Reality Bites: Ravan in New India! 

Har Har Lanka/ Ghar Ghar Ravan/Itne Ram kahan se la-un?

 Reality Bites: Ravan in New India! 
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Rupa Gulab

I ’m feeling worried—our Dear Exhibitionist is suddenly acting coy. We know how much he loves the limelight, right? We have seen him push his way to the front row for group pictures with world leaders. I also admire him greatly for using his school lunch money to get studio shots of himself in suits instead. Funnily enough, he looked just as stout in his childhood photographs as he is now, so perhaps he had cronies who lovingly fed him then as well? Oh, and admirers in Surat who gave him free suits too?

We also know just how much he enjoys modelling for his cronies: remember those full page Jio and Paytm ads? We were told he did not charge a fee out of the kindness of his heart, hah! As a former handmodel for some of India’s leading detergent brands, I know how that works. I wasn’t paid (because I worked at the ad agency), but my Creative Director used to treat me to manicures at the Oberoi Hotel’s posh salon before every shoot. No, I could not ask for a fancy French manicure or glittery nail polish—that just wasn’t Lalitaji’s bargain-basement style— but how I loved the pampering! As the Dear Leader’s entire body was used in the Jio and Paytm ads, I’m sure he got the works at the most expensive salons ever, starting with mani-pedis and ending with Botox. He wasn’t experimenting with his long beard then, or he could have got a sophisticated French plait or cool Rastafarian cornrows as well. Oh, I do hope his corporate cronies use him in more ads now! Things are so bad in India, I need a few laughs to see me through.

Who can forget that our Dear Exhibitionist was so excited about being on display in Madame Tussaud’s wax museums that he made sure the entire nation was spammed with prep videos of him posing for the artists?

So why is he suddenly acting so shy about those spectacular effigies of him as Ravana on Dusshera? Created by Punjab’s farmers to show him how they felt about the new farm laws, these effigies received huge applause on social media, and should have been celebrated with more fanfare by his hyper-nationalist party than wax models made by foreigners. Instead, the national media blacked them out. Any discerning person would agree that those effigies were phatakas compared to Madame Tussaud’s lame mombati models.

The next day BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh condemned them and said that they (yawn) “hurt sentiments of millions of people in the country.” Then, a few days later, the Centre announced that it would “halt Rs 1K Cr rural fund to Punjab.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the Centre uses facial recognition technology to identify all those farmers celebrating the burning of the effigies and urges the CBI, ED, NIA, etc. to pay them a visit.

Then there’s the matter of our Dear Exhibitionist being silent after winning an extremely popular international award this year: the satirical Ig Nobel prize for ‘medical education’. According to the tonguein-cheek citation, the recognition is “for using the COVID-19 viral pandemic to teach the world that politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can.”

He should have bragged about it because he shared this coveted award with his hugging friends Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin and more! Perhaps he was upset because he wasn’t the very first Indian PM to win this honour? Atal Bihari Vajpayee beat him to it by winning the ‘Peace’ Ig Nobel for his “aggressively peaceful” detonation of a nuclear weapon. Or perhaps the leader is ill—too ill to appreciate an international award that he didn’t have to lobby for?

Which reminds me of the COVID-19 pandemic. The numbers appear to be going down in India, but no one believes it. Several leading diagnostic companies have reportedly been ordered to conduct a limited number of daily tests, and to present daily reports to the authorities for screening (and, er, adjusting) before releasing them.

Perhaps our Dear Exhibitionist loves Trump far too much to wrest the ‘Country with the Highest Number of Covid cases’ title from America? As @Loquacious_Lion said on Twitter, “Ghar me COVID hai.. par testing nahi hai... Ha Ha Ha...”. Thanks

(Any resemblance to real people or events is a coincidence)

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