Reality Bites: Save India with a safety pin

A deft jab with a safety pin and this Big Fat Gas Balloon will deflate with a sort of whimpering sound effect. Who will administer the safety pin jab, is the question

Reality Bites: Save India with a safety pin
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Rupa Gulab

For over seven years, a strange and dreadful creature has been lording it over India. There are the incurably foolish who believe that this creature is god—omnipresent because his photographs are pasted in every square inch of the nation, and omniscient because he uses spyware to read what’s on our smartphones.

Fortunately, there are also rational people who know that this creature is just a big fat gas balloon—a very ordinary gas balloon, like the sort you used to get in shapes like monkeys and tricycles at Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial. Incidentally, this big fat gas balloon has been modelled on a creature from fantasy novels about gnomes: old, short and round, with a long white beard.

A deft jab with a safety pin and this big fat gas balloon will deflate with a sort of whimpering sound effect (note: the editor strongly disapproves of bathroom humour). There will be collateral damage, of course—people will have to put clothes pegs on their noses for days because the gas is bound to smell like an occupied cow shed.

Who will administer the safety pin jab, is the question? Will it be Congress leader Rahul Gandhi—he’s hitting it out of the park these days with statements like “Hum do, hamare do” on the relationship between the BJP government and crony capitalists. He has also astutely pointed out that when the Big Fat Gas Balloon talks about a rise in GDP, he’s referring to Gas, Diesel and Petrol.

It’s no secret that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hopes that she will be the balloon slayer, and she’s made no bones about the fact that she’s determined to sit on the Big Fat Gas Balloon’s throne. A while ago, political campaign strategist Prashant Kishor was seen as the potential balloon slayer after his frenzied meetings to set up a secular alliance, but all is suddenly quiet on that front.

Somehow, I feel that the balloon slayer will come from an unexpected quarter, and who knows, it could even be Lalu Prasad Yadav. Ever since Lalu exited jail, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has been having one of his turns. His infamous antar atma (conscience) is making headlines.

Yes, the very same antar atma that brought down a decent secular government in Bihar is getting terribly frisky again. Earlier Amit Shah would issue stern instructions to Kumar’s meek antar atma, but now the antar atma has begun to assert itself and is having friendly chats with Lalu.


We saw signs of it when Kumar visited the Big Fat Gas Balloon with Lalu’s son Tejashwi to discuss the urgency for a caste census. The servile mainstream media hastily played Kumar’s assertiveness down, and instead reported that the Big Fat Gas Balloon tenderly asked Tejashwi about his father’s health.

A brief diversion: Immodest though it may sound, I am one of the nation’s best bullshit detectors, and here’s my interpretation: The Big Fat Gas Balloon wasn’t being sweet when he asked “How’s your daddy”. He was being threatening and snarly and he actually meant to say, “Who’s your daddy?”, but his English is lousy.

Back to Kumar’s antar atma. It threw a fit a few days ago when changes were announced in the MA Political Science syllabus at Bihar's Jai Prakash University (established by Lalu Prasad Yadav when he was CM). Chapters on social and political activists like Jai Prakash Narayan (after whom the university is named) and Ram Manohar Lohia were deleted, while chapters on Sanghi icons like Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay have been included. Hmm.

Now if Kumar’s antar atma had also howled like a wounded animal when the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) left out Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru—a prominent freedom fighter and India’s first Prime Minister—in a poster to celebrate India’s 75th year of independence! The thing is, Kumar’s antar atma is terribly fickle and I wouldn’t trust it to water my house plants even if it held its ears and swore on god!

It would be fantastic if our judiciary would save India with safety pins, but when you have judges who believe that cows should have more fundamental rights than humans, you sort of lose hope. Oh well. Do note that I always carry safety pins in my handbag, and will be happy to oblige if the opportunity presents itself.

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

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