Tuesday, September 28, 2004

We can do business

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is back after his United Nations General Assembly session trip. And he’s pleased.
Soon after landing he described his meeting with Pakistani President Parvez Musharraf: “It was a good meeting.”
The economist-turned-premier has realised Musharraf is not the enemy. He said: “India can do business with him.”
With friends like his, Singh doesn’t need enemies. And Musharraf is the only guy he would be allowed to do business with.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Dev Saab, are you sure?

The evergreen actor has spoken against the evergreen politician of the East. Laloo can't inspire a movie, said Dev Anand. Are you sure Dev Saab? This man seems to have inspired not just a film (Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav), but also books, music albums, even a Laloo Chalisa (a la Hanuman Chalisa) and many railway halts, non-stations where trains stop for a moment. And development stops for ever.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Welcome to the circus

Delhi is talking about why it is talking about what it is talking about.

Gudiya is not a Delhi girl. She is Arif's wife. She is Taufeeq's wife too. And Arif and Taufeeq are not Delhi boys. But they are in our boardrooms and bedrooms, courtesy the midwife called TV, labouring 24X7 to deliver premature babies right into your living room. In a country where a substantial percentage of women die at childbirth, Gudiya is dying a thousand deaths, byte by TV byte.

Cast of characters
Gudiya was married to Arif, an Army jawan. Years ago, Arif disappeared in the Valley of Kashmir. The Army termed him a deserter. Family presumed he was dead. Gudiya was married off to Taufeeq last year. She was happily married and pregnant.

Then the news came that Arif was in a Pakistani jail, arrested after he strayed across the border. Gudiya was happy that Arif was alive, but he was also past. She said in no unclear words that she was Taufeeq's wife and there was no question of going back to Arif. She's happily married and pregnant.

Then everything changes
Arif is released by the Pakistanis. He comes home as a hero. Generally the Army doesn't give back jobs to PoWs. Arif gets his. Then Arif wants his wife back, minus the child in her womb.

The panchayat says Arif has the first right over Gudiya. Imams say Shariyat says so. Shariyat says Gudiya is Arif's wife till he divorces her, so her marriage to Taufeeq stands null. Maulvis say Gudiya should have requested a qazi to annul the marriage when Arif was not found.

And in so many people saying it all, Gudiya has no say in her future. The child in her womb has no voice. Gudiya has found a new man. Arif can find a new woman. The child can't find a new mother or a father for that matter.

Hijack drama
Arif was released by Pakistanis, but he won't release the technically-his wife. He has dragged his trophy woman to Delhi. The girl has obscene-looking boom mikes in her face as pretty women ask her questions that include what if the society brands her yet-to-be-born child a bastard.

Arif who spent five years as a PoW in Pakistan is again a PoW, prisoner of channel wars. Zee TV is not letting him and Gudiya out of its studios fearing other channels will get him. Other channels have got Taufeeq, Taufeeq's cousin, Gudiya's mamu, Arif's chacha, Arif's grandfather's son-in-law's distant relative.

It's an entertainment show, and Gudiya doesn't even know.

Your are driving in Delhi when...

For those of us who are occasionally disoriented.

Here's how you know you are still driving around in Delhi when...

1. Your car always feels like an old and outdated model.
2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
3. You drive to your neighborhood Mother Dairy booth.
4. Someone asks you how far away something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many kilometres away it is.
5. You have seen Red Fort only from your car.
6. You've worn out a car horn.
7. Cars in front of you are often driven by headless or almost deceased people.
8. Road construction never ends anywhere in the city.
9. The only time you listen to music is in your car.
10. When 10 cars are waiting for a cow to pass.

And finally...
When 10 cars are waiting for a tractor to pass, you have reached Gurgaon.

*Not at all original*

Monday, September 20, 2004

Al-qaeda behind Florida tornadoes

Recent successive deadly hurricanes that hit Florida have given momentum to speculation that God is trying to punish the state for the 'goddamned' chads that brought George W. Bush to White House.

The world may never be able to forget those chads, or perforated voting cards, whose bad behaviour led President Bush to lose and then win again by defeating Democrat Al Gore.

"Newton's third law says to every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. A calamity for a calamity. Tornado Ivan was a terrible natural calamity in reaction to the political calamity we have imposed on the world," Priest Kerry Tarcomed told reporters in Tampa, Florida. "Seems God hates us," he added.

White House was quick to reject such notions reiterating that God was on America's side in the war on terror.

"This is a totally preposterous claim, a canard spread by the Democrats," Republican Party spokesman Danny Coyle told a news conference. "As far as Newton's third law is concerned, we think the law department would be able to comment."

President George Bush has said that these hurricanes were caused by butterflies released by Al-Qaeda in the jungles of Indonesia.

"American will not give in to butterflies. We will take them on. We'll eliminate 'em one by one," he told a Republican Party fund-raising meet in Tampa, Florida.

