Saturday, April 30, 2016

Why stop at Salman, when Bollywood has so much to offer?

Appointment of Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador of our Olympic squad has created fissures within the sporting community. I have already talked about that in my previous post (Where the Ambassador needs some Goodwill himself). But in the current times when even politicians limit themselves to 140 characters, it’s a good idea to have ambassadors for other areas too. And who better than Bollywood to provide us with these knights? Here’s my choice of Bollywood worthies to promote India & Indianness.

Amitabh Bachchan: How can a Bollywood list begin without the Big B? He may have been made the brand ambassador for Incredible India campaign, but I feel he can be an equally good ambassador for the banking industry. Remember Bofors case, where the Big B’s name cropped up along with brother Ajitabh? That proved that Big B wasn’t just loitering around after his shoots for Yashraj films in Switzerland. But Swiss banks becoming home to all & sundry was not to his comfort & he moved to upcoming destinations like Panama & British Virgin Islands, this time along with daughter-in-law. And it was not just “me & my family” for Amitabh. He also made ordinary Indians into millionaires through his TV show (KBC). Who knows he could be the messiah that Indian banks need after being kingfishered.

Sunny Deol: If love for his wife made him go all the way to Pakistan, imagine what would 125 crore Indians inspire him to achieve. I would like Sunny to be made the goodwill ambassador for the agriculture sector. He will then pull out all the hand pumps in Pakistan, Bangladesh & China which would give some respite to our suffering farmers. I am also sure that BCCI would be willing to shell out the expenses for a smooth conduct of IPL-10. And yes, people staying in Arnab Goswamy’s housing complex would be able to celebrate a wet dhuleti next year!!

Sanjay Dutt: There can be no better person than Sanjay Dutt as the ambassador for our Police force. He not only glamourized the gangster in his movies, but has also played many a memorable role as a cop. In real life too, he made a guarded police premises his second home and the policemen his extended family. Sanju baba is the one to champion the lives of policemen. Of course, I am also hoping that this will also keep him away from real life gangsters & real life guns. And that he will also not play Chatur Singh again!

Alok Nath: If the efforts of people such as Smriti Irani & Yogi Adityanath are successful, we are in for a socio-cultural revolution. But the left/commie/fiberal/sickular brigade is not playing ball. More damaging is the fact that the image of India & Indians is getting sullied abroad. So, who better than Alok Nath to showcase the values of Indian diaspora in the global arena. With the social media frenzy that our Sanskari Babuji generates, the decadent west may finally accept the traditional Indian way of life. But there is a downside to this… Next time our popstar PM performs at Madison Square, it would turn out to be bhajan sandhya. I am not sure whether Modi will like it.

Sunny Leone: It is not just our traditions & values, but also our culture & heritage that need a goodwill ambassador. Today, the world knows us mainly for Yoga & Taj Mahal. What about the other accomplishments of our ancestors in the field of arts, literature, architecture? To promote & popularize past glory, we need a globally known face & Sunny Leone has much more than that!! I don’t expect hordes of tourists waiting for a glimpse of the treasure inside Khajuraho caves just because Sunny is put on the job. But the world will definitely have more interest & better awareness of what our forefathers talked, wrote & created. Maybe, even the IIM’s would start a course in Sanskrit.

Do you have someone in mind who can be added to this list? If so, pls let us all know about him/her.

Picture credits:

Friday, April 29, 2016

Where the Ambassador needs some Goodwill himself

The Indian Olympic Association makes Salman Khan the goodwill ambassador of Indian contingent to Rio & its raining reactions. I love sports & adore all Indian sports persons. Not the administrators, though. I would have simply passed over this new IOA action as another of its pointless acts had it not been for Yogeshwar Dutt tweeting his disagreement, followed by Gautam Gambhir speaking against it. And I found my views mirroring those of the sports administrators this time! Here's why:

We have known Salman as an avid cyclist & his dad has also enlightened us of his swimming skills. But we seem to have forgotten his exploits in one of the oldest sports. I allude to the case where a black buck with suicidal tendencies came up against Salman & his bollywood colleagues. While animal lovers & judiciary may not have looked at it kindly, the incident showed Salman's love of sport. And his modesty too, for he did not leave behind any photos like those Maharajas & our Brit rulers in the good old days. 

