Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Diary of an AAPtard

Wednesday, 16th April 2014

Tomorrow's voting day. Have my shiny new voters card. Now just have to vote, to make a difference. Haven't figured out whom to vote for. Almost all parties are saying the same thing - "Vote for Change". I'll vote for change. I'm sick and tired of... of what really?
Umm...corruption. Yeah, I'm sick of corruption. That's what I am sick of. The corrupt traffic cop who fined me 500 bucks for drunk driving and didn't pay it to the govt. The neighbourhood street cleaner who took extra money to clean up just because I dumped a load of broken glass on the street outside - what am I supposed to do? Wait for the BBMP truck and go to work a little late? Too bloody inconvenient.

AAP seems to be the easy choice - after all, they're fighting for 'Change'. Our society needs change. Just a little worried about some of the racist bigots there. The ones who want to root out 'Blackies' and kali-peeli Madrasis - probably Northies all of them. That's why we're different in the South. We don't have any racial prejudices against anybody - in spite of the fact that all North Indians show off and have khap panchayats in their villages that routinely go around killing women (No, I'm not racist. See before you get pissed off). Nope, we South Indians are not like that.

AAP it is.

Thursday, 17th April  2014

07:30 AM at the polling booth. Some people trickling in. Looks like a lot of support for Modi. Hmm... the guy is an efficient administrator, or is he? Is Gujrat really all that vibrant or is it just a media gimmick? All the Gujjus I know are reasonably well off. Tempting, but no. Not sure if he had a lot to do with the Godhra riots. Not sure if the media is really unbiased or agenda-driven. Maybe he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But no, he supports Yeddy, who's also supposed to be corrupt - or is he? If he's corrupt, he would've been behind bars, not romping around Shimoga running election rallies. But then he would win anyway. He's a Lingayat and most people in North Karnataka vote on caste lines. Shame in this day and age. Still, voting for the BJP sounds tempting.

Nope, not going down that rabbit-hole. I'll vote for Prof. Babu Mathew who seems to be a well-qualified person. Plus, his name sounds Mallu. Yup, we Mallus need to stick together.

Friday, 16th May, 2014

Results out. Just realised that AAP had less votes than registered members. Only about 50% of Bangalore voted but on voting day, everyone was 'supporting' AAP - on Facebook and Twitter, from Goa, where they had taken off for a 4-day vacation. Thanks Mother-Cluckers. Your fart in the hurricane was immensely helpful to the Nation.

It's a Modi wave and he's vigorously waving his middle finger to all us broom-wielding AAPtards. Om NaMo...

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's with the Lokpal?

Lying in bed with a fever-addled brain and nothing to do, the idling grey matter turns to an incident at work yesterday. Friends and countrymen in the city rushing to form a human chain against corruption - that poisoned, vile spear thrust deeper into us over the years by corrupt politicians and the bureaucracy; two shaky pillars of our tripod-mounted democracy. So above-mentioned friends were running off to form a human chain. I politely declined to join, having to complete labours for my masters in a land far to the west.

While I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of feeling against the evil 'C' (living in a city where "Swalpa Adjust Maadi" is the mantra), I was appalled that sensible, level-headed people were being swept away in a wave of patriotico-nationalistico-kill-those-corrupt-bastards-optimistic fervour, supporting a man and an idea that not very many have a clear idea about. Clearly, the mob was in town. If ye, weary net surfer, have a moment and an ear to lend, come hither and let me state the facts as I see them -

1. What can the Lokpal do?
Investigate a complaint from anyone, undertake surveillance, chargesheet and prosecute an offender. The only thing it does not have is a prison of its own. It is independent of any other body, be it the legislature, judiciary or the bureaucracy. It will have powers like the police and can file FIRs. All existing anti-corruption agencies are under it. Its decisions cannot be questioned. Basically, it can act against any officer, judge or politician. If you are a corrupt government official reading this, you have reason to fear what looks like a draconian law. The USP of this law is that all investigations/prosecutions will be time-bound and transparent. How these two miracles will be brought about is something that has been drowned in all the sound and fury surrounding the campaign. An admirable trait is the protection afforded to whistle-blowers.

2. What can it not do?
It cannot act against private corporations. Hmmm... but aren't the large, evil corporations the ones who're handing out foreign trips and expensive gifts for mining licenses, super expensive toilet rolls or a bit of 2G spectrum. No answer.

3. Who will be members of the Lokpal? Do I get a say?
The members of the Lokpal will be appointed by senior judges, nobel laureates of Indian origin (most of whom don't even live in India), Bharat Ratna/Magsaysay awardees and other leading lights of civil society. This means a class of the elites will choose who gets to run what will be one of the most powerful institutions in the country. Members who will then be accountable to no one but themselves and the powerful elite that put them in power. Ordinary citizens don't get a say - we, who are too dumb to chose our leaders wisely. Our choices are currently the targets of this bill.

