Thursday, July 15, 2010

Flinging the stones of freedom....

Submitted for the contest , "Is the Indian Media Misusing its Freedom" by Blogadda.

You know that thing about living in glass houses and learning not to throw stones. ? And you suddenly realize that these days , the stone throwing goes on as before, but that glass is getting tougher....

The growth of media (print, television,Internet etc) in India has parallels with the growth of various aspects of society in India.

The first newspaper (the Bengal Gazette) happened in 1780, the first moving picture show (cinema) in 1895 and radio broadcasting began in 1927, essentially reporting stuff from a British perspective. Along with the stirrings and support for the independence movement, there was a quiet rise of some landmark local language newspapers and media across the country , guided by some great figures in the Independence movement such as Lokmanya Tilak.

For a society that gobbles up 99 million newspaper copies (in various languages) as a country, has 81 million Internet users, and nearly 1400 television broadcast stations, that is an amazing increase to have happened, and that too mostly in final 10-15 years of the last century. An abnormally skewed rate of progress.

, we have a free press and media; true, we faced times of trial during the notorious emergency days; true , that we solved that in flying colors in 1977; but we need to remember that developing too fast has a downside, and sometimes affects individual judgement , as well as the perception of the magnitude of profits.

For a country with a 60% literacy rate , countless languages and dialects to cater to, an opening up of the economy and markets field to private players, and a growing population in the ages 25-30 age bracket, the situation resembles a hungry person faced with a massively attractive food buffet.

The media and society food habits in India have some amazing parallels.

In my childhood in the 50's, food was a need , not a hobby. Meals were traditional, cooking methods had remained essentially unchanged, and willful transgressions in the imbibing of food were frowned upon. The rice-dal-chapati-sabji-raita thing was supreme. Tongue tickling elements like pickles, chutneys, fried savouries, had their place in the scheme of things, but never took the place of the main items.

In an astounding parallel, the media in those days, which was primarily Print, was, mostly (barring a few sensationalist papers always involved in personal vendetta politics) sedate, polite, quietly informative, and respected. Very often local news was given priority. There were things you printed and things you didn't. And you had copious amounts of proofs to support any sensational disclosures. News paper owners were there, and were rich, but had , by and large, what we call, scruples.

Over the last 50 years, this state of affairs has been massively disturbed, in food systems as well as media habits. Today tongue tickling and mind tickling things rule the roost. People make meals out of what is called "chatak-matak" stuff; reams of research is done of vada-paos, pao-bhaji's , chaats, tikkis and stuff, because there is a demand. And similar is the case with media; people demand to know sensational stuff, conventional news is considered boring, and the media obliges, one way or the other, with blatant disregard for privacy, assorted types of sting operations, the path being often prescribed by the various sponsors and advertisers in the media.

Old methods of healthy earthy cooking have given way to stuff slathered in exciting textures and colors. Identical things happen in the media world. Accuracy is often sacrificed at the alter of TRP's , just like healthy caloric values are sacrificed at the alter of taste and tingling tongues.

When you have a presumably stable system over a century suddenly mindlessly accelerating in , say 30 years, you get what we call today's media and today's health problems due to indiscriminate utilisation of low value but high sensation value knowledge and food.

Yes, the media today appears to be irresponsible, but so are we. They are the way they are because we allow them to be so. Abnormally simplistic news items are blown up, shouted from the OB vans, printed across 8 columns in newspapers, and you sell so many thousand copies more than your nearest competitor. You can always print a retraction in fine print on page 4, but the damage is done. Just like we are ready to pay sums equivalent of someones monthly house payment, to have a meal of questionable nutritional value at some famous society place, because it tickles our taste buds, and sense of self-importance no end, and what the heck, anyway , there are fancy doctors to recommend meds if things do not agree, and gyms with astronomical fees to slim you down.

And so we are back to the stone throwing from glass houses. We ourselves pretend to live aseptically in antiseptic glass houses. Surreptitiously enjoying every bit of throwing that's going on. We even throw stones ourselves, but like those in the construction business will tell you, and observers of societal mores will tell you, the glass walls have gotten stronger, and shameless. They don't break.

And so we think nothing of intruding into a widow's privacy, sticking microphones in hospital wards to grab dying declarations , grovelling in front of pseudocelebrities and arranging for them to become stars. As far as TV was concerned 26/11 was all about the Taj, Trident, and the Chabad house. Cama and Albless hospital , those that delivered babies that night with mouths clamped, to avoid the marauding terrorists, the several Cesarean surgery patients who quietly left the hospital the next morning, with their day-week old babies to take the trains home, were not considered newsworthy.

Inaccuracy is ignored and defeated by wishful thinking, as happened when , during the Vajpayee-Msharraf Agra meeting, Hindi Star news reported , at variance with other channels, that the agreement was on the verge of being signed/just signed, and this was soon followed by visuals of a grumpy Musharraf walking out on his way back from Agra to Pakistan.

And so, until we realize we are sliding as a society, we are as much to blame as the media. We do it under the guise of individual freedom and independence, they do it for business reasons. Every business house is known to patronize certain sections of media. Some business houses even own newspapers and television stations.

We are responsible for the media we have. And so if you ask me if the Indian media is using its freedom in an irresponsible manner. the answer would be , that it has grabbed whatever freedom we have given it.

It cannot be viewed in isolation. It reflects the undisciplined society we have evolved into.

We have got the media we deserved.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A mad Soliloquy

Submitted for the Blogadda "Moments of Madness" contest.

Half a century
and more,
of a life
deep troughs
mad peaks...

