A Thought

Ramachandra Guha writes in The Telegraph:

In this narration, I have skipped one item, number three, in part because I think it the most important, and hence best dealt with last. This pertained to a visit to the Mahatma by the ministers of the new government of West Bengal. What Gandhi said to them is summarized in the Collected Works.But there is a slightly longer, and somewhat more vivid, account in Manu Gandhi’s book The Miracle of Calcutta. This informs us that when the Bengal ministers sought his blessings, Gandhi told them, “Today, you have worn on your heads a crown of thorns. The seat of power is a nasty thing. You have to remain ever wakeful on that seat. You have to be more truthful, more non-violent, more humble and more forbearing. You had been put to test during the British regime. But in a way it was no test at all. But now there will be no end to your being tested. Do not fall a prey to the lure of wealth. May God help you! You are there to serve the villages and the poor.” [The Telegraph]

The words of Gandhi - a gentle reminder to people in national service.

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Kambakht Ishq - Not for kids, adults or aliens

Kambakht Ishq.

Just like all previous purposeful mistakes I've made in my life, I added one more to the list when I landed in a cinema hall (albeit on a social outing with family) to watch Kambakht Ishq. And this is what happened.




Not everyday do you get to know what it feels like to be punched by Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson in a one-on-two match. Even worse, I'm way too weak and vulnerable already.

So how is Kambakht Ishq, you may ask. How does it feel like to see a dog have his bowels emptied, the excreta picked up and packaged into a double-cheese burger and given to you as your 'junk meal'?

Yes. That bad. And add the dog's 'soft-drink' to complete the package.

The ringa-ringa-roses begin in a church, where even God was pitiably forced to witness the testament of a failed wedding, Kareena Kapoor's in-your-face non-acting and stuntman Akshay Kumar's attempts to save the men of the world from evil women. I pity you, God. I do.

Before the 'I do' is completed and poor old Aftab Shivdasani (who apparently still exists to give goofy smiles and fill the 'chaprasi-disguised-as-supporting-actor' roles) is completely deprived of any sex life with beau Amrita Arora, you have a failed wedding with cakes being hurled in all directions for no purpose whatsoever when they should have seriously considered donating them to thousands of engineering students who could use it as cannon fodder.

As life goes on (and so does the dog-b***h claptrap), Kareena amazingly drops her ringtone-watch while doing her first surgery EVER into Akshay's stomach. The visuals pop up in an x-ray and Kareena decides that she must fake love to retrieve the watch while Akshay apparently ends up falling in love, sacrificing all the principles on which his life was based in the movie.

In between, you have Hollywood icons Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards do cameos. Javed Jaffery and Kirron Kher waste their talents in poorly-scripted roles. Shivdasani and Arora are just plain fillers, while Akshay's wacky sidekick is a hyper-lame imitation of many other previously successful Bollywood sidekicks.

Add to this, Kapoor's questionable and self-righteous attitude towards people who watch movies clearly speaks volumes about the escalated power that Bollywood brokers in the country today. A day doesn't seem to be far off where the 'stars' hardly bother about pleasing fans, but impose themselves in a rather Orwellian way of doing things.

Make movies. Make better movies. Let the people decide.

And as far as this one goes - avoidable. Completely.

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Keep the Faith

After a rather painful and completely unexpected Super Eight elimination in the ICC World Twenty20 Championships, the bits, pieces and a meaningless match against champions-elect South Africa are the only sources of minimum redemption and face-saving hope that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his fallen heroes can pick up. The barrage of criticism that has followed the exit of the Indian cricket team from the prestigious event in England is, not to say the least, shocking.

The media, in particular, has again demonstrated typical opportunism and singled out Dhoni for the utter failure of the defending champions. Undoubtedly, Dhoni has made errors not suited to his cricketing brain but to lambast a man, who has sacrificed his entire batting career for the thankless job of the Indian cricket captain, for defeats in two matches (one by a close three runs) is shameful to say the least. The media is clearly still nursing the wounds of that clash with Dhoni regarding team spirit and Virender Sehwag. In the wake of that ugly confrontation, they have been presented with a roaring opportunity to get even with the Ranchi cricketer. And boy have they have made use of it.

TV channels are running amok with excessive replays of specific errors made by Dhoni in the key defeat against the West Indies and experts from all spheres of life are castigating him for tactical errors. How unfair. To single out Dhoni and give a clean chit to the likes of Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir is extremely unjust and what is even more ridiculous is that this inevitably makes captaincy in cricket indirectly or even directly responsible for the poor form of other players. And this even defies logic.

As expected, opinion polls are waiting breathlessly at the end of the tunnel of Dhoni’s journey with many fans and news websites pondering whether sacking Dhoni could pave the way for a new era in Indian cricket. Whether India are better off without his ultra-cool demeanors on field and excessive rotations of the batting order.

Well, the simple answer is No.

To pass a judgment on the career of Dhoni based on a single tournament smacks of rhetorical nonsense of the worst kind and there is clearly no single stand-out successor to Dhoni in Indian cricket’s current scenario. The likes of Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh are better off captaining their respective IPL teams while the leader in a Rohit Sharma or a Suresh Raina is clearly an infant who needs time to blossom.

If Mahendra Singh Dhoni is fast becoming the problem, then he is also the only solution. In him lies the brain to intellectually sort out the wrongs of the current Indian set-up and it is he who has the calmness to realize his and the team’s mistakes and rise out of the ashes. And mind you, it’s only his first major failure. The immediate apology offered by him at the end of the game speaks volumes about Dhoni’s level-headed nature and mental toughness and he is one man who knows and feels the pain of an early exit and collective failure. And what it means to a billion people.

Keep the faith. This isn’t the end of ends. This is a new beginning.

