Munawar Faruqui announced what appears to be ‘The End’ of his stand-up comedy career on one smoggy, groggy Sunday morning of late November. And I say, good news! No, now don’t raise those finely plucked eyebrows at me. Come on, bottom up that kale smoothie and hear me out.
In a country teetering perennially on the brink of economic collapse, gasping in the clutches of communal discord, reeling from disease, death, disparity, and destruction — we don’t need stand-up comics, silly! We need politicians who can lie, ‘journalists’ who don’t ask why, and film stars submitting themselves entirely to powerful politicians, rewriting history (of India’s freedom struggle) and dancing to Rohit Shetty’s numbers and tunes of political whimsy.
In short, we need those who can keep us from the dangers of reflection, introspection, and accidentally stumbling upon truth (ugh!).
How else will we deny the miserable reality of our lives and distract ourselves from the horrifying truth of our shrivelling democracy and inconsequential existence? Who needs a mirror when you have Instagram filters? Who needs a comedian, when the joke is on you?
So be it Vir Das or Munawar Faruqui, we don’t have time for ‘Two Indias’ or ‘Death, Bathroom and Media’. And if police complaints, months spent in jail, death threats, and hate speech don’t intimidate these comics into piping down, let’s make sure they never get to step on the stage again.
Plethora 'Pakoda' of Possibilities
But hey, I’m not uncharitable. It is not like I wanted Munawar Faruqui to stay in jail forever for jokes he did not make or something. Many do, but India is a democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinion (except Munawar Faruqui, Vir Das, Kunal Kamra and their ilk of course).
I, however, a practitioner of yogic-mindfulness and a truly, spiritually evolved human being believe in being the bigger person. Also, announcing the end of his career, Munawar himself said:
“That’s been my time, you guys were wonderful audience. (sic)”
And we were, weren't we? At least until we sent Munawar to jail for a joke we thought he was going to make.
So he can continue to live and not starve and all that. He can even get another job. There are so many! The prime minister in his latest Mann ki Baat hailed the start-up culture, thus, Munawar can start something up; or he can try for a job in pharmaceuticals, engineering, information technology, or frankly in any field where his words don't get in the way!
And if he really wants to keep talking, he could become an actor or a mainstream TV new anchor, which is essentially the same thing.
I would even suggest he tried his hand in politics, but his tendency to speak truth, inadequate political background, and — how do I put it mildly — his surname might get in the way of him finding any real success as a politician…
But, hey, if nothing else works out, Munawar Faruqui can always sell pakodas!
See, there’s a sea of endless possibilities stretching out before him, like they do before countless other young Indians. All he has to do is relinquish the boulders of talent, drive and dreams, that are weighing him down, and take the plunge. And refrain from any funny business, of course.
I would state this piece is satire, but I know you don’t like comedy. Or maybe I still can, because quite like Arpit Sharma, my name is not Faruqui.
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