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…

Pic credit:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

What's cooking? Khichdi, of course!!

Perhaps, we didn’t read the signs. It has always been a simple & easy-to-cook complete meal, disliked by kids because it was usually fed when ill. Other special occasion being when the lady of the house was too tired (or in no mood) to cook. Then, first an acclaimed movie used it at its title. Next, Ashish Nehra blamed former coach Chappel for converting the Biryani of a cricket team into Khichdi ( And now, Khichdi has been christened a Super Food by none other than Ms. Harsimrat Kaur, the minister for food processing. A person who should have logically preferred Chicken Tikka or Tandoori Chicken is agreeable to the humble Khichdi being recognized as our National Food.

Which proves that not all politicians look at things from a regional/ethnic/linguistic/religious perspective. Convinced of her non-partisan approach in these matters, I beg her to consider similarly honouring these dishes too:

National Breakfast – It can only be Idli-Dosa & nothing else. These are no longer the monopoly of udipi outlets spread across the country. When one travels along the national highways, this is the only item available in the dhabas for breakfast. Apart from Parle G biscuit packs, of course. Even in Gujarat, a state whose denizens carry their own stock of Thepla’s when they travel outside. This will also help assuage the sentiments of South Indians who have always been distrustful of actions of the central governments. Maybe, we will then also be able to declare Hindi as the national language. Without having Lungi, in return, as the national garment.

National Beverage – As Salman Khan crooned, “Ek garam chai ki pyali ho…” ( Cutting Tea is my nomination too. Not those dished out by these 21st century CafĂ© Coffee Day’s & Barista’s. I mean the cutting chai at those road side tea stalls. I don’t think there is anything better than the over-boiled tea made of recycled tea leaves & served in those small cups. And the pearls of wisdom that one picks up while one is at it, is the free add-on. Right from India’s response to China to the strategy on the cricket field, the fonts of knowledge spring forth from here. So much so that, the earliest memories of our pioneering, path-breaking, record making PM are of selling tea at one of these outlets.

National Snack – What else but the iconic Samosa. It may have been an import, but we have made it our very own. Like Cricket & Hockey. Immortalised in Bollywood songs & Election speeches, it has outlasted all icons. Yes, Akshay Kumar no longer plays the lover boy & Laloo Yadav is back on the fringes in his home state. But the Samosa with Aloo (and other fillings too) still remains a staple at Railway stations, college canteens & street corners.

National Vegetable – It brings tears to the eyes but also the taste buds to life. It is an accompaniment to the main dishes, but the main dish too. You can sprinkle it with salt, with pepper too, or lemon as well, or even dipped whole in vinegar, or as the main dish if the hunger pangs are too severe (or one is too poor). Veg or non-veg, the Onion gels with every dish, every cuisine. Never talked about, it has led to governments tumbling down. Just like us Indians. Even SRK will agree that one should never underestimate the power of a common onion.

National DessertRosogolla for no particular reason but simply to make Didi happy. In the hope that if Didi is happy, she will not be cross with rest of the world. And that she will not send harmless professors to jail. And that she will not behave as an opposition leader despite being the CM. And that she will finally manage to find some time to have her sarees ironed.

P.S.: In the next few days, I am sure the congress will claim they were first to honour this Super Food simply because the UPA behaved as if it was cooking Birbal's Khichdi ( If the hon. minister takes action on my suggestions, she can prove that this government can deliver more than Jumlas.

Pics credit:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Sunrise in the West

“Aaj Suraj kidhar se uga?” (or, where did the sun rise from?) was the first thing I was asked when I reached Kamati Baug early on a Sunday morning to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I assured them all the celestial bodies were on their defined course & it was only the lure of a cake that made me wake up at 7 am. Also present was this guy (let’s not name him) who is a fitness freak. He is so obsessed with fitness that he wants to transform every person he knows, and that person’s neighbor, into a fitness freak.

