Tag Archives: Politics

The Bollywood Mutiny!

Vote for us! We are not just a pretty face.

Vote for us! We are not just a pretty face.

Bollywood was in an unforgiving mood. It had had enough of these godforsaken politicians. After all, how much more nonsense could anyone sane endure? The government, the opposition, in fact all these damned politicians needed to go! Scoot! Vamoose! And Pronto!

As a replacement, the members of the Bollywood fraternity had decided that it was time for India to be run by them instead. This answer had been staring at them in the mirror for a while. Quite literally, actually, because they did like to stare at their mirror often and for extended periods. 

To take this discussion further, an emergency closed-door meeting was taking place at Jalsa, Aaraadhya Bachchan’s swanky crib in Mumbai. The entire film fraternity was in attendance. This was too important a meeting to let egos, personal bickering, camps, height, box-office results, clubs, accent, fisticuffs etc. come in the way. Moreover, the return-gift goody bags that had been promised to all attendees after the meeting, prepared by master artisan Karan Johar himself, were already the talk of the glitterati circuit. Obviously, no one was even remotely interested in staying away from this shindig!

 

Manoj Kumar, Chief Guest : (finally winding up his hour-long speech, in which he had recited poetry and dialogues from deshbhakti films such as Upkaar, Kranti and Clerk) And therefore I say, enough is enough! What have these politicians given us anyway? Same old boring ghisa pita story lines of corruption and violence! No more! It is our turn now! Jai Bollywood! Jai Hind!

The audience starts applauding slowly, after having been woken up in haste by determined elbow kicks from the stray folks who managed to stay awake through the Chief Guest’s discourse, possibly due to pill addiction induced insomnia.

Aamir Khan, Convenor : (stifling a yawn and rubbing his swollen red eyes) So, Friends, fellow Mumbaites, Countrymen, it is, therefore, time for us to wrest control of our nation from these bloody politicians. Guttersnipes, all of them!

Shah Rukh Khan : (excitedly) Hear, hear!

Katrina Kaif : (looking confounded) Eh, but what about Countrywomen? What do you want us to do?

Vidya Balan : (shaking her head) Oh you poor Firangi Phool, by ‘Countrymen’ he meant everyone in the country. Men and Women. But mainly strong, intelligent women like me.

Priyanka Chopra : (looks around pointing to Katrina) How did this foreigner even get into this meeting anyway? Isn’t she from Southall, London or someplace? What is she doing here (breaking into a song) In My Citaaaay! Go back to where you came from, you British Bitch!

Begum Kareena Kapoor : (turning sharply toward Priyanka and tossing her dandruff free hair almost toppling her tiara) Shut up! You mind your own accent, I mean, business!

Shah Rukh Khan : (raising both hands) Ladies, ladies, be quiet. Important matters are being discussed here. Let’s take these petty squabbles outside later so even I can join you!

Aamir Khan : So, as I was saying, Bollywood films have consistently breached the 100 crore mark. That’s more than the GDP of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh put together! Obviously, we are doing something right!

Akshay Kumar : (butting in) Excuse me, but some of us have even breached the 2000 crore mark. Oh wait, not some…only one person has! Me!

Dimple Kapadia whistles from the audience followed by a loud “Woo Hoo!”

Salman Khan : (hisses) Yeah, yeah, we know. We are no bloody Jokers, are we? Some of us are Tigers.

Akshay Kumar : Or Wanted? By the law?

Aamir Khan : (ignores the two and labours on) So, all that is left to be done now is the appointment of the leader of our party – the Bollywood Overseers Of Bharatiya Society. As you know, the leader of the political party that wins the election becomes the Prime Minister.

Sunny Leone : (interrupting) Are you certain that’s the party name we are keeping? “Bollywood Overseers Of Bharatiya Society” or BOOBS for short? And if so, have you chosen a mascot yet? A party symbol?

Aamir Khan : (annoyed) That name has been chosen after careful market research conducted by Mahesh Bhatt Sahab. And please don’t interrupt. Once our leader has been chosen, we will get to the business of selecting the right face to go with BOOBS. Now, talking about the party leader being Prime Minister…

Sonakshi Sinha : (interrupting) Really? Is that how it works? Then how come my father never became PM? He is the most important leader of his party!

Amitabh Bachchan : (turns curiously at her) Hah! Says who?

Sonakshi Sinha : Says he. In our house! All the time!

Reena Roy : (looking at Amitabh) Typical. (Both shake their heads incredulously)

Before Aamir is able to resume, a voice from the back calls out authoritatively.

Ekta Kapoor : (speaking boldly as she walks up front) I should be the Prime Minister. I run the country from 7 pm to 11 pm every day, anyway!

