Aye to Zzzz

Mitron! Today is the first New Year’s Eve in the history of New Year’s Eve when we may start drinking at 8pm not to celebrate but to forget. Our beloved Modiji once again will adorn television sets of every household and ensure no one really wishes anyone a “Happy New Year” because there may most certainly not be anything happy about seemingly New Year. Pfft.

funny-new-year-resolutions-1In all its glory this definitely seems to be his moment. But if he wants it to last for another five years after he completes these, I wish to continue Bachi Kankariya’s style of listing A to Z (Read as Zee, because classy, you know) of resolutions, that I hope Modi follows, for the sake of you and me of course. Read on…

Acche Din: a reality now, pretty please!

Ban the ban wagons. We need freedom of speech and action in the true sense.

Corruption can be and should be removed without having people to stand in long queues!

Demonetization to Re-normal-day-isation. SOON.

E-ticket, e-adhaar, e-mail, e-India, e-jio, ey-little more internet speed please?

Freedom to eat, greet and tweet minus any “heat” to be made as intact as reinforced concrete. (Oh yes, #ArchitectSwag)

Governance over the government. And also over Gandhi’s Game of Thrones.

Homophobia to be massacred. X 377 times.

ISIS to become ISWas.

Jokes on snapchat, and news in parliament. And not the other way round.

Kyunki Ramdev Baba bhi kabhi Yogi the.

Liberals to be given a dictionary to know the meaning of “liberal”, so as to reduce the intolerance amongst liberals. Touché.

Modi better remain the Modi we voted for!

No odd-even for the Delhi CM – governing only on odd days, to even out the imbalance? Why?

One Rank One Pension. Period.

Poly-tricks to be curbed.

Queues or National Anthem are not a sign of patriotism.

Religion and region are no reasons for disproportionate governance.

Salman to stop killing black bucks, stop his ‘buck buck’, and stop using his buck to buy the law.

Terrorism needs to be terrorised!

Uddhav to work towards a new and improved Sane-a?

Valid education degree for politicians? Oops, sorry Modiji!

Warning: Making expensive statues of leaders, without really following their principals is hazardous to health. Yours, ours, and the nations.

X-Factor of the political campaign need not be X-treme amounts of money.

Yearly review of governing authority to be commissioned, as intensely as twiterratis dissect a statement by Kejriwal.

Zzzzz, wake me up when the bank opens. With money. In Rs.500 notes.

Well, maybe he will take my advice, or mostly not. But here’s wishing everyone a year 2017 times better than 2016.

Fest, Feast and all the Fuss

meme12I, for one, love the second half of the year. It is so full of festivals, celebration, and of course holidays!

A few days back we celebrated Rakhshabandan- such a beautiful festival with such a terrifying name, I used to think as a little girl. All this week, I have been busy in looking for feminists, wondering how they missed the chauvinism in this one! What do they mean my brothers taking care of their sisters? Do they think, we can’t take care of ourselves?! What the….oh, but gift! I think I will pass my feminism card this one time! After all, everyone needs some pampering some time or the other, you know! Touché.

No, but seriously, festivals are so much fun! There is such good food, get-togethers, dance, music, sweets, delicacies, celebration, holidays, parties, and the whole pomp. Oh, did I mention food? (I know now why my weight never shifts in the direction I wish it did!)

And before long, I realize, they are oh so noisy!

Last week we celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna. One minute silence to all the teenagers who thought that celebrating birthday at midnight is so today’s thing! Uh huh, you have no idea about the #swag that Krishna is all about- and that hashtag was important!

Cowboy, lover, fighter, philosopher, politician, practical humorist and great friend – which other God can match Krishna? Some bits of Krishna’s life are so relatable, but then again, he is the one responsible for Bhagvad Geeta – and how does one believe in a book that is a by-product of a story, in which there isn’t even one natural birth, to begin with!

Anyway, I love the other by-product of the same – Dahi Handi! Oh my God, so much fun! I mean who said people standing on people, amidst a large crowd, with loud music, and splashing water, just to break an earthern pot with not even enough “makhan” for all in it, is not fun! Of course it is, if you rule out traffic, noise, and safety and Supreme Court orders.

