England for Prime Minister!

The talk of the town in India (and by ‘in India’, I basically mean Twitter and Facebook) over recent weeks has been more or less surrounding homosexuality and wayward uttering in relation to that by the Ministry of Home Affairs (later withdrawn, may have been unsaid, let’s leave it to speculation) and the Supreme Court. That is if, unlike me, you choose to discount Kapil Sibal’s literally-hefty presence at the 2012 World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.

Following the Delhi High Court’s move towards decriminalization of homosexuality, most spoken words not toeing the line of the High Court are (rightly) demolished and thrown to street dogs. However, I must draw India’s attention to a more urgent decriminalization that needs to be paid heed to, in retrospect. It is something that has gone unnoticed for years, and it is already threatening communal harmony.

People who don’t support one of Manchester United/Chelsea/Arsenal/Liverpool, the England national football team and the English Premier League.

Apart from pervasive poverty, widespread hunger, eye-reddening/lung-wrenching pollution, disastrously poor and blindingly un-improving standard of living, faltering infrastructure, limited edition Mountain Dew neon packs which Salman Khan puts to use during power cuts in Bombay, Poonam Pandey in a saree and other indicatively obnoxious things life can offer us, India suffers from the malaise of a fanatical fanbase of people that strictly, as if part of a secret code, supports one of the four ‘top’ English football clubs only, especially Manchester United, despite knowing microscopically little about the game of football or holding an interest as passionate as browbeating in an expensive sports bar just because your Dad or your friend with a wealthy Dad or your girlfriend with a wealthy Dad can pay for your drink. And mind you, this fanbase is multiplying faster than right-wingers can crack yet one more poorly-constituted “RSS is responsible, hehehaha” joke and laugh amongst themselves and retweet it between their Twitter accounts.

If there’s one thing India is excelling in producing more than engineers without girlfriends and MBA graduates with Arindam Chaudhuri’s blessings, it is fans of these four football clubs. It is imperative that somebody from the UPA Government steps up (except Suresh Kalmadi, because he’ll just make lakhs out of it all) and decriminalizes people who don’t support an English football club and the England national team and give them a chance at living like a proud-free-democratic-BharatMata-worshipping (but not necessarily Juan Mata) Indian. In fact, a popular joke goes like this – A guy who knows nothing about football enters a sports bar on a matchday, orders a drink, sits in a corner and observes quietly for 10-15 minutes. “Dude, which club do you support?” “Manchester United, bro”. Okay, this joke is yet to gain popularity. But you get my point, no?

Like all fundamentalists who leave clues, it is not too difficult to sense a pattern here. It’s got to be a Top Four English club, logically followed by the world’s greatest national team, the England national team and all-round gaga-googoo-ing over the world’s greatest football league, the English Premier League. Like monstrous Indian trucks that consistently honk ringtones of old Hindi film music, with ‘Horn OK Please’ and ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ written behind them. Of course because, the rest of the world is just foreign. England, English and everything related is home. Or at least gives a feeling of ‘home’. Except, not really. Say a word against this pattern and expect a reaction that oversized Mayawati statues and die-hard Bahujan Samaj Party-themed-inner-garments-wearing fans would give you if you were giving an anti-Mayawati speech in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh.

India must call for a special post-Winter-pre-Summer Parliament session that decriminalizes people who don’t support English football clubs, before power groups endorsing the cause, call for a clause to be inserted directly into the Constitution of India. Given how the ‘reasonable restrictions‘ clause on freedom of speech is the most ambiguous thing to happen to India since Kalyan Singh’s politics, a pressure group may be just what it takes to make supporting a non-English football club illegal on Indian territory (for now, this doesn’t include Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, sorry). While this requirement may not be as old as the archaic Section 377 clause, it still calls for urgent implementation before all the streets in India are painted either red, red-and-white or blue (89% complete, according to unconfirmed statistics). Before it becomes necessary that to be an Indian, one must support a top-four English team, the England national team and the English Premier League in that particular order, the Government has to make a move.

Just like how living in Gujarat comes with a pre-condition to go numb in admiration of the state’s uber-popular and cannot-do-any-wrong Chief Minister (and lesser Gujaratis like myself have to go on a trip to Daman or Diu to breathe fresh air), living in India comes with an absolutely streamlined pre-condition of supporting one of these top four English clubs. Because c’mon, can you afford to not be a part of the ‘crowd’? Obviously not. Like this guy who once said “Dude, supporting Arsenal suddenly made the anti-social in me disappear. People found me so much more acceptable!”. “If we as a herd end up in a Manchester United sports bar, then that is our democratic right!!”, screamed a guy outside a Manchester United sports bar, who was so drenched in red color that it appeared as if he was a walking advertisement for Asian Paints.

