It must be a quite a helluva writer if it has me comparing him to Douglas Adams himself. I speak of this odd bloke called Indrajit Hazra, a journalist for Hindustan Times. This guy is a pure genius with words, and using sarcasm to take digs at people; and to top it off, he’s devastatingly funny. Just like DNA. Oh, and one more case of Bong supremacy in journo circles, yay!
I simply enjoy this chap’s articles, and his column in the Sunday editorial page of Hindustan Times is something NOT worth missing. I was quite delightfully surprised then, when a column of his came in yesterday’s HT – nothing unusual, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Once again, it was me-having-a-bunny-like-laughter-laughing-fit kind of funny.
It was about his views on the excessive ugliness of the DLF Indian Premier League trophy. It took me quite some time to track this article down on the HT site; for although it was under an editorial page series called ‘Off Track’, HT had decided to single this story out and file it under ‘Other Stories’ while all other ‘Off Track’ articles were filed as they should be. Really, you *must* read his small article Ah, my beauty past compare… to get what I mean. Take this line, for instance:
…Wow. Next they’ll start putting jewellery on Ajay Devgan and call him beautiful…
I might add, I needed to pause at this point quite a bit to recover from one of my laughing fits. The fact that THIS paragraph followed soon after didn’t help my aching stomach at all:
…Fit for a ‘Punjabi baroque’ household that has just won a bumper lottery, the hideous entity has a cardboard-cut-out-type of map of India (bejewelled, of course) with the letters ‘IPL’ cut and pasted by someone whose idea of award-winning design is a dhaba sign on the way to Bhatinda. Jutting out in front is a figure of a swishing batsman — seemingly made by one of those ‘craftsmen’ who make Subhas Bose busts look like Ambedkar (or is it the other way round?). And to cap this monstrosity, there’s a black background on which marked prominently is the chief sponsor’s name and logo. Even the Godfather of Bling, Bappi Lahiri, would quietly tuck this away behind his bathroom commode if he got this… this… thing…
By this point of the article, I was quite literally, and I mean literally in the sense of ‘literally’ (and not the ‘Indian’ sense, where ‘literally’, doesn’t mean ‘I actu-fucking-ally DID it’) rolling around on the floor laughing. Read it again and notice the similarities with Douglas Adams’ style of writing.
I don’t get the reason why people in general feel uneasy about witty sarcasm (the DNA kind) either. Most people seem to get deeply offended by it, much more than an outright insult, even if the witty remark wasn’t intentioned to hurt anyone in the first place.
I also don’t get the reason why Indians and Americans never seem to *get* sarcasm, or the quaintly British style of subtle humor. Both, in India and America, it seems that people need to be TOLD when to laugh by using canned laughter tracks. When they DO come across sarcasm, most Indians and Americans hate it. Somehow, a joke which taxes their brains is not what they like. Give ’em slapstick, and they’ll lap it up. For example, Indrajit Hazra did a story a few weeks ago in his Sunday column, a sarcastic one regarding Bush’s comments on food consumption in India, where Hazra said he’d “stopped eating one of his three daily meals to make more food available for the Americans”. You won’t believe this, but the next week some smart ass *actually* thought this was true, sent a letter to the editor, and praised Indrajit Hazra for caring about poor people in India. That letter itself had me laughing for quite some time.