[Posted on Wordpress]

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Site Maintenance

As I have observed and as was also pointed out by Mithe, the current template on this blog has exceeded the bandwidth limit.

Since I'm not too keen on other Blogger templates, I guess I will use this breakdown to complete a long-pending move to Wordpress. And also get my own domain name.

Be back soon. New and improved.

Delhi-6: More Clichés

If there's one significant line that is worth keeping in mind at the end of a draining re-run of tormenting and heavily clichéd themes-filthy rich guy, simple town girl, impossible love, fill-in characters, overdose of drama, Hindu-Muslim clashes in a small neighbourhood- it is "How can a monkey be a Hindu or a Muslim?". And the irony is that just right there even a neutral's view of the Hindu-Muslim conundrum is converted into a drab chestnut. And one wonders whether it is eventual boredom that will lead to the end of the problem as even mutual hatred joins the list of clichés. At least in movies.

A rich young man plans to ensure a smooth return for his grandmother to her family home in the crowded streets of vintage Delhi. He becomes a part of the neighbourhood to such an extent that he is no longer just the admired-from-a-distance, sweet NRI with a crooked Western accent. He falls in love (you don't know when it happens, how it happens and why it happens), meddles in the personal lives of a few orthodox well-wishers and ends up being beaten to death, like a man who dares to mess with the rigidity of conservatism would. But he does come back alive, of course.

Rakeysh Mehra's previous efforts have been way better than what he has brought out for the cinegoer this time around. Mehra's intrinsic focus on how he will patch raw beads into a beautiful necklace lose pace as early as the beginning of the movie. A typically chaotic introduction to innumerable characters, who then keep popping in and out of the screen at unexpected times and an effort to stitch together the culture beauty of Purani Dilli for the audiences leads to a jamboree of confusion that one just cant comprehend. Rakeysh Mehra probably observed the average Delhi life, made a checklist and somehow infused every point from that list into a package. Plot - doesn't matter. Sense - who cares. Audience - bewildered.

In the middle of it all, you are taught how to slap with resounding acoustics, how to change channels from the TV remote without using your hands, how to jump from one building to another in a congested neighbourhood like a fleet-footed chipmunk chasing a banana-filled truck, how to see through a monkey's eyes and how to be insane about Indian Idol. The starcast gives a thoroughly average performance. Nobody in particular stands out. Except Sonam Kapoor's natural Chandni Chowk ki chhorri looks.

The music is impressive, but that is the least one can expect from a man who has just bagged two Oscars for some rather ordinary work in Slumdog Millionaire. A R Rahman's work in D-6 however is truly worth savouring, as are Prasoon Joshi's lyrics. But the movie is very disappointing. In an effort to build a cultural beauty and to demonstrate how long-drawn communal conflicts can be erased by projecting a common enemy, Mr. Mehra misses the point, the plot and gives us a rather average Bollywood flick. The dots just dont connect.

Verdict: Avoidable

[Image courtesy: Showhype]

Sidenote: Congratulations to A R Rahman and Resul Pookutty for their phenomenal wins at the 81st Academy Awards.

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The 25 Things Tag

1) I have lived more than half of my life outside India.

2) Deciding to pursue engineering was not the wisest move in my life. I wish I had the conviction in me to pursue a career in sports, political science or even become a pet detective (Ace Ventura style).

3) I detest fame of all kinds, but secretly dream of hot women screaming my name.

4) My social skills are not terrible, just plainly weird. Sometimes, I dont know why I've behaved in a certain way, spoken certain things in public and made certain acquaintances.

5) I like football more than cricket. In fact, I am fanatical to the point that the craze has become an addiction. I cant live without football (playing, watching on TV, brainstorming, gossiping). Period.

6) By posting the same comment five consecutive times on one of my blog posts (an example here), I do not understand your point better than I did after reading it just the once.

7) I am a vegetarian. I have had my spell with smoking. I drink very, very rarely.

8) Sometimes, I like playing the uber-cool fool when I am surrounded by people(women) I wish to leave an impression upon. Sometimes.

9) I dont enjoy being in the company of cynics and sycophants. Other types will do, but these two categories of people make me feel like I need blood donors.

10) Thank God, I've reached Number 10 on this list.

11) I think Bollywood plays a hand in keeping India united. On a personal level, Bollywood is not for me (Reasons here). I am your occasionally-found-at-multiplexes kind of guy.

12) I was NOT a bully in school. I did NOT rag anyone in college. As far as I can remember.

13) I do not enjoy dancing, of the type in a discotheque with coloured lights and 'rocking' music. I enjoy Garbaa and Dandiya Raas, the folks dances of my home state.

14) During my school days, a history teacher who educated me on the Indian freedom struggle, the World Wars and Mahatma Gandhi was one of my role models. I scored 55 in Social Sciences in 10th. I dont know why (Dont smirk! One of the toppers in my school scored 49 in Social Sciences and 90s in all other subjects). I still believe this was a CBSE-sponsored conspiracy.

15) I hate obsessive love. Simple love is fine. But some lovey-doveys are overtly obsessed with their opposites. I feel life loses pragmatism with this kind of 'love'.

16) The Fair-N-Handsome effect doesn't fancy me one bit.

17) I think religion has been misunderstood by people to an extent I had never imagined. And it's getting worse. And the only tonic is tolerance.

18) I think Priyanka Chopra is very beautiful. And hot. I think Mallika Sherawat is very hot. But not beautiful. In an ideal world, I'd want to marry Priyanka and have an extra-marital affair with Mallika. ;-)

19) When in my teens, MyHotBoard.com was one of my favourite internet haunts. It doesn't take a genius to interpret what the site was about, from the name of the site.

20) Sourav Ganguly is my all-time favourite cricketer. During the NatWest final in England in 2002, at 146/5 (when Sachin Tendulkar got out), I made an instant bet with my uncle that India will chase down 326. And we did.

