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Ravi Shastri

61 or 62 or 26, make up your mind

The biggest question that  the nation should have pondered over during this Independence Day was, well,whether this was the 61st or the 62nd Independence Day. There was less consensus on this matter than that it is possible on the Nuclear Deal over which there are more opinions than the total number of people in this country.

This is the problem with a country of numbers like India; the numbers also become problematic, thereby adding to the number of problems.

I know such silly long-winding fatuous sentences are the last thing in the world you would want to grapple with, especially considering the fact that the long weekend is about to end and you have to get back to work or college.

The point is there are many issues that hold us back from moving forward among the comity of nations. Ask yourself why is it that there has been only one Abhinav Bindra in this country. Perhaps, his parents opted for family planning or something.

No, this is not the time for levity. The time now is for this column to get to the crux. And that is, the 62 problems (don’t ask me why 62) that we, as a nation, have to resolve so that for the next Independence Day we may have different issues to ponder over.

So here goes my 62:

1. We have to settle straightaway whether the next Independence Day is the 62nd or 63rd. Convene Parliament or summon the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court or discuss it at Visu’s Arattai Arangam. Get it resolved. Else, the consequences will be heavy: I may have to repeat this article next year.

2. Cancel all national holidays for important festivals and functions. This has to be done on a war-footing to stop the TV channels from killing us  with their programmes that have been structured carefully to contain not even a molecule of creativity. Okay, Solomon Pap-aiya and others will be out of work. But that is a small price to pay for a national cause.

3. On the subject of TV, the voice-over which shouts, India Tholaikatchigalil Mudhal Muraiyaga, has to be quickly identified and sedated and sent to a place where human beings don’t live. This again is a national service.

4. The software that allows TV news channels to ceaselessly scroll ‘Breaking News’ has to be confiscated forthwith. God give us back the Doordarshan’s 9 ‘o’ clock monotones, even though they were essentially radio news in which you also got to see the news reader.

5. Get Sonia Gandhi to improve her accent. Hers is a very cruel way to kill a sweet language. If you speak Italian the way she speaks Hindi, you will be smothered to death with pizza dough.

6. On the subject of language, get the Court to pass a decree banning Sukhvinder Singh and Udit Narayan from even attempting to hum a Tamil song.

7. Order Ravi Shastri to acquire a new thesaurus to help find alternatives to ‘it went like a trace of bullet’ and ‘it doesn’t matter how they come as long as they come’.

8. Get a promise from Rajnikanth that he will no longer speak at public functions. And Sathyaraj has to be gagged even if that means suturing his.

9. Place a classified ad seeking applicants for a Home Minister. It doesn’t matter even if Al-Qaeda recruits apply. For, they cannot possibly be worse than Shivraj Patil.

10. Tamil cinema actors and artistes have to be strictly ordered to describe their new movies without ever resorting to ‘it’s a different subject or concept’. Failing which, they have to be asked to watch Test Matches involving Bangladesh.

11. Reality dance shows should invite capital punishment to all concerned —— participants, judges, viewers, TV channels, TV manufacturers and even the man who invented TV (I know he is dead. But he should be killed again, if it comes to that).

12. Arundhathi Roy, if she pens essays that run beyond three A-4 sheets, should be made to write imposition for 300 pages the names of George Bush and Condoleezza Rice without showing any change in her BP reading.

13.
All those forwarding smses saying ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ or ‘Feel Proud to be an Indian’ every time, say, after India beats Kenya in cricket or Tendulkar scores fours off successive balls will invite punishment under National Security Act.

14. Lalu Prasad Yadav should be accorded all the respect and reverence that are due to a regional clown.

15. Award Bharath Rathna to T Rajendher if he vows to make films never again.

16. Award one more Bharath Rathna to T Rajendher if agrees to shave his beard and asks Simbu to shut up.

17. The nation should be explained as to why lawyers and judges should continue to wear gowns and capes that make them look like badly dressed transvestites. And doctors must prove that they are not surrogate engineers and stop prescribing complicated CT scans and MRIs even to the person dropping in to provide telephone connection.

18. Put a moratorium on the usage of Thirukural in the budget speech of P Chidambaram. Otherwise, this blessed nation will start thinking Thrivallur to be the Reserve Bank Governor.

19. Any hero claiming that he has got a six-pack abs should be debarred from filmdom and compulsorily be enrolled in the Army as Lance Naik.

20. Rahul Gandhi is no Prime Minister material. Those who think that he is one must immediately be told to surrender their driving licence. Getting them to drive vehicles is a palpable crime against society.

21. Newspapers must stop publishing photos of men and women purportedly taken at parties. Failing which, the newspapers must appoint Vijay Mallay as their Editor.

22. The country must understand that Olympics will never attract youngsters (and motivate them to win medals) as long as Doordarshan telecasts the events here. DD commentary must carry statutory warning for its potential to cause multiple sclerosis or any other disease that possibly has no cure.

23. Appoint translator to translate into Tamil whenever Kamal speaks in Tamil. This should be done as a social service.

24. Stop P Vasu from watching any more Malayalam movies.

25. The nation should pardon Namitha’s dress sense.

26. Tare Zameen Par is only a film. Not a medical treatise on dyslexia. Having said that dyslexics, who see numbers and letters interchanged, need patience and sympathetic handling. A quick test for you: If you see the accompanying number to be 26, and not as 62 (which will signal the end of the list that I had started with), I am sorry to say, you may be a dyslexic.

Don’t read any further. The letters will start jumping around.

See you next year, and the test for you then will be to identify, what else, 63. Or will it be 64?

(This is the column I wrote around last year’s Independence Day)

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