Friday, December 30, 2005

Wish you all on the very happy occasion of a new (Gregorian) calendar year. Changing calendars, new calendars have always been a good excuse to celebrate and hang loose and go bankrupt. New year? Oh I get it. But no thanks, I’d rather keep to the new year as we poor “Indians” define it. At least it’s not as arbit as the ‘new year’ you celebrate.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

loco about lomo

Him and his lomo cam. And this is a sneak peek:
Recognise some familiar faces? Familiar places? Go ahead and check out possiblymaybeprobablynot's lomo adventures here. And here to know more about Lomography. So who is possiblymaybeprobablynot is? That's for me to know and you to find out. I could tell you, but should i? Possiblymaybeprobablynot. Come over to coffee house.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was a strange boy

scary isn't it?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Three prashanths, a karthik and a shenoy

Yup that was how it was. Old friends catching up. Three Prashanths – Eyyala, TKV and Soans – in pecos and a poor ol’ shenoy stuck in between. He was later tickled into changing his name to (yup! you guessed it) Prashanth. And by the way, shenoy is married now. He married an ex-colleague of his called Smita last year, and also has a cute 3 month old daughter called Anu.

The Karthik landed up later while Soans was doing Rob Roy at Tavern. Guruji was there too. So too was a certain Rajan. And it goes without saying that the furniture was all there. In its place. Blame it on the nostalgia, but even No Excuses was ignored, and sing-a-long happened only to James Blunt’s Beautiful. Legendary stories of legendary classmates were told and retold. Jokes were shared and people said they cared. And amidst all this, a lot of dirt was dug up on yours truly by his friends(?), and an old friendship renewed and reaffirmed.

Soon the gang split. Karthik went home. A raan, a full grilled chicken, chicken kabab and a curd rice later (all parcel), the two left-over prashanths (TKV having split earlier) and the shenoy headed off to my place. Old cupboards were broken open, secrets shared, old photos which had not seen the light for ages were gazed upon. Soon, it was almost dawn. And the Gadda-man split, not before we found a friend of his on the road when we were looking for an auto and also bumped into my first. Anyway. Dawn broke…and sleep came..and here I am typing it all out in the office. Bah!

Great evening. The only pissing off incident was when a certain somebody let some things slip. So to those out there, please start thinking for yourself. Or else keep that vohpinyon of yours with you, in a place where the sun don’t shine. Sieg heil!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Season’s greetings

Wishing all you followers of Mithraism out there, if there are any of you still left unconverted or not killed, a very happy Birthday of the Invincible Sun. I wish you all the happiness on the birthday of Mithra. Do celebrate on 25 December. You were there first in more ways than one, and you had a sound reason. And try not to let that irritating, and fat coca cola advertisement disturb you too much.

comics all

One fine evening, many moons ago, 3 comic buffs bumped into each other at the comics section of Blossom. One was an artist and worked at Gotham comics. One was a techie with an insatiable hunger for all things comics. Introduction were done with, ids exchanged. The script for Batman Begins was circulated amongst them. And then came the lull.

Mostly in touch was the one known as the Beatzophrenic, (looks a bit like gollum from the LOTR movies, doesn't he?) who while not bussssy sssseducing women and buying books/CDs DVDs, went to become one of Bangalore’s resident comics freak/experts. The precioussss Beatzo was also spotted going on a Graphic Rampage at KQA’s first comics quiz, and giving away CDs and DVDs full of scanned comics. Last seen complaining to mommy about how the angst in his pangst hurts and explaining to the world what ret-con (in comics) is in excruciating detail, accompanied by interesting details, interspersed by a war dance, a war whoop, a yodel, a yabadabadoo and a tippity tappity tap, in that order.

Not so much in touch was Avik, the artist (who still looks like himself). Having quit Bangalore, he returned to Kolkata. After pencilling in some amazing stuff for a Phantom comic, among other things, he recently bumped into Enki Bilal (yup, you read right, Enki Bilal). And if all goes well, you can soon expect to see Dracula’s Bride staring down at you from a comic book rack near you. Go take a look at Avik’s Deviant Art Gallery. It’s got some great stuff. And Phantom looks the way he should. And do make it a point to tell him how great it is. And now i leave you with a couple or three of cool pages chosen randomly from Avik's Phantom sketches (to catch the complete set, click on link above.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Indian influences, western influences, whatever…

Everybody (well, almost everybody) is talking of making rock music or metal songs with Indian influences. Because they love Indian music? No way. Because it's cool, the in-thing, flavour of the month and everybody is looking to subtly pigeonhole himself into some convenient niche. And most of these guys are from India! Songs with Indian influences….heck, that’s what the firangs are doing, and they’re doing a much better job, thank you. Songs with Indian influences…bah! The way it’s done here? It usually starts at adding a Sanskrit verse or shloka, carries through (if at all) with a nominal part played by an “Indian” instrument and stops at making obscure references to somebody or the other from our vast bank of mythological characters. And that’s the Indian influence. Full stop. Context be damned. Ok fine, so they don’t want to go beyond hard rock or metal. Fair enough. So then, considering we’re all Indians here, shouldn’t the attempt be to make Indian songs with western influences, if you so badly want to pound that bass guitar and crank out a mean riff?
Or junk all the crap, and just go, make a great song mate! Influences be damned…

Take these guys. Mallus from Cochin. Phugg, they’re good. They’re called Avial and the song is called Nada Nada. It’s an out and out rock number. And it’s in Malayalam! It matters not whether their other stuff is in English and if it is good or not, this song kicks some serious ass, and this is what all the phuggers out there who want Indian influences or western sounds (or whatever combination) should be aiming for and trying to go one better. Avial’s Nada Nada – great song, and a good video to boot. Go ahead, take a look and have a listen. The video is by Poor Man Productions, Chennai and it’s available fo download from their site. Click and choose from hi-quality (512 kbps/19 Mb), med-quality (350 kbps/12.9 Mb) or lo-quality (150 kbps/5.7 Mb). Of course, there are other great musicians and good bands who've done this (and for the most part ignored by the english-o-phile elitists amongst us). But for now, and since this is so damned convenient, Nada Nada by Avial will do.

And here to give his opinion(s) on Avial’s Nada Nada, please welcome Ajay Menon, hard-boiled mallu, music lover, great copy writer, old monker and general leprechaun-hunter-at-large.
Ajay Menon: “Indian rock. There’s always a little negativity in the air when listening to one of them. Because it’s detached, metropolitan music experienced by the few brown Indians trying to sing the white man’s music. This white noise runs through all… but a few select bands in India.
The other extreme… when guys do everything Peter Gabriel in one track. Everything. It’s for the guys within the band and not for the song. It’s overdone and done with.
But somehow Avial manages to evade this by playing to the song with Nada Nada. A steady act with some eager rock. And the mallu vocals just add to this. The song simply stands out as an Indian act without going overboard in any department. A balance difficult to replicate but a gem of a rock song.

