Learning how to give it back to internet trolls, Bachchan style

A big ‘thank you’ goes out to Amitabh Bachchan for legitimising two yummy words – ‘Thok do’. I have been dying to use them myself for years. I do have a laundry list of people I would love to ‘thoko’ on the spot. Much like Mr Bachchan, who efficiently silenced an obnoxious troll who had left a comment saying, “Hope you die with Covid” on the legendary star’s blog.

This Covid ka bachcha is doing strange things to people. My own behaviour has turned seriously weird. For the past two days I have taken to using those two words non-stop — “Thok do”. Wow! Having uttered them randomly and forcefully, I feel in better control of myself and my fragile mental state. I must acknowledge Mr Amitabh Bachchan’s precious and timely gift which saved me from going bananas after being cooped up for months. Who wants to be well behaved and civilised when the world as we know it is coming apart at the seams? I loved the way Big B took on the nasty troll and sternly threatened the anonymous person using strong, rustic lingo — a far cry from his otherwise restrained and refined language. The actor is currently recuperating from Covid in a suburban Mumbai hospital. He may be laid up in bed, but he isn’t taking anything lying down.

For once, the 77-year-old thespian had let his guard down and given it tight to the vicious creature in a language that was, umm, unparliamentary, intemperate and downright menacing. Gone was the polished veneer, the carefully phrased, poetic/philosophical posts. Here he was, an incensed lion in winter, giving it off in an unfiltered, uncensored, uncut way, that flabbergasted his followers. Imagine Mr B threatening some faceless person with instant ‘extermination’! The actor also made it a point to mention the existence of his personal, world-wide army of over 90 million followers, who, he claimed, would jump to it and vanquish the enemy in a jiffy. “Just a flash of an eye,” warned Mr Bachchan, would be sufficient for his fans to hunt down the awful troll and ‘thoko’ him good and proper!

How I wish I had done exactly that when something similar happened to me in 2014. A battalion  of obnoxious trolls wondered why Bhagwan had spared my life when flight MH370 went down. “Wish you had died on that doomed flight…” they gleefully wrote, leaving me to wonder why these faltu people wanted me to die in that crash. I was not Chinese. I left it there. Then again, after Gauri Lankesh’s murder, some badmaash had published my name (along with the names of four other female journalists), threatening a spate of ‘serial killings’. I received rape and death threats on a regular basis. Women make attractive targets. So far, I have ignored it all. No more! Now that I am armed with these two incredibly graphic words, I will  instruct my faithful followers to go ‘thoko” my tormentors. If for nothing else, but the thrill of feeling like a dialogue-maaroing ‘Don’ in a film issuing orders to creepy henchmen.

These days I feel like ‘thoko-ing’ lots of people — not all of them anonymous. A few who invite instant ‘thoko-ing’ are the ‘woke’ creatures who keep reminding others about their ‘un-woke’ state. I can’t bear that word ‘woke’. It evokes all manner of violent responses in me. If you are pompous enough to call yourself ‘woke’, you can’t really be all that ‘woke’, right? The mood across the world has turned belligerent now that we know there’s no news like Covid news to drive us nuts. Five months on, nobody knows nothing about the virus, except that it is still killing more and more people. Whether or not the vaccine will work is still up for debate, but everybody has an opinion ready. Mr Bachchan has given me the licence to express myself freely. Each time someone sends me yet another webinar featuring grim-faced experts discussing the damn virus, I will yell, “Thok do saalon ko.”

It’s been that kind of a week. Catharsis and Covid rage go together. We don’t have to be polite about the virus or those trolls. Let fly, I say. Be like Bachchan — bol do… and ‘thok do’ sab ko. Now that we have five gorgeous Rafales in India, the message has gone out loud and clear. Group Captain Harkirat Singh will jump into the cockpit and whoosh — those magnificent birds will take off to ‘thoko’ India’s enemies. Soon, very soon, ‘thok do’ will get an apt Chinese translation and will reverberate across the world. Samjhey?

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.