Wednesday, 30 May 2012


One Yoga baba (Ramdev) and the gang of Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi have determined between themselves to bring the Government on its knees by fair or foul means. They have employed the methods of the classic Nazi propagandist Goebbels that you tell a lie so many times that it appears to be the truth. Or better still you throw so much mud that at least some of it will definitely stick.
The object or rather the target of their guerilla attack is none other than the Prime Minister himself. And the strategy is simple but deadly: cut off the head to bring down the body. Now I completely agree that the Prime Minister has not been at his best the last three years and maybe the time has come when he should consider a change in leadership so that a fresh, young and vigorous mind is in charge of the affairs of the country. But does that mean that like a pack of hunting hyenas, Ramdev and the gang of four deploy deceit, deception, half truths to spring on prey and start tearing at the Government to make a meal out of it.
Make no mistake about it that ever since these destabilizing factors have been injected in the Indian polity the Indian success story has been besmirched. Ever since these people have expanded their sphere of influence everything seems to be going wrong with the country. We have now begun to doubt everything, we have lost confidence in our own abilities to move forward and everywhere we smell scams and corruption. The bureaucracy has stopped functioning, foreign investors are packing their bags and like maddened dogs many within us are prowling around ready to put to stake those accused of corruption. In short the singular contribution of this group has been to doubt every decision making apparatus in the country, sow seeds of suspicion and make all of us suspect the Government, each other, practically everyone.
Okay some of this would have been acceptable if the credentials of these scam hunters had been credible. Let us talk about them for a change. Anna Hazare is a man who makes a mockery of Gandhiism because he regularly flogs people in his village for drinking. There are also reports that he might have been an army deserter. Prashant Bhushan has supported activists who have sworn to dismember the country and destroy the Constitution. Arvind Kejriwal is one of the most foul mouthed individuals you can meet but his real claim to fame is managing a trust that has been accused of collecting public money illegally. And that leaves Kiran Bedi who keeps touting her police service career but fails to give an explanation that being part of the central services how come she was never posted out of Delhi to tough postings like Mizoram etc with the same frequency as her other batch mates. And Ms. Bedi perhaps chooses to ignore that the fudging travel bills in both the Government and the corporate sector is a serious offence.
And finally Rasputin. Baba Ramdev very much like the notorious Russian evil monk and not unlike his predecessor, Dhirendra Brahmachari, could perhaps be the worst of the lot. The Enforcement Directorate is already looking into enormous malpractices that came into play in the making of his empire. But it is the sight of this bearded thug that gives me the creeps.
Honestly this entire lot would not survive a single day if the media stops building them up for their own ratings. But that of course is a different story which should be told some day.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Shah Rukh Khan must have been four to five years my junior at school – that is St Columba’s, when he must have been doing cartwheels on the playground during lunch break, then in between studies and cricket making up his mind on a film career and along the way receiving the school ‘Sword of honour’ for being the best student in both studies and sports. And if school folklore is to be believed he qualified for the IIT entrance exams after class 12th but refused to go for the interview.
Now imagine Shah Rukh Khan as an engineer at say Infosys instead of doing cartwheels at age 46 on the Chennai grounds after his team won this year’s IPL trophy. I would prefer him doing the latter. The man simply brings a smile on your face and makes you believe that anything is possible. He has a certain kind of spirit that cannot be contained but has to be shared for the sheer joy it brings to so many people. I can’t remember a man who has been more admired and vilified at the same time. If nothing else it takes a certain kind of talent to be in the public eye for almost more than a decade. I remember they used to once say that this is ‘the age of Satyajit Ray.’ Well it seems that the ‘age of SRK’ has dawned and stayed up there without a chance of an eclipse.
The more the man succeeds the more his detractors wail and moan. Today the MCA or the Mumbai cricket association must be counted as a body or rather an object of hate. SRK publicly apologized on the Chennai grounds and that raised his stature even further even though he had no need to do so and look at the way the MCA reacts. They are still sticking to their concocted stand.
I remember a long time back the thespian actor Dilip Kumar was put in preventive detention during the I965 Indo Pak war for no other reason than perhaps religious bigotry. Beneath the surface some of that vile, age old thinking is still at play. There are many out there who want SRK to fail spectacularly, bite the dust. But successful bollywood films end with the hero triumphing over all odds. And SRK was made for bollywood – reality imitating fiction for a change.

