Monday, December 7, 2015

The Rabbit Question

The Rabbit Question

(Me busy working at office looking forward to and expecting zero disturbance)
Colleague: “Hey (my name).”
Me (annoyingly grunts): Hmmm... 
Colleague: “One question. What do you know about rabbits? I plan to buy one as a pet... Do they need much care?"
Me: "I don’t know much about caring them... but I’ve eaten them though. Very tasty."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo... Aur Free Mein Little Modi Bhakti

CBFC Presents,
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo... Aur Free Mein Little Modi Bhakti!

I watched Prem Ratan Dhan Payo last night (Yes, I did). The movie was pretty lame. Except for a double-role Sallu Bhai (one serious, one fun), there was nothing special in this overly melodramatic movie. Bad execution, bad editing, horrendous villainy, fairly good songs (all 90's style),  some good comedy, well, the only thing that was holding together this film was the power of Sallu Bhai. The power of an escapist Bollywood melodrama. It was bad, but I enjoyed it. That's a cross I would like to take upon myself.


What I want to talk about here is not the film, but the big attachment that came with the film. When the interval ads were over, before the mandatory 'no-smoking' ad was shown, there was a five minute propaganda video song on 'Narendra Modi and Desh Bhakthi'. I had heard about the chances of such a thing being there from a article which I read yesterday (here). I thought this was just in the multiplexes, but no, it was in the dingy theater I watched it too, It was in every screen playing Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Apparently the video is attached to the movie, with the no smoking ad, says an Indian Express article which I read today (here). 

This video was produced and presented by none other than Pahlaj Nihalani, the Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification, an ardent Modi Bhakt and campaigner. He 'requested' the production house of the movie 'Rajashri Productions' to air the song with the film, as a tribute to Narendra Modi, and showcase all his good work of building a 'tolerant, wonderous' nation by meeting all sorts of world leaders and smiling around for photos. There is a shot in the beginning where Modi is shown in deep meditation-mode in the graphic Himalayas, wearing a Karate costume, an absolute no-miss moment (it's hilarious!). Most part of the video is people synced with lame background graphics. The film shows how all religions of India (a dose of tikawala Hindu, a dose topiwala Muslim,an equal dose of crosswala Christian) is growing strong and co-existing peacefully (full hugs and all) under the mighty leadership of Modi, who is equal to Gandhi, dreaming of a swachh nation. The three dudes representing the three religions had so much desh bhakt in their body I thought all their muscle flexing, passionate expressions on face and vigour, would oust Salman Khan from the movie industry altogether. 

When the song became too unbearable, I booed. Nobody joined me though. There were some comments on Modi from here and there but I think nobody else booed this abomination because of all the graphical mix of saffron, white, and green which were dancing all across the screen, because of the pride sentiment we are infused with from childhood towards the tricolours. 

There have been Government ads playing in theaters all the time, some good, some informative, some bad, but all of them were around 30 seconds and did no particular harm I suppose, till now. This five minute show of forced patriotism and Modism was nothing like that. When you are paying for a movie and watching it, you are thrust upon with and subjected to Goebbelsian style propaganda show, sponsored by the Chairman of the Censor Board. What scares me is that I think this is just the beginning.  They have the power, they could make it worse. What if we aren't allowed to watch a movie without being subjected to half an hour of propaganda video? What if this made mandatory to all movies to pass the censor? What if this is part of the DVD as well? Winter is coming, I guess.

Let's come back to the movie now. With all its faults, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has one scene which really interested me. Ramleela artists Prem (Salman Khan) and Kanhaiya (Deepak Dobriyal) are asked to stop all their acts in the palace and leave by the Diwan (Anupam Kher). Kanhaiya, in disappointment and anger, says something like this, "Jahaan pe insaniyat ka jagah nahi hein, wahaan pe artists ka kya jagah hoga? Chalo Bhai!" (Where there is no place for humanity, would there be a place for artists? Let's go Bhai!). I don't think this scene was a coincidence. I think it was put in place for a reason. With all the torture caused by the propaganda video, which haunted me all through the second half and does even now, which I cannot un-see, which I would be subjected to again I'm sure, this scene, this one scene proved to me that there's still space for a glimmer of hope. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Love Letter to My Beard

To Beard or Not To Beard

(The translation of the note I made on the day I was forced to remove my beard - 30 August 2015)

Dear Beard- Mon Amour

It is with great pain that I write this letter to you. Even though you have been a part of me for quite a while now, you do know that in the past couple of months, things and feelings have grown stronger amongst us. That's the reason I haven't hurt you even with a single stroke of scissors or blade. Now, a circumstance has emerged where I should leave you. I had expected this. But I never imagined our parting to be this painful and sad. Fate has played its card here, a cruel one that is. 

