Overheard On The Indian Internet: The Insane Edition

Hello and welcome to yet another edition of Overheard On The Indian Internet. Let’s jump right in. An eight-year-old girl recently became the central figure in a story so horrific that our minds have blocked out the details so as to prevent us from collapsing in despair.

So naturally, the best and brightest minds in the country stepped in to offer arguments as to why our anger is misplaced. Their statements aren’t new and will never go away, so feel free to use these rebuttals for future reference as well. Here is their mind-feces, in no particular order:

Where Were You When?

Chup lodu.

That’s it. This cretinous response does not deserve the dignity of a nuanced reply. It’s not my job to solve your ignorance. Do your own goddamn research. Until then, this argument is too stupid to merit anything more than the time it takes to think and say the words ‘Tatti Khaa Le’.

Everything Is Not One Man’s Fault, Why Question King Uncle?

Toh bc Congo ke president ko phone karun?

Who else am I gonna question? Oh, the state government? Who are they allied with again? What about Unnao? Who’s in charge there? Who are the people shielding the rapists? What’s their allegiance? Why were they allowed to succeed as much as they did?

What sort of ideology do these rape-protectors espouse? Oh, they’re a bunch of majoritarian inbreds? Wow, what a surprise. Lemme guess, who enables these noose-enthusiasts through tacit silence or active support? Who has the power and the mandate to clamp down on fanatics? Who reaps political benefits from letting killers run amok and create communal faultlines?

Oh, what’s that? Fuck me, I’m probably a paid agent of the rival party. Shits yaar, you’re right. That’s totally my business plan. They’ve paid for three of my penis enlargement surgeries. I heart dynasty. My retirement plan is to live inside Chiknya’s dimples.

But Dear Leader Spoke Up Na, So Why Are You Still Angry? And that Unnao guy was also arrested so yay 4 decisive action.

Sorry, I didn’t realise that I have to be indebted to someone who was shamed into doing literally the bare minimum at work.

And what, you want a medal for arresting a rapist? An arrest that came after the survivor’s father was beaten to death for seeking justice? The fuck else were you gonna do with a rapist anyway? Promote him?

Oh wait.

OMG This is Totes Unexpected, We Didn’t Vote For This

Then you were either stupid or wilfully ignorant. Because none of what is happening is a surprise to us. We’ve been screaming about it for years. These are literally our worst fears coming true.

But you had other ideas. Maybe you fell for a marketing campaign. Or maybe your self-esteem is so low that you needed Selfie Papa and all the parasites living off him to tell you that everything was gonna be okay once ‘The Others’ were put in their place, that every struggle you’ve ever endured is because of people who believe in Magic Sky People that are different from your Magic Sky People.

Either way, you enabled this. Go sit in a fucking corner and think about what you’ve done.

I know that not all of you are bigots or rape-apologists. But enough of you are. I know that not all of you care about the meat in someone’s fridge. But enough of you do. I know that not all of you will jump to defend your scumbag leaders for every crazy, criminal and idiotic decision they make. But enough of you will. I know that not all of you will fall for the spin cycle that has already started. But enough of you will.

And that’s the thing: they don’t need all of you. They just need enough.

I’d like to empathise but honestly, I’m tired. I’m tired of mollycoddling your mental deficiency in the quest for civility and neutrality. Over the last few years, I’ve seen you justify everything from lynchings, communal violence, doxing, the killing of journalists and rationalists, industrial-scale fake news, a systematic culling of whistleblowers, official endorsements of myths and pseudoscience, a subversion of the democratic process in order to shoehorn legislature that takes a steaming shit on the concept of transparency, and of course, the national flag being draped over the body of a murderer.

Toh haan, tatti khaa le.

Aur agli baar chutiye jaisa Whatsapp forward padh ke vote mat kar.

Jai Hind.

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Asshole Hit By Crippling Bout Of Empathy

MUMBAI: Two months ago, IT professional Sunil Kumar, a loving father of two who spends his free time telling liberals online that they should be raped and murdered, found himself struggling with thoughts he’d never had before.

Just as this smegma in human form was about to dox inter-faith couples and exhort his followers to track them down, he was hit by a stray thought: what if it were him in their place? He brushed it aside, reasoning that it was okay to separate and if needed, kill people for marrying into communities that believed in different Magic Sky People.

