Media Trap!

There are several kinds of traps. Like mouse traps, foot traps, bird traps, booby traps etc. Every trap needs a trigger. The trigger consists of a bait or behavior. He is a good entrapper who knows his target. He knows through experience, what are the probabilities that his bait or the behavior would lure the target. After all, hunting is mostly planning followed by a momentary execution.

The above mentioned traps are physical. That is, when the bait or behavior is triggered, the victim gets entrapped physically. Some of the trap causes vital damage to the body even death. But what about traps which entrap with no visible damage to the self? The victim has no idea that he is being baited and then trapped. He lives on unawares and ignorant. Physical traps have specific locations. Like forests or war-zones. But meta-physical traps have no such boundaries. Those traps are also in all our homes.

Let’s take our visible media. The Television! And let’s focus on the program which has the most TRP ratings- Our News Channels. The News Channels are the largest viewed bovine activity known to man. Our hunger for news is insatiable. You must have seen how some oldies read Newspaper from cover to cover. Your own organization will have some unconfirmed alleged Khabar-ies! Everyone, depending on his interest, wants news, i.e., information which he can use to his advantage. Hence the desire for news is bait in itself.

So our new channels exploit the news-hungry. They are unconcerned about the authenticity or the quality of the news. All they want is to channelize your opinions to the direction they want. They want you to take positions according to their designs. They have a vested interest in your polarity. All media houses have inherent political or business affiliations. Tell me, don’t you know this! Still you will mouth their speech and aim your guns to their targets. You are trapped.

To demonstrate, let’s discuss the following picture.

Check the screen design. Very Important! Left side has a Bold “SCAM” with the picture of the Victim “as defined by them“. He is condemned before he even starts. The person concerned is unawares that he is “Garlanded” with “Scripted Footwares“.

The right side has some soft words for the news-reporter. “Fresh papers are with Times Now” and so you assume they are “right”. But “LALLI BLOCKS DEFLECTS” and forSPECIFIC QUESTIONSgivesGENERAL ANSWERS” and you get the “right ideas”. They achieve their “objectives” the moment you start the “blame game”. You got their bait. You are trapped.

Whosoever watched this show, will he ever, hear what Lalli is saying or trying to say? OK, consider that Lalli is corrupt. Who is this News Channel or any channels to do the thinking for us? Is this not trial by media? And let’s be honest. Don’t we get swayed by what’s appearing on screen in bold letters? Our eyes catch more than our ears. There are very few who would listen but many who would see. And see it day and night and then another day. Why not? Big money is doled to clog your brain. You are trapped!!

But you will never get affected. At the same time you can never affect anything. Because your power is been harnessed and used elsewhere. Like mercenaries, you have been utilized to “assassinate” someone else. You will never think in terms of processes but get fixated on personalities. You will never demand to know the procedure but will settle with some rebuke. That is what they want and that is what they get. 

You have heard what happens to people who file for an RTI (Right to Know). They are harassed and also killed. It happens because they are in the minority. Blame Game is the easiest game-Easy for us and Easy for Them. It is more dangerous to question a process.  Their are some who do it and pay the price. To strengthen them and to get our own house in order, we have to get away from personality-fixation and move over to process questioning. That would end our entrapment.

Television

One Asiad is round the corner. Another Asiad we are debating to bid or not to bid. The resent mess had raised the pedestal of the Common Wealth Games over the Asiad. Notoriety works! But if you see the participating group of nations, the Asian Games will separate the “Men from the Boys”.

But more on this another time. Today, I will take liberties to reminisce.

Asian Games 1982 was significant. We got our first Television. A Dyanora 785, 21 Inches, Black and White!

For first few days, I always had an urge to look up to the terrace and “dekho” (see) the antenna. It was like a crown on the building. For a while, I had extra bounce on my steps. Though a poor conversationalist, I tried to “twist-the-talks” and drop the hint among friends that now I was above the TV line. The friends put some extra weight-age on me, so it seemed.

And the new TV was like a bride. We covered it with the best cloth in the house. Time and again, I raised the cloth to peer in, just as the groom takes a glance of his newly found. I fondled its knobs and buttons like any groom who does whatever he has to do. It was like fore-play with the instrument which continued till about 6 PM.

Then the Bride got aroused. There appeared on screen, concentric revolving euphoric circles. The “Stayam, Shivam, Sundram” moved closer and closer to kiss and then withdraw. The music and the movement were orgasmic. To anyone who lived through those times, the Doordarshan Signature Music will always remain as one of the sweetest sounds.

Those days, possessing TV was exclusive- the cut above the rest- the cream. That’s what we thought. And Have-nots can concoct strange stories about the Haves. It’s un-ethical to relish a possession when other around you is deprived. It’s dangerous to build a bungalow in midst of slums. Being on both sides of the TV line at least taught me this.

Prior to TV, Saturdays and Sundays were painful. Also the other days! Friends who were graced with TV always had some news to share. Many discussed Jitender and his exploits. We needed it badly just to be In. So, as the weekend approached, time was spent on “antenna hunting”. We were like burglars and any houses with antenna were our prime targets. Necessity is the boyfriend of Information gathering. We never repeated houses, lest they would chase us away saying, “last week we allowed, not again”. So we rotated houses. We followed the truism of this saying-“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” long before we realised it.

We also had our favourite TV sets. Those days the prominent were- EC, Televista, Sonodyne, Dyanora etc. Of all, Telivista was the worse and Dyanora was the best. That’s why we got Dyanora. Later we realised that all First Generation TV sets were horrible. These days we hardly see any TV mechanics. Those days, when TV was frequently down, the TV mechanic was like coming of God. His arrival brought glee and we all missed our tails. Instead we offered Tea and Biscuits at 10 PM (those days) to keep him in good humour.

Some events are “Jesus-like”. It demarcates. Like 9/11. First bike, first car, first house, first wife etc. falls in this category. Also the first TV! You exactly know how you spent the time before it and after. You can sense the changes in context and conversations. And new resistances appear from nowhere. Gradually, your involvement change and becomes more TV-centric. Your life starts revolving around it. Very soon, the TV is a part of your household and you begin to think that it was always there.