Yeah I mean, when the orders are not in our stride, who the hell is Supreme Court to stop us from celebrating the way we always do! It’s not like law is applicable to all – it is as per our convenience. With the way things are these days, one doesn’t know if it’s the lord’s devotion at play, or commotion create by politicians!

There is actual celebration, and then there is virtual celebration. And lo, with my phone beeping all day, it felt like it was my birthday, and suddenly I am dreading the many festivals aka “good” wishes slated ahead in the year! There were more photos of Lord Krishna on my WhatsApp than Mathura-Vrindavan put together!

Anyway, I think Janmastami is well-placed – a perfect warm-up for the upcoming Ganeshotsav, or as we like to call it – a systematic display of who gets a better DJ – singing songs with lyrics rebelling religions – till they irritate the hell out of us!

Phew! Brace Yourself!

Jeeto Rio

“Padhoge Likhoge Toh Banoge Nawaab,

Kheloge Kudoge Toh Banoge Kharaab”

It’s cute when a country, which teaches and preaches this and instills it into the young impressionable minds of their children, criticizes without batting an eyelid when we are not at par with other nations playing at the Olympics happening at Rio right now. And I have a problem with this attitude.

So the Olympic Games have been happening for the past two weeks, and everyone here in India are wondering why kho kho is not a part of it – after all tagging someone else to do the work is our forte! But how does it matter? I mean one could say its a widely seen event, after Euro Cup, Cricket World Cup, IPL, Sultan, Girls’ Hockey team in Chak De, and NPL. What? You have no idea what NPL is? It is world famous Nashik Premier League. And I am not even making this up!

Some of our players have put up a great show this year! The Olympics for us started with very talented Abhinav Bindra, Dipa Karmakar, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna missing the medals by a whisker, but made our country extremely proud nevertheless. Amid all the hoo-ha, a certain Ms. Ashubh De, who I render wouldn’t even pick up a toothpick by herself, had a problem with players “wasting” all the money to go to Olympics only to click selfies. Ma’am, don’t worry, however much they try, they won’t take you on in your own game! *pout*

Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu have made India so proud! It was a women’s year for India altogether! On a side note, contrary to what Virendra Sehwag tweeted (Sakshi Malik is an example of what can happen if you don’t kill a girl child) – Haryana, you do not “need a reason” to save a girl child. I can talk about Sakshi Malik only when I find my jaw I dropped. Fun Fact – PV Sindhu was born after Hum Aapke Hai Kaun was released! I feel so old. And useless. Well, nonetheless.

Even as the Union sports minister, Vijay Goel, and his unruly cohort bring disgrace upon the nation by bullying their way into prohibited spaces at Rio, our sports persons have brought us glory. There are many more that I haven’t named, but the fact that they all made it this far – despite the our beloved government’s best efforts to ensure otherwise – is no small feat. If only hypocrisy was one of the sports at the Olympics, we would have been effortless gold-diggers.

The reasons for this apathy are plenty, and everyone knows them. We need to improve our infrastructural facilities, we need better coaches, we need to stop making sports an extra-curricular activity – only to get “grace” marks, we need Rakhi Sawant to promote sports so that more people take interest, and blah. Alas, after they have had their share of fun without doing their share of work, all I hear one minister, say to the next is – Kho!

dipa-karmakar-achievements-indian-gymnast

Funny Side Up

Stand-up Comedy is a fairly new format of entertainment in India. Till now, I used to think everyone’s stint with stand-up comedy ended with their studies. The difference being that the comedy then is more tragic for the students, and now for the comedians.

All these comedians, who work day in and day out to make people laugh must learn something from a natural, my personal favourite – Arvind Kejriwal. No one is so consistent in making the distressed and troubled Aam Aadmi of this country laugh, by coming up with creative joke formats every other day!