And this is true from my personal experiences too because I’ve had fanatics hold me at gunpoint, threatening to drag me to the nearest Passport Office since I made the mistake of revealing to them that I do not support an English club. They let me go after saying “You are a very strange Indian!”, after I fooled them into believing that I’ll have to stay alive as I’m the guy responsible for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Twitter account, which as we speak is busy solving the nation’s umpteen problems. Go ahead then, India. And do what is required. Or at least, care to give the rest of your people a minority quota in an IIM or something. If the UPA just sits back and watches the action unfold as has been happening for the past two decades or so, then they might just have a new rival the Indian people might prefer over Rahul Gandhi.

England for Prime Minister!


Why #IPL doesn’t trend on Twitter

Key figures in the IPL held a discussion (not covered in mainstream media) on why the IPL doesn’t trend on Twitter at all.

lalitmodi2 – This is frustrating. After owning the entire India and the entire cricket world, I can’t understand why we can’t own Twitter. We should be trending consistently.

ayushmann – Sir, maybe Twitter users are tired of these ads and terms that we keep using. I just woke up from sleep and I was taking a dump. And I told my commode that it took a Karbonn Kamaal catch!

angad – HAHAHA! You didn’t say that, Ayush? Did you? That’s a Citi Moment of Success. Or Shitty. 😀 😀

ayushmann– Abey saale, has ley!! Tujhe toh Extraaa Innnings me hona hi nahi chahiye!

lalitmodi2 – Guys, this issue is no joke. I need to get to the bottom of this. We must own Twitter.

gaurav – Why is this #MyBoobsAreFor trending? Maybe this is one of those IPL trends.

samir – Haha. #MyBoobsAreFor is trending? I must get on Twitter now. This should be fun. Geeheehee!

lalitmodi2– You crazy nut. Are you paid to joke around?? And who is that blue-eyed buffoon you have brought along? This is a secret meeting!

samir– He is my good friend, sir. He won’t say anything to anybody. Promise. Sachhi.

lalitmodi2– Get him out of here!!! Or it’ll cost you your job, Sameer! As it is, you appear too weird on screen.

samir2 – Right sir, point noted. Err, weird??

SRK – I have thousands of followers on Twitter, Lalit. I usually talk to them about dreams/sleep/Knights and stuff. Maybe, I could help the IPL trend.

lalitmodi2 – That would be fantabulousastic, SRK! Do that, will you? I will also tweet consistently to my followers.

angad3 – I will also set up a Twitter account, sir. The other day #AngadBediisGod was trending. Awesome! By Gawd, amazing hai ji!

lalitmodi4 – Dude, what’s with that sick moustachio you’ve got on you?

angad2 – Lalitji, mera beta is chosen for Mangal Pandey 2. I just heard the announcement. Even I, when promoting him through my family name, didn’t think ki yeh itna sahi launda hai!!

lsiva – Sir, my commentary team thinks we are not publicizing enough on Twitter. I think you should take some of mine or Ravi Shastri’s soundbytes and tweet them regularly. What about IPL bots? Do we have any IPL bots?

ravishastri – High-five on that, Siva! Totally agree with you. We should do that. I love commentary. Would love commentary tweets even more! No need of bots. I want to do commentary on Twitter!!

lalitmodi4 – Who’s the officer next to you, Ravi? Have you done something wrong again?

lsiva – HAHA. Lalitji, some people filed a case against Ravi for ‘Overenthusiastic, Mindbogglingly Simple-Yet-Complex Cricket Commentary’. He was asked to explain. I think he’s there right now.

cutegirl – Hello, Laleetji. I think you need cheerleaders from the East in the mix. I could help you with that.

lalitmodi5 – Well hello my beautiful lady. What is your name? Also, give me your phone number. Also, give me your hand.

ayushmann – There he goes again! *winks*

lalitmodi4 – AYUSH!!!! STFU, you *$#&^$^*($&! Have you forgotten I’m your boss?!!?! :X 

gaurav – Hahahahahahaha…… 🙂 🙂

samir2 – EPIC LOL! ROFL!

