Forgetting – The three syllables can either get you into deep, deep, abysmal trouble or can bail you out of an icky situation like a savior, as the case may be, and alter the course of history (your own and/or of all humanity). Yes, my love and respect for the word and the act itself is immeasurable. Hence, ‘I forget, therefore I am’!

Alright! This was perhaps the lamest of attempts to rationalize my most conspicuous trait – yes, you guessed that right – forgetting. It is so natural for me to forget as it is for a memory chip to store data. If it does not save it’s not a memory chip and if I don’t forget, it’s not me! Sometimes I feel a fish or even an ant has better retention than I do. My lack of memory is very subjective though. There are only certain things or incidents that slip out of my mind, not everything. So, it’s not like I have alzheimer’s or anything. Some people call this trait ‘absent mindedness’ while I just call it ‘forgetfulness’. These little anecdotes will demonstrate what a splendid memory I have and what games my brain sometimes plays with me. In effect, they will show how this trait got me into deep, deep, deep trouble!

Let’s begin with a more recent occurrence. This happened only a few months ago. A relative had temporarily moved to another city and left his almost dump-worthy car with me. My roomie and I began using that car for everything including missed-bus-to-campus-so-take-the-car kind of emergencies. It was mid-term time. One of my exams was at 5.15 pm and I had to catch the 4.30 bus, which, goes without saying, I missed. So, I had no choice but to take the car. Now, the catch is, I didn’t have the permit to park that car on campus (getting a permit for cars owned by someone else was an unnecessary rigmarole, so I gave that a miss!) and had to park somewhere ‘near’ but not ‘on’ campus. So, I parked it at the McDonalds, just outside campus, and walked to class. The exam went well, I then finished post-exam discussions, walked to the bus-stop with a friend, caught the bus and came home (I actually took the bus back home, yes!). Not once did it cross my mind that I had driven to class that evening. The night went by.

Next morning – class at 10.10 am, had to catch the 9.30 bus. Now, it is  imperative that I state the not-so-petty fact that I missed the darned 9.30 bus again and decided to take the blessed car! I went to the apartment parking lot and walked straight to the spot where I usually park the car and………voilà……..NO CAR!! It wasn’t there (How would it? It was twiddling tires in the McD’s parking lot, Helloo!!)!! Scouring the entire parking lot only burnt the last few ounces of flesh left on my bones and fetched nothing. My heart leapt to my throat (I thought I was going to choke to death!). I panicked like a fainting goat!

I searched the parking lot again as I tried to think back to the previous evening. This was the chain of events that I recalled at that time – “I missed the bus as usual, took the car, parked at McD’s, walked to class, gave the exam, walked with the friend and then how did I come back home? O yes! The wretched bus! Then, where’s the……………………………O F***!! O F***!!O F***!!” I almost fainted out of shock! I had never prayed as fervently as I did that day, for the car not to be towed away or even worse, stolen. I was thinking of all sorts of rational and irrational explanations to give my relative, in the event of something unfortunate. I began to think of my bank balance, loans and other finances and about how long I might take to repay him. Going by the crunch I faced, the prospect of paying back seemed pretty far. “Screw the class, I’ve got to get the car back or I’m screwed! Big Time!!” I thought. “The car is your Holy Grail!” – the only thought that echoed in my head like a thousand singing choirs nymphs!

I waited for the next bus and prayed. I prayed through the journey to the Holy McD’s! I got off the bus with trembling feet, and a lump in my throat. I walked into the parking lot and there it was!! My Holy Grail!! My El Dorado!! My Shangrila!! It was right where I had parked it! To me that derelict contraption they called, the car, looked like a mountain of gold and it glowed and shimmered! It seemed as if I had fulfilled my life’s purpose and had nothing more to achieve – Nirvana!! It was then that I swallowed that lump in the throat and ran to the car in slow-motion, hugged it and kissed it! I thanked all the gods a million times, sat in the car and drove back home! I missed the next class in all the excitement and joy of finding the car safe and not-so-sound!

This incident may seem shocking and is likely to create all sorts of impressions of me. But I’ll still tell you the story. I was 10 and was enjoying a perfect summer vacation at my maternal uncle’s place in Vizag’s Naval Park*. Their kid (my cousin) was a one-and-a-half year-old baby then. I was very fond of him and I’d play with him all day. Their flat was on the 7th floor and there was a little playground just outside the building. One evening, as my grandma watched me, I took him down to the playground. My uncle and aunt hadn’t returned home from work. I left my cousin with a few other kids of his age. I had already befriended a few kids my age and was playing GI-JOE with them. My team won a battle and, all excited, I ran home to tell everyone.

The moment she saw me, my grandmother, clearly aghast, “WHERE’S THE BABY?”

SKIP HEART BEAT! SHOCK! STARE! GAPE! STARE LONGER!

She gave me one tight slap, grabbed me by my ear and dragged me out of the house to look for my cousin. Some crying ensued. As we waited for the lift and as her cussing and my sobbing continued uninterrupted, the lift opened and my uncle’s neighbor walked out of it with my cousin in her arms. Man, the relief!! Some killer gazes, threats and lectures later, my grandmom took the baby from her and thanked her. I felt like a prisoner walking to the gallows, as I walked into the house and as the door closed behind me. Let’s suffice it to say that I thought I might be murdered that night and wouldn’t see daylight ever again! I didn’t sleep a wink!

