Saturday, September 24, 2011

To everyone who does not like History

Maybe I am some sort of mutant, but whenever someone says
Why study History?
History is useless;
One more year and I'll be rid of History;

or even

Social studies sucks;
Civics is so boring;
Economics boggles the mind;

I am very tempted to commit the dual offences of assault and battery, with a superior expression on my face.

I must admit that until two years ago I didn't have a definite answer to "Why study History?" except "Because you should." Now I do.

1.) Wouldn't you have a feeling of being lost if you didn't know what all happened in the world before you graced it with your presence? Picture this: you arrive at a party and everyone's deep in conversation about something that happened five minutes ago. Wouldn't you ask what happened? Or would you be content standing in the corner and observing the proceedings?

2.) History answers all your questions about why people behave the way they do and why the world is like it is. If you studied the History of the caste system and all uprisings against untouchability, you would understand one of the gravest and potentially divisive problems India faces today, one that affects you.

3.) History helps you make sense of the news. A combination of History and all those other boring sucking mind-boggling subjects would make your newspaper look more like a sensible document than a cipher. If you think you're getting along quite well without History, you're wrong. You're probably not getting half the context.

Also History isn't all about dates. With syllabi changing across the country, it is now almost nothing about dates.

I haven't added an image because I'm not sure about the copyright, but I'm sure I can add a link:

Other image sources: , ,,

Friday, September 23, 2011

So you thought I had writer's block?

I didn't. While all of you have been languishing for want of a blog post from me, and wondering if I was alive, I have been secretly writing for The NRI. And I got published! Click on the underlined text for the post: Coaching class mania

And yes, I do have delusions of grandeur.

For all of you who don't click on random underlined links without sufficient reason, here's the teaser: As education in schools deteriorates, a silent new player is taking over the industry sans regulation.

Exciting, eh? No? It doesn't matter, no one's yet put a cap on the number of links you can click in a day. So, go ahead and click. (And also read and comment if you feel like it.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Sonia Gandhi should say about the Lokpal - by Shakespeare

Poor Sonia Gandhi. She's barely recovering and people, including politicians of every hue, can't wait to hear what she has to say about the Lokpal. Now to ensure that her speech doesn't end up being a dud like Rahul Gandhi's, she needs help from no less a man than Shakespeare.

Facebookers, protestors, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury the Congress, not praise it.
The noble Anna
Hath told you the Congress was corrupt:
And grievously hath the Congress answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Anna and the rest--
For Anna is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men (and woman)--
Come I to speak in the Congress's funeral.
Manmohan Singh hath brought liberalisation home to India
Whose benefits did the national coffers fill:
Did this in Manmohan seem cowardly?
But Anna says he was a coward;
And Anna is an honourable man.
But yesterday the word of the Congress might
Have stood against the world; now lies it there
With none so poor to do it reverence.

I didn't write anymore because it started sounding like Congress propaganda. I was going to substitute NREGA for Caesar's will.

Image source:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lokpal: A superflous and dangerous institution

What the Lokpal is:
More bureaucracy. It isn't as if there are no constitutional provisions against corruption. You can always lodge a complaint with the police. To those cynical people who believe the police have no power whatsoever, there's the CBI. For those anarchists who don't trust the CBI either, I don't see why you would be ready to put all your trust in the Lokpal. 

Either you have a democracy, or you have a system that recognises merit and nothing else. The problem with the latter is that everybody's definition of "merit" is not the same. Who would you want to head the Lokpal? Anna Hazare?

If not him, how is it to be decided who forms the Lokpal? Elections? Why, then, do we not trust our Parliament which is, after all, popularly elected?

The proposed Lokpal bill states: 

  1. Members will be appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a transparent and participatory process.
  2. A selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for interviews, videorecordings of which will thereafter be made public.

Who decides what a clean record is? Which private citizens are allowed to apply? Which process is more transparent and participatory than elections on the basis of UAF? Who decides which people comprise of the selection committee?

