If You’re Indian And You Know It, Watch TV!

Friends, Indians, countrymen and six million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living under my sink, I want to wish you all a very happy Independence Day. Independent India is soon going to be sixty five years old, or to put it in politician years, foetus. It’s weird to think that some of the people ruling us today were around during the British Raj, dreaming of the day when India would no longer be under the thumb of a white lady. They’re still dreaming.

Anyway, it’s a great time to be Indian, as long as you’re not Kashmiri, North-Eastern, poor, Dalit, a minority, a farmer, female or worse, from Kolkata. On the bright side, we did put up our best show ever at the Olympics, especially with Mary Kom teaching India about grit, grace and more importantly, Manipur. She has inspired a whole generation of women, such as small-time model Gehna Vashisht who went nude to celebrate the spirit of India and Photoshop. Having googled Gehna Vashisht, I can honestly say that I’m reminded of Helen of Troy, because Gehna’s is the face that launched a thousand STDs.

This year, as always, we will indulge in our usual display of patriotism and military might, also known as Ek Tha Tiger. Fun fact: Pakistan had reportedly banned the promos of the film, which means that every man, woman, child and goat in Pakistan has seen them. Let’s face it – the only Pakistani ban that worked was the one they put on democracy. Anyway, the promos were banned because Pakistan felt that they showed the ISI in a bad light. Hey, you know what really shows the ISI in a bad light? Kargil.

Meanwhile, our idea of celebrating freedom is nursing a hangover while watching patriotic films on TV. And by patriotic, I mean any film that shows us pulverizing our neighbour, be it in ’71, ’99 or even ’47, when Sunny Deol killed all of Pakistan with a hand-pump and got Amisha Patel in return. If you’ve ever seen Pakistani women, you know that is a rubbish trade off.

Then at some point, you take a break from the movies and start surfing news channels, and this is what it sounds like:


Rajdeep: Hello and welcome to CNN-IBN. The hard-hitting question we’re asking today is ‘Is Independent India A Sexy Sexagenarian?’ And to answer that, we’ve dusted off and brought out our famous historian, Ramachandra Guha.

Guha: Before we answer this question, we must recollect the events of August 1947, 1912 GMT, 33 degrees East, 72 degrees North, when Pt. Nehru took a deep breath, and uttered the now-historic words, “Boss, Dadar kis side aayega?”


Hello and welcome to yet another edition of Newshour aka ARNAB IS AMAZEBALLS. Today The People demand to know: Are we really free? Are Suhel Seth and Mahesh Bhatt the same person? How come we never see them together? Are you Pakistani? Am I Pakistani? Is India Pakistani? And why the hell is baby nappy mein bhi happy?




The biggest spectacle is still the Independence Day parade, wherein the Prime Minister gets on top of the Red Fort and does the Macarena. OK, I don’t know what happens because I haven’t actually watched the parade in years. I mean if I wanted to watch Manmohan Singh speak, I would just stare at his picture really hard. As usual, he will make a speech listing out all of his government’s achievements in the past year, so try not to blink or sneeze.

Then a bunch of different floats will go by, each representing a different Indian state. Let’s be honest: if it weren’t for these floats, you wouldn’t even know about the new states that keep cropping up, like Uttarakhand, or Orissa (Odisa? Orisha? Oreos?) Also, I can’t wait to see the U.P float just sitting there, refusing to move until someone promises them “half-return”. And I bet the Haryana float is just one giant ultrasound machine.

So everything said and done, spending Independence Day in front of the TV is not a bad thing at all. It involves sitting around and living off the hard work of our forefathers. And what could be more Indian than that? Jai Hind. Or as Manmohan Singh puts it, (THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK)

(Note: This is my HT column dated 12th Aug, 2012. Cross-posted from here.)

P.S. ANOTHER, MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: Regular readers may have noticed that the frequency of the column has been changed from weekly to fortnightly. I’ve been assured by HT that this is temporary, but nonetheless, massive withdrawal symptoms are setting in. I want to be able to do this every week. So here’s a small request: if you’ve ever liked any of my work, please drop in a comment here saying, “Hey HT, make it weekly!”, or send in a mail to ashish.shakya85@gmail.com saying the same thing. This will make sure I don’t die alone, sobbing and curled up in a foetal position next to my laptop. And it may help get the column back into weekly mode. Help me out and may Ryan Gosling and/or Anne Hathway do unspeakably satisfying things to you. C’mon. Send that mail. Write that comment. Do it for Sachin. Thank you.


