The Rule of Three

There is an old thumb rule in the tech industry which says that you can get at most only two out of performance, quality and price in any given product. For example, if you get low price and high performance, chances are that the product is sold by an inferior brand. If the product is sold by a great brand for a low price, then it’s likely that its features are limited. And so on. I call this the rule of three.

There may be a similar rule that applies to leaders, especially the political ones. I think you can get at most only two out of charisma, integrity and performance in a leader. By charisma, I mean an intrinsically trustworthy and likable person who has the ability to inspire large numbers of people. Manmohan Singh, for example, is not a charismatic leader. Ronald Reagan was a charismatic leader. By integrity, I mean things like not being corrupt, honesty, truthfulness and similar traits. Bill Clinton, for example, would not rank high on the integrity scale. By performance, I refer to an ability to govern and execute. Vajpayee’s stewardship of the national highways project, for example, is quoted often as an example of excellence in execution.

If we applied this model to Indian leaders, it seems to work well. Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were not the best of administrators. Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Narasimha Rao lacked charisma. Indira Gandhi lacked integrity. Atal Behari Vajpayee is the only one who comes somewhat close to having all three, which probably is why some consider him the greatest prime minister till date. Manmohan Singh displayed governance and integrity early in his career, as RBI governor and then Finance Minister. His last five years as Prime Minister are notable for their deficiency in all three areas of charisma, integrity and governance.

In 2014, we will likely evaluate three prime ministerial candidates: Arvind Kejriwal, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.  Kejriwal appears to possess charisma and of course, has built a campaign around his personal integrity. Inexperience in governance is his weakness. Narendra Modi scores on integrity and governance fronts, but comes across more as a polarizing force than a unifying one. Rahul Gandhi appears to be the straggler in this mix, possessing at best personal integrity and at worst, none of the three. That doesn’t bode well for Congress. If his party were to somehow win, it wouldn’t then bode well for the country. We can’t afford yet another leader who scores zero on three.

Can you think of any leader, either in politics or business, living or dead with all three? Please use the comments section to nominate.

If I Became the Prime Minister of India

If I became the Prime Minister of India, here’s what I would do.

  1. Day 1 morning: I will conduct my swearing-in ceremony at 9am on a Monday over video conference from my desk in the office, while finalizing a proposal to completely eliminate paper money in five years. The bill will be taken to Lok Sabha by 11am. It will be passed within 15 minutes because every MP who votes for it will be “creatively rewarded” for doing so. Rajya Sabha MPs will be arrested if they don’t vote for the proposal.  Eliminating paper money will effectively eliminate bribes, kickbacks and theft of public money. Now that I’ve solved the problem of corruption in the first 2 hours of assuming office, I will now don my bullet proof vest and move onto other matters.
  2. Day 1 post lunch: Unknown to everyone, I will have sneaked in fine print in the aforementioned proposal which will impose a mandatory 1-term limit on every elected official in the country. This term limit will stay in effect for 50 years. In other words, no one will be allowed to return to any elected position irrespective of whether they have done a good or a bad job. I will thus have stripped the incentive for crooks, thugs, criminals, perverts, cheats and liars to become career politicians and increase their influence. Instead, this will lead to ordinary citizens stepping forward to represent the people by donating 5 years from their careers. They will hopefully make decisions in the best interests of the country. I will announce this in a nationally televised press conference, during which I will release my  own post-dated resignation letter with a legally binding commitment to not contest elections at the end of my tenure.
  3. Day 2: I presume that today will be Bharat Bandh, supported by all political parties including my own, who will all be deeply unhappy with me. I will smile wistfully as I prepare for a direct televised address to the people of India. In the address, I will inform citizens that rules of voting have been changed as follows:
    1. If a citizen is qualified to vote and is found to be not registered to vote, a fine of Rs. 10,000 per unregistered voter will be collected from the winning candidate in that constituency.
    2. If a citizen is qualified to vote and is registered to vote but has not voted, that citizen will be arrested if they use Facebook to bitch about me.
    3. Citizens will be asked to pick their top three voting issues. They will be given an exam for 100 marks on these issues. Votes will be assigned weighting based on marks in the test. For example, if a voter obtains 75 on 100, his vote will be assigned a 75% (=75/100) weight when counting. Voters will be assigned ranks based on their marks and they will vote in the order of the rank received. Voters obtaining 100% will be unconditionally granted the Bharat Ratna and allowed to treat the State Raj Bhavan as their personal guest house.
    4. I expect Kota and Hyderabad coaching centers to be set up by enterprising entrepreneurs to help citizens crack the voters exam and improve their ranks. Once these centers become successful, I will nationalize them.
  4. Day 3: It’s likely that the country has descended into shock and chaos by this point, and Arnab Goswami has been taken to the hospital after suffering a heart attack. I will take the day off to golf. This will give everyone time to ponder options about how they can get rid of me.
  5. Day 4, morning: I expect to have the login credentials with passwords for all Swiss accounts held by Indian citizens, from the team of four B. Tech. computer science students from IIT Madras whom I have hired for this purpose. The five of us will spend the morning sipping hot cups of coffee and silently transferring money from all the accounts into the government treasury. I expect to net $1.2 trillion dollars or higher. I will publish the final audited figures here on What Ho!. Each citizen will be mailed a check for $1000 equivalent in Indian rupees along with a box of Swiss chocolates within 14 days, through registered post, acknowledgement due.
  6. Day 4, Post lunch: I will announce a bill that will provide the constitutional rights to every citizen to 1. Drive on the wrong side of the road 2. Never have to stand in queues 3. Receive refund with interest to every Ram Gopal  Verma movie he may have seen in his life. I will also announce the appointment of superstar Rajnikant as the only minister in my Cabinet. He will hold approximately 64 portfolios at any point in time, and will be assisted by fresh IIM grads. I expect these measures to create an unstoppable wave of popularity that will overwhelm and remove all ill-will I may have created on Day 2.
  7. Day 5: I will conduct a triumphant Rath Yatra in four major cities during which I expect to be mobbed like Justin Bieber by school children. Songs from Dabangg 1 & 2 will be played at full blast wherever I go.
  8. Day 6: On this day, I will move with the purposefulness of a lion and the speed of a cheetah.
  9. Day 6, 11am: A call center with approximately 100,000 employees will be in place, made possible with the help of Airtel. These call center employees will call every elected official in the country to get status updates on projects. For example, “Have you fixed those three potholes on 2nd main 4th cross Koramangala?” will be repeated every 2 hours with the local councilor until the job is completed. A fine of Rs. 1 lakh will be levied on any official who does not answer the call.
  10. Day 6, 1pm:  I will now grandly announce that we have nabbed Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim through “Operation LeT Them Come To Us.” This operation will involve luring the duo to Mumbai on the promise of a Hindustan Times Leadership Summit keynote speech and a personal, warm interview with Barkha Dutt on NDTV.
  11. Day 6, 4pm: I will attend a special screening of Viswaroopam 2 only because both Kamal Hassan and Rajnikant invited me to join them, and that’s the way I roll.
  12. Day 6, 9pm: I will pour myself a stiff one, lean back on the sofa and watch the 1983 Prudential World Cup finals through the night in loop.

Day 7  onwards: Now that I have accomplished every goal I had set out to, I will spend the rest of my term solving the following more complex and intriguing problems, which pose a clear and present danger to the country’s well being:

  1. Can we get a minimum of 3 fast bowlers who can bowl at 140kmph+ into the Indian cricket team?
  2. Can we somehow ensure that neither Laloo Prasad nor ND Tiwari produce any more progeny?
  3. Nitin Gadkari & Khaki shorts: Can this be made to NEVER EVER happen again?
  4. Can we constitutionally levy super-taxes on any person who spouts uninformed opinions on Twitter?
  5. Can we work with the scientists at CERN to investigate Rahul Gandhi to identify specific skills, if any, that he may possess. These CERN guys found the God particle. This should give them an even bigger puzzle to solve.

Jai Ho. God bless India.

India’s approach to Pakistan is messed up.

I think India’s approach to Pakistan is messed up. Here’s why.

Pakistan is not our equal.

Not economically. Not in population size. And certainly not in the way they conduct affairs of the state. Pakistan now stands teetering at the edge of a precipice. India, on the other hand, has a much brighter future notwithstanding our many flaws. They should not be treated as an equal. If you can believe me, I don’t mean this in a dismissive, contemptuous way. I mean it as a matter of fact. A junior minister of state in external affairs should be deputed to engage with their foreign minister. Our external affairs minister should engage directly with their President, and none less. Our Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition should not comment publicly on or engage with anyone from that country.