The same goes to the video which is brilliantly produced. The only complaint: could have done without the mallu-boy-beaten-exercising-and-getting-back. But then as the song says, “walk on” … it will play in your head.

Gratitude to Hamish, Rahul and Robbie for introducing the band to us."
And the shenoy agrees. Dhanyavaad.

all you readers. all you writers. go read.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

he shot it off

Yadda yadda yadda. Blah blah blah. Blather. Blather. Blather. Faff. Faff. Faff. Grandiloquent clap trap.

“Thanks mate, that was a good, meaningful conversation.”

Monday, December 19, 2005

Laal Khopdi – a preview

Laal Khopdi is an all-powerful super hero who fights for all things he thinks are worth defending, and fights everything and anyone he feels must be defeated. Having attained perfect control over his mind through intense penance, he later became an Aghori, and after many years (more details on this period of his life in a later ret-con story arc) he was able to get the awesome powers he now holds within his body and his mind. His name is a nod to his life as an Aghori, and has its origins in the fact that all Aghoris must have a begging bowl which has to be a human skull, most specifically a male human skull. The ‘Laal’ part is a tribute to one of his favourite songs, the Kishore Kumar number, ‘yeh laal rang, kab mujhe chodega…’.

Chief among his foes is the super villain (or Maha Paapi) Kaptaan Amreeka. How this came about is an interesting story. Laal Khopdi, being the master of time and space, once transported himself back in time to fight a menace plaguing his country. A villainous traitor called MahatMan G, who had hatched a nefarious plot to mass hypnotise the masses to do his bidding. MahatMan, a maha paapi, had used his powers of starvation to great effect, in tandem with his sidekick Child Lover Man. To combat him, and to be of assistance to the super group known as The Freedom Fighters, prominent among whom was Bose Man, Laal Khopdi landed up in the 30s. However, in the intermediate state that separates eras and eons – known as the Lekin – Laal Khopdi was overtaken by a sub-human intelligence, a creature of the sea of nothingness known only as Mussel Man, who with his Army of His God, managed to overpower Laal Khopdi. Mortally wounded, Laal Khopdi managed to find his way out of the Lekin, but the pathways in the Lekin were too much for even our hero. So although he landed up in the 30s, he landed up in another country (which explains why MahatMan G got away with what he did) with a severe loss of memory. Were it not for the genius of The Leader, Laal Khopdi would have surely perished. The Leader took Laal Khopdi under his wing and saw to it that he was brought back to full health. His memory not fully recovered yet, Laal Khopdi nevertheless undertook to help The Leader and this is what brought him in direct confrontation with Kaptaan Amreeka. Many battles later (details soon), Laal Khopdi soon found himself in the Lekin again, and finally found his way back to his time with both his missions left unfulfilled. Laal Khopdi, any decade now, is all set to set his failures right. But for now let’s get back to a few other details about Laal Khopdi.

Some other enemies of Laal Khopdi include Da Wooden Man, Congress Man, and all Jeevan J Kang creations. He currently lives in Sillycon City.

So that’s that for now. Further details on Laal Khopdi and more stories soon. Look out especially for the story of Laal Khopdi and the Second Hand Man.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Art, truth and politics

Although aware of his existence, never knew much about him. But it's never too late to start. And this most definitely puts "know more about Pinter" on the high priority list.

ecce homo

This my friends and foes, is a guy called Alan Moore. Now, he knows a thing or two or three about comics.
And this is his bio as written by him: Mr. Alan Moore, author and former circus exhibit (as "The What-Is-It from Borneo"), is chiefly famed for his chapbooks produced with the younger reader in mind. He astounded the Penny Dreadful world with such noted pamphlets as A Child's Garden of Venereal Horrors (1864) and Cocaine and Rowing: The Sure Way to Health (1872) before inheriting a Cumbrian jute mill and, in 1904, expiring of Scorn.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mistakes of the past…mistakes that passed

Chance encounters turn your mind back to the time that was. To an age that’s gone. The past is not a great place to live in, but worth a visit and a stay every now and then. And talking about mistakes of the past, here’s one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all
And hides the green hill in an April shroud
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave
Or on the wealth of globèd peonies
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

to see: de Chirico. to read: Keats.
Thank you for the illuminated darkness.

memento mori

A new dawn fades. Rotting carcasses spread out on the battlefield. Some vultures wait. Flying high. Most are picking on the dead and some on the dying. The acrid smoke of burnt flesh mixes with the smoking ruins of chariots. Screams fill the fetid air. People with no legs left to walk on. People with arrows that have pierced their eyes, with swords that have gone right through their throat and stayed there. Some shriek as the laughing hyenas tear off their flesh. There is no escape. The dead are better off. For the rest, Death will come. In the form of a vulture, a hyena or maybe even an injured elephant that’s gone berserk. Hopefully, it will come before the Maggots appear. And then comes the dawn …

Monday, December 12, 2005

You, sir, are not proud of your motherland

An ad appeared in leading newspapers the other day. It exhorted the reader to prove his (or her) patriotism and love for the country. Mera Bharat Mahan! And how was the reader to prove he loves his country? By voting for Miss India-World 2005. That too via sms : message MW whatever to whichever number. And that’s the point, first they did not give the poor blokes without cell phones to prove their love for India. Secondly, if all the millions of Indians with cell phones had sent the message, many times over (given our population) Miss India would surely have won. Giving us poor third-world Indians a genuine feeling of national pride.
Hopefully by next year, more people would’ve procured cell phones and more number of people will send SMSs. Miss India will be Miss World (of course, she also has to say that she admires Mother Theresa and Princess Diana, that she would like to help the underprivileged. Plus, having a great ass would help) And India shall again take its rightful place in the world. Till then, Miss Iceland shall reign as Miss World. Silicone for world peace!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Burnt offerings

Don’t be misled. It’s a story masquerading as a work of art. A comic book at heart, and a damn good read throughout. Charles Burns’ Black Hole. Set in suburban Seattle in the 70s, it’s about a bunch of teenagers. It’s about Chris Rhodes, the girl that everyone likes and who sheds her skin periodically, like a snake. It’s about Keith Pearson who loves her, but ends up instead with Eliza, the artist with a tail at the base of her spine. It’s about Rob, who has a mouth on his chest. Then there are all their friends, the normal ones and the not-so-normal ones. But the biggest character of them all in this book, the one under whose shadow we see these teenagers tell us their story is ‘the Bug’ – a disease that spreads through sexual contact and manifests itself in mutations like the ones mentioned above. Mutations and deformities, some subtle and hideable, but sometimes obvious, grotesque and downright repulsive. This story is about the people who have the Bug or are about to and how their lives change. About the ones who lead a squalid existence shunned by normal society because they have the Bug. But read the book, and you realise this story is more than just a parade of sexually transmitted mutations, in a smog of weed smoke.

