Podcast: In India We Don't Have Laws, We Have 'General Guidelines'

Anuvab Pal and Kunaal Roy Kapur weigh in on demonetisation, Indian soldiers and other conundrums.

In this episode, Anuvab starts with being confused about the "humble" ambition that the Global Citizen Festival India has to eradicate poverty. Is poverty really this easy to eradicate? You just put a random set of celebrities together, make them dance and sing on stage for an audience hellbent on enjoying itself, and pop! there goes poverty, right out of the human condition. Marx and Ambedkar be damned for their stupid books and movements. Anuvab wonders what the most head-exploding celebrity combination could be to bring together. "The Global Citizens Festival, presenting Derek O' Brien in association with The Rolling Stones, also featuring Karunanidhi and Woody Allen," he says.

Next up, Anuvab is confused by the behaviour of his friends in Singapore. On a recent visit to Singapore for a show, he met some of his friends, who were complaining to him about how everything is too clean, too nice and functions too smoothly. So, he asked them why they left Mumbai. Their reply was that it is too unclean and nothing functions properly. This led him to the Buddha-echoing conclusion that human beings can never be satisfied. According to Kunaal, any functioning system disturbs Indians after a while. He thinks Indians live to circumvent the system and if they can't do that, they lose their primary source of joy. For Indians, Kunaal says, there are no laws, only general guidelines to work their way around somehow.

How is it that people use dying soldiers to make sure we are okay with any and every sort of discomfort?

Next, the duo starts to wonder about how powerful the RBI governor is. He just gets up one day and introduces demonetisation, and suddenly everyone's life goes haywire. Now, every day, we all have to listen to the updates he provides about how to get and spend our own money. It's like he is telling us what should be important for us. If Kunaal needs to buy a bouncy castle, he can't do so, because he has no cash.

Their next conundrum—why is everybody talking about soldiers dying? Sure, soldiers die and that's a bad thing, but how is that suddenly relevant to every aspect of life? How is it that people use dying soldiers to make sure we are okay with any and every sort of discomfort? Does talking about dying soldiers at the drop of a hat really make you patriotic? It seems like people have started using the dying soldier trope to get out of anything they don't want to do or any topic that they don't want to discuss. "How can you tell me to give you another take, bloody soldiers are dying," Kunaal will say to his film director.

Their final conundrum is for relationship managers in banks. "How much knowing, is knowing enough?" asks Kunaal. How many KYC (Know Your Customer) forms will we have to fill and in how much detail in order for them to be satisfied and stop sending more of them? Why do banks even need so much information? Soon relationship managers will enter into actual relationships with their customers so they can get to know them "deeply". It will be you, your wife, and your relationship manager at the movies, at restaurants, at ice cream shops, watching Netflix at home. Anuvab thinks they should take it easy and restrict themselves to basic and necessary information instead.

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