Saturday, 25 March 2017

Alternative Fact-ory

At times, I want to be Sivan. Not the destroyer god with three eyes, though I wouldn’t mind having that third eye. Especially when driving. Would love to incinerate some of the f#$%ing maniacs who magically appear in front of me when I am driving. The other day, driving from Rama Rao Lamp towards Palayam, easily one of the widest stretches in the city, my smooth progress was blocked by a woman on a scooter, two guys on a bike and a small van (engine power = 0.005 Mhp; Mhp denotes “Miniature horsepower” a new SI unit I just made up) all cruising in sync at 25 cm per hour, occupying three lanes – three f#$%ing lanes. Oh, for that third eye! Oh, for that frikkin’ third eye!

Lady on scooter, blissfully unaware of the havoc she’s causing around her… Poof! Ash!

Guys riding bike, carrying a sack, probably filled with 10 rupee notes given by the bank in accordance with the 56th RBI regulation of the day… Poof! Gone!

Low Mhp, make-in-India van loaded with PVC pipes… Poof! Smouldering f#$%in’ embers!

And just for the fun of it - lady in small car going in the other direction, head barely visible, knuckles white from strangling the steering wheel… Poof!

I’d gladly give my eyeteeth for that third eye!

Enough ranting for now. Let’s get back to Sivan.

Sivan appeared before me some five or six years ago. I don’t remember exactly when. It was about six in the evening, and walking back to my house I saw him sitting forlornly on the steps of this deck-like extension of my dining room.   

I went up to him and said something like “Yo, ‘sup Sivan?” in Malayalam. Sivan is hard of hearing and in the twilight he could barely read my lips, but he replied. It was more of a statement. “I don’t have a place to sleep.” Till the previous day, he was at a neighbour’s and apparently he had had a tiff with the lady of that house. Sivan is always having tiffs - with walls, with stray dogs, with guava trees, etc. And from what I learned, he has switched his residence a few times in the last few years after having tiffs with the house owners. I shrugged and pointed at the deck and that’s where Sivan has been for the last five or six years – the longest he has stayed anywhere in recent memory.

Sivan does odd jobs in the neighbourhood like cleaning yards and dehusking coconuts for, literally, peanuts. He won’t accept more than 200 rupees at a time, which is probably enough to cover his food expenses for two days. No financial planning for him. His material possessions (he has the key to the shed in my yard) has increased to two bundles now, and for some reason he has a fetish for footwear. His footwear collection is reaching Imelda Marcos-esque proportions with 7 or 8 pairs of sandals of different hues lined up by the deck.

So, what I’m getting at is that Sivan was the one person I knew who was not affected by the Supreme Leader sucking cash out of the system. No banks to go to, no 500 or 1,000 rupee notes. Sivan didn’t care. And I wanted to be Sivan. I know that demonetisation is so 2016, but I started writing this piece back then and couldn’t complete it (as I was standing in the queue). Please bear with me.

Another thing that has been bothering me for some time now is the words being used to describe our rulers by their devotees. We have a supreme leader with a 56-inch body part and a state leader with dual organs. I haven’t heard anything yet about our mayor, who seems to be busy doing nothing. It’s possible that he too has an inordinately long organ – a 12-metre long small intestine, perhaps – and his devotees are waiting for the right moment to publicise it.

Anyway, with all these talks about organs in the air, I suddenly felt a nagging doubt about the adequacy of my organs. Being a science-oriented person, I immediately went for the tape measure and set about measuring myself. I am a reasonably big man. I’m six feet tall and can oscillate between well-built and fat f#ck in the space of few hours. The tape went around my chest and said 108! Wow! “I’m the biggest! I’m the biggest!” No, wait. That is in cm. Converted, it was just 42 inches. Pathetic. My self-esteem went poof like the lady on the scooter in front of my third eye!

I needed to come out of this dire situation and that’s when I got this idea of calling up the Central Statistical Office. They’re good with numbers, I had heard. The voice at the other end was brusque, “What’s your problem?”

I explained my problem and there was a smirk at the other end.

CSO man: “Where did you start your measurement from?”

Me: “Seerow…sorry, Zero..that was my mallu accent acting up..y’know unguarded moments.”

More smirking at the other end. Was that for the accent? Hmm.

CSO man: “Well, there lies your problem.”

Me: “What?”

CSO man: “Try starting from 15.” Click.

It worked. I’m a 57-incher now. My self-esteem zoomed. I was on par with Arnold Shivajinagar.. sorry Schwarzenegger!

I was happy. That was all that mattered, and as luck would have it, I had unwittingly become part of the hottest trend sweeping the world. I plunged headlong into the “alternative fact-ory” movement.

Though I wrote headlong, it was not that I didn’t think about it at all. I did get some insights from friends who made me see the light about reading such “alternative fact-based” news. The fact is that such news made them happy. These are good people, and like good people in many countries, they’re constantly worried about their country going to the dogs. Especially, dog forbid, to dogs from a different religion or dogs of a different colour. 

So, when they hear that a decision by their supreme leader (also known as the “master stroker”) has led to a drastic fall in cancer incidence in Rarotonga, which was verified by NASA’s sister organization NAUSEA (National Absurd & Unverifiable Story Excretion Agency,) they go overboard with happiness. They also altruistically spread that happiness around through WhatsApp and other media. Once it is posted in three WhatsApp groups, it becomes a universal fact. (Also, stop smirking at the word stroker. I didn’t mean that!)

Well, you can’t blame them. He is a Cisco Certified National Leader (CCNL). He came in fifth initially, but after some time, was revised upwards to third. More happiness. Cisco promised $100 million investment in India after giving the certificate. Unbeknownst to us, Cisco had promised 100 times that, i.e. a $10 billion investment in our bad-ass neighbour up north in China. Guess Xi Jinping pings at a higher level.

Then, there is Jason the Yankee Hindunaut. His greatest advantage is that his identity can’t be tracked down easily, unlike say, a Mark Tully. Jason is what they call a double agent, a RAW CIA agent. In his day job, he is the run of the mill CIA agent, but at night he turns into Trishul Subbu (scary rudra veena bgm). Happiness all around, again.

Now since I’ve jumped into this happiness-generating alternative factory movement, I thought I should dredge up my own stories from the interwebs. That is the great thing about this movement. There are no leaders. Anyone can come up with anything. If someone contradicts you, all you have to say is, “that’s your opinion.” Ultimately, everything boils down to your pursuit of happiness. So, here’s an alternative factory product.

Godse didn’t kill the pop of the nation for his Muslim appeasement as propagated. Some people say…could be Jason. I’ve been reading things on the net and lots of people are talking about many such things. In fact, I’m going to come back here and cite myself... well, some people say that Godse might have been a lovechild of a Ghandy, and was acting out his primal id to eliminate an imaginary father. Look at the names – Mohandas Ka"RAM"chand Gandhi and Nathu"RAM" Vinayak Godse. Scary, isn’t it? Incredibly, if you rearrange Nathuram Vinayak Godse, you get “u a very matka gandhi son”. These are things the mainstream media and the biased historians don’t ever ever want you to know.

So, don’t be fooled guys. Come aboard. Pursue happiness. Create your bubble.