The art is hypnotic, surreal, creepy, sensual, psychedelic and hallucinatory – sometimes all at the same time. It’s in black and white, but that only serves to add so much more colour to the narrative. The emotions, the reactions, the dreams and the nightmares, deformities, the fear and the loathing. This book captures it all, and throws at you so many questions, most of which the book does not even try to answer. And the ending just heightens this feeling. There may or may not be a moral and a message to this story. The Bug may be a metonym for AIDS or it may be not. It just might be a coming-of-age-story, or the usual teenager’s story about wanting to be yourself and to be popular and to fit in, but then it could be neither. It’s for you to decide if you want to give it an ulterior motive or look at it as just a damn good story. I would suggest, sit back and just enjoy the experience. Get ready to be sucked into the Black Hole.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pluck Yew!

It is unfortunate that my first post about quizzing has to be this. Making a mountain out of a molehill. Small thing, big noise. The first post about quizzing was supposed to be about a question at one of Arul Mani’s as-usual-good quizzes regarding Ganymede and all the highly imaginative and brilliantly funny guesses it led to. The question was “Identify the guy in the picture and what word, meaning homosexual, is derived from his name?” Guesses included Ganymede/ Gandu. I forget the rest, but the best one was Homer/ Homo. It was also supposed to include another question at the same quiz about hints of lesbianism in ancient India, and the equally hilarious guesses. I had it all figured out, but it never came about as the JPG of the visual in question wasn’t sent across by the abovementioned quizmaster, who was, no doubt, too busy. Speaking of quizmasters brings me to this…

One of the unwritten rules to quizzing is that the quizmaster is always right. But this could mean two things (1) It means that participants have to agree to whatever the quizmaster says. You cannot challenge the answers. Shut the fuck up, don’t crib. (2) It puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the quizmaster to get his questions and their respective answers right. It should not be challengeable by the participants and the audience, and if challenged the quizmaster should have his facts straight and provide valid, relevant substantiation. Some of the best quizmasters around choose to go with (2). But unfortunately not every quizmaster thinks so. While I do not approve of raising doubts about the quizmaster’s choice of questions, or their content and relative ease (or otherwise) – it’s the quizmaster’s prerogative – I do think I have a valid point to make when the quizmaster awards points to the wrong answer. You don’t want to give the right answer the points, at least don’t give it to the wrong answer. If the “wrong answer” was to have been awarded the points, change the bloody question; structure it around the answer you want. Change the words. Go back and look at the facts. Or just scrap the question. That’s what a good quizmaster does.

Why the vitriolic outburst you ask? This was sparked off by an incident at the quiz I was yesterday, or specifically one of the more contentious questions. Or is it, contentious answer? Whatever. What follows should not be construed as casting aspersions about the quality of the quiz – which was quite decent actually, I quite learnt a lot – this one question in question stuck in my throat. And since the quizmasters kept saying put fundaes, I guess I will.

While I forget the exact phrasing of the question, here are the basic words that made it up “English archers. Longbow. Battle of Agincourt. Loss of index and middle fingers.” So what present-day practice comes from this? I did this to the quizmaster.

Now, I did not meant to say ‘up yours’ to the quizmasters. That was the answer. It’s an offensive gesture, analogous to giving someone the middle finger if you were in England. How you ask? This is the answer I gave – This is a british sign ‘pluck yew’ which has its origins in the fact that up to the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, captured English archers, who were otherwise quite lethal with their longbows, had their index and middle fingers cut off by the French so that they could never ever draw their bows again. But once the English started winning, they gave them the ‘Pluck Yew’. Urban legend maybe, but it is so much part of the folklore that I thought this was the right answer. No matter the nonsensical pseudo-academic tripe that Scopes (the site) came up with. Our answer had all the right words – Agincourt, the exact fingers – but sorry wrong answer!!

What! No amount of protests could get us the points. Fine ok. Maybe I did give the wrong answer, I thought, and let it go. The whole team did. But then came the best part. After passing for a while, during which many gestures (read answers) were made at the quizmasters, we finally arrived at the right answer, which was this:

What?!! Ok so my answer may be wrong, but this, sir, is definitely not the right answer. I know this because the “Horned Hand” gesture familiar to millions of rock fans. It has nothing whatsoever to do with only the middle and index fingers, and definitely not with English archers or Agincourt. So what are its origins? Although most rock fans use this symbol, I knew it was satanic, so to speak, as someone had told me that if you look carefully, this gesture makes three 6s. That’s 666. Ergo, it’s satanic. Most likely concocted. But having recently read the Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, leader and founder of the Church of Satan, I have at least a basic idea of what the gesture is all about. Having followed general trails, I came upon this. Over to the Satanic Bible.

Horned Hand or The Mano Cornuto:

This gesture is the satanic salute, a sign of recognition between and allegiance of members of Satanism or other unholy groups. The first image represents the horned god of witchcraft, Pan or Cernunnos. Note the thumb under the fingers and given by the right hand. The next image is a sign of recognition between those in the Occult. When pointed at someone it is meant to place a curse. Note the thumb over the fingers and given by the left hand.

This gesture was also used to ward off the evil eye. There’s also a cuckold connection. For more interesting things, including the Dio connection, please go here.

And here's our very own Rjanikanth doing this:

Very similar to the Horned Hand, but here the thumb supports the middle and ring fingers and is actually the Mriga (Or Mrigi) Mudra which is symbolic of deer.

So there goes. Total fundaes. Interesting fundaes. Funda-full fundaes. From almost all angles. But unfortunately nothing to do with the key words in the question for which this gesture was the answer. No archers. No Agincourt.

What this proves, at least to me, is that the Horned Hand gesture was the wrong answer. I’m not saying my answer was right, even though it covered everything and was the most satisfactory. Maybe the quizmaster was right. I am also willing (given enough valid reasons) to say I gave the wrong answer. Till then, Pluck Yew stands. That's my gesture.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

running out of ammo

Some people run out of luck, some out of money. Supplies run out. Inzamam run out. Some people run out of burning buildings to save themselves. The same goes for people who run out of Alanis Morrisette concerts. Ah! But the people who run out of adjectives......pity them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

a small road in the pothole

We inherited the road rules of the brits. What that means is that in India, we drive on the left of the road. But in Bangalore, we drive on what’s left of the road.
Go here,
know more about Bangalore potholes. Adopt one if you will. Many thanks to Pun-dit Steelefoot for bringing this to my notice.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Requiem for a dream

This is one dream that will never be fulfilled. The dream of meeting Gopal Vinayak Godse, the only one among the people involved in hastening Gandhi’s end, who made it into the times I was brought up in. Now here’s gone – the last eyewitness to the bullet shots that reverberated across a partitioned India. Gopal Godse. He passed away yesterday. A hero to some, a villain to many. He is survived by his scores of admirers, and an equal number of people who loathed him. After a brief illness, he left. Leaving within me a hole filled with infinite regret for not having gone and met him. I wanted to. I should have. Now I never can.

