Sunday, 5 July 2015

Et Tu Haldiram's?

Haldiram's, that one name fills all Indians with pride besides the fact that 34% of Microsoft employees & 36% of NASA employees are Indians as attested by those whatsapp forwards, a numerical fact that has never changed since the past few decades. Why? Because, f**k attrition.

For my international readers, Haldiram's is a big corporate in the F&B segment in India with prominent exports abroad.

Recent reports state that the US regulatory body FDA has declared a ban on majority of Haldiram's products as they were deemed 'unfit' for consumption. A month back Maggi, a product by Swiss food giant Nestle was banned in India by regulatory authorities due to the high lead content found in it after multiple tests. Left with no great choice fellow Indians have Top Ramen Noodles left to drown their sorrows in.

Recognizing Top Ramen Noodles as 'noodles' is potentially the 2nd biggest setback to Indian cuisine in recent years, the first one being Sanjeev Kapoor shaving off his moustache.
It's a known fact that you can add Haldiram's aloo bhujia to any dish under the sun and it will become palatable. It's undoubtedly the aam aadmi's cocaine. Like any outraged customer I marched straight into the kitchen to finish any half eaten packs of Haldiram's snacks so that I could outrage in peace happily ever after.

As a consumer I have braced myself completely, as the worst is yet to come. For all you know the divine Kelloggs Chocos might be adulterated with healthy things like 'soya' or any other satanic substance or for that matter if Frooti gets revealed as basically egg yolk with mango flavouring.

A senior official from Haldiram's commented that "some pesticides are not permitted in USA unlike India and our products are completely safe". Bet Hitler used a similar line to draw consensus for his gas concentration camps

"Gas concentration camps may not be permitted in other countries but they are safe & fool proof, trust me. I successfully eliminated thousands of Jews."

Food contamination in India is acceptable till the time a random westerner wearing a lab coat assures us on national television that what we are consuming is safe. What is a  bigger concern for me is that companies with spooky bunnies as their mascot are allowed to co- exist on the planet without any legal ramifications. No offense, Lijjat Papad.

In the coming days extensive PR campaigns will be run by both Maggi & Haldiram's to pacify their consumer base. I am glad that Haldiram's didn't ever have an A list Bollywood star as a brand ambassador lest the nation would have held him/her to ransom for quality testing issues.

Social media is a potent tool undoubtedly. Within minutes of any product contamination incident your post can get viral. Recently while going through my Facebook timeline I happened to see this picture of a dead cockroach in a chocolate ice cream pack. There were some visionary comments below it like- 

"Bro, they gave you free non veg for the price of pure veg item."

"At least the cockroach didn't end up in a flush. Thug life!"

"Cocoa is main ingredient in chocolate. Most of it comes from Africa, so avoiding anything chocolate related will save you from Ebola."

The way things are heading I am sure down the line some noble soul will publish a nostalgic book with high resolution photo collection of cockroaches who went beyond their call of duty and landed up in various Indian delicacies be it paneer masala, butter chicken etc.

Recently a study in Delhi concluded that street food contains high level of faecal matter. This study indeed raises existential questions on the foodies who suffer from the 'my pani puri guy has more water flavours than yours, Bitch!' syndrome. Death by diarrhea for the while.Off to gorge on some hand sanitizer filled pani puris. Till we meet again, Adios!  

Friday, 12 June 2015


Cows, or as you may know them as 'four legged bovine bundle of joy err gelatin' have enjoyed a formidable position in India since ages. They have been worshipped for being a source of life. Traditionally Hindu families kept a cow at home for dairy products etc. This was in the era where extended families living in huge bungalows were quite common and contrary to popular belief they did not sit at home all day long doing synchronized dance moves. Screw you, Sooraj Barjatiya.

People started moving into 'flats' or as Mumbaikers call it ’something a size bigger than jeans to fit my rear end in'. Keeping a cow home for fresh milk wasn't feasible at all, unless your claim to fame was to make it to the monthly building flat owner's association meeting where uncles with bald spots would scratch their armpits while debating over existential issues like the mystery of ‘drums of heaven’ bones in a 'vegetarians only' building . 

