Friday, December 08, 2006

Going gaga over NRIs

Every year on January 12th, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated with great fan-fare and the Prime Minister kicks of the celebrations to mark the day Gandhiji returned to India from South Africa with a speech full of praise for the NRI and PIO community and for all that has been done by them for the country, directly and indirectly. And then unfailingly, there is always a mention of "more needs to be done" and "don't forget your responsibility towards your country". It really baffles me to see such shameless acts of begging, especially since we are a nation of a billion plus people and need to look first within before we reach out for help from a few who for reasons personal to them, or their ancestors, left the shores of our country in search of greener pastures or were forcefully taken away to distant lands.

To me, it seems just plain wrong to go about asking those who have made it big abroad to contribute to the nation-building process just becasue they are rich. I mean what right do we have to ask anyone for that matter to quite literally 'pay-up' by playing the patriotic card? If they want to, they'll do it out of their own free will, and they are doing so, so this cheap attempt of using the patriotic card is an example of how we have degraded ourselves to the levels of beggers, resorting to emotional tricks rather than give the NRIs a proper reason to invest in and help in the development of our country.

When Gandhiji returned to India from South Africa on the 12th of January, 1915, for all practical purposes, he could have been mistaken for an 'NRI' despite having left for South Africa to defend a client there. Having returned to India, he plunged into the freedom struggle and soon had the masses thronging to catch a glimpse of him during his several protest rallies and speeches. The Indians had found the answer to one of the greatest problems in someone who came from abroad. This mentality still seems to persist, in spite of the fact that we are no longer the slaves we were till 1947. Having said that, now I do believe that our minds and actions have become slaves to years of bad goverance and dependence on others to solve our problems. It really wouldn't matter even if the entire NRI community pumped in all their money, we seem to be headed in only one direction, and the currents are just too strong to turn back. God forbid I should be right.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What ails Indian media today?

I haven't blogged in a long time, owing to a sudden increase in work and poor health in the recent past. But I couldn't have chosen a more appropriate time to make a comeback with a topic that I have wanted to write about in a long, long time.

Let's be honest, spreading news now seems to have become a game, a gimmick of sorts to see whose news would linger longer in the minds of the public, like the taste of a good meal. 'News' isn't want drives today's media, TRP ratings do; the truth isn't what is being pursued, sensationalism is; matters of national concern aren't given enough space & time, matters of personal interest are. I'm not a journalist and so don't know what are the dos and don'ts taught to journalists today (if something like that is taught at all), but what I just mentioned come from pure common sense.

Last year, in 2005, (or early 2006, I can't quite recollect), I thought NDTV reached a new low when Swathi Maheshwari visited the home of an Indian truck driver who was kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq and thrust a microphone in front of his wailing mother asking her 'how she feels?'. How the hell was she expected to feel when the sole bread winner of her family was taken captive with a good chance of him being paraded in front of a camera and have his head lopped off? Personal opinion, and I'm sure there are many who agree with me on this, but that was one of the most despicable things to do by anyone, let alone a journalist. The appreciable part was that it was the news channel that was relaying information about the captives to the family rather than the Ministry of External Affairs. This, however, didn't give them the right to take a camera into their houses in their hour of grief. And their explanation of "sharing the family's grief with the rest of the country" was as lousy an excuse as any.

Our security forces (armed forces and police) and the nation's security gets the least coverage by the media, although national security should be of interest to everyone national. Terrorism in Kashmir is given it's fair share in the news, and I'm not complaining about that. But how much of news time or print space is given to such stories? The only time these make the headlines are when the number of killed exceeds 10 or so, else it takes at most a little over a minute on the 9 o'clock news or a narrow coulmn in the papers. Why is it that only when the number of those killed exceeds a certain 'magic figure' does the media decide to give more importance to the story? Is the loss of life of one jawan or officer of our security forces not as important as the loss of several of his or her comrades? And even when these incidents are reported, they are not followed up until the next major incident.

More recently, Sanjay Dutt's verdict in the 1993 Bombay blasts came out and for the entire week, the only thing that was running was Sanju bhaiyya's friends, well wishers and sister thanking God, and saying things like 'he's a nice guy', 'no one should have to go through what he has undergone', etc. Was the entire country that desperate to know what his family and friends thought at him not being branded a terrorist by the courts at the cost of what was happening to soldiers like Major Pitambare of the 3 Paras, who gave up his life while eliminating the HuMs topmost leader in the valley? This story was given a few dying seconds at the end of the 9 o'clock news and the papers next day had a narrow column mentioning it. A few seconds on TV and a piece in the paper on 1 day. Is that how much we value the freedom and democracy that our men in uniform unselfishly lay their lives for? Is this the message the media wishes to portray?