Gopal Godseji, finally you get meet your brother. Maybe someday his last wish will be fulfilled. Maybe your dreams will come true. You did your best. If nothing, you told us your reasons – for which you and your brother will stay in our hearts forever. As an object of hate and contempt to some, as an epitome of ideology-inspired action to many. You were more than just Nathuram’s brother, no matter what some people might say. You did your bit. You tried. For that, I thank you. If there is a heaven, there is a place for you in it. All the other heroes await. Go and take your rightful place. Dream on, we shall.

PS: It was Ben Kingsley, not Gandhi who said “Hey Ram”. Read about it, and other things, from the Man himself.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

One man's dhaaba is another man's adventure

There’s a quaint little dhaaba on the Bangalore-Hosur highway. Closer to Hosur than Bangalore. Very close. So very close to Hosur that if you tie a 100-wala cracker to a dog’s tail and light the pataki, the dog will reach Hosur much before next Diwali. It’s a trucker joint-turned-open house. It’s where we go to celebrate the sobriety of a weekend. It’s more than a dhaaba. It’s a culinary adventure. Egg chilly? You got it! Ever heard of egg kheema? Well, now you have, and it’s available here. If we’re lucky, we might get bitter gourd manchuri next time. This dhaaba. Where the waiters don’t like it when you ask for egg burji, because they have to cut the onions themselves. But the, they’ll still take the repeat order, stoic patience maybe. The only tears they shed are over the onion-requiring dishes. This is where patrons order beer in 300ml cans, and then drink it from a glass. Where people go to forget the drudgery of life and wife. Over a slice of seer fish. This is a melting pot. From silver cup and super jack to white mischief and vat69, it has them all. Step right up. Credit cards not accepted. Here is where the roof garden has been tiled over, and you’re not allowed inside. Here real charpoys mingle with plastic tables and broken glasses to the beat of multi-lingual curses, drunken revelry and malayali/ kannada/ telugu/ tamil/ hindi drinking songs. With the occasional music blaring from whichever guest has a car stereo. Ah! This quaint dhaaba. Where the old and wise Nepali gurkha guides trucks, cars and tempos in and out 364 days a year. The one day he takes leave is during Diwali. And he always recognises you, and always asks where your other friends are, whether you have them or not is not his concern. Safely hidden behind a tree, this dhaaba goes about its business. Come hell, high water or excise officials. Whenever you are ready, it is there, ready for you. To embrace you with its ambience. It has everything you need, including its own open air urination area and a paan ki dukaan. And, a dog that’s waiting for crackers to be tied to its tail. A little speck on the Bangalore-Hosur highway. But a big landmark on my memory lane.

the cow has mooved

the new grazing ground of the communal cow is this

Friday, November 18, 2005

F1 Speaks on The Bekku

Everybody, please welcome Dinesh, ad man extraordinaire. He’s the person who got me into advertising. Despite that, he’s still a very good friend of mine. The Man, under his chosen nom de plume F1 Speak is the first guest writer on the Bekku. Keep checking back for revelations, ramblings, and thoughts on life, the universe and whatever else he wants us to know. And knowing him, it’ll be worth every comma. And do check out Dinesh’s F1 Advertising. So you'll at least have a nebulous idea of things to come.

Khooni Dracula - a review or Ol' rubber face strikes again!

This movie is strictly for connoisseurs of Bollywood horror of the d-grade variety. Aficionados of the kabrastan-ka-chowkidar type movie rejoice! While this movie is not as good as Gumnam Qatil or Purani Haveli, it stands its own ground, and manages hard not to get it right. Not with the highly talented Harinam Singh at the helm. Sceen play by Harinam Singh. Story by Harinam Singh. Direction by Harinam Singh. AND starring Harinam Singh ‘in and as a’ Khooni Dracula!! Perfect. Right from the intro credits you know this movie is going to be worth it.

You know they can’t act. They know they can’t act. So that settled, it’s on with the fun. Plot?? What’s that? If you go to watch these kinds of movies with arty-farty concepts like plot, production values, method acting and real make-up, you are not worthy of this movie. Ok fine. Here’s the basic story: Evil uncle rapes and murders his maid one dark night. Blood from maid’s wound flows into the Dracula buried beneath, waking up Khooni Dracula. Khooni Dracula in his majestic Rubber Mask is then sent by evil uncle to do odd-jobs. After that, it’s basically a potpourri of set pieces that are the staple diet of this genre of movies – ugly fat women bathing with their clothes on, Khooni Dracula plunging his rubber teeth into their leathery skin, cellulite-ridden skin with stretch marks, the to-be-expected police officer who’s usually the one who actually tries to act and fails miserably, and such like. And do not miss the regulation quick cuts (smacks of actual editing) of palm trees during a storm, lightning during a dark & stormy night, etc. etc. And as usual, a deus ex machina ensures things end happily, and before the budget runs out.

Ah! But the best part is Khooni Dracula himself. How he carries the film along – prowling and growling around, trying to frighten people (who do get frightened, mind you) in his rubber mask and the long black robe that emanates from his person and a rather distinguished and propah black top hat. See! Bela Lugosi did not get it right. So all said and done, the sheer stupidity of this movie. Ah! To what depths Bollywood horror has fallen. It’s bad, to be eminently avoided and highly recommended. I enjoyed it! Try Shaitan Tantrik next time.
Before i forget, the title track is half-decent. Thoughtful lyrics and lilting music. Check out the clip here(you can also see the Dracula himself; don't miss the majestic top hat)

Save rainwater, avoid AIDS.

Me thinks this is one of the best pics of me. Courtesy my friend Prashanth. Location: Munzarabad Fort, Sakleshpur. And this is Prashanth up to some monkey tricks. Location: Somewhere near Shimoga.

Nice trip that was. Left at the drop of a hat…through the western ghats, a quick dip in the river, through to Maravanthe, stay at Turtle Bay..onwards to Kollur, and back again through Shimoga. Yes, two good days spent on the road. And yes, one of the trucks we passed had the ‘Save rainwater, avoid AIDS’ message painted on it, punctuation and all. If you figure it out, do share the revelation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