An 8 year old
only sister
by water depths,
learning swimming
dared by some
to jump
the first floor
diving place....
And I jumped,
eyes shut tight,
but on the side,
lacerating my thighs
against the pool walls,
all the way
the terrible 15 feet....
and back up again --
a mad moment
of victory
shut up
the fellows for good....
but alarmed a mother
who wondered.....

As a grad student
in the US,
for an evening meeting
of women professionals ***
wishing to award a schol....
there wasn't a place
to sit
and play my sitar
(which I played well)....
and then
in a completely mad moment,
I climbed onto the
dining table,
took my position
played the piece;
a few days later
the mad moment didnt look so mad
when I got the schol....:-)

And then
there have been
moments of madness
which have decreed me a fool,
but probably
not in the eyes
of Someone Up There....

Leaning out of
a Mumbai bus
stuck in a jam
just after
a torrential
of rain;
brilliant fresh
methi bunches
on a vendor 's cart,
in an
moment of madness
I bargained with him
through the bus window
and bought
four wonderful bunches
which were passed to me
via various passengers,
as the vendor
behind the suddenly starting bus
to collect the money I held out....
To the intense
of a daughter
intensely envied
by the other women in the bus....
the methi parathas
were extra special that night!

There have been other
Mad moments,
that have remained
in my mind

wanting to stamp
in a rain water puddle
the lady who thought
Black was Bad
and White was Fair
walked next to me
in her

Like wanting
to blow
my famous whistle,
to confuse the cops,
corrupt chaps
in tinted cars
passed by
holding up traffic
with their z-plus security...

But some folks think
writing this
has been an

And it continues .

Wading through the
forest of mad words
and madder artists,
I am at my maddest best
when I blog....

A mad life.

And you thought
that is
a mad moment ?

Are you mad ?

*** Altrusa International

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer of '57.....

The summer of 1957. I was eight.

Saturday evening at dusk. It was on one of Pune's then main thoroughfares. A very ordinary looking three storey structure, with a name written with a grand flourish across a background of cement flowers, cracking at the edges.

We were in a special area on the first floor, with nicer tables and chairs, than say the ground floor, where flinging a towel on your shoulder, and shouting out the order in convoluted complex English, was the style of the day. We had folks who sedately moved around asking what your order was, kind of whispered it to the next important functionary, and the four of us sat at one of the hexagonal tables, that seemed to have an imposing huge stone as a table top, terribly at variance with the folding metal chairs.

The two of us were so excited. In those days, such trips were rare. Going out, per se, was not the done thing. But this was special. A celebration. I forget the reason. It was enough that we were there.

We watched the folks at the other tables. Not too many mothers there. Every now and then we would watch waiters coming with full trays, hoping they would stop at our table. The elderly waiter would smile at us, seeing our desperation.

Finally, the waiting ended. It had arrived. My first crush . Alphonso Hapoos Mango pieces crushingly slathered in hand churned mango ice cream, presented in a boat shaped false silver plate, with two spoons; one flat and the other , normal.

There was a new light in my eyes. The waiting was all worth it. I could keep on looking at it, but the latitude and longitude of Pune ensured, that the crush would lose its solidity, if I followed that path.

I followed his eyes, now focused on the crush in front of him. Did he get more ice cream than I did ? Were his mango pieces larger ? Was I jealous ? Was he jealous ?

We started picking at the ice cream, enjoying the flavour as it tingled the tongue and built up a sensation of wanting more. There was a technique we followed , on such occasions, which were not frequent at all. The idea was to keep eating small amounts, so that after an unbearably long time, the other person's ice cream got over, and you still had a half plate of the crush in front of you.

The trouble was he had the same idea. And so you have the story of my first crush, redolent of Alphonso mango fruit, and completely blanketed by mango ice cream so to speak, now trying to lie at the side of the fruit pieces, in puddles, probably disgusted at the stubborn behaviour of the imbibers.

My father looked at his watch. he had promised to bring us home by 7 pm. It was getting late, and my brother and I, out on this special treat with him, were making things difficult trying to win, as to who came last.

"OK. You both have 5 minutes. I want everything lapped up, no wasting stuff. If you can't eat it, then slurp it or drink it. We need to leave......"... the referee had spoken.

This was the best part, and we dug in, ecstatically drizzling the melted ice cream over the orange pieces, and literally wolfing it down, and you could see the extra large servings sliding down our throats as the food pipe , in peristalsis, appeared to shiver delightedly from the cold, as it directed the now mushy crush down into the innards, amidst sensations, that cannot be described adequately in words. A cooling feeling at the bottom of the stomach, and before it got over, there would be another mouthful , the mango and the ice cream once again delighting all the senses. We'd sniff the cold spoonful before we ate it, and revel in the aroma of hapoos, cream and saffron.

There would be a sound of a chair scraping, and we knew we were running late. The last semi solid, nectarish mash of hapoos and cream would be drunk straight from the boat shaped plate, paying scant attention to the milk moustache that made its appearance.

My father would offer his handkerchief. We would use it only after licking up the moustache stuff first.

We would emerge, as the street lights came on. Not too much traffic on the road, and crossing was easy.

I have been around . Crossed the world . I have seen the advent of cones and sundaes, and ice cream available in packs in shops. I have seen the 32 flavours. I have seen what is called a softie. I have also see ice creams where the shape of the glass is more important than what is inside, as ice cream. I've seen it thrown into glasses of Coca Cola, and sold at ridiculous prices, and called ridiculous names.

But. What remains, etched , for eternity, in my heart, is the memory of this first crush.

Melting moments , of the icy Alphonso type....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eyes of the beholder.....

(Submitted for the
Travel Photo Blogadda Contest)

I am not much of a photographer when it comes to profusion of colors, compositions, brilliance etc. These things leave me tongue-tied as well as hand-tied.

