Monday, October 25, 2004

Khurana has insomnia, would fight for pollution

Rajasthan Governor Madan Lal Khurana has resigned from his post saying he wants to come back to Delhi because he has spent sleepless nights in Jaipur's Raj Bhavan and his restlessness had been increasing alarmingly. "I have been taking sleeping pills," he said on Monday.

Medical experts call this condition insomnia. Apparently both his body and his mind had refused to adapt to Jaipur's atmospheric conditions.

Mr Khurana is addicted to the industrial fumes of Delhi, where most residential areas have turned into industrial ones. In Delhi, Mr Khurana lived in a locality where factories and bedrooms exist in perfect-cheek-by-jowl-harmony.

That harmonious existence is threatened by a government action, ordered by the courts. Officers have begun relocating industries to industrial areas. The reports that industries may actually be shifted out of residential areas worsened Mr Khurana's condition.

"How can I sleep peacefully in Raj Bhavan? In this situation, it is my humble and pious duty that I should return to Delhi," he told reporters in Delhi.

Being a non-smoker, he was subjected to almost pure air to breathe in Jaipur. He was not allowed to worship either. Being a religious man, he had no other option but to return to his temple, Delhi, notorious for its heavy air around the world.

According to him, Delhi is his temple, its citizens his gods and goddesses and he is its head priest. Our sources say chimneys in residential areas function as incense sticks in his maha aarti.

At a news conference on Monday afternoon, Khurana said he had spent "sleepless nights" during the entire tenure in Rajasthan and after noticing problems appearing for Delhiites recently, his "restiveness" increased.

According to the comparative data on ambient air quality collated by the Central Pollution Control Board, all parameters except Nitrogen Dioxide have registered a downward trend. The level of Carbon Monoxide, Suspended Particulate Matter and Respirable Particulate Matter may also be on the decrease.

He said: "I cannot enjoy the comforts of Raj Bhavan while people in Delhi are facing problems. It is not in my blood." Being a leader, to lead is in his blood. Lead levels in an average Delhi citizen's blood is another cause of concern.

A study conducted by the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, some time ago had reported the higher-than-normal blood lead level among children. If lead levels come down, Khurana's leadership levels will also be threatened.

Khurana said he had taken the decision (to come back) in view of the "problems" being faced by Delhiites, particularly due to the move to relocate industries in the capital. The relocation of industries would mean a sudden drop in industrial pollution in residential areas, which might trigger insomnia in his followers too.

Welcoming the former Delhi BJP president, hundreds of his followers burst crackers to prevent pollution levels around him from suddenly dropping.

*All the quotes attributed to Mr Khurana and the studies mentioned are true. Rest is purely suspended particulate matter of satirisis.

Bush pre-empts results

President George W. Bush has declared himself the next President of the United States and has called upon American citizens to vote for him in the November 4 elections to strengthen American democracy.

“Uncertainty is no good. America has to elect a President. The President takes the decision on behalf of the nation, so I have decided who the next President would be: me,” Mr Bush told Americans in a public broadcast last night.

He said the decision was a pre-emptive strike to save America from terrorists and the French. “Kerry looks French. That preening, pompous man also smells like Jaques Chirac. You know how Chirac been against America in all the wars it has either launched or planned,” the President said in an announcement from his Texas ranch.

Explaining why he was taking up the responsibility for the second time, he said America was under attack and needed strong leadership. “The war on terror needs resolve and if I lose, the terrorists win. John Kerry as President would boost the morale of the Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Being the President of the United States, I decided to stay President for the next four years,” he said.

When told his experiment is very similar to that of Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, he laughed at the joke. But soon denied subverting democracy. “America stands for democracy. America stands for freedom. Free and fair elections are vital to democracy. So we will have elections as normal. And Americans are free to choose me since I am their next president,” he said.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

This school should be shut

This is stupid. Veerappan's daughter to be thrown out of school. What kind of a school is this? Schools shoulder the sacred duty of making humans out of demons. But this one seems hellbent on doing the opposite. Poor girl, she didn't choose her father.

