It was just announced that this year's Bharat Ratna – India's highest civilian award – will be awarded to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-1946). The award is handed out "in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order" and in "any field of human endeavour". So, in short, it's an award given out by our Prime Minister and government to recognize and encourage general awesomeness.
Well. While Vajpayee and Malaviya are both worthy recipients and we give them our heartiest congrats, we thought of a few people who could use a shout-out for their awesomeness and contributions to life in India, too.
1. Your office chai walla who somehow makes the best chai in the world, day after day, without fail.
2. The cigarette dude down your street who has hundreds of customers and still remembers what each of them smoke.
3. Anyone who home-delivers alcohol on dry days. (Shout-out to Deepak.)
4. Every rickshaw walla who actually agrees to give you a ride.
5. Every bus conductor who breaks your 500 and gives you exact change.
6. The bartender at your favourite haunt who always makes your drinks extra strong.
7. The waiter at your go-to restaurant who always finds you a table, no matter how crowded.
8. That one teacher who always postponed tests when you asked nicely.
9. Whoever handles social media for DD News Live.
10. Arnab Goswami for being so dedicated to Indian democracy that he forsook urinating for 9 hours during the election results.
11. Whoever convinced Sunny Leone to give up porn and move to India.
12. This monkey who saved another monkey's life. Wow.
13. That aunty who likes every single thing you post on Facebook, for providing instant and constant validation.
14. Your all-knowing and wise bai who warns you and hides your stash when your parents are coming home.
15. That one friend who always has a lighter when nobody else can find one.
16. Your school PT teacher for giving you a lifetime's worth of amazing quotes to LOL at.
17. That neighbour with high speed non-password-protected WiFi.
18. Whoever invented chaat.
19. And whoever invented the toilet bum-spray faucet thing.
20. The kind elephant-lovers who rescued Raju and introduced him to introduced him to his bae, Phoolkali.
21. That coworker who knows how you like your coffee and brings you some when they get their own, even without your asking <3
22. The 11th person to like your Instagrams.
23. Dr. Watsa.
24. The neighbourhood darji who has been known to loosen your pants for you without judgment.
25. And every single human who has ever said "chalega" when you've been 2 rupees short.