Oh, this just gets better and better.
So first, it was Diwali that delayed the announcement of Bal Thackeray’s death.
Then it was Bhai Duj (or Bhau Beej, as they call it here) that required Bal Thackeray remain officially alive.
Now, on Thursday evening, Thackeray is still not dead. Why? Because Thackeray’s family astrologer has calculated that if Thackeray dies on Saturday, then he will go straight to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu and the seventh heaven in Hinduism cosmology. So, rumour mongers say, the family won’t unplug the life-support until Saturday. The only fly in this ointment is that Saturday is not a good day for a politician to die because whenever Thackeray dies, Shiv Sena will demand the day after be a bandh (as in, the city will be forced into lockdown). Now the most useless day to declare bandh is a Sunday because that’s the one day when everyone stays home anyway. So if the rumour about the astrologer’s calculations is true, then someone in the Shiv Sena camp has to choose between mileage for the party on planet earth and Vaikuntha for Thackeray. The pressure, the pressure….
Personally, I have a different theory. I noticed that the news of Thackeray’s condition became markedly more optimistic after actor Salman “Ek Tha Tiger” Khan visited Balasaheb “Ekta Tiger” Thackeray. (“Ekta Tiger” means “the only tiger” in Marathi.) In fact, a few hours after Khan’s visit, fireworks started going off in Dadar, which is a Shiv Sena stronghold. When Dadar has fireworks, there is no danger of Thackeray taking the expressway to Vaikuntha. Which proves that it’s not just a dying box office that Salman Khan can revive.
If Thackeray resurrects and makes a public appearance on Saturday, then as far as I’m concerned, he’s gone from being Schrödinger’s cat to a Maharashtrian Jesus Christ. At the moment, absolutely no one seems to have any idea what the hell is going on. It’s reaching the point where people are actually believing what’s on tv news. I hope the channel heads are writing him thank-you notes.