The point is, let's not get out on the streets for an institution that will have the powers to lord over everyone in the nation, including our judiciary. How difficult do you think it is going to be to stall the process of speedy justice by simply wailing at the Lokpal's door? That is precisely why the Constitution provides so many safeguards for the judiciary.

Image source:

Monday, August 01, 2011

India Today - 2

1.) What will increase Hina Rabbani Khar's prestige?
Being renamed to Hina Rabbani Colaba.

2.) Why isn't Yeddyurappa resigning?
He still hasn't finished reading the almost 30,000-page Lokayukta report against him. How slow of him. And then they wonder why court cases drag on in India.

3.) When will Sachin make his hundredth hundred?
Hopefully before Chetan Bhagat stops making lists, because that means never.

Also check out: Predicti-wood and India Today
Image source:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't rename it, please.

It all started like this. We were in a History class, studying the Maratha period.

History teacher: What is Churchgate called?
Us: Churchgate.
History teacher: You got that one wrong. It's called Ahilyabai Holkar Chowk.

For one thing, that solved a mystery. I had wondered in vain why my BEST bus tickets always said Ahilyabai Holkar Chowk instead of Churchgate. It never struck me that that was Churchgate.

I've been noticing that renaming streets and localities is often ridiculous. Did you know that Marine Drive is now called Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Marg? Are we supposed to say, "Look, we have a free lecture. Let's go to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Marg!"? Apparently not, beause they very smartly shortened it to NSC Bose Marg.

Calling the road that linked Andheri to Kurla the "Andheri-Kurla road" was a very sensible thing to do. But no. It got renamed to Sir Mathurdas V Marg. Now there is a very slim chance that we may go home and Google Sir Mathurdas, or Nashikrao Tirpude, or Nathibai Thakersey. Or even Dr. Deshmukh (that being a little difficult). Very slim. But it is so much easier to just tell the taxi driver to take you to Pedder Road. While I haven't been brave enough to tell one of them to take me to Dr. Deshmukh Road yet, I'm sure they're going to ogle, nastily.

Do you think it's a sense of misplaced patriotism that leads to this? It isn't 1947, after all. What the British built the British built. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has nothing to do with it.

Image source:

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Jaai

I have a love-hate relationship with A. R. Rahman. I love him because he made people forget a very popular nickname of mine: Jai Mata Di. I hate him because he gave me another: Jai Ho. (Pretend you know nothing about rap.)

The worst part is that I cannot legitimately blame anyone. My lawyer will simply look all crestfallen and tell me, in a nearly inaudible whisper, that my name is indeed spelt Jai. Officially. On all the documents that matter. But it is spelt Jaai on Facebook, I'll tell him loudly. What's Facebook? he'll say. I'll fire him.

I don't deny that it is an excellent conversation-starter.
Hi, my name is Jaai.
How do you spell it?
*awkward smile*

And this is how introdutions happen:
Hey, meet my friend Jaai. Her name is spelt J-A-I. *maniacal laugh*

Sigh. I'll get back at you all.

Image source:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What makes your life interesting?

Maybe it is because colleges are reopening shortly and I have done nothing at all of any consequence during the holidays, but I'm thinking a lot about whether my time on earth has been, will be, worth anything.

When one thinks about what makes one's life interesting, one usually remembers one particular habit, achievement, memory or person. What if that habit, achievement, memory or person did not exist? Would your life still be interesting? Would it, for example, make a fascinating, or at least inspirational, book? Have you any funny or thrilling anecdotes to one day tell your grandchildren? Could you rival How I Met Your Mother?

Philantrophy is a possible answer. I remember attending this Philosophy lecture where we all agreed that one good deed done everyday can make the world a better place to live in. It can also make your life a more eligible topic for conversation.

Image source:

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

How to get admission into the college of your choice

Or do anything at all, really. Five foolproof methods:

1.) Get caught by customs officials: Try to carry super-expensive shoes or sackfuls of jewellery out of the airport. Get investigated by customs officials and praise them for good measure. Get printed. Now you are famous enough to bag a management seat.