21) I try not to lie. But there are certain situations in life where you just cant seem to 'go ahead' if you choose to not lie. I also try not to lie in those situations. But what eventually makes me lie is that greatest fear of 'being stuck' in compromising situations.

22) Yes, I realize that I've wickedly used this tag to promote some of my previous blog posts.

23) I am usually very calm. MS Dhoni, for me, is a soothing brain that one should attempt to emulate.

24) Two things in the world elevate me to instant bliss - 1) making people laugh 2) scoring a goal in a football match.

25) Thank God, this tag is over. I usually dont enjoy tags. Anybody in the whole wide world can take up this tag from here. Dont pile the pressure on me by expecting me to come up with a list. :-)

Stay safe.

[Tag request: Indian Home Maker]

(I have a gut feeling that there may be others who would've requested this. If you(blogger/reader/Ram Sene hooligan/Congress stooge/BJP hardman/ISI agent) requested one before reading this post, kindly get in touch. A courtesy link is then a necessity.)

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Of Pink Chaddis, Pink Condoms & Naked Hypocrisy

So finally, the most significant Valentine's Day in Indian history is over. There were indeed incidents of violence, which is shameful to say the least, against couples professing their love in public places across the country, but the focus seemed rather on an initiative called the Pink Chaddi campaign which was followed by its adversary, the Pink Condom campaign.

Like mass mobilization movements of the pre-Independence era, the two campaigns have picked up like-minded members and proceeded full steam ahead to promote their ideologically-leaning theories. In fact, that is what is common between the two - ideology.

Reality check.

The Pink Chaddi campaign and the Consortium of Loose, Pub going and Forward Women were hysterical in the promotion of the liberal mindset and their attack on conservatives is apparent, along with veiled potshots aimed at Hindu culture(read comments on their blog). It also forgets that fundamentalism of all religions needs to be fought against, not specifically Hinduism. Indeed, there were many fundamentalist groups that had threatened couples on Valentine's Day.

Now what happens with the Pink Chaddi campaign - anyone even remotely conservative and loyal to his/her culture is 'backward', 'un-progressive' and has trapped the country in an inertia of medieval theocracy. Let alone that the person might be a commoner, a wage-earner who has a family of many to feed. But the elitist disregard for the Indian poor is clearly on display with the Pink Chaddi folks.

It is indeed disappointing that the BJP did not do enough to bring the Sri Ram Sene and Pramod Muthalik to justice. "But they did arrest him before V-Day?", the quintessential Rightist may ask. Well, preventive custody is not justice. It is aimed at avoiding a repeat of the past events for public interest during that particular period when the threat looms large. What about the Mangalore pub attack? Where is justice for that? What was required, if at all, was a protest outside the Sene's office and the state legislative assembly in Bangalore and calls for ban on such fundamentalist groups.

But we are too happy sending pink chaddis to be bothered about a protest that makes an actual difference and doesn't just hog all the headlines. The attention by the media is blinding and the Consortium is on the brink of victory. Once the pink chaddis reached Muthalik, the Consortium's job was done and life is back to normal.

Congratulations Pink Chaddi folks, Mangalore's victims have justice. Maybe, overflowing boxes of pink underwear will flood the SRS office, block the exits and its members will be prevented from coming out and orchestrating another attack.

The Pink Condom campaign and the Consortium of Assertive and Proud Hindus hasn't been all over the papers, but only a look at their website is enough to understand that they intend to form a shield against those maligning Hinduism. The Pink Condom campaign conveniently forgets that there may be religious Hindus in the Pink Chaddi campaign who have nothing against Hinduism and are plainly intent on embarassing Muthalik and the SRS.

The Pink Condom initiative also fails to consider the fact that there may be many conservative Muslims and Christians(read comments on blog) who echo similar feelings against the liberal West. After all, if Indian culture is conservative - then it means Hindu, Islamic, Christian and all other conservative religious cultures, doesn't it?

It hails itself as secular while also specifically defending Hindu interests. Sure, pseudo-secularism is prevalent in India and practiced by many, but to use labels like 'sickular' is quite irresponsible and ignorant of the sentiments of the ill-advised members of both campaigns and people all over India in general. Especially, when the fault lies primarily with fundamentalist Hindus like Muthalik & his SRS.

End result - liberals celebrate the success of the Pink Chaddi campaign, while conservatives are up in arms against pub culture and similar anti-cultural theses. Next time the stupid SRS is out there marshalling pubs and attacking women, liberals will bury themselves in the paranoia of hysteria once again(aided by the media) and conservatives will brainstorm and ponder over erosion-of-Indian-culture and blame pub-going girls for 'provoking' the mad fundamentalists.

As soon as incidents like these phase out of public memory, Muthalik will walk a free man, the SRS remains as it is and although they must have learnt their lessons, does just teaching a lesson count for justice?

Welcome back to square one.

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Seven and a Half Rupees

Once upon a time, at one of Mumbai's many railway stations, I was waiting to board a late train to Ahmedabad. My parents and my sister were with me. We were heading back to our hometown of Rajkot, via Ahmedabad, after a trip to Mumbai to meet a few relatives.

Our train was scheduled at 10:30 pm. And it was around 10:15 pm at the time. As usual, we were seated on the few benches there and I was looking around the platform.

I noticed a little boy, surely not older than five or six, a little farther away. Clad in a torn black t-shirt and brown shorts, the little kid was moving about barefooted, had a plastic bag in one hand and the fingers of his other hand seemed closed around something he was clutching to while requesting others on the station to take up his service of shoe polishing.

Unfortunately, nobody obliged. Slowly, he came over to where my father and I were seated. My mother and my sister had apparently gone for a walk around the station and were not present then.

