Arré Checklist: Uber and Other People Who Should Strike Work

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Arré Checklist: Uber and Other People Who Should Strike Work

Illustration: Shruti Yatam / Sushant Ahire

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or the past two days, instead of greeting each other with “Good morning,” my colleagues have reached office with just one question on their lips: “Did you get an Uber?” It’s now Day Two of the nationwide strike by Uber and Ola cabbies, which is like Christmas come earlier for private vehicle owners like me. Since the strike came into effect, I’ve had to remind myself I’m still in Mumbai, so free are the streets of rashly driven Maruti Swifts with commercial plates. I don’t care if this opinion ensures my passenger rating on the app plummets, driving my bike over the last 48 hours has been so pleasurable that I have to come clean: I hope the strike never ends.

Now that I don’t need to worry about being run over by an Uber driver who was too busy making his passengers uncomfortable instead of watching the road, I’ve had time to think on my morning commute. Much like the Uber drivers, there’s a bunch of people in India who would be doing the rest of us a favour by going on strike. This is my earnest request to them.

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News anchors

Dear Messrs Goswami & Company, we get it. You like flashing at least two dozen headlines on screen in ALL CAPS even as you scream your head off. It ties in perfectly with your “sansani!” approach to covering everything from elaborate government scams to Kangana Ranaut interviews. A strike from you and your peers would mean a couple of days of relative peace and quiet, allowing us to switch between Star Movies and Animal Planet without stumbling into a shouting match over the non-issue of the day.

Internet trolls

The World Wide Web is a free speech paradise, if paradise were full of angry, resentful commenters who still lived with their parents. The plague of toxic trolls online has reached such massive proportions that it has required a rewording of a famous philosophical question – If a photo is posted on Instagram and doesn’t receive a single negative comment, was it even clicked in the first place? Now that we’ve uncovered how trolls operate via closed groups and Google Docs, I’d like to petition the admins in charge to use their skills at rallying the troops to organise a strike. Imagine an entire day where we could watch videos of cute puppies playing without seeing a debate on Kashmiri Pandits and Love Jihad in the comments.

Religious bodies

Whether it’s Sonu Nigam’s beauty sleep being disturbed by the morning azaan or Hindu priests burning 50,000 kg of wood to combat air pollution, religion tends to make people enraged more often than they get enlightened. It might seem over the top, but I recommend the religious bodies go on strike for a whole year and hold zero functions. I didn’t care about my Uber passenger rating, obviously I wouldn’t care about my eternal soul. This way, we avoid the environmental destruction on Holi and Diwali, the animal cruelty on Bakri Eid, and, the worst of the bunch, the forced familiarity of office Secret Santa at Christmas. Plus, being able to eat all the ritually forbidden food will unite people of all faiths in appreciating the divinity of munchies.

Telemarketers

One group that should have gone on strike long ago are the telemarketers who think their “exciting naye offers” are more important than your appraisal meeting with your boss. Despite being the most-hated profession in the world just ahead of terrorists, telemarketers have bravely continued punching numbers into phones to talk to people who are going to skewer them with insults. They need to take a break and go on strike; not for their own sake, but for ours. I am tired of having to come up with new rants every time a telemarketer disturbs me, and I don’t like the person I become while calling them annoying shitbirds before hanging up. I hope this message reaches the head of the telemarketers’ union, or whoever is in charge of strike-related decisions. If not, I’m just going to have to call them on their home phone during their Sunday siesta to pitch the strike as an exciting naya offer.

As the Uber strike proved, sometimes less is definitely more. I think we should set up a national strike schedule and have different bodies going on strike every day as an ongoing experiment in modern convenience. It’ll make life easier, and we’ll start getting holidays for free. Find me anyone who has a problem with that.

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