The Bakra of Bad Puns


The Bakra of Bad Puns

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza/ Arré

The sacking of Cyrus has come as a shock to all of us who have a deep understanding of the policies that govern big international businesses. Cyrus was, after all, touted as the man steering the Tatas into the next century. A job he was most qualified for, after his last stint as the co-host on MTV Loveline, where he sat next to Malaika Arora and answered phone calls from people seeking relationship advice. The callers mainly consisted of people whose life hadn’t worked out after following Dr Mahinder Watsa’s tips.

After failing to follow his own advice on Loveline, Cyrus lost Malaika to Arbaaz (the Aftab Shivdasani of siblings), and disappeared from the scene for a while to recover from the setback. He then made a comeback with a hidden camera and a bakra mask to take his career forward. But given the inherent dangers in a bakra prank, the dwindling Parsi community, already small enough to be able to fit themselves into a family WhatsApp group, asked “aapro Ratan” to offer Cyrus the relatively safe job of being the chairman of the Tata Group. However, it remains a big “mistry” as to how Cyrus changed his last name to Mistry.

What? You’re pissed off that you read an entire paragraph, just so I could crack a lame Mistry pun. Well then, fuck you. It’s payback time. It’s been close to 48 hours since the man lost his job and there are some countless variations of the three lame “Tata”, “Ratan”, and “Mistry” puns on my timeline by every Tom, Dick, and Asshole. And everyone seems to be thinking they are the first ones to make the joke.

“Tata tells Tata to Cyrus ;)”

“Mistry surrounding Cyrus’s sacking ;)”

“Ratan: Cyrus, Tata ;)”

“Tata says Bye ;)”

“Oh my God! Mistry is fired and Tata is taking over. Hey, hey, hang on, hang on… ‘Tata’ as in ‘bye’. And Ratan Tata just asked Cyrus Mistry to leave. Oh fuck, fuck fuck… Mistry sounds just like mystery. And nobody knows why he was asked to leave, so it’s a mystery. Holy fuck, I’m a genius. And just to make sure people get this super-intelligent pun, let me add that winking smiley. Oh God, I finally have a chance to sound cool.”

It’s harder to lose a job in a Tata company than to get one. So when you lose a job at a Tata company, shit’s really messed up.

With the fear of being left behind, the media too got involved in this circus of puns. The Economic Times had this gem of a headline when Cyrus took over as the chairman in 2012, “Mystery Ends, Mistry Begins.” And on Tuesday, the headline read, “Mistry Ends, Mystery Begins.” Seriously? It’s one of the biggest corporate news stories of the decade, and your headline is a rearrangement of a bad pun from five years ago on which you are undoubtedly congratulating yourself. I know corporate India doesn’t get too many of chances at grabbing the attention of a nation busy going gaga over hot chaiwallas and cursing KJo, but to think of these men – old, wise, and educated – sitting in their smoky offices and wanking off to kindergarten puns is just heartbreaking.

Spare a thought for poor Cyrus Mistry getting back home after the longest Monday of his life. It’s not the kind of manic Monday that one usually goes through. He just got sacked from one of the biggest companies in the world. Not just any company, but a Tata company. A company whose sole purpose is to provide fireproof, recession-proof, and sometimes even, work-proof jobs. It’s harder to lose a job in a Tata company than to get one. So when you lose a job at a Tata company, shit’s really messed up. It’s like getting left-swiped by Nitin Gadkari. So with a bruised and battered self-confidence, a weepy Cyrus must have quietly poured himself a drink on Monday night, and finally logged on to the internet to see what the world was saying about his exit. And then wept some more at the terrible quality of jokes he had inspired.

The poor Tata puns are a sign of our time and our level of wit. We live in an age where comments like “game over”, “another one bites the dust” and “one man down” feature regularly on our Facebook walls along with wedding pictures of our friends, each convinced about their unique wit. These are chaps whose status updates are replete with gems like “Federer got Rogered”, “Not Sach-in, but Sach-out”, “Messi play by Lionel”, and other such terrible clichés.

It’s time the internet came together against people who are eating up precious bandwidth making these terrible jokes. It’s time you realise that you are under no pressure to crack a joke. I’m in no way telling you not to crack a joke. Crack one, if you want to, but please give it some thought. Look at Ratan Tata. He has been mum about the sacking – not providing any explanation, not even a quote to the media. You know why? Because he is taking his time to think of a bloody good joke.