And so I take pictures of things that convey an oddity/story/situation to me....

This was in the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Andaman Islands. The floor which houses the cell occupied by Veer Savarkar. The rooms were nothing to speak of either in size or ventilation. But each room had this huge cast iron pucca latch, which actually went through the wall before it engaged with the door on the right, for locking. In a completely unplanned way, the evening Sun ensured that this would be a prison photo.

Singapore Jurong Bird Sanctuary
. What was captivating was the attitude of the flamingos, as their keeper appeared with , maybe , instructions.

What made me laugh was the supreme indifference shown by some, presumed paying of great attention by some, and lots of inter-flamingo chitchats that were in process , with them blithely showing their backs to the keeper. Reminded me of lots of meetings back home, and just a little bit of the Miss Universe contestants , given the grace and statuesqe bearing and confidence of the flamingoes...

Ross island, very close to Port Blair , Andaman Islands
, was a British military settlement before independence. Almost like a town. Today it houses the ruins of the old settlement and an establishment maintained by the Indian Armed forces. It can take several hours to completely go around the island. Wandering across a complete ruined settlement, while returning to the boat, I came across these ducks, marching so, in line, led by the commanding duck.... Just thought the ethos was so appropriate....

Mountains and peaks, stretching far into the distance, at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, a fossilized tree, appeared to be invoking something , hands raised to the heavens. The thick branch on the left seemed to be opening up a beak, crying out. Surrounded by the amazing panorama of mountain colors, small peaks and plateaus , bare and strong, standing through centuries in support. I often wonder what such a tree must have observed over the hundreds of years...

At another point , at the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, snaking through the valley deep below. I thought the plateau on the right actually resembled giant feet, of some standing deity or super entity.

The hugeness of the feet matching the grandeur of the Canyon; a watchful patron God, as it were, supremely standing on the river bank and mountain, protecting the ancient set up....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Whackers of the world, Unite !......

(Submitted for the Blogadda
"Whack!! this Wednesday" contest) (747 words).

Just think. The amount of times you’ve wanted to shout at a complete stranger, and when beyond tolerance,in plain words, whack him/her.

Then read on, and thank the Internet for allowing you perform the violence virtually.

Standing at the signal, several kilos of veggies loading my clavicles, waiting for a pedestrian signal. The signal changes, we start crossing, when a really fancy car, continues to move ahead. Tinted windows, uniformed chauffeur, guy in sunglasses reading a newspaper in the back, cellphone stuck into his ears.

The inability to notice signals, the defiance of civic norms, and the lack of concern for some who may come under its wheels is inexplicable. The crossing public, me in front, intersect with the car. Shouts falling on closed windows. The car doesn’t stop. A direct hit on the bonnet of the car with 5 kg of vegetables in a bag does the trick. Today, dented cars count more than dented humans. No dent anywhere on the psyche of the fellow inside, who seriously needs a whack.

Sometimes , it’s the way folks drive their minds. Like at the local recreation centre, open to all, with certain rules. You’ve stood in line, obtained permissions, followed rules, and noticed how sincerely the folks who work there behave. Comes someone, whose bigness of mind falls hugely short of the bigness of his emoluments and position in the hierarchy. He shouts and threatens the guy at the counter, because he dares to point out rules to him, The big chap is a month late doing his renewals. He speaks about going to higher ups. What an amazingly bad example to the young ones there. But abuse of power has made him deaf and blind. I wish it made him dumb too. Seriously needs a whack, or even two.

Ten years ago, I was lucky to rush with someone, in an ambulance, on a Sunday to a big hospital some distance away. A plaintive siren today, falls on deaf ears in traffic. Some cars and buses tentatively move to the side, but are thwarted by two wheelers, that plague Mumbai roads today. They squeeze through gaps, even scrape past your toes, overtaking the ambulance. The ambulance and the patient in trauma, struggles through the traffic, led by two wheeler monsters who think they are pilot wheels leading a luminary’s car. Whacking is really the minimum these guys need. They can’t be whacked enough.

Take the guy with his shameless moves in a packed bus. Standees only. Double the amount of people in half the space. Women, children, office goers, seniors. You push your daughter ahead of you, and stand directly behind her. But everyone doesn’t have someone. Another young girl struggling with her books and purse, trying to reach the exit. The queue moves every now and then when folks need to get down. The girl pushes ahead followed by a “decent” looking fellow, close behind, who presumably also needs to get down. She gives him a disgusted look as she darts to the door to disembark. He grins, and gets down at the last minute. I watch with growing anger, crushed somewhere in the middle of the bus. She could also be my daughter; the guy needs to be severely whacked.

The elderly lady who has driven in to buy some fruits from the gully off the main road. She trudges back laden with bags, and sees another car parked at a weird angle , making it difficult for her to leave. She knocks on the drivers side, where some guy is busy with headphones, stretched out in A/C comfort, waiting for his Memsaab to return. He ignores . She knocks, the bags of fruit loading her uncomfortably in the hot sun. She walks back to her car, then back again to knock. Finally a kind soul on the road does some concentrated window banging. The fellow inside erupts, abusing the kind soul and the lady. Possibly emulating his master. I’m disgusted. No amount of whacking will suffice here.

Sometimes it’s the pool. It’s the peak of summer. Changing rooms are crowded. Mothers more concerned about swimsuits, Children, least bothered. We go in to change. Loud conversation between two mothers in change cubicles, on fairness and dark skins. Running down of a good swimmer who happens to be dark. The trouble is, she is there, in the changing room. The mothers have just miseducated their kids.

The question is, how do you whack minds ?


Whack them hard!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Has politics gone to the dogs ?