Sajid Khan : (angrily) Ekta Kapoor, you bloody insect from the TV world! What are you doing gatecrashing a Film People Only event?

Shilpa Shetty : (joining in) Yes, we can’t have you small time TV people come here and tell us what to do. Next thing we know, Alok Nath will want to be PM!

Ekta Kapoor : Arrey, I am the lifeblood of this nation!

The whole room erupts into loud guffaws. People have tears of laughter brimming in their eyes. Tiku Talsania is seen rolling on the floor, quite literally.

Ekta Kapoor : Khamosh, Fools! Half of the population of this country – that is, ALL the women – are in my Louis Vuitton handbag! I rule that vote bank! Don’t you forget!

Prem Chopra, Rajneet and Shakti Kapoor, the statisticians in the BOOBS team, are seen to quickly huddle into a whispering tete-a-tete with Mahesh Bhatt. After discussing for a few minutes, Mahesh Bhatt looks up and addresses Ekta Kapoor directly.

Mahesh Bhatt : (firmly) Well, we have confirmed that it isn’t half, as you are falsely claiming, you liar! The sex ratio of our country is already down to 800 and falling fast. Pretty soon, much of your audience will either die out or settle abroad. So shut up. And Get Out of this room!

Ekta Kapoor recoils at the backfire. An old man with jet black hair and pure white shiny shoes gets up agitated and rushes to her side.

Jeetendra : (yelling) Stop shouting at my daughter! (With that, he takes off one of his white shoes and flings it towards Mahesh Bhatt)

Suddenly, there is pandemonium in the room. Unable to bear Jeetendra’s outburst towards his uncle Mahesh, Emraan Hashmi springs out of his chair, picks it up and flings it towards the aging Himmatwala in true Gangster style. This causes everyone to rise to their feet and start tossing whatever objects they can get their hands on. It’s a free-for-all. Microphones, Blackberrys, iPhones, mirrors, hair brushes, compacts, sandals, wigs and toupees, Bentley and Land Rover car keys, nothing is spared. When Salman Khan can’t find anything to lunge and toss, he tears off his ‘Being Human’ t-shirt and flings it across the room barely missing Shah Rukh Khan by an inch.

With great difficulty, order is eventually restored. It is only possible because Karan Johar offers to distribute two return-gift goody bags to each person instead of just the one as earlier promised. That calms people down.

The meeting resumes and Madhuri Dixit gets up to make her case.

Madhuri Dixit : For PM, I have a laat of wourrld experience naao. Efter awl, I have bin living in Amairrica, but have nao returrned to Baambae to rool everything and everybaady. I am in everry rreality TV show. I haiv evolved as somewaan rreelly sooperiur. I am a Regenerist and my pimples are gaan! And my husband is a daacterr! Plus, look at mai teeth! (She pauses to flash her smile exposing ridiculously perfect white teeth)

The audience is unmoved. Possibly because they haven’t understood a word of what Madhuri has just spoken. Some ask for a translator but that request is quickly turned down in the interest of time.

Shah Rukh Khan : But why should we (tosses his index finger at himself, Aamir, Akshay and Salman) look for an old retired actress like you? We already have Hemaji, Rekhaji, Jayaji…wouldn’t we just choose one of them as our PM then? (Looks around searchingly) By the way, where are they? I can’t see those original Lux Beauties anywhere.

The audience repeats his gesture. Everyone looks around searching for the older actresses mentioned.

Salman Khan : (pointing at a dimwitted-looking man with floppy hair sitting by the door) Hey, Darbaan, where are they? Jayaji, Rekhaji, Hemaji? Didn’t they come for this meeting?

Vivek Oberoi : (extremely pissed) I am not the doorman! I am Vivek Oberoi!

All attendees look around quizzically, not knowing who that is. Some wonder if there has been a security breach. ‘Have they just allowed anybody and everybody into this room?’, ‘Who?’, ‘Nonsense, how can he be an actor – just look at him!’ is heard murmured loudly. Vivek Oberoi leaves the room in a huff.

Unperturbed, Salman Khan looks at the other homely-looking young man sitting near the door.

Salman Khan : Sorry, Darbaan, so I was asking…

This time, it is Tusshar who gets up and leaves the room in disgust.

Aamir Khan : (interjecting) Wait, I spot someone who can answer that question. Zeenatji?

Zeenat Aman : (in unbelievably perfect English – the kind that has never been heard in India before) Let me tell you, boys. Those beautiful ladies that you have just alluded to are already in politics. They are all MPs! Obviously, they didn’t want to be a part of this meeting! We are the actresses of the 70’s and 80’s. We have very high morals and dignity!