Bush to target Manoj Kumar

My neighbourhood grocer walla Manoj Kumar doesn’t even know he’s become a direct threat to America. He doesn’t know another scarier fact: Manoj Kumar faces elimination if President Bush is re-elected. And all this is according to President Bush.

The debates have happened, in some slow states like Florida people have even begun voting to choose the next President of America and the Station House Officer of this huge police station called the world. So Manoj Kumar better pray for John Kerry to win. So why is President Bush now targeting Manoj Kumar.

For a simple reason: Manoj Kumar has on many times overtly expressed his desire to attack America. “Yeh America ko koi maja chakha de to majaa aa jaaye,” he has told me many times.

He was very disappointed in Saddam Hussein after the Lion of Baghdad dogtailed it to a rat hole. Now Manoj Kumar’s hopes are pinned on North Korea. “Korea-China ko attack kar ke dikhaye, tab jaane,” he has told me this much, though he always appends China to Korea.

He doesn’t know just the desire to harm America is enough to invite an attack. The American-appointed Iraq Study Group, which looked for weapons of mass destruction in the nearly-destroyed country for two years, said in its report that Saddam did not have any weapons of mass destruction but certainly had the desire to build one.

Before the Democrats could exploit “Look Bush No WMDs”, the Republicans spun the report saying “Look He Had The Desire”. And that desire to possess a weapon is no less threat to America than actually possessing a weapon.

Manoj Kumar needs to control his desires. Last time I saw fresh stock of Heinz tomato-chilli sauce at his shop. Now that’s rubbing salt on Bush’s wounds.

Kher keeps his word

Anupam Kher has kept his word. He has filed a criminal case against the Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet. The CPI(M) leader had called Anupam Kher an RSS man.

Kher, an acting veteran, was removed as the Censor Board chief soon after Surjeet’s article appeared in the party magazine People’s Democracy. Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh is not a compliment in the Indian Communist’s language.

Kher is angry at his unceremonious sacking. At a press conference in Delhi, he had said he would sue the pants off the geriatric Leftist leader who spewed so much venom against him just because he was appointed by the previous government at the centre led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Since this government led by the Congress is supported by the Communists from outside, leaders like Surjeet have a lot of say in how things run. His article, in which he mentioned Kher, apparently triggered obedience in Information and Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy, who was quick to send Kher a letter of removal.

So Kher has finally gone to court, though not against Reddy, whose power to remove Kher would not stand challenge in the court of law. So Kher has directed his anger at Surjeet.

The Mumbai court has adjourned the matter to November 17 for verification of the complaint. Kher said that in his article, Surjeet had held him responsible for saffronising the Central Board of Film Certification to suit Sangh’s ideology.

Kher has charged Surjeet with Sections 499 and 500 of Indian Penal Code, which deal with defamation and publishing defamatory matter respectively.

Kher had earlier sent a legal notice to Surjeet asking him to publicly deny the statement within 48 hours or face legal action. Surjeet did not respond. And we have someone finally suing him.

Monday, October 18, 2004

No for Natwar, N for NAM

Soon after the new government took over, this newspaper had predicted Natwar Singh would not breathe easy till he resurrects Non-Aligned Movement or NAM.

This movement was launched in 1955 by the countries who did not openly side with either of the two blocs of the Cold War era -- one led by Soviet Union and the other by the United States. It never actually took off because most members were affiliated with, though covertly, with either of the two. India, one of the founding members, was tilted in favour Russia.

The Cold War ended long time ago. The NAM is not being allowed to. Not many even know what it stands for. Except Mr Natwar Singh, who often remembers not only what it stands for but also that he stands for it.

He just needs a reminder. For example, what's your name? Oh NAM, yes... it has to be rejuvenated. Or a visit to Vietnam. "Welcome to Vietnam!" Oh NAM... yes it has to be resurrected.

