No laughing matter
The nation has lost its sense of humour, and we cartoon characters are scared of becoming extinct
The other day, I was approached by the CCI ( that’s the CARTOON CHARACTERS OF INDIA) “We’d like to meet you on an issue of national importance,” the Association Head, an animated rabbit, said to me.
“I don’t know you”, I told the Bugs Bunny lookalike. “You will soon. My 3D film Chhota Khargosh, a Yashraj Production, was set for release, but a political group in Uttar Pradesh saw the ad and are protesting that I resemble their sitting MP, so problem, Boss. Anyway, there are far more serious matters at hand for us than cartoon characters.”
“Like what?” I asked. “Do you not read the papers?,” said an excited Mowgli from Jungle Book. “India is becoming an intolerant country. Today they have banned political leaders from appearing in newspaper cartoons. Tomorrow they will throw out religious and mythological sketches. The nation has lost its sense of humour, and we cartoon characters are scared of becoming extinct.”
“It is terrible”, I commiserated, “What’s the plan?” Chhota Kargosh beamed a toothy smile. “Boss, we have a solution to survive. We have decided to start our own IPL tournament with several high profile competing teams. It will be bigger than any Indian Premier League so far. Our teams are The Walt Disney Warriors, The Amar Chitra Katha Challengers, The Desi Pixars, The Dreamworks Daredevils, The Ice Age Indians, and as of today, we have a new star team comprising the cartoons of all political leaders, past and present.”
“Upto now they had no interest in entertainment and cricket. They were happy serving the nation and educating children. But after the NCERT incident, they are suddenly scared that if they are thrown out of the academic curriculum and textbooks, no school children will remember them anymore. So they want to join our league. Then nobody can ban them, unless of course they indulge in spot fixing”.
“Who are the team members”, I asked. “There are many stars,” said Shrek. “The openers need to give us a quick start — so we have selected Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi. The middle order needs some heavy hitters — so the three players are Mamata Didi, Jayalalita and Mayawati (the most expensive player in the team). As for the bowling attack, Laloo Prasad Yadav bowls the best googlies. And Mulayam always has a doosra up his sleeve.”
“The coach/captain has to be the Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel — who else can keep a tight rein on such diverse personalities? Our foreign players are Lord Mountbatten, Hillary Clinton and Nicholas Sarkozy. There is some debate on whether Soniaji is a foreign recruit or not, being Italian. Unfortunately we can’t agree yet on the team colours or symbols — everyone has such diverse views — Mayawati wants golden elephants. Akhilesh wants a bicycle. And Didi wants a train. But at least all of them are unified on a catchy name — Political Cartoons Caricatures of India — PCCI, for short!
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at email@example.com.
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.