Culture of verbal diarrhea & its symptoms

An optimistic assessment will tell you that dinosaurs like Asaram, Mohan Bhagwat, assorted MLAs & MPs from Congress, BJP, SP & Trinamool are seeking publicity of the worse kind when they unleash their unwanted opinions on the world in general, via the newshounds. Sample these:

Abhijeet Mukherjee: “These pretty women, dented and painted, who come for protests are not students. I have seen them speak on television, usually women of this age are not students,” he said in Bengali. He said that students, who go to discotheques, think it is a fashion statement to hold candles and protest.

(Sri Sri?) Mohan Bhagwat:  “Crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend. But such crimes won’t happen in ‘Bharat‘ or the rural areas of the country. You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes.” He added, “Where ‘Bharat‘ becomes ‘India’ with the influence of western culture, these type of incidents happen. The actual Indian values and culture should be established at every stratum of society where women are treated as ‘mother’.

Shard Yadav: “Khap panchayats are rightly defending women” – SERIOUSLY??

Owaisi hate speech: 

Honestly speaking, I would be a little relieved if it is a petty stunt to get media attention, but the sad truth is that there is a sizable number in this country who continue to live in the middle ages, across caste & religious lines. Asaram saying the Delhi rape victim should have begged for mercy, called them brothers…Jamaat-e-Islami saying ban co-education & live-in relationships…so called socialists (Sharad Yadav) going on about virtues of Khap Panchyat. It is a generation of patriarchs who are stuck in a time warp. They are just SO VERY TERRIFIED of losing control, that they will go to just any extent to maintain their hegemony on their respective social groups. And the fact that each of these people influences a massive number scares the crap out of me.

Freedom to be an asshole

The section 66A of our IT Act has been under its fair share of media highlight for many reasons – it is unfair, a tool of censorship & bullying in the hands of the government and the worse, it muzzling our right to free speech. Especially after two girls were arrested for lamenting the Mumbai shutdown on Bal Thackeray’s death.

Now hold on a second, who in India was under the pretense that they can speak their mind? You think the Indian constitution guarantees you right to mouth of whatever you want to say? Ha, No sir! Just go through a couple of the following listed sections and you will realise, we always were being muzzled:

Section 295A – IPC:

“Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.”

The open ended nature of its interpretation is almost diabolical! For example, I can consider my faith as atheism and just that consideration guarantees me death, hell, forever damnation in different religions. How is it going to rustle the jimmies of the followers of these religions [especially those of fanatical proposition] is another matter altogether.

Also, if I eat the sumptuous fried chilli Beef at my favourite Mallu restaurant, it can offend the VHP brigade and under this act they can actually start legal proceedings against me. It can also get me branded as a “Maoist & anti national”. You think I’m kidding? Read this.

Article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution seems to allow you free speech, Article 19 (2) allows limits to it on behalf of concepts such as “public order” and “decency and morality.” As to interpretation of “decency & morality” is left on the beat constables who can be differentiated by classroom bullies only by the fact that they are allowed to carry guns and wield batons at a whim.

The amount of WTFness of these scenarios is astounding. I WANT the freedom to call out each and every religion for their inherent goddamn stupidity. I want the people to be free to call me fat or the reason for the great Bengal famine on my face. I want the freedom to re-tweet BalT kicked the balti jokes. I want the freedom to be an asshole.

Pity our constitutional authorities are busy playing moral matrons to us. What killjoys.

The Robert Vadra nonsense

The entire Indian middle-class is right now convulsing in righteous outrage – reason, Arvind Kejrival’s allegations against Robert Vadra. What pisses the folks living with a default holier than thou worldview the most is mainstream media’s apparent reluctance to chase Robert Vadra with the good old hatchet. Here are my two bits on the topic which originated during a Facebook conversation with a friend:

Not about silence, I guess it is more about making an informed attack rather than blabbing “thief” out loud and pointing in their general direction. Has the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty screwed India for decades? OF COURSE they have! You have proof good enough to publish it and fight it out in court? Possibly not. For all Kejriwal’s rumble & thunder, the so called evidence he shows is mere conjecture. But the fact that Vadra is not dragging him to court shows you that there is some weight to it, now the work of journalists begin from this point. Dig deep, try and put 2+2 together. But is someone doing it? I doubt it. So more than media being silent, it is more about editors being lazy. If they can sniff out minute details of a non-existent coup, I am sure if someone tries hard enough, Vadra can be nailed. But, without evidence you can’t damn the man, even if you know he is a fucking crook. < /rant over >

To get a more nuanced insight into mainstream print media’s dilemmas and culpability, read Sidin Vadukut’s excellent post – Some Unsolicited Thoughts On Newspapers – he is awesome.

