Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wanted: A CEO for the Central Board of Film Certification

(After we discovered that the new CBFC CEO walked straight out of a teevee soap opera set in a tiny village in Northern India, we asked our sources to find out how this happened. After all, if there is anyone who stands up for liberal values and an artist’s right to express themselves, it’s the Central Board of Film Certification. Our source sent us the following job listing posted at by the CBFC to fill the position.)

Situation Wanted

Seeking a self-motivated, highly capable candidate who loves to seek new challenges.

Candidate must have loads of free time on his or her hands. Former government bureaucrats will be given preference. If he or she hasn’t worked for the government, candidate must show job experience where they have been needlessly mean and condescending to people for no reason whatsoever.

Candidate should have no self-awareness. Should have no qualms in forcing his or her own worldview onto other people. Candidates who blame the state of the world today on young people without any irony whatsoever will be given preference. Under no circumstances should the candidate even try to think ‘outside the box.’

Having an artistic sensibility is a strict no-no. An exposure to real art will interfere with the candidate’s job of telling people who were born with a camera in one hand and a three film UTV pictures contract in the other how to make their movies.

Candidate should not have seen any human genitals willingly or unwillingly in the last fifty years. Must be such a prude that he or she even covers up firm tomatoes or really long cucumbers/bananas. Candidate must have a disdain for people who wear provocative things like jeans or fastrack watches.

Candidate must constantly live in fear that someone, somewhere might actually enjoy his or her movie watching experience. The Central Board of Film Certification frowns upon that and will not allow it to happen under any circumstance. Letting adults make their own decisions is against our culture.

After two rounds of interviews, candidates will be required to find things to censor in the following movies: Jai Santoshi Maa, Any random Rajshri movie, Mother India

Compensation: A huge salary and the satisfaction of preventing literally dozens of people from seeing a nipple because they haven’t yet heard about the internet.

Interested candidates may send their application to:

Thank you for your interest!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Are You Ready for #VoterMania2014?

“Finally,” bellowed the announcer, “Arvind Kejriwal has come back to . . . Ramlila Maidan.” The crowd erupted with a huge cheer. They told him that this day wouldn’t come. They said that he would be a flash in the pan. They said that he was too insignificant to even be remembered as a historical footnote. Yet, here he was. Listening to the millions and millions of his supporters chanting his name. Arvind closed his eyes to soak in the moment. As he stepped up to the podium to take the oath of office, the noise was deafening. They could probably hear the happy roar of the crowd in the secure confines of a fancy bungalow in Janpath as well as the state capital of Gujarat. He smiled. From now on, he would be known as the most electrifying man in Indian politics. After everything was going to be said and done. After all the smoke will be cleared. There would only be one man left standing. And he will be none other than the trail blazing, Shiela Dikshit defeating, morning ablutions tweeting, muffler wearing, people’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal.

* * *

Previously, when we checked in with the people of New Delhi, they were busy haggling over who would get to play their chief minister and pretend to solve their problems. Since Shiela Dikshit had retired to spend more time with all the flyover models in her house and no one else had come forward to take her place, the city was being run by an empty bottle of imported whiskey. The Lt. Governor was so desperate to find a human administrator for the city that he even contemplated going old-school and settling the dispute as they used to do in ancient times: hosting a butter chicken eating contest and awarding the chief ministership to the winner of the contest. 

This situation came about because none of the parties in the legislature were in a position to form the government. In fact, in a first for electoral democracy, all the three parties wanted to sit in the opposition. The BJP fulfilled its election promise of providing strong leadership by refusing to even attempt to form the government, even though it was the party with the most legislators. The AAP didn’t want to form the government because (a) it wasn’t in the mood, (b) it had a headache and (c) it probably had too much wine at dinner, was very tired and all it wanted to do was go to sleep so would you please switch off the light, honey? The tiny group of legislators that belonged to the Congress were busy wondering what they were doing in the assembly anyway.

That question was answered a fortnight later when after days of goading by its political opponents, the news media, and its supporters, the AAP finally agreed to form the government with outside support from the Congress. Our national nightmare was finally over! The city with the highest number of government officials in the country was going to get another half dozen of them!

