At the stroke of the midnight hour, when most people were asleep, petrol prices awoke to a new high, and were hiked by Rs. 7.5 per litre. Over the past two years, they have been acting like the children of Osama Bin Laden in his prime: constantly increasing. Many people are awaiting with dread the day when prices will reach the magic figure of Rs. 100 per litre.
I personally think that a small figure like Rs. 100 per litre is aiming too low. After all, who would ever have thought that petrol prices would one day beat beer? Here is a list of a few price milestones that the Governments of India should strive to reach in the future. At the rate we’re going, I think we can cross even the last milestone in a few years. Yes, we can!
1. Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 – Ice Cream family pack: A typical ice cream 1 litre family pack costs Rs 150 if you go for a conventional flavour like chocolate or butterscotch. If you want nuts or chocolate chips in your ice cream, you may have to fork out Rs. 200. If you like high end brands, you’ll have to pay even more. Be that as it may, petrol must – and will – soon overcome ice cream to be taken seriously as a luxury.
2. Rs. 300 – Fake gangajal: This is a product that is only known to those who have gone to the Himalayas for a pleasure trip, bearing with them instructions from all their elderly relatives to bring back enough gangajal to wash away the whole family’s sins. Of course, these things are sometimes forgotten on pleasure trips. Only when you get back home do you remember, and then you go in search of fake gangajal. And this saves your life. This interesting liquid retails at around Rs. 300 depending on how authentic you want it to be. But for petrol, it is just another milestone.
3. Rs. 600 – Deodorant: A normal deodorant might cost Rs. 100 for a 150 mL bottle, or about Rs. 600 per litre. When petrol prices beat deodorant prices, we can expect to see people do without deodorant, and then we will all die of holding our breath during summer. Either that or the human race will evolve to a form without noses at all.
4. Rs. 1000 – Nirupa Roy’s tears: This, of course, is based purely on guesswork. We guess that Nirupa Roy was paid Rs. 50,000 for her performance in Deewar. Assume she spent 50 minutes prominently featured on screen. Assume she cried 1 litre of tears per minute (an accurate estimate; she was the reason the term ‘crying buckets’ came into being). This would mean 1 litre of her tears earned her Rs. 1000, and will represent a noble landmark, indeed, for petrol prices as they try to complete their first millenium.
5. Rs. 1000 – Moisturiser: Even a low end brand of moisturiser might cost about Rs. 1000 per litre. Once petrol gets to this price level, people will choose transport over moisture, and we will all be great candidates to star in any Ramsay Brothers film with monsters who have skin constantly peeling off their bodies.
6. Rs. 1500 – Blood: This represents the final frontier for petrol prices. On the grand day when they surpass even that liquid which flows in our veins, our world will change. People will donate blood in exchange for petrol. WWE wrestlers and movie stuntmen will be arrested when they try to trade tomato juice for diesel. A new blood group – P+, which stands for ‘give me petrol instead of blood’ – will be added. And the famous quotation ‘Give me blood and I will give you freedom’ won’t sound so grand any more.