Clothes Maketh A Man, Shopping Destroyeth Him

I like making to-do lists, because it gives me yet another excuse to not do the things on my to-do list. Here’s what my average list of tasks looks like:

  • Finish that work thing.
  • Pay that bill.
  • And that other bill.
  • Your baap will pay the third bill or what?
  • WTF. Burn credit card.
  • Clean an old person’s toenails.
  • Read War and Peace. Or benchpress it. Whatever’s possible.
  • Record clips of babies crying. Play on loop for six hours.
  • Try and reason with a Modi fan.
  • Go shopping for clothes.

So clearly, even though it’s important, shopping for clothes is a complete waste of time, just like shaving, or Rahul Gandhi voting for himself. I’m not saying this because I’m some stereotypical male who’s happy to walk around in a T-shirt that’s just a bunch of holes held together by deodorant. No, I like being to sport a look that’s not sourced from the Engineering Hostelite Who Had To Choose Between Soap and Cigarettes and Guess What Won collection.

It’s just that to get to this point, you need to put the rest of your life on hold for about three days. This applies more so when you’re a regular guy who does not want to look like Douchebag McHairGel. Take, for example, jeans. There was a time when you could just walk in to a store and walk out with what you needed, having exchanged a grand total of six words with the salesman (“Dark blue jeans, waist size: beer”).

But now it entails a full-blown conversation wherein you have to explain to the salesman that no, you don’t want the pair with the shiny stuff on the back-pocket even thought it is “laytusst style” among guys who want their butts to be used as navigational aids by seafarers, and no, you don’t want the pre-ripped, pre-faded nonsense because that look needs to be earned after years of Nirvana and mediocre pot, and c’mon man, why would you show me something designed to fit a six-year-old boy made of twigs?

Shopping for t-shirts is better because you have more options at idiocy. I don’t know how or when it happened, but at some point, somebody decided that men’s t-shirts lacked the Eurotrash factor, so they called a guy, who slapped a tiger logo onto things and called it Ed Hardy, like some sort of French Shiv Sainik. This inspired an entire range of chest-vomit that when worn, causes you to invite Bhojpuri starlets to your home for coffee and compromise.

Then there are sport tees plastered with vague inspirational quotes like ‘Fly high’, ‘Slay Sun’ and ‘Gonad Fire’ – all designed to give off the impression that you’re an athlete when in reality, you often sprain your back while picking up nachos off the floor. This leaves only one option: superhero and other pop-culture tees. It’s a look I sport often, because failure to do so will lead to excommunication from the Man-Child Club of Bandra And Nearby Suburbs But Not the Eastern Part, Duh.

(Pro Tip: Team those tees up with shorts and flip-flops, and it turns into an outfit for every occasion. Drinks with friends? Yup. Formal client meeting? Sure. Funeral? If it’s a white tee, then yes. Romantic date? Doesn’t matter. Laptops don’t judge.)

This is still better than the Tantra phase in college, when we all thought we were so cool with t-shirt slogans like ‘Taj Mahal ViaAgra – Man’s Greatest Erection For A Woman’ or ‘1 7 2 2 14’ (read that in Hindi to appreciate the classy comedy). Thankfully, I managed to not hit the next level, which included gems like ‘Virginity is myths… life f**** everyone!!’ (Plato, I believe) and the engineering favourite, ‘99% of girls are beautiful……. rest are in my college’ (which was not only sexist and demeaning, but also true).

People who once wore that have realised the folly of their ways and have moved on to classier designs, like Being Human, the sartorial version of rabies. Meanwhile, people like me will continue to fund entities like Marvel, DC, the Simpsons, House, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Arrested Development and if they’re tosser hipster enough, then Captain Vyom and Bal Narendra too. Say hello if you see us around. We’ll be the guys looking for pants.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 13th Apr 2014.)

Chicks, Vodka, Fancy Car, Abki Baar Honey Sarkar

There are times when I’m classy and there are other times, when I listen to Yo Yo Honey Singh. This usually happens at house parties, where the unwritten rule is that once the night reaches a certain hour (Drunk O’Clock), one must drop all pretences of sophistication and flail about to songs that were written under the influence of the nastiest drug possible – being Punjabi.