I liked you. That is the reason why I, someone who do not even apply soap properly while bathing, took care of you daily using shampoo, conditioner, oil etc- it was my immense love to you that prompted me to do all that. Terrorist, ISIS guy, Militant, where all names which people used to abuse you through me- but I fought tooth and nail against such attacks and protected you. From now, I cannot. I am tired. Let me explain how such a situation came to be. 

It is with great happiness that I came back home today, after long months. The power went off the moment I stepped into the portico and my bother announced my arrival to my mother, as we where waiting for her to open the door. Since it was dark, she didn't see my face when I got in. Later occurrences make me believe that if there was power in those two minutes of my arrival, our separation would have happened then and there only. Things where that bad, dreadful, and abominable.

The battle continues...

I am not describing in detail what all horrible things were said. All my logical and biblical arguments about beard and its importance where ruthlessly discarded by mom. My pleading of the cause using the photos of St. Joseph and St. Frederick Ozanam, both flaunting their beards, was also rejected. "What kind of shape is this? Don't come back here anymore. Aren't you ashamed to live like this, so carelessly?" said and asked she. "Don't say that mom. I take care of my beard everyday using shampoo and all," said I, to no avail. "I will lock you up at home. I will set fire to that beard using kerosene," said she. Her arguments were not logical at all. She continued her desperate and cruel attempts to get rid of my jewel, my precious you. 

I would have suffered anything for you. But her final weapon destroyed my whole spirit to fight. She declared that she would not give me the Dried Beef, Dried Prawns, and Chutney Powder which I was supposed to take back to Hyderabad, unless I shave of or trim my beard. A shiver went through my spine. I felt tired. I accepted my defeat. There was no energy left in me to fight. "The path of righteousness" ended there, for me. I failed you. I am leaving you tomorrow. 

Let me remind you my dear beard friend, that this parting is not forever. We will meet soon. This temporary split is happening only because I am at the mercy of this house and this woman, my mother. The prophet is always not welcome with his ideologies at home or his hometown, as you know. The same has happened here as well. Here, I bid you tears of farewell. Here, I cry hard. Here, I stop.

Good Bye!

Truly Yours,


Tuesday, August 11, 2015


It's time.
I can't wait anymore.
I should do it NOW.
Later would mean more.
Later would mean more trouble.
It's time.
Time to take a stance.
Time to make the move.
Time to put my feet down...

and kill the cockroach. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rattle Your Chains and Celebrate Freedom!

Porn is said to have misguided people, destroyed lives, been a bad influence for many, given a fake sense of pleasure and hope, led to exploitation, violence, rapes, murders, scandals, been addictive for many, led to the formation of organizations of extortion and unwanted profit seeking, and indulged in many more 'crimes' against humanity. Do you know what else has done all these to the world, in much larger scales and much more horrors? Religion. Yet I don't see anybody taking away religion from others unless it is to promote their own. 

This note is written in the context of what is being referred to as the 'porn ban' in India. 

Last night, before I logged off my computer, I checked whether some porn websites, which I heard were on the government list, are still available with my internet service provider. I found out that all of them were not there, just a message displaying 'this website is not available on this server'. I was curious and a bit nostalgic I guess, the kind of nostalgia you feel when something you used to like and follow is no longer there, the kind of feeling close to how people checked 'Orkut' for one last time before it was taken away, just for old times' sake. I'm not a big fan of porn. Of course, I used to watch porn and do whatever was needed to be done at a younger age. But I believe that I have 'grown out' of that age. It's been quite a while since I watched any at all. 

For a young boy who was brought up in a conservative society like India, porn taught me a great deal of things. It gave me knowledge on many basic things even, things which I couldn't have understood or didn't understand at all from all those 'Reproduction' classes at high school biology or those hurried lessons on sex in 'catechism' classes at church Sunday school. I admit I didn't know anything except a few words here and there, by the age of 17 or so. I believe this is the case with most kids in the society and country I live in. Ours is the nation from where the 'Kamasurta' emerged, ours is the nation which prides itself of its epics which contain incest, sexual exploitations and violence, orgies and all sorts of things which are frowned upon in the case of porn now. The world of porn is nothing compared to the depiction of devastations, events, and stories in various religious texts that we have at our homes. 

Also, don't think that porn is a new thing, a product of new technology and the spread of it. It is as old as the great old civilizations and beyond. It is just that our governing bodies suppress the data from the past and show us only what they think is 'good' and 'mighty' from our histories (If someone needs some evidence in this regard, try and watch the documentary, Pornography, the Secret History of Civilization). Porn is not a product of modernity, it has adapted itself to the evolutions of new media of communication from time to time, age to age, just like religion and ideologies do. 