Somebody interrupts…

lalitmodi2  – Hello, who are you? Are you supposed to be here?



justinbieber – No, dude. That’s pretty lame-ass. My name is JUSTIN BIEBER. And IPL doesn’t trend on Twitter BECAUSE I DO!

gaurav – Yeah? But what about the other trends? ‘I love’, ‘America dies for’, ‘#MyBoobsArePropertyOf’??


And that is why the #IPL doesn’t trend on Twitter.

Mind you, they are trying hard though……

Follow me on Twitter. *winks*

So, was there action?

Shiv Sena, Shah Rukh Khan, media obsession and real issues. Err, scratch real issues.

Re-runs and re-runs of Shah Rukh Khan versus Shiv Sena on various Indian news channels (which I do not watch any longer), and the severe side-effects of this issue on my family and many others I know, has forced me to return to (personal) blogging and share some of my thoughts, which I do more often now on Twitter than here. (Yes, blame laziness.)

As usual, a big issue has been made out of a small issue and the media (yet again) escapes with misleading the public into believing that such incidents are worth more than maybe the little attention they genuinely deserve. Sure, a well-known actor is being threatened by a bunch of chauvinistic bigots. And that deserves attention.

My question is how much? And more importantly, was there action?

As expected, praise is being showered on Shah Rukh Khan while the Shiv Sena are (rightly) pelted with verbal stones. The media is whipping up hysteria around the issue, as if SRK is a national hero who’s just back from defending our borders.

There is not much doubt that SRK’s ‘great neighbours’ statement is worth condemnation. But obviously, a sane person wouldn’t want the Shiv Sena taking on his/her behalf. Hence, comes a juicy war of words, most opportunistically picked up by a national media obsessed with anything that comes out of SRK’s mouth (majorly aimed at promoting his films).

In this entire milieu, no one seems to realize that a more effective approach to this is for the Government of Maharashtra to step up and curb down the threat of the Sena strongly. But are they even in the picture? No. We, as the people of India, also need to work to take our minds away from the silently and severely damaging mindset of pop heroism, that is associated with the likes of SRK.

The Congress government of Maharashtra is arguably the weakest state government in the country, completely dependant on reaping the ‘fruits’ of identity politics and hence, stay in power.

Serious issues like water problems in Mumbai and excessive load-shedding in all parts of Maharashtra are left untouched. The BJP does what is easy (and opportunistic), and doesn’t care to do what might actually work well for them in the long run.

Action against Shiv Sena, where art thou?

[On similar lines, I had made a few observations about The Pink Chaddi versus The Pink Condom campaigns a year back. Also check out this funny take on the issue at Faking News.]

[Related post: Solilo]

Full Text of PM Rahul Gandhi’s Speech on August 15th, 2015

Today, dear countrymen, I stand in front of you as the Prime Minister of the Republic of India.

As I stand here, I can only think of a few things – how awesome we are. India is a great country built with great principles by great leaders. We the people are even more great. It is important that we realized the importance of the values that have been put in our bodies by great people like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.

On such an auspicious day, I would like to recall that the Congress party is committed to seeing a united India. We invite youngsters from all over the country to join the Youth Congress and become more aware about India. They can contribute to this great growing nation with their knowledge and ability.

We know that our neighbours have made our lives very difficult. But I promise you we will not sit back and watch. We will do something about them. But today let me ask to the people of India – does Pakistan matter? It is a small piece of land. Look at United States – a big piece of land. Or China – even bigger piece of land. They should matter more to us.

In my mind, Pakistan doesn’t matter to me for five seconds…not even one second. If you notice, the attitude of the world has changed today. Pakistan is not a one-day job. It is more of a test cricket job. It needs more time to sort itself out. 

Today, the Real India is engulfed with poverty while Fake India lives on in the cities enjoying their Pepsis and popcorns in multiplexes. We need to bridge this gap between Real India and Fake India. It is the Congress Party’s commitment to see this gap reduced. We have always believed in ideology of uplift of Real India which consists of poor and downtrodden.

Let’s hope for a great future for this country. I wish you All The Best.

Speech inspired from Rahul Gandhi himself.

Of Pink Chaddis, Pink Condoms & Naked Hypocrisy

So finally, the most significant Valentine’s Day in Indian history is over. There were indeed incidents of violence, which is shameful to say the least, against couples professing their love in public places across the country, but the focus seemed rather on an initiative called the Pink Chaddi campaign which was followed by its adversary, the Pink Condom campaign.