Milkmen introduced the coupon concept where you were supposed to hang a bag outside your door at night & keep printed coupons of the required number of milk packets you needed the next day in it. This within itself was such a great leveller of sorts.

Disclaimer- I did not settle scores with my landlord by tearing apart his milk coupons occasionally.

Cows have been in the limelight lately thanks to the recent beef ban. They have finally made it to primetime news for reasons other than munching plastic bags or getting abducted by aliens as pointed out so rightly by India TV.

A recent mandate demands that cattle owners submit mugshots of their cows and submit it to the nearest police station and furnish details of their distinctive features. I can totally imagine the kind of conversations that would take place-

“Saheb, my cow alters it's food chewing from 4 lightyears to 6 lightyears to signal an upcoming natural calamity.”

“Saheb, my cow tends to rotate it's tail in anti clockwise direction when humidity levels cross 40%.”

“Saheb, my cow has this fetish of pooping around luxury cars to bring about social equity.”

Recently an admit card issued by the Jammu & Kashmir examination board was in the news. Apparently someone had submitted a cow's picture & filled the online examination form. This incident indeed exposed the bureaucracy & inefficiency of the examining body. It’s cute how their standard operating procedures might change after this incident.

Step 1- Is the applicant's photo that of a homo sapien? If yes, move to the next     step

Step 2- Does the applicant have black pointy horns? If yes move to the next step

Step 3- Approve the application.

Step 4- Congrats! You just inadvertently sanctioned Batman's exam application. You're fired!

What I do admire about cows is their innate ability to not give a shit, no matter what hell breaks loose. Planet Earth can be taken over by extra-terrestrials and cows will still give you that blank stare.

Recently yet another visionary proclaimed that drinking milk from cows of foreign breeds could lead kids to do crime. Why milk only? Let’s revolt against American superheroes too. Even watching Batman could lead kids to do crime.  This allegation is as valid as 'making kids watch Shaktimaan could inspire them to actually achieve something in life unlike their superhero.' No offense, Shaktimaan.

I think it's fair that we let cows live in peace. Adios for now, as I am off to record navigation instructions for my GPS system with real time cow updates. Beat that Google maps!

"Cow approaching in 200 metres, brace for impact. Dodge the cow, dodge it's dung & land your tires into wet mud in the bargain. Realise the pointlessness of it all. Wipe a solitary tear pouring down your cheeks. Curse the universe. Drive ahead"

Friday, 17 April 2015

Open letter to Indian telecom operators

(Article written exclusively for India Today - Click Here)

Dear Indian telecom operators,

Hope you are doing well (not because I really mean it, but because the British taught us to eloquently fake emotions in letter writing before they left.)

A few years ago, I was one of those crores of customers religiously contributing to your balance sheet year after year, before I moved abroad.

I write this letter with deep pain, a pain in the rear end which is what you guys have become, with time.

Before I begin my bitching spree, I need to first thank you from the bottom of my heart. Back in the '90s, things were pretty screwed up. Incoming and outgoing calls were chargeable, and so was interstellar communication .

Nokia phones were a national asset and preserved for generations to come. Owning a mobile phone pretty much negated the fact that you were a huge disappointment to your family.

Soon all you telecom giants took over; the privatisation of the telecom sector began. It was a proud moment indeed, seeing your glossy posters stuck on every vertical flat surface, be it walls, billboards, shop shutters, etc, across the nation. Statistically speaking, your chances of seeing Mr Dhirubhai Ambani on the Reliance mobile posters were a lot higher than seeing your wife's face.

