Who would have thought that geeks had it in them to make a career out of giggles? Well, apparently some of them have a funny bone enough to discard the world of complex calculations and crazy circuitry to raise a laugh, and some cash in the process. Nitin Gupta, a former student of IIT-Bombay, is one such who refused traditional job offers to start a stand-up comedy company, Entertainment Engineers, in 2009. A couple of years on, his company is 10-member strong, has many former IITians on the team and is the darling of events at engineering college campuses and corporate bodies.
Their website proudly proclaims that "humour is the chlorophyll of life", before elaborating on the 'date of discovery' of the company, its 'constituent elements', as well as the 'appearance, occurrence and instructions for use'. Not surprisingly, in this world of byte-sized laughter, god is a geek (or are all geeks gods?) who experiments to create vegetarian lions and compassionate crocodiles till he falls in love with a woman who is an atheist.
Given the Indian middle class's obsessive compulsive attachment to the IITs and their single-track endeavour to ensure their children transit safely from classroom to corporate boardroom, the development might resemble a sudden incursion into a chamber of horrors. To such parents, who might have stifled a child's inherent interest to cater to established norms, we say that the joke is on them. To the humour-mongers themselves, we have more potent advice. Having cracked what is possibly the most challenging entrance examination in the country, they should turn their incisive gaze on themselves and cure us of obsessing with nerds. As George Bernard Shaw had said, telling the truth is perhaps the funniest joke in the world. For profundity, the comedians from IIT must also learn to laugh at themselves.