The Bharatiya Shwaan Sabha recently held an Extraordinary General Body Meeting in the far corner of the Rose Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

While there have been rumours circulating for sometime about the brewing discontent in the Shwaan population in Lutyen's Delhi, things came to a head on repeated barks received from Karnataka.

The fuse was lit when the BJP president recently referred to Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mr Mulayam Singh as dogs who liked to lick certain feet.

Reliable sources indicate that unrest actually began when an ex-PM called the Karnataka CM a Bxxxxxd, and then people were at pains to explain that this was like calling someone a son-of-a bitch.

Tiger, who is actually a dog, but the President of the National Shwaan Sabha, protested vociferously at being associated with the two Yadav's , and called this the biggest insult faced by his party. He was accompanied by Don , the Karnataka State Shwaan president, and was being interviewed by Varkha Mutt on the lawns at India Gate.

" My party, the Bharatiya Shwaan Sabha, has been the only party with no defectors so far. Our members have participated in all the country's law and order events, and played a leading part in the fight against terror. We Bow only in front of those who are Wow. Thats the Bow-wow principle......

We do not like being associated with geriatric ex-PM's and their spouting of abuse , neither do our lady members like explanations being given by others. The Ex-PM may have been called Kaminey in Parliament during a no-confidence motion, but we Kuttas of India have very different standards. The Left has been advising us to hold out for Shwaan Reservation Bill. But we are real patriots, and prefer to spend our time in active duty rather than making deals in Parliament.


Latest reports indicate a massive gathering of dogs at Parliament House, getting organized to hold a protest rally. Several dogs from Raisina Hill were seen racing into Parliament for the Rally.

Delhi Police, have sent a posse of their best chaps to guard the House, and avert any possible biting altercation, where the two Yadavs are concerned.

Of course, as in any political party, entry of a goonda element cannot be denied. This is particularly important in view of the fact, that latest news from the Health Ministry indicated adulteration in the latest rabies vaccine bought in large quantities from Bulgaria.

According to the latest Home Ministry notification, the two Yadav's have now been elevated to Z+++ security, in view of the threat and bite perception from the Shwaans.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Death:, by a sister, of a sister, for a sister....

Whodunnit ?

(Submitted for the Mystery Fiction Blog Contest at Blogadda. Ajay Nair has written a story called "Reunion", laying out some clues. He also paints a great picture of the mentalities of everyone involved.

And we are supposed to solve the mystery. Possibly happened as below.... in 398 words :-) )

Lila was democratic that way.

In death, as in love.

She had experienced and distributed her love equitably in impulsive, willful , hurtful and careless ways, and commitment to an individual, never kept her from seeking new pastures. Her leap from paramour to paramour was always dramatic; courts, cases, shooting, riding off cliffs…. The gift of a virus from G, and public perception of that virus, today, didn’t always imply death, and she was smart enough to know that.

Unlike Sia.

Who never really got on with Lila, never wore the snake armband. And Lila never forgot the drowning episode.

Sia, who Lila was never able to control.

The person who died was actually not Lila, but Sia.

The drugged tea was meant to throw suspicion on the narrator. The bullet necklace kept the pointer firmly on R. The scarf was a reminder of M’s wild behavior which she suffered. Her interaction and tangling with G was public matter, and couldn’t get any worse.

Sia went in last. Lila, probably convinced her to wear the armband , once , for her sake, and Sia did, not knowing that the red on the snake head-hood was actually blood from Lila’s arm , studded with the virus. Lila probably offered her a sit-down tea, two sisters, having a presumed last tea together.

Sia reeled under the poisoned tea. Lila, giving up all pretence, got up, and forced her to exchange clothes, and places. The spread of artifacts on the floor and bathroom was probably the extent of a surprised tussle. Lila wore Sia’s clothes, and emerged outside, head down, weeping. Everyone of Lila’s suitors, would be sympathetic to a desolate sister. The tears would work.

The tea was having its effect on Sia. She came out after Lila , wanting to explain.

But no. She shivered. It was affecting the brain, and she was confused.

She emerged in Lila’s clothes, wrapped as a patient would be. No grace and charm , like Lila; but a woman trying in hurried gestures to convey something, which never emerged.

T'was all over. . The meeting, the reunion, and this world.

She shuddered and returned to the room, unable to comprehend what was happening.

One illuminating moment , it occurred to her that she was drowning.

Lila had not only succeeded in pointing fingers at her paramours, but she had won in the end.


And you know, regardless of what one looked at, in Lila's house, the predominant image that stayed in the mind was this .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hyderabad 5-day IWILLYELL International game

In keeping with the various transformations taking place in the cricket game format, and in a direct challenge to Mr IPL Modi, Shoaib Malik, the banned Pakistan ex-captain flew into Hyderabad last week to introduce the world to the Hyderabad 5-day IWILLYELL International game, scheduled at Banjara Hills.

In honor of the Women's Reservation Bill, currently being haggled over by the LokaSabha, this game was a mixed game, and not restricted to men.

Reliable sources indicate that in keeping with the philosophy of reduction in the facets of the actual game, and increase in the pointless side activities, the overs have been now reduced from 20 to 0. Mr IPL Modi is reported to have faxed his congratulations to Mr Malik.

The winner of the game is to be decided by a toss of the coin.

The game took off last week, at the Banjara Hills Stadium, and besides the whole of Hyderabad, most of the states politicians and MP's arrived for the game. Given that this was a mixed game, various religious personages were also minutely observing the proceedings , in case they detected flouting of religious rules.

The opposing teams were captained by Ms. Sania Mirza and Ms Ayesha alias Maha Sidiqqi.