But soon, stray thoughts turned into a persistent mental chatter, causing him to second-guess every little action. Where he had once blindly shared news reports claiming that Elon Musk codes in Sanskrit++, he now stopped and wondered if there was any inherent bias in its source, www.minoritieskimaaki.com.

Things spiralled during a TV debate titled ‘Murder: Yay Or Nay?’, convened after yet another rationalist was shot at, and died due to natural blood loss. Sunil fired his first salvo, the ever-dependable Mughal manoeuver. “Where were you when Akbar was feeding babies to velociraptors?”, he thundered.

Sensing a viral moment, the anchor egged Sunil on, setting him up for a Nehru slam-dunk. But just as Sunil was about to go into how the pattern of rose petals resembled the Arabic word for ‘Socialist Chhamiya’, he froze. The voices in his head began their assault, questioning both the morality and futility of using long-dead people as a distraction from real problems. It’s idiotic, they jeered. It’s like your boss saying that your salary is delayed because Aurangzeb invented AIDS.

Sunil’s throat went dry, his chest tightened and his heart started pounding as he desperately wrestled against thoughts that told him his hate wasn’t good enough, that he didn’t deserve to be on this panel, and that his co-panelists were all better than him, especially Nikhilesh Gupta, who slithered in to seize the silence. He stood atop his chair, held a gun to his head and proclaimed, “Agar aap ko lagta hai ki hum ne kuch galat kaha hai toh border pe khade jawan ki kasam, main khud ko idhar hi goli maar doonga.”

The studio erupted as a vindicated Nikhilesh sat down, having delivered the next meme-worthy distraction that liberals could enjoy while their institutions crumbled around them.

“Sunil’s symptoms indicate the onset of what we psychiatrists refer to as a ‘Generalised Empathy Disorder’”, says Dr. Ankita Shetty. “When Sunil came to me, I could see how constant flashes of empathy were damaging his sense of self. I suggested therapy but he walked out saying, ‘feelings are for cucks’.”

Sunil now seeks solace in his group of online commenters, whose passion about the merits of the caste system does lift his spirits, but not for long. On particularly bad days, he has to remind himself of his past achievements. “I tell myself that all these ministers who follow me and give me instructions wouldn’t do so if I were a complete failure. I mean something to them”, said Sunil.

He then proceeded to add sixteen exclamation marks to a post about how the man recently arrested for a journalist’s murder was actually a reanimated Osama corpse programmed “to defame us”.

But just before he could publish it, he was hit by another bout of empathy. He thought about what it would feel like to be shot dead in your home for doing your job, and then have your murder investigation turned into yet another springboard for propaganda that, oddly enough, was both laughable and effective.

“Fuck that. I don’t need that sort of negativity in my life”, said Sunil as he hit ‘Publish’.

We’ll Be Right Back After These Messages

If you’re here, you’re either a regular reader wondering why this space hasn’t been updated in two weeks, or a casual visitor who drops by whenever some noble soul shares a link on his timeline. You might also be one of those accidental visitors who get here by googling wonderful search terms like – and I wish I were making this up – ‘sunyleone ‘s pelvice’. You, Sir, are a hero.

As of today, this column is going on a break for a few months. As much fun as it is to sit here every week and bang my face against a keyboard until something semi-coherent emerges, I’ve realised that some time off is necessary, for the sake of the content. I’ve been writing this for almost six years straight now, so it would do well to step away from the fatigue for a bit.

So thank you guys for reading, lurking, commenting, trolling, sharing and providing me with tons of validation over the years. It’s been pretty overwhelming and I cannot complain.

I wish I could tell you that I’m taking the time off to go off on a rich-person sabbatical where I’ll learn the meaning of life while scuba-diving with Katrina Kaif in Spain. I wish. But I’m going to be around in Bombay, working on some exciting AIB projects that you’ll be hearing more about soon. If you liked the content here, and if you like the work we’ve done so far, chances are that you’re going to like the new stuff as well. Except maybe you, Pelvice Guy. You should probably move on to another site.

An Open Letter From The Pakistan Foreign Office To India

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 9th Aug 2015.)

From

Qazi Khalilullah

Spokesman

Pakistan Foreign Office

To

The citizens of India

Subject: It Wasn’t Me

Dear Indians

On behalf of the Pakistani government, I’d like to condemn the recent attack on an Indian BSF convoy in the Udhampur district of North-Eastern Pakistan Jammu and Kashmir. It is exactly the kind of attack that aims to undo all the trust and goodwill generated by Bajrangi Bhaijaan. So please put all your logic and common sense aside and for once, trust me when I say that Pakistan isn’t responsible for this attack, just as it wasn’t responsible for the 3463874979 attacks preceding it. Contrary to what the facts would have you believe, Pakistan is not the designated fluffer for the LeT.