Thanks to these songs, I’m now aware that Punjab’s number one industry is the Wearing Sungoggal While Indoors industry, and that a woman is a machine that you pour alcohol into until sex comes out. Of course, this is probably the nicest thing that Sri Sri Yo Yo Singh has said about women, or as he likes to call them, <insert pelvic thrust here>.

The song that first made him popular, especially in the college circuit, was an underground hit called… um, sadly, the title is unprintable, but it’s a word often used to describe politicians. It was a lyrical masterpiece that compared certain body parts to aloo pakodas, and was easily the most vile set of words ever put to music. But that minor detail aside, the beat was damn catchy. And that’s been his his style ever since: rubbish lyrics surrounded by a tune that makes you drop your standards. It’s Honey Singh’s way of showing you that a lotus always blooms in filth. Then he grinds against the lotus.

Dancing to Honey Singh is like sucking on a mango or campaigning for Modi – there’s no way to appear dignified while doing it. But that’s the price you pay for jumping around to a song that goes, “Aaj blue hai paani paani paani, aur din bhi sunny sunny sunny”. That song is a work of art. You may think that by rhyming ‘sunny’ with ‘paani’, Honey Singh is trying to give Gulzar saab a seizure, but in reality, this attempt at free verse is symbolic of how Yo Yo lives his life; as a renegade who spits at the forces that hold the rest of us back, like formal education.

He displays similar bravado in his latest track, ‘Chaar Botal Vodka’, which is also his version of a blood transfusion. Here, Honey Singh opens up about his deepest desires as he croons, “I wanna hangover tonight”. So while his rivals are still singing about the fun aspects of binge-drinking, Padmashree Honey Singh has moved on to accepting the consequences of his actions, like a real man. It is truly avant-garde, making Honey the hero that Gurgaon needs, not the one it deserves.

There’s more to Honey Singh than just parties and alcohol though. At least that’s what I gathered from a recent interview, where he said that he started out by writing soulful songs about heroes like Bhagat Singh, but when most of his audience went, “Who’s Bhagat Singh yaa? Is he like a DJ?”, he gave up and wrote a couple of hundred daru-sharu hits (which took him a total of six minutes). I’m just glad that Honey Singh wasn’t around during the Raj, writing songs about historical figures, because that would get weird really quickly: 

Honey Singh: (singing)

Blue eyes

Hypnotise

Curly fries

Nobel prize

My kachcha dries

by sunrise

I swear

Chhoti dress mein bomb lagdi mennu 

PM: Dude, stop hitting on Edwina.

There’s also a Pakistani version of Honey Singh, an imitator and a singer who calls himself – I kid you not – Yo Yo Ali Jaan. He looks like him, dresses like him and sings like him, although it must be difficult to copy Honey Singh songs in Pakistan. You can’t really do a song called ‘Chaar Botal Roohafza’. And ‘Chhoti dress mein bomb lagdi’ is just an unfortunate choice of words. (Fearing legal action over copyright issues, Yo Yo Ali Jaan recently changed his name to – again, this is true – Poko Loko Ali Jaan. It’s sweet how Pakistan steps up and makes us look good whenever we mess up, be it with Honey Singh, or cricket or democracy.)

The trailer for Honey Singh’s Bollywood debut, ‘The Xpose’, also released this week. He stars opposite Himesh Reshammiya, another guy accused of having stuff up his nose. It is going to be a terrible, terrible film, so naturally, I will watch it first day first show. Do feel free to join me. Bring four bottles of vodka.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 6th Apr 2014.)

Boys Will Be Boys Will Be Bachelors

By the time you read this, I will be in Amsterdam, drowning in thirty seven types of beer and looking for the meaning of life in coffee shops that serve famous local flora like, um, tulips. But I’ll have you know that this is no frivolous trip. No, it is a noble excursion that young men embark upon when one of their own decides to leave the fold to join the ranks of the wedded. It is then that we, as righteous defenders of the faith, must take our brother on one last quest involving vomit and memory loss.

The concept of bachelor parties came about when men decided that they needed a socially acceptable reason to act stupid. (This was also the reasoning behind the first parliament.) The first bachelor party took place sometime during the Stone Age, when a bunch of neanderthals realised that their friend had begun to throw around phrases like ‘flower arrangement’ and ‘saree shopping’ in conversation, so they clubbed him over the head because strip clubs hadn’t been invented yet.