Next, we come to the most famous (or infamous, if you prefer that) story about Salman - the hit and run case, as the media calls it. Here we have Salman (or his driver, but this is immaterial) driving his car (or SUV, but this is just a technicality) & he finds a person lying (or sleeping, but we are discussing Salman) on his path. Now, this guy could very well have slept in a park or a railway platform but what does he do? He is lying on a footpath, which is meant for pedestrians (the dalits of indian roads) to walk on. We often come upon such people who are sleeping, sitting or simply selling their wares on the footpath & we take the road on those occasions. But Salman doesn't play hockey for India, like those nice guys who mesmerise us with their skills all over the field but freeze in front of the goal. You may call Salman murderous, but I look at it as killer instinct.

And Salman is a proven winner, a champion in his trade. All his movies are super duper hits. And he does it without resorting to making irresponsible statements on politics or social issues. Which was the last Salman flop that you can recall (well, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo was an obligation)? Yes, Salman spells success.

So, here we have a sportsman with a killer instinct & a champion. Attributes you would use for someone like Virat Kohli. But Kohli's are a rarity in Indian sport. I am convinced that Salman matches the specs required for an ambassador of sports. While I respect Yogeshwar, Gauti & the venerable Milkha Singh, I don't agree with the charge that Salman is doing this to promote his film. Had he been commercial minded, he would have bought a team in a sporting league for himself (like Shahrukh, Abhishek or John Abraham). I feel we should not look for hidden agenda in Salman's actions. Remember, he is the guy who bares it all out in his movies. So let us put our differences aside & support Salman in his efforts to promote our Rio-bound athletes.

Bhai tum aage badho, hum tumhare sath hain!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Return of Odd Even (An insider account)

When I heard of it, I wasn’t sure why AAP, a party known for novel antics, should repeat one so soon. I am told it is not for lack of ideas, but absence of sound ideas. A handpicked AAP team met to brainstorm the various ways the Odd-Even could be repeated afresh. Says my source, a usually reliable guy who often has genuine inside dope on such stuff. Here is what he told me of what transpired at the AAP conclave:

Arvind Kejriwal (AK): Comrades, this is not the best of times that we meet in. We have always been in the news, even when we were being lambasted by the likes of Arnab Goswamy or Modi. But because of elections in all these states, no newspaper or TV channel is talking about us. We need to get back the headlines. Today, we have to finalise a plan to recapture our space in the media.

Ashutosh: I know what we should be doing. Let’s do the Odd-Even again. It was a great success the 1st time, let’s make it an even bigger success this time.

AK: What crap? Do you know how much I have struggled before switching over from my Wagon R to the Innova? And you want me to squeeze into another car with you guys? No way, I will go on a holiday when the next Odd-Even starts.

Ashutosh: Look at it this way… the 1st time we did it, we were copying what many other cities in the world had done. But none has repeated this within such a short period of time. This will be revolutionary. Ek dum krantikari. Forget Times Now, you would feature in National Geographic.

AK: You have a point there. AAP stands for innovation in politics. Only, this time we will do it differently. But how?

Imran Hussain (IH): Let’s have male & female drivers on alternate days. This will definitely be different & the media will be too busy dissecting the sociology to criticize us.

Satyendra Jain (SJ): I like this idea. If its only women who drive on alternate days, the incidence of rapes would reduce drastically on those days. On other days, they would be driven by male acquaintances & again incidence of rape go down. We should definitely do this.

Gopal Rai (GR): Don’t you know how women drive? Imagine if we only have women drivers on the road for a day. Can you even imagine the no. of accidents that may take place? The cops will get no time to collect challans from violators of Odd-Even, they will be so busy handling accidents.

