Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thank you. I appreciate your candour. But I do not expect my views to be endorsed by anyone. Nor do I expect any empathy from anyone, about how I feel or how badly I am hurt. These are just words; they do not portray my true emotions. I think the friends I live with wonder whether I need psychiatric help or not. One may think that how come an individual who was not even in the proximity of Mumbai attacks or its after effects can feel so bad, but then, that is me, I take it personally. I did not lose anyone personally in this attack , or the countless other attacks in the past 20 years or so ; but I have shed tears , experienced anguish and most importantly , I have lost my fellow Indians , who I foolishly think of as my own .
Maybe, Suzanne Arundhati Roy is a good social activist. She could be the secular humanist that she claims to be. But her latest article is a like the invective of the mother-sister type to my motherland. She has more or less justified the attacks on the Indian soil. And that is my problem. And to be fair, if she is the secular humanist she claims to be, where was she when Kashmiri Pandits were being butchered and driven out of the valley? This is an honest question and I do not know the answer to it. India, at this hour, needs hard-core nationalists, brimming with patriotism, and no other mother-effing "ism" would suffice.
Ajmal Kasab is NOT an Indian. Therefore he should not be defended by one. I bet the law states otherwise, but in the light of what he has done to India, I stick to what I said. Ask the Pakistanis to do it. Or he can defend himself, if no one comes forward. But treat him like the war criminal / enemy combatant he is. That would be FAIR. No Indian should represent him. For me, the legal aid given to Kasab by Indian citizens would constitute an act of utmost disrespect to those who lost their lives. In all fairness, you can be fair only to a limit , a line has to be drawn somewhere .
"The hallmark of an egalitarian society is to provide equal norms and procedures of justice to EVERYONE. Even a Kasab." - It would NOT be egalitarian in the context of 200-400 people who lost their lives. There are exceptions to every rule, and this has to be treated as one .
The fact that some of my fellow Indians object to his not being represented by an Indian is reflection of the sad state of affairs in this country. Even when in dire straits, this nation, which has the hopes of being a superpower, cannot unite and its reaction appears frayed. I strongly feel that those who died are history with just a month gone since that terrible day, and there are many amongst the educated us who are too keen on projecting themselves as democratic and civilized, by making an issue of this. They want to be saints , while all I want is for us to be human , and with the many flaws a human has , say NO , in one loud UNITED voice , to all the goddamned BULL-SHIT that has been going on . I want them to stop being politically correct and learn to call a spade a spade. Quoting Gandhiji and talking about "Truth and Non-Violence" is not good enough. Though I have indirectly suggested that Kasab should be shot like a rabid dog, it is not what I want. That was just a heat-of-the-movement remark. I want him tried, but not defended by an Indian, and then hanged, as he deserves it. I pity the bloody fool, and I pity his accursed parents even more. To be brainwashed to such an extent that one would kill just about anyone, in cold blood. And I often wonder what his parents must be going through. But that does not make me blind to the cold, hard facts that stare you into the face. And I wish people would see that, instead of ranting incessantly about "secularism and democracy" and "truth and non-violence”. And I do not think I have to spell it out for anyone what I am talking about. If you don’t get it, I don’t give a damn. If you do get it and are offended by it, I still don’t give a damn. The others, please, do give a damn!
A thousand curses and eternal damnation to the Antulay’s,Achuthnandan’s and Patil's of India. They reaffirm my faith in the fact that politics has stooped to unimaginably low levels. Ditto to the Roy’s. Does social activism involve cursing your own country and showing it in a bad light to the World? World Citizen my ass! Indian first. One fifth of the entire humanity first. And the way our Government is acting, I feel more like eunuch with each passing day. I pray that I am proved wrong. But then again, the cynic in me says that we will be back to square one soon, peace talks, cricket matches and exchanging artists and culture, and the media will be the co-instigator of this charade. Pakistan will get away with it, and India would have been smelly-middle-fingered again. When a nation could not punish a country as weak and pathetic like Bangladesh for killing and mutilating the bodies of her soldiers, what hope is there? And the BJP was in power in that time. I wonder why “they” did not do anything.
I want peace , and equality , and justice for all , because that is what my "dharma" is all about , BUT , at what price ? The honour of my Mother India? Never! How can I dream about World Peace when my own home is far from peaceful ? We need a Chanakya and "sam,dam,dand,bhed" more than ever . And if you think I am a right-winder as my rants might suggest , let me just tell you , I don't give a fuck about any of the so called "wings" . I am an Indian, a proud, crazy, somewhat jingoistic Indian, and that is where it begins and ends. Long live my Motherland!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
"saveajmalkasab.org" - A web-site dedicated to ensure and safe guard the rights of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab. The plan is still in the pipelines. My inspiration for this proposed website is "saveafzalguru.org”. My twisted mind says that if a man convicted for attacking the Indian Parliament and the death of mere 7 people is still alive , then why not him ? Let me explain. Afzal Guru is a Kahmiri, right (not a Kashmiri Pandit, who gives a damn about them anyways), and he has suffered a lot under the “Indian Occupation forces”. So that eventually led him to plan and execute that attack. So put your imagination to test , and try and fathom as to how much Kasab , and his compatriots must have suffered , being Pakistanis , which has been the” victim of terror” since its inception, that resulted in them getting involved in Mumbai,26/11 ? That is precisely why our fellow sickular, dhimmi and human-rights activist Arundhati Roy , wrote that 8 pages long article, which more or less justifies terrorist attacks on Indian soil. On a side-note, “we sympathize with those who lost their lives, strongly condemn the attack, and reiterate that Terrorism has no religion”(Sorry, but we had to bore you with all this BS to preserve our image). If this poor and downtrodden man is denied his rights and killed in a public like a rabid dog, it would be the gravest possible act of injustice. So I beg of you my fellow Indians , I implore that you not listen to the “right” side of your brain , but your left one . (Linear reasoning and language functions such as grammar and vocabulary often are lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain. Is that why right-wingers come off as a bunch of fools? ) . Well, I apologize for cracking that insane PJ. I must say that normal, patriotic, "right"-minded citizens of the democratic republic of India may disagree with me on this one, but my fellow sickular, dhimmi and "human"-rights activists will definitely agree with me. And whether you like it or not, there are quite a few of us around. And our voices are HEARD! So :P to all the others , and three cheers to Roy,Haskar and Setalvad. Here is list of my or should I say our(sickular,dhmmi and human-rights activists) demands.
1. To provide him with scrumptious non-vegetarian food , prepared by the best chef's of our 5 star and 7 star hotels . The fact that he nearly destroyed on the best hotels of India , should be overlooked , as it was just a minor part of the Great Conspiracy hatched by some evil men , whose nationality we are not sure of (We hope it turns out to be the Axis of Evil, India-Israel-USA) . To do otherwise i.e. force veggie food down his throat, would be a further violation of "human rights" of this "HUMAN" . It would be tantamount to persecution of a member of the minority group , as vegetarianism is somewhat of a Hindu thing . And if and when , terrorists hijack some plane or the other , and demand his release , how would an emaciated Kasab resume his duties of being the "Butcher" he is ? The hijackers might even scratch the deal on account of this. And handling an Ak-47 on a vegetarian diet , is no mean feat , nearly impossible . Ask any Pakistani, ooops , I mean anyone who has handled one .