Aamir Khan : But how about you yourself, Zeenatji? We could all build consensus around you!

Zeenat Aman : Oh, no thanks, my dear friends and fellow fraternity. You see, I may already be taken. Since I may or may not be getting married soon, I will have to decline the offer. But, thank you anyway!

The discussion is back to square one. Just then, someone big and bulky in nothing but chaddis bursts into the room.

John Abraham : Sorry, I am late. I was at the gym. Did I miss anything important?

Bipasha Basu : (dryly) It’s ok, we didn’t even notice you were away. We are just electing our Prime Ministerial candidate, that’s all.

John Abraham : (sounding relieved) Oh, in that case, I am just in time. I’d like to throw my hat in the ring. (He raises his right hand to the back of his head and crinkles his forehead trying to strike the standard pose of a Softhearted Hunk)

The room immediately breaks into loud guffaws again. Everyone laughs hysterically – exactly like they did when Ram Gopal Verma came to them to offer a role in his Sholay remake. This time, Tiku Talsania doesn’t just roll on the ground but even has a massive heart attack while rolling and laughing, and dies. No one notices as his body quietly rolls to the side on its own.

Vidya Balan : (angrily) Stop that Dirty Picture pose, John! We are not talking entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. This is politics, politics, politics!

Aamir Khan : (extremely distressed at where the meeting is going) How the heck do you even consider yourself fit for Prime Ministership? Ok, tell me, do you even know the meaning of ‘Satyameva Jayate’?

John Abraham : Oh come on, stop pulling my leg! Isn’t that just a made up name of an old film? And then you just used it for your reality TV show? Lots of film directors use made up names. You tell me – does ‘Boom Boom Shakalaka’ mean anything? Or ‘Kai Po Che’? They are all made up!

Hritik Roshan : (derisively looks at John and then flexes his own muscles) You fool – ‘Kai Po Che’ is a Gujarati slang! Do you know nothing?

John Abraham : Really? So ‘Satyameva Jayate’ is also a Gujarati slang? I had no idea! (looks around sheepishly)

Hritik and Aamir roll their eyes.

John Abraham : But how did it get so popular? (Suddenly, his face lights up as if a bulb just went off in his head) Must have been coined by Narendra Modi ji! That man is a genius! What a catchy phrase he has created – ‘Satyameva Jayate’. It almost sounds real!

Amitabh Bachchan jumps to his feet at the mention of Narendra Modi and starts applauding loudly. Clearly, the Gujarat CM has connected well with the youth of the nation, including the eternal Angry Young Man.  

Aamir pulls his right hand up to his forehead, draws it in the shape of a handgun and shoots himself.

Taking a cue from the youthful sprightliness of Amitabh, another ‘youthful’ actor rises from his seat to make a case.

Rishi Kapoor : I say, this coveted Leader position belongs to the youth of the country and no one else.

Deepika Padukone : Hein? Uncle, you may have been the original chocolate hero lover boy of Hindi cinema. (Adds politely) But don’t you think that the chocolate is past its expiry date now?

Rishi Kapoor : Oh no, not me! I nominate my son Ranbir for the PM post. After all, the Kapoors are the first family of Bollywood!

Sanjay Dutt : (angrily) Bloody dynastic politics! We have no place for that in our country any more. Look at me, Uncle. I could have followed my dad’s footsteps and become a minister too. But did I? No! And you know why?

Ajay Devgn : (cheekily) Because of your love for AK-47s?

Sanjay Dutt : No, you idiot, because body building is a full time profession, that’s why!

Salman Khan, Sunny Deol and Dharam Paaji spring from their chairs and give a standing ovation for this sterling answer. The 3 sets of hands, each weighing 2.5 kilos, keep clapping until they realize no one else has joined them. That makes them stop and settle down into their chairs a wee bit sheepishly.

Ranbir Kapoor : (makes an angry face and looks at Neetu Singh) Mummy!

Neetu Singh : No, don’t worry, my little Laddo, my pyaare Barfi, we will get you something else!

Meanwhile, noticing that Amitabh has still not stopped applauding after the original Narendra Modi comment, Aamir addresses him directly.

Aamir Khan : (determinedly) Amit Uncle, you are the most senior, most well respected man in this room. Why don’t you take the mantle as our leader?

Amitabh Bachchan : Oh me? Oh no, who has the time? I have a Binani Cement shoot this week, then I fly off to Maldives to shoot for No-Corn Hawaii Chappal ad. As soon as I am back, it’s Hajmola Churan. Next month, Reid and Taylor, followed by Kajrare Kajal, where I am joined by my son and bahu. Then a guest appearance in KJo’s next film, then the next season of Crorepati, Balki’s next film….. (the list continues for the next 17 and a half minutes.)