SIM card sales crossed per capita pani puri sales. Mobiles were no more a luxury. Everyone flaunted a phone, and using Hello Kitty mobile covers to camouflage ugly phones was no longer a state secret.
Soon enough, the era of value added services began.  Call centre agents worked overtime to hard sell caller tunes. There is no single way to logically argue it out with them. Sales calls used to usually go like this -
Call centre guy: "Sir, would this be a good time to speak to you, considering that our data suggests that you have been killing time, stalking your ex on Facebook for the last 20 minutes?" 
Customer: "Yeah, sure, okay!"

Call centre guy: "Sir, why don't you subscribe to our caller tunes pack? For Rs 40, enjoy caller tunes for the next two months. This limited time offer is so rare that the next time we might offer it would possibly be when extra terrestrials take over our planet." 

Customer: "No, thanks. I can live without it."

Call centre guy: "Sir, a research done by McKinsey suggests that people with caller tunes are far more likely to succeed in life than people without it. You don't want this brutal society to label you a loser, do you?"

Customer: "I genuinely don't need it. Now don't waste my time."

Call centre guy: "Okay, sir, instead of songs why don't you try our 'bhakti ki shakti' religious caller tunes collection?"

Customer: "Thanks but no thanks."

Call centre guy: "Sir, nine out of ten subscribers have achieved nirvana within 72 hours of activating these caller tunes."

Customer: "To hell with you..."

*bangs phone down*

Call centre guy: "Sirrrr... but sirrrrrrrrrrrr... listen..."

Remember the good old days when your "WAP push" messages scared the living daylights out of the masses? An innocent little question popped up on the screen and one ignorant click reduced your mobile balance by 100 bucks or more, and you were subscribed to a random unwanted service. Thanks to you, my grandparents were getting daily dating tips SMSes from you. I genuinely wish I was making this up.  

I bet even Osama Bin Laden, in his days, had the courtesy to begin a Kickstarter campaign to generate extra funds.

"Donate $10,000 or more and get Osama to do a soulful guitar rendition of 'Hotel California' dedicated to you in his next video."

Soon the market dynamics changed. Consumers required you to go beyond the call of duty.

Intern: "Sir, we need to give back to the society. CSR, philanthropy and all those big, big words need to be a part of our website."

Marketing head: "Hmmm I am a bit confused about whether, as a brand, we should stand up for womens rights or South Delhi dog spa rights..."

Intern: "Yes sir, we could organise free-to-attend seminars on women safety in all major cities and run a social media campaign parallely. What do you think?"

Marketing head: "Screw that! Let's send fellow citizens kinky messages late at night to bring about social cohesion and make India a safer place for women."

Intern: "Mind blowing! You're the best."
Like all the above wasn't enough, you have now started striking deals with e-commerce companies to increase their website speed and lower their competitors' website speed.

This reminds me of the age old fable of the tortoise and the hare. Except, in your case, the tortoise is counting his last breaths while dangling, tied to a tree by his neck, and the hare is sunbathing on the bonnet of a Lamborghini.

On a scale of one to ten (one being a mild prick and ten being a pretentious douchebag), how would you rate yourself? Be honest here.

The internet was envisioned to be a platform where everyone could share cat photos for free, without any fear or threat. In the near future, you are going to charge extra rates on the popular mobile apps we all use.

You just want new revenue streams? Here's a few you could use, and yes, you're welcome.

1.) Start charging people for sending out "good morning" pictures on WhatsApp and premium rates could apply if there is a sun in the picture.

2.) Heavy penalties on New Year's day for the people with "At the movies" as their WhatsApp status update for nine months in a row.

In the coming weeks, as you try your level best to lobby with TRAI and other government bodies, please bear in mind that net neutrality isn't a favour you are doing the masses - it's our right!

