Thoughts On the Guwahati Incident

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This happened a long time ago. A student of Class XI, I was going to one of the innumerable tuitions that the pursuit of what a middle-class upbringing calls success forced me to attend. The crowded mini-bus had slowed down to a crawl. There was some commotion on the road.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on.

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On FDI In Retail

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Looking at the BJP, one often gets the impression that they have been afflicted by the Subhash Ghai disease, an obsessive compulsive disorder wherein the sufferer tries to recycle in the 2010s what worked in the 90s. With disastrous results. For instance, who else believes in 2011 that calling a jeep a “Rath” will make those riding in it appear like mythic Hindu heroes?

Well I might have been wrong about the exact decade in which the BJP’s clock stopped working. It was not the 90s after all. Hearing Arun Jaitley speak of the perils of having our food supply in “foreign” hands, all I see is a desperate attempt to revive the pop-culture bogeyman of the license-raj 70s days, that phirang Bob-Christo archetype snarling in his accented Hindi about “dirty Indians” while the noble Manoj Kumar would be tied up in a galley, looking to the side surreptitiously at Hema Malini,a symbol of India (or more precisely its food security) caught in the vice-grip of foreign avarice, writhing sensuously on deck.

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Agni The Fire

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Like many of my fellow countrymen, I am drawn to Big Boss [my column in Sunday's DNA] in the same way that I find myself fascinated by the sight of  maggots infesting an apple. For years, this attrition-based reality show has provided the nation with a cultured clash of ideas, public debate, civilized discourse, tension, solitude and most importantly, bouncing bosoms, wagging fingers and bad language.

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But Seriously

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There is a popular video game called “Guitar Hero” in which the controller is like a guitar. As notes scroll by on-screen, players have to hit colored buttons on the controllers at the exact moment the note is highlighted on the screen. The more “notes” you hit, the more the virtual crowd goes into a frenzy and the more points you score.

Writing for the foreign media, whether it be articles or fiction, is often like playing “Guitar Hero”—you mash the right buttons at the right moment and out comes a publication, in the same way “music” comes out of Guitar Hero. An example of this kind of ” say-what-your-foreign-audience wants-to-hear” writing that hits the hot-points can be found here, in an article written in the New York Times by Manu Joseph, also referred to sometimes in Middle Earth as the Bane of Barkha.

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The Brand

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This story (Late night internet chats land IITian in court) [Link] caught my attention today. No it was not just because of the judge making the man pay for the accommodation of the woman but for the way the word “IIT ” occurs in the headline and inside the piece. This is all the more confounding since the man in question does not now study in the said institution (he works for a “multinational firm in Gurgaon” ) and even more importantly there is nothing in his IIT education that has any bearing on what happened. Some may claim that his desire for late night chats with women stem from the social situation in school and to them I would say this is hardly an IIT-only phenomenon, many lonely men from different educational backgrounds, usually those with highly gender-imbalanced student bodies, are found to engage in such nocturnal activities.

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