Mar 242009

Memories are funny things…

here I am at home, recovering from a mild sun stroke. (It doesn’t seem very mild – yesterday, i thought that i was dying … today it seems like i may not after all die of the sunstroke ). i have been in and out of deep slumber. the slumber has been interrupted by snatches of visions … visions from now and then, visions from presents that could have been, and pasts that were … visions where the dead, the alive, my past and my present co-exist happily, and harmoniously !!

One of the more peculiar visions was being a child in Delhi and Chemmeen. I don’t often think of growing up in Delhi — i was around 6 when my folks moved back to Mumbai, and i cannot remember great fun or happiness or unhappiness in Delhi — it’s a bit like visiting Tirupathi when i was 5 … no real memories – good, bad or ugly. Yet, yesterday i dreamt of Delhi and Chemmeen.

we lived in East of Kailash, in a place called EPDP colony — i am not even sure if the colony still exists. EPDP was East Pakistan Displaced Person’s colony … my dad was in STC and this was where we were housed. Why a Tam Andhra family will go and live in EPDP colony, i don’t know… but, we did.

One of the things about my family was that we were encouraged to enquire. to ask. there was never any ban on reading anything. except the one time. And, it was Chemmeen. There was a library near the house from which i used to borrow comics. And, one day i got home Chemmeen. My mother, who otherwise never stood in the way of any reading, sent me back to return the comic. It is too early for you … she said. I being me, read it on my way back while walking to the library. I didn’t really understand the story — except that everyone died … but, there was a sense of achievement of having read it !

But, my mom was right … 6 year olds should not really know about betrayal and other grown up ugliness. They really don’t. I read Chemmeen when i grew up, and i remember being struck by the sheer futility of the situation, the characters, and the self fulfilling prophecies.

Even today, when i see fishermen, i wonder about the legend.

The Boat's POV

but, i wonder, why that was a part of my snatches of dreams yesterday ! i really do… why does such an insignificant memory come to the fore ?

Mar 202009

HyperActiveX – came up with that title on a conversatin thread on FB.
And, this was in context of Mr.Advani – the leader of the BJP – who has decided to use the net to reach out to audiences that extensively use the net. (‘younger audiences’ 🙂

In typical desi style, they have gone in for overkill. Have money, will spend – and will appear on every site you visit, at any point of time, with reference to any kind of content – omnipresent…

On Wednesday, i was up at 5. Was supposed to leave for Shirdi at 5.30 – but that has got pushed slightly. So i was catching up with news for the day. And bingo pops up Mr.Advani. at 5 in the morning. I almost choked on the coffee and then i saw the irony of it, and laughed

The omnipresent mr.advani

The omnipresent mr.advani

Somehow the advertising seemed to endorse Varun Gandhi … I am sure that it was not the intention. I am also sure that Mr.Advani and the BJP are fairly embarrassed by this immature and public outburst of what is the hidden philosophy. But that is not the issue. The issue is bad placement. It’s a bit like a Cola Ad appearing after a story on cola damaging the teeth or whatever, or a mobile ad appearing in a cricket match everytime India loses a wicket… it is bad media strategy. Very bad !

It is primarily bad, because it reminds people who are on the fence, the issues that make them uncomfortable with the BJP.

It kind of brought home all the one single reason why i find it difficult to consider the BJP as a party to lead the Government at the centre … despite my acute disenchantment with the Congress. The BJP attracts every psychopathic nutcase – and this kind of rhetoric thrives. Every time a church gets burned, a woman gets beaten up, silliness like purification ceremonies occur at temples because people of ‘lower’ castes have entered it .. check to see the State Government in power .. it is either directly the BJP or a party with BJP support.

There are a whole bunch of very eminent bloggers who have come out to endorse the BJP on account that the Congress has failed to guarantee our security. You know what, i am more scared of marauding hoardes beating me up because I fail to live up to their definition of “Indian Culture” than i am of nutcases planting bombs. Somehow, my main issue with the BJP is internal security, and their ability to hold back their saffron cousins.

