Deconstructing Pictures Posted on Social Media Part 3

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srk

[Continued from here. The second part]

If there is one thing Hindi movies have taught us it’s that the most important thing in life isn’t gari, bangla, rupaiyya, adventure sports or conspicuous consumption.

It’s love.(pronounced lowe)

Which is why when painting the panorama of perfection that is your life on the canvass of social media, one must reserve the most expansive brushstrokes for love.

Remember har kisi ko naheen milta yahan pyar zindagi mein.  And even if they do get pyar, not everyone gets gigantic-sized stuffed toys for Valentine’s Day, or a hand-written note that says “Because you are there for me”  or a new iPhone <latest model number> for their birthday or a dinner for two on a romantic yacht for their anniversary (may be substituted for a surprise “breakfast in bed” every alternate year for that sweet spontaneous vibe) or comments on their Facebook Wall that say “Janooo I love you: your Sanam” even though the Sanam may be sitting in the same room as the Janoo.

Which is why if you are the few who indeed are blessed suchly, you must remember to rub your fortune into the faces of the other denizens of your social media world, keeping in mind that the perfection of your life is contrasted only by the imperfection of the others—-the lonely, the broken, the one whose love only texts her four times a day from work or does the anniversary dinner at a chain restaurant (Burger King) or never “Likes” her photos or forgets to give sweet comments like “You are looking so beautiful” on her profile picture.

crying

Because only when someone somewhere in the world screams, “Why can’t you love me like he does her” or  weeps into a handkerchief ‘Why isn’t my marriage like his?” does your chronic posting of pictures on Facebook find fruition.

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On the News Hour Tonight

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a2

[Parody. No vocal chords were harmed in the making of this post.]

Arnab G:  Ladies and gentlemen, we have broken many stories here on the News Hour over the years. But nothing, ladies and gentlemen, nothing will have prepared you for the story we will be breaking here today, exclusively on Times Now, something that will dwarf the 2G scandal, Gujarat 2002, Coalgate, Coffingate, Commonwealthgate, Bill Gate, Seagate and Stargate.

I have, in my hand, (brandishing papers in front of the camera), conclusive, CONCLUSIVE, proof that I have been impersonated on Twitter. I have this impersonator today with me here in the studio, now, at the top of the hour, a man who goes by the name of Arnab and runs a blog called “Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind”. I will be asking him a simple question. A simple question, because I am a simple person.

And that question today, is

“Will you apologize to the nation now or will you apologize later?”

ON THE NEWS HOUR TONIGHT.

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Middle Class Guilt And Satyamev Jayate

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It’s not easy being middle-class. Rising prices. Sweatier traffic jams. Global warming. And then there is that thing which keeps gnawing away at us, ceaselessly, like a rat at a sack of grain.

Guilt.

Guilt at how shallow we have become, how we choose that-which-is-fun over that-which-is-good. Social-media over social service. Junk food over vegetables. IPL over Tests. Katie Perry over Carnatic. Page 3 over the Editorials. “Oops pictures” over…you get the picture.

Of course, it’s never really our fault. It’s everyone else’s.

Authors write books that pander to the lowest-common-denominator. Greedy TV execs make TRP-friendly trash. Bad journalists peddle yellow copy.

If only “they” would give us something wholesome, we would consume it. And till they do, we just have to, with infinite reluctance, discuss how much weight Aishwarya Rai has gained post-pregnancy. Even though we should be talking about…mm…let’s see farmer suicides and child labor.

This pervasive guilt of course creates a demand. A demand for programming that is surreptitiously entertaining in a non-intrusive way while providing a “Look Ma, I am being socially conscious by watching this instead of a Zee re-incarnation soap” comfort-blanket to the middle-class audience.

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Rage Icon Of The Generation

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I have always rued the fact that this generation lacks true rage icons. This, I believe, explains why the new Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, unlike his predecessor, breaks down into tears at every opportunity. Or why the handsome hunks in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara spent so much time discovering their Ying side.

One cannot blame the bachchas too. Because they had not grown up with Amitabh Bachchan’s angry enraged man avatar, where the tightening of jaw conveyed as much burn as three hours of the angsty Rockstar. Because they have not, at an impressionable age, felt the blast from Sunny Deol screaming “Balwaant Raii….” like Mount Krakatoa or experienced first hand his wrath as he laid to waste the Pakistani Army with just a handpump. Hell these poor kids have been brought up under the shadow of a KJo-ized namby pamby Sirish-Kunder-slapping SRK, a far cry from the lip-quivering, red-eyed, macho Madan-Chopra-penetrator which is how we like to remember him.

