Babble Without a Pause

April 29, 2016

A love letter

Filed under: Love and Happiness,Random musings,Uncategorized — rajivmathew @ 4:50 am
Tags: , , ,
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

A little under 2 years ago,  here I sat, hunched over my laptop the night before your first day in Business School, trying to put words to paper. That day, back in May 2014, you were at a crossroad, and you were about to embark on a journey you had seen and touched in your dreams, but never experienced. As I sat in the living room and heard you sound asleep, many thoughts crossed my mind. Worry, elation, stress. But the overriding emotion that night was pride.

2 years on, and that feeling hasn’t changed. You will graduate today. It is a dream I feel I have dreamed almost as often as you have. And I am proud to have been taken along for the ride. As I sat back these 2 years, the silent observer in the corner witnessing you take on everything the world could throw at you, that feeling of pride has only grown, and grown, and grown. Today, its almost the end of April 2016. Pride in you continues to override all else.

What you have done my dear, I have seen no one else do. And that isn’t just husband-speak for “Congrats”. It is my sincerest yet failed attempt at capturing the enormity of what I have witnessed you do. Full-time job 40 hours/week. Bi-weekly flights cross-country and back. Late nights scrambling to complete assignments. Leaving the relative stability of an amazing job, risking it boldly to go searching for your big break. Through it all, your pursuit of perfection never ceased to amaze.

Lately, (and by lately I mean for the past 2 years) I tell my colleagues and our friends every chance I get: “I have no clue how she does it”. And they agree.

Years, decades from now, we’ll both be sitting down to tell our children the importance of chasing their dreams. I’ll point to them, then to that degree certificate you’ll be receiving today, sitting up on the wall all those years down the line, and say “Your ma knows”.

For a guy who  is pretty seldom found short of words, today you’ve done just that to me. I love you. I am immensely proud of you, more than I can explain right now. And because something deep inside tells me this is the start of something amazing for you, I want to tell you babe, that I can’t wait for the rest of this ride.

❤ ❤

 

December 8, 2015

Perspectives On Being Fleeced (and other stories)

paul-noth-then-we-carefully-disguise-the-bribes-as-legal-fees-by-changing-the-word-new-yorker-cartoon

INDIA (2005)

  1. Passport office. 10am. Stand in line 4-5 hours to get your passport renewed. Wait for hours. Get told to come back the next day.
  2. You decide it’s not worth your time.
  3. You pay some Rupeeses to expedite your application processing.
  4. Case AUTO-MAGICALLY gets processed the next day and you have your passport.

    BRIBE, they call it.

    “Third world country. What did you expect?” I overhear.

    200_s

 

U.S.A (2015)

  1. Submit application to have your work visa renewed. Wait 4 months for  a process that typically takes a month or two (AT MOST). Get informed by friendly neighborhood attorneys that it could take up to 6 months more, BUT nice guy that you are, you could technically continue working while waiting for approval, but you are virtually under house arrest and literally cannot leave the country for vacation, emergency, or even if Jesus returns (because History lesson, Jesus was from the Middle East, not Amurica).
  2. You decide to not have to be stuck for another 4 months due to government inefficiencies and red tape.
  3. You pay some Dollarses in fees to expedite your visa processing.
  4. Case AUTO-MAGICALLY gets approved in two weeks and you have your visa.

    PREMIUM PROCESSING, they call it.

    “First world country. Things get done quick.” I overhear.

    200_s

#JustSaying

November 27, 2015

Of Intolerant Views On Intolerance

FULL DISCLOSURE – I am not a fan of celebrity culture, but make an exception for this man. In my opinion, he is an actor who treads off-the-beaten-path. Like his film roles, he is an unconventional celebrity, and embodies for the most part, a forward thinking mindset, one that I find myself aligned with. There are exceptions, most recently when he criticized the comedians operating a satirical Youtube channel titled AIB for their vulgar language, despite having himself acted in a handful of roles that involved crude language. Sometime between 2 and 3 years ago, Mr. Khan was the face of Satyameva Jayate, a national show that broke from traditional Indian talk shows with its hard-hitting analysis of issues plaguing our country. The toast of the nation back then, everyone crowed about how he was a rare celebrity with a conscience, seeking to do public good, by bringing to light the many issues plaguing the country.

