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WEEKLY MAGAZINE, MAY 18, 2014 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

How The Internet Became The Funniest Place In India #satire #memes #GIFs #videos #puns #Facebook #Twitter #parody #uncensored


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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

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LOG ON TO LAUGH

“How Funny Are You?” If Indian Internet were to take this Buzzfeed quiz, the result would be “Wow, you are getting good” – and a dog with painted eyebrows next to it. Now, there are at least two popular Indian versions of Buzzfeed (Storypick and ScoopWhoop), hilarious indigenous meme trends 2012, ISSUE 1 (Ab Ki Baar, Sanskari The ROFL issue: Babuji), ubiquitous stand-up comics Bollywood and dig on celebrities TV-show-based GIFs and punchy, political parody videos. Earlier, online humour was confined to relentless tweets, a funny picture here, a comical video there – 2014 is clearly the year funny hit puberty in India. And despite its awkward stage, we couldn’t choose any other subject for our third annual issue on humour. Our first humour special in 2012, The ROFL Issue, featured standup comics (you saw them all here first, btw) poking fun at celebrities. For the Comics Special in 2013, we got the country’s most popular

On The Brunch Radar

by Yashica Dutt

by Saudamini Jain

graphic artists to draw exclusively for us. Up until now, we were content with borrowed Nicolas Cage memes and US TV show GIFs, this year saw an explosion of local content. There are Indian versions of popular lists (eg: 10 Things Indian Girls are Tired of Hearing) and videos (the side-splitting video spoofs on Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi changed the election entirely, turning the great Indian circus into an online reality show.) Everyone was suddenly funny – even on Twitter timelines and Facebook newsfeeds. Witty repartee, punchy memes and reaction GIFs exploded on social media. The Internet gave us the funnies and the feels. Even chats bristled with funny stickers instead of regular responses. And when a troubled, moonfaced emoji expresses your particular state of gaucherie best, who needs them words anyway? So, go ahead and devour our funny pieces on online humour. And before you Facebook, tweet, comment about it, yes, we fully understand the irony of presenting it to you in print. 2013, ISSUE 2 Graphic artists on how to survive the city

About our cover artist: Akshar Pathak, an artist and a graphic designer, is the man behind the fun Facebook page Minimal Bollywood Posters. In Case You Are Wondering What Our Cover’s About It’s about the Internet. And its neologisms. In order of appearance LOL: Laugh Out Loud, ROFL: Rolling On The Floor Laughing, LMAO: Laughing My A*s Off, BRB: Be Right Back, TTYL: Talk To You Later, YOLO: You Only Live Once, OMG: Oh My God, Ctrl+C: Copy, Ctrl+V: Paste

Ab Tak Aapne Dekha

LOVE IT

n Dowrycalculator.com. It’s important to know your exe’s value is next to nothing. Burn! n A World Bank study revealed that most pdfs are left buried unread n When Alok Nath calls you (turn to the back page) n Blooming gulmohar trees everywhere n Monica Lewinsky’s first-person account in Vanity Fair

n People who use Two States as an example in the book-better-than-film argument n When a part of your job is to respond politely to grammatically challenged people on Twitter and email n Successful twentysomethings n Restaurants passing off Capsico as Tabasco n Surveys like this: “Delhi’s men make for more confident lovers than Mumbai counterparts,” reveals an AXE survey

We’re tired of these often misleading, mostly ridiculous headlines that clog our Twitter and Facebook timelines. Here are the worst offenders. And remember, as tempted as you are to click on them, don’t!

IF IT READS: No Sexual Desire? No Problem! IT USUALLY MEANS: You’ve clicked on an ad intended for uncles who have no insurance and need fake Viagra 3578 PEOPLE VIEWING

IF IT READS: The 1st Story Made Me Smile, The 2nd Made Me Happy, But The 3rd I Can’t Stop Thinking About IT USUALLY MEANS: You are loser enough to read these borderline-lame articles

Premise: The X-Men send back Wolverine to the past in order to prevent an all-out war. A new nemesis has necessitated the formation of a united team of younger X-Men and present-day older X-Men. The movie apparently has a large role for Trask Industries and Sentinels. (For the uninitiated: Sentinels are giant mutant-killing robots developed by Bolivar Trask played by the recent Game of Thrones sensation, Peter Dinklage) THINGS TO BE EXCITED ABOUT: THE CAST Two Professors (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart) and two Magnetos (Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender), young and old. All reprising their roles Oscar winner Anna Paquin will be playing Rogue again

Queen of the cyber perverts Jennifer Lawrence will once again essay the inimitable (pun intended) role of Mystique

And, of course, Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine

EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Rachel Lopez, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna, Yashica Dutt, Amrah Ashraf, Satarupa Paul, Saudamini Jain

MAY 18, 2014

Watch it in 3D: The trailers are full of cheese-burst dialogue and dramatic string music. So it looks like an IMAX 3D experience might be worth a watch. If you have some time to kill: Log on to Trask-industries. com. It is complete with mechanical specifications for the Sentinels, a profile of Bolivar and cataloguing of anti-mutant products.

DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor, Design), Monica Gupta, Swati Chakrabarti, Payal Dighe Karkhanis, Rakesh Kumar, Ajay Aggarwal

IT USUALLY MEANS: The site has paraphrased someone else’s research 2567 PEOPLE VIEWING

IF IT READS: 19 Signs You Are Too Nice To Catch A Match Online IT USUALLY MEANS: You’re going to stay single if you don’t go out into the real world and find real love 1695 PEOPLE VIEWING

IF IT READS: One Trick To Flat Abs That Doctors Don’t Want You To Know IT USUALLY MEANS: It involves using your credit card to pay for advice about crunches and breathing 6895 PEOPLE VIEWING

IF IT READS: This Stunning Video Of A Solar Flare Shows Just How Incredibly Hot It Actually Is

IF IT READS: Could You Be Straight? Here’s 11 Science Facts About It To Help You Check. IT USUALLY MEANS: You’ll be more confused than before 1497 PEOPLE VIEWING

IF IT READS: Your IQ Level Will Skyrocket Once You Read This

IT USUALLY MEANS: You’ll be looking at a photo of a big orange ball in your air-conditioned home/office/car

IT USUALLY MEANS: It won’t, dummy! IQ is something you’re born with. You can only improve knowledge, not intelligence

1967 PEOPLE VIEWING

1505 PEOPLE VIEWING

Stuff You Said Last Sunday reader loyal Brunch I have been a I always found it d since 2005 an ious issues w of the prev charming (fe und the fo I . n) io pt being an exce t provoking. For a ough cover story th Goswami’s column a change, Seem Saumya Sharma l– was cheerfu Loved the literature fes t at Dubai article. Great description of Al Bastakiya. – Thank You Saudamini –@sop hidhamani akes my m ch un Br @HT Wonderful co r! Today’s ve Sundays bette of the movie review r story about e on s and review s wa on editi by @ kHT ea Br unch today. En ers and Br joyed best till date viewpoints of s’ pg was on @anupamac pi am Ch hofast of pra and @Ra eit - @ ov #l je :D ev us M as rio and hila - @BoL_BLoG ta GeR Krishita_meh

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Photos: SHUTTERSTOCK

The recently out-of-the-closet Ellen Page plays Shadowcat, aka Kitty Pryde. Shadowcat can pass through solid matter. <Insert SCAT joke here>. In the comic book series, it is Kitty Pryde who is sent back to prevent the war

If you’ve watched all the previous films in the series, watch this one closely: Since it incorporates an element of time-travel we can be sure that it will be full of Easter Eggs referring to both past movies and (possible) upcoming ones.