These anecdotes pretty much drive the point home and are self-explanatory of the trait I began talking about, which was……..err……which was……what was that again? Damn it!! Someone remind me! What the hell was it that I began talking about?

PS: With this post I’d actually like to apologize to my cousin, who is now 15 and is giving his 10th boards, for almost putting him on the ‘Missing’ children’s list!!

PPS: * Naval Park is a residential township for Naval officers stationed in the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam, AP.

It’s been a while since I’ve graced my own blog. I finally decided to write something, fighting my most formidable foe, sloth. A lot of brain-wracking and thinking later, I decided to scribble something, lest I should lose the little gaggle of readers that this page invites. I’m already beginning to nurture fears of having lost more than half of them. It was on the eve of Noël that I sat down to write a new post. But then again I stood vanquished by the dreaded enemy, so, I decided to take a raincheck on writing.

Over a month later, a few minutes past midnight, I found myself sitting next to the fireplace in my aunt’s house. It was a cold Florida night only devoid of the hallmark snow. Everyone but myself, the nocturnal beast, was snoring away to a dreamy slumber. Armed with a laptop, I sat down to write a post on some elusive subject. I began to rummage through the mess of ideas that were galloping through my head, when I heard a ruffle from behind the wall almost near the roof. The noise seemed to come from above the fireplace and seemed to slip down the chimney. I grabbed a rod next to the hearth and began prodding it up the chimney.

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” came a deafening scream and something came crashing down. Even the gods would’ve gone deaf. Owing to natural reflexes – I screamed too. But surprisingly, no one else seemed to have heard it. The sudden hellish commotion hurled me to the ground. A haze of dust and ash billowed from the hearth. As it cleared, a large red ball-like figure began to fade into sight and it began to move.

“WHAT THE FU**!!” I howled out of sheer fear.

“You mind your language kid!!” came the reply in a thick English accent.

“Who the hell are you?” I snapped back, my heart still pounding. I was still trying to get my bearings on what was happening.

“Look again” his gruff voice said.

I did. I looked again, and again. I still couldn’t place him. So, I looked again, and again. He was a ripe-old portly man with an impressively long white beard, clothed in blood-red coat, white cuffs, and a large black leather belt. He was wearing a funny looking red cone hat.

“Is he who I think he is?” I thought to myself.

“Yes, Yes!! I am who you think I am!” he said as though he was reading my mind. He struggled to climb out of the fireplace.

This time I looked closer and sure enough, it was him.

“Santa? Is that you?”

“Yes, you bonehead! It is I, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, St. Nic, Kriss Kringle. Now, give the ol’man a hand will ya” he yelled, still trying to pull his meaty self out of the damn fireplace.

Instead of helping him out, I ran to the window to get a peek at his sleigh. There it was, with the nine reindeer.

“I’D BE DAMNED! It is Santa!!” I exclaimed with a childlike excitement.

“You don’t come over here and pull me out’a this fireplace RIGHT NOW, you will be damned! I promise you. I’ll make sure you are!” he cursed.

With a sheepish grin, I helped him drag himself out of the fireplace.

“So, wassup Santa? What are you doing here at this time of the year, Christmas is long gone! And why, O why! Why the chimney, when you know you’re not as acrobatically flexible for it? Can’t you just knock on the door?” I asked him as he dusted himself.

“Well, I just took some time off to see my old friend, K and the chimney….mmm…let’s just say I’m sticking to an old custom.” he smiled.

“hmmm…so you’re here to see me? Wow! I’m touched Santa! But now really, to what do I owe this honor of your visit?”

“O Alright!! I’m here to give you something that’s been festering in my warehouse for a while. It’s not something my elves made. It’s something your chum Max wanted me to give you. I don’t see why you deserve it in any form, but I just had to get it off my chest” he admitted. He pulled this out from his goodie bag.

2967655777_c541960a4f_o1

“WHAT!! Really? This is for me? Thanks Santa! Thank you so much!”

“O Please! Thank your buddy Max for it, not me. I didn’t think you were worthy of it in the least” he heartlessly admitted.

“But I’ll take it anyway, thank you very much! You can be really mean for a jolly old man, you know!” I remarked with a frown.

“So, why didn’t you come earlier? You sneak to every house with good people on Christmas Eve with all sorts of presents. Was I not a good boy Santa?” I chuckled.

“Don’t even get me started on your bad-boy quotient last year. You have a special mention on Hell’s most-wanted list. The gargoyles have a bounty on your soul. About popping by at this time of the year, well….. I thought, if you really deserved this blog-award then I’ll let you blog first and then give the award away. I waited for you to commit something to paper before I handed it over. But you sinfully indolent bum! You wouldn’t even login to your blog, let alone writing! You’ve been dead for over two months now! Some of your friends even have obituaries prepared for your blog. The prolonged silence even drove away some of your regulars. You’re hopeless!”

“I know, I know! Now please don’t rub it in. I admit I was inconciderate to my readers, but you know how it’s been in the past couple of months. I was travelling and then I fell sick. So, cut me some slack!”

“O yes, of course, the illness. What’s it called again? Shingle bells, Lingle bells or some hogwash like that. You know your friends were joking about it” he joked as he burst into his signature guffaw “HO, HO, HO, HO……You know, your friends have a brilliant sense of humor, I love those guys!..….HO, HO, HO, HO…..Damn!! This is killing me!!” he cracked up as his cauldron-like belly wobbled to the rhythm of his laughter.

