Category Archives: Ask Dr What Ho!

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.

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How accurate are fortune cookies?

Dear Dr. What Ho!,

I recently went out to dinner at this Chinese place, where I opened a fortune cookie which said the following-

“This year, you will be promoted because of your hard work and accomplishments.”

My annual review comes up in two weeks. Should I submit the fortune cookie message during the review in support of my demand for a raise and a promotion? How accurate are fortune cookies?

PS: I haven’t done any work over the last year. And neither do I have any accomplishments to speak of.

Yours truly,

Sushil Shinde.

*****

Dear Sushil,

The Chinese have been right about a number of things over thousands of years. Unfortunately, their fortune cookies which contain pearls of prognosis are not always accurate or trustworthy. Consider the following message I once got, much like you, at a reputable Chinese establishment.

“Your purse may be emptied, but your heart will be filled.”

Now tell me, what do the following have in common: Three sets of pillow covers+fitted sheets, half a dozen potted plants, a box of scented candles and a statuette of ambiguous gender which also doubles as a scented candle holder.

They will all appear as charges on your credit card after your missus has been out shopping, and will add up to thousands of rupees in (in my mind) needless emptying of the purse. This fortune cookie message clearly didn’t specify what my heart was going to be filled with.

As I said, deciphering fortune cookie messages can be fraught with peril and uncertainty. If you have accomplished as little as you have candidly confessed, I’m afraid that no amount of ancient wisdom can come between you and your imminent sacking which I foresee. You should perhaps cherish the days that remain on your job. Your days are numbered, my friend.

Best Regards,

Dr. What Ho!

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!

The Eleventh Commandment

I’m asked often by impressionable lads and gals, “What does it take to make it in the big, bad world of business?” In response, I always ask, “Can you handle the truth?” And when they nod hesitantly, I tell them, “A booming voice”. In fact, I call it the eleventh commandment. Here’s some chicken soup for ye impressionable souls out there.

Anything important has happened only because the people concerned had authoritative voices. When a voice booms, everything it says has a ring of authenticity.  I can only imagine what Moses must have felt, when handed the most important assignment of his career.

“Here they are, Moses. The Ten Commandments! Aren’t they beauties? ”. The voice of God booms above crashing thunder and quaking ground.

The Ten Commandments. Is that what we are calling the product? I take it that you want me to go down and pitch it to the hordes?”

“Yep, you have to go down there and, as you call it, “pitch” it to the people. Things are getting frisky out there with rampant sodomy and bestiality. It’s time we got the organization under control and put some policies in place. Do this well, and there’s a little upward mobility that I have planned for you. I’m talking prophet-hood. Heck, I’ll throw in a couple of wives if you exceed expectations”

“That’s an enticing offer, God. But with due respect, I have to point out that our product is flawed. Frankly, I don’t think it can be sold. Don’t get me wrong, chief. The collateral looks good. I mean, your carving on 8” by 5” rock slabs is pure genius. The font type and size are just perfect. But..”

“But..? I sense a lack of confidence, Moses. What’s bothering you, boy? Let’s talk. Mano et Dioso. Right here, right now”

“Look, Chief, let’s be honest. We’re competing for attention with golden calves, binge drinking and wantonly dancing women. How about we go with, say five commandments at first, see the uptake and then upgrade them to the next slab?”

“No deal, Moses. We’ve got to go for the whole enchilada. I’ve got the rule about not coveting the neighbor’s wife coming in at at number 10.  Seeing what’s going on down there, there’s no way I’m delaying that. Let’s bite the bullet and roll this baby out tonight”

“Hmm, I guess this leaves me with no choice but to put forth my demand. Could you please mute the thunder? I’m having a hard time making myself heard”

Thunder stops instantly. Gale winds cease. Silence prevails.

“Yes, my boy, and you were saying?”

“It’s a tough crowd out there, God. And, I want to put on a good show. I need a favor from you. It’s my voice. I want you to change it. I need it to boom. Like yours. Everything always sounds good when you say it. With a voice like mine, the best I can push is commandment number 8, you know, the one about not stealing. There’s no way I can pull the other ones off. Give me some deep bass tones, God”

Poof! Moses changes into an old man with white flowing locks, bushy eyebrows, gaunt visage and a baritone that reverberates across the expanse.

Why God gave Moses the senior citizen package (white hair and gaunt visage) along with “the” Voice is a story for a different day. Anyway, there you go, ladies and gentlemen. The inside scoop on one of the greatest achievements in history. It all comes down to the voice.

pip pip, and cheerio!