As he approached us, I noticed that he was holding his earnings from a hard day's job in the clenched fist. It didn't seem to be much, as a little kid's hands can hardly hold too many coins, forget clutching to them.

He was silent. After having been asked to move ahead rather rudely by many of the people he came across, I sensed a natural dejection in him to convince my father and me.

He lightly waved the bag. My father asked him "Kitne me karoge?"

Sensing a potential customer, the little kid's eyes gleamed and he raised two fingers of the hand with which he held the plastic bag and said "Do rupey, saab.", the other hand as tightly bound as ever.

My father removed his chappals.

The kid then sat down, undoubtedly spurred on by landing a customer, and finally loosened the fist of his other hand. Some coins emerged. He sat down, placed the coins carefully beside him, and proceeded with the job on hand.

The dedication with which he took up the task was a treat to the eyes. Like a thorough professional, he opened his carry bag and out came a shoe polish and a brush. Very delicately, he opened the polish, dipped his brush into it and polished my father's chappals. What was more wonderful was that he gave it all his time, like a perfectionist, making sure that not a speck of dust remained.

He was soon done. The chappals were as good as new.

My father took out a ten-rupee note to pay the child, who had by now put the polish and the brush into his bag and gathered his previous earnings.

The child observed the ten-rupee note, and looked at his earnings. I could see that the coins were few and he began counting them. It was a small collection of one-rupee and 50-paise coins. One by one he counted the coins and I counted along.

The coins summed up to seven-and-a-half rupees.

The child, with an anxious look on his face and an innocent nod, looked up towards us and said "Saab, chhutte nahi hain.".

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That emotion called Love

So, Valentine's Day is upon us. Ah! One more reason to look him/her deep in the eyes and say I Love You, ji. One more occasion to re-emphasize memories like "Remember, you used to come to my hostel at 10 pm in the night and honk and then I used to come down and we used to go to eat American makaai. And then you would drop me back and then you would wait till I went back inside. And...", while listening to which if you have accidentally dozed off on being possessed by the spirit of lethargic boredom and you've failed the test of your tolerance, then you end up facing serious consequences.

Sadly, contemporary love seems to have developed pre-conditions, most of which are largely tilting towards materialism. According to me, it's not love if the premise on which a semblance is felt is Kya maal hai bey! or Is he rich? Does he have a car? How good is his English?. Such assumptions only lead to more and more hypocrisy if indeed there is a match and 'something happens'. Sex is becoming a precursor and dressing sense seems to matter more than clarity of thought. But in a commercial world, this is the least that can be expected.

Love, however, is meant to be a celebration. It is the enabler of peace and the forebearer of altruistic principles. And all forms of love must be celebrated. Love for parents, love for siblings, love for family, love for friends, love for society and love for country should be accorded as much importance as love for partner. What makes the emotion of love so inspiring is that interpretation of it with an open mind could showcase the emotion as an example of the tolerance that the society needs. Therefore, even homosexuals and eunuchs have the right to love. Love embodies the basic concept of humankind. And if a society directs itself towards love, then the people stand to benefit.

Love is beautiful. Keep it just that.

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They say that India is a lie because its reality falls so far short of its ideals. They are wrong. India is not a lie; it is a disappointment. But it can be a disappointment only because it is also a hope. [Pragmatic Euphony]

To be a Prime Minister

Mayawati, Ram Vilas Paswan and Narendra Modi fail on many counts

With Lok Sabha polls less than a couple of months away, most newspapers and magazines will begin the usual in-depth analysis of Prime Ministerial candidates of various parties and coalitions. But what seems certain at this point in time is that a fractured coalition is but an inevitability. No party has a share of majority seats. No party can survive without forging together regional parties. Pre-poll alliances are, hence, likely to play a crucial role in the run up to Elections 2009. But the interest here lies purely on the Prime Ministerial candidates offered by various parties, or at least the ones doing the rounds in the media.

One of the most talked about candidates is actually non-BJP, non-Congress - Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. Mayawati, according to a few estimates, could take advantage of the fractured coalitions of the NDA and the UPA. Now the only basis on which Mayawati is being praised as a beacon of hope is because she is a Dalit. A product of the ‘real’ India. A voice for the oppressed. Not withstanding her contributions in giving the Dalit India a voice, she has so far proved to be a very average administrator as Uttar Pradesh remains one of the most backward states of India. Her record in corruption and involvement in dubious murder cases (like the recent one of a BSP MLA) would also add to the taint on the PM’s chair.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has given his backing to Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP, because Lalu also wants to see a Dalit become the Prime Minister. Now being a Dalit has nothing to do with Prime Ministership simply because the focus would overtly be on the symbolic identity of the person and not on issues of governance. If Paswan or Mayawati are potential candidates, then the Indian voter should be anxious about what value they can add to the Prime Minister’s post rather than focus on the point that even India can be an America, where a black Barack Obama became Preisdent. Now, Barack Obama became President because he emerged from all racial divides. While Lalu stresses that he wants Paswan to be Prime Minister, simply because he is a Dalit. Since when did the Prime Minister’s post have a criteria for caste?

If Paswan proves his leadership skills and emerges above all divides, I will vote for him. If Mayawati does the same, I will vote for her. But neither have ever objectively enlightened us about their ideas for India’s progress and are instead focusing on the one aspect, that of being a Dalit, to foster their prime ministerial ambitions. The focus instead of being on good governance, bonding of stand-alone minorities with the majority and the unity of India, is rather on identity politics and the rise of leaders that represent a particular race. This would do no good to India, would it?

Even Gujarat CM Narendra Modi fails at this juncture, despite being endorsed by various corporate heads and celebrities, simply because his focus is also on region and religion. Most of his speeches play to the tune of Hindutva. And a failed ideology like Hindutva is not a trump card to being a Prime Minister. Even regarding the people, Modi’s stress on Gujarati pride will also do no good to the rest of India and the “India first, Gujarat second” Gujaratis.

