India's week of Twupidity, writes Gursimran Khamba

Friday, 23 May 2014 - 6:15am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

If you were to ask the question "What is the dumbest thing you've seen happen on the Indian internet" chances are you'll get a list that wraps around the Earth a few hundred times. This week alone we saw two extremely impressive attempts at coming first on the list.

The first was Pankaj Pachauri's final "screw you" to the BJP by refusing to hand over the PMOIndia twitter handle cleanly. Mr. Pachauri renamed the followed by 1.2 million account to @PMOIndiaArchive thanks to which the original @PMOIndia account would have to start from zero followers. Not that Modi would have any trouble getting followers but you would think we'd be able to get something as simple as emailing the username and password right. One way of looking at it is that Manmohan Singh made the ultimate sacrifice while leaving office. People spend their whole lives trying to make jokes and memes hoping to get a few followers. Here was Mr. Singh leaving 1.2 million of them as if he didn't even care. He could have tweeted puns, done brand activations and run hashtag campaigns, tweeted pictures of his lunch after eating free at India's best restaurants. He could have become a male version of Miss Malini - Mr. Manmohan - India's best pointless gossip blog. All we got instead was a botched Twitter account transfer. I can only hope that account has some raunchy undeletable direct messages otherwise this controversy wouldn't be worth it.

You would think an ex- Prime Minister being unable to give away his Twitter account would be number one but you are incorrect. That honour goes to the citizens of Bangalore to turned against food search engine Zomato for making fun of their city. Incase you missed it, Zomato put out an advertisement calling techies in Bangalore to move to the formers offices in Delhi while talking about how it was a much better city to live in. The jokes ranged from Bangalore's bad traffic to an early curfew - jokes already made a million times on Twitter and Facebook and things Bangalore natives spend whining about themselves. Unfortunately given that this supposed rebuff came from Delhi (and how dare Delhi pretend to be anything but a slaughterhouse for women) Twittersphere lost its collective mind and forced Zomato to apologise for trying to have a sense of humor.

Ever so often I am asked as a comedian if Indians are ready to laugh at themselves and I usually respond in the affirmative. Incidents like these remind you of how fragile this sense of self really is. If the supposedly progressive lot on Twitter reacts this way what hope do we really have for the rest of the country.
The few times a company tries to do something different we shut them down with our own sense of morality.

Here we were worried about a backlash for making jokes about Narendra Modi and turns out we have to start with worrying about techies from Bangalore first.




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