Crank's Corner Rotating Header Image

September, 2009:

Austerity measure: No headline here

Have you read the Question & Answer pages of Tamil magazines? Don’t you think they are swell, providing cerebral fodder in easy digestible nuggets, especially if you are ready to stretch cerebral to mean inanity?

For the uninitiated, the Q & A sections are in themselves a sub-culture of Tamil mainstream magazines wherein the Editor of the publication takes on the multifarious queries thrown at him by zealous readers, who naturally like all thinking and intellectualizing individuals, are hugely interested in Asihwarya Rai’s eyes, Tamanna’s nose, Bhavna’s neck and Nayanatara’s you know what. Going by the general quality of the stuff seen, you can be pardoned if you feel that the Editor’s dog is the one asking and answering questions.

Sample these few creative teasers that are wont to be featured in the Q & A pages:

Q: What will happen if Asin runs for the post of UN General Secretary?

Ans: She will be called AsUN. (Hee, hee, hee, hee!)

Tamil magazines always use a lot of ‘Hee, hee, hee..’ to drive home the idea that they have a big sense of humour. If there is no ‘hee, hee, hee…’ you have to believe that the Editor is dealing with some serious stuff. Like this:

Q: What’s the difference between America and Al-Qaeda?

Ans: One letter! (You have to figure out that the Editor is intellectually alluding to Obama and Osama).

Q: What do you make of Gary Kirsten’s advice to Indian cricketers to have more sex before matches?

Ans: K for Kirsten. K for Kamasutra. Anyway, it’s for the BJP and VHP to react.

I have always been fond of this Q & A as there is no place for logic and reasoning, which has never found a place in my writings. This week, the template for this column is the Q & A format of Tamil magazines (Hee, hee, hee, hee).

Q: Can you explain Navarathri and kolus?

Ans: Navarathri is primarily a ladies-only occasion totally involving men whose job is to give stony company to Kolu dolls, as women busy themselves logging frequent-visitors points, collecting plastic knickknacks and containers that are created with the explicit idea of serving no practical utility other than enriching the seller, and thinking up ways and means to dispose of sundals, as a normal household gets in one single day the quantities that are the lifetime manufacture of Sangeetha or Saravana Bhavan.

Women, perhaps using some precise GPRS system, generally go visiting other women who are out visiting them at the very same moment. But when they actually meet up and exchange notes much later, wonderful revelations emerge.

First woman: That doggy doll with spectacles sitting on the sofa was beautiful and life-like. Where did you get it?

Second woman: Oh, that was my husband. Dad got him for my wedding. My mom tells me that my dad was got for her wedding. No doubt, kolu is a huge tradition in our family.

Q: Explain the technology behind the anti-mosquito fogging

Ans: Anti-mosquito fogging is based on the simple but proven scientific formula, which states that most people don’t care for scientific formulae. Anyway, anti-mosquito fogging, in its essence, involves unleashing of smoke in quantities that are not seen anywhere else other in a Manirathnam movie.

The smoke, apart from getting into every hole in a human body, also smells strange that it drives all available human beings in the vicinity, to scurry out to places of safety some five kilometres away. With no human body to bite, all mosquitoes apparently commit mass suicide or die of boredom, leading to the mass success of the fogging programme.

Q: What are the ways by which more austerity can be rung in?

Ans: Sonia Gandhi, by travelling ‘cattle class’, has provided fodder for the herds to munch on. But if she puts her mind to it, Sonia can still better herself. She, with her undoubted powers, surely can hold the Maharashtra elections in Delhi itself. This will be an out-of-the-box ploy that will ensure that she is seen as the apotheosis of austerity even while helping the beleaguered airline industry to get more fliers.

The airlines, for their part, if they have not attempted this before, can actually operate flights with no pilots to command them. This is also a bankable way to bring down air disasters, as statistics unambiguously point out that all the aircraft that were involved in accidents had one thing in common —- pilots and in-flight food. If this does not work, then airline industry can stop flying altogether, which if it doesn’t bring together the accident rate will at least ensure profitability for the airlines. The only hitch, as far as I can see, is if there are no flights to be flow, Sonia may have to practise economy class at her house.

Kamal Haasan, a pioneer in most things, helped his producer by acting in all possible roles in Dasavatharam and save money that would have been due for others. Rajnikanth, the humble man that he is, has been acting in movies that have no story or sensibility. In course of time, Vijay and Ajith can be expected to follow suit and be part of films that don’t release at all, leaving all distributors and lay film-goers happy and rich.

The newspaper and the media industry, to which I belong, has always taken the lead in such matters. Since newsgathering is an expensive proposition, we in the industry have tightened our belts by desisting from publishing or airing anything that has any news value. In the future, we intend taking this even further by ceasing to publish anything at all. I also intend setting a very personal example.

For starters, I will end this week’s piece.