Thankfully men have changed since then, in the sense that we don’t have body lice anymore. Now we also have a ridiculously high party standard to beat, thanks to movies like The Hangover. This means that the party, at the very least, must feature one guy doing an Ajay Devgn-style split atop two tigers, while another guy performs a double-bypass on himself using a fork, just because everyone else dared him to.

Of course, all of this is a cakewalk compared to the visa process that will actually make things happen. If you’re a young single Indian male travelling to Europe for the first time, you might need to dance around a fair bit for your Schengen (German word for “You’re probably a terrorist but give us your money anyway”). The documents you’ll need to submit include, but are not limited to, tax records from the time you got your first piggy bank, a letter from your employer confirming that you are a legitimate employee and not just some homeless guy who hangs around the office because he likes PPTs, a character certificate personally signed by the Pope and a vial containing exactly three Higgs bosons.

This particular trip is special because it means that one of my oldest friends will soon enter into the sacred institution of marriage for the longest time, Amsterdam has been the final destination on the average Indian boy’s Three Point Debauchery plan. It begins with Goa which, when you’re in college, seems like Hedonism Central, and it truly is, if your idea of hedonism involves being stabbed in the eyes by the sight of banians and Lux kachchas. Once you’re out of college and have made a bit of money, you hit Thailand, and it is at once bizarre, serene and a heap of fun. Where else can you see a post-op tranny shoot darts out of her eyes because we cannot mention the actual body part in a family newspaper?

And that brings us back to Amsterdam, a place that I know very little about, except that it has canals and cakes and a red-light district that is run more efficiently and does more for society than, say, the G8. Because of this, a mere mention of the city’s name causes Indian men to go a little nuts. Just say the word and everyone from your friends to acquaintances to your doctor, your rickshaw guy and the local godman will start sniggering and making rhythmic hand gestures that make it look like they’re unclogging an invisible toilet with a plunger. Of course, what they mean to say is, badonka donka – don’t forget to bargain – donk. Except that this isn’t really my thing, because I have principles.

I’ll wait till you’re done laughing.

Done? Okay. So like I was saying, it’s a matter of principle, because any idiot can throw down some cash and buy the company of a woman. All this says is that you’re rich and you will not let an infection get in your way. But the real skill lies in wooing a woman with charm and wit, to the point where she cannot help but say, “Look, you’re a really nice guy but I’m looking to focus on my career right now, so can we just be friends?”

Anyway, it’s time to head to the airport now. It’s a pity that I’m gone only for a week, although they say that you can make that week feel like a month, provided you get your hands on the right tulips.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 16th March 2014.)

We Will, We Will Stone You

The elections are going to unload upon us very soon, which means that the IPL will move to another country, because we can only handle one garish display of black money at a time. Also, the elections are far more entertaining than the IPL, because I don’t remember the last time Mitchell Johnson knocked Gayle’s head off with an inswinging rock. So here’s a pretty unreliable recap of some of my favourite moments from this week’s episode of Politicians Do The Darndest Things:

(Most of the following happened on the day that the model code of conduct was announced. Or as politicians call it, *ackthoo*.)

1. Arvind Kejriwal arrives in Gujarat to verify Modi’s claims of development. As soon as he crosses into Gujarat, the road transforms into a sixteen lane highway made of golden sunshine. As Kejriwal glides down the highway, with the wind in his hair topi and angels plying him with wine distilled from the laughter of little children, he realises that Gujarat makes heaven look like Bhandup. He’s about to join the BJP, when he’s detained for violating the model code of conduct. Maybe he would’ve been allowed to move around freely if he were carrying a sword and a sense of entitlement.

2. A bunch of AAP guys gather outside the BJP’s Delhi office to protest Kejriwal’s detention. They’re met with stones, allegedly first thrown by the BJP people. The BJP earns the nation’s respect for being able to throw things despite the arthritis.

3. The AAP retaliates with more stone-pelting, with Yogendra Yadav announcing that their website has the details of all stones thrown by them, such as the source of the stones, the velocity attained by each stone and whether or not a stone is manglik.

