Me: Welcome Sir Isaac, I’ve always wanted to speak to you about your great discovery.
Sir Isaac Newton: No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.
Me: Yes, Sir Isaac, that’s what you said about discovering gravity in the 17th century. How fortunate that the apple fell on your head.
Newton: An apple didn’t fall on my head. It was an orange.
Me: But …
Newton: It was not an apple.
Me: That’s what all the school books say.
Newton: For God’s sake, it was not an apple. I know the difference between fruits, my dear sir. It was a fruit of the citrus species and it was the colour orange.
William O’Shaughnessy: Good morning, everyone.
Newton: Who’s this?
Me: Yes, Mr O’Shaughnessy, why are you here in our private WeChat group? I only invited the five people or characters I always wanted to chat with because they did something really interesting or led great lives or are fun to watch.
O’Shaughnessy: I did something interesting too.
Me: And what’s that?
O’Shaughnessy: I brought the telegraph to India.
Me: Really? Oh, I forgot I invited you over. Just didn’t know your name. I always wanted to meet the guy who started this telegram business over here.
O’Shaughnessy: I don’t blame you. Everybody’s going to forget me now. I read that India is stopping the telegraph service on July 15. I’ve been trying to get hold of Communications Minister Kapil Sibal to stop this madness but he isn’t visible yet on WeChat.
Me: Well, I don’t blame you for being angry. But Mr O’Shaughnessy, seriously, now that instant messaging services like WeChatare here, why send telegrams at all?
Newton: Yes, O’Shaughny, go discover something meaningful like I did.
O’Shaughnessy: Oh! And you are the Apple guy.
Me: No, that’s Steve Jobs. This is Sir Newton. You know the story – a man, a tree, an apple, a headache and, hey presto, gravity.
Newton: Yes, you imbecile. I did come up with the Universal Law of Gravitation. But it wasn’t an apple that fell on my head. Let me set the record straight on this WeChat. It was an orange.
O’Shaughnessy: So it was definitely some fruit then.
Newton: It was an orange.
O’Shaughnessy: Who cares? I like apples better anyway.
Newton: I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.
Gabbar Singh: Kitne aadmi thay?
Newton: I beg your pardon.
Gabbar: Kitne aadmi thay?
Newton: Kit nay add me they?
Me: Sir Isaac, he’s speaking in Hindi. He means – how many men were there?
Newton: How many men were there where and who in Dante’s Inferno is this guy anyway?
Me: He wants to know how many people are talking on WeChat. He’s the famous Bollywood villain from the blockbuster film “Sholay“, an Indian Western with a menacing dacoit, two amiable gunslingers and a retired policeman with no hands.
Newton: Indeed, the plot sounds more exciting than any of Shakespeare’s works.
William Shakespeare: How dare you, Newton?
Newton: Sorry, didn’t know the Bard of Avon was chatting here with us today.
Shakespeare: Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
Gabbar: Kitne aadmi thay?
Me: Gabbarji, we are still chatting so you should ask: kitne aadmi hain (how many men are there)?
Sushma Swaraj: How sexist? It should be: kitne log hain (how many people are there)? Why can’t women talk here?
Gabbar: Oye Sush, khamosh! Jaa, Narendra Modi ko bata Gabbar aaya hain. (Shut up Sush! Go tell Narendra Modi that Gabbar is here)
Swaraj: Go tell him yourself. How rude.
Newton: Who’s this woman?
Me: Please, no fighting here. This is not parliament or a Bollywood movie or even a Shakespeare play.
Shakespeare: Come, gentlemen and Milady, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
Swaraj: Don’t talk of drinking. It’s you guys who have spoilt the youth of India and introduced all these Jack Daniel bottles. Angrezo, Bharat chodo! (Englishmen, quit India!)
Me: Umm, actually Mrs Swaraj, Jack Daniel was an American distiller so you can’t blame the English. I do have a colleague named Frank Jack Daniel though and he’s English.
Newton: I never liked Americans myself. But why is that woman politician blaming us? She’s just being silly.
Me: Sir Newton, Sushmaji is usually very eloquent in parliament. Her Hindi is so good that even Indians like me have trouble understanding her.
Shakespeare: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Good luck, Milady. I think you will be prime minister one day. But remember, uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Swaraj: How sweet. Nice boy, this Shakes.
O’Shaughnessy: I see all of you have already forgotten me, like you did the telegram.
Me: No, we haven’t Mr O’Shaughnessy. We’ll WeChatwith you again soon. I had a lovely time and hope all of you made some new friends.
Newton: Yes, I should get going too. I’ve to get back to Westminster chapel.
Newton: Mr Gabbar, as I’ve explained before. It was an o-r-a-n-g-e, not an a-p-p-l-e. I even ate the orange and had indigestion because I swallowed the pips.
Gabbar: Kitne pip thay?
Me: He means how many pips were there in that orange, sir? Don’t worry, he’s just spouting dialogue from his film.
Newton: Well, there were six pips, Gabbar.
Gabbar: Bahut naainsaafi hain yeh. Tera kya hoga, Newton? (This is grave injustice. Now what will happen to you, Newton?)
Newton: I can’t make any sense of what this nitwit is saying.
Gabbar: Khamosh Newton, ab apple kha. (Shut up, Newton. Go eat an apple)
[Newton cartoon from Sunday Mercury here]