An ignoramus’ lament

There’s nothing wrong with the world. Maybe it’s just me who cannot come to grasp some of the more advanced machinations at work in the world today. Some concepts are beyond me. Here are some of the things that have left me saddened as I have not been able to understand them. If you can, then you are obviously a lot more intelligent than I am. So could you please take some time out and give me some answers regarding the following:
  • How a bunch of (I’m assuming, beautiful) women, wearing traditional Indian attire tastefully fused with contemporary western outfits, walking down the ramp led by the current Miss Universe, in front of a couple of hundred high fliers and big pyjamas at a by-invitation-only soiree will help control HIV infection and fight aids?
  • What the assorted aphorisms those appear above the masthead of the Times of India everyday mean, in the context of a newspaper? For those who didn’t pay any attention, here some gems: The world thrusts responsibilities. We would like to relieve you of them. (Nov 15) Relax! Forget your duties for a while (Nov 16). Your guided tour of the cosmos (Nov 14).
  • They’re dressed up, made up and looking good (or so they say). They’re walking down the ramp, pouting their lips and sashaying with grace, oozing oomph and glamour. And the crowd is going wild. They’re also (at least some of them) wearing skimpy, skin-showing clothes. And, they’re only 10 years of age and the participants of the Miss Baby Khoobsurat 2005 beauty pageant (or competition as they say). So what now? People are tired of ogling at barely-adults and they’re looking for variety? Maybe it has something to do with world peace. Or poverty. Or aids. Maybe I’m just missing some crucial point here. Somebody explain.
  • If justice is for the oppressed and the victims of crime, then why is clemency sought for the perpetrators of the crime? And for terrorists and serial killers? Why does the Human Rights Commission not say anything when somebody (say, Veerappan) kills law enforcement officials and common people, but raises its voice when a criminal (say, Veerappan again) is killed in an encounter, saying that it was inhuman and demands justice on his behalf? Is there some definition of justice I don’t know about? Do tell.
  • Why I can’t just call up people to say hi. They always assume there’s else, some ulterior motive for the call. Why can’t I call just up somebody, a friend, an ex-colleague, whoever, only because I felt like it? Should I always have something to gossip about, some information to give, some invitation for me to call you? Is the fact that I just want to know how you’re doing and how you are, enough? Hmmm…
These are but some of the things that make me feel like I’ve lost touch with the world, and what it means nowadays. Obviously there is more of the same, but I shall reserve them for a later date. This is enough for now. Because my puny intelligence and half-baked knowledge has to help me understand all the answers that will surely be coming my way. But one request, do not use the words juxtapose, solipsism and/or the phrase ‘post-modern context’ in your answers and explanations.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

posting the unposted

Long absences and general ennui punctuated by a flurry of activity, mostly meaningless. Kind of describes my second phase of blogging. Almost everyday, I have these ideas for nice posts, but never get around to them. Most of them are still-born, some fall victim to my infinite capacity for procrastination or become just plain prey to my lazy streak.

Maybe it’s the job that I do. But when I think about a post, I usually top it up with a nice little title that will (I hope) draw the hapless reader into reading it. So having elucidated my reasons for not putting up posts, I think I will instead list out all the posts that almost made it, and someday might just. I’m just leaving the titles on here, so you’ll know what I’ve been thinking about writing and as a reminder to myself, with elaborated keys in the parenthesis.
1. The chopsuey that ate my plate
2. Sleeping Beauty wakes up (On how Deve Gowda stumbles on some truths)
3. I see dead people (every time I go to Pecos)
4. The gospel of Judas (Simon Mawer turns a short story into an overlong novel)
5. The mystery of the floating head (as evidenced by the locals of the western ghats)
6. Back to the days of cassettes and hanging out with friends (the pre-google talk era)
7. The self-professed cultural slave (An Indian guitarist speaks his mind)
8. Gratitude is a burden (ask the people who you did favours to)
9. Don’t you just hate it when something you love turns into a status symbol?
10. I’m in college again (how I spent an hour in Praphulla madam’s Sanskrit class)
11. Raymond Bernard’s “Hollow Earth” (How I dug my grave and found a world beneath)
12. I listen to music. I have the MP3s! (Stop downloading, start listening)
13. Secular = Anti-hindu (green and white and saffron and everything in between)
14. The Communal Cow goes to Rajasthan
15. The stupid, drunk ITf***er who gor f***ed at the railway station (and how us poor kannadigas got caught in between)

Hey! This is fun. I could go on. But. I. Will. Stop.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

birthday balls

That my friends is the cover of Neil Young’s Mirrorball. With some band called pearl jam or something. It's something i've been looking for for years. And it’s also by far the best birthday gift I’ve received this year. and that too today! Thanks magane. Every birthday, death comes closer by a year. This kind of stuff makes one forget it for a while.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

absurdity...thy name is life

a scene from the movie "Play It Again, Sam"
Woody Allen (looking at painting): That's quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn't it?
Girl in Museum: Yes it is.
WA: What does it say to you?
GiM: It restates the negativeness of the universe, the hideous lonely emptiness of existence, nothingness, the predicament of man forced to live in a barren, godless eternity, like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void, with nothing but waste, horror, and degradation, forming a useless bleak straightjacket in a black absurd cosmos.
WA: What are you doing Saturday night?
GiM: Committing suicide.
Woody Allen: What about Friday night?
Girl in museum: [leaves silently]

Friday, September 23, 2005

Love is a four letter word

It hurts to see the pain in a friend’s eyes. But as much as I wished it were otherwise, all love is doomed. All love always ends in one just way – pain. Be it through death, loss or unrequited-ness. As a friend once told me, love is a four letter word. Take heart, don’t pain. If there’s one thing that you can be sure of now, it is that you’ll fall in love again. And cry once more.

Plagued by rats

When there was a plague in Surat, did you catch all the rats and test them? Did you study them for the virus that carried the plague and killed those who had it? And let go those rats who, as impossible as it may seem, did not carry the disease. No! You just went ahead killed all the rats. Even if there was a rat which did play host to the virus, it got killed – just because it was a rat. That’s how things work.

Many thanks to Mr. Promod Mutalik for providing the germ of the analogy. (no pun intended)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

An Insult - remixed

I see that you are fluent in Gibbering Moronese. Unfortunately, I'm not. You generate more waffle than the waffle making machine in a waffle factory. Rumor has it that you are almost incomprehensible in person (as revealed by your desperate urge to babble on nonsensically). No doubt, this rumor is true.
Clearly, you have lost your fingertip grip on reality and have descended into an abyss of irreversible lunacy. You're just another Internet-addicted idiot suffering from diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the mind. You prime Logorrhean!
If brains were gasoline, you wouldn't have enough to run an ant's go-kart around the inside of a donut. Clearly, the full area of your ignorance is not yet mapped. We are presently only exploring the fringes of that vast expanse. Reading your post makes blindness a wonderful thing to look forward to.
When god was handing out personalities, you must have been holding the door. You're so boring, even a boomerang wouldn't come back to you. You are like watching amputee hockey: pathetic, and very quickly disgusting. Maybe you wouldn't sound like such a pathetic loser if you didn't eat all those paint chips and lead pencils when you were a kid; or if you didn't have a face like a bulldog chewing a stinging nettle while taking a constipated dump in a heat wave. Nah, of course you would.
In future, wake up the dozy peglegged hamster operating that wheel-powered brain of yours before you start talking. You outrageously promiscuous miscreant and a feculent, gossip-mongering cause of wailing and gnashing of teeth. You precociously appalling derelict and a disgusting, armpit-licking tasteless amalgam of dross, drivel and malarkey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The case of the politician’s daughter-in-law and the bar-girl (or The chronicles of an over-hyped Investigation)

