Saturday, August 5, 2017

Snip

It started with lynching of men where lives were cut out of those not following the social practices of the majority. The vocal urbanites lost no time in decrying this new practice but in the absence of candle light marches this fad has only gained in strength. We are fortunate that only beef eaters are the victims & those of us who savour other animal food (or even garlic & onion) can continue to do so.


Next, we had Pahlaj Nihalani, as Censor Board chief, playing Alok Nath in his sanskari avatar. He is the same person whose films, long back, filled up the front rows in movie halls. He may not be acclaimed for his technical skills or cinematic vision. But credit to him for cult songs like “Sarkaye Lo Khatiya…”, to name one. Most of us believed movie going would again be a pleasure it once was, with Mr. Nihalani heading the august body instituted with the task of regulating films being made. However, this was no beginning of Achhe Din for fans of masala movie (or even those who like the good ones). Pahlaj Nihalani ver 2.0 is adept at chopping scenes not in sync with our sanskaar. Yes, we are yet to watch a film with a blank screen & no dialogue, which indicates he has other means of occupying his time. Though very fine, this still is a silver lining.

Now such things usually happen only to a specific class of people, like film makers & meat sellers (Ok, dalits too). Or, do they? A couple of days back, pausing to see my whatsapp notification while surfing channels, I happened to stop at Aaj Tak. And realized that this penchant for hacking down anyone & anything is getting out of hand. As you know (but cannot believe), Aaj Tak has been rated by Brand Trust Report as the most trusted media brand (http://aajtak.intoday.in/story/aajtak-and-india-today-most-trusted-brands-1-922002.html). Thus, one is forced to take Aaj Tak seriously even if anchors of other news channels (not just newly launched English ones) can shout much, much louder.

Coming back to the news item, it was about spate of incidents in/around Delhi where women’s hair were being cut by unknown persons. (Visit http://aajtak.intoday.in/crime/story/police-lodged-fir-against-unknown-person-who-cut-woman-hair-delhi-1-944157.html & you will know how scary this is.) As you know, her hair is very dear to a woman, next only to gossip & golgappas. Thus, the guys behind snipping off women’s hair have dared to go beyond Nihalani or the anti-beef brigade. And this is not bound by class, caste, etc. It could happen to your wife or your neighbour’s. And you will not like it one bit!! Do you now realize how serious this is? Maybe they may turn out better in short, cropped hair but is it worth the risk? Granted, her visits to the saloon will become less frequent & the expenses come down. But will this get her to spend less time getting ready?

Coming back to the topic, is this a new trend or is it a localized fad that would soon disappear? Had it been limited to Delhi, one would have assumed the latter, believing this to be the job of someone who has not yet been able to recover from the impact of demonetization, odd-even & now, GST. But this is happening in UP too, where the anti-Romeo squads target only couples. And rural Rajasthan, where it is so difficult to see the shape of a woman’s eyebrow, let alone the length of her hair, with the pallu doing as good a job as the burqa. And Haryana, where they just do not dishonor their women (so what if they kill them?).

Now, all these states have BJP governments in power. This could be a conspiracy by the opposition (should we say, marginal?) parties to malign the administration. Well, no again. Some of these opposition guys are too busy preparing for the visit by the not-so-friendly authorities looking for cash & jewelry lying about their homes. While some others are worried about the land holdings that can be linked to them. Even Mamta Banerjee & Arvind Kejriwal have been unusually quiet for some time now. Of course, NDTV 24x7 has also picked up this story but I still won’t believe this is a congress ploy. A party that can’t keep its prince safe from stone pelters in a flood affected area can hardly be trusted to plan a mass hair cutting programme.

But is this something to really worry about? I don’t think so, for we have lived our entire lives with this in one form or the other. Haven’t we all grown up with our teachers cutting our marks for the silliest of reasons? Growing up, we ended up with the government slicing away a good portion of our earnings as tax (but that’s lawful, unlike the cut a “Bhai” takes). Of what was saved from the government, the banks slice wee bits (which add up significantly) in the form of numerous charges we do not even know about. And many companies now routinely cut down their headcount for reasons of austerity.

Long back, the cricket administrators cut down the game from five days to one & from one day to 3 hours. Which has made it watchable to more viewers. And the film makers (perhaps inspired by Pahlaj Nihalani’s success) have been cutting down what actresses wear, which has brought in more viewers than those who left. And those who couldn’t become actresses even after wearing these stripped down dresses joined the 3-hour cricket, which made it even more watchable! Those of you who are salivating at the thought that this could potentially lead to something similar happening to the players too (the grapevine is also talking about a women’s IPL), let me remind you that long back Soviets were sent back from the field because they came down to play in shorts. They haven’t been seen since.