Here's hoping some good sense prevails and hell falls upon you for your vicious deeds.
Yours most lovingly,
Rahul Batra

#NetNeutrality #SaveTheInternet

For more such humour articles - Click Here

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Harbour of learning

Varanasi, referred to at different times in history as Kashi (City of Life) and Benares. It is one of the world's most established cultural urban areas and is viewed as one of Hinduism's seven heavenly areas. People go to the ghats lining the River Ganges here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacrosanct waters or to cremate their friends and family. Most people concur it's an enchanted spot, yet its not for the timid. Here the most personal ceremonies of life and passing occur out in the open, and the sights, sounds and notices in and around the ghats. Tata Capital's latest CSR initiative focuses on the journey of doing right

Today we bring to you a very special story embedded deep within the social fabric of Varanasi. Children living on the banks of this holy river very seldom get a chance to engage in quality learning. They are generally absorbed into some local trade to support their families. 

However there are a few good samaritans who are all set to change that & integrate these kids back into education. Mr Ajeet Singh has started NGO Guria which has made a unique Varanasi boat school. The 'boat school' aims to be a centre of learning wherein deprived children can nurture their curiosity of the world around them in an ideal learning environment.The school has many milestones to cover & needs to undergo a magical transformation indeed to reach it's full potential.

Good quality education is soon becoming a privilege of the elite in India. For a nation like ours, with scarce resources to support the teeming millions and ensuring all round socio economic development at the same time is a tall order indeed.As India remains poised to become a leading economic superpower the eyes of the world are on us again. 

It is in times such as these where our society needs to take a call, whether they will step up and stand for doing what is right, or sit back and blame the government, infrastructure, bureaucracy for everything that is wrong.

To contribute towards a better India Click Here to donate to this noble cause. The donations shall be used for makeover of the interiors,a library,educational toys,stationery,computers & painting kit.

Visit the campaign website- for more details. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Board Exams conundrum

(Article written exclusively for India Today - Click Here)

It's that dreaded time of the year again, when the heavenly powers above are back in demand and revered only so you can make it to the passing mark in that math paper you've always hated. For my international readers, board exams in Indian schools are equivalent to the IGCSE A/O levels.

Back in the day, entertainment options were quite scarce. People derived entertainment by rotating the radio antenna to all possible angles till the sound was clear enough, only to discover that a demotivated All India RJ was addressing the nation on the various types of pesticides that might be effective in crop cultivation.

A new form of entertainment was the need of the hour. So, a long long time ago, a bunch of grumpy old men sat in a conference room and passionately debated with each other about how they could create an entertainment ecosystem where judging and humiliating random kids would become a much loved sport in our society. And voila! The treacherous board exams were invented.

Like most fellow Indians, my first exposure to board exams was in class 10 - that stage where extra large genital diagrams are printed in biology textbooks, thereby virtually guaranteeing many awkward silences during class, all year long.

Motivation is very critical at this stage. We had our seniors give us pep talks about how they scored 99 per cent in the board exams and the clouds split apart, and soon enough, blonde Russian women popped out of the sky to oil their fictitious six-pack abs.

Preparation for board exams is the next mammoth task. It's not board exams till the time you start getting bombarded from all ends with the so-called "very important questions". Teachers come up with these questions after applying probability and regression theories, coupled with loads of "eenie meenie miney moe" analysis. Now, cramming answers to these questions can supposedly pave your way to intellectual supremacy. Mind you, these questions are leaked only to the privileged few - in other words, the crème de la crème - of the class.

In case your aim in life is to see your name appear on the ranker's list at school, which will be strategically ignored by all those who pass by, then just ask yourself three basic questions:

1.) Are you the teacher's pet? No? Jump to the next question.

2.) Is the teacher's pet your buddy? No again? Jump to the next question.

3.) Do you worship the dust beneath the teacher's pet's buddy's feet?

If your answer to third question is negative, too, your chances of bringing dishonour to your family name are just about as high as Shakti Kapoor.

The best way forward is to avoid any kind of human contact with friends who ask you random questions a few minutes before the exam. This breed will ask you questions not because they want to know the answers, but to remind you that you didn't study a small part of the exam syllabus well enough, and therefore, deserve to fail.

Cheating during board exams is not highly recommended, unless you want to shoot to instant fame and be a part of the numerous myths which surround the board exam disciplinary committee. My favourite myth is the one which says that if you get caught cheating during board exams, you and your future generations will be barred from giving exams ever again. The rule applies even if your future generations manage to produce offspring with extraterrestrials.

