Monday, March 30, 2009

Hey Asshole, stop asking me to vote!

It's not like I don't want to vote. I do. In fact, I want to vote so bad that I once thought of voting for Indian Idol or one of it's clones. But then, thankfully, the next second I realized that it would involve voting for ugly, talentless karaoke singers the highlight of whose life would be a few weeks of constantly trying to impress Anu Malik. That's even worse than being the ghostwriter for George Bush's upcoming pop-up book (tentatively called "Dumbassery for Dummies") or handling PR for Osama Bin Laden.

Although, whoever is handling Osama's PR seems to be doing a pretty bang up job. That guy is huge is Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kind of like a medieval Micheal Jackson, but instead of little human children, he likes to have "fun" with goats.

So as I was saying, I'd like to vote for a candidate in the upcoming general elections. I would. But the problem is that out of the thousands of possible candidates, I can't even find one person who, in my opinion, should hold an office in our government.

Now, I remember a few months ago I was all like "Dude, you gotta vote.." and stuff, but as usual, I seemed to have flip-flopped.

It's easy to say "go out and vote", but really FOR WHOM?

Being asked to vote for the anyone in the current dispensation is like being asked to pick the talented Hilton sister. Or taking sides in the whole Brangelina-Aniston feud.

Democracy is supposed to be easy, isn't it? You vote for people who would do minimum damage to your taxes and spend the next five years regretting your decision. And then you vote for the other guy, and spend the next five years regretting your decision. And then it goes on and on, just like the Lord of the Rings.

Although our democracy is still better and more resilient than the madhouse inmates we have as neighbors. At least it pretends to give everyone a voice, even if everyone is shouting and no one can really hear each other.

What we forget is that a government is supposed to be as good as the people. So, our current government, who in a time of a global economic crisis does not even have a dedicated finance minister, is a perfect metaphor of how much we really care about the people who run our government.

We can pretend that having a bad government does not affect us, just like our board of education pretends that sex education can be imparted without actually talking about sex. We can tell ourselves that having people who have no knowledge of the nuances of foreign policy as leaders in our government does not really affect us directly, even when our leaders make a Bond villain seem like a saner choice. We can assure ourselves that we are lucky to be able to grease palms for getting things done, even for those activities which are essentially our fundamental right. After all, it is infinitely better than not being able to "afford" one's freedom.

Everytime a terrorist attack takes place in our country, we can feign helplessness, call everyone we know to find out if they are doing okay, blame the damn government and then go back to ignoring reality and voting for our favorite contestant on a reality show. I mean, c'mon, isn't Dancing with the Stars the best thing since sliced bread? And have you heard, the Bachchans and SRK are friends again? OMFG.

Unless we are part of the solution, we are also part of the problem.

The people "leading" our country are a mirror to our society. I completely agree that our leaders are supposed to be better than the swarming, bumbling, pathetic, out of touch, low life criminals having a rather large sense of entitlement we currently have.

But that's us too, isn't it?

The real question isn't whether they are better than that or not.

The real question is, are we?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Indian politicians lack of tech-saviness bytes them in the modem

People all over India are simultaneously fuming over the attempts of political leaders who are trying to create an impression of being tech-savvy. It seems that the voters have no bandwidth for leaders who aren't Y2K-okay. Or for people who use words like "tech-savvy".

"It's like a slap on the face", said Ram Bharosay, a farmer in the Eastern state of Uttar Pradesh, while baking cakes of cow dung. "They're half-baked attempts at trying to sound relevant would have been funny if they weren't so tragic. And I should know about tragedy. My family lost me at the Kumbh mela. Although I was able to find them on facebook last year. It's so painful to hear that these politicians are just discovering the internet. C'mon. I even met my wife through the internet. Although, she looks nothing like the picture she posted on her eHarmony profile. In fact, I later found out that it was a picture of Meg Ryan. I feel so stupid when I think about it now."

"Meh", said 13 year old Anandi, mother of five, who in a few years will become the world's youngest Octo-Mom. "These old fuddy-duddy politicans are so not with it. Look at me, I catch up on my blog-reading and answer all my mails on my blackberry while I trek four miles everyday to fetch a pale of water. In fact, I'll sell the next daughter I have to get money for this cool new VAIO P mini laptop the girls at the river have been talking about. I would have sold one of the daughters I currently have, but someone needs to cook and clean and look after my two precious little boys. Since we can't afford insurance cover, giving birth to as many boys as I can is my best bet for old age. I mean, at least one of them will survive malaria and live to be a great-grandfather at forty."

