Monday, December 21, 2015

WIll Delhi Let The Odd Even Formula Succeed?

Delhi is about to turn into Oddistan – let’s even out the differences, shall we?


Pic courtesy - Hindustan Times

The Delhi government has been spearheading a campaign to turn Delhi into a spiritual haven by sending its denizens closer to God – one smog-full breath at a time. The enviable feat was achieved by the administration doing nothing, absolutely nothing – something that would have taken considerable effort because the National Green Tribunal has been shouting itself hoarse about Delhi’s steadily deteriorating air quality. For many, it must have been an uplifting moment when the WHO revealed that breathing in Delhi was akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, without having to pay a single paisa. We’ve heard of friends with benefits. But how many cities can claim to be a city with such smoky benefits!

Smoking kills a few but breathing in Delhi will kill all. Hahahaha.

Not anymore. Or so the Aam Admi government would like us to think after they adopt an odd-even policy for motor vehicles. We hear it has been tried in cities like Beijing and Mexico City, with iffy results. But I guess we are good with iffy. Cars with odd and even numbers will be allowed to run on alternate days. This will take 1 million cars off the road. You and I know that privately owned cars pollute the least because we scurry like alarmed kids every three months to get our pollution checks done. So, trucks, buses and other heavy vehicles, just like our elected representatives, will continue belching smoke and keep up their efforts at turning Delhi into a smoker’s only cubicle, like you see at the airports.

It will be interesting to find out how a city that drops its kids to bus stops barely a km away from home and drives to the neighbourhood market rather than walk, will cope with this trauma. Carpooling will prompt avid WhatsAppers to form groups according to number plates where they’ll be forced to have real conversation rather than simply sharing recycled forwards. Men and women seeking dates and mates will not only have to look for their soulmate but their nameplate-mate as well. Couples can breakup over conflicting number-plates instead of having to rely on the boring ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ excuse.

I can already envision a polarized society with the Even wing accusing the Odd wing of festering an atmosphere of intolerance and returning awards to register their protest.

Anyway, half of us, on a given day, will enthusiastically take to buses and the metro, right? Given our already bursting at seams public transport, what are the odds that people will reach their workplaces in one piece? Imagine having the ‘adjust kar lo beta’ aunty sit on your lap as she knits while the constantly chattering college kids stand on your two feet!

Revered Sir,

I beg to state, I shall not be able to attend office. My patience expired in the Metro and I stabbed four idiots who were standing on my foot from Rajiv Chowk to Badarpur, with a fork. I’ll be spending the rest of my life in Tihar. The food here is free. If you eat it, you will realize why it is free.

Arrestingly yours,

Suresh


Monday, December 14, 2015

The Loneliness of the Connected?

I’m not a phone person. Don’t get me wrong. I’m mostly surgically attached to my phone giving fodder to the husband for his countless number of jokes entirely at my expense. I use it to tweet and check updates and delete WhatsApp forwards. I am incapable of having long conversations on the phone. I have to remind myself again and again to fix a time slot to make that call.  Before I can say ‘eesh’ I realize it has slipped my mind yet again and it’s dial another day.

For someone so vocal, I often run out of things to say in just two minutes. And for someone’s who’s a gainfully unemployed ‘web columnist’, I am always short of time.

Strangely I am not alone in my fear of the dial function of the phone. I often see people share similar sentiments on social media. It’s a space where we have conversations with ourselves and hope that someone will eavesdrop. A community where people wear their lack of social skills like a badge of honour but have no qualms in pouring their hearts out to complete strangers.  Couples declare undying love for each other in public and quarrel in private. Parents get to tell the world how talented, bright their offspring is. Everyone is trying to convince each other how blessed they are.

When I was growing up, my Mother’s idea of pep-talk was telling me how talented, bright, obedient Mrs X Mrs Y and Mrs Z’s children were and I was doing nothing about it. In fact, the more your parents loved you, the more you got reprimanded by them. I still get scolded by my Mom for not calling her enough, for not bothering to keep in touch with Uncles and Aunties I once so loved.

I can’t because I feel emotionally distant from my Uncles Aunts and cousins, who were once such an important part of my growing-up years. All my happy memories are huddled in the summer breaks I spent with my cousins, with no television, no Internet to distract us.  I would cry (sometimes in front of the mirror to feel doubly miserable) every time we had to go back home. 

To continue reading, please click here   

http://www.ourstories.org.in/the-loneliness-of-the-connected/


Saturday, November 21, 2015

In His MataaJi’s Service

Courtesy - Twitter.com

Pahleaaj Cutwani, chief Censor Bore of India has the world’s toughest job. It’s not easy being the ‘maali’ of the Garden of Eden, relentlessly snipping and pruning amoral apples to keep Adam away from temptation. Adam is a gullible fool. He needs to be told what he wants and kept away from sin. Then there’s naughty Eve and her naughtier python, tantalising Adam with unnecessary skin show. For the greater good of mankind, Pehleaaj has tried several times to tempt Eve into wearing clothes. He even gifted her a Satya Paul sari. But that evil woman prefers draping the python, not around her unmentionables but her neck. Yeesh! Even that stupid python refuses to wear the cool designer Yoga wear that Cutwani bought from Baba Reebokdev store. I mean you have to be an idiot to refuse a miraculous garment that can cure piles, homosexuality, eczema and bad body odour with just a tug of the naarha.