The game was certainly interesting with the international aspects highlighted by Ms Mirza, who actually is proficient at several other games, including tennis. Verbal interviews, volleys, smart shots were the order of the day. On the other hand, the other captain, Ms Siddiqui, intelligently displayed her talents one at a time, wearing a mask, and confusing the audience and umpires.

Mr Shoaib Malik, walked in for the toss, and then simply pocketed the coin, saying he didn't recognize one of the captains. A reliable source moonlighting as a groundman informs us, that Malik was observed winking at Ms Mirza when he came in to toss.

Amidst the ensuing pandemonium, police were called by the sponsors of the Siddiqui team, who registered a complaint against Mr Malik. The problem assumed international significance as Malik has a Pakistani Passport, but luckily, diplomatic personnel from NewDelhi, currently free since the lull in the India-Pak talks, stepped in.

It is reported that the Andhra Mahila Sabha, rushed forth with spectacles of various hues and powers, so that Mr Malik could try each on and see if he recognized Ms Siddiqui. The various intermediaries and religious elders also urged him to open his eyes and apply his mind.

The winner was formally declared when , subsequent to proper spectacle selection, Mr Malik tossed the coin. The only difference was, he was the one who shouted Heads /Tails, as the two captains were totally dumbstruck . Mr Malik declared the winner by patting Ms Mirza on her head. Ms Siddiqui was awarded the Confuser-of-the-match award.

The BCCI has taken charge of the coin for investigation, after rumors circulated that it had Heads on both sides.

Results are awaited by April 15th.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sab Kuch Maya !

The nation has been in an uproar ever since a certain CM of a certain northern state, stood at the centre of a garland made out of thousands of 1000 Re notes.

While the rank and file of her party, overcome with love and affection, rushed to offer these very minor denomination currency notes, folks garlanding her on stage were warned to be careful of the CM's cervical vertebrae. Known to be a person with a tough backbone, there are, however , issues today with the neck, as a result of constant neck alignments in the process of offering political support to the left and right.

Our sources indicate that representatives of the Nike company were in raptures after noticing that her currency garland photos displayed, although inadvertently, their logo. A couple of Nike big shots fainted in surprise, after they offered free shoes to primary school children, and the CM, promptly agreed, saying Lets Do It. (Unfortunately, they didn't hear the latter part of the sentence, urging them to create currency notes studded footwear, for special use )

Unconfirmed reports indicate that some well known ghost writers have been contacted by a certain CM to write a semi official autobiography called "Meri Maya, Sab Maya Hai".

While garland makers are now being subsidized for setting up garland making Institutes, we understand that a special licence will be needed for making currency garlands, which will be 10% of the currency value of the garland. The state has appointed a committee to investigate the possibility of making garlands from , footwear, BT cotton, and BT brinjal, which might be exported to someone called Monsanto.

In the meanwhile, designers , particularly from Delhi, at the Fashion Week currently being held, are now showing high fashion currency garments. Celebrity people , particularly from Parliament were contacted for walking the ramp, but they refused because none of the outfits had any deep pockets.

Mamata Banerjee, was reported to have agreed to model a saree, provided there was not even a speck of Red in it, but the deal fell through after rumors indicated the possibility of elections in West Bengal. Designers studying her gait actually breathed in relief after realizing that some of the currency would have fallen off , in the hustle and bustle of Mamata-style agitational politics.

A Certain Minister with 7 daughters, in an inspired patriotic move , offered all of them for modeling the outfits, gratis. Unfortunately, the designers had to decline the offer after they insisted on changing at home.

Our sources indicate that the Centre has appointed a high power committee to investigate the correlation between love-and-affection, and currency, and its application to electoral alliances and politics.

Finally, seizing the moment, the respected Elder no 1 of Bollywood, announced a new film starring a new entrant, Amar Singh. The film, titled, "Kabhi Haar, Kabhi Paise" is expected to begin shooting in 2011. In a move, reminiscent of "detente" , efforts are on to convince Ms Mayawati to play the female lead.

Details awaited.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

E-potholes for your car ?

A company called MapmyIndia is has announced its entry into the GPS Navigation Industry with their latest : Roadpilot, designed to help you move around various towns and cities in India. You dont need cell phone connectivity for it, and they say that it contains an extensive database pre-loaded with maps of 620 Indian cities; 576,000 towns and villages; 30,000 tourist locations; and 2 million unique destinations, like ATMs, Petrol Pumps, Restaurants and everything that you need to know in a city. The navigator is priced at Rs 7,990.

In the meanwhile, it is reported that trials are on by a sister company called MapmyPothole , to have a ready installable Navigator, priced at Rs 8000/-, that will warn you about potholes on roads, their frequency per kilometre, and percentage of them that are filled with water of unknown depths. The company has announced memorandums of understanding (MoU's) with the Municipal Contractors Union, MTNL,BSNL and Reliance Energy as well as Reliance Telecom.

Our sources indicate that a tie up with the Mumbai Police was cancelled at the last minute, after the Director of Mapmypothole was found related to some suspicious types in Dubai.

Speaking to the press, the company's technical director, Delco Me Pani, stressed the need for mapping potholes and supplying real time depth info as opposed to what he called elitist Page 3 data like ATM's , Banks, Petrol Pumps, Hotels and so on.

The entire exercise involves fitting Mumbai's roads with detectors every 500 metres, which would emit signals and map themselves on a screen for the driver. There would also be an audio feature which would warn the driver in 26 languages about an impending pothole at least 2 minutes in advance. The MNS and Shivsena have protested and insisted that there should be 5 announcements in Marathi in these 26 announcements.

These requirements are a challenge as there are often 3 potholes in 15 seconds in Mumbai.

