Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Not A Funny Bone Under That Thin Skin

It comes to wit that our leaders can’t appreciate the jocular take

Not A Funny Bone Under That Thin Skin Illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu

Lingua Indica

”Funny” phrases that have forced public figures to eat crow

  • Cattle Class! Shashi Tharoor used the idiom to complain about a lack of space while flying economy. Detractors insisted he had insulted thousands of budget travellers by comparing them to brainless farm animals.
  • Holy Cow! Even though Shashi Tharoor insists that his use of the phrase only goes to explain the sacredness of austerity, many in the Congress party believe that he has attributed to the Gandhis’ literal bovine traits.
  • Headless Chicken! Tired of journalists nosing around for comments about the nuclear deal, ex-Indian ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, used the term to describe hungry hacks. Outraged parliamentarians believed he had referred to them as tottering poultry.
  • Limpets! Rajiv Gandhi used this word to indict his opponents for sticking to their chairs and being power-hungry. Critics were furious at being branded sub-human, clingy invertebrates.
  • Staying alive! On a recent visit to the site of the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, Jairam Ramesh held a handful of soil and said, “Look, I'm holding this and I'm still alive.” Offended by this show of flippancy, livid gas victims burned his effigy.
  • Khub aayein, khub piyein aur pee kar pade rahein! Digvijay Singh recently ‘blessed’ an Indore pub owner with these words: “Let people come in large numbers, drink copiously and lie around merrily.” Within hours, he was being hounded by righteous TV reporters.

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