We have decided to shut down The UnReal Times (URT) website. What was fondly referred to as India’s favourite satire and humour portal, mostly by those running the site, will post its last article on the 30th of November, 2016.
Some of you may be surprised by this sudden announcement. Some may be asking ‘Why, URT, why?’ A handful of you may be sobbing inconsolably (Get a grip, Ashwin). The majority of you will in all likelihood go ‘Meh’ and turn to the Twitter timeline of arguably the better satirist, Arvind Kejriwal.
Regardless of how you might react to this announcement, on behalf of all our writers, we would like to tell you folks that it has been a privilege entertaining you, making you smile and once in a while, making you go ‘Dawg, that’s deep’. For over five years we did this, and boy, did we have a ball! Through this platform, we met wonderful people and some extremely talented writers, who wrote for us week after week expecting nothing in return apart from the opportunity to be read, and the secret hope of a massive payday from BJP President Amit Shah for services rendered. (Okay, maybe the latter part was just us.)
But now, it is time to move on.
We have thought long and hard about how we’d break it to you; how we’d explain the ‘why’ of it. Somewhere, we feel that we are letting you down by not running this site anymore. For a brief moment, we were tempted to blame PM Modi’s demonetization for our decision, along with rising intolerance and Donald Trump’s election as US President. Thankfully, a sanctimonious Rajdeep Sardesai tweet popped up on our Twitter timeline exactly at that moment and the thought vanished from our minds as quickly as cash disappears from an ATM these days.
Perhaps it’s better to describe what happened in our recent team meeting when we decided to list all our full time members…
“Well, there’s me, for starters,” said Karthik, writing down his name on a sheet of paper painstakingly, drawing out the moment for as long as he could, while Ashwin nodded vigorously.
“Then there is you,” he added, writing down Ashwin’s full name including his middle name below his own.
“Right, right,” nodded Ashwin sagely.
The two satirists then looked at each other for a few moments.
“Uh,” said Karthik, turning to the paper again, “then there is Mark Zuckerpandian…”
Ashwin fidgeted uncomfortably.
“Um, but, uh, Karthik, he… uh… doesn’t exist,” he said. “He’s unreal… you know that… you were the one who made him up.”
Karthik sighed deeply.
“Yeah, I know.”
Gallows humour aside, we want to express our heartfelt thanks to our incredible readers for the love and affection – you really are the reason why we came this far; our awesome columnists – you made URT what it is, and we are proud to have published your often hilarious, sometimes hard-hitting and always meaningful posts on this platform; the many politicians, journalists and other celebrities from all walks of life who have appreciated our work. We will always cherish the kind words you had for us. Special thanks to Dr. Subramanian Swamy for his very generous praise on several occasions and to Dr. Bibek Debroy for supporting us and sharing our work from the very beginning.
It may be curtains for the website, but we will continue to write humour, perhaps more than ever. We plan to come out with books and short stories a lot more frequently. We’ll also be active on Twitter and Facebook, sometimes to badger you to buy our books (Please don’t mute us!), but mostly to entertain you with our headlines, FB snippets and comics.
To conclude this letter, allow us to quote the great Ravi Shastri: Ladies and gentlemen, we have had a fabulous 5 years. Over 100 writers participated, over 4000 articles were written, and it can only be said that in the end, the game of satire is the real winner!
PS: If you really want to know why we are shutting down, READ OUR BOOK! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)