Notwithstanding the Dubious Dubai connections, a grand demonstration of the contraption was held two days ago, in view of the fact that the Mumbai Police would order them to be fixed on their jeeps, and the ministerial red-beacon cars.

Unfortunately, several potholes earlier so classified got filled along with the detectors, in view of the impending visit of the PM, there was no pothole warning, and a speeding car ended up banging into a Caterpillar excavator which was excavating for a new road.

Efforts are on to dig up the filled potholes again in order to retrieve and reinstall the detectors, some of which have been completely destroyed by road rollers crushing them to pieces.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that those involved in sudden surreptious movement of manhole covers for their commercial metal value, have asked for a feasibility study regarding the movement of the aforementioned metal detectors.

Further news is awaited.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Learning from "elders" ?

The passage of the 33% Womens Reservation Bill in Parliament was frought with hooligansim of the worst kind, by our legislators.

March 8, was International Women's Day. Our worthy representatives in the Parliament, tried their level best to pass the Women's Reservation Bill on that day, but their levels were found so wanting that the best didn't happen.

Instead, a bunch of kids from National High School, paid minute attention to the indisciplined going ons in Parliament, and accused their Civics teacher of misleading them about Netas .

Instead of quietly sitting and ruminating about all the year round homework bunking that made them fail, the kids rushed to the teachers desk, to protest. Several kids threw balls of paper torn from their textbooks at the teacher, some threw paper airplanes made out of the result sheets, and one kid even opened his lunch box and threw rice at the teacher. An effort was made to grab the teacher's books kept on the desk, and some fell to the floor.

All because she announced that only those declared as Pass, would get promoted to the higher class.

Reports indicate that the main instigators of the revolt are a few students whose ambitions to be head-boy were thwarted in the democratic procedure followed by the School Council, despite their efforts to woo the teachers by bringing them huge bouquets on their birthdays, and Teachers days, not to mention crying false tears during farewells and stuff.

The school has security, but fears confrontation if the students are touched. So the Principal has declared a holiday, till the violence subsides. Parents who are at their wits end , what with increase in fees, difficulties in admission, delays in results and cheating in exams, have threatened to complain to the minister for education.

"No class management at the most basic level", said an irate parent, "this has happened so many times, the principal should have been alert about such things. "

The Minister for education, currently busy with BT-brinjal discussions , is reported to have given an appointment in 2011.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Judiciary Landmarks

The Supreme Court Of India has upheld the 1989 sacking of a railway constable found glued to his radio during duty hours.

Babu was appointed as a constable in the RPF at Vijaywada in the year 1977 and promoted to the rank of a Naik on November 30, 1989. After he was fired, he approached the lower courts, and a single judge of the Andhra High court reduced his termination of service to cancellation of 4 increments.

The Union government, appealed this decision of National Importance, at the Supreme Court. And fought it bravely for 21 years. The Court has now ruled that the firing was perfectly fine.

In the meanwhile, the various judges across the land are now being asked to get ophthalmic checkups, naturally at very fancy hospitals. Rumor has it that these were ordered after it was pointed out by the opposition that various ministers have been not only hearing commentary , but playing cricket , in office hours, sometimes even with judges. And as far as the CBI knows, ministers do not have a ZZ+++ security, that allows them to turn invisible.

An ex-railway minister, even changed some Cricket rules regarding lbw, after the top edge of the kneepad was mutilated as he bent to sweep a ball from an opposition member, off the ground. He is reported to have said "Yeh communal forces, desh hi nahi, balki cricket pads bhi tod dete hai !"

In the meanwhile, a new birdlike minister, supposedly appointed in external affairs, to stop him from meddling in internal ones, has been practicing playing cricket on official tours, dressed in his native best. Our sources reveal that the real reason behind playing wearing a lungi, (and not pants), is that the ball cannot trickle to the stumps easily as it is thwarted in its attempt by the pleats of the lungi . He also is trying to introduce an India-specifc method of getting out: lbw.....lungi-before wicket.

However, subsequent to the hue and cry about the policeman being fired, for enjoying what is every Indian's birthright, the PM has appointed a Parliamentary committee to study multitasking at work. This was a direct result of various stalwarts pointing out that if a single minister could head cricket, IPL and Agriculture at the same time, and create a mess in at least one, what was so shocking about a policeman listening to commentary while directing traffic?

Reliable sources indicate that thanks to Sachin hitting century after century, the policeman kept indicating that, and traffic kept moving without stopping for a long time, till Ashish Nehra came to bat, at which point the policeman's hands came down.

When last checked, Rahul Gandhi was said to have asked for the policeman's file, from one of the anti Telangana MP's.

Stay tuned for further news.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Anatomy of a Scarf

The Pune blasts and the Maoist massacre of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) Police in Silda, West Bengal, has brought the scarf into sudden prominence.

The IGP of the EFR , that bore the brunt of the Maoist attack and lost 24 members, appeared on National television hiding himself with a scarf, and blamed the State government. Earlier, a month ago, without a scarf, he had complained to the district police chief, who it seems didnt hear.

While finger pointing has begun, reliable sources indicate that investigations may be handed over to the Black Cats, and this was an effort to show solidarity with them, now that the state government was angry with him for exposing the problems.

Turns out that if you have no answer or something to hide, you wear a scarf.

Our political correspondent in New Delhi, reports that the Agriculture minister was seen trying on a scarf before the PM's meeting. Post the Pune blasts, the Home Minister was disuaded from wearing white masks matching his lungi. He finally agreed on a colored mask. To be on the safe side, the Railway Minister, also got herself a mask, after someone said she was not doing enough to catch the Maoists blowing up railway tracks in the north east..

