Books that must be written

Rupa Gulab

I ’m tired of politics so I’ve decided to write about books instead. Not books that have already been written, but books that really should be written. Here are a few: 

Is There Life After Facebook? (Non-fiction)

Imagine a life without cat pictures and videos, baby pictures and videos, holiday pictures and videos, food pictures and videos. It’s like being stranded on a deserted island with crabs as company. Would you be able to survive? This is a first person account of a brave person (me!) who pulled the plug on Facebook after being bombarded by their faux social service ads for Free Basics which will generate truckloads of money for them. Somehow, visualising Mark Zuckerberg with a shiny halo hovering over his head and dollar signs gleaming in his eyes did not cut it for the author (me!!). Also, the author (me!!!) got terribly annoyed when Facebook kept blocking articles that were critical of the government. 

Waiting for Vikas (A play in five acts)

Didi and Gogi (middle-class Indians) are waiting in a mall for Vikas, a man who will shower them with jobs and money. They’re not sure if they’re waiting in the right place, if this is the right day, or even if Vikas is going to show up at all. While they wait they fill their time with trivial conversations (the rising price of dal, tomatoes and the like, and falling stock prices) interspersed with more serious reflection (suicides of farmers and students, murders by politicians, things the government has banned, the Bhagwad Gita and so on). They wait and wait and wait for five years and nothing happens. Finally, they contemplate suicide. 

Gorilla Warfare (Natural History)

The head of a nation fancies himself a great leader and statesman. He attempts to broker peace with an enemy country and after each interaction, bares his teeth at cameras, roars and thumps his chest in a manner primatologist Jane Goodall would find extremely charming. Unfortunately, the enemy country does not find chest-thumping remotely charming at all (in fact, it puts them off) and things go back to square one. Lots of blood is shed. 

From Brags to Riches (Biography)

A small-time yoga teacher earns national fame when he brags that he can turn the excreta of cows into gold. Gold smugglers initially plan to bump him off but fall about laughing when they realise that he’s lying. The small-time yoga teacher also makes claims about curing every ailment on Earth and gullible people line up in droves to buy his medicines (apart from gold smugglers who now know he’s a fraud). The small-time yoga teacher grows into a big-time yoga teacher and gets chummy with a political party whose members swear by yoga even though it doesn’t cure their diabetes and obesity (they prefer bariatric surgery to exercise and diet). With the support of the political party the yoga teacher gains tremendous wealth and ventures into the food business. He buys gold biscuits for himself from the wheat biscuits his customers buy (gold smugglers now respect him tremendously). Eventually, he becomes a Forbes cover boy. 

The Orange People  (Science Fiction)

A bunch of ancient aliens arrives on Earth in an ancient spaceship and creates havoc. They assume human bodies and pretend to be just like human beings, only real human beings can tell the difference because their ideas are, well, ancient. While the story is funny in the beginning (most of their ideas are so stupid you can’t stop giggling), it gets scarier and scarier. They want human beings to eat what they eat and egg them on to kill one another so that they can eventually populate the entire planet with their people. Warning: Do not read this at night or you may get nightmares.

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: FEBRUARY 2016