The flamboyant Mr. Macho had just hit the road after letting his hair down in a high octane New Years Eve party. Mr. Macho was your impeccably dressed, classic metro-sexual gentleman by the day who doubled as a colorfully clothed pleasure seeking nocturnal party animal by the night. He was that friend of yours who always went to the office so that he could return to rave parties where his heart really was. Always lingering around for darkness to descend upon the city, this night crawler never missed a chance to swim to the depths of the hedonistic high seas to discover the hidden pleasure treasures lying undiscovered in the bottom. But what could’ve otherwise gone down as a run of the mill New Years Eve was about to turn nightmarish for Mr. Macho. On that fateful night, having swayed his body to the blaring electronic music on the crowded and dim lit dance floor to the hilt, he finally decide to take a break.
#2. THE ADRENALINE JUNKIE
Just as he was about to take the leave, his excited girl friend, trying to drown out the music shouted: “One for the road baby!” She wanted her sweetheart to take a final sip from the chalice of bliss before they parted ways. With alcohol already creeping up his body, rushing through every nerve, he acceded to her last request involuntarily. Inundated in alcohol, he managed to mount on his bike after many futile attempts. Once he revved up the engine, a false sense of dominance embraced his judgments. While riding the beast, he felt his adrenaline pumping heart shout at him to go faster. Mr. Macho stepped on the gas throwing caution to the wind. Upon hitting the highway road, it dawned upon him that his eyes were beginning to betray him. The road ahead was slithering in front of him like a giant serpent, vehicles transmogrified into monsters screaming past him and he believed he was floating aimlessly, amidst stars and clouds, in a fiery intergalactic universe.
#3. LONG ARM OF THE LAW
Just when his misadventure was a whisker away from mortally injuring the onlookers, his journey to meet his maker came to an abrupt halt. No soul on that spot could miss the zig zag biker creating chaos on an arterial highway on a New Years Eve. The limbs of the law too were no exception. A siren booming Police patrol vehicle, taking an abrupt turn, caught up with Mr. Macho in no time. From the vehicle, down came two men clothed in khaki. The higher ranked one thundered from his microphone at him to stop the bike. Nonetheless, Mr. Macho by now had hit a barricade and had stopped the bike barely managing to sit on it. Upon receiving orders, the subordinate in khaki cautiously approached Mr. Macho whose drooping head was still resting on the fuel tank of his bike. All the while focusing intensely on Mr. Macho, the man in Khaki gradually removed his paraphernalia to detect the blood alcohol level in Mr. Macho’s body. He stood in front of Macho and mustering his courage shot: “What’s your name?”
#4. BIG GUN BITES THE DUST
Angered by the interruptions Mr. Macho, who was still floating among the clouds, erupted like a simmering volcano. Raising his head, he looked at the policeman and replied nonchalantly: “I…. am….. Osama… Bin…. Laa…den.” Drunk as a lord, Mr. Macho’s critical faculties had deserted him long before. He had no clue whatsoever about his own identity. All hell broke loose when Mr. Macho, driven by Dutch courage, added a rejoinder to his reply: “And….I…..am….Here….To…Kill…..” Before he could utter another word to finish the sentence, the bleary eyed Mr. Macho saw in slow motion, a hairy muscular hand with a clenched fist at the end travelling swiftly towards his nose. In no time Mr. Macho found himself kissing the road and awkwardly embracing his bike which had fallen along with him. Darkness crept into his eyes from all corners blurring everything initially and knocking him unconscious eventually. On that night, Macho wrote himself into history by getting sucker punched when the chime of the city clock ushered in a brand new year.
#5. THE COURTROOM DRAMA
The squeaking wooden floors, the groaning doors and the cracking chairs amidst loud babbles which made way for dignified voices made Mr. Macho realize that he was in the middle of a court proceeding. As he summoned his consciousness gradually, it dawned on him that he had in fact kick started the first day of an eventful New Year in a nondescript court room. After spending the night unconsciously behind the bars, Macho was now in the dock for all the wrong reasons! He was facing the music for D.U.I. aka drunk driving. For him, the verdict was a foregone conclusion. He knew he was on the firing line and waited with bated breath to face searing questions from the judge. Mr. Macho hung his head like a dying flower to escape the penetrating gazes around him. He gathered some courage and decided to apologize profusely, in order to effect a last minute change of heart, before his imminent incarceration. But time seemed to move at a glacial pace for him, making his unpleasant date with the judiciary linger on for eternity.
#6. RETURN OF THE DRAGON
“But, Wait a minute!” Interjecting him, I continued: “If your crime was proven beyond doubt and your incarceration was certain, what are you doing relaxing on your bed, narrating the whole incident to me?” Arching my brows, I asked him in disbelief: “Why haven’t they locked you up yet?” Mr. Macho, after glancing at his watch in style, jumped up from his bed putting on the airs of Superstar Rajinikanth and laughed at me deliriously. After dressing up immaculately and adjusting his blobbing hair for the nth time, he turned around and replied: “It’s Deus Ex Machina you see!” Scratching my head, I followed him downstairs and uttered: “How on earth!”“Did someone intervene to erase your criminality?”
