Family planning, like charity, begins at home

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: A grateful nation should thank Manmohan Singh for not appointing a health specialist as the nation’s health minister. For, if he had, we would have been robbed of the kind of pearls Ghulam Nabi Azad is dropping when swine flu is in the air.

Marrying late, and watching TV late into the night, the health minister reckons, will curb population explosion.

“If there is electricity in every village then people will watch TV till late night and then fall asleep. They won’t get a chance to produce children. When there is no electricity there is nothing else to do but produce babies. Lack of electricity and any other entertainment facilities, people tend to get electrified themselves to produce children,” Azad is reported to have said on World Population Day.

And this, although every single piece of research suggests that watching TV before bedtime is a bad idea if what you want is a good night’s sleep. And some research suggests that watching late-night TV actually increases the amount of food we eat.

So, electricity could address Azad’s problem but it could add to the queues at the fair price shops, if we don’t do it properly (pun intended), making it Sharad Pawar‘s problem who might introduce a “20-20 kharif season” to pump up foodgrain production.


The new health minister’s suggestion that almost completely negates the idea of sex for recreation, and paints it as a pure-play activity for procreation, has plenty of potential for Bachi Karkaria and Jug Suraiya who depend on pun for their bread, butter, jam and marmalade.

But before they react, here are 10 potential situations we can foresee:

# Classic excuse: “Not tonight, darling, I have some late-night TV to catch up with.”

# Accidental father: “I tried to avoid it, par hamare area mein fuse ud gaya tha.”

# Accidental mother: “No, doctor, I didn’t know he was watching Midnight Masala.”

# Adulterous adult: “I am going to Savita bhabhi‘s house to catch some TV.”

# Flirtatious colleague’s pickmeup: “Wanna watch the Grand Slam tonight?”

# Cablewallah’s threat: “If you don’t pay the new tariff, I will increase your family size.”

# Master Bates’ mom: “Bates, how many times should I tell you, switch off the TV and go to sleep…”

# Politician’s alibi: “I am not gifting voters free TV sets; I am giving them a birth-control device.”

# Revised family planning slogan: “We two, ours twenty-two inches (TV).”

# Disclaimer on condom wrapper: “Best before cock starts crowing.”

What other hilarious situations do you foresee?