Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The polling action is over. And the appolling auction begins. All parties will now cook the fragile egg of democracy by scrambling for power and poaching rival candidates. Like any sporting contest, all parties have a common goal but distinctive styles. And one can get an inkling of what to expect from them by deconstructing their election symbols. Here is a post-modern attempt...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I wonder why we folks are so happy about Slumdog Millionaire winning so many awards. Of course, I love the fact that Rahman finally got some recognition. And Resul Pookutty got a foreign trip. But why are we so ecstatic about the other awards? Isn’t it a bit like Germany celebrating the fact that Schindler’s List swept the Oscars.
Instead, in true swadeshi style, let’s institute our own Bharatiya Oscars – The Bhaskars. After all, in India, drama, action & comedy aren’t confined to the movies. They are played out in glorious 3-D in all aspects of our life. So here is my list for the 2008 Bhaskars.
Best Story – A Deputy CM demonstrates his adherence to the law by falling in love with a former assistant advocate general. Unfortunately he already has a wife. The Hindu lovers become a Muslim couple – Chand Mohammed & Fiza. Once he has got into her Nikaahs, he decides to go back to his first wife. Fiza attempts suicide, accuses him of rape, and his family of occult practices but Chand is unmoved. He divorces her through SMS and she gets a role in a Bollywood movie. For this fascinating saga involving politics, law, love, religion, crime, horror, glamour & technology, the Bhaskar Award for Best Story goes to Chander Mohan a.k.a. Chand Mohammed for “Fiza Ke Liye”.
Best Screenplay – A bunch of plutocrats indulge in a decadent auction. The auction ends. The action begins. Chargers run out of power. Fancied teams are Royally Challenged. Vijay Mallya sulks. Preity Zinta hugs some Kings. Shahrukh hugs Shoaib. Vijay Mallya sulks. Cheerleaders entertain the crowds. Shiv Sena sulks. Mumbai crowds get folk dancers instead. Harbhajan behaves like a Silly Bhajji. Sreesanth sobs. Preity Zinta hugs him. Vijay Mallya sulks. Akshay Kumar lands in a chopper. Set Max shows a billion ads. Shane Warne leads the most unfancied team to the trophy. Everybody is happy. Except Mallya, that is. For a heady cocktail of money, glamour & action and for ensuring that everybody shamelessly played for the screen, the Bhaskar Award for Screenplay goes to Lalit Modi for “Paisa Bhi Hota Hai”.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – He didn’t want the responsibility of being the star, but played a significant role in the development of the plot. He played the perfect counterfoil to the government. i.e. He countered every move and foiled every plan. For a scintillating performance in which he acted as if he supported the government, the Bhaskar Award for Best Supporting Actor goes to Prakash Karat for “Chowringee Lane to China.
Best Editing – A good script can completely collapse if it is not cut to perfection. A shining example was the Olympic Telecast. An unconventional editing technique was used whereby all interesting action was cut. The audience had to imagine the action by seeing the prize distribution. DD, like any good editor, took us, the audience, on an emotional rollercoaster ride. We wept when rowing was shown instead of gymnastics. We cursed when athletics was cut in favour of Greco-Roman wrestling. We laughed at the “expert analysis”. And we were inspired everytime we saw Vijender punch the air to the tune of Chak De India. Live telecast was transformed by radical editing into a dead telecast. The Bhaskar for Best Editing goes to Doordarshan for “Dekh Sake Tho Dekh Lo”.
Best Costumes – His authority may have been loose but his collar was buttoned. His policies rankled but his sleeve was creased. His words were meaningless and few. For he was a man of Achkan. He faced diplomats with polish (on his shoes) and terrorists with boldness (in his checks). For bathing us in his sartorial splendour, the Bhaskar Award for Best Costumes goes to Shivraj Patil for “Kapda, Kapda aur Kapda”.
Best Action – He asked for Maa Ki Dal, but got into trouble. He prayed for Man-ki Shakti. And-drew Symonds’ rage. Everybody told him to shut up. So, like Hellen Keller, he decided to let his hands do the talking. His opportunity came when a team-mate showed some cheek on the field. He responded to the cheek with some slapstick comedy. Unfortunately nobody found it funny and he had to face a suspension with disbelief. For a resounding performance that brought tears to the eyes of Sreesanth, the Bhaskar Award for Action goes to Harbhajan Singh for “Thappad Phad Ke”.