Hence to all questions that ask where is India’s Barack Obama, the most un-partisan and truthful answer seems to be - “He/she’s not here just yet”.

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IPL Ins and Outs

After Shilpa Shetty and her boyfriend Raj Kundra's investment of Rs. 7.5 crores in Rajasthan Royals IPL franchise, Ms. Shetty has said and rightly so that she is here to add glamour to the Royals. The Royals were the winners of the first edition of the Indian Premier League.

"Well I am not going to bullshit myself into believing I've been brought in for my business acumen. The team had it all. They needed the glamour quotient and for that I am here," Shilpa told IANS. [CricketNext]

Refreshing honesty, I must say. Although Ms. Shetty also goes on to add the following gems later in the interview:

Raj is a crazy cricket fan. And why shouldn't he be? He's an Indian who lives in England. All Indian men are crazy about cricket. And everyone knows cricket was born in England. So Raj has a double reason to buy a part of the IPL.

All Indian men are indeed crazy about cricket (and glamorous hot women, skimpily-dressed cheerleaders and Shilpa Shetty herself of course). And cricket was but of course born in England.

And hence Raj's reason to buy a stake is not to see a return on investment but because he is "an Indian who lives in England" and because "Indians are crazy about cricket" and "cricket was born in England". The logic is confounding.

In the wake of Ms. Shetty's pomp-filled arrival on the stage of cricket ka maha yuddh, the IPL has also faced some withdrawals.

Pakistani players
The Pakistan "government" stepped in to ensure no Pakistani player features in the 2009 IPL season.

"We have been informed by the foreign ministry today that the situation is not conducive for Pakistan cricketers to travel to India," sports minister Aftab Jilani told the Associated Press. The sports ministry had last week given clearance to the players to participate in the Indian Twenty20 league, while informing them that their security would be their own and their IPL franchise's responsibility. [Cricinfo]

Oh. Whom will Shah Rukh Khan now jump on after match presentations (and expose a little innerwear in the process for girls to go ga-ga over)?

Michael Clarke
Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke has also pulled out of the IPL. Clarke claims that a busy international schedule is the main reason, but Lalit Modi has a few more things to say. Apparently, Clarke's base amount of $1m was too much to pay.

"I don't think anybody is ready to pay that kind of price," Modi said. [IE]

Maybe Clarke needs time out to contemplate how Australia can undo this.

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Trivializing Terrorism

Mangalore was hooliganism, gender abuse and sexual harassment. Not terrorism.

In the wake of the inhumane incidents at a Mangalore pub which are undoubtedly tantamount to goonda-ism and autocracy in free, democratic India, the media and public in general have rightly raised voices calling for strict and severe action against the accused. Such deplorable acts of violence against women have no place in contemporary Indian society that has progressively evolved in the right direction and offers opportunities galore for all sectors of society to earn rewards for hard work and perseverance. Perverted, fundamentalist groups that masquerade in the name of God hence go against the spirit and values of the India that is making commendable strides in diverse fields.

Inarguably, India has judiciously moved on to an improved standard of living for its people and any attempt to sabotage a safer, developed nation should be effectively curbed and eliminated. The threats imposed by fringe right-wing groups should be pre-empted and the bhakt senas banned immediately irrespective of political affiliations or blessings from power brokers.

However, a disappointing outcome of the outburst against the Mangalore hooligans has been the constant attempts by the media and the public in general to equate the larger threat of cross-border terrorism with the incidents in Karnataka. By no means does Mangalore even feature close to the audacious terror attacks on Mumbai or for that matter even Delhi/Ahmedabad/Jaipur/Bangalore and several other Indian cities. The sheer scale of the number of dead in the various blasts of 2008 is enough to ensure that terrorism from across the border features at the number one position on India’s priority list.

Moreover, terror acts are meticulously planned, extensively prepared for and then executed with a monstrosity and fanaticism that only believes in the piling up of dead bodies irrespective of religion, caste and creed. Then how does Mangalore feature in this category? Or is the Mangalore incident yet to be completely disclosed by the media and there were indeed a lot of girls slaughtered and raped to death?

Another inadequate term that might soon become a catchphrase with the media which has emerged in the obsessive reporting of this incident is the word Taliban. Sure, the Taliban’s ideology is the complete disempowerment of women and their ostracism from societal participation. Sure, even the hooligans in Mangalore would have that deep down in their minds. But there is a difference between slapping a woman and chopping her head off without the slightest remorse. Just like there is a difference between India and the fundamentally wicked “original” Taliban. If incidents like Mangalore occur in every nook and corner of India, only then do words like “Taliban” and “terrorism” deserve to feature in mainstream vocabulary.

Surely, there is a difference between Mangalore’s reprehensible violence and the Indians dead in the Mumbai attacks. Or have our feelings for the dead gone astray in the wake of the acts of Mangalore, the videos of which are replayed again and again by the media to invoke rage and the “true Indian” in us who spares a minute or two for its people? The same “true Indian” who conveniently glues the tag of terrorism to such incidents. What is required is to deal with all wrongdoing rationally and at its magnitude of occurrence along with other factors like fatalities involved and degree of violence engaged in.

May the Law have the last say.

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Can anybody stop Dhoni and co? In a thundering second one-day international, India defeated Sri Lanka by 15 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the away series.

But what was more post-match news than the match referee summoning Yuvraj Singh for dissen(raised bat towards the umpire for a blatantly wrong decision) and a Sri Lankan, on the lines of Pakistan's famous seen-in-every-match supporter, signalling towards Rohit Sharma to sit down when the player was celebrating the win?

