This is a translation from a hindi text book... I think I did it for some teacher, I do not recollect now, anyway, here it is:
“Oh it’s you again! - The police had come there to make inquiries, and now since the preliminary investigations are completed, we are sending over the fire brigade to commence the search and rescue stage of the operation.”
After waiting impatiently for some hours, a grand red fire engine arrived with flair - blaring a loud siren and a dozen firemen hanging around the entire truck. And it started all over again.
“Who was the one who called?” asked the captain of the fire brigade.
“What is the matter”
“Two men are stuck in a tree” I said, “we need to free them.”
“They are just on a tree, not on the moon.” “They’ll get down, what is your worry?”
“The flooding river is rising…” I tried to make him understand, “If we don’t get them down, they’ll drown in the turbulent river.”
“Put on the ladder” He commanded the other firemen. I intervened, “but.. but the tree is not by the street, it is in the middle of the river, whose raging waters are even now bringing the trapped men closer and closer to death.”
“I don’t know how these asses caught themselves up a tree. People in America have gone and come back from the moon in one piece. And these people are stuck on a tree! How stupid can they be?”
“Don’t bring the ladder” He continued…
“Throw them a rope.” He hollered.
“We don’t have a rope that long, sir”, a fireman stated evenly.
“Is it too long or two short?” He asked
“It is too short sir” the fireman said.
“Then that will not do” Now the captain was the one who sounded exasperated.
“Then send in the divers” He commanded, with an air of intelligence.
The divers got ready in their sophisticated equipment, and were just about to dive when… I had enough sense to say, “They have still not fallen into the river. They are stuck up a tree. Unless your divers can climb tree, I don’t think you can rescue the men”
This advance clearly angered him. “look here” he glared at me, “don’t stick your filthy nose in every thing. We have only three things, a ladder, a rope and the divers. If you want us to rescue them, you’ll have to either build a road to the tree so that our fire - engine can get there, or get the waters to dry up.” I think he took the incapability of his gleaming red fire truck in this particular situation as a personal insult. He continued, “Tell those dunderheads to get stuck closer to the shore next time, where we can send our ladder, or throw a rope, or get our divers to rescue them.”
“None of these are humanly possible!” I informed him bluntly.
However, I was talking to the sight of a big red gleaming fire truck making its way down the road and out of sight.
I called up the government emergence flood relief office again. This time, I didn’t even wait to introduce myself.”
“Even the fire brigade has returned” I complained.
An idea struck me.
“Do you have any motorboats?”
“Yes, we have many small motorboats. A hundred and five to be exact…”
Relief flooded me. At last, a plausible way out of the entire mess.
“But the small motor boats will not be able to handle the turbulent waters. The big motorboats (numbering 56 to be exact) are on the other side of the bridge, it cannot come to your side. We regret to inform you that we do not have any medium sized motor boats that will work here, in our fleet. However, we intend to procure some as soon as our budget allows it, and as soon as they have decided a suitable color.” He paused, just enough to take a breath, “and one more thing, don’t call the government emergency flood relief office again. It is the end of my shift. No one will lift up the receiver of the telephone again. Anyway, are those monkeys on the tree you relatives by any chance?”
“No!” I said.
“Then go to home and sleep” and I heard a click before I could reply.
Now, there is a limit to what a man can take, and ignoring the now hoarse cries of help of the men on the tree, I took the operators advise, and went home and made myself a cup of tea and sat in front of the television.
“There was a heavy flooding in the Yamuna River today, and the waters have risen, and sometimes covered the tops of the trees growing on the banks. The government emergency flood relief organisation is doing a commendable job in…” The image of the newsreader wiped out of the screen, Immediately replace by an image of the flooding river, the familiar Jeep, the unruly constable, and the gleaming red fire engine, along with its captain. All of them working. I was surprised. They were working hard, but to…!!! the image of the newsreader flashed back on “… saving the lives of the birds that made these trees their home. Animal activists are very pleased, and are swearing to punch anyone who badmouths the government emergency flood relief organisation again…”