An Antidote for Folly, and Other Cheeky Desires


It’s that time of year again when I send my wish-lists to Santa. But the practice slowly stopped because it was too many years for me to rely on roly-poly, white-haired men with snowy beards. But like most married women and the average voter, I seem to be a sucker at pinning hope on a crushing reality. So this year I am spreading my net far and wide by appealing to all my 33 million deities. Who knows, maybe one or two might find time to listen to my wish-list, despite the massive Ambani family being busy fulfilling their every whim.

1. Smooth roads like cheeks: I thought that if I start by being charitable, perhaps the Almighty will be more inclined to grant me my wishes. This is from Rajasthan minister Rajendra Singh Gudha. When a crowd gathered to complain about potholed roads in the district, he promised them that they would soon be as smooth as Katrina Kaif’s cheeks. Maharashtra minister Gulabrao Patil boasted of not holding back and perhaps consulting a different dermatologist that the roads in his constituency were as smooth as Hema Malini’s cheeks. I have heard about the competition being equal but it was really cheek to cheek. I also get the feeling that while the roads may get a makeover, the journey ahead for these leaders is going to be bumpy.

2. Comfort the North Koreans: And not the kind that Kim Jong-un imposed on his citizens, where laughing was banned for an 11-day period commemorating his father’s death anniversary. I’m definitely going to use this to persuade all my homegrown critics by saying, ‘Look how much better we are than North Korea, here at least the laughers don’t go to jail, only the ones who make us laugh! ‘

3. Fact-checkers: Can you just stuff one fact-checker into every politician’s postbox? If the great men who rule us are refusing to use Google, they can drag these people out to watch their speeches before they grab the mic. Our Prime Minister could have used one recently when he said, ‘Goa came under Portuguese rule at a time when other major parts of the country were ruled by the Mughals.’ Remember the time Kejriwal called for stopping air traffic between the two countries because of a new non-existent ‘Singapore variant’ or Rahul Gandhi referring to ‘Steve Jobs of Microsoft’? One day a fact-check may not keep doctors away, especially in times like these, but it will certainly help keep critics away.

Illustration credit: Chad Crow

4. Gift for Jeff Bezos: Give him a comb, and he’ll never put it down, or so goes a joke I once read in Reader’s Digest. Although on a serious note, what can you give to the second richest man in the world? How about some superstar charisma! After a video of the billionaire’s girlfriend seeing Leonardo DiCaprio went viral, Bezos did what any normal person would do. He tweeted his shirtless picture tagging the Titanic star and captioned it as, “Leo, come here, I want to show you something.” Behind him was a sign that read, “Danger! Steep rock fatal fall.
They say, money can get you a dog and a girl, but it can’t make the dog wag its tail or the girl smile at you like ‘Mera Dil Chalega’ from Titanic is playing in her head.

5. Make the Chinese as gullible as we are: Recent satellite images show that China has apparently built a second new village along the disputed border in Arunachal Pradesh. We’ve been trying to get back at them for a while now with activities like banning Chinese phone apps like TikTok and renaming dragonfruit to ‘kamalam’. Somehow one gets the feeling that this is not an eye for an eye. But then historically and culturally it has not been equal. Think about it, as I’ve said before, we gave them Buddhism and in return they gave us Chicken Manchurian.6. Cure for stupidity: It may be too much for Omicron to hope for a cure but what about a cure for the idiocy that infuriates anti-vaxxers? I keep hearing people arguing against vaccines saying, ‘Oh it’s not like the vaccinated can’t spread it!’ Luckily, I can now quote Zack Bornstein, a writer and comedian who responded to a similarly silly comment with, ‘Usain Bolt and I can both run the 100m.’

7. A New Season of Succession: I need more episodes of Succession so I can spend even more time doing nothing. I want to see Kendall be honest, laugh at Roman’s fake lines, see Siobhan strategize, but most of all, I want to be like patriarch Logan Roy who is never held accountable.

You know what I just noticed when talking about Logan of Succession — men with puffy bellies and white passing-for-wisdom beards can get away with everything, including Santa Claus.
Have you realized that Santa has successfully tricked millions of children into believing that he was giving them all these wrapped presents when it was always their parents who were giving the big bucks.

In almost the same way we are deluded into believing that we are being given access to schools, hospitals and even vaccines while paying through their noses and our tax challans.
I don’t know if my prayers will be answered or not, but since I need my spirits up, I’m going on a mission to downsize distilled spirits. Might as well make the most of the festivities, as after a busy few weeks of jingling bells and honking New Year’s party horns, I have a feeling we might be back in platter mode soon.



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The views expressed above are the author’s own.



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