A new year is upon us, yet again, but if you think that this is just another arbitrary event in the lunar cycle, rid yourself of such cynicism. As anyone who has been following the news knows, ever since India’s landmark general elections last year, the Big Brother of South Asia has voted for change and progress. At the start of 2015, we no doubt stand on the brink of sweeping transformations that will sweep away all traces of the Third World country that India once was. We will enter a glorious era of VPNs, vegetarianism and voracious development. So lest we forget where we came from, here is a humble request: let us build a monument that will remind generations of all that makes up India today. Let us build TRAGICA, a Third World-themed, Indian amusement park.
Entry to TRAGICA will be ticketed and the ticket price will vary depending upon inflation, which of course won’t exist in 2015. In the off chance that there is a teeny tiny bit of inflation, ticket prices will go up a corresponding teeny tiny percentage.
Tickets will entitle the bearer to the following:
— Entry into TRAGICA, where the air is overladen with the smell of synthetic curry powder
— Free access to multiple water stations that offer the visitor a choice between polluted holy water of the Ganges, chemically-toxic lakes and oil spill-spiked river water. Mineral water bottles will be available at premium prices.
— Access to internet, give or take the random list of websites that the government of India has decided is not suitable for Indian consumption.
To ensure visitors feel a warm sense of belonging, there will be no ticket checking counters in TRAGICA. However,in order to enter different areas of the amusement park, visitors will have to go through STD booths where they must speak into a phone that will scan their voice and fingerprints. Visitors will not be made aware that they’re being scanned. They will only hear a maternal sounding voice that asks one or more of the following of the visitor:
“Have you eaten properly?”
“What did you have for breakfast/ lunch/ dinner?”
“When are you going to get married?”
“Is there some good news you want to share?” (only for women aged 25 and above)
“Are you wearing enough warm clothes?”
Because Coney Island could totally be one of the models for TRAGICA. (photo: mine)
TRAGICA will have state-of-the-art rides (see below) along with an arcade games section (see further below) as well as a pool and a safari.
Pool: Infinity pool that will the twice as large as the largest swimming pool in China. No swimsuits will be allowed in the pool. Only people who are fully dressed, minus shoes (socks: optional), will be allowed to enter the water. No lifeguards since that profession was created by vintage American television show, Baywatch. Instead, to watch over and protect the virtue of those coming to the pool, there will be a corps of senior citizens who will tirelessly scan the pool and poolside with their baleful, judgemental gaze.
Safari: Covered jeeps will take visitors into carefully controlled environments where English-speakers, Leftists, intellectuals and feminists can be observed from a safe distance.
1. The Local Train. Two compartments — General and Ladies — of a genuine Mumbai local which will run on authentic, wood and metal tracks. The objective is to pack in the most number of people and successfully get on at the first station and get off at the last. During the journey, there are additional games, including Half Seat and Breathe Easy.
— Half Seat: how long can you perch and remain seated on half a seat?
— Breathe Easy: how long can you remain conscious when your nose is stuffed into a stranger’s armpit?
2. The Joyride. The visitor gets to pick one from a range of vehicles, including two-wheelers, three-wheelers, four-wheelers and buses. Driving their chosen vehicle, the visitor must negotiate a terrain that is partly a racing track and partly dodgems. The racing track is made up of dirt roads, paved and potholed roads, speed breakers that damage your vehicle’s chassis, and highways.
There is the option of hiring a driver and playing as a passenger. If women choose this option after dark, they have to pay a Rape Culture fee.
3. Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan. A rollercoaster ride through a miniature Indian village, which is scattered with thousands of toilets. The seats of this ride are shaped like broomsticks. The objective is to find one that actually flushes.
4. Happily Married. An elaborate rollercoaster ride that is for adults only. The ride has the following sections:
• Hindu Marriage, in which the carriages swing wildly between two poles labelled Arranged Marriage and Love Marriage to the soundtrack of Sanskrit mantras. Under the carriages is a large pit of flames. Barfbags will be provided.
• Muslim Marriage, in which the carriages go through an obstacle course made up of mannequins that pop up without warning. To make the mannequin move aside and give way, the visitor must press one of the two buttons — “talaq” and “nikaah” — on the seat’s dashboard. You can’t use either button more than three times in a row. How many talaqs/nikaahs can you pack into five minutes?
• Political Union, in which the carriages are made to swing violently into and bounce off three cushioned pillars that are shaped like large, faceless, human figures. They are titled Wife, Lover, Party Leader.
• Divorce, a circular spiral that plunges the carriage into a downward swirl. It is accompanied by a soundtrack of legalese terms being yelled out and the soundtrack of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.
• Inter-Caste Marriage, in which the carriages make a death-defying downward plunge from a great height only to surge back up and end with everyone hanging upside down.
Still Coney Island, still one of my photos. But I can’t help but imagine the rollercoaster in the left to be one of the loops of Happily Married.
1. Kiss and Run. A two-person game that requires a male and female partner to go through a series of make-out spots without getting caught by the lurking moral police. If the moral police catches them making out, the couple will be slapped. If a couple is able to cover all bases without being caught at one spot, they get a coupon for unlimited snacks from TRAGICA’s food court. Same sex duos are technically not allowed, but will be allowed if no one objects.
2. Exam Crunch. A game for those not inclined to get too physical. The challenge is to find the leaked paper from others playing the game and then sit in an examination hall to answer the questions. Bonus points for those who can cheat. Sample questions:
“Q: When was the first case of plastic surgery recorded?
A: When Shiva successfully attached an elephant’s head to Ganesha’s headless body.”
“Q: What is the most advanced military equipment India has produced?
A: Arjuna’s bow, Gandiva.”
1. Brown > Green. Celebrating being brown and Asian, this game is all about taking pride in the Asian Brown Cloud. The objective of the game is to attack NGO settlements scattered across the map of India using weapons like the RBI Fireball, the MHA Arrow and the Environment Ministry Swipe. The last clears out forests and creates mining camps in their place. Each of these makes the Asian Brown Cloud more brown, which is a good thing because brown is beautiful.
2. Pacman Gharwapsi. A saffron Pacman goes around a maze littered with symbols, each of which has a different affect upon the saffron Pacman. The chicken leg turns the Pacman green. The fruit turns the Pacman yellow. The wine glass gives the Pacman a halo. At the centre of the maze is a home, which is what the saffron Pacman is trying to reach and no matter which symbol Pacman eats, this house starts burning down. Can Pacman reach the house before it burns down? Will Pacman burn in the house? Pro tip: the only way to win this game is to find the secret exit to Bollywood.
3. Love Jihad Slot Machine. Heart-shaped coins must be put into the machine. The player has the option of accepting the jackpot when either three Hindu, Indian film heroes or three Muslim, Pakistani heroes line up at the end of a successful spin. If the player asks for the jackpot after getting the three Muslim, Pakistani heroes, they’re forced to drink Gangajal (water from the Ganges). During the trial run, some of the test users figured out a way to only get the Muslim heroes, but this glitch will hopefully be sorted out before TRAGICA opens.