This article was written by Aditya Mehta (Batch of 2018)
The article’s general tone against those opposing change may or may not have to do with those opposing the coupon system. The author may or may not be biased as he is a member of Mess Comm. Any resemblance to a person or argument raised with regard to the coupon system is deliberate and to be taken in jest and/or with offence depending on whether the author can outrun you. All strawmanning is also deliberate and is intended to cause frustration.
It’s been about a year since it was discovered that cars can be made to fly pretty easily if you replace petrol with a mixture of various difficult-to-spell chemicals (the easiest of which is xerocanthiusphatimoxide). Not only could they now move in the air reducing traffic, but also at four times the speed petrol offered. Various associated benefits were also found such as lower environmental harm, noise pollution being removed from where the population resides and allowing people to often say with more conviction that they’re “on top of the world”.
But a recent government circular has banned the use of these cars; only vehicles that have a “worthy of flying” certificate will be permitted to fly. The criterion for the certificate being granted includes having wings or blades, a pilot with specific qualifications, cramped seats and “a general perception that the vehicle is not a car”. It goes on to specify, so as to prevent confusion, that parachutes, gliders and the mentally unstable who underestimate gravity while jumping off a building will not be prosecuted for an attempt to violate the law.
The government did not cite any reasons for its ban, the benefits mentioned earlier notwithstanding. However, three protest groups that form a prominent vote bank would likely have influenced this decision.
There were those who’d plastered “inconvenience” in black paint all over the walls of the transport ministry. They’d have to buy the complex chemical from petrol pumps in cans and not use the usual straight-into-the-tank pipes, which threw their well ordered lives into complete disarray. The cars take off on turning the keys, which made them question both whether the car was on and whether their lives served any purpose. If they forgot to buy fuel, they were stranded without their personal transport for an entire journey, which caused more mental agony than your average chemotherapy session.
Then there was them hitchhikers, of course. They’d always stuck their thumb out for a lift and never planned on driving so as to pay back their social dues. Suddenly it was unlikely their thumbs would be seen from a 1000 feet above the ground unless they bought jet packs, which they couldn’t because not buying is what defines them in the first place. So one day the transport ministry found them standing outside their office (mis)quoting political scientists on the duties of the state and those strange creatures that paid for things.
Finally, but possibly the most vociferous of the lot, were the oldies. Their hair had turned gray in cars and, by their dentures, cars would stay on the ground until their last breath. Their reasons sometimes overlapped with the above groups, but their distinct identity stems from the fact that they rarely confined themselves to reasoned debate. Rhetoric and flourish are what defined them. So if one flying car one day slowed down, it was photographed, advertised and analysed for 657 times longer than it would take them to conform to the system. It didn’t matter that slow cars had similar, and greater, problems. Only those concerned with flying cars were to be wept over. And God knows those tears were photographed too.
The ministry is considering holding a poll soon. Let’s hope I can keep my faith in democracy at the end of it, and for once we find that the bureaucracy got it right. •