The Great Indian Laugh Riot

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  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Great Indian Laugh Riot

    Ever been left frustrated by the shenanigans of fellow citizens? That make you wonder why we are like this only? The answer's here, tongue firmly in cheek. TOI invites you to be part of a unique campaign that takes a close look at the Great Indian — from babus, babas, barbarians & bargainers to garbage and gaali spewers. Come, be a part of the laugh lines

    By Cyrus Oshidar

    In Bollywood the term 'genius' has two meanings: One, reference to great talent. The other reference to an idiot — someone singularly free of talent yet successful.

    With all due respect, over the next few months we will examine some such geniuses — people defined not by talent but by its total absence. Men and women who in spite of themselves have carved out a unique place in popular culture. It may be The Great Indian Inspired Music Director — a legend whose greatest hits are someone else's or The Great Indian Patriot: the zealot who stands sprightly straight like a flagstaff for the national anthem in cinema halls and at times beats up those who don't, clutching his nachos-with-extra-dip close to his patriotic heart. I wonder if he stands up at home when he hears the anthem on TV or radio.

    We are a nation brimming with geniuses of every kind — an amazing array of species that confound, confuse and always amaze. I'm not sure you'll find more samples anywhere else in the world.

    Love them or hate them, they make up the living breathing mass of humanity that is the Circus of India: From politicians who walk the tightrope to bureaucrats who juggle with our lives. From the immoral 'moral brigade' to the ungodly godmen. From chastised homosexuals to new-age transgenders. From those who curse 'The Foreign Hand' to those who want to shake it all the time.

    They are all here in apna India: The desh that can send a mission to Mars but will not fix a pothole in Mumbai. That will make a hue and cry about black money abroad, despite knowing that most of it is probably in their backyards. With every passing day the spotlight falls on another act, another Great Indian: Today a hero, yesterday a villain, tomorrow whatever the media makes of him. Connecting them all, a nexus of absurdity and contradiction that maddens and entertains us because this is a show that never ends. It just gets more absurd.

    Join us over the next few months as we celebrate these geniuses; their traits and idiosyncracies — from the loathesome to the awesome — all joined together at the hip in this, The Greatest Show On Earth. See it all unfold at facebook.com/GreatIndianCircus and twitter.com/TheGreat_Indian First on the floor? The Great Indian Chamcha whose greasy tentacles are spread across all strata of public life. We see him most often in politics, lauding the unimaginable, fawning for favour, defying self-respect and logic. If the oil pipeline from India to Iran is never made, we need not worry because each of these guys is an 'oilfactory' gland himself; simply squeeze them all dry and we will have an export surplus for decades: The highest grade of 'crude.'

    So a warm hand for the chamcha — before he extends one of his/ hers to you.

    Let the show begin.

    (Cyrus Oshidar is a well-known humorist)
    The Great Indian Laugh Riot - The Times of India
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Mad in India: Spot your stereotype
    Manas Gupta


    It is indisputable. The subtext of the life of a billion Indians is the great circus — colourful, chaotic, cacophonous, and corrupt. We fling muck on the road and blame the government for it. We produce children faster than Japan produces cars. Our railway tracks are the world's largest public toilet.

    We equate our guests to Narayana, the God. That's our motto. But we specialize in fleecing tourists. The only thing longer than the Indian traffic jam is the classic Indian power-cut. Elsewhere in the world they cast their vote. In our land we vote our caste. And then, when we find netas utterly useless motor mouths, throw shoes at them (of course that's when they aren't preoccupied with throwing chairs at each other).

    These motley characters starring in The Great Indian Circus are a study in contrast — from The Great Indian Chamcha, whose sole specialization is kissing the boss's well-kissed butt, to the neighbourhood priest or maulvi firm in his belief that God is deaf, and only high-decibel devotion would shake him out of his stupor. From Johnny Bravo who's convinced his dad has gifted him the road to the road-rager who wants people to use 'Chhota Beam' at night but will blind others with his headlights, deafen with the horn.

    Our colourful country produces enough ammo for the guns of satire to blaze. People spit on the streets but that doesn't lead to a spat. When we answer a phone call it can be heard a mile away and when we answer nature's call, it's usually on a random public wall (pointedly ignoring the graffiti that calls you an ass for doing so).

    We brazenly jump signals and when the policeman catches us, we drop the "tu jaanta nahi mera baap kaun hai" line, hoping against hope that the man in khaki will tremble in his boots. Usually, that doesn't happen. The line is in tatters from overuse and the violator ends up greasing the cop's palms. At the next crossing, Mr Violator cribs: 'Kya hoga is desh ka?' Of course the cop is just another Great Indian Hasseler. He comes armed with a lathi, a colourful vocabulary and sometimes a paunch that doubles as a dining table. Heck, our police is probably scared of our moral police.

    Kids find no park to play. Adults find no place to park. We love speeding but potholes don't let us. We love reading but our billboards are a global joke (selling child beer and piping hot snakes since the 1970s). We forget literacy isn't a synonym for education. That's why a literate Chandu etches his undying love for Champa on the walls of a fort good old Shah Jahan built.

    We obsess over bargains. Girls at the panipuri vend invariably ask for one extra. Vegetables are not bought without a dash of free dhania-mirchi. The roadside T-shirt vendor is bound to give in when you tell him "na tumhari, na meri". The owner of a new car is always asked "kitna deti hai". And the autowallah always parrots: "Meter kharab hai".

    We scream about privacy and then enquire about Bunty's marks in board exams or why Bubbly is not getting married. We stand in long queues at the petrol pump after a one-rupee drop in prices and then spend crores on loud, garish weddings where the line for free food is even longer.

    We are Indians. We're like this only. We scratch our heads and look askance when told to figure out the difference between entry "through the backside" and "entry through the rear end".

    So yes, aside from our obsession with cricket, Bollywood and politics, the unapologetic Indian caricature is a reality. He lives life on his own terms, however unreasonable. Join us on this walk on the wild side, as we bring you the trapeze artists, jokers and ringmasters of this Great Indian Circus, act by act.
    Mad in India: Spot your stereotype - The Times of India
     

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