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5 laws stand-up comedian Sapan Verma wants instead of the Fat Tax

Why stop at Fat Tax? Charge people for incessant Facebook check-ins and motorists for splashing water, says Sapan Verma.

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Jul 29, 2016 13:42 IST
HT48Hours,Sapan Verma,Fat tax
Sapan Verma wants to tax bikers who think they’re playing Road Rash

Why stop at Fat Tax? Charge people for incessant Facebook check-ins and motorists for splashing water, says Sapan Verma.

Among all the cool things that Kerala has been doing, they’ve recently decided to levy 14.5 % Fat Tax on fast food to fight obesity. It sounds like a great plan, but the only problem with health food these days is that it costs way more than fast food. In spite of the Fat Tax.

Broccoli and kale leaves act like upper-class Brahmins in front of cauliflower and lettuce. Quinoa sounds like your hot NRI cousin whose name is too posh to be pronounced. And don’t even get me started on the scam that is brown bread. I would normally prefer brown bread to white bread purely on racial grounds, but, surprisingly, white bread is the least white thing you’ll ever meet. It’s tender, goes well with everything, and doesn’t carry guns.

Also read: Kunal Vijayakar on why Kerala’s fat tax is a big fat joke

I’m not so sure how I feel about this Fat Tax business. As it is, I get depressed every time I dine out and receive the bill, because the overheads combined (VAT, service tax, service charge) cost more than the meal. But Kerala has always been ahead of the curve, so maybe it’s a step in the right direction.

It’s about time we realise our peculiar Indian problems, and come up with various taxes to counter them. So I decided to contribute to society by making a list of taxes we can begin with.


I don’t know what’s worse —people who sit next to you in movie theatres and talk on the phone loudly, or people who sit next to you in a bus or a train and think that your texts are now their reading material.

People who talk loudly in cinema halls should be taxed, says Sapan Verma (Photo: Images Bazaar)


Distant relatives and society uncles are your parents’ best friends and your worst enemies. Their only job is to ask you these questions at different points in your life: “When are you getting a job?”, “Why don’t you get married”; and “When is the good news?” If we put a tax on small talk, maybe they’ll shut up.


Seriously, why do people on your Facebook friend list need to know where you’re eating, or which city you’re flying to? The only reason I want to know where you are is so that I make sure I don’t go there.

There’s only one way to stop people who are obsessed with social media, and with themselves: tax them for every post. Or, every time you check in to a restaurant or a bar, anything you buy there becomes three times more expensive. I think I just gave hoteliers a million-dollar idea.


The monsoons are always a terrible time to walk on the footpath. Because there’s always that one jerk of a driver whose job is to drive into every puddle and give you the ice-bucket-challenge experience. Not to forget the bikers who think they’re playing Road Rash. Every time they splash water on your clothes, you should be allowed to take water from the same puddle and splash it all over their head.


There’s a difference between checking someone out, and staring at them wishing you had Superman’s X-ray vision. This needs to be applied all over India on an urgent basis. If done correctly, this tax alone can fund India’s economy for the next decade.

If done correctly, taxing lechers alone can fund India’s economy for the next decade, says Verma (Photo: Images Bazaar)

The list can go on forever. Hopefully, these suggestions will help the government collect enough money to increase our standard of living, give us better infrastructure and facilities, and, maybe, one day we’ll be rich enough to replace cauliflower with broccoli in our meals.

Sapan Verma is a comedian and a co-founder of East India Comedy. You can outrage against him on twitter @sapanv

First Published: Jul 28, 2016 00:00 IST