“You know, for a man who’s ever-fussy about children being virtuous, you are a foul-mouth, Santa!! And please….it’s called ‘Shingles’, not Shingle bells. You’re just obsessed with those carols. Christmas is gone, remember? Grow up, ol’man!” I commented with scorn.

“Right!! Whatever! I find it amusing!” he shrugged and “O, and one more thing! Max tagged you”

“Tagged me? With what?”

“Well, the rules of the tag are” he pulled out a scroll and read “Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like). Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better. Nice tag, ain’ it?”

“Yeah! Nice one! So, I have to link some of my old posts eh?”

“Yes, and then write new ones, don’t just stop with this. This tag isn’t an epilogue, you know” he mocked.

I pretended to ignore that comment.

“hmmm….so, family eh? Let’s see. Well, I don’t have posts exclusively written about my family, may be this will qualify. It mentions my mom and her peeves.”

“How about this? It shows what an angel you mother is” Santa suggested.

“O Yes!! Of Course! Thanks Santa!” I said “mmmm….I really need to come up with more posts on my family.”

“Yes, momma’s boy, you must!” he joked.

“Well, now for my friends. They eat a large portion of this cake. There’s this and this for a start. Interesting episodes! Then there’s this with pictures! And then this post briefly mentions another best friend of mine who had a little rendezvous with some very different people” I said with a naughty smirk.

“Ho, Ho, Ho! Yes, that one had me in splits!” he agreed.

“Yeah! And now, for myself. Well, what better way to introduce myself than with this, watsay Santa?”

“Yes, there’s no better way! And coup de grâce! This one! Sums you up in one word!”

“What word?”

“Weirdo!!” he burst into another fit of laughter.

“Okay, now! The next category, love. Aaah!! My most successful post to date!! This one invited so many comments with questions and interjections, I had never imagined! Some even said that it couldn’t have been written by me. There’s nothing else and nothing better in this category!” I grinned.

“No, seriously, did you really write that post? And did it really happen?” he asked, trying to force things out of me.

“Don’t you know?” I retorted “Now, for the final category anything I like. Well, I like all of ’em!” I said grinning again “This and this would take the cake. My favorites!! The former being thought-provoking and the latter, just hilarious. Don’t you think?”

“Yes, but then how about this one, Mr. Ghalib!! hmmm?” he winked.

“Sure, if you like it!” I smiled “Well, there we have it! But I already seem to have broken the rules of the tag! It asked for five links, this is as long as a toilet-paper roll!”

“That’s alright, my friend, as long as you take up the tag! Now, tag five other people” he reminded me.

“O I completely forgot! Yes, I’ll tag and award my childhood friend and fellow brilliant blogger Vidya, and other excellent bloggers, the confounded-lady, Nandini (whenever she’s back from her sabbatical!), rads and Prashanthi. Go all taggy guys…err…girls!!”

“Well, good job son!! You’re back on track!”

“Yes, I’m back on track! All, thanks to you and Max!”

“Alright! If my job here’s done, I shall take your leave. My reindeer must be dehydrated from all the perspiration! Is it even winter over here in Florida?”

“Perspiration? It’s freezing out there!”

“Son, do you even know where I come from! It’s called the ‘NORTH POLE’! You think this so-called ‘freeze’ beats the ‘close-to-absolute-zero’ temperatures?”

“Absolute zero, Santa?”

“Alright, that was an exaggeration, but I wager, you have not the slightest idea how cold it can get out there!”

“O okay, okay! I understand, I come from a winter-oven and you from a summer-deep-freeze. Happy?”

“Alright! I should now hit the clouds! It’s late and my elves must be getting out of control, they only need a reason to engage in mindless frivolity and with me here, the warehouse must be a complete mess! Anyway, you be good and you HAD BETTER KEEP WRITING or I’ll run you over with my sleigh! You understand?”

“Whoa! Is that a death threat? I’ll call the angels have you arrested and frozen in the North Pole for all eternity!” I joked.

“We’ll see! If it can get you to blog regularly, then it is worth all that pain. Anyway, you keep writing and be good, okay?”

“Aye, Aye Sir!” I gave him military style salute.

“At ease! Now get to bed, it’s past two. Good Night and very happy belated greetings to you for Christmas, New Year, Pongal and Republic Day!”

“Thanks Santa, and wish you the same! And Good Night!”

“RUDOLF!! Let’s go!!” he called out to the reindeer. He hopped onto his sledge and away he flew. What a jolly old man!!

The next moment I found myself sitting on the same couch next to the fireplace with the laptop. Everything around me seemed untouched, including the fireplace, as if nothing had happened. And the time was a few minutes past midnight, the time I sat down to write. I looked into the monitor and there it was, this post! All written and concluded!

Was it all a dream? I wondered.

Some questions are better left unanswered!