Pehleaaj has appointed himself as the conscience keeper of the Garden of Eden (GE), even if it’s at the cost of becoming the butt of unkind jokes by immoral people who have nothing better to do. These are but small sacrifices you make when you are in His Majesty’s Service. Like the ordeal of having to watch that old man Craig kiss the older woman Belucci for such an excruciatingly long time. Since he could not see a mangalsutra around Monica jee’s neck, Pahleaaj Cutwani was quick to deduce they were not married.

What kind of culture allows elderly men and women to indulge in such brazen behaviour when they should be engaged in pooja-paath and satsang!

Of course, Pahleaaj was extremely upset. There’s no way he could let his great culture get corrupted by this lowly culture that makes such a show of lust. Imagine the catastrophic influence a man well into his 40’s, who has yet to marry, but is not a virgin and doesn’t stay with his parents, can have on the gullible Adam! What’s more, the shameless man beds a new woman every week without getting charged for rape!

Had Bond been brought up with right sanskars, he would never have let Halle Berry jee come out of the ocean half naked. Instead, he would have run up to her and said – behen, aapke ke pass kapde nahin hai?

Desi bond can never get the license to kill. In our Garden of Eden, to get one measly license, one has to fill 25 forms in triplicate and then bribe ‘different-different’ officers to get them do the work for which they are paid salaries from our taxes.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

We Are The Champions of Tolerance!

Dearest countrymen and women, till a few days back I was like you and SRK, wondering if intolerance is on the rise, pulling us back to the dark ages. Though I’m still not sure why they call it the dark ages, because our ancestors were pretty chilled out. They encouraged questioning, argument, debate and the give and take of ideas instead of banishing anyone who dared disagree, to a land infested by Mughals and calling them pseudo intellectuals. Instead of throwing ink at each other, they preferred inking literary works like the Urubhanga, Mricchakatika and Meghadootam as well as the most liberal Indian export in history, Kama Sutra. True, Edison had yet to light up their lives but even we in our modern times, experience dark ages, staring at walls, thanks to the efficiency of our vidyut boards.

Lynching for eating mutton that might have been beef. Lynching for being low-caste. Lynching for ‘just like that’. Inking Sudheendra Kulkarni (I’m no fan, even then). Killing of Kalburgi, for his frequent criticism of what he saw as superstition and false beliefs.

Dare you say that such concerted “incidents” are shameful! Dare you say that culprits are inflicting these with impunity because they know they’ll be safe! You were promptly labelled as ant-national, ‘pseudo Hindu’ and offered a one way ticket to Pakistan by ‘Yogis and Sadhvis’ who magically appear on TV. Come to think of it, are they actually Pakistani tourism, since no one in their right senses would visit that country!
Image courtesy Twitter

But seriously, where were these sainiks of true Hindu religion, when Babar invaded India? Where was the bravado when Tipu Sultan massacred Hindus and razed temples? Why didn’t they burst crackers when Humayun tumbled down the stairs and fractured his skull?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Maggi Wapsi

Courtesy - Google images

The Bombay High Court on Thursday set aside the countrywide ban on nine variants of Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles, saying the national food regulator had acted in an “arbitrary” manner and not followed the “principles of natural justice” while banning the product.

The residents of Hungristan are dusting cobwebs from their kitchen pots and pans, nervously clicking gas-lighters, hovering near their gas-stoves, their stomachs rumbling in anticipation. Their favourite, sweetheart of millions, Maggiwati is returning after a long vanwas.

Though it’s been only a few months since she went missing, but it feels like a lifetime. Unable to bear the trauma of waking up hungry on those lonely nights, and no simmering Maggiwati to cuddle up to, Dharmendra had taken to writing angst filled poetry. His composition – My life is an empty bartan

                     baby jaan, you are my dhakkan, 
                     ajaa hila de mera chammach, is now a superhit Honey Singh number, providing succour to unhappy souls guzzling beer at happy hours.

When Sunny, Bunny, Chavanni first heard this song at Maaji Bar, they promptly burst into tears. Something they hadn’t done in decades. Maggiwati was their pole of support through hours of harrowing traffic, snarling drivers and cacophonous symphony of horns. All they had to do was get back home alive and she’d be waiting for them lying coiled in her aromatic glory, waiting to be devoured.

She was simple unlike most women. All it needed was just two minutes to reduce her to a gooey mass of deliciousness. Okay, it took more than two, maybe 10. But once you fell for her easy charms, she became a lifetime obsession. Try as you might, you could never let go of her. In fact, you locked her in your cupboard, hid her in your drawers and sometimes under the bed. She was the answer to every hungry hosteller’s prayer seeking succour from the tyranny of mess food, the brightest thing at a girl’s pyjama party. She reminded her fans, her passionate lovers, her lifelong devotees of Ma kaa pyaar – unconditional, uncomplicated, a little unhealthy and filled with calories.