Yes, Singh is in Hanoi doing his bit for NAM. Non-aligned to what? "The international agenda has changed. Earlier there were issues like apartheid, decolonisation. But today the issues are terrorism, drugs, and environment. The NAM has to be reinvented to face these issues, to address the problems of the first decade of the 21st century," our external affairs minister told journalists there.

Singh is on a three-day official visit to Hanoi to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations of the historic meeting between Nehru and Ho Chi Minh.

His Vietnamese counterpart came forward in his support: "After the Cold War many people thought NAM won't have a role to play anymore, but we later realised that non-alignment can play an important role," he said.

NAM continues to meet every three years. This year in August we saw a big-time meeting in South Africa. The next will happen in Cuba. NAM has an interesting name. Three leaders were at the forefront of the formation: (Jawahar Lal) Nehru of India, (Gamal) Abdel-Nasser of Egypt and Marshall (Josip) Tito. Their initials shared those of the movement.

In the reinvented NAM, we already have N for Natwar. We need two with names
starting with A and M. And then NAM will become relevant all over again!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Winter is here and Delhi looks cool. But it's time to go to Manali. Nardeep tells me Rohtang saw a 1.5 metre snowfall. Or maybe 1.5 foot.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

EverReady's Letter to Honourable Madam

Honourable madamji

How are you? Please tell me how I am doing fine. I am hoping that you are happy with my functioning in the Misnformation and Narrowcasting ministry. Madam, I do not get much to do but whenever I find some work, I make sure that it's informed and is broadcast.

I would like you to look at some decisions that I have taken in the recent times.

  • Anupam Kher is no longer the Censor Board chief. Sharmila Tagore, from our party, has been adjusted in his place. Kher, madam, was appointed by the BJP government. He may not be a politician but keeping in the tradition of sacking governors, I sacked him.

  • Madam, Prakash Jha's film Lok Nayak will not be passed by the censor board. Words like Emergency and excesses were found in the film, so we decided to not let him show. Anyway the film was commissioned during the BJP government time. Dear madam, I have already offered my apologies for being a Jaiprakash Narayan prodigy. Madam, if you want I can apologise for my own self. But madam, I will not let anyone show Indira Gandhi as dictator. Could you please control Rahul Baba from accepting that excesses did happen during Emergency. Madam I have another solution. Should we remove references to Indiraji and let those against Sanjay Gandhi be shown. If Varun baba is joining us then we should snip the whole picture only.

  • Madam, Doordarshan has already invested more than Rs 160 crore on its DTH (direct to home) project. This was also cleared by the BJP government, so I am not allowing it. How can Doordarshan reach direct to people's homes? I also prevented that other DTH system from showing Doordarshan cricket matches. Madam if you want I will allow it.

Madam taking decisions is a smart thing, but not taking decisions is smarter. And you know I am not only smart, but also smarter. But you are the smartest. Anyway, I would love if you look at just a couple of decisions I have not taken.

  • Radio guys want to share profit, because they say licence fee is too much money. But I have decided to not take a decision. And I will not allow radio stations of foreign origin from foreign countries to operate from this country. BBC can broadcast from Bangladesh. Who wants their licence fee? But our people, you know how they are, are still listening to BBC radio on short wave and medium wave. They also watch BBC TV. What goes my father?

  • Madam I am also ensuring that no decision is taken on CAS. This CAS was introduced during the BJP government, madam. People are watching TV and having a good time. The cablewalla is extorting money from them. What goes my father?

Best of my regards and Reddy to dispose anything you propose, madam.

Yours obediently

Jayphal EverReady

PS: I have been really worried about two things madam. The two remaining people installed during the BJP regime. The President and the vice-president. What should we do about them? No need to say we will go ahead and do whatever we think would please you, before you even say it.

This is to test whether I can blog from my mobile. If I can, Cheers!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Chaste nut cracks in haste

Aishwarya Rai is nuts about her chastity. In a recent interview to Hello!
magazine she said she needs to be comfortbale before she agrees to do relax
her approach to secuality. And what she said is absoknockinglutely
hilarious. Here's the the Q and A.

