A number of important innovations have been reported recently, setting the tone for a resplendent 2013. To start with, two students from Surathkal have come up with the idea of manufacturing notebooks that carry ads. That’s right. Because there isn’t enough advertising in this country. I wonder if they will extend their idea to exam papers. You know, maybe students can write their answers on sheets with ads for Bittoo Banian and Underwear, Bommi Nighties or Naga Bubbly Bubbly Maida (maida with glow of satisfaction). The purveyors of these fine products could offer them discounts depending on how well they do. But then, two other pieces of news caught my eye.
One story comes to us from Mangalore, a beautiful city known for its port, its beaches, and its good food. In more recent years, vigilantes have put in brave and honourable efforts to promote Mangalore as a centre of Indian culture. They have started with the glorious tradition of beating up people on camera, and are quickly regressing back to the golden years of child marriage and discrimination against widows. But our news story this time is a bit different.
Apparently, the number of auto rickshaw accidents in Mangalore has been on the rise. A special think-tank, consisting of eminent chaiwallahs and mafia dons was formed to look into this, but hardly had they finished deliberating when Senior Inspector (Motor Vehicles) G S Hegde came up with a better idea. Auto drivers, he said, should keep a photo of their family in the auto. Whenever an auto driver sees the photo, he would (a) remember his own family (b) think of his passengers as family, (c) wonder at the ugliness of both parties, and (d) drive more carefully. The inspector also specified that the size of the family photo should be 8cm by 5cm, no doubt as approved by eminent numerologist Mr. Manjuuuu007nath. However, one Mr. Auto Raja has expressed his concerns about this. Speaking to us privately, he said this was discriminatory to those who have large families. For example, he said there was no way his Uncle Bonda Basavaraj would ever fit into 8cm worth of film, let alone 5. But other auto-drivers were more encouraging. One driver, Mr. Jaideep, said: “I have seen an autodriver who has kept his mother’s picture in the auto. I feel the RTO can implement the same on a trial basis.” Due to some miscommunication, after the publication of this quote in a local daily, the RTO immediately seized that driver’s mother’s picture, made 5000 xerox copies of it and made it compulsory to paste it below the Love is Poisson signs.
The next stunning innovation comes to us from New Delhi. Mr. Naveen Jindal and Mr. Shashi Tharoor unveiled last week, the Tiranga copper bangle. “Mainstream jewellery may be beautiful to look at but has absolutely no side effects”, an unauthorised spokesperson said, “So we decided to make ugly jewellery that has many side effects.” The inventor of the technology explained that the bangles are treated in a high energy Tri-Vortex chamber with acoustic sounds like sprouting of seeds or flowing water, thus imparting it a wide range of health benefits. (Our enquiries as to whether they were also exposed to Arnab Goswami’s soothing voice went unanswered.) Wearing the bangle apparently restores your balance and stability, and its benefits for the elderly were highly praised. It seems our fearless leaders, instead of undertaking shallow measures like fixing roads and pavements and making the country accessible for elders, have decided to sell these bangles instead. The website said the bangle created “cellular coherence”, which gives relief from painful ailments like gout, arthritis, and a weak Wifi signal. If worn while watching TV, it would additionally block out negative news, like say, about the coal scam.
However, the homeopathy industry has pooh-poohed these claims. “It is just not scientific”, a homeopath said. “I mean, how can a bangle retain the memory of sound? It’s ridiculous. And I’d like them to do actual studies, not just quote the neighbour’s pet parrot. People believe anything these days.”
In summary, it looks to be a great year for the country. I, for one, am filled with hope. I mean, we just survived the Mayan apocalypse. But just in case things don’t pan out, I am going to keep a family photo in my pocket, right next to my Tiranga bracelet and my vial of snake-oil. Why take chances?