Including me. He quoted (his other weakness) Jo Walton (whoever he is/was) to me – “There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.” I knew what was coming next & shot back with this pearl of wisdom by Mindy Kaling – “There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”

This ended his attempt (before it could begin) to make me board the fitness wagon. But this also made me think of all the proverbs & sayings that are inspired by sunrise. And I went in search to ashram of Sri Sri Google Baba, the universal source of knowledge. Here are a few of those I found:

Debasish MridhaEven if you cover the whole world with darkness, you can never stop the sun from rising. (Going by his name, I feel Debasish hasn’t read the Bible. Or if he has, he wasn’t too impressed with the achievements credited to Moses.)

AnonymousEach new day, a gift to be opened, sunrise slowly unties it’s ribbon of hope. (True, but I like it when the gift is untied & opened. The process remains the same & I don’t feel the need to witness it day after day.)

Victor Hugo: Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. (Is the source correct in assigning these words to Victor Hugo? Every kid knows this & I can’t think of a reason why VH made this profound observation. Maybe they didn’t till VH pointed this out. For, isn’t Newton supposed to have discovered “Gravity” though it existed right from the time the earth was formed?)

Munia Khan: The sun can rise anytime in your dreams. And there night may fall anytime as well. (I think Munia was responding to Victor Hugo. This should also be my response to those early risers who want me to emulate them.)

But, no one has ever described a sunrise better than William Shakespeare:
The heavenly-harness'd team
Begins his golden progress in the east.

Of course, not everyone is in awe of a sunrise. One being last year’s surprise winner of Nobel Prize for Literature, Bob Dylan. He has his preferences clearly spelt out:
There's beauty in the silver singing river,
There's beauty in the sunrise in the sky,
But none of these and nothing else can match the beauty,
That I remember in my true love's eyes.

Or the Congress party (and many others), which is shouting from the rooftops about the Sonrise in Gujarat.

Quotes sourced from:

Pic sourced from:

Friday, October 6, 2017

Moochhein ho to Nathulalji jaisi

Not many would have heard of Ram Singh Chauhan. Well, he holds the Guiness record for having the longest moustache which was measured to be 4.29 metres ( To understand the scale of achievement, the tallest Indian is just 2.42 metres in height.

Moustaches have been dear to Indian men since ages. In fact, Wikipedia informs that a traditional Indian belief is that a man's facial hair is a sign of his virility”! And the clean shaven British army officers had to grow a moustache to stamp their authority on Indian soldiers. I now believe this was the 1st psychological victory that ultimately led to our independence. And an end to British imperialism globally.

While on moustaches, can we forget the loveable Bhavani Shankar of Golmaal, played by Utpal Dutt, who considered men without moustaches as lacking in character? Poor Amol Palekar was busy the entire length of film attaching & removing his false moustache. It was only at the end of this hilarious film that Bhavani Shankar realized a moustache does not make a man, but we had good fun during those two hours & a half.

Then we had the funny guy with a funny moustache, Charlie Chaplin. His moustache complemented his comic mannerisms & the over/under sized clothes he wore. But the same mustache was also worn by Hitler, who was the opposite of Chaplin. Now, Hitler was a great dictator. But I have always wondered how he grew to be so powerful without being able to twirl his moustache. As the dacoits did in the good old black-and-white days of Bollywood. Maybe, it was because he never had the good fortune to stay in India & observe the diversity of facial hair styles.

But not all men like a moustache. Take Jeeves, for example. In “Jeeves & the Feudal Spirit”, he manages (in his inimitable style) to get Bertie Wooster to shave off the moustache.

Off late, this feudal spirit has been on display in Gujarat too where the dominant community has not taken kindly to Dalits sporting moustaches. But the means are different. These include physical assaults, stabbing, etc.

Bertie had no choice, but the Dalits think otherwise. They have started a social media campaign, posting selfies featuring Dalits with moustaches (#RightToMoustache). What one would call a Gandhian protest, or Gandhigiri in action. But I am not convinced this will work. No, I don’t think a smooch can ever replace the moochh & upset the prevailing social equilibrium. I think this Dalit response will only escalate tensions, especially as the election fever hots up. I suggest the Dalits ditch Sanjay Dutt of Munnabhai & follow Amitabh Bachchan of Sharaabi. They should start chanting “Moochhein ho to Nathulalji jaisi, varna na ho” online & offline. This will shame most of the Darbars to shave off their facial hair, for how many can stand up to Nathulalji when it comes to a moustache?