#ProTip: Just in case you are one of those "hyper precautionary" kids, always remember that carrying those two dozen extra pens and pencils with you in the exam hall does not, in any way, reduce the chances of an earthquake, or for that matter, Godzilla appearing on Marine Drive.

Indian daredevils at their very best #BiharCheating
Speaking of board exams, there was a huge controversy in Bihar recently, where, at one of the examination centres, mass cheating took place and people actually climbed the walls to hand over scraps of paper with answers, to their loved ones through the windows. Which is pretty cool when you come to think of it because, until sometime ago, as a nation, our passion for adventure sports was pretty much limited to puncturing car tires of pesky neighbours to seek revenge for emptying the building water tank with their lavish water consumption .

Think twice before you curse the board authorities. They have introduced subjects like environmental education in the sincere hope that the next time you see a tree being chopped in front of you, you will immediately run home and grab a hand sanitiser and bunch of perfumed tissues to re-enact the Chipko movement and hug trees.

Anyway, good luck to everyone for their board exam results. May your marks be the envy of many and may you get struck by lightning for flaunting that 99.75/100 score in math.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

But first let me take a selfie

(Article written exclusively for India Today-  Click Here)

The year is 2015. Homo sapiens have just about mastered the skill of using SMS lingo in oral conversations.

"Laugh and the world laughs at you, LOL and the world ROFLs / ROFLMAOs / LMFAOs at you (depending on their stage of human evolution)."

However, mankind is still struggling to come to terms with selfies. Back as a kid, life was a lot simpler. There was one Kodak camera in the house, and the internet was basically a medium with the sole purpose of getting to see plump green and blue MSN messenger icons rotate in circles, on loop. Pictures were clicked stingily and the people getting clicked were legally obligated to strike a flamboyant pose even if it was a funeral ceremony. The cheat codes of striking a good pose were perfected and passed on from one generation to the next.

Recently, at my college, we had a mock fire drill ie that part of the year where everyone is supposed to fake traumatised facial expressions (like the ones you get after seeing Mexican dosa on the Dosa Plaza restaurant chain menu), and also, tragically, the only part of the year where you compulsorily burn calories by taking the staircase for no noble intentions, but only because the lifts have been out of order.

For a change, I indulged in the much loved selfie craze and willingly became a part of about 40-60 group selfies during the six minute walk downstairs. This was pretty much like a social experiment for me. You know, like the ones you see on Facebook, where they run a car over a cat and check if a dead kitty evoked any public sympathy, with hidden cameras.

I was born with average looks and a gazillion or more diverse facial expressions than Arjun Rampal could ever achieve in his lifespan. I like to keep myself pretty low key. Unlike others who inhabit this planet, I religiously change my Facebook profile picture only once every five years. I do it not because of any narcissistic pangs, but as a token of appreciation to all my friends for bearing the same profile picture of me for such a long time. Needless to say, I get bombarded with loads of positive messages such as "Woah! You won't stop growing your waistline, will you?" to touching ones like, "Dude, do you like get paid for playing with our emotions or something?"

I pretty much gave up on deciphering the enchanting world of selfies during my last trip to Goa, when I spotted a group of girls pouting next to a statue of Jesus in deep pain on a cross at one of the main churches there.

The world was a happy place before commercialisation set in. Corporations around the world battled it out with each other to answer fundamental questions like "How do we make humans look stupid and intelligent at the same time?" And voila! The selfie stick was invented.

Selfie sticks are yet another pointless contribution to mankind, following Diet Coke, Oreo pizzas and glow-in-the-dark skeletons. Recently, all hell broke loose as President Obama was spotted using a selfie stick in an online video by Buzzfeed, USA. Now I do understand the utility of carrying selfie sticks to save random strangers the pain of clicking distorted pictures for you. Nonetheless, I wish you good luck with your selfie supremacy conquests.

