“What do you mean the US govt is shutting down ?”, eight year old Bharat asked me when I was glued to CNN.
He had earlier in the day visited the Nasa Kids website , his usual routine to play space games, and had apparently been greeted by the shut down message.
“Shutting down means shutting down. Power off”, I blurted, still looking at Anderson Cooper.
“But power off is not shutting down, right?”, pestered Bharat.
Losing patience, I said, “What ever. But the government is shut down. You better look at your Oggy and the Cockroaches”.
“But Appa, how can somebody shut down a country? It does not have a key board, right?”, he kept on.
“Bharat, better look at the lego video and leave me in peace. I have to watch CNBC to look at the stocks”, I said.
“Okay, but one final question. Actually two final questions”, he pleaded to which I agreed.
“Appa, why should the government be shut down ?”, he asked.
“Because they don’t have money. And so they shut down”.
“You mean, they didn’t have money ? And Obama said close the doors?”, he continued.
“Something like that. But you have exceeded your questions”.
“That is okay Appa. But why shut down ? Why not, say, take money from ATM?”
“Well, ATM is fine. But no money in the government’s account”. I thought I had escaped.
“No Appa, If they need money, they could have sold the space stations to other countries, right?”, he asked. Sensible question though. But I didn’t have an answer.
“I still have a doubt”, he said. I was thinking of escape routes but found none.
“Appa, when you have to shut down, but don’t want to shut down, you can put it in ‘Sleep’ right ? That is what we do to the computer”, he said.
“Good idea, but it probably didn’t occur to Obama uncle”, I stammered.
“Or they could have logged off”, he said. I had five minutes of peace after which he came up again.
“Appa, how about switch user? Why did not Obama do that?”,he asked.
“Bharat, that ‘switch-user’ is not for Obama to make. It is for the people to do. They do it once every four years. It is called elections”, I triumphantly declared and was rather pleased at my answer.
“But Appa, do we have ‘switch user’ in India?”, he said.
I give up. Let me know if you know whom to switch to in India.