 

When Sainath pontificates on cricket, and gets it horribly wrong

India’s string of SEVEN away losses in Test cricket have evoked strong response from various quarters but the one that really made me go “What the…” was from an unexpected source. P Sainath, keeper of our collective conscience, wrote a longish piece deducing what went wrong with Sachin, Rahul & co in Australia, and England before that.

He writes in an opinion piece titled “BCCI: Billionaires Control Cricket in India” :

“There’s been too much playing to advertising-driven, media-orchestrated euphoria with the IPL. You belt sixes over shortened boundaries, swank in and out in perhaps 30 balls — get lionised for it, and swagger all the way to the bank. Some players have done IPL seasons but skipped going to the West Indies just before difficult tours. Others when ‘tired’ took their ‘break’ from playing for the country. They played in the IPL, though, injuries and all. England and Australia were disasters waiting to happen. It’s because you have great players that these have taken some time to unfold.”

And

“We served up India’s brightest and best to private team owners. Indian cricket paid the price. Most of those who slaughtered us in England and Australia did not play in the IPL. Some took a conscious, and wise, decision to avoid it.”

”]Really? I mean I’m not exactly a fan of that blasted league, have actually had a lot of fun at their expense a couple of years ago, but to go ahead and say the world is crumbling because Sachin Tendulkar is on Mukesh Ambani’s pay roll is fairly ridiculous. A friend shared this article on Facebook and below is the comment I left on the post:

“Too emotional an argument, someone needs to explain to Mr Sainath that everything involving entertainment of the “bourgeois” is not evil…this same bunch won the World Cup not too long ago [yes it was home, but few months before that they gave a very credible performance in South Africa against better bowling attacks]. If you rewind a few years back, in 1983 post World Cup victory, Indian team got blanked by West Indies at home, and struggled for quite a bit before a change of guard saw Gavaskar take over and lead India to victory in the World series in 1985. I guess it is more like a de-motivation for most players who somehow know that there will never be a greater high in their playing career [or what’s left of it] as compared to what they have already achieved.”

And

“Who plays too much t20 cricket yaar? Sachin plays 10 odd matches in a year, and Rahul/Laxman play it even less. Heck, the latter duo don’t even play ODIs. In the Test side besides these three, out of others only Kohli/Dhoni/Gambhir play a lot of limited over matches (Sehwag’s returning from injury so he hardly played anything). These three were supposed to be the support act, the main actors have failed in Australia but not because of IPL. It can be age, good bowling, lack of focus or an amalgamation of all three/four reasons. Just suggesting that IPL is the root cause of everything evil might not be the right diagnosis.”

Seriously, think about guys like Sreesanth, Ashish Nehra…even Yuvraj Singh who wasn’t part of something magical like THAT Test match at Eden Gardens in 2001 – Harbhajn Singh’s calling card to fame [Yes, not VVS because he has done a LOT more than just having pissed Steve Waugh off for a lifetime]. Life as a cricketer will perhaps never give them a high similar to what they felt on 2nd April 2011 at the Wankhede Stadium. Damn, I don’t think I’d ever be happier in life after I experienced that…and I was watching it on TV, almost a 1000 kms away in Delhi!

Aren’t these cricketers people who are going through the motions and perhaps for the time have lost the will to push on any further. Maybe they needed it to dust themselves up, buck up and carry on or maybe walk into the sunset Clint Eastwood style [or maybe Ravi Shastri style!] Don’t these guys deserve a chance to at least have a say before we cry Mercenaries  and send them to the guillotine? I believe in these guys, despite the 7-0 line-up. I will keep on abusing them, but don’t think I will lose faith in them. If Mr Sainath wants to investigate the causes, and he is perhaps one of India’s most meticulous & resourceful journalists, then he should dig a little more and see how corruption thrives at every age group, every club level match where insidious administrators are killing the game & the joy associated with it daily. Or maybe he should write about BCCI President, Chennai Super Kings owner N Srinivasan & his multitudes of conflicts of interests that points to the deeper malaise of the way how the game is run.