The other thing I've noticed is the media has turned from presenting the facts to presenting their opinion. In a nation like ours, where majority live by the news they hear, without bothering to form an opinion of their own based on facts, the media, knowingly or unknowingly, have started started encroaching into a territory that ought not to be transgressed. Everyone has the right to form their own opinion based on the facts presented, but the media seems to have taken it a step further and taken upon itself the role of 'opinion former', so now our democratic minds have that much less to do. This is one (dis)service we could gladly do without.

The media (electronic) in this case went out of their way in a never seen before show of solidarity for the retrial of Manu Sharma, accused in the Jessica Lall murder case. I'm still wondering where that solidarity went when it came to fighting alongside the families of the security personnel who lost their lives during the attack on Parliament, who are opposing the clemency plea of Mohammad Afzal, the person convicted of providing logistical support and accepting money, thereby endangering the security of the country and waging war against the state. I'm guessing it's partly due to our mentality towards our security forces. We think that they are there to die for the country and so when they do, no big deal. however, models like Jessica Lall are people we relate better to since she came from an upper middle class family, like most of us. So at the end of the day, the media has give this story a quiet burial. And surprisingly, there was no 'opinion' presented by the media on this.

The media has for long has claimed that they are targeted most of the times and are made to look like the bad guys. With all that they do, did they expect any better? By no means am I painting all journalists with the same brush, but it's not too hard to see what kind of journalists and what brand of journalism is under fire here. Our country operates with 3 arms- the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature; I just hope the media doesn't become an extension of one of these arms, or a fourth arm itself.

more as they come.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A flight less ordinary

I recently read in the papers that a certain gentleman named B N Shukla had filed a petition in 1995 in the High Court against the subsidy provided to Indian Muslims for the Haj. I was shocked to hear that this petition came up for hearing after 11 years, but was extremely pleased to hear the Allahabad HC rule that the subsidies should be stopped.

Ours being a secular country, one would have thought that all religions should be given equal respect and importance, opportunities and benefits. I find it hard to believe that only Muslims are beneficieries of such subsidies for pilgrimages, while Sikhs going to the Nankana Sahib in Lahore or Hindus on pilgrimage to Kailash and Mansarovar are not extended such privileges (of course, now I know it's nothing more than vote bank politics). What's even more astounding is the fact that India is the only country that offers such subsidies; no other nation, not even Islamic nations offer such subsidies. The primary, and probably the only, reason why Islamic nations do not offer such subsidies is because according to Islam, that would be unislamic, for no Muslim should be indebted to anyone to undertake the Haj (I'm not quite sure about the wordings of the religious decree, but it means that no one should take help of any kind for the Haj-they ought to manage on their own). Why then do we have a Haj committee run by Muslims, who believe in living life as per the holy Quran, who believe in the shariat and the triple-talaq, warmly embracing this gimmick by the government?

This brings to mind an old saying: when it comes to money, everyone is of the same religion!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Reverse swing: The white side of cricket

Well, well, well, Darrell Hair is at it again; and again it's the 'brown bastards' (also known as Asians from the sub-continent in the civilised world) who are at the receiving end. What happened during the final test at the Oval was nothing short of a disgrace to this great game that most members of the commonwealth love. Let's be honest, both parties involved were wrong - one for taking matters too far too soon (Pak team) and the other for being too stubborn and acting out of pride (Hair).

Darrell Hair seems to be a magnet for controversy - be it because of his literal interpretation of the law and lack of common sense or the fact that he's an Aussie and we all know that Aussies are a bunch of stubborn bastards (no offence meant). The Pakistani team was guilty of not coming out to the field when they were expected to. Staying in the dressing rooms to register their protest - they could have gone to field and not started bowling, which would have been a far more effective option! Hair on the other hand, suspecting the ball to have been tampered with, should have produced proof. No proof, no charge, it's that simple, be it cricket or in society. In the end, the affair boiled down to who was involved, and unfortunately, both parties involved weren't the ones who could think rationally at the given moment.

During the 1979-80 tour of New Zealand, the West Indies team under Clive Lloyd were recipients of terrible umpiring decisions, and in the second test, they chose to register their protest by staying in the dressing room. When asked by the NZ cricket board chairman, Llloyd is said to have replied "We came here to play cricket; what's happeneing out there is not cricket!". The matter was resolved and the game continued inspite of the delay caused by the Windies team. Different people, different actions, different outcome.