Maybe this is what made her so charming – the sin factor. Her bad girl appeal made her all the more desirable. The more your parents told you to stay away from her, the more you lusted for her.

Monday, October 12, 2015

An Open Letter by an Aggrieved Bhains

Also published on Huffington Post India
Clicked by my dear husband

Dear Gais and their children,

We’ve always known that our steaks are low compared to our fair-skinned sisters, the holy Gai. For centuries we have been subjected to unfair treatment simply by virtue of our skin colour. Yet, nobody even bothered to ask us how it felt to be treated like a piece of beefcake. Not a single feminist organisation came to our rescue or raised slogans on our behalf. If Cow is your Maa, doesn’t that make us your aunty? Is this how the world’s greatest culture that gave the world Cowmasutra, treats its aunties!

Is being born dark such a great sin that you’ll focus only at our inner boti and harbour unholy thoughts about us! We’ve suffered the indignities heaped on us with silence. We tolerated the blatant racism that even our shit is subjected to. Despite grazing at the same garbage bins and munching on the same plastic bags and bottles, cowdung is venerated and our shit gets equated to bullshit your elected representatives try to pass off as wisdom!

And now shit has hit the hoof.

Things have come to such a low for us that even the lowly goat has started getting more respect than us. Bhainsbehens association of India (BHAI) was far from amoosed when Union Minister Giriraj Singh equated goats and cows to Ma-behens of Indian mankind. In fact, few of our behens are feeling suicidal and considering storing mutton dressed as beef in their refrigerator.

What about us? Do we mean nothing to you? Does your heart not tremble when you don’t lynch men for daring to treat us as their lunch!

Dear children of cows, you are committing a grave mistake by pitting BHAI against GAI. We will no longer take it lying down. We shall rise on all fours and like Arvind Grazeliwal start a raita phelao andolan.

I don’t mean to brag. Rahul Gandhi has shown keen interest in having fodder with us. He’s also masticating on the possibility of empowering our lot. It is learnt from reliable sources that he’s arranging Jupiter's escape velocity for our upliftment.

Asha Bhainsle, spokesperson of BHAI has been contacted by none other than Arnab Gaiswami to appear on his show to debate on - Is Bhains the General Category of the Animal Caste system – The Nation Wants to Know! Or worse, are we the weaker sex!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Keep Calm or I’ll Feed You Mishti

Also published on Huffington Post India 




The furore over the imposition of meat ban in several states in consideration of the Jain festival Paryushan made me realise what a peace loving community we Bengalis are. We don’t care that nobody cares for our religious sentiments. During festivals like Durga Puja, we are so engrossed checking out each other’s saris and ingesting copious quantities of biryani and kabiraji cutlet that we don’t get time to demand bans. Rather, we go for a self-imposed ban on vegetables during those days. True, the bhog of ‘khichudi and labda’ is vegetarian but we more than make up for it in the evening by having protein and bhajabhuji (Bengali-pioneered junk food, way before the West could think) on behalf of the entire nation.

We Bengalis are a contented lot as long as others acknowledge our intellectual superiority, rich kaalchaar and don’t serve us a vegetarian meal. I know of instances where a particular Bengali family was put in deep freeze for a lifetime of indifference because they dared to serve only one non-vegetarian dish on their daughter’s wedding. My Ma-in-law has yet to get over the horrific ordeal of being invited for a meal by our Punjabi neighbour in Delhi and made to eat just rajmah chawal. How can someone invite you over for lunch and serve just one dish and that too rajmah!

I know Punjabis are passionate about chhole and rajmah, but for us it’s cattle feed till generous quantities of keema have been added to it. Our love for maachh is as legendary as our lust for mangsho. My husband often recalls with glee the recipe for dumoorer chop on a TV show that asked for two teaspoons of dumoor (raw fig) to be added to half a kilo of minced mutton. In fact, true blue bongs equate “non-veg” with only mangsho. Fish (phish) is a daily comestible that borders on being “veg”. If your Bengali friend has invited you over for a bhegetarian laanch, you are forewarned that the daal could have a fish head looking dolefully at you and the humble lauki, Baba Ramdev’s favourite vegetable, will have a crunchy splattering of shrimps. We don’t like vegetables to feel lonely.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Moved to Tears

www.360realtytampa.com


I have discovered the key to everlasting excitement – a life that refuses to settle down and keeps you constantly on your toes making you adjust to a new normal. Much like the commitment-phobic bad boy who women choose over the nice guy.

Eleven years back when we finally moved to our new apartment, I did a happy little jig and said to myself, yay, no more packing and unpacking of mountains of cartons! No more submitting piles of ID’s where we resemble doped convicts and filling forms in triplicate, giving proof of our birth and a forecast of our estimated death – so that we could get our address changed. We’ll grow old and crumble with this apartment. This will be our happily ever after. Yay again!

