Even the polemical topics in India are becoming a cliche this month. Its generally either “swearing” or the “Right” opinion on Valentine’s Day. Indian and Pakistani parents who disapprove of homosexuality please turn away, this is a hard-to-digest post (but certainly much easier than the programme that has wrecked a propriety havoc in the subcontinent).
I must clarify this is not a reactionary piece like the 495 seconds long torture inflicted by #KRK review and no, I have not googled AIB which returns more than 2 million results in 0.31 secs but yes, people are talking. Bollywood, Maharashtra Government, religious organizations, the censor board, even the kids of the “Aam Admi” can’t keep quiet on this one. Apparently songs like “Mai maal gaadi tu dhakka laga” are pretty entertaining but AIB Knockout is not. The banality of “first talk about corruption, sanitation, rape, dowry which are ‘darker kalanks’ on Indian sensibility than AIB” is being plastered over the Internet. Like any other country, there is no dearth of ‘cheapness’ in India. It comes naturally to humans. Being sophisticated is an abstraction; its a fight. AIB in its open letter proclaimed “we wanted to push the envelope of comedy in this country” by introducing insult comedy. What AIB failed to recognize is that insult comedy needs no introduction here, “Udaana” is our favourite passtime, is it not?
Every StoryPick article even remotely related to AIB Knockout is fetching thousands of shares (trust me that’s not the intention here :p ) . Here, I am trying to react to the reactions.
Their open letter depicts them to be heroes of societal change (who are they kidding? They are no Savarkar or Tilak). Their letter is so serious and pleading, they sound like damsels in distress. Consequently, AIB has gained many supporters (read saviours), a small pocket of which exists in the Indian community around me at New York.
AIB however,is right about one thing- in a secure culture, a knockout like this wouldn’t matter much. Maybe it’s unimportant, but the effect it has had on people is drastic. The laziness of the blizzard-phase forced New Yorkers to not watch it once or twice but umpteen times. Aftermath? Absolute shamelessness :O . The jokes that were shared in men’s locker rooms or private chats have suddenly surfaced in full colour in the subway, in the drawing room, infront of Starbucks, at birthday parties, at libraries, at Queens’ sidewalks, during movies, in the kitchen, hell even during casual conversations! I am a woman who is not comfortable with casual hookups (judge me). So of course, this is a mild/slightly-creepy cultural shock. Men and women are bouncing out of closets of accepted propriety, deriving motivation from the AIB Knockout panel. They don’t exactly think its cool, I wonder if they think anything at all. However, the jokes flow easily like water. After observing me for sometime, a friend asked whether I have a problem with “tharakness” with its all encompassing meaning, I am assuming. I gave him a vague answer. Of course I don’t care that the Knockout happened but I am glad I laughed my head off at some of the jokes but I am happier and more shocked that it helped me to understand my friends better in ‘traditionally unspeakable ways’.
“Long Live Freedom of Speech”