Like mass mobilization movements of the pre-Independence era, the two campaigns have picked up like-minded members and proceeded full steam ahead to promote their ideologically-leaning theories. In fact, that is what is common between the two – ideology.

Reality check.

The Pink Chaddi campaign and the Consortium of Loose, Pub going and Forward Women were hysterical in the promotion of the liberal mindset and their attack on conservatives is apparent, along with veiled potshots aimed at Hindu culture(read comments on their blog). It also forgets that fundamentalism of all religions needs to be fought against, not specifically Hinduism. Indeed, there were many fundamentalist groups that had threatened couples on Valentine’s Day.

Now what happens with the Pink Chaddi campaign – anyone even remotely conservative and loyal to his/her culture is ‘backward’, ‘un-progressive’ and has trapped the country in an inertia of medieval theocracy. Let alone that the person might be a commoner, a wage-earner who has a family of many to feed. But the elitist disregard for the Indian poor is clearly on display with the Pink Chaddi folks.

It is indeed disappointing that the BJP did not do enough to bring the Sri Ram Sene and Pramod Muthalik to justice. “But they did arrest him before V-Day?”, the quintessential Rightist may ask. Well, preventive custody is not justice. It is aimed at avoiding a repeat of the past events for public interest during that particular period when the threat looms large. What about the Mangalore pub attack? Where is justice for that? What was required, if at all, was a protest outside the Sene’s office and the state legislative assembly in Bangalore and calls for ban on such fundamentalist groups.

But we are too happy sending pink chaddis to be bothered about a protest that makes an actual difference and doesn’t just hog all the headlines. The attention by the media is blinding and the Consortium is on the brink of victory. Once the pink chaddis reached Muthalik, the Consortium’s job was done and life is back to normal.

Congratulations Pink Chaddi folks, Mangalore’s victims have justice. Maybe, overflowing boxes of pink underwear will flood the SRS office, block the exits and its members will be prevented from coming out and orchestrating another attack.

The Pink Condom campaign and the Consortium of Assertive and Proud Hindus hasn’t been all over the papers, but only a look at their website is enough to understand that they intend to form a shield against those maligning Hinduism. The Pink Condom campaign conveniently forgets that there may be religious Hindus in the Pink Chaddi campaign who have nothing against Hinduism and are plainly intent on embarassing Muthalik and the SRS.

The Pink Condom initiative also fails to consider the fact that there may be many conservative Muslims and Christians(read comments on blog) who echo similar feelings against the liberal West. After all, if Indian culture is conservative – then it means Hindu, Islamic, Christian and all other conservative religious cultures, doesn’t it?

It hails itself as secular while also specifically defending Hindu interests. Sure, pseudo-secularism is prevalent in India and practiced by many, but to use labels like ‘sickular’ is quite irresponsible and ignorant of the sentiments of the ill-advised members of both campaigns and people all over India in general. Especially, when the fault lies primarily with fundamentalist Hindus like Muthalik & his SRS.

End result – liberals celebrate the success of the Pink Chaddi campaign, while conservatives are up in arms against pub culture and similar anti-cultural theses. Next time the stupid SRS is out there marshalling pubs and attacking women, liberals will bury themselves in the paranoia of hysteria once again(aided by the media) and conservatives will brainstorm and ponder over erosion-of-Indian-culture and blame pub-going girls for ‘provoking’ the mad fundamentalists.

As soon as incidents like these phase out of public memory, Muthalik will walk a free man, the SRS remains as it is and although they must have learnt their lessons, does just teaching a lesson count for justice?

Welcome back to square one.

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The end of Kyunki…and other things

What is as significant to the nation’s everyday life, that is comparable to Anil Kumble’s priceless Test career or Sadhvi Pragya’s “How did so few die in Malegaon” and other taped mumbles? You guessed right. Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

India’s most loved (and hated) daily soap comes to a close on November 6th, bringing an abrupt (what am I saying?!) end to a tumultuous saga of science-defying survival (read Baa), the 20-year leaps (which essentially kept the soap alive as viewers huffed and puffed for new faces), the timeless love story of the protagonists Mihir and Tulsi which is now television’s official reply to Romeo and Juliet, with focused family responsibilities in this case (as they never found the time to actually hang out in parks, cinema halls or daaru addas) and the warring sons who were competing for not just the bragging rights to be the numero uno recipients of Tulsi’s eternal motherhood, but also longer hair and tactically motivated piercings among other things.