Alka Lamba (AL): What do you mean? If you study the data, no. of accidents caused by men are much more than those by women. Women are far safer drivers, it’s the men who just can’t look straight if there’s a woman on the road. I prefer this plan as this would change the way men look at women drivers.

AK: I agree with Gopal. Also, the accidents would lead to traffic jams & we would still be facing the same problem with fewer vehicles. I will ditch this proposal.

Kumar Vishwas (KV): Why not disallow different categories on different days. SUV’s, being the most polluting, can be banned for a couple of days. To encourage carpooling, we can have a carpooling day when vehicles with only one person inside will not be allowed on the roads.

Ashutosh: That’s really great. We can also have specific days when luxury cars are kept off the roads. Why should it be only the poor that should suffer. After all, we represent the aam admi. Kumar, this is very krantikari.

Manish Sisodia (MS): Ashutosh, you are not on a TV panel discussion. Speak only when you have something worthwhile to tell. With such a complicated plan, who will remember what vehicle is allowed on a particular day? What if one of our leaders is caught in the wrong vehicle? It would be a big controversy & Arnab will be shouting about it the whole week. Modi will mention it in his rallies for rest of the year.

AL: I can handle Arnab very well, but you send only Raghav or Ashutosh on TV.

Manish Sisodia (MS): We will need to publish a timetable & put it up on hoardings all over the city. Where will we put our pictures then?

AL: If you don’t like this suggestion, I have another one. This does not even involve prohibiting vehicles on the road.

MS: I am not sure about it, but still curious enough to know what you can think of. It has been a depressing period since the state elections were announced. It has been days since I even smiled.

AL: We should organize Dharna’s all over Delhi, at different locations on different days. This will keep the vehicles off the roads, voluntarily. And we will be back in news. There are so many issues that we can rake up.

Mayank Gandhi (MG): Dharna is not something that we do at the drop of a hat. It is a very potent weapon & most effective close to election time.

AK: And I don’t want to sit on a Dharna under the sun during these hot days. I end up with a cough every winter & you want me to suffer heat stroke in summer? But this is a good suggestion & we should definitely use this sometime, in the winter months.

Ashutosh: We should have different working hours for different areas. So, if somewhere the offices begin at 7 AM, they begin at 8 AM, 9 AM and so on, at others. The people in different areas would be going to/returning from work at different times. This would reduce peak traffic by spreading it over a longer duration. We will have a longer but lower peak traffic. This again is so krantikari.

Raghav Chaddha (RC): Krantikari, my foot. This will only end up making people work longer hours, at least in private companies. Do you know of any corporate that likes its employees leaving before 8 PM?

KV: We will make it compulsory for offices to work for only 9 hours. This will take care of any exploitation that Raghav fears.

RC: That’s all on paper, but not practical. Do you think I am fool to quit my career for a life in politics? We will lose the services of all those young volunteers who come to us for respite from their oppressive employers.

AL: Raghav has a valid point. We may also end up losing the votes of these youngsters.

Ashutosh: I have gem of an idea. How about mandating different weekly offs for different areas? With people in different areas having an off from work on separate days, this will automatically reduce the no. of vehicles on the road. We can call Delhi, a city of week-long weekend.

GR: What happens to those whose spouse works in a different areas? They will not be able to discuss household issues for the entire period.

MS: Ashutosh, talk some sense. This is not News Hour on Times Now.

RC: This is unworkable because many companies have multiple offices across Delhi & most have 5 day weeks. No business can have different offices interacting only 3 days a week. They will force the employees to work on weekly off. We need to think about these overworked employees too.

AK: Let us not disturb the weekend from Saturday/Sunday. I am scared to think about the rush on a weekend that happens to be a Friday. How will I manage to get tickets for the 1st day show of new film releases? Do ou know, my followers on Twitter wait for my review of a film before buying the tickets. Whatever you people think of, lands me into trouble. Let us have Odd-Even II. If it succeeds, we can plan for a bigger & better Odd-Even III. If it fails, we can always blame it on Modi.