2.A narco-analysis , brain-mapping and every other similar test should be conducted on him . God willing , he may say the truth we all are itching and dying to hear : "Fooled you suckers! I am a Hindu born hate-mongering Hindutva-hailing right-winger . The VHP brainwashed me . The RSS trained me . And I am the brain child of the BJP . Three cheers to Hindutva . Long live Hindu-Zionism". Now this is just a wild guess , but if it were possible to borrow that latest technology from the Japanese , and try and read Kasab's mind , I guess the 2 pictures that are bound to come up is :
1 . One saffron Om in his right-side of the brain
2. One star of the David in the left side
(I apologize again for this was a PJ as well)
Which would conclusively prove what our peace loving neighbour's (led by Zaid Hamid)have been saying all along , he is Hindu-Zionist(Remember the sacred thread on his wrist ?) . In that case, my fellow sickular, dhmmi and human-right-activists will drop vociferating for his cause instantly, and let him fend for himself.
On a side note, we are quite willing to overlook, give it a complete miss-in-the-baulk, if he is subjected to third/fourth/fifth, any degree of torture to make him say that the death of Mr. Karkare and the others was not a co-incidence, but a part of the elaborate and diabolical conspiracy hatched by the Axis of Evil .We would still drop his case, but it would make us and Mr.Antulay, ecstatic for sure.
3. To let him enjoy what he was going to enjoy if he had not been captured alive. The 72 virgins! We should first ascertain what his sexual preferences are, and then cater to it accordingly. Personally, I would be glad if it turned out that he swings the other way. India has a skewed-up sex ratio. We can do without having to share 72 of our best and beautiful with Kasab. But then again, as our good old PM said, the minorities have the first right to our resources (even the human resources), so maybe he deserves even more. Make it 144!
4. Legal Aid. Ajmal Kasab is NOT a Pakistani. We still are not sure of his nationality. There is NO concrete evidence in the favour of this argument. Hell, how can the President of a “peaceful, democratic, victim-of-terrorism” nation like Pakistan lie? If he says he is not a Pakistani, then he is NOT. He is NOT an enemy combatant, caught killing the civilians of India, red-handed. He is NOT an enemy alien. How can he be an alien? India and Pakistan were one nation 61 years ago, right ? He is more like our estranged brother, or cousin. He is just a poor, misled, brain-washed youth, who was also hypnotized and drugged by some evil men (hopefully, the masterminds of the Axis of Evil), to spray bullets till he died. He deserves nothing but the very best of Legal Brains of India. And those legal brains, who agree to help him, need not worry about one thing for sure. For the rest of their lives, no matter what they do, they will be hailed as the true defenders of secularism and human rights. As good as getting it tattooed on your forehead. So go for it lawyers.
5. Ban the VHP/BJP/RSS and every other organization related to them. Why are you surprised? I know it is not directly related to this issue, but what the hell, how we can let go of any opportunity for hollering that? And who knows, it is not out of the realms of possibility that they are directly or indirectly responsible for what happened. After all, they are the Devil's own on this planet and in some known and some unknown ways, responsible for every damn thing that is wrong with this country.
By the way, we won't mind at all if this demand is never met. I mean what will my sickular, dhimmi and human-rights activists brethren and I do, if these devils go out of business. Don't you think Superman will get bored if Lex Luthor stops being bad. We angels do need to keep ourselves busy and in the "right" frame of mind. I mean, isn't an empty mind a devil's workshop?
And if the domain name "saveajmalkasab.org" has not already been registered, please ,my fellow sickular, dhimmi and human-rights activists, get it done ASAP. Long live our kind , may our tribe increase, and death to Hindu-Zionism!
p.s. This is a satire, a seething one, if somebody failed to get it. My apologies if my lunatic ranting, my angry diatribe, hurt any Indian’s sentiments’. I guess I have been more disturbed by 26/11 then I thought . And this is the only way I can express my anger and indignation for what has been going on since that ill fated day. I still cannot understand as to how can someone equate Kasab and his kind to a human? Maybe the definition of “human” has changed. I guess the definition of an Indian has changed as well. Mr. Antulay and his kind could be classified as Indians then.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
If only every human being could look at our world from above, literally. If only it were possible for each of us to stare at the pale blue dot pulsating with the force of life, as we define it, in the vast universal emptiness. If only, each one of use could see how utterly insignificant are the issues over which we maim and murder, and realize that our homes are not characterized by the languages we speak, religions we follow, or the way we look, but the blob of blue , all alone as we know so far, in this universe. If only we could just be Humans , and nothing else . If only we could see our mother, our planet, our only home, the embodiment of Gaia through our own ocular senses. I bet it would bring tears to the hardest souls. Wishful thinking ? I guess it is even beyond that . Doomsday , where art thou ?
" If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate " - Elbert Hubbard
Friday, November 28, 2008
India is a secular and democratic nation. At least that is what the founding fathers wanted it to be. Somewhere down the line, religion became too big an issue for it to be as secular as it should have been. But what the hell, we still are. It is a good thing, certainly something to be proud of. And I am .But then, every now and then, the secular image takes a beating, and a bad one. The history of India is checkered with incidents of riots sparked off for reasons, from mundane to macabre. I cannot quote statistics to back me up on this, but I guess it is the minorities who are usually at the receiving end, more so than the majority. I feel sorry for them. Genuinely. For I do not think that the systematic rape of a woman of the minority community, commencing with the invocation of Mahadev, does service to my religion. I was aghast when I learnt about Abhinav Bharat. I still do not see any rhyme or reason in their actions. If they plan to blow up the terror camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh or in India (if there are any), I am all for it. But I do not think bombing Muslim-populated areas would serve any true purpose, other than creating more soldiers for Jihad. What happened in Gujarat was atrocious indeed. I concur. I am not denying that it happened, and on a gruesome scale too. And now comes my bone of contention with the media, the liberals, the intellectuals, the human rights activists and the champions of secularism and democracy.
What greater hypocrisy can there be when anything even remotely associated with oppression of minorities by the Hindu masses makes news, but the Kashmiri Pundits, who have been actually deracinated, and killed by thousands, doesn’t nowadays . Does the sole responsibility of the media and the human rights activists is to act as a watch dog for the minorities alone? Does being in the majority automatically warrants of not being at the receiving end? Kashmiri Pandits, who ethnically, culturally and religiously as well, belong to Kashmir, are living like refugees in their own country. They are rotting in the refugee camps. Quite a few of them died of sun stroke as they were so accustomed to the cold climate of Kashmir that they could bear the heat of northern plains. But all this is too old and too stale, devoid of sensationalism and not TRP-worthy. Maybe it is because of the fact that the number of pundit votes generated won’t be enough to quench the thirst of the blood-thirsty bastards scavenging for votes, that they do not make an issue out of it. If only the pundits could have thrown family planning to the wind and produced at least a dozen kids per family!