Truth be told, my yay lasted for quite some time. In fact it felt like a marriage that has lasted long enough to reach a stage when the halo dims, reality sinks in and we start taking each other for granted. It’s no fun to be wrapped in a comfortable cocoon of predictability. You get bored of being bored and soon enough you start itching for change.

The fun fact about change is, everybody wants it. But when it’s finally at our doorstep threatening to knock us out of complacency, we throw a fit like a kid being dragged to school for the first time.

Three years back when we moved to Brisbane in Australia, I welcomed the change. True, it took me a few months to adapt to a new way of living. But once I got past the trauma of being my own cleaning lady, presswali, cook rolled into one, I cherished the freedom I got doing my own stuff on my terms.

What I did not know was this was just the beginning of an unending cycle of settling and unsettling.

Barely a year after moving back from Australia to apartment no. 1 in Gurgaon and then to another apartment, we are getting ready for the tedious process of moving again. Our packers and movers have become an extension of our family. I now call them by their first names.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Why a Ban on Porn is the best thing to have happened to India

Google images

United Nations has warned that India's population will rise faster than expected and beat China by 2022. Since our government is always in a hurry to achieve the unachievable, it promptly went ahead and banned over 800 porn sites. With so much spare time in hand, men and women will be forced to procreate to pass time and India will breach the target sooner than expected.

Thanks to their initiative, all of India, including the ones who never watched porn, now have a comprehensive list of 857 sites where they can watch porn.

30% Indian women, who according to a study watch porn online, are heartbroken. BJP spokesperson Hard Kaur Prawn Khanna has announced that the government will soon be coming up with a rehabilitation scheme for these women. An undisclosed source has claimed that it’ll involve watching a skimpily clad Baba Ramdev trying to kiss his own butt in a loop. Once satisfied, women will no longer be forced to ogle at hungry for attention men in shorts and tight shirts.

Now that Ministry of human resource and development is claiming Kamasutra is a book on Geometry since all it talks about is tryangles, youngsters will now have to rely on Chetan Bhagat books to educate them about sex.

Even though a majority has strongly condemned this ban that has deprived them of not only of achhe din but achhi raatein as well, all I see is the bright side. With no porn to watch, terabytes of data will be freed. Service providers like Airtel won’t have to hang their head in shame while claiming to offer broadband services. Teens will no longer be compelled to wait for their parents to go to sleep before they can switch on their laptop and log on to YouPorn. Parents can now walk into their progeny’s room fearlessly. Aunties can take a break from being every horny manboy’s fantasy and go back to their mundane existence. And men searching for Bong babes in sleeveless blouses can start visiting my blog again.

The government will not have to Google for 1001 flimsy excuses other than crop failure for farmer suicides. They can coolly blame the absence of porn.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Vacation Ritual


picture courtesy -  kulverablog.net

We all need a break from being busy. So, we take vacations. Where we get even busier and return exhausted. If I have travelled thousands of miles, braved airline food, wailing babies and co-passengers with smelly feet, I might as well squeeze in as many activities as I can till I am ready to drop dead. Your vacation is futile till you can’t tell Babli – your neighbour who bragged non-stop about her heavenly stay in a 5-star resort in Krabi – that you also did paragliding, swam with dolphins, fought off a shark and discovered a hidden island. That should see her turn green as fungus.

A vacation has four stages – when, where, I can’t believe I am here, and phew I’m so glad to be home.

When

Deciding when to take a break is governed by a lot of factors. If you have school and college going kids who are still not embarrassed to be seen with their parents, you plan your getaway to coincide with their holidays. But only after they have attended summer camps designed to turn them into moon-walking, karate-chopping Einsteins and coaching classes for entrance exams to courses they have no interest in.

But if you are foot-loose and fancy-free, you wait for the symptoms to show up. These include restlessness, driving your colleagues insane with ‘I could so do with a break’ whining and extreme envy as you browse through the 692 pics that your ‘just-returned-from-Leh’ friend has posted on Facebook.

Where

This is usually dictated by ‘10 places you must visit before you die of boredom’ listicles that you love reading while pretending to work at office. Alongside vacation pictures shared on FB or Instagram by friends you’ve never met. And a long hard look at your bank balance and all the outstanding bills you have piled on your table. Gone are those days when people could throw darts on the world atlas to decide their next holiday. The passionately patriotic Indian these days keenly follows prime ministerial itineraries to draw inspiration for new destinations.

And nations oblige. Mongolia, flummoxed by the influx of eager Indian tourists, is all set to start a chain of Jain vegetarian restaurants in their country. A Swiss escape to Mount Titlis with pics of Sonali Bendre and Aishwarya Rai in their restaurants is so out of date.

