After last week’s satire on the many ways to lose weight, I received an email from a concerned individual. “Firstly, you are wrong to connect Jainism with weight loss. Jain terminology is not for losing weight, but rather to purify the soul by means of fasting. Hence it is inappropriate for you to spread the fact that everyone should do an “Atthai” just to lose their excess kilos. Secondly, while propagating the “Atthai” fad, you also misunderstood the fact that an “Atthai” is done only for the attainment of salvation, and not for the attainment of materialistic gains such as “weight loss”. This in turn would completely nullify the purpose of the fasts. Thirdly, you should not have mentioned that one can drink “chilled water” during an “Atthai”. One cannot relax such regulations, unless backed by religious scriptures. Lastly, please refrain from writing about any religion (unless you have all your fundas) as it has a DEEP IMPACT ON YOUNG, IMPRESSIONABLE MINDS. I think you the Jain community an apology.”
How does one even reply to an email like this, given that I poked fun at everyone I could, in last week’s piece? And I thought Jainism was all about forgiveness and inclusiveness!
In this age of political correctness, we are constantly looking behind our backs and shoulders to make sure we don’t hurt people or trample over someone’s sentiments. And people just seem to waiting to spring up and complain and sue whoever they can over ridiculous and stupid issues.
Like the “Rooh Afza” issue in “Yeh J, Hai D”. The moment I saw the scene where Mr. Ranbir Kapoor’s character talks about not liking that drink, I wondered when Hamdard would hit the roof. And a few days later it did. And this was not even about poking fun. I too can’t stand Rooh Afza, unless it is mixed with milk to create “rose doodh coldink”. Does it now mean that if I don’t like Threptin or Diet Pepsi, I will get sued for saying so from a public pulpit?
The only thing now left is for each reviewer who says something negative about a film or play or painting or exhibition to get sued for slander.
We can no longer make Sardarji jokes in public. Jokes on racial color can get you killed. A Hindu can never joke about a Muslim or it will start a riot…and vice versa. It’s only the Parsis who are still fair game, only because there aren’t too many of them left to create a ruckus! You can’t even have fun with Tamil or Mallu accents…oh sorry, I can’t even say Mallu in public in anymore…it has to be Malayalee or “of Keralite” origin. Actually, you can’t even say “madrasi” anymore as well!
And making using Fevicol or Zandu Balm in a funny way, despite the fact that they have almost become nouns in our parlance has become unacceptable.
Most politicians still seem to be fair game at this point in time. But try making fun of Mr. Narendra Modi and see what happens to you…I shudder to think what will happen to our level of tolerance and sense of humor if he becomes the Prime Minister.
And a film like “Django Unchained” with the “n” word can never ever be made on our soil, if slurs like those were to be replicated in the Indian setting.
So many of us have become so uptight. Perhaps, all of us need to get up each morning and take a small chill pill before starting the day.