Friday, April 20, 2018

Mera Bharat Mahan

The new Tripura CM, Biplab Deb, is in the news. I haven’t gone through the news reports but only the headlines where he claims that the internet & satellites were already there in India during the good old days of Mahabharata. While many have been ridiculing him on these claims, I do not (despite he being a neta). Maybe (as I said, I haven’t read the reports) he has given enough justification for this but the media has been selective in highlighting only one point. Maybe he hasn’t put forth any evidence which could be because he had so many other things to talk about. Whatever be the case, I have always believed what he said but was not brave enough to put it forth publicly. Now that a person of his eminence has spoken thus, I feel confident of expressing myself freely. So, here I go…

It was in the late 90’s that we woke up to a world of connected computers. Which has now ensnared mobiles & other gadgets, the reason it was called the world wide web in the first place. If you get down to the basics, the computers work on the binary system, i.e. only 2 numerals (0 & 1) drive the entire computing operation. And everyone knows India invented the Zero. Having done so, the next logical step would have been invention of the computer. And once computers were there, could the internet be far behind? (India-1, Librandus-0)

If you look back in history, technology (and innovation) has been synonymous with economic advancement. While the industrial revolution brought prosperity to Europe, post-WW2 years have belonged to US for leading scientific & technological development. The last three decades have been powered by Silicon Valley allowing US to stay atop the global pecking order. China began its revival with copy-paste manufacturing, but has since caught up with the technology leaders (e.g. Alibaba). Even our most diehard anti nationals & presstitutes would agree that India was once known as the Golden Sparrow. A time when art, culture, trade, commerce & economy flourished. It would actually be a contradiction that advanced technology was absent in the India of those times. (India-2, Librandus -0)

The technology behind rockets that deliver satellites into space & the missiles that rain on Iraq & Syria is the same. Those of you who have watched the landmark teleserials, Ramayana & Mahabharata, would be aware that India of those times had the most amazing & diverse range of missiles. It is thus logical that our ancestors were in a position to send a communication device into outer space on a projectile? (India-3, Librandus -0)

Except for Zero, an envious western world has always denied India the rightful credit for a host of discoveries & inventions. Take the aircraft, for example. The world has been brainwashed to believe that the Wright brothers made the first successful manned flight, while Leonardo Da Vinci had the drawings ready for a helicopter concept. So, what about the Pushpak Vimana which carried Rama & family back to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana? This is a well-documented fact but the disbelievers simply refuse to be convinced. Which is quite stupid, because these communists weren’t witness to the Wright brothers flying. (India-4, Librandus -0)

Many of us are too enamoured of the West, overlooking our own achievements. It took an apple to fall on Newton’s head for them to discover gravity, something which has been around since the beginning of time. Even today, there is a significantly large no. of people in the White World who believe that the earth is flat despite their own spacemen coming back with 1st hand evidence. On the other hand, our forefathers knew this fact centuries ago despite never having ventured into outer space (not including the one instance when Hanuman swallowed the Sun). (India-5, Librandus -0)

Of course, the world does acknowledge the existence of Harappa & Mohandojaro, the planned urban habitats that existed when the living condition of the westerners could be described as, at best, barbarian. But these could not survive the onslaught of nature & perished. So did a lot of our ancient knowledge, primarily because the knowledge was passed to subsequent generations orally. Most grown-ups would not remember the table of 17 or the basic trigonometric formulae, assuming they memorized these while in school. But our ancestors not only memorized large texts (Vedas & the rest) but also made the kids learn these without any writing aids. Obviously, brains which stored & processed such huge data would be capable of achieving what the modern man cannot even dream of. (India-6, Librandus -0)

We should also appreciate that Mr. Deb was speaking about the Internet (something he uses daily) & the Satellite (something he knows something about). On the other hand, there are some eminent netas who would not be able to speak even three sentences on scientific terms (like Escape Velocity) they freely use in their speeches. (Biplab Deb-3, Librandus-0)

This is a good enough score for the antinational brigade to pack up their bags & retire. I know they would not, but they can at least stop ridiculing Mr. Deb. At least he has not, unlike some of his colleagues, raped kids or shielded rapists (yet).

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Games They Play

The last few weeks have been memorable for Indian sports.

And not just because of the Commonwealth Games where we secured the highest no. of medals ever. It began in China, who has been needling us militarily & suffocating us economically, in the Davis Cup. Tennis is one sport in which India trumps China every time. For the Davis Cup tie this time they hosted us at Tainjin where it gets really cold. The chill helped them go up 2-0 on Day-1. On the 2nd day, Paes & Bopanna paired up to reduce the deficit & the two games on the 3rd day went on our favour too. Now, Paes & Bopanna have been loath to team up to represent India in multi-nation events. But they buried the old animosity this time to emerge victorious. Reminded me of the leaders of SP & BSP who, forgetting historical events, now share a Bua-Bhatija relationship.