I support the position of our Prime Minister when he recently remarked that the recent provocations from Pakistan deserve no more than a tactical response, that we should not indulge in jingoism, and that the matter of how we deter the Pakistani army is best left to professionals in the Indian Army. In contrast, I found Ms. Sushma Swaraj’s “Get me 10 heads for one” response deeply disturbing and alarming.

Never get into a fight with a country which has nothing to lose.

At times, it may be tempting to engage in one-up-man-ship. What we have to remember is that by doing so, we’re going out of our way to keep an irrelevant nation in the public eye and thus make it out to be more important than it really is. In other words, there’s no gain for us. It’s all upside for them. Don’t stoke a dying fire.

The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.

Pakistan works pretty hard to earn our anger. In return, we must offer our indifference. We must stop putting every act of theirs under the microscope and agonizing over it. We must stay focused on fixing our ownselves, and moving quickly ahead in this very competitive global economy. The best “revenge” – for those who tend to like this sort of a thing – is one that will be served someday when Pakistani people wake up and realize that we’ve left them miles behind in the race to prosperity. Those obsessed with things like “honor” and “izzat” should remember that it takes more courage to walk away from a fight than to get into one. Patriotism is not about having a misplaced sense of honor or a narrow view of the world or flag waving and chest thumping. It’s about being a committed citizen and taking the time to understand complex issues, how they intersect and doing what’s what’s best for the country and making your opinion heard in a constructive manner. In my opinion, Pakistan should cease to be a voting issue for Indians, and anyone who attempts to make it one should be discouraged.

There is no such thing as Pakistan.

There are the Pakistani people. There are the politicians. There is the Pakistani army. There is ISI. There are many niche centers of power, controlling narrow domains. None of them are in control. It’s impossible to negotiate when there is no decision maker on the other side of the table. We have to recognize this and understand the difficult job that our government has, when it comes to dealing with Pakistan.

They are people like us too.

Perhaps, a way forward might be one that involves building direct bridges to the Pakistani people and creating economic opportunities for them so they, over time, have something to lose by harming our interests. Pakistan is like this evil twin of India, separated at birth and adopted and raised by a gangster. In many ways, their people have suffered more than us. I refuse to believe that an average Pakistani wakes up in the morning and looks for ways to destroy us. I think the average Pakistani is like the average Indian. He/she just wants a good job, a hot meal and a peaceful life. An “economic version of Aman ki Asha,” which promotes free trade and collaboration – as much as it sounds like a fairy tale – might not be a bad way forward if we’re willing to be patient for at least a couple of decades.

Heck, we don’t have be nice to them, if we don’t want to. But we really ought to stop obsessing about them and move on.

What’s your take?

Also read: O Pakistan, Whither Goes Thou?

I want to enter politics. Kindly advise.

Dear Dr. What Ho!

I’m tired of working hard to make a living. So, I’m thinking of entering politics. But, I don’t know how to lie. I’m generally a truthful person. Will I ever be able to change my ways and become a successful politician? I want to enter politics. Kindly advise.

Sincerely,

Middle Class Muggle.

Dear Middle Class Muggle,

Thanks for writing.

Lying is easy. Just think of the truth and then say exactly the opposite. I’m sure you’ll become good at it over time, if you practice hard. But, I’m afraid that you might have misunderstood politics to be all about lying, which is not the case. I hope you’re aware that the word politics derives its meaning from the greek word ‘poly’ which means ‘many’ and ‘tics’ which are blood sucking insects. Research shows that successful politicians spend their time as illustrated in the chart below.

 politicians

As you can see, being an idiot is by far the single most important part of being a politician. Unless your IQ is lower than your age, I’d strongly recommend against pursuing this career option.

Sincerely.

Dr. What Ho!

2012 – A Year in Review

It was the sort of a year in Indian politics which raised an important question, “Which of these guys do I dislike the least?”

It was the kind of year that made me add ‘having a functional government’ to my bucket list. It was a year in which our phones got way smarter than our ministers. There was nothing to fear but fear itself.. and Mamata Banerjee. Offensive religious films were made. Riots broke out in the Middle East. India was a shining example to all those countries. We watched Ra One and didn’t lose our cool.

In 2012, the history of India was written in Comic Sans font. Usually, it’s countries which have parliaments. The only parliament which had a country was the Lok Sabha. Each Parliament session cost as much and lasted as long as a Kardashian marriage.

It was a year we watched TV and read newspapers to find out what we already knew to be not true. Most people spent more time on their Facebook status updates than our government spent on planning our future. Activists did the job of the media. The media did party work. Parties worked for corporations. In short, it was business as usual. No one did what they were supposed to.

“Politicizing armed forces. Investigating CAG. Not debating bills in Parliament. Undermining of institutions. Ignoring citizen protests and anger. Well played, UPA.”

It was also nice to know that no matter how bad things got in our country, Mayawati and Mamata were always on hand to make them worse. It was heartening to see Didi building bridges in 2012, to the 14th century. The Chinese must have looked at us and wondered what kind of a country they plan to get into a skirmish with, in the future.

Our democracy is an amazing thing. Where else do you to get to choose people who watch while you get tear gassed and lathi charged? If the government wants to gain the people’s confidence, then deploying 10,000 policemen at India Gate is not the way to go about it.

“Dec 29, 2012. Black Saturday. God bless your soul, Brave Heart. I hope we never forget you.”

2012 – A year in review

The year got off to a bright start for Suresh Kalmadi, who walked out of Tihar with a smile on his face. The next morning, citizens of Greece rioted when they discovered that their country was, in fact, owned by Kalmadi.

The nation’s largest state elected its chief minister in 2012. If Uttar Pradesh were to be an independent country, it would be the sixth largest in the world. Even bigger than Pakistan. In an electoral game of truth or dare, the Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, sadly continued to pick ‘dare.’ Mulayam’s winning formula was pretty simple and straightforward: 1. Announce the list of candidates. 2. Release them all from jail.

Speaking of elections, we had one in Gujarat too. Where Congress left no stone unturned in its bid to lose by sending in Rahul Gandhi to campaign. Narendra Modi completed a historic hat trick in 2012. It was obvious that, for right or wrong reasons, NaMo did well with one important demographic: voters.

Rahul Gandhi, the artist formerly known as Crown Prince.

There are many unemployed 40+ year old men in the country. One of them was tipped to become the Prime Minister in 2012. This prediction fell through, to the dismay of Rahul Gandhi’s supporters, most of whom are stand-up comedians. Polls showed that Indians had mixed feelings about Rahul Gandhi becoming PM. 40% were uncomfortable with the idea. 60% hated it. To be fair, Rahul did pick up some momentum during the year, which tends to happen when you’re rolling downhill.

Manmohan Singh, a man who thought twice before saying nothing.

Speaking of downhill, the economy went south, dragged down by global woes. As things went from bad to worse, Manmohan Singh’s silence reached a deafening crescendo.

It turned out that Manmohan Singh’s fiercest ideological opponent in 2012 was himself from 1991. They say that silence is golden. In which case, we discovered that we had a 24 carat Prime Minister. TIME magazine described the beleaguered Prime Minister as an “underachiever,” leading to his cabinet being described as a bunch of “under-the-table achievers.” The lone bright spot for Manmohan came from Pak’s Zardari, who backed Manmohan saying “Just because someone hasn’t won an election, that doesn’t mean he can’t run the country.”

In August 2012, Manmohan Singh stunned the nation by speaking on TV and asking for reforms support. He also promised to find out who was running the government that he was in charge of.

Word of the Year: “To Manmohan” which means “To silently ignore what’s going on” Example: “I think I’ll manmohan this month’s credit card bill”

Does BJP exist? Or is it a figment of our imagination?

BJP displayed a disconcerting tendency to surface as the main Opposition party at inopportune times. The problem with Congress is that they think that we the people are fools. The problem with BJP is that they haven’t yet realized it’s true. BJP went all out in Karnataka to prove that electoral losses in 2004 and 2009 were no flukes.