This brought down the curtains on the discussion. It was unanimously decided to proceed with the tried & tested Odd-Even formula this time round too. But let’s give it to them. They did think of the options, didn’t they?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Why Boycott When We Can Fight Back?

“Please boycott Chinese goods permanently as China has voted against India in United Nations on the question of terrorism & has supported Pakistan openly. I am going to do it in national interest. You may also join in. Your small step will become movement.” 

This message has been doing the rounds of social media. But I am not in favour of such actions, as this will not be very effective (most of the people sent this message from their Chinese made smart phones!) & also alert the Chinese to our intentions. We should play it smart. I believe in a mix of soft & hard measures, some of which are outlined below:

Cultural Warfare
Earliest Chinese exports to the west were the martial arts movies. While they had Kung Fu & Karate, we have our own Yoga & Malkhamb. Yes, Yoga is popular globally, but we have not really promoted it by way of films nor do we have created icons like Bruce Lee. Imagine, yogis doing all sorts of tricks & acrobatics on screen. This would make the west go crazy & get India the respect it truly deserves. In a movie featuring Baba Ramdev v/s. Jackie Chan, who is your pick? Once this happens we should gradually let off other weapons from our arsenal, such as Ayurveda.

Cricket Diplomacy
During 70’s & 80’s, China had perfected the art of Ping Pong diplomacy; we should now get going with our own version Cricket Diplomacy. It helps that most of our neighbours, being wooed by China, play cricket. What do we do currently? Defeat Bangladesh & Sri Lanka, while losing to New Zealand. Can't we lose matches/series to Bangladesh & Sri Lanka too, and give them some feel good moments? They would then long to invite India for cricket matches & win in front of home crowds. This would also stump the bookies & help make cricket cleaner. Of course, we should continue thrashing Pakistan in world cups, no diplomacy here.

IPL has been the most successful Indian invention after Zero. We should get Chinese play in IPL teams. Recall what Afridi said about being loved more in India than Pakistan? It was his way of being allowed to play in IPL! Make the Chinese cricketers stars of IPL & when they go back, they will be our advocates. They will also promote cricket in China & the Chinese will then end up spending days playing this sport at the cost of other productive activities.

Export Religion
The communist guru said, Religion is the opium of the masses. And we have the largest variety of religions, semi-religions & non religions. We should encourage our gurus & babas to venture out to China. Once the Chinese fall into the trap of religion, there will be a disproportionate fall in their productivity. Not to speak of other ills that religion brings in (superstition, hatred, violence, etc.). This will also deal a deadly blow to communism & communism-induced discipline in China. I suggest releasing MSG (Messenger of God) in China to test the waters there! Asaram Bapu can be unleashed next.

Promote Made in USA products
Years ago before liberalisation came in, a small town outside Mumbai supplied our major demand of American goods. Ulhasnagar still has the skills to export “Made in USA” (Ulhasnagar Sindhi Association) products to China, and “Made in China” products to rest of the world. Only, we need to revive the industry back to shape (isn’t Make in India, the new mantra?). Because once they hit the global market, the world will stop using Chinese products, while the local Chinese imitators would run out of business. Hit where it hurts, is my preferred style.

Achhe Din
No, this does not refer to what our PM promised. This is about the original messiah of Achhe Din, or shall we call him King of Good Times? Yes, we should send Vijay Mallya to China. Let him produce & sell his alcohol there, so that the Chinese are too hungover in the mornings to produce anything of substance. (For the stronger ones, there is also the Kingfisher Calendar!) And make him set up businesses in China with loans from Chinese banks. He will then be able to pay off his debts to Indian banks, leaving the Chinese banks with all those NPA's! Now you know what “killing two birds with one stone” means.