____________________________________________

intolerance
“FUCK Aamir Khan, man” I overhear this afternoon, as I sit down to lunch at a restaurant some 12,000 km from Delhi.

If you haven’t heard the name Aamir Khan in conversations over the past two days, I have one question for you. That rock you’ve been living under, is it sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic? On a more serious note, in case you aren’t aware, the name belongs to an Indian citizen and prominent actor vilified by countless twitterati, blogophiles, and social media enthusiasts over the past two days for comments he made in an interview. Lest I be accused of not quoting accurately or misrepresenting context, here is that question, and his answer:

Anant: Aamir, are you agreeing with the protest (award wapsi, or the recent trend of Indian authors, artists and prominent figures returning awards previously handed out by the Indian govt) or do you think it’s uncalled for… do you think it is premature?

Aamir: Well, I think, if I am not mistaken there are so many people in this room who are much more knowledgeable than me so I am feeling intimidated to speak in front of all of you. But my understanding is that a lot of people from the creative fraternity are protesting because of the growing discomfort they felt or the growing atmosphere of intolerance that they felt around them… growing sense of insecurity and disappointment with that, and as a result that was their way of showing that they are not happy with the situation.

As an individual myself, as a part of the country, as a citizen, we read in newspapers what’s happening and certainly I have also been alarmed. I can’t deny that I am alarmed.. by a number of incidences. For any society it is very important to have a sense of security. I mean there will be acts of violence in world for different reasons. But for us as Indians, as a part of society to have a sense of security… two-three things are very important, I feel. One is sense of justice. If there is a wrong step that anyone takes, then a correct justice is what is required. Common man should feel that justice will be done. That’s what gives a sense of security. The second and very important sense of security is the people who are our elected representatives – people who we select to look after us for five years if at state level or Centre. When people take law in to their hands and when there is a sense of insecurity, we look upon these people to take a strong stance, make strong statements and speed up the legal process to prosecute cases. When we see it happening there is a sense of security but when we don’t see that happening there is a sense of insecurity. So it does not matter who the ruling party is. It’s happened across ages. On television debates, we see where one political party, in this case, the BJP which is ruling right now, is accused of various things. They said, ‘But what happened in 1984?’. But that doesn’t make right what’s happening now. What happened in ‘84 was disastrous and horrendous. At other times also, through ages, whenever there is a violent act, when an innocent person is killed, be it one or a large number, that’s very unfortunate. And these unfortunate moments are the ones when we look towards our leaders to take a strong step. Make statements that are reassuring to the citizens.
[….]
To complete my answer that there is a sense of fear more than there was earlier. I do feel there is a sense of insecurity. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran. (Wife) Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet… growing sense of despondency. You feel depressed, you feel low.. why is it happening? This feeling exists in me too.”

The tendency of people anywhere, to unite against outsiders, perceived or otherwise, is nothing uncommon. Its called xenophobia, and is as old as time. As recently as 2013, Aamir Khan was praised across large swathes of the Indian community, for lending his voice to a TV show that highlighted pressing social issues, in contrast with his peers who largely made commercial films that raked in crores of rupees, but stayed silent on most national issues of any significance. But all of those encomiums were heaped on the man and his body of work at a point in time, when India was under successive coalition governments. When he spoke out against issues the country faced, nobody so much as raised an objection to his comments, as they were perceived as being intended to improve our nation’s policies and practices to better the lives of its citizens. Medieval practices like female infanticide, or the caste system were considered fair game, and nobody batted an eyelid, everyone applauded along, and hit Like/Share/Comment. Now however, it’s a different story. Any time someone so much as mentions the government, or the prime minister in a negative light, you have these rabid fanboys (and girls) climbing over each other to heap scorn on you. Don’t believe me? Check out the comments board on any social media post criticizing the Modi/BJP government, and you will see what I mean. Aamir has learned that the hard way.

