Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The norm.

Our papers were in order. We were registering at the full amount, and not using the 'usual' practice of registering at guidance value. We were at the registration office in time. There was a buzz that due to some vigilance inspection, there would be no bribes this monday.

It was a rumour. The 'normal' bribe amount, which our lawyer had warned us about much in advance, was duly collected.

I am also ashamed, that I did not even speak up, which I usually do, since I didn't have the guts to shake the whole system, and take on so many people together, the registration officers, the lawyer, the broker, the seller, the bank. I knew the price of speaking up, is delay. When I refused to pay up for the passport, it took 6 months to come. However, in this case, delay meant essentially losing out on the house. So between uprightness and the house, the house won.

Such as it goes. Another routine day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - Zoya Akhtar

Decent fun movie. What you'd call paisa vasool. Perhaps the men would enjoy it more than the women.

However it doesn't stay with me, the way luck by chance did. That one was a brilliantly made movie, and I completely loved it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


There was a movie called rang de basanti, which had left me rather under whelmed, while it was creating a mass hysteria. Not in terms of movie making itself, I thought it was rather well made, but in terms of the underlying message.

The conversion from political apathy, to active political activism, is a journey. The conclusions you reach are less important than the journey. ( whether extreme left wing naxalism, or extreme right wing conservatism). At some stage all isms work, at another they can all fail. Heck, with a good guy at the top, you could even make dictatorship work. What you end up believing in, could depend on the influences, the processing you do, and ( if some neurologists are to be belived), even the way your brain is wired. However, irrespective of what affiliation you make in the end, either the leftist of hazar chaurasi ki maan, or the right wing Salim of Khamost Pani, you process certain inputs, think, draw conclusions, take stands. That is your journey.

What didn't sit well in RDB for me, was the complete lack of that journey. Misdirected rage, does not a political movement make. Each candlelight procession of public anger does not a freedom movement make. Why am I reminded of this today? Because the parallels between RDB and whats happening on the roads today seems uncanny. Yes I'm sure there are many who've taken that journey, and made an informed choice. More power to them. But I seem to meet a lot more people, who are determined to let Anna do all the thinking for them, and are willing to believe every absurd type of propaganda floating around. Yes we're all frustrated with the corruption, but don't we all have to do some hard work to think for ourselves?

I've always been rather apolitical, never having made those journeys, never having much political awareness. My stands were usually taken on limited areas like individual freedoms and equality. I gave a wide berth to civic functioning and economic policy, having litte understanding of both. However this is one time, it just seems impossible to not take a stand, on an issue which most of us have a really limited understanding of. So where does one begin? Well for one, you try and understand what is being proposed, what are the issues, what are we rallying for? 

I'm growing increasingly tired of the simplistic jingoism, and the hero worship of individuals, as a substitute to doing some hard thinking on your own. I'm also tired of the simplified battle lines that seem to have been drawn, as if every person agreeing with the bill, should also agree with the methods adopted by Anna to pressurise the govt. As if every person disagreeing with the bill has to necessarily villify the proponents, laud the governments stupid 'preemptive' moves, and denounce the so called 'blackmail' methods.
As of now, I'm quite unconvinced by the bill, specially the way the campaign promotes it as 'being a solution to all varieties of corrupt practices in our lives' which I think was a massive understatemet. ( by none other than  Aruna Roy herself). I'm open to discussion, and willing to be convinced about its effectiveness. I'm reading everything I can on it. But please, give me a major break from these human chains, I am Anna, and the 'social' movement against corruption. Lets be clear about what we're trying to achieve here, and understand that once we've got it, and the initial euphoric years have passed, it will be mighty hard to change it again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What on earth????

Am I the only one finding this whole line of thinking strange?? Do we know what our budget, and spend is ? Do we know how money moves ? Do we not know anything at all barring addition, subtraction and division?

Do u know what will happen if 1,456 Lac Crores comes back.

1. India Financially No.1

2. Each district will get 60000 crores & each village will get 100 Crores

3. No need to pay taxes for next 20 yrs.

4. Petrol 25 Rs, Diesel 15 Rs, Milk 8 Rs.

5. No need to pay electricity bill.

6. Indian borders will become more stronger than the China Wall.

7. 1500 Oxford like Universities can be opened.

8. 28,000 kms Rubber road (like in Paris ) can be made.

9. 2,000 hospitals (with all facilities) all medicine Free.

10. 95 crore people will have their own house.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zen, its history and teaching - Osho

Its a good introduction to Zen, something I didn't know anything about, before reading this.

