(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
As they keep telling us, India is the land of diversity. We’re united in our differences! In fact, the only thing keeping us together is cricket, our inexplicable hatred for people who are even slightly different from us, and the inherent wisdom that’s embedded into each child that is born on this blessed land. Not that we’ve ever lacked wisdom. We’ve always been the land where lost souls arrive from other countries to find their enlightened selves. Foreign tourists have been treating our country like a global yoga retreat for centuries. But some of these ungrateful people also stole our secrets and used them for their own personal benefit. As any real patriot will tell you, the secret to everything was written in the puranas. Yet, we’ve never taken advantage of our own ancient wisdom, because we’ve been too busy following the self-destructive path Macaulay laid out for us.
However, all this is set to change. Recently, self-proclaimed avatar of Vallabhai Patel and the wisest man in the world, Narendra Modi, gathered some future disciples and explained some facts of life to them. He said that in 1947, when India awoke to freedom and being condescended to by our own elected leaders, the dollar and the rupee were at par. And now, thanks to the retirement community running our central government, the Rupee has fallen on hard times. In fact, the rupee is so destitute, it’s like an unemployed college graduate in a Raj Kapoor movie. The only way it can buy itself a few measly meals is to turn to a life of crime. We can’t let that happen!
Now, even though the assertion is completely false, it feels like the truth. So what if the Rupee was pegged against the pound until 1966? It doesn’t matter that in terms of real value, a dollar in 1947 was equivalent to four rupees. Let us ignore the fact that if the dollar and the rupee would be at par right now then we’d actually be in the middle of an economic disaster. We wouldn’t be able to continue to be the ‘outsourcing haven’ that we are. Neither would we be able to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ that is our god-given destiny. The point is that if one rupee is not equal to one dollar, then a great insult has been perpetuated on our people. It’s not economics deciding the value of the rupee, it’s racism! And this government won’t do anything about it because it’s so effete. Real men avenge imaginary insults. So we’re going to have our revenge by seducing more British directors into making movies about poverty so that another rejected AR Rahman song takes over the Oscars.
Not to be outdone, Modi’s opponent, Congress Vice President and ‘Boy Wonder’ without a Batman, Rahul Gandhi, enthusiastically declared that if India was a computer then the Congress party was its default operating system. Which explains why every file in the computer’s memory is corrupted, no programs work as intended and the computer only works for five minutes every morning. So this is why all of the computer’s software applications ignore the user and only take instructions from the motherboard. Maybe the makers of India’s operating system should look into why there is no sound emanating from the speaker? I’m no expert, but I think the problem lies in the sound card. It was a popular brand in its heyday, but now it is just a shell of its former self, doing nothing but waiting for the time when a younger, much more subservient sound card puts it out of its misery.
Following in the footsteps of his dear leader, real life Shakespearian tragedy and Minister in-charge of the government’s propaganda department, Manish Tewari, gave a speech too. Among other equally brilliant ideas, he proposed that journalists should be issued a license before being allowed to practice journalism (or its local equivalent). This is a great idea because that worked out so well for other similar democracies like China and North Korea. Not many people know this, but we already have a pilot program in place. If any expat journalist reports on things that the government doesn’t really like talking about, they don’t renew their visa under some flimsy pretext or the other. This project has been a huge success! There are no negative stories about India in the foreign press. What works in our favour is that there is no other way people in the world can know what is going on in our country besides reading reports by foreign journalists. After his speech, Manish Tewari got into his time-travelling Premier Padmini, stopped at Connaught Place in 1989 for a Wimpy’s burger and a Campa Cola. Then he headed back to whence he came.
However, the award for the most intelligent activity of the week goes to all those people who were protesting the movie Madras Cafe because it portrayed the LTTE in a negative light. Heaven forbid someone think unfavourably about the LTTE! They assassinated a former Prime Minister and committed various atrocities on the very people they pretended to protect; yet, appearing in a John Abraham movie is going to give them a bad reputation! All I’m saying is that if you want to protest a movie exploiting Tamil stereotypes to make a huge amount of money, then you’re probably confusing Madras Cafe with the other recent movie which uses the capital of Tamil Nadu in its title.
If only there were some place where we could go and seek the truth.