Happy Teacher’s Day, Whether You Like It Or Not

It was Teacher’s Day this week, or as I like to call it, “Ashish, get out of the class.” Every year, around this time, I get nostalgic about all the fun I had in school, especially the part where I wasn’t forced to sit around and listen to Prime Minister Modi’s speech about how I was the future of the nation and how I should respect my elders and floss every night and stop doing the awesome thing that I had just discovered because it was against our culture.

Mind you, this has nothing to do with my political beliefs. It’s just that if you make a kid stick around in school for longer than absolutely necessary, he’s bound to hate you with an intensity otherwise reserved for tinday ki sabzi. If Modi wants the students of today to grow up and vote for him, he should save his speechwriters the trouble and just give the brats a free period. (Throw in a Shin Chan catchphrase and you’d have those kids begging their parents for a lotus tattoo.)

In the run-up to 5th September, there seemed to be a lot of confusion about whether or not it was mandatory for schools to telecast his address. The truth depended on how much coffee the fact-checkers had had, but for me, the most striking image was one that had been going around on social media. It was a photo of a classroom full of kids, say about eight to ten years old, watching Modi’s address, except one boy was standing in the foreground doing the little finger “May I go pee?” gesture, with a teacher pointing at him to sit down while also giving him a death stare, like he’d asked to pee on her foot or something.

I’m not sure if that photo will get shared a lot, but if it becomes big enough, these are the headlines you can expect to see:

NitiCentral: PM SPEECH STRENGTHENS YOUNG BLADDERS ACROSS THE NATION, THEREBY REDUCING THE RISK OF CANCER BY 832%

Sagarika Tweet: The boy’s pained expression proves that he is from the minority community. This is a dangerous precedent!!. Should we start communal fires that our pee can’t extinguish?!!!

Buzzfeed: 16 Hilarious Indian Gestures That Signify Susu

Instagram: <High-saturation Photo Of Lower-Middle Class Man Peeing On A Wall That Says Something Rustic Like ‘Gadhe Ke Poot, Yahaan Mat Moot’>

Firstpost: A 6000-Word Piece On Why Indian Girls Don’t Have The Confidence To Stand Up And Do The Finger Pee Gesture #Misogyny #Patriarchy #NobodyWillReadThis

And finally, Chetan Bhagat would announce his new book: a story about a boy from middle-class India, with a middle-class driver-type name like Sunil or Ramesh, whose English is not very goodly speaking because of full middle-classness only. After having middle-class water from a middle-class hotel (which is what middle-class people call restaurants) the boy would rush to empty his middle-class bladder in the toilet of his MBA college, which he joined to rise above his middle-classness, even though he really wanted to pursue his passion for MMS film-making.

But Sunil-slash-Ramesh would enter the girls loo by mistake, where he’d meet and fall in love with a rich girl, who pees wherever she wants to because she’s rich. The movie rights would be snapped up for a hundred crores, while “real” Indian authors – people who know that Whitbread is not a source of carbs – would sit around weeping tears of blood into their manuscripts featuring a poor brown man contemplating the nature of karma while trapped in a quagmire of Naxalism and also an actual quagmire, because that’s where all poor people live. (This man would be Bengali because, c’mon, when was the last time you saw somebody write stuff like this about Noida guys?)

Overall, the PM’s address appears to have been a success. The Prime Minister said all the right things, like blahblahblahblahblah thank you for listening, go home and chill now. Or at least that’s how the kids must’ve heard it. Jokes aside, I’m sure many of those kids will grow up to vote for the BJP. Years from now, you’ll see them at polling booths, fervently looking for the tinday ki sabzi symbol.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 7th Sep 2014.)

It’s All Good. Nothing To See Here. Move On Now.

16th May, 2014 will go down in history as the day India gifted a whopping majority to its new and controversial Prime Minister, Arnab Goswami. If the result wasn’t proof enough of a Modi wave, consider the following true story: A couple in Indore named their twin boys — born on 16th May — ‘Narendra’ and ‘Modi’. (This was a source of great joy for them, but not so much for their older triplets, Lal, Krishna and Advani.)

But the most pressing question here is, do people still name their babies Narendra? On the plus side, that’s one less kid named Aryan, which lowers the douchebag count by one. But on the other hand, you just know that all the other kids are going to call him Uncle all through school, until he graduates and becomes a retired LIC agent.

He’ll still have it better than his brother, whose first name is also a last name. It’s like naming your kid Gupta Sharma. Why would you do that? Also, if the kids start flunking school, do they get renamed to ‘Dammit’ and ‘Rahul’?

The problem is that even though the results are clear, a certain section of alarmist, book-reading liberals are harping on about their concern for free speech. It’s ridiculous. Why would you think that free speech is under threat? Just because Modi’s BJP will rule the roost in huge numbers, while the opposition wields all the influence of a potato? That’s insane, and it’s exactly what the ISI wants you to believe. Let me assure you that dissent and political humour are going to flourish in the years to come. In fact, I’m going to prove it to you with the following anti-establishment jokes:

Q. Why did Modi cross the road?
A. Because Congress is corrupt.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Modi.
Modi who?
Pappu hai hai!