Some people go off to sleep during this narration.

Amitabh Bachchan : …and some other commitments that we have not firmed up yet. So, looks like I might be free in 2019, but only in the second half. Does that work?

Aamir looks heavenwards, realizing this meeting is not going anywhere. He takes a decision.

Aamir Khan : I am afraid we will just have to adjourn this meeting to a later date. In the meantime, if anyone has any other thoughts on how to dislodge the politicians, do log into www.BIG-BOOBS.reliance.in. As you know, this event is sponsored by Reliance Industries and Big Entertainment. (Looks inquiringly at Abhishek Bachchan who nods back)

Abhishek Bachchan : Ladies and Gentlemen, food has been served at the back lawns. This way, please!

Abhishek leads the assembly towards the assigned area. As he gets there, he sees most serving containers empty and the scared staff shaking their heads and pointing to the woman sitting in the centre table ravaging a chicken tangdi.

Abhishek Bachchan : (incredulously) Where is all the food, honey?

Aishwarya Bachchan : (giggling, as she normally does) Oh, sorry, you people were taking so long in your meeting, I just couldn’t resist starting lunch by myself!

Lara Dutta and Shilpa Shetty look at each other and cluck their disapproval.  

 

 

A Guest Post For A Super Blogger!

Strangely one morning, as she was probably nursing a particularly bad hangover, Purba Ray of A-Musing fame, figured that my writing was worthy of her blog. Her blog – which is among the funniest and most insightful ones out there! So when she asked me to do a guest post for her, I didn’t even stop to ask if she was feeling ok – I just said YES!

Here is the piece. Do read, comment, share – you know, the usual stuff that friends do!

 

The National Treasure

Beware : Angry Lady Ahead!

Beware : Angry Lady Ahead!

“This is a disaster!” yells Sonia Gandhi as she facepalms her forehead uncharacteristically. “How could we even let this happen?”

The emergency (yet hidden from the media’s prying eyes) political meeting is taking place at the lawns of Sheila Dixit’s official residence in Delhi. The bright winter sun is warm but doing little to dispel the frosty ambience of the congregation. The news that had been received by the PMO just that morning has pulled the rug from under the political establishment’s feet. “It can’t be true!”, “The media must not find out about this!” and “What will Maya and Mulayam do now?” are the universal exclamations in the corridors of power. (As is “How come Urvashi won Bigg Boss?” but that is off-topic for this post.) Mamata Banerji and Narendra Modi have already rushed to Delhi as they are prone to do under such circumstances. So have most other leaders. All except Jayalalitha, who decides to stay put in Chennai under the perceived threat of a snub.
As the perfectly attired waiters with starched pagdees discreetly serve cream of mushroom soup and assorted nibblers, the political class furiously debates ways to help abate the latest crisis – the imminent loss of a national treasure to an adversarial nation.

 

Continue reading at A-Musing

 

Five (Indian) People You Meet (Near) Heaven : (Decidedly Not) By Mitch Albom

Right vs Wrong

The situation was getting from bad to worse. Quite like the colossal traffic jams at the Delhi-Gurgaon toll plaza, the Pearly Gates were clogged with huge masses of the Formerly-Living (a.k.a Newly-Dead) waiting in line to gain entry to the domicile of their After-Life. The common wisdom is – if you lived how God intended you to during your living years, you got a free passage to Heaven. If not, then off you went to Hell, shunted to that nasty town where the air was smoggy, people were petty, crimes were common, women were unsafe, prices were high, garbage stacked up in piles, roads were broken, and power went off frequently (Kindly refrain from making mental comparisons with places you may already know on earth)

The entry protocol for the Twin Cities was quite simple – When earthlings conked off and went ‘upstairs’, they were cheerfully greeted at the Reception counter at the Pearly Gates, welcomed to the After-World, and made to fill out the paper work. Quite like Immigration and Customs at an airport, only infinitesimally kinder. Lately, however, an IT systems upgrade at Pearly Gates Immigration had resulted in snags in processing paperwork, leading to long lines and delayed sorting of people between Heaven and Hell.

Plenty of folks were left waiting outside the Gates, many for months now, wondering when their case was going to get sorted. Here is a scene observed a couple of days ago as people waited in line.

Pandit Ravi Shankar, world renowned sitarist : (mumbling to himself) Must they make us wait outside for so long? I haven’t seen this kind of chaos since I left India for the US in the 60s. Totally unacceptable. How many more days will this take? Perhaps I should walk up ahead and see what the hold up is.