Maximum City, Mumbai, has perhaps seen more terror attacks than any other city in the world. But the violence unleashed on November 26, 2008 is being reckoned as the most brazen attack on Indian soil to date. The city came under militant siege for over 60 hours and today, 217 deaths later it is attempting to limp back to normalcy. India and the world have breathed a sigh of relief with all the terrorists being brought down. But no tragedy transpires without ironies. I, after reading a host of posts, articles and watching videos on the brutal onslaught on India’s largest city, have observed, as have many others, certain ironies that played out as mayhem unfurled. Ironies were the norm even after the attack. From the entry of the terrorists into Mumbai to the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s visit to the crime scenes along with film personalities, all aspects of the tragedy have been subject to scrutiny and rightly so. I shall point to a few of them.

  1. Welcome Mujahideen Welcome!: Posse of extremists waltzed into Mumbai in a boat and landed at different locations and no one had a clue. They left a boat-load of explosives near the Gateway of India and walked into the city and no one noticed. A bunch of fishermen encountered a group of twelve suspicious men and they were asked to mind their business. Later, it was discovered that the boat was owned by the most wanted bhai from Mumbai, Dawood bhai (Yes, Dawood strikes again!).  Investigations have revealed that the Coast Guard had intercepted the boat carrying the terrorists off the coast of Rann of Kutch but let them pass because they had the proper paper-work. Another group hijacked an Indian fishing vessel and got the crew to sail them to the coast and then did away with them. Now, how did the Indian coast become so vulnerable, given that Mumbai is the headquarters of the Western Naval Command? Well, the Navy was probably busy battling Somalian pirates. Was the entire Indian Navy deployed off the coast of Somalia? Looks like it. What happened to the Coast Guard? Coast Guard? What Coast Guard? All this is a huge intelligence failure. Yes, indeed, our intelligence has been numbed, we have no shred of it left in us anymore! We have thrown more than 7000 km of our coastline as wide open as the sky, with a massive invisible ‘Swagatam’ board. I admit, it is not possible to man every inch of the coast, but having a guarded post every 100 km isn’t much of an expense especially when you’re draining a tax-payer’s pocket.
  2. Policewale Ki Lathi Bandook Ke Khilaaf: Unprepared, ill-equipped Mumbai Police does its best in stalling the terrorists who stormed the hotels and Nariman House with lathis, double barrel rifles (fit only to be antique pieces) and 6-bullet revolvers vis-a-vis AK-47s, Kalashnikovs and hand grenades. One of India’s finest police forces lost three of its best officers to the bullets along with 14 other officers. Why? They weren’t armed sufficiently enough to counter an attack of this magnitude, that’s why. No police force is. This is the job of the military. And yet, they braved all odds and faced the militants with their humble weaponry until the Army and other para-military forces took charge. The policemen in CST even fought the terrorists with a single-barrel rifle vis-a-vis ammunition enough to kill 5000 people! Does anyone else think that the government should stop being frugal and spend more on arming the police force, or is it just me? Arm the police, damn it!! Lathis just don’t cut it!
  3. Raag Bharatiya Sena, Vilambit Gat, Ek Taal: The Maharashtra government did not request for military assistance until after the police had sacrificed three of its top brass officers. The MARCOs (Marine Commandos) arrived at 2 am and stormed the Taj. The Maha CM who was outside Mumbai at the time, called the Union Home Ministry in Delhi for 300 NSG commandos to be flown into Mumbai, like how one would order groceries from a local kirana store and ask them to be delivered at home. The NSG did react, however, and got the commandos ready by 1 am, but the aircraft needed to fly the commandos had to be flown down from Chandigarh to the Palam Airfield (South Delhi). As per ordinance, an aircraft is to be stationed at Palam permanently, in case of such an emergency, but it wasn’t, hence there was further delay. The entire bureaucratic protocol delayed the NSG’s arrival in Mumbai by 10 hours. They finally arrived at the hotel in a local ‘Best’ bus at 7.20 am the next morning and weren’t given the maps of the hotels until an hour later. Valuable time and life were lost in the meantime. The Army’s 400 commandos had surrounded the hotels and Nariman House by then. Why did the Maharashtra government exhibit such laxity in contacting the Army? Was Vilasrao Deshmukh that drunk or was he busy admiring his squinted son’s ridiculous big-screen misadventures?
  4. Neta Log, Apne Muh Bandh Rakho: Aah! The most ridiculous fall-out of the entire tragedy – the comments from the politicos! I was left speechless when I heard what the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had to say. Read this. I had rather not comment on his unparalleled wisdom and excellent presence of mind, because one would notice a sharp change in the tone of my language. I’d probably surprise myself with my knowledge of expletives in all the languages I know. Then the  Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s admittance that ‘we had no clue this was going to happen!’ has come under flak. Why flame the poor guy? Wasn’t he right? How would the CM be in the know of intelligence reports? Come on, people! Vilasbhai was expecting a formal invitation to the massacre, so that his son and Ram Gopal Varma could get live feeds from the whole drill, for their next project. He was also looking forward to watching Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil (now ex-UHM) perform a lavni item number with Raj Thackeray along with Mumbai Mayor Shubha Raul’s mujra. A jubilant gathering of the true ‘Marathi manoos’ celebrating pre-Christmas Diwali! And then his Deputy, R. R. Patil, goes on to add during a press conference (of all places!) that ‘itne bade sheher mein, ekaad haadsa ho jaata hai, iska matlab yeh nahin ki complete failure hua hai‘ (In such a big city, such small incidents do happen, but that does not mean there’s been a complete failure.). Now, why is this man being flamed? Poor guy, had to give up his post of Deputy Chief Minister for this! He was just exercising his right to ‘free speech’ which was awfully misconstrued. To each his own, guys. It’s a democracy remember? To him, ‘bada haadsa‘ is perhaps only when terrorists hijack and crash planes into buildings and have a death toll that runs into the thousands. Sorry, Patilbhai! Next time, we’ll formally invite and request the insurgents to hijack a plane and crash it into the heart of one the metropolises or the ‘Mantralay’ or the Rashtrapati Bhavan or the Taj Mahal (this time, the real one!). Anywhere you please. We promise you. Better still, we’ll offer one of our countless decrepit Air India aircraft which are on the verge of collapse anyway. Ok? Do not despair! A noble politician, R. R. Patil. Then comes, the champion of Gujarat, Motabhai Modi, scurrying to gather political brownie points. Motabhai, in good faith, set the value of a slain hero’s life at a mota raqam of one crore rupees, which even the Maharashtra government did not do. But, much to his dismay, the slain officer Hemanth Karkare’s widow refused the offer. Sad, isn’t it? Motabhai, with such unconditional love and respect, estimated the value of the dead policeman’s life and his family’s self-respect and his widow had the audacity to disdainfully refuse to accept it. Pathetic indeed! I’m really sorry, Motabhai! I promise you, when you die, of whatever reason, we will organize a Motabhai Modi Antim Yatra Chanda Vasooli campaign and organize your funeral. We will spend from the money collected and if any change were to remain, we will, in good faith, turn in the difference to your family. Ok? But in case the expenses incurred exceed the collection amount, then we will collect the difference from your family. You know how expensive funerals are these days, right? I hope you understand.  And finally, there is this canine breed of politicians who bark, given the smallest opportunity. One such is the Kerala Chief Minister, K. Achyutanandan…err…A ‘Chooth’ Anandan (pardon the language!). His insensitive comments on the martyred NSG Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s family saying ‘if is weren’t for Sandeep, not even a dog would’ve glanced that way’ have deeply hurt not only the Major’s family but also the people of his own state. The barks of A’chooth’anandan have even got his own dog-pound..err..party, CPI(M), to issue a public apology. Yet, the Kerala CM was as unapologetic as ever and on the contrary stated that the Major’s family had called him up and said ‘Unnigrishnen’s father’s mendel* is noat goott and he is vurry opset, so don’t mind him’. Who else thinks that this mongrel seriously needs to be sacked and sent back to his pound? Please raise your leashes! Bad, bad doggy…err…CM! No bones…err….votes for you! Oh! I totally forgot! The BJP spokesperson, Muqhtar Abbas Naqvi, mouthed his peeves too. He complained that women wearing ‘lipishtick’ were protesting against politicians, and holding them responsible for the Mumbai attacks. We apologise, Naqvi sahab, our protestors are not as fashion conscious as you or your party members. They couldn’t think of threatening to shave their heads in protest, unlike one of your party’s super models, Sushma Swaraj! Forgive our modest protestors.
  5. Marathi Manoos Kothe Aahe?: WHERE THE F*** ARE THE SHIV SENA AND MAHARASHTRA NAVNIRMAN SENA NOW? They’re perhaps still chasing the North Indians out of Mumbai. Abey O Thackeray, this time the parasites are not the Bhaiyajis. Lose the obsession already, will you! What happened to your Mumbaikar revolution now? Three of your bravest ‘Marathi Manoos’ laid down their lives in order to save your beloved Mumbai and none of you even attended their funerals, at least for coutesy. Neither you, nor your family, nor your suck-up mayor, Shubha Raul turned up for any comments or reactions. You guys didn’t even bother visiting the scenes of crime. Did the terrorists instill such terror in you as to make you piss in your pants? Is the Mayor Shubha busy sucking up to you? Where the f*** are you guys! O yes! You finally broke silence calling for Bai…err…Lady Patil’s rule, right? Alas, the First Bai….err…Lady is busy dusting the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s colonial furniture and doing the dishes. She can’t come to you right now. Hard Luck, guys! Chavan’s on his way.
  6. Maan Na Maan, Main Tera Dushman: This is what our ‘peaceful’ neighbors had to say:

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=exvlatXpCnI

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=Eij5o7XizIA

This is Janaab Zaid Hamid, the Strategic Defence Analyst. With defence analysts like this, who needs enemies? The great analyst talks about ‘Hindu Zionists’ and a few other best-friends of his. Also, a Pakistan Muslim League MP, Marvi Memon Sahibaan shares her excitement on sending the ISI chief to India.

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=xb7RiCFd9xY&feature=related

This would be the former ISI chief, Janaab Hamid Gul, talking about blowing up Bangalore in a ‘dhooen ka  baadal‘ (a cloud of smoke).

I would advise you to watch the complete interviews with both Zaid Hamid and Hamid Gul. Aur is maamle ko ab main apne wafaadar aur faheem qaareen ke hawaale karta hoon aur unse yeh arz karta hoon ki apne tamaam qaabil-e-ehtaraam tabsaraahon ko yahaan bayaan kare. (I now leave this issue to my loyal, perceptive readers and request them to leave their valuable comments here!).

The atrocities in Mumbai have morphed from being a major terror attack into a wake-up call for the government. It is time we took a firm stance against the menace that not just India faces but the whole world. In spite of all the clamour about monting evidence against Pakistan, I still think that a war is not the panacea. If it comes to a war then an extremely strategic approach is necessary. Instead of launching an offensive, India should either take a defensive or counter-offensive stance. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I really hope so.