The preparation phase of a vacation is exciting. It takes considerable creativity to imagine everything that might go wrong while travelling (snowfall in summer, loosies on board, sudden craving for theplas in Heidelberg) before deciding what to stuff in your suitcases. Many women spend days cleaning and polishing windowpanes and scrubbing their bathrooms clean before she heads out, so that she can come back to a considerably less dirty house after her sojourn in distant lands.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Finally, The Writing is No Longer Clear on the Wall

As a young girl I yearned to wear glasses. Perhaps I thought it would lend gravitas to my ten year old frame. Unfortunately for me, I had no fairy godmother who could wave her magic wand and make my eyesight weak. So, I had no choice but to be self-reliant. First I had to convince myself and then my parents that the writing on the wall was far from clear till I didn’t get to wear spectacles. I’m not sure how genuine my headaches were. But every time I’d open a textbook, especially Math, I’d be seized with a debilitating headache. It took a considerable number of re-enactments, each with increasing intensity to convince my parents to take me to the doctor. The doctor only too happy to treat a phantom ailment sent me for X-Rays and check-ups with fancy names. I had the unique distinction of going for medical check-ups with a spring in my step, a song in my heart, only to return home crestfallen when the reports said everything was more than okay. I would curse my normal eyesight and console my nose-bridge that her specmate was gracing the wall of some store, waiting to unite with her and vindicate her lonely existence.

I can’t quite recollect what came first. My headaches that gave up on me after many failed attempts to convince the world that my eyesight was as weak as my math. Or me resigning myself to my 20x20 vision that would be the first one to read bus numbers while waiting at the stop. All I know is, when I landed my first job that required me to work long hours on the computer, I promptly got myself a stylish pair claiming to be anti-glare glasses. My younger brother didn’t waste much time in losing them while trying to impress girlkind at large with his newly borrowed intellectual look and I never found out if my anti-glares were as good as its claims.

But one thing was clear, I could now blame my genes for this innate need to impress others with intellect without uttering a single word while peering solemnly from behind the glasses.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Death by Fashion

Image courtesy - Google images


Recently a Melbourne based woman collapsed in her skinnies because it had cut off the blood supply to her calf muscles. What took me by surprise was the flurry of headlines decrying the fad of skinny jeans being bad for health. It’s pretty obvious these ignorant fools haven’t had the pleasure of wriggling themselves in jeans two sizes too small and experienced its health benefits. It’s only after you’ve spent 20 minutes huffing and puffing, trying to stuff your curves inside these drainpipes designed for women sans a butt and thighs, that you experience its cardio benefits. Not only do you burn calories, you also get to spend the rest of the day standing because you feel stiff as a stick. Since your jeans have also managed the commendable feat of bringing your stomach closer to your heart, you also end up eating almost nothing.

Breathlessness is but a small price for looking breathtaking.

Most of us would rather die than be seen in loose and comfortable clothing. Just the other day when I draped myself in a sack and tied my hair in a tight bun for an Iftaar foodwalk at Jama Masjid, I refused to get myself clicked. And when someone did manage some candid clicks, I promptly disowned myself.

We are willing to brave back problems, bunions, fall flat on our faces as we totter on impossibly high heels. We’ll gladly walk half step at a time in pencil skirts, give up breathing in corset dresses, all for the sake of looking fabulous. So, when a woman lies sprawled on the floor, unable to move her legs because her skinnies sucked the life out of them, she has rightfully earned herself the label of a martyr and definitely not ‘aww, poor thing’!

If people can give up their lives fighting for justice and freedom, why can’t we give up comfort, maybe a limb or two, carbs, sugary treats, peace of mind for the sake of looking hip and fashionable? People die all the time, don’t they? Rather die trying to look gorgeous.

Women, who dress in skin-tight jeans in the searing heat and wear the skimpiest of outfits in freezing temperature, while ordinary mortals choose to shiver in layers of woollies, are the ones who have truly achieved Nirvana. It is they who have understood the concept of Maya and have readily discarded bodily comforts for the greater good of mankind.

Only an evolved soul will go through unimaginable pain getting rid of hair, layers of fat, frown lines and all that they have deemed ugly only because their beauty makes others happy. Yet, we choose to call them fashion victims!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Yoga-to Be Flexible To Salute The Sun

Image Courtesy - Google


Ever since Narendra Modi took oath as PM, he’s been jet-setting, trying to convince the world that India and selfies is the best thing to have happened since sliced bread. In an attempt to promote India’s ancient cultural heritage, Modi persuaded United Nations to embrace Yoga, India's biggest contribution to mankind since zero. 21st June will now be observed as International Baba Ramdev Day thanks to his initiative.

While BJP and its sibling outfits are vigorously practising ‘hasahasana’ and rubbing their palms in glee, celebrating this as yet another assertion of Hindu superiority, minority religious groups have planted their feet firmly on the ground in Tadasana, opposing its compulsory imposition in schools.

Some Muslim Groups have expressed anxiety that saluting the sun (one of the asanas to be included in the mass drill) will turn them into beef-hating Hindus. Their fears were further fuelled by BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, who declared that Muslims do yoga five times a day and that the Prophet had been a great yogi.

These Muslim Groups have now renamed themselves as Ray Ban and can be spotted wearing burqas to protect themselves from the un-Islamic rays of the sun.