2.) Watch an India versus West Indies match: You'll immediately be catapulted into the rarest of rare status. Get in through the sports quota.

3.) Demand an environment quota: and insist you must get a seat though it because you wrote a blog post on World Environment Day.

4.) Throw a shoe at the admissions official, and miss: Not the expensive shoe you carried out of the airport, though. Get media attention and cry in front of the cameras. Say you are a journalist in the making. Your admission process will be magically completed.

5.) Go on a hunger strike: Ensure that you have less than 50,000 followers or the government will beat them up. Demand a fundamental right to admission in your preferred college. You'll get it.

Image source:

Sunday, June 05, 2011

All that Baba-ness

Don't you see a similarity between Baba Ramdev advocating good morals and Chetan Bhagat writing an article on how to improve your English? I can, however, tolerate bad English much better than I can tolerate someone becoming rich in the name of spirituality.

As for accepting the support of Khap panchayats, that alone ought to discredit the Baba. The Khap panchayats directly order the cold-blooded killing of young people who marry within their gotra. Of course the government hasn't done anything about them, behaving as it is like a schoolteacher and grandmother rolled into one: you can't drink until you're 25 (that's just the Maharashtra government, I concede) and you can't ever marry according to your will.

Quitting the rambling, though, Baba Ramdev is behaving a lot like an unscrupulous politician, only caring about support and not about from where he gets it. The number of "jeeps arriving from Haryana" seems more important than his actual demands. We do have one thing to be thankful about: his farce lends more gravity to the Hazare campaign, perhaps because of the contrast.

Image source:

Friday, June 03, 2011

It's raining, it's raining...

It's June, and the monsoons are almost here. In a few days the rain will drown every other sound. You will look out of your balcony and find the world mysterious and shrouded; only masked, though, because everything is still the same, people are going to work and going for movies.

There will be rain songs on the radio on the first day but you will eventually tire of them. Artists and poets will revel in the inspiration. A broken heart will run into many editions, quoting Oscar Wilde.

There will be people whose roofs leak and people who have no roofs at all, and these people will curse the rain. There will be children battling fever or something more sinister, and there will be children playing in the rain, laughing.

A few people will walk slowly in the streets, giving the rain every opportunity to cleanse them, praying for it to do so. Bikers feeling brave will fly past them. Trains will run with their doors and windows closed.

Colourful umbrellas will resist grey skies, and deep down, everyone will be glad, because the monsoons are eventful, and that is what this city thrives on.

P.S. : Deviating from usual policy, I am supporting violence: the death sentence handed out for an honour killing. Also traffic police being provided arms.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


1.) My name is Kahn, and I am not a sex-offender.

2.) Obama, to Pakistan's sovereignty: Frankly, m'dear, I don't give a damn.

3.) Indian intelligence, or lack thereof: Terrorists se darr nahin lagta saab, RTI se lagta hai.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ode to Awesome

I was reading a blog post today and I was awed by it. Now what would I comment? "Awesome," right? Wrong. Awesome sounds entirely wrong...and it makes me sound like a bimbo. Or like a ten year old boy from Delhi who's just discovered that talking in English is "cool." No wait, "cool" is outdated. He disovered that talking in English is awesome.

My predicament about commenting reminded me of this Reader's Digest joke (you know, the ones they put below depressingly sensational or sensationally depressing stories to cheer you up?): How did "awesome" end up among such stalwarts of the English language such as and and the? (They named two more stalwarts but I can't remember them. Sorry.) And they were right. Everywhere you go: "Awesome!"

A new dress is awesome, a new house is awesome, a cotton candy is awesome, Katrina Kaif is awesome. What would Shakespeare think? Dan Brown got it right: Someone should ban that word.

Please let's stop using this word in every other sentence and reserve it for when we're really awed. (Most people who use "awesome" don't know what being awed means. For them: Say "Awe." That's what you look like when you're awed.) And please let's not confuse it with "Awful." (Some people do. Honestly.)

