Monday, August 31, 2009 0 reflections

About big J and bigger G

Amid the furor that the lotus stamped political goliath called Ba.Ja.Pa is now creating, something about the root based connection of the big J and bigger G – the founding fathers of the unplanned non-anesthetic abortion called ‘partition’ – made me giggle in hilarity. The article, which now fails to remind me its source, mentioned in passing that both J and G belonged to the same western chunk of blood and tear soaked earth that ironically has a hard time seeing a single day of whatever it is either of these two men remain popular for. Be that as it may, the fact that certain big lads up in Ba.Ja are screaming foul about the neighboring J and quoting local G’s views about him furiously is rather amusing. The fact that certain maniacal shadows of our nation’s infamous, and certainly ill timed, birth still continue to loom large is a rather daunting realization. We survived their rath yatras, the mosque demolitions, the riots, the bombs, the rapes and definitely the speeches. O! For the sake of all that is divine – the speeches! Back in the day when the Ba.Ja’s icon Va-Ja was the PM, it would take him a good hour to get through the first paragraph of his multi-hued discourses before lacing it delicately with some poetic essence only he could appreciate. Once the slow moving leader passed on to the back seat at five meters an hour speed, the more irate ones with the busy balding foreheads took charge and now sit on the top issuing dismissal letters to those who even smile at someone from across the barbed wire fence, let alone someone who decides to pen something appreciative about big J! Blasphemy!

Maybe it was the invariable concatenation of these two immensely popular folklore heroes in their own right that had me amused, but I suddenly was reminded of the time there was a giant uproar of a similar nature when a foreigner wanted to auction off some of old big G’s older, albeit worthless, belongings. What a race had ensued by our powers that be to ensure we safely secured what was rightfully ours! My O my! I had in fact read a dozen blogs that discussed and debated the whole issue of why they – as if it was divine intervention – would never allow a single atom of his blessed being outside the land he helped become free! Sigh. Sad but true. We Indians will never understand irony, I remember feeling back then. We put the G on every possible place in the country except in our lives. We put him in songs, in stories, in movies, in ads, in posters, in statues, on stamps and heck, even outside liquor shops. Everywhere but in our own routine. Tch tch. Too much G to sustain, eh? Sorry. Can’t be. We ensured that whatever the heck the man had once mouthed through his toothless voice into the ears of millions of people worldwide was regularly ignored and crucified with aplomb. We’ve now in fact also ascertained that he is religiously garlanded on the only two days that matter to us in his context – birth and death - while going on with our humble non-G lives in between. Will this circus ever end? I have no idea. Maybe it is not supposed to!

I don’t understand politics. Never have and neither am I keen to. But the fact that something as basic as ‘freedom of expression’ is controlled by leading so-called ‘political parties’ in the nation without any regret is just plain silly. And the gall we have to say that we are democratic enough to allow each person to opine. Bah! Keeping G’s context, anyone seems to get the license to fire, threaten, harm or even lynch anyone else. This is what I found rather bizarre considering the people we fight about today are long gone and have left behind so much mess that no amount of in-fighting can help clear. Somehow these visits to the ghost’s lair seem to be rather counter productive.

But well, I am no one. Maybe big J’s mention in the nation is indeed a bigger threat to us than acknowledging bigger G’s long forgotten legacy that continues to plead for our attention. Who knows? Maybe someone who will read this piece will go ahead and label me too as a J supporter just because I didn’t praise G enough? I am not sure anymore. I am really not.


Saturday, August 29, 2009 2 reflections

1st Wedding Monthaversary!

It isn't the most pleasant experience to have to spend the very 1st month of wedding away from the beloved. But then despite the bizarre separation me and Jaya are experiencing (thank you visa officials! You guys have no clue how powerfully 'God like' you guys can be! Heck, maybe you do!) I knew there was no need to be blue about it. Hence, in the sunshine of that new hope and renewed faith that we two will be together soon, here is my gift to her this time around. And with it is the prayer, that next month I will be able to spend it with her without the needless distraction of the Internet.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 2 reflections

Holy Smoke!

