Page 22, and it shall omit the distractions, so the first timer can just immerse himself/herself for now.
‘So you’re a dope smoking civil servant. Do you bring to your work a new perspective?’ Suroor apparently knew a lot about the government. Agastya decided to ‘sir’ him while sharing the smoke, to try and discompose him.
‘That isn’t fair, Rajani,’ objected Daya, handing Agastya a glass of watermelon juice. ‘~~ My favourite commandment from the Reader’s Digest goes: If you don’t like what you do for a living, quit. If you can’t quit, shut up.’
Suroor, after a long drag on the joint: ‘For you, Daya, everything’s always been either black or white. In my world, the pros outweigh the cons, but that doesn’t mean that the cons don’t exist.’ He beamed avuncularly at Agastya. “Does this not-so-young man have any opinions on the service of the Welfare State?’
‘Yes. I feel weird. I ask myself all the time: How do you survive on your ridiculous salary? And why do you survive on your ridiculous salary? At the same time, I feel grossly overpaid for the work that I do. Not the quantity, which on certain days can be alarming, but the quality. In my eight years of service, I haven’t come across a single case in which everybody concerned didn’t try to milk dry the boobs of the Welfare State.’ The dope was first-rate. ‘But I suppose that’s what the boobs are there for.
‘In my earlier office, on the ground floor of the Commissionerate, alongside the stairs, stood a kiosk that we’d leased out about a decade ago, for a rupee a month, to a privileged underprivileged. He was Backward Caste, Depressed Class, Physically Handicapped – his right leg petered out at the knee- Mentally Zonked – his file had a photocopy of an illegible four-line note from some Assistant to the Head of the Department of Psychiatry of the Welfare State Hospital