Image source:

Oh, and no posts till the 27th of May; or possibly the 24th. One must attend weddings.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taslima Nasreen and Poribartan

Taslima Nasreen seems to be cashing in on West Bengal's good publicity, and she doesn't care how. When the election results were declared, she tweeted quite ecstatically: Three cheers for Mamata! Three cheers for women of strength! (No, how can you say she's referring to herself as well?)

And also: Hope is walking hand-in-hand with a dream.

And for Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee: How come Buddhadeb is losing! He threw me out of West Bengal for Muslim votes! And of course she adds the dramatic: Ah! Nightmare!

I grant all this is nothing. I sympathise with her and grieve that she was punished for exercising her right to freedom of expression. However, must we be subjected to her mood swings, IN PRINT? Today she writes for the Times of India:

"We know that if there was not killing or rape in Singur and Nandigram and if the media were not publicizing these atrocities, it would not have been so easy to defeat CPM in the polls."--Why, shouldn't the media have reported killing and rape?

And she's apparently thinking she was too hard on the communists on Twitter, because she writes: "34 years in power is long enough to make sane people insane." That is the most absurd justification I have ever heard for killing and rape, unless she meant that power had softened their brains.

And about hope walking hand-in-hand with a dream? She says that the people of West Bengal are only hoping for superficial change. Sure, whatever Taslima hopes for is the only right thing for which to hope. The hopes of the masses don't matter.

Yes, she is a writer. A well-acclaimed writer at that. That would have entitled her to let the whole nation know her opinion IN PRINT, had she sounded even a little writer-y. But any person who obliges a newspaper to use (sic) after quoting them loses that entitlement. Also any person who wastes paper, thus:

I am an optimist.
And after a few lines,
I am not a pessimist.

Thank you, we figured that out.

Image soure:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wodehouse in Bengal

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fleming as Bertie and Jeeves

After one of Jeeves's sensational pick-me-ups, I could begin to think clearly.

"Where was I last night, Jeeves?"

"At Mr. Pirbright's residence, sir. Mr. Pirbright had announced a celebration to acknowledge the termination of the Marxist stronghold in the Indian state of West Bengal, sir."

I confess I was at sea.

"West Bengal, Jeeves?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, what about it?"

"Mr. Pirbright, sir, I understand, is significantly anti-communist. He was ecstatic at receiving news of Lady Banerjee's victory."

"A woman, Jeeves?" The set-up seemed rummy. "Does she believe that the stars are God's daisy chain?"

"I would assume not, sir. Lady Banerjee does not express herself in rhyme. She shows a marked disposition towards the reflection of life on canvas."

"A painter, you mean?"

"Precisely, sir."

I right-hoed, and after a few minutes of forking a thoughtful plate of eggs and bacon, I put my gentleman's gentleman another question.

"Surely she is someone's aunt?"

"I beg your pardon, sir?"

"Lady Banerjee,"

"The possibility cannot be ruled out, sir."

"Aunts," I told the fellow solemny, "aren't gentlemen."

"I fear not, sir. Lady Banerjee has been heard referring to herself as a common man."

"You mean like a cartoon?"

"Not quite, sir. She--"

"I get the drift, Jeeves. So there is change brewing in West Bengal?"

"It seems so, sir. The Marxist rule has been reported to have stalled development."

I mused a bit. "What was it the poet said about hope, Jeeves? Something about silver."

"Sweet hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head."

"That's the one, Jeeves. I see your memory is as tickety-boo as ever. Still eating fish, what?"

"Yes, sir."

"From the Bay of Bengal, eh?"

"The finest, sir."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Help a Child to Study

If you're reading (and understanding) this, you've received the benefit of education. Everyone else isn't so lucky, even if they are smarter than most of us. Unable to pay for higher eduation, they miss out on career opportunities, not to mention that all their brilliance and talent goes to waste. Help a Child to Study is an NGO based in Mumbai that makes it possile for underprivileged children to get educated. They are looking for your support.