Q. How many Modis does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. Sagarika is a Bangladeshi bai.

Modi walks into a bar. And raises it.

You see what I mean? There’s no problem at all. Nope.

And yet, the critics persist. One recent report that got their Fabindia panties in a bunch involved the arts and culture cell of the BJP. Apparently they’re looking to actively develop and support films that showcase traditional Indian values, which, as it turns out, is not just shots of flowers grinding against each other. The film they cited as an example was DDLJ, which promotes the great Indian custom of going halfway across the world to infiltrate the wedding of a girl you once hung out with for a week.

DDLJ also showcases the glorious Indian tradition of fixing a match for your daughter when she’s just a baby, and then uprooting her from a lifetime in suburban London so that she can marry a lecherous stranger and live in a village in India, because people in London are bad and they drink beer.

It also features the classic ‘Hey Simran, I kinda date-raped you when you were drunk lololol this is so funny why aren’t you laughing oh crap I was just kidding’ scene, wherein we learn that Raj Malhotra would never do something like that, not because of the depravity of the act, but because of his (drumrolllll) Indianness.

That, my friends, is the power of culture. So these Lashkar-loving hippies should really stop overthinking the connect between the BJP and the underlying message of DDLJ i.e. your joy is at the mercy of angry old people.

But the report that really sparked off outrage among the Macaulayan parasite class was about how a shipbuilding professional faces serious jail time for allegedly posting an anti-Modi opinion on a Goa-related Facebook group. Thankfully, the cops are checking to see if this is part of a “larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony [in Goa]”. These Maoist seal-clubbers can whine all they want, but our balanced sense of justice has foiled what would’ve been a devastating communal clash in Goa. It would’ve played out somewhat like this:

Goan Guy 1: Hey, so I disagree with this FB post. In fact, I’m so angry that I’m going to pick up weapons and cause some communal disharmony. Wanna come?

Goan Guy 2: You mad or what men? It’s siesta time.

So clearly, the hysterical jhola agents need to calm down and do a shot of aam ras. They can’t always expect things to go their way and be “fair” or “logical”. You know the old adage: if you want to make an omelette, you have to arrest a few eggs. Or as Raj Malhotra once said, “Bade bade democracies mein aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 25th May 2014.)

BREAKING NEWS: There’s Nothing To Report Today

I know it is immature to make the following confession in a respectable newspaper column, which is why I’m going to do it in mine: I’m sick of the elections. I can’t go five minutes without being reminded by the radio, TV and the internet that soon, Modi will cure AIDS while doing dandiya around the sun, and that Rahul will go back to his real birthplace of Mordor to focus on Gollum Empowerment.

It can be difficult to keep up with all the idiocy being generated on an hourly basis, which is why I suggest you throw out your TV, because the following news report should fill you in on everything you need to know. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… <drumrollll> 

EVERY ELECTION NEWS SHOW EVER

Anchor: Good evening and welcome to The Noise Hour, starring I, me, myself as Arnab Sardesai Stormborn Dutt, Bringer of Justice and Mother of Decibels. Tonight, we will spend 72853 minutes dissecting the latest instance of monkeys flinging faeces at each other and calling it a political debate.

The issue we’re discussing tonight is a shocking, stunning, repulsive, disgusting and life-changing issue, mostly because my scriptwriter has a Ph.D in Amazingly Good Adjectives. What we want to know is, how did Digvijay get attacked for his leaked pictures that show Modi referring to Priyanka as a daughter who should stay chaste because Abu Azmi still lives in 643 BC?

Joining us on the show is Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha Tewari, along with his BJP counterpart Meenakshi Lekhiraman –

Sanjay Jha Tewari: (interrupting) Arnab, this is clearly a flawed attempt by the BJP at destabilising the democratic fabric of the nation. This is fascism. Nazism. Exorcism. I LOVE RAJIV GANDHI AUTOMATIC RETORT YOJANA! Sorry, what was the question again?

Lekhiraman: As an immensely accomplished lawyer, let me just say that your face is a suxxx.

Arnab: It’s been six seconds since the audience heard my voice, so now I’m going to cite some facts and numbers while waving about a few sheets of paper that, for all you know, I use to play FLAMES. With myself. I complete me.

Sanjay Jha Tewari: I’m going to counter your facts with a digression. What is 2006 minus 4?

Lekhiraman: According to my party’s calculations, 2006 – 4 = 1979 + 5.

Arnab: Very classy. Now let’s go to an on-ground reporter who’s stuck in some Gaonpur village that we can all pretend to care about for three minutes.

CUT TO: A reporter standing near something that emphasizes the idea of rural life, like a bunch of naked toddlers running around next to a hut, or a man trying to marry his buffalo.

Reporter: I’m going to walk towards the camera while talking about this village, which is the kind of place that gets electricity about three times a year, and that too when it’s struck by lightning. Oh look, now I’m close enough to the camera, which means it’s time to ask the one question that villagers here have been asking for generations, i.e. when will Gaonpur get its own trending hashtag on Twitter?

