Vinnie G in da house.
MC: And now, as part of our open mic performance, a bit of fun that we are offering up. So, you know how all of the performers came in today and you knew of them, already, by reputation and some you are new to. Well, we had our open mic draw too, as you know, in which one lucky newbie gets to perform for our awesome crowd today. So, without too much ado, give it up, if you can and wish, for the surprising Vinnie G!
Vinnie G: Ooh, nice long introduction, but I don’t think I deserve such a long speech, you know…
MC: Actually, I have the feeling, I might have to explain how and why you landed up on the stage.
Vinnie G: Oh! Funny, you’re talented.
MC: I know. So, floor’s all yours. Take it away!
Vinnie G: Sure, but won’t you miss it tomorrow? Okay, fine stop rolling your eyes at me. Hello everyone, it’s really nice to be here. As you know, or rather have been told, I’m Vinnie G, and I am here by special invitation.
Audience member: Oh, boy. Delusions of grandeur, already? Special invitation, it seems. Lady, call it a lucky strike.
Vinnie G: Why are you talking like an Islander? Lady! And that accent you’re trying to palm off as Jamaican doesn’t sound right. But, how would I know? I’m not here to teach you phonetics. This is a comedy routine, and I’m Vinnie G!
AM 2: Yeah, right, you told us. So, what’s with the name? Is it like Winnie the goo, or something?
Vinnie G: No! Don’t be crude, sweetie! It’s an homage (pronounced O-M-A-J-E) to my mother-in-law’s name for me.
AM 3: Oh, great, not another middle aged woman bitching about her mom-in-law! That’s so seventies!
Vinnie G: Actually, it never goes out of style, but as I said, it’s an homage to my…
AM 4: Wait a minute, isn’t it spelled HOMAGE? Why aren’t you pronouncing the H, then?
Vinnie G: It’s silent, kid.
AM 4: Really? Why? This is a stand up club, you find your voice here, not stay silent.
Vinnie G: I mean, the H is silent in French.
AM 4: But, you’re not speaking French. You’re speaking in English! MC, this woman is confused.
MC: (ignores the barb and goes back to mooning at bartender)
Vinnie G: I mean, homage is a French word, and that’s it’s provenance (pronounced P-R-O-V-E-N-O-N-C-E).
AM 5: Whatever! Please, can we get on with it? If you haven’t realized, it’s not ca va to come to a standup club and give lessons in French pronunciation. See what I did there?
Vinnie G: I am humbled and obviously in the company of betters. May I continue, although the egg is dripping off my face?
AM 6 : Eww! MC, she’s not allowed porn content, is she?
MC: (starts laughing so hard, the bar shudders).
Vinnie G: Okay, I’ve lost the ball here. So, let me tell you about teaching my daughter about Foundation Course 201.
AM 6: Seriously! Are you deluded enough to think, we want to know what you teach your kid and what she comes up with, in earnest, yet on the verge of smart alecky, but not going there, since you would whop her bum, response?
Vinnie G: Okay, I’ve managed to fall off that particular train of thought. But, since I am sure that is going to happen a lot this evening, I am just going to brave on.
MC: You and me, lady (under his breath).
Vinnie G: I heard that. Anyway, the request was surprising, since you know, the last time I’d told her stories, was back when she was four? Five? I forget, it’s a fading memory, now. These days, the times when I got off a settee without groaning are a fond memory… Oh, right, I digress. So, we used to have story hour, and I happened to modify a Hallmark version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves for her, you know, with a bit of modern day twist thrown in, like Morgiana using her donkey’s sixth sense like GPRS, and so on…
AM 7: God! Hallmark! You actually did that to your kid? Where is the SPCA, when you need them?
Vinnie G: I believe, they are fruitfully employed saving the lives of animals. Excuse me, are you referring to my kid as an animal?
AM 7: No, I am referring to your lack of politically aware story choosing skills! How could you choose that story, and on top of that, use the Hallmark adaptation of it?
Vinnie G: What’s wrong with the story? It’s pretty capital, if you ask me. You know, there is the greedy brother, who makes off with the family home, and marries a rich man’s daughter, and leaves his brother nothing, but a female slave and a donkey, and how the brave young man finds a cave, which gives him the wherewithal to start a new life, and he finally ends up marrying already mentioned female slave.
AM 8: Thereby relegating her to a different form of slavery, and one where she won’t have a hope in hell of having a day off. Nice, not to mention the fact, that it’s also all about peddling the idea, that if you hack into someone’s cave with their password, you can pretty much take away all their precious stuff, and later, you can also add murder to your list of sins, when you kill the injured party’s team mates, with boiling oil!
Vinnie G: See! I told you, it had a modern twist to it. I must say, I didn’t explore that angle, since she was too young and didn’t know about hacking, back then. But, come to think of it, she always could get the answering machine code right, more than I ever did. Anyway…
AM 8: And we are back on track, are we?
Vinnie G: Ha! Yes. Okay, so I was pleasantly surprised she wanted me to teach her Foundation Course 201. I of course, at once started reading the chapter, which was about discrimination, vulnerable groups, of society and their victimization, and…
Vinnie G:…she stopped me saying, she wanted me to teach her, not read to her, something she is perfectly capable of doing.
AM 9: Thank God!
Vinnie G: Oh, yes, I do. Anyways, so, I started reading the paragraph about discrimination of vulnerable groups with a Koli woman’s accent.