For a man who received a great support from the people – educated middle class to be precise – and broke all political stereotypes to become the Chief Minister of the capital of the country, he could have shown a little more confidence, and self-assurance! But, he has been constantly wailing about how everyone, especially our “coward” and “psychopath” Prime Minister, is trying to get to him and his Aam Aadmi Party.

And this week’s video takes the cake.

It was just another attempt by Kejriwal to take potshots at the Modi government, in the typical Kejriwal style – by being both, the victim, and the hero! Victim because, just like Aam Aadmi, he is constantly on the receiving end of conspiracy created by the “centre”, and hero because probably he is the only one even capable, in whatever trivial ways, to take a stand against the tyrannical Modi government.caartoon02
In this video address, Kejriwal had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “so frustrated that he can get me killed”. Woah, now that escalated quickly! Sometimes I wonder- Is Kejriwal just another insecure politician, or is there some method to his madness in launching tirades against Modi almost on a weekly basis?

I happened to see Madaari, the movie that had all the ingredients by be amazing but was still average, this week. Though I could hardly sit through the long, drab righteous lecture that it was turning out to be, one dialogue struck me. In essence what it meant was, when a normal person a.k.a. Aam Aadmi loses his son, he blames his destiny, but when an important politician loses his son, Aam aadmi loses his sense of security. Well, by this logic, Mr. Kejriwal ain’t playing his cards right. When someone you depend on to realise your demands himself doesn’t seem to have any power…well!

Talking about stand-up comedy and Madaari, we live in a time when professions that weren’t primarily meant for entertainment have all become national jokes, and films that were for entertainment are in serious troubles for serious issues, so that we become serious about the issues. For instance the legal system. Acquittal of Salman Khan by the Rajasthan High Court is funnier than the funniest joke cracked by the very funny Kejriwal. But alas, the joke is on us, when lots of bucks in the pocket can devalue the death of one black buck.

PS – Will someone please save Mr. Kejriwal from the very dangerous ‘Arhar Modi! Arhar Modi!’

Game Of Thrown

What a week!! – I still don’t know if I mean this shockingly, or surprisingly. But that, only time will tell, I guess.

For our local, and global politics, this week may have been a great economic and political roller-coaster ride, but for me it was quite a learning experience. Major three things that I learned this week are:

  • Academic credentials and knowledge have very less, or rather no place while selecting/electing people for important positions in our country. (Throw away your books, kids). This current party in power things that all that we need to know to run a country is there in our Vedas and Shastras. Which is true if you want the society to regress, as against the popular belief that we must progress.

Just for their pea-brain to comprehend what their actions will result to, all I want to say is- You have successfully managed to throw out Ram from Raghu clan. Go figure. (Ok, was that comment evident as being sarcastic, or should I judge you guys for judging me?)

  • Europe has its own issues. What? You mean it isn’t that perfect destination where Yash Chopra’s heroines survive snow in chiffon sarees? Please don’t take that away from us. Anyway, this Britain exiting may affect them, but for us nothing changes. Film-makers will still shoot at Ramoji film city and keep our idea of Europe intact! Perfect. Beautiful. Romantic. Expensive.

Brexit-EU-referendum-Cameron-cartoonYou know, patriotism seems to be the last resort to settle any kind of debate, and to win any kind of election. Whether it is our own Marathi Manus craze, the “Hindutva” political party rule in India, or Britain exiting European Union. A popular belief is- If it can happen and has happened, it will happen in November as well. With that America loses all its hope around Trexit, and the trend targets towards Trenter. God save America!

  • Shirish Kunder is getting a lot of appreciation for his short film on YouTube. For God’s sake, he is the mastermind behind epic films like Tees Maar Khan, and Joker. Well my faith in creative film-making, or my choice of films was restored when it was revealed that this short film was an out-and-out copy of a Nepalese movie. Classy, I say.

Meanwhile, India is just blown away that we could vote British out. A country that ruled over more than half the globe has tasted “independence” now! Irony just died a thousand deaths. What this holds for them, whether it is an opportunity of a lifetime, or are we going to be witness to systemic destruction of Europe- only time will tell. More pressing issue at hand is how awkward is it going to be at Euro Cup now?