So, keep you fantasies in control & watch the men in blue defeat the men in darker blue in the 2nd test too. All these stories about women’s hair being cut by some unknown “forces” will die down soon. Remember, the tests will be followed by one days & a T-20. As they say, patience pays!




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Towards a post-Aadhaar era

The government is on track. Now even the cows will have their own aadhaar card. If you are thinking that the Achhe Din have finally arrived, wait. There’s a lot that still needs to be done. No, I don’t want the aadhar database to be overloaded. But there are many areas where exclusivity/unique identification should be extended so that identities are not mistaken, people are not fooled & sanity prevails. Here are a few suggestions that the government needs to consider:


Stray Dogs: They are of all types: friendly or suspicious, silent or aggressive, barkers or biters. Giving each a unique ID will help in proper identification. The regular morning walkers would then know which ones to avoid & which ones to let close enough. And the likes of government officials in Kerala need not go into the trouble of exterminating the entire race (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/) from the town as they would be able to target selectively & precisely the ones to be eliminated.


Unfulfilled poll promises: Our netas are notorious for recycling promises made during previous elections. The election promises should have a unique prefix (with a clear indication of the year these were originally made) so that electorate realise which one is new. Such as BJP726GJ2002 or INC4983UP1972. This will force netas to think & come up with new promises to not keep. Other intended benefits include Hema Malini no longer fearing (before each election) her cheeks being compared to streets in Bihar. And, the mango people no longer waiting for #AchheDin.


Government schemes/institutions: Coming from a state where wine (or any other intoxicating fluid) never gets old enough, repackaging is something that I do not understand. Yes, Niti Ayog has a nice indian touch to its name but even duffers like me have now realised that it is nothing but yesterday's Planning Commission reheated for today's dinner.



Hindi Film Music: I don’t know how this can be achieved, but it is a must-do. For, the likes of Anu Malik do not disappear completely, they can be ressurected any time in future in the form of lazy music directors. Yes, this may affect some livelihoods but as they say, hard work never killed anyone!





Breaking News: Come on guys, give us a break. If a news has broken once then please accept the fact. Don’t remind us of it throughout the day. Unless you believe you can glue the broken news together again & again, but that would imply you have been using an adhesive of extremely poor quality. Like the news you peddle.


Sound levels: If the government can auction airwaves & spectrum, why can't it do so for noise too? Let the panelists on TV debates bid & win the decibel levels for themselves & be forced not to shout louder than they are entitled to. The out-shouting contests have actually turned the TV to an idiot box. This is all the more important as Arnab Goswamy will soon be back to enlighten is with what the nation wants to know.


Pix credits:


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I didn't post this, Blogger did

Gurmehar Kaur is back in the news, though, as I write this she is going back into obscurity. Though it was an old pic of hers which provoked Viru Sehwag, whose return tweet was found humorous by many, including Randeep Hooda. Well, this post is not about the placard politics that’s being played out on social media. But what these newsmakers said, and the manner of their saying it, is I liked. Isn’t this blog also about the other whys? This intrigued me enough to go about asking people what they were doing, and why, & here’s the response I got:

I went to a busy, crowded government office & caught hold of a person who had just finished his transaction. And this common man (or aam admi or mango people, as you may prefer) innocently told me, “I am not corrupt, it is the system that is corrupt”. It was nearing lunch time &  I managed to have a quiet word with the official too, who informed me matter-of-factly, “I am not corrupt, it is the system that is corrupt”. Later in the afternoon, I bumped into a small time local neta. Hearing out my experience (narrated in an accusatory tone), he hit back like Yuvi going for a six, “I am not corrupt, it is the system that is corrupt”.

Different people, different roles, but one answer. I put a stop to my expedition, letting my imagination do all the hard work instead. If speech is free, why shouldn’t I hear what I wish to? So here it goes…

The first stop my thoughts made was at a private party where I managed to spot a bollywood superstar who was quite candid & admitted, “I am not a great actor, it’s our public that likes celluloid trash”. Big words, but I hope someday he gets courageous (and honest) enough to tell this to a producer too.

In Tamil Nadu where it’s only the supreme leaders of the two parties that win elections, I was surprised when this neta told me, “I can win elections on my own, but I need a leader to give me the ticket to contest”. Had it been UP or Bihar, he would have formed his own political party.

And this big businessman in a small town (are the rest like him too?), “I don’t fudge my accounts, I only manage my accountant & auditor” My advice to write a book on “Managing Accounts for Dummies” was declined as there would be no buyers.

Somehow managing to avoid a collision with this young kid with his girlfriend on the pillion, I found him zooming off with this reply, “I don’t drive on the wrong side, I only take the short cut”. Looking behind, I hoped the traffic cop didn’t take too short a cut after getting hold of this offender.