"It's stuff like this which makes me want to go live in America", said 17 year old Enaraye, while sipping his Chai Latte. "These people just got started with blogging. And everybody knows that blogging is so 2004. Everyone is on twitter now. Who do these people think they are? Obama?". He would have said more but he was busy sending tweets to the fake Tina Fey profile hoping for a response.

When accused that they are copying Barack Obama's internet strategy, one of the chief architects of the IT team helping political parties formulate an online presence, Mr Anu Malik, said that "So what? No one can lay claim on an idea. Two people can have the same idea, can't they? In fact just yesterday I thought of this song ..." He then began singing a song which was suspiciously similar to Coldplay's Viva La Vida.

However, not everyone is impressed. One of the leaders of the left parties, Mr Iama Doosh, said that "all this facebook-ing and tweeting is a capitalist conspiracy to encourage people to stay in touch. Why do we need to stay in touch, exactly? I have not spoken a word to my wife since our wedding night fifty years ago and both of us are happy. Although, sometimes I do wonder why my son bears a striking resembalance to my wife's yoga teacher, and feel the urge to ask her a few questions. But I have a strict principle that one should not fix something which ain't broke. Just like our policy of non-alignment. Except of course, when it comes to China. Then all bets are off."

Other objections were also being raised. Mr Ver Gin, a prominent leader of the Ramanand Sagar Sena, said that "All this social networking etc. is against our culture. We will not tolerate all these loose women who are ..err... let loose by their parents so that they can visit these amoral websites. In fact, we are going to storm any cyber-cafe which dares to let women access the internet without being accompanied by a male relative. The only "networking" these women should be doing is with kitchen utensils."

Critcs also lament that the politicians attempt to reach out to younger, trying-to-be-hip voters is a farce. In response to a question, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said that "The lingua franca used by the self-anointed pioneers of modish culture is bewildering, perplexing, confounding and it contravenes and repudiates the small fabric which binds society together and annihilates national integration. I call for the end of such disengenious and rasputainesque attempts." We later found out that the question Mr Bhatt was asked was "Will you have fries with that?"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Indian Political Parties decide upon common code of conduct

Today, all the leaders of the all the political parties met to decide on a common code of misconduct conduct. They said that even though the election commission has one, they have decided to come up with a few bullet points lest they be accused of having a hidden agenda. The atmosphere was of quite cordiality. Everyone was all hugs and air kisses. It was more like a high school reunion and less like the meeting of mortal enemies. Which was even more surprising because most of these people haven't even been to high school.

After the party was over, they all sat down and came up with the following code of conduct for all the parties to follow for the 2009 general elections:

1. Giving Criminals a ticket - Just because you commit a murder or five or incite a mob to go on a killing spree does not mean you get disqualified from serving your country. Didn't you know that if you are a politician, the doctrine "Everyone is innocent even if proven guilty multiple times" applies to you. Even if you do look like a gangster from a RGV movie. I mean, c'mon, if it doesn't look kosher, it doesn't taste kosher, it's got to be kosher, isn't it?

2. Politics of Division - There is an urban legend in Indian. That if the British hadn't used the policy of Divide and Rule, today's India would be a nation of people who run around hugging and giving each other eggless chocolate cakes. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, however, we are politicians. If we start speaking the truth then we run the risk of getting publically stoned like gay people were during biblical times. So we use every trick in the book to pit one part of the populace against the other. If religion, caste, region, choice of butter are taken, we'll find some new issue to encourage hatred. It's not like the people in this country want to sit with each other, light a bonfire and sing Kumbaya. This shit is almost too easy.

3. Stunt Casting - The people in this country don't really want some drab, boring professorial policy wonk who actually knows what he is doing to represent them. No siree Bob. They want famous people whose trifle million rupee income they can supplement by sending them to the legislature to "legislate". (By the way, we just googled the meaning of the word. Is that what our founding fathers imagined we would be doing with the paltry time of five years or less? Those people must have been on dope. LOL). So just when we run out of issues to recycle, happens every now and then, we bring in someone famous who has been tainted and/or has no other work and cannot get a job as a reality show judge.

4. Booth Capturing - This is the century of convenience. India is developing, people. If you can sit at home and get everything from toothpaste to a big screen TV, why not elect a government by sitting at home? Why worry yourself silly and decide which party you want to enable so that they can plunder the treasury. Let the professionals decide. Real democracy is letting the person who has the most number of professional goons decide who wins. As Darwin said, survival of the fittest. You would have known who Darwin was if we would have built the school we promised. Well, our bad. Maybe next time, eh?

5. Policy Scmolocy - Look, we'd love to have a policy and follow a strict ideology and all. But the advantage of not having a well defined agenda is that it makes it easier to align with any party when the need arises. We don't want to put labels on each other and get boxed in, you know. Some people may say that we are left-wing or right-wing or we rule from the center, but we really don't have any principles we care about. Except of course, the principle of doing anything to be in power.

6. Taking credit for things other people do - You can't get more Indian than taking credit for the work of others. So what if people and industries are successful in India despite the ancient bureaucratic red tape? So what if businessmen have to work AROUND the government instead of working with it? So what if the government machinery is structured in such a way that hard working people struggle to make ends meet? Those are just myths propagated by the liberal media elite. Elitists who wear kurtas made from khadi and women who wear "lipstick and makeup". Elitists all of them. These people don't vote anyway. So what if we take credit for things we absolutely had nothing to do with? Just be grateful that it escaped our radar and it somehow miraculously happened. Otherwise we would have nipped it in the bud. Or at least profited from it. Beauty Queens? We let the women out of their house. IT revolution? Who do you think they had to bribe to start their operations? Backoffice of the world? Well, if we had invested in things other then our own offspring's future, there might have been other jobs for MBA graduates. Indra Nooyi & Arun Sarin? We drove them out of our country and look how they were able to unleash their capabilities and catapult themselves to a successful career.

It's all because of us, people.

You're welcome.

Jai Ho
to you too.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

This ain't your grandma's culture

The term "Indian Culture" keeps getting thrown around a lot these days. Just like if you tell a few clients to shove their ideas you-know-where you are suddenly branded as "difficult to work with". Pfft.

What is Indian Culture? What actually defines Indian culture?

Well, the truth is, no one really knows. And if anyone tell you they do, well, they are either crazy or they work for Ekta Kapoor. Wait, that's like an oxymoron.

I'm not saying we don't have a culture. Of course. Our civilization is possibly thousands of years old. And in certain parts of South Asia, you can still see people living it up like it's 8 B.C. .

In my not so humble opinion (hey, everyone knows I'm a blowhard; so that is mostly a moot point anyway), culture is not a strict set of rules written in a book and to be followed strictly even five or six thousand years later. Culture changes according to time. And culture means adapting.

Long before Columbus discovered America and they stole our gig of being a "melting pot" of cultures, ancient India (pre-AK Hangal) was supposed to be cultural center of the whole world. (Much like modern day New York. Except the women had less silicon implants and more armpit hair.) Even most of the religons were invented in India, except the three abrahamic religions. And of course Scientology. That was invented when Tom Cruise fell from his motocycle while shooting Top Gun and damaged the last remaining working cells in his brain. Another side effect of Scientology is that it causes people to act like a nutjob whenever they are in the presence of a higher power.

I'm not one of those LSD trips in which I say that we have the richest culture in the world and talk like someone who lives in the alternate universe created by Suraj Bharjatiya's Rajshri productions where everyone respects their elders and the death of Alok Nath's character brings world peace.

Our culture has been a mishmash of various cultures around the world. Our country has been invaded and plundered more times than Maddona. I am not that big a student of history (mainly because I can't even remember what happened last night. Hey, at least I made it home. Give a brother some credit.) but we all know that there were Aryans, Greeks, Mughals, Turks, Persians, Frenchmen, Portugese, Chinese, Britons and a few hundred aliens from the planet blingon who looked like Bappi Lahri.

So our culture is pretty much like a plate of "mix vegetable" available in the choicest of really bad vegetarian restaurants, a mixture of everything that's leftover from the previous day. Hey, don't look at me like that. I would rather die than go to a place which serves vegetarian food. But when you're young, broke and in college, it's a great place to take college professors you want to bribe. By college professors I mean guy who marked the attendance.

So when people say that doing certain things "is against our culture", I find it to be as thin an argument as Kareena Kapoor was in Tashan.