Nature abhors a vacuum and old Morals and antique principals abhor a paradigm shift. They rush to reclaim position. No sooner you get TV; you also get new thoughts on and around it. There are high thoughts on what programes to watch and what’s to be avoided. TV brings its own governance structure. Poor grades in exams are readily blamed on TV. Other ills also get a new common enemy. It was a popular view that exam marks were in-directly proportional to watching TV. The more you watch, the lesser your grade. Well, it never applied to me. Switch-on or off, my marks maintained an even graph.

Election result time was the best. The 6 PM to 10 PM TV-time extended till whole night. We watched movies after movies back to back, so it seemed. Actually it was a 3 hour movie dragged double the time. In between breaks, a person appeared with a long stick and pointed to some numbers on the board, Cong(I) so much, Cong(U) so much. Those days the Cong had factions from A-Z. We cared less. We wanted the thrill to re-start.

Times changed. Antennas gave way to cables. Any novelty begets its own resistance. It continues for some time and then the tables turn. There was a time when I took prior permission to watch any movie. My parents termed them crap. These days I see my parents spend time watching what I term as – Crap. Is this the circle of life?

Plays!

For many were called but few are chosen! (Bible Matthew 22:14). The verse is true with many of our lives offerings. There is no dearth of choices but it’s only a few that we choose to settle down with. They are the once that leave a mark and urges us to return to it from time to time. And it’s the same with Plays.

Some plays are commonplace. But some requires special mention. No doubt, performance matters but some plays just rise above the ordinary. And there are some plays which are astounding just on technicalities. There must be a lot of hard work and co-ordination to host a play. That’s presentation. But when you speak about impact, there should be more to it that we see or experience.

Some plays are just for laughs. They deal with daily events which we all consider ordinary. The play brings out nothing new. All that is happening on stage is something which we already know. It’s like a webcam capturing the mundane movements. Some activity might excite and give humour. But the sum total always tends to zero. It’s not that the performance is wanting. It’s not that the writer has given no depth to the subject. It’s actually the subject. If you dig sand, howsoever deep, it’s still sand, isn’t it? Depth matters only if it unearths variety.

Some plays are for pathos. They are an attempt to project some social or environmental problem. Plays on Female Infanticide and Child marriage are informative but it needs a right setting. I mean, if the play is written to be hosted at select theatres, then it will miss the mark. After all, a person sitting through a play is a part of a metrosexual audience. He might be affected by the laughs and the cries, but he can do little to carry forward the subject. But it does highlight some of the societal ills lest those emotions get fossilized. Still, I have this opinion that such plays should be organized at school and college levels and also on those areas more prone to such evils.

Some plays are sarcastic satires. Here we step into imaginations. Although, all plays need imagination, but a satire always has an edge. A good spoof requires a good graft. A good play of this genre will never fail to excite. A satire works like Dredges. It will scrape your intellectual bottoms and evoke disturbance. Many call this thought provoking.

But they are few plays which are path breaking. The names of plays with Laughs and Pathos can be skipped. Well-known satires which break from the ordinary do get a mention. But you have to name the excellent. When emerging out of the theatre after seeing this kind of Play, your brain will not have dimension as seen in Grey’s Anotomy. Well, for some time, your thoughts will have edges like multi-faceted richly carved intricate surface.  Some experiences, good or bad, are everlasting.

If you ever get a chance, you must never miss “The Disappearing Number”. Just like Jesus demarcates BC and AD, this play has the same effect. Before this, I could never imagine, that a play could also have an audio visual bonanza! Now, you may have seen some visuals and audios in plays, but in this play, it’s like magic. You will be enthralled. Trust me – It’s spellbinding. Content wise, the play is shallow. Ramanajum and mathematics are just props. The success is in its presentation.

Another play worth a mention is “Vagina Monologues”.  I have also seen its Hindi version “Kissa Yoni Ka.” and found the Hindi version to be better performed than the English version. Anyway, it’s left onto you to choose. This is a straightforward story of the “Vagina” in different settings. Birth, Death, Rape, Enjoyment etc., and the “Vagina” has its own story. The play de-mystifies the Organ in question, so to say. English “Cunt” and Hindi “Chute” is pronounced openly but never in derogatory terms. Even different orgasmic sounds are enacted with great finesse. It’s a play for every Man and Women. And No Offence!

Habits

Let’s begin with a Cliché – Habits die hard. Many habits are intrepid and they are born and die with us. Spitting, digging the nose etc. are as old as archaeology. The list is unending and to focus on these uninteresting.

Like trends, Habits go in and out with changing times and fashion. A new Habit is always around the corner. They arrive with new models and service packages. If you don’t conform to the new habit, you may be termed old and boring. To be in and with the crowd, you must display the new quirks. Just like you change clothes you also need to change into habits.

Some habits you suffer, some makes you a sufferer. Bad Habits and bad luck have a thing in common-Everyone thinks they happen to other people. Good habits are the ones on your side of the turf. Rest are bad Habits. Hence, there is no contemplation, self-examination. So, in this climate, when someone Else’s Habit crosses your path, it always leads to friction.

I have listed some Habits which I find annoying. The perpetrators are always unaware. Alas, they don’t know what they do. And if they do know, they choose to ignore. Why? Habit!

No sooner, the theatre lights go out, all the mobile lights illuminates around like fire-flies. By the law of sudden urge, there are people who feel the need to recheck SMS or mail. The play announcer requests that the phones be kept on silent or switched off. Henceforth, they should also include phone back lights. They too disturb. The more annoying is if the one sitting beside you or in front has this habit of frequently lighting up his mobile. It’s like watching the play from across the car dashboard.

I wonder, what is there, that cannot be left alone for two hours. OK, till interval. But it’s the habit actually. An old saying is- Life grips you. In reality, you grip life. You don’t let go for a moment. You want to get updated. Actually, when someone fiddles which his phone, consider that he has nothing to fiddle about.

Why no one interrupts the perpetrators. Actually, we all avoid being conspicuous in that setting. We feel, when there are others around and if nobody else has a problem, why should I stick out. We are forced to exercise restraint. An objection is always distracting. More than the offender, the preventer gets highlighted. With such habits cohabitating, very soon you might find yourself in a minority. It’s a culprit’s world. So, endure – you Mr Victim.