Remember Mike Denness handing over suspended sentences to half the Indian team during the tour of South Africa? When Shaun Pollock appealed and kicked the turf out of anger, that didn't matter to him. When Kallis was seen running his fingers to remove the mud stuck on the seam, he wasn't pulled up. However, the Denness' and Hairs of the cricketing world are on the decline and hopefully their breed would soon be part of folklore, but a folklore that would be best forgotten.

The ICC, in a statement following the Oval fiasco and the Pakistani team's statement that they don't want Hair officiating in any test matches they play in, said that no team has the right to decide who they want or don't want to be standing as umpires in their games. Fair enough, they think that would be placing a team above the game. In that case, I'd like the ICC to explain to me why the yallow Darrell Hair to exempt himself from going and officiating in games played in Zimbabwe. Surely, if a team cannot be above the game, can an individual? White world hegemony or 'brown bastard' paranoia?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

When humans fly

I am awed by the nature of human spirit. I wouldn't have believed this if I hadn't seen it. THIS IS CRAZY. HUMANS DON'T FLY!!!

This video can also be accessed at:

I believe the video has been removed. It can now be viewed here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why mainstream Hindi movies survive

Bollywood movies are a craze in India; well not just in India, in every part of the world where there are people who can understand Hindi, be it in our own backyard with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, or in the wild, wild west with our second home England (would love to see them Brits' faces now), USA, New Zealand, Canada (Punjab away from India), Kenya (Gujarat away from India) or where ever. The primary reason why Hindi movies (musicals), have been so endearing to the Indian junta is because of their depiction of tales of fantasy, tales that never seemed possible for the hoi polloi, and this in turn always gave the common people hope, that something better was in store for them.

Let's get into the anatomy of a Hindi movie right away, and lets start with the head. The title. If you go through most of the movies that were released in the last 5 years, you'll find one thing in common. Most of the names had a few key words, and the blanks were filled with the appropriate words to form something tangible. Some of those key words are dil, pyaar, mohabbat, ishq, hum, tum. Concoct a combination with a couple from the list above and throw in a couple more and you've got yourself the title of a Yash Chopra/Karan Johar comical depiction of India (Punjab), it's people (Punjabis) and the Indian (Punjabi) way of getting married in the typical arranged marriage style with a baraat, an entire hosehold singing the same song at the same time and mysteriously having all the right accessories at the given time.

Now that we've dissected the head, let's move over to the body. The story. A typical one would involve a guy and a girl falling in love, and the guy would be one of the following if not all:
  • a social outcaste
  • a poor boy
  • rival faction
And yet, the high society girl flips for him (after a brief resistance) and is ready to die for him (wow), while her father would be the main villain, or as the Russians would say, the glavni provotnik (principal adversary). Now this was the predictable sequence until the year 2000.

Movies after the year 2000 seem to be a bit better with the girls' dad being left out of the action, or at least the interesting action, and the villains becoming international, but the bottomline is the story would still revolve around the relationship of the boy and the girl and nothing else. Over and over and over again, the public are subjected to the same storyline (with new faces) and yet the public continue to throng towards the theatres like iron filings to a magnet. Ever wondered why? I'll give you my theory a little later.

Before I move on to the few movies/directors/actors who actually put an effort to make good movies, I need to mention about the increasing number of copycat movies in Bollywood. In the mid 90s, a slew of copycat movies were coming out, usually copied from a Mani Ratnam blockbuster. Later, Bollywood one-upped itself and started copying Hollywood films. And the worst part about it was, people like Mahesh Manjrekar for example, after making Kaante, had the audacity to go live and say he didn't copy any movie but the story appeared to him in a dream, when it was obvious to even a child sucking his pacifier that it was a total rip off of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.

Now let's consider the few movies that I don't consider as part of mainstream Indian cinema: movies by Ram Gopal Verma, Amir Khan's new movies (post 2000), movies by Rahul Bose, etc. Also, before I start writing this part, I'd like to categorically state that there are exceptions to everything and I am not generalising things. Ram Verma's movies generally revolve around a fixed group of actors (a la Quentin Tarantino) and his movies center around the gangsters/underworld life. This is a welcome break from the usual lovey-dovey stuff churned out otherwise, but one gets a feeling that he tries to overdo it at times. Now why don't his movies run to a packed houses like Yash Chopra's? Simple, his stories depict reality, and what's more, it's a part of reality that doesn't seem to affect the majority of the population directly. I mean how many of us come in contact with the underworld in our daily life? If you're tucked away in Trivandrum or Bangalore, or in and around cities like Kolkatta, or for that matter rural India, chances are never.