The bails. Umpires are humans. Their mistakes are understood, irrespective of the existence of a bias. But bails! What could basic cricket equipment have to do with India's path to greatness in the sport?

Well, I managed to sneak up on the bails. For no reason, I choose to call them President AAZ and Prime Minister YRG as I failed to get their names. Here's what happened:-

President AAZ: Hey listen YRG. Today, I've come up with a master plan to make sure India doesn't win.

Prime Minister YRG: What plan?

AAZ: Today I've decided that whatever happens we will just refuse to move when India is bowling.

YRG: What? Are you sure of this? Will such denial work?

AAZ: Yes. Trust me. The only way India cannot present a just case to claiming a wicket is by us refusing to fall off.

YRG: Wow. What an idea! This way India may just fail to win. When do you plan to not fall?

AAZ: When Zaheer Khan is bowling. If the ball just merely touches the wicket, don't fall down.

YRG: OK. But wouldn't the Indians be suspicious?

AAZ: Dont worry about that. Even living, breathing umpires are against them. We are non-living.

YRG: Any other time?

AAZ: Yes, when their captain Dhoni attempts a stumping or a run out. I urge you to not fall during this time too.


Later, when Dhoni's attempted run-out fails to dislodge the bails, Dhoni moves towards the wickets in an attempt to shake the stumps up off their ground and fix them back again.

Dhoni grabs hold of the bails.

AAZ: Aaaaaaa....Ouch.....Oooohhhh....I'm falling.....

YRG: Aaaaa....Me too....

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Shoddy Intimidation

A blogger Chyetanya Kunte has delivered an unconditional apology on his blog to NDTV and Barkha Dutt for criticizing their coverage of the Mumbai attacks and quoting Wikipedia on their role during the Kargil conflict.

However, just a glance at the post [Google Cache] should convince any right thinking individual that the blogger never intended to defame the said media house, but was merely giving an opinion. And how much does the opinion of a single individual even matter to such a revered corporate entity? In truth, not much. Blogs have a lesser reach, inarguably.

In fact, that is what makes this case even more outrageous. To silence a person who is plainly excercising his fundamental right and offering views of what he felt during the time is unconstitutional. What use is the Constitution if the flag bearers of one of the enlisted rights do not respect opinion - praise, criticism alike - driven at them?

Read others: Retributions, Vimoh's Open Letter to NDTV, Shripriya, Prem Panicker, DesiPundit

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All-India Institute of Perverts

About Us
Founded in Mangalore, the All-India Institute of Perverts is a pioneer in promoting the erosion of all morals from within the human brain, and specializes in debauchery. The AIIP has been known to produce world-class debauchees who are well versed in being radical sensualists and masterful hooligans.

Aspirants for a seat in the AIIP require the following basic qualifications-
1) Age – No limits
2) Sex – Male (Females are allowed, on the criteria that they will have to be experts in wrestling against their own sex)
3) Know how to say Jai Sri Ram and Girls are like my sisters and make them appear completely genuine
4) Be fundamentalist
5) Detest Valentine’s Day (and hence detest red heart-shaped balloons, greeting cards and Archie’s Gallery)
6) At least 1 year experience in destruction of furniture and pub/club hoardings.

- Masters in Moral Policing
- Masters in Moral Policing (Extra subjects: HOW TO 1) Slap a woman, 2) Tangle her hair in an attempt to make her bald, 3) Hold a woman by her head with both hands and fling her hard onto the ground)

Apply Fast. Limited Seats. And don’t forget to bring along a saffron robe.

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Just another Day

Ah! There it is. A day off from work. A day on which one can sleep away into the afternoon. Aday for multiplexes to cash in on Friday openings of Raaz 2, irrespective of how good/bad the movie is. A day on which Bollywood actresses appear one by one dressed up as sati savitris on various channels wishing viewers a happy day and also reminding them to keep watching that particular channel.

A day for youngsters to head out to picnic spots with their yaaron ki barat. A day on which TV channels, including Zoom TV, can embolden their logos with the colours saffron, white and green. A day on which city-based newspapers overflow with advertisements flashing special discounts and rush-in-before-it’s-over offers.

A day on which wearing a kurta is a little smarter than wearing a My-Dad-is-my-ATM T-shirt for men and wearing a salwaar kameez is more pleasing than wearing a What-are-you-staring-at? top for women. A day for “kewl” hunks to romance “kyuut” chicks behind trees and bushes in gardens. A day on which you can say “Valentine’s Day is coming”. A day on which wives can pester their husbands with “Aaj chhutti hai. Bacchon ko bahar khana hai.” and get an “Ok, baba” in return.

A day on which patriotic songs are played by FM radio stations, at least for a few hours. A day on which special offers are available at restaurants, decorated with tricoloured balloons and waiters dressed in traditional clothing. A day on which the Indian tricolor, the Rs. 2 one that street children sell, is found in the skies at dawn and on the streets at dusk.

At the same time, it is a day on which India became a Republic. A day on which the Constitution was adopted by the people a couple of years after independence. A day on which the idea of India, and the power, is demonstrated with grace and honor in New Delhi. A day on which the national anthem is sung with a tranquil mind. A day on which the tricolor should be saluted, and then stored and kept away safely. A day on which the Indian cricket team WINNING matters more than any other ordinary match day. A day on which the finger just doesn’t move towards the remote to change a channel playing an India-themed movie. A day on which everything pales into insignificance. Or at least, everything SHOULD pale into insignificance.

Happy 60th Republic Day.

Stay proud.

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Awards acceptance speech

[Mike check 1...2...3]

[Clears throat...]


Thank you, dear bloggers. Thank you for showing faith in my dementia to consider me intellectual and lovely enough to be rewarded. I humbly accept whatever has been conferred upon me, with the deepest gratitude for one and all.