Best Actor in a Leading Role – He was over 70 years old, but willing to take up a leading role. Surrounded by friends who were actually enemies and enemies who were actually, well, enemies, he sailed his way with indifferent elan. There were bombs, controversies, recesisions, betrayals, and general pandemonium but he responded to everything with studied, emotionless, underplay. A thoroughly professional actor, he listened to every single thing, his directorji told him. For a convincing performance of acting as if he was leading the country, The Bhaskar Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, goes to Manmohan for the highly ornamental role he played in “Singh is Bling”.
Best Director – This year, the award goes to not a mere director but a managing director. It’s a story of one man against society. Of a man who defied conventions. A man who fought for his principles. Accounting principles, that is. Who believed that books are not salads to be left uncooked. Who fought against the norm that employees should have a corporeal presence. Who refused to hear his conscience because he had some Auditory problems. It’s a saga of human dreams that would have enraptured even Sigmund Fraud. The best director of the year goes to Ramalinga Raju for “Scamasutra".
Best Picture – A magnum opus for which 552 villains were assembled (unfortunately, there was no money left-over for heroes). By any stretch of imagination it is the longest movie ever made – 5 years approximately. It’s a movie with no story but lots of plots – devious plots. It’s a fluid script with many actors staging walk-outs. There is no action but lot of motion(s). And commotion. With over 500 people shouting concurrently, the audio levels were so high that even the Speaker packed up. The movie had a message. That while the country is forced into socialism, the parliament operates as a free-market. For 5 entertaining years of bedlam, the Bhaskar Awards for the Best Picture goes to the 14th Lok Sabha for “Chor Machaye Shor.”
Lifetime Acievement - The one actor who never seems to leave the stage is Deve Gowda. He has had a rich career in which he has acted in numerous mega-hits. He played the indifferent CM with a profit motive in "No Aankhen Bara Haath". He captured the spirit of a villager who fluked his way to Delhi in "Ragi Ban Gaya Gentleman". He portrayed the social worker who opposed infra-structure in "Viroadi". And a million other such roles. He has a wealth of experience and now an experience of wealth. For amassing an incredible amount of er... wisdom in one lifetime, the Bhaskar Award for Lifetime Achievement goes to Deve Gowda.
That wraps up the 2008 Bhaskars folks. Do send in nominations for 2009.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
1. The Ministry for Women & Child Development will be brought under the Home Ministry, which will then be renamed the Home & Hearth Ministry. After all, Indian Culture says that a woman’s place is in her home. The 'food' portfolio will also be brought under the Home & Hearth ministry, because within home, a woman’s place is specifically in the kitchen. Pramod Muthalik will run this ministry. And given his concerns about youth, the Ministry of Youth Affairs will also come in here. So will the Ministry of Environment & Forests. After all, Muthalik is well versed in jungle law.
2. The Ministry of Health will be merged with the Ministry of Culture as both are about bans & compulsions. Ramadoss remains the ideal man to run this. Consumer Affairs might as well come in here because he anyway keeps poking his nose into it. And Public Grievances will be a good addition as Ramadoss gives a lot of grief to the public. And finally, the Ministry of Statistics because he is, well, mean.
3. Our tribal belt is more or less controlled by naxalites (with whom we even have ceasefires once in a while). The Ministry of External Affairs will therefore take over the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. And for the same reason, the Ministry for Development of the North Eastern Region too. Mamata Bannerjee will take over this portfolio. She may not know much about tribes but is wonderful at diatribe.
4. Our national defence appears to largely constitute of words, threats, accusations & codemnations. The I&B Ministry will therefore be brought under the aegis of the Defence Ministry. Kalyan Singh can head this because he currently seems to be sitting on de-fence. He will also be given the Ministry of Petroleum to fuel rumours. And the Ministry of Textiles to effect cover-ups. Kalyan will get the added responsibility of Sports because he seems to show some potential in the triple-jump.
5. The Ministry of HRD and the Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment are euphemisms for imposing reservation. They will hence be subsumed into the Ministry for Railways. Lalu can continue to head this as he is …er…well-trained.
6. The Ministry of Power will become a giant ministry. Parliamentary Affairs will be added to it, as political power is the only kind of power that is available in this country. And once Parliamentary Affairs is added, Natural Gas obviously comes in. Our government is usually formed by parties with no majority. Hence Minority Affairs is added here. And the constant rifts & alliances make this the logical place for the fission & fusion of the Dept. of Atomic Energy. This mega-ministry can, however, lead to megalomania. So Sharad Pawar will run it. He has a reassuring name that sounds like ‘shared power’.
