Ranjona Banerji: Discard logic, tune in to rubbish

By  Ranjona Banerji | Posted  12-Apr-2017

Save fuel (only on Sundays), denounce cash, avoid eating too much -fun is an irritating component of Indian life and entirely unnecessary

If you demand cash in this country now, you are an illegal hoarder, black money collecting scum and deserve to be cashless. Representation Pic
If you demand cash in this country now, you are an illegal hoarder, black money collecting scum and deserve to be cashless. Representation Pic

As cultural norms for some become laws for all, we are delighted and surprised at the lovely new ideas that the Central government and various state governments come up with to flex their "I am the boss" muscles.

For instance, to save fossil fuels, all petrol pumps may now remain closed on Sundays. This is an excellent idea and the best way to force people to stay at home. Especially working people and children and such aberrations, who feel that Sunday is the day when they are free to wander about, visiting various places. A weekend is definitely not the time to spend petrol or visit nearby hill stations and beaches. It is the time to stay at home and listen to speeches on the radio. Fun is an entirely irritating component of Indian life and completely unnecessary. Why do restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, malls and so on, open on weekends at all?

I find this idea really good because I live close to Mussourie and the weekend traffic can be most annoying. I also think this idea is perfect for emergencies. For instance, when you have an ill parent or child and the vehicle runs out of petrol or diesel on the way to a hospital, on a Sunday. Few, if any, doctors venture out to meet patients on Sundays - at least I don't know of any - and this way the petrol/diesel ban won't bother them. Many people in India have to walk for miles with their loved ones to reach a hospital because no vehicle will take them or no ambulance agrees - now on Sundays, these kind vehicles and ambulances will have the perfect excuse.

Indeed, according to the radio programme, this is the best way to save petrol. So, instead, stay home, feed your patient some cow dung and urine paste and pray. Praying is the best way in such cases, one would say. At least some might agree, especially those people who came up with the "no petrol pumps on Sundays" idea.

This is also an excellent example of how secular India is: enforcing a rest day for petrol pumps on the Sabbath!

I look forward to seeing the queues at fuel stations on Monday mornings. Queues, as we know, are a sign of a civilised society.

We have already gotten used to the lack of available and disposable cash in our lives and ATMs are no longer Any Time Money machines or Automated Teller Machines. Long after that wonderful demonetisation idea, India remains cashless, which the government intended or so they tell us: no cash is needed in hand. And if you want it, then you are an illegal hoarder, black money collecting scum and deserve to be cashless. Unless you are a politician with the right party - then there is no limit to cash or the other slogan: Cash is Free.

It's even better when you go to your bank because they have become so sweet about the way they charge you for withdrawing your own hard-earned money.

A humble suggestion is to rename these ATM machines to Some Times Money machines or Most Times No Money machines or Cash Free machines or most likely, Why Do You Want Your Own Cash, You Criminal machines.

Having effectively saved fuel and cash, the government has now moved on to food. Here you will deeply regret not listening to your parents when they instructed you to eat everything on your plate. A new rule is being mulled over by the government to stop food from being wasted: make hotels limit portions of food because the radio programme was also worried about wastage of food. A minister says that if people want to eat two prawns, why give them six? Before we get to the logic, I object on behalf of the Pro Prawn Lobby to use of prawns as an example. Now, to the lack of logic or the absence of the semblance of logic in this rule: Does the hotel have to make you fill out a questionnaire before you order to decide how many prawns you want to eat? If the prawns taste very nice and you change your mind, do you have to order another dish? Are you allowed to eat two dishes of prawns?

My suggestion is simple: look up "doggie bags" and rethink your alignment to making a law out of everything you hear on the radio.

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com