Thursday, 5 March 2009

Moving on

I am shifting my blog to Wordpress and can be found here. Hope to see you around in the future!

Ishwar Allah tere naam, Hey Ram!

Two amazing wtfmaxness in today's newspapers. The first one concerns a curious kind of ban that has been declared in Malaysia.

Action can be taken against non-Muslim publications in 10 Malaysian states if they use four words related to Islam, including ‘Allah’. A 'fatwa' had been issued to prohibit non-Muslim publications from using the words ‘Allah’, ‘Kaabah’, ‘Solat’ and ‘Baitullah’ in their reading materials.

Post buying the exclusive rights of A. R. Rahman's Jai Ho for its election campaign and engineering the appointment of the tainted Navin Chawla as the next election commissioner, the congress has decided to make the issue of acquiring Mahatma Gandhi's belongings a matter of national priority. But the current owner is playing hard to get as an article in NDTV reports:

In his proposal sent to Indian negotiators hours before the precious items were set to be auctioned, James Otis, who gave Antiquorum auctioneers Gandhi's iconic watch, glasses, a plate, a bowl and a pair sandals, asked New Delhi to "substantially" increase the proportion of its budget spent on health care of the poor, shifting priorities from military spending.

The second wtf comes in the form of Anand Sharma's (minister of state for external affairs) reply to James Otis (see article):

India rejected the conditions set by the American auctioneer of Mahatma Gandhi's personal items for stopping the memorabilia from going under the hammer and is in touch with United States and international legal agencies to get the articles back.

"Gandhiji himself would not have agreed to conditions. The Government of India representing the sovereign people of this republic cannot enter into such agreements where it involves specific areas of allocation of resources," Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said.

Reading these sanctimonious words would make one wonder if it was an indecent proposal that James Otis made originally to have elicited such a self-righteous response. The UPA layers are slowly beginning to unfold as elections approach, and the stench continues to rise; talking of elections, I feel a tingling roll in my stomach when I think of them. Are those butterflies of excitement or bugs of despair? I wonder.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Middle

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born.

-Ogden Nash

Sunday, 1 March 2009


Some quotable rhetoric from Jug Suraiya in a recent editorial:

More recently, Bachchan, in a blog that sparked off the current round of controversy on India's poverty, voiced similar sentiments regarding Slumdog Millionaire. Bachchan seems to find the portrayal of India's poverty gross and distasteful, rather like cracking racist jokes in front of a racially disadvantaged person, or breaking wind at the dining table. Unpleasant things, like racism, flatulence and poverty do, regrettably, exist. But must we have the bad taste to discuss or exhibit them, more so when guests are present? Wouldn't it be better all around, more polite and socially correct, to pretend that these awkward things just don't exist? And of course if you can afford to donate Rs 50 lakh to a temple which you visit with your son and your 'manglik' daughter-in-law to be, when you make as much money if not more from commercial endorsements, including an ad for what is billed to be the world's most expensive suiting material, as you do from your movie roles, poverty must seem like a really insensitive joke or a particularly nasty expulsion of gastric wind.

Saturday, 28 February 2009


Those roses in our backyard have left this world
once again. Silently, without fanfare.

I suffered happier bruises
when I picked some for you,
foolishly bartering somber memories for an elusive hope.
The ones that escaped my touch persisted,
sticking to their unwavering loyalty
for a life that wasn't theirs to own or nurture.

The ones that stayed back-
scented our tea and enlivened our home
through their life;
Emboldening my need
for someone other than themselves.
A wandering dog decided to lie beside them
and breathe his last.
And pat they fell like a pack of cards,
to sheathe him in tender blossoms.
That was it.

The ones that I sent you-
must have long withered by now.
But in this short inconsequential life,
the grandeur of their silence
dwarfs our individual destinies.

Friday, 27 February 2009

The Boxer

One of my favourite-st songs performed by one of my favourite-st singers.

Now the years are rolling by me,
they are rocking even me;
I am older than I once was,
and younger than I'll be, that's not unusual.
No it isn't strange, after changes upon changes,
we are more or less the same;
After changes we are very much the same.

These lyrics, surprisingly, are not present in the original album version. But those are fantastic lyrics anyway. If I was the Mahmud of Ghazni and Simon and Garfunkel were my court composers, I would have given them a dinar for every couplet they ever wrote; and certainly not renege on my promise like the Mahmud originally did to Firdausi when the latter presented his magnum opus, the Shahnamah. Now enough with that anachronistic fantasy :P

Thanks Sudeep for 'leading' me to this :-).

Thursday, 26 February 2009


Some days ago, a friend with whom I regularly correspond by e-mail, complained that my blog posts were getting heavier by the day. I wrote back saying I could not help it for I don't really have a talent for humor in writing; or to put it more equivocally, I haven't really bothered to 'cultivate' that skill.

But then humor exists around you, and even knocks on your doorstep thanks to rapid dissemination through the internet. During the last two days, whenever I logged on to IBNlive to check for updates on the 26/11 chargesheet, a particular link caught my attention for it was the only one on the page in blue font. Of course, on finally reading the article I was "hee-haw-guffaw" for at least twenty minutes and promptly shared it with my fellow grad-student friends who, like me (as the rest of the world sees it), lead boring "monochromatic" lifestyles, in need of succor.

Now I won't go about analyzing the article because there isn't anything much to it beyond its hilariously ridiculous content. In a nutshell, it talks about the results of a survey which indicate that indians are extremely happy with their sex-lives and top the list in a 13 nation survey. Now that has either got to be a lie (99.9%) or unfortunately, as I have said before, I need to accept being on the wrong geographical side of cultural evolution at the wrong time (0.1%). However, it is more likely a case of flawed experimental design more than anything else. It's like conducting a survey on the degree of satisfaction with public intellectual discourse and having a tribe in the Papua New Guinea hitherto untouched by civilization topping the list. Or alternatively conducting a survey on cultural pride and finding that the Texans made it on the top.

On a side note, I confessed to a friend yesterday that eating tofu is going to be extremely difficult for the next few days (ref: article). As it is vegetarians have limited options in the west; the rest of the world, please don't hijack those to construct disturbing metaphors as you fancy :-). Now I go for lunch, but Oriental is out of the list for sometime.