The we had the Table Tennis players who put up a stupendous show, the ten member team winning 8 medals (including both the team Golds). The surprise run began with the girls dethroning Singapore in the finals. The undisputed star was Manika Batra who, nails painted in the tricolor, won 4 medals (in each of the event she entered). Reminded me of BJP whose testosterone fueled nationalism demolished most national & regional parties in the last general elections & most of the state elections since.

Hockey is considered our national game, not because it originated here but because this was the lone sport where we excelled since pre-independence days. Since the last many years, it has been on a steady decline. At Gold Coast, we topped the pool to reach the semis where we ended up losing the Bronze medal tie to England who we defeated in the group stage. Reminded me of Rahul Gandhi, whose rallies draw huge crowds but, post-results, he inevitably ends up on the losing side.

Wrestling has been our strong point at the CWG’s. This edition was also no different. The 12-member team returned with 12 medals (5 Golds, 3 Silvers, 4 Bronzes). It seems the akhada-trained strong men (and women) simply could not lose. Reminded me of Mukhtar Ansari (and many others), the mafia don turned neta who has been winning UP assembly elections for more than 20 years now.

India hasn’t done well in Squash traditionally unlike our “friends” across the western border. But Dipika Pallikal & Joshna Chinappa have put up some notable performances in the past. At Gold Coast, their pair reached the finals & ended up with a Silver. A creditable achievement in itself, all though could think (and crib) about was some refereeing errors. Reminded me of Mamata Banerjee.

India has a long history of success in Badminton. Prakash Padukone winning the All England way back in 1980. For the past some years now, it’s the girls who have kept the flag flying high in the sport. Saina won the Gold in 2010 (18 years after Syed Modi last did so) but missed the last edition. During this period she saw Sindhu hogging the limelight & glory. But Saina came back to defeat Sindhu & secure the gold medal this time. Reminded me of the communists which regained power in Kerala after losing it everywhere else (in India & the world).

These splendid two sporting weeks for the Indian sports fan have ended. And reminded me of our netas who have, during this period, spoken about nothing else but Kathua & Unnao rape cases.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Satte Pe Satta of a Marathon

This year’s Vadodara International Marathon (VIM 2018) somehow made me recall the great hindi film – Satte Pe Satta. I find a lot of similarities between the two. Here are 7 (to keep up with the theme) of these:

1. This is a fun love story. The love story begins with a slap. But Amitabh Bachchan is besotted & gets into hot pursuit mode. AB (as Ravi) woos the lady with fruits, then flowers, feigning injury next & finally succeeds (in classic Bollywood fashion) over the course of a song. Over the years, VIM has also gone through these stages:
The slap: In 2013, I walked off after the start for two reasons: the start was much delayed (for the aspiring PM-cum-Chief Guest arrived late & gave a long speech), and there was no way of getting out except after being flagged off!! (This blog didn’t exist then, so no account here)
The Fruit & Flowers: The next time, the start was again delayed (for the CM-cum-Chief Guest arrived late but gave a shorter speech this time) but not as much.
The Deception: Last year, they started on time but there still was much scope for improvement.
The Song: VIM 2018, when the organisers decided 7th Jan 2018 will be that “ek din” when “pyar ho jayega”.

2. While AB is the undisputed lead, the film is about 7 brothers who live a life of their own. On their own terms. Close to, but away from civilization. Coming to Akshar Chowk, it seemed as if there was some Occupy OP Road going on. But realized soon enough these were the 10K runners. They were in groups, chatting & having fun amongst themselves. Just like our 7 brothers in the film, but a few thousands in number. It seemed as if they would break into the song any time: Zindagi bhaag ke bitayenge, Sab ko sath mein bhagayenge, Hum to marathoners hain, Zindagi run-geen banayenge... If you think this is outlandish, imagine a couple of grown-up men going to a bar & asking for milk. This particular scene is more in the line of a Johny Lever, but the brothers make it look very natural.

3. An unconventional Hema Malini is the female lead, though it may appear that she is more of a supporting cast (to the 7 brothers). I particularly admire her role in this film. She takes on the men & emerges victorious each time. She has portrayed a strong, independent woman in other films too, notably Sita aur Gita & Sholay, but here she displays the conventional feminine traits too. Coming back to the film, she would never have believed that a place such as the brothers’ dwelling could ever exist. But she is up to it. Starting at one end, task by task, she totally transforms the disorderly house into a spick & span home. Pulling off an event of magnitude such as VIM requires equally meticulous planning & attention to details. This time they succeeded – from route selection to on route provisions & volunteering. Just like Hema makes her brothers-in-law take a bath (after having washed their clothes)!!

