(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
Parents all over the country sighed in relief this week when famous never-nudes at the I&B ministry issued a fatwa against broadcasting a national award winning movie because it was too ‘bold & mature’ (bureaucratic euphemism for ‘portrays sexual intercourse in terms other than the abhorrent sin it is’) for mainstream audiences. This was strange because the main message of the yanked movie was that if you sex too many people, everyone will shun you and you will end up killing yourself. This is also the kind of message most adults want to send to their children. Because if there is one thing most people in this country loathe, it’s talking about things with their children like a normal person. What should be a short, breezy conversation about the facts of life turns into an awkward conversation of epic proportions. Why talk and smooth things out to make life better for everyone involved when you can emotionally blackmail your children into suppressing what comes naturally to them?
The thing is, we need to protect our children from real life because we don’t want them to get strange ideas. This is a slippery slope. If you let them make decisions based on their own judgement, they will want to try things for themselves. Its better to pretend that things don’t exist rather than risk them doing stuff you don’t approve of. That is why nobody on those foreign shows on television eats beef and Brokeback Mountain was a documentary about drilling for minerals. Our national motto should be “Nothing to see here, move along.” Don’t you know that reality is against Indian culture?
Speaking of being alien to reality, rejected ‘Bengal Idol’ contestant and ongoing train-wreck Mamta Banerjee was busy trying to impress her fraternity members at the ‘South Asian Dictators Club’ while her government continued its slow troddle towards La La Land. This week, Bengal’s ‘eternal Chief Minister’ issued a diktat warning people against fraternizing with the CPM. Members of her party and their supporters & family members are not supposed to be friends with, be married to or even be seen in the vicinity of any known communists. The last time someone issued a warning like this, Germany was still two separate countries. Of course, since she lives in a padded room where no contrary thoughts are allowed to enter, a lot of the criticism online was directed towards her Man Friday, Derek O’Brien.
Everyone was surprised how this holy quizmaster could let them down by not speaking out against his paranoid boss. Maybe it’s an effect of putting my brain through various experiments which involved ‘medical marijuana’ (What? It was a sacrifice! For science!), I don’t remember O’Brien ever being an outspoken proponent of free speech. Do you think he hosted that quiz show because he cared about children knowing silly trivia?
Did we assume that he would be a free speech ayatollah because he is one of the presumed future saviours of Indian democracy, the saintly ‘people like us.’ Its accepted gospel that unlike those poor, deprived souls from villages and other have-not communities who plunder the government’s treasury like a regular Mahmud Ghazni, people like us will stand up for what’s right! They would rather quit their posts than be a party to something utterly despicable. Wouldn’t we do that too, if we were in the same position? Even though in our own lives we do everything we don’t think other people should do. We lie because that’s a necessity of modern life. We bribe because that’s the cost of living in India. We break laws which don’t suit us because, let’s face it, most of them are ridiculous. We laugh at the horrible (and borderline racist) jokes our bosses make because we want to get ahead and playing the game is one way to do that. In this country, you give someone even the tiniest bit of power and they’ll show you who is boss. Everyone is the king of their castle, even if their castle is a broken down shack right next to garbage dump. And yet! We are shocked and appalled when our politicians exhibit the same behaviour.
Yes, like us, they are a shitty excuse for a human too.
Just don’t tell my future children I said that.