But Seriously

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There is a popular video game called “Guitar Hero” in which the controller is like a guitar. As notes scroll by on-screen, players have to hit colored buttons on the controllers at the exact moment the note is highlighted on the screen. The more “notes” you hit, the more the virtual crowd goes into a frenzy and the more points you score.

Writing for the foreign media, whether it be articles or fiction, is often like playing “Guitar Hero”—you mash the right buttons at the right moment and out comes a publication, in the same way “music” comes out of Guitar Hero. An example of this kind of ” say-what-your-foreign-audience wants-to-hear” writing that hits the hot-points can be found here, in an article written in the New York Times by Manu Joseph, also referred to sometimes in Middle Earth as the Bane of Barkha.

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The Brand

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This story (Late night internet chats land IITian in court) [Link] caught my attention today. No it was not just because of the judge making the man pay for the accommodation of the woman but for the way the word “IIT ” occurs in the headline and inside the piece. This is all the more confounding since the man in question does not now study in the said institution (he works for a “multinational firm in Gurgaon” ) and even more importantly there is nothing in his IIT education that has any bearing on what happened. Some may claim that his desire for late night chats with women stem from the social situation in school and to them I would say this is hardly an IIT-only phenomenon, many lonely men from different educational backgrounds, usually those with highly gender-imbalanced student bodies, are found to engage in such nocturnal activities.

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India—The Farce

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Cast of Characters for the Farce That Is Currently Going On:

1. Baba Ramdev:  Babas are great. Baba Sehgal. Baba Zarda. And of course billionaire monk, one man brand, the ever reticent Baba Ramdev. How can one not consider with utmost seriousness a sage who can cure homosexuality, flatulence, cancer and AIDS, through the simple device of strategically rhythmic inhaling and exhaling? How can one not be in awe of his mature Alice in Wonderland Red Queen’s “Off with their heads” solution to the country’s endemic problems (He advocates death penalty to the corrupt)? How can one not be blown away by the sagacity of his solutions—like how he advocates doing away with Income Tax  and replacing it with a mere 1-2% transaction tax (yes that’s what he says—take that Tea Party, take that Fair Tax and take that Michele Bachman )? How can one not admire how he has used his Yoga platform to leapfrog onto the political stage? How can one not appreciate his steadfast resolve to bring back all the black money, stowed in cash havens abroad. It’s a simple thing really, just make all the banks in Switzerland, Lichenstein and Monaco watch Aastha channel and they will hand over their lists while doing anulom and veelom. I mean the Americans and Germans can get the banks to bend to their will…why cannot India, an equally powerful nation in the firmament of nations.

What I love most about Baba is his simplicity. Simple saffron vastram. Simple chartered plane. Simple solutions. Breathe in. Kill the corrupt. Bring their wealth back. Abolish income tax. Gays are sick people.  Breathe out. Repeat five times. And then the other nostril.

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The Mine—An Announcement

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Many of you may (or may not) know about my second book, “The Mine” (publisher: Tata Westland), set to release January 2012. So since I will be off for a little vacation, I thought of leaving you with something about it.

After “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss”, I was sure about two things. First of all, my next project would be radically different in tone and content from anything on the blog. Second there would not be even a bit of “humor” in it. I use quotes around humor because I have always been wary of being tagged as a humor writer. Humor, for me, has been principally a device, certainly not a ends in itself. Putting it in another way, I write on a variety of topics. Sometimes I use humor to make my point. Many times I do not. For MIHYAP I had used humor. For the next, I had decided I would not.

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