Sure, I can see what it looks like. You apprehended one of the “terrorists” who claims he’s Pakistani, and it doesn’t help that he looks like Kasab on day six of a juice cleanse. (By the way, Kasab wasn’t Pakistani either, but like the case against Hafiz Saeed, I’m going to let that one slide.)

There’s a very simple explanation for this. The suspect, Mohammad Naveed, is trying to defame Pakistan and you’re falling for it. Have you even considered other options, such as the fact that his entire video confession was morphed? Surely a country that produced Shaktimaan and Captain Vyom has the VFX muscle to do this.

Or maybe Naveed is a cybernetic organism – living tissue over a metal endoskeleton – created by a brand for the purposes of internet virality? The kids are really into all that Youtube stuff these days. (Psst… Superwoman, if you’re reading this, I ❤ you. Please make a video on #ShitDesiGovernmentsSay?)

Hey, maybe the guy is Chinese? They’re trying to sneak into your country too, you know. Plus if a Chinese kid trains really hard, he can grow up to look Pakistani. Who knows what these mystical Orientals are capable of?

Anyway, the point is that much like Dawood ‘Goggal Mein Kya Mast Lag Rela Hai Bhai’ Ibrahim, Pakistan has nothing to do with this guy. I understand that this very newspaper got hold of a number disclosed by Naveed and called up one Mohammad Yakub in Faisalabad, Pakistan who – picture me making air quotes as I say the next word – confirmed that he was Naveed’s father.

It’s a classic trick. I mean if an Indian chap gave you my number and I answered and said, “Hello, Michael Jackson speaking” will you show up outside my house for a concert? Nahin na? Phir why you’re doing like this?

This just brings back memories of 2008 when Indian security forces went back in time, crossed over to Pakistan, ensured the hookup and subsequent consummation of the marriage of a random couple in Faridkot, just so that after 26/11, that couple could be paraded around as the parents of Ajmal Kasab.

Your jihadi Marty McFly act was so good, even Geo News fell for it, thus giving the world an “irrefutable” Pakistani link to 26/11. There are claims that the ISI has since tried to kill Geo’s senior staff, including executive editor Hamid Mir, but that’s just how we celebrate a free press.

I urge you to not let this little hiccup derail the talks between the national security advisers of both countries scheduled for later this month. In fact, if you happen to bring up terrorism, our man will be forced to raise his hand and say “Same to you no returns.” We’d appreciate it if you stuck to the most pressing issue at hand, i.e. supporting our claim to the Pakistani half of Nargis Fakhri.

At the time of writing this, there were reports of yet another attack in Udhampur. I’d like to make it abundantly clear once again that Pakistan has nothing to do with this and the whole thing is a holographic sequence projected onto Kashmir by aliens. Please consider this reason binding for any attacks that may occur in the future.

Yours sincerely

<Insert signature that looks like a middle finger>

(Chief Bovine Excreta Deliverer)

HAPPY RANDOM MARKETING OPPORTUNITY TO YOU!

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 2nd Aug 2015.)

Today we celebrate Friendship Day in India, and by ‘we’, I mean teenagers and people who watch Bindass TV un-ironically. The concept of Friendship Day was first promoted in 1930 by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards. This was followed by McDonald’s promoting Cholesterol and Self-Loathing Day. According to noted historian Mr. Wikipedia, the Friendship Day fad ended in the US by the ‘40s but much like Bryan Adams, it did well in Asia despite being dead.

The concept lived on thanks largely to the efforts of an organisation in Paraguay called – and this is true – the World Friendship Crusade, who introduced the concept of World Friendship Day in 1958. Their plan was to turn the world into a giant Black Or White music video. Maybe it’s just me, but calling it a ‘crusade’ probably wasn’t the best idea. That word stands for friendship in the same way Bombay stands for green open spaces.

A World Friendship Crusade just sounds like a bunch of savages galloping from village to village, forcing people to tie friendship bands around their wrists while singing Purani Jeans. In fact, you can make the nicest, most innocuous thing sound fierce and warlike if you add the word ‘crusade’ to it. If you want to appear extra manly, don’t tell people about your first kiss – tell them how you went on a Hormonal Tongue Crusade.