And then there was Nitin Gadkari, who conclusively proved that he was not the right leader for BJP. By leader we mean, of course, a fellow who didn’t know how to cover his tracks. Congress tried to portray Nitin Gadkari as corrupt. BJP hit back by portraying Rahul Gandhi as Rahul Gandhi. Poor chap,  Gadkari was embroiled in scandals involving shell companies, drivers, cooks and other household help, and never really recovered from the blow of getting Sharad Pawar’s backing. Walking around in khaki shorts didn’t help his cause either. There was, however, some good news for BJP. Their leadership situation was so messed up through the year, that the media had no idea who to smear.

Bal Thackeray and Shiv Sena

There are some who arouse emotions when they live. Some when they die. It’s a select few who can do both. Bal Thackeray called a spade a spade while he lived. Sadly, he didn’t give the rest of us that privilege. Rumor has it that the battle for Shiv Sena’s top job has narrowed down to two candidates – Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan.

The most important bill of 2012

The FDI in retail debate was complex. Thankfully there was one easy way to find the right thing to do: First, ask Communists, SP & BSP what to do. Then, do the exact opposite. Mercifully, the most important bill of 2012 was passed in the Parliament, freeing up the Government to focus on more important things like arresting teenagers over Facebook posts.

The man who really ran the country

2012 showed that it’s always a good idea to have Mukesh Ambani on your side. Unless, of course, if you’re in a boat. Rumor had it that the older Ambani brother had Congress in his front pocket, BJP in the back pocket and CNN-IBN in the shirt pocket. Which begged the question: Where the heck does he keep the cellphone?

Operation Re-election

Ajmal Kasab, the terrorist, was hanged in a secretive operation. When it played out in the US, President Obama authorized the operation to take out Bin Laden. The way it played out in our country, our PM was given the go ahead to watch TV and find out about the hanging. To make up for not letting him know about Kasab’s hanging, Sushil Kumar Shinde apparently gave ball-by-ball updates of the India-England cricket series to Manmohan.

“To those who’ve given their lives and risk them daily so the country can be safer: Our gratitude and respect.”

2012 sucked according to Dhoni

We got progressively worse at cricket with each passing day through the year. Right now, it feels like it’s the middle of next year.

Australia – on the road: Lost 4-0.

England – on the road: Lost 4-0.

England – at home: Lost 2-1.

We can’t win on the road. We can’t win at home. Hard pressed to think of another place to play. Evidently, rumors of a massive rift in the team are true. Between the bat and the pad. Say what you will about our cricket team, but let’s not deny that they displayed a remarkable drive for results and a keen sense of urgency. A review of 2012 cannot pass by without a salute to young Rohit Sharma, a modern day Gandhian, who does not believe in hitting even a run. All in all, 2012 resembled a bad day in Bosnia for MS Dhoni.

The Little Master

Age finally seemed to catch up with Sachin. He wasn’t half the boy he used to be. You win some. You lose some. And then, there was this little known third category when Sachin got his 100th ton and we lost the match. To Bangladesh. And then, Sachin bowed out from ODIs.

Olympics

2012 was the year of London Olympics. It was quite amazing to see that when they were not building iPads, Chinese kids were winning gold medals in Olympics. He was described as “too tall” to win sprints. Yet Usain Bolt 2-peated 100m & 200m golds. Well done, Mary Kom! Well done Saina! It was great to see that we were winning medals in shooting and boxing. I’m sure we all somehow felt safer knowing that. Then the Olympics ended. Tourists went home. And the Chinese women gymnasts returned to kindergarten.

Bollywood in 2012

Agent Vinod went on a mission across seven countries in search of the movie’s plot. If you haven’t yet experienced failure, it just means you haven’t tried hard enough, to understand why a movie named Khiladi 786 had to be made. Ra One took home the ‘Special Effects’ award. It also handily beat swine flu to top the list of the “things I’d like to avoid.” Inside every one of us is an incurable romantic self, which is assaulted by a Karan Johar movie every year. 2012 was no exception.

Men are from Mars and women from Venus. And Karan Johar is from, err.. Bandra?

Saif Ali Khan entered the holy state of matrimony, which he described as ‘that sacred bond’ between a man and his two wives. Man proposed. God disposed. And Katrina Kaif, err, exposed. And bless your soul, Yash Chopra, the man who romanced romance itself.

Other news makers of 2012

God was kind to comedians and satirists in 2012. He may have taken SM Krishna and Ambika Soni away from the Cabinet. By golly, he gave us Manish Tewari, the guy who put the ‘mini’ in minister by becoming Information & Broadcasting minister. To be fair, Tewari did well at Broadcasting. It’s the Information part he struggled with. To a world filled with noise and chaos, Ram Jethmalani added more noise and chaos. Ponty Chadha and bro successfully completed a mission to prove Charles Darwin wrong. And Shashi Tharoor re-affirmed the priceless bond that exists between a man, his wife and her Rs. 50 crores.

DLF borrowed at 12% and lent at 0% to Robert Vadra. How generous. These guys were the Piyush Chawla of the real estate business.  Robert Vadra and Arvind Kejriwal made a great team in 2012. The former couldn’t answer basic questions. And the latter had two answers to every question. Coal Gate put a new spin on ‘Coal’ition dharma. Amidst the distraction around scams that unfolded through the year, A. Raja quietly slipped out and sold a bunch of 4G licenses on eBay.

Justice Katju was probably right when he said 90 percent of Indians are idiots. It’s just that the other 10 percent haven’t yet subscribed to the Times of India. Everyone has the right to make a fool of himself. Beni Prasad, SM Krishna and Digivijay Singh got full points for exercising their rights to the fullest in 2012. Through the year, SM Krishna resembled a guy at the mall confused by automatic doors. Beni Prasad Verma proclaimed that he was “happy with inflation.” You see, anyone can come up with a coherent sentence. But only Beni Prasad can take us to an entirely new dimension. Some day when aliens try to figure out why our society disappeared, hopefully remnants from Digvijay Singh’s skull will provide some clues.

In other news

Gold prices skyrocketed. And Bappi Lahiri was rumored to have been sold on eBay to clear the national deficit. Dinesh Trivedi, erstwhile Railway Minister, proposed bullet trains. Well, he got the first half of his wish.

Hamid Ansari held onto his title as the invisible man. Pratibha Patil’s tenure as President came to an end. Her 2-step exit strategy from office: 1. Transfer all frequent flyer miles to personal acct 2. Start new cooperative bank.

Vijay Mallya owns a building in Bangalore which has 21 stories. It turned that not one of them was the truth. Kingfisher Airlines, one of India’s best, was grounded in 2012. An unfortunate upshot of this is that the Kingfisher calendar will now feature Air India staff.

There were 2 Indian contributions to business lexicon in 2012.

A “Vadra” – when 50L becomes 500Cr in a short period of time.  And the exact opposite called a “Kingfisher.” Which led to Newton’s third law of business, “For each and every Vadra, there must be an equal and opposite Kingfisher.”

Newton’s 4th law of IRCTC: A car starting from City A will reach City B in less time than it takes to book a ticket between cities A & B on IRCTC.

Around the world

4 more years of Obama. Love ’em or hate ’em. You’ve got to admit that the Americans showed spunk in re-electing an African American to the White House.

Mo Yan, a Chinese writer, took home the Nobel Prize for Literature. Out of sheer force of habit, the Chinese government arrested him on hearing the news. Truth be told, it was refreshing to hear that a Chinese guy wrote a book instead of xeroxing it.

So much blood was spilled in Gaza. It was bloody madness. When we spend our whole existences honing skills for war, why would we seek peace? The cycle goes go on. Ireland persisted with the delusion that they knew exactly what an invisible God would have wanted.

Xi Jinping did a great job with Beijing Olympics, and became Chinese President. Kalmadi did an awesome job with Commonwealth Games and went to Tihar jail.

A gunman killed 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut.

As we head into 2013..

Public confidence in the government has hit rock bottom. In fact, the only thing government seems to be above is the law. The nation is in bad shape as we head into 2013. All these parties may talk about forming fronts, but they really want to show us their backs. Yet, in tough times, we must unite behind one leader. Until we find that leader, I guess we should support Arnab Goswami.

“Friends, Romans and countrymen, please stop looting the country. Especially you Romans.”

Happy New Year. Have an awesome 2013!

The What Ho! 2012 Year in Review was assembled using my tweets during the year. Keep track of the events of 2013 by following me on Twitter at

An aam aadmi’s letter

To whomsoever it may concern.

