Friday, 27 May, 2022
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Noida has a new sector. It’s called humour

Move to Noida and your dating scene is dead. Not many to swipe right.

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When I first came to Noida, I kept getting lost because of the random sequence of sectors. My colleague said, if you hate someone, ask them to figure out a sector in Noida. Best revenge!” says Abhisheik Shandilya, Editor at Centilytics, a cloud management platform.

When Rajiv Das, an HR professional who belongs to Jharkhand, told his mother he was shifting to Noida from Delhi to live with a friend, she freaked out — “Ab mera beta kidnap ho jaega,” said Rajiv.

These are jokes, of course.

One more. Move to Noida and your dating scene is dead. Not many to swipe right.

If you have heard something similar, muskuraiye, kyunki aap Noida mein hain. Over the past few years, Noida humour has expanded, thanks to a number of stand-up comics and YouTubers. There is a growing realisation in humour circles that with content around Sardars or the Haryanvi culture slowly saturating, Noida can fill the void.

The humour around Noida was already baked half — ready to be taken up — especially for Delhites who would scorn the ‘fringe’ city and its mannerisms in their conversations. They were laughing at Noida and Noidawallahas. Stand-up has now made it cool, ‘mainstream’ humour.

One search for ‘Noida jokes’ on YouTube will show multiple stand-up comics, and almost every other video has more than a million views. Accept it or not, Noida is a definite ‘keyword’ in comedy circles. A YouTube video by Manavendra Singh Rathore on Noida and crime has 1.8 million views. An Instagram reel by Rj Rohan has over a million views. Mansi Guher, whose take on the famous ‘Your xyz accent is so sexy’ trended on Instagram, and has raked in close to 1.75 lakh views.

Tu jaanta nahin mera baap kaun hai” is an easy guess for two Delhiietes in a brawl. And if it is a heavily accented “baiyya” that stops an auto rikshwa, it’s definitely a South Bombay joke reference. Noida humour is composed of ‘katta’ or the locally-made gun and ‘phartuner’ (read Fortuner SUV), and the risks of venturing out late in the evenings.

It’s not just crime and safety that enrich the bouquet of jokes, the daily reality of a city that witnesses frequent power cuts despite its vicinity to India’s power centre also becomes a source of humour.

‘Load shedding’ jokes are fairly common at our office, says Animesh Jain, who works in a Delhi-based publishing house and has a few friends who come from Noida. “Every time they are late, we ask, kal raat ko soye nahi? Tum log Noida se ho toh gf/bf toh nahi but load shedding raat bhar jagata hoga (Since you people live in Noida, you must not have a girlfriend or boyfriend. So it has to be the power cut that kept you awake all night).”

Content creator Mansi’s Instagram video, ‘Noida girl as bride’, has a lot of people relating to it. When she says “Ab phartuner (Fortuner) ke zamaane gaye, ab hum Tesla mein jaayenge’, her surprised mother replies, ‘beta, tasla mein jaayegi‘ (tasla is a flat basket-like utensil’).

Nishant Suri’s stand-up act is yet another funny take on Noida’s crime scene. When his mom refuses to allow him to travel to Russia because it’s dangerous, Nishant is quick to reply, “Mom, Hum Noida mein rehte hain. Parso bagal wale police station se ek policewala kidnap ho gaya. Woh anti-kidnapping squad mein tha”. The video has 9 million views.

The four-and-a-half years of Yogi Adityanath government, which promised a crime-free UP, has done little to save Noida from being stereotyped. But who’s complaining, joking about it is not a crime after all.

Radio FM’s RJ Rohan recently made an Instagram reel about the classification of Noida and its many, many sectors, and it hit 1.2 million views.

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Gujjar pride and humour

Comic and actor Shubham Gaur, whose recent video mimicking Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar has gone viral, is a Noida niwasi and shot to fame for his humorous take on Gujjars of the suburb— the local community here. Shubham says, “Gujjars are both cute and curious, and do not try to hide what they are, and for me, that curiosity and cuteness is the source of comedy”.

A lot of content created by Gaur, who is also popular for his sketches and videos, are on ‘Noida men’ — be it how ‘Noida boys’ say ‘Happy Fathers’ Day’, or how Ghaziabad and Noida have different kinds of road rage.

It is not that Gujjar humour or Noida humour suddenly sprouted in the last 5 years or so. But they were more inside jokes, or regional jokes. With creators and YouTubers, including Gujjars who dub English videos in local accent, these jokes have become wildly popular.

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Originals’ vs migrants of Noida

If Gujjars form one aspect of Noida humour, the migrants who make a beeline for Noida’s affordable rent, real estate for purchase, and societies to settle in, make up the other end. ‘Clash of culture’— the desi local people vs the ‘posh’ migrants, and everyday reality of the people who moved to Noida — became fodder for ‘Just Noida things’ and a special kind of comedy that one finds only in this satellite city.

Comedian Abish Mathew, who grew up in Noida, once joked that whoever designed Noida sectors must be a big fan of Sudoku. 12/22, 18 (Atta Market), 125 (Amity) — numbers form a major part of the city’s identity.

Naina Goel, who has been living in Noida for the past five years now, says she used to be offended initially by the stereotypes. “But once I interacted with local people, and multiple real estate developers and even brokers, I know it’s not just a stereotype. And har jagah hota hi hai aisa local sa humour. So I don’t mind it, and now crack jokes at my own expense, about living in Noida,” she says.

26-year-old Tanmay Sharma, who moved to Noida in 2018, was told: “Dating/girlfriend toh ab bhul ja tu. Ab toh tu Noida mein aa gaya hai (Noida’s dating scene is dead).” The dating pool is smaller, as opposed to Delhi, and more often than not, you end up getting suggestions for your own colleagues, says Tanmay.

In a selection of memes by ScoopWhoop that imagined Noida and Gurgaon as people, it is mentioned how people in Noida have to head to Mayur Vihar to buy alcohol. This is fairly common, agrees 28-year-old Mina, who has lived in various sectors across Noida while working as a journalist. She says, “My friend and I used to head to Mayur Vihar Star Mall, like every other Noida person so that we could buy cheaper alcohol. It is a rite of passage, because at first, we all bought here until we realised the difference in rates.”

Anita Kumar, who coincidentally lives near the mall, also shares how since a lot of her friends live in Noida, they would often ask her to buy alcohol for them. “Mujhe smuggler wala feeling ata hai, ki ek jagah se dusre se, main daaru le jati hu aur aashirwad milta ha.”

Over the last few years, especially with the arrival of stand-up comedy and open mics, and now Instagram reels post-Covid, a space has been created for newer kind of comedy/humour to emerge. Noida seems to be leading this race, with its own kind of ‘hum toh aise hi hain’ kind of humour, and Noidavaasis taking it all in their stride — from crime and katta to load-shedding and limited dating pools.

(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)

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