Spoiler alert: Just in case you come across any murders being committed, using selfie sticks with inbuilt Swiss Army knives, I may be the culprit. Thank you for your understanding.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Open letter to the committed gang

Dear committed gang,

Congrats !! It's that time of the year again Hindu Mahasabha activists are on the streets & you are about to get beaten for roaming around with a girl. ie it's Valentine's day ! Hurray!!.

Apparently the Constitution of India grants you the legal right to move around with an extraterrestrial but not with a girl of a different caste.
Yet another insignificant contribution to mankind besides this article
It's that time of the year when love is in the air & moving on the streets holding blood red coloured teddy bears becomes socially acceptable.

Many years ago Mughal emperor Shah Jahan,  built  the Taj Mahal, an epitome of true love. A monument dedicated to fleecing foreign tourists and 'also' in the loving memory of his wife.

#FunFact- A day before the launch party of  the Taj Mahal, workers were busy practicing  the dance steps of the legendary 'Macarena' song and all of a sudden their hands were chopped off so they could never build a monument like Taj Mahal ever again.

Note to self- Don't chop off the hands of the guy that makes Chilli Paneer at your favourite restaurant.
Googling up Valentine's day I got to know the list of the insignificant days prior to this day-

7th Feb Rose Day
8th Feb Propose Day
9th Feb Chocolate Day
10th Feb Teddy Day
11th Feb Promise Day
12th Feb Kiss Day
13th Feb Hug Day

And as always when shit hits the fan ,that's where we come in!!

In the best interests of mankind I seek to add a more realistic touch to the days prior to Valentine's day.

7th Feb- 'Getting friendzoned' Day-

A day when you officially get friendzoned by your loved one. As brutal & heartless as it may seem. Don't worry, you are not alone. The whole Punjabi music industry pretty much survives on guys getting friendzoned. Don't believe me? YouTube it!

8th Feb- Gifting Lauki with a red ribbon to your gf's mom Day (known as bottle gourd for the ones who don't know & whose appetite isn't scarred by this horrific vegetable as yet)

Pampering your potential mother in law never hurts in the long run you know.

9th Feb- 'Walking her dog at 5 in the morning for pooping' Day.

Nothing more divine than waking up so early in the morning  not because you are a fitness freak, but because you need to take her dog out for pooping.  To hell with those 'dog is a man's best friend' quotes!

10th Feb- 'Watching Salman Khan's Tere Naam film for inspiration' Day

Now this film defies all preconceived notions about Valentine's day. It's basically about a girl who defies all odds and removes the filters of complexion, annual salary while selecting her potential groom on Women empowerment at it's best. Dear Rahul Gandhi , You're welcome! 

This film is also a fitting tribute to the numerous guys who feel getting a new hairstyle increases your chances of finding love. And even if you do succeed, you will end up with Bhumika Chawla not Deepika or Katrina.

11th Feb- 'Hunting for cheap Valentine's day gifts' Day

So Valentine's day is just round the corner. You need to buy something real good for your loved one before she elopes with another one.

#ProTip- Regardless of what adverts say, gifting a red coloured juicer cum blender to is almost equivalent to throwing a cucumber on your loved one with the instruction 'Lazy bum! Go make me a sandwich!'

12th Feb- Avoiding 'Public Display of Affection (PDA)' Day .

Try your level best to avoid watching  'Public displays of affections', is an art indeed. It's the season of love. Everybody is busy making out... pigeons,dogs, guys,girls,ogres  etc.

13th Feb- 'Googling for cheesy love quotes' Day.

When looks fail to impress, words are your last hope. And what's more exclusive than writing shitty love quotes on gifts. Just stay away from PJs like 'Hey baby is your dad a terrorist??  Because you are such a bomb'.

#ProTip- Adding Rumi behind any random quotation increases it's credibility by 80% instantly just like how you can wear a lab coat and come on national television to talk about chaat masala increasing human lifespan & no one will even doubt you once.