They call me aam admi. For you babalog, that translates to “ordinary man.” Presumably women are included in there as well. That’s what they call me. I don’t know the first thing about supply side economics. I’ve never listened to Beethoven. I couldn’t tell an IIT from an ITI. There are many things I don’t know. But, I have a God given ability to detect bull shit. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get a few things off my chest.

When we got our independence, I was ecstatic. I was one of the millions who lined up whenever the Mahatma gave us the word. Then, I heard that Pandit-ji had his reservations about me. He wasn’t sure if I would exercise the right to vote responsibly. Well, here’s the thing. Neither did I. Who knows what’s best for the country? Who do we trust? Pandit-ji and his friends came highly recommended by the Mahatma. They had studied at firangi universities, spoke English and rubbed shoulders with world leaders. Once again, I fell in line when the Mahatma asked me to support his protege. I had a job to find, a family to take care of and mouths to feed. I didn’t have time to think it through. So, without protest, I voted for Nehru, in the hope that he was our Messiah and that he would part the Red Sea and lead us to the Promised Land.

I shed tears when Chacha died. He was our Messiah. We hadn’t yet made it across the Red Sea. In fact, there was no sea. I found myself marooned on a desert with no friendly faces. Pandit-ji, in spite of his firangi degrees and polished accent, had blown it. The lone face that I recognized of Lal Bahadur was but a brief mirage. And that’s when the nightmares started.

They say that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. If that’s the case, I must fault Jawaharlal, the tree and not the fruit, Indira. But my gut tells me that that Jawaharlal was not the tree. He was just the guy who watered a tree called the Indian National Congress. This tree did not produce fruits. Rather, it sucked the life out of the ground it grew on, and gave shelter to reptiles and insects and rodents, which in turn preyed on me.

I wish I could write away the twenty years between 1970 and 1990 as a bad dream. Even now, I wake up in the middle of the night, sweating and anxious that the past may return to revive its hold on me. But trust me when I say that I have a short memory and am trying my best to move on.

The damage that Indira wrought was not to my stomach. It was to my psyche. She said, “Garibi Hatao.” I enthusiastically cheered, more in hope and despair simultaneously and not out of belief. As I said, my instincts told me that these were reptiles, rodents and insects. Hope turned to anger and slowly resignation. And then despair, when one of my own turned his back on us and assassinated our Prime Minister. I lost one more familiar face and that hurt me even though I didn’t trust Indira entirely. Her son was another fleeting mirage. I’m told that he did some good for the country, but am not entirely sure what he did for me.

They tell me that we were in a lot of trouble in 1991. And this man named Narasimha Rao bailed us out of this trouble. I didn’t know he was capable of this feat. I voted for him because he was part of this tree that I told you about. Turns out that he wasn’t entirely a reptile. Another fleeting vision as far as I’m concerned.

Things have been getting better in the last twenty years, I’ll happily admit. I’ve got a cell phone. I can see roads being laid. A lot of my friends have left for cities. I see shiny buildings when I visit them. But twenty years is a long time to wait when you have too little to show for it. There was a time I had resigned myself to my fate. Now, I am not being allowed to even do that. I’ve seen things that I now can’t put out of my mind. My aspirations are spinning out of control. My country has changed a lot. And it doesn’t stand by itself any more. The destinies of all countries are now inter linked, they say. I wouldn’t know too much about that. I have no idea what current account deficit means, and why we need foreign investment so we can have supermarkets and megastores. All I know is that there still aren’t enough jobs for my people and things need to get a lot better before we can afford to fritter time on ideological and political debates. I’ve been waiting for a long while. I wish these fellows would get on with the program so my children can have a better future.

What galls me is that, not only are they frittering away precious time but they are using that time to loot my house. There are thieves inside my house, emptying it as I speak and there are folks outside my house yelling “thief.” It’s like I’ve become invisible to both of them. Neither is helping me.

Anna Hazare, God bless him, says he wants to help me. But, I don’t have the time to make it to Jantar Mantar each time he asks. With due respect, he’s not the Mahatma. Those were different days. And they were different men back then. I trust Anna-ji. But he also wants to tie me to a tree and whip me if I try to drown my sorrows in cheap liquor. So I wonder if I should trust a guy who wants to whip me. Like I said, no one helps me anymore.

This chap, Kejriwal, seems to have his heart in the right place. But I don’t believe I’ve ever met him. I guess it’s hard to meet up when one of you feels the need to be in a city and on TV all the time. To Kejriwal, I tell you this. It’s not enough to start an Aam Aadmi party. It’s not even enough to be an Aam Aadmi yourself. You need to come out here and meet me. Don’t tell me about those reptiles. I know about them already. I’ve seen more than fifty years of reptiles. Help me. We’ve been waiting for a Messiah. We’re so jaded that we’ll give you too a chance. And we fear that you too will blow it.

You know what I don’t need? I don’t need sermonizing and moralizing. Don’t tell me things I know. Don’t tell me that I’m illiterate. I know that already. Don’t tell me that I suck because I vote for my religion and caste. I have good reasons for doing so. If anything, my religion and caste guys are the ones who’ve shown up in times of my need over thousands of years. I can’t abandon such instincts easily. Don’t tell me that we need a dictatorship because only dictators can control fools like me. I’m not the fool that I’m made out to be. In fact, quite the contrary. I’m the product of evolutionary intelligence that’s been gathering steam over millions of years. If I’ve come this far in the evolutionary game, I’m pretty sure that I can handle a few reptiles. So don’t tell me anything.  Just step aside and allow me to be. And help, if you can.

I’ve always dreamed of this Messiah in shining armor, who’ll swoop down from the skies and carry us all away into this land where there is freedom and dignity in life. And you know what? I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I’ve come around to believing that I, and only I, have my fate in my hands. For that, I need to be responsible. I need to change my habits. And I need to stop making excuses and think things through. I know all of this. But it’s going to be a while before I get there. I wonder if we have the time for me to get there. I don’t think there’s another choice. Let’s see how this one plays out.

Until then, although you may call me an Aam Aadmi, keep in mind that I’m anything but ordinary.

Best regards.

Mango (wo)man.

Mukesh Ambani announces plans to buy the government

MUMBAI – Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and CEO of Reliance Industries, confirmed rumors today that he plans to purchase the UPA government and rights to all governments that will be elected in the future in India.

“I know that the people of India are impatient with the government and don’t trust political parties,” said Mr. Ambani, “and for good reason. The root cause for this malaise is that the government has not been accountable to anyone. Which is why I’ve decided to buy the government out and make it answerable to me.”

Mr. Ambani has hired Goldman Sachs to complete due diligence on the acquisition, and expects their report to be completed by end of 2012.

“We’re pleased to be appointed lead advisors on this critical project. Our bankers provide mergers and acquisitions advice and services to our clients on some of their most complex strategic decisions and transactions. We’re especially very familiar with the process of acquiring governments, having most recently bought out the US government in the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2007-08,” said Mr. Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs at a press conference in New York city earlier today.

“My vision for India is simple and straightforward. It’s to ensure that all people will have free and unfettered access to buying shares of Reliance Industries Ltd. Some day in the future when I retire, I’d like to hand over a couple of governments to my son so he can live comfortably,” added Mr. Ambani.

Responding to questions on possible changes in governance, Mr. Ambani explained, “For starters, the capital of the country will be immediately shifted to Antilla in Mumbai. I plan to privatize Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and bring in corporate investment. All current members will be forced into voluntary retirement. In future, 49% of the seats will go to the highest bidders. I plan to retain 51% ownership of the Houses. People will no longer to need to vote. If they wish to have voting rights, they can become RIL share holders. Once I complete the acquisition of the Central Government and the Houses, I plan to complete acquisitions of all state governments as soon as possible, so we can have harmonious Centre-State relationships.”

In a rare display of emotion and candor, Mr. Ambani added wistfully, “You have to understand my real reasons for doing this. So far, I’ve been forced to carry all these chaps around, hidden in my pockets. In fact, my pockets are so full that I don’t have place to keep even my cell phone or the house keys. Is this any way to live? Enough is enough. Instead of being all secretive, it’s more convenient to be open and buy at discounted prices.”

Shares of RIL finished up 1,000 pct in after-market trading on news of the announcement.