I know a bunch of people who have no clue what this Brexit is about, all I want to say is – Don’t worry. This buzz is not for the spoilers of Game of Thrones- though this may seem like a game of throne. No-one’s dying. Or are they?

For the rest of us, let not Britain’s black Friday hamper our weekend plans- It’s the sale season!

A Very Stretched Piece On Yoga

Before we begin- take a deep breath in, and slowly breathe out!

This was just to get you in the zone.

This week the world is going to celebrate its second International Yoga Day. I am assuming you are reading this in Malasana (The Squat Pose) – on your yoga mat, and not on the pot. As we all know, yoga is an ancient practice that we love, from the moment we came to know that the west endorses it.

Yoga is a stretchable, bendable, flexible, malleable form of exercise, originated in India. Ask me. I am an expert on yoga. I survived the intensive training sessions for all of 4 days!!

Yoga teaches you to put your leg where your head is supposed to be, and vice versa. Unlike all other forms of exercises where leg is exactly where it’s supposed to be, and head is exactly where it is supposed to be – in a protein shake! It teaches us to learn to ask- Why does anything has to be the thing you expect it to be?

Let me explain. When a builder promises to deliver a residential building in 3 years – based on which you start paying EMI- why does it have to be three years? Why not seven? Why finish it at all?

Ahem, moving on!

Well, I sincerely feel that yoga isn’t that appealing because it is not endorsed well. Baba Ramdev, for instance, is cool only if you have been alive for more than 60 years now, or Shilpa Shetty is cool only for Raj Kundra. And from the looks of it- and I am saying this in the nicest possible way- that Yoga may seem a tad-bit boring! Just a little bit. Also the fact that if you are not into yoga, your exercise regime is probably jumping to the tunes of “DJ wale babu mera gaana chala do”.All of this put together doesn’t make yoga so palpable.

Until of course we stumble upon a video of a white girl performing “Sun Salutations” in her gym clothes. Oh, yoga just turned into the coolest thing ever!

But it comes naturally to us, here in India. And it definitely reflects on the rest of our day- in our business and otherwise. Bending the rules, stretching our limits, flexible timings- are our natural traits, just to name some.

A few of my favourite new-age asanas, which I religiously perform all day, are:Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 7.58.32 PM

Taptapasana (The Tapping Pose) – Where I use my fingers to melodiously play on the keyboard- for specific purposes like trolling, and attacking Bhai-haters. Because, #BhaiRoxx.

Shoutasana (The Shouting Pose) – Wherein, the bigger the mistake, the louder my voice – to put the blame on anyone who isn’t good at this particular pose. It’s a part of my couples Yoga class!

Shirksasana (The Ostrich Pose) – Wherein you lay in mud all day on one leg, with so much free time that you write useless articles like this.

Well, before you drift off into Shavasana (The Awesome-most Pose), take a deep breathe in and do yoga for non-political reasons, and not just because your government said so!

Long Shot

In a population of 1.3 billion people,hockey-copy-650_022712061716 it takes some amazing skills to not excel in any sport other than cricket! Indian sports as it stands today is not what it once was. Indeed, India had significant victories in football and hockey earlier in the century – a far cry from the sorry state of affairs today.

Let us consider the top 5 reasons for sports not working in our stride!

  1. No infrastructure:

Of course! That is our answer to everything! It’s like we have accepted that it is an acceptable answer, and then feel sorry for ourselves. Why doesn’t the government make pet shelters? No infrastructure for people, how can we create one for dogs? Okay, why isn’t there shelter for everyone? Because they rented it out. Oh yes, why should they shift to a better facility, if they can earn an added income, and still enjoy the perks of being under poverty line?

Sure.

2. Education:

At school, and at home both. We are taught to be great at sports, only after we excel in academics! One of the more popular sayings in recent times is – “If you are good at something, do it after engineering.” That essentially sums up our entire education system. Sports is not encouraged in schools, or at home. Forget it even being an option, it is royally looked down upon and used as sarcasm if you don’t score well – “Aur khelo bahar jaake!”