From lights in the theatre, let’s check out the lights on the road. Do you wonder why people have to drive with lights on Full High-beam? It’s desirable on Bad roads. But when you have relatively good roads and well lighted streets, High beam should relax. But All Mumbai Kars seems to love High-Beam, even when at bumper kissing speed. The rays glare at you via the mirrors. Why do they do it? It’s habit again. Besides that, electricity is free on cars! You make it, so you are free to squander it.

What should be done to stop the high-beamers? Well, I suggest, put an electric-meter on all cars. The more energy the Car Walla’s dissipate, the more they pay for the fuel. Taxis will have both-taxi and electric meter and the passenger will pay for excess electricity too. That would make the passenger and the driver aware of safe and also sane driving. Probably, it will, at least, keep the Habits in check.

Well, there is more on optics. There are those Morse-Coders – High-Beamers with Dippers. Their periodic Dipping gets on your nerves. I wonder, are they trying to convey something? There is an antidote to honking. It’s Car Music. But what can you hold against those Dipping Drivers. I feel like installing a train lamp on the back of my car. No sooner the other dips, I will flip a switch, which will automatically dip at periodic intervals. Like rain wiper, it will be timed, slow, medium and rapid. I will use it according to the doggedness of the dipper. Surely, this might work. At least to neutralize his habit.

Suresh Kalmadi and the CWG BOO!

Boo means “to show contempt or disapproval”. Boo in Hindi means “an obnoxious smell”. The “English Boo” has some “temporariness”, that is, you boo and go away. But once you have the “Hindi Boo” around you, it will provoke investigation. But, there is always a possibility that people get used to the “Boo”. After all, Halitosis is not hell to someone who has it. 

I have a fear. With all this brouhaha, the actual culprits might slip away. I wonder what is wrong? Why the media and the people are not asking the right questions? Every news item appears as diversionary tactics with more smoke then substance.

The real issues which initially raised eyebrows where – missed deadlines on incomplete infra-structures like stadia’s and roads. These doubts were raised by the OC (Organizing Committee) itself when Mike Hooper went public the first time in 2009. Like anyone found around the scene of crime become suspects, the same has happened with this OC. They are blamed for things for which they are not directly responsible.

Did anyone notice one pattern? When worried Fanel arrived in India and wanted to meet the PM and raise the issue that some of the structures will miss deadlines, the very same moment the whole of our media took a flight to London and started discussing Queens Baton Relay Scam and Toilet Papers. Wasn’t this amazing? Though the mismanagement in QBR (Queens Baton Relay) and Toilet papers are no ordinary scam but it can’t be held against unfinished structures, missed deadlines and worse, falling foot over-bridge.

But to show left-overs piling all around, link it with mis-management and then focus it on one Organization and worst, one Man, is gross injustice. Not that I want Kalmadi to be spared of his own and committee’s misdeeds. Accusations should be on right stuffs done wrong. But the media and us has chosen to digress.

Why the Delhiites were booing Kalmadi? Was it because he goofed up in Queens Baton Relay or bought toilet paper worth millions. Surely, that would be the least of their concerns. Wasn’t it those mess created in Delhi. Those last minute mad rush to complete work. Those traffic jams due to dug up roads. The citizens were stuck in traffic and the establishment made them believe it’s because of someone else? That’s smart.

Two stadia’s, Shivaji Stadium and Central Vista had to be scrapped from the itinerary. They are both built by NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Commission). Now, who is responsible for NDMC? The games village was constructed by DDA (Delhi Development Authority). DDA comes under Union Development Ministry. Then who becomes responsible? As far as sports is concerned, Shiela Dixit has done nothing. CWG 2010 utilized the same structure made for the Asian Games 1982.

Let’s take the Games village. DDA did an auction and the bid was won by Emaar MGF, a Dubai-India private joint venture. However, there were issues between DDA and MGF on missed payments. Cash-less MGF did not pay the workers who in turn went on strike or walked out. The Village which should have been completed by March 2010 lay unfinished till inauguration. Now, who should be asked these questions? Where should the accountability lie? Or Just Lie!

Where does Kalmadi figure in anywhere here? It’s a DDA and MGF battle. Who should have resolved it? Mrs. Kalmadi! OK, after the completion of those flats, the DDA was supposed to hand in the venue to ITDC (India Tourism Development Corporation) for furnishing it. Then ITDC will hand it over to OC. Here the OC comes last. Its a Rule of Thumb. If no one has completed their obligations, it’s safe to pin the blame on the powerless last?

The OC is concerned with Overlays-meaning “decorations” to conduct the Games. Venues are not handed over to them on time but the blame is on schedule. In fact Kalmadi should be facilitated.  At the eleventh hour he was able to put things in place to pull off the games. But my lone voice do not a majority make!

My earlier article – “Kalmadi-fix-it for Dixit“, was an attempt to say that if we want (if) to pin the blame, we should aim for the one who should be most accountable. But all our emotions were hijacked. We are fixated. We felt the need to fix someone to fix something. The wrong doers should be erased to end all the wrong doings. And in this case, it’s Kalmadi. We all ended up booing someone who can’t even moo. In a superb masterstroke, someone else carried away the acclaim.

But, blame game has never worked. If one group carries shit, the other group equips themselves with fans. Politics is infested with profligates. Arguments are their armaments. Their excuses appear like “flags of principal” and do the march past. When animals are threatened, they show teeth or fangs. When common people are threatened, they lie or tell the truth. When politicians are threatened, they expose. There is an un-written “honour-of-the-loop”.

But if we choose to focus on structure than personalities, we will unearth a lot. And the PM has taken the right step. CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) has started with CPWD (Central Public Works Department). The attempt should be more on the corrective then punitive. Because, I believe, the CWG mess was more a process failure. At hindsight, we now know, the failures were starkly significant in some areas.

What was the structure? What could be its weakest links? When those linkages are breached, what were its safeguards? Did the process have any alerting systems? – Out of many questions, I would be interested to know these. Some indicators are solutions themselves.

For the layman who wants to analyse, there is no shortages of data. The CWG’s own official website itself has repository. GOTO (http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/) and then scroll to the bottom. If interested, you can find lots of tender information and other data for analysis.

The one which interests me most is this: – About Us>Key Stakeholders (http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/key_stakeholders). Just by looking at the hierarchy, one can deduce the bottom heaviness. It lists its delivery partners as CGF-IOA-OC-GNCTD-GOI. A person of projects or administration will immediately catch the lacuna. The right question to ask here is-Do the top three have any control over the bottom two? If yes, then in what way?