Another thing that pisses me off (and fortunately I am not the only one) is when people style themselves as self-serving protectors of Indian culture. The most ironic thing about such people is that even they have no idea about what they are trying to defend. So these people go about defining Indian culture as not wearing jeans and beat up innocent people for living their lives, they are no different from the dittoheads the world over who have a certain kind of misplaced dedication to false causes like religous fundametalism and Star Trek.

Then there is another large consistency which has taken it upon itself to preserve Indian culture (or their version of it) from attacks from other less moralistic and cruel cultures so that they can stop their children from turning into Zombies who listen to hip-hop and have sex with each other and disappear the next morning. And then don't even call back.

Yes, you guessed it. This peculiar creature is commonly known as the NRI. The unfortunate one who has to leave his poor, frail home which has fifty people sharing a two bedroom apartment with just a single washroom where people have to sing when occupying it because locks are a western concept and go to greener pastures which have luxuries like indoor plumbing and twenty four hour convenience stores. (Okay. Not everybody shares Bobby Jindal's story. But you get the idea.)

A few weeks ago there were some NRI family friends visiting. We were having a discussion and I told her that I know lots of people who prefer to live-in together before getting married. Or choose not to get married at all. She looked at me like I had just shot a litter of kitten and proceeded to roast them over the burning body of their mother.

And then, she said without even blinking, with an air of sincere misplaced superiority, "But that's against our culture".

It was my turn to stare.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gordon Brown awarded US congressional medal of boredoom

The day after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed the joint session of the US Congress, he became the first ever world leader to be awarded the "Congressional Medal of Boredom."

House speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the move as a step in the right direction. She said that "In a chamber which has Senators John McCain and John Kerry, it takes a lot to be called as most boring. In fact, by the end of Mr Brown's speech, the Botox under my lower lip had started to leak".

Last year Senator John Kerry visited Aqua World and as soon as the dolphin performing that day saw him, she went into depression and died the next day. And former presidential candidate, John McCain had to hire the sixth Spice girl, Bible Spice, as his running mate to stay afloat during the elections last year.

Scientists say that Gordon Brown has been discovered to have the charisma of a bottle of home made disinfectant and the magnetism of a stale box of Pringles.

"Listening to his speech was like watching four back to back episodes of Doctor Who. It was like time stopped. Even getting circumcised was less painful", said Connecticut Senator Joe Liberman.

Some congressional representatives tried to use technology to escape. "I was twittering Save me....Save me Jesus in morse code", said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

"Now I know what my wife and children go through everytime we sit to have dinner" read the twitter feed of Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA).

White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs praised Congress for acting so prudently. "The British Prime Minister can kill hope as fast as President Obama can manufacture it. In fact, this is one of the reasons we kicked the British out in 1776. That and because who in their right mind would want to have Sheppard's pie for dessert?"

We tried to get a reaction from the British Prime Minister, but our reporter killed himself while Mr Brown was in the middle of his acceptance speech.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pakistan denies existence of the Sri Lankan Cricket team

The spokesperson for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, El Harami, in a press conference today denied that there was any attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, which was widely reported and shocked the world yesterday. "In fact", said Mr Harami, "we believe that there is no country known as Sri Lanka. It suspiciously sounds very similar to someone who would come up with a program like the Art of living. Therefore, if they do not exist, how can they have a cricket team? This clearly proves that this is an attempt by certain foreign elements who want to damage our stellar international stature. Also, in a side note, we don't believe in the art of living. Living is for wimps. We prefer dying. In fact, it's sort of a national sport. It was pioneered by the Bhutto family".

When quizzed about the growing problem of terrorism in Pakistan, Mr Harami said that "Look. President Zardari is a big follower of the policies of former US President, George W Bush. And according to the Bush doctrine, the first step in eliminating a problem is to deny it's existence. Step 2 is blaming the wrong country and Step 3 is TBD. We are just on Step 1."

When asked about Pakistan's growing reputation as a failed state, he said that "Hey, no publicity is bad publicity. We are like the Paris Hilton of countries. Instead of exporting STD's we export crazy people who want to kill a large number of innocent people who cause them no harm. We're not a flash in the pan outfit like Hamas. We got tenure on our side. We've been doing this shit for decades".

When asked to comment on the Pakistani President's statement, a representative for the Sri Lankan foreign ministry, Mr Hol Ycrapinghe said that "At this stage, who really cares about what Pakistan thinks. We were one of the the last few to pay attention, really. The only other countries left are Bangaldesh and Ghana."