I salute the martyrs – the brave policemen and the Army commandos – who have paid with their lives to save India’s most precious gem from the clutches of insurgency.

Take our bow, O Brave Men!!

Jai Hind!!

PS: The harsh criticism and satire aimed at the politicians was completely intentional. No apologies there.

* By ‘mendel’ he meant to say mental state.

A Kiss of Bliss

Posted: November 11, 2008 in Louwe
Tags: , , ,

“Tomorrow”, she lovingly whispered into the phone.

“I can’t wait to see you”, he said, struggling to contain his excitement.

“Me neither”, she admitted.

“Ok. I have to go now. I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” she asked expectantly.

“Yeah! 5? My place? We’ll think of a place for dinner when we meet. Ok?” he said.

“Alright. Good Night then.”

“Good Night!”

He smiled to himself as he hung up the phone. The smile never faded. It played on his lips the whole night as he eagerly awaited the next day. He bathed in a cascade of dreams. And then the sun shone. The golden beams nudged his eyes open to a bright new day.

He ran a student’s daily rat race with an unusual exuberance. The promise of a beautiful evening overrode all the drudgery. The clock struck 5. He got home, pranked himself out in his best, and waited for her. Soon enough, there she was. He gasped as she walked towards him, with the grace of a dancer, as her hair gave in to the whims of the gentle breeze. With an irresistible smile, she walked straight into his arms. His joy knew no bounds as she embraced him. He held her as close to him as he could. Wisps of her hair teased him as they fluttered in the wind and mischievously brushed against his face.

Epicureans that they both were, they decided to dine at the Thai restaurant a few miles away. They drove to the restaurant in her car. His eyes never once left her, throughout the drive. They ate and shared tales at the dinner table. The date lasted a couple of hours. An agreeable meal and a hearty conversation later, she offered to drop him home.

Dark clouds had begun to flaunt their might. They roared in jubilance with an occasional flirtatious dazzle. The earth joyously bathed in the rain that followed.

They drove home as they marveled at the delicate romance that played out between the sky and the earth. They pulled into the parking space in front of his apartment building. They took the weather’s subtle hint. They looked at each other with eyes exuding passion. Their breath got as heavy as the earth. A surge of irrepressible desire washed them away. He pulled her toward himself, gently brushed aside her hair and kissed her under the ear ever so softly. Her body was overwhelmed with a sudden rush of hormones as she passionately clenched his hair and drew him closer. Her fragrance stimulated the last cell in his being and he was in a state of ecstasy. His lips tenderly explored her neck and shoulders as his hands folded into a sensual clasp of her waist. She breathed heavily as his lips moved from her neck to her cheek, and his hands slid up her waist to caress her tender bosom. He drew away his lips momentarily and then locked them with hers. They kissed in a state of bliss. Their lips remained in union for several minutes as their hands engaged in a lustful probe of each other’s bodies. A love-scented mist had settled on the windows and windshield as the raindrops naughtily trickled down the glass.

The kiss lasted several minutes and they wished it had lasted for all eternity. They smiled at each other and cuddled a bit.

“This is the best kiss ever. I had always dreamt of kissing in the rain,” she whispered into his ear.

He said nothing and replied with an endearing smile.

He then gave her a kiss on the forehead and uttered the three priceless words.

“I do too”, she admitted and wrapped her hands around his neck and rested her head on his shoulder.

After a few moments of intimacy, she unwillingly interrupted with a pout, “I hate to say this, but I have to go now. My sister must be waiting for me. I better leave soon.”

“Can’t you stay a little longer?”, he pleaded.

“No babu! I have to go. I might get a call any minute,” she replied as she played with his hair.

Noticing his displeasure, she fondly asked, “Smile no babu. I’ll see you tomorrow no?”

His face brightened up at the prospect of their next rendezvous.

They ended the night with one last passionate kiss.

“I love you”

“I love you too”

He then bade good-bye to her and walked to his apartment in a blissful trance. His thoughts had all narrowed down to her and the kiss and nothing else. He wore a wide silly smile on his face which his roommate readily construed as being affected by something immensely pleasurable and asked no more questions.

He walked straight to his room and flopped onto his bed thinking, “This is what a first kiss must feel like!” and slipped back into his dreamy trance.

Yes, this is how a first kiss feels like!

A moment of pride, a moment of triumph, a moment of accomplishment, a moment when all Telugus must feel honored. Yes! Our beloved language ‘Telugu’ was conferred the status of a ‘Classical Language’ (Praacheena Bhaasha) by the Union Culture Ministry on October 31, 2008, the eve of ‘Raashtra avataranotsavam‘ (State Formation Day). The Union Culture Minister, Ambika Soni, announced the approval of classical status to the language. It will now be regarded on par with Sanskrit and Tamil, the only two languages that have thus far boasted of the classical status. Tamil was the first to receive the title, in 2004 followed by Sanskrit in 2005. Kannada has also been granted classical status along with Telugu. The four year wait for those vouching for the two languages, has finally ended. Both languages have met the criteria for being graced with ‘classical’ status – antiquity and usage of more than 1500 years, original literature at least 1000 years old.