Help A Child to Study sponsors the higher education of meritorious underprivileged students, supporting them to achieve dreams of a better future. We sponsor all formal courses above 10th, including 11th and 12th, diploma courses, degree courses, B.E., M.B.B.S. and Postgrad. Through education our students are able to escape the cycle of poverty through their own talents.

Details: We are very proud of our students - who are the children of labourers, small scale farmers, weavers and other families with low incomes. These students have enormous potential to succeed and only need financial support to do so. We are thrilled that today some of our graduates are placed with large companies such as Mahindra Tech, L&T, and TATA Consultancy Services.

Support: Education, higher education, sponsorship of students.

Note: We are looking for financial donations to support the higher education of our students, most of whom live in rural areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

This post is a part of BlogAdda's Bloggers Social Responsibility (BSR) initiative. I am exercising my BSR. You can too with three simple steps. Visit and support the NGO's.

It will be a far, far better thing that you will do than you have ever done (at least in your summer vacations :P ).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just not Tinkle

Tinkle--The Defective Detectives

"Summer vacation are on!" --I affirm, tearfully, that this sentence appeared in Tinkle, that children's magazine I believed was the apostle of correct grammar. Tinkle, a symbol that could denote my childhood!

Uncle Pai (Anant Pai)

We miss you, Uncle Pai. Your magazine is simply not the erudite and fun companion it once was. I resent the presence of millions of advertisements (McDonald's in my Tinkle!) and I will not condone it saying you're hard up, new Tinkle editors/money-makers. If so many brands are sponsoring you and if you can afford to arrange Samsung Corby giveaways (to kids), why did you have to increase the price of the magazine? That's such a far cry from Uncle Pai's attempts at printing a black-and-white Tinkle that poorer children could afford.

I echo Salman Rushdie: "Is nothing sacred anymore?" Why is the Readers Write column now called the Tinkle Mail Box with the @ symbol on top? Why do I see speech balloons filled with:


Tinkle was never a Marvel comic; why all the italics? 

Most of the stories are still good, though; the old writers and illustrators are still present and features like "It Happened To Me" and "Tinkle Tells You Why" are mercifully still thriving.

You may say I'm creating unnecessary ruckus over one mistake that could have been a typo, after all. But it can also become a trendsetter, and that keeps me awake at night. You may also ask why I still read Tinkle, but my sister subscribes to it and it's right there in front of me and Janoo and Wooly Woo are on the cover and it takes only ten minutes and it's Tinkle...almost. I just hope it doesn't turn into another Champak, depriving my sister and thousands of other kids of a magazine that can shape lives.

Friday, May 06, 2011

My tryst with fiction

Here it is: I actually completed a piece of fiction that I’d started. It was supposed to be a story, but it turned out to be more of an experiment in very subtle magical realism than anything else. I posted the thing on Facebook, ready to brave all sorts of comments. This is what I got:

·        Better than Stephenie Meyer. Barely.
·        “Not so gud :/”
·        This isn’t fiction at all.
·        Hmm. Now check out this video.

Such lovely people. So why was my story/rambling/collection of words so strongly rejected? I have a clue. "But nothing much happens," a friend of mine intoned on the phone. This made me mad. "What does she mean nothing much happens, italicised no less?" I thought. I agree nothing much happens externally--the whole thing consists of a train ride and later, some tears; but aren't thoughts, memories, confusions and yearnings concrete incidents? Don't they usually affect the course of our lives more than "real" happenings? 

Or do people always expect extraordinary happenings and twists and morals in a story? Or am I unbelievably unimaginative?

