Times Now

Freedom of choice has become a luxury in these uncertain times


Seth McFarlane’s last movie, Million Ways to Die in the West, didn’t do much for his coffers. I know the feeling, living on in everybody’s hearts, but absent from their cheque books, much to my chagrin. But the movie made me see just how these are terrible times for India where we ingeniously keep Darwin’s memory alive with new ways to snuff out intelligent life.

Swipe right Falling in love used to be hard on the heart, and for the 40+, on the knees, but today it’s a stab right through the heart, literally! The pout-and-pose generation taught me that millennials certainly don’t look anything like their profile pictures. Instagram should come with the same rider as rear-view mirrors about objects being larger (or uglier) than they appear. Normally a bad date won’t kill ya’, but here in India, it just might - refuse cooperation through coercion and the other party will swipe a left, on your face, with a blade! At least your death will shield you from public shaming because, as is common knowledge, most victims are always “asking for it”.

Snort beef I used to fancy myself quite the badass, stoned and drunk faceless and yet driving all my passengers safely all day. Then came cocaine and ruined a quite peaceful party with yuppy banter about cars and EDM. But a drug is only potent as long as it’s illegal. Today, that mantle has passed on and it takes bleeding edge moves to remain supplier to a politician. Which is why I’m sure that the city’s dealers are busy grinding up grade 8 Kobe beef into fine brown powder for upcoming party gatherings. Snorting beef, medically (hopefully) won’t kill you but if the fanatic frenetic conservative bhakts catch a whiff of it, they’ll come after you with a sword after, of course, washing themselves in polluted holy water to mourn the dead Wagyu-maata.

Have an opinion I love the word #sedition—so ambiguous that a millennial’s CV looks crisper. We would need a TV show to capture all that action and emotion that accompany this imaginative accusation. Participants would be asked to perform tasks that border on sedition but aren’t. From using the tricolour as a turban to not standing up for the national song (song, not anthem) or maybe rolling rotis in the shape of Pakistan, the idea would be to skirt as dangerously close to sedition charges as one can, the Icarus of sedition, if I may suggest. Judges would comprise presidents of all small insecure factions, from those that canvass angrily at movie premieres to others who upturn non-vegetarian food stalls, abhor alcohol and patrol couples in parks. They can stone the participants they find guilty of sedition. To death! Last man standing, wins.

Breathe Like the ostrich with its head stuck in the ground to veer problems away, we’ve our own novel trick. By turning the air into a dusty dull smoky mist of toxic vapours, forget problems, we can barely see our fingers an inch away from our noses! No need to duck into an alley to avoid the landlord, instead tip your hat as you pass her by in this gaseous slime. And given enough exposure, neither of you will even outlive the current lease! I’m hoping that one day while re-heating my dinner, microwaves wafting through this thick churn will hit me and give me super powers!

Go to elementary school in the US If all else fails, there is nothing like the rat-tat-tat sound of a semi-automatic with a bump stock firing away in the corridors, getting gradually louder as it makes its way to your classroom. America: where elementary school is as risky as being drafted - put that on a poster! Grim imagery, and for the moment, the only reason I don’t feel too bad about not having a green card. But, even without such comparisons, this Indian passport, and the right-wing identity it is seeming to embody, is becoming too heavy a cross to bear.


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