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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redrose1

[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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Manmohan-Singh_1438480c

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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Fascism Is Coming

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jailor

It’s coming, coming, coming, coming.

Take your Cashmere shawls and your long-stemmed champagne glasses and run for the hills. (Or Paris if you have the money). The RSS (yes they have the SS already in there) are coming in their black Shikari Shambhu shorts to pour milk into your Cognac and convert India Habitat Center to India Hindu Center. They will ban your Marxist-feminist tomes, reduce the minorities to dhimmitude, rip the tongues of the free press (Open Magazine tera kar doonga khullam khullah) and put all the dissidents into the Bamboo gulaag with only copies of Bal Narendra for company. And the Chauthi Reich will be established, Devang Patel shall become Wagner, Chetan Bhagat Nietzche (if he isn’t already) and the Brahminical Nazis shall all stretch their hands out and up and say “Kemcho Fuhrer”.

Now I will confess that I am a sucker for doomsday scenarios. That is I believe all of them. Aliens will attack the earth from giant pods and the American president will save us by piloting a plane. Mughalistan shall be established and all women love-Jihaded. The Pope shall rule India through his insidious agents and through Catholic viruses implanted in EVMs. A team easily winning an IPL game in a canter shall lose 6 wickets for 2 runs and contrive to lose. To those who call me paranoid, that last thing did happen to KKR.

But of all these doom-and-gloom-Nazis-are-coming futures, the one that I take most seriously is the one that relates to the ascent of the Saffron Insidious of the Fifty Six Inch, because every respectable media outlet tells me that if he comes to power, the India we know shall cease to exist or to quote Bryan Cranston in Godzilla “You have no idea  what’s coming and it will send us back to the Stone Age”.

And if I cannot believe the media, then hell what am I supposed to believe? My own common sense.

Bah.

So why do I believe that fascism is coming?

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