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Your average fun guy who will stand by you!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

कुल मिलाकर

नारी की अस्मिता उधड़ी पड़ी है 
लूटेरे दारोगा बने बैठे हैं 
बेरोज़गारी की धुप कड़ी है 
ग़रीबी मुँह बाए खड़ी है 
जुमलों की लेकिन बौछार लगी है
नारों की बारात सजी है

धर्म को अधर्म लेकर पड़ा है 
विकास रथ रिवर्स गियर में अड़ा है
स्वप्नयात्रा जहाँ जा कर रुकी है
ज़िक्र था जिसका वो मंज़िल तो नहीं है
जुमलों की लेकिन बौछार लगी है
नारों की बारात सजी है

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Delhi Litter Festival

(A slightly edited version of this article was published in the print edition of the Times of India in April 2015)

I have a complaint. There is so much brouhaha about the Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF), a recent phenomenon, while no one seems to care a
bout another, much older, cultural phenomenon called the “Delhi Litter Festival”. Unlike the #JLF, the #DLF has been around for decades, nurtured by the proletariat as opposed to the crème de la crème of the #JLF.

The legacy of the #DLF is built around the age-old Indian fetish for cleanliness, that is, sweep your verandah and deposit the outcome in front of the house of the neighbor you love the least. In modern times, the art form has also flourished vertically in DDA housing societies. The municipal corporation contributes to the festivities by letting free market dynamics operate without any hindrance. The result is the omnipresent vibrancy of detritus, bearing the marks of human civilization. You can see Domino’s rubbing shoulders with Aggarwal Sweets, condom nestled beside a baby toy, empty bottles of Kingfisher and cough syrups embracing Amul milk sachets, torn lingerie wrapped around last year’s government of India calendar, and such like.

Unlike the #JLF, the #DLF is a permanent exhibition spread over Delhi’s gali-muhallas, commercial centers and boulevards. The young and the old alike are continuously adding to the variety and volume of exhibits by hurling trash from balconies, tossing gutkha and chips pouches over their shoulders and ejecting KFC and Mc-D cartons from BMWs and Audis cruising at 90 kmph. Finally, in our bid to become another New York, the big melting pot of cultures, the #DLF has also embraced influences from other states in the form of paan stains all over town, providing a lively ochre background to the cultural tapestry that Delhi has become, courtesy the biggest festival of them all. Not to be outdone, almost all Indian cities and towns have lapped up the idea of the #DLF and have organized such festivals of their own.

However, all is not well in paradise. Last heard, an insensitive government was planning to close down the Delhi Litter Festival under the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”.

Mocktale: When PM Modi nearly broke down in China.

(This humour piece was published in Times of India on May 20 18, 2015. The link to original publication is: "When Modi Nearly Cried in China")

If the Chinese whispers are to be believed, during his recent China sojourn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after hearing that the Chinese Tera Quota Warriors were low caste people who remained edified because Lord Rama missed them on his Redemption Tour, nearly broke down. To avoid embarrassment, he quickly asked the Indian Ambassador to China, for a (genuine) pair of Silhouette sunglasses from their Matrix collection. The Indian Parliament was one thing, this China tour something else. China was the last place Modi could afford to be seen as someone emotional and vulnerable. After the shades arrived, holding back his tears, he then strutted among the downtrodden, whispering in a choked voice "I wheel be bike".

Of late, everyone, from politicians to film stars, is crying and mopping after. While sturdier souls wear sunglasses for subterfuge, other 'coconuts' are letting their emotions flow. Obama, Putin, Sheila, Alia, Giriraj, Ashutosh...the list goes on.

However, it's not only PM Modi who has popularised 'crying'. It has been omnipresent. Advertisers make kids cry on television so that moms buy noodles and artificially flavoured juices; film directors make audiences cry so that they can reach for their pockets while the maudlin viewers are mopping their faces with tissues tinged with salsa sauce; politicians make poor people cry during election rallies, so that they can be robbed in broad daylight; girlfriends cry so that this abominable "going Dutch" business stops; and, wives cry so that husbands agree to switch the TV from Indian Premier League (IPL) to Sasural Simar Ka.

Ironically, everyone has a reason to cry. Unlike RGV, Alia Bhatt cried while watching her own film. Unlike RaGa, Sheila Dixit cried while watching her party floating like deadwood in the AAP deluge. Unlike Sakshi Maharaj, Giriraj Singh cried when told by his boss not to monopolize idiocy. Unlike Salman Khan, Putin cried when asked to put his shirt back on. Finally, unlike Sambit Patra, Ashutosh became an 'Ansootosh' when he correctly handled the transitions between 'farmer' and 'former' during the entire course of a recent television debate.

Mocktale: Tech giants offer relief from “WAT Lag Gayee” pains!

(This humour piece was published in Times of India on June 18, 2015. The link to original publication is: "WAT Lag Gayee!")