She’s a beauty ain’t she? But who is she? This was the subject of my investigation brought on by factors beyond my control. This is how it all happened…
The first contact….
As usually happens with men of my age, one of the many things that my friend and me touched upon (figuratively of course) was women. “Hey Shenoy”, he said, “Our Chief Minister’s son is damn lucky man!” Curious, I asked why? “Hey I got these neat pictures of Dharam Singh’s daughter-in-law. She’s beautiful. Gorgeous!” I asked him to forward the mail tome which I promptly checked on Saturday. Whew! She was beautiful. And I had to agree – Dharam Singh’s son was really lucky.
Sita aur Gita?
Bright and sunny black Monday. I walk into office, do my usual stuff and sometime in the afternoon, I get a forward from another friend of mine with the subject “Watch out!” Mails are meant to be opened and the inevitable happened. And it was the same beautiful woman! But this time the mail said that it was (believe it or not!) Tarannum Khan, the notorious Mumbai bar-girl who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons – bookies, fixing and the like. And it grandly declared under the last photograph “Now do you understand why so much [sic] cricketers and film-stars have gone mad behind her?” This got me really confused…and curious? One woman, two identities? Hmmm…
Time to probe deeper into the Lady
Apparently I was not the only one who got the mail saying that this lady was Tarannum Khan. A few guys at my usual adda on MG Road rationalised Aditya Panscholi’s and Muralitharan’s involvement by saying that with a bar-girl that looks like that who wouldn’t? That was when I decided that I would get to the eart of this matter and settle it once and for all. There were too many reasons for this:
a) If she our Chief Minister’s daughter in law, then I should clear her name
b) She couldn’t be a bar girl (don’t ask me how I know:)
c) If it was neither of the above, I couldn’t just sit back and let her name be mud
d) Was the new desibaba?
e) I like cheap thrills
Nimmajji yaaro idu?
Over some stolen time, I did the first logical thing. I visited, the site that was so prominently mentioned on the pictures. It turned out to be a site devoted to Telugu cinema. I could find nothing that would reveal the answer. Although I did learn a lot about Telugu film mahurats, Allu Arjun’s inauguration of K-Lounge, the marriage of Jayanthi and other such earth-shattering and interesting things. They do have an interesting photo gallery though. Next I tried Google. Having used up all my permutations/combinations (dharam+singh+daughter+in+law, ajay+singh+wife, chief+minister+wedding, tarannum+khan ….bar+girl, etc). I was no closer to the truth, although the last search threw up a lot of interesting pictures, if you know what I mean.
Finally Shenoy thinks straight
Damn! How could I not have thought about it? I went to the resident Telugu movie expert in my office, showed him the pictures and…even he could not tell me who she was. Damn! How could I not have thought about it? I went back to idlebrain and a little searching later, I got hold of an e-mail id. So I promptly mailed Jeevi of idlebain, attaching the photographs of the lady in question. By the way, if you want new and nice pictures of heroines and heroes, he’s The Man to get in touch with.
The lady stands revealed
Jeevi, having received my mail very promptly replied back and the answer lay revealed. She was Tamanna, an actress in Telugu movies who is also acting in Manoj’s new movie. Jeevi also sent me this link, and this one too. So for those who want to see the photographs in their original context (and where they should have remained) just follow the links. So there goes! Not Dharam Singh’s daughter-in-law (according to a friend of mine who claims to have seen her photograph, she is not even half as beautiful as this), not The bar-girl, but just another actress. But a gorgeous one nonetheless. And smoulderingly hot..and…forget it! So there it is people. The end of this chronicle.
But if you were one of the people who got the mail(s) I got, or one of those who sent it out, do me a favour, mail this post to whoever sent it to you/ whoever you sent it to.
Hopefully the next time, someone sends us pictures of a bar girl, it will be.

Monday, September 19, 2005

digging deeper

"Lucky that my breasts are small and humble
So you don't confuse them with mountains...."

"I love you for free and I'm not your mother
But you don't even bother..."

"Use your mouth, only to kiss my lips
We are branches of the same old tree..."

oh yes. while her hips were gyrating (how does she do that?), and that bottom going bongo, and your eyes were fixed on the screen, it's natural that your ears might have missed something. yup, this is what shakira was actually singing; achieving the heights of lyrical perfection. look out for the song where she sings about shaving her legs in the morning. by the way the quoted couplets are from 'Whenever, Wherever', 'Objection' and 'Rules' repectively.

what is a putu?

Putu is a watchcat. Power Putu is a Purple People-Eating Moon Monkey. Putu like cat. Putu is bong who refers to himself (very existentially) in the third person. Putu want to be aristo-cat. Putu like comic. And! Putu write nice poem. Shenoy put putu poem on blog. Shenoy ask you to read putu poem and visit putu blog, and check out putunomics and other sundry and very interesting putu. shenoy also ask shenoy isn't putu a malayali dish?
Putu writing classic book,
Gentle reader, come take look
Putu’s magic pen on thaba
Putu will be Rushdie’s baba

Putu finish classic novel
Agent publisher all grovel
Banging door of Putu’s house
Running like the three blind mouse

Putu is craze song and dance
Has mosto foreign advance
Putu is sure shot for Booker
All say Putu sexy looker

All reviewer, one by one
Saying Putu son of gun
Mixing Dan Brown mass appeal
With G. Marquez magic real

NDTV girl with paunch
Asking quote at Putu launch,
Asking Putu, tell the nation
What is Putu’s inspiration?

Putu says, dear girl, as such
None is fix but ilish maach
Sometimes little mangsho bhaat
Quicking beat of Putu’s heart

That is all Putu is needing
Thank you for coming to reading.
NDTV lady smile
Charmed is all by Putu style

Vikram, Zadie, VS, Hari
All sitting in Putu’s bari
Putu curling lengthy whisker
Drinking Pepsi with Talisker

All say Putu what is next?
What will be next epic text?
Putu saying, fiddlesticks
No more verbal gymnastics

Mira Nair came on phone
Would not leave Putu alone
Book shook writing jolly good
But now time for Bollywood

Putu book will now be movie
All will be disco and groovy
Besides writer Putu’ll be
Idol, Bombay matinee

With Putu as leading star
Music mix by Bappi da
With ShahRukh as villain plumber
Yana Gupta item number

So when you see Putu Cat
Become great aristocrat
Wearing coat with skin of dog,
Remember this Putu blog.

Learning from Mahatma

More important than Comrade Mitrokhin going over to the west in 1992 was the fact that he carried with him 6 trunkloads of highly classified KGB material.

As of right now, I’m not getting into the issue of the KGB funding the congress or the CPI, and how they supported the sycophantic Nehru’s sycophantic defence minister VK Krishna Menon to counter Morarji and the Janata Party. All of you must’ve read the papers.

But here’s something interesting. In The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World the following is contained. In 1947, the book says, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia ‘‘dismissed’’ Gandhi as ‘‘a reactionary, who betrayed the people and helped the imperialists against them; aped the ascetics; pretended in a demagogic way to be a ‘supporter’ of Indian independence’’.

That said, though I’ve always liked foreigners who like India and Indians, I have my reservations against outsiders making judgements about and criticising India and, or Indians, even if it is Gandhi or even worse, Nehru. I have defended them in the past. Analysis is welcome. And since wise men always learn from their (or others’) mistakes, here’s something about learning from Mahatma.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

words through the ages...