If Aamir Khan says he fears for his wife and son due to what he believes is rising intolerance in the country, pro-Hindu masses assume it MUST CERTAINLY be driven by anti-Hindu motives, because he’s Muslim. A friend said Aamir’s comments outraged him because (and I paraphrase) the common man would see/hear a big celebrity speak of growing intolerance which could stoke fears in the minority community, leading to communal violence. So the expectedly juvenile solution proposed by this fringe crowd borders on “this muslim guy doesn’t appreciate that we ‘tolerate’ him and his kind here. Maybe he thinks he will be better off in any one of ‘HIS’ countries, so let’s give him what he wants and send this S.O.B. across the border, to any of a dozen Islamic countries”. Or so goes the reasoning in BJP and vocally pro-Hindu segments, who have found popular mouthpieces lately in the forms of prominent figures like Subramanian Swamy, a member of the BJP. You see, unlike Aamir Khan, who voiced his opinion in response to a question asked in a public interview, instigators like Mr. Swamy stoke communal fears without even being asked. Ask yourself, of the two, whose words are more likely to fan flames of violence.

Yes, politicians pitting citizens against each other is a real thing. Has been, will be. The pattern certainly didn’t begin and end with the BJP coming to power. It is called vote bank politics in India, it’s called pandering in the US, and is known by various terms in various nations. The very notion of us-against-them is a time tested way to cut up a country into little parts, divide and conquer, until it is neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, friend against friend. I say this to clarify this is NOT a new phenomenon under the BJP, but has existed in previous Indian governments as well. Having said that, the sheer volume in such incendiary comments and commentary has ratcheted up, with the tacit approval of this government. And it hasn’t happened silently, secretly, or under the table, but fairly brazenly, by leaning on the RSS and other communal-based organizations for inputs on governance. Sample this: a year into its rule, the BJP government held behind-closed-doors meetings with its parent organization, the RSS. The official tagline for this 3-day meet was an ‘exchange of notes’. The prime minister himself attended and spoke at the event. How is any member of the religious majority, or anyone from the minority for that case, supposed to expect any measure of objectivity and even-handedness from a government that rather openly associates itself with a hardline right-wing group committed to an openly communal ideology. Why then is a citizen not entitled to a viewpoint that says that intolerance is on the rise. You see, communal incidents aren’t just restricted to a number, a statistic that goes up or down with each successive government. The same statistic that says communal incidents aren’t on the rise, could say the opposite a few months before. A government leaning on its parent organization for inputs on governance and policy, is no longer the government of all, but government of a few, as reflected in cabinet appointments of trusted RSS sevaks to key positions in education and other ministries.

But we are tolerant, you say. We are, yes, compared to several other countries out there, most of them theocracies who outlaw other faiths. But that is the DIFFERENCE. India is not a theocracy, has never been one, and hopefully never will be. So we can and should do better than those other nations. Abhorrence for the Congress model of pandering to minorities should not be used as a pretext to indulge in outrage against any vocal member of the minority demographic that the Congress sought to appease. Look at the comments board on almost any online media site, and you will see large portions of the majority Hindu population across the country expressing sentiments akin to saying out loud that their time has now come, and that it is time to set right the skewed prioritization of minorities which happened under the Congress watch while overlooking the majority . I’m certainly not talking hatred of non-Hindu populations bordering on violent intent, but more of a smug one-upsmanship level of glee that the government in power represents Hindu interests, and not “sickular” interests, a supposedly derogatory term for fake secularism as practiced by the previous ruling party at the center.

Rabindranath Tagore is the author of one of my favorite poems, “Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo” (loosely translated as ‘Where the mind is without fear’), a call to action in pre-independence India, that sounds like it was born from desperation. Had Tagore written this poem today, it is safe to say he would’ve been harassed on social media, his fans would have lined up outside his home to shout slogans about him being a “sickular” celebrity bent on weakening the multi-cultural fabric of the country. Except, there would have been no chants for him to be deported to the nearest Islamic nation. Consider the number of artists, meritorious citizens, scientists and others who chose to return awards and honors previously bestowed on them as a symbolic gesture (titled in the media as ‘Award wapsi‘) protesting growing intolerance and government silence in these cases. There were certainly Hindus in this group of silent activists. Yet, besides the expected disappointment expressed by some diehard fans of this government, there were certainly no ethnic slurs, abuses, or faux threats in their direction. Certainly, none of the Hindu participants were harassed to leave the country. If they were, I certainly didn’t hear it. Why is it then that Aamir is told to be grateful for the tolerance this country has shown him, and to be respectful for what “the country has made him”. Would such expectations be leveled against an Anupam Kher or any one of the multiple national award winners who returned awards bestowed on them by the government, who also happen to be Hindu, had they echoed similar sentiments under a Congress-led regime? What makes a Muslim any less of a citizen, or supposedly less entitled to an opinion than a Hindu citizen. There lies your answer.