4. Who guards the guardians?
If you have a complaint you could report it to independent boards in each state. Lokpal members and the chairman can only be removed by approaching the Supreme Court. What's worrying is that we'll have to rely on the transparency promised by the Lokpal to analyse its decisions - not a great situation to be in.

5. What happens if I manage to piss off one of the Lokpal people?
Move to Tanzania, get plastic surgery or better yet, a gender change.

6. Who is Anna Hazare?
Social activist, fearless campaigner, authoritarian, admirer of Narendra Modi's Gujrat or RSS sympathiser? Maybe all of these and more. For a brief history of the man, check Wikipedia. Gandhian, he definitely is not. Gandhi never resorted to threats, obduracy or empty rhetoric.

So what is this bill? Is it the ultimate wet-dream of a frustrated urban middle-class? A billion people who are sick of an oligarchic government they see as as the root of all their problems? Who are these billion people who have lent their support to Anna - genuine anti-corruption crusaders or a few thousand wannabe-crusaders magically multiplied into millions by TV channels? Who are they who tell us "India is Anna and Anna is India". He is the voice of the 'People'. Do 'People' include someone like Irom Sharmila, who has been fasting for more than ten years against the AFSPA? Are the Manipuris supporting her 'People' too? And what are we agitating for? A Utopian 'League of Protectors' with unquestionable integrity who'll guide us into a corruption-free future? It is comforting that both the cause and the solution to corruption are like the characters in a movie, with the corrupt being the villains and the Lokpal the hero. We're just content to be in the audience, to watch, safe in the knowledge that good will eventually triumph over evil.

Assuming you've got this far, you need to think about whether you would want to live under the Lokpal system or not. Don't say yes to it just because it's a 'mass revolution' or 'great leap forward' or some such trash belched out by everyone and everything you see and hear on mass media. However, it's a start. The men behind the bill may be flawed, but it's miles better than the laughable version tabled by the government in Parliament. It is for you dear friend, to decide whether to launch yourself into action or guilt yourself into inaction. Corruption is one of our biggest problems but is the drug more dangerous than the disease? Are we responding to corruption in the system by setting up another, more powerful system that can be corrupted? Either way, as the more fascist-minded in the new revolution would say, "You're either with us or against us" and, to be perfectly honest, who can be for corruption?

Corruption is not something that one of our million and one gods will descend from the heavens to clean up. If you've ever bought a house, think about whether you'd rather pay the ubiquitous '1%' bribe or run from pillar to post for a Khata A-certificate, B-certificate, approvals for the positions of light-switches and God-knows-what-else. Next time you jump a signal or are caught driving drunk, will you pay the traffic cop (chalta hai yaar, it's only a hundred bucks) or will you pay the fine and resolve not to break the rules again? Even more difficult, when you or someone close to you gets married, will you stand up to your parents/relatives and refuse to give or take dowry, even though the very people who taught you the difference between right and wrong say, "it's part of tradition and this is how it's always been"? If you haven't caught on yet champ, corruption doesn't exist because there are bribe-takers; it exists because there are bribe-givers. You and me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The First Time...

It's happened to almost all of us (unless you're way too young to do it). The first time is usually the hardest, what with the pain and the blood, not to mention the discomfort that goes on for a few days. My first time was yesterday, at the ripe old age of 27 and a half - I fell off my bike.

Looking back, the day started with a sign of things to come. Agsie (my Bike... short for Agniezka) refused to start in the morning, despite repeated pleas and a lot of kicking and swearing. She finally purred to life, albeit a bit reluctantly. I made it to the karma-bhoomi without incident and spent a long, tiring day working to dramatically alter the life of trillions of car buyers who depend on my team for their car-buying decisions.

Heading back home in the evening, I encountered the usual traffic in the province of Banga-A-Lot - overworked office workers going home to the fat, ugly wife and noisy kids, auto drivers who've always wanted that F1 dream, frustrated techies on their bikes heading home to their beloved porn collections... you know, the usual. Into this sea of chaos, I drove Agsie, our benign 350-cc influence no doubt calming the multitude. Cruising along at a demure 30kph, making brilliant plans to end the world's poverty and hunger, I surveyed my flock, all quietly heading towards the road-on-which-the-BOARD-OF-DIVINE-COFFEE-building stands.

Into this oasis of peace, suddenly, a streak of red, well, streaked into my line of sight. Aforementioned streak then proceeded to cut in front of me and just as my ageing grey cells were beginning to grasp the fact that the streak had four wheels and was driven by someone who'd apparently supped too well and was looking to relieve their umm...burden, the streak stopped streaking and took on a solid shape. It stopped...hard.