4. The Delhi skirmish inspires BJP members in Lucknow who, in a “spontaneous outpouring of emotion”, beat up the AAP protesters with sticks. The AAP members hit back with jhadoos, in what is described as the worst Mortal Kombat remake ever.

5. The circus then shifts to Coimbatore, where 17 BJP cadres are arrested for trying to storm the AAP headquarters. But why would they attack the AAP office? Did they mistake it for an ancient religious structure?

6. People on Twitter take a few minutes off from adopting cats to talk about how they now abhor the AAP for its violence, and how Kejriwal is as bad as his opponents. It seems a bit premature. At least grant them a genocide or two before calling them violent.

7. Senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan posts on his Facebook and Twitter page to say that the caretaker of his Delhi flat was assaulted by four unidentified men who said, “Tell your sahib to watch what he says on TV.” It is not known where those men came from, although I’m guessing school wasn’t it. It’s also not known which comment caused the backlash, because India offers you the chance to offend any and every mouth-breather under the sun. The man could go on TV to say something as simple as  “I like schezwan rice”, which would invariably lead to one, “How you eat Chinese food when China is invading us every day you are anti-national Maoist-humping Lenin-licking Naxalite noodle!”

8. In another incident of misplaced patriotism, 67 Kashmiri students are slapped with a sedition charge for cheering for Pakistan during an Indo-Pak cricket match. Because it makes sense to oppose Pakistan by over-reacting to things, exactly like Pakistan. Although it must be said that as an Indian, why would you ever go against your own cricket team? Who do you think you are – Sreesanth?

(The sedition charges are later dropped, even as people crib about how if someone cheered for India while in Pakistan, their death would make Game of Thrones look like Teletubbies. Maybe. But is that really a standard we aspire to?Nobody ever says, “Hey, we should be like the US, where they don’t kill people for having opinions.” It’s more like, “I don’t care about a cure for my cancer as long as the guy next door has AIDS.”)

With so much noise and chaos around the corner, it’s easy to lose focus and forget what the electoral process is all about: insanity. No, wait. It’s about responsible decision-making. I’m leaning towards the guys with the smallest bag of stones.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 9th Mar 2014.)

Look Before You Sit

These are troubled times for the nation, seeing as how the most popular choices on our voting machines this May will be LOL and ROFLSCREWED. Sure, there’s something called a Third Front which pops up once every few years, but just seems to be the political equivalent of the Eclairs that tollbooth attendants try to palm off when they run out of real money. Given such dire circumstances, it is only natural that I address the most pressing concern facing the nation today, i.e. there could be a snake lurking in your toilet.

This is a real thing. It happened in the Mulund suburb of Mumbai this week, when a family discovered a 6-foot-long cobra in their toilet and did what any normal human being would do: they gutted all of Mulund with a flamethrower. At this point, let’s observe a minute’s silence for the fact that nothing good has ever been associated with Mulund. The only nice thing about Mulund is that it’s not Vikhroli, but that aside, it’s just another pimple in the general rash that is Central Mumbai. For long, its name has been a source of much amusement for 12-year-old boys, but that may change now, what with builders giving it fancy monikers like Lower Powai, Lateral BKC and Groin of Thane.

Anyway, as it turned out, the cobra had been living in the sewage pipes and occasionally surfaced through the toilet to get some air and transform into Sridevi. It was eventually rescued by a team of people who are trained to go from toilet to toilet and rescue snakes, as if they were the love child of Steve Irwin and Aman ‘Harpic’ Verma. Although anything that can survive in Mumbai sewage doesn’t really need to be rescued. I’m sure the cobra was doing just fine, and had managed to score an Aadhar card, domicile certificate and a “setting” with the local corporator.

This snake-in-a-toilet thing sounds like one of those urban legends that we all heard about while growing up in Mumbai. For example, there was one popular story about a faceless gang that skulked around crowded theatres, quietly pricking people with HIV needles and stamping a message on their arms that said “Welcome to the AIDS Club” (which just sounds like a rejected slogan for South African tourism).

This incident also has to be the cheapest, tackiest remake of the masterpiece that is Snakes On A Plane. I can already see the desi version unfold before my eyes:  Snakes In A Sandaas, starring Nana Patekar, who’s basically the Maharashtrian Samuel L. Jackson, standing there slapping his own head while saying things like “I HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERF****** SAANP AADMI KO HIJRA BANA DETA HAI!”