Now if you could excuse me I shall continue with my annual Valentine's Day tradition of tagging my single friends in 'Love is eternal' pics on Facebook.

Best Regards,
#Forever Alone team

For more humour articles Click Here

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Open letter to Obama's dog, world's most important pet

(Article written exclusively for India Today- Click here)

Dear Bo,
You might be wondering why I am even attempting to write a letter to you knowing fully well that you can't read. I do believe my thoughts will reach out to you some day. Dogs are a highly advanced species you see. They can, depending on what the script demands, don multiple hats right from umpiring cricket matches to even orchestrating distraught love stories towards a happy ending as evidenced in the Bollywood flick Hum Aapke Hai Koun by Tuffy the Pomeranian. Oh Tuffy, you the player!

It's overwhelming to know that when Osama Bin Laden's fate was getting sealed by Obama and the Navy SEAL snipers you must be sitting out there in the Oval office at the White House busy licking Oreo cookies. Fair enough.

Bo, the world looks up to you. And in each of those twinkling eyes of yours, the world seeks answers to rather nasty and spine chilling questions like -

"Will the Obama administration clamp down on the viral online dissemination of cat pictures with philosophical quotes?"

"Will Obama successfully manage to lobby his way through to ensure that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get included in the forthcoming Kinder Joy eggs?"

"Will Obama be able to curtail Pizza Hut from annually launching 56,999 varieties of pizza crusts that mankind truly doesn't give a shit about?"

I can almost feel your pressure, Bo. To be honest, my life is a lot simpler than yours. It primarily revolves around taking death defying decisions like should I just wait for the elevator to come or should I get inspired by the elderly using the staircase. You bet, I chose the former option.

You have lived a dignified life indeed amidst so much pressure. I wonder while travelling with President Obama in those incredibly customised limousines, do you like stick your neck out of the window and make passing remarks to the rest of your doggie clan like "I own this country bitches". 

By the way I have heard that there is a robotic arm in that limousine which at the click of a button takes out peanuts and M&M's straight from the oesophagus just in case they get stuck midway. Is that true?

Oh wait! Please be assured that you are not in any way socially obligated to reveal such confidential state secrets to ordinary curious Homo sapiens like me. After all who am I to question the First Pet of the First Family, and a personal favourite of the First Lady.

As we reach towards the end of this rather poignant letter, you must be wondering why unlike the rest of the Indians I have not written a letter addressing your master, President Obama straight away and contemplated various policy reforms with regards to his visit to India on our Republic Day as our chief guest.

Well you see Bo, we come from a very hospitable nation indeed and we genuinely believe that nobody should be discriminated regardless of caste, gender, religion, colour or as in your case the biological hierarchy of life forms. In our culture, no guests are ever neglected, unless of course you are pesky Gupta aunty next door in which case I am sorry we can't lend you sugar anymore.

Anyways wish you a happy life ahead. Shall get in touch with you again, when Sooraj Barjatya starts shooting yet another family entertainment movie with canines playing pivotal roles.

Oh silly me! Just forgot, President Obama a warm welcome to India to you too. Heard Apple has slashed MacBook Pro rates out there. Do get some along with you to improve "bilateral relations" you know. Even if you don't get them for us, you are still always welcome to join us in a choreographed dance set to the patriotic tunes of "I love my India, watan mera India" song of Pardesmovie, on a tricoloured boat, while playing a tambourine simultaneously.

Here's to a brighter democracy. #NamasteObama Yes, we can !!
Yours most lovingly,
Rahul Batra

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

S.O.S (Save Our Science)

(Article written exclusively for India Today - Click Here)

No offense! But even Teletubbies looked more elegant than this.
The field of science and I have had a long, murky history indeed. Pardon me, but I don't seek to bedazzle the world with any remote signs of intellectual supremacy, gained by staring at dead cockroaches and frogs in formaldehyde-filled glass containers for hours at a stretch. (Hey biology, take that!)

