Tag Archives: Ban

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.

Ban OK Please

Indian trucks are the answer to the question, ‘What would Sunny Deol look like if he were a Transformer?’ The good thing about Indian trucks is that they transport vital goods across the country day in and day out, halting for nothing except maybe the occasional STD pitstop. The bad thing about Indian trucks is that sometimes you get stuck behind one. At that point, all you can think of are cuss words that would make a truck driver blush. They needn’t even be doing anything – we’re just conditioned to see trucks as missiles on wheels, which is a bit unfair because missiles are less lethal.

On the bright side, if you ever got stuck behind one, at least you could amuse yourself with those kitschy slogans on the back – because incorrect English is hilarious to people like us – while slowly euthanising your lungs. But now thanks to the Maharashtra government, the most iconic statement of them all – Horn OK Please – is on its way out. The state transport commissioner recently issued a circular banning the phrase on the rear side of commercial vehicles, because, I dunno, there’s a ban target that needs to be met every week or something.

The slogan was banned in a bid to curb noise pollution, because, as the government circular stated, “It encourages people to honk every time you pass a truck or tempo. It sends a wrong message to citizens.” Well done. This is going to curb noise pollution in the same way that banning the words ‘Colombia’ is going to curb drug trafficking.

Saying that the phrase encourages people to honk before overtaking is a bit much. You’re basically accusing Indians of following safety instructions, and that is such an anti-national thing to say. Moreover, we Indians don’t honk because a sign tells us to – we honk because we have hands.

India is a deeply spiritual country, but our devotion is strongest when it comes to the Horn God. We believe that He can make traffic jams disappear with his Voice and it is but our solemn duty to beat down on His Magical Chest like really noisy CPR.

It’s cute when people say that Indians should honk less, like we don’t know it. I once had my horn conk off while on the road, and the drive home would have been less terrifying if I’d been duct-taped to the hood of Paul Walker’s car. You think you can get by with dippers, but people see that as Morse code for ‘It is okay to die under this car’. Without a horn, you have no way to communicate to the biker speeding in from the left that maybe a 60 degree tilt-turn into six inches of space is not a good idea and that the garage charges extra to wash off idiot entrails.

Also, when you’re driving with your parents in the car, a horn is the only way you can indicate to the guy who has stopped on the sea-link to take selfies that you think he’s a dumb (body part) and that you hope he gets slapped in the face by an elephant (body part).

But hey, what do I know? Maybe this is a step in the right direction. Maybe we can extend the ban to other forms of pollution on the roads. Maybe we can tackle cultural pollution by taking on white SUVs. Because no one in Indian automotive has ever looked at a white SUV and thought, “Oh, I bet that belongs to a thorough gentleman. Maybe we can have tea sometime.” Nope, it’s always “I do not want to end up in the boot of that guy’s car.” Now that’s something I would get behind. Honk twice if you agree.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 3rd May 2015.)