This whole concept of wearing masks to hide responsibility was simply turned on its head by the Pune authorities, who immediately banned the women two wheeler drivers from wrapping their faces in masks, something they have been doing for the last 30-40 years. The women wear these in Pune to get protection from the pollution and sun, and are planning to protest the ban.

They feel, that wearing scarves to keep something inside from getting out is one thing. Like your mistake, or blame for underperformance. The women in Pune wear scarves to keep the outside dirt from entering in, and as such cannot be classified as a terrorist threat.

Smt Shantabai Joshi, a senior citizen two wheeler driver for the last 25 years, has filed an PIL in court, asking for a CBI investigation into, just what constitutes pollution in the air, and does lying, corruption, and cheating from those having lots to hide have something to do with it.

The UPA spokesman, when asked about the new scarves, said that there's was a democratic party, and as per tradition, the decision on whether to allow ministers to wear scarves had been left to the High Command.

In the meanwhile, its been a week since the Pune blasts, and there are no clues or arrests yet.

A lone sweeper, clearing the garbage outside the site, early morning, stopped, rested for a while, after he was racked with a cough.

"The authorities have no money to provide us with protective masks", he said. ......

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mumbai Manthan

Unhappy about the Commonwealth Games being held in new Delhi, the Government of Maharashtra has sent a delegation to the High Command in Delhi, requesting the introduction of tug-of-war as a sport from 2010.

Not to be left behind, the Sena systems (Shiv and MN), of Mumbai, have cited scriptures , and quoted passages about gods churning the oceans and pulling from both sides to grab the goodies.

While the Union sports minister has appointed a committee to look into this, back in Maharashtra the ruling party and the Sena Systems were at great pains to demonstrate that tugging, and churning of the populace, is a way of life, particularly at high levels .

"We tug for power, we tug for money, we tug for position, and we even tug for money", said a senior minister. "In fact, any party that has been in power, ever, has learnt to tug, vigorously".

The ruling party then invited the most popular actor from Bollywood to help, and the Sena systems, incensed with the British English usage "tug-of-war", immediately went on a protest and changed the name to Mumbai Manthan.

Violent protests were the order of the day, with lots of running around, threatening, shutting of shops, and opening of threats, and 48,000 police had their leaves cancelled all over the state, so they could stand like an audience and applaud, as the ruling party and the Sena Systems, churned away, displaying a great sense of tug-of-war alias manthan, tightening the noose across the populace, already weakened from rising prices, crowded public transport, pollution and water shortages.

Observing the floods of tears falling from the twisted churning population, Mr Amar Singh , lately of the Switchwadi Party, who was on a secret visit to Mumbai, recommended that the state introduce tear-water harvesting, to take advantage of an unhappy populace.

According to reliable reports, Mr Amar Singh abruptly left, after the populace decided to make him the centre of the tugging game, and the Sena systems, and the ruling party agreed to implement it instantly.

It is not known what the Sports Minister has decided about including Manthan/Tug-of-War as a Commonwealth Games sport.

Strangely, a villager , resident of Raigad Fort, where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had his coronation, has reported that the Chhatrapati appeared in his dream, and requested, that the so called several crores memorial to him, off Mumbai, in the sea, be scrapped, since he feared that the next Manthan in the Sea, again, between the Sena Systems and Ruling Party, would adversely affect him there.

The villager has been sent for lie-detector testing.

Meanwhile, the tugging continues.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Monsanto has declared India to be a most favoured destination. Ever since one of its big shots became Bush's appointee in the Food and Drug administration, The US decided to change its emphasis from CTBT to just BT.

Reports indicate that the company has contracted some folks in Delhi to write an alternative to the Bhagwad Gita. Particularly the chapter on "Fruits of your labour. "

The original urged the populace to work without any thought of the fruit of that work, and called that the best worship.

While the citizens remained loyal to that, the situation was intolerable to the Monsantos. They decided that the fruits needed to be made more attractive , so everyone would hanker after them, and to hell with labor. Certain members of the ruling combine were reported to be greatly impressed by the symmetry in the tomatoes, and shine in the corn, not to mention the new shape of the brinjal , which resembled an actress. They voted for a BT banana in the shape of a $ sign, but were ruled out by the communists.

Our sources indicate that efforts are on to produce a BT-Gita, authored by Mr G. Bush. Performances are on in various parts of India complete with a chariot, horses, peaccock feather in the hair and so on. Certain ministers are playing the role of Arjun on shift basis. Sometimes they forget they are acting , and suddenly come out with the truth, like "Milk price will rise", "Sugar price will dip for some time", and " Now that I have hoarded some much milk and sugar for the IPL cricketers, what will I do if Australians are banned ?"....... whereupon they rush to meet problem solvers and creators in Mumbai.

The Environment Minister was seen holding his head listening to the new BT -Gita which Mr Bush read from a lectern teleprompter. Looking at Mr Bush as Krishna gave him migraines. In the meanwhile the PM requested that mustard be left out of the "reserved list" for BT-fication.

Our bureau reports indicate that no one likes the taste of these BT fruits and vegetables, and it is suspected that certain politicians earlier hit by rotten tomatoes are now supporting BT as those tomatoes don't rot, and taste nicer when they splash on the face.

Rumor has it that BT-shoes will be next on the list. When someone throws a BT shoe at you, the shoe gets hurt.

While BT-Bush is reported to be pleased, various agitated active sporty legislators, participating in the Legislative furniture throwing BT- Games are protesting.

Say no to BT-fication. No BT. No Ceetee. Just Preity. Zinta ?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bhaji and IPL

The Maharashtra State Bhajipala Samiti was a special invitee to the IPL Auctions 2010 , today.

Reports indicate that the Agriculture Minister who is also associated with the IPL most of the time, wanted the Bhajipala folks to learn how to buy the produce from the farmers. And learn all about AUCTIONS.