Amir Khan's movies have been a success because of his new mantra to do only one movie a year, which surrounds his movies in a shawl of suspense that the public are eager to know more about. Be it with Lagaan, Dil chahta hai, 1857, or more recently rang de basanti or fanaa, Amir seems to have found a soft spot in the otherwise rigid filmi public. And like Amir, Rahul Bose's (who in my opinion is India's finest actor at present) movies too aren't as rampant as Yash Chopra or Karan Johars and so are extremely refreshing to the eyes. But unfortunately for Rahul, his movies focus on issues pertaining to urban India and so the majority of the people watching and relating to his movies are the urban population, who don't constitute the bulk of our filmi junta. Having said that, I must add that Mr. and Mrs. Iyer was an absolute beaut of a movie in terms of acting and portrayal, depicting what happens in India, urban and rural alike.

About not generalising, well, I'm always in a quagmire about this term and what it means. I mean when can we generalise, only when there is a 100% success rate, or can it be done even if our theory holds good for 95% and we bracket the remaining 5% along with the 95%? Let's forget about it for now.

So now let me finally come down to my theory about why Indians tend to watch movies that usually revolve around the same storyline. I mean, one would think you'd get bored with the same crap being shown with new faces, but no, not in India my friend. We Indians are a bunch of hypocrites, and when confronted with reality, we choose to turn a blind eye to it and appear ready to accept fantasy tales that would seem possible only in reel life. This is the primary reason why a Yash Chopra or a Karan Johar is more successful than a Rahul Bose or a Ram Gopal Verma, even though they (Bose and Verma) happen to portray reality, which usually would mean the good guys getting screwed. The fact is, we don't seem to be able to face reality when it appears and slaps us on the face. A movie that portrays the victory of good over evil (boy getting his girl) is acceptable anyday (howmany ever times it's repeated) over one in which the audience would have to introspect. Solace it seems, in India, can be obtained only in the arms of a broad named fantasy. That, dear reader, is reality, so suck up to it and quit complaining.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hindi is NOT the rashtrabhasha

OK, let's settle this once and for all. I'm not in the mood to write too much about this now coz there's plenty of material on it. I'll just direct you towards a couple of links.

And if you're wondering what was it that you learnt in school about Hindi being 'national language', like the tiger being the 'national animal', then please read:

Hindi is 'A' national language (along with 22 other languages mentioned under the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution), as opposed to the common perception that Hindi is 'THE' national language.

I rest my case.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Mahabharata: epic or propaganda?

Growing up in India, whatever schooling you go through, you're sure to hear about two of the greatest epics our country has come out with: The Mahabharata and The Ramayana. Both are considered absolute masterpieces in their own ways. And growing up watching the serials on national television and reading the stories in Amar Chitra Katha comics thrilled me to bits. But today, as a 23 year old, I'm having second thoughts about all the revelry in my childhood. Let me explain why.

Before getting into the Mahabharata, let's discuss about the original inhabitants of ancient Hindustan. In the northwest corner of the Indian subcontinent, in what today is Sindh (Pakistan) and present day Saurashtra (India), existed a very highly developed and sophisticated civilization - the (Sindhus) Indus Valley civilization of Harrapa and Mohenjo Daro. The people who lived in these cities were the original Negritos(Naga) and the Dravidians, the highly intelligent but smaller and dark brown descendants of Mediterranean origin. Around 1500 BC, there was another development occurring several thousand miles west and north-west of the Indus valley. The nomadic, Caucasian, well built but rustic, cattle rearing people from the region around the Caspian Sea were restless. They were looking for newer and greener pastures. They began migrating to different parts of what is now Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

The Sanskrit speaking people, the Aryans, traveled towards the Indus Valley. Initial migration appears to have been in the form of a few 'scout' or pioneer groups. A full scale migration occurred within the following decades. The Aryans with their superior physique and their horse driven chariots established unquestionable superiority over the Dravidian and tribal population of the Indus Valley. Now does this ring a bell when you think of the Mahabharata?Now the whole 'Aryan invasion theory' itself has more or less been proved to be a myth, along with the hitherto understanding of the vedas, as pointed out by David Frawley in his research that can be found at

That aside, the Mahabharata is replete with references of dark skinned people, refered to as asuras, or evil spirits, whom the Pandavas and other princely states in the north had to battle against. The word asura, in Sanskrit, is cognate with Ahura, the all powerful Persian deity Ahura Mazda. This is because the Iranian 'h' is cognate to the Sanskrit 's'. Going by history and the facts presented above, it was these asuras, or the Dravidians, who were the original inhabitants of the ancient land of Hindustan. According to the Mahabharata and other vedic scriptures, or at least going by the current general accepted understanding, the asuras are considered as being 'bad', villains in this great story. My only question here is, since when have we started considering defending ones family and homeland against foreign invaders evil?