The society around us is becoming more and more repressed, as we see it. I have seen various statistics which shows that it is in such repressed societies that porn has most consumers and I believe it to be true, seeing the people around me. And it is in these repressed societies that most sexual crimes occur. People get intrigued and aroused at the teeniest bits of things and body parts which otherwise the society has deprived them off from seeing and perceive as normal. I'm an adult, I'd rather masturbate to watching people having sex in my privacy with the money I paid for my internet than fantasising about some bit of cleavage or midriff I ogled at. 

I believe, if our society didn't feel ashamed of discussing and seeing sex as a normal thing, if it wasn't considered a form of sin but pleasure, and if we tell our young people and children things the way they should be told, there would be less porn and fewer cases of 'pornographic addictions'. Yet we allow this ridiculous invasion on the privacy of an adult individual and applaud it because it is porn, because it shows the act of sex (sex is bad, against culture, ban! ban! ban!).

Let us all now wait and see what else will join this seemingly never ending list of bans. Meanwhile, rattle the chains you are shackled in, and celebrate our 'freedom' and 'independence'.

"Happy Independence Day!"

Friday, July 24, 2015

An old piece- Written for EFL Uncut Magazine - Nov 2008

The ‘leg’acy

After a lot of persuasions and ‘blackmails’ (for the single reason that I’m a journalism

student) here I am, to write something. It’s the legend of a leg.  As you all know the latest

version of the CFA (Campus Football Association) tournament ended with only one casualty.

I’m going to tell you all about the incident that happened 2-3 weeks ago.

Mr. X (who wish to be unnamed, as though it is easy to be unknown), a 1st year student of

the university, is usually called as ‘karuthamuthu’ (black pearl) by his friends. He is a boy

who likes to talk and crack jokes. He is very strong. I don’t know why he had a full haircut

but he looks glamorous now. His smile is very much showing and it is a difficult smile to

Our protagonist joined the CFA league. Sorry guys, I don’t know the name of his team (I

found it very difficult to remember all those weird names). Anyway, his team won the 2nd

prize. I’m not going to all those details. Remember, our story is about the leg; his leg.

It was the second day of the tournament. As our hero scored goals and was rocking the

whole stadium (if we can call it that), a sudden tragedy happened. He was heading with the

ball to the opposite goalpost and a great forward of the other team blocked him. Both of

them fell down. Both of them got up and played again.

At night when I saw him as usual he smiled and talked to me. We happily talked about the

football match.  The next day I heard the news that he was taken to the hospital. That

night he came back to the campus with a new attachment to him, a plaster.

By seeing the pure white plaster, the artistic minds of some of us came to life. We took

borrowed sketch-pens in our hand and started being ‘Michelangelo’s ‘on it. After about half

an hour it really became a billboard with advertisements varying from Shankar cements to

Pepsi on it. After some days another artist painted ‘stick no bills’ on it. Many people

autographed the plaster. Have a look, it is truly a masterpiece. This is the legend of the

leg. I hope the hospital authorities will give it to us after removing it from his leg.

Friday, July 17, 2015


"Hey dude,
 Are you free now?"
"I'm in the middle of something, but yes,
 Tell me, What?"
"There is a new work,
 It's simple,
 Nothing special.
 An ad, we need, 
 Something different, 
 Something special."
"You said nothing special."
"Well, yes, but it's simple.
 It's for client Mister Ex,
 I don't have a proper brief,
 But we need the ad. 
 Make something up, 
 Write it well, 
 It's nothing special.
 Find a concept,
 Do something creative,
 Make it special."
"You said nothing special."
"It's not that, buddy,"
"(Buddy! Don't call me that you dumbass, I hate you)"
"Don't make it special,
 But make it special.
 You need to make it the best,
 Do your creative best, 
 It should be out of the world,
 Something no one thought about,
 So unique that you blow the world,
 So special that you make me famous (coz, I'm the boss),
 So, get along, do it, tout suite!"
"Okay then, 
 Creative, Special, Awesome, Unique, Wonderous,
 Lemme try, I will give it my best,
 How much time do I have?"
"How much time do you need?"
"A day or two at least?"
"You have one hour. Thank You!"

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Clockwork Borange

Out of sheer boredom,
I scribble down this poem.

People might not find it good,
But write definitely, I would.

Suffocation is gripping me,
I really don't want to just let it be.

When I really started thinking,
About scribbling down something,
The first two lines came in rhyme,
Had to keep the rest so, lest it be a crime.

Thinking of a title, I came across 'borange',
The only word that rhymes with orange.
My initial choice was just use 'Clockwork',
Which then I thought, alone, couldn't work.

Now I stop writing this poem,
And go back,to the same old boredom.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Train of Thoughts

The Train of Thoughts

Today morning, I entered the MMTS train to reach office without taking the ticket- and I thought...

