Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Potential World Champions

(Published in Hardnews, September 2012)

I must begin by congratulating all the fabulous Indians who shone at the Olympics. I have to throw in warm hugs for our two favourite women, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal! Okay, so we didn’t do as wonderfully well as we hoped we would, but on the brighter side, our sportspeople didn’t have to pay exorbitant excess baggage fees on the way back home. Also, we needn’t despair because India has so many people who are world-class at other more important things than sweaty sports. Take a look at just a few:

The world’s most honest politician: Shivpal Yadav, the young Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s uncle has got to be the most refreshingly honest politician in the history of the world. Recently, he gladdened the hearts of bureaucrats by warmly assuring them that it’s okay to steal –but just a little bit, mind you. I cheered madly because I thought his restraint was admirable. I was shocked, though, by the reaction of the mediawallahs who were present when Yadav made that heart-warming speech. They gasped in an outraged manner and behaved like my absolutely favourite TV hero, Arnab Goswami, on steroids. Hello, shouldn’t we be grateful that Shivpal Yadav is not a sleazy hypocrite like the rest of his breed? I predict that Shivpal Yadav has a brilliant future ahead of him. Team Anna’s hunt for an honest politician ends in Uttar Pradesh, hooray! Perhaps Team Anna can also use Yadav as the mascot of the new party they’re planning to set up?

The world’s most enlightened feminist: Kiran Bedi, former cop and current wailing banshee, made me sit up when she said that the India media focuses too much on “small rape.” Till she made this enlightening comment, I had absolutely no idea that rape came in different sizes like you get at clothing stores: extra small, small, medium, large, extra large, extra extra large, extra extra extra large et cetera. I do hope international agencies for women’s rights interview her and kilos of valuable research come out of this. She must be felicitated for this insight – and I absolutely insist that she should be appointed to a global panel of feminists of the stature of Germaine Greer! Meanwhile, I’m busy making pretty garlands for her out of brand new, made-in-China army boots – hey, a woman like her deserves only the best!

The world’s most outraged person: TV anchor Arnab Goswami wins this contest effortlessly. He deserves not just one shiny gold medal, but three golds for the brilliant performance he delivers every week night. He frightens sly old Pakistani army chaps and evil retired ISI honchos more than the United States of America ever can. Seriously. I wish I was related to him, because this is the man to go to if your waiter doesn’t look suitably apologetic when you find a fly in your soup, if your tardy plumber doesn’t arrive at the appointed time to fix a leaky cistern, if the pizza delivery boy forgets to get sachets of oregano, et cetera. He can make anyone shiver in their shoes.

The world’s most forgiving people: In most civilized democratic nations, when political parties don’t deliver, voters make chutney out of them by showing them the door. In India however, when politicians don’t deliver, they placate angry voters by giving them free household appliances with which to make chutneys. Honestly, mixers and grinders are what Indians really, really, really want.  This practice is mainly prevalent in the state of Tamil Nadu, perhaps because they do make a lot of delicious chutneys to go with their dishes. Offhand, I can name coconut, coriander, garlic, tomato and ginger. You can’t really blame them, can you?

The world’s most confused homophobe: How on earth can we take yoga guru Baba Ramdev aka Baba Black Money seriously? I mean, on the one hand he/she makes ugly speeches about homosexuality and while you’re gasping for breath and trying to recover from the vitriol overdose, he/she swiftly slips into pretty, feminine salwar kameezes. Huh? A very special medal must be made for someone as special him/her: sky blue on one side and baby pink on the other. And wouldn’t it just be too fabulous for words if he/she won it at the 2016 Olympics, considering that it’s in Rio, the world’s favourite lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) destination?  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

India's Thackerays have more brawn than brain

As the Shiv Sena & MNS Thackeray's flex their muscles once again, I remembered an article I wrote a couple of years ago. Nothing has changed, sigh. Have attached the link http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/comment_the-sena-mns-charm-works-best-for-kids_1344739
 & pasted the article below as well

The Sena-MNS charm works best for kids

(Published in DNA, Feb 2010)

The strange reluctance of Maharashtra’s ruling alliance to deal firmly with the incorrigible Shiv Sena and MNS over the years has led me to believe that the Thackerays have photographs of state Congress and NCP leaders doing very, very naughty things. God, I’d give anything to see those photographs!
Currently, after being sharply prodded by the Centre, the state government is making a huge pretence of doing something about it: home minister RR Patil aka Mr. Squeaky Clean Morals, is skimming through articles in Saamna, the Sena mouthpiece, in search of inflammatory remarks. How astonishing that he isn’t already aware that the two parties promote hatred. Besides, as we all know, the only issue that makes Patil’s blood vessels burst are bar dancers. I doubt he’ll find references to dancing girls in Saamna. It’s a pointless exercise, really.
I’m beginning to believe that Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan should be chief minister of Mumbai — at least he has the guts to stand up to the Shiv Sena. And, if we go by a recent TV poll, the nation is behind him, even if most of the other cowardly A-list Bollywood stars are silent. Let’s not forget the most lily-livered of the lot — the man who warmly assured the nation in his blog that the Shiv Sena supremo is in the pink of health. What was that all about? Only to ensure that you stay healthy as well, Mr Non-heroic Hero?
Shah Rukh Khan said he’s not apologising for saying what he believes in because he wishes to set a good example for his children. That got me pondering deeply about the example that parties like the Shiv Sena and MNS set for our children. I met a few parents (their names have been changed on request because they don’t wish to eat liquidised food for the rest of their lives) and this is what they had to say:
Thirty-six-year old Mrs Sen was the most pragmatic of the lot. A harassed mother of two naughty little boys, she’s grateful that the Shiv Sena is around. “I tell my boys that if you don’t drink your milk, I’ll call the Shiv Sena and they’ll fix you good and proper. It works like a charm — now they even drink karela juice without a whimper,” she beams.
Mr Bhide, a banker, was a little less cheerful. He shook his head sadly as he related an incident that occurred soon after the MNS took a Bollywood producer to task for referring to Mumbai as Bombay. “One evening I accompanied my son to the garden, and was shocked to see the new game he was playing.The children divided themselves into two teams. One team was called ‘Citizens’. The other was called ‘MNS’. The game works like this: The Citizens scream ‘Bombay’ repeatedly, and the MNS gang chases them and breaks their toys. My son’s cycle has been smashed. I told him I’m not going to get him a replacement if he plays that disgusting game ever again!” Mr Bhide went on to add with a shudder, “And you know what he had to say about that? He wept bitterly and begged me to let him play the game one last time because it was his turn to be an MNS man! I’ve grounded him for life.”
“My nine-year-old daughter asked me a very disturbing question the other day,” Mrs Sayed informed me. “She said, ‘Mummy, are the Thackerays Australian?’ I patiently explained that oddly enough, they just prefer to spell their names the anglicised way — their surname is Thakre, actually, and then she threw another question at me — ‘If they’re really Indians then why do they attack other Indians?’”
Personally, I hold TV channels to blame. The next time they have breaking news on the Shiv Sena or MNS, they should do it after 10pm when children are in bed. Or else they should put a warning sign on the screen that reads: Watching this can be injurious to your child’s mental health.