This has sent ripples of fear in the US, one of the first countries to adopt Bikram and his hot variant of Yoga. They are now attributing their new-found love for vegetarianism to Yoga and its ghar wapasi after-effects. The beef lobby is urging New Yorkers to boycott Yoga guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s session to be held at Times Square. They are afraid that the asanas will trigger a craving for paneer and make the participants shun beef.

Jersey Cows association has welcomed International Yoga Day with much enthusiasm and are hoping that Mother’s Day will now be observed as a day to honour their valuable contribution to increasing American girths. India TV in its 65th breaking news of the day has reported that a Texan farmer refused to butcher his cow, insisting he could hear his dead Mom’s voice in her mooing.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Celebrities are as liable for endorsing anti-health products as healthy

Courtesy - Google images

Also published on Huffington Post, India

Even as Maggi’s credibility sank faster than the Titanic, complete with sound effects of outrage and anguish of millions of tastebuds hooked on to this gooey mishmash of maida and garam-masala, its ambassador in leotards, Madhuri found herself unceremoniously thrown in freezing waters.

While Maggi was crucified for having MSG and lead above permissible limits (many of us are still convinced it’s a rival-engineered conspiracy to dislodge it from its cult status), an FIR was also filed against Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta who appeared in the Maggi ads, for misleading their fans. Madhuri has been served a notice where she has to explain how Maggi is good for our health.

In India filmstars, unlike their Western counterparts, are not merely actors who get paid to do their job. The ones who attain superstardom are regarded as deities meant to be worshipped. They make our fantasies of fighting corruption, beating up crooked cops, wooing unattainable women, dancing and singing while looking like a glamorous diva, come true on the silver screen. They make us sing, dance and laugh and provide respite from the mundane. We revere them, blindly follow them and express our adulation by getting our local darzi to stitch the same Anarkali that Deepika wore at an awards night, hoping that some of her stardust will rub off on us.

The bigger the superstardom, the brighter the halo and the firmer our belief that they can do no wrong.

When Madhuri, the dhak-dhak of millions, trapezes all over her kitchen while she serves new Maggi Oats to her hungry family, insisting it’s healthy, we promptly add it to our shopping basket. Corporate giants pay crores to celebrities because they add brand equity to their products. When Cabdury’s credibility saw a downward spiral when live worms were discovered in their milk chocolate, they promptly hired Amitabh Bachchan to restore their lost glory (Cadbury’s, not theworms’) and it worked!

Is it right to hold Madhuri responsible after it was discovered that Maggi is not only unhealthy but also a health risk?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Oh Golgappa, its Shit!

Also published on Huffington Post, India 

Indian culture has always prided itself on its openness about bodily functions. We are firm believers of doing it all in the open while closing our minds to uncomfortable truths that pose a threat to our delusions of grandiosity.We spit, shit, pee, dump garbage in the open because we believe in keeping our houses clean and surroundings dirty.

We are a proud nation of closed minds and open defecation.

All you need to do is crane your neck out of the window of your train to see rows of behinds showcasing our potty culture. Now before you lunge at my throat for being insensitive to an India for whom even a toilet is a luxury, let me tell you that the scores of newly built toilets that followed Modi’s clarion call of Swachh Bharat have very few takers.

Why be confined to airless, waterless structures masquerading as toilets, when you can fertilize vast fields with your refuse!

Of late, India has been witnessing a potty revolution. Why else would scores of people throng to theatres to watch a thespian actor talk non-stop about his blocked bowel movements for over two hours and make the film a blockbuster? With our new found gut feeling, we can denounce politics and piles in the same breath.

It has now emerged that even our much loved chaatwalas are at the forefront of this revolution. Recently, a series of studies conducted on samples of Delhi’s street food has revealed that the secret ingredient that makes it so legendary lies not in the combination of spices but deep within us. It’s the presence of faeces that makes it extra yummy and makes us swoon with ecstasy, later with food poisoning.

No 
wonder ganda-nallahwala chat corner’s gol-gappa tastes so yummy! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Selfie Made PM

Also published on Huffington Post, India

India’s greatness lies in its great leaders. As history will testify, leaders are not born great. They are either born with great last names or achieve greatness through the eternal cycle of scams and clean-chits and the many yojanas named after them. Our leaders of yore did not have the luxury of appropriating public money for private gains, they had to mostly rely on good deeds, years of struggle, and policies that shaped our today for everlasting greatness. But when you’re long gone and become a statue at a busy traffic intersection, silently collecting bird poop of all hues, you need that extra something that sets you apart from the also-rans. Nehru appropriated the high necked sleeveless jacket, the rose and made that his own. Gandhi immortalized the dhoti, charkha and left behind great quotes for world leaders and Hollywood stars to borrow. Netaji’s monocles are as much a part of his legacy as his mysterious disappearance that gave rise to generations of Kakus and Jethus who insisted they had spotted him on Elgin road just last week. 

Just like political parties have symbols, our elected also need a style statement to claim their space in fickle public memory. Since corruption charges, insensitive comments and lunging at each other’s’ throats while the assembly is still in progress is de-rigueur for our netas, they are constantly looking for a USP that will set them apart from the cattle class. Not everyone is blessed with lush Amazonian growth sprouting out of their ears like Laloo, so they have to resort to capes, mufflers, rath rides and pee on plants to claim their rightful place in the electorate’s heart.