#7. DEUS EX MACHINA
“ Yes!…That… is.. Exactly… what… happened!” said Mr. Macho sitting on his bike, ready to kick start his beast. I was still not convinced and asked him again: “But…How….?” While starting the engine to hit the road, he said: “The charge against me was Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. The judge simply quashed them with one stroke of his pen claiming it’s all trumped up and vindictive.” “Because…”, asked an eager me expecting him to narrate a long winding explanation concerning the why of it all. “Because…..” said Mr. Macho revving up the engine,
“You don’t DRIVE a bike…..you RIDE it……!
“The Policemen Filed The Wrong Word and the case didn’t stand….Ha…Ha…Ha…”
As he began his journey, leaving a trail of smoke behind, to conquer the roads and disappeared into the horizon, I started home wondering who was really inebriate on that fateful night!
Far from the mundane days when mercury unambiguously travels north, the morning in my city down south, on that specific day, was especially cold. I was kept awake by the unceasing trains of thoughts chugging along in my head sans any destinations. Voices from inside my head were providing an unending food for thought. I doubted if I was living through my own little “BODHISATTVA MOMENT” despite falling short of the Banyan tree. Confused, I turned heavenwards for advice from where it came thick and fast. Perhaps one of the most liberal souls of our time seemed to convey from the skies that I in fact was DREAMING. Because, A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM believed that it were only dreams which could deprive one of his slumber! Only dreams transform into thoughts resulting in actions! Thus, on that cold January morning, despite breaking up with slumber, I was dreaming and managed to prolong it throughout the year! En route, I discovered Socrates through Plato and later Aristotle and many great minds joined the list. It was the desperate intellectual warm up which I needed as I plunged headlong into the depths of the most happening place on earth: India! It is beyond question that I need more than a lifetime to get a hang of the astounding diversity of events hosted by the nation and the world at large! Thus, finally in 2015, I too was having a shot at what has been touted as the EXAMINED way of LIFE. And this is where the rubber meets the road!
The philosophical trinity above never saw eye to eye when it came to who should exercise legitimate authority over the masses. While Philosopher King became the be all and end all for Socrates, power to the people was an anathema for Plato but not for Aristotle who was open to experimenting with a range of regimes. Sixty eight years before, when we started building our nation, the atmosphere was not pregnant with such suspicions. Without blinking an eyelid, NEHRU, PATEL, AMBEDKAR and company laid out the red carpet for Democracy with all its shortfalls. Just as I started going down India’s memory lane through JawaharlalNehru’s “Discovery of India”, the changing realities of 21st century had already prompted our new Prime Minister to bury the anachronic PLANNING COMMISSION and usher in the NITI AAYOG. Just as the last rites of Planning Commission was being performed, from its ashes emerged the indomitable spirit of SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE! After vacillating for a while, it was eventually decided to throw some light on the life of Netaji which until then was shrouded in mystery. But luck never smiled upon AURANGZEB since the Emperor was discarded by the roadside halfway through India’s journey to prosperity!
Burying the vestige of the Hindu rate of growth was indispensable for blazing a new trail. Trailing: That’s what India was doing all these decades after Independence according to some fellow “hot-under-the-collar” Indians. Hence, the clarion call from all the think tanks today is the overwhelming need for us Indians to put on our thinking caps and embrace the defining spirit of our times which goes by the name: INNOVATION. It is the magic wand which could, undoubtedly, lead us to prosperity and build an inclusive society. In line with the zeitgeist, the state’s bugle sounding across India resonated with chants to kill mediocrity and embrace pioneering.Such scintillating endeavours usually ennoble the leaders at the helm and inspire all and sundry to roll up their sleeves. But there was more to this mission than what met the eye. The rhetoric masquerading as the call to innovate was painted with varying HUES OF SAFFRON by vested interests. Thus when the rest of the world fell head over heels in love with the salacious50 SHADES OF GREY, India opted to go SAFFRON!
Hence mumbo jumbos in all size and shape, tinged in cultural nostalgia, flew thick and fast. Imagination ran riot to demonstrate that India, during her long lost, pristine, innovative, glorious golden past played host to Inter planetary planes, Aircrafts, Automobiles and Embryo researches. The icing on the cake was the novel twist given to LORD GANESHA’s tale! Blockheads claimed that Elephant’s head stitched to the Lord’s body prove beyond doubt that Plastic surgery was child’s play for Indians of the yore. That’s what you call a head start! This MASH UPof Innovation, Imagination, Mythology and Religion formed the template for the rest of the year!!
Even though, the elephant god engaged us ephemerally, the real elephant in the room was the Holy Cow! No cow in the world has ever had voting rights or political affiliations or for that matter labour unions. Despite the deprivation indicators being very heavy, Cows in India this year found their knights in shining thrishuls and barged into editorial boards and newsrooms across the country. Up in the north, where the sword of Islam thesis was getting an audience amidst the Love Jihad, the communalist hitchhiked the SACRED COWAND BEEFED UP VEGETARIANISM only to trample MUHAMMAD AQLAQ to a brutal death. As the dust settles down, it turns out that the whole fiasco helped kill minority’s CASH COW. Meanwhile down south, fed up with THE KISS OF LOVE protest, BEEF FESTS were organized in God’s own country. Delicacies, in all sizes and shapes, made of beef were offered to all and sundry with no strings attached. Beef was baked, grilled, steamed and fried.
