Satire Shot

Open letter to people in India celebrating Halloween

You’re attempting to bring a holiday that celebrates horror to a country where intensely horrifying things happen in real life.

Hi guys!

We got your Halloween party invitation in the mail. At first we were surprised. Who still sends invitations in the mail? But we’re happy that you at least gave us enough time to come up with the perfect costume. For your party, we’re going to dress up as someone who has no idea why people in India are suddenly celebrating Halloween.

We need to ask: did you guys run out of festivals to celebrate? We had 20 consecutive days of them this month alone. That wasn’t enough for you? You want more? Christ! Importing a new festival to India is about as useful as importing multi-tasking knives to Switzerland.

Of all the festivals that are celebrated all over the world, you chose the one where tradition demands that people dress up in fancy costumes and put on face paint. Yeah, bold original choice there, sunshine. Tell me, is Ringo Starr your favourite Beatle too?

Look, to fulfill our morbid fascination, we might even consider attending your miserable shindig. But before we do that, we’d like to share some of our preliminary concerns.

First of all, how do you expect us to explain Halloween to the kids? We expend so much of our energy trying to teach our children not to talk to strangers. Don’t take anything from a person you haven’t seen before! We’ve spent a large part of their tiny little lives telling them that bad things happen to children who talk to people they don’t know; they either end up spending their youth trying to escape the clutches of a Dickensian overlord or get adopted by Angelina Jolie.

And then, we show up with them at your party and they see all these kids taking candy from people they don’t know without suffering any adverse consequences. Do you think they will ever believe anything we say ever again? They’re going to ignore all the rules we made for them! We’re pretty sure the day after the party, we’re going to come home to find them slumped over the couch after having made a withdrawal from daddy’s cabinet of “rare blended medicines” from Scotland, despite being told to stay away.

Now, from our adventures with the PTA, we’ve gathered that not all parents are as cool and responsible as we are. We imagine some ghastly individuals like to control every aspect of their ward’s life. Do you think these maniacs will let their kids choose their own costumes? This is India – those poor little bastards will be forced to dress up like doctors, lawyers or engineers. How will they feel, standing next to their friends dressed as Ironman or Lady Gaga?

We hope that you’ve hired a small paramilitary force to provide security to your party. In a country where most people don’t even realise they’re being racially or culturally insensitive while others take offense at the drop of a hat, you’re going to be a heartbeat away from some idiot parent dressed as an ancient god while supping whiskey straight from the bottle inciting a full-fledged riot.

Actually, you know what? We’re not RSVPing. Instead, we’re calling on you to cancel your Halloween party. Why? Well, just imagine if what you’re planning actually catches on and the whole nasty business goes mainstream. Do you realise the repercussions of your nonchalance?

One day you’re organising an innocuous party and the next day it’s featured in a national newspaper’s lousy supplement. Then it starts trending on Twitter and everyone on Facebook starts posting their #SelfieWithScarface.

Elle does a cover about it causing the whole fall line to only feature Halloween couture. In a few weeks time, Priyanka Chopra releases a music video in which she’s dressed as a Vampire while Pitbull loafs around in the background, looking like a Latino Leprechaun. Then, Abhishek Bachchan will attend a movie premiere with a fake knife sticking out the back of his suit, getting him another two-year contract from a shitty cut-rate cell-phone company.

Do you really want to be the one responsible for all these events?

If that’s not scary enough, then you can bet all your kitschy decorations that someone in Bollywood will attempt to make a Halloween movie. Bollywood’s attempts at capturing the paranormal are always a hoot, aren’t they? This is the same film industry that made a copy of The Exorcist where the ghost looked like it had been rendered on Corel Draw.

If you think I’m kidding, I’ll have you know that there’s already a movie under production that features the wedding of two zombies. Only in India can someone look at the undead and think, you know what’s wrong with them? They’re not married!

 You’re attempting to bring a holiday that celebrates horror to a country where intensely horrifying things happen in real life. Our Freddy Krueger was probably shot and killed by a dacoit from Uttar Pradesh. Indian Chucky was never able to discover his inner serial-killer because he was sold into child slavery at a very young age. Desi Count Dracula is probably a fixer for a political party.

So, if you’re looking to adapt a new holiday, try Thanksgiving. It’s got everything! Copious amounts of food, awkward conversations with family members you barely have anything in common with, fistfights between siblings over 15-year-old grudges, and racist grandparents who constantly worry about the degrading moral fiber of the country.

It’ll fit in so well into our regular lives no one will even know it’s a holiday.

Now that, my friends, is some successful cultural immersion.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.