The World Friendship Crusade continued to pester lobby the United Nations until 2011, when the UN General Assembly declared 30th July to be International Friendship Day. And people wonder why nobody respects the UN. It’s hard to, when you see them spending time on a concept that’s already covered by the most competent authority of all – Bollywood.

Bollywood is the place that first taught us that ‘ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte’ unless the ladka and ladki are actors being interviewed by people whose idea of journalism is ‘tell na who u making sexytime with’. Classic Bollywood is how I learnt to make friends, especially with the opposite sex. The basic procedure went like this:

  1. Be the college stud.
  2. Wear jeans, jean jackets, jean shirts and jean banyans.
  3. Spot the new admission. She’ll be the pretty one in a frock that looks like a Monginis cake threw up on her.
  4. Make a move only to get rejected because The Song hasn’t happened yet.
  5. Chase her around with your mawaali friends while singing about her nakhra, which is all just code for ‘Y U NO LET ME TOUCH’
  6. The girl smiles and eventually gives in to the creepy denim gorilla.
  7. Stockholm Syndrome complete.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad. There were other lessons I learnt i.e. celebrate Friendship Day by losing to your tomboy friend at basketball and then marrying her when she gets hot.

It was pop culture like this that led to students cutting up perfectly good ribbons and turning them into friendship bands. When I say students, I mostly mean girls, who expressed love with meticulously crafted bands and handmade cards involving six types of glitter. Meanwhile, the boys stabbed each other with dividers.

This isn’t to say that boys aren’t civilised. As a kid, I once handed over a card to a guy friend on Friendship Day. It wasn’t handmade because that would be weird and as an ode to our manliness, it featured a commode and some pun about poop. Who’s immature now, huh??

Friendships work differently now, especially in frenetic, stressed-out cities like Mumbai. The older you get, the harder it becomes to make friends, mostly because there’s no time and everyone thinks everyone else is weird. The loneliness eventually leads people to take extreme steps, like arranged marriage.

You do end up accumulating a lot of acquaintances though. It’s easy to mix the two up, but an acquaintance is someone you bump into at bars and make small talk about football with, whereas a friend is someone you can get embarrassingly drunk around, trusting him or her to not turn your stupidity into a viral video. Consider yourself lucky if you have more than a handful of these around. Keep in touch and if you’re feeling extra nice, grab yourself a divider.

Seven Old Monk Facts That May Or May Not Be Made Up

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 19th July 2015.)

Like an aunty who just saw the neighbour’s daughter with a boy, I have plenty to talk about this week. We were witness to the incredible Pluto flyby, a testament to the power of science and curiosity that reminded us yet again of our place in the universe.

This was overshadowed by another great scientific achievement when Professor Emeritus Of Center Parting And Net Banyan Studies Salman Khan announced his theory of ‘Selfie le le le le le le le le le le le le le’. His fans scrambled to follow his instructions, leading to a number of injuries because it’s difficult to take selfies when there are three of you on a bike.

But the news that struck deepest was the imminent collapse of Old Monk, aka Molasses That Went To College. It was reported that the dark rum was on its way out, until the makers clarified that yes, there had been a dip in sales, which they were dealing with by downing Patialas and listening to Jagjit Singh, and no, Old Monk was not going to be taken off shelves.

So in celebration, here’s a list of Seven Old Monk Facts That May Or May Not Be Made Up:

  1. As the name suggests, Old Monk was first brewed in the hills by an actual monk, because living in a monastery is so boring that watching sugarcane ferment seems like legit entertainment. Old Monk is made using the moustache hair of a military officer ranked no lower than a Colonel, and the tears of a first-year engineering student who just got dumped and in response, will spend the next four years wearing the classic T-shirt that says ‘99% of gurlz are beautiful….. the rest are in my college’.
  1. Old Monk is manufactured in Ghaziabad, a city that shares a border with Delhi and is known for its wide variety of kidnappings. It likes to say that it’s part of the Delhi-NCR region in the same way that Kambli likes to tell people that he’s Sachin’s best friend.
  1. Old Monk was the largest selling dark rum in the world for years and is India’s most loved export since Anil Kapoor’s English at the Oscars. Oddly enough, the world’s finest hash also comes from India. See, that’s the kind of patriotism I can get behind. Once I’m done with these six packets of chips, that is.
  1. The large Old Monk bottle is genius design because it shows you the exact shape you’ll turn into if you don’t stop drinking. You can also smack people over the head with it when they start intellectualising the drink instead of shutting up and just drinking it. 
  1. Old Monk fans swear that it is great at curing colds and coughs, which proves that your friends will say anything to get you to drink. In every group, there’s always that one guy who will offer scientific logic like ‘See diseases are caused by germs and alcohol kills germs hence proved SO DRINK NA SAALA LADKI HAI KYA MARD BAN WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE IN A COMA JUST DRINK NA BASTARD’.
  1. For some reason, Monk fans also swear that it does not give them a hangover. These people are either lying or they’re Australian. It’s amazing how, as a die-hard fan, you could be curled on a bedsheet adorned with the previous night’s partially digested nachos while your head feels like Ganesh Acharya is tap-dancing on it, and you’d still go, “Dammit, it must be something I ate.”
  1. Because Monk is primarily a guy drink, men get turned on by a woman who can chug the good stuff. So yeah, date a girl who drinks Old Monk. Date her because her sweat smells of rum and that’s hot. Date her because she can fart the opening riff to Smoke On The Water. Date her because that girl is so much like you. No wait, she is you. You are alone, and you deserve to be if you’re taking dating advice from stupid listicles.

On that note, it is time for me to step out and get my weekend drink. If you see me performing an ode to my drink, please smack me over the head.

Did They Just Say What I Think They Said?

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 12th July 2015.)

I don’t mean to exaggerate but this was one of the greatest weeks in the history of India, second only to the time we invented gulab jamuns. Let it be known that in the seventh month half-way through the second decade of the second millenium, the Chief Justice of India said that a blanket ban on porn sites would be a violation of a citizen’s fundamental right to liberty. This was in response to a plea that wants the government to block all porn websites in India, probably by turning off the big switch marked ‘Internet’.

The petitioner’s contention is that watching porn leads to an increase in sex crimes so it should be banned, which would make sense if the theory were – how do we say this – true. I could be wrong though. I mean porn is banned in Pakistan and as a result, things are so much better for women there.

This wasn’t a ruling, but nevertheless, the statement was seen as a happy glitch in the matrix. It’s because we live in a world where our priorities tend to be all over the place. For example, this is how our politicians react to consensual adult pornography:

“MORAL FABRIC OF SOCIETY IS BEING DESTROYED PORN CAUSES CRIME BAN EVERYTHING INCLUDING THINKING ABOUT OPPOSITE SEX.”

And this is how they react to actual incidents of sexual violence:

“Blame chowmein because short skirts and jeans and mobile phones and boys are like this only what to do her star was in the wrong quadrant VOTE FOR ME.”

To be clear, the pronouncement was not a celebration of the pizza delivery guy/plumber/agent documentaries that people hold so dear, but of the freedom to privately consume the most offensive, vapid content out there, be it smut or Comedy Nights With Lowest Common Denominator. It’s heartening to know that as of now, you can legally enjoy this freedom every day, or several times a day if your exams are going on.

If there are any minors reading this, I’d like you to know that this column in no way endorses the consumption of content not meant for your age group. Remember, the cops will come banging down your door and worse, your parents will know. They always know. Even if you’re in your room googling ‘Fermat’s Theorem’ for fun, they’re just going to assume something’s up. So please continue watching Shin Chan or Superwoman or whatever it is that you guys watch until you’re of age, by which time the government may just have banned porn, thereby keeping you safe from the dreaded phenomenon called ‘buffering’.

It’s strange to see Indians be hypocritical about matters like these, especially when the data suggests otherwise. A 2014 survey released by the Pornhub, the world’s largest adult site, reveals that India ranks fifth in terms of total visitors to the site. Sunny Leone is the most searched for star, thereby reaffirming our total lack of imagination.

The site’s Android traffic from India ranks third, only behind the US and the UK. I’m sure there are a ton of iOS users who intend to log on but they’re done after like ten seconds of looking at their iPhone. The report says that 25% of Indian visitors are women, which is obviously a lie supplied by the ISI to discredit our angels. Everyone knows that an Indian woman does not seek pleasure – she receives it telepathically whenever her husband is happy.

There were other results about the kind of content people watched, but the most popular fantasy for Indians is to live in a society that doesn’t believe in bans. Until that happens though, we’re just going to have to make do with the next best thing: buffering.