IF IT READS: Here’s The Dirty Secret Behind How Your Favourite Brand Gets It Right/ Cheap/On Time

1987 PEOPLE VIEWING

by Shantanu Argal

The new X-Men Movie (X-Men: Days of Future Past) is scheduled to release on May 23. The film is inspired by the 1980 comic series of the same name.

by Apekshita Varshney

WEB HEADLINES THAT NEED TO DIE

SHOVE IT

All You Need To Know About The New X-Men Movie

Cover illustration: AKSHAR PATHAK

Yeh Kya Bakwaas Hai?


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HUMOUR SPECIAL

youtube.com/HindustanTimesBrunch

We’ve become really funny online! And wish we could show you an aggressive Sunny Deol GIF to prove it. Or the countless memes and videos that everyone’s sharing. Only this time, it’s shudh desi humour

The Internet has shown us how videos can be a wonderful medium to make fun of anything and not give a *darn* about it by Rohan Joshi nline comedy is democratic. You forge a joke, and then the Internet embraces it. Your joke can then be reforged and re-appropriated by people who could be thousands of miles away on a park bench in Krakow, until it takes on a life of its own. Two weeks later, it’s back in your lap as a WhatsApp message, email or Facebook share. Eight months ago, our collective, All India Bakch*d (AIB), jumped into the online video sandbox with our own YouTube channel. It’s been one

of the most entertaining, exhausting and, most importantly, liberating experiences we’ve had as comedians. Most mass media in India is censored to the point of irrelevance. “Beef ”, “nipple” and “lesbian” get beeped out, so there’s no hope for anything remotely edgy. More than one channel has approached us with paranoid briefs like “We want to do a weekly half-hour show about Indian politics for the election BUT you can’t take the name of any politician.” The joy of a self-publishing

Gursimran Khamba

Karunesh Talwar

Rohan Joshi

At least one Chuck Norris/Rajinikanth reference Inordinate use of the word, ‘humble’. GIFs, memes, and videos – the Internet can never be highbrow Random references some of you may not understand. Get on the Internet already! *(Asterisks), which give away more than they hide. Hey, everyone abuses online, even yo granny! Salman Khan’s Twitter feed. Because we are cool like that

Ashish Shakya

00:30/00:58

Jokes Indian stand-up comics need to retire

16,32,180 views

This is a real video made by AIB exclusively for HTBrunch. To watch it, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch now! Published on 17 May 2014

All India Bakch*d is a popular comedy collective made of Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya. It functions as the crossroads of a widelyheard comedy podcast, a live stand-up collective and a highly-subscribed YouTube channel Hindustan Times Brunch Subscribe About

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ALL COMMENTS (2592) Tanmay Bhat

This special issue was put together by Yashica Dutt and Saudamini Jain

In case any of you are wondering why I am not in the video, it’s because I don’t like the close-ups of my face on camera. Or shoots that don’t come with their own vanity vans.

The views expressed by the writers are personal Rimesh Heshammiya

MAY 18, 2014

Are you guys seriously thinking of retiring me from stand-up jokes? Did you just miss the whole Xposé era of comedy gold? I have been ruling the Internet, weeks before the film even released. Hmph, retire!


twitter.com/HTBrunch

platform like YouTube is that we don’t have to work to anybody’s briefs, bow to anyone’s sensibilities or kowtow to anybody’s prejudices. We get to make the jokes we want to make and say the things that we think need to be said, with little censorship. And if someone tries to censor us, we can just make a video about the fact that someone tried to censor us. The refreshing thing about working online has been getting to talk about the things that matter to us, on our terms. With no client or authority to report to, there’s little gap between the original idea and its execution. On our channel, we’ve been able to talk about everything from violence against women to LGBT rights and the idiocy of our political masters. Censorship has made Indian humour coy and blunted its edge over the last few decades. But on the Internet, we can call a spade a f****ng b*****d spade. We’ve all grown up on a diet of American and British sitcoms, stand-up and sketch comedy shows, and we’ve absorbed their tropes, styles and even their clichés. The liberating thing about online video is that it gives us the chance to replicate that idiom, but with references (pop-cultural and traditional) that are relevant to us as Indians. Better still, this happens at a fraction of the cost a TV production would require. All it really takes to start your own YouTube channel is a camera and the Internet. Best of all, at that price, you also theoretically have a larger reach than any one TV channel can offer. A TV show airs at a specific time in a specific country/state/city. Online, our videos are available to the entire world, for free, and they’re also available forever, to be viewed at your convenience. Our favourite thing about working on videos for the Internet is the scale of the canvas. When you do a live stand-up act about Diwali for example, you ask an audience of 300 to imagine how annoying fireworks are, and the idiocy of festival shopping frenzy, and the countless boxes of dryfruit that show up at your door. But when AIB did a video about Diwali, we got to put those words into visuals, to act that out and add visual gags and physical comedy and tiny touches that would never work in a spoken-word piece. And why 300 people? It’s a joke we’ve been able to share with 4,30,153 and climbing.

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How Twitter will let us be judged as a civilisation by Sorabh Pant f history is any indicator – and it usually is the best indicator – a civilisation can be summarised by sentences unearthed from its core. From hieroglyphics, we discovered that Egyptians worshipped cats, mummified their dead and really hated Brendan Fraser. From the telegrams, we unearthed the underbelly of an empire that was desperate, squalid and had orphans who couldn’t find soup (or maybe I read too much Dickens). From ‘words’ etched on stone from the Harappan civilisation, we gathered that they knew astronomy, science and really, really loved toilets (unlike modern Indians). Sentences from the past can tell you all you need to know about them. Which has me worried about us, because, Twitter is our resource of sentences. I’m afraid the future will think we were a generation of imbeciles who were obsessed with selfies while the world around us fell apart. There are the genuinely funny people, there are others too who are inadvertently funny: we call these people celebrities celebrities.

Sorabh Pant @hankypanty

Few celebs are deliberately funny on Twitter except...