Tweets from the week gone by

https://twitter.com/waatho/status/263210333722783744

https://twitter.com/waatho/status/262764032946237441

Scientists riot, protesting Deepak Chopra’s latest video

In an alarming trend, anti-Deepak Chopra protests have broken out across the scientific world. According to reports, enraged scientists have taken to the streets in places as far away as Pasadena, California and are burning effigies of Chopra, who’s widely known for his attempts to fuse science and spirituality. The unexpected developments are rumored to have been triggered by Mr. Chopra’s increasingly frequent use of the word ‘qualia’ in his blogs and tweets, and reached a tipping point with the release of Mr. Chopra’s ” target=”_blank”>latest video in which he describes ‘what is qualia?’.

Cal Tech physicist, Leonard Mlodinow, defended the protests saying, “We in the scientific community haven’t seriously objected to Deepak talking about soul, reincarnation and karma over the years. But, I gotta tell you that this takedown has been a long time coming. Deepak has been relentlessly encroaching onto our territory with each passing book. He likes to take science-y terms and make exotic sounding word salads out of them. Qualia? Qualia? Seriously, come on, man. He’s now coining all new words now. This is the last straw.”

In a surprising twist, protests have spread to several university campuses around the world with the male population of students joining in. Said an agitated student, “Dude, for years, we’ve used lines from Chopra’s books to pick up chicks. Why is he trying to switch the lingo on us? Does he understand what he’s doing to us? I tried qualia on a girl the other day, and she’s now got a restraining order against me.”

In a hastily arranged press conference, Mr. Chopra responded ruefully, “I’ve been telling people to find their inner selves, and it doesn’t seem to be working. I’m sorry. I give up.”

When asked if he planned to stop writing books, he quickly responded, “No way. There’s too much money involved in that. People will read whatever I write. I don’t see a reason to stop that. But I’m now convinced that humans are bent on destroying themselves and this planet no matter what anyone tells them to do. I’ve already embraced this reality myself by joining the Tea Party movement. In fact, my next book will be called “You guys are all insane. I’ll see you in Hell.”

In other news

Rumor has it that Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor are collaborating on a film called “Fifty shades of K.”

In a series of bold moves this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a hefty price hike on diesel, limits on subsidized LPG and FDI in aviation and retail. Industry observers have lauded the reforms while the announcements have also sparked rumors that the PM may have started drinking heavily.

Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, earlier arrested for sedition, had charges dropped against him. When asked, “How was it to be in prison?”, he responded, “It was pretty rough, man. Cartoon is one of the worst answers you can give to the guys inside when they ask “So what are you in for?””

HRD Ministry scraps the second law of thermodynamics

As part of an ongoing modernization and reform campaign, HRD Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal announced plans to scrap the second law of thermodynamics. The second law states the principle of entropy, in which a system continually degrades over time due to increasing levels of disorder.

“We Indians are sick and tired of our system breaking down all the time,’ said Mr. Sibal. “The second law of thermodynamics is responsible for this. It stands in the way of progress. And, it must go,” he thundered.

The announcement followed recommendations of a Group of Ministers convened to identify pesky laws of science and nature that they wanted to see abolished. “There was clear consensus that the principle of entropy is a real nuisance. It’s been there since the beginning of time. It’s outdated. Enough is enough. We’ve never played by the rules of nature. Now we’re officially scrapping it,” said Mr Sibal, before going on to promise the ‘biggest shake-up to the laws of physics since Isaac Newton’. “It’s possible that we might re-introduce the second law along the lines of ‘things will only get better‘,” he clarified.

The HRD minister’s announcement was welcomed enthusiastically by the Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh who said, “Our style is to fly in the face of common sense and laws. It’s time that we embraced this approach openly. I’ve asked the team to abolish fundamental laws and concepts from economics as well. Many in the cabinet have expressed annoyance with the law of supply and demand, and concepts such as fair market pricing and auctions. Speaking of time, we plan to ban the concept of time itself by 2014, so we can scrap the elections that year.”

In other news

Greece shocked to learn that it is now owned by Suresh Kalmadi. Yesterday, Greek citizens woke up to the fact that their country is now owned by a little known politician from India named Suresh Kalmadi. No one knows yet as to how this heist was pulled off. The entire narrative is expected to unfold over the next three years.

Studies performed by researchers have revealed a deep sense of dissatisfaction among teachers at the quality of homework being done by parents on behalf of their children. “It’s shocking how low the standards have fallen. We often find these poor children hastily re-doing botched attempts by parents, before submitting them.”

Chetan Bhagat admits he has run out of things to write about

Gloom and panic seize fans. Publishers fear this could be the last nail in India’s literary coffin.

Renowned author, Chetan Bhagat, today admitted that he did not know what to write about anymore. “I’ve exhausted all the mundanely commercial possibilities that one can write about. I’ve written about college, working in call centers and getting married. Recently, I even tried writing a non-fictional book.” Bhagat’s latest book “What Young India wants” has met with withering criticism, with the phrase “horse dung” occurring repeatedly in reviews. When asked, Bhagat responded, “Horse manure is, in a sense, hovering all around us, waiting to invade our consciousness. It takes a certain type of mind to get hold of it and inject it into the public consciousness under the right sociological conditions. If you look at it thus, my book is a highly creative effort. But, truth be told, there’s only so much of horse excreta going around. Dude, I’m now at the deep end of the pool and have nowhere left to go.”

This announcement was met with widespread dismay and panic by Bhagat’s millions of fans on Facebook. “What am I now supposed to buy when I’m looking for a ridiculously watered down read for less than a hundred rupees?,” posted a fan, which immediately received over a hundred thousand likes on the social network. A top publisher, under the condition of anonymity, revealed that she was in discussions with Bhagat on his next book. “More than Chetan, we publishers know what young India wants. They need more horse dung. So, we’ve asked Chetan to compile all the fan posts on his Facebook page into a book, which can then be sold back to the fans. We will be trying very hard to push our luck as far as humanly possible,” she added.

The What Ho! report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read the Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

Manmohan Singh urges Indians to follow the Bhagavad Gita and give up all expectations

Following a daylong meeting spent huddling with his Cabinet colleagues and coalition partners, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced today that “the best bet for Indian people was to follow the dictum laid out in the Bhagavad Gita”. “Listen, just do your duty. And, give up all your expectations,”, said Singh, “This is the great truth that has been handed down to us over the ages,” adding that there was no point in trying to introduce new bills when “no one really cares about making anything work.” When pressed for more details, Singh added, “If you love something, set it free. Don’t spend all your energy in trying to force something to work. Your government should be free to do its own thing. If it never comes back to thinking about you, perhaps we are not meant to be with each together.” The Prime Minister confirmed that he’s “pretty sure” that his government will not get anything done for another two years and maybe even longer. However, he urged Indians to “keep their minds open to the possibility of a miracle.”

The What Ho! report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read the Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

A Candid Discussion with Sushil Kumar Shinde

Our new home minister, Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde, dropped by last week and gave what can only be described as his most candid interview till date.

Q: Mr. Shinde, congrats on your promotion. What do you think is your biggest challenge as Home Minister?

Sushil Kumar Shinde: The biggest challenge is to defend our borders. I recently stumbled upon a world map. Every country seems to have a border. I don’t know if you guys realize this. It’s very, very hard to defend yourself when you have borders.

Q: That’s so insightful! Why is it hard to defend our borders?

Sushil Kumar Shinde: Defending borders is not easy because you tend to have foreign countries on the other side of the border. And they’re always trying to move the border when you’re not looking. For example, I noticed that there are foreign countries in the North East on the other side of our border.

Q: You’ve said that you were an excellent Power Minister. Would you like to add to that?

Sushil Kumar Shinde: Yes. Here’s the deal. Superman is gone. No one knows where he is any more. Even Batman has been retired by Chris Nolan. I may be the only fictional super hero left. Being a super hero is no filmy matter, mind you!

Q: Mr. Shinde, how do you plan to combat terrorism? 

Sushil Kumar Shinde: The biggest problem with terrorists today is that we don’t know where they are. So, I plan to issue ID cards to all terrorists when they enter India. This will make it easier to track them. We’ll also have a pool of “immediately available suspects,” who can be arrested within 48 hours of any incident, in case we’re not able to track down the terrorists.

Q: Sir, comedians and satirists were worried when Abhishek Manu Singhvi retired from the public scene. But, God works in mysterious ways. He has given you to us. We sincerely hope that people will appreciate your genius some day. Many thanks for speaking with us.