Starts walking slowly, dragging his 40 kilo sitar in tow.

Yash Chopra, famous film director : (spotting Panditji, as he himself waits in line) Oh, hello, hello! Panditji, HELLO! (Nudges his friend in saffron robes and dark sunglasses) Look, it’s Pandit Ravi Shankarji! They must all be falling like ninepins down there!

Bal Thackaray, politician (peering in the direction Yash Chopra is pointing) : Arrey, what a surprise! It’s Pandit Ravi Shankar!

Panditji notices two excited octogenarian slowly flailing their tired arms. He smiles in recognition and stumbles towards them with his 40 kilo sitar.

Panditji : Hello, Gentlemen!

Bala Saheb : Jai Maharashtra, Panditji! How are you here?

Panditji : Heart.

Bala Saheb : Me, too!

Yashji : (sheepishly) Dengue. Anyway, delighted to see you here, Panditji! In fact, seeing you here, I got reminded of a poem from my new film. Arz hai – Teri aankhon ki namkeen…

Panditji : (coughing loudly) Yes, very nice, I am sure. Can you hold this sitar please?

Yashji : (disappointed at having to stop) Err…yes, yes, of course.

Panditji :  Thank God for your colourful robe and sunglasses, Bala Saheb. I wouldn’t have recognized you otherwise! You remind me so much of George Harrison sometimes, you know, during his hippie phase. But how come you both are still stranded here? Have they not taken you in yet?

Bala Saheb : Dekh lo! This line seems to move slower than the Harbour Line in Mumbai under Congress rule. Height of inefficiency!

Yashji : They tell us it’s some computers issue. It has been a few months for me already! Like the lines from my movie song – Yeh kahan aa gaye hum, yun hi…

Bala Saheb : (clearing his throat loudly) Yes, yes, let’s give Panditji a place to sit first.

Yash Chopra stops his recital dejectedly and readies a folding chair for Ravi Shankar.

Bala Saheb : So, Panditji, what news from Down Under?

Panditji : Hein? Oh, I believe Ricky Ponting retired.

Yashji : Hein?

Panditji : I am sorry, that is the only news I know from Australia.

Bala Saheb : Australia? Who wants to know about Australia?

Panditji : But you were the one who asked me about Down Under!

Bala Saheb : (laughing) Oh, I meant Down Under…on Earth!

All three men laugh and immediately break into coughing spams just like old people do.

Panditji : (recovering) That was funny, Bala Saheb! Anyway, in terms of news, well, Obama won. Rest, I am not aware of what has been happening in India. As you know, I never followed Indian politics or Hindi films.

Yashji : (looking disappointed) I hope my last film did well. You would have liked it. I filmed it in London, keeping people like you in mind. You know, the NRI-type.

Bala Saheb : I wonder what Raj and Uddhav are up to. Did you get coverage on them in your California newspapers?

Panditji : (almost about to roll his eyes) No, sadly, no.

 

The three are soon disturbed by loud ma-behen gaalis sounds coming from near. They turn to look at the commotion.

Panditji : (wincing at the foul language) Holy Raag Maalkaus! Who is that nasty man?

Yashji : (shaking his head) He has been busy fighting with everyone since he got here. He even got into fisticuffs with his brother as soon as he arrived! Ever since, he hasn’t stopped throwing his weight around.

Panditji : Why must Indians behave like this when they are outside their country? All these foreigners waiting patiently in line must think we are uncivilized fools! Do you know him?

Yashji : (sheepishly) Unfortunately, yes. That’s Ponty Chadha. Billionaire businessman, political player and film financier. We tried to explain to him that we are not in India any more, and that he needs to be respectful of his surroundings, but no, he just wouldn’t listen! He even said – ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ – to Bala Saheb and me! Can you believe it?

Bala Saheb : Bloody North Indian crook! If this were Mumbai or if I had my Sena up here, I would have knocked some sense of civility into that fool!

Panditji : Looks like he is headed our way.

The bearded man strides towards the three old men.

Ponty Chadha, businessman : Myself Ponty. (looks questioningly at Ravi Shankar as he extends his hand for a hand shake)

Panditji : (folding hands politely) I am Ravi Shankar, a musician. (Adding) Heart.

Ponty : Gunshot hole in my heart. By my own brother. (Spits angrily)

The two octogenarians and the single nonagenarian cringe outwardly.

Bala Saheb : (wistfully) I miss my Mumbai…

Yashji : (dolefully) And I miss my Switzerland…

Ponty : (crudely) Oye, I miss my Butter Chicken-shiken.

Panditji : (thinking in his mind) I should have just stayed away from these philistines.

 

A young girl in her early 20s gently shakes the foursome out of their reverie.