But the recipe which stood out was THE ROAST concocted by the A.I.B. in the Maratha heartland. Hence, abuse became the new in thing! Thus, before MAD MAX even thought about it, our culture brigade had already taken to the fury road. They turned “Swaraj is my Birthright” quote on its head into “GETTING OFFENDED IS MY BIRTHRIGHT”. What started as a one horse race soon turned into a tooth and nail fight to grab the eyeballs. THE BLACK SHEEPS of cosmopolitan Mumbai added another feather to their cap when they poured barrels of ignorance and parochialism over hapless visitors. The year ahead for the Fringe groups is shining bright with numerous possibilities but, regrettably, the State seems to be groping in the dark to bring back the BLACK MONEY! Stealing a march, Pakistan condemned that India is intolerant! Amidst the absolute pandemonium hosted by Moral Policies and Cultural Vigilantes across the length and breadth of the nation, TOLERANCE became a scarce commodity and went down the Tur Dal way.
Just as we were crying rivers over the spiralling price of Onions, THE DAL BROTHERS rubbed more salt into our existing inflation inflicted wounds. Adding insult to injury was THE PLIGHT OF THEFARMERS who yet again harvested a season of discontent. They found an everlasting solution for their never ending problems in a piece of rope or a few drops of poison invariably. This turned bittersweet when the capital witnessed a farmer ending his life live through breaking news. The future, especially of the sugarcane farmers, remains sour. But THE RAIL BUDGET, far from being sour, was sugary for the progressive Indians since it heralded the arrival of THE BULLET TRAINS and High speed ones in India. As the nation was busy acknowledging the magnanimity of Japan, another trigger happy brigade TOOK A LEAF OUT OF THE BULLET TRAIN CONCEPT for an entirely different motive. Fed up with their constructive criticisms, one fine morning, some fanatics sprayed bullets into the hearts of rationalists GOVIND PANSARE and M.M.KALBURGI! The trend here as well as in BANGLADESH was to end debates forever by killing the messengers rather than calmly listening to their MANN KI BAAT!
The pro civil liberties brigade, standing for rationalism, asked searching questions about the assassins and their whereabouts. In return the state, after taking a deep breath, arrested another smiling assassin called MAGGINOODLES on charges of LEADing us astray. It just took two minutes to ban Maggi. Surviving all the decoys, the free speech brigade persisted and still asked “WHY WAS KALBURGI AND PANSARE KILLED?” This question was met with equal aplomb by the cyberspace which was busy deciphering another equally significant question which went like: “WHY DID KATTAPPA KILL BAAHUBALI?” Fed up, the free speech unit turned AVENGERS not to prevent the age of ultron but to check the increasing AGE OF INTOLERANCE through THE AWARD WAPSICAMPAIGN. A slugfest ensued where hitting below the opponent’s belt became the thumb rule. When the artists en masse ran out of patience and decided that SILENCE WAS NOT AN OPTION anymore, the silence of the man at the helm became deafening.
Still suffering from THE INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY HANGOVER, the Prime Minister, remaining calm, collected and composed, maintained a studied silence throughout. One can silence RAJDEEP but you will never, ever, ever, find the word “Silence” in ARNAB GOSWAMI’s dictionary. After assembling his motley crew, Arnab perhaps for the first time shot scathing questions to sadhus and sadhvis about THE BAN CULTURE. You see, no one can Censor Arnab! So, the CENSOR BOARD, already frustrated that AIB couldn’t be reined in, went after 007 turning him into a SHUDH, DESHI, and SANSKAARI JAMES BOND!! When the overwhelming atmosphere was dictated by intolerance, dominated by chauvinism engineered by Bans, the only beacon of hope was the Supreme Court which struck the final nail in the coffin of SECTION 66A.
The partisan attitude displayed by the state and the society spilled inevitably into the social media where Feminists became FEMINAZIS, Secularists became SICKULARISTS and netizens were either branded M*** BHAKT or a C******* CHAMCHA. Amidst and overwhelming atmosphere of Partisanship how on earth can you expect MARK ZUCKERBERG TO SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY? An American company whose server is located outside India and which doesn’t pay Income tax is being given the crusade of closing in the DIGITAL DIVIDE. This flies in the face of logic. The Free Basics is the means to attain the end called Meta data which means gold mine for Facebook and co. No wonder why the lad has still kept his “UNLIKE” BUTTON in the pipeline. Zuckergerb, without an iota of doubt, would’ve earned overwhelming “Unlikes” from the Indian Netizens. Mark Zuckerberg should TRAI and TRAI until he succeeds!!