P.S.: Another Indian to hold the Guiness record for longest moustache earlier, Karni Bheel, was killed with the attackers going away with his head ( Fortunately, nothing of the sort has happened to the Dalits. Yet.

Pics credit:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Behind the Curtain

I escaped civilisation
To seek communion
With the reclusive mountain.

The leaves rustled
And the branches swayed
As the trees danced
To keep in step
With the gentle breeze
Playing a merry tune.
The melody soon
Floated over the horizon
Submerging all around.
The sun, mild for once,
Caressed the earth
Setting alight its blushes.
The cloud descended
To hug the mountain
Like parted lovers
Together again.
The playful waves
Were frolicking
And raced ahead,
Jumping over
The objecting rocks
Slowing down
Only at the foot.
Where I stood.

I traced the rivulet
Back to the top.

The burdened cloud had
To seek solace
With the mountain.
And its tears flowed
Down in a stream
Trying to wash away
The pain within.
The sun tried its best
To bring cheer
To its soulmates below.
The wind sang
On the harp of sunbeams
To keep beat
With the fleeing waves.

Young Again

The boulder
Perched on the bank
Saw the stream passing by
And felt the energy,
The vigour of youth
As the waves
Flirted with the bank.

The boulder
Perched on the bank
Meditated on
The sedentary existence
Frozen to its position
Immobile, unchanging,
As the world swept by.

The boulder
Perched on the bank
On its static life,
When the passing wave
Brushed by it.
Waking it from its

The boulder
Perched on the bank
Saw its world falling
As the ground beneath
Crumbled slowly.
Slowly the soil,
That lifelong companion,
Dissolving in the web
Created by the waves.

The boulder
Perched on the bank
Was, too, thus ensnared
And tumbled into
The newfound destiny.
The passing waves,
Those playmates of the wild,
Were all over it.
The boulder acquiesced
To be the icon of its new world –
Smooth, malleable.

Hide & Seek

The first ray of light
Finally broke free
And found
The fleeing darkness
Hiding beneath the tree,
Seeking safety
Within the shadow lines
Crafted by the leaves above.

Emboldened by the rising sun
Breaking through the shield
It caught up with its foe
In its shrinking sanctuary,
Following its playmates
Recalled the night before
When it lorded over its world,
But gave in to the embrace
Of the adversary.

Its shapeless faceless
Unknown past,
Now given a form
By the friendly mate
It paused to reciprocate,
Ever grateful
To its new companion
For an identity.

It joined the game
And danced to the breeze
As the light advanced
And was all around.

The light awoke.

The day soon followed
Leaving none untouched
In its all-devouring path.

The again abandoned shade,
Its brethren long gone,
Too escaped
Into oblivion.

Such a Long Journey

A star, speeding through its fall,
Across the night sky,
Looked down below. And wondered
In this sea
Of similar stars
There was none alike
Nor one near?
Lonely in the crowd
For aeons
It longed for company.
Was still alone
In its fall
Through the cloudy darkness.

A burst of fire
And it was born.
To give light. Burning bright
And brighter by the day.
Enlightening nothing.
The star was alone.
A lone star
Crashing along
Falling apart
In the maze-
The dark night sky.

All around
Those of his ilk
Of celestial families.
Loyal subjects.
Heavenly bodies. Ornaments
To bring to life,
To give light.
The star,
The lonesome star
Was silent. And still.
As the restless night,
Ablaze in its path,
Seeking glory in its fall,
Awaited an encore.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hey, show some love for the blog & some kind words too...

Thanks for being with this blog all this while. Your support & encouragement has not only made me come back with new posts but also got this blog nominated at The Indian Blogger Awards 2017.

While the jury is out to judge the merits of this blog, I also need your testimonials (even a simple comment would do) on the nomination page as 20% weightage is given to what you write. Now is the time to let the world know what you have always believed about this blog. The process is: Click on the image below which will redirect you to nominations page. You will need to write a comment in the comment section. That’s all, so very simple. You may write something along the lines of: This blog is the best thing to have happened after the 1st newspaper was published. Okay, this is “bit” too much. But even a simple sentence about you having liked my blog would do as well. Or anything in between.