First of all, I'd like to thank Blogger.com for hosting me.

Secondly, I'd like to thank my clothes for bearing the real me, my shoes for walking me and food for feeding me.

Thirdly, I'd like to thank my family, friends, hot female admirers, Trailblazer-tattooed-on-their-back models, cool kids shouting their throats out over TCGH and me, exhaustive shoppers for official Trailblazer merchandise(including Trailblazer lipstick in 47 flavours honourably selected by BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Trailblazer condoms in...err...a few flavours selected specifically by Mallika Sherawat and Rakhi Sawant).

Fourthly, I'd like to thank my well-wishers, deep well-wishers, well-wishers trying to force me into a deep well and other well-wishers from across the border.

Fifth, I'd like to thank ex-President George Bush, Lalu Yadav, Mayawatiji/Behenji, Arundhati Roy, General Kayani, related state/non-state organizations and the gun-trotting folks from Muridke.

And finally I thank all those working effortlessly to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra or an Islamic Mulak. I hope your labour meets its right ends.

Thank you for your love.

(In response to Catwampusme, Smitha, Kiran and AmreekanDesi's felicitations.)

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Thoughts on Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionare. Ah!

Talk of tinsel town, Mumbai’s dirty underbelly, Winner of 4 Golden Globes, Oscar potential, Danny Boyle, Amitabh Bachchan. What else? Yes, dirty shit, ugly trash, child prostitution, bogus orphanages, black money, anti-Muslim riots, organized crime, underworld, mafia, real India and a racist, abusive Kaun Banega Crorepati host to top it all! Mr. Boyle should have just blown the kid up in a terrorist strike to keep up to the film’s compulsive and streamlined portrayal of what India is and isn’t. It would have made for some climax.

My God, can any ordinary human being survive in India with this kind of exploitative, abusive, terrifying atrocities committed on its people day in and day out? Yuck, my respect for India is down in the dust and I have decided that I will pester any one willing to be pestered, to get me out of this hell. Starting with the passport office, of course. And then the embassy. And then finally off to a new country.

No. Wait. I’m right here. Sure there are problems but I seem to see a lot of people smiling around me, living a happy life with a blossoming family, enjoying with friends, working for a decent wager in the Third World. Sure I’m not a “slumdog” but even slum children will not be facing up to the over-hyped, over-the-top atrocities depicted in SM that only ONE single child faces. Escapist? No. Realistic? No. Realistic escapism? Hell yes.

Whenever a reality check is undertaken, then it is very wise to not lose track of the core concept of such a check - reality itself. Because depiction of in-your-face hard-nosed reality is one thing and blowing reality out of proportion to portray all the “evils” of India at one go is another. And Slumdog Millionaire has conveniently opted for the latter at the expense of the former and hence feeding on India’s magnified sorrows has given the movie Oh-my-God applause that it doesn’t really deserve.

Thank you Mr. Boyle. Next time, we expect better. Or at least a package that is nigh closer to reality than perennially escapist Bollywood. And Slumdog Millionaire.

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The joke will be on India...again

Anatomy of the Pakistani case for a joint anti-terror "mechanism"

To this question posed by a former dean of social sciences at the Quaid-i-Azam University in Pakistan, let us go back two years in history.

Why is the Indian government employing coercive diplomacy to achieve its objectives when it can easily sort out contentious issues through a joint investigation? The answer to this question is that a joint investigation, bilateral or multilateral, simply does not suit India [DTP-Anatomy of the Indian case]

In 2006, a joint anti-terror mechanism agreement was penned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [Link]. The UPA government compromised on India's inarguable right to being long-term victims of terror by agreeing to such a farce, which Dr. Singh had then dubbed as a trial, since we are not going to war.

But the mechanism, which is almost similar to setting up a body of criminals in India to bring criminals themselves to justice, had failed in all restrospect. Not only was it doomed right from the time it was agreed upon, but Pakistan's promise that it would bring the perpetrators to justice was rebutted by the country at the first meet of the "mechanism". Instead, they audaciously argued that it was India's R&AW that was funding suspicious organizations in Pakistan.

And now, the writer dares to question India's commitment to eradication of terrorism from the region by bringing forward an altogether new reason to the argument. The joint "mechanism" is a complete farce that intends to throw back India's argument. In fact, this is all that is in Pakistan's convenience. No wonder, they offered to jointly investigate the Mumbai terror attacks.

And anyway, Pakistan's record of convicting terrorists is abysmal. No single terrorist attack launched from Pakistani soil has been properly scrutizined by the Pakistani government. No terrorists have been "brought to justice". No terrorists have been handed over. Can Pakistan present even one case of having successfully convicted the perpetrators of a major attack on Indian soil? I think not. And hence, a joint probe remains a futile concept.

The emergence of a few in-your-face truths continue to evade our leaders, pseudo-patriots and apologists for cross-border terrorism - Pakistan is NOT an ally of India in the war of terror. Pakistan has NO interest in a terror-free India. The ISI will not bring the ISI to justice. The "mechanism" is a farce. And we should never see sense in such nonsense.

Because the joke will be on us...again.

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It's time we took His advice

I WOULD risk violence a thousand times rather than risk the emasculation of a whole race. [The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi]

Would you support a war?

7 successful habits of Bollywood & its groupies

What began as a comment on Mutiny on a debate regarding Ghajini's effective market penetration in respect to its quality and content, has tempted me to make public my observations on Bollywood and its die-hard, ardent, baying-for-Bollywood-dissenters'-blood fans.