You cannot be blamed if you thought Facebook had an axe to grind when it promoted the Digital India Campaign. Despite the unceasing calls by the government to usher in Digital Equality, the omnipotent state and the free spirited Internet make STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. The state waxes eloquent about the need to usher in e governance and transparency on Sunday and goes for a blanket ban on websites and books on Monday. The BAN LOGIC reached stratospheric proportions when PORNOGRAPHY became the next victim for allegedly corrupting the minds of youth. Instant reactions followed in the wake of porn ban. It hit the crescendo in Gujarath where the shrewd Hardik Patel turned the collective frustrations of youth around by channelling them into an ANTI-RESERVATION STIR. My heart really goes out to those legislators in a state assembly who watched porn when a debate on drought was on. Truly, there could be NO EASE OF DOING BUSINESS when the society is preoccupied with unease! As a postscript to this I won’t blame you if you thought CHENNAI SUPER KINGS was banned by the government!! No! No one has banned BAN KI MOON!!
While BAN, BAN, BAN was the overwhelming call emerging across the length and breadth of the nation, it was BANG, BANG, BANGACROSS THE LINE OF CONTROL once again. This continued even after BHAI TRANSFORMED himself from BEING HUMAN to BEING HANUMAN through BHAJRANGI BHAIJAAN! Alas! Not even Bhai could stop the belligerent standoff between India and Pakistan. “Instead of talking about each other, India and Pakistan should talk with each other”, remarked someone. And when the THINKING KHAN did talk, the “I-was-born-to-get-offended-gang” accused him of being an alien and wanted him dispatched to Pk’s planet.
When India’s Oprah was becoming a REFUGEE IN THE MAKING, Europe was already feeling the heat as a consequence of the EXODUS FROM SYRIA. They seem to be learning the hard way about the consequences of maintaining an impeccable human rights record at home and a miserable one abroad. Europe should stop being ROHIT SHARMA, who has a terrific home record and a dismal one abroad, once and for all. While Team India is yet make its mind whether to make him open the innings or send him down the order, the Supreme Court was concentration personified when it put an end to N.SRINIVASAN’sREIGN in BCCI. He and his son in law blamed ANUSHKA SHARMA for the whole IPL fiasco for bringing bad omens!! While GURUNATH MEYAPPAN was done in by betting, the government won the wager against the protesting FTII students by persisting with GAJENDRA CHAUHAN! In an age when even the DHARMAPUTRA – YUDHISTIR pays no heed to morality, how can you expect a LARGER THAN LIFE figure to take the blame for culpable homicide? At a time when CONCEPT CARS are still on papers, the foreigners were in awe about the fact that BHAI owned a DRIVERLESS CAR way back in 2000s! Hence Silicon Valley offered a red carpet welcome to the Prime Minister to talk seriously about Technology and Innovation!
While Obama was having yet another CHAI PE CHARCHA with Modi , VLADIMIR PUTIN had already stolen a march over Uncle Sam by backing Assad and thwarting the ISLAMIC STATE. As THE NEW WORLD ORDER is being drawn and redrawn by Putin’s Russia, Xi’s China and Obama’s America through Silk Roads, Maritime Routes and Trade Partnerships, only CHARLIE HEBDO can tell the world how lethal some drawings could get. The men who talked truth to power irreverently through countless sketches were sprayed with bullets culminating in the slogan “JE SUIT CHARLIE”. When it was ONE DREADFUL DAYfor CHARLIE HEBDO, the year brought TWO NIGHTMARES FOR PARIS. Staying true to the saying “What goes around comes around”; Paris witnessed the gagging of Charlie Hebdo when the year was still young. At the rear end of the year, violence revisited the city when ISIS stagedTERROR IN THE BATACLAN THEATRE instead of ART. That was soooo RADICAL! As if that were not enough, ISIS let loose RADICALIZATION amongst the YOUTH through SOCIAL MEDIA! But DONALD TRUMP made a mockery of ISIS when he called to boycott Muslims!! When the reality about what corrupts the youth hit home, India, admirably, reversed its porn ban!
Although separated by space, an Indian city too had hiccups finishing off the year 2015. While it was Tsunami, many moons back, which brought the city to its knees, this time it was when the heavens opened and gods forgot to close the gates. No, Chennai didn’t sink because RAJINIKANTH started sweating incessantly. Chennai sank because, instead of SAINT NICHOLAS, a lesser known weather phenomenon called EL NINO visited the city during Christmas. We received a whole month’s rainfall in a matter of few days and all hell broke loose!!
By the end of the year, the sceptic in me was dying a slow death. The triumphalism vaunted by the majority was waning away partly due to electoral debacles and the spirited resistance by some sections of society! My waning Faith in Humanity was restoredwhen the tale of three cities, separated by geography, unfolded after three shocking disasters. Paris didn’t witness virulent Islamophobia in the wake of terror attacks. Chennai divided by region, religion, wealth and status, came together to provide succour to the flood ravaged ones. Kathmandu, rocked by the quake, found an ally in India when the latter stepped on the gas! Spirit of Volunteerism went through the roof when the youth rolled up their sleeves and took the plunge to save Chennai and Greenpeace, despite taking a licking, kept on ticking due to its volunteers. This year will go down in memory as the year when the world leaders, shrugging off their lethargy, descend in Paris to strike a deal on Climate change through COP 21! I sincerely hope the world will stand up against the growing terror menace, intolerance, radicalization, the growing inequality in wealth and a permanent seat for India in UN Security Council! Back home, in India, quicker legislations, better debates, accountable politics, responsible media, empathetic executive are what I hope for!
