It's the week of filing tax returns, and the week when I always remember my first brush with Income Tax.
There was this precocious little girl who came to live in our colony (Punjabi: cloney) when I was about 8. She was a brat of the first order, and her major claim to fame was her ability to turn her eyelids inside out. It was one of the most horrendous things I had ever seen, and my eyes used to water and clamp shut at the sight. All of us used to beg her to not do it, but she threatened to reverse the natural ocular order at the slightest provocation. If opposed persistently, she would unleash her standard dialogue: "Mere Papa Income Tax Officer hain! Tere ghar pe chhapa padwa doongi."
That used to be the line that shut me up promptly. I knew that there was no way my parents would appreciate an income tax chhapa on our house just because I could not stand inside-out eyelids. I never even told my parents about the income tax chhapa possibilities. Not because I come from a family of underworld dons, but because income tax was not even a fuzzy concept in my brain. "Chhapa" on the other hand, was a very vivid word, a kind of bold splashy print. And my parents had just gotten the whole house whitewashed….