In a rare showing of warmth, the sun visited the village of Prestbury for a second day in a row. It crossed the market and strolled down west to Withinlee Road where it encountered a rare and beautiful object.
A gleaming red Ferrari would bring oohs and aahs to almost any man on earth, but as the gates opened up, the Baron of Setalvadi* stood with a little dark cloud hovering above him. The sight of his neighbour’s Ferrari outside his gate brought him no joy.
He had gotten up in the morning with mixed feelings. A couple had landed up at his doorstep the day before. While the reunion with an old lost friend did bring him joy, he did have to admit that sometimes the ordinary people bored him. And this couple came from a village in India, some place called Auroville where there were no real roads and people cycled on mud paths or walked barefoot. His friend eschewed the inviting barstools and comfortable recliners and sat on the floor — now who sits on his floor? He had patiently explained to them about the joys of football. But they yawned at the Milan v Milan game. They did not know anything about tennis, even the difference between mudcourts and claycourts. He was about to show his new tennis racquet and how the new forehand was actually backhand, but they talked about ping-pong as if it was the best exercise. The talk about the importance of the semi-conductor industry and round-the-clock manufacturing of discrete MOSFETs in 4 fabs around the world also did not excite them. They asked whether he grew vegetables in his garden — did they think he was a farmer? He had graciously given up watching the game, and they joined him in his home theater to watch a new JLo movie. However, it was one that made Hindi movies look good, giving a headache to all.
And they did not know anything about cars, nothing. They ogled at the Ferrari as if it was an apparition of the Lord Vishnu’s chariot.
The Lady Cindy had explained a couple of times that the Ferrari was an insult to the Baron, but the Indian villagers did not understand it. Clearly they came from a time where the fattest pigs would win the silver medal. With the competition now having shifted to things with wheels, much had changed that the Baron was unable to explain.
There can be only one reason why a Ferrari outside the gate is an insult. Because it taunts what is inside. And what was inside and not visible to anybody was a beast. Not a beast, but The Beast. The beast whose roar made sheep jump out of their woollies, horses bolt over fences, and foxes dive into the nearest burrow.
The Baron was perplexed as to how to show the beast to everyone. And explain that even Batman would be envious of the beast.
As his friends were about to leave thru the open gate, a thought entered his mind. He would ride the beast to his afternoon tennis session. Arriving in the beast always made his energy level high and upped his game. And today he would choose a more circuitous route to tennis, and let the beast’s roar silence all the Ferraris and Porches in the shire. He reminded himself that his goal was not to become an Earl, but to achieve single-digits in the ATP rankings. Ferrari owners could be more tedious than village simpletons.
The gate closed behind his guests.
* originally Setalvadshire, but to make the Earls and Barons of Indian origin happy, the new King proclaimed that virtual shires could take on Indianized names. So it was changed recently to Setalvadi.