So history was made and thousands of people watched Arvind Kejriwal take the oath of office and become the first resident of Ghaziabad to become the Chief Minister of New Delhi. Never before had so many people gathered together in a single venue without any food stalls in the vicinity. The stage Kejriwal took the oath on was made of wood, concrete, Anna Hazara’s crumbled hopes, Harsh Vardhan’s tears and faux piousness.

In a month’s time, Arvind Kejriwal had gone from flash-in-the-pan-do-gooder, to being labelled as the most omnipotent force in Indian politics. He became India’s newest boyfriend and/or saviour. His narrative was less expert politician and more vanquishing hero. It’s like something out of a wrestling storyline. An unknown man comes out of nowhere and issues a challenge to the more established candidates. They mock him and act like he is no threat to them even though they’re really worried of losing their position. They try to stop him by any means necessary. They throw every roadblock his way and make him go through every obstacle they can think of. Yet, he overcomes all of their challenges and despite the overwhelming odds, emerges victorious and wins the championship. Even Vince McMahon couldn’t come up with something better.

So, now, everyone wants to be his friend. Social activists, people pretending to be social activists, actors, billionaires, politicians not affiliated to any other political party right now, busybodies, journalists, children and grandchildren of freedom fighters, senior citizens who are also members of their local laughter club, adults who once wrote an essay in school about things that they would do if they were made the prime minister, and folks who love that Anil Kapoor movie in which he gets to be chief minister for one day. All of them are all lining up to join the AAP.

Since he’s the most popular kid in school now, the other political parties don’t know what to do with him. The BJP keeps trying to prove that whatever actions Kejriwal takes has been done by them before. We hated the Congress before it was cool. The BJP zombies on twitter who-till last month-were so goddamn sure of Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister for life and their party winning all the parliamentary seats in general election are now spending the better part of their day fruitlessly trying to prove that Kejriwal is the worst thing to happen to the country since bollywood producers discovered Telugu movies. The Congress has a love-hate relationship with the AAP. They love them for taking away the ‘change’ mantle from the BJP. But they hate them for taking away the we’re-the-only-thing-standing-between-you-and-desi Putin mantle away from the Congress. However, they still have to pretend to like the AAP because Rahul Gandhi is fascinated by them. So they support the AAP with the same enthusiasm shown by children who are forced by their parents to accompany them on visits to older relatives who insist on discussing the strange rash on their pelvis during dinner.

So, ladies and gentlemen, that’s going to be your next few months. One man’s election campaign is going to be another man’s gladiatorial soap opera.

* * *

He stood on the stage and saw all his Modimaniacs looking at him with their expectant eyes, chanting his name, treating every word out of his mouth as a pronouncement from god. He smirked. Did anyone really think that they could stop his momentum? Or steal his thunder? There is no one out there that can even come close to inspiring the sort of devotion that he does. After all, he is the excellence of execution. The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. He is so close to taking what is rightly his that he can almost taste it.  All he needs to do is to keep reminding people to say their prayers and take their vitamins. His critics can do and say whatever they want. Haters gonna hate, right? The real question dear critics, he thought to himself, is that whatcha gonna do, brothers, when the Modimaniacs run wild on you?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Open letter to Baldev Sigh from the movie ‘Apne’

Namaste Uncleji!

When we first met you, you were resigned to spending the rest of your days bitterly obsessing over winning that boxing trophy/belt/whatever. You didn’t even realize how your single track obsession has ruined the lives of everyone else in your family. Especially, both your sons. They might put on a brave face in front of you, but on the inside, they’re probably rueing the day that they were born.