I believe India will put up a better show in Olympics 2016. Bolt and Messi will redo what they are best at and F.C.Barcelona will yet again win the Champions League. But This Year I fell In Love with a gifted but humble woman: HOLLY HOLM, The New UFC Champion!And finally I rediscovered the fading empathy within me this year when I wailed for an unknown, cherubic three year old whose lifeless body lay by the beach lapped by the endless waves! As we all pick up the pieces and step into the new year let’s resolve not to have anymore AYAN KURDIS’.
Bathsheba Sherman, the ghost from the movie “The Conjuring”, is the only thing which can send shivers down my spine. Ever since I watched the movie way back in 2013, I have had a creepy feeling that in the dead of night, she emerges stealthily from under my bed! And after intensely staring at me for a while, she pounces upon me going straight for my throat! Shouting on top of my voice, I grab her by the neck and launch a barrage of punches trying to knock her out or send her flying through the air. Sanity returns when the lights come on and it dawns upon me that in the name of pommelling the ghost to pulp, I had in fact mercilessly beaten my pillow into submission. And that’s how, without any alarms, my family and sometimes the whole apartment wakes up early in the morning! Purely Out of this world! The funniest part is when they try to point this flaw and pin me down in the morning; I wash my hands of claiming I was unconscious!! Even though I have no clue as to what’s in store for me in 2016, I’m sure not to have nightmares anymore!
After the nightmares, comes another hurdle called The Daybreak! Mornings are super cool! Waking up early in the morning to soak one’s soul in the freshness of the air and to fill your eyes with the vibrant hues of nature all around you is just peerless. If I go on to claim that I wake up in the mornings, just in time, to indulge in this ritual every day, I would’ve set a new record for taking heights of insincerity to stratospheric proportions!! Climbing up from the chasm of dreams braving the nubile girls, secret missions and other escapades down there to get out on time to respond to the blaring alarm has always been a challenge for me. I rarely make it on time and yes it is a no contest. The brave souls who try to wake me up are given a rousing reception comparable to the one an infiltrator gets when he crosses the Line of control stealthily. This is that time of the day when wingless alarms fly in the direction of the intruder! Despite these handicaps, I have no plans to wake up late because a head start has its own advantages.
If I outsmart my desires in the wee hours and rise from my bed, another battle awaits me. Far from the hedonistic notion of soaking in the bountiful nature around you in the wee hours, there will be screams from my family to go jogging! If I don’t fall in line, they will soon get a kick out of kicking my rear. This proves beyond any doubts that I have successfully entered another year with my eternal battle with the bulge in tow! Even though, I’m not miserably out of shape, this jaded city soul desperately needs to pump some iron into its body to keep ailments at bay! So I don’t intend to skip exercise this year!
To cool down the aching tendons, sore foot and my sweating body after the exercise, what better way than take a shower! But the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner was ringing across Chennai when it became a water world recently. In a city, notorious for its water shortage, there was water everywhere but, unfortunately, not any drop to drink. I know the forces working behind the curtains which brought this plight upon the city like the back of my palm. But the truant monsoons, fiery global warming, the ensuing climate change, the plight of the struggling poor and other sane considerations of the civilized world takes a backseat when I step into take a shower! In the shower that follows, my egregious singing drowns out the voices of the poor and the unceasing spray of water cools down the global warming. At the end of the day, the climate aggravates whereas I stubbornly waste the elixir of life. Old habits die hard but not this year though! Splurging water is not in my radar this year or ahead in my life.
After cleansing my body, when I sit down to break my fast, something always eats me instead. There is the inevitable desire to maintain a balanced diet in mind but when I get a whiff of what’s been concocted in the kitchen, the desired balance is kicked out of the window by my appetite. Now, this food obsession gives me food for thought! To not surfeit on food and drinks will top my not to do list in the year ahead. Nevertheless, the silver lining is the fact that I am still a vegetarian! Else I would’ve bursted at the seams long before!! But the insatiable “Mr. Hyde” within me wins the hunger games more often than the rational “Dr.Jekyll”.
After having kept hunger at bay, I ventured out on a fateful day as a volunteer to serve the victims of the deluge. My contribution was the humblest since it involved picking up cartons containing relief materials from storeroom and unloading the same on the Lorries outside. Seven Minutes! That was my duration of volunteering to be precise. By then, frustration which had steadily crawled up my body had bursted out as anger. The battery of volunteers, who supposedly had landed there to lend a helping hand, were pleading to allow me to take their selfies with cartons in the background before I picked them up. For the narcissist, posing for selfies and earning likes in the time of calamity towered over sending aid to the ravaged victims. When the clamour grew higher turning pleadings into commands, I was back in the hut. No points for guessing the moral of the story. I will of course not stop volunteering but have no plans ever in my life to pose for a selfie.