Just finished reading The Ring of Thoth by Conan Doyle, a collection of stories about the supernormal. So-so. But the writer that most fascinated me about the book was not Sir Arthur, but the previous owner of the book, one M. Rajamani.
It’s a really old, moth-eaten book and I’ll not be surprised if (s)he is long gone, but the words remain, albeit a little faded. On the top margin of one of the pages midway through the book, there are a couple of lines scrawled (for apparently no reason whatever). It is written with a blue fountain pen and all in lower case “you are the mother, i am thy child, o divine mother.”
What was (s)he thinking? Which set me thinking. The first step would be to check out Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Elementary, my dear Watson.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A musical interlude

This incident happened a long time ago. Suddenly today, a sense of déjà vu happened and i remembered the incident and the little piece i'd written about it. so here goes...

It was just another day at the office. Till I decided to go out to the balcony for a smoke, where I saw Ganesh a.k.a Jack, a friend and fellow copywriter engaged in a conversation with Lady K, a young girl who had recently finished he MBA and joined our office, in the client servicing department. Figures. I sat down on the steps and.…

Lady K: So Ganesh, what band are you in?
Jack: Kryptos
K: What kind of music do you play?
J: Heavy metal
K: So, why don’t you play in Mars 2211?
J: Hey c’mon, they only play pop trash.
K: See, I don’t understand pop. I don’t understand metal. So I guess it’s ok for you to play in Mars 2211 (now egos).
J: (stunned) WHATTHE!!!... (looks for a way out of this tricky business of a conversation with Lady K)
J: (composes himself, regains dignified look) So what music do you listen to?
K: Lots of stuff. But the only heavy metal I’ve listened to is Nirvana
J: (chokes on coffee)
Me: (thinking) oh no! not another wannabe nirvana fan…
J: (looking for a way out of the conversation sees me, the perfect bakra)
Nirvana eh? Cool, ask Shenoy, he likes nirvana too (and conveniently escapes, exiting stage left)
K: So Shenoy, like I was telling him, I’ve listened to heavy metal. But only nirvana.
Me: What album? What song have you listened to?
K: It was sometime in 98-99 when their new album came out.
Me: (sagely, in a patronising voice) You see, the band disbanded in 94 when Kurt
Cobain died.
K: So what did I listen to?
Me: Hmmm….could be Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, a live album that was released, though I’m not sure of the exact release date.
K: No it was not that one. This album had a song called [author’s note: I’ve forgotten what it was]
Me: (running through the nirvana catalogue in my head) I remember no such song by nirvana
K: Maybe, but it was there. Now that’s what I call metal!!
Me: Yes, I’m here!...coming!.... (runs away from balcony into office answering to nonexistent call)

Monday, September 12, 2005

ashes to england, dust to australia

After 17 years, the Ashes go back to England. A lot will be written about this monumental series in the days to come. I for one will not forget it for a long, long time, if I ever do. My favourite cricketer's last test test match in England and it ends this way. But in my heart i hope the Wizard of Oz has it in him to come back. Wonder how he's feeling, since he dropped a regulation catch off Pieterson on 15?

For a fan of the aussies like i am it kinda feels wierd to be on the losing side. Hopefully their hunger will be back soon.

“Thank you Asimov” – Bin Laden

Ok. So what connects al-qaeda, Asimov, Frank Herbert and Aum Shinrikyo? Simple “Foundation”, the classic series of sci-fi. ‘Foundation’ when translated into Arabic becomes the title "al-Qaida". Japan's Aum Shinrikyo sect’s bible was the Foundation series by Asimov. Get the connection? For more, go here. But before you do, here’s something else: Charles Manson's favourite book is said to have been Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Hmmm…science fiction and fantasy books, ideologies for the new age?

a quotable quote and a question

“Better be a communal cow than a secular swine” says Veeru, a good friend of mine. I agree and can’t wait till his communal cow blog is inflicted upon the unsuspecting world. Watch this space. And yes, it’s quite a nice fantasy to imagine yourself as a subscriber to Combat, edited by a certain Albert Camus, a contemporary of yours whose philosophy you agree with. How would you react if you woke up one morning and heard he just died in a car accident?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Praise and blame

If a war proves unsuccessful one asks who was to 'blame' for the war; if it ends in victory one praises the instigator. Guilt is always sought whenever there is failure; for failure brings with it a depression of spirits against which the sole remedy is instinctively applied: a new excitation of the feeling of power - and this is to be discovered in the condemnation of the 'guilty'. This guilty person is not to be thought of as a scapegoat for the guilt of others: he is a sacrifice to the weak, humiliated and depressed, who want to demonstrate on something that they still have some strength left. To condemn oneself can also be a means of restoring the feeling of strength after a defeat.

On the other hand, the glorification of the instigator is often the equally blind result of another drive which wants its sacrifice - and this time the sacrifice smells sweet and inviting to the sacrificial beast itself - for when the feeling of power in a people or a society is surfeited by a great and glittering success and a weariness with victory sets in, one relinquishes some of one's pride; the feeling of devotion rises up and seeks an object.

Whether we are praised or blamed, what we usually constitute is opportunities, and arbitrarily seized opportunities, for our neighbours to discharge the drive to praise or blame which has become distended in them: in both cases we do them a favour for which we deserve no credit and they display no gratitude.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak, 1881

I picked this up from The Hitler Museum Go there and you'll see the context.

somebody find me a hajaam

There are no more barbers. They're all stylists. Tailors have turned into fashion desginers. And i'm proud to say i'm a typist.

amangal ho

A nation needs its heroes. It needs its legends. When it comes to our paladins and men of myth, they need to be larger than life. From them it is that we draw our inspiration. Humanise them if you will, but reduce them not to cut-and-dry personalities. Too much rationalisation will leave these legends shorn of their legendary-ness (if I may use that word) and leave behind a totally factual kernel, which in itself is sometimes enough to build a legend on. Back to square one.

This land we live in is not short of heroes and legends. But I detect a trend whereby each and every one of them is successively put under the scanner, and the legend left demolished. That’s the new intellectuals for you. Who systematically are eroding away at our sense of collective self. I’m scared a day will come when my grandchildren will grow up thinking this country of theirs only breeds cowards, sissies, eunuchs and opium addicts.

Case in point Mangal Pandey. I’m not even getting into the fact that for years now we’ll never be able of think of that name again without the picture of Aamir Khan’s moustache taking shape in our head. Exhibit A for those of you who would like to know, the picture alongside the last extant portrait of the original Mangal Pandey.
For starters, there was not much documentary evidence about Mangal Pandey. All we were brought up on was the fact that he revolted against the cartridges given to his regiment, killed a couple of British officers, sparked off a revolution and became the first martyr in the cause of freedom. Sepoy Mutiny is what the British called it, the First War of Independence what we should call it, in the larger scheme of things. For what happened later went beyond the confines of Barrackpore.

