Radia Activity


[This post is a somewhat longer version of this earlier post, reflecting some updates since this was written]

In Hindi movies, on which we grew up, the villain may be a politician, a policeman, a businessman or even a priest. But in very few movies, would you find a newspaperman “editor-sahaab” to be anything but a knight in shining armor who even though he might not make it alive till the intermission would never compromise on his ideals. Maybe that is why¬† while we expect our politicians and the police to be corrupt (and they unfailingly exceed our expectations), for the person carrying a pencil and a clipboard our standards are very different.

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Bring Laloo Back


As the Indian Bramhanical-industrial-complex exults at the defeat of Laloo Yadav and his “Osama Bin Laden as election mascot” comrade Paswan let me say, with a loud voice, that this is all a conspiracy. Against Dalits. Against people who eat fodder. Against high-carb milk sweets. Against generous ear and nose hair. Against people who like to watch Mamta Kulkarni dance.

Voting for development? What’s wrong with you people? Voting for performance? You gotta be kidding me.

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The Great Indian Loot


Dil ka darwaja khulla hai Raja,
Aath roj ki tu chutti leke aaja. [Main Khiladi Tu Anadi]

Madhu Koda. The Reddys. Yedurappa. Adarsh. Suresh Kalmadi. Telgi. Raja. As one swirls one’s spoon on the surface of the murky alphabet soup that is Indian politics, the letters arrange themselves for a while, floating on the surface. Wisps of smoke twirl up. Then with a whiff of blown air, the alphabets rearrange themselves, new names are formed, and the old ones vanish into the depths.

The tragedy of Indian corruption is not just its Dolly Bindra-n scale but the way each outrage is buried by increasingly bigger outrages. If today we wonder, in stunned silence, the “1 G 2G roji suno ji one two ka four four two ka one” telecom bandwidth allocation lafda which, with its number of zeroes, has surely made a case for using a log-scale to represent scam-amounts, most of us know that in an atmosphere of “karta hoon main woh jo tum bhi karo ji” it will be months, if not weeks, before this is eclipsed by something even bigger.

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The Big B


Growing up in the 90s, most Indian males fantasized about the day they could bring Pam Anderson home as their bahu—-she all sharmili in her red Baywatch-bikini colored sari, her mangalsutra gleaming in the diffused light, coming to the room with a glass of milk.

And then she would bend down and touch our feet.

Well at least bend down.

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An Open Letter


Dear Mr. Obama,

Thank you for visiting India. Thank you for considering us worthy of the honor of hosting you. Thank you for dancing to our humble music. Thank you for allowing us to buy USD 10 billion worth of your goods, unlike the poor Pakistanis who get them for free. Thank you for allowing us to create 50,000 American jobs—we cannot tell you how honored that makes us feel. (Take that Pakistan !). Thank you for promising to support us for a seat in the United Nations Security Council using the same ambiguously “some time some day when the time is right and under appropriate conditions” language mothers use when they don’t want to say no to a child asking for an expensive gift.

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Obamania Enough Already


Back in pre-liberalization days of import restrictions, when the word “phoren-maal” would make our hearts beat faster, the arrival of the NRI relative would be a cause for great excitement. Everyone would crowd around the newly-arrived from pardes, sticking around on some pretext till the returnee opened his suitcase. It was then that the rabbits would be brought out of the magic chest—-the lipsticks, the “Dukes of Hazard” T-shirt (what we did not know that the show had been off air for many years and the concerned merchandise were being sold at 90% off at Woolworth’s), the walkman, the Toblerone, the 555s. Eyes would light up. People would discuss loudly how much they miss the said uncle. Sometimes though one would fall silent. That is when the suitcase would be revealed to have only personal belongings in it. The hopeful would still mill around for some time hoping for a goodie to drop out from some fold in a shirt. Finally the wait would be terminated by the NRI putting some lozenges in your hand, the ones he grabbed off the Air India tray in one fell swoop.

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Masters of Horror— Part 2


[Warning: This discussion of Pyasa Haiwaan contains shocking language that I assure you is taken from the movie. Those below the age of 18 and those with tender sensibilities are requested to not proceed further.]

Kanti Shah, the legendary director of Loha and perhaps the greatest movie ever Gunda, needs no introduction combining in himself the cynical vision of Kubrick with the romanticism of Spielberg, the angst of Bergmann with the humanism of Kurosawa. It is natural though that after Loha and Gunda, his other works have received considerably less attention—after all, the sun does blot out the stars even though the stars are, once you think about it, suns too.

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