In a rare show of solidarity, the tech giants Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and LinkedIn recently met inside the Googleplex to finalize the specifications of the Without-A-Trace (or, simply the "WAT") framework.

Mr. P. Ping Tom, the Projector Director of WAT, informed a select gathering of reporters from democracies around the world that WAT is a software framework specifically targeted at politicians who so often wish to obliterate their digital trails and escape "Wat lag gayee" situations. "The project name was picked up from whispers often overheard in the corridors of the collaborating companies, who employ a sizable number of Indian engineers," Mr. Tom quipped. He added that, "It is also a sort of tribute to India, the biggest democracy in the world, and a recent pioneer in sting operations, Swaraj, digital farming and cleanliness drives." 

At the click of the mouse or tap of finger, the WAT application 'WATsapp' will crawl via all the popular search engines and Bing and search the databases of the email service providers, Twitter, Facebook, chat service providers, location/map providers, LinkedIn, e-commerce providers, etc. They will be sniffing transactions initiated by the user containing one or more keywords e.g. "Lalit", "56 inch", "Zurich", "Kejriwal", "Sunny", "Srini", "Bhai", "Rafale", etc. The user will then be offered three options: 1) Hide for 5 years, 2) Hide Indefinitely, and 3) Delete. The application will be triggered automatically, daily or on demand. The service will be NSA and WikiLeaks proof. 

The service pricing will be based on keywords and follow a dynamic rate card. For instance, while "Lalit" may be currently priced at 5 dollars per record, the service may be offered free of cost for keywords such as "Love", "Jaanu", "Dying", "Who dis?", "Fraand", etc. as the group's contribution to world peace!" 

The WATsapp beta trials in India are currently on in a secret location at the Lutyens Zone in New Delhi and Prem Nagar in Delhi.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Outrage, Proudly Made In India!

Purba Ray (@Purba_Ray), who happens to be my twitter buddy and a celebrated blogger (she has certificates to that effect on her blog http://www.purba-ray.com/ ) in her latest blog post “RIP, Voice of Reason?” laments the misunderstanding caused by our Pradhan Sevak’s “Make in India” campaign. Instead of manufacturing high technology industrial products like Hawai Chappals, sex toys, fake Arsenal jerseys and such like, some dudes have taken to mass produce Outrage and Intolerance in India. Suddenly, everyone is de facto licensed manufacturer of outrage from an unlimited supply of “hurt sentiments”. Purba expounds well on this industrial revolution in her blog post. However, she directs her lament at “our elected leaders” and it kind of hurt my sentiments. I now serve you my outrage dalia.

We are a socialist (or lately, capitalist) Republic of Intolerance. We can’t tolerate stuff like freedom of speech, attire, religion, language and political belief. Our tolerance sort of exhausted itself serving the Brits for over 200 years. Shorn of it, we commit bodily harm, damage property, or simply outrage, so much so that we have become the Republic of Outrage too, at least on Twitter and Facebook. But, who should we hold responsible for containing Intolerance? Our religious leaders, the government or each one of us? My take: Us! (Not U.S., as some of us are already blaming Obama for #AIBRoast).

Organized religion rarely counters religious or cultural outrage, simply because intolerance suits its ends. Also, not every religious leader is pahuncha hua like Baba Gurmat Ram Rahim Insaan. Ditto for our government. Good governance, as a vehicle for political success, is passe’. These are the days of magic and wonder. Of cult figures, who can redeem years of misrule by speeches alone. And, we, the hoi polloi, are losing our power of reason and questioning. We elect our “rulers” and they bamboozle us. The designer kurta wearing netas are holding #AIVRoast (All India Voterchod) every day in Lutyen’s bungalows. And, no one is outraging against #AIVRoast. We are impuissant. We are the black sheep, not the Ba Ba’s. We are cattle class.

Dear aam aadmi, the Babas, Swamis, Granthis, Saadhvis, kathmullahs, imams and the like, in concert with the netas, just hijacked your society, culture, country and peace of mind. Are you going to simply outrage on Twitter and Facebook or do something more substantial like archiving each act of intolerance and bigotry and throw the book in their faces every time they are on television or come asking for your vote?

~@NotThatMP Insaan

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Black is black, I wanna my baby back...

What does a lazy blogger do? He waits for a better writer to write something, get inspired and decide to perspire!

Dear Purba Ray, a much decorated blogger, recently wrote about the racism of a different kind http://www.purba-ray.com/2014/11/black-is-new-white.html. She pronounced that 'Black' is the new 'White' when it came to money, an allusion to a spectrum of symptoms people the world over exhibit when envying those who keep 'Black Bucks' as pets. It's a case of green backs (or red backs or Gandhi Ji) turning black and making the have-not's turn green with envy (or red or find solace in sermons on 'the purpose of life').

I am here to bat for the Black and to say this to venerable Ma Purba: "Black is not the new white. Black is black!"