Young Girl with no identify : (excitedly) Hello, Sirs! How lucky of me to have found such famous people here!

Yashji : Hello. Who are you? And aren’t you too young to be here?

Young Girl : (Sighs) Yeah, I thought so too, but, what to do. You know, I am not even sure what my name is any more! People have given me strange names recently. They have been calling me Nirbhaya, Or Damini. Some named me Amaanat. I think my real name is Darpana, you know, like ‘mirror’?

Bala Saheb : You sound important. Someone like us.

Young Girl : (strongly shakes her head) Quite the contrary, Sir! Until just a few days ago, I was a nobody, living a life of no consequence like a billion other Indians. On no one’s radar or agenda. I didn’t matter.

Panditji : What happened then?

Young Girl : Then I got raped, beaten, left to die on the side of the road. I fought hard to stay alive for weeks in hospitals. But sometimes your will can wage only a losing battle against fate…I just got here this morning.

Ponty : You got raped and killed? By how many? What did they do to you? (Points at her flimsy hospital gown) Is that what you were wearing when it happened? Tell us everything!

The two octogenarians and the single nonagenarian stare hard at Ponty.

Yashji : (shaking his head in agony) What has our country come to? This is heartbreaking! Not sure how things got so bad and people so evil. In all my films, I have never even shown people slapping each other!

Young Girl : I know, Yashji! After all, you have only ever talked about the purity and beauty of women. Women whose greatness is directly proportional to the sacrifices they make. Whose identities are inherently intertwined with their men. There is no ugliness in a woman’s world in your films. Everything is peaches and cream. If there are tears, they are usually happy ones because the woman gave up something to make her man happy. And that ‘something’ is usually something extremely important to her, like her identity, or her life. After all, that is what makes her a woman! That is the reality you have served to the nation. It is not your fault if your nation’s reality didn’t quite turn out that way, is it?

Bala Saheb : (agreeing vociferously) And that is why he was always called the greatest film maker in India! And I have always been such a proud supporter of his work.

Young Girl : Just like I have been of yours, Bala Saheb! You have never pulled back from fighting for what you felt was right. If someone didn’t do the right thing, you have thrashed him – you know, to teach the person a lesson for his own good! If someone took something from you, you snatched it back and kicked that person’s teeth in. You are the real hero – the rule-maker, the judge, the jury and the punisher all rolled in one! You make it look cool when the fist does all the talking. Men idolize you. From you they learn that violence is ok if you want to take back what you feel is your God given right. Machismo rules, and everyone else must quiver in its presence!

Panditji : (shaking his head in abhorrence) But how can the fist be the right answer to anything in a democracy? Really, you people just don’t know how to run your country! You never have, and you never will! Uncivilized barbarians! Why else do you think I stayed away from your messed up country?

Young Girl : Exactly the right description, Panditji! Messed up! People like you and me wonder why ‘they’ have messed things up so bad. We keep complaining that ‘they’ don’t know how to run the country. Or that ‘they’ break laws with impunity. ‘They’ are corrupt. ‘They’ are morally bankrupt. ‘They’ rape. ‘They’ can’t control crime. ‘We’, on the other hand, are so much better than ‘them’. But, what can ‘we’ do? Even if ‘we’ were to try to bring about change, ‘they’ have made things so filthy that there is no possible way ‘we’ can make any difference! And so, ‘we’ sit at home helplessly and watch angrily. From a safe distance. ‘We’ sit and watch ‘them’ destroy what is ‘ours’. In fact, watch ‘them’ destroy ‘us’.

The old men stare at the young girl. All but Ponty Chadha, who is not to be browbeaten.

Ponty : (points his finger at the girl and laughs) Waah…what great sermonizing! My dear, money and power are the name of the game in India! You are as good as shit if you have neither. The rich rule the poor. The men rule the women. The powerful rule the weak. That’s the way even God intended it to be, dearie. ‘You’ can complain about ‘them’ as much as you wish, but if given an opportunity, ‘you’ would want to be ‘them’! In fact, ‘you’ become ‘them’ when you have to. Like, when you set up a business. Or buy property. Heck, try getting a passport without being like ‘them’! Or a driver’s license. You become ‘them’ when you jump a red light. Or get caught by a cop while doing so!

Young Girl : That is not true. That can’t be true! ‘We’ don’t want to be like ‘them’. All ‘we’ want is for ‘them’ to be like ‘us’! Isn’t that fair? Isn’t that what is taught to us by our parents? By our society? By all religions? That Good wins over Evil? Right over Wrong? Truth over Injustice?