Which is why I don’t understand why some of you find Modi’s penchant for taking selfies at every given opportunity so funny. Don’t we all do the same – fish out our phones, pose and preen, the moment we sense company?

It requires a great leader like NaMo to adopt our selfie addiction as his own and use it to his advantage. How many nations can claim to have a PM who not only forges ties with world leaders but also their doting Mom and adoring bhakts by clicking selfies with them?

And when you are leading a nation with the world’s youngest population, you can no longer rely on tight churidars and bandh-galas to worm your way into their hearts. Especially after you have promised them acche din and then let your colleagues go on a banning spree depriving them of their little joys!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You Don’t Mess With The Metro-wali Aunty.

Image courtesy - Colors Channel

If you Google ‘aunty’, your search results will throw up astounding findings about her sexual appetite for neighbourhood boys on her charpai. The real life aunty is as different from the virtual as mathri is from crostini. She bears no resemblance to the hormone-fuelled fantasy of the Indian male searching furiously for her underarm pics in sleeveless blouses.

In India more so in Delhi, the term aunty is more a state of mind of the one who bequeaths her with this title and less of a relation. She’s the thirty kilos later version of the Behenjee who’ll elbow you out of her way and try her best to throw you into the ‘mind the gap’ as you try to board the Metro.

Being an Aunty is a lot like stupidity – everybody other than you is aware of it. No Aunty even in her wildest dream thinks of herself as one until she gets auntyzoned by Sunny whose backyard she uses to dump the remnants of chholey and chawal that she cooked lovingly for her family. When he dares to protest, she anoints him and his ancestors dating back to the days when they still hung around on trees, with choicest expletives. As he beats a hasty retreat, his face a beetroot red, he spits ‘aunty’ once he’s out of her hearing range. The last time, his best friend, Bunny, dared call her Aunty on her face, he was felled like an emaciated tree by her ‘dhai kilo kaa haath’

If you still don’t have any idea about what I am talking about, I suggest you board the Delhi Metro. You are most likely to spot her in the ladies coach. If you are unfortunate enough to find an empty seat for yourself, you’ll find her hovering over you like a pollen thirsty bee, ordering you to ‘thoda adjust kar lo’ as if it’s her birthright. 'Thoda adjust' simply means, you better seat yourself on one butt-cheek so that I can seat me, my big ass handbag and many shopping bags comfortably. God forbid if you’re seated between two such specimens, your pelvis will get pulverised by their bump and grind routine.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Why Plants Are Greener on Gadkari Jee’s Side of Fence




Goumutra - the elixir of youth and all things good, is under threat from another serious contender for its yellowed halo, Gadkari’s bladder. Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari, while addressing a gathering in Nagpur said that instead of wasting their precious pee on public walls, people should use it to water plants for their healthy growth. ‘Daily, I collect urine in a 50 ltr can, it is then used to water plants in my Delhi residence.’

Gadkari now has the unique distinction of being the proud owner of rows and rows of pissed off plants. Once he reveals what he uses as manure for his garden, he can stake his claim as BJP’s number 1 and number 2 minister.

This comes a huge relief to farmers in Maharashtra who have been waiting for over two years for Ajit Pawar’s urine to fill their dams. They can now rely on Gadkari’s brand new farming technology to irrigate their crops.

Gadkari further claimed that plants that got urine therapy showed better growth than those nurtured on plain water. Thanks to Gadkari’s revelation, women who were previously condemned as vindictive for pissing in their guests’ and MIL’s tea are now being hailed as ‘peelanthropists’. They are now being urged to mix pee in their family’s tea as well.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blockbuster drama, now playing in a movie hall near you



Image Courtesy - Google images

There’s no one more foolish than a person who goes to watch a movie in a multiplex for the simple pleasure of cinema. The movie is just a means to soak in the liveliness and chirpiness of people who accidentally ended up in the same hall as you. You can close your eyes and sink back on your cushy seat as you tap your feet to the mellifluous symphony of a gaggle of kids screaming in unison. Surprisingly, their parents, oblivious to their progeny’s talents, continue to stare poker-faced at the screen. Just as your attention is diverted by the antics of a certain Bakshy out to save Kolkata from the evil clutches of the Japanese army, a tiny head will sneak in from behind and startle you with, Pappa, potty janaa hai. Overcome by guilt, you will immediately get up and offer to take the hapless soul to the restroom to unburden him from toxins playing havoc in his tiny intestines.

You can learn pick-up tricks from Rakesh Jee on how to negotiate as he strikes a business deal on loudspeaker mode on his phone. If possible, give him an encouraging smile and wave, so what if he can’t see you in the dark! Wearing a neon coloured lipstick helps.