Compared to Indian films, Hollywood demands a more relaxed approach to
sexuality. Have you considered the effect that nudity in an international
film could have on your audiences back home?

"I have to be convinced about how imperative the sex is to a particular
film, and relate that to my comfort levels. A recent Indian film I did
required the women to be wearing saris without underwear. There were major
discussions about it and although I might not have done so in another
instance, this time I went along with the director's decision. To tell you
the truth, I did wear underwear, but we constructed it in such a way that
cinematographically the director got what he wanted and I achieved what I
needed to within my comfort zone! Now I am toying with the idea of a body

Constructed it in such a way? What? The underwear? Does she mean underwear
underwear or undergarments? Because if she meant undies we would like to
know about the director who wants his women to wear sari without underwear.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Sourav's bat retires from active cricket!

In what has been described as a shocker for the cricket-crazy millions of India, the country's cricket captain Sourav Ganguly's bat has announced its retirement from active cricket. Following the captain's companion, his colleague Virender Sehwag's bat also decided to call it a day.

Sourav and Sehwag have not yet made an official statement about this unilateral decision taken by their bats. Speaking at Bangalore's Chinnaswami Stadium, Sourav's bat corrected this correspondent with a curt "know-your-facts-mister" and reiterated the decision was irreversible.

"It is not unilateral. Both have repeatedly told reporters: 'I am not worried about critics. My bat will do the talking.' Since they have authorised us to talk, we feel it is perfectly fine to do some talking," Sourav's bat told reporters.

"Do Indians even care about us? I got stickers all over my body and who gets paid? Sehwag. I am always there for him but you never see me around when he is prancing around Mahima Chaudhry. Now he's got a wife too. I get no attention. If he can hurt my feelings, I can also give him my outside edge or inside edge for that matter," Sehwag's bat told reporters with tears flowing down its eyes.
In bat language giving inside/outside edge means not giving two hoots.

Later in a signed press release, the two complained the cricketers don't spend as much time with them as they used to when they were trying to be successful.

"Once these guys become successful, we just become a thing that they wave at TV cameras after that half-century. Outside international matches, we gather dust while they shoot for commercials. We almost get suffocated to death in those cramped bags," they said in the release.

Asked if they would reconsider their decision to cooperate with the players who actually want to score some runs against Australia, they said, "on one condition: due respect".

The two bats said: "We want partnership. We can't be treated like pieces of wood to hit those balls."

When Sourav learnt of this willow revolt, he was furious. Though he is officially unavailable, sources say he's thinking of turning into a classical dancer.

"My wife is a career dancer, maybe we can partner. That bloody bat can willow (this guy puns) in self-pity but I know who's ditched who. And let this be known it was the bat, which failed me," he is understood to have told a friend we cannot name.

Sehwag did not respond to our requests for a quote. Sehwag ki maa's CDMA does not seem to work.

*This story is pure fiction until the day pices of wood actually start talking. Till then, squeeze the message. Take it without the pinch of salt.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Oh my god, there's a rocket in my backyard!

Is there a rocket waiting to explode in your backyard? Please look for one. I checked my backyard only to discover I don’t have one. Yes, I do not have a backyard, all I have are two balconies. And I am pleased to report that I found nothing close to being labelled ammunition or ammo, as newspapers headline it.

Seems my balcony is the only place they haven’t found a rocket or two. As you read this, government officers would have finished unearthing more rockets in Akola, Belgaum, Chinchpokhli, Jhumritilaiya and your neighbourhood paan-shop. It’s a festival out there.

After some rockets exploded in a Ghaziabad steel factory killing some 10 workers, there has been a series of findings (not explosions, thank goodness!) of rockets that enter the country as metal scrap imports.

Yesterday I saw a newspaper carry a map of north India with dots all over the map pointing out the places we have found rockets.