humanity
You see, Khan being Muslim, or Kher being Hindu, is merely incidental to the fears and emotions they express. As a country, it is our duty to ensure that no citizen feels that way. It’s a lofty ideal, and one that we won’t ever solve in the near or even distant future. No country or civilization has, and we certainly aren’t going to be among the first. But it is an ideal that we must at least aspire to. Yet, because he belongs to a national minority, our basest instincts make his ethnicity the easiest to target, with comments such as these that have been doing the rounds on social media everywhere:

“My country is tolerant. Let’s see you find this level of tolerance anywhere in a theocracy like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia”.
“My country is tolerant, how dare you say it isn’t. Get on a train and get out, go back to Pakistan”.
“My country is tolerant, so what if ONE stray citizen was lynched a month ago for the contents of his plate”.
“My country is tolerant, so what if it really isn’t, the previous government was no better”.

In response to Aamir’s comments, taken out of context of course, have been two prominent viral posts doing the rounds. One is by a Sikh gentleman who speaks at length about how tolerant all of India has been to watch his movies, even the ones portraying Hindu gods in a negative light, and how if he had experienced intolerance all these years, even back in 1984, he never spoke up about it. The other, by a Muslim lady from Bangalore, a doctor who claims to never have faced discrimination or intolerance for as long as she can remember. To both these fine folks, I say I’m glad to hear that. But for every one citizen who hasn’t had to face intolerance, there are many more who have. So if expressing concern over the intolerance in the country is too sweeping a generalization to pardon, then so should attempts to brush every single instance of actual intolerance under the carpet by citing one person’s individual experiences.

Incidentally, today is the 26th of November 2015. On this night, 7 years ago, terrorists launched what was the largest coordinated attacks on Indian soil in a long while. In times of war as on that night, we band together, united under the flag of country. In times of peace, almost counter-intuitively, we challenge each other’s pride in country, patriotism, or religion. It’s almost like when there is no war, we seek out and set up reasons to wage ideological wars. Where terrorism is involved, it is clear that these incidents have nothing to do with religion. If they were, then terrorists would handpick and save their own, and kill only others. No, that isn’t the case. Muslims also died in the Mumbai terror attacks of  2008, because “religious” terror really has no religion. Communal violence and unrest, on the other hand, are instigated and perpetrated, strictly in the name of religion, or ethnic identity. And it is these communal incitement that needs to be carefully monitored, because as long as politicians are allowed to bait citizens, whether in India or elsewhere across the world, a nation’s people will fight outsiders in times of war, and fight each other in times of peace.

November 15, 2015

A prayer to the Heavens

Filed under: politics,Ponderings on Life — rajivmathew @ 2:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

You created life on earth a billion years ago
You chose to wipe out the dinosaurs not long after.

You occupy the heavens and look down on us mortals.
You can be seen in the beautiful night sky

You can spare people’s lives if you so choose.
You can utterly annihilate the human race if you desire.

Some await you arrival signaling the end of the world.
Others dread your next coming.

So, if you’re up there, and if you’re listening ….

…. dear God METEORITE

come wipe us out now.

March 18, 2015

Chokers No More

Filed under: Cricket,Sport — rajivmathew @ 3:41 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Australia celebrate
Laugh at me. Call me a traitor. Call me a fool. Call me what you will. But with the knockout stage of this World Cup finally here, I, a perennial Indian cricket fan, have begun to realize which team I really feel like rallying behind. And it is not the country you would assume. For all the pomp of an undefeated run in the league stage, an unprecedented 6 consecutive bowl-outs, for the ripping victories, India has played some shitty cricket for a long while now. If we eventually win, it would be a result of a brief golden run, but one that is in stark contrast to a positively mediocre run for the 4 years that have gone before. No, I think the time has come for a country that has for so long played some of the most consistently top-notch cricket, and been a perennial member of the Top 3 year after year, yet has been brutally denied a single knockout match win at the World Cup, let alone the entire tournament. For a team so talented, so exciting to watch, that is a crime against sport.