“Those to whom evil is done do evil in return”, as said W H Auden. But how many of the Pandits took to terrorism in retaliation? As if this was not bad enough, the UN decided to give some crappy human rights award to Benazir Bhutto. What definition of human is the UN following these days? How does the Bhutto bitch get an award when she so clearly instigated the “ethnic-cleansing” of Kashmiris?
There is so much hue and cry over Kashmir. And how can I forget the recent Amarnath land row? Fuck the Kashmir issue. Kashmir be damned. I don’t give a rat’s ass whether we Indians ever get the land known as PoK back. If it were up to me, I would call truce and settle for the LoC as the International Border. But I do care about the Kashmiri Pandits. Because theirs is a truly lost cause. For a culture as old as the concept of Bharata Varsha and Sanatan Dharma, for my fellow Indians who are as integral a part of this nation and its culture as anyone can ever be, for them my heart weeps. Shame on us. They have been sidelined because they are not in numbers large enough to be on the election manifesto. They do not have enough representation on any level .I guess even the Hail-Hindutva-Hardliners have forgotten them. While they are bellowing over Ayodhya and Ram-Sethu Sundaram, why don’t they holler about the Pandits, and the other religious minorities, who have been the brunt of unbridled and systematic violence, the body of which is Pakistan and the ideological source, Islam. Oops! I said the unmentionable. My true colours are out. I am a venom-spewing, minority bashing, jingoistic, right winger! As if I give a damn.
The p-sec’s (thank you Krishna Aradhi, it is an awesome term), who usually are hoarse from crying out murder and foul, even when a brave man legitimately loses his life battling terrorists, why don’t you shed your tears for these poor souls as well ? On a side-note, I often wonder, whether those who suspect the authenticity of the encounter in which Mr. M C Sharma was martyred really think that we all have been hoodwinked, and in actuality, Mr. Sharma is alive, and somewhere in the Bahamas? I mean WTF! A man lost his life, how can that be fake ? Coming back to the p-sec’s , what do the mother-effing pseudo-secularist liberal assholes have to say ? What do the Teesta Setalvad’s and the Arundhati Roys have to say ? Where were the liberals,intellectuals,leaders,human right activists when there was an actual “ethnic” cleansing taking place ? I don’t think they will ever take a stand on this issue, because vociferating for the rights of an ethnically and religiously Hindu group would automatically make a right-winger out of them.
What happened to Kashmiri’s is now happening to the Bodo’s in Assam. They face a similar threat, and if the Bangladeshi plan pan’s out, we will have another Kashmir at our hand . But even that is not good enough. Because a) they are from the north-east , which is not deemed worthy of attention , b) they are Hindus practicing Brahma Dharma and c) Some jackasses want to bestow Indian citizenship upon the illegal immigrants to get some more votes. Why don’t these morons whore out their own mother’s and daughter’s instead? A more direct approach to grab votes. And it will work. Once again, no self respecting “truly” secular liberal would touch their issue with a ten foot pole. Alas, only saffronized to the hilt right-wingers can sympathize with their cause .
I am a Hindu, a proud one, and I leave no occasion to say it out loud. I am not proud of the fact that of lately, certain Hindu organizations , for the right or wrong reasons, have instigated violence against minorities. I am not proud of casteism, dowry system and a host of other crap like that, which is a part of it. But that is not the extent of Hinduism. That’s the flawed part. I am a proud Hindu because of its rich philosophy. Because it says “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” and “Vasudev Kutumbam” . There so many different schools of thought, from theistic, agnostic to even atheistic. I am proud of it because there has been no major Hindu evangelical movement, which indirectly lends weight to the Hindu principle of “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” . And I will never be ashamed of it. And a thousand curses and eternal damnation to those who try to belittle my culture and faith without even attempting to understand it.
I guess self-flagellation is a incredibly satisfying vocation. If I ever get a chance to go abroad, and hold an audience, I would make sure that I tell them what a hell hole India is , and how many atrocities are committed by the intolerant and chauvinistic Hindus on a daily basis . Boy oh boy, wouldn’t that win me a whole lot of brownie points !I would be the toast of the civilized society, if things worked out for me.
All I want to hear is a spade, being called a spade . I shall never ever proclaim what happened in Gujarat to be even remotely right or justified. But why did it happen ? Did the train burning incident was conjured up or state-sponsored as well. Why does being Hindu in India is not good enough for the English media and the liberals and secularists. BD made news, for the wrong reasons. It was right. They did something unimaginably evil. They raped a nun. But what about the bloody New Life Activists who had painted an extremely biased, inaccurate and evil picture of Hinduism through their pamphlets. Why don’t they face the heat? I know of quite a few politicians and social activists who are champions of secularism and defenders of minority rights. Are there any Muslim activists for Kashmiri pundits or Bodo’s ? This is a cheap shot, but what the hell, I am a right-winger now, aren’t I ? I would just like to know. I am not implying that there cannot be . Anyone know a name or two, do tell me . The same goes for conversions and shit. Are there any voices of reason who have come out openly against the destructive proselytizing, the one achieved through nefarious means.
I do not believe in chauvinism, linguistic parochialism, communalism, fundamentalism, communism and most of the other –isms. The one –ism I truly believe in is Indian-ism. Religion is secondary. But will I stay truly Indian, or will the farce going one in the name of God and Votes derail me , and leave me as a hollow Hindu, incensed and retributive ? I do not wish to say anything about what happened in Mumbai (26th November 2008). Enough has already been said and nothing has been done. But I would like to know if the red sacred thread worn around one’s wrist by Hindus is proof enough to elicit a response from a renowned journalist and TV-anchor, Rajdeep Sardesai, that they could be “Hindu” terrorists ? Was his train of thought anywhere close to the track ?
I often contemplate on the concept of secularism from an Indian perspective. And I realized this . There are those who are secular to such extreme lengths , that to garner votes/gain popularity among the liberals or to appease their altruistic cravings, will go to any length to appease the minorities. And then, there are the ones who would like dump them in the sea, or something equally horrible . And those are the only two kind who are heard or seen. I guess being neither here or there isn’t good enough to get heard. Isn’t a secular nation supposed to ensure that the rights of all different kinds are protected, but at the same time they are on the same footing . But not here, it’s either, “I will let you climb on my head, and piss” or “I will piss on you “ . And that pisses me off .
There are times when I wonder, whose side do I take, which path do I tread on? But there is none for me, no middle way as Buddha said. I am pro-India, but so are the right-wingers and left-wingers and the secularists, as they claim. They all have their own axes to grind, while the nation gets ground effectually. Meanwhile, all I wonder is, who cries for those are Hindu, and yet have suffered.