The OC, at best, can be the co-ordinators. They can very well do the corruptions at their levels which can be limited to batons and stationeries. Check out Tenders (http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/tenders#). But on a larger scale, where millions got lost, the ghost will come back to haunt the Government. And, of course, Shiela Dixit! The Sports are over, Let the Games Begin.

Predator-Our Saviour!

Food is enticing, exciting. We Humans eat anything, everything. Every region of this world has its own unique delicacies. From aquatic to Aves, harmless to poisonous (like “Fugu”) and tasty to disgusting (rotten shark)! We have spared nothing to get it on the table.

This is probably because; we human are known to be on the top of the Food Chain- A chain which defines “who eats who and is eaten by who”. Though humans do become victims if we cross other’s chain-of- food-command, but besides that we are relatively safe. We are not on other’s menus. Are we so tasteless or un-wholesome?

Anyway, my imagination got fired up on a supposition (Again!). Suppose, if there is a “Living Being”, who lived of us. Like, they survive on Humans. We are their daily bread. Like lions and tigers stalk animals, these horrid beings “stalk and prey” on us.

What would happen to us if we are one rung below the top of the food chain? How would our life and living change? What would be our social structure? What would be the advantages and disadvantages? Being born as eldest is one thing, but to discover later that you have (really) one elder to you, does change things, isn’t it?  

As we are not conditioned to live like a prey, this has got us some attitude. Anyone on top of their food chain does have some arrogance. Living from the position of power gives you a choice – to be or not to be ruthless. You tend to take sides depending on social acceptance. We are vain because of our vantages. Superiority Complex!

The moment we fall one step below, the equation will change. The realisation that we can also be chased, tripped, throttled and devoured will make us re-think our survival strategies. A common threat will force upon us common understanding. The turf wars will end. The whole living space, the earth would then belong to all. Have you noticed, the beings fighting for turf are those on top of their food chain? They need to urinate and demarcate for sustenance, that is, eat in their own territory. Any intrusion elsewhere would invite derision and death. But this does not apply to animals that are a prey themselves. For them, the whole world is theirs.

This brings the advantage of free travel. Free meaning unregulated but mandatory. I pray thee – It is a must. Right now, you may travel. But you don’t. Choice! You will manufacture reasons and would rather surf TV. But a threat will make you move. Humans will be forced to change locations. Predators love a constant target. This gives them stealth to get up to race-range. Hence we have to be in constant flux. We have to move. Not becoming a meal will be as important as the next meal, if not more.

Just imagine what a change it would bring. Just travelling! Will we then, ever, have any regional bias? Intermingling would cause inter-blending. We are all Homos, sapiens or otherwise. All race divides would give way to unity. We will have complete understanding of our co-travellers. Complete meaning- no lip service. No saying falsely–”Ya, I understand your difficulty.” Those Polite Deceptions! You will understand everything truly by just being together.

One would wonder, if there is no permanent residency, what about the jobs. How would we earn our living? I know, any idiot would think like an idiot. Even I had this same worry. But why worry? Suppose, you are a Flight Dispatcher (don’t worry what it means), and you have migrated from Mumbai to Delhi you can seek out the same position there. OK, suppose you are in Istanbul, the same applies. Your profession will always be found at the location where it belongs. Seek the location in that region-Plain and Simple!

And don’t worry which company – I know you will think this now. Company-centric eccentric behaviour belongs to the predator world. Lions live with lions and tigers with tigers. But wilder-beasts, zebras, buffaloes etc. that is, live together. Same will happen to us Humans. Peaceful Co-existence will no longer be a UN-Lingo. One rung below, we will all become its living embodiment.

There will not be any fixed roster anywhere. No Prashant in the Morning Shift and Nishant in the afternoon. No PL, SL, CL etc. Whosoever survives and arrives will be granted the position. Choose wisely. For if you are found wanting, your co-prey will make sure you meet the predator after your shift is over. Ok, suppose, you don’t get the job which you desire or fit for. Continue migration. I guarantee, Istanbul or Austria, you will get it. Your skill will make you rich. Two three migrations and if you survive, you are a pro. If you get eaten, bad luck.

Most of the living beings have their own social structure. It starts with birth, rearing the young, feeding and finally death. Natural death is most common to beings on top of their food chain. Others fight to survive only to succumb someday to a merciful predator. Slipping one step below the food chain, would take away all the fear and philosophy we have on death. Idealism and ritualism will disappear with the body. Co-preys will be just onlookers as the predator smacks their lips on one of us. Predators love fully grown and old prey. It feeds their entire family. Young new-borns are too small and can be used for practice by their youngsters.

One best thing! Everyone will be fit. Survival of the fittest is most known in the animal world but it will start applying to humans too. Prim and trim will be in. Smoking and Drinking will be out. Lest you want to invite a prey and become an easy meal to some old predator.

What would happen to our possessions like houses and belongings? Though, all Humans would make houses, but that would not be for him alone. He will make it, furnish it, provision it, but that would be for all. Where ever you go, you will be guaranteed furnished accommodation. Humans will develop cleanliness like cats or else they will have to spend time on cleaning upon arrival. Predators love prey busy cleaning themselves. The guards are down and they can pounce. And, if you don’t get a place to live, well, continue migration.

About your belongings; the stuffs you will carry will be minimal. After all we have to be ever-alert to drop and run. We will never crib on short notice. We will never say, “I was not informed”. A wait would be too late. Your survivors will write your name as “To Late Mr So and So”. Ok, when you finish running and fortunately survive, you then search for any belonging left over by others who did the same. Don’t ask whose it is. If you have survived, it’s yours. Or reach for any carcass. You will get one there, guaranteed! Predator eat prey, not their belongings.

There are many living being that make pairs for life time. More intelligent animals just show up but don’t own up. Arrive, do and leave. That’s natural. Some wait just long enough to ensure the garbage out is their very own garbage in. It is species specific. We humans can choose individually. I would choose the later. When life becomes so transitory, we humans can search big reasons to go astray. Probably, we will concocts some religious scriptures sanctioning such behaviour. Everyone will be benefitted. Life would be enjoyable till being eaten.