Mangal Pandey – The Rising I feel has done more harm than good. With such a lack of actual facts, the filmmakers had to invent character such as Officer Gordon. You have Mangal Pandey drunk on bhang, cavorting with women, what not? All to stretch the film to the regulation 21/2 hours. The film leaves you cold, not even the cleavage-song makes you want to sit up. Even their extrapolations are not interesting hypotheses or valid theories of speculation, but insipid b-grade bollywood plotlines. And I wonder what Tantya Tope was doing in that movie. As far as I know they never met. And a 13 second cameo by Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi did not help. (help! It’s Archana Joglekar. I thought se was dead)
Mangal Pandey belongs to India. To you, to me, to all of us. But in true Indian fashion, here we have the most frivolous of all objections to the movie – it makes no reference to the Mangal Pandey’s village of Balia.

And what the film did more was bring the focus on Mangal Pandey. And in our country we are not in a shortage of people who, at the drop of a topi, are ready to abnegate our culture and our heroes (which reminds me of what is being done to Prithviraj Chauhan, but more on that in a later post). The book ‘Mangal Pandey : Brave Martyr or Accidental Hero? by Rudrangshu Mukherjee is one such example. The contents of the book are not as objective as the title would suggest. At least he uses the word hero. And then there are others who would say that Mangal Pandey was the product of 1857 and not the other way round. Every fire needs a spark mate! And remember, there were others in the war if you have your history right.
Then there’s the school of thought that swears that Mangal Pandey admitted to his superiors that he was under the influence of opium when he did the deed. Sadly enough (good for me) there is not hard evidence to support this fact. “If Mangal Pandey was a true patriot, why was he in the army in the first place?” say some of our countrymen. I’ll not even answer that.
Like I said, we need our heroes. If Mangal Pandey was an Indian, then I am glad I am one too.

And on an interesting side note, I leave you with this. 2007 is the 150th Anniversary of the First War of Independence. A proposal was mooted that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should celebrate it together. Vajpayee said at the 12th SAARC Summit, “Our forefathers fought side by side, transcending religious, regional and linguistic differences against a common colonial oppressor in our First War of Independence in 1857. It reminds us that many of us have a shared history which pre-dates our more recent divisions.” “Perhaps Pakistan, India and Bangladesh can together celebrate that anniversary in remembrance of our joint struggle against a common adversary,” he suggested.

If it happens, it would be great. But I’m not holding my breath.

Monday, September 05, 2005

terror or anarchy?

During a conversation I was having yesterday, a friend of mine (in a tongue of the slip) referred to the main protagonist in Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta as terrorist. Ears were perked up, I felt that he should be referred to as an anarchist, not a terrorist. Calling him a terrorist would be glorifying all the ****head jihadis. C’mon let’s not insult V by calling him a terrorist; anarchists deserve that much at least. And what do terrorists deserve? That’s a question for another day.

the iceman and his luck

The Italian Grand Prix has come and gone. And brought to the fore yet again the McLaren’s fallibity. How many times will this happen to kimi? Last lap breakdowns, engine failures, starting 10 places down when you were the fastest..if I was ron dennis that would be ample reason for me to be avoiding the iceman. Looks like Alonso is most definitely the champion this year, and he’ll be the youngest champion in the history of this sport. And the news is that Kimi might be replacing Schumacher in 2007. Funny how the cookie crumbles…the biggest thorn in Ferrari’s side is being hailed! You should see how happy, nay ecstatic, the reds fans were after hearing this news. Hmmm…I wonder what I’ll do if that actually happens. A long term McLaren fan am I. A long-term Schumacher disliker am I and that has rubbed on to Ferrari. So kimi in a red car?!? but by then schumi could've driven off into the sunset i hope. anyway, let’s cross the bridge when we get to the river.

the write stuff

For reliable, scalable and flexible copy, try this tool called WordWeb, a dictionary/ thesaurus, quick reference guide all rolled into one. And It’s FREE! Sits in the system stray, and works well with any word processing software you use and kicks the everything out of word’s in-built thesaurus.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

are you a leftist or a right-winger?

If your chioce was any one of the above, then you've just followed the one-dimensional categories of right and left, which by the way was just the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789. Quite inadequate for the complex political landscape of today.
While the old ones just took economic leanings, a need was felt to add to this the social angle also. All political ideology i feel has to have an economic perspective and a social viewpoint as well. While this becomes a little difficult in this land of ours as social viewpoints usually overlap with religious opinions. So that said, where do you stand? Take the POLITICAL COMPASS TEST. It just takes about 3-5 minutes and rates you on two axes – economic and social. You could end up as one of these four: Libertarian Left, Libertarian Right, Authoritarian Left or Authoritarian Right. And once you see where you stand they also have a reading list applicable to your quadrant. Make sure you take a peek into the Ichonochasms section. It'll not just raise a few eyebrows but as they say "lead you to adjust the pedestals on which you placed some of your favourite icons".

Friday, September 02, 2005

the politics of justice

I've always been fascinated by Bhagat Singh. Just 23 when he died. A true revolutionary if there ever was one. So when i got a chance i picked upo this book The Trial of Bhagat Singh by AG Noorani. A sham of a trial if i may say so. An advocate of the Supreme court of India and a versatile journalist, Noorani makes plain the facts of this case and how the courts of time were used as political weapons by the colonial rulers. He also castigates the leadership of the Congress led Independence movement for their indifference towards Bhagat Singh.

The Lahore Conspiracy case as it was called ended with the execution of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Young revolutionaries all. And while this was happening, what was Gandhi up to? Actually nothing. Which is the point. For some time now, Bhagat's popularity was rivalling that of gandhi, which i'm sure did not sit well with the 'great soul'. Gandhi's role is discussed at length and it is concluded that had he wanted Gandhi could have gotten Lord Irwin to commute Singh's sentence. If you've seen the movie about Bhagat Singh (i highly recommend the Ajay Devgan one) then you'll see a gandhi who could've made Bhagat's pardon a condition to the signging of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, but did not. This book shows that incident and its goings on in all its glory. And Nehru? The less said the better. Always vacillating, never really emerged from under the thumb of gandhi. But one man stood above them all, and defended Bhagat Singh. That man was Mohammed Ali Jinnah. He made a truly impressive speech that played a pivotal role in defeating the Hunger Strike Bill.

The book also chronicles the famous hunger srtike that Bhagat Singh and his comrades undertook to improve the lot of the political prisoners of that time. The hunger strike really struck at the very heart of the British. They tried everything from forceful feeding to replacing all the water in the cells with milk. The story that Jatindranath Das swallowed a whole lot of chili powder to infame his throat so that the British could not force feed him is not a legend. It is fact. This however became fatal. But he'd made his point.

This book really opens up sides of Bhagat Singh we never really knew about. Go ahead and pick it up, but for starters go here It's a pretty comprehensive site about Bhagat Singh and even includes the full text of Jinnah in the Central Legislative Assembly. INQUILAB ZINDABAD!

i'm back

Ahem! the blog is back...the usual rambles in the park so to speak. yup, i'm back and you make sure you do keep coming back.