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Getting their goat 
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Illustration by Deni lal

Now, as all of Maharashtra is reduced to a massive set for the tear-jerker block-buster Ek Tha Tiger, how long before the naming-things-after-him frenzy starts? As the airport, the railway station and the largest park have all been hooked and booked by the grand maratha Shivaji himself,  I predict that the Bandra-Worli sealink (officially called the Rajiv Gandhi Sealink, did you even know?) may be in for a rapid rechristening. All in favour of the motion down shutters on your shops till the renaming comes through! Or how about Marine Drive (officially known as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road, did you know?)? Specially because Netaji was a Bengali and therefore doesn't deserve to have such a prime piece of Mumbai real-estate named after him! And definitely the Sanjay Gandhi National Park—that place is perfect—has got man-eating tigers in it, which is, you know, so appropriate and all.
Seriously, our urban maps have started to resemble that join-the-dots-to-make-squares-and-then-put-your-initial-inside-the-square game we used to play in school, remember? Most of the squares have been notched up by the Gandhis, and everything that's left has been taken up by freedom fighters and the lesser political dynasties. So basically, all you posthumous Param Vir Chakra awardees and Ashoka Chakra awardees and dead Olympians get in line—the next bunch of roads, bridges and chowks are all going to be named after Balasaheb.
I hear that all of Delhi's hoity-toity designer brigade is enraged at the fact that while they got into so much trouble for ‘dishonouring' the national flag by turning it into a mini dress for super models a couple of years ago, the Shiv Sena has gotten away with so much worse. ‘And that too on national television,' they fume. ‘Such double standards ya, it should be one nation, one law! How come it's okay to wrap our darling tiranga around that um… person?'
And Facebook, of course, is full of people courting arrest—it's like they're putting up statuses to see if the Sena will come and get them. Nobody has yet, clearly the Sainiks know how to tell the real insurgent elements from the publicity seekers, which is why they zoomed in only on two innocuous young girl students and not the rabid, crusading Rot in Hell Thackeray posters so busy on the internet so far. Their clear, razor-sharp thinking gives me so much hope for the future of Maharashtra.
While on rabid crusaders, will somebody tell the vegetarians to get a grip? Don't they realise that they'll win way more converts to their cause if they don't do such a hardsell, constantly?
It's bad enough they insist on running ads featuring naked C-list celebrities all the time—wearing cabbage leaves or sitting in a tub full of fake blood or saying they'd rather go full frontal than wear fur or whatever.
It's bad enough that they ruin all the fun on Bakrid by posting pictures of bloody, slain goats on Facebook, forcing the hapless non-vegetarians to retaliate by posting status updates like ‘Mary had a little lamb. Now she doesn't. Happy Eid.' 
But now they're attacking our school books too! According to the New Healthway Reader, a  manual on health, hygiene, physiology, safety, sex education, games and exercises, “non-vegetarians cheat easily, tell lies, forget promises, are dishonest, use bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes”. Wow. One bite of tandoori chicken is all it takes to turn a saint into Ajmal Kasab. Who knew?
We are all, apparently, what we eat. Which makes all non-veggers some sort of farm animal. And all veggers some sort of cabbage, kaddoo or cucumber. As for me, I'd like to eat a beautiful, tall, skinny, Booker-award-winning, best-seller-list-topping writer, please.

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