The problem is that this has ruined my relationship with toilets forever. There are things that toilets are great for: snatching a few moments of solitude, waiting for creative inspiration to strike, cussing out the creator of Flappy Bird, being bulimic and so on. Here’s what toilets aren’t great for: surprise prostate exams. That’s what Dadar locals are for.

In more wildlife news, the citizens of Meerut in U.P had a terrible week, probably because they are citizens of Meerut in U.P. Also, a leopard strayed into the city and attacked some men after -  and I quote – “Some of them went close out of curiosity”. Why would these guys see a leopard and then walk in for a closer look? What did they think it was – a woman?

One suburb of Mumbai that has seen its fair share of leopards is – surprise surprise – Mulund. It’s not the leopards’ fault though, because we’ve been encroaching upon their forests for ages. It must be terrible, as a mighty predator, to come home one day and see that your hunting ground has been replaced by MANDAR BUILDER AND DEVLUPPER SPACIOUS 26 SQ.  FT. FLAT FOR 4 CRORES BECAUSE APPARENTLY THESE FLATS ARE MADE OF COCAINE. It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to go away to a nice, quiet place, like my bathroom. But I’m going to need a flamethrower.

Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Maruti!

I’m not saying that the world is actively trying to make me feel old, but they recently phased out the Maruti 800, and this makes we want to go drown my nostalgia in a bottle of Goldspot. The last 800 was sent off from the Gurgaon plant with much fanfare, and understandably so, given that it’s an integral part of the Indian success story, along with liberalisation and Baba Sehgal. (The colour of the last model is officially called ‘Firebrick Red’, which is like regular red, but with a coating of MBA drool.)

Before the advent of the 800, Indian roads were ruled by the Ambassador, which was the size of a 3BHK and also handled like one. Then came the Maruti 800, which was the size of a 3BHK in Bombay.  It was touted as the go-to vehicle for small families, and was brought to India by Sanjay Gandhi, a man known for being a fan of small families. The first sale was a pretty big deal, and involved an elaborate ceremony wherein the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, handed over the keys to one Mr. Harpal Singh from Delhi. This happened on 14th December, 1983, at 3 p.m. By 3.02 p.m, there were six woofers on the car, along with one bartender who lived in the boot.

The 800 will remain Maruti’s most iconic car for years to come, because it was the first car for many Indians, and also because a lot of their other cars have the appeal of jaundice. Take, for example, the Omni, which boasts of a great minimalist design, in the sense that your knees double up as crumple zones and the airbags are your lungs. Then there was the A-Star, which was great if you wanted to drive a frog, and the Swift Dzire, which looked like the Swift after a session with Anushka Sharma’s plastic surgeon.

My family didn’t own an 800 when everyone was going nuts about it, but eventually, we did manage to buy a Zen. This was a big deal for my parents, especially for my father, because it was his first car, which meant that he treated it with the kind of respect usually reserved for prophets of major religions. Thankfully, this did not stop him from teaching me how to drive even though I was technically thirteen. I jumped at the offer, not realising that there was a huge difference between learning to drive at a motor school, and learning to drive from your father. This is what it’s like at a motor school:

Instructor: Turn key in ignition.

Student: *turns key*

Instructor: Arey wah you are ekdum Michael Shoemaker give 500 rupiss take license!

Student: But -

Instructor: Give 1000 more, and take MiG-29 license also.

And this is what it’s like when you learn from your father:

Father: Mirror alignment off by six degrees. 3 microsecond delay in clutch release. If you were on the highway, you’d have killed at least eight people by now.

Me: I don’t think that’s -

Father: THIS IS NOT A JOKE THIS IS SERIOUS TU ROADIE BANEGA SAALE???

Me: *develops new-found love for walking*

After learning the basics at 13, I had to sit back and watch my first set of wheels be used for exciting things like carrying bags of aloo and bhindi. But as soon as I turned 18, my parents allowed me to use the car, because – and I say this with the utmost love and respect – they were insane. Seriously, what kind of normal person hands over the control of a two-ton missile to a teenager? We’re wired to do stupid things. For example, when I was only permitted to drive “within the colony”, a friend and I sneaked out and drove to Pune simply because we knew of a bar there that served nice beer. Yup, I drove almost 400 kilometres for a beer. Then there were the countless races and attempts at drifting contests, where the only safety precaution was, “Finish your beer before you start.” (NOTE TO YOUNG READERS: I was stupid and lucky. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever do this. It will most certainly kill you, which will suck because your parents will never trust you with the car again.)