If calling the dark skinned asuras evil and what not wasn't bad enough, there are oodles of hyporcrisy in the depiction of certain characters in the great epics. Two of main characters in the Mahabharata, prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu), who were dark skinned, are depicted in blue colour in all books that have illustrations, as well as comics (Amar Chitra Kathas) and other media where their picture appears. And if memory serves me right, even Draupadi, a damesel of dark complexion, is depicted in a colour other than dark brown, and it's the same case with Lord Rama (another incarnation of Vishnu) in the Ramayana.

Now all this brings me to another point. There is no way to verify the facts provided in the Mahabharata, so for all we know, it might as well be a complete fabrication, someone's wet dream for all I care, just to make the Aryans 'look good'. This should make any rational person question the authenticity of such a record.

I have no intention of kicking up a storm in a tea cup over nothing, but the fact remains that this cannot be considered nothing. One cannot but help asking the question: is the Mahabharata a propaganda tool, targetting all dark skinned Indians? If true, it's implications can be far more consequential than the present skirmishes we witness over language in our country. Is this what has lead a lot of north Indians to revile south Indians and other dark skinned people? 23 years of my life and I never thought about these and accepted them as gospel truth; how long is it going to take you?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Decoding the code

Well well well, what have we here. The Cannes Film Festival screens the much awaited movie, The da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel of the same name. And much to the surprise of the common junta like me, the reviews weren't too good.

Anyway, that apart, I'm more interested in the controversy that was generated by the book and now, the movie. I have a simple query, if the Christians find the movie so offensive, why should they watch it? No one's made it mandatory for them to watch it.

So what's all the brouhaha over the movie and wanting a ban on it? Is the Indian Catholic Church Association, whatever it's called (yes, I don't give a shit), worried that Christians would start questioning the Church, which all along seemed to have a "our word is Gospel truth attitude"? And look what that attitude lead to, they didn't even acknowledge the fact that the Earth was geoid and not a flat table as they believed. Poor Copernicus, he'd be spinning in his grave now, only this time laughing at the Church's paranoia.

Another theory could be that the Church is worried that followers would lose faith in the religion since it targets the very foundation. If that's the case, shouldn't the Christians actually question THEIR FAITH in the religion rather than the accuracy of the book?

Whatever be the case, their arguments are flawed. Freedom of expression in supreme and sentiments here are not hurt for the fact that Dan Brown has stated categorically that the story is fictitious inter laced with a lot of true facts. Period. Personally, I would have loved for that story to be true (by story I mean the part of Christ being human and having descendents), but then that's just me at my provocative best.

If M F Hussain can paint Bharat Mata and Hindu Goddesses in the nude and it can be called as freedom of expression, I can't see why those crazy bigots are protesting against the movie. The same yard stick has to be applied here too. It's the same thing Mrs. Shabana Azmi, and even the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad are to be taken with a pinch of salt, so don't cuss those Danish artists unnecessarily.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oh Bangalore, where art thou headed?

First and foremost, most of the content in this article has been provided by my good friend Abhijith Shetty, a fellow member of RNSIT's famous 'last bench gang'. Next, the image you see here is my T-Shirt, a neat piece of work from Tantra, the brand created by Rajiv Ramchandani and Madan Chabria. At Rs. 295, India on a T-shirt really rocks.

Now, for the story about my dear, dear city. I'm going to skip a few history lessons here and move on to the present day Bangalore; present here refers to the year 1983 onwards (that's when I was born).

Since being founded by Kempe Gowda, Bendakaalooru, or village of boiled beans has come a long way. From being called 'Pensioners Paradise' to 'Garden City' to 'India's Silicon Valley', Bangalore has evolved into a suave, cosmopolitan city to which hoardes of mallus, tams, teluguites and trainloads of north Indians coverge everyday. The city's like one of those neon tube lights that attracts insects in the dark, and here the insects(no disrespect meant, it's just for the effect) are drawn towards the city for its beer, weather, jobs and the babes.

Communicating in Bangalore is fairly simple. People from outside the state may have noticed that to survive in Bangalore you don't need to know excellent Kannada...or for that matter ANY Kannada! This is probably the only city in the world where you'll find people living for 3 or 4 generations and still can't speak the local language. Blame it on the Bangaloreans' over-the-top courteousness I guess! And if you DO speak Kannada, you'll see that people in Bangalore speak a very strange kind of Kannada, where words like 'time', 'bus', 'water', 'air' are all part of the vocab. And as ex-Radio City RJ Priya Ganapathy once said, the killer formula to survive in Bangalore is: English word + 'aa'/'oo' = universal understanding.