Uday Chopra

@udaychopra

gaurav kapur @gauravkapur

linguistic abilities...

Salman Khan

@BeingSalmanKhan

Hi

That last tweet got 1,500 retweets – meaning 1,500 people shared Salman’s +limited thought processes with others. I am not one of those to rip on Twitter: it’s got the funniest people on Earth. We don’t need John Stewart or Shekhar Suman to mock the news, just comedians...

Sahil Shah @SahilBulla

Sapan Verma @sapanv

Rohan Joshi @mojorojo

Kunal Rao @kunalrao

Aditi Mittal @awryaditi

Or even people who aren’t comedians but prove that they’re almost as funny...

Shourjo Sengupta @thegreatbong

Alternative Cricket @AltCricket

$$Jhunjhunwala/ Magal @jhunjhunwala

Maybe Hitler, failed artist and future dictator, would have found attention tweeting about his shitty paintings. It could have solved so many problems in the past. The Cold War would never have happened...

Mikhail Gorbachev

@Gorbachev

Oi, @Reagan why you ignoring me, bro? We used to be so close

Ronald Reagan

@Reagan

Sorry, all communication channels are closed. I’m ignoring you, you know

Mikhail Gorbachev

@Gorbachev

Da. OK. You played the new Angry Birds?

Ronald Reagan

@Reagan

High score of 27,000

Mikhail Gorbachev

@Gorbachev

26,568. So close. This is like the lunar mission all over again! LOL.

Ronald Reagan

@Reagan

ROFL. You’re quite funny.... Expect trade blockades to be removed by sunset

Maybe the Titanic, which couldn’t connect with the outside world in time to effect a rescue, wouldn’t have sunk if Rose had tweeted a selfie...

Rose

@rosedawson

H20 is so cold. 4got ma thermal chaddis. Jack is dying. That’s cool – he already gave me a necklace. LOL. #ForeverAlone

a hilarious parody account on Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Not to be confused with

KRK

@kamaalrkhan

Abhishek Bachchan @juniorbachchan

Th rest The est tend to stumble through incoherence, stupidity or just plain lack of grammatical structure. Whether it’s to indicate our political bent...

Lalu Prasad Yadav

@laluprasadrjd

“No tea possible without Milk”

or our rampant dyslexia...

Shahid Kapoor @shahidkapoor

“Hanging with my g**d of girls”

and, of course,, our flo flowery

who runs a parody account on himself!

It’s almost improved the comedic level of India. As a comedian, you can no longer rely on the easy joke. Chances are, if Arvind Kejriwal’s topless photo trends on Twitter and you say, “Bro, I know you’re anti-corruption but, that’s taking transparency too far”, about 36 people have already expressed the same sentiment. That’s probably including Modi, who says something like, “I didn’t know AK-49s could survive under water.” Maybe then, Twitter could have helped earlier civilisations.

Twitter is great. It not only has humour but also drives people to watch me do my humour live. Not sure if society would consider that a positive or a negative. Either way, I’m shaping history. The Egyptian hieroglyphics can suck it.

Sorabh Pant @hankypanty

Sorabh Pant is a well-known comedian and the founder of East India Comedy. He was called, “The funniest I’ve ever seen,” by Hrithik Roshan. He’s also an author and his second novel, Under Delhi, releases this June


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HUMOUR SPECIAL One man’s contribution to the General Elections 2014 is unquestionable: Mark Zuckerberg by Karthik Laxman y the time you read this, the answer to the question, “Is there a Modi wave in the country?” would have been settled, and Rajdeep Sardesai would hopefully have attained a sense of closure after the 1,234,334 prime-time debates he has moderated on this very topic over the past one year. The discussion would now have moved to the question, ‘Who’s responsible for this result?’ One can almost picture Rajdeep hollering, “Is it Dr Manmohan Singh for his government’s poor performance? Or is it Rahul Gandhi for not taking charge of this party? Or is it just

he young man bursts out laughing, and does something that is instinctive, automatic, almost second nature to this generation. He hits ‘Like’. A few minutes later, the pic has made its way through the social network, and over a 1000 others have had a chuckle at the politician’s expense. Thanks to social media, politics is no longer about a boring bunch of crooked old men having a go at each other in a mad rush for power. Politics is now engaging, fun, sometimes rip-roaringly funny. Humour is a great way to get initiated into politics and understand its nuances. And Facebook, with its ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons and emphasis on visual media, scores over text-driven Twitter in reach and virality. The humour explosion on Facebook could be traced back to the advent of the ‘Facebook page’ in 2007. Amateur humourists, who were hitherto getting their kicks out of drawing a chuckle from those in their immediate circle, suddenly discovered that they could actually build a

Modi? That’s the big question tonight!” While the relative impact of Messrs Singh, Gandhi and Modi may be debatable, one man’s contribution to the result in General Elections 2014 and, indeed, to Indian democracy is unquestionable. That man is Mark Zuckerberg. Picture a college dropout in a nondescript town in Rajasthan hunched over a CRT monitor in a cyber-center. He logs on to Facebook to see what his friends are upto, and finds something sitting in his news feed. It’s a comic featuring a prominent politician.

following online and make it a business. Powered by Facebook (and Twitter to a lesser extent), satire and humour portals such as The Unreal Times and Faking News, cartoonists such as Satish Acharya, Manoj Kureel and Manjul began to churn out gags, memes and spoofs on a daily basis, entertaining and educating hundreds of thousands, while building their own brands in the process. The online humour revolution received a further boost in 2013, when Facebook introduced the ‘Share’ button which made viral posts even more viral. Pages such as Garbage Bin added fans by the thousands every day through their enormously popular gags. By mid-2013, election fever had well and truly settled in, providing a rich opportunity for humour of every kind to flourish – from the subtle dig to the slapstick crack. Our netas too contributed to the fun in their own inimitable manner, with gems such as these:

o, if you think you are funny and think of yourself as an amateur entertainer, go ahead and create a Facebook page. But make sure you don’t resort to dubious techniques to garner Facebook fans or you’ll end up with a bunch of Turkish fans like

our dear former Rajasthan CM, Ashok Gehlot once did. [Editor’s note: For those of you who skipped this hilarious news item last year: the BJP had, in July 2013, accused Gehlot of “buying likes” in bulk from IT firms in Istanbul for his official Facebook page.]


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HUMOUR SPECIAL

India (EEN-DEEYAAH) is a land of many colours, spices, and arts. The art of procrastination (Vilambanshastra) is one of the few truly indigenous art forms and it is directly related to the development of the Indian webcomic. Many of the earliest Indian webcomics were just normal comics that had been posted online.