And of course, do i really want the trioka of Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie handling the economy ?

And finally, the great Indian electorate does not elect a Prime Minister. It elects Members of Parliament. The largest party or the largest coalition nominates its PM candidate. Maybe, it is time that advertisers took their heads out of their colonised butts and realised that, thankfully, we don’t have an American set up for choosing either our representatives or our Leader.

Mar 142009

I have a theory … it is not very original, nor is it groundbreaking …but it is mine in any case

Nutcases – especially religious nutcases like the LeT or the Talibaan or the Ram Sene or the Bajrang Dal – have to go through a rite of passage. Both the Shiv Sena & the Ram Sene’s right of passage in modern days was violence against Valentine’s Day, Both the Shiv Sena and the MNS beat up ‘outsiders’ as their rite of passage, the smorgasbord of three letter acronym’s of Talibanesque idiots blow up the US embassy or beat up women or 5 star hotels as part of their rite of passage , and so on. For all of them the rite of passage is attacking the right to choice in the name of religion or culture, or both.

India, for all her faults, has allowed the bulk of its people to have choice – however rudimentary that choice may seem to those who want more rapid progress, and however rapid it may seem to those who want us to be stuck with the customs of the 18th century.

Now comes the biggest exercise in choice – who governs us …. and the choice before us manifold. I don’t think that there is any other DEmocracy where voters have so much choice between various people who claim to represent them. we can be cynical and say corruption, nepotism, etal … but the fact remains that choice has permeated down and local government, disadvantaged communities, minorities -religious, tribal, cultural, sexual, gender — all participate in the great mela….

And, then at the same time is IPL – a symbol of India’s emergence as the Mecca Las Vegas of cricket. Glittery, loud, fun, exhuberant and in your face … it represents, possibly, a different rite of passage … that of uninhibited consumerism … we no longer feel guilty about spending. For a long time we did.  ( as a kid i was told that burning crackers was like burning money and think of all the starving kids on the street – it was only when i grew up that i thought of retorting that me not spending does not mean that they will starve less unless i gave them the money ). It is a symbol of our being ‘important’ ‘global players’

The elections are going to be targetted as is IPL becuase the nutcases mentioned in paragraph 1 – want to make their name by attacking visible symbols of India and our way of life, and our right to choose. They will use different terms to justify it “Palestine” “Kashmir” “Cheerleaders” “against Indian culture”  “all of the above” …take your pick..the fact remains that these are soft targets.

No matter what we say, we cannot have blanket security -we are a Democracy. the security forces cannot be omnipotent or omnipresent. We are not doubting their capability, but do we really want an exhausted set of security personnel that is gazing at us through their obsolete gun barrels 24*7 ?

so something has to give – either the elections or IPL … and i would think that it is more important for Indian and Indians to elect the next government, in peace, than for some more 20-20 cricket. to have them both at the same time is going to exhaust our security forces and we will all bay for blood if a 26/11 or a Lahore repeat happens again.

But, it is not so simple. IPL is made up of franchises who have all paid shit loads of money when the market was at its highest for the rights to own teams. The market is now at its lowest, and there is only a small window when international players are available to play the tournament. so they are in a bind. Which is possibly why you have statements like this :

“it is a slap on the face of the Indian security forces and their courage if we feel they are not capable of defending the players or have no faith in the system.”

It is not about defending the players or faith in the system. It is because we have faith in the system that elections should not be pushed. And it is because we believe in the SEcurity forces that we believe that they are not cannon fodder or beasts of burden to be overloaded with so much security detail that they collapse under the strain.

Finally, IPL is a commercial venture. It is about making profits or losses. Why is the tax payer expected to subisdise security for team owners … Pay for it guys, there are agencies across the world who hire ex- military guys to provide kick ass security.Hire one of these agencies – get them supervised by which ever branch of Government is supposed to oversee it – and stop burdening the exchequer !! either that or push the Game…..