Thanks in advance for your support!!

The Indian Blogger Awards 2017

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Terror has many names

The day Arnab Goswamy resumed his battle against the “Saffron terrorism” bogey, started with media reports of another public figure defining a new branch of terrorism – Social Terrorism. That’s what chairperson of Rajasthan Human Rights Commission, Justice Prakash Tatia, called live-in relationships ( Which left me pondering, why great contemporary thinkers are cropping up in Rajasthan? But with my limited intellectual capabilities, I couldn’t really fathom this & left it unanswered. But an idle mind with plenty of time to spare just doesn’t stop & I began looking for other types of terrorism that we come across. As I discovered, these are quite a few:

Bovine Terrorism: Not the Gau Rakshaks. These kind hearted guys are to gaai’s what Bittu Sahgal was to tigers. I am actually alluding to the docile quadrupeds found masticating on the streets, oblivious to the chaos that our streets are. Kabir Khan, in Chak De India, could foretell where the Aussie player was going to hit the ball. I can give the Kabir Khans of the world all the time they need to forecast what these cows will do next. Something the civic commuters have still not been able to decode. I once believed I had found an easy way to avoid the cows – start walking. But soon enough realized that one can avoid either the cow or the dung, not both.

Beauty Terrorism: No, it isn’t a “kamaal ladki” who “ankhiyo se goli maare”. It is actually the most benign of beings, the peacock. Yes, peacocks are found aplenty in Baroda & they have become used to the morning walkers. A peacock with its feathers spread out is a common sight & its pictures/videos are regularly circulated on local whatsapp groups. But I have also seen tough guys (of the Sunny Deol type) come to tears at the sight of this beautiful bird. Simply because (as one knowledgeable soul told me) they were unable to bring tears in their eyes the previous night (for details, Yes, a very subtle kind of terror that strikes the least likely victims.

Adhaar Terrorism: This one is serious & very real. When it was introduced, it was as if we will finally have an identity that we could flaunt. All along we have been driving without a license card. We had a voter’s I-card but someone always cast our vote before we reached the polling booth. But this time they were also collecting our fingerprints & we did not feel like criminals. Even after the actual cards were delivered with our photos! For, a founder of India’s premier IT company was the brain behind this. But now everyone is asking for the adhaar details, which shouldn’t normally bother us. We are the ones who give away our log-in passwords & ATM pins to anyone who asks for it. I still don’t mind that adhaar has become mandatory for almost anything – from filing one’s tax returns to getting entry into a movie hall. But I am worried that the bootlegger may also make deliveries only after submission of adhaar details. Scary, isn’t it?

Scientific Terrorism: This come in all forms. At one end we have those who present papers at global conferences conducted in Nagpur, proving that Newton was an Indian & it was not an apple that fell on his head but a modak that accidentally slipped out of Ganesha’s hand. At the other end of the spectrum we have the neighbours who offer Patanjali-branded biscuits & snacks to visitors. While the former are found in newspaper reports & facebook posts, one cannot avoid the latter. I now carry a bottle of water when I visit these types & inform that I drink only Gangajal. Because when it comes to holiness, Ganga rates much higher than the Gau-mata!!

Cutting Edge Terrorism: The likes of Mossad, KGB & CIA would willingly spend their entire budgets acquiring this skill. When men with scissors bring the creative minds to the edge of sanity. You may argue that stuff churned out by Bollywood is equally senseless. You may defend the need to preserve our culture & heritage. You may be worried about the adverse influence movies have had on the social fabric. But one of the victims has been Agent 007 himself. Yes, add MI6 also to the list.

Friendly Terrorism: Friends who know your secrets could have been classified as one, but we know their secrets too. However, this is when someone begins to address you as “Mitro”.

But we are a great nation. Fears such as these are but small blips in our existence. We know how to move on despite what the Kasabs & Wanis may achieve. As Gabbar Singh said, ”Jo darr gaya, samjho mar gaya”?

Saturday, August 5, 2017


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 ( 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 & 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 ( 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.

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