Gangubai Kadam, long time seller of leafy vegetables,tucked in her paloo, and had a question for Shilpa Shetty about when was the last time she had gone to buy vegetables.

Babanrao Dhole, all the way from Nasik, questioned the need to SELL cricketers, by announcing their rates louder than the Tur dal rates currently showing. He understood that a company called Reliance was now in the bhaji business but was sorry to note that they didn't have a clue about french beans.

They observed a man in stage, holding the microphone, standing like a headmaster , announcing things to several well dressed Bhaus and Mavshees, with a hammer in his hand, and Sulochana, the most observant of the Samiti, decided that there was nothing else for the headmaster to do, if the people at the tables continued to eat and drink all the time, not paying attention when prices were being announced.

Kamlabai , the oldest of the lot, noticed the buyers eating all kinds of sugary stuff , and drinking , what she thought was some alcoholic drink, that Ganpat said, was using something called ethanol , available from sugar factories.

Reliable sources indicate, that the aforementioned Gangubai, asked the Minsiter point blank at what rate he bought the sugar being used. He didnt have an answer because he got it almost free.

After about 15 minutes, the gathered press noticed the Bhajipala Smiti emerging outside. The auction inside, buying and selling cricketers, was still on.

CMM-IBM interviewed Gangubai, who gave them a looking over, and is reported to have said :

" Two many zeros inside. Some have 4, some have 5. After 1.

We are different.

In our lives, thanks to the Agriculture Minister, there is only one zero. By itself."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Billboard Mania

The National Highyways Authority of India (NHAI) has announced that it will be putting up huge billboards of Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh, the PM, all across its highways, and we will be seeing them every 25 kilometres.

Somewhere below the massive visual will be displayed information of the road projects, relevant to that area. The Times of India mentions that each billboard would cost of 10 lakhs, and the Economic times, taking a more economical view, puts the cost at 4 lakhs.

Changunabai, who stays along the Mumbai Nasik highway, wanted to know if they would be installing a tap (with flowing water) just below the billboards. She and her daughters currently daily cover distances up to 3-5 kilometres to fill water for their daily use. Her neighbor, Kausalya is often out trying to collect firewood as fuel, and must travel further and further due to massive removal of forests , for road construction purposes.

Kisanrao Jadhav, the leading farmer urges that the unless the people whose photos grace the billboard come to inaugurate these billboards, nothing will improve in the area. That way, water , electricity connections , and safer local smaller roads will be built on priority basis.

The government, is seized of this matter, and has appointed a committee , which has recommended, that a separate ministry for inaugurations be created, with the minister of Cabinet Rank. It has also been suggested that the Ministers take turns appearing on billboards, so as to save Mrs Gandhi and the PM from continuously travelling for weeks together just to inaugurate Bill Boards.

Studies are on to figure out which minister portraits would distract motorists. However, a recent poll indicates that motorists were only distracted by the likes of Aishwarya Rai and Kareena Kapur.

In the meanwhile, unconfirmed reports indicate that there is a nexus between billboard manufacturers and senior officials of the NHAI.

Now, 1500 billboards are being put up with photos in UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Delhi, MP, Chhatisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, J&K, Himachal, Assam and other NE states.

Unconfirmed rumors indicate that Changunabai, Kausalyabai and Kisanrao are being urged to join the BJP, but have refused.

Further news is awaited.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tandoori Foggy Escapes

In 2000, 3 Pakistani terrorists out of a module of 8 were arrested with huge quantities of explosives at Red Fort. Apparently they finished serving their jail term in Oct 2009.

Instead of sending them in handcuffs and a military truck to cross over to the Wagah border, they were taken by Delhi Police to an eye hospital for a check up. A lone policeman on deputation from Meghalaya Police accompanied them.

Turns out that they cajoled the policeman into having one last farewell lunch at one of the eateries near Jama Masjid, in Old Delhi. Of course , careful planning had them choose the worst foggy day of the year. Since Planes and Trains were delayed , running was considered an ideal mode of escape.

The three terrorists are supposed to have lulled the policeman into complacency by praising the tandoori delicacies, and offering him more and more morsels. The policeman, naturally went to relive himself awhile later, at which point, the three terrorists did high fives, and vamoosed from the scene of the lunch.

Questions are being asked by Opposition parties on whether the choice of the worst Foggy Day is a coincidence. The Delhi police is blaming the Fog for the escape. The meteorological department is cooperating by blaming it all on a Western disturbance over Pakistan.

The location of their eating place near the cycle market is being considered relevant, and cycle shops are being questioned on whether 3 guys wiping their hands on their trousers came to hire cycles simultaneously.

A reward of Rs 50,000 has been announced by a miffed Home Ministry for the information leading to the capture of the three terrorists.

Reliable reports indicate that as per rules 3 constables and a sub inspector should have been escorting the terrorists for a medical checkup. While there is no explanation as to why a lone Megahalaya police tandoori loving constable was allocated the task, it is widely believed that most of the police force is employed to give all kinds of X,Y and Z plus security to the nations leaders.

Two old ladies in Old Delhi, were loudly heard discussing why portly ministers, who were not supposed to be crooks, needed so many policemen to protect them. And why were terrorists getting priority eye treatment , when they themselves were on a waiting list for a free cataract operation at 70.

And what was the pay of a constable in Delhi, on deputation from another state. And what stopped the country's home ministry fro simply transporting the terrorists to the Pakistan border the day their jail term ended.

And finally, why did they get such a short jail term ? 8 years ? For trying to blow up Red fort ? Was Abha Rathore possibly representing them ? And did they all smile as they escaped ?

Details are awaited.