Anyway, this episode taught me some things:

·        A little of what we hate is always present in ourselves.
·        I should have used fewer semicolons (like some writer said on his deathbed).
·        The people who encourage you are the people you are grateful to the most, because you are only human.
·        It is easy to criticise the writings of other people, and the ones who take the criticism seriously are the best of all. 
·        Never call your story Sunshine.
·        It doesn’t hurt much to dabble in things that are not your forte. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Major Irritations

I had this post about spelling and grammar mistakes on signboards and posters, and I'd mentioned it was fun collecting them. This wasn't. The majority of the pictures here are from newspapers, and cost-cutting methods seem to have resulted in absolutely useless people called proofreaders being sacked. It's a sad, sad world.

It makes sense, although probably not in the way they intended.

I think proper grammar ought to be introduced.

Investigations have revealed that this person sucks at grammar.


Behold, the Chennai Kings of Supper!

What a yucky world.

This one was fun. I wonder what they teach.
Disclaimer: The images are shaky because my phone camera refuses to ever cooperate with me. I am trying to figure out what I did to provoke that sort of revenge.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A very thin line

I was reading the college prospectus today, and in the list of college societies, I came across "The Sindhi Circle" (or something similar). Now why was I suddenly on the verge of anger? Why did I want to scream, "Blasphemy!"? Then there was the Gujarati Association, the Hindi Parishad, the Marathi Vangmaya Samiti and so on.

I shouldn't have felt like screaming. Is it the world we live in, is it the values inculcated in us, that make most of us crinkle our noses at the slightest suggestion of communalism or linguism? These societies were founded, I can see now, with the best of intents: the preservation of regional languages and development of interest in them. Maybe I can blame the world (Religious factionalism and bigotry, Shiv Sena-MNS-ish linguism and regionalism) for making me paranoid. Or maybe I am right. Identification of communities, when used politically, often leads to loss of lives. I am not exaggerating.

Why, then, did I not object to the French Club or The English Association? These are languages, after all. All these societies receive the same platforms. Then again, there has never been any tension in India regarding the superiority of one of these languages over the other.

But people have always fought over Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and several other languages; not to mention religions and castes. Are we, then, to lose all identity with regard to communities, make our surnames neutral, and blend into a homogeneous mass of a people with no variety? Or are we to continue to promote our own languages, dialects, religions, castes and risk going overboard like we always have?

Perhaps we should promote the communities of others, not ours. Utopia, I know. There was something someone (I don't remember who, it's very frustrating) said about how to keep discrimination at bay: breed with those outside your community, those outside your religion, country and if and when we come into contact with aliens, breed with them.
It isn't a foolproof method, but it's worked in the past. You can't tell an Aryan from a Dravidian now. Hail forbidden love!
I have a feeling it was APJ Abdul Kalam who suggested the breeding part. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Do you agree?

There seems to be a dearth of issues on which to gauge public opinion. The TOI poll today asks if readers agree that Aarushi Talwar's parents are the only people who could have killed her. I'm not sure many respondents will have investigated the case or even read the CBI chargesheet. Does being a newspaper reader alone qualify you to pass judgement on such a case? You could argue that readers' opinions won't make any difference to the actual judgement passed by the courts. Then why conduct such a poll in the first place? It's dangerous to equate "Do you think it could be so?" with "Do you agree?"

Monday, April 18, 2011

For Advancing is Perfection

I change my stance about India. Newspapers inform me that all is not lost yet. I don't know if I trust newspapers anymore.

1.) A veil of a time: Women in rural Haryana (which is incidentally plagued by Khap panchayats) empower themselves through self-help groups, manage lakhs of rupees, hand out loans at 1% interest, educate their children, demolish liquor vends and best and most difficult of all, give up the veil.

2.) 82% voting in Jammu and Kashmir: The second phase of Panchayat polls records -- gasp! -- 82% turnout. I don't suppose even other states considerably less affected by violence record that sort of enthusiasm.

3.) Organ donations in Tamil Nadu hit 1k mark: This in a country largely riddled by superstitions and where people even refuse to vaccinate their children. More awareness and many lives could be saved, many more improved.