In a separate statement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh revealed that he considers the appointment of Mr. Shinde as the Home Minister as “a harmless prank that has gone too far.”

The What Ho! report: Satire, baseless rumors and no real news whatsoever. We read the Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

Kapil Sibal to create the “mother of all unified exams”

Flush from its victory in the recent civic polls, the West Bengal state government, led by the feisty Mamata “Didi” Banerjee, is mulling a complete ban on electricity and bathing. The strongly pro-poor Didi said, “Hey, if something’s not being used by lesser privileged people in society, it ought to be illegal. We looked around in slums and found that people over there don’t have access to electric power and are not in a position to have daily showers. Hence, we’re planning to ban these items.” When queried on the practicality of implementing such a ban, Didi reassured reporters by saying, “Of course, the ban will not be total. We’ll still need electricity to torture cartoonists.”

In a bid to come out of financial doldrums, Kingfisher Airlines announced that it would convert itself into a social network.  The new entity, which will be called “facepalmbook”, will soon announce an IPO from which it expects to raise tens of billions of dollars. “For the last several months, we’ve delayed and cancelled flights thus causing customers to waste enormous amounts of time at airports. With this new social network, we expect to help them waste time at home, without ever having to visit an airport,” said the flamboyant Vijay Mallya who plans to hand over reins of the new entity to his son, Sid.

“In this new structure, employees will cease to be employees and instead become our ‘friends’ on facepalmbook. This way, they won’t receive salaries, but can grow as much food as they want on imaginary farms. Plus, we’re going to keep all the cool things about Kingfisher, such as in-flight entertainment, gourmet meals and glamorous stewardesses. We’re dropping only those things that have hurt us over the years, namely customers.”, chipped in Sid helpfully.

As Syria descended into chaos and UN inspectors foraged for signs of carnage in villages, India’s Sachin Tendulkar called on the Syrian president, Bashar Assad to stand firm and not step down. “I don’t believe you can tell someone when they ought to retire or step down. They should be allowed to leave on their own terms when the time comes”, he asserted. When asked about polls which point to Assad’s plummeting popularity, Tendulkar remarked, “Numbers aren’t everything. As long as Assad continues to be passionate about genocide and vendetta, he ought to keep going.” In response, Kapil Dev called on the entire United Nations organization as well as Syrian rebels to retire immediately.

In an innovative and radical twist, which promises to generate more controversy, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has called for combining even larger groups of examinations into one. “First, we combined all other engineering examinations with IIT-JEE. Now, we’ll take this a  major step further by combining this with all other exams such as eye exams, hearing tests, blood tests, driver’s license tests and colonoscopy into one mother of all unified exams (MOAUE). My fond hope for Indians is that any person should be able to take just MOAUE and be able to come out with spectacles, hearing aids, blood group type, driver’s license, a bowel movement patterns report as well as admission to a college at the end of it.”

The What Ho! report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read the Times of India so you shouldn’t have to

Let’s Ask Hafiz

Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Jama’at-ud-Daw’ah, widely considered to be a cover for  Lashkar-e-Toiba, recently answered questions from militants, movie industry, politicians and others in a live web chat. Here below is the transcript of the chat obtained by the What Ho! Report team.

 Dear Haifiz saab,

Please take a look at my youtube video entitled “Death to India”, in which I declare war on the Indian infidels. I can be seen randomly waving my Kalshnikov rifle while threatening imminent doom to the infidels. Please let me know if this is of interest to you and your organization. I’d like to join your outfit. Kindly advise. By the way, I have my own cave.

Jobless in Quetta

Dear Jobless in Quetta,

Thanks for sharing this with me. You seem to fit the exact IQ profile that we normally look for in our members. We will be in touch with you shortly. In the meanwhile, please do share any other scary videos that you may have posted. We’re running low on randomly weird content at the moment, and anything you can provide in this regard will be useful.

Dear Saab,

I’ve recently located here from Karachi. I’ve been hatching a devious plot on my cell phone and worried that Indian intelligence might have overheard me. What should I do?

Worried in Mumbai

Dear Worried in Mumbai,

Ha ha.. That’s a funny question! Let me assure you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. For your information, the Indian Home Ministry is trying to pass the NCTC bill, after which they will be too busy spying on Chief Ministers. Even if they catch you, you have nothing to worry about. You’ll be treated like a movie star in prison and will most likely get a Presidential pardon. By the time all this plays out, you can expect Gol Maal 7 to have hit the theatres. Rock on, friend.

Dear Hafiz Saab,

I’m a member of Jaish-E-Mohammed in good standing. Of late, I’ve been feeling the itch to switch over to LeT. What percentage raise can I expect? Are there any differences in health care benefits?

Bored in SWAT

Dear Bored in SWAT,

I applaud your itchiness. Unfortunately, this is not my department. Please call our operator and ask for HR.

Dear Hafiz Saeed Saab,

I did not believe it when they told me that you were conducting a live chat. And then, I came on here and I was like “OMG! It’s really true”.  Here’s a rapid fire question I’m asking celebrities this month. Rank the following actresses in terms of hotness:  Kareena, Katrina or Deepika?

Karan Johar

May you burn in hell, Karan Johar.

Dear Sir,

I’d like to take a minute to explain our new “cave renovation financing package”. Can I take a few minutes of your time?

HDFC call center dude

What the hell? Wait a minute, you’re serious, aren’t you? Go away!

Dear Mr. Hafiz Saeed Sir,

It’s a pleasure to be in touch with you. I’ve been thinking about how I can blame terrorism in India on RSS. I would like to discuss this in detail with you and get ideas from you. Can we meet?

Snoop “Diggy” Digg

Dear “Diggy”,

Thanks but no thanks. You are too insane and dangerous, man. I’d prefer to not have anything to do with you. Please don’t get us into trouble by contacting us.

Greetings and best wishes to you, Sir.

I’m an aide to the former Nigerian president, Mr. Chumba Chumbabwe. Please wire $20,000 to my account, and I promise in the name of the good Lord that you will receive $200,000 in exactly one month’s time for your most esteemed and kindly services, Sir. Awaiting your most wonderfully positive response.

Sammy Abasiama, Lagos, Nigeria

Dear Sammy,

You must think that I’m a fool. I sent you $20,000 last month and never heard back. There is no way I am sending you any more money.

Dear Hafiz Sir,

Any chance you could loan me roughly Rs. 1,000 crore in hard cash right now? I’m in a spot of trouble and need to pay my pilots’s salary this month. I can give you 5% equity in my company.

King Fisher

Dear King Fisher,

Yes, but on one condition. Your calendar will now feature only women covered from head to toe and wearing burkas. Do we have a deal?

Dear Mr. Hafiz Saeed,

I’m a huge fan of Dawood Ibrahim. I have a 8×10 photo of him, which I’d like to get autographed by him. Is there any chance you can give me his exact mailing address so I can meet him?

Mome Hinister

Dear Mome Hinister,

Why don’t you contact him directly yourself ? He’s on Facebook.

The What Ho! Report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

Buddhist believes being in the moment “over rated”

In an intriguing twist to the 2,000+ year old history of the religion, a veteran Buddhist leader today stepped forward with the startling and controversial claim that the core tenet of his faith – “to stay in the moment”  – was perhaps over-rated.

“After decades of following the noble path and meditating incessantly, it has become painfully obvious to me that the place to be is not in the now. And it’s certainly not here. I’m thinking of moving to Los Angeles”, said 70 year old Namgyal Norbu, a Dzogchen teacher from eastern Tibet in a hastily arranged press conference at the foothills of the Himalayas.

“I certainly don’t regret anything. Ever since I joined this monastery, I learned to dwell on neither the past nor the future, and instead on the endless moment. You know what? The moment really is endless. The “now” never stops. It just seems to go on and on. I’m getting all stressed about it, and could really use a break”, he explained.

When pressed on his future plans, the master had this to say.

“I’m beginning to believe that I may be open to a certain level of speculation about the future. I’m even looking into building up some level of expectations to make life a little more interesting. And while I’m at it, who knows, get a groovy bachelor pad, a hot set of wheels and all Apple products. That sort of a thing is beginning to appeal to me. Anything is possible”

When requested to expand on what caused the inner revelation, the monk responded wistfully as follows.

