usual practice, protests on the government’s statement have erupted almost immediately. While protesters complain against the tyranny of the Indian Government, environmental groups are welcoming the change. Environmentalists have initiated a number of campaigns worldwide. One of the campaigns will see Salman Khan supporting the cause of endangered species. He says he will poach whoever comes in his way. Maneka Gandhi has also expressed her concern. Two baby penguins will soon be finding a home in her ice-cold heart.

If the latest update on the incident is to be believed, Ram Gopal Verma has just announced a new film venture that would be “inspired” by Happy Feet. Five more penguins have died from the trauma.

This incident would have shamed our ancestors, who left this planet to our care. Had Michael Jackson been alive to see this wrath of global warming that spares no one, he would have warned: “It don’t matter if you’re black or white—or both.”

(ed. Apoorva Tapas)

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