Let’s begin with the eldest. Why are you so hostile to him? Why do you expect him to fight your battles? Did you want him to continue to give up the best years of his life trying to achieve something that you failed to? Okay, I get it. You’re an Indian. From a village in Punjab. You want your son to follow you into the family business. Which he did! For some time. He gave you the best years of his life! (-ish). His best, mate-attracting, child bearing, years. He let you waste his precious putting-in-the-hard-work-that-you-can-only-do-in-your-20’s years. And then he went on to do something that seems like an alien concept to you: provide for his family. It’s because of him that you can spend all your time shadow boxing with your demons. It’s because of him that your wife doesn’t have to spend all winter knitting sweaters and mufflers to sell at the local bazaar or spend her summer washing your neighbour’s dirty utensils. It’s because of him that you live in a big-ass house in which you and your best friend/#1 fan/stalker get to reminisce about the good ol’ days. Instead of going “Thank you son! You’re a fucking national treasure,” you don’t even bother to TALK to him? What the hell is wrong with you?

As for your youngest spawn, do you realize that your he lost his arm because you were out trying to be the youngest-boxing-champion-who-looks-like-an-eighty-year-old? That itself should have given you pause, Mohammad Ali. Anyway, one day, a miracle happens. His hand recovers! A person who had made peace with the fact that he is going to have to spend the rest of his life with only one hand (do you have any idea how difficult it is to both masturbate and manoeuvre porn with just one hand?) is then able to use BOTH HIS HANDS. A life changing event! Something which only happens to perhaps one in a trillion people! A lesser man would have counted his blessings and lived happily (albeit a little bitterly) to the end of his days. But, as we all know by now, you’re not a lesser man.

So you start training your formerly handicap son a week after he starts recovering from his disability. Good call, father of the year! You put him through a gruelling physical regimen for a dangerous and useless boxing championship which he, on paper, has no chance of winning. Again, let’s remind ourselves that HE WAS LIMITED IN HIS MOVEMENTS TILL ABOUT A WEEK AGO!

Now, after your hard and vigorous training, which would not have been good for his newly un-paralyzed hand, he finally enters the local boxing championship, defeating the last guy who betrayed you. A more mature man would have realized how hard he has pushed his luck, but as we established in the beginning, you aren’t a mature man. You are the sort of person who interprets the recovery of his son as the last opportunity for you to finally be able to tick the last item on your bucket list. If god didn’t want you to emotionally blackmail your offspring into spending their youth trying to accomplish your unrealistic goals, then he wouldn’t have ordered his stork to drop them into your glove shaped house.

So you finally set sail to “America,” for the “international boxing championship” which no one has ever heard about. HOW PRESTIGIOUS CAN IT REALLY BE?

Anyway, unrealistically, your son keeps winning. He even manages to reach the finals! Then, something which everyone with even a pea brain could see coming happens. He ends up in the ICU! It hasn’t even been six months since he regained the use of both arms and you pushed him into doing something which even stronger people who can use both their hands are not able to do. Best Dad ever!

After you send your youngest progeny to battle between life and death, you start training your eldest son again. SERIOUSLY? He’s fifty years old. He can barely lift a handpump anymore and you want him to fight a boxing championship against someone who is at the top of their game? And you think you can train him to do that in one month? Even David Blaine is going “Dude, that is some crazy shit.” Do you want to relegate all the women in your family to go back to sewing and knitting for the rest of their lives?

However, thanks to the big bookie in the sky, the biggest miracle in the world since you having a career happens and your eldest son wins the championship. Phew! I hope that makes you happy! Couldn't you have just stuck a sock down there like a normal person instead of almost destroying the lives of the unfortunate fruit of your lions?

And if you think that your eldest son won the trophy for you, then you’re a few bottles short of a full crate of Bagpiper soda. He did it because he realised that if you didn’t get your “prestigious” trophy, you would’ve lived long enough to make his children fight your battles.

In short, paaji, you’re a terrible father!

History’s greatest monster!

Also, what’s with all the overacting?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A District Attorney in New York Arrested a Diplomat for Visa Fraud. You will Never Guess What Happened Next!

(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)

The past few weeks have been really distressing for those of us who like to think of themselves as ‘Americaphiles.’ We have been betrayed, left saddened and made to feel unwanted by someone we used to fondly refer to as Uncle Sam. By arresting Devyani Khobragade for the crime of simply being an Indian, they have unintentionally let us know what they really think of us. And from where we’re sitting, it doesn’t look pretty.