7. In line with the various subsidies, sops & waivers, the Ministry of Finance will now also include Public Distribution (or redistribution, to be precise). The Ministry of Steel will be renamed the Ministry of Steal, and added to this portfolio. The Ministry of Mines will also be brought in here. In any case, whatever we earn, the FM thinks, “It’s mine.” Ramalinga Raju will be put in charge of this ministry because he is an expert in…er…‘creating’ wealth.
8. The Ministry of Agriculture shall merge with the Ministry for Water Resources and the Ministry for Chemicals & Fertilizers. After all our farmers need water for their crops to drink and chemicals for er… themselves. Indra Nooyi can be invited to run this. Her stint in Pepsi has given her great understanding of sugar, water & pesticides.
9. The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation will be merged. After all, a lot of the urban poor are currently staying in our monuments. Noting the fact that more people visit Infosys than Taj Mahal, Narayanmoorthy will assume charge of this ministry. And because of that, we shall also bung in the Ministry of Science & Technology as well as the Ministry of Communication & IT. May he bring ROM Rajya to our country.
10. The Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and the Ministry for Civil Aviation will be brought under The Ministry for Overseas Indian Affairs. This is because, if an Indian wants to see roads, highways or some civility in aviation, he has to go overseas anyway. Sonia Gandhi will run this augmented Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs because she even married an overseas Indian.
11. The Ministry for Urban Development with be merged with Ministry for Food Processing Industries because all our cities are one big jam. Deve Gowda can head this one and continue to put us all in a pickle. The Ministry of Space will be added here because he has a lot of it (between his ears). Deve Gowda will also get the Ministry for Rural Development because he has painstakingly converted many cities into rural areas.
12. The Ministry for Commerce & Industry will be made part of the Ministry for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises. This is because our government diligently ensures that all our industries stay small & medium. Prakash Karat will run this ministry because he has the right attitude – he views every growth as a cancer. The Ministry of Labour & Employment will be added here to help him push his agenda. And the Ministry of Pensions because a lot of people wish that Karat took his and retired.
13. The Ministry for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises will now also include the Ministry of Planning. This would enable them to do some heavy planning with little industry. The Ministry of Personnel will be added here because our public enterprises have a lot of public but no enterprise. Vijay Mallya will run this as he his very heavy and very public.
14. We often wonder why on earth we are still harping on Panchayat Raj. So it is logical to merge the Ministry for Panchayat Raj with the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Raj Thackeray can run this because he could also be called Punch-ayat Raj. And he is good at slinging mud. A true son of the soil.
15. There are a few things that we completely lack today but we fondly wish we had sometime in the future. Like wind power, solar power & justice. These will be clubbed into one Ministry. Comprising what was previously the Ministry for New & Renewable Energy and the Ministry for Law & Justice. Bejan Daruwala will run this futuristic ministry.
Phew. Finally we are down to just 15 ministries. This honest, simplified structure would make our government leaner and enable them to become meaner.
Oops, I forgot about the Ministry of Coal. Let's close it down and transfer its responsibilities to the Election Commissioner Navin Chawla. After all, he’s constantly answering nature’s coal.
Disclaimer : Obviously this is fictional. Look at the title. How can anything that has rational & government in the same sentence be true? After all, if we demand rationality from politicians, they’ll ask us to try the ration shop.
Monday, February 9, 2009
We've been Putting for some time now. And it has been most enjoyable (at least, hic, for me). Anything to do with spirits & conversation usually is.
But writing a blogpost means that I have to hunt high & low and unhealthily scrape the bottom of various barrels to string together a collection of PJs. My fingernails then take some time to grow (before I can start scraping again, I mean).
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I solemnly swear that this is the last time I shall cheat by cloaking excerpts from my Twitter updates as a blog post. That's because, from now on, I er... plan to post all my Twitter updates as blog posts. If you anyway follow me on Twitter and want to read only the longer stuff, you can click on the topic - Patiala. Here are excerpts from my Tweets of the last few days -
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Sanjay Dutt - Oy there. Vote for me, ok. I want to be PM. My career started in a Rocky manner. But I soon made a Naam for myself. The Mumbai Blasts were a Kaante in my flesh because people thought I had made our Dushman into my Saajan. So I was called Khalnayak and kept in Kabzaa for possessing Hathyaar. But now I’m back with a Dhamaal. I fail to understand why, just because I’m a movie star, I’ve become the Dutt of all jokes. Believe me, I’m a man of deep conviction – 6 years to be precise. So vote for me and vote for a muscular India. Sanjay ka Haath, Arm Aadmi ke Saath.