So for the rest of this world cup, I will cheer South Africa on, and I will do so knowing that far less deserving countries have won it, and it is only fair that a country as talented as SA, one that endured being ostracized for decades as a proxy on behalf of a political system that wasn’t directly of their doing, one that came back from said international sport ostracism, to be screwed out of a place in the finals because of an asinine rain rule (that has since only got sillier in its new avatar as the Duckworth-Lewis rule). Once they shrug this voodoo off their back, they can, should, and will win this cup. Four years ago, India said they won it for Sachin. This year, some sixth sense tells me SA will win this for AB. And they will win it for Gibbs, who dropped the catch that kept them from greatness. And for White Lightning, who must even now be heartbroken for his role in that same loss. They will win it for Klusener, their champion who almost single-handedly won it for them 16 years ago. And lest we forget, they will win it for Cronje, who for all his failings as a sportsman and as a human, and in spite of all that he did to push them back 100 million miles in their evolution as a cricketing nation, still remains their finest captain ever. They will win it for Bob Woolmer, a coach who revolutionized the concept of technology in sport all those years ago, ushering in a new era for competitive sport. And they will win it for Boucher, for Kallis, for Kirsten, for Smith, for Ntini, for Pollock, for Cullinan, and for Jonty.

Watch South Africa play the game, and you realize why this team, more than ANY other, deserves to win, and win big this time. For a team as talented, if not more talented than Australia, South Africa really do play the game hard but fair. It’s a phrase so absolutely cliched and so triflingly used by Australia, that it has seemingly lost all meaning. When the spoilt brats of cricket have time and time again crossed the line with inappropriate behavior more suited for the WWE, their cricket achievements and all their wins have been used to defend their boorish, even juvenile ways. The ends supposedly justify the means.

But watch South Africa bat, bowl, and field, and you have in front of you a team that very rarely comes close to the line, let alone jump over it. This is a team that has, over the years, (clown characters like Andre Nel aside) maintained a very high level of class when playing the game. They don’t walk past the stumps and knock the bails off then appeal like it was out. They don’t appeal for a stumping when they know the ball isn’t even in their hands. They don’t bowl underarm to avoid losing. They don’t edge a ball to slip and stand rooted to the crease pretending nothing happened.

Don’t believe me yet? Try this for an exercise. Look up ‘South Africa cricket controversy’ on Youtube. Tell me what you see. I’ll tell you what I see in the search results: not one single controversy or video of them acting like spoiled rich kids. Hell, the top 15 search results include videos detailing a Kevin Pietersen controversy, a DRS fail, and a Shane Warne v. Marlon Samuels fiasco video. Scroll further down on the first page of results, you see the following:

  • Richard Levi Fastest T20 Century for South Africa
  • Top 10 Best Cricket Fielders Ever in Cricket History
  • Proteas Surprise Visit

    That’s right, a video of the fastest century, a clip of the top 10 best fielders, with the thumbnail appropriately enough being Jonty Rhodes flying horizontal to the earth, and finally, a clip of 6 of the team’s top players voluntarily taking time out of their busy schedules to visit a boy who idolizes them. All positive, endearing videos. If this isn’t a deserving team, I don’t know who is. This is a team that is cultured, a team that has so much talent they can afford to bench real stars, a team that respects the game, and doesn’t terrorize umpires every minute of the game. Why haven’t they won a World Cup? Your guess is as good as mine.So starting today, and until the end of this World Cup, I intend to cheer for South Africa for every fibre of my being. Because while the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ lecture is just that, a long-winded annual essay on why the spirit of sportsmanship is essential in theory, this team is one of the very few that lives it, and plays it, and believes it. Not just to win an annual ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award. But because it is the right thing.So come on, South Africa. It is your time now. Prove that nice guys can finish first. Fear not the choke. Just go for broke.

“No one is going to ask us if we played exceptional cricket when we win the World Cup, we’re just going to say that we won the Cup, so we’re just going to find a way to win the game tomorrow. All I can say is we’re not going to choke. We’re just going to play a good game of cricket tomorrow and come out on top. Simple.”

May 7, 2014

To you

Filed under: Uncategorized — rajivmathew @ 12:31 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

For waiting, and waiting, perhaps too patiently.

For biding your time.