Various interests group have turned Devyani Khobragade into a symbol of their pre-formed beliefs. To some, the furore over Devyani’s arrest seems like a representation of everything that is wrong with India’s elites. They declare that the reason the establishment is acting out is because someone dared to treat them like “a normal,” and not like the precious gift that they are. They proclaim that since most members of the elite have been allowed to get away with breaking the law in their own country, they don’t understand why another country wouldn’t accord them the same privilege. Being given special consideration is their birthright and they shall have it!

Of course, the people accusing the country’s decision making apparatus of overreacting couldn’t be more wrong. Obviously, the real symbol in the whole hullaballoo is Sangeeta Richards. She is what is wrong with the country. She did not for once think about all the things Devyani had done for her! Would anyone else have taken her to New York? I bet that Sangeeta was probably the first member of her family to even see the inside of an International airport. And Devyani provided her with everything! She didn’t even charge Sangeeta market rates for all the calls made to India. She just automatically deducted a small amount of money from Sangeeta’s salary. Not because Devyani couldn’t afford to pay for Sangeeta’s calls. Not at all! She was teaching her the value of money. How else would have Sangeeta learned how important money is since she probably spent her whole life without having much of it? Devyani also gave Sangeeta all her clothes that she wasn’t using anymore. Some of them were almost brand new, or worn only a couple of times. Do you think Sangeeta could afford a Dior? Ha! Not with what Devyani paid her, for sure! It is clear that Sangeeta did this for a green card. She saw all those buildings visible from Devyani’s New York residence and got greedy. If only Devyani hadn’t relaxed the ‘no going outside at all’ rule she had for Sangeeta out of the goodness of her heart, none of this would have happened.

The Americans made a huge mistake by arresting Devyani. They can deny us access to the mastermind behind one of the major terrorist attacks in our country. They can even invade the privacy of millions of our citizens and access all their private information. But, arresting one of our own for violating the rule of law in their country? That is taking things too far! I blame Preet Bharara, the District Attorney handling her case, for detonating this diplomatic time bomb. What sort of name is “Preet Bharara” anyway? What is he, an appetizer in an Indian restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking District? Although, one day, I’d really like to meet his twin brother, Preet Changezi. Is this how he treats a citizen from the country of his birth? After all we’ve done for Bharara! Sure, if his parents had stayed in India, he’d not have gotten most (or any) of the opportunities that he has had, but that is not the point! We gave him a name that is not only familiar but also sounds exotic at the same time. That must be come in handy during election time. We gave him a lifelong love of the law by ensuring that his actual place of birth was a lawless wasteland. We even gave him a huge vote bank of Americans of Indian origin by making certain that the only way they could be successful was to go to foreign shores. And this is how he repays us?

Mr. Bharara put Devyani in jail. With common criminals! Is this how they treat important people in the so-called ‘oldest democracy in the world?’ Maybe Mr. Bharara and his cohorts should come to India to learn how to treat people of stature who might be suspected of committing or have been convicted of committing a crime. We give them the respect they deserve and the resources they are used to. Make them feel like they’re not in jail, but at home. And we don’t let them mix with the riffraff in any circumstances. Regular jail is for people without any connection to someone important. Only an unpatriotic person would disagree with this arrangement.

So we did what we had to do to put the Americans in their place. We hit them where it really hurts! First we unfriended them on Facebook. Then, we cancelled their licences for importing liquor and afterwards, we got rid of all the barricades outside their embassy. That’ll teach them! Now, they will think twice before messing with us. Although, if it were up to me, I would have taken more stringent measures. Like putting up a huge statue of Edward Snowden giving the finger right opposite the US Embassy in New Delhi. We could force them to use only the Vodafone 3G network to try to access the internet. Or give them free tickets to an exclusive screening of the new hobbit movie, block all the exits once all of them are inside the theatre, and then play Dhoom 3 instead.

However, the most important and inspiring lesson of the series of events was lost in all the noise. And it is that as long as you know someone who matters, you can do anything you want. The world is literally your oyster.

And don’t you ever forget that.

Now please excuse me as I explain to my indentured servants why rising prices mean that their salaries would have to be cut in half.