Mamata Banerjee - Farmers, and former farmers. This is your Didi standing before you asking for your vote. These industrialists want your land to set up plants. What for I say? Don’t farmers anyway grow plants? Industry? Na, no, never. I will ban progress. After all, people respectfully call me Bannerjee. Your Didi will make a great PM. With the constant terrorist threat, we need a PM capable of ordering surgical strikes. Or even, if necessary, a nuclear strike. And I am a veteran of strikes. Auto strike, lawyer strike and so on. So vote for me and let us restore Farm Rajya in this country.
Raj Thackeray - Manoos & er.. womanoos. Make me PM and I promise to protect our borders. I’ll ban everything Pakistani. Singers, sportsmen, jugglers. Movies like Pakeezah. Sweets like Mysore Pak. Even games like Pakman. You see, by eliminating all peaceful visitors, we can attack any Pakistani on the street because he, then, must be a terrorist. Of course, if he’s armed, we’ll let our Bhaiyyas in NSG handle it. I’ll spread Marathi around India, signboard by signboard. Marathi is music to my ears and I love music. Especially violence. And sometimes, I play the loot. I am well educated, in the famous Goon School, where I studied the work of the poet Burns. Unlike my uncle, I have Bals. So please vote for me and send me to Delhi. Or else, I’ll remain in Mumbai.
Barkha Dutt - You the people. I request you to vote me in as PM. This nation is floating meaninglessly. It needs an anchor. Like me. I will not treat politics as a business. I’ll make it personal. Very personal. I will personally investigate every terror attack and fearlessly interrogate the er… victims. I’ll have no secrets and I’ll ensure that our nation too has none. After all, even terrorists count in the TRPs, don't they? I’ll cajole our industrialists to ensure that our economy is sensational. I’ll add melodrama to parliamentary proceedings thus making it prime-time viewing. I beg you for your vote. So, please vote for me. Or I’ll cry.
Considering I've plunged down to people like Barkha Dutt, I guess its time to end this series. Unless some fresh jokers enter politics.
Disclaimer : The above speeches are pure fiction. So it does not purport to represent the state of Indian politics, which is more about friction, factions & infractions.
Monday, January 12, 2009
My love affair with Twitter continues. It is spontaneous. It is easy. It is interactive. And it is addictive. Some more excerpts :
Chhattisgarh government to provide free iodised salt. All the people in that state can now say, "Sarkar, maine aapka namak khaya hai".
A Ghajini video game is to be launched soon. Wonder how much memory it will take.
Hindu says "Over 100 flights delayed in Delhi". PTI says "Flight operations normal in Delhi". I guess, both are right.
Amar Singh calls the UPA government gutless and heartless. Well, I am a champion of less government, but this is not what I meant.
ONGC is participating in the oil strike. Er... weren't they set up to strike oil???
Musharraf says that India should not speak of surgical strikes. I agree. Any such talk and all our surgeons will stop coming to work.
Ramadoss to now make Yoga mandatory in all schools and colleges. Our health minister suffers from an Obsessive Compulsory Disorder.
China blocks 41 porn sites. They now have only about 14,999,959 sites to go.
Mallya says he still hasn't decided if Dravid will continue as the captain of RCB. You could say - he is sitting on the wall.
A google search generates 7g of CO2. Well, one breath we take generates 1g. So let's hold our breath and search.
You can follow my Tweets here.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
It’s a big day. The courtroom is packed. With journalists, shareholders, programmers & Barkha Dutt. After all, today’s the day when the Satyam Chairman & CEO, B Ramalinga Raju, is in the dock. The judge is looking solemn. The public prosecutor is looking smug. In the background, the national emblem adds gravity to the proceedings. In order to remove any trace of bias, the words “Satyameva Jayate” have been masked so that it reads “eva Jayate”. Ramalinga Raju has taken the oath and the crowd too has been quietly swearing at him. The public prosecutor purposefully walks up to the witness stand.
Public Prosecutor (gravely courteous) : Would you prefer to remain standing or would you rather sit down?
PP : Not guilty??? Do you actually deny that you falsified the books to show inflated results?
References : Second Life, Deli.co.us, Digg, StumbleUpon, Flickr, Wikipedia, Facebook & Twitter are all up there leading the Web 2.0 revolution.
Update : I've subsequently found out that Satyam exited SIFY a few years back. So I guess I shouldn't have dragged SIFY into this article. But then, if you really look at it, I shouldn't have dragged all the other companies in either.