Thousands of Jerry Seinfeld fans (this writer included) are eagerly waiting to see and hear the comedian when he comes to India in March. His eponymous show – about Nothing – gave us so many memorable lines and characters (the soup Nazi!) and though Seinfeld has moved on, he still remains one of the world’s great stand-up comedians.

However, while welcoming him to India, it is important to know that we have a set of very rigid rules he will have to follow. What plays in Manhattan will not necessarily play in Mumbai, and in the present climate he needs to be informed about some crucial dos and don’ts. Here is a memo that might be of help:

1. No Indian jokes whatsoever. Time was when we could deal with the occasional dig at Indianisms, the head nod, the driving style, the accent. Not anymore. Any mention of India or Indians has to be not just complimentary but gushing. Add “Silicon Valley”, “Great civilization” and “Fantastic food” to the word Indian if you are in doubt. Indians are allowed to make some Indian jokes, but then they cannot take a swipe at different regional types.

2. Naturally, religious jokes are verboten too. Your own repertoire has many digs at Jews and Christians, but these won’t wash here. We don’t have too many Jews, but the Christians are ultra-sensitive to any humour. They used to be among the more liberal and fun communities, but have now turned dour and suspicious about comedy. Hindus and Muslims of course are way out of bounds. You could weave in a Parsi joke or two, and they will probably join you on stage with a few more, since they remain the last community with a sense of humour about themselves. (Cricket is also a religion but cricket fans are a bit more broadminded, provided you stay away from making fun of its divine pantheon especially one Sachin Tendulkar.)

3. List of forbidden words – our film Censors (yes, that is a thing), have come up with a long list of words that cannot be used in films. The sensible option would be to certify the film as A or PG, but the moral guardians want to simply cut that portion out. Read the list – apart from helping you clean up your act, it will be quite an educative primer on Indian cuss words, which, you must know, are far more punchy and evocative than English ones. You never know when it will come in handy. The list also includes the word Bombay, so ensure that you practise in front of the mirror a thousand times before you go on stage. One slip and you will find yourself sued by some busybody and that means you will have to remain in India for the rest of your life.

4. List of must-use words – you are bound to have a lot of media interaction. Journos have a pre-fab set of questions which you are supposed to respond with pre-fab answers. Thus, you are bound to be asked, “Have you seen a Bollywood film?” You can make a gentle joke about all that dancing, but there is a line you cannot cross. Bollywood is our great pride and joy, so you need to be reverential about it. “I would love to act in a Bollywood film” is good; “All that dhinchak music and those garish costumes give me a seizure” is bad. Other kosher words: yoga, bindi, spicy food, sari, as in, “my wife loves to wear a sari on Rosh Hashanah”. You will become an instant hero. “I practice yoga regularly,” will practically win you honorary citizenship.

5. People to avoid – many people will want to meet you. We Indians are quite liberal, you can meet anyone you like. Why, you can even take the slum tour and we won’t mind. Bollywood superstars, politicians, socialites, sants and sadhvis, all are fine. But don’t, please don’t, ask to meet Indian comedians. A month ago this would have been easy to arrange, now they are all in hiding. We have a long tradition of humour and satire, and our modern comedians were doing a fine job, but now they are in the doghouse for indulging in sinister, anti-national activity, i.e. telling jokes. Anyone associating with them could also land in trouble. Besides, what would Aamir Khan (aka the nation’s conscience) say?

I could go on and on, yada yada yada, but I am sure your handlers will do their own research. I hope this list does not put you off. That would be a real shame. I have used up all my savings to buy a ticket to your show.