A documentary on Kashmiri Pandits
Friday, October 31, 2008
I have been ranting and raving about the pros and cons (mostly, sadly) of being a Bihari. And it struck me how hard; or rather intricate is the state of being an Indian. Suddenly, Jinnah’s two nation theory seems like the babble of a deaf-mute 5 year old. India is a thousand nations. And maybe it will be divided on those grounds someday. That is definitely not I want. But who knows what happens next.
People fight. That is an indelible trait embedded in our genes, I guess. Allow me to digress. I am a not-so-regular viewer of an incredibly sarcastic TV show with elements of dark and sometimes twisted and sick humour in it, called SouthPark. In this show, a couple of episodes titled Go God Go I and II were aired some time back. It started with Richard Dawkins and atheism. And after much hullaballoo over Darwinism and Intelligent Design, one of the characters gets to the Future, centuries from now, as a result of a freak accident. And guess what was going on in the future? People stopped believing in God or religion, they said Oh My Science instead of Oh My God, BUT, they were still fighting. They were fighting over something called the Ultimate Question, and whose answer was the right one. The bottom-line is obvious. Coming back to the big bad world, while people all fight over different issues, one issue per region, in India, we seem to have the complete range. We have religion, obviously, the numero uno. Followed by caste, which has many sub divisions. Language is a one; the Aryan-Dravidian nonsense is another. I firmly believe that even this Aryan invasion theory was a diabolical fabrication by the Brits to further ease their job in India. And how can I forget women. Men and women in India have been fighting a silent war, and one look at the sex-ratio would tell you what the casualty count is. Around 35 million females. Damn all the men who consider women as second-rate citizens. A woman is a mother. Period. And nothing else can surpass that. (Feminists, please don’t jump at my throat if you think I was implying that a women is only good enough to bear and rear children)
Hindu Jaagaran Morcha. An outfit to avenge the deaths of Hindus by IM/SIMI. I felt weird, sick and confused, all at the same time, when I heard of their doings. So that is how a decent, law-abiding, patriotic Muslim feels when some jackass who claims to be a believer in God and a follower of Islam blows up something. I am aghast and ashamed. And thank the Almighty that this was not swept under the rugs. Speaking of terror and terrorists, we seem to have almost all kinds of them.
1. Good old Islamic terrorist
2. The greenhorn Hindu “jihadi”
3. The Naxalites , MCC, CPI-ML , PWG and so on
4. The Upper-caste army of Landlords who came into existence to counter no.3
5. The Khalistani militants, which I guess are not as dormant as commonly perceived
6. Naga Terrorists (Aren’t they Christians?)
8. BD - If you rape a nun in the name of God, you are a terrorist for me.
9. Every bloody rioter
My apologies if I forgot to mention anyone.
That’s terrorism in diversity for you people. Be Proud. You could only have that in a country like India. “It happens only in India”! And we only need Buddhist, Jain and Parsee terrorists to complete the beautiful picture. No offence intended!
Whenever somebody blows up or kills someone in the name of something or the other, I am reminded of a dialogue from the movie Sarfarosh, where the character called Inspector Saleem says so”Apne desh ke dushman bohot kismet waale hain, unhe bas hathiyar bhejne ki zaroorat hai, ladne waale bohot mil jayenge” (The enemies of India are really lucky, as they have to furnish the guns and the bombs only, the soldiers to fight their wars are in plenty). Very true.
A thousand curses and eternal damnation to the media. They are the worst amongst the worst. Show me the whole picture, I’ll choose the part which seems right to me. I would like to know whether the ad for the grade IV examination conducted by the railways was really brought out only in the Hindi newspapers or not. But I don’t think I am ever going to discover that through the media. Is investigative journalism dead, or in a coma? All the media seems to show is what depresses, demoralize and disgusts, sometimes all at the same time. Is it that hard to look for stories that are good for the Indian spirit?
Ever heard of the word “illad”? Not Homer’s Iliad. I-L-L-A-D. This is the one word that I absolutely hate with every fiber of my body. This word stands for one of the major flaws with the mindset of the Indians (hailing from the states other than Karnataka, Kerala, TN and AP). This is like blasphemy for me. For those of you, who have not heard of it, an “illad” is the more affectionate term used to address (indirectly) the people of the Southern states, or “South-India”. It was quite a commonly used part of the vocabulary of the average Manipal-ite. Every time I hear it, I feel as if somebody used the invective of the mother-sister type for me. Even though I hail from a state up north, it stings. And the morons who drop it at the drop of hat from their mouths evidently do not realize how wrong and criminally insensitive they are. A few months ago, while dining in a restaurant, I overheard a girl saying” Delhi ke neeche sab south hai.” (Everything below Delhi is South for me). Sure you do bitch. Who the hell taught you geography, and history for that matter? I would go wild with ecstasy if the words “North-Indian” and “South-Indian” were officially banned.And while I am on the subject of name calling, I equally loathe and detest how Indians from the North-East get labeled as "Chinkies" . That is again , seriously fucked up . They are treated as if they are foreigners , no wonder some of them do want to secede from India .When will we stop seeing each other as illad's, chinkie's,bhaiyya's,ghati's and whatever-other-stupid-names-we-have ?
Amidst all the anti-Bihari vibe tingling the nation’s spine, sometimes I feel like a Jew. I guess the displaced Kashmiri Pandits feel the same, refuges in their own home. The Sikhs during ‘84 riots must have felt the same. Also the Muslims in ‘93 and ‘02. And the Christians in Orissa and in Karnataka. I bet the busload of elderly Marathi women and men touring Bihar, who were caught in the middle of the ruckus, felt something close. At least they escaped unscathed, thanks to the local MP and the Police. And I am alive, amen to that. Which brings this thought to my disturbed mind, who’s going to be the next “Jew” of India?
Amidst the chaos and the cacophony, I often wonder, when, or rather how would it end? Would it ever end? Or Is this the beginning of the End? For a guy like me, who thinks a lot about these things (contemplation, retrospection and introspection being one of my preferred activities to engage at leisure), for whom these things matter, it is extremely disturbing. I am often lost; thinking about how things could have been or rather should have been. While people often think about Superheroes and fantasize about being one (including yours truly), I, more often than not, end up conjuring up a fantasy of a Super India. An India that was economically stronger, with a uniform distribution of wealth. An India that beat the living daylights out of China and was significantly more powerful (In my fantasies we annihilated China in 1962 and asked Tibet to join the Indian Union, and they gleefully did., ditto in the Bangladesh war, and we also did not lose the piece of land now known as Pok). An India which files thousands of patents a year. An India which spear heads the development of green technology. An India which sends a manned mission to Mars before others do. As secular and democratic as no nation has ever been. And so on, and so forth. What an incorrigible day-dreamer am I! Which is why when jolted back to the real India, I actually feel physical pain. I feel a throbbing in my head and a searing pain in my heart.
The reason why I don’t watch a lot of football or have a favourite team – Does my country play this game? Does any club from my country play this game, on an international level? Then who do I root for? Why should I scream the blood out of my lungs? No Tricolor, No testosterone-driven-adrenaline-powered-crazy-cheers. As a result I am an unbiased and a neutral spectator of Football. This is a testament to how insanely tricolored-track my mind is. And I am proud of it. I also wonder whether not being such a die-hard, somewhat jingoistic patriot would have actually been good for my mental health.
When I am so bogged down by the bloody mess that we live in, I often think of the easiest way out. Quite obviously, things wouldn’t get fixed over the period of a 3 hour sorry ass Indian movie, with people from all over India singing “Saare jahan se accha” or the national anthem, arms linked together and all. I am not suicidal or even close to suicidal but there are times when I wish I would get knocked down by a speeding bus. Or get blown to bits in the next bomb blast, assuming another one takes place. At times, it is all I think, how wonderful it will be to disappear from the face of this earth and never ever come back (temporarily though, because I am a believer of the Hindu theory of the cycle of birth and death). Am I unhinged to think like this? I guess a short trip to the loony bin wouldn’t hurt that much.:) At least, I would be in the company of certified lunatics, who have the failed, the “test-of-sanity” of this whacky world.
I heard about some book or the other through a pal in which the author anatomizes the concept of India, and concludes that it exists in theory alone. I tried to Google more about this, but couldn’t find anything concrete. But it does make me think a lot these days. My increasingly depressing thoughts aside, this is a serious question indeed. Is the concept of India as a secular, democratic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation too utopian to be true? Or is this just a phase which will pass over, and we will get back to our old “chalta-hai” attitude. Is it just plain old crazy me who is having doubts? My belief system has taken such a severe hit that the words India and Indian bring a sardonic smile to my lips these days .
Being Indian is no joke.
Time to curl back in my cocoon and let my imagination run wild. “What ho, Jeeves! Bring me a stiff w & s. Pip pip Cruel World. “
Sunday, October 19, 2008
It was through chance that I stumbled upon this blog, and eventually came across a blog dedicated to Dr. Chandrakant Patil, a resident doctor from King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. Dr. Patil, who was born and brought up in Maharashtra, volunteered to go to Bihar to help the flood victims. He was present at one the worst affected areas, where he tragically died due to electrocution from a lightning strike in a freak storm, on September 24th, 2008. He was a part of a team of 45 student doctors from Mumbai who traveled all the way to Bihar to help out their fellow Indians. In times like these, when relations between Marathis and Biharis is at an ebb, this was like a breath of fresh air. His sacrifice is a resounding slap on the face of all the regionalists and is a reminder that we are Indians, first and foremost. This great man undid in a flash what the “son-of-soil” leader of all Manoos’s did to me over a few months. I am heart-broken at the loss of this true son-of-the-soil and a genuine patriot. I am happy because he restored my faith in my fellow Indians from Maharashtra. I am incensed because I did not get to hear about him through the media. He was only 24 years of age.
I noticed a very disturbing change in me, over the past few months. The mere mention of Maharashtra or Marathi made me uncomfortable. While buying a product, I have a habit of checking the expiry date, and in doing so often, one comes across the place where the product was manufactured. For instance, I bought a pack of Lays, saw that it was made in Gurgaon, shrugged nonchalantly and went ahead with whatever I was doing. Of lately, whenever that place was in Maharashtra, that nonchalance disappeared. It made me think twice. And though it did not deter me and never will from buying such a product, but the very fact that I was deliberate was bad enough. A few days ago, my friends and I ordered a bucketful of chicken from KFC. When the delivery boy came, one of my friends started chatting with him. I was all smiles, a silent observer of the innocuous banter, but it vanished as soon as I learned that he was from Kolhapur. It was an awkward moment for me. But all that angst is going away, and the credit goes to Dr. Patil. The healing process is initiated, and all I have to do is think about him, if I start losing it again.
This country does not need leaders who unveil statues of themselves at the state’s expense, but we do need a memorial for heroes like him. Amidst all the chaos of divisiveness contributed by regionalism, religion and caste, this man’s sacrifice is the proverbial silver lining. The media should splash his face all over, let the 1.12 billion people know, that there was a Giant like him amongst all the pygmies that we usually catch on TV. But, I guess it’s overly optimistic of me to expect something like the aforementioned in a nation whose rulers could not spare time to pay homage to a legend like Field Marshall Sam Maneckshaw. When Dr. Patil’s image could have been used as to tool for national integration, I almost missed out on hearing about him. Thank you One Bihar. And Long Live Dr. Chandrakant Patil.
For those who would like to help out his family, here’s the link to do so.
Edited to add : Another ray of Hope , Dr Manasee Palshikar . May her tribe increase .
Sunday, October 12, 2008
1. Numb3rs: Not the TV show, numbers in general. I like them. I like playing with my calculator. I love Pi. I am going to get a T-shirt with the value Pi up to a few thousand decimal places printed on it. I love Prime numbers. I like even numbers better than odd ones, and I don’t know why. This can be a quirk.
2. Adolf Hitler/World War II/The Holocaust: I want to know every damn thing that can be possibly known about the aforementioned three. I do not think that I am a neo-Nazi or can be one, but I do harbor a sentiment bordering likeness for Hitler(for his leadership qualities and oratorical skills). I often wonder how or why a human being can be so cruel. I would like to go back in time to hear him speak. And while I am there, I would also like experience the madness of WWII and the Holocaust through my own eyes. And I am often on the lookout for new movies, books and documentaries about them, the last one being Conspiracy. Definitely an obsession.
3. Bhagat Singh: Mahapurush Bhagat Singh. Son of the nation. My Hero. He would be an obsession.
4. Language: I loathe, detest, abhor and execrate SMS lingo. It hurts my eyes when I come across phrases like,”gr8 newz” or “omigosh”. It makes me cringe. And I don’t use it myself. And I always use uppercase letters to start my sentences while chatting. Here’s a sample :
Buddy_Boy: hi..any news?
4:25 PM Me: Nope . Not a clue . This implies that the doj cannot be before Dec or Jan
4:26 PM Buddy_Boy: ha ha..i knw..theyve gone to sleep..so did u get thru any other company?
4:28 PM Me: Yeah , I joined a startup
4:29 PM Buddy_Boy: which firm?
Me: It’s called ******
Buddy_Boy: ok u gt thru tht e ltimus test?
4:30 PM Me: It’s not like that . E litmus gives you a score
4:31 PM On the basis of that score you apply to different companies. Then if you get called for an interview , you have to clear that for the job.
4:32 PM Buddy_Boy: ya thts wht..i Meant thru tht test score
4:37 PM Me: That helped. But I had to clear a written, coding and interview round.
An idiosyncrasy ?
5. Order and method: Aligning objects to my desk till I am satisfied. Re-arranging things at home. I like things arranged in a certain way, and I am at unease till they are in order. Quirk for sure.
6. My name: I keep writing it, on the last page of the note-book, here, there and everywhere. Somebody told me that it was because I am very ambitious. I doubt it. Big time quirk.
7. Books and Book-stores: I love reading, I love buying books, and ergo I love book-stores. When I enter one, I feel what a child must feel when it enters a toy-store. It’s like Disney land for me , and the more books it has, the happier I am. It is a happy-place for me.
8. Spicy food ,syrupy sweets, chocolates and ice-cream : I shall not let go of them till I am forced to do so, either by life or my doctor.
9. Trees: I judge the beauty of a place by the number of trees it has. The colour green never looked more beautiful and soothing when coming off a tree.
10. Hindu Philosophy: I believe that all the answers I am looking for are there. I just have to explore it. And someday I will.
11. Soda: Coke, Mountain Dew, Limca, Sprite and so on. If I have one serious addiction, it is my love for carbonated beverages. Not addicted to smoking or drinking, but to them. Quirky addiction,eh ?
12. Computers and Internet: Life would be worse than hell if I did not have access to a decent computer and a broadband net connection. A related addiction being the compulsion to Google. I have to Google, something or the other, at least once every day. I love Googling. I think about what to Google when I am not googling. I LOVE GOOGLE, and Wikipedia . King of Quirks !
Time to pass the baton, I tag Krishna Aradhi, Pranoy, Danny Buoy, Venkatesh, and 1conoclast .
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Without getting into the details of how and why did I, a relatively sane and a fastidious movie buff, became a part of the initiative taken by my friends to watch one the latest run-of-the-mill flicks in a theatre considerably far from my place, I would like to pen down the heart wrenching agony I experienced, courtesy, Sanjay Gadhvi’s (of the Dhoom and Dhoom II fame) Kidnap. Life has a habit of kicking you once every now and then, just to teach you a lesson. I could have watched a movie like Mumbai Meri Jaan or Welcome to Sajjanpur, but fate had other plans for me. The lesson learnt here that I shouldn’t make fun of those people who flock to the multiplexes/theatres to watch crap like Kidnap. Earlier, on being asked whether I had seen the latest-shitty-movie or not, I used to snort snobbishly, and reply in the negative, ending with the note that I did not associate myself with the foolish multitude that spends their time and energy on such tripe. Now, my reputation is ruined, my spotless track record stained.
Coming back to the movie, the first thing that struck me was the amount of cleavage that one was exposed to. I am a male, a red-blooded and a heterosexual one, but I did not go to there to ogle at the bosom of the female characters. More importantly, it was not a prerequisite for the realization of the plot. The movie starts with the “18 year old” character played by Minisha Lamba, dancing to the tune of an insanely stupid song, in various outfits, the central theme being the accentuation of her bosom. Then you get to meet her “mother”, and even in the moment of great distress, with her daughter being “kidnapped”, her visible cleavage never disappears. There is also an item number in the movie. Need I say more?
This movie will put many real-life kidnappers to shame. I say this because an actual kidnapper would take a much more professional approach, when quite obviously, he is committing such a serious offence. Imran Khan, the reel-life kidnapper takes a much more casual approach. His acting was positively atrocious; he tries to play the part with a psychotic touch, but couldn’t really pull it off. His character let the kidnapee roam around freely; he took her to the beach when she beseeched him for a bath. There are a couple of stupid songs embedded in as well. The whole thing gave the impression that they were a couple living together whose relationship was going sour. Every now and then, the kidnapee is seen prancing around the kidnapper’s lair in some brand new hot outfit. And how tech savvy the kidnapper was! He steals $20 million from the kidnapee’s insanely rich father, as easily as one could download an mp3. He knew how long it takes to trace a call, and used that to his advantage. What the makers of this great movie forgot to take into consideration was that to pin-point the location of the caller may take some 3 minutes, but anything less than that does get a rough estimate of the where the call is coming from. Of course, they don’t expect the junta to question these things. So, every time the super-smart-tech savvy-pseudo psycho kidnapper ended the call just before 3 minutes, the corporate super sleuth was left completely clueless. There is also a parkour action sequence, which is so poorly done that it looks like a slow-motion and downgraded version of the actual sport. And the dialogues are so corny; they made me wince more often than not. Even as I am writing this to unwind, certain scenes from the movie flash back and I shudder, such a traumatic experience it was.
I have a lot more to say, but I can’t go on. Re-visualizing the movie is excruciating, and without much more ado I would just like to say that it was one of the worst cinematic experiences of my life. I would like to meet the person from ToI, who very generously awarded 3 stars to the movie. I would like to know why an established actor like Sanjay Dutt would care to be a part of such an atrocity. I am positive, that I would have died of shame if I had been even remotely associated with this silver screen scourge. But then, that is the power of money. I hope time, the great healer works its magic, but there will be scars!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I am the kind of guy who counts his blessings. So what if I was born a Bihari. I was raised in Patna (it has its shortcomings but is a city), I come from a middle-class background, and I never had to face any caste or religion related issues. But what if I had been on the last rung of the caste ladder? I could have been shot dead by Ranvir Sena. What if I had been a poor Muslim, who migrated to Gujarat? Butchered again. Or just a poor guy with a non-technical degree trying my damndest to get a government job? I could have been killed in Assam, or thrashed within inches of my life in Maharashtra . Quite possibly, I could have committed suicide out of sheer frustration, when nobody in Tamil Nadu would have responded to my queries in my accented Hindi or English. Am I exaggerating? Nope. I don’t think so. There was a time when I, being younger and ignorant, used to equate the status of a Bihari in India with that of a cowboy of Texas, both being the butt of a lot of jokes. What a colossal idiot was I! The only bloody thing that is common is the Cow part. Cowboys indeed, it’s more like cow herds. Cowboys are cool, what’s cool about a cow herd?
The reason why quite a few Bihari students land up in IIT’s: “They drop and drop until they end up at an IIT, plus the fact that Bihari students are good at rote learning. “ The explanation given by a fellow class mate when I started college. I had no idea rote learning could get one a seat in an IIT. If only I had made the acquaintance of his greatness earlier! And this very person was antagonistic for some time as I was a B-boy (a felicitous name coined by him). He also called me and the others like me, NRI’s, because Bihar was not a part of India (his idea of a joke).
A common misconception about Bihari students: He is good for only two things. He can be a good student, religiously toiling away, burning midnight oil and whatnot, score high and ultimately steal white collar jobs from the local population of the city he decides to settle in OR He can be a bloody gunda, eve-teasing, politicizing, intimidating and bullying, rambunctious as hell, the root of all evil.
Sometimes the same person can play both the roles.
But there are people like me as well. Neither here nor there. Decent law-abiding birds, who do not spit, eve-tease or create a ruckus.I am also willing to learn the language of the state I am residing in, even if I can get along easily with the help of Hindi and English. I would do so because there are times when I feel inadequate and guilty . Learning the local language would make me feel good and allow me to belong truly and completely .
An incident which involves my friend while he was studying in Pune: My friend had a friend who had a sister. She was being molested on a regular basis by a Marathi Manoos, who was also a student in the same college. After repeated warnings, when the eve-teasing did not stop a gang of unruly Biharis decided to take the matter in their own hands, and thrashed the Manoos. The Manoos complained to the Police. The Police arrested my pal who was not even there. When asked why the Manoos named my friend, he said that he knew my friends name; he did not know most of the others who actually were involved. Along came the Manoos’s father. Very angry, incensed as hell. When the B-boys complained that his son asked for it, Manoos Sr. said, “What is the big deal? My son teased a (Bihari) girl? So what? Happens every day!” And that is that. Owing to the fine fettle that the great state of Bihar is in, there are no good colleges there. So my brethren and I, mostly depend on other states for our higher studies. Some of us were lucky enough to land in Manipal, which is next to paradise. Long live Manipal and the Kannadigas. Thank You! Till this day, I personally cannot complain. I thank God that I did not have to go to any other state. .
An excerpt from a conversation between two fellow students at MIT, Manipal.
Guy A: This dude B really likes you and all.
Gal C: Yeah, I think he is nice. Where is he from?
Guy A: He is from Patna, but he is not like the others. He is different, you have seen for yourself.
Gal C: (Makes a face) Hmmm. Nah.
I am NOT dude B, I wish I was. At least Gal C was interested in Dude B for a fleeting moment.
Had my friend, dude B, been a Punjabi from Delhi, or just from Delhi, that lady would have had no problems in going out with him. I vividly remember how a few of the students from my state would pretend to be from Delhi to hide the "stigma" of being a Bihari in their valiant attempt to appear cooler. There were a few whose families had migrated to greener pastures; they would vehemently deny the charge of being a Bihari, and would completely disassociate themselves from the state. How pathetic is that ?
An old joke, which reflects what Bihar stands for today.
The ideal solution to Kashmir:
Indian PM to Nawaz Sharif/Bhutto/Zardari/Musharraf/Current Despotic Dumbass of Pakistan: We will give you Kashmir but you get Bihar along with it.
Nawaz Sharif/Bhutto/Zardari/Musharraf/Current Despotic Dumbass of Pakistan: Kashmir be damned. We don’t want it. Truce!
Another joke, of its kind.
Japanese premier to Famous politician of Bihar: Give us Bihar and we will make a Japan out of it in 10 years.
Famous politician of Bihar to Japanese premier: Humko Japan dijiye, usko ek saal mein Bihar bana denge. (Give me Japan, and I will make a Bihar out of it in 1)
Louisiana, USA: Bihar of the US, definitely sure that I read it in the TOI. How? Why?
The name of the virulent disease that is plaguing Mumbai: Bihari. Why? Because Mr. T said so “ Ek bihari sau bimari “ ( A Bihari is synonymous to a hundred diseases , or maybe, a bihari is a carrier of hundred diseases literally , take your pick , or go and ask Mr. Thackeray what exactly did he mean )
The munificent compliments that I receive on account of my being fairly fluent in the English language , or due to the absence of the accent which every Bihari is supposedly born with, or (and this is the best of all) my uncanny un-bihari looks ( what the hell is a bihari supposed to look like ? Dark, emaciated, hair dripping with mustard oil, or what? I mean WTF! ) :-
1. You don’t look like to you are from Bihar – Me: I underwent plastic surgery OR Why is that? Do Biharis have horns on their heads? OR I am a Punjabi who was born in Mumbai; my parents were averse to the rich cosmopolitan culture of that great city, so they relocated.
2. Your English is too good for a Bihari – Me: I am sorry; my parents forced me to go an English medium school, which unfortunately had decent teachers.
3. You don’t sound like a Bihari, you don’t speak with an accent - Me: Speech therapy? Larynx transplant? Accent training? My answer depends on the dumbness of the questioner .
4. The way you cuss and swear, it is not very Bihari - Me: I curse, in my best Bihari.
5. Sir, aap Bihar se hain, lagta nahi hai (Sir, It doesn’t seem that you are from Bihar). This one came from a cook who was hired to cook for my friends and I : Me- An expression of incredulity and bewilderedness on my contorted face, mentally hurling abuses at him , and a really big WTF , when I was alone .
6. Man, you should be the Brand Ambassador of Bihar, given that you are so different from the average bumpkin: Hell Yeah. Why not? Moron!
7. An offshoot of # 2 -A Lady, in a train journey, to me – I am an English professor, have heard a lot of Biharis making a mince out of the Queen’s language, but not you - Me: When I was young my mother burned a Webster, a Wren n Martin and a few of the Classics, dissolved the ashes in the holy water from Thames and made me drink it. This is a tried and tested technique; it has worked for my sister as well. (Do not attempt this at home!)
8. Another offshoot of # 2 - Do they have English schools in Bihar? ( An interviewer to my friend, apparently surprised at his command of the English language ) - Me(Had I been there) : No, I went to Eton for my schooling, and then I came back to India to complete my education , you JACKASS !
Maybe I should blush coyly and express my gratitude the next time somebody says something like the aforementioned.
Yesterday, I read in a blog about some sick and twisted bastard who felt that Bihar got what it deserved. That the havoc wrecked by Kosi was befitting. And I have yet to know how earnestly people from the Rest of the India are helping their poor countrymen. I would like to know whether it is being treated at par with the Gujarat earthquake and the Tsunami or not. I hope my fears are allayed. I hope people discard the contempt they usually reserve for Biharis.
There was a time when I wished I was born elsewhere. I do not anymore. I am a Bihari. I am not ashamed of it. And I will not try to hide it. Even if prospective landlords refuse to accept me as a tenant. Even if I am discriminated against. But I do wonder whether it is a curse or not.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Dark Knight came . I saw it . And the Joker conquered me . I am his slave . He is my new God . If only Heath Ledger were alive to witness his own magnum opus , to bask in his own brilliance, to wallow in the Wow’s that millions(I sincerely hope it is millions) all over the globe must have uttered . And that is all we can do . Words did literally fail me . I do not claim omniscience with respect to cinema, but the Joker’s portrayal by Heath Ledger(May he rest in peace) is one of the best that I have ever seen. I am aware that Batman is a superhero from a comic book, and I am quite sure the Oscar committee would hem and haw a lot before they grant the honour ,provided no other movie outshines it, BUT , Heath Ledger should unequivocally and undoubtedly get one .
The Joker is the work of a genius. And when we take into consideration that the legendary, twelve time nominee and three time winner of the Academy Award , Jack Nicholson once played the part of the Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman(1989), Ledger shines even more brightly. But playing the Joker was no joke. It seems that it his intense involvement with this project might have contributed to his death. Ledger had told reporters that he "slept an average of two hours a night" while playing "a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy" . He couldn't stop thinking. His body was exhausted but his mind was still going. Prescription drugs brought no relief either. And the accidental overdose of that led to his death.