AM 10: Hey, who told you Koli women are vulnerable? Have you ever been on the 8:35 local from Kandivali to Charni Road? Those women are bad ass and they don’t hesitate to use that fishy water they are always packing.
Vinnie G: Yes, I know, but I believe you would call those skills for survival, since they don’t really have any other option, you see? I mean, even if they can calculate faster than most of your collective calculators and cut deals nicely enough to shame the Russian mafia, they still can’t decide to take a day off or say, that we won’t be selling fish, we want to pursue a degree in BSM.
AM 10: BMM.
Vinnie G: Same difference. And let me tell you, their work hours are killing, since after carting the catch to markets in the most precarious positions on trains, trucks and tempos, they get back home, and have to cook, clean, and look after their kids, and…
AM 11: Okay, established, vulnerable group, they don’t have opportunities, they don’t have free choice. They don’t have freedom to choose to choose. Next?
Vinnie G: Nicely summed up. I couldn’t have done it better.
AM 11: You didn’t do it. Shall we move on, please?
Vinnie G: So, the vulnerable groups are discriminated against, by people who don’t know their lifestyle, and consider them aggressive on account of their propensity of hurling fishy water on others. Secondly, they can’t take home the money they make and save it, since they usually offer it up to their family and husband and it gets misused. So, we are talking exploitation, and subjugation and loss of empowerment opportunity. Next, an already strained life is further strained by restricted accesses to resources.
MC: Say what? (He just woke up from his snooze).
Vinnie G: Well, let me put this way. Suppose you are a potter who lives in a village, you aren’t allowed to draw water from the village well, namely a resource. So most of your day is spent in fetching water for the most mundane daily activities and if after all the running around, you have any time to spare, I’ll bet all you are wondering is about what you can eat and when you can sleep. Capisce?
AM 4: Not the foreign languages again! Even I know that was Italian.
Vinnie G: Good for you, but speaking of languages, the Foundation Course then goes on to talk of languages being used in the country and states and union territories, in tabular form.
AM 4: Still talking about discrimination, are we?
Vinnie G: Not really, just acknowledging the fact, that you have a huge variety in India and you can’t really generalize, every state has to do it’s own thing, in terms of official procedures and so on. So, choose one language or two, that everyone can communicate in. Make it easier.
AM 5: Well, thank God, no one is applying for Mumbaiyya to be in the list of official dialects.
Vinnie G: Okay, next up there’s the whole deal about exploitation, of indigenous resources, and the fact that, that had been going on since the British Empire and they did such a good job of it, the governments that followed, just continued with them.
AM 10: Oh, says you! We made our own mistakes, right? We weren’t like them.
Vinnie G: Well, it’s about business. And in that case, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So, if landowners were made to sell off lands and give up indigenous occupations, back in British India, the same principle was applied later, when say a industrial baron wanted to take over farmland for a factory or industries in the middle of the city made way for multi-storey structures. Only difference was, whereas the British exploited us, earlier, now we were exploited by our own.
AM 6: And they discuss these case studies, do they?
Vinnie G: No, they just mention the exploitation and how much the percentage of it was earlier, and over a period of time. The textbooks don’t take into consideration the domino effect.
AM 4: Of what? The exploitation, the discrimination? The limited resources?
Vinnie G: If you’re already exploited, lacking resources, you eventually had to figure out that if you can’t get what’s legally yours, you have to take it, no matter what. What followed was the so called dacoit problems, the unrest, and civil warlike situations, in a lot of states, particular rural tribal areas.
AM 7: Oh, right. But that was before our time, right? It’s in the past.
Vinnie G: Are you sure? Cause and effect is never in the past. If you find that even living in the city, you don’t have access to the most basic things and you are a second class citizen even in the country of your birth, what do you suppose happens eventually? We are all an inch away from being dacoits.
AM 9: That’s right, not to mention that the ones to suffer in the bargain will be kids and the women.
Vinnie G: And that is the last section. The crimes against women, children, abuse, physical and mental subjugation, torture and it’s tabulated numbers.
MC: In effect, audience, the most horrendous things that human beings can do to others and their environments and all in tabular form. Your daughter is so lucky.
Vinnie G: No, actually, she was a girl on the edge of a nervous breakdown after Foundation Course 201. But, anyway, that was the end of it, and so we breathed a sigh of relief. The way it all played out made me think I should include it in my comedy routine.
AM 1: So, was your comedy routine different?
Vinnie G: Yes but I thought, this was way better.
AM 1: Wow. Amazing judgement call, by the way. Hope you’ll be mentioned on the bill next time, I would like to be forewarned.
MC: I won’t blame you if you give the evening a miss, altogether. Okay, that’s about all we have time for this evening, folks. Vinnie G, it’s been real…fill in the blanks, if you wish. I am really too drunk to care right now. For the rest of you, that was Vinnie G with the Foundation Course 201 or Democracy for Dummies, as I would now like to call it. Remember, it’s about rights, duties, freedoms, and making sure you don’t mention egg and porn in the same sentence. Vinnie, I have the pleasure of telling you that since you did so the videos have gone viral and we have an anti abortion group lined up outside waiting to welcome you with their own special brand of tough love, when you leave this place. We are also wrapping it up precisely because of that.
Vinnie G: Oh, my God! Do you think, they will garland me with a garland of shoes or something?
MC: Would you mind that?
Vinnie G: Heck no! I’ll take fame or infamy, whatever comes my way. I’m promoting #BrandVinnieG all the way.
MC: Please don’t say that. You’ll lose all street cred. Alright, it’s a night, people!