Second point about players in England and Australia sacrificing the IPL riches – well, not really! Their board played spoilsport by hosting a series which clashed with the tournament, so despite the likes of Graeme Swann (unsold – this also has the entire list of players) & Stuart Broad (injured) offering themselves up for sale at the auction, they couldn’t really play. Mike Hussey played, so did David Warner, Shane Watson is a star here, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson, the list goes on. Only honorable exception is Michael Clarke who always stayed away from the IPL glitz and glam. Well, good on ya mate!

IPL, in itself, is not such a bad idea. Without IPL players who are relegated to the anonymity of Ranji trophy year after year would have never received the recognition the likes of Kamran Khan, Aditya Tare  among others have received. And the cash never hurt anybody. For Sachin, an additional crore or two sits good in his bank account but had IPL not been around, he wouldn’t have missed it much. Aforementioned fringe players would have, for whom these payments ensured down payments to book a house, secure the future for their families. They don’t have anything else to fall back on, besides cricket. Any money they make of it, don’t be-grudge it folks. Not everyone turns savvy commentator or chooses to move to England/Australia to settle down with the wife and kids. Some of them turn into absolute wrecks, or worse. Read this Outlook story, major reality check. Riches acquired from leagues like IPL goes a long way to avert tragedies in the life of people who chose of follow their dream.

IPL is incidental, cricket is destined to overcome such trivialities and will continue to thrive. It might have to evolve to accommodate changing demographies and tastes. It is an adjustment an rational individual can live with.

Mandatory disclosure: Ok, minus the sarcasm here I have huge respect for Mr Sainath…it’s a shame there aren’t few more journalists around with his sense of understanding of policy decisions & there impact on the poorest of the poor. [Read more about his work here – fascinating, insightful, moving: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/

The man who made black & white cool

Shammi Kapoor was always different from his contemporaries. He wasn’t an awkward dancer, he had the physique which could suggest that he could beat the baddies to pulp and had the looks which suggested that the likes of Sharmila Tagore and Saira Bano will swoon over him.

Also, he had Mohd Rafi.

The lilting songs of Kashmir Ki Kali and An Evening in Paris will live forever; firstly because they are absolute timeless compositions but also because the on screen actors [Shammi/Sharmila in both] are living those moments. Especially Shammi, who is an absolute riot while singing on the shikaraI remember as a kid, when the telly had only DD1 & DD2 in terms of the channel tally and a remote for the TV was just a paper weight to keep the newspapers in order, on Rangoli/Chitrahaar whenever they used to show this song, I would wait for the last scene so that can see him fall and then totally crack up. Those were the days of David Dhawan/Govinda’s No.1 franchise and this was always funny. Anyway, digressing now.

The point is, he was one actor I did not mind watching in a B/W film – as a brat I had this Black&White-films-are-boring routine and would sulk if Doordarshan aired those on Sundays, which it invariably did – because whatever he did on screen, it was always cool. Here’s to the man who made me believe that he is behind the awesome concept of a messenger, where smiling faces actually ROFLed. Yahoo to you Shammiji! Yaahooo

PS: This song tells you why he made black & white cool for a 5 year old wannabe brat!

 

 

Shameless self plug — but isn’t it what blogs are for?

The point of starting this blog was to share some “mature/meaningful” stuff but since my default path of thought is on the other end of the spectrum, I gave in the urge to share something I created long time back. In my last job as a sports correspondent for the ‘The Sunday Guardian’ I took potshots on the third edition of the Indian Premier League which ended in absolute chaos with a central minister resigning in controversial circumstances and the founder of the cash rich cricket league legging it to London.

Sigh, I fall for the ridiculous time and again.

First published in the http://www.sunday-guardian.com/ print edition of 02/05/2011