To be sure, really understanding it is close to impossible, because its not really a religion, certainly not in the sense that the word religion is understood. Absolutely unlike say Islam or Christianity, and even far removed from the kind of uni - dimensional Hinduism or buddhism that is sought to be institutionalised these days.

The origin of the word is explained as a variation on 'Dhyan'.  The emphasis is on the meditative, innate self, the place of not a thinking mind, but rather an instinctive, unthinking mind. As such, the central theme that I could gather throughout the book, was one of doing away with scripture's teachers, logic, theory, of not choosing at all.

Good read overall.

Some excerpts:

If you meet a budhdha, cut him down; if you meet a patriarch, cut him down; if you meet an arhat, cut him down, if you meet your parents, cut them down, and if you meet your relatives, cut them down.
Only thus, will you be liberated, and ifyou are not held by externals, you will be disengaged and comfortably independent.

The great way, is not difficult for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaver and earth are set infintely apartt.
If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinion for or against.
The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.

And finally the lovely haiku..

The ancient pond
A frog jumps in

Sunday, August 14, 2011


There's an ad on tv, an old gentleman is bemoaning how decades ago, some guy called Kanti Lal, kissed his wife. The youngish fellow next to him, uses our maadern technology to located said Kanti lal. The last scene shows the old gentleman standing next to the tottering old kanti Lal, and Kanti Lal's wife. The gentleman says ' hisaab barabar' pecks Kanti Lal's wife on the cheek, and runs off as the wife is looking up rather shocked and horrified. 

I was wondering, what if we make a contrarian scenario. An old woman bemoaning how some dame called Kanti Bai kissed her husband. What if she finds the said Kanti Bai, and pecks Kanti Bai's husband to do the hisaab barabar.

Doesn't quite ring true.. does it? So much for equality. And so many questions to ponder over. Questions over mindsets about protection, sexuality, power, self image, justice..

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Home Decor - Plug for friends!

For those of you in Delhi, here's the chance to do some home decor shopping, and add the four moons to the your home! Two of my friends have are having separate exhibitions of their lovely stuff, do check out over this weekend:

Place & Time : Ambience Mall, 7th floor above reliance, Gurgaon, 12th Aug to 15th Aug
Type of stuff - Home decor, gift collections
Wall hangings, mirrors, vases, pen stands - all designed and hand crafted lovingly by Nidhi herself!
Name: Treasured Crafts - http://nidhimanchanda.com/treasured-crafts/

Place and Time: Splendor at Ashoka Hotel, from 13th to 15th
Type of Stuff: Home decor, furnishings and gift collections
Amazing cushion covers, and a host of pretty things for the house, with Rhea being the designer and prime mover!

Stanley ka dabba - Amol Gupte

A sweet little film, well crafted and well acted.

A little kid at school doesn't get a lunch-box like his other friends. His friends don't mind sharing their dabba, but there's also a teacher, who's determined to grab the lunch boxes.

There's not much to the story really. You follow the tale of the lunch boxes, and although, the reason for Stanley's lack of dabba is exposed in the end ( a bit contrivedly to be sure), you never really learn the story of the teacher. Was reminded of the blue umbrella in some ways, but somehow preferred this one, even though that one had a neater story. This short movie draws its life mainly from the superb direction, and good acting.

Must watch, just to see what the craft of movie making is all about !

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tears of the desert - Halima Bashir

Its a rather moving book, not exceptionally well written, but aimed to churn your guts with its description of the casualties of the war in darfur.

Halima describes her childhood in a village in Sudan, her schooling and the brewing trouble, and the subsequent almost complete breakdown of 'normal life' as it were. There's a constant backdrop of rape being used as a weapon, and the usual response thats supposed to draw. Part of the reason that bit pisses me off, is because I see your own conditioning as part of the problem. Like rape is the worst ever thing that could happen to you. I don't think so. It all goes back to the need for society to control a woman's sexuality. As an aside, the FGM practiced by the african tribes seems as horrific if not more than the rapes. Although the author has described her own feeling of betrayal at it, I didn't find the detailed analysis I was expecting, why did it start, and why does it continue?

Decent read, but not exceptional.

Monday, August 01, 2011

keep off the grass - karan bajaj

time pass, not really very good. Same league as chetan bhagat , sidin vadakut etc.

An american indian investment banker returns to india to do an mba from the IIMB, trying to find answers to life's deep questions, as to what's he doing, whats the point of it all etc etc.

Some lines are funny, but overall as book, there's not much really holding the plot or narrative together.  

Unless you're into this kind of fiction, really avoid!