Going back as far as we could, we found Fly, You Fools! – the first Indian webcomic that was truly a webcomic. Laid out especially for online viewing for an Indian audience, and made with effort and care for readers

(ie, not just posted on a personal blog for friends). The webcomic was a photocomic about life and its irritations that featured images and text by creator Saad Akhtar, and showed the darker, more cynical side of people.

Sadly, Fly, You Fools! went on an indefinite hiatus a few years ago. For many, its sarcasm and tone wasn’t very clear, but it was certainly the best we have seen so far. Other Indian

webcomics from the time too were abandoned. But what about the biggest webcomic? The most popular, the most profitable? First we look at Garbage Bin.

Created by artist Mohd Faisal, Garbage Bin is posted exclusively on Facebook and features the tales of a North Indian everychild Guddu, and his average, middle-class life.

Dripping with ’90s references, it is a sweet, safe strip that ideally belongs in a newspaper. But, it is posted on Facebook, so on a technicality it qualifies to be here.

MAY 18, 2014


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The proper Indian webcomic is still the stuff of legend. It’s out there somewhere, waiting to be made and shared. We learnt this the hard way by Adhiraj ‘Adhicool’ Singh and Sumit ‘AWSum’ Kumar

The other is Sahil Rizwan’s The Vigil Idiot. Hip kids who won’t get Garbage Bin’s middle-class chutkule latch on to The Vigil Idiot’s lawls as it rips on latest

Bollywood films by stating their inherent stupidity. The Vigil Idiot qualifies as a webcomic because the format is for web only, though it is only a film review.

What have we learned from all this? We learnt how to make the Ultimate Indian Webcomic, using the cynical view from Fly, You Fools!, the ’90s humour from Garbage Bin, and the Bollywood bashing from The Vigil Idiot, we created Aaapki Poojita. It’s a

webcomic to end all webcomics. We made more than 100 strips in one year, we shared it on Facebook and Twitter, we had an ingenious mobile-friendly layout, and we went straight for the big LOLZ, not the cheap laughs. The result?

We failed. Miserably. The one thing we did learn is that the webcomic market is unpredictable. You don’t know what will work. The proper Indian webcomic is still the stuff of legend, out there somewhere, waiting to be made and shared. What works on the Internet refreshes faster than social media sites change layouts. But the oldest rule in the comic book still holds true: it’s all about how you tell the story.

Adhiraj Singh and Sumit Kumar started Aaapki Poojita in 2012 – it went from being unknown to slightly less unknown and into full coma in late 2013. After a messy divorce, they are still Facebook friends (restricted list.) You can find Sumit’s work at www.sumitdrew.com. You can find Adhiraj at the bottom of a bottle

MAY 18, 2014


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HUMOUR SPECIAL

The Indian parent, rich Delhi boy, BC Billa and now Alok Nath. Indian memes have come of age by Suparn Pandey he word ‘meme’ (rhymes with ‘team’) was first introduced by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in 1976. Meme comes from the Greek word mimema (meaning ‘something imitated’). Dawkins described memes as being a form of cultural propagation, a way for people to transmit social memories and cultural ideas to each other. Well, that’s what Wikipedia had to say about this anyway. But I don’t think that was very helpful. So I’ll tell you, and give you some perspective too. Memes are tidbits of everyday human experiences in the form of jokes or stories. They are usually expressed through an image or video. And they are heavily shared on the Internet, usually as one picture with superimposed text that will instantly have you in splits. (A video or a GIF can be a meme as well. Those 30-second Harlem Shake videos that went viral last year? All memes!) Many believe that the first Internet meme ever was a GIF or a video of a 3D baby dancing in his diaper, which went viral over mail networks at the time (in 1996, or so say meme geeks on the Internet). And anything can be a meme. Different memes do different things but there are no set rules. I’m talking about Insanity Wolf

(which looks scary and gives insane advice), there’s Doge (a mispronounced dog, who doesn’t have much of a vocabulary) and Overly Attached Girlfriend (who, to be fair, is just misunderstood). Memes are so funny because they are relatable. A lot of us believe in crazy conspiracy theories. But these are best expressed only with the Conspiracy Keanu meme (which is a photo of Keanu Reeves’s very frightened expression from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, usually captioned with some crazy conspiracy theory). We are now used to consuming quick, bite-sized pieces of humour and quickly moving on to the next. I like to call this phenomenon ‘LoLing While Scrolling’. There’s more to memes than just humour, though. Many Internet memes are also about shock value and drama, for example, Success Kid (who is smug). Other memes talk about life lessons or advice. You can count on Good Guy Greg and Actual Advice Mallard.

Don’t understand? You’re not online nearly enough! Google Jackie Shroff + Polio drops. This is a meme that should be a meme

The Indian Parent meme – possibly inspired by the High Expectations Asian Father

MAY 18, 2014


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The best things are still copied. And Chuck Norris is still the baap of Rajinikanth

We love memes. They make us laugh, they make us think and make us share. But best of all, every single one of us can make one. And that, my friends, is the beauty of a meme. We were a little slow to catch up to meme culture. Our beginnings were humble – the Rich Delhi Boy and Indian Parent memes. But once we caught up, there was no looking back. Rage Comics became even more hilarious when we started using Rage faces to talk about Indian experiences and problems. Iconic celebrities like Amrish Puri and Nana Patekar started making appearances in rip-roaringly funny Facebook comments and posts. My favourite one is where Amrish Puri is looking all serious and the text below him says, “Iski

baat mein dum hai!” We also adapted some of the more popular Western memes to suit our eccentric tastes. The Grumpy Cat meme became the BC Billa. So the picture of that perpetually morose cat who was a spoiler to anything happy started trolling Bollywood and politics with a “BC this and BC that!” More recently, the very popular Norinder Mudi meme was actually inspired by the now extinct Dolan Duck. But in the end, it was a Twitter trend that is responsible for the explosion of the Indian meme culture. I’m talking about Alok Nath. [Check out the hilarious back page!] As tweeple across the country went nuts cracking jokes about Alok Nath, we at ScoopWhoop smelled opportunity. We took the best Nath jokes we could find and created the Sanskari Alok Nath meme. Many others followed suit and made their own variations. Now, with over a dozen jokes and characters out there, it’s raining memes. Memes are constantly evolving, mutating and dying out. The next big thing will be Vine memes. The app lets you record upto six seconds of video and create a meme. Whaling (people thrust their bodies backwards – almost like a whale’s leap) has already taken the world by storm. Everyone loves memes. And everyone’s making them. So go out there and make your own.