Someone rightly said. If we did not have God, we would have to invent Him. Mankind needed a Higher Being for life streamlining. A saviour needed to stop all savagery. But it’s not working now. Our Gods are failing. God fearing is the thing of the past. We actually need a Predator. That would surely end all terrorism. A strong predator takes care of his territory. Oppositely, it frees us of all our boundaries and inhibitions. There are co-lateral damages, understood, but is it any better now. Will that predator accept the destruction of his life-stock? He will make sure; the each and every culprit is eaten, first thing first!

Oh, how I wish a Predator who dates and eats humans. We are all so interested to hunt outer space for life. What will happen if that life seems to love human blood? Would we still have all that excitement? They will surely find us, with all the satellites and telescope which we have strewn all over space as debris. Someone will use that as milestone and will find his way here. We are all so happy to launce our rockets and shuttles. Imagine the day, when we have a Landing instead. That will be the day of our deliverance, the Judgement Day!

Judas Hole

Do you know what a Judas Hole is? That’s the viewer-peephole-on your door. When someone rings your bell, you first look through it to find out who that is, and does he deserve your door to be opened. Sometimes you need to peek to prioritise. After all, it’s the question of your privacy. You don’t want the other side to walk in and disturb your tranquillity. It’s your home, your domain, your world. The high heavens may go to hell and the outside be out of our sight. It doesn’t matter what crap plays outside. My side is the saner side. So be it.

There is very good poem from Panchatantra:-
Some lead a Life of Mild Content,
But Content may fall, as well as Pride,
A frog who kissed his lowly ditch,
Much Despaired when it dried.

Very tricky poetry. Simply put, we love our mess. We are all afflicted by our side, their side. Hither and thither. Only when we act philosophic that we expound the universality of all things. And that’s very temporary. We exclaim, “This is everywhere”! But in daily life, we are all here and now. Fast action, quick judgement, and instant coffee!

Let’s imagine a situation. You are travelling; walking, riding whatever and you are passing the assembly – i.e. Parliament, Vidhan Bhavan etc. Very Important, OK. Then some faint noise catches you. Some murmur coming from a direction. You abandon your earlier mission and your conveyance, if you have any, and follow the direction of the noise. As you walk closer, the volume increases and increases. You finally locate the door behind which all the noise is emanating. You slowly push the Assembly door ajar, just enough to look inside and then the turbulent energy assaults you like you are slapped by your wife or girlfriend (choose).

The scene inside the “Hall of Fame” is like a moving mass of humanity heaving like a monsoon sea hitting marine lines. Multiple groups are bustling and writhing among each other like trying to board an already crowed train.

Someone has his shirt torn off and he is standing on the desk crying out aloud the injustices meted to mankind. He projects his torn shirt as shredded democracy and wants quick replacement. His shirt of course!

Again someone is lying on the ground, silent, given up, acting too powerless to reform society. He is bereft and identifies himself with subverted law squashed to make way for mobocracy.

Then there are those machos, who have taken it on themselves to do something. Their “doing something” means punching. Punches are flying in all directions which would put both Ali and Bruce Li to shame. But they are calling in the punch to call out the principals on which to stand.

Then there are pacifists, those people who have holier-than-thou written on their forehead on bold italics. They are the go-betweens, trying to control one side or the other. You will find pacifists wedged between two groups, trying their best to control the innumerable Mohammed Alis’. The pacifists are also the ones who are too sacred to punch or get punched.

Then there are those sight-seers who gradually leave centre stage and edge towards the periphery to watch the grand show.  They are the once who don’t want to miss the action and at the same time don’t want to be accountable. Sight-seers also consists of many fence sitters. Fence-sitters are sight- seers with a “Sholay Coin” – heads you lose and tails I win – philosophy.

Peering inside, you see mass and movement. Give a call to Einstein and he will say that’s Momentum. The swirl, the momentum has a movement and energy associated with breaking of chairs and benches and mikes. It has a life force of its own. Like a Twister. Many times the force is directed towards an unfortunate sitting on a high chair-the speaker. The Assembly speaker also has two wicket keepers. Any projectile in the direction of the speaker is caught by one of the wicket keepers. If observed carefully, the projectile is deliberately directed to the wicket keepers. Injuring the speaker would raise many un-controllable twisters. The speaker knows this and acts as a prop by keeping his mouth shut when there is a problem. The entire activity in the assembly seems like looking into a cyclotron. For cyclotron call Einstein again!

Actually, you are looking into the bye scope. Better, it’s like Kaleidoscopes. Innumerable patters and detractions. This makes you wonder, momentarily, why here? What’s good, what’s bad? You immediately scramble up the high moral ground. Ages of evolution has taught us, a high ground is always a vantage point.  So, there you go. Separate yourself from the force which you see. You start expounding thoughts which would put Socrates to shame, Plato would go in hiding and Aristotle will shoot himself.

 Or, you will go into woeful depression and cry over the state of affairs. Ages of evolution has taught us, when surrounded by predators, Cry out, and Call others to join the force. So there you go. Your weeping would put crocodiles to shame and the just-born would switch to laughter instead.

For all of us, some pedestal, high or low, is ever-ready. Just crack the sports-pistol, and we all will take our positions.

So, you are looking into the mess. For you, it’s a mess, for them its business– Share trading or Horse Trading. They trade what they possess. They are playing out their game, their emotions are true. They have a stake. They are there for a purpose.  They laugh, cry, punch, or just duck. After all it’s their arena. It is You who is the outsider. You do not have any right to poke your nose. You are lucky; privileged enough to have them do your dirty laundry. Now, don’t flare your nose and squint your eyes! 

You cry out. BUT NO….It’s my vote…Suddenly, the entire assembly explodes. It is like one moment it was there and the next moment it isn’t. You find yourself in the market place or the bus stand, or the platform or airport lounge or wherever. Whatever! But Amazing! The structure is missing. But the same game is still on. Someone is hauling himself on the other, someone’s punching, someone’s playing pacifist, and others are bystanders and also huddled in the corner, intermixed, are the fence-sitters.  There are also stilt-walkers, high morals and great principals which they want YOU to follow. Some are Weepers – like hired mourners in a funeral – always crying. You take side depending on who you are.

But at the moment you are stunned. Your last location was the assembly and now you are in the middle of somewhere. Where did the assembly vanish and where did this world start. The divide was so flimsy, thin, insubstantial, and inconsequential.