Chemistry wasn't any fun either. It's kind of weird when the whole universe conspires to turn you into a sniffer dog, by making you smell colourful fumes gushing out of test tubes in order to determine whether the odour is pungent or not. Okay, I get it, Indian noses are trained to perpetually doubt their surroundings by sniffing for signs of gas leaks while asleep or awake, but that doesn't mean you start exploiting us by making us sniff test tubes.

Physics was all nice and good, until they started tricking us with questions like 
"a pendulum connected with a mass-less string hanging at an angle of 60 degrees from the horizontal is pushed and starts oscillating back and forth. Calculate and compare the change in angular velocity if it is done on the North Pole".

50 years down the line, when the planet is in tatters (if you remain alive or are reborn as Paris Hilton's Chihuahua for doing cartwheels to the temple and back every Sunday), do remember that in a world where polar bears and countless other creatures were facing extinction due to global warming, mankind chose to test pendulum velocities instead of saving them.

Recently, we had the prestigious 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai where leading scientists were forced to do multiple face palms, thanks to some notable speakers and their creative outlook towards science.

Myth 1: Aviation conundrum 

According to Captain Bodas, a retired flying instructor, planes were first invented by Indians and not the Wright Brothers. And mind you, these were no normal jumbo jet planes. Besides moving forward and in reverse, they could even halt mid-air. Sadly, my friends, this technological innovation could not be passed down the ages and we have to make do with insignificant miracles like flying with emergency doors secured with masking tape or, as Air India calls it, "standard operating procedure".

Speaking of which, an upcoming Hindi movie Hawaizaada dwells on the same aviation myth which lacks evidence on all accounts.

Disclaimer: A bowl full of caramel popcorn may or may not have been shoved down my throat at the film producer's behest for plugging in the movie name here. Yes, those are the kinds of luxurious bribes I usually get.

Myth 2: Cow conundrum

My earliest memory of cows per se remains when I spotted them as a kid, smiling on the cover of cheese packs and milk bottles. They were white in colour with black spots, so aesthetically placed that you did not even need to Photoshop them. 

Being a Hindu, I have utmost respect for cows despite me having issues with their strategic equidistant droppings along roads. With the passage of time, I have come to the conclusion that the chances of landing your foot into cow dung is directly proportional to your efforts to avoid contact with it. For every three times that you successfully manage to avoid stepping on cow dung, a dropping from the pigeons above is rest assured. That's how karma works. 

What India truly needs is a driverless Google car, which avoids getting its tires over cow dung whilst navigating the roads. Boom! There you go Google, your next million dollar idea. Speaking of cows, Google, just in case you are filled with the "milk" of human kindness and feel like sending me my royalties, my bank account details will be made available on request.

At the conference, according to Dr Naik, bacteria in cows automatically converts whatever they eat into 24 carat gold. Quite a cool idea indeed. I can totally imagine a branded jewellery stall with a beautiful model holding a chainsaw, amidst a busy urban mall, with the hoarding "Cut the cow into two and win gold up to Rs 30 lakhs instantly". Before you know it, you shall be entitled to a "complimentary" beheading by local radical groups for offending religious sentiments.

Myth 3: Helmet conundrum

According to Mr Kiran Naik, two kings were fighting on Mars during Mahabharat and one of their helmets fell down; presumably, he was too busy Instagramming the moment and forgot to pick it up. When asked for evidence, he quickly retorted that if you Google "helmet in Mars", the picture shows up. It is with great sadness that I wish to inform you that after multiple attempts of Googling "Shaktimaan chilling with Kingfisher babes on Saturn", I was unable to come up with any such "scientific" evidence.

My heartfelt sympathies lie with all the other scientists who attended the event, seeking some thought-provoking discussions and analyses. Now, if you could please excuse me, I need to publish my research paper on the people of Ayodhaya doing the Gangnam style dance to celebrate Lord Ram's return from exile. Yes, I hereby declare that this dance form was invented in India, too. The Koreans simply aped us.
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