"I was just reading this book by James Gleick. He's a proud American. He has done a lot of work on tornadoes and found out that butterflies cause tornadoes. When a bufferfly flaps its wing in Texas, it produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time this change develops into a tornado that devastates the Philippines. But what we see here is a tornado in Florida and not Texas. Texas is close to Florida and Indonesia is close to the Philippines. We know about Al-Qaeda's presence there. We are gonna ensure terrorism is defeated wherever it exists in whatever form," the President said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said Britain will stand by the US in its war on Al-Qaeda butterflies. "We condemn terrorism in every form totally and absolutely and that includes larvae. "

*The Butterfly Effect or Chaos Theory and Newton's Third Law do exist. The rest is the author's figments of imagination with pigments of truth.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bollywood finally recognises the actor

Lalu's next halt is Bollywood. Finally, people have recognised the acting talent of the antic hero, the great Lalooji. He has successfully acted his way into power and stays on top thanks to his talent. I can see the state of Bihar nodding in agreement as I write this. He keeps babus on toes, demolishes his foes and doesn't care about the state's woes as long as millions of Biharis roll on the floor laughing at his jokes, holding their stomachs that rarely see a filling meal. On the day Lalooji, alongwith his chief minister wife Rabri, was posing with stars of the film Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav, a woman in a town barely 50 km away had sold her infant child because she couldn't feed him. Mahesh Manjrekar-directed Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav promises to be a comedy and hopes to cash in on Lalooji's name. Bihar is a tragicomedy.

Monday, September 13, 2004

What's Laloo Prasad

Lalu promotes Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav . And he is quite kicked about embassies and universities asking for his bio-data. Over to Laloo: "The world is asking what is Laloo Prasad." We know the answer, but let it be.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Complain Boys, Complain Girl

I am in the mood for complaining. I can't help the urge, you know. We are a nation of complainists, though there is no such word. But complainers is too mild a word. Anyway, to complain is our right, especially when facing a TV news camera.

You saved my life, now you give me a job

The three Indian hostages in Iraq are home now. And a week after the Indian government saved them from the thugs of Fallujah, at least two of them are complaining about their unemployment. Not long ago they were getting ready for their tryst with the butchers who have beheaded people from around the world. They were finally released after the terrorists' demands were met. No one knows how much money exchanged hands but quite a few millions were spent to buy their lives. They had gone to Iraq out of their own will. So did the about a dozen Nepalis, one of them was beheaded and the other 11 were shot dead. The Nepali government couldn't manage their release. The Indian government did.

While they were in captivity their relatives complained the government was not doing enough to bring them back alive. Now that they are released they are complaining that the government is not giving them employment. Dear Mr Sukhdev and Mr Tilakraj, thank your stars and the Indian government, you are living to complain.

Post my baby

Nancy is four years, eight months, 13 days, and whatever-your-watch-shows hours and minutes old at the moment. It's easy to get her age to the day because she is our Millennium baby. She was born in Bhopal on the night the world said goodbye to the past millennium. Today, she is too young and too busy with juggling her playtime to complain but her mother isn't going to let it go easily. I saw Mrs Ayesha Patel on TV engaged in our national pastime: complaining. "They have not even released a postage stamp on Nancy till date," I quote the mother. Though Nancy's parents are well off, the mother was expressing her annoyance with the government, which in her view has not offered any support to Nancy's education. Dear Mrs Patel, cool down and let Nancy grow normally, without a sense of your perceived injustice.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Michael Moore's Oscar gambit

We haven't seen Moore's last sigh yet. It's good he is not submitting Fahrenheit 9/11 in the Documentary Category. I watched it twice. And I am convinced it doesn't belong to the documentary category. It is a mockudrama. Though created using real footage, it's twisted truth at its best.

George Bush doesn't have much brains, but this guy has got a lot of mess up there. Bush may have a screw or two loose, but this guy is all screwed. It's fine to make a film and want as many people as possible to see it. But wanting as many people as possible to see it before the presidential election says a lot about his bias.

A documentary is supposed to be more a document than an exercise in unexplained biased opinion. By turning his film into a campaign commercial for the Democrats, Moore has sullied his own images as a brilliant documentary maker. Bowling for Columbine was proof of his talent.

Even accepting an election campaign material for an Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would end up sullying its own image. If they do then what's wrong with the Pepsi commercials?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Osama in Pakistan, says expert

Do we need an expert to say that?

Monday, September 06, 2004

Break Down Fest

Is there a virus out there that spreads from car engine to car engine crippling them in the middle of the road? Had you been on the Nizamuddin Bridge today around 11 am, you would have said or rather screamed in road rage: "Yes. How else can you explain all this mess." How else, indeed? The moment I entered the breezy 3-km stretch, I and almost 1,000 were in for a shocker. Well, we were in an unexplainable jam. Unexplainable because it wasn't the so-called peak hour, which is over by 10.30. As we crawled our way past the mess, I saw at least five broken down cars. Then sixth soon after it. The seventh about a kilometre later and an eighth on Bhairon Road. Was this some kind of breakdown fest or is there really a disease?