Catching on the international trend, India too has joined the bandwagon of ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’. However, as always so with India, there is difference. Instead of the challenge being of pouring ice water on oneself, what is making rounds in India is the challenge of watching Arnab Goswami’s Debate Hour completely.
The origin of this particular version of the challenge is not known, but it has become very popular as it has already raked in several crores of rupees in contributions in less than a week. The reason being that nobody has been able to watch the program completely. People who have failed the challenge include Arnab’s own colleagues, news anchors from competitor channels, and even celebrities who are hard of hearing.
However, it is good news for NGOs who are the likely recipients of the money collected. A well known NGO, on condition of anonymity revealed the details of the movement. “As the ice bucket challenge made news worldwide, we saw an opportunity for us raise money here in India too. However, we wanted to give it a twist, to make it more interesting and grab attention. We wanted to the act much more challenging than the ice bucket. We considered many options like holding the breath for ten minutes, eating a dead lizard, banging the head against the wall a hundred times and such. But they were too simple compared to the one which we finally selected, that of watching Arnab Goswami’s Debate Hour completely. The person challenged can choose any day within a week and watch the TV show. Those who fail have to donate ten thousand rupees to a cause of their choice. If you watch one debate fully, you have to contribute a thousand rupees, and if you watch both debates of the day fully, you don’t have to contribute at all.”
On asking how the challenge has been received, the official of the NGO elaborated, “The response has been overwhelming. Not a single person has been able stand the program. Some ran away screaming, some ran away pulling their hair, some felt giddy or nausea and stopped watching. This, I am talking about one debate, not two on the same day. Now, we are taking precautions. Wherever someone attempts this challenge, we rush an ambulance and paramedical staff to be on standby. Some contenders have been given minor treatment and sent home.”
The latest update on the matter is that Arnab himself was challenged, reportedly by Rahul Gandhi, who has been waiting to settle scores. The final result is not known yet. One has to wait and see if Arnab made it by watching the recorded version of his own show. But NGOs are very optimistic. “We are sure he can’t endure the agony. Another ten thousand rupees is already in our kitty”.