Suparn Pandey is a co-founder and the managing editor at ScoopWhoop.com

Arvind Kejriwal burning copies of the Lokpal Bill. Breaking news? We say, instant meme! MAY 18, 2014


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HUMOUR SPECIAL

What’s so funny about watching a cat falling in an endless loop? See the GIF if you’re still asking by Sujoy Singha rom humble flashy animations on a Geocities page in the early days of the Internet, the GIF has come a long way. Thanks to Tumblr and the social wave that came with it, the humble GIF isn’t humble anymore. It is more mainstream than ever, and has helped invent its own take on humour. It is inexplicable why we find it so amusing to see a cat jump in the air and land into a pool of water repeatedly. It’s something that cannot be captured by a single frame, no matter how funny the caption. There is something hypnotic and simply addictive about a GIF image that encapsulates that moment in sort of a time warp. We feel, in that captured moment, that the universe is trying to show us what we exactly want to see. And that is true of the Internet, specifically of Internet humour. We speak of how, with multiple TV channels, we are spoilt for choice, and how TV shows are at the mercy of the audience’s remote. Compare that to how the Internet functions. You better be good enough to hold our attention, or you’ll be clicked away and sent into the deep recesses of anonymity. If you are indeed good enough, you rise, you are liked, and shared, and become the ‘front page’. Unlike traditional media, the Internet is brutally honest, profane, and yet highly encouraging if you can strike the right chord. While the poor folks watching Indian TV are force fed daily soaps and unfunny “funny” shows (*cough* Babaji ka Thullu *cough*), our Internet brethren have taken the matter into their own hands, quite literally. With the ever-expanding universe of social media, we are fast

Picture perfect is passé. Videos are a bit much. GIFs are the middle ground: tiny, three-four second videos – and so funny!

becoming our own content creators. I created my Tumblr page in 2009, when there was hardly any desi or Bollywood content on Tumblr, be it GIFs, memes or comic strips. A search on Tumblr now returns multiple results on even the most obscure search items: Karan Johar giggling over Salman Khan’s virginity claim, a melodramatic entry by a super Kserial bahu, or the contorted face of Deepika, as she gets ready to kick SRK’s butt. If you can think of it, chances are someone’s already GIF-ed it. And yet, it never seems to stop. We as a nation are never going to run out of source material. From Rahul Gandhi jokes to IPL matches, Modi fanboyism to Bollywood clashes, there’s a reaction GIF to reflect every emotion and every other occasion. Sounds like a MasterCard ad. Oh, wait! we have a GIF for that too. I remember watching The Prisoner of Azkaban, and seeing the moving mugshot of Sirius Black in the film. We live in the era where that magic is true and it is very funny.

By day, Sujoy Singha works as a business analyst in London. And by night, he attempts turning everyone into a Bollywood addict. You can check out his rants on Oneknightstands.net, his silly GIFs on Bollypop.in and engage with his silly tweets @9e3k. He can also be found at the buffet.

write to us at brunchletters@hindustantimes.com MAY 18, 2014


WELLNESS

17

MIND BODY SOUL SHIKHA SHARMA

For any worries related to unplanned pregnancy:

THE WINNING CUP

Write to us at consumercare@piramal.com or call us at 1800-22-0502 (toll free) or sms ICAN to 56070 Website: www.i-canhelp.in

Keep common ailments at bay by regularly sipping these brews

W

HAT THE world calls tea is the well-known and much-loved brew of tea leaves. But several beverages that are also called tea often contain no tea leaves at all. Instead they contain flowers, tree bark, herbs or spices. Many of these have herbal properties, so it makes sense to switch to them instead of chai if they can help alleviate your problems.

PEPPERMINT TEA

It’s especially good to counter bloating, gas and indigestion. Drink one cup of the infusion and follow up by another cup after one hour. Peppermint tea works by relaxing the tense stomach muscles. And it has a lovely refreshing taste.

LEMONGRASS TEA

Lemongrass is available in India and it has a very pleasant aroma. A cup of lemongrass tea helps dilate the blood vessels to increase the flow of blood and this action in turn acts as a mild diuretic. Recommended for those with blood pressure problems, it’s also effective as an antibacterial and digestive.

induce sleep. Chamomile tea is best used as an infusion before bed time to relax the nerves and also to improve sleep.

MINT TEA

Not quite as sharp a taste as peppermint, but its antibacterial properties still make it a great mouth-freshner tea. Mint tea also helps soothe mild nausea, control the spasms and cramps that normally accompany diarrhoea. It can help improve digestion and is recommended for cough associated with allergies and chest infections.

Infusions of flowers, bark, herbs or spices are called tea too

LAVENDER TEA

Oh yes! People brew and drink the fragrant flower too. Like chamomile, it relaxes the nerves and helps you sleep better. When taken regularly, it also helps reduce the symptoms of stress and depression. Many people drink the brew to reduce bloating and the pain associated with it. As the days get hotter, it is advisable to switch to lighter teas and drink them in moderation. They’ll do your body more good than regular tea, and you’ll enjoy some new tastes too.

CHAMOMILE TEA The chamomile flower, when brewed as a tea, can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, calm the nerves and also

ask@drshikha.com Photos: SHUTTERSTOCK

MORE ON THE WEB For more columns by Dr Shikha Sharma and other wellness stories, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch MAY 18, 2014

1. Dear Doctor, my wife is 40 and highly diabetic. Will emergency contraceptive pill be safe for her? Emergency contraceptive pills are considered to be safe for most women of all menstruating ages. However, like with all medications, certain kind of drugs can reduce the efficacy of ECPs. As your wife is on regular medication for diabetes, then you should consult your doctor on this particular matter before consuming emergency contraceptive pills.

2. Dear doctor, I am getting my regular periods from last three months but still think I am pregnant. We h a d unprotected intercourse on my peak fertile day in February, but I haven’t missed my period. I have early morning nausea and feel tired most of the times. Am I really pregnant? If you are getting periods regularly, on time since last three months, for the same length of time, with no change in quality and quantity as they have always been, then you are not likely to be pregnant. However, if you still feel that you may be pregnant then we suggest you conduct a pregnancy test. If you wish to

consult a gynaecologist, please do so too. Sometimes the mind can play games and trick you into thinking that you are pregnant and hence you may feel you have nausea or feel tried when you are actually not pregnant.

3. Dear Doctor, I have taken 5 emergency contraceptive pills in last 3 years of my marriage. Now we are planning for a baby. I want to know whether I will face any problem in conceiving due to the pills. There is no long term or severe side effects associated with emergency contraceptive pills. Since these pills are hormone based pills, they change the hormone balance in the body for that particular short period of time, in order to avoid pregnancy. Once its effect is over, the body gets back to normal. As on date, emergency contraceptive pills are not known to have any effect on conception, pregnancy or development of a foetus, however as the name suggests, emergency contraceptive pills are only to be take in cases of emergency when your regular contraception fails.