264 thoughts on “If You’re Indian And You Know It, Watch TV!

  1. We as a nation still need to develop our sense of humor and satire. It is the one light hearted moment we get amidst the usual news of politics, sleaze and cricket! Ashish Shakya’s column has remained a wonderful start to my sunday since 2 years that I have been reading HT Mumbai. If the same rubbish political events, crime and sporting events etc can repeat every week in other pages, why not allow fresh satire every sunday instead of a fortnight?

  2. That parade and float thing happen at Republic day, not at Independence day. And yes, Hey HT, make it weekly!

  3. Hey HT, make this a weekly thing! I wouldn’t mind daily even but I’m guessing it will be too much load on the poor-broad-fat-shoulders of my dearest stand-up comedian/writer. So till then,make this a weekly thing please please please!

  4. Hey buddy…. you got yourself mixed up there… the parade with the floats and stuff is only on Republic Day and not Independence Day. Aug 15th only involves the flag hoisiting….
    oh and. HEY HT, Make this weekly!

  5. Come on HT… We all know Ashish writes awesome stuff. Please make it weekly.. Or better still, daily 🙂

  6. Hey HT, make it weekly! And hey Ashish Shakya, check your mail. I am still awaiting your reply for an interview.

  7. Hey HT, make this a weekly column. He really has got a way with words, even if he’s mixed the republic Day Parade with the Flag Hoisting ceremony at the Red Fort!

  8. Shakya! You must write weekly..HT ! PLEASE PLEASE get this dose of humor every week..I’m addicted to it .

  9. Hey HT, make it weekly! have you guys lost it!?
    Perhaps you need to throw in a few fart jokes and some simpler punchlines.

  10. Hey HT …. Heaven’s sake make him daily! Or if you really wanna settle… I can manage a weekly… Have you not read him????? He’s brilliant!

  11. Dude..u got mixed up..The Parade’s on the Republic Day..Irrespective of that..as usual amazing writeup…

    And also
    Hey HT, Please make it weekly!

    Yes this is all i could take from the whole article. hahah.

    Also. Hey HT, make it weekly!


  14. So , More than humour it’s anger, isn’t it ? Nice to read differently . A good read .
    I don’t read HT . Its one of the most crap papers around , More than TOI . Do you want to continue writing for HT whole life ?

  15. To everyone who commented or sent in an e-mail, thank you. No, seriously. I cannot stress that enough. I’ve sent the comments and mails to HT, who have been nice enough to not arrest me for spamming them. Hopefully things should work out soon, and I will be back to the weekly schedule of sobbing over my laptop while curled up in a foetal position an hour before deadline, trying to come up with something that’s half-decent. Good times, those. Thank you again.

  16. Republic day, not independence day!

    And yeah, make it weekly. I do wish you’d said Scarlett instead of Anne.

  17. Hey HT
    There’s only one thing India is worse at than the Olympics – producing good, original humour. Ashish’s column is that one true gold medalist of whom we feel proud and update our facebook with. Please make it a weekly column or bi-weekly if possible because he’s the king of humour. Don’t believe me? Look at the anagram – “Hasy ka shah is” Ashish Shakya.

  18. This is epic. (I had a few intensifiers in there too, but I removed them as an afterthought).

    Hey HT, make it weekly! I mean, c’mon, how could you be so idiotic?

  19. Waiting for a new article almost killed me through the last week. I can’t wait another 2 weeks for another article. Now HT, either make it weekly, or I’m joining Baba Ramdev.

  20. “Hey HT, make it weekly!” ..guys let there be something worth reading in the newspapers… we are all aware of the gazillions of frauds and scams and rapes that happen… n trust me they are not quite interesting…so pls let there be some humour in our life…

  21. Hey HT, make this a weekly thing! We love these columns! He is really superb…. and been reading his columns for over a year now…liked them so much that read even those wen he hadnt joined HT. Dont let him die…atlest in foetal position….would be too awkward to carry 😉

  22. Heyy HT, make this a weekly column pls…Else, the rest of us Indians will die a slow painful death outta sheer boredom!

  23. Hey HT, stop this nonsense. First, the blog name and the style of writing is similar to Sidin Vadukut (lot less quality, of course). Second, it is always factually incorrect. Satire is awesome when it actually takes facts and twists them. Your writing has only incorrect references.

    To be humorous, you got to be smart. I don’t think you are, and your work is proof of that.

    Finally, have the courage to publish negative comments (you know what i mean)

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