Bala Saheb : (wonders aloud, nonplussed) And yet…

Yashji : (talks slowly) …and yet, it only happens in films…

Panditji : (despondently) …not in real life.

Young Girl : (sighs loudly) Well, we are all going to meet the Maker soon. Let’s ask Him what the deal is.

Ponty : Yes, ask Him why the four of us are all here after living a full life – rich, successful, powerful. And you are here at 23. I think He has some answering to do.

 

The Clean Chit

 

Truth Alone Prevails. Until, of course something jucier comes along.

Contrary to popular belief, The Clean Chit, that irrepressible vote-of-confidence that all political parties seem to dole out to their controversial and beleaguered doyens frequently, isn’t just a bland pat-on-the-back or a rally of support on TV. (And it isn’t an unwritten and unsoiled drycleaner’s-receipt-sized paper either, in case you were translating “Clean Chit” quite literally in your head). It is a historical document, one that bears a total absolution from all crimes and misdemeanours, real or perceived, past or present (or future) of the alleged offender by his peers.

And by document, I mean just that. Given its supreme significance in the way political business is being carried out in our country today, I have managed to smuggle out a template copy from the Lok Sabha Library. Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting to you –

 

The Clean Chit

(template created August 15, 1947. Last modified November 30, 2012 for subject Robert Vadra. Do not change template without prior approval.)

 

It is our great pleasure to grant this Clean Chit to (optionalHonourable to be used if the subject uses Z+ security) Shri/Smt _________________ (henceforth called Clean-Chitee), <<mention relationship, e.g. son of, daughter of, son-in-law of, daughter-in-law of, brother of, phoopa-ji of etc.>> of Shri/Smt ___________________ (optional – previous awardee of Clean Chit relating to <<mention alleged past crime and misdemeanour>>. In case multiple Clean Chits have been issued to the family, state the most notable one, i.e. the one associated with the greatest alleged loss of money, mortality or modesty to the nation) for his/her alleged role in the <<mention alleged current crime and misdemeanour>>. We abhor the insinuations made against <<insert Clean-Chitee’s name>> regarding this issue, and dismiss the allegations categorically with the contempt and without the due diligence it deserves. <<Insert Clean-Chitee’s name>> has been handcrafted by The Maker Himself and, as such, embodies all the virtues of the One who made him/her. All those behind these charges are despicable morons not fit to be called human, and unworthy of even an unbranded woollen-acrylic-nylon mix Made-in-China monkey cap when Hell, the domicile of their afterlife, freezes over.

<<Insert Clean-Chitee’s name>> is an upright and modest person and it is below his/her dignity to even acknowledge, let along explain his/her position on, these innuendos that have been leveled against him/her. As a result, they are being summarily dismissed, with total contempt we might add, by us – the absolute custodians of morality, principle and fact – self-appointed though we may be.

(If alleged current crime and misdemeanour is too real to ignore, and the alleged involvement of the Clean-Chitee in the matter as abyssal as Ekta Kapoor’s is to TV serials, please add) – Clearly, the <<mention current crime and misdemeanour>> is a criminal conspiracy hatched by the enemies of the Republic of India with the sole intent of destroying the good name of <<insert Clean-Chitee’s name>>. It smacks of the underhand machinations of the morally bankrupt and <<choose from – inept past government, inept previous administration, corrupt corporate houses, anarchic opposition, deranged Narendra Modi, hysterical Mamata Banerji, psychopathic Sonia Gandhi>>.

With this declaration, we rule that <<insert Clean-Chitee’s name with full title>> is not only wiped clean of the all that feces that has been tossed at him by these nefarious monkeys, but is also smelling of nothing other than roses and sandalwood. As he/she always had in the past, and as he/she always will in the future.

Signed by <<mention the name of the political organization Clean-Chitee is congenitally attached to>>        

Release to Media before the 8 pm news cycle.

There Is No “NA” In HARYANA!

Watch it! It’s my state you are talking about!

Screaming News Channels. Extremely Large Font-Sized Newspaper Headlines. Angry Blogosphere. Noise, Noise, Noise, I say! Amidst all this Hulla-Ballu over its supposed toxicity, it is really up to the proud residents of the glorious Dominion of Haryana to rise up and stop its gang balatkaar. Since when did mere trifles of Rape, Khap, No Law-and-Order and the absence of Roads, Bijli, Paani and other Infrastructure define this state, when there is so much else to be proud of? So, all you Prophets of Jat Doom, read and learn why David Dhawan would choose Haryana as the Hero if he ever were to make a film called Rajya No. 1.