Saturday, 26 May 2012


After nearly a three month time spend in Delhi I flew back( that’s right steeling myself in the flight to overcome my absurd fears of flying) to Mumbai to sultry weather, the Shiv sena nailing a poster outside Wankhede praising the guard who defies SRK, no water in the house because the BMC supply had developed a snag and finally Bombay Sapphire gin and lime shots with a friend in the night followed by prawn noodle soup at Kamling. Phew! Don’t get me wrong. I love the city despite the you know what, love the cultural and personal promiscuity of the city that always simmers below the surface, the dark roiling clouds above slowly becoming pregnant with rain and the mind affected by the sea that tells you anything is possible.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


 There was no upside after eating Viagra
Since you ended up jumping into Niagra
They pulled you out from the rapids numb from below
Saved a trip to the chemist for what you do know
Some men will push against the odds
To give their barren love life one last chance
The gain’s in the mind not the body part
As if you did not know it your little Bonaparte
 Elixirs, mixtures, incantation, chants
Why rue it if the feeling is canned
The man who should know once said ‘you only live twice’
A tiger once in bed and a wimp in more recent times
Dead men and other things carry no tales
Shaken and stirred now the quiet of the grave.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


This morning when my son in first year college, read the papers he felt outraged. There was news of Mumbai cops arresting and charging hundreds of young people at a so called ‘rave’ party. “Look Dad,” he said, “this is how they treat the young in our so called young country. We are policed and ruled by geriatrics who cannot even understand that young people need to get together at times, party and have fun. My son might not be off the point that at times we behave like a police state or a modern day version of Stalinist Russia.
  There is no proof that drugs were being used at the party. And to add insult to injury many of these youngsters have been charged with a shocking ‘permit’ law that could fetch them six months in prison. Let me tell you a little about this permit. If you want to have a drink in Mumbai then you need to have a permit. Shocked but let me tell about this a bit more. This permit law goes back to the time we became independent from British rule. The permit is given to certified (from the doctor) alcoholics’ who need to drink to stay alive. The permit has some of the vilest and rude language you would never expect in a modern day, functioning democracy. It has some gems line ‘sharabi ka naam…sharabi ke baap ka naam..”
I shudder to tell you this but needless to say the next time you are having a drink in Mumbai you risk the prospect of being put in the slammer. At times like this you wonder what is going wrong with Mumbai. The people are warm hearted and loving but the infrastructure, the polity and the bureaucracy sucks.
But to come back to the point of ‘old men will have their way.’ Look at the way some retired ex cricketers, out of work commentators and generally the fudgy and dodgy geriatrics have been going hammer and tongs after the IPL, calling for a ban.  They cannot digest the fact that the tournament has been a spectacular success. Let’s face facts. This is an international tournament largely aimed at the young and like any other world class tournament it will have its fair share of cheerleaders, short skirts, parties and the occasional fist fights and a few controversies. If you don’t like it switch off your TV sets and read a religious text. How can you deprive others of a choice and call for a ban?
The sad truth is that large sections of the ruling elite develop a ‘Taliban – Tali…ban’ mentality as they feel this is the best possible way to stay in power and be in the news. Look at someone like Kirti Azad who is talking of ‘cultural values’ and advocating a ban on the IPL. The real truth is Kirti Azad was perhaps the worst player in the side under Kapil Dev that got us the World cup. Only those who are inefficient and have something to hide will support bans and repress the young. The truly competent don’t have time for all this.
Let us not stifle our young but rather give them space to flower into confident, responsible citizens.