When I walked back home, it dawned upon me that I alone was not the victim at the camp. Things took a turn for the worse when I striked a conversation with two other crestfallen guys. Half way through the conversation, I realized that I was talking to two guys whose imagination was wilder than the wild, Wild West. For, over the course of the talk, they even unearthed the hidden interconnections between the deviant youth and cancer cells. My silent nodding only exhilarated them! When I couldn’t take it anymore, I started retorting and lo and behold: All hell broke loose!! Hell hath no fury than skeptics scorned!! Words flied thick and fast between us as we tried to drown each other out, lowering the quality of debate to the point of no return. From this New Year on I have no plans to get hot under my collar at the drop of the hat.Let sanity prevail now and forever!To debate with skepitcs is not even in my radar for eternity. Because, as they say, debating with skeptics is like mud wrestling with pigs. Firstly you get covered in mud and secondly the pig loves it!! And you are the eventual loser!
Even though, we didn’t kill each other and just kept ourselves to trading abuses, I was just a whisker away from being dragged into a quagmire of violence. The very likelihood that one could dislocate another man’s jaw, land one’s knee on another one’s chest and knock him out cold is disturbing. The bravado magnifies if the antagonist, at the other end, is feeble. And the bloodlust grows when supporters and opponents join polarised camps, making way for absolute pandemonium. Come January, I plan to stay away from violence in all its manifestations. Violence in thoughts, gazes, words and actions will not be in my territory for the coming year. No plans to abuse or hurt anyone intentionally!! It’s really hard but let me try and fail nevertheless!!
When I was at home in the evening, contemplating about the day which went by, I realized that I was being driven around by passion more than reason, sowing seeds of doubts within my mind about my ability. To bury the pangs of guilt, I took asylum in the internet where I was greeted by mediocrity yet again. Posts by netizens masquerading as the last word on everything under the roof were parading in front of me. This breathed life back into the ghosts of frustration, jealousy and vengeance which were suppressed within me. Egged on by the trinity, I transformed myself into a combatant of different kind called “the Key Board Warrior” and took the plunge into the virtual world to fight mediocrity. The lone, brave key board warrior fights valiantly in the “Comments Section” and stamps his authority by hoisting triumphant flags of victory there. After warding off useless troll and fed up waiting without any response from the authors, I started realizing that there was no point in fighting impractical battles in the worst of places. The year ahead will not have any more Key Board Warrior cameos from me! Not intentions to interfere in mediocre debates as well. Upset that I wasted my time, I while more of it away clicking on random cat and dog videos to keep my inner demons from surfacing inside my head again. Nevertheless, they appear for the showdown!! It’s downhill all the way from then on. They mercilessly question all the beliefs that I hold and lure me to walk away from them indicating that still holding on to them steadfastly were pointless. By punching holes in things which I stand for and killing my ideologies, they reduce me to a rubbled heap.
My inner demons let loose their partner who goes by the name Loneliness upon me. Coming under incessant attack from frustration, loneliness, self-doubt and anger my conscience runs for cover finding asylum in a decoy called Porn. The veil of ignorance surrounding me justifies watching porn which otherwise is considered a blasphemy. When normalcy returns, it only helps raise my culpability shaming me and questioning my self-worth. The picture is complete when the Judges arrive and make the day a judgement day. No, not the erudite judges of our venerated courts but the relatives who judge your worth by weighing the zeroes in your pay package and material possessions! Already deprived of self-worth and devoid of recognition, the journey downhill culminates when I end up losing my dignity as well.
Darkness descends upon my thoughts as I start viewing things from the glass is half full perspective for eternity. From this year on I intend not to waste my time reading nonsense. I have no plans to chop and change my views and will not vacillate when it comes to taking a decision.Because if you fall for everything, you will not stand up for anything!I have no intention to let self-doubt in the form of skeptics, relatives and naysayers creep into my thoughts.Porn will have no role to play in the year ahead. I plan not to sit licking my wounds or brood over failures. To keep them at bay my mind is fixed on taking to the road. And will never ever let myself question my self-worth and dignity. As a postscript, I would like to join that there is no plan to cry out on top of my voice to get recognition. The wisdom is that recognition will follow you if you lead an examined life.
The floods in the far end of 2015 have cleansed the city and my soul clean. The slate is clean for us to begin a new lease of life. As I go to sleep tonight, hoping for a better year ahead, I recognize that nothing can hold me back! Not even Bathsheba Sherman, who by now would have gone in search of another bed to hide under!
Realpolitik in simple worlds means – politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral or ethical premises. A phenomenon widely practiced in India today. The entries under REALPOLITIK are an ATTEMPT to connect the immediate events which go past us by looking at the funny side of those ! It is outright silly !!
BYE BYE CYCLES
I waited and waited and waited for them to reverse their decision but nothing happened. I am forced to write and publish this post hoping that REASONING will revisit Kolkata again. When ASI went in search of the elusive gold another story was unfolding in the east which had all the ingredients to surpass the former but stayed subdued though. Kolkata banned CYCLE and its TRIBE from most of its thoroughfares !!! Environmentalist and Cycle enthusiasts were clueless as to what prompted the authorities to do so !