“You’re asking what caused me to awaken from my state of meditative introspection. That’s a really good question. I have to confess that I had my misgivings when I first sold my Ferrari and entered the monastery. Although, at that time, it seemed like the thing to do. You know, I had a great career and lots of money, but I wasn’t happy back then. There was something indefinably empty about my life. So that’s how I turned to spirituality. But here’s the deal. After thirty years of non-stop meditation and controlling the mind, I’m thinking that maybe I need to slow down. I was watching cable TV the other day, and that’s when it struck me. That there’s no way I could keep up with the Kardashians and stay in the moment at the same time”

The What Ho! Report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

Fighting breaks out between Dhoni and Sehwag factions

Fighting breaks out between Dhoni and Sehwag factions

Lasith Malinga’s confidence accidentally bombed in collateral damage

Fighting has broken out between Jaish-e-Dhoni and the Lashkar-e-Sehwag factions, plunging Indian cricket into gloom and chaos. Although sporadic skirmishes have been rumored over the last year, public fighting has not been witnessed hitherto between the factions, until it broke out 2 weeks ago. It is alleged by Lashkar-E-Sehwag that recent, unflattering remarks made at a press conference by their rival worsened an already combative and tense situation, leading to exchange of gun fire and an escalation in hostilities.

The Indian cricket team has, in recent times, split over ideological differences in their approaches to cricket and winning matches. The Jaish-e-Dhoni faction which claims the allegiance of the more youthful members in the team, has pushed for radical reforms such as substituting pre-match workouts with go-karting sessions, and forcefully dropping senior players through a mandatory rotation policy. “I want to make something clear”, said Dhoni in an uncharacteristically communicative moment. “We are the Young Turks. No one deserves the right to ruin the future of Indian cricket more than us”

The Lashkar-e-Sehwag faction represents the old guard of Indian cricket, its best years behind it and now in a fight for survival, respect and relevance. “What does Dhoni know about ruining the future of Indian cricket? When we were blowing it and losing to Bangladesh in World Cup 2007, where was Dhoni?”, Sehwag’s retort is as quick and powerful as his square cut. The seniors have been manfully striving to make cricket more employee friendly by advocating measures such as working from home, substituting running on the field with long, leisurely walks and finishing test matches in under three days. “When you get to my age, you begin to wonder what life’s all about. You realize that you’d rather give away those extra twenty runs than risk a heart attack”, opined Viru wistfully.

Things came to a boiling point earlier this week at Hobart in India’s match against Sri Lanka, which saw the Dhoni faction resort to heavy shelling of and firing surface-to-air missiles against their rivals, catching the Sri Lankans in cross fire. “It was downright scary. I’ve never seen Virat Kohli in such a murderous mood. We just came to play a cricket match. We had no idea that a war was going on between these guys”, said Mahela Jayawardene, leader of the Sri Lankans. “I’m deeply sorry to inform you all that Lasith Malinga’s confidence was caught and severely wounded in the crossfire, and is presently undergoing emergency treatment in intensive care”

The Sri Lankan Cricket Board, in the meanwhile, reacted swiftly by classifying Malinga as a national monument, and setting up an Emergency Relief Fund towards the restoration of the fast bowler’s confidence in bowling death overs.

The What Ho! Report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

Scientists believe that the BJP doesn’t exist

With the UPA government bogged down in scandal, internecine and coalition politics, the inability of BJP to cash in on the waning popularity of the government has led scientists to believe that the party may not exist at all.

“Normally, when the government’s approval declines significantly, it is reasonable to expect the Opposition to gain ground. Instead, all the disapproval seems to have vanished into thin air and has not resulted in any gains for BJP. Naturally, we have grounds to believe that BJP may be non existent. The data collected suggests that the party might, in fact, be a black hole”, said Dr. Viru Sahasrabuddhi, a leading scientist from the Indian Institute of Science, at a press conference in Bangalore.

Theories about the non-existence of BJP are nothing new, and have been steadily gaining ground since the debacle of 2004 elections. However, Dr. Sahasrabuddhi admitted that there is still some nagging evidence to the contrary, such as statements made by the perennially outspoken Uma Bharati, considered the stormy petrel of BJP.

“It is the consensus of the scientific community that there is no logical explanation for Ms. Uma Bharati”, he said.

In Other News

According to sources, we believe that the DMK party, acting on advice from McKinsey and Co, will exit politics by the second quarter of 2012, and instead focus full time on their core competencies in land grabbing. Mr. Karunananidhi, the octogenarian leader of the party, has also been advised by McKinsey to “lose his scary sunglasses”. “We believe that his frightening Darth Vader look could be the sole reason for escalating tensions with neighboring states”, said a McKinsey partner under assurance of anonymity.

Acceding to demands from Darul Uloom Deoband, the UPA government successfully foiled the plans of author Salman Rushdie to visit the Jaipur Literary Festival. In a further attempt to appease the Deoband and garner votes in the upcoming UP elections, the government has now petitioned the US to include India in its Axis of Evil, demanding the slot recently vacated by Saddam Hussein.

Democrats cheered Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina in the US Republican presidential primaries. Reactions have ranged from “ecstatic to euphoric”.

Zen moment of the week

A Karan Johar produced remake of an Amitabh Bachchan movie from 1990, Agneepath opened to brisk box office collections this weekend. We may lag China and the US on the economic front, but, we are the undisputed world leaders when it comes to unimaginative remakes of crappy movies. The What Ho! team plans to launch a civil society movement towards the creation of a Jan Lokpal dedicated to monitoring and stopping Mr. Johar from entering any movie set in the future.

[note] The What Ho! Report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read Times of India so you shouldn’t have to. [/note]

Kingfisher announces discounts for passengers willing to fly plane

In an aggressive bid to stay afloat, Kingfisher Airlines has announced massive discounts for passengers who are willing to fly the plane. However, the airlines has put in strict qualification standards for eligibility.  “Only those with a two wheeler license and a helmet are eligible for the scheme”, cautioned the airlines spokesperson. “Also, preference will be given to those passengers who’ve downed a couple of quarts of whisky in the sixty minutes preceding the flight”, she added. In a related announcement, the company chairman revealed that, due to budget cuts, this year’s edition of the Kingfisher calendar will feature Air India staff instead of the usual glamorous fare.

In Other News

Inspired by Dr. Manmohan Singh’s track record in politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University in India has announced a brand new master’s degree program in Political Silence. “A leader is known by the silence he keeps. We can’t think of a better person to serve as honorary head for this new department”, said the University Chancellor in a press release.

In a continuing aftermath of cyclone Thane, which swept through coastal Tamil Nadu, millions of households in the state continue to remain without political power.

It is rumored that Kim Jong Un, the new Supreme Leader of North Korea, has suffered a nervous breakdown just one week after taking over as head honcho. An anonymous inside source said that the new leader “is seriously worried about whether he is crazy enough for the job. I mean, he knows that he’s clearly nuts. But, this job calls for an all new level of insanity”

Presidential candidates in the US primary, in the meanwhile, have warned that the US may not be able to wage war against terrorism and gay rights at the same time. “It’s time to pick our priorities. With Bin Laden dead, Elton John has emerged as the biggest threat to the free world”, said Newt Gingrich at a rally in South Carolina.

The Zen Moment of the Week

Reacting to criticism that the government has remained indifferent to the travails of the common man, Home Minister P. Chidambaram today unveiled what he described “a color-coded apathy alert system” that will help the public gauge exactly how sluggish the government’s attitude is likely to be.

“In the past, people have wondered if the government is up to anything” Mr. Chidambaram said in a press conference in New Delhi. “I’d like to clarify that we remain firmly committed to total indifference. And, it’s my belief that this new system, based on just 3 color codes, will keep the public better informed about the government’s exact level of apathy. This will take any guesswork out of the equation”

“Each of the three colors denotes a specific level of government apathy”, Mr. Chidambaram explained. According to the new system, the color green will signal “normal apathy – ignore real issues, pooh pooh allegations and issue denials in face of mounting evidence”. Orange will denote “enhanced apathy – continue to deny even after Supreme Court convictions”. Red color code will stand for “extremely severe apathy – subversion of Parliament, and token Cabinet shuffles combined with sudden amnesia”.

“As you might have observed, we’ve been able to move the Jan Lokpal bill from green to red in just three months”, added the Home Minister.