Anyway, wherever you are you get hit by something. You jolt up and open your eyes. Someone’s knocking on your door. Your look into the Judas Hole! You may decide not to open but one day you have too. There are few only who are un-invited. Many you yourself invite. What’s on the other side has its origin on your side, isn’t it? You populate with what you have. If you have hooligans this side you can’t expect any better that side. Or do you think our assemblies are hermaphrodite, producing on their own. Are those legislatures from outer space? The way we react, we may be thinking so. OK, but to know about Hermaphrodite,  call Begum.

Monkey!

Hindus has been worshipping monkeys since Ram Days. Actually, Ram was the only person who made good use of Monkey power. After him, these primates could never maintain their prime position. Hanuman did make his appearance in Mahabharta but that too in a cameo role. He was made to sit atop Arjun’s Chariot, because someone else needed the limelight. The monkeys, surely, had their days.

Now it’s our turn, to be and act like one. We have shown the monkeys their rightful places. They are relegated to the background. The limelight is finally ours. It’s time we behave like Monkeys, and do what monkeys do best – create nuisance. If we export our nuisance-index of last few decades to an excel sheet and graph it, you will be dumbfounded. No visible line. How can there be any, when the nuisance-line is equal to the Y-Axis.

After Ram, the man who made use of Monkeys as mascot was “Hey Ram”- Mahatma Gandhi. Remember his three monkeys and their meaning- Don’t Hear, Don’t See, Don’t Speak – Evil. But we do just the opposite. Monkey makes a poor Model. The utility of Monkeys expired after Ramayan. Gandhi should have chosen better- probably Veena Malik.

But, these days, we are on the up-trend and upsurge. We have arrived. The Alpha-male is finally us. Look at our Cricketers. They show their teeth just as the lead-gorilla. Look at Sreesanth. Sometimes he beats his chest and growls like a primate. We are all so happy. We all hail it as the “coming of age of Indian Cricket”. Our arrogance is the qualities which make us number one. Bullshit should be our logo.

Look at other Indian sports. We are still backwards. Take wrestling. Anil Kumar is so humble that it is embarrassing. It’s a waste to give him a medal. Look at that Aussie. That brute force, that killing instinct, Monkey like. He deserved the Medal. Or he should stay on and coach the Indians to raise the middle figure. The middle is better than a medal. After all, we all want other sports to develop like cricket.

We Indian’s take umbrage when someone calls us Monkeys. But who started it first. Surprise! Surprise! Sunil Gavaskar. This gentleman is not Little Master for nothing. He wrote a book-Sunny Day in 1976. In this book, he lambasted the West Indian Crowd. His classic words for West Indian Crowd were “….hadn’t graduated from the trees where they belonged…” Those were the time of the “Windies Volcanoes”. Those pacers whose delivery whizzed past the batsman before they could blink and say-Rajvardhan Rathore!

Anyway, what Gavaskar wrote is reproduced in the following article- “Gavaskar’s double role”. Gavaskar learnt his lessons. Since then he has kept shut. The West Indian crowd did not bother at all. But the Indian crowd did. They set out to prove to Gavaskar that- Crowd is Crowd, Windies or Indies.

This is just after the World Cup of 1983. Fresh from victory the Kapil’s Devils turned Gavaskars Angels received the West Indians at home turf for a six-matcher. After being crushed in the First and draw in the second, the beleaguered Indians met the Mighty Windies at third test at Calcutta. Gavaskar presented the spectators with a golden duck and then went triumphantly to lose the match. The crowd went mad and started pelting seats and shoes into the field and then stoned the team bus.

Cut to 1984. Gavaskar returns to Eden’s with the English. Now this is just after he “sacked” Kapil Dev. The Indians batted and batted and batted. And the Crowd couldn’t take it anymore. Instead, they started pelting fruits. Gavaskar took a “Bhishma Pratigya” (Oath of Bhishma) never to set foot on Eden. Actually, he should have taken a vow never to write against any crowd. He probably got more than he gave. Or did the crowd read “Sunny Days” and got inspired!

In 1990, when the West Indians toured India again, there were loud cries from spectators calling them, “Bhoot” (Ghost). You would think that this was enough. NO. The crowd had improved. This is Eden gardens again, World Cup 1996, Semi’s against Sri Lanka. The Indians slumped, the spectators fumed and created fire and the Ceylon Lions got a Walk-Over.

Let’s make this clear. I am not biased towards Bengalis. I am a Calcuttan myself, hence I have registered what happened. In 1980, 16 people died due to rioting crowd on an East Bengal Mohan Bagan match.

Lets change the subject to our poor old Andrew Symonds. The India crowd chanted “Monkey” whenever he fielded near the boundary. When he complained, the Indian media went berserk. People wondered what could be so wrong with monkeys. We worship them, so what’s wrong calling someone by that name. Very true, keep it up. We are living up to our ancestors. We call others “Monkey” but are scared even to hear our own echoes!

I remember a Davis cup match of Vijay Amritraj in 1987 with Martin Jaite. The referee had an arduous time controlling the Hot Delhi crowd to remain silent during the game. After several sets down, Amritraj retrieved himself and scored in two consecutive serves and reached set point. So, Amritraj was bouncing the ball to serve. An ace would seal the set for him. Amritraj hoisted the ball in the air and…..JAG GAYA HAI VIJAY…echoed loudly from somewhere. That was it. Amritraj lost all momentum and tanked the set. It was his grit that saw him and India through. It was a do-or-die match and the ignoramus crowd had no idea what they had done. It almost cost us our Cup in 1987.

So now Indians, eat your words. We have enough evidence to nail your holier-than-thou lies. Our ignorance should not be bliss for long. Someday, someone somewhere will call us Monkeys. And we must learn to listen. We should not give it connotations and take out our ever-ready racist card. We ourselves have racism towards dark skin and berserk crowds. We must look into our own prejudices and attempt to correct it.

How?

Back to Little Master again. 1983, Fifth test Chennai (then Madras). After getting booted and booed in Calcutta, Gavaskar was down and out. In fact he was so down that the opener chose to bat at number 4. Malcolm Marshall digested Anshuman Gaekwad and Dilip Vengsarkar for ducks in a quickie. Gavaskar trudges into the field at 0 for 2. Viv Richards walks up to him and says in his calypso style “Man, it don’t matter where you come in to bat, the score is still zero.” Gavarkar went on to score unbeaten 236 which remained the highest individual score for a long time.

