Monday, April 17, 2006


She waits nine months for you to enter the world—so that she can be light on her feet again. So that she can lie on her stomach again. So that she can take painkillers again. So that she can jump again. So that she can be herself again.
She waits for you to sleep the night through, so that she can sleep too.
She waits for you to take those first steps so that she can lead you by the hand.
She waits for you to eat on your own.
She waits for you to calm down after a tantrum.
She waits for you to come back from school. From tennis lessons. From birthday parties. From extra classes. From football matches. From the movie. From coaching classes. From college. From work. From abroad.
She waits for you have your own child.
Now maybe you’ll understand her joy and her pain.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Bangalore Burning

We Indians are crazy. MGR dies and people immolate themselves. Dr. Rajkumar dies and chaos rules in Bangalore, of all places. I always thought Bangalore was a very mature, laid back city. I thought everybody there was cultured, poised and balanced. My son says,"But Bangalore is such a shareef city!" Apparently I was as naïve as my son!
Mass hysteria is unpredictable, both in terms of content and intensity. As usual, the powers-that-be merrily indulge in the blame game, each saying that the other should have seen it coming. Obviously, those who have torched buses, cars and shops are not the real fans of the late actor. They are the ugly underbelly of any city, the antisocial elements, who come into their own at times like these.
I have just one question for those who professed themselves prostrated by grief---did it occur to them to offer themselves to Veerappan, or to take on the sandalwood bandit, when their idol Rajkumar was in the clutches of Old Mustachios?
RandomThought: Did anything like this happen when NTR passed away?The only image I remember is that of his second wife lamenting and breast beating in a most undignified manner.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Robbing Hood: Mandal II

Here we go again.
Or, oops, we did it again. Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. Our govt is doing something similar. Only, they are not even targeting the rich, but the middle class, who often have only merit to fall back on. Even in this economic stratum, there is a middle class based on intellect/ability---not too brilliant and not below average either. I would call them above average but below brilliant. The brilliant ones will get into IIT’s anyway. The below-brilliant ones are the ones who will be hit the hardest---they are the ones who might otherwise scrape through into the IIT’s and other institutions. Into this segment also fall those whose sheer hard work makes up for lack of brilliance. The extra reservations will take away opportunities from this segment. The rich can always go abroad, or go to private colleges and institutes. The brilliant can win scholarships abroad. The ones who are left high and dry are these---the "somewhere-in-the-middle" class---economics-wise and brains-wise. Who is on their side? Why should anybody bother about them? They are not vote-banks. They are mere taxpayers.
Who is going to take advantage of these reservations? Not the ones who actually need them. They will be people who are BC’s in name only. Their parents (and probably grandparents) would have done well for themselves, having been under the benign reservations umbrella themselves, in their time.
Time and again, it has been suggested, that to give the erstwhile downtrodden classes their proper rights, give them facilities, subsidize their books, meals, tuitions, but don’t bring down the standards by keeping lower qualifying marks or cut-off lines. Just the other day, Delhi Times ran a article on an IIM-A alumnus, who put himself through business school by selling the idlis his mother made. This is the kind of story that inspires. It shows us that it can be done. An earlier generation rhapsodised about people who had come up in life by studying under the light of the street lamp. We point to such people, and say to our children, look he has done it without any of the facilities that I am providing you with. Should not the goverment in its role as mai-baap provide facilities for the genuinely deserving, whatever caste they be? To all intents and purposes the caste system is dead in urban India. Yet, it rears its head in situations like these.
On the one hand we are all smiles and proud of India Shining, because now even a rickshaw-man can own a mobile phone, and on the other we spring this on an unsuspecting middle-class.
Random thought: Should a family sell its flat to finance a child’s studies abroad, so that s/he can get a good job and create enough assets to get another flat? Or should they hang on to the flat since it is an asset which already exists?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Thande ka tadka?I think not!

Once upon a time, there was an ice-maiden, an ethereal beauty, who had already made a name for herself in the modeling world in India. She was one of the favourites for Miss India that year. She did win a title, and went on to become Miss World. After a shaky start in films, she established herself firmly in the Bollywood firmament. The ice-maiden melted and sizzled in the Kajrare number last year. She actually looked good with those few additional pounds. She was human after all!
As Miss India and Miss World, she supposedly had a lot of responsibility. To say the right things, to do the right things. By now it is a standing joke, that all the contestants mouth something about Mother Teresa, and something about kids, and they are on velvet. Does it stop there?
The latest Coke ad has an emaciated Ash sashaying past some “road Romeos”, one of whom whistles and likens her figure to a Coke bottle: “Umar hai solah, kamar Coca Cola”. At this, she turns around and mocks at the whistle, likening it to a cooker going phusss. And proceeds to demonstrate various types of whistles, guaranteed to produce a slap, or a sandal-imprint. Isn’t this kind of advertising nodding and winking at eve-teasing? Did not Ash see the script for the ad? Even if it begins with eve-teasing, the ad should bring across the message that such behaviour is not acceptable. Instead, the heroine is only prolonging the give and take thus becoming a party to it. What happens after she walks away? Won’t the guys follow her, trying out the “seetis” she suggested? I think, she is still suffering from the “Kajrare” hangover. But there is a small difference. That number was set in a bar. The basic flavor was a shayari type of ambience. In other films too, when there is a qawwali song, with a girls-against-boys setting, the “chhed-chhaad” is more of a matching of wits, even if the theme is boy-chases-girl-girl-rebuffs-boy. This should not be transposed on to a street scene. There, it transforms into an ugly sequence. Where is the woman of substance? The thinking woman? Tch tch.