For being so ambitious, it still takes my breath away.

For believing in the power of one.

For still sometimes lacking that conviction in yourself.

For wanting this all along.

For yet having had to wait so long.

For having the courage to walk away from everything you had built.

For finally, truly, seeing you were worth more.

For starting afresh.

For giving it your sleep, blood, sweat and tears. And then some.

For hearing a string of rejections.

For numbing yourself to the pain.

For all the times you spoke of aching for one chance.

For almost giving up, then not.

For waiting 30 years to see this day.

For all the times life knocked you down. Over and over.

For still standing up for one more round.

For having had to overcome far more in this life than I hope to ever have to.

For having made it through all that, for this.

 

YOU are my inspiration.

YOU. You are the reason I live, I love, I breathe.

I’ve longed to see this day for so long now.

To see you soar the way you once convinced me I could.

To you, today, I wish you everything.

Take all your prayers, make them mine.

Take everything you wanted to do, and set out to do it, one at a time.

That one solitary acceptance has come.

That one chance has arrived.

That one life-altering moment is here.

And it’s yours.

September 21, 2012

Meanwhile, at Apple HQ

__________________________________________________
From: Kwon Oh-hyun [mailto:ceomail@samsung.com] 
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2012 1:21 AM
To: Tim Cook
Cc: Samsung, HTC, Motorola
Subject: RE: Hahahahaaaaaaa …..

Timmy,

You were saying …..?

__________________________________________________

From: Tim Cook [mailto:stevewasbetter@apple.com] 
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:12 PM
To: Steve Jobs
Cc: Samsung, HTC, Motorola
Subject: RE: Hahahahaaaaaaa …..

 
Over his dead bo….. Oh.
Sent from my Blackberry
__________________________________________________

From: Kwon Oh-hyun [mailto:ceomail@samsung.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 11:45 AM
To: Steve Jobs
Cc: Samsung, HTC, Motorola
Subject: RE: Hahahahaaaaaaa …..

 
Hey Steve,
What’s up, my man. No longer at Apple, I see. They kick you out again?
PS – When are you coming on board with us. You know we always have a job for you, here at Samsung.

 
Regards,
Choi

 


__________________________________________________

From: Steve Jobs [mailto:noreply@apple.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 8:20 AM
To: Steve Jobs, Tim Cook
Cc: Samsung-Worldwide
Subject: [Out of Office] RE: Hahahahaaaaaaa …..
I am out of office with restricted access to email, dependent on the 3G connectivity at the place where I must, like all others, go.

 
__________________________________________________

From: Kwon Oh-hyun [mailto:ceomail@samsung.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 8:15 AM
To: Steve Jobs, Tim Cook
Cc: Samsung-Worldwide
Subject: RE: Hahahahaaaaaaa …..

 
Dear Apple,

 

Hows about you use some of that $1 billion we loaned you, to make your maps not suck. And while you’re at it, perhaps you could use leftover funds toward hiring an actual adult artist to make your 3D maps not look like something a 4-year old drew while high on ingested crayons and inhaled glue.

 
Best,
Samsung

 

__________________________________________________
From: Larry Page [mailto:callmelarry@google.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 9:00 PM
To: Sergei
Cc: Samsung, HTC, Motorola
Subject: Hahahahaaaaaaa …..
Hey fellas,

 
Look what I just found. Some Friday lulz for everyone. Tee hee hee.
http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com

 
TGIF!
Larry

 

 

July 30, 2012

If you can’t beat them …..

……. who are we kidding. Of course we can. Apart from molesting them, slapping them, degrading them, infantilizing them, groping them, sexually assaulting them, and possibly raping them. All in broad daylight. If there were a sport called find-women-having-a-reasonably-good-time-and-beat-the-living-shit-out-of-them, us Indians (or atleast the self-appointed-goons among us) would win the gold, silver and bronze hands down, every four years. Hell, we’d get a walkover at all future Olympics. Two incidents in the last two months have helped India wake up to this epiphany. Which is why, even as we speak, Suresh ‘pocketed-most-of-the-CWG-funds-toward-much-needed-ethics-transplant-surgery’ Kalmadi is vociferously lobbying the halls of Parliament, trying desperately to get our elected netas to, in turn, lobby the IOC to recognize FWHARGTABTLSOOT as an official sport of the 2016 Olympics.