This is the way to reply back!

Poha Gone Wrong!

Poha is Marathi name for Flattened Rice. In Hindi it is also called Chura. Poha or Chura is known for its light and digestives qualities and is often eaten for breakfast. In the North of India, Chura is normally eaten mixed with curd and some jaggeree. In South, for e.g. Mumbai, Poha is cooked with chillies, chopped onions, some potato and garnished with coriander leaves and eaten with Mint or Coriander Chutney (sauce).

So, when a Play is named as “Poha Gone Wrong”, one would try relating the plot with some cooking or any dish gone haywire. Makarand Deshpande’s “Poha Gone Wrong” has no likeness to any dish or Poha or the cooking of it. Nevertheless, the poha and the play does dish out some very significant thoughts.

So, how did Poha go wrong? Or what went wrong and why blame it on the Poha? Or is Poha a gateway to our understanding of something which is complex. Or is it an anchor which we need to moor ourselves first, and then look forth to explore the unknown. Let us see.

The story is based on two girls and one boy. The two girls, Pohankar Sisters, are from one family and the boy, Sudama, who has an unprivileged background, is adopted by the family. All three of them grow up together to adulthood. But their influences have set them apart in their understanding of the world. While the two sisters have common pursuits, like study and get a job etc., Sudama took a tangential life and went into the study of mythological books and astrology. As you can see, there is a parting in life’s ways.

Before we go deeper into this plot, we first need to know about Sudama and the significance of this name.

Sudama is the childhood friend of Krishna. While Krishna is from the royalty, Sudama is a poor Brahmin kid. Both strike a friendship. Both appreciate each other on what they are. With time they move apart but never go apart. Krishna becomes the Lord with a Kingdom to rule and Sudama goes for a hermit life. When Sudama goes through some financial troubles, his wife reminds him of his friendship with Krishna. (Some more shopping is it!) So Sudama journeys to Krishna expecting financial bail-out. Significantly, as Krishna is said to love Poha, Sudama carries Poha as a gift to Krishna. Krishna is pleasantly surprised to see his long lost friend and treats him grandly. Sudama is too stunned to ask Krishna for financial aid, but Krishna, intuitive as he is, fulfils Sudama’s wishes. Thus the story goes.

In the play, Makarand Deshpande plays the character of Sudama. Through reading of various books, subdued awareness of his own poor background, he identifies himself with the mythological Sudama and casts himself in his image. He too leads a Hermit like life-style and stays away from common pursuits. This Sudama, also has spiritual friendship with Krishna. This duality, that is, his relationship with the Lord and the ladies gets him into many misunderstandings. He lives with the hope that someday the ladies would understand him and his principles. Also, unlike the mythic-Sudama, this Sudama has some incomplete issues with Krishna.

The modern Sudama thinks that, mytho-logicaly, the author of Mahabharat did a great disservice to Sudama. The author of Mahabharat, Ved Vyas, exploited Sudama to project Krishna’s Godliness and Greatness. Sudama was Krishna’s childhood friend but the author of Mahabharat only dedicated just one episode in the entire epic and reduced Sudama to a non-entity. Though Sudama was very learned and had a class of his own, Krishna never gave due respect to this fact. Sudama feels discriminated that instead of him, Krishna chose Arjun to tell the Gita. Thus Sudama feels himself reduced to a foot-note and a side-show. Sudama feels that Krishna’s Sudama deserved a better deal.

Anyway, this seems heavy but the plot is transmitted to the audiences with great humour. One moment you are listening to some high philosophy and the next moment you crack up with laughter. It is a Play which has taken an elusive subject and referenced it with the present times. So a layman can understand it without much mental effort. The ever-presence of underlying comedy makes the heavy philosophical subject very palatable. On the whole it is a light and easy play-just like a Poha!

Pohankar sisters are played by Neha Saraf and Ahlam Khan (Amjad Khan’s glamorous daughter). Ahlam is the most vociferous of the two and disbelieves almost all of Sudama’s talks. For them, the world of Sudama is a make-belief filled with mumbo-jumbo. The characters are shown to have only vested interest in Sudama. For example, Neha wants Sudama to predict her future boyfriend. The maid wants Sudama to predict her husband’s death. Also significant is Ahlam’s boyfriend Raj Arjun, a TV actor, who gets impressed with Sudama’s character and wants to adopt that into his play. These all lead to some more consequences and comedy.

The play opens with Makarand Deshpande who makes his entry as Sudama and brings with him some Poha as a gift to the family. But he does not receive a welcome as was given to Sudama by his friend Krishna. The Poha had gone wrong as it does not fit into the changing times and relations. Krishna return-gifted Sudama with a grand house, but in this play, Sudama is asked to leave the place as his life and living were in sharp contrast with the other co-dwellers. But there are twists and turns leading to reconciliations and finally a happy ending and some more humour.

I saw this play after I wrote the article “Gita-As I Understand”. My article is a humble attempt to focus on the forsaken side of the Gita-Arjun’s Doubts. When the play, “Poha Gone Wrong” unravelled in front of me, I was pleasantly surprised. This Poha was mixed with love and garnished with philosophy and served with loads of saucy humour. It is a delight to watch a play and a different take on the subject of faith. It is very refreshing.

I love differing views as this enriches the subject. Further, it makes the subject relevant to the times. This is how, I believe, most of our mythologies has sustained through ages and tumultuous times. “Poha Gone Wrong” is a different take on an episode which, many may feel, as insignificant. We are led to focus on the grandiose. But there are many who pick up footnotes and make it notable. This was my first Makarand Deshpande play, and I already love him and his style. I highly recommend this play.

Much Trouble about Nothing!

Two things in this world we can certainly do without. Believe me, you will never miss it. Actually, most of us are already living without it with no wrongful effect seen as yet. I have come to the conclusion that mankind can safely omit Plants and Animals. Nothing adverse will happen. Let me explain.

Come to think of it, there is too much monitoring cost to sustain Plants and Animals. Millions are spent on this futile misadventure. Money and Resources can be allocated and utilized profitably elsewhere. For years endlessly, we have been diverting funds for this defeatist cause, a cause which in any case getting weaker by the decade. It’s like mankind has fallen in love with a gone-case. It’s about time we do a re-think and learn from our past triumphs. Or else, we will be condemned to share their fate – with those Plants and Animals.