I haven't taken the ticket, I feel guilty. But how could it be my fault? I stood in the unusual queue at the station for a long while and the train suddenly came to the platform. I had no choice but to run and catch the train. It normally stops at the station only for 30 seconds or so. One I got in though, the train didn't move from the station for the next 5-10 minutes. I couldn't go back and take the ticket too. What if the train leaves without me? I couldn't go by bus as there is an RTC strike going on from yesterday. No buses are running. The reason why there was a long queue at the station was the strike itself. People who normally would go to their work destinations had thronged the railway station. The common-man's other choice that was autorickshaws were no help as the drivers had decided to take advantage of the situation and charge double and triple the normal rates, albeit getting many times the passengers that the normally get. Yesterday, I had to shell out Rs. 150 in the morning and 120 in the evening to get to my office and back- that too, sharing the auto with other passengers. I wouldn't have had to spend so much, if not for my boss who really wanted to 'meet me' to let me know of two measly corrections (big in his view point). He could have let me know about them in hundred different ways, I could have worked from home in peace, but no, he couldn't do away without meeting me and making my whole day go bad. I spent Rs 270 on transport yesterday instead of the normal 25. Yes, it is a big deal for me, and I am really pissed off! 
I haven't taken the ticket today. It is just a matter of five rupees. What if a ticket checker comes today and asks for ticket? In my jean pocket, I have a folded ticket to the place, dated two days back. Should I take the ticket out and change the date from 05 to 07? If the checker comes, will he/she detect it? Maybe I should just flash the ticket and put it back in my pocket. Maybe they would not look at the date section. But, what if I was caught? Of course they would ask me to pay the fine. The maximum fine for ticket-less travel in MMTS is Rs 250 or so. They would probably ask that much. But I don't have that much in my purse, I just have a 100, plus the 10 I wanted to get the ticket earlier. No, I wouldn't pay the fine. Why should I? It's not my fault that I couldn't take the ticket. It was because of the long queue. I reached the station at my normal commute time. I couldn't have foreseen such a long queue; not in my dreams, never in a small station like Sitaphalmandi. At first, I had thought that the tatkal reservation counter which was on the other side of the station had been shifted here. No, it wasn't. It was people like me who wanted to get to their offices and other places. People who relied on public transport. People who didn't have or couldn't afford private vehicles; not people who roams around in a fancy cars alone all over places seeing pedestrians and public transport as shit. I love public transport. Some people just don't appreciate them. They say that the big buses are crowding the streets. Easy for them to say. Imagine instead of a bus with 50 people, there were 50 motorcycles in the streets, or 50 cars with single passenger. There was a guy coming selling buttermilk in the train. I got one with the ten rupee note that was meant to be for the train ticket. I hadn't taken the ticket. Will the checker come and ask for ticket? I am not going to pay any fine for it. Maybe I can explain what happened and the checker might forgive me. Of course there should be others in this train without ticket. Would the checker forgive everyone? No, the checker should uphold the rule and make a collection, right? It's good revenue for the railways, right? But it's really not fair that I should be caught and fined for not taking a 5 rupee ticket. After all, whenever the ticket counter people had no change of coins to give me, I had forgone it. Those coins should count somewhere, right? Maybe I can argue like that and the checker will be convinced. I can offer to pay the normal ticket charge of Rs 5, or even maybe Rs 10, which makes a 100% extra charge. That's reasonable, right? 250 is definitely exorbitant. What if my argument is rejected? What if I am fined after all? What would they do when I refuse to pay the fine? Maybe they will take me to the railway police. No, even if they take me, I am not going to pay the fine. Maybe they will take me to court. In the court, maybe I can argue my point that it wasn't my fault that I didn't purchase the ticket. Whose fault was it then? It was probably the system's fault. Maybe I can argue the case showing the troubles the public face due to this strike. Maybe the case will become famous and I will be declared as the champion of the public. What if I am jailed? Ha, I will be jailed for the sake of five rupees. I should tell the court that you have detained me for the sake for just five rupees. I should tell the judge that my crime is not paying the fine of 250 rupees, my actual crime is worth 5 rupees. Is it worth the courts time and money to pursue a case worth Rs 5? They might spare me as a common man struggling with the strike. They might just leave me alone. At any cost, I won't pay the fine. 

No one came to check the ticket. I read two chapters of the novel I had with me, got down when Lakdikapool station came, and went to my office. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Fly

The Fly

A fly came, 

Perched itself on the glass-window pane.
Observe the fly, I thought, 
Read its movements.
Make the fly my
Next blog entry, I should.
Find the profound in the tiny, and
Then, just then, 
It flew away. 

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does it matter who i am? everything is maya!