CUT TO: More shots of rural life; a fly homing in on a snot bubble under a kid’s nose as he stares balefully at the camera, a woman walking while balancing six pots, two chickens and three helicopters on her head, Prakash Jha in a corner, taking notes for his next movie.

Reporter: Now I’m sitting next to an old man who is also wise, because he has a zen-like toothless smile that surely has nothing to do with the herb in his hookah.

Old man: (subtitles) It’s cute how you city folk are huffing and puffing about free speech and pub timings. I’d like to care, but the last meal I had was in 1963, so I’m going to vote for the guy who can change that. But only if he’s from my caste.

Reporter: I’m now going to end this capsule with some vague statement about the future of Gaonpur. Will 2014 bring it much-needed change? Only time will tell. Que sera sera. Bailamos.

BACK TO THE STUDIO:

Arnab: We have with us now expert psephologist, Stats McStatterson, who has some clear predictions about Gaonpur.

Statterson: In my expert opinion, the Congress will win, unless the BJP wins, in which case the Congress will lose. Or the AAP might just pull off an upset, in which case both the BJP and the Congress lose. I get paid to say this all day.

Arnab: There you have it, India. A definitive answer. On tomorrow’s show, we shall solve yet another mystery: Are there anti-national messages encoded in the frequency of Kejriwal’s cough?

Audience: *throws TV out of the window*

(Note: This is my HT column dated 4th May 2014.)    

Now He’s Crazy, Now He’s Not, Now He’s Crazy…

I’m not saying Arvind Kejriwal is honest, but every time he fights corruption, Akhilesh Yadav’s nose grows an inch.  But wait – six seconds have passed since that previous statement, which means that Kejriwal is now a clueless dharna fetishist who’s just one Che T-shirt away from hawking anarchy. This kind of flip-flop pretty much sums every discussion about the Aam Aadmi Party this week, as they stood accused of everything from racism and sexism to water-boarding old ladies for fun.

People aren’t being able to make up their minds about the AAP, as opposed to their rivals who are instantly described as <insert nasty spitting sound here> (Fun fact: When somebody spits in Modi’s Gujarat, the saliva gets recycled and diverted to the Rann of Kutch for rain dances.)

Here’s a quick rundown of the circus that sullied the AAP’s honeymoon period this week. For best results, imagine it being narrated in Yogendra Yadav’s dulcet tones:

The Delhi law minister, Somnath Batman, swooped down on a drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi, and recovered five kilos of incriminating video evidence against himself. Somnath Bharti was accused of leading a mob that allegedly harassed and assaulted four African women, one of whom later identified him in a court of law. In return, Bharti also identified the woman as being Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Will Smith and Vinod Kambli. (Bharti was last seen at a multiplex showing Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, wherein he tried to handcuff the screen whenever Idris Elba came on.)

Kejriwal then launched a dharna to bring the Delhi police under the ambit of the CM’s office, as opposed to its current boss which is a piece of paper with Gandhiji’s photo on it. The Congress and the BJP took the moral high ground by harping on about proper constitutional process. This was followed by a discourse on feminism by Professor Emeritus Yo Yo Honey Singh.

Kejriwal withdrew the protest after an overnight stay outside Rail Bhavan, which was disappointing, because I quite enjoyed that visual of him wrapped up in a blue-yellow blanket, looking like the world’s most colourful bhuna roll.

Senior AAP member and poet Kumar Vishwas also received major hate for some racist and sexist jokes about Malayali nurses that he’d made at a stand-up show in 2009. The jokes said something to the effect of, “Mallu nurses are so dark and cosmetically challenged that I’m happy to call them ‘sister’.” This is funny because it comes from Kumar Vishwas – a guy who looks like Raju Srivastava took a bath. More than offensive, it’s trite and unoriginal, which is really the worst crime a joke can commit. Vishwas did apologise later, and apparently said that he has nothing against dark women and that he’d totally sleep with them as a goodwill gesture.

Then Chetan Bhagat jumped into the fray, describing the AAP as the item girl of Indian politics, a title previously held by Rahul Baba. Ever since he made that comparison, I can’t help but imagine a bunch of swarthy guys showering Kejriwal with notes, and then he stops them and asks for cheques instead, complete with a PAN number and a proof of income attested by Raghuram Rajan.

Sensing that the level of political discourse was slipping, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde stepped in to describe Kejriwal as a “yeda mukhyamantri”. Yes, we’re calling each other ‘yeda’ now. What is this – a David Dhawan film? What next – referring to the telecom minister as Pappu Pager? Of course, David Dhawan films are way more logical than the Indian political scenario. For example, Haseena Maan Jaayegi makes more sense than a Manish Tiwari speech. (Haseena Maan Jaayegi is also the motto of the ruling party.)

But despite this fiasco of a week, there’s still hope for the AAP. All they have to do is uplift the poor, boost investments, support industry, revive the economy, foster communal harmony, root out corruption, usher in police reforms and most importantly,  get Whatsapp to drop the ‘Last Seen At’ feature. It doesn’t sound difficult at all, so let’s hound them about everything until it’s done. And then we can have a party. Just don’t invite Somnath Bharti.