As an armchair bloviator, I’m going through a period of fictitious existential crisis, i.e. whether to do a ghar wapsi – a reconversion to Hinduism - or to go back to college.
Ghar wapsi appears to be a safe option in the current environment. There are lot of things in favour of that option. Let me elucidate here, as Scat Cat says in Aristocats. The factors in favour of the first option include dodgy videos that could feature you, guy on TV with loud voice, the best police force in the world, lawyers, phone calls that can scare even old seadogs, squares who want their kid to go to cultural universities for education (unlike them), etc.
When you have these many forces arraigned on one side, you want to play it safe and be on that side. Imagine the best police force on earth – the Delhi Police (DP). How do I know? The DP chief (whose term got over a few days ago) himself told that on TV. He said DP is even better than NYPD. He had been to New York and was not impressed by NYPD. Need proof DP is the best? Some months ago, they received a distress call that a group of mallus were secretly eating beef. Within seconds a platoon was at the site kicking some beefy mallu ass. Even NASA has confirmed this. Mallus had to prove their innocence (an ancient DP custom – people are guilty until proven innocent).
Coming to lawyers - the term, in pre-Vedic Sanskrit, means “people who take the law into their own hands”. You wouldn’t want to rub them the wrong way. They make their own rules. And the DP outsources some of their kickass projects to them.
Then, there are the right-minded people. The biggest factor. Regular people, people who probably were counting condoms back when they were in school, but became squares when their kids started going to school and they came into some money. These are people you definitely don’t want to offend. Many of them only recently found their middle class alter ego, which is quick to pass the death sentence on, or exile to Pakistan, anyone that they are instructed to dislike. They are the nation. The nation doesn’t want to know the minutiae. It wants only bullet points, in bold capital letters.
Many of the members of this nation are nostalgic of the good ol’ days, when their ancestors knew their places in society. When some of their grandparents were taking bath in the temple pond and going in to pray, some other grandparents were hanging around far outside, bare boobs and all (because they didn’t pay their boob tax). Oh, those were the days. Their aim is to return the nation to its former glory, cleansed of alien concepts such as democracy and free speech.
Did Chanakya, with that icy look of his, ever talk about democracy or free speech? No. He talked about powerful, autocratic father figures who make intellectuals and anti-nationals poop in their langots. We finally have reached that stage of development, which countries like Saudi Arabia had reached much earlier. The authoritarian father figure is now there, whose chest size we know. With this new parameter in place, I can only imagine sleazy British tabloid headlines if a woman becomes the premier –“New Indian PM; 36-inch Rack”. Anyway, if at all I go down this path, I think I’ll join the upper-est caste available, y’know, the crème de la crème of castes, whichever that is. I am not interested in being a Mala, or just an Iyengar or a Nampoothiri. I want to know who was at the top of the pile that came out of Brahma’s mouth and I want to join them. There is a small issue. What would I tell my kids, who are registered as having no religion at their school? (They’ve recently started showing interest in Dinkoism).
Now the other option, i.e. to go back to college or not? This is very tempting. It’s always cool to be a student - bunking classes, playing cards, smoking, drinking, counting condoms, singing songs about freedom (Aretha Franklin in the Blues Brothers). Again? You want to do all that again!? Well, those slogans are kinda catchy. Infectious, in fact. Can I? No? I’m too old? OK, then I’ll settle for Scat Cat (Everybody wants to be a cat).