Queries answered by Dr Nirmala Rao MBBS, MD, DPM; a well known psychiatrist who heads Mumbai based Aavishkar - a multifaceted team of expert doctors and health professionals. Aavishkar has a comprehensive approach to mental and physical health, with an emphasis scan this QR code to visit website on counselling and psychotherapy. Supported by:


18

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The

It may be the ‘it’ thing right now, but do you have the best camera phone for it? A twopart series

BiBle PART I

S

ELFIE! IT was declared word of the year for 2013 by the Oxford Dictionary. Studies have shown that the use of the word has increased by 70,000 per cent in the last one year. For every 10 pictures on Instagram, four are currently selfies. For most people under the age of 31, one third of all pictures they now take are selfies. The top 10 most recently retweeted tweets on Twitter have a selfie involved. You get the drift; selfies are the super-hot ‘it’ thing right now. And that is rather unfortunate!

DISTORTED NIGHTMARE

There really is nothing more annoying than a selfie. Apart from the whole narcissistic angle to it all, psychiatrists have called too many selfie posts as a cry for help and an affirmation of low self-esteem. Selfies are also the worst way to get attention. Think about it. Would you go up to somebody at a party with a distorted face, your nose looking twice as thick,

Rajiv Makhni

techilicious

holding your chin sky high, sucking your cheeks in, pouting your lips and distorting your body at an angle and ask them what they think of you? Obviously not, so why would you do that to yourself in a picture sent out to every single human being you know personally? Lots of people spend a good part of their day untagging themselves from pictures that they don’t look good in, yet also keep posting selfies in which they look much worse.

THE TECH OF IT ALL

There’s a reason why it is almost impossible to look good in a selfie. First of all, due to the technology involved in reeling off a self image, you are destined to look truly terrible. Most front cameras have terrible optics, no flash, distort the image and angle and can’t handle very bright or low-light situations. Plus, the very act of taking a selfie (hold camera as far as possible with one hand, then move the camera and keep staring at a screen till image looks acceptable, then using the same hand or other hand, press screen or button to fire off the selfie) makes sure that the picture is shaky and distorted. The only selfies that technically come out well are those taken in front of a mirror, but then how many pictures of yourself can you take while prancing and preening in your bathroom?

A LOST CAUSE

While I may rave and rant as much as I want about the embarrassing new world of selfies, I also know that I am a rare minority. The world has gone ‘selfie crazy’ and it is my duty to make sure that if I can’t stop this frightening image explosion, I can at least try to make sure that the quality of selfies is improved. Here then is the selfie bible – best camera and camera phones to take selfies, apps that can improve your selfie-taking abilities pre and post as well as a 101 on how to take the best selfies in the world!

BesT Camera Phones To Do The DeeD It’s sad but true. Phones today sell on their selfie-taking ability. Here then are the top snappers to feed your narcissism.

ence, as you can just turn around the back camera and take a really good selfie.

SAMSUNG GALAXY K ZOOM

It is built from the ground-up to take selfies. This too has a swivel camera but goes two steps further. A Bluetooth remote control to click pictures, plus the back of the phone is touch-sensitive thus enabling you to snap a picture by tapping behind.

Fantastic optics, 10X optical zoom and a Selfie mode that is truly intelligent. Mark a spot on the screen where you want your face to appear in a selfie, turn the phone around, start panning and the camera recognises you and takes the picture automatically. Plus, a Beauty mode that apparently makes you look much prettier and doesn’t care if you are a man or woman.

GIONEE E7 MINI

The optics are great with a 13.0-MP camera, 12 levels of Auto Beauty modes and a Phone Booth mode that adds backgrounds to your selfie. But it’s the swivel camera that really makes the big differ-

I LIKE TO MOVE IT

OPPO N1

LG G PRO 2

This one uses street smarts to ensure your selfie is well lit and has uniform lighting. As soon as you use the front camera for a selfie, it illuminates the outer edges of the screen with a very bright light, which has enough of a throw to brighten up everything right in front of it.

SONY XPERIA Z2

Great optics, plus the BIONZ mobile image-

The Gionee E7 Mini (left) has a swivel camera that uses the back camera for the selfie while the LG G Pro2 makes sure that your selfie has uniform lighting MAY 18, 2014

TAKE THE PLUNGE!

The Sony Xperia Z2 is waterproof, so get ready for a swimming pool selfie

processing engine takes good pictures in low-light conditions and eliminates blur. Plus, it’s waterproof, which means this may be your only choice in getting your first swimming pool underwater selfie.

A PROMISE AND A REQUEST

Lots of other manufacturers are adding selfie-friendly features like a wide angle front camera lens and even voice command picture clicking. But the whole selfie ecosystem needs more than just camera phones to stop the nightmare of distorted pictures that keep appearing around us. Cameras, apps and tips to become the best selfie photographer in the world shall make their appearance next week. Till then, don’t you dare click another selfie and frighten the world even more! Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

MORE ON THE WEB For previous Tech columns, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni The views expressed by the columnist are personal


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New ON The MeNu With new places opening up, and old restaurants getting a makeover, there’s a lot happening on the Delhi restaurant circuit

T

HE DELHI restaurant scene keeps changing. New places open. Old places get new management. And celebrated restaurateurs separate from their groups and start new places on their own. Plus there are the places with new menus and new names. Let’s start with Smokey’s. This is a relatively new restaurant in Greater Kailash II, opened by Shiv Karan Singh on the site of Delhi’s first Smokehouse Grill. Shiv Karan was one of the original partners (along with Riyaz Amlani, the majority owner and Harmeet Bajaj) but as Smoke House has flourished and grown into a massive chain, Shiv Karan has separated to start something of his own. Smokey’s is really Son of Smoke House and a second outlet is due to open in Gurgaon’s CyberHub in June. Shiv Karan is a nice guy so it would be nice to see him succeed. I went for dinner on a night when Delhi had one of its unseasonal storms. And so it was not a good evening

Vir Sanghvi

rude food for Smokey’s. The restaurant has a restricted access, which means that you have to park some distance away and walk the rest of the way. This may be okay on most days. But it can be a real pain when it is raining. The restaurant was mostly empty (only three other tables were occupied) and the manager told me that the storm had led to a flood of cancellations. The Smokey’s concept is an American-style grill and Shiv Karan has done most of the menu himself which

