Funnyman Cyrus Broacha tackles some serious issues in his latest book, The Average Indian Male, but cautions readers against taking his analysis of the male of the species too seriously
Cyrus Broacha is not your average Indian male. For starters, he's on TV, he writes three columns a week -- something he has done "uninterruptedly for over fifteen years" as good friend Kunal points out in the foreword of Broacha's latest book -- and good friend Kunal is none other than familiar television personality Kunal Vijaykar. How's that for average?
Pic/ Bipin Kokate
Strip Broacha of the funnyman tag though, and you are likely to find someone who is unassuming; vulnerable almost to a fault. It's the same quality that makes this 'mini Machado' watchable. Year after year and week after week in a showbiz career that has outlived most. It's the same reason we don't think twice before accosting him on the street at 1.30 am to "say something funny, Cyrus". It's also why he often gets away with being irreverent.
Life in words "This book is not about male bashing," clarifies Broacha over the phone about his latest book, The Average Indian Male. "I'm not writing either for or against men, think of [the book] as a documentary."
The book -- "or two books disguised as one book, purely for tax purposes" -- is essentially a collection of essays that map the sum total of this 40 year-old's thoughts, observations, and certainly interactions with the quintessential Indian male. "A lot of it was already in my head and a [consolidation] of all the criticism I receive," says Broacha, adding, "Which is a lot."
Between the lines Leading with his peculiar male protagonist and brand of satire, Broacha tackles a variety of subjects, ranging from the seemingly mundane to the more serious like corruption. The difference is that he does so with subtlety; never intending to bludgeon his reader into a state of total awareness or perhaps even wakefulness from his comfortable position on the couch.
"Too much writing makes a lot of sense," says Broacha, who shares having to fend off questions from his "very patient and kind" publishers, who would often ask him to explain a particular turn of phrase. The book, which Broacha says took him almost six months to write "with interruptions", was a thrilling process.
"It might sound cliche, but writing is therapeutic. I would suggest that everyone wrote a little each day, even if it didn't make sense," he says, adding, "It's the only place where you are truly free."
Excerpts from the book No guide to India and the Indian male would be complete without mentioning one of India's favourite and dominant communities, also known as the poor. Well before the Aryan invasion, well before the Dravidian dominance, well before whatever was well before that, we've had them around -- the poor, that is.
In other times, tourist guides will always have to be forced to refer to them. They would say, 'Ladies and gentleman, on the left is Hotel Varanasi, on the right the holy Ganges, and between them the poor. Please take the in the first and second sights as we will soon run out of them, unlike the poor, who we will find in surplus and generally in mint condition all across the heritage sights.'
India has always had the poor. However, even Indians are unaware that the poor fall in tow categories. Those who are really poor, and those who pretend to be poor. The really poor consist of farmers, villagers, circus performers, and members of the party in the Opposition.
Those who pretend to be poor include beggars, bureaucrats, retired cricketers, life-long lifters, bar dancers, teachers, and servicemen. Now, we cannot analyse all these sub-groups in just a couple of pages and that too free of cost! So let's look at a segment in this sub-group, the common beggar.
The common beggar works in shifts. His office is between two traffic signals. He earns anything between Rs 30 to Rs 30,000 per day. His first rule is, he never gives a cent to charity. He doesn't pay any tax. He doesn't pay any rent. He has no overheads, no expense on electricity, gas, water or mobile phone. He usually avoids keeping a car, so doesn't incur any costs on petrol, or driver or his overtime.
He never goes on holiday. He doesn't pay his work force. He has not yet invested in a fixed office address. He avoids club memberships. He doesn't waste time and money on hygiene products. He keeps nothing in the way of personal consumption. He has no clothes, no deodorants, no bracelets, and no shoes. He's not one for dining at fancy restaurants, unless he gets good service on already paid for food outside the establishment. He's not majorly into electronic goods, and if he does own a hand-me-down computer, he'll make sure it comes without a printer.
Beggars in India are among the most privileged. Since they work in the outdoors, they work in short shifts, and rotate their services. Since they pay no tax and have no overheads, and, in fact, don't really exist on paper, they are the only professional who make a 100 per cent profit on their earning. The only professionals. Although a couple of politicians may like to argue that point a little further.
The sum of all Indian marriages ...let's first understand who the average Indian male vis-a-vis the average Indian female. To get you to understand 'our' language better, let's call it the average Indian phemale! The average Indian male today is (and we're talking very average heer) small, large, small.
While this may sound like an order at a whiskey bar, it generally isn't. You see, the average Indian male is small from his neck upwards, largish between the neck and legs, and small again in the lower floors of the building. This doesn't quite match the average Indian 'phemale' who follows the small, small, large design.
Now let's talk mathematics and especially equations. Small + large + small = small + small + large. Except for neck upwards where we are both small, it is actually quite a mismatch. In purely mathematical terms, the Indian male + female has 33.3 per cent going for it and 66.6 per cent against.
Contrast this with a Caucasian couple where the male is larger + larger + larger = the woman who is also large + large + large. Hence a perfect fit.
Due to this data now being available, we realize that an average Indian couple in a relationship is actually up against each other. This also explains why same-sex couples are seeing larger and more fulfilling relationships in our culture today.
Extracts excerpted with permission from The Average Indian Male by Cyrus Broacha; Rs 199. Published by Random House publishers.