If you aren't some egoistical brat with a 'holier-than-thou' attitutde and 'my word is gospel truth' attitude, then if you study in Bangalore for a few years (generally most 'visitors' come for higher education via the CET), you would pick up words like 'machcha', 'maga', 'devaru' and a few superlatives like 'chindi' or 'sakkath'. Abuses are galore and generally those are the first to be picked up, but I'll take a moral highground and not publish those (unless the need arises).

The best line that Bangalore has given to India, that best describes the attitude of every Bangalorean in 'swalpa adjust maadi', or 'kindly make an adjustment'. The usage of this lines cuts across professions and various aspects of the city's life. If you get into a rick in Malleswaram at 9:30 P.M. and the driver asks you for “one-and-half” and if you ask him why…you most definitely will hear “Swalpa adjusht maadi Saar”. If you’re in a bus in Majestic which is so full that you can smell the ear wax of the guy standing in front of you…the conductor pokes you in the spine with his Reynolds pen and says “Swalpa adjusht maadi Saar…Please move forward!”.

As for driving in Bangalore…that’s a whole different story. People around the world drive either on the left side of the road or on the right…,but in Bangalore you drive where there is space! There isn't any 'right side' and 'wrong side'; for people here, there exists only one side: THEIR SIDE. Our auto drivers would put any Mikey Schumacher to shame. These guys armed with their 150 cc Bajaj RE Autos with Shah Rukh Khan portraits and ‘Hai! Manja’ emblazoned on their canvas tops deftly maneuver their 3-wheelers through gaps more efficiently than VVS Laxman's flick through mid-wicket. And if you’re on your bike, beware of projectiles from the mouths of BMTC bus passengers…you wouldn’t want to be smelling of vomit on your graduation day!

All this traffic and dust has stripped Bangalore of the clean air that it was once known for. In fact, scientists have conducted extensive tests and have shown that the average 21-year-old Bangalorean has the lungs of a 60-year-old American chain smoker!!! Well, actually they haven’t, hehehe, but I’m pretty sure someday they will. The only saving grace is that Bangalore is still pretty much the only city with some decent greenery.

As for all the hoopla and hype associated with the city and it’s night life…there are a whole lot of pubs in Bangalore where you can blow 150 bucks of your Dad’s hard-earned money on things that’ll lower your sperm count. And if you decide on hanging out at MG Road or Brigade Road (the most ‘happening’ places in town), here’re are a few rules of thumb-
1> DO NOT speak in any language other than angrezi . If you don’t know English…shut up!
2> Wear your best outfit and your best fake accent.
3> Even if you’ve never inhaled any smoke apart from those of your hostel’s burnt chapathis, at least hold a cigarette…because that’s whats ‘cool’ (a.k.a. stupid) dudes do.
4> Speak loudly about how you ‘laid’ your ‘very hot’ imaginary ‘girlfriend’.
5> Finally, stuff your wallet with visiting cards so that it looks like you have a lot of cash to burn.

(The current trend, however, is the ‘Intellectual Look’, where you are seen in a coffee shop reading a big, fat book on ‘Metaphysical States and Extra-Terrestrial Dimensions in the Time-Space Continuum’ sipping on some hot Cappuchino.)

So what do you have to say about Bangalore? For all the shit it gets from the politicians and certain sections of the Indian hoi polloi (read as non-Karnatakans), she's still the numero uno city in India, irrespective of what people tell you. Take this as gospel truth from a true Bangalorean who's lived here all 23 years of his life (with frequent visits to neighbouring cities during vacations to be able to tell the difference). And as my buddy Abhijith says, "You can argue that Bangalore is a pretty fucked up city, but what the hell, it's MY fucked up city". It's what we call home, and NO ONE messes with our home.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reserve those for me

No points for guessing what this article is about. V P Singh in the early 90s and Arjun Singh in 2006, villains extarordinaire. Now that I've got the initial frustrations out in a civilised manner, lets look into this whole nasty business on reservations.