My gut notion that the most ridiculous item in the world always makes it to the front pages of Indian newspapers is an aptly placed one. For those who insist on viewing these columns with mislaid jingoism and meaningless rhetoric are welcome to do so. Heck, they do it regardless of the well aimed interventions. But even after thumping each other on the back and giggling feverishly from behind weird clinical masks (thank you Swine Flu!) on the 63rd Independence Day of our blessed nation, we Indians continue to fuel the absurd day in day out with shameless aplomb. 63 years, just imagine, and we are still covering preposterous news pieces on our front pages!

Now, I think of myself as some sort of a Bollywood fan. I say ‘some sort’ since that definition is fast losing meaning. From keeping a regular tab on every release every Friday I think I am becoming somewhat allergic to Hindi movies. Actually it has been over a year since I bought a ticket and walked into the desi cinema here in Copenhagen. Jaya insists that she wants to see a Hindi flick soon so maybe we will go there after all. But until that gun is put to my head I’d like to avoid it with my own mask! Either way, when it comes to Bollywood I don’t really have any demi-Gods to worship since after moving out of the nation and removing my tear soaked ‘love goggles’ for these over hyped brats and ‘cosmetically re-engineered self proclaimed’ queens, I have learnt to call a spade a spade. And so with these buzzers around me, I opened the daily a few days ago. Shock of shocks! The mighty multi-million dollar worth SRK was frisked by American police at some airport in the states and the fellow is going around calling it ‘irrelevant’ and is giving press reports ‘sharing his ordeal’ and giggling like a school girl about the slightest implication that it might be a ploy to get some well timed publicity for his sagging cheeks, I mean career. And to add some ‘context’ to this ‘horrifying tale’, he says he was detained since ‘My Name is Khan’. Hmm…does anyone else smell some good old spicy BS here? Isn’t that the name of the next over rated LEGO play-set that kid Johar is planning to unleash on our sinful souls? Tch tch. Bollywood never had any class after the good old 80s but heck, they are not even creative at making up BS! Jeez. That’s just pathetic.

Fine. For the sake of pure jingoism, let us assume our pal SRK is burping out the truth from behind designer goggles and effeminate seeming scarves. Even so, given the celeb-derriere kissing that 'fans' that our countrymen are everyone is showcasing this ‘story’ and saying US needs to go easy in their checking policies. I felt like roaring in laughter when I read this piece. Are these guys for real? Who on Earth is this SRK and why the hell should that policeman at the US airport care who he is? There was also another report right about the same time that the legendary Bob Dylan was whisked away by two cops for not having an ID card on him. Did you read that news anywhere? I guess not since in the American viewpoint, everyone is the same in the eyes of the law and no one gets extra press. Not even Dylan! What I don't get is why these irrelevant (Ah! Irrelevant – the only word SRK used that had any worth in his mirage of page 3 vocabulary) desi celebs be seen as absolutely harmless creatures overseas? Heck, according to me they are the most harmful ones given the amount of broad day looting they do of our precious money with their gibberish performances and clichéd cesspools of song and dance routines in the name of ‘entertainment’ each week! If anything they need to pay us, the customers, tax for putting us through the torture they call 'blockbusters'.

Ah well. Call it the perfect coincidence which was so well laced with the Holy Smoke of this fellow being a Muslim or the fact that he plays one in his next movie (for a change!) and just ‘happens to have a last name’ that matches his real one. Whatever the case, the desi notion that anything Bollywood is beyond horse dung is absolutely ludicrous. I always read news items about major Hollywood glitterati being fined or getting imprisoned or some such for straight forward things like traffic violations and drunk driving! And then we have clowns like SRK who prance around like sissies calling US ‘unrealistic’! What a joke! One can't blame him either since Sanjay Dutt for all the hooplah that was made about his involvement in the Bombay blasts still roams free with his new 'khaadi' linen. So little surprise then that these people feel they are beyond the law in and out their sad little nation.