However, Mr. Chidambaram was evasive and indifferent to questions on how and when the system was going to be implemented. “I don’t see  why we should rush this,” he told reporters. “This is just getting off the ground. We’ll get it to red in due course of time”

The What Ho! Report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

Indian Union Cabinet sent to halt Iran’s nuclear program

In an encouraging sign, India has agreed to send its entire cabinet of Union Ministers into Iran in an internationally orchestrated attempt to disrupt and halt Iran’s nuclear program. “These guys can stop anything from happening. They are an A-team when it comes to creating internal tussles, leaking confidential information, paralyzing programs and not taking decisions. We have the utmost confidence in them”, said UN secretary general, Ban-Ki Moon in a press release. “We’re standing by and fully prepared to send in the US Congress along with Dr. Manmohan Singh, if this crew can’t get the job done”

In other news

Digvijay Singh has entered a twelve step program to help him stop blaming RSS. “I have a problem”, acknowledged Diggy when reached over the phone. “A big problem”. He added, “The problem is serious. At first, I used to feel the urge just after meals, 3 times a day. And, pretty soon, I started blaming RSS during drinking sessions. And then, it got out of control and I now blame the RSS at least 20 times a day, and often three times before breakfast”. A health expert advising Diggy has warned that it was not going to be easy. “Often the person experiencing addictive behavior substitutes one addiction with another. In this case, we’ve asked Diggy to substitute RSS blaming with something more socially useful like an anti-Karan Johar position, which we all can wholeheartedly approve”. Later in the day, Diggy came out swinging with a verbally abusive tirade filled with invectives against the release of Agneepath.

Fears that the upcoming elections in UP might turn into a fiasco have been somewhat alleviated by the announcement that Bollywood director duo, Abbas-Mustan has agreed to direct and produce the elections. A political analyst, who preferred to remain anonymous, commented, “There have been serious concerns that elections in India’s largest state could turn into an international laughing stock. But, we’re now relieved that this dynamic duo has signed up to making this into a blockbuster action hit”. Abbas-Mustan have already got off to a swinging start, sacking two thousand candidates “who lack oomph” and have promised to get actors, Bipasha Basu and Katrina Kaif, onto the ballot. The move has already been criticized by political insiders who questioned the actors’ lack of leadership experience. “The critics can go to hell”, said the confident duo. “These are the same guys who questioned if Abhishek Bachchan and Bobby Deol could rob a moving train”

In a move to boost sagging fortunes, Kingfisher Airlines announced that it will now begin stowing passengers in overhead compartments. “Every rupee counts”, explained the airlines spokesperson tersely.

The Times of India group has announced a merger with the Congress party. It is rumored that the financial terms include a sound-bites-for-cash swap. “We’ve been working lock step with the Congress party for the last decade. This move is a mere acknowledgement of the fact”, said a Times group spokesperson. In the new org structure announced, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will now report to Indu Jain, chairperson of the Times Group.

Zen Moment of the Week

Just a year after a team of scientists determined that Pluto was not a planet after all, the same team reconvened in Mumbai today to pronounce that batsmen on the Indian cricket team were, in fact, not batsmen at all. Indian cricket fans have long suspected that the original characterization of the top order in the Indian batting line up as batsmen may have been in error, but today’s announcement removed any shred of doubt.

“While the likes of Gautam, Virat and Mahender undoubtedly possess some qualities consistent with what you’d expect from batsmen, we’ve come to the conclusion that they are something else entirely”, said Dr. Kolaravi Shastri of the University of Mumbai. “It would be more accurate to characterize them as dwarves”. Dr. Kolaravi also added that it was “understandable” why scientists had assumed that these individuals were batsmen for many years. “They looked like batsmen. They walked like batsmen. They carried bats and wore helmets. For God’s sake, some of these chaps even scored runs in ODIs. Based on observations made in Melbourne and Sydney in the last two weeks, we now understand these mysterious objects better. We’ve changed our theory because they have consistently failed to exhibit one important characteristic that is common to batsmen”, Dr. Shastri clarified, “scoring runs in test cricket”.

BCCI welcomed the findings and announced a test series against Netherlands, in which all the matches will be played at Ferozeshah Kotla and the toss to be won by Indians.

A very happy new year to what ho! readers! God bless.

The What Ho! Report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.

IIT Delhi unveils Theory of Unintelligent Design

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi unveiled a radically new “Theory of Unintelligent Design“, which they said was inspired by the bitter feud waged over the years between the theory of evolution and the theory of intelligent design. Providing evidence in support of the new theory, they introduced Exhibit A “Digvijay Singh“. However, Prof. Malhotra from IIT-Delhi, although a die-hard proponent of the new theory, warned, “People, don’t put your stock in just one theory. Even this concept, as powerful as it is, cannot possibly explain everything Diggy does or says. The unified theory of unintelligent design continues to be our Holy Grail”

IN OTHER NEWS

In a rare appearance on national television, Sonia Gandhi offered an upbeat assessment of her son’s fortunes. When quizzed by a television anchor on the crown prince’s recent snafus and plummeting approval, she said, “His numbers were not that great to begin with anyway. So, things are working well for him”. When asked for her opinion on Mr. A. Raja and his incarceration without bail, she responded, “From what I gather, he gets three square meals a day and plays squash twice a week. Things are working well for him”. Responding to concerns about instability in Pakistan related to Asif Al Zardari’s deteriorating health, she said, “Things are working well for them”

Given worsening economic climate and the Congress leadership coming under increasing scrutiny for corruption, the BJP confessed that it was looking for as many ways as possible to squander the opportunity and lose the next general elections. A high level committee comprising L K Advani, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari has been formed to ensure that the party does not fare well at the hustings. “We’re being given an opportunity on a silver platter. While it’s still too early to think about losing elections, we nevertheless remain focused on identifying an uninspiring PM candidate”, Gadkari confided. ” If we execute this well, that’s the only position that a BJP party member can expect to win”, he added.

In a stunning revelation, a government spokesperson admitted that the recent impassioned speech in Parliament in favor of FDI-in-retail was in fact not given by the Prime Minister, but by a look-alike plastic blow up doll. An elated Congress party worker said, “Man, the toy hit it out of the park”. Parts of the public were not amused. Said one voter, “This is not funny. If I wanted an inanimate object up there, I’d have voted for John Abraham”

In a clever move in tune with its conservative bent, and simultaneously aimed at capitalizing on a burgeoning opportunity, India has legalized gay divorce with immediate effect. An Infosys spokesperson applauded the move and commented, “We’ve been keeping a close eye on gay marriages in the US and Canada. When those marriages go south, we’ll offer a low-cost gay divorce destination here in India. We have no idea why we need engineers for this, but we’ve already hired 4,000 of them in anticipation. We’re also pleased to announce that Kim Kardashian has joined us as senior VP to lead this”

In other news, a careful inspection of George W Bush’s memoirs revealed that US invasion of Iraq was a result of a Microsoft Word auto-spell-check-and-correct feature. “It was supposed to be Iran”, the former President’s spokesperson admitted.

Angry West Indian fans, upset by the drubbing of their team in India, have threatened to boycott the team “unless they start taking steroids immediately”. Responding with alacrity, the Caribbean cricket board has roped in Ben Johnson, the former Jamaican sprinter, to lead their performance enhancement efforts.

ZEN MOMENT OF THE WEEK

In a bearish sign that does not bode well for the Indian economy, the RBI governor, Dr. D. Subbarao, allegedly left a restaurant without paying the bill for his soup. According to an eye witness account, the governor was nervous and fidgety after getting the bill, and first attempted to pay in Iraqi dinars citing the weakness of the Indian rupee. When that failed, he gave the staff the slip and vanished without a trace. Addressing newsmen, Kolaveri Raja, a soup boy at Saravana Bhavan in Chennai, sang an eloquent version of the incident as follows –

Yo boys, I am sing song. Soup song. Flop song.

Why me. Why this. Why this Kolaveri Raja- di?

Empty hotel-u, Governor come-u. Life reverse gear-u. 

soup eat-u. bill avoid-u. my future dark-u.

I gave him bill-u, but he gave me bouv-vu.

God-u, I am dying now-u. He is happy, how-u?

cow-u cow-u, holy cow-u, i want to know now-u

This song for soup boys-u. We don’t have choice-u. 

Why me. why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Raja a-di?

Take two, folks and check out Kolaveri video to the right-top of this page. Enjoy!

The What Ho! Report: Headlines, baseless rumors and no news whatsoever. We read Times of India so you shouldn’t have to.