Eventually, evidences are trickling down from the inner circles as to what was running in Di’s mind when she took the decision. Turns out that Di was a TRUE BLUE supporter of the world’s most successful professional cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG. The Blue Eyed boy of the cycling world was loved by Di so much that she painted the city BLUE when he announced his comeback signifying “SKY IS THE LIMIT”. The Left could only see RED. But that move backfired spectacularly when it ended up promoting BLUE FILMS inadvertently ! When Armstrong fell from grace she went berserk. This was reflected in her ignominious conduct towards her party colleague who doubled as the Railway minister back then. When her grief hit new heights and transformed into unwarranted suspicions, she accused her coalition partner MANMOHAN of being a MAOIST and walked out of the alliance ! Poor Chap !! Accusations flew thick and fast ! Mao was invoked at the drop of a hat. During T.V. shows, her party’s rallies and even SHIEKH HASINA was denied TEESTA TREATY owing to Mao. Still nursing the wounds of ARMSTRONG’s fall from grace the Kolkata Corporation, under the aegis of a vicarious Di, banned CYCLE and its tribe from its roads. This , insiders claim, was to prove her unflinching loyalty towards Lance Armstrong. She even fears that the whole LANCE ARMSTRONG DOPING FIASCO was a MAOIST CONSPIRACY ! This blanket ban on cycles, she believes, should send out a loud and clear message to her detractors and conveys her determination to stand by the side of the cyclist as he fights his darkest hours ! She should in fact think about changing her party’s slogan to MA(O), MATI, MANUSH !! That would at least be a small PARIBORTAN !!
P.S: No one can imaginatively snub the Yankees like the Bengal of the yore. They registered their protest against AMERICAN IMPERIALISM by renaming the road in which the American Consulate stood as HO CHI MINH SARANI !! The present Bengal is a mere shadow of their forefathers. Painting the city blue to aim high or Banning cycles,which is the livelihood of the poor, owing to slowing down traffic and to thwart terror attacks are decisions which oozes stupidity from all sides. If Bengal needs real PARIBORTAN, the policy makers should stop scratching the surface and welcome back reasoning as a first step!
Otto Von Bismarck would have crushed my skull, had he been alive, for employing his brainchild as my title. Realpolitik in simple worlds means – politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral or ethical premises. A phenomenon widely practiced in India today.
It is too hard to contain the current events unfolding in our country into a single blog post since these are incredibly layered and has huge ramifications. An amateur political analyst cannot do the above sensibly. Therefore the entries under REALPOLITIK are an ATTEMPT to connect the immediate events which go past us by looking at the funny side of those ! It is outright silly !!
BROKEN GOLDEN DREAMS
Pranab da, when he was the finance minister, candidly confessed once that he spent sleepless nights thinking about India’s deficit conditions. His instant solution was to walk out of Finance Ministry and into the Rashtrapati Bhavan ! He thus became the Best Prime Minister India never had ! Now the scape goat here was P.C. : the person who replaced Pranab da. He increasingly got fidgety over the fact that Indians’ imported too much gold draining FOREX reserves. Along came the solution – He increased the Import duty, We smuggled the gold in. He offered Inflation Indexed Bonds but we simply discarded it, He despised our habit of buying gold, We raised our middle finger in his direction !! P.C , a man miserably short of options, was blamed for bringing India’s fiscal health to this pass ! He too like his predecessor was fast becoming an Insomniac but a never heard before seer was his only chance to change his dwindling fortunes. At last , his single silver bullet had indeed arrived !
Meanwhile, the United States celebrated 100 years of Martin Luther King Junior’s speech “I have a Dream”. Indians, not to be left behind embarked on making the dreams of a seer come true !! Infectious enthusiasm !! Insiders say that it was P.C. and his men who wanted the Gold to be dug out to boost India’s Gold Reserves and avert kneeling down in front of IMF. In came ASI to stage the excavation drama. Now the question many raised was how scientific is it to rely solely on a seer’s word and go ahead. The lesser know fact is that the moment the seer went to town with his golden dream, CBI snatched him and brought him into a heavily guarded underground facility of Earth Science Ministry. Together, the MoEarth Science, ASI and GSI officials implanted the 1000 tonnestwist into seer’s subconscious. A dream within a dream ! Does that ring a bell ? Yeah Spot on ! This is the ORIGINAL IDEA which Earth Science Ministry ORIGINALLY COPIED from the Movie INCEPTION ! If you were not aware of this project, don’t you worry, a leading media house will run a scoop after few months and the skeletons will tumble out of the closet ! Another GATE in the making !