Today the number of dots increase manifold. And every factory worth its chimney has been working as a dump for unused explosives of the world. And a lot of questions have been exploding inside my mind. Some of them are still looking for answers. And the top 5 are—

1. Are scrap rockets living beings that procreate, sometimes really quickly, to save their race from being totally removed from the face of earth? Because the moment experts discover and seize one set of rockets, many others surface in another factory, another town?

2. Did they enter this country in a pact to explode in factories together? Because we never found these many ammo things before the Ghaziabad blasts.

3. If Ghaziabad ones weren’t the first ones to arrive, how did they conceal themselves? Why didn’t they explode in such numbers before this? Were they not being broken into these scrap factories or just passed on to those who have some use of rockets? That brings us to the question no.

4. Is this the way terrorist/subversive elements import rockets into our country?

5. Are we sure we haven’t imported nuclear waste, chemical warfare, serene gas, anthrax strands and scarier things?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

DD tera boss diwana

As it the CAS mess wasn't proof enough, our broadcasting bosses keep taking decisions to prove their stupidity. Prasar Bharti (the government-controlled broadcaster) asked Dish TV, a DTH company, to take its signals off the platform during the India-Australia cricket Test series. Zee de-links DD cricket channels from Dish TV. Why? It was not as if Zee was showing the match on their channel. It was on DD like it is on DD outside DTH. Does DD not want everyone to see their programme? Does more viewers harm the network? Can anybody answer that, please? It's ironical because according to the Cable TV Act, all cable operators must show the three DD chanels even if no one wants to show them or see them. Am I looking for a word here, 'coz ridiulous is too mild.

Monday, October 04, 2004

To Pakistan, With Thanks

Pakistan's biggest arms show, IDEAS 2004, is on at Karachi. Joshua Kucera, a Jane's Defence Weekly reporter, was there. His report from Karachi is a must read. It's hilarious and disturbing at the same time. Excerpts.

"Despite all the heavy weapons on display, the host city, Karachi, seems markedly insecure. Exhibitors and attendees drive from the Sheraton to the expo center in armed convoys. Police with machine guns are stationed every 50 yards along the 30-minute drive. Snipers peek from the rooftops surrounding the expo center. Delegates are advised not to leave the hotel, which is where 11 French submarine engineers were killed two years ago on their way to work on subs that France and Pakistan are assembling here. Karachi is also where Daniel Pearl was kidnapped.

"As delegations from a veritable Who's Who of pariah states—North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Zimbabwe, Sudan—make the rounds, a Pakistani company shows off its new cluster bombs (which, the company press release notes, "can be used against soft targets"). A Bangladeshi delegation looks approvingly at a display of Pakistani tanks.

"Pakistan's missiles, including the nuclear-capable Shaheen II, are displayed outside, behind a sign reading "Technological Demonstration—Not for Sale." It seems to be an oblique reference to the most notorious past IDEAS exhibitor—A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program and now the apparent mastermind of a global nuclear smuggling network.

"This is the first time that American companies have exhibited at IDEAS, and they have turned out in force. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, United Defense, and several smaller companies are here.

"Over the next five years, Pakistan will get at least $1.5 billion in defense aid from the United States.

"The chief of the Pakistan Air Force told me Washington wants to provide the F-16s, in part, to help Pakistan fight Islamist extremists in the tribal areas in the northwestern part of the country.

"But the Pakistanis gave a clue as to what they really want with the planes: They are requesting that the F-16s be armed with top-of-the-line air-to-air missiles that would be of little use against targets like the Islamists it's fighting on the ground. Other equipment Pakistan is getting from the United States—navy surveillance planes, for example—is similarly useless against a guerrilla insurgency. They would, of course, be useful in a war against India.

"The majority of questions Pakistani journalists asked in the show's press conferences were centered around one theme: "Can this help us beat India?"

"The Indian air force is formidable—earlier this year they beat U.S. pilots in a war game. Meanwhile, Pakistan's air force has stagnated as a result of U.S. sanctions, about which the Pakistanis are still resentful."

You can access the full article at Slate.