When I began following SRK’s career I had a lot of respect for this guy for being the only authentic self made superstar after Big B and maybe Rajesh Khanna. But in the past decade (and after having joined his ‘Holy Hands’ with Farah Khan and that Johar fellow and others in that circus tent) he has seriously lost all major regard I once had for that young, charming, hard working and passionate performer who grew out of the middle class and made a name for himself. Nowadays he comes off as just another overfed celeb who is cashing in on our nation’s hopelessly star struck public who are nothing more than drones when it comes to these jokers.

Alright, I am done with this absurd item. Let me stop now before I start throwing up like one of this fellow’s millions of misguided fans. And as far as those fellows who stopped SRK and questioned him are concerned – Well done guys! I honestly hope you nail every Indian celeb who crosses your borders without regret since we will never dare to do so ourselves. We are too busy constructing temples and crashing coconuts for these chaps here! What to do? We have two centuries of white stained guilt to wash away no?


Friday, August 14, 2009 0 reflections

Love in the time of Swine Flu

Yes – this is a married man talking here. After three decades and a year, I am finally the proud owner of a glittering golden circle on my right hand’s ring finger. A shine that, despite the lack of the one who lovingly slipped it in place on the 28th of last month, continues to fill me with the same affection I have always seen in the honest depths of her soulful eyes. As I now await the blessed return of the proverbial bride into my nomadic existence overseas, these are the thoughts that buzz around me. And so, as I sit punching in the electronic squares all the while admiring the circle of trust smiling back at me, I find these word patterns taking shape.

The summer of my life’s highlight was peppered with what can only be called a maniacal concoction of the extreme nature. Right from the moment I sat with my father as he drove me home from the airport on the cold 13th morning of last month, it was destined to be unadulterated chaos. Having returned from a fortnight of theories and facts in London, I was eagerly awaiting a much needed break. And yes, there was definitely the promise of one too. But then there is hope, and there is hope’s shadow. As I eagerly look back today after having settled into my residence away from my roots, I find myself wondering where that word – vacation – vanished into! Did it make a brief appearance between the days and fly by unnoticed? Or was my preoccupation with my thoughts so intense that I didn’t even acknowledge its humble presence? I am not sure anymore. But then I cannot rant about the issues I had to face to get things organized for the wedding since these were things that had to be done. And no, I can’t even whine about a very hectic post wedding schedule that involved the welcoming of a new bride into the old household and daily trips to relatives’ places followed by a strong bout of viral fever. No. These were things, I’d like to imagine, that were just meant to be. I was in dire need of some down time after the insanity that had ensued thus far and if letting my body peak at 102 degrees with an inexplicably random bout of fever was the way to go, then so be it. And no – I definitely cannot discount my beloved half for anything. It might as well have been her never dying spirit that runs through me that brought me back to my feet sooner than I’d have normally taken in such instances.

Nevertheless, surrounded by daily tabloid spills of the dreaded Swine Flu and haunted by post viral fever rash, I did manage to limp back to where I belong – my home away from home – today afternoon, albeit solo. Sure, things still aren’t perfect as I now find myself changing skin into the quintessential married bachelor while Jaya awaits her visa papers to be processed next week. But even in this madness there is some relief. Even in this roller coaster ride of a dozen emotions, there is a silent wave of inexorable joy. Despite the month and a fortnight I’ve had, despite the illness, despite the fatigue and definitely despite the joints that still throb from inevitable jetlag, I am smiling as I punch in these words all the time glancing at the golden circle embedded on my hand. It is there, right there, that I find a way to breathe. It is in the pangs of that beautiful feeling that I know, deep inside me, that this day will pass too. It is thus that I convince myself that being high on my beloved’s thoughts can survive anything – even H1N1. And for that, I thank the Almighty on bended knees.

Thank you, Lord.