The loving bahus (who were apparently oozing enough sex appeal to make Mallika Sherawat take notice and Kareena Kapoor take some more Ponds Body Lotion), the insanely provocative sounds of agitated thunder during a potential “key moment” that had the power to scare off Mother Nature herself, followed up with split-second screenshots of all characters present in the scene, dutifully dallying away at the shock revelation of either a hidden fact or a historically unproven conundrum was quintessential of Kyunki. Oh, those days.

Along with these, certain sights in households across the country will also come to a close unless and until a new Mihir-Tulsi appear on the horizon. The dumbstruck spoonful-of-food-in-hand scene, the mercilessly overcooked chapattis that would make you hurl abuses at Tulsi and gang wholeheartedly (and also make you wonder whether her troubles in the following episode, or every episode for that matter, were a resultant of your black magic skills in retaliation of freshly-cooked black chapattis), the husband-at-doorstep scenes where the wife would give an understandably logical excuse of “Arey baba, break ho tab darwaza kholoon, na?”and the actual in-fighting over the undervalued TV remote. Feel free to add your own.

So here’s a heartfelt goodbye to the cast and crew of Kyunki and while I can confidently state that you have been an immense inspiration to all Indians, young and old, there is no guarantee that you will be missed.

Kyunki…we’ve had enough.

Image courtesy: Bollywood Pictures Online

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Bollywood – A misleading model for contemporary cinema

The rise of Bollywood as an ambassador for Indian culture and expression has brought along with it a gaping failure in appreciating cinema. Everything that Bollywood exposes us to today, is NOT the way we were meant to be exposed to it. Movies are meant to be a source of entertainment, but only in a limited context. The larger aim of mainstream cinema has always been more of a let-know than a let-sell. But today’s multiplex audiences fail to understand exactly that and films have become a sort of a reward that we gift ourselves in return for the “torture” of studying and giving exams in schools.

Let me explain how.

Picture a scene outside a multiplex. You are most likely to listen to fizzing sounds of “Film flop hai” or “Ticket mili kya?” The common man’s perception of cinema is a 3-hour package filled with laughs, comic pursuits, romantic flings and impractical love. He sees movies as a come-and-go show that is meant to be either a source of “time-pass” or a “chill-pill” and nothing else. All that matters is whether the product succeeds in impressing enough people to earn enough. All that matters is a new masala flick releasing week-in, week-out to keep foolhardy people satisfied. And Bollywood gives us exactly that. Even pro-social movies like Taare Zameen Par and Swades are viewed as products by the layman and he takes no positive impressions from it. The same man will line up for a ticket to a stupid, immature Bollywood flick next week, making the entire concept of understanding cinema purely a procedural one. Films have become like bureaucracy. And today, we are too contented to be in the “comfort zone” of watching mindless movies whenever we can.

Of more concern is the fact that Bollywood “stars” are treated like Gods wherever they go, irrespective of their private habits that are not meant to be taken up by growing kids. For example recently on NDTV’s Jai Jawaan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor made an appearance. Now the mainstream viewer’s interest isn’t in the men guarding the borders but rather in the lovey-dovey couple who entertain the jawaans with their so-called patriotic fervor. Kids are more motivated than ever to be like them, to dress like them, to look good, to follow each and every day of their God-gifted luxurious lives. Eternal dumbness and a make-up box life is what they are beginning to seek, with imprudent determination.

The commercial success of Fair-N-Handsome creams, admiration for Shah Rukh Khan’s six-packs as if it was in the league of PM Singh sealing the nuclear deal and a dogged pursuit of I-will-watch-every-damn-movie-I-can outlook to this life is encouraging ignorance in multitude. The worst part is that exploitation is what will succeed such an attitude of know-less-and-less.

I don’t discount the contribution of Bollywood to uniting India. A few films have gone on to become timeless classics and are etched on the minds of contemporary India and will continue to be forever. But compare these with the unending barrage of the current stream of movies and you have to feel sad. So-called freedom appeasers will argue, and have argued with me in the past, that “Let people watch what they want to. You don’t watch it if you don’t like it”. All I can say is please watch whatever you want to, but keep your brains at the right place when you do judge a movie.

It is an ill-feeling if nothing else. Wake up and appreciate yourself. You, whatever you do for the betterment of the country, are MORE important and special than the puppets of “Indian cinema”.