My first car is still around and it’s still functional, just like so many 800s around the country. If you take away the nostalgia, you see those cars for what they really were: little tin-pots with no airbags, no Bluetooth, no power steering, no power windows… damn, those were good cars. And they taught me the most important lesson of all: Never have kids.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 23rd Feb 2014.)

Click Here To Download and Install An Indian CEO

India has long exerted its dominance over the world in fields like not invading other countries, and spitting. The possibility of going one up on those laurels got everyone all excited this week, after reports surfaced that the Indian-born Satya Nadella could be appointed the next Microsoft CEO. Or as Fox News put it, “Arab guy flies plane into Steve Ballmer.”

At this point, it doesn’t matter if Mr. Nadella makes the final cut or not, because the mere idea is enough to send “proud” Indians into a giddy rapture they last experienced when Bobby Jindal sneezed and it sounded like ‘namaste’. This is huge because now JEE aspirants will have one more inspirational face to put up above their study tables, right next to innovators like Vinod Khosla and Chetan Bhagat. The fact that Nadella studied engineering in India gives hope to students here, and tells them that if they persevere and really apply themselves, one day they too can get drunk and sing ‘Summer of 69’ at Microsoft office parties. I do hope Nadella becomes the CEO, because I really want to watch Indian reporters go scouting around his childhood home to dig up insights about the man:

“Hello viewers. I’m here in Hyderabad, standing outside the childhood home of the super-genius, super-humble Tony Stark Satya Nadella. This is the same place where Nadella was born and then visited by three wise men, who brought him career-defining gifts like an engineering admission form, a bottle of Old Monk and a scientific calculator whose default output was ‘80085’. And if you look through the window, you can see the desk at which Nadella studied for eighteen hours a day, while using his free time to cure cancer, save children from burning orphanages and don the No. 10 jersey for India. In fact, reports suggest that Nadella also built a time-machine and went back to tell Aryabhatta about the zero. Jai ho!”

Now that Nadella’s name is out there, I can’t wait for random relatives to pop up and suddenly start calling him for favours.

Relative: Hello Satya, remember me?

Nadella: Um, sorry, who?

Relative: I’m your father’s third cousin’s son’s wife’s brother in law’s neighbour’s Pomeranian. My son is good at computer. Do some jack and put him in Microsoft no?

Nadella: Uh, okay, what experience does he have?

Relative: He’s great at Orkut.

Nadella: (Blue Screen of Death)

Relative: Also, please stop with Internet Explorer. Nobody cares.

This news reminded me of those old email forwards which looked something like this:

Sub: FW:FW:FW:FW:FW:FW: Proud to be Indian!!!!11!

I, proud to be Indian, and once you are knowing these facts your hart will also beat in rhythm to patriotic song like ‘East or West, India is best’ from Judwaa. Did you knew that………

36% of NASA scientists are Indians:

(Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not true. If so many Indians work at NASA, how come Apollo 13 wasn’t equipped with hi-tech ‘kaala teeka’?)

13% of Xerox employees are Indians:

(Again, hard to believe, because most Indians still think that xerox is a common noun, when you and I know that the correct term is ‘Pritam’.)

According to the Forbes magazine, Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software:

(True. Also, the Aakash tablet can beat Magnus Carlsen in chess, and the best anti-virus is Nazar Suraksha Kavach.)

BEWARE! If you do not forward this to 27981 Indians in six minutes, you will be deported to Pakistan where they are yet to invent numbers.

Every time an Indian makes waves like this, his or her name gets sucked into the age-old debate: When will Indians stop working at places like Microsoft and come up with something of their own? Clearly, this question was first framed by Indian parents who’re convinced that there’s always something better out there for their kids. This is why you’ll never have an Indian Pope, because his father would take one grudging look at him and say, “That’s nice beta, but you should really aim higher and become God.” Because, y’know, 99.9998% of all gods are Indian. Okay, that one’s probably true.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 2nd Feb 2014.)