Most of the pro-reservations activists have only to say that reservation is a must because for 2000 years, brahmins ruled the roost and the OBCs were left in the lurch ever since, simply because ancient Hindustan was a caste based society. That's correct, but how would getting into an IIT or an IIM help correct the mistakes of the past really baffles me. If there is some magical way, I wish we could erase a few other mistakes, like the Kashmir problem, the second world war, the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, etc. Another point which was raised by a shameless man called Dr. Kancha Illaiya, a dalit activist, is that the upper castes are only better than the dalits because they know English, and he goes on to add, 'take away English from them and they (rest of the people) are zero'. In my humble opinion, if that were the base problem, why, Dr. Illaiya, don't we settle for reservations for dalits and other down-trodden communities in primary education institutions, help them master the English language, and then let's see who really comes up trumps in an entrance exam?

A lot has already been spoken about how the 'creamy layer' would be the only ones to benefit, and the poorer, econimically backward ones would continue to remain poor. Actually, there's nothing anyone can do about it if we implement what Mr.Mandal suggested. Instead, as suggested by experts, let reservations be there for those economically backward, irrespective of caste.

I'm sure those for reservations would point out that being from an upper caste, and economically well-off family, I would naturally be against reservations and hence, anyi-dalit or even racist. Let me tell you something about myself and my background. According to Outlook magazine (April 24, 2006), my community, the bunt community, come under OBC category. Ask any Shetty, and I can assure you that they'll stare back at you as if you've spoken in Latin to them. My father was the last of 7 children and had 1 shirt and a pair of shorts for a year, and this went on till he was about 10 or 11. His father was a farmer, and feeding 7 children was always a problem. My father today has a Ph.D in Biochemistry and works at the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences as the head of the department of Neurochemistry. And he sure as hell did not have any seats reserved for him anywhere. Shouldn't this inspire people to try and beat the system that is trying to beat them, rather than become part it? So all this talk about not being able to make it big without reservations is nothing short of ludicrous.

Reservations in IITs and IIMs surely aren't the answers to our country's problems, most of which are pre-independence (actually, a lot before that). This would only trigger a wave of new problems, solutions for which would be impossible to find.

A few facts to ponder upon:

“Reservations were a part of the constitution when it was released in 1950. However, that was supposed to be a temporary measure and was to last for 10 years” –lawyer from Supreme Court (he’s a constitution expert)

Article 334 talks of reservations in the Houses of Parliament, and that is to be done away with 50 years from 1950. The 79th amendment of the Constitution took effect on 25/1/2000 and extended it from 50 to 60 years. How, you may ask? Simple: AMENDMENT

Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
(2) No citizen shall, on ground only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to -
(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or
(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained whole or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of general public.
(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.

This article had the above 3 clauses when it was released in 1950. However, soon afterwards, when lawyers looked into the Constitution, they saw a fourth. “Oh my God, where did the fourth clause come from?” Do you have any guesses as to where this fourth clause mysteriously appeared from into the Constitution? No points for guessing, AMENDMENT, in 1951, added INSPITE OF THE SUPREME COURT OUTLAWING QUOTAS IN EDUCATIONAL ADMISSIONS (in 1950).
The fourth clause reads:
(4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) or article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

The fourth clause is in direct contradiction to the Article itself, but hey, AMENDMENT. No arguing.

SC % in India: 16.2 % of India’s population
ST % in India: 8.2% of India’s population
OBC % in India: Even Government doesn’t know!
TOTAL % of SC+ST in India: 24.4%

Literacy rate among SC and ST is 37.4%.
IT’S JUST 37.4%. The rest of them are ILLITERATE, meaning no school education; they can’t even read A, B, C.

These facts are according to Registrar General of India J K Banthia (he heads the Census) based on the census of 2001.

So we want to have 49.5% reservation for a population of 37.4% of whom a very small % (God knows how small) reach to a stage where they can apply for a master’s degree, out of which a majority who do reach the master’s stage are the WELL TO DO SC/ST buggers. Cool. The rest can rot in the hell holes like they have been doing so all along, right?

I can foresee the next AMENDMENT, clause 5 of Article 15 in the Constitution:

(5) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) or article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any religious minority.

Then the % for reservation will be increased to about 70% or 75% from the present 49.5%, in spite of the Supreme Courts ruling that reservations MUSTN'T EXCEED 50%. And you want to hear the explanation? Here goes: “The Supreme Court has said no reservations beyond 50% for SC/ST/etc, didn’t mention anything about reservations for religious minorities.”

That’s all those crackheads do; they’ll conveniently AMEND the Constitution. “I want to fuck Aishwarya Rai, let’s AMEND the Constitution.” “I want to hump Bipasha Basu; let’s AMEND the Constitution.” That’s all they’re doing, and at the rate at which they're going, sadly, that's all it's gonna take!