 

 

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Olympic(k on women) games have been going on for a while in India now. Of note, the latest variant, in which journalists desperately trying to up the ante (no, not Nita Ambani; e………asy Bhajji, down boy) on their TRPs, actually incite mobs to gather around women, assault them, drag them by their hair along the street and do as they please, and proceed to capture aforementioned beizzati on film, for subsequent ultra slow-mo replay and (literal) blow-by-blow analysis on struggling television channel.

 

The latest incident in Mangalore brings to memory a similar fiasco in the same city a little over three years ago. Lest we forget, the  attacks on a group of party-hopping youngsters at a pub back on Jan 24th 2009 were perpetrated by a rabid bunch of Hindu moralists. You know, the kind that beat their wife to a pulp back home, but are against Sherlyn Chopra posing for Playboy because (and I paraphrase): “It is an affront to our motherland’s glorious cultural and moral heritage”. This time around, a group of youngsters allegedly celebrating their friend’s birthday were accused of hosting a ‘rave’ party. Enter the Smug Saffron Scoundrels, ready to dole out a well-deserved dose of beating, slapping and thrashing.

 

Most of you will cry foul at this next bit. I get that as we speak, well-meaning organizations like India Against Corruption are fighting a lone war to clean the scam (and urine-stained) halls of government. I get that  they have a clear objective vis-a-vis elimination of corruption in beloved Hindustan. I also get, and respect the personal sacrifice most of the activists make, risking family and self to stand out in the sun, forgoing food and/or water, while lazier software-employed, air-conditioned-office-sitting armchair activists (yours truly included)  ‘share’ or ‘like’ a picture of a corruption fighting octagenarian on their favourite social network.

 

That said, how about we put aside corruption for, oh I don’t know, the better part of next century, and focus instead on elimination of rape on our streets. Because I sure as hell would prefer to live with paying the paan-chewing pear-shaped government babu Rs. 5000 to get the electricity meter installed in my home, than see someone’s daughter/sister/wife/girlfriend dragged along the streets because she had a drink (or two). This charade of moral/religious policing has to stop. To be clear, it isn’t just the beard-sporting, gun-wielding Pakistani who qualifies to be a terrorist. We have far too many homegrown terrorism within our borders to be pointing to Pakistan (or other Islamic countries) as sources of terrorism. Anytime another of these reprehensible bastards step out of their house to protect their religion, the life of another woman is at stake. Today it might just be a statistic. [X] girls assaulted in bar in Mangalore. Tomorrow, it could be your daughter.

 

The last time this happened, the leader of Shri Rama Sena was sent pink chaddis by the handful. Apparently feeling overlooked, the Hindu Janagarana Vedike stepped up this time, and is possibly anticipating a huge booty (honestly, no pun intended) of colorful lingerie. As a friend so eloquently put it though, “…. the time for sending pink chaddis is over”. It is time for us to collectively take responsibility for this shambolic state of affairs in this country. Everytime a principal is found guilty of calling in his own young wards into his office to satisfy some depraved urge. Everytime a news reporter is found inciting all-too-ready roadside goons to carry out their thuggery on women and men doing nothing more than having a good time. Everytime a Hindu/Muslim/Christian/Other vigilante rushes into a pub/bar/restaurant claiming to be upholding Indian morals, whilst simultaneously slapping a girl across the face. Everytime one or more such incidents happen in plain sight, rather than whip out our iPhones to capture the video for later upload to prominent social network for shares/likes/comment gathering, keep that god awful phone in your pocket. Step up, and hold these pond scum accountable.

 

A prominent public transport anti-terrorism awareness program in New York carries the slogan ‘If you see something, say something’. How about we adopt that to our current situation. ‘If you see something, DO something’. Like catch these greasy monkeys. Shoot the bastards where the sun don’t shine. Then hang them from the 10th floor of the nearest multiplex. Let’s teach these sonsofbitches a lesson. Perhaps it’s time for some good ol’ Saudi Arabian justice. You know, ‘an eye for an eye’. ‘A tooth for a tooth’. ‘A penilectomy for a sexual assault’.