And finally this gem from a moderator of a newsroom panel discussion – “I am not shouting, the volume of the TV is set too high”. And I knew it was time to tune off & bring this post to a close.


If I ever get back to doing this exercise, I will be looking for: “I am not communal, religion is.” Who would that come from? Your guess is as good as mine!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Presenting the CM of Punjab. Oops Delhi. Sorry Punjab. No, Delhi. Actually Punjab...

Is it true? Is Arvind Kejriwal the AAP CM candidate for Punjab? Nothing could be a better news for the people of Punjab. Finally, the messiah of the mango people was making their state his home. 

But what about the people of Delhi? They would not take it kindly, being abandoned mid-course in such a way. Well, I have a way out. Rather, more than a way out…

Odd-Even: This one has the best odds as it is the easiest to implement, Chandigarh & Delhi being not too far off. This is also one which is close to AK’s heart. In fact, he will also get a chance to meet his voters/non-voters when he commutes either way.

Visiting CM: We all have seen that Delhi is too small a place for both Modi & Kejriwal. As per this option, Kejriwal will visit Delhi when Modi is on one of his foreign trips or on election campaign. Thus, we will have only one of them in town at any time which could reduce the noise levels considerably. Of course, Punjabis would feel cheated because Modi is more often out of Delhi, than in.

Raj Dharna: When a Dharna is there, can Kejriwal be far behind? Kejriwal moves to the place/state that is holding a Dharna. And stays put till another Dharna is organized. Though there is a risk here – Kejriwal may start acting as the CM when he attends Dharna in another state which would not be to the liking of his friends there (like Didi or Nitish).

Seasonal Visits: I personally prefer this one. We all know how winter affects Kejriwal and also the problems it creates in the city. So, Kejriwal can stay in Punjab during the winters & get the farmers there not to burn their agriwaste, Delhi would get so much less of winter smog. As far as the muffler is concerned, he can get to wear it in Punjab too.

CM by Holography: He can be present in both the places by having his 3D hologram projected (as Modi did during elections) where he is not. Actually, this seems to be the best option as this would enable Kejriwal to be the CM of Goa too!!


Referendum: If all/most of the above seem equally attractive, let there be a referendum in the country (or Delhi & Punjab, to begin with) to decide the best course of action. I am sure that people of both, Delhi & Punjab, will not like to lose their CM. Thus, this democratic tool appears to be the best solution. And AAP has plenty of experience, & much faith, in a referendum.



Friday, December 30, 2016

My New Year Resolutions

When in school, our teachers made us write our new year resolutions. Once done, they forgot about it, and so did we. As a result, I never fell into the trap of making & abiding by new year resolutions. Now that I have realized old age creeping up, I want to make a fresh beginning. Beginning with new year resolutions & here are mine for 2017:

Wake up early: I have always taken great pride in being a slow runner. But when even the mornings run out faster than I do, this becomes a concern. So, this is my #1 goal for the new year. And I will see to it that I do so at least 7 times in 2017. Okay, I will not count the days when I go to sleep as the sun rises; is that fine now?

Visit the ATM regularly: Ready that as twice a week. Because I always end up rushing from one ATM to the other when I am out of cash. It has taken me days to finally get into one with enough cash to last my turn. But not from next year onwards. On the appointed days, at the earmarked hour, I will be at the nearest ATM with a queue in front. Irrespective of the outcome (this turned out a pun!) for, has it not been said, Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma phaleshu kadachana

In praise of Modi: Okay, he is the PM, the authority, the establishment. And a neta too. And, netas can’t be painted black & black. There should surely be some shade of grey & next year, I will look for one in all the netas (Modi was mentioned simply to catch your attention) in the coming year. Wish me luck, guys, for I am no Bhakt (of whatever kind).

Read, Read, Read: That is, more of printed word & less of forwarded messages on WhatsApp. And this does not also include the nanoliterature, aka tweets, whatever be its literary merit. Nor the wisdom of Encyclopedia Philosophica, popular called Facebook (you all know what stuff facebook saints fwd on WhatsApp). But it can very well be comic strips or menu card, for I need to complete at least one task.

Pick up a hobby: All work & no play makes Jack a dully boy. So, my types, who do very little of work need to pick some activity as the excuse for whiling away our time. Something like exploring the retail environment, or sending online behavioral data to data miners, analysts & e-marketers, or even redistributing unauthenticated bits of spiced up news.


You may call the last one as loitering about in the malls, being wedded to the mobile or gossiping. But isn’t it a beginning? You can always suggest something better when the next year ends. You have the whole year to think about it. But this year, I am going to wake up feeling better & resolute. And not only because bootlegging has gone further underground in Baroda.

Wishing you a great year ahead! Have Fun!! Enjoy!!!


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