4. If the eldest one gets his lady love, can the rest be denied the same? No way, and they soon bump into a group of lovely ladies who are brought into the house (actually kidnapped). They are 6 in number, one for each of the remaining brothers. VIM 2018 too had something for everyone. Apart from the timed runs (42K, 21K & 10K), they had the mandatory 5K fun run, a costume run, a separate category for NRI’s (who happen to be in town this time of the year) & also one for the physically challenged. I suspect the VIM organisers were also impressed by Satte Pe Satta, where a wheelchair-confined Ranjeeta was the leader of the gang of girls!! Except that it should be called Satte pe Satte pe Satta for having these 7 categories in the 7th edition held on 7th January.

5. If you think this movie was all fun & love, you are wrong. It also had a health-related message for the viewers – “daru peene se liver kharaab hota hai”. And this message was reinforced multiple times in a short sequence. VIM too had a social objective – Swachhata (cleanliness). Hope Baroda turns up in the top-3 cleanest cities soon!

6. Bollywood has always believed in the Wodehouse dictum, “unto each life, some rain must fall”. Thus, no bollywood film is complete without the mandatory bad man. Satte pe Sata was no different, but here we got a villain with a heart of gold, aka Babu (AB in a double role). He walks out of jail & is contracted by Amjad Khan for another assignment – to kill his niece, Ranjeeta. A professional to the core, he quickly assumes the hero’s identity to get close to his target. VIM too had its share of mishaps. Like the refusal of the volunteers to provide ORS to the slower HM runners. But to keep it for the FMers come later when the sun is truly up & its warmer. Thus, they had the best interests of the FM runners in mind while doing so & were not really the bad guys. Like Babu, who did not take advantage of the lady, despite being in a position to do so.

7. Essentially, I feel the film was about transformation. An unkempt, ruffianish Ravi into a suave gentleman who can romance a girl. A tyrant eldest brother who begins to admit his mistakes (he appears to be genuinely sorry for having lied to Hema abt his family/household & the girls for having kidnapped them). A no-nonsense, disciplinarian Hema Malini into a caring wife & sister-in-law. The wild brothers into civilized men. So has the VIM improved year by year into what turned out to be a blockbuster event this year. And just like Ravi’s friend in the film, Shekhar, I am sure most regular participants would have wondered at the end of the event, Ye registan mein phool kaise khil gaya?”.

These similarities apart, do you know what’s my favourite scene in the movie? It is Hema Malini throwing back the fruit gifted by Amitabh Bachchan. It was a water melon (ROFL) & I was afraid it would crash on his head. It was a relief it didn’t & I knew she would soon be his!! The medal too, in honour of AB’s choice, decided to perch on this fruit.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Untold Smog Tales

The smog in Gurgaon is so thick that Robert Vadra grabbed his own land. This message has been doing the rounds in WhatsApp since yesterday. In fact I couldn’t forward this message to any group because it was there in all. Which shows that the problem is as serious as made out by the news channels. But the news channels have been focused on the pollution/visibility data & the actions taken by the government. And speaking to those who have been affected by the government actions. But there have been many other incidents that point to the severity of the situation, though missed out by the mainstream media.

In one smog-related incident two vehicles collided in Gurgaon. As per tradition, the drivers stopped their vehicles & got out. But due to the heavy smog, they beat up a pedestrian crossing the road who happened to be there when these gentle-men had just come out of their vehicles. You may argue that had there been no smog, the pedestrian would have been overrun by a vehicle. But road rage is a serious ailment in Delhi/NCR & we need to take it up seriously.

But it is near impossible to cure those in Delhi/NCR of their undesirable habits. There was this case yesterday (yet to be verified by the news channels) of a lady standing at the bus stop bashing up her own husband, along with a group of women, for doing to her what men in Delhi do to women standing at bus stops. We still do not know what story the man told upon reaching home but the wife was tending to his injuries. As they say, time heals all wounds.

It is no use approaching the Police during this period. Some of them have also become victims of the smog & the famed ingenuity of Delhiites. It is reported that some cops were handed bundles of Rs. 10 notes (which should have been of Rs. 100 denomination) when they went about collecting the hafta. Unfortunately, they are unable to recall the persons responsible for this. Many of these cops have now gone on medical leave. We also heard that their senior officers have now approached the government to introduce Rs. 5000 notes so that such incidents are not reported next winter onwards. As it is, the police is already understaffed for maintaining law & order in a city of this size.

Not that people in Delhi have the habit of approaching the police at the drop of a hat. They are more accustomed to taking the law in their own hands & resolving issues there and then. Like the employees of Indigo Airlines. But due to the heavy smog, the Indigo ground staff beat their own pilot who was boarding the plane. The grapevine has it that the Airlines is thinking of taking strict action against the pilot.