4.) Bombay Times: Below the header is a line that describes the supplement as an "Advertorial, Entertainment Promotional Feature." They've accepted it's paid news!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Intentions and Interference

There was this article in The Times of India today about disappearing sparrows and one man, Pramod Mane, who is doing all he can to protect sparrows in Mumbai. The article blamed the real-estate boom fed by the politician-builder nexus, the monstrous skyscrapers and predatory crows for sparrows' dwindling numbers.
They forgot pigeons. While I have absolutely no idea if pigeons eat sparrows (or their eggs or if they destroy their nests or commit similar unholy acts), I mention pigeons because they gave us a lesson: Don't do your bit to sustain sparrows if you live in a high-rise.

Mom, inspired by her sister (who doesn't live in a high-rise and consequently can bird-watch all day at close proximity), decided to keep something to eat and a bowl of water in our balcony for sparrows and other birds, if they would like to honour us thus. She wasn't thinking of pigeons. (No discrimination, there are just too many of them).

For the first two days, we looked on in wonder as the sparrows pecked at the food, struggling to put even the smallest grain in their mouth. It really is fun to watch them, provided you're blessed with tinted windows. Otherwise they fly away like they've spotted dragons (of course, they've probably heard sparrow folktales about how humans have tortured the best and strongest of sparrows).

So we were all happy and pleased about the good karma we had achieved, when on the third day, there were no sparrows. Only pigeons, gobbling up all the food. Now pigeons would have been tolerable had they not driven the sparrows away; but we did not have any sparrows after that day. Neither did we have pigeons, because we stopped keeping food in the balcony. Serves them right.

Friday, April 08, 2011

I'm not sure about the brand

So much for aggressive advertising.
**Some Brand** Spot Eraser Pen: You notice the spots, not the fairness, right?

Tanvi (after seeing the ad) : Eraser hai ki pen hai?
Me: *rofl*

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Of corruption and hunger

There's a lot of support for Anna Hazare, online and offline. While I don't know if the people who are really supporting him, offline, know what he's fasting for, I know for a fact many people are clicking on "Like" beause everyone else did so and because it's against our scammy government. "He's protesting against corruption," is the general perception. True, but a hunger strike has to be for something more specific. No government officer or politician is going to think, "I won't take this bribe because Anna Hazare is fasting,". So here's what he is really protesting for:

The Lokpal Bill. Or to be more specific, the Jan Lokpal bill. It's like an ombudsman. From the Times of India:

  The Lokpal will be a three-member body with a chairperson who is or was a chief justice or Supreme Court judge, and two members who are or have been high courts judges or chief justices. Anyone, except for a public servant , can file a complaint and the Lokpal has to complete the inquiry within six months. 

 The Lokpal bill is regularly being presented in Parliament since 1968, and it has regularly been shown the door, the commonest reason being, "There is room for improvement."
As it turns out, there definitely is room for improvement, though not in the way the politicians meant. Wikipedia might help:
In short, the Jan Lokpal bill gives the Lokpal more powers. Not very appeasing for our netas so someone has to go on a fast.

If you haven't experienced a sudden burst of energy and interest in pending bills, the gist is this: The fast isn't misplaced. Anna Hazare deserves your support. We don't deserve corruption. I hereby permit you to "Like" guiltlessly. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Today I heard about this pregnant woman whose husband threatened to leave her if she gave birth to a daughter.  I'm losing faith in my country. I don't believe there's any hope for anything left. People will continue discriminating against women, against the lower castes, against people who speak a different language, have a different culture, follow a different religion. Nothing's working. You can frame millions of policies, educate people, pay them to not discriminate, but nothing will change. Discrimination makes people happy. It feeds their ego, it makes them feel secure. Caring for others? Helping them? Not unless there's something in it for me.
It's not just about India. You can form a hundred United Nations, protest for peace, rally, march, do whatever you can, but countries will keep bombing one another, half the world will never see anything but poverty, freedom of speech will be curtailed, sometimes discreetly, sometimes unabashedly, hypocrites will remain hypocrites, people will continue exploiting other people, and the greater good will always triumph justifying countless acts of violence in its name.