It’s viewed as a mere hobby in our country, and not a career.

3. Electricity:

You would say I have a knack of starting with any topic and bringing it to a point where I bash our government for core issues. Well, what do I do if they function that way! This year a few of our players were robbed of a chance to participate in the Rio Olympics only because – wait for it – power failure! What? Yes, you read it right. In the part of the country when people use generators to prepare lassi in a celebration, one couldn’t be deployed for something as important as Olympic selection, is a sham(e).

4. Role-models.

How can this not make it to the list when Salman is involved! There was a whole fiasco regarding the ambassadors for Rio Olympics, and Salman Khan was one of them. Since we don’t encourage sports, we need to borrow from Bollywood to represent us in sports as well. Anyway, given the collective IQ of our country, we come to know about our great sportsmen only when a movie is made on them! Sigh.

Though, Salman is a great choice. He is a great shooter himself.

5. Genes:

This is my favourite! I was bowled over when I was doing my research and realized that a lot of people believe that we don’t excel in sports because we don’t have the kind of body required for it! In a population of 1.3 billion people. Bravo!

If anything, we are great at making excuses, and no one can beat us to that. Not even close.

BREAKING NEWS- Thank you for raising our TRPs

Media is a business, it is a business of news. The trouble is when media gets to the business of breaking news. It breaks all boundaries of ethics and logic, and the whole drill of “please-watch-our-channel” is way too apparent.

What has happened in the last few weeks is but an expression of this! It has been a great ride for all the media houses with so many incidents and topics, juicier than Frooti. Right from the Hardik Patel taking the government for a ride to Indrayani Mukherjea giving ideas to Ekta Kapoor for her new plot, media has gone berserk. It has overshadowed other important news like Kalburgi murder case or Baba Ramdev launching his own brand of instant noodles!

Superficial coverage has become characteristic of Indian news media because of breaking news syndrome! Research, permissions, analysis has no place in this whole game of sensationalism. This has proved to misleading information in so many cases, and then the apology that is rendered so feeble, if at all. But the damage is done, and an innocent has to live with this public humiliation. 24-hour pressure for the channels soon led to reporters thrusting their mikes on victims of a mishap to single-handedly engaging an entire nation in a family-tree puzzle.

Last week Anurag Kashyap put up a picture with “plaster” on his eyes on an oh-your-phone-picture-is-so-hipster website, indicating it as a result of a brawl with MMA fighter. Immediately, the news spread like wildfire, just to know later that he had trolled the media houses to prove a point. Media fell flat on its face. A few people called this experiment lame.

But it is not. It just is the sorry state of affairs with Indian media today.

Introduction of social media has aided in adding more spice to this. Just last week, one girl’s Facebook post costed an innocent guy his reputation. He was declared as a national pervert in the honorable court of Facebook, and many media houses ran this story even without listening to his other-side! Turns out this girl was closely associated with a national party, taking revenge for he-did-not-listen-to-her-and-hurt-her-ego! But the damage was done, and the guy – though proved innocent- was humiliated across the country in just a matter of few hours.

Media is the fourth pillar of democracy! But it seems to have shaken, since the line between “news” and “views” has diminished! Objective news has become a far-fetched dream! The pressure of proving oneself innocent in “Noise at 9”, and putting your point across Arnab Sardesai’s trial is much-more than remembering your wife’s birthday!

In the past, it has proved to be a successful medium between the government and the people. Media was probably the strongest tool in our freedom movement. If handled wisely and ethically, it can actually aid in solving important and urgent national issues. If only they can stop being the seeming corporate puppets, who knows, we could actually be successful in eradicating poverty, if not cynics!

Oxy-Morons

What I am going to write about now is a actually a paradoxical situation, but I never leave an opportunity to use a bad pun! 😉

Morons – that’s what they actually are.

With ‘they’, I mean people in authority, people who think they have a right to decide who gets what resources, and impact the lives of millions, and people who actually do, but are not responsible enough!

With the work I have chosen to do all my life, I have to