You bloody Indian

“Stop says the red light, go says the green, ready says the yellow one, blinking in between”. I’m sure all of have heard this little rhyme when we were kids. I’m also sure that today, more than 90% of ‘us’ still have no problems in jumping a red light, or breaking the signal when we realise that there are no vehicles coming from the other side. I have just introduced you to one of the several unique identity traits that can only be described as ‘Indian’. Welcome to the world of the Indian mentality, where things like ‘good Samaritan’, ‘respect for the law’, and ‘law-abiding’ have been replaced by things like ‘we are like this only’, ‘so what…why should I’, and ‘swalpa adjust maadi’. Wake up and smell the coffee people, this is the India we live in and the ‘morning after’ pill has probably replaced the morning coffee.

Our country’s borders aren’t big enough to hold the whole lot of us and we seem to be bursting at the seams. And so what does the wandering man do (read wandering Indian)? Well, he just hops onto a plane and says, “America, here I come”. Our people aren’t content with what they have here; agreed that’s human nature, namely the more you get the more you want. But what I really mean is, as if having dirtied the boulevard on M G Road or Cubbon Park wasn’t bad enough, we want to go and dirty Wall Street or Trafalgar Square or the Kruger National Park. Is this really what being an Indian is all about? Not really, some argue, saying that the ‘visiting Indians’ at Wall Street do not indulge in practices that would put the country to shame in the eyes of the westerners. How true, and this is where the Indian hypocrisy comes into picture. They sure don’t dirty Wall Street but have no problems dirtying Dalal Street because that wouldn’t be putting the country to shame in the eyes of our fellow citizens simply because ‘we are like this only’.

Racial prejudices against darker skinned individuals and in recent times towards Asians and Indians in particular have been on the rise. This obviously is because of the fact that we are better than the ‘firangs’ when it comes to skilled work. But make no mistake; our people aren’t any saints when they touch foreign shores. They indulge in all the vices that can be indulged in and some even make a living out of it. Set the vices part of it aside, and just consider the simple act of using the waste paper bin. When you go to any multinational company’s office or for that matter, any Indian government office, you will certainly find a waste paper bin. Go into any professional college, where the students are being molded into professionals, and you can be certain that in most cases you will not find one and even if you do, it would be gathering more dust from not being used. I can also go further and say that I did not find one in my classroom when I started my engineering.

The ‘chalta hai’ attitude seems to have been hard-coded into our systems, some kind of genetic anomaly. How else would you explain the action of a group of men urinating on a wall that clearly mentions in two languages ‘do not urinate here’? How can we justify the action of scores of children who throw their toffee wrappers out of the car window in full glare of their parents, contrary to what they would have learnt in school a few hours ago?

If you happen to be really sick or have met with an accident and an ambulance is the only hope to get to a hospital on time, then my sincere advice to you is don’t believe that sort of rubbish. In India, the general public hasn’t got enough time to care for themselves, why on earth would they care for some faceless entity inside the ambulance. In which country would you find vehicular movement absolutely undistracted by the sirens of an ambulance? Sincere advice again, don’t fall sick or grievously hurt yourself where the ambulance would be required because you would be better off without one in trying to reach a hospital.

Our country is the Republic of India. A democracy in the third world that has withstood the test of time and hasn’t fallen prey to a dictator’s wet dream. A democracy. Hah! What kind of people, living in a democracy would be crazy enough to vote for the Communist Party of India (CPI and CPI (M))? We democratically voted in the world’s first communist party in 1957 i.e. the Kerala government of 1957. I’m sure the rest of the world would have had a good laugh at our expense then as they do now since we have the bloody commies giving support to the union government and dictating terms to the government. How could the founders of the constitution even dream of allowing such a concept and not spot the anomaly that has crept in and do something about it?

If you think I consider myself a patriot and do not fit the description of the above-mentioned types of people, that I probably am a role model for all Indians big and small, young and old, forget it! Don’t waste time thinking about what I think of myself, but think if you fit the bill of an Indian, who upon doing what he does in free India, is called a ‘bloody Indian’ when the same actions are performed in a foreign land. If you do, I have good news for you; you are in the majority, and I have a dirty feeling that you and those majorities are here to stay for quite some time.

You’re probably wondering where I picked the title for this article. Well, a friend of mine was on a safari in the Kruger National Park along with his parents, father’s friends and a few other westerners, one of whom was a big, domineering German lady. After emptying a can of soda, a desi threw the can out of the truck they were traveling in. And the German lady bellowed, “You bloody Indian, pick that up!” He deserved it, we deserve it but our country sure as hell doesn’t deserve it.
Provided by site.