My impulses, after years of watching classic kung-fu movies, were honed to perfection. The distal and proximal phalanxes on my right hand, in conjunction with my metacarpophalangeal joint, worked smoothly to jam the brakes, a gesture reciprocated moments later by the metatarsopahalangeal joints on my right foot. I stopped too...even harder.

The world then twisted around sickeningly. During the next second, I saw the car in front roll over to its left. The trees by the side of the road rolled over too and the cars and bikes around me did the same. The road came up and scraped against my side. Poor thing, must've had a few scratches. A second later, the world and its mother had rolled over to their left and more annoyingly, stayed there. Why didn't they right themselves? All that rolling about can't be good, unless there's hay involved (wink, wink to someone).

Moments later, reality flitted back into the cranial cavity and I stood up, swayed, tried to lift Agsie and swayed some more. She was hurt, broken but there was no bleeding. She'd live. Hands appeared out of nowhere. People moved me to the side of the road. Agsie was safely put aside. Two guys from Wipro stayed back (Ravi and Suresh?, both natives of Karnataka). Thanks guys, for bringing me water and pushing a 182-kg bike 2 kms to my home. I didn't expect such generosity. I don't know what to say.

I was thinking of ending this by wagging my chubby index finger and warning people to watch out for that deadly-combination of bad drivers (usually in red cars) and a mix of sand and water on roads that invitingly say, "Come lie with me." Instead, if you're ever in Bangalore and you come across a couple of tall, thin guys working in Wipro who go by the names of Ravi and Suresh from Bangalore and who stay about 5-6 kms from the Majestic bus terminus, thump their backs (gently pat if you have a heavy hand) and tell them they're good people. Thanks again, guys.

Thump On (somewhat carefully)!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On a Woman-Woman Relationship

Alright, all you perverts who've eagerly jumped onto this blog expecting a raunchy write-up, $@%#$% off. This is neither the time nor the place (we'll talk about that over a drink or three some other time). Today I'm ranting about the hate/no-love-lost relationship that most women have with pretty much every other woman.
Like all great writers, let moi dredge up an example from the
'Sparkling Life of MySelf.' In the red corner we have Agsie, a puny 182kg Bull(-et) who spends her days carrying me around the Kingdom of Nai Dilli @ a demure 40kph(speed thrills but kills). In the blue corner we have YUM-YUM, a vivacious 35kg(+10 - but you didn't hear that from me) girl about whom I could write reams but I only refrain for fear that her pretty little head would bloat.

Round I (Scene: Pleasant windy day, we've just ripped(@53kph) into the parking lot of shitty-expensive-snob-hangout-mall-in-Saket):
YUM-YUM(running a pretty hand through shiny black hair): Hmmm... My hair's all messed up.
Moi(thoughtfully scratching unshaved stubble): Wind, probably.
Agsie: [purr].
YUM-YUM: It's the ride dummy! All that wind in my hair.
Moi: huh?
Agsie: [rumble].
YUM-YUM: Seriously, you should get a car. Even 'you' can afford one.
Moi(ogling at pretty thing getting into a nearby car): [grunt].
Agsie: [growl].

Round II (Scene: Traffic signal at busy intersection. Warm evening):
YUM-YUM(arms lovingly draped around Moi): Jeez! It's getting late. My crazed-over-protective-excuse-for-a-father's going to be furious if I'm late.
Moi(thoughtfully scratching... unshaved stubble): Traffic, heavy.
Agsie: [rumble-that-sounds-suspiciously-like-a-grin].
{The sun sets and simultaneously the light turns green}
Agsie: [kaput].
Moi(after 13 attempts to kickstart): @#$%@#!@$!!???!
Agsie: [floorrrp].
YUM-YUM: WTF??!!?? Daddy's gonna murder me! Can't you get this piece of $#$@% to start?
Moi(oceans of sweat pouring down brow): "Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem" (from the latin: In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags).
Agsie: [bleerb-that-sounds-like-a-giggle].
Moi: I said I'd just dislocated my Ox Coxae.
YUM-YUM: Very funny. Perhaps you've also dislocated the Humerus?
{choice Punjabi words accompanied by loud honking from motorists behind}
Moi(muttering under my breath): I'd like to squash someone's Medula Oblongata right now.
YUM-YUM(walking off): Turn that infernal thing off. Let's take an auto and you can come back for the damn thing.
Moi(tears welling up, that empty feeling in the heart): Agsie, you're the best-est-est thing ever that carried me around (after Mommy - little slower but nine months on the trot!).
{final half-hearted kick}
Moi(with a whoop that sounds like red-indian who's about to ravish hot white woman): She's...Alive!
YUM-YUM: Hmmpph... Do you think it'll last?
Agsie: [GROWWL].
{Long traffic-infested ride to drop YUM-YUM. No goodnight kiss}

Which is what the 'status quo post bellum' is, like my old uncle Julius Nairus Caesar used to say. At this point I should probably be asking, "Why do women hate each other instinctively? Why do I have to bear the brunt? Why do women ask men if they look fat(if you're asking, you probably are!)?". Brave men throughout the ages have attempted to answer questions like these, failed spectacularly and ended up slashing their wrists/throats/'other body parts' in despair. However, lacking that particular brand of testicular fortitude, I plan to do the only thing a reasonable man can be expected to do - reach for a glass of the 'Aqua Vitae' and surrender to glorious oblivion.

