This post on my reader feed by famous film-maker Pritish Nandy brilliantly summarizes what is wrong with India today. His original article can be found here. #InspirationalWriting!
Well, to begin with, you can’t smoke here, neither a fag nor a joint. Cigarettes are banned most places. Joints, everywhere, barring prison where you can buy them openly. Now you can’t drink as well. Not unless you are 18 with a licence. You can’t go a bar and watch pretty girls dance. That’s banned too, even if they dance the Kathakali. The more exciting dancing girls have long gone. Their kothas have shut down. Sahir’s sorrowful poems have died with them. Bling shops have hijacked the red light district.
Eating out late is not permissible. Last orders are at 11. Even with a licence you can’t drink after 1. Lady Gaga can’t come because concerts shut down at 10 even if you take 342 days to get all 137 permits required. If you marry at 17 you get rapped for rape. If you neck by the sea. Dhoble’s goon squad will beat you with hockey sticks for immoral conduct. (Cops can however pick up college girls on Marine Drive and rape them in the chowky at will.)
Our CMs with a long dhobi list of scams can whoosh into the Taj with a cavalcade. You and I must wait in queue till our chaddis are checked. Wherever we go, our chaddis are checked because every hotel, restaurant, mall and Government office suspects we carry bombs between our testicles. Bombs? Moustache trimming scissors and pickles are banned on flights. As for gun licences, no one’s allowed one ever since Mallika’s duh brother tried to teach Mahesh Bhatt’s son how to fire one and missed his hapless neighbour. The cops won’t help you either, even if your life is threatened. So you sit at home, waiting for some idiot to come and kill you because they can’t find anything worth stealing in your flat.
And why can’t they find anything worth stealing? Because after paying so many taxes, no one has any money left to steal. Never look closely at your bill in a 5 star restaurant. You may get a cardiac arrest seeing the taxes and duties slapped on. And, when you recover, you will get another one seeing the hospital bill. If you enter Mumbai by road, you have to pay octroi on all that you bring in, even if it’s your own. If you are a Muslim, you won’t get a flat to stay in. If you eat meat, Malabar Hill won’t have you. If you are a Hindu, Byculla won’t. And if you are young and unmarried, no one will. If you have a pet, it gets worse.
Muslims have got Satanic Verses banned. Hindus have banned Husain. So no gallery dares to show the art of the city’s greatest son. You can’t show sculptures with genitals, not even Michaelangelo’s David, though you can see any number of genitals on the streets where people openly pee. You can’t watch The Dirty Picture on 9 pm TV. That’s outlawed though it won Vidya the National Award and every kid has loved it. You are lucky Donald Duck ain’t banned because comics and cartoons in text books are banned. My Savita Bhabhi is too. So are, sneakily, many websites.
You can’t call friends home because after they’ve gone, guys from the local police will come and demand a bribe. You can’t keep 3 whisky bottles at home or carry Rs 20,001 in cash even if your mother’s sick and may need sudden hospitalisation. No hospitals take you in without cash, or allow you out even as a corpse. You can’t fly into Mumbai with an iPad. The Customs demand duty even if it’s your own. If you carry in personal stuff worth Rs 26,000, which is $400 today (and could well be $100 tomorrow) you must pay duty and penalty. They have announced that the punishment will soon be stiffer. Maybe they will hang you for it.
There are no open air street cafes. No dance bars. No nightlife. Even Voodoo’s shut down. A few asphixiated trees gasp for breath. There are no sparrows left. You can’t see stars at night. All we see are vast crowds of people rushing nowhere. Footpaths have vanished. So has free speech and live music. The State eavesdrops on your sex chats, be it on phone, chat, BBM or social networking sites. Try courier pigeons.
Welcome to Mumbai. I simply love it.