Twinkle Khanna at her usual best….
In life, rummy or politics, the joker will serve you well
11am Preparations are rife for Women’s Day. There are events and discussions lined up. More than feeling like an empowered woman though, I have started feeling like Ganpati bappa, who is put on a dais, and after visarjan, disappears for the rest of the year. In the middle of jotting down some notes, my sister calls.
‘Hurry up, I have to prepare for three panel discussions!’
In the way only sisters can hurl nuclear weapons at each other and come out unscathed, she says, ‘Why have they invited you?’ And then adds, ‘I suppose they have to make do with who they can get.’
‘Ok, can I go now?’
She ignores me and continues, ‘Have you been following the news, I am so pissed at what this Putin is doing!’
‘Oh really? I am sure he is very concerned about your opinion.’
‘Shut up. You remember Gulya, that girl from Istanbul? I remember when we were talking about Putin once, she said, “He has his testicles all over Turkey.”
“You mean tentacles, right?” I had asked her.
And Gulya said, “Testicles, tentacles, same thing.”
I reply, ‘Yes, I have never been able to take that image of Putin out of my head. But you know what, I have become a big Zelensky fan! The US offered to evacuate him and he said, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” Wah! But he is a man who knows how to stand up anyway right? He was a comedian before he became president of Ukraine.
Truth be told sister, in the world we live in, comedians seem to make the most sense these days.
Though I suppose that is historically true as well. In every court, there have been jesters and jokers who would often be wiser than the other courtiers because sometimes you have to be upside down to see things the right side up.’
My sister sighs, ‘Please save these lectures for your conferences. You are such a bloody pakau. I hope you give other people a chance to get a word in at your panel discussions!’
3pm During the late afternoon slump, with my third cup of coffee in hand, I feel a surge of wellbeing. It’s not the caffeine but the discovery that my favourite Union minister Ramdas Athawale, famous for trying to eradicate Covid through epigrams like ‘Go Corona Go’, has not only corrected Shashi Tharoor’s English in a tweet, but has written a verse where he rhymes Shashi with Hansee. At this rate, I suspect he can become the next Rupi Kaur, or even better, have his own show like Kapil Sharma.
5pm Satire is the art of looking at the intrinsic truth through a peculiarly slanted magnifying glass and few people do it better than Hasan Minhaj. In 2015, Minhaj draped a scarf around his neck and chimed, “This says, I’m Audrey Hepburn gallivanting around the plaza.” Next, he wrapped the same blue scarf around his head and said, “This says, I am here to kill Audrey Hepburn while she is gallivanting around the plaza.” The video highlighted the ridiculousness of a scarf around the head being more frightening than one around the neck.
Once again, it’s jesters who seem to be making more sense than our ministers because the hijab conversation raging through India doesn’t revolve around emancipation as it is being made out to be. It is about discrimination.
Burqas, hijabs and even ghungats for that matter have worked their way into becoming religious and cultural constructs. While I am not an advocate for any sort of veiling, it is up to the women themselves to decide without intimidation on either side.
I must admit hearing a few religious leaders talk about how a hijab stops men from being tempted does make one chuckle. All these bhai saabs should sit down and let the stand-ups talk instead.
Very few men would consider a woman’s head an erogenous zone. Can you imagine date-night conversations that include, ‘Wow your head is looking so hot today’?
‘Oh, thank you darling, I keep it in shape by trying not to get swollen headed at its beauty.’
7pm Watching the last episode of The Tinder Swindler, gives me an idea for our own home-grown show, Spiritual Swindler. In our country, it is difficult to walk on the roads without falling into a pothole or bumping into a baba, and honestly, the result is pretty much the same.
One would think the highly educated would be immune to such superstitions, but then you have Chitra Ramkrishna, who ran the National Stock Exchange based on advice she apparently received from a mysterious baba through emails.
Now while Chitra is being investigated, the baba, with the aid of a transmutation spell I suppose, has vanished. It is also difficult to serve summons to godmen because as Vir Das once said, ‘Why would you subpoena Baba Ramdev? It’s just cruel. The man has no pockets. Where’s he gonna put it?’
Paying heed to stand-ups instead of mystics may be a sensible decision. With the former, the only price you pay is exactly what is stated on the admission ticket, or even better, is included in your Netflix subscription.
9pm Ignoring my own ‘No device after dinner’ rule, I am scrolling through social media. Clips of Zelensky from his acting days and his stint at ‘Dancing with the Stars’ are all over the internet. But it is perhaps this moving line that will be remembered for generations: “As you attack, it will be our faces you see, not our backs”.
Zelensky, a former comedian, has rightfully become a global hero.
Baba Twinkdev, the only guru I would advise you to listen to and then ignore on alternate Sundays, did once say, ‘Beta ji, life and rummy follow the same rules, it’s better to have a joker in your hand than an ace up your sleeve.’ After all, it’s not former spy Putin’s manoeuvres but Zelensky’s stand-up act that has made the world rally to Ukraine’s side.