It is actually completely bizarre. A towering yellow excavation machine is suddenly the darling of the internet. Infinite memes are flooding the internet on the unlikely theme, #JCBKiKhudayi, and netizens in the past week can’t seem to have just enough of it. So much so, the Mumbai Police who are well-known for their witty Twitter handle, joined the JCB mayhem with a meme, “Superheroes, (J)ust (C)an’t (B)e with a crowd killing time! #BeAlertBeAHero.” The Mumbai Police, climbing onto the JCB bandwagon, urged people not to join the ‘herd’ but instead evolve as a ‘hero’. The tweet urged citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities. Not to be outdone, country cousins Nagpur Police had their own take on JCB …putting out a meme urging citizens to take note while driving near a Road (J)unction, Zebra (C)rossing and Speed (B)reakers. “This is what is – Judicious and Cautious use of Brakes”, amplified the Twitter handle!
For those who came in late to the party, JCB is a British multinational company J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited that has suddenly become a public hero of sorts because of its machines digging up half the country for all kinds of reasons … but the joke centres around how tens, nay hundreds, of unemployed people in our country just gather around to watch the digging as a national pastime. So massive has the internet tsunami been over the past few days that the company too seems baffled by the outpouring of so much love for its machines, prompting it to put out a tweet saying it is “humbled”.
The JCB fever spread quickly to cricket too with the Dhoni century against Bangladesh in the World Cup warm-up match actually warming the cockles of many an Indian fan’s heart, “The only thing more satisfying than #JCBKiKhudayi for Indians is MS Dhoni hitting sixes #INDvsBAN.”
The JCB fever was ignited by a video posted about a week ago of a groom arriving at his own wedding on a JCB excavator, his swag intact. Thereafter there has been no let up. From Sunny Leone to Mirza Ghalib to Rahul Gandhi to almost everything is fair game for the yellow excavator ever since. The one with Mirza Ghalib, for example, goes something like this, “Dil Mera Toota Tha Jb Ki Thi Usne Judai, Ab To Jhola Utha Kar Chal Deta Hu Dekhne JCB Ki Khudai”. To most netizens, the JCB jokes are a subtle but hilarious take on how as a nation we are pre-occupied with doing nothing! So, just standing and staring at the yellow excavators digging and piling up the earth is a spectacle no less than a Bollywood potboiler. A sad commentary on the millions of those unemployed and with so much time to kill that they even find enjoyment in the monotonous drone of an excavating machine!
There never are, and perhaps never can be any logical reasons why subjects like JCB suddenly start to trend. What tickles the funny bone of tweepledom is something no one really understands. In this case the groom video was enough to trigger the madness.
Past hysteria on the internet has mostly come from more human subjects. South Indian actress Priya Prakash Varrier and her wink threw twitter into an unprecedented delirium. Bhopal based electronics engineer Sanjeev Shrivastava aping Govinda in a shaadi video got Twitter electrified. 11-years old ‘professor’ Hammad Safi from Pakistan, feminine voiced Deepak Kalal and “Ek garam chai ki pyaali ho koi usko pilane wali ho” sensation Somvati Mahawar have all been the darlings of the internet for short windows but never have they faced such severe competition from an inanimate excavation machine! Baba Ramdev, Tiger Shroff and even Radhika Apte have all had their place in the digital sun but yes, a machine, that too a stodgy giant of a yellow monstrosity is new even for Twitter!
Well, enjoy the fun while it lasts. Don’t head out to a JCB Ki Khudai in your neighbourhood (and there is enough and more with all of Mumbai dug up by the Metro guys) for now, just lap it all up on Twitter … after all, it is just about killing time! Or filling time. Kuchh bhi chalta hai bhai aaj kal!
(Carol Goyal is a Mumbai based independent writer.)