A SLICE OF ITALY

The new Italian restaurant called Artusi (above) in GK-II in Delhi, is named after Pellegrino Artusi, one of the founders of Italian cuisine. It has a vast menu – lots of pasta (right), lots of fish and lots of meat means that his own obsessions – smoking and marinating – are reflected in many of the dishes. There’s a terrific, reasonably priced wine list but on the night I went, the two wines I wanted were out of stock. Eventually, the manager brought a few bottles, put them on the table, and said: choose from one of these. I picked a basic Louis Jadot Burgundy which was spoilt (as so many Jadot wines seem to be in India for some reason) but eventually I found a Barolo I liked. I ordered lots of food, some of which was very tasty. I liked a mixed sausage platter which came with a delicious sauce; the pizza was good; an Andhra-style hot dog (I kid you not!) was fun and a portion of pulled beef was excellent. The problem, I thought, was that the ambition of the menu vastly exceeded the competence of the kitchen. A very tasty lamb stew was let down by poor cooking: the meat should have been more tender. A plate of slow-cooked ribs had not been slow-cooked enough: the meat clung stubbornly to the bones. And the burger was betrayed by the patty, which fell apart and was under salted. A restaurant like Smokey’s is really about American staples like ribs and burgers so it is important that the kitchen gets them right. If you live in Delhi then you may have seen rave reviews across media for a new Italian restaurant called Artusi in GK-II (not far from Smokey’s, as it happens), which is named after Pellegrino Artusi, one of the founders of Italian cuisine. The PR is handled by my pal Pareina Thapar and judging by the praise Artusi has garnered, she has done a brilliant job. I was careful to go without letting her know but was rumbled by the manager soon after I walked in. The restaurant is run by an Italian-Indian couple, of whom Gurpinder Balcon (the Indian half) is the owner, while her husband Oscar (an Italian ex-banker) has no formal role but helps his wife. The chef is Romina Lugaresi, who has worked all over the world and but who comes from the same village in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy as Oscar. The Balcons are a fun couple: passionate, well-travelled foodies who want to run a restaurant that they themselves would like to eat in. I’m not sure why they chose GK-II to

GRILL IT RIGHT

Smokey’s (far left) concept is an American-style grill. I ordered lots of food, some of which was very tasty. An Andhra-style hot dog (left) was fun MAY 18, 2014


hindustantimes.com/brunch

21

IN NEW AVATARS

Elan (left) has a somewhat chequered history. It was originally called Lodhi when the hotel it is located at was called The Aman. On The Waterfront (above) is a lovely restaurant and the kitchen really is firing on all cylinders open in or why they selected this low-ceilinged room but they’ve done their best to cheer it up though I thought they needed to re-examine the lighting. The Artusi menu is vast: some Emilia-Romagna dishes, some Italian standards, lots of pasta, lots of fish and lots of meat. They could, in my view, dispense with about half the dishes on this menu and focus on what they do well. And perhaps they will. Oscar wants the restaurant to have a slow-burn beginning and does not plan a big-bang launch till after the monsoon, by which stage, they will have got the food right. I thought I’d start with some of the most-ordered dishes at Italian restaurants all over the world to see where they were pitching their food. Their Rigatoni Carbonara was unusual – a Carbonara sauce usually accompanies a long pasta – and interestingly presented with crisp slices of bacon. I was not so convinced by their pasta with ragu, a sort of more authentic take on the Bolognaise sauce that is now a global staple. Oscar says that this is how his mother makes it – in which case, she eats a lot less salt than the rest of us. A fresh pasta was simple and home style though not particularly delicate. Mains were less successful. They do a Chicken Milanese because they can’t find good veal in India. This is fair enough (Maritime in Bombay does a perfectly acceptable chicken version of the dish) but on the night I went, the plate should have been intercepted at the pass and never allowed to leave the kitchen. The frying was wrong and the crumbed surface was covered with black burnt splotches. There was nothing wrong with a Bistecca Fiorentina (US beef of some kind though I’m not sure it was really US Prime) but I’d ordered it medium rare and it was over cooked by the time it got to my table. My guess is that it was fine when it left the grill but kept cooking on the journey to my plate. These are teething problems. In time, the chef will get the frying temperatures right, will adjust the seasoning and will work out how much a steak continues cooking once it leaves her kitchen. The restaurant had hardly been open for a week when I went and the kitchen will take time to settle down. Plus, all the other eminent critics who have raved and raved about it must have had better experiences. So perhaps I was just unlucky. I do hope though that the Balcons can get

their act together. Delhi needs more standalone restaurants like Artusi. And at these prices, there isn’t much room for error (I paid just over `13,000 for two including a bottle of Chianti) You may not have heard of Elan. The restaurant has a somewhat chequered history. It was originally called Lodhi when the hotel it is located at was called The Aman. Now, DLF has sold the Aman chain but has kept the Delhi property and renamed it The Lodhi. So obviously, they’ve had to rename the restaurant – hence Elan. There have been other changes too. First, the Aman’s Spanish restaurant became On the Waterfront and was run as a separate operation from the hotel by Prasanjit Singh and the team from the (also DLF-owned) Set’z. Since Prasanjit has moved on to become a restaurant mogul in his own right, DLF has combined all of the hotel’s food and beverage operations along with Set’z. They continue to be run by Prasanjit’s old team, including Suveer Sodhi, who I have known and admired from his days at the Hyatt’s China Kitchen. Suveer and team have turned On The Waterfront around. I had a delicious lunch there two weeks ago and though nobody in the kitchen still knew how to operate the robata grill properly, the desserts were better than ever: a Floating Island was a thing of beauty. They’ve had to work harder with Elan which is part Indian-restaurant and part coffee shop. Of the coffee shop stuff, a plate of bangers and mash was good and comforting but there was so much wrong with the Shepherd’s Pie that they should not even bother to improve it but should just take it off the menu. The Indian food was hit and miss. The kebabs were a mess (sort of sub-Kwality levels of cooking) but a lasooni palak, a tadka dahi and some missi rotis were all good. The standout dish however was a duck khurchan (they called it Tawa Duck or something like that) which I’ve never had before anywhere else. Desserts were a flop: kulfi masquerading as Indian cassata, etc. The problem, I think, is that Setz was never known for its Indian food. This team has limited Indian food expertise and though it is doing its best, it will take a little while to find the right balance. Till that happens, go to On The Waterfront. It is a lovely restaurant and the kitchen really is firing on all cylinders.

Artusi could, in my view, dispense with about half the dishes on the menu and focus on what they do well

MAY 18, 2014

COMFORT FOOD

Of the coffee shop stuff at On The Waterfront, a plate of bangers and mash was good and comforting

MORE ON THE WEB For more columns by Vir Sanghvi, log on to hindustantimes. com/brunch The views expressed by the columnist are personal


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What’s In a name? Whether she uses her father’s surname or her husband’s, it is the woman who matters

A

FORTNIGHT AGO, in solidarity with a recently married friend who was getting grief from her in-laws about not changing her last name to that of her husband’s, I tweeted, “If a woman chooses to retain the surname she was born with, it is her choice surely? Why should anyone else get their knickers in a twist?” It is a testament to our highly politicised times that most people chose to read this as a ‘spirited defence’ of Priyanka’s decision to be known as ‘Gandhi’ rather than ‘Vadra’. This was such a bizarre extrapolation that I didn’t quite know how to respond. First off, Priyanka Gandhi (or Vadra, if you will) was nowhere on my inner radar when I wrote this. I was purely motivated by the irritation of my friend who didn’t quite know how to get her in-laws off her back; and by my annoyance that in the 21st century, such an absurd demand was being made of a woman. And then there was that other minor detail: that Priyanka Gandhi had, in fact, embraced the surname Vadra as her own from the moment she got married.

