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HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014

Twitter wits get trending, make politicians laughing stock

Tania Goklany, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 01, 2014
First Published: 22:54 IST(1/5/2014) | Last Updated: 09:34 IST(5/5/2014)

Gursimran Khamba gets up in the morning and starts tweeting. "Shocking lapse by the EC. No provision of hand sanitiser for voters in South Bombay having to touch a button pressed by other humans," Khamba tweeted last week.

Khamba, 28, is a stand-up comedian and the co-founder of a comedy collective called All India Bakchod. For a man who makes his living by cracking jokes there is nothing funnier this summer than elections.

Khamba got trending on Twitter recently when Giriraj Singh, the BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Nawada, commented that those who criticise party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan. Khamba tweeted to makemytrip.com:

The travel website replied to him:

A round of applause to our politicians spewing venom and political parties promising the moon. Without them, we would not have the witty tweets of Joy Das (@joydas), Aditya Magal (@jhunjhunwala) or Abhishek Asthana (@gabbbarsingh). Sample this: After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's brother recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, DS, or @daddy_san tweeted:

DS is a 33-year-old marketing consultant who has kept his name a secret on Twitter. For him tweeting isn't an addiction but a regular part of the day. One can easily imagine him as someone who tweets on the go, while dressing up for work or rushing down the stairs. DS tweets a lot but keeps a check on the time he's spending on Twitter so that friends or family don't complain.

Das, or @joydas, is 36, works in an ad agency and his moment of Twitter glory came when the Pope blocked him. The Pope had tweeted "How do you think we can become more prayerful in life?" Das tweeted back to the Pope with tongue firmly in cheek: "Did you mean playful? Then the answer is nun... I mean none".

Das's family doesn't know that he's on Twitter, yet he is "never too far from Twitter". Das says he fears he will suffer from withdrawal symptoms if he stays away from Twitter for too long.

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Targeting politicians earns him the wrath of trolls, "I am a troll magnet," says Das. It's best to ignore trolls because it makes them angry, he says. What triggers trolling on Twitter is the intolerance of people who can't take jokes on their favourite politicians, he adds. Had it not been for politicians, Twitter would have been boring, he says adding "Everyday, politicians skillfully insert their foot in the mouth to the delight of Twitter users. 

Much like the tagline of the soft drink Thumbs Up 'Aaj kuch toofani karte hai', politicians come with the tagline 'Aaj kuch too funny karte hai'". Politicians are the one binding factor on Twitter.

"Most politicians on Twitter are funny. Their inability to convey what they want to in 140 characters is hilarious", Magal (@jhunjhunwala) says. He prefers tweeting in the evening, after he's through with his work. Twitter gets addictive because it is an enjoyable activity, "but it's been manageable so far", he says. He gets trolled a lot. How he deals with them? "I find out where these people trolling me live, hunt them down and violently kill them", he says.

The 28-year-old author may perhaps also get away with it as his Twitter bio screams "I INVENTED TWITTER & attained OMNI GOD Mode."

Having "invented Twitter", he says he'd like to convey to all that "if you keep tweeting too much, the economy will never grow at 8%". Although his followers grow at a rather impressive pace which he says he gained "by tweeting Uday Chopra jokes".

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Asthana (@gabbbarsingh) is a 27-year-old marketing manager who once "trolled" law minister Kapil Sibal. Sibal took it rather sportingly and ironically enough, assured him he'd be his lawyer if he ever got arrested under Section 66A, an unpopular law which provides for punishment for sending offensive messages by "means of a computer resource or a communication device".

Asthana says he isn't addicted to Twitter: just that he keeps scanning Twitter timeline every now and then. "It's a filler," he assures.

How long does it take to think of a smart and funny tweet? It's spontaneous, says Khamba.  "With the brain putting two and two together. I think the best word (for thinking of a tweet) is brain-farting," he says.

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