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Uncle Pai

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In the bedroom,  in the narrow space between the foot of the bed and the old wooden bookcase, was my own little corner. Growing up, I would squeeze in that narrow space, open the lower shelves (the ones near the ground) and bring out piles of Amar Chitra Katha and leaf through them, one by one.

It didnt matter that I had read them, like a thousand times before. Like a favorite song or a favorite person, Amar Chitra Kathas had repeat-value, you could discover and re-discover them, marveling only at how much you missed last time.

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Radia Activity

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[This post is a somewhat longer version of this earlier post, reflecting some updates since this was written]

In Hindi movies, on which we grew up, the villain may be a politician, a policeman, a businessman or even a priest. But in very few movies, would you find a newspaperman “editor-sahaab” to be anything but a knight in shining armor who even though he might not make it alive till the intermission would never compromise on his ideals. Maybe that is why  while we expect our politicians and the police to be corrupt (and they unfailingly exceed our expectations), for the person carrying a pencil and a clipboard our standards are very different.

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The Dawat

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[Opening bars of the Bhojpuri song: "Set kara di life he Baba Dhoni sangh hamaar ho" sung by a chorus of girls and Ravindra Jadeja]

Anchor: Welcome back to GBTV’s continual coverage of the Dhoni-Rawat marriage or as we call it The Dawat, perhaps the most significant media event after the Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai marriage, which again was the most significant media event after the Lord Rama-Sita wedding. In light of the gravity of the occasion, we have in our studios,  cricket expert and part-time ramp model Rameez Sivaramakrishnan Lal, who has been our chief correspondent for all Dhoni-related news.

RSL: Thanks for having me here.

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Me Indian?

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Going through Priya Ramani’s much-talked-about article in the Mint, I was quite a bit confused. [Link]

Recently I’ve become increasingly convinced that I’m not an Indian. After all, it is possible that someone did a baby switch at Breach Candy Hospital where I was born, or that my parents have carefully hidden the truth about me for 40 years.

Quick proof that I’m not Indian? I have no furious loyalties to the Baganapalli or Alphonso. In fact, I can think of at least six fruits that I prefer to the mango. I have never eaten an entire paan or a pot of mishti doi (though I have tried both) and I don’t spit in public or private (except for that one time I tried a meetha paan).

I don’t understand that other national obsession, cricket, either. White is not my favourite skin colour. I don’t read Chetan Bhagat or Paulo Coelho. I feel depressed every time I wear a salwar-kameez. No sir, I will not discuss my private life with a stranger on a train journey. And I don’t think I’ve ever begun a conversation with: “You’ve lost/gained so much weight!”

I don’t like (or understand) a single Indian soap currently on air. I never talk loudly to my maid, stockbroker or random friend during a movie. I always wait to let people exit an elevator before I enter. I don’t believe that Mumbai’s moviegoers should be forced to stand to attention every time they want to see Shrek (or anyone else) on the big screen. I don’t feel pride—only impatience that my popcorn’s getting cold—when I’m forced to listen to Lata/Asha do a slow-mo version of the national anthem before every single movie I watch in the city of my birth.

Is being “uncouth”, as manifested through acts of varying degrees of distastefulness (spitting, liking Paulo Coelho, remarking about other people’s weight), synonymous with being Indian, as if being one necessarily implies the other? If that be the case, Bullah ki jaana main kaun?

I love cricket, have a genuine appreciation for subaltern music videos of the “Eh Buchi bolo seal kaha tuthi” type and do not feel bad that my popcorn is getting cold when I am asked to make a gesture, however symbolic, in honor of those people who have made it possible for me to sit in an AC multiplex and enjoy a movie. Which possibly means I am Indian.

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The Howitzers Return

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As the year comes to a close, it is time to give out the annual Howitzer Awards instituted by RTDM to recognize excellence in news reporting and honor all those inveterate media outlets who have brought to us news as it should be presented, in its pristine pure form, bereft of all sensationalism and falsehoods, presented with the help of beautiful rigid prose and aesthetic visuals.

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