The Generous Gender Gap. Haryana is, potentially, the global leader in so-called “skewed” sex-ratio. Like the foolish scientists who complain about global warming (why, wouldn’t you want to be able to visit Kashmir all year round, you tell me?), some misguided people are fretting over the 877 females per 1000 males population. Does no one remember the good old days when Sita got to choose her Man from a bunch of dhoti clad princes? Or Draupadi and her 5 Keeps? Stop this chatter about the Haryanvi Abla Naari. If anything, it’s the Men of the state who are suffering – look at the competition they face! Wisely, the state is making every effort to hold on to Pre-history. 21st century, no, thank you, you can wait indefinitely.

The Maul. Haryana pioneered the Mall Culture in India! What better way for Indians to spend every waking hour of their spare time than in confined spaces where every brand label and every store is conveniently priced out of reach? The Malls of Gurgaon – where folks go to get their Aloo Tikki McD burger, and also to get inspired to work even harder for things that they can’t afford today. Or tomorrow, for that matter.

The Chowk-a-Block state. Chowk, a glorious piece of city topography that draws towards itself humans in implausible numbers. Humans in their many, many cars, scooters, buses, rickshaws and tempos. Some might tactlessly liken this coalescence of seemingly chaotic human activity to a “traffic jam”. Let’s call it “Extreme Vehicular Plurality” instead, shall we? EVP is a sure sign of development and modernity. While Delhi has the occasional Chandni Chowk and Lucknow something singularly named Chowk, it is Gurgaon that pales everyone else with its preponderance of these exalted chowks – the beacons of prosperity. There is one every 500 yards! There ‘s a Shankar Chowk and a Rajiv Chowk. Heck, there are even chowks with corporate sponsorships attached – Hero Honda Chowk, IFFCO Chowk, DLF-Robert Vadra Chowk, Pepsi Chowk, Bee-tex Mull-hum Chowk etc. With millions and millions of folks sitting quietly in their standstill vehicles, going nowhere very slowly, mulling their wonderful lives – it’s a sight for Lord Buddha to behold!

The Queen. Mallika Sherawat. Haryana’s gift to Mankind! Of course, when I say Mankind, I really only mean Man.

Miss Haryana. Forever.

Go Pal Kanda, Go! A state where people with a “Kan Do” attitude thrive. If you are a child at heart (e.g. love toys like automatic guns and imported SUVs), indulge in playful jest (e.g. write cheques that bounce), are enviably social (e.g. have deep political connections), can charm the ladies (e.g. chase air hostesses till they give in, or give up, or check out), and still have feet firmly placed on the ground (and by ground, we mean land – lots and lots of real estate), SKY is the limit for you in Haryana!

The Khap Panchayati Raj. The coveted Moral Police that the rest of the country craves for but only fortuitous Haryana is endowed with. Aside from preventing the grave depravity of inter-caste liaisons – e.g. a Haryanvi – Bengali marriage (Really, Bajra ki Khichdi followed by Sandesh? Have you no shame?), these Guardians Of Distinguished Thought also protect Haryana’s Men Folk from the overreaching jurisprudence of the Indian State. Pooh-pooh, thank you very much! The Khap makes its own decisions and if you can’t agree, you can go swing (hang?) from a tree. The Haryana Women Folk might appear to be unfortunate collateral damage of these Wise Decisions, but hey, it is noble to sacrifice oneself for the larger good, no?

Saddi Marutti. The state that gave the country its first automobile! Something that Chunni, Babbi, Dolly, Vikky, their Mummy Papa, and Tommy, the dog could finally be proud to be seen in. (I am sorry, but by just taking off its iron-tracks and slapping on 4 tyres instead, and giving it a chic name like The Ambassador cannot alter reality. So what that it has existed since 1955 – a battle tank is a battle tank, not a car. Like they say, it doesn’t matter if you put lipstick on a pig – it’s still a pig)

Gaali Gaali Mein Shor Hai. Ah, the infectious charm of the Haryanvi tongue! Even if two Haryana Jats were only sharing notes on something as innocuous as the horsepower of their tractors, a non-Haryanvi passerby might mistake it to be an exchange on the coital habits of Mothers and Sisters. Let us be very clear – A for Aandal, B for Bose-DK and C for Choo Tee Ah – is NOT a part of the Haryana Education Board syllabus. While it may be true that no literature was ever penned in Haryanvi, it is still the most charming sound of the soil. And you know what makes it sound even more charming? A lath in your hand. You must try it!

So, Shame On You, you elitist folks, for coldly ignoring the virtues of the land that gave us Bhajan Lal, Devi Lal, Chautala, Hooda and Sushma Swaraj. I am sure if threatened appropriately, even Kapil Dev would agree in his delightful Anglo-Saxon-Hissar accent – “Haryana da jawaab nahi!”