When they entered the seer’s dream to implant, they could not find even a foothold because his dreams were full of posh islands, nubile girls, porn websites and political ambitions ! They finally sneaked 1000 tonnes gold in with great difficulty ! Media played the SEER and his 1000 tonnes gold headlines, grabbing the eyeballs of the nation. A replay of PEEPLI LIVE kinda milieu came along ! Defying all logic and with infectious enthusiasm ASI started the excavation hoping to strike gold. The excavation even after crossing 15 meters yielded nothing but frustration. Undeterred, ASI stepped up the proceedings and went further deep yielding this time: broken bangles, mirrors and toys. Even after all these dampeners, ASI still continued and went beyond the 150 meters mark underneath and Voila !! There it is !! They traced the signs of a hard metal hidden in the soil ! The excavators shouted Eureka thinking it was sure shot GOLD!! After unearthing , it turned out that those were in fact the many trunks containing THE MISSING COAL BLOCK ALLOCATION FILES !!! Mixed feelings dominated !!!
Unending requests from P.C. prolonged the excavation. The ASI by now had given up the dreams of hitting up a windfall. Nevertheless, P.C. still was optimistic because he was an Insomniac by now since Quantitative Easing nightmares from the USA was keeping him awake at nights. As ASI went down the earth further they discovered missing BOFORS files and reports, SHAH COMMISSION REPORT and stumbled upon undiscovered Shale gas reserves but not the gold !!! Eventually they saw light at the end of the tunnel one fine day ! But turned out that they had reached the other hemisphere and dug their way into the White House ! The ever paranoid security officials guarding the President caught them red handed ! Upon inquiry, the officials cooked up a tit for tat story ! With heads held high, backs erect and puffed out chests they declared with extreme patriotism – so you thought you guys alone could snoop or bug huh ? Mess with us again and we will have our revenge served cold !! After summoning an emergency meeting with Pentagon, Barrack Obama, considering India’s growing military potential and technological breakthroughs decided to do the inevitable. Obama, not to ruffle the Indian feathers, announced the DEFENCE CO OPERATION DEAL and TRANSFER OF DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY with INDIA !! When Singh visited New York this October, the deal was sealed !!
For the heartbroken P.C. there are three good possibilities to hit upon some gold: He should get hold of singer BAPPI LAHIRI because Bappi is the UNOFFICIAL GOLD RESERVE of India and can solve fiscal problems to a great extent if all his golden ornaments are seized ! If this doesn’t work out then they should seriously consider taking gold out of Tirupathi. Now that the Telengana agitation has reduced the rush to trickles, they may let him have some ! Or should knock at the doors of Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple where gold lies idle.
If nothing works P.C. can only yawn signifying the widening gap between the rich and the poor in the country !!
P.S. – During a lighter moment in the white house , out of camaraderie, the ASI officials asked the NSA agency guys about the world leaders whose personal communications were bugged by them. After listing out all the names in the list, they said, Indian Prime ministers phone was tapped for over one year but discontinued later. On being asked why the official said – ” we could only hear him say – YES MADAM the most!”.
After attending a day full of interviews and submitting C.V.s, I was fast asleep owing to the tedium. Just when I was about to embark on cloud nine in my dreams, a mysterious phone call ended it all and brought me back to the real world. I looked around me wondering what the time was. It was pitch black all around except the light emitted by the cell phone like a beacon. With a mind heavily loaded with questions I reached out for my cell and found a strange , new number. After vacillating whether to attend the call or not, I decided to go with the former since I thought it could be my prospective employer hurrying to recruit me at the earliest.
Expecting a polished English accent and courteous behavior from the other end I pressed the ACCEPT button. Nevertheless, what greeted me was pure Chennai Tamil. Without even showing concern to introduce himself the voice began – “Dai entha area da ne ?? ‘ I have caught you red handed !”. Before I could answer him a barrage of questions followed. One of the questions by the stranger made me a motor cycle thief in no time and the other wanted to know my whereabouts in Coimbatore. The vehement denials about the accusations from my side cut no ice with him but the Coimbatore allegation was unbearable. I retorted that he has dialed the wrong place and I in fact stayed in Chennai. But this angry young man was in no mood to mellow down. He was utterly convinced that he has finally traced the culprit who has got hold of his precious motor cycle. When he confidently asserted that I am in Coimbatore, I was a bit startled and looked out of my window to make sure I was really in Chennai or had been teleported to Coimbatore like in the movie JUMPER.
After locating the streets name on the wall from the window, I was reassured and embarked on a never ending verbal duel. In a effort to intimidate me, he handed the phone to a Police constable who reiterated me to bring the motor cycle back and surrender in the Police Station. When it dawned upon me that I could not convince them that we both were separated by space and time, I challenged them to catch me if they can ! When abuses were being hurled from the other end owing to my defiance and disregard for law , I heard the guy conveying to the constable that he had dialed the WRONG NUMBER ! Looks like the guy had interchanged the last two numbers while dialing and I ended up receiving the call instead of the real culprit !! Sanity was eventually restored and the AVENGERS from the other side called truce.
In an attempt to extend the olive branch the guy apologized to me for the whole fiasco. Upon being asked how could he make a mistake while handling a sensitive issue, his reply startled me. He said ” I OWN A SMART PHONE and I THOUGHT IT CANT MAKE ANY MISTAKES”.Adverts proclaiming that our country is becoming smart and people need to switch to smart phones needs a tweak here. The country is becoming smart but people are becoming dumb in fact !