None of it matters.

India won the World Cup. I saw the match.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

To the internet

links beyond links
and links after those
some culminating in a rhyme
and occasionally in a complaint
some meeting a talking camera
and travelling with it
some walking with a censorious glance
and arriving at a passion
some, simply unoccupied
harmlessly addicted.
all of them together
a web of links
connected by their humanness
there is a god.

Many things can make me believe that there is someone who can make sense out of the world. Unexpectedly, blogs did that to me today. Perhaps I haven't come across a bad blog yet; but the more blogs I go through, the more I realise how many good hearts are beating out there, how many people work or at least want, to change what they do not like, how sadness always graduates to happiness and how that happiness is always there, like a talisman. I realise how many people are writing instead of picking up a gun or even shouting at someone. And suddenly, I see that all of them are similar: possessing similar angst, similar love and similar energy, and I know, there is a god.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


We were visiting a friend's house the other day, because he was ill. He didn't look the part, and not finding much to sympathise about, we began joking around, checking Facebook (yes, it is the end of the world if you check Facebook when all your friends are right beside you), and also, staring out of the window. One of our stares registered Antilla, Mukesh Ambani's residence, the one he built for his wife. The building reminded me of a particular paragraph from a particular book:

"The residence of Mr. Peter Pett, the well-known financier, on Riverside Drive, New York, is one of the leading eyesores of that breezy and expensive boulevard. As you pass by in your limousine, or while enjoying ten cents' worth of fresh air on top of a green omnibus, it jumps out and bites at you. Architects confronted with it reel and throw up their hands defensively, and even the lay observer has a sense of shock. [...] It is a house that is impossible to overlook; and it was precisely for this reason that Mrs. Pett insisted on her husband's buying it, for she was a woman who liked to be noticed."

Doesn't this excite you? Don't you notice the similarities?
  1. Mumbai is a lot like New York. Or isn't it? It must be.
  2. Antilla is one of the leading eyesores of south Mumbai.
  3. Architects confronted with it do reel.
  4. It does bring on a sense of shock.
  5. It is impossible to overlook.
  6. Mr. Ambani bought it (built it, same difference) for his wife.
Also take note of the discrepancies:
  1. Mr. Ambani is more than just a well-known financier.
  2. You don't pass by in your limousine in Mumbai. You halt every two minutes on account of the traffic.
  3. The buses are red, not green; and you'd be hard-pressed for fresh air. No offence to BEST, though. It is a perfectly efficient and well-managed bus service.
  4. There is no writer to equal Wodehouse in Mumbai or anywhere else in the world.

P.S. For those wondering where Wodehouse enters the equation, it's because the afore-quoted paragraph has been written by him. The book is called Piccadilly Jim.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's Okay

"it's okay
it's going to be fine
look at the bigger picture
look at the future i am colouring
for you, so you would do this for me
just this once
and i won't tell you about my eraser
i won't admit i have it
i will accuse you of having one
and who can blame me?
what you don't know can't hurt you
if it does
i won't be there to see you cry
and crying's good for you, isn't it?
i will pretend i care
i won't tell you i am a great actor
let's just run to the finish line, baby
there's nothing else to do
you don't want to? fine. now you do?
it's okay, it's okay
it's going to be fine"

you say all this to me
i listen to you
and i tell myself
it's okay
it's going to be fine

Sunday, January 23, 2011


It is all falling back into place
There is nothing to fear
And nothing to disbelieve in
And no reason to cry
Also, more importantly,
There is no reason to be pessimistic
To notice what is not present
Because there is so much to think of
And so much to remember

Contentedness, unlike happiness, wears off after a while. But it is worth enjoying while it is there, and unrealistic to fear a future without it. This is what I have learnt; and I am glad I have learnt it. These are happy tears, a little late in the day.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My world
Vapourising: invisible
Ten million stars
And trying to catch them all.
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