The Dark Knight is a great film, it has become the new #3 on IMDB’s top 250 list. Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan ,Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman were all good. But one man stole the show. It is quite ironical indeed. When Nolan’s first Batman movie came out, it took no time to establish itself as an amazing Batman flick among all the others. It made its mark. And then came the Dark Knight. The legacy continued,with a twist. The irony being that in a movie about a superhero, a supervillain was the one who enthralled and enchanted. If it were up to me , I would award an Oscar to Ledger under the Best Actor in a Leading Role category. As compared to other superhero comic book flicks, most of which appease with the aid of stunning visual effects, this movie has substance . In the eternal battle between Good and Evil, how good must overcome evil, no matter what the cost is. Those who have seen the movie will understand what I allude to, those who haven’t will have to find out on their own. Reminds me of Mahabharata.
The Dark Knight was a revelation. I am afraid, I am no longer as great a fan of Batman as I was. The Joker has usurped Batman in my world. His evil is so pure, pristine, defying and delicious. It is horrifying and awe-inspiring. It is wondrous and horrendous. It is the other end of the spectrum. The Joker will set fire to this world , not to appease his ego, not for vengeance, but only to watch it burn . His evil is selfless . His evil is complete . That is what blew me away. That is the brilliance and beauty of it . He is worth worshiping because he is the greatest personification of evil. And that is why he is my new God .
Monday, September 8, 2008
Dear IHM , thanks a million for the award . I am more than honoured ! And was I surprised . I would like to extend the honour to the following :
Thursday, July 31, 2008
It is one of my favourite movies, and will be so till the day I die. It is amongst the very few motion pictures which brought out my tears, and in no less volume. There was a time when I thought I could cry no more, and then RDB happened. I cried, I cried like a child, and my anguish was real. It was for the loss of one of the greatest sons of
Force when aggressively applied is "violence" and is, therefore, morally unjustifiable, but when it is used in the furtherance of a legitimate cause, it has its moral justification. The elimination of force at all costs in Utopian. - Bhagat Singh
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Books are the way to see the world without moving an inch, said the sedate Mr. Ashok Ganguly in The Namesake (saw the movie, haven’t had the good fortune to read the book as yet, and kudos to Jhumpa Lahiri as well).And it is true to the last letter. Not just see the world, but know it, feel it, love it, hate it, fantasize about it, ruminate over it and be aware of it. Books coupled with an aggressive imagination are the gateway to a plethora of thoughts, sensations and emotions. Reading brings out the best human trait of all, the power to think. When I ponder over Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf with an aim to explore his psyche, when I am lost in Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky’s Russia in his Crime and Punishment, when my ribs are tickled pink by the characters created by Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (Jeeves & Wooster, Uncle Fred, Mike & Psmith et al), when I was enthralled by and enamoured of Gregory David Robert’s Shantharam, when I could relate to the lost and outlandish Agastya Sen, courtesy Mr. Upamanayu Chatterjee, when I was in awe of Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark, when I got entangled in the magical, mystical and fantastic world of Eragon created by Christopher Paolini, when I was completely bowled over by the mental prowess and perspicacity of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, when I am befuddled and beguiled by Fritjof Kapra’s Tao of Physics, I am ALIVE. When my brain is gushing with blood, when there is an avalanche of thoughts, when I can feel a warm glow in my cranium, when it’s whirring, I am proud of being human. And I thank God for bestowing with me this wondrous and inimitable gift. A book is like a jungle for my mental peregrination, I try to penetrate it with my limited intellect and it impregnates me with limitless thoughts.
I guess reading is in my blood. My father was an avid reader, and he still reads when he can. The same can be said for my mother. I am lucky to have an aunt who encouraged this habit of mine, and brought me my first set of Enid Blyton and encyclopaedias. I read to improve myself, to know more, to learn about things I have never heard of, to put my imagination to test, it is not just a hobby or an activity to engage at leisure. It has been a significant contributor to my weltanschauung. Those who read to pass the time don’t read at all, they are just whiling away with the state of their brain hovering just above the level marked inactive. Amongst all the mediums of communication man has at his disposal, the textual one is the noblest and the most powerful. The pen is mightier than the sword was not said in jest. Not everything in this world can be understood and known through audio and visual means, one has to resort to books.
But sadly, reading is a dying art. TV, movies, video-games, mobile phones and a host of other things have contributed to a decline in the number of book lovers. TV must be at the top, and I think even the cell-phone syndrome is responsible for it. Why not chat to your friends using cool sms lingo (which I absolutely hate)? People would rather watch a 2-3 hour movie at the nearest multiplex than pick up a good book and plough through it. I often come across people who are looking for a suitable gift for someone near and dear, but rarely does the suggestion of buying a book seem to work. It only brings out a disapproving no, and that saddens me. The fact that books are expensive is also responsible. Apart from the classics, the Wordsworth edition of which can be purchased at circa 100 rupees only, you rarely find a book which costs less than two or three hundred. And the better they are, the costlier they get. The number of public libraries in India is an indicator of the reading habits of the populace. In my hometown there used to be a British Library, but alas, it’s no more. And not just here, they are closing down in many other cities as well. Any guesses why ? Where is the person who wants to read but cannot afford to, supposed to go ? This will inevitably lead to , in most of the cases, the death of this habit.
A friend of mine went for an interview, where he was asked about his hobbies. Reading was one of them, and he mentioned that the last book he finished was The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. As soon as these words left his mouth, one of the interviewers got visibly excited. He was surprised to find readers of Dostoevsky in the Generation X, and lauded him for it as well. And guess what, my friend cleared the interview as well. Moral of the story – Read Good Books, they help you in ways known and unknown .The digital age that we live in has introduced us to e-books. They may be eco-friendly, cheaper and easily available, but they can never surpass the feeling one gets out of holding a book, rifling through its pages, its smell and touch and the associated pride of ownership. Books are not furniture, but what better way is there to furnish a home, said some great man. To summarise in the style of the amicable Mr. Micawber, from Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, “in short” , Reading ROCKS !
A single book at the right time can change our views dramatically, give a quantum boost to our knowledge, help us construct a whole new outlook on the world and our life. Isn't it odd that we don't seek those experiences more systematically? - Steve Leveen
A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild-flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in the jungles of the East. - Henry David Thoreau
A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy. - Edward P. Morgan
Reading confirms your aliveness. It's very validating. That's what book groups ultimately are; you get validated in the human condition--the conditions and puzzles, the good stuff and the bad stuff, the aspirations and hopes and despairs. You're not alone out there. - Rachel Jacobsen
When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me . - W. Somerset Maugham
I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx
A big book is like a serious relationship; it requires a commitment. Not only that, but there's no guarantee that you will enjoy it, or that it will have a happy ending. Kind of like going out with a girl, having to spend time every day with her - with absolutely no guarantee of nailing her in the end. No thanks. - Mick Foley
P.s. – No, I have not been sponsored or hired by any bookstore or chain of bookstores to write this. I wish they had . Could have made some moolah out of it to buy a book . J