World's discomfort with the black color is ancient. Right from Cleopatra, who lounged on the banks of Nile smeared with waxes and lotions to keep her complexion as close as possible to White, to Ku Klux Klan to Eminem, man's push against the color black is astounding. But Mother Nature holds her own against such rapacious assaults. She captures the best things in life in black, things for which people are ready to kill each other, for instance, crude oil and occupied lingerie.  

Black is cathartic. Black heals. Black is Bountiful!

Remember your grandma rubbing coal ash to to shine a dirty vessel? Or, your Mommy slapping that J&J belladonna tape to expunge the muck from that boil on your bottom? Or, your (shameless!) Daddy applying  L'Oreal Casting Color 200 to create confusions of all kinds? Or, your Mommy wearing black dress because (she thinks) she looks slimmer in it? Or, your first black leather jacket for that illusion of manhood? Or, that weightlessness that overcame you while hugging that big bagful of cash you received on selling your property? Or, the bhaichara that ensued after paying off the traffic cop or driving license maker or property registrar or income tax guy or...

Now, imagine a world without black! A grandma who keeps dirty dishes, your swollen ass, a dad who already looks like your grandpa, a "slightly healthy" Mommy in technicolor, your wiry frame riding a bike in cheap "Proud to be xyz" T-shirt, paying the designated traffic violation penalty, building a house strictly per approved plan, failing the driving test simply because you rammed the test car into the Regional Transport Office direction marker,...

And, finally, tell me, how does this sound to your ears: "Ho-nest Po-li-ti-ci-un"?

Apocalypse now!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

FIFA President invites Modi to the FIFA World Cup Finals!

The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has been specially invited by the FIFA president Mr. Joseph “Sepp” Blatter to the July 14 final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals. Reportedly, the invite is under FIFA’s “Football to Food” initiative that helps poor kids to take up football so that they can eat when they grow up. In his invite to Mr. Modi, Mr. Blatter has confessed that the inspiration for the “Football to Food” program came to him after listening to Mr. Modi’s speeches mentioning initiatives like “Farm to Factory” and “Fiber to Fashion”. “There’s a nice ring to the letter ‘F’ in those phrases” said Mr. Blatter in his letter.

The PMO recently organized a special press conference to share Mr. Modi’s plan and views on this first-ever invite by a FIFA President to an Indian Prime Minister. The presser was held in the South Block and, as a departure from the UPA tradition, before the presser, the reporters were lavished generous servings of Khandvi, Dhokla, Shrikhand and Jaljeera instead of the customary Scotch and tandoori. Mr. Modi, in his third Kurta-Pajama of the day (it was 4 PM already), was joined by Mrs. Smriti Irani, the Education Minister; Dr. Harshvardhan, the Health Minister; the Goa Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar; Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs. 

“It is another victory for NDA”, Mr. Modi began, “when the world’s superpowers want to learn from us”. “Mukesh Bhai told me that FIFA is one of the most powerful corporations in the world with over 1.5 billion dollars of cash.” “We want the entire world to benefit from Gujarat’s, sorry, India’s experience through this FIFA initiative.”

On being asked about the other members of the delegation, this is what Mr. Modi had to say.

“Ismriti Ji has been included in the delegation to for her special inputs on the psychology of the kids who do not want to study beyond school, or do not want to study at all, and want to play football instead.”
“You will be surprised to know that most of the great footballers, ek do Socrates ko chhodh kar, never studied beyond high school!”
“These Brazilian kids playing football in tabelas will be the future stars…IFFF...they do not attend college!”

(At this point, Mr. Manohar Parrikar, whispered something into Mr. Modi’s ear.)
“Mera matlab favelas…”

On Dr. Harshvardhan, Mr. Modi drew the reporters’ collective attention to the situation inside football locker rooms and the private lives of the footballers.
“Take the case of Ronaldo and other popular footballers. They might be living under the false belief that wearing condoms prevents AIDS. It is actually values, not condoms, that prevent AIDS!”
“I want Dr. Harshvardhan to advise the players to abstain from sex with their girlfriends until marriage to prevent AIDS. And, if they can't control themselves, they should keep a pack of values instead of condoms handy.”
Dr. Harshvadhan added, “The players must stay alive to play football and feed their families. AIDS kills!”
(At this point, Dr. Harshvardhan, flashed a placard reading: “No sex, no condom, no AIDS!”)

Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, according to Mr. Modi, will request FIFA to have the World Cup commentary in Sanskrit also for the benefit of all of the 2000 people worldwide who’ll ever listen to it.

When a reporter asked Mr. Parrikar, why he did not accompany the MLAs from his government on their junket to Brazil, he smiled and said “My MLAs were just a cover. A batch of sleuths from the IB has also accompanied them to survey the situation in the Maracana stadium and the Copacabana beach, the places where Mr. Modi’s entourage will be visiting.”

As the piece de resistance of the evening, keeping in line with Mr. Modi's penchant for mauke-ki-topi, Mr. Modi’s designer headgear for his stadium appearance was also unveiled. Here’s a sneak peek: