Who: Our man Rahul Bose wakes up early, stares at the clear blue skies and posts about it. He then goes for a run — short man, long strides — 10k easy, and posts about it. He plays rugby and squash, loves badminton and tennis and follows football and cricket, and posts about it. At Taj Mansingh hotel in Delhi last week, he posted a workout video by the pool. He is rich, popular and predictable — an endorphin addict who needs a lot of refuelling. So when he was ready to hit the gym on Monday, July the 22nd, folks at the JW Marriott in Sector 35, Chandigarh were ready for him.
What: Bananas, man! All the man wanted was two bananas — simple carbs, instant energy, he must have thought — and not a fruit platter. Well, they served him two unpeeled bananas on a plate. Call it a platter, if you will. They thought they knew him, a fitness freak, and movie star who wouldn’t notice the slyly inflated bill they served with it, Rs 44 2.50 to be exact. But they missed a crucial aspect of his personality. He’s highly social. So our man did what he does best. That’s right, he posted about it.
Anne Hathaway is pregnant with her second child, a ripped Akshay Kumar released the poster of his new film, Bachchan Pandey, Samajwadi Party member of Parliament Azam Khan said inappropriate things to Deputy Speaker Rama Devi in Lok Sabha and, most importantly, it was Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26. But our meme-mongering netizens made sure that Bose’s banana episode tops the trending list for days on end. From popcorn at PVR
to coffee at Starbucks, a larger debate on overpriced indulgences has ensued under #RahulBoseMoment. But our man has not just influenced Twitter, he has managed to influence a whole city.
How: Since his banana bill video went viral, the Chandigarh administration has launched an inquiry into the practices of JW Marriott in the city. It’s not the Rs 375 the hotel charged Bose for the bananas that interests them; it’s the 18 per cent GST they can’t digest. Because experts are pointing out that fresh fruits and vegetables are tax-free. It’s right there in our easy-to-understand GST bible. But who knew, right? The excise and taxation department is all over them, and the hotel management has gone AWOL. No official statement or apology has been issued.
From a trivial story of a man and his two bananas, this event has reached an important juncture. Those who follow the debate will get a refresher on GST pricing of important household items, a crash course on the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a full-fledged pre- and post-workout diet plan and prices of bananas all over the world. For the ignorant masses, it would also serve as a welcome introduction to Bose, a retired rugby player who represented India at international events but is unfortunately remembered by many for Pyaar Ke Side Effects, opposite the non-actor Mallika Sherawat.
All issues that plague our social media are equal, but the ones packaged in memes and served with a dash of humour are more equal than others. Call us a banana republic, one more time.