I could never ever get this! Why are we so attached with Plants and Animals? What benefits do they provide us? What is the purpose of their existence? What would happen if they become extinct? What is it that they do, that we cannot do it ourselves or device it ourselves? I mean, aren’t we just fooling ourselves by giving them importance. Our concerns for Plants and Animals show our misplaced priorities and emotions.

If you are so much in love with animals, get stuffed toys. Have you not seen children playing with Dinosaurs. Toys are best to inform, educate and entertain. And if you get injured, by chance, the manufacturer will recall the entire stuff and get you compensation. Have you experienced the same with live animals? For centuries we are all been bitten, gored, eaten alive but our dear God is just easy. At least, He should recall mosquitoes! Anyway, we have to do it ourselves. So get stuffed toys and some come with inbuilt robot and will bark or growl as you desire. Artificial animals are controllable, safe and hygienic. And it comes with a guarantee and can be repaired. It won’t fall sick or die and then you don’t have to waste cash on a vet.

A vet is an idiot who wanted to be a gynaecologist but got less marks. This vet profession should go extinct and meet the same fate like shit-pickers and Flight Dispatchers. Vet exists not for animals but for our foolishness. Change to humane stuffed indulgence. Use your brains, get high-tech. And stop wasting money on live animals and dead Vets.

Now, let’s observe Plant life. What purpose does it serve except create obstacles? A tree is a futile, immobile, vertical growth of wood intended for no rhyme or reason. It stays put at one place occupying space and providing shelter to nincompoops like Birds. I will come to birds later.

A forest is a group of trees put together to make complete non-sense. It’s like political parties who plant flags everywhere and then sit down to play carom-board. A Forest is a problem for mankind. They give refuge to dangerous animals. For example, snakes. Why do we need snakes? To kill rats. Amazing logic. To control one innocuous being, does it need such a dangerous counterpart? It’s like killing a rat by an armoured tank! The applied force should be equivalent to the required objective. The Maker was either mis-informed or under-qualified!

What is the purpose of Lion or Tiger? Actually, mankind got them a purpose to live on this earth. We used the big cats to make beautiful jacket, shoes, and gowns etc. This gave the animals lots of glamour and importance. The Chinese are the best. They made better use of the big cats-by turning them into medicinal products. Then comes these dolts called conservationists and forced upon us a banning legislation and played spoil-sports. Since then Big Cats are Big waste and Big problems!

A conservationist is an attention seeker who failed to make his place in the human world. He knows he cannot win in this playing field so he chose another – Plants and Animals. Away from our gaze, over the years, those losers have gathered into majority and have become powerful. Our own fears and concerns have given them added and undeserving importance. Pachauri-ously, they proclaim doom on earth and mankind and mug the government for money.

OK, let’s turn our attention to birds. Had the birds been of any utility, the Wright brother would have been spared of all the trouble. We would not have depended on oil and Air Traffic Control. Birds co-existed with mankind for centuries but not one of them had a curtsey to give man a ride. They are worse than donkeys. Men had dreams of flying solved rightly by the brothers. Many say, birds gave us the concept of flying. Wrong. Our Aeroplanes do not flap their wings like birds and have you heard of plane-droppings. Planes drop but they don’t drop what we drop in the loo. In reality, these feathered creatures are most selfish of all animals. No wonder, we love hogging on chickens. Does it ever strike you how cute they are? Never.

Now aquatic life! Recount the usefulness of Whale, Shark etc. Had the sea-dwellers been productive, the sea would be fresh drinking water by now. Some fish we eat and it’s those we love. At least, they were able to contribute a part of their existence to the service of mankind. Others like whale and sharks are saved for futility. Well developed and advanced countries like Japan and China believe in no such crap. They eat all. And that’s the way to go.

Do we really need Plant and Animal Life? Take for example- Dubai- A desert or rather an oasis in midst of No Plants and No animals. All Middle-East are well developed metropolises. No one misses the Trees and the Birds. Well, if you want trees- get an artificial and that will serve the purpose. Why waste useful resources in growing greenery. Do something which will get you the Green-Backs.

There are countries in Africa which has nothing else but trees, forests, animals and poverty everywhere. We feel great about them. We ourselves live in concrete jungle but we force them not to cut trees or kill animals. Hello! Excuse me! It’s their country. Aren’t they rightful owners of their property and use it as they like. They are condemned to be poorest in the world. Those countries have nothing to eat. And we raise a ruckus when they feed on gorillas. In Africa, we have a mindset to eliminate Mankind for the sake of Plants and Animals. Very dangerous thoughts!

There are countries, all desert and stones and it’s rich, full of Amirs. Burj, Hyatt, Khalifa, everything. Nobody inquires or worries about Plants and Animals their. Who speaks when money talks. Show money, and we humans would turn into plants and animals. We can surely act like animals. Hence, our logic that we need Plants and Animals for balance of life, fails to stand the test of ecology. So, we need only Human Life. All other life forms needs to be eliminated. It’s time to replace old ecology with a new developing Idiotology!

Idiotology-a new science developed by Ignoble Laureate Neeraj Shrivastav, to provide a fresh look on Human Kind. Tell me, since the beginning of this world how much of forest and animals have we displaced and how many have gone extinct. Did anything happen. So if we completely finish off animals and forests, would anything happen. Nothing will happen. All these jingoism for oxygen, nitrogen and dioxides are big talks to scare you. Mankind has enough brains to survive and improvise. It has done these through centuries.

Also, we have to populate Mars and Jupiter. We have to create an environment for ourselves to test our potential to survive on land mass beyond earth. Animals and Plants are not going to help you. They are a lost cause. We have to begin right now. Or else we will have un-finished business just before launch. Then we have to blame Kalmadi. Worse, Sheila Dixit will take the credit.

Environmentalists, as the name suggests, are mental beings whose rightful place is the lunatic asylum. Unfortunately, the law thinks otherwise. As they are not the part of the food chain, their numbers have started to threaten mankind. Australians shoot kangaroos to check their population. We should start the same. We should begin by releasing Sansar Chand and assigning him a 007. And of course, he can keep their skins.