The panel of experts that convened to evaluate the claims of Telugu has been presented with substantial evidence which establishes its history of more than 2,500 years. The earliest Buddhist Prakrit inscriptions from Bhattiprolu in Guntur district, dating back to 400 BCE, contained several Telugu words, names of places, proving that the language of the natives was Telugu, while the rulers spoke Prakrit. The earliest inscription written entirely in Telugu was found in Kadapa district and dated back to 575 CE. By then Telugu had already evolved into a highly developed and sophisticated language. Although the earliest literature in Telugu can currently be traced back to the 9th century CE, many scholars and linguists believe that earlier literary works must have existed but were either lost or destroyed. Among the various reasons stated for the loss, one stood out – the revival of Hindu beliefs after a long hiatus of Buddhist domination in the region.

Telugu and Kannada did not branch off from an earlier form of Tamil, contrary to popular belief which was advocated by the likes of Periyar, Karunanidhi and other pro-Dravidian secessionists. However, it is true that all the three languages share the same linguistic base, the Proto-Dravidian Language. Tamil, which is considered the purest off-shoot of the Proto-Dravidian language, was the first to branch off and develop independently, while Telugu and Kannada split a little later. Tamil isolated itself and retained the corpus of Proto-Dravidian vocabulary and was less influenced by other languages, whilst Telugu and Kannada were greatly influenced by the tongues of the North, esp. Sanskrit and Prakrit. But all three languages still retain the basic grammatical structure and rudimentary vocabulary of the Proto-Dravidian language (PDL) – the children of one mother. Also, the PDL gave birth to 21 Dravidian languages which can essentially be classified into three groups – the Northern, Central and Southern group. The Northern branch consists of languages like Brahui (spoken in Baluchistan province of Pakistan), Malto and Kudukh (spoken by certian tribes in Central India). The Central group consists of eleven languages of which only Telugu developed into a civilized language with a literary repertoire. The other ten remained tribal languages. Finally, the Southern group consists of Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu, Kodava Takk, Toda and Kota. Five of these languages evolved into modern languages spoken by large populations, while two remained within sylvan confines. Therefore, Tamil and Telugu don’t even belong to the same group to suggest that one branched off from the other. All three languages developed independently.

The great Tuluva emperor of the Vijayanagara empire, Sri Krishna Deva Raya, extoled Telugu in a poem which ends with the line ‘Desha bhaashalandu Telugu lessa‘ (the title of this post) meaning ‘Of all the tongues of the Land, Telugu is the sweetest’. The Italian explorer, Nicola Di Conti, called Telugu the ‘Italian of the East’, since all of its words end in a vowel sound (although I would prefer calling Italian the ‘Telugu of the West’, nevertheless.). The great Tamil poet, Subrahmanya Bharati, sang ‘Sundara Telunginil pattisaitthu‘ meaning ‘Sing in beautiful Telugu’.

This post neither has a structure nor a purpose. It only voices my excitement over the fact that my mother tongue has been declared a classical language. Well, to me Telugu has always been more than just a medium of communication. To me, to speak in Telugu is worship, a divine tongue that it is. It is as important to me as it is to breathe. I have savored its honey-like sweetness and the thirst is insatiable.

This post is my tribute to Telugu! To its antiquity. To its unparalleled poetic beauty. To all those great people who have contributed to it and who have died for its cause!

Jai Telugu Talli!

Swasti!

Image courtesy: www.teluguone.com/…/jaitelugutalli/index.jsp

And Here It Is – The Quirk

Posted: October 27, 2008 in Pointless ramble
Tags: , ,

Dear loyal readers! I now present to you, my quirky self in six ways. Rads, the empress blogger, has tagged me to write six quirky things about myself. This is no herculean task. I have enough quirks to fill a book. I shall brighten up this festive season with six of those multitude of quirks *rubbing hands in excitement.

(Ekam) When I see a square tiled floor, especially a floor tiled like a chessboard, I always walk in a knight’s pattern on the chessboard – in an ‘L’. If I set one foot on a square then my other foot would itch to step two squares forward and one square to the right or left, or two squares to the right or left and one square forward, both moves depend on the first step. This is a quirk nurtured on purpose. Don’t ask why. It’s a quirk, remember?

(Rendu) I am an avid dreamer. I don’t need to sleep to dream. I dream as I walk and tend to bump into things or people, trip over, laugh out loud, talk to self, sing like I’m all alone in the world. I have a fancy world of my own. I lead a more idealistic life in that world, where I am the most coveted Carnatic musician ever. I play 75 (I’m just being modest with this number here) instruments and I boast proficiency in every style of music one could conceive of. I speak, read and write 35 (or was it more? aah, this modesty is killing me!) languages with the fluency of a learned native. I am the most unassuming person in spite of all the superhuman qualities I possess. All the women want me. Aahh! The dream! I live there. I also have a middle-earthish sort of world of which I am the undisputed emperor!

(Theen) Consequently, my incessant dreaming has made me superlatively forgetful too! I must be conferred the honorary title of ‘Bhulakkad Shiromani’ or ‘Matimarupu Chakravarthy’. There could be no one more deserving! There are tons of instances I could testify with. Once, my roommate and I were busy cleaning our apartment and were moving things around so we could get to every nook and corner and clean them spotless. We were gently moving the TV, along with its rickety roller-stand when I heard a knock on the door. My roomie, poor chap, was still pulling at it from the other side when I, in a momentary lapse of conscious reasoning, let go of it to get the door and……CCCRRRRAAAASSSHHHHH!! The TV jumped off the stand and fell to the ground, screen-first. So much for our cleaning session! I didn’t realize it was falling until it struck the ground. My roommate just stood there and glowered at me in contemptuous amazement, hands akimbo. From the look on his face, I feared he might lift the shattered TV and crash it on my head again, as I sheepishly smiled and bit my fist. There! Do you need a more classic example?

(Quatre) I am now coming to terms with it, but for a really long time, I loathed the colour ‘Red’. Anything close to being the shade of a tomato or blood would be shun-worthy to me. I hated it so much, that I wouldn’t be able to sleep if there were a red nightlight. I hated red coloured cars. I never owned a single piece of red coloured clothing, not even undergarments! I would hesitate to eat ketchup. I avoided looking at the traffic signals for too long. I wouldn’t go more than three-four feet closer to a person wearing red coloured clothes. I was crazy about this girl in my class in engg. who was supposed to be MCing along with me for a freshers’ party. Blissfully unaware of my hatred for red, she said she was going to surprise me that day in a ‘new sari’. I couldn’t wait to see her in her ‘new sari’! I was so looking forward to sharing the stage with her when, to my utter horror, that morning she showed up in a red sari. I was heart-broken. I couldn’t even get myself to look at her and savor the eye-candy that she was. Although I did share the stage with her as I had fancied, I actually avoided looking at her because every time I tried to ignore the ruthlessly impedimental ‘red sari’ and look at her, it would show itself in all its glory. I kicked myself later when all my friends said she looked mesmerizing. That should pretty much sum up my hatred for the colour. Although now I’ve begun to smother my abhorrence and accept the natural optical aberration called ‘red’, I still freak out when I see red lights!

(Hamza) I have an obsession for multiples of 3 and 9. Every number I see, be it a license plate, a bus number, telephone number, price tag, anything, I tend to add up all the digits to check for its divisibility by 3 or 9. If it’s not, I feel this urge to change that number into the nearest multiple of either 3 or 9. Even when I drive, I consciously make an effort to drive at a speed that is divisible by 3 or 9. Also, I hate prime numbers (except 3, of course!). Is this a pathological condition?

(Six) I hate Cricket!

I’m more than sure, the sixth quirk will invite a storm of virtual tomatoes and eggs along with questions being raised as to my allegiance to India! Some might even go to the extent of calling me a traitor! But let it be known to all those mere mortals who choose to rebuke my hatred for cricket, that my love for India is stronger than your love that you flaunt under the pretext of patriotism, for the utterly uninteresting game. I’m willing to give a fitting reply to anyone who dares question my Indianness.

There! My six quirks.

With this, I would like to tag some of my fellow bloggers – buddy, BR, Chutney, Nandini, Srividya Angara, Confounded lady. Two others have already been tagged. So guys! Go all quirky!

PS: ‘Ekam’ is Sanskrit for 1, ‘Rendu’ is Telugu for 2, ‘Theen’ is Hindi/Urdu for 3, ‘Quatre’ is French for 4, ‘Hamza’ is Arabic for 5.

HAPPY QUIRKY DEEPAVALI TO EVERYONE!!

SHUBHA DEEPAVALI!

SHUBHA DEEPAVALI!

Sarvejanaa Sukhinobhavantu! Sarvejanaa ‘Quirk’iyobhavantu!

Image Courtesy: www.4to40.com/egreetings/cards.asp?festivals=…

The new day that has dawned,

Brings no cheer to my life,

No new hopes, No new wishes,

I have no desires, but to survive,

Who will heed my cries?

Who will quell my hunger?

For, a morsel is all I crave,

I have no longing, but to survive,

I walk the desolate road,

Of hopelessness and despair,

If there is an end to it,

Who will take me there?

Who am I, you ask?

You know me and know me well,

I am the dying farmer,

Who ploughs his own grave,

I am the distressed weaver,

Who weaves linen for his death,

I am the orphaned child,

Who sobs for a touch of warmth,

I am the destitute widow,

Who begs for her deprived dignity,

I am the disoriented refugee,

Who seeks deliverance in an alien land,

I am the burgeoning pain,

That the world chooses to ignore,

I am who you call, the ‘Poor man’,

And this is my plea to you.

I know I am a bad poet, but this is the best I could do. This poem was inspired by a better one and my friend put me up to it. He said it was Blog Action Day and the theme was poverty. Hence, the poem.

The tears of the poor man have gone unnoticed, in this ever-changing rich-man’s world. Everyone cries havoc when the stock markets fall and some ultra-rich person loses a chip of his treasure, but does anyone even pretend to hear the wails of a poor man, for whom everyday is a battle?

The world now has close to a billion people who sleep hungry everynight and India is home to a quarter of them. In 2007 alone, 75 million more people were afflicted by poverty across the world. Most of them live under a dollar a day. Even in the most world’s powerful nation, 37 million people live in the most adverse of conditions, without food, water, shelter, health care or any other basic necessities.

They’re calling out for help! Listen and lend a hand!

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Image courtesy: : www.solarnavigator.net/poverty.htm

The title is actually a song from ‘Mughal-e-Azam’.

This post is a part of the Blog Action Day ’08.