Google celebrated its 15th birthday with a piñata doodle on its homepage, thereby overclocking the already melted brains of Candy Crush slaves. Whacking away at the hapless decoration, I realised that it was obviously a metaphor for the current state of Dr. Manmohan Singh. The only difference between the piñata and the PM is that the piñata is supposed to be passive.
In the ’90s, Dr. Singh was celebrated as the economic Superman who pulled the nation out from under the giant rock where it willingly lived. But people don’t have the same respect for ’90s icons anymore, as anyone who still wears dungarees will tell you. In 2013, Manmohan Singh is still a superhero, except he’s in a more Dark Knight kind of space, wherein he sits around wheezing, “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to become the guy who looks like he’s forever buffering.”
But even his most vocal opponents must acknowledge his formidable resume and academic achievements, such as becoming the only Punjabi to not go to Lovely Professional University. He turned 81 this week, which is not a cause for concern at all, because all the octogenarians I know are wonderful people, even if they sometimes forget to put on pants.
You know you’re having a terrible birthday when you have to spend it with your Pakistani counterpart, convincing him to implement pest control. I’d rather do phenyl shots than have to go through something like this:
PM: Mr. Sharif, Pakistan is the epicentre of terror –
Sharif: (fingers in ears) LALALALALALALALALA!
PM: Mr. Sharif –
Sharif: LALALALALA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!
PM: Theek hai.
It was reported that Miss America, Nina Davuluri, would be specially invited to lunch with the Indian PM. I’m not sure how this helps anyone, seeing as how she’s American and wouldn’t know what to say to a man she only knows from hailing cabs in New York. It’s a cliched approach: An Indian leader’s in town, so let’s show him all the Indianness we have. We don’t do that. When Barack Obama came here, we didn’t make him hang out with Salman Khan’s accent.
Modi is clearly ahead on the birthday front, seeing as how Mallika Sherawat recently performed ‘Happy Birthday’ for him, in the musical style of a dying buffalo. The Congress can top this by roping in Sunny Leone, although she has apparently refused, saying, “Deep throat and all is fine, but politics would really upset my family.”
I quite enjoyed the drama around the Convicted MP ordinance that took place this week. First, the ordinance gets passed, with supporters saying, “Hey, at least convicted MPs won’t get any salaries or benefits while their appeals are heard in higher courts.” So sad. They’ll just have to live off the hundreds of crores that got them convicted in the first place.
Then Baba surprises everyone by having an opinion, saying that the ordinance that his own party had passed was rubbish, and that it should be torn up and thrown away. Suddenly, there’s a new good cop-bad cop dynamic between Baba and Manmohan Singh. I can’t wait for their buddy cop movie: Lethal Weapon Nirmaan Yojana.
Baba: Let’s mess things up! Let’s tear up some ordinances! Let’s crash at a poor person’s house! WOOHOO! YEAHHH! *crazy eyes*
Manmohan: I’m too old for this sh*t.
Meanwhile, the BJP received flak for celebrating Modi’s campaigning as ‘Operation Blitzkrieg’, the name given to Hitler’s invasion of Poland and the subsequent, um, road-building. Now why would the BJP use a name associated with death and destruction? I cannot think of a single possible reason. (As expected, Modi fans are busy looking for CDs of India’s only supremacist band, The Aryans.)
This was the amount of farce generated in just one week. Things are going to get increasingly bizarre now, which is great for humourists, because we get labelled as ‘paid media agents’ by all factions, depending on what jokes they choose to ignore. I honestly wish I was important enough to get paid by parties for infantile humour. Seriously, have you seen the rents in Bandra? I already sold one kidney, and I use the other as a pillow because I can’t afford furniture.
Jokes aside, as educated citizens, we would do well to put hysteria and pettiness aside and work together to answer the most pressing question of the day: How the hell do you cross 170 in that stupid doodle?
(Note: This is my HT column dated 29th Sep 2013. Cross-posted from here.)