Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Kings of Hard Times

We, Indians, are in for hard times.

Well, by no means am I an economist. Or a philosopher, either. In fact, I am as close to being a philosopher as Viveik Oberoi is to making a sensible film. This is to say, pretty close, like a typo-free Manish Tewari. But joblessness can make you do things, like thinking.

The writing is on the wall-coloured business newspapers, which double up as notebook covers, that carry with them gory tales of bloodbath on the stock markets, of some random Government policy going wrong, and much more, that make as much sense to hostel dwellers as the mess food.

In fact, the writing has been there for quite some time now.
Rupee has weakened substantially like a pregnant woman over the past few months. Media people tell it has plummeted lower than Poonam Pandey’s neckline, which seemed as possible a few months ago as our PM talking on a random day which is not 15th August.

But, the reality is that it is happening. Rupee has topped 68 per dollar. Itne main toh traffic police bhi challan kaat leta hai. Experts see it clocking 70, thereby putting Nano to shame.

Then there is the acute Onion problem, priced at par with petrol and beer.

Indians, therefore, are spoilt for choice: Speed, intoxication or a fetid mouth? People are generally seen forsaking one stink for a higher one.

Last Monday, we were eating out, like we do every other Monday night when the cooks in the mess have this epiphany to perform better than they normally do. As we sat chatting about Miley Cyrus, the Chilli Chicken that we had ordered presented itself before us in all its glory. No onions, no chilli, but plain chicken in the form of pellets that reminded us of goats.

Even the Golgappa waala gave us sinister looks when we suggested he put some more chopped onion, the same look that he had once given me when I had demanded a third sookha paapdi.

Our PM, who is more of an economist than a statesman, the harbinger of change a couple of decades ago, has metamorphosed into a king from an Indian epic who had 100 kids. His kids and ministers ran amok, while he chose to be blind (well, blind and indifferent are different, but blind is better. At least it has a more plausible excuse). The parallels are unnerving.

Then there is the perennial Indian problem. 8 months and a violent backlash later, the animal instinct towards women remains intransigent. It is remarkable how often the PM gets misconstrued given the few occasions he chooses to open up. Economy sadak pe aa gai hai, aur logon ki animal instinct bhi.

As I write, Rupee approaches the magical figure of 69.

Then, there is this routine, everyday news about Chennai Express breaking yet another box office record, and Madras Café barely managing to scrape through, when the truth is that Chennai Express made Om Shanti Om look like Schindler’s list. Surely, to quote ACP Pradyumna, ‘kuch to gadbad hai’.

Now something irrelevant. Digvijaya Singh’s fan, you see.

Finally, Ben Affleck has been handpicked by Warner Bros to be the next Batman.

Personally, I don’t have any issues. Well, I am not important enough to have my issues addressed by the casting director anyways. But it is really interesting to note that an online petition against the casting of Ben Affleck has received more signatures than a similar petition to jail corrupt ministers, and the number of status updates that were posted by Indians against Ben Affleck, the same people who rave about Chennai Express.

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