1) The majority of Bollywood is a fool's paradise
No Bollywood fan will admit this simply because Bollywood movies are way too convenient for the common man. Effortless 3-hour packages that give the brain a rest, Ah! Who wouldn't want that? Bollywood is a self-created, self-endorsed world of illusions, where talent eventually matters little(although there are exceptions of course) because the rust in most of our brains tells us that "My son/daughter has to be the next film star, SO let me promote him/her". Nepotism hence rules and although Bollywood families do have sons and daughters passing out of western universities, the majority of those with "acting in their blood" eventually end up with the duty of attending to the "legacy" of their father/mother/both. Few have succeeded successfully, nevertheless ALL co-exist in peace and harmony.

2) Bollywood has infested our minds. C'mon, admit it.
Scampering to download the latest mp3? Adrenaline rushing to watch a must-watch? Fear of ticketlessness haunting you and causing nightmares? Congratulations. You are officially diagnosed with Bollywoodosysis. Common symptoms of this disease include an irresistible urge to talk/gossip/glorify Bollywood during the majority of your day, discussions over latest movie releases, a craving "Why Friday isn't here yet?" whimper, calling Bollywood stars as bringers of change to society and not thinking twice before splashing Rs.250 out in a multiplex stuffed with make-up boxes imitating what they then go on to see on the silver screen. Fashion above common sense? Good Lord, save the world.

3) Bollywood wants peace with Pakistan
Read this piece [Link], of five years ago but relevant today, and you will find a Suniel Shetty giving you How can you not like Pakistan? look. Bollywood finds Pakistan to be a huge market and hence would relish peace, even if they are extremely parochial to ignore the fact that the cause of the turmoil between the two countries is not the Indian state, but the same market where Shah Rukh Khan photos from his Medusa-like hair days sell like hot cakes.

Bollywood celebrities have used WE in conjunction with "want peace" as if cross-border terrorism is a direct by-product of the Indian state's agenda. Bollywood and it's naive celebrities are irritatingly insensitive and I would appreciate their use of "I" before "We" when they want to make personal statements.

4) Bollywood is so smart, that even a flop has enough "fans" behind it to defend its idiocy and term itself a stroke of genius
Bollywood movies sell so brilliantly that even a flop concept finds backers simply because it convinces its viewers of the genius gone unnoticed by the majority. Flops also re-collect whatever was invested and in fact earn more than the capital initially financed.

If you dare to complain as to why such a movie was ever made, the horde of fans jumps on you calling you cynical and obnoxious and insensitive and you become an object of hate. Your senses are automatically termed dumb and lacking choice as you "dared" to complain against a movie and its honorable stars. How dare you!

5) Movie dekhi kya?
Such is the deep impact and penetration of Bollywood, that you are dubbed disinterested and lifeless simply because you do not have a knack for "hanging out at a cinema hall". Bollywood has taken cinema's priorities to embarrassingly low levels and created a masala mountain of a sada molehill. It is so deep in our fans that I can already sense the outrage at this piece. If you do not find it one bit sensible, kindly meet me at a multiplex. We'll "catch" the latest movie in town.

Bollywood groupies also try to promote films themselves so wonderfully. "You are missing something, you know" is what I've heard a zillion times from some of the most ardent Bollywood fans I know. Yes, like I missed brushing my teeth or taking a bath. Both of which leave me not worse than stinking filth.

6) Inflated prices, not just of tickets but even food items
Ever bought a popcorn for Rs. 5 at a cinema hall, ever drank an MRP-priced Pepsi at a multiplex? I don't think so. If you did, then you are extremely lucky that your friendly neighbourhood Multiplexman does not know his salesmanship too well. Prices of tickets and food items have not just touched the sky, but have blown well past it as if they were launched on a GSLV.

And boyfriends making up to girlfriends for having looked at a sexier girl, parents cajoling their children with weekly entertainment circuses(when museums and planetariums are such a wise option) or husbands making up to their wives for a lack of motivated life between the couple at sensitive places within their house are only going to fall for these prices. And fall flat, with a thud.

7) Yes, there is some hope
My larger opinion on Bollywood is what I've stated above. But I never see any fault in movies like Taare Zameen Par and Chak De India simply because of the natural spirit and the essence of cinema that they carry. The kind of cinema for which I would maybe not jump on tree tops like a monkey or practice dance steps of aggressively-promoted songs of that movie but earnestly look forward to watching. Unfortunately, these are few and far between. My other personal motivation is the distraction offered to me naturally at my age. Priyanka Chopra, Mallika Sherawat - darlings.

Bollywood, you are certainly not God. But you are as much a source of worship. If nothing else, at least to keep us perennially amused and entertained.

Even at the cost of our minds.

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The right rhetoric

This blog has criticized Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the past. But there is a certain punch packed in his statements today that give official recognition to what is now the most serious threat to India - state-sponsored cross-border terrorism.

And the PM has done a laudable job by shoving this hidden truth onto the face of our neighbours, who are bordering on almost being psychotic about the entire farce of abnegation of 26/11 evidence handed over to them.

The PM said the November 26 Mumbai attacks were clearly carried out by the Pakistan-based outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. He added the Mumbai attack must have had support from some official agencies in Pakistan.

“Given the sophistication and military precision of Mumbai attacks, some Pakistani official agencies must have supported them,” said the PM. [TOI]

Thank you for speaking for the one billion people of India, Prime Minister. The use of the word official is particularly commendable as he has risen above the opinions of petty anti-national elements not only around the country, but also in his own party to speak the widely-dismissed truth.

The PM's statements have already come as a rude blow to Pakistan. And rightly so.

Mahmud Ali Durrani, advisor to the Pakistan prime minister on national security, said he believed Singh's comments were "unfortunate".

Both countries should not enter into a "blame-game" and India should let Pakistan complete its investigations into the Mumbai attacks, Durrani told Dawn News channel. [TOI]

Complete the investigations? Better humour please.

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Happy New Year.

At least, the year ended on a good note.

RIP, Martyrs.