I’m thinking of starting my own television celebrity talk show. Admittedly, the odds are stacked against it: I’m not gay, I have no fancy friends and no silicone implants, I hate the camera, and also nobody has asked me. But to let these nothings stand in the way of my dreams would be to indulge in that awful, pre-India Shining, wet blanket realism that is so, like, over.
I know it’s so over because all around me, things are happening that I, in my previous avatar as wet blanket, thought could never, or rather, should never really happen. Politicians fight and win elections and ministries from jail, millionaires don’t pay tax, and we call ourselves a superpower despite the couple hundred million of us who go to bed hungry. By hook or by crook people are shining away in the warm glow of can-do, and I’m not going to be left behind in a quagmire of pessimism.
So, why not my own TV show, since I’m lazy and shy and can’t speak a single sentence in public? Besides, my business plan is foolproof. Step one: Organise a dazzling lineup of all twenty of our A-list celebrity guests, who will agree to appear, as well as uncomplainingly finance the show, after I blackmail them with clips of their least attractive angles and pictures of what they look like before makeup. Step two: The money rolls into my bank account faster than I can spend it. Voila!
So far I only have a working title, but I’m fairly fizzing with enthusiasm. Every second that I seemingly spend staring into space with my mouth open, is actually a second spent with my mind working overtime like a veritable precision machine on the look-and-feel and all the modalities, whatever those are, and the TRP-boosting details.
An all-white set—very Mediterranean, very hip—is my first choice, but might cause the artist lately known as Semi Girebaal to throw a tantrum, so my set will instead be a high-contrast riot of Ivory, Oyster, Silver, Lace, Seashell, Frost, Off-White, Chalk, Pearl, Alabaster, and Young Tooth.
My first guest will be Karan Johar, to whom some might say I owe a debt of gratitude, or at least an apology. He’s an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, awards emcee, Miss World competition jury member, talk show host, one of 250 Global Young Leaders picked by the World Economic Forum in 2006 and speaker at the Wharton India Economic Forum and the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Delhi. I think he might also be President of India, I’m not really sure. Anyway, when K.Jo King of Koolness appears on my show (which will have a much better introductory jingle than his) I will ask him whether watching the tapes of his show ever makes him want to throw the Koffee Hamper at the Koffee Wall of Fame.
The other person I really want to invite is Poonam, the woman who, according to a recent newspaper report, was Mayawati’s hair stylist, and after the BSP swept the recent Uttar Pradesh polls, was rewarded for her skills with an appointment to the Chairpersonship of one of the country’s manifold Welfare Commissions, which, by the way, has suddenly developed a killer look. I just have to ask Poonam: So this is Mayawati after the makeover? Which is, of course, exactly the kind of sexist, frivolous, brainless question that I can expect to propel my TRPs into outer space.
There’s no shortage of possibilities, so no pessimism for me, because the people who make India proud are the shining.
Oh hey, isn’t that the name of some horror show?