I still can’t fathom why our filmmakers invest so much money and passion in making movies when all we need is a bucket of popcorn, litres of Coke or Pepsi, a cool dark hall reverberating with chatter of merry men and women, to have a good time! It’s so much fun to be seated on time and be able to offer your feet for the stamping pleasure of a bunch of giggly college girls who arrive fashionably late.

Thanks to my many sojourns to movie halls, I now know intimate details about strangers who insist on gossiping with Dolby surround sound. Sometimes when I’m in a genial mood, I walk down and offer them advice on where to procure top quality diamonds at reasonable price and dealing with demanding mothers-in-law by mixing pee in their tea.

I also get to test my long distance vision by reading status updates on mobiles 5 rows ahead of me. Most of them are busy critiquing the movie, pointing out the flaws in the script, the poor editing and pathetic acting skills of the lead actors.

Wow, you have to be really talented to analyse a movie without even bothering to watch it!

Once upon a time I was a fool like you, who’d bemoan the complete lack of consideration many of our countrymen display for fellow movie-goers. I had little patience for people who’d treat movie halls as their own private space, moisturising your hair with their spit as they noisily munched tonnes of snacks and exchanged pleasantries on the phone with long lost relatives. I would experience extreme emotional distress when my loud sobs, empathising with the doe eyed heroine’s anguish (as her sadistic Ma chopped off her finger to teach her errant daughter a lesson), would be rudely interrupted by loud guffaws from insensitive louts. I would often end up trying to shush these specimens and unfairly subject them to my dagger eye treatment in an attempt to reform them. A few times I even had the audacity to wonder why parents drag their toddlers to Adult certified movies and subject them to blood and gore and other hanky-panky stuff? Why does the Censor Board spend weeks on certification when everyone, including movie management, treats it as a RaGa or Aliya B joke?

Not anymore. Thanks to a new me, I never have a dull moment, irrespective of how bad or good the movie is! Because I have little expectation of etiquette from others, I sit back and enjoy the show, on and off the screen. My favourite part is when Sunny Leone shakes her inner booty on the silver screen. I whistle and woot loudly and kick the back of the seat with my heels to express my appreciation. If I accidently walk in for an artsy movie and discover it’s dull and boring with no masaledar sex scenes, I start reading WhatsApp jokes loudly to anybody who’d care to listen. At a philosophical level, such rude reminders of reality keep the viewer stay grounded, helping them stay uninvolved with the stuff on the screen, all of which is virtual and maya twice removed. I mean, how many villages have the likes of Bipasha in fully made-up splendour, crooning huskily? 

 
Also, I’m seriously considering having another baby, raise him to be a brat and let him loose on all those poker-faced parents whose kids I took to the restroom.

Why be the long suffering bahu of a saas-bahu weepy, when you can choose to be the scheming saas?

Once you become the uncouth nincompoop you’d been dying to change, movie watching will no longer be an agonizing affair. If you can’t change them, become one of them and torture them with the same behaviour they subject you to. As such, enjoying a movie for sheer cinematic pleasure is so last century. 


Monday, April 20, 2015

The serious business of Bhalobasha, the Bengali way



Image courtesy - TelegraphIndia.com


There are certain words in Bangla that have no equivalent in any other language. Like nyakami, a trait peculiar to Bengali women especially if she’s beauteous and aware of it. Nyakami is her way of conveying to you, she knows that you know she’s beautiful, with maximum effect. A tilt of her head that gives your gaze the felicity of looking at her neck tad longer than necessary. A knowing smile, a lethal combination of innocence and coquettishness, engineered to feel like shrapnel on your heart afflicted by affection of the tingling kind. Emboldened by her playful antics, you make flirtatious advances, only to be rebuffed with - isshh, uff, kee oshobho (how shameless you are). Suitably reprimanded and filled with remorse at misreading her signals, just as you beat a hasty retreat, she will dart you a come hither look that’ll leave you as confused as a deer caught in headlight.

She will make you revolve around her as she blazes like the sun. Only when she’s convinced enough of your slavish love for her, will she let you into the inner sanctum of her heart.

Phostinoshti is yet another term that is peculiar to Bangla and Bengalis. It is a Bengali’s way of having an aphair (affair), without doing much about it. Just like the revolution that he plots from his armchair, hoping to change the world without lifting his finger.

If there’s anything that a Bangali is more passionate about other than phish, phootball and phriends, it the business of prem-koraa (sweet lovin’). The grooming starts at a very young age. While the young male prefers spending his youth doing adda on a rock, his female counterpart is busy showering love on mankind. For her prem-kora is a day job, along with chaan kora, ranna kora and kaaj kora (bathing, cooking and working), exactly in that order. 

So, when the Bengali male nurtured on Horlicks, Kalmegh, fish-head and Ishabgol decides to woo the nayika of his dreams, he engages in 'phostinoshti’. This consists mostly of thinking he is having an affair without actually having one. Poetry and Rabindra Sangeet feature at the top of activities, some holding of hands, exchange of coy glances, stolen hugs and loud sighs to express helplessness. All through this, neighbours will be told 'o amaaar bonner moto' (she is like my sister). Not suggesting incest, but to just convey there is no actual phostinoshti.

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