While airline operations have been severely hit due to smog, the humble auto rickshaws have also not been untouched. In fact, they have been twice affected. Firstly, the fall in number of commuters has reduced their income drastically. As if this was not enough, practically all auto drivers are missing turns due to the smog & taking passengers to their destinations by the shortest route. The auto rickshaw drivers’ union is in discussion with the government to increase fares during periods of smog.

Not just the locals, even those visiting Delhi from outside have been affected. Though, most of these suffered from only breathing problem & illness. But there was this group from a large state that gathered at Ramlila Maidan to demand inclusion under reserved category. There was another group from that state, adjacent to this one, who was opposing the demand for reservation by this group. But due to the smog, the leaders (of both groups) found themselves on the wrong stage & their speeches being booed rather than cheered. The minister who had come to meet the groups was so confused that he refused to address either group & hurried back. It appears that he has reported this to his colleagues & the central government is now speaking to the concerned state governments to tackle the smog problem.

But there is a positive story too. The incidents of rape have stopped completely owing to the smog. The potential rapists have stayed indoors for fear of becoming victims themselves while out on the prowl. Safety first is what they believe in. And so should you if you stay in, or are planning to visit, Delhi/NCR. Take care & stay healthy.

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Khichdi of Thoughts

This is about the time when I had just moved to Bharuch. Someone suggested having Khichdi for lunch. The classic gujarati Kadhi-Khichdi being something I relish, I went along. Arriving at the joint, I was told there were two varieties of Khichdi’s – one, Rasa Wali, served with chicken gravy & the other, Tari Wali, served with the oil floating on chicken gravy. I haven’t found either at any other town.

The other day, our Hon. Minister for Food Processing was all set to declare Khichdi as the National Food. But she chickened out at the very last minute & not because she loves tikka & tandoori more. She didn’t want another controversy cropping up when election fever is rising in two crucial states. I tell you, these antinational, intolerant, left-leaning libtaards have been creating needless controversies for too long now. I still remember, as if it was yesterday, the noise they made when our government pushed yoga on a global scale. Don’t they feel proud now when the whole world does yoga on International Yoga Day? Thus, I request the Hon. Minister to just go ahead & declare Khichdi as the National Food.

A simple, healthy, easy-to-cook, complete meal as Khichdi deserves its rightful place at the global level. Today, it’s the burgers, noodles, pizzas, etc. that are recognised all around the world. What about Indian dishes? Except for Chicken Tikka Masala, the world is ignorant about our culinary delights. Had we promoted the Vada Pav outside, MacDonald’s would have been a Vada Paav chain that also sold burgers. We cannot let this happen to Khichdi too. Thus the government needs to go all out to push Khichdi as the go-to Super Food. And leave it to Baba Ramdev to set up the Patanjali Khichdi Ghar’s which are sure to outnumber the Pizza Hut’s, MacD’s & Starbucks put together, worldwide.

But the government should first ensure that we get the GI tag for this food. Else, someone in the US will get a patent for Khichdi & we will end up paying him a royalty every time we cook it. The GI tag will also certify Khichdi as the real thing & those like Porridge, Tyraahi (Egypt), Noorkali (Iran), etc. as mere imitators. Khichdi may have various versions & names in different countries. But our civilization is the oldest & our Khichdi is the original one.

Next, the government should organize Khichdi Fests to popularize this Super Food which has more varieties than the no. of states & union territories. In fact much more, if you consider that the small town of Bharuch itself has two. Within India, these will act as a tool for national integration. Once people in part of the country start accepting & appreciating the Khichdi of other parts, language, culture, traditions would soon follow. Outside India, this would ignite their palates & they would come in droves to savor Khichdi in the country of origin. It may as well turn out to be as big a reason to visit India as the Taj Mahal.

Each of us has been force fed Khichdi as a kid when we used to be ill. We can exploit the health benefits ( of Khichdi. There is another thing missing in the decadent west that we have in abundance – Spiritualism. Club the benefits of Spiritualism & Khichdi & we can sell the concept of Detox Tourism to the west. I believe they would be more than willing for something like this. A month’s visit for complete personal regeneration – physiological as well as spiritual. And an opportunity to take a selfie in front of the Taj too. Can it get any better?

And not to forget, getting UN to select one day in the year as the International Khichdi Day. That would be a day when the whole world eats Khichdi. Armed with the GI tag, Indians would be the only ones to make & sell Khichdi to the world. This would not only help in eliminating unemployment, we would also see the rise of a new breed of Indian entrepreneurs with a global footprint.

If only the government listens…

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