Friday, June 12, 2009

On Humility

For the first few days that you own a Bull, you're on top of the world. You polish it till it gleams, you don't allow anyone else near it, you wipe dirt off the silencer (while it's still hot and burn your index & middle fingers); you know, the usual.

So this past Sunday saw me riding, decked out in all my finery, to the showroom to get my leg-guard fixed. There's a red light up ahead with a few cars waiting. I downshift and slide into neutral and slowly cruise to a stop. The weather was a pleasant 38 degrees and the sun was just bright enough to glint off the shiny new paint on Agnieska (the bike, idiot!).

If you've taken care of your Bull you know that one of the the best things while stuck at a traffic light are the stares of envy you attract. There was the usual crowd - uncle-JI's wishing they'd bought a Bull instead of those big, air-conditioned monstrosities on four wheels (Mercs they're called, I believe), bored aunty-JI's wondering what their hot yoga instructors were doing and Pinkis' and Pappus' picking their noses or drooling over Agsie (still talkin' of the bike, moron!). Acknowledging my superstar status, I turned off the ignition, adjusted the mirrors and checked that my receding hairline hadn't retreated any further overnight - all the while throwing quick glances at the traffic light (remember the 'Magnum' look in that Ben Stiller movie?).

And then it happened... the light turned GREEN.

With a lazy flick of my wrist, I turned on the ignition and pressed the electric starter - all the while glancing down arrogantly at the hoi polloi. There was a sound like a dog choking on a carrot. Unfazed, with the arrogant look still on my face, I pressed the starter again. This time the dog seemed to have swallowed a watermelon. With the sound of angry horns being honked by angrier drivers I turned to my reliable kick-start.

Kick One: Agsie burped...honking grows louder.
Kick Two: Agsie coughed...I can faintly make out references in punjabi to the female members of my clan.
Rolled Agsie forward and Kick Three: Familiar subdued thump...feel the power of the beast waking up. Shift 1-2-3 and I'm out of reach.

As I rolled away, spirits slightly dampened, I figured Agsie had taught me a valuable lesson in humility - the whole pride goes before a fall thing. No worries, I forgive all you car-driving, road-rage affected Dilli-wallahs. I ride a Bull, you'll just spend the rest of your miserable lives wishing you could.
Plus, when Royal Enfield take over the world, I'll have you all executed... nasty @#$%@@$%#

I got me a Bull

Concerned Chaddi-buddy: "Seriously, are you eff-ing crazy?"
Colleague, who's been there, done that: "Why don't you get a nice little NaNo instead? It's economical and safe. Plus, it'll have an A/C for Delhi's summers."
Older, wiser colleague: "Get a car - invest in your future."
Ex-GF: "What is this, a quarter-life crisis?"
Best Friend & Machismo owner: "It's pure lust. Don't fight it, go for it!!"
X: "I'll sleep with you if you buy the TBTS!!"

Ok, the last one isn't true. So here I am...late twenties, software coolie, haven't ridden anything except bsa champ/hero cycles (in school) and an advanced automatic-geared Kinetic (in college), with a history of crashing into gates, cycles, mopeds and innocent chole-bhature-wallahs by the road;my first bike - a Bullet? Looking back (to about two weeks), WHAT WAS I THINKING?

That's how love at first sight works, I guess. I was passing by a Bull pen, saw a few on dislpay and instantly fell for the TBTS. Some say it's not a real Bull - oh yeah?? !
It's been a couple of weeks now - early morning (4AM - honest!) rides because I'm too sissy to ride in Delhi's traffic, day-dreaming at work, reading up on Bull-care, planning long trips up mountains somewhere and hoping my parents don't find out that I've bought a bike.

Pissed-off parents: "Rajiv!!! You little turd! If that bike doesn't kill you, we will...."

IM(not-so-humble)O, there comes a time in every bonded labourer's life when he gets sick of hauling crap; planning and acting very carefully in the hope of a mythical Shangri-La-like future. He feels the urge to make a clean break from the past and, at the risk of sounding cliched, to get away from it all. Suddenly, in a moment of clarity, he decides to steal the master's horse and run away to the mountains - to savour the HERE and the NOW.
Well, I got a Bull and the labourer story doesn't make any sense, but being the don't-care-till-it-bites-me-in-the-@$$ kinda guy that I am, I really don't need to convince anyone.

Thump On (even with a subdued thump)!!