A Quiz Announcement

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This is to announce a India-themed quiz at the University of Maryland, College Park ( organized by DESIUMD ) which ”yours truly” will be conducting on Friday March 2nd with his customary Inzamamian flair.

If you are in the area, free on March 2nd at 5:30 in the evening and would like to participate in a rather easy, lowbrow quiz with no arcane references then kindly drop by the Nyumburu Cultural Center to enjoy a liberal splattering of trivia about Chichi, Mithun-da, forgotten Indian bowlers, Doordarshan oldies, corrupt politicians and other assorted topics of no importance to anyone.

[Sample question: From the personal section of a certain newspaper on a certain Valentine's Day. Who is M? Hint: M is not Mithun Chakraborty]

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Tu Hi Tu Bajrangi Re

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The tension in the city was palpable as the “Vivah Raath” (marriage chariot), manned by the fighting wings of the Bajrang Dal, (the Dharma Sena [not to be confused with a certain "Kumara" i.e. bachelor Sri Lankan cricketer] and the Durga Bahini [not to be confused with Mamata Banerjee's followers]) rolled through town.

As they shouted anti-Valentine Day slogans and made a bonfire of cards and cute red teddy bears, I caught up with a particularly ferocious activist who declined to give his name, insisting we address him as simply “Bajrangi”.

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Please Vote For Me

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For those who feel that “Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind” has touched you in some way (appropriately or inappropriately) in the course of your life, kindly consider voting for me at this year’s Indibloggies.

Voting has closed.

I have been nominated in two categories this year: 1) Indiblog of the Year [Old RTDM followers will remember me coming runners-up in this category last year] and 2) Most Humorous Indiblog and I humbly solicit your precious votes for both the categories.

Oh yes I will leave the “popular awards do not matter to me” and the ” I only blog for the pleasure of it, acknowledgement be damned” clichés for after the competition. Just like I did last year.

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Saluting The Departed

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One of the things that has served me well throughout my academic life has been the skill of skimming over many pages of dense text and zooming, with the alacrity of a hungry hawk, on to that part of the document relevant for me. And I owe this skill in no small measure to the works of Harold Robbins and of the lately deceased Sidney Sheldon.

Late 80s. No relief on pre-cable Rajiv-Darshan for the horizon-broadening early-teen. The mind turned to the printed word—-but the only English books allowed at home for “bhodro” (good) kids were the classics (Moby Books with one side text and one side pictures where a glimpse of Estella’s cartoon cleavage was the only possible great expectation), Famous Five and Nancy Drew, the juiceless products of the Communist state otherwise known as Vostok publications, Tintin, Asterix….you get the picture. The “bad” kids, the ones who got “guardian calls” and had red in their report cards, smuggled in these dog-eared Sheldon-Robbins books to school which we, with shaking hands and smoky breath, would leaf through rapidly trying to focus in on the good parts, in the brief minute before “tiffin” ended.

And what a world it was. Screw the “Gajab ka hain din”-style running around trees and the juvenile “Oye Oye”s —-this was the real deal.

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Salaam-E-Ishq —the Review

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Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan zara kabool kar lo,
Tum mujshe pyar karne ki zara si bhool kar lo.

Bhool. Yes bhool.

If Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit for minimum component cost doubles every 24 months, then the Mohabattein Law hypothesizes that the number of love stories you can pack into one Bollywood quagmire doubles every 7 years.

Which is why Nikhil Advani’s “Love Actually”-inspired Salaam-e-Ishq (2007), an obese celluloid flab-ball that weighs in at more than three hours of vacuous vapidity, has six romantic stories—a vast improvement over Mohabattein (2000)’s three (yes I know technically Mohabattein had five love stories [the three pansies, SRK and Anupam Kher], but cut me some slack here please.)

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Guru—the Review

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Who was Dhirubhai?

Was he, in the words of R  Goenka someone who “did not just rape the system but made it his mistress” through systematic manipulation of the “license raj”, that claustrophobic legacy of Nehruvian socialism and the corruption it institutionalized, to stifle competition and to advance his interests?

Or was he a visionary who built up a corporate empire through Machiavellian opportunism, cunning and sheer hard work, seizing opportunities when none existed, breaking the back of the traditional cabal of Indian business families and the hold of financial institutions by raising money from the people, a man who inspired hate and derision not for how many he bribed but because the rise of the poorly-educated “hawker waiting outside the cabin” to one of the richest men in the world was just too much for the established gentry to swallow?

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Rahul Dravid's Suryanamaskar

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Now I did not see this coming. Rahul Dravid speaking for Suryanamaskar at a Golwalkar centenary celebration organized by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. (RSS)

Or maybe I should have. After all with Sourav Ganguly attending CPM functions in Bengal and with gossip-minded fans convinced that Dravid and Sourav are not really in a Jai-Veeru “yeh dosti” relationship of late, Rahul’s probable shift to the saffron end of the spectrum may well have been foretold by greater, more demented minds.

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