Saturday, 30 August 2008

Paalitiksh

Of late, we have been seeing some violent protests in a couple of places in the country by some political leaders, who do not, as of now, have that much a standing in their respective electoral regions. I began to ponder whether, these so called populist leaders, were really there for the concerns of the people or something else. My logic was, if they were really concerned about the people, they wouldn't be harassing others in the process, right?

Then my friend told me a story and things fell in place.

Some years back, a Korean auto major opened a plant in a port city in South India. It was provided vast swathes of land, near a highway, almost free of charge. Nobody opposed it then. The reason was, both mouths, ruling and opposition, were stuffed. The ruling CM got a percentage on each car sold from there and the opposition got a flat rate so that there would no voice raise against the deal.

This did not happen with the Indian auto major, who setup a plant recently. The CM did not request for anything 'on the side'. So, they industrialists completely forgot about something called 'opposition'. Their beaks had to be wetted. Their silence had to be bought. But it wasn't and you can see the results now.

Another interesting situation is happening in the financial capital, where a certain leader is trying to whip up linguistic fervor in anything and everything. We shouldn't be be surprised if we see requests for a regional anthem in the local language instead of the sanskrit one we have now.

This is being done for primarily for two reasons. One, to corner the vote bank of the hardcore linguistic fanatics. And two, to position himself, as a nuisance generator. Greater the nuisance value, greater will be the 'water' provided to quench the 'thirst' in case of any new projects in future. There is no need to be a ruling party to ask for 'water', it depends on how much nuisance you can create.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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We had just reached Neyveli at around 3:45 am after a torrid 6 hour bus journey on a road which resembled the moon's surface with craters bigger than Wankhede Stadium. Probably, Armstrong took a photograph on these roads instead of the moon.
We had just settled down that my uncle got a call.
'Who's this so early in the morning?'
When he picked up the phone and started talking, his facial expression changed instantly. The news was of my Athimber thatha's (My mom's uncle) death.
I wouldn't say this was totally unexpected, but didn't expect it so soon, since he had been very sick and was under constant treatment.
He had died in a hospital in Chennai and they were bringing his corpse to Neyveli,a journey of about 200kms. My uncle asked me to help him in making the arrangements for the ceremony.

That's when it hit me. This was going to be my first encounter with a dead body. I have never been to a death ceremony in my life, have never seen a dead body so close, infact, I have lived inside a cocoon so far.

I was amazed by the speed of arrangements by my uncle.
How could he be so unemotional and do everything so efficiently?
How could he bargain with people at this moment?
How could he tie up the stretcher on which the corpse was supposed to be carried?
How could he?

Then, it arrived. There was crying, wailing, chest beating, hair pulling, and silence.
I caught a glimpse of my dear athimber with whom I had played night long carrom games, watched and dissected every cricket match, discussed about principles of metallurgy, discussed about maniratnam and balachander, discussed about BJP and Congress, discussed everything.

All those moments came swirling back into my mind and gushed out of eyes as tears. I couldn't avoid myself seeing him so cold, so blue, so pale, so lifeless. I couldn't believe he has become an it.

The last rites were performed and they started pouring rice on him. I went out, brought a pack of carrom coins and placed it on his leg and took his blessing and left the room, crying for my friend, my carrom rival, my cricket co-supporter and my cousin grand dad.

His son, later, came over and hugged me and said,
'We burned him along with those coins. I think he will be happy.'
I had no doubt that he would be.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

He She

He didn’t understand the complicated admissions process. Hence, he met her to understand the process better and arrive at a better strategy for his brother’s admission. She explained to him in a very lucid way. He was impressed by her way of keeping things simple.

They discussed about admissions for about fifteen minutes and then talked about everything else for god-knows-how-many hours. She made him some nice filter coffee and he, in turn, gave her the address of a famous trust which gives out prestigious scholarships. They exchanged numbers and he left, telling that he will keep her updated about his brother’s admission.

Days passed. They exchanged messages ranging from enquiries about the admission to silly forwards. His brother didn’t get through in Round 1 and he was disappointed. She told him everything would be fine and suggested he should watch MMKR, which he promptly did.

After a week involving a couple of unintentional bump-ins and longish phone conversations, his brother got through into a great college and he was ecstatic. He immediately called her up and excitedly told her about it. They again started talking. Talking about things they had in common and did not.

She was cute, intelligent, smart, funny and bold.

Bold, because she asked him out, without any apprehension, much to his surprise. Probably it was her age or her hormones or both. He didn’t know how to react.

He still doesn’t. Because, she’s seventeen. And he’s twenty four!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

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The Olympic Creed reads: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part.

We have been taking it a bit too seriously I guess.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Phrandship Day – The truth?

For whatever it is worth, Happy Phrandship day everyone!

When I went out with my friends for a Sunday evening cutting-chai, I was startled to see loads and loads of guys and girls, bursting with hormones, their arms covered almost completely by scribbles, signatures (all with marker pens), satin bands, stickers and what not, waiting outside restaurants, cafes, gardens and in some cases temples! After some uncontrollable ogling and in the process getting reprimanded by our female friends, we came back home.

I feel that FD is becoming a proxy for Valentine’s day.

It’s simple.

If you are a guy, and you like someone a lot, but are afraid to ask her out for the fear of rejection since you are a loser like me, then friendship becomes a nice carpet under which you can brush in the stuff, a la Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai. You can atleast hangout with her and you always feel you have a chance. So, on FD you can show how much you really feel for her, how you are a ‘good friend’ and blah blah blah.

If you are a girl, you know this guy is hitting at you, you are not really thinking about getting into a relationship and hence want to keep him at an arm’s length and so what do you do?

In BC, you tied a rakhi to him.

In AD, you make him your ‘good friend’ :-)

Because now you are smarter, you do not want to close the option by tying a rakhi but don’t want to exercise it as well. Just keep it in the bag for possible future use.

Cheers to friendship!