And Yet Another Birthday


Birthdays are a bitch. No this is not a rant about growing old and about the death of idealism —– for that I ask you to refer to my last year’s post where I tried to deal with the monumental milestone of turning thirty.

Birthdays are a bitch because no matter how hard I try not to get misty-eyed, my mind is flooded with memories of other December 30s when our living room would be decked out with ribbons, my uncle would be blowing balloons, my grandmother would be fighting with the Oriya “thakur” (cook) who would insist on adding an inordinate amount of spice to the chicken and I would rubbing my hands gleefully in anticipation of all the gifts I would have at the end of the day.

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Vivah—the Review


Sick and tired of the decadent West-inspired perversion (extra-marital affairs, husband swapping, playing basketball in the rain) that is passed off as “acceptable” by today’s Hindi movies , I have to confess I eagerly look forward to Sooraj Barjatya’s clean, sensitive, morally well-grounded movies that smell of gajar ka halwa and Bharatiya sanskiriti if only to convince myself that there is still some good left in this world gone crazy with lust and licentiousness.

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In Praise of Bandhs


What the hell is wrong with Mamata Banerjee? First she calls for a 48 hour Bandh and then postpones it (at least she has not cancelled it) taking into account the entreaties of her Christian brothers !

Postponing a bandh? What kind of lunacy is that? Don’t people understand that the bandh needed to be on 21st (Thursday), 22nd (Friday) so that with the weekend (23rd and 24th) and Christmas (25th) we would have a really really long weekend ? Why is noone thinking about the people who made advance plans based on the prospect of this “Bandh Break” —who will compensate them for their loss? [Left: Picture (from Times of India) of protesting Trinamool hunks]

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Jai Ma Kali


The “Chandidas” in the name Sourav Chandidas Ganguly means the slave (devotee) of Ma Chandi also known as Ma Kali to her followers.

When Sourav Ganguly was playing a command innings against South Africa on a difficult pitch under choking pressure, laying to bed the demons in his mind and the demons in the dressing room and in the press box, there was a presence on the field—a Godly presence shepherding him through the toughest few hours of his career.

I am talking about the substitute player fielding for the South Africans, on for the injured Dale Steyn.

A man by the name of Makalima.

Yes. You saw that correct.

Ma Kali Ma.

And when Sourav threw back the years, the hurt and the humiliation, hitting an amazing six of Ntini and then in the press conference desisted from gloating, instead choosing to heap praise on those those with whom his relationship can best be described as uneasy, he ended up proving something we all know to be true but sometimes have trouble keeping faith in—-that God helps them who help themselves.

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Dhoom II — the Review


When Queen Elizabeth came to India and not only refused to apologize for Jallianwalah Bag (despite apologizing for British excesses during Bloody Sunday in Northern Island) but also dismissed the magnitude of the butchery as “exaggerated” (instead choosing to believe the casualty figures of General Dyer’s son), she defiled the memory of our freedom fighters and inflicted a resounding colonial slap on the face of the nation—a slap that had gone unanswered.

Till now.

Dhoom II. A royal figure who looks suspiciously like Queen Elizabeth is in a train speeding through Namibia along with her crown, a priceless treasure that is being guarded by two of James Bond’s illegitimate sons. Hrithik Roshan, super thief, drops down from the sky like a piece of pigeon poo, magically gets into the train and then donning a mask (Mission Impossible style), transforms himself into Queen Elizabeth so perfectly that the guards willingly grant him/her access to the “crown jewels”. Through this plot device, the director Sanjay Gadhvi not-so-subtly suggests that Queen Elizabeth and Hrithik Roshan have identical torsos—thus casting doubt on the Queen’s femininity in the same way that she cast doubt on the magnitude of Jallianwalah Bagh.


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Bengali Passion


One of the favouritest past-times of the argumentative Bengali, usually over noisy slurps of tea, bites of aloor chop and intermittent puffs on Gold Flake, is to apportion blame for Bengal’s marginalization in national politics, the economy and even culture in post-Independence India. For politics, the schism between Subhash Bose and Gandhi is considered to be the starting point of Bengal’s steadily decreasing influence over Delhi. The freight equalization policy that took away much of Bengal’s locational advantage and the Congress-party-held Center’s discriminatory fiscal policies towards CPM-ruled Bengal, both as retribution for repeatedly electing a non-Congress party as well as to favour Congress-held states (or states where they had a decent chance of winning) are considered universally (and rightfully) to be two of the major factors for Bengal’s economic marginalization. And lording over these factors is the ubiquitous, inexorable CPM-led militant trade unionism from the 60s to the 90s that led to a massive flight of industrial capital from the state—-though this contributory factor is likely to be debated vehemently by the hard-core Leftists, a breed that is thankfully being slowly supplanted by the pragmatic Leftist as exemplified by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

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Chal Thai-ya Thai-ya


It’s tough being a MLA in Bihar.

While members of most state legislative assemblies engage in mutual kung-fu fighting, the MLAs of Bihar are a different breed altogether, ceaselessly toiling and travelling with nary a thought for their individual gratification, gathering information and gainfully spending tax money on constructive causes.

Consider the case of this mammoth contingent of Bihari MLAs who were sent by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on an all-expense-paid 10-day “study tour” of Thailand to investigate ways and means to control AIDs. After all, for one of the poorest states in India, what could be a better use of money than to send 15 MLAs to Thailand—-a lesser leader would have spent that money on providing better facilities to health officials inside the state. But not Nitish. He knows that when you send a group of 15 Bihari MLAs into a den of prostitutes, seminal ideas come spurting out.

Well at least the seminal part is guaranteed.

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