 


POST-SCRIPT

As reported by Mangalore Today, the HJV has reacted strongly to the accusations flying thick and fast. I leave to you, the reader, the task of draw conclusions pertaining to the level of intellect posessed by these buffoons. Presenting to you, exhibit A. And B.

Milord, I rest my case.

 

 

 

April 27, 2012

Rapists aren’t Vampires

I know. Weird title. But allow me to explain: A prominent Indian news channel reported the other day “The Gurgaon administration on Wednesday has washed its hands clean off the twin rape cases in the city, telling women instead to stay at home and not work beyond 8 pm in commercial establishments. The administration has reportedly directed all malls and commercial establishments to take permission from the Labour Department to have their women employees working beyond 8 pm. A second rape was reported from Gurgaon on Tuesday night, which came within 48 hours of the gangrape of a 24-year-old, who was dragged out from her car near the Sahara Mall, taken to a flat and sexually assaulted by 7 men.” Wow Gurgaon government. You’ve really outdone yourselves this time. I won’t EVEN begin to contest your premise that women are being raped in your city because they’re staying out too late. A two-year old can spot more holes in that argument than in a block of swiss cheese. No. I’ll spend my remaining keystrokes trying to confirm to myself that I did indeed read that right.

A woman. Gets dragged from her car. And gets raped. By 7 men, no less.

And the one thing you find issue with. IS TIMING.

I see what happened. You got confused there. You thought we were talking about vampires. They both suck. They’re both slimy despicable life forms that have lived through wars, genocide, nuclear holocaust (quite like cockroaches, actually) for generations, and possibly will, for generations to come. I can see how anyone could make that mistake. But even so, what did you MENSA rejects think those men were doing all that day. Sitting around in their dungeon, looking up weather.com to establish the exact time of sunset so they could go outside? You must have them confused with the metrosexual vampire or the steroid-laced werewolf from that Twilight series. What did you think, they were afraid to come out because the sunlight would instantly vaporize them? Do you really think a typical conversation between rapists goes like this:

RAPIST #1 – Dude, it’s that time of the day.

RAPIST #2 – Naa dude, not yet. It’s only 7:00 PM. It was Daylight Saving day yesterday, remember?  Let’s watch some MTV.

RAPIST #1 – Screw you, I’m calling #3, #4 and #5.  You sit around lazing in that sofa all day. I hate you.

RAPIST #3 – Yea, screw you, MAN. It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.

RAPIST #4 & #5 – *Nodding in agreement*

Speaking of solutions: How about a legislation requiring you incompetent buffoons ministers to NEVER step outside your home after 8 AM. Because  once the lynch mob (waiting as we speak, outside your 10 feet high compound wall, to smack the silly out of your brains) is done with you and your intelligence-challenged lot, you all will be left wishing that it was those rapists coming after you instead.

While we’re at it, perhaps it’s time for the Health Ministry officials, Gurgaon ministers and other politicos of the state and across the country to consider passing legislation allowing women to have their LIC policy terms updated, to include coverage for an annual refill on one clove of garlic, a rosary, a vial of holy water, and a pocket-size crucifix. That, plus a monthly cable subscription that covers ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ reruns, showing women of all ages the proper technique to drive a stake through an assailant’s chest. If that doesn’t teach those vampires rapists to stay the hell away, nothing will. Then, we as a country can go back to watching Biggggest Boss or IPL5 with a clear conscience, knowing we’ve done our part to make women safe in this country. Of course — teaching men, young and old to respect women, or increasing police cover and improving law enforcement patrol vehicles in the seedy underbelly of the country, or passing stricter anti-rape legislation, or even, God forbid,  our evolution as society beyond the rape-happens-meh-live-with-it mentality — basically any approach other than covering our women from head to foot and ordering them to stay locked indoors after dark, would be foolish now, wouldn’t it?

[image courtesy]

January 21, 2012

Facebook and the Age of Virtual Activism

Time was when activism meant picketing on the streets, getting your voice heard. Or sitting in a cramped prison cell in silent protest, against a despicable racial segregation movement eating your country. Time was when protests were something you DID, for something you believed in wholeheartedly. Time was also when if you thought something was f*cked up, you’d do whatever it took to fight back. Like parking yourself in front of a military tank about to crush you down like a flea, and take a stand.

 

 

_____________________________________________

 

NOW, is obviously NOT that time

 

 

 

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