Deconstructing Pictures Posted on Social Media Part 2

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PREVIOUS PART (Part 1)

Adventure Sports: When projecting a rocking image of your life on social media, nothing conveys “dynamic” more than pictures of oneself engaging in adventure sports. Which is why if any desi has skydived, you can be sure that’s his Facebook profile picture. It’s what social scientists call the “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” effect, a film that not only defined yuppie-cool as tomato-throwing, adventure sports, expensive bags and first-world problems of commitment and friendship, but also provided a generation a blue-print of what their life should be.

Or more precisely, should appear to be to their friends and peers.

Hence sky-diving.  And white-water-rafting (the poor student’s skydiving), and  bungee-jumping, rope-gliding, para-gliding and snorkeling.

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Deconstructing Pictures Posted on Social Media Part 1

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Anushtup loved pictures. For him, they were a soft lens into the past, smoothing down the bumps and the ridges, freezing time down to happy faces and nice places. Memories, he always told himself, were different, they carried the bad as well as the good, though mostly the bad. But pictures, no one ever took pictures of themselves fighting or weeping or throwing stuff or lying down in the dark, looking out through the window. They just didn’t.

Yatrik (my forthcoming book, releasing September 2014)

As myriad Facebook albums  swim through my NewsFeed, sometimes I just want to wade in and say, ” I get it. Your life is perfect”.

For that is why we share pictures don’t we? I mean really? To project an idealization of our life.

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Red Rose—The Review

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[Has spoilers]

Winston Churchill had once said about Russia, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.

The Red Rose, (a scene-by-scene remake of a Kamal Hassan and Sridevi Tamil movie) is a Russia, wrapped in Russia, inside a Russia, so convoluted and complex it is, with its nested riddles, mysteries and enigmas.

Is Red Rose, with its themes of  perversion, voyeurism, gratuitous gore, sexuality, verdant chest-hair and mammaries (only Om Shivpuri’s is shown) , an Indianized tribute to the Japanese pinku eiga or the Hong Kong Cat III or the Giallo genre of Italy?

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New Niyams

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[Picture courtesy DNA]

Now that the Narendra Modi will never become prime minister in the multicultural cauldron that is India and there is no Modi wave cards have been conclusively trumped, it is but inevitable that the Modi rule will end India will be turned face-up onto the deck. In that vein, I have been reading, with more than a slight bit of amusement, the slew of “open letters” and predictions of dystopia from our intellectuals, otherwise normally so against the concept of fear-mongering (being a most fascist trait, or so are told). While one respectfully appreciates their point of view (not doing so would be most fascist, or so we are told), one does feel the need to lay down a few niyams, in the manner of Bill Maher’s famous “New Rules” segment in Real Time With Bill Maher.

New Niyam: You have got to stop using Hitler as the metaphor.

I have written before on how logically well-founded the whole  “Modi is a fascist” banshee shriek is and so I won’t go into it again for, let’s accept it, no one likes to repeat rules. But if you are going to equate him to a Fascist dictator, then you have to start using names other than Hitler, like Mussolini or Franco. And if we move beyond fascism as an European political philosophy and embrace a wider meaning of the word i.e. “genocidal dictator who enforces absolute obedience” may I suggest Stalin, Idi Amin or Pol Pot, all of whom I can assure you are sufficiently terrifying. But Hitler? Come on. That’s such a cliche that they have a Mithun Chakroborty movie by that name.

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Good Bye Dr. Singh

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Good bye Dr. Manmohan Singh.

You had once said that you hoped that history remembers you more kindly than the present does. Given that history at least in our country is written by a cabal of  historians that are ideologically well-oriented towards your world-view and viscerally opposed to your opponents, you might very well get your wish. Be as it may, and I would not grudge you the odd hagiography, the thing is Dr. Singh I will not remember you kindly.

And let me explain why.

You failed as a leader.

National crises make even ordinary leaders like George W Bush look good. Except you could not pass for a leader even then. When our nation was in peril like as on 26/11 or our people were agitated like after the Delhi gang rape, you surfaced, almost always too late, with a prepared statement that had in it as much passion and hope and spontaneity as a tax form. Now the cynical intellectual in you may scoff at this, but alas when the country is attacked and terrorists do what they do, spread terror, ordinary people often just needs to hear a firm and reassuring voice. Yet the abiding memory of one of the most dastardly acts of aggression this country has seen will remain  your most efficient Home Minister changing his bandhgalas like Suchitra Sen changing saris in a song sequence, and the resounding sound of silence from supposedly the most powerful person in the country.

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