Of Earthquakes, Outrage and Ashish Nehra

January 19, 2011 at 4:31 am | Posted in Random Rants | 11 Comments
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So, an earthquake happened in Pakistan, last night. Tremors were felt in Delhi and Jaipur. As usual, I heard it first on Twitter. It was my third earthquake on Twitter. I remember messaging a friend in Port Blair about an earthquake last time, and then having to explain what is Twitter. Anyway, we digress. Well, two natural calamities happened. A 7.3 Earthquake occurred in Pakistan and Ashish Nehra scored the winning runs in a cricket match with a BAT and not a Ball.

As usual, we on Twitter were making fun of Ashish Nehra.  Hashtags and puns were flowing around. Even Murli Vijay had come to the party. And then the tremors happened. Twitter went through the usual cycle. Updates were coming in fast. Everyone was eager to know the amount of damage caused. Some people were really shaken up by the tremors in Delhi. I don’t follow a lot of people from Pakistan but I am guessing it’d have been the same there. And while all this was happening, some jokes on earthquakes flowed in from the usual suspects and many unusual ones. Outrage followed.

People were upset with the insensitivity. Unfollows, follows and blocks ensued. Also pouring in were sympathy tweets for Pakistan and Pakistanis. People were suddenly looking for their Pakistani followers and appeared worried about them. That is when my medulla oblongata malfunctioned and I posted these tweets:



A lot of discussion followed. Insensitivity, opportunism and the price of being funny were discussed. I learnt a few things. Sadly, I missed the ‘How not to tweet when you are mildy outraged’ lesson. So I tweeted this:




This didn’t go down well with a lot of my friends. Apologies. I didn’t word it properly. I’ll try and do that now.

I have a serious problems with sudden gushes of sympathy. I was #outraged when Aircel was screaming 1411 tigers in my face. I hate it when people are moved by numbers. A bomb blast happens in Pakistan every other fortnight. People die. Do you tweet on your timeline asking your Pakistani friends if they are ok? Just because the probability of some Pakistani(and I don’t say that in a J.P.Dutta fashion) who follows you dying in a bomb blast is mathematically less than the probability of someone dying/getting hurt in this earthquake? I didn’t stop there. Posted some more.





My outrage was misguided, may be even unfounded. But I refuse to believe that every follower of mine who tweeted about the loss(am not really sure about the damages yet) of Pakistanis, was genuinely worried about them. And that is what boiled the blood. And the medulla oblongata. So I questioned. And like everything on twitter, a lot of us took it personally. They had my imaginary finger(not sure which one) looking in their direction, my bald head tilted towards them, my questioning gaze questioning(duh!) their emotions. A lot of them responded with logic. Some responded with smart-alec-ness. I apologized and made a run for it. Having @thecomicproject to talk to, helped.

I still believe that there is nothing wrong with joking about a calamity. If you can tolerate someone talking about Sania Mirza’s pubic hair, you shouldn’t have a problem with someone joking about a death. If you can tolerate the mention of the word ‘Chinki’ in a conversation or a joke, you shouldn’t really be outraged by hypocrisy. I personally believe insulting those who live is worse than insulting those who are dead. If you can tolerate one(or even enjoy it), you might as well take the other.

And that is all there is. My Wednesday is fucked and only I am to be blamed.

P.S.: Some people unfollowed me during this. I promptly went to friendorfollow and unfollowed them back. I understand your urge to unfollow. Had I been in your place, I may have done the same thing. I have a policy – I follow people because (a) I like their shit and (b) they like my shit(given they aren’t, for the lack of a better term, orkutias). The moment (b) ceases to be true, I don’t see a point in following you anymore. On an unrelated note, @daddy_san, @unnamedentity, @pranavbakliwal, @stupidusmaximus and @thecomicproject – I am glad that I follow you all. Thanks for driving reason in.


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  1. I tend to get outraged if jokes are cracked over rape, or violence against women, or issues like that – because these are issues I feel fairly strongly about. It’s a completely personal sentiment.

    But I don’t think my outrage has ever led to an unfollow or even debate – because there would have been other occasions, where similar jokes by the same people on a different issue may have been equally “inappropriate” but I have still giggled. Would be rather hypocritical of me to object now, simply because one is an issue close to my heart and the other isn’t.

    Everyone has issues they get outraged over. Everyone has jokes which they will stretch till every bit of funny-ness in it vanishes. People need to chill, is all.

    My two cents. 🙂

    • I’ll take that last line as an advice. 😀

  2. The funny/sad part was that people in Delhi kept tweeting about it while their fans shook and windows rattled.

    • That is what we do. We tweet. Come. What. May. In an earthquake or a threesome, tweeting must not stop. It’s good in a way though, real time information(junk tweets and jokes notwithstanding)

  3. Mr,
    We dont give a shit about pakistan, but that doesnt mean you can crack lame ass jokes at them. I as a teenager I joke about a whole lot of things, some with outrageous sexual references, but when it turns on somebody I know even my closest friends disagree.

    Its clear we show sympathy , cause we like to. It makes us feel stronger and the victim a vermin.

    Seriously , Iam going to follow you Mr.

    And how in the world can Nehra score the winning runs with a ball ese.

    • I never said we don’t give a shit about our neighbour. We send them dossiers(which are = shit anyway). I don’t have a problem with sympathy either, unless it isn’t fake or limited to a few special earth-shattering occasions.

      • And yeah, you missed the Nehra joke. No need to fret though.

  4. […] the impetus to actually express myself comes from this post by shantanu. i absolutely agree with every fuckin tweet during the […]

  5. Can’t believe how ridiculous people are. Couldn’t agree more heartily with what you’ve said. You witness this kind of hypocrisy only on twitter where there’s the worst form of herd mentality. Everything is blown out of proportion. Maybe, like you said, the tweets could have been better worded, but Anyone who read them with a cool mind would actually see the underlying message.

    • Well, we are a part of that ‘people’ thing. I am a part of the herd, I want to be. I am just not happy with the way ‘WE’ are treating twitter, trying to be a controlling mother-in-law to a platform that, usually, knows no master. As for the underlying message, I doubt anyone with a cool mind would have seen them too, too easy to misundertand. Hence the blog post. Thanks for the comment though, am seeing you here for the first time.

  6. Shut the fuck up tantanu…..u dont own anyone…ppl will do whatever the fuck they wana do

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