Dump the BRICS Bank
Simply walk out of BRICS Bank. With Russia in a hole & China going nowhere, this Chinese initiative for dominance of global finance will turn out to be a dud. They will then be left selling weapons to Pakistan & Africa, in a head-to-head competition with Americans & Europeans. And lose whatever Western goodwill they have earned in the last few decades.

Expel Dalai Lama
Now, this is very drastic & goes against the Indian ethos of "Atithi Devo Bhava". Hosting Dalai Lama has been one of the irritants to our relations with China. With him gone, the peaceniks in China will get that sliver of a chance to promote healthier relations with India. Not that, this will help. But Dalai Lama, who will most probably be granted asylum by a western nation, will be able to take his peaceful fight to a truly global stage. Dharamshala is too secluded a place for freedom struggle. The Israeli vacationers there are too obsessed with the Arabs to be of any help to Tibetan cause.

While, these are what I could think of immediately, you would also have great ideas yourself. Why don't you share those here?

Pictures courtesy:

Friday, April 1, 2016

What they said, when India lost

Amir Khan: This is the result of a growing intolerance in the society. When we were filming Lagaan, Gracy was upset with the way the match was progressing & wanted to leave the sets. But I watched the whole match live on tv yesterday. We have to set things right. We should make Lagaan-2.

Arnab Goswamy: The nation wants to know, why the team lost in the semis. Today, in this most watched show, I, Arnab Goswamy, will ask our PM what he is doing in Brussels when India was playing this all important semi final on homeground. The nation wants to know, and I shall make Rahul Gandhi , what has he, as a self-proclaimed youth icon, done for this glorious game, which has given us such lovely memories. He has all the time to visit JNU & HCU, but no time to watch the cricket match? Today, both parties are in the dock & your channel will expose their hypocrisy. Now gentleman, if you will please let me speak. This is my show & you will speak only when i ask you to.

Arvind Kejriwal: This is the result of the corruption in cricket. Look at the muck I exposed in DDCA. The PM should resign after this loss. When I become the PM, I will eliminate corruption from BCCI too. Now, waiting for the release of Ki and Ka…

Assaduddin Owaisi: This team was bound to lose as it did not have representation from the minority community. Teams from England, Australia, Pakistan & Bangladesh had muslim players, but not the Indian team. This government is making cricket a non-exclusive game by keeping out minorities.

Kanhaiya Kumar: Hum le ke rahenge azaadi. Cricket se azaadi. Haar se azaadi. Jeet se azadi. Azaadi…

Mohan Bhagwat: We have to revive the traditional sports. Kabaddi should be made the Rashtiya Khel and included in the school syllabus. All sportspersons should say Bharat Mata ki Jai before a match to prove their nationalism. Sports federations should conduct Satyanarayan Katha before any world/asian championships.

Narendra Modi: Mitro, this loss is the result of the socialistic policies of congress in the last 60 years. Remember Lagaan, where India beat England in cricket? Today, Indian team had nothing to lose, so they lost the match. My government is launching "Har Mohalla, Gend Balla" programme to reclaim the glory of Lagaan. I am also renaming IPL as Bat for India.

Prakash Karat: Cricket is an imperialist game. No great country like Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, plays cricket. Cricket is a conspiracy of the capitalist forces. Industrialists are promoting cricket to sell their products. Government should form a Joint Parliamentary Committee for nationalisation of cricket.

Rahul Gandhi: India has never won a world cup when there is a non-congress government. This is because of the sacrifice my family has made for the country. Secular forces should come together for revival of the game. Had the Indian team remembered Bernoulli's theorem, they could have got Simmons out early.

Ramdev: Going to the gym only develops the muscles. Team India should also practice Yoga for alround development. Patanjali shall launch herbal, organic food supplements that will make our team physically fitter & mentally stronger.

Uddhav Thackeray: This team cannot carry forward the legacy of Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Tendulkar. We will not let Team India play in Mumbai if at least 4 Marathi Manoos are not in the playing XI. We also do not want any West Indies player in Mumbai Indians team. We will dig up the road outside Mukesh Ambani's house as a protest.

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