IN THE NAME OF FATHER

Benazir Bhutto may have tagged on Zardari after her name but she would always be known by the name of her famous father MORE ON THE WEB For more SPECTATOR columns by Seema Goswami, log on to hindustantimes.com/ brunch. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ seemagoswami. Write to her at seema_ ht@ rediffmail.com The views expressed by the

Priyanka Gandhi had, in fact, embraced the surname Vadra as her own from the moment she got married

were born with and the traditionalists frown upon your choice. (Both Hillary Rodham and Cherie Booth were forced by the demands of electoral politics in USA and the UK to restyle themselves as Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair.) If your birth surname is a faSeema Goswami mous one (like Bhutto or Gandhi, for instance) you are accused of trading on your lineage. If your husband’s last name is more famous than yours (Murdoch rather than Deng) then your name change is put down to opportunism. No matter what choice you make, which name you adopt, or which one you keep, there will always be someone on the I was a witness to that at a diplomatic sidelines cribbing about it, and sidling reception held soon after. Introduced to up to you to tell why you have got it coman American diplomat as “Priyanka Ganpletely wrong. dhi” she shook her head firmly and said, Actually, now that I think about it, “It’s Priyanka Vadra now.” And that’s that’s a pretty darn perfect metaphor how she has chosen to style herself ever for being a woman, isn’t it? There is alsince. Which is why I have been mystified ways a ready supply of people to tell by the fact that Smriti Irani has been get- UNDER PRESSURE! you how you should be living your life: ting flak about addressing Priyanka as Both Hillary Rodham (left) and Cherie when you should get married; at what “Mrs Vadra” during her campaign in Am- Booth (right) were forced by the demands age you should have children; how long ethi. Irani may well be doing it to make a of electoral politics in USA and the UK to you must breast feed them; how to best political point, but my guess is Priyanka restyle themselves as Hillary Clinton and balance work and family; how to please doesn’t regard being called by her mar- Cherie Blair your husband; how to keep the in-laws ried name as some sort of mortal insult. happy; and so on. But the kind of responses that my tweet elicited got The only way to retain your sanity in the midst of this me thinking about the politics of changing surnames after avalanche of (often contradictory) advice is to let it wash marriage. On the whole, women from famous political famiover you, and then go ahead and do exactly as you please. lies don’t tend to do that. Benazir Bhutto may have tagged And that applies to name changes as well. Stick with your on Zardari after her name but she would always be known maiden name if that’s what works for you. Take your husby the name of her famous father. The Aung San in Suu band’s surname if that feels right to you. Add his surname Kyi’s name comes from her father; the Burmese leader has on to yours to make a double-barrelled name of your own. never been known as Mrs Aris (after her English husband, Call yourself Bananahammock if you like. Work with whatMichael). Chelsea Clinton is still known as ‘Clinton’ rather ever works for you. than by her married name of ‘Mezvinsky’. And no matter I don’t think retaining your birth surname is the equivhow many times Priyanka may say she is ‘Mrs Vadra’, the alent of making some sort of feminist statement. Equally, only people who refuse to address her as ‘Gandhi’ are her I don’t think taking on your husband’s last name is a blow political rivals. to the feminist cause. Either way you are adopting a man’s But even outside of the sphere of politics, the politics name as your own: either your father’s or your husband’s. of name-changing rules. Adopt your husband’s surname But what you need to remember is this: no matter which when you get married and the feminist brigade looks down name she goes under, at the end of the day, it is the woman upon you as a traitor to their cause. Keep the surname you who matters.

spectator Photos: GETTY IMAGES

HAPPY TO CHANGE


24

PERSONAL AGENDA

twitter.com/HTBrunch

Actor/babuji

Alok Nath BIRTHDAY PLACE HOMETOWN SCHOOL/ OF Delhi, until I COLLEGE BIRTH graduated from Modern School, SUN SIGN New Delhi drama school. Barakhamba

July 10

Cancer

And ever since, Mumbai

FIRST BREAK CURRENTLY I AM... Gandhi (1982)

Road; Hindu College, Delhi

HIGH POINT OF YOUR LIFE

At peace with myself Buniyaad and my surroundings (1986-1988)

BEFORE

LOW POINT OF YOUR LIFE

When my one and only film as a hero, Kaamagni (1987) bombed

AFTER

Photo: PRASAD GORI

We hear you were actually quite badass back in the day in Delhi. Were you? What do you mean “was”? I still am. I’m badder ass in Mumbai. What’s the wildest thing you’ve done? All wild things are erased permanently, I’m quite docile and tame now. Five films you weren’t sanskaari in. Bol Radha Bol (1992), Vinashak

(1998). I can only remember two. The other three are under construction at the moment. One person you’d like to give aashirwad to. Actually, I’d like to give it to Chuck Norris and our own Rajini Saar. When was the last time you went to a mandir? I am giving this interview from the mandir only. The sound YOUR FAVOURITE ALOK NATH JOKE. you can hear is the ghantis. Who do you think is the new Alok Nath in the making in Bollywood? Are you kidding me? Your favourite item song. Baby Doll. It is good for our country’s sagging gold reserves.

ALOK NATH IS SO SANSK SANSKARI

HE SMOKES AGARBATTIS AT RAVE PARTIES ES MAY 18, 2014

Best babuji pick-up line. Priye, aati kya madhushaala? One dialogue that you’ve repeated most through your babuji roles. “Humein aapse yeh umeed nahi thi beti/beta/bahu”. What do your kids call you? Papa... <laughs> got you! If you weren’t babuji, you would have been... Please don’t insult me. Babuji is my birthright! If you weren’t an actor, you would have been... A better actor. Your five favourite morals. Still figuring them out. I will keep you posted. Favourite drink. Water of India. Favourite alcoholic drink. Jägermeister with frozen water of India. The best film ever. The Godfather. On second thoughts Ragini MMS 2. The hottest girl in Bollywood today. Deepika Padukone, bina shakk. What’s the ringtone on your phone right now? Ain’t No Sunshine.

IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE NIRUPA ROY IN FIVE WORDS...

Head to toe maaka aanchal (exactly five words)

Which was the first film you watched in a movie theatre? I watched Dosti (1964) in the mid Sixties. I was about 10 years old. Five people you’d like to make fun of (and watch being made fun) of on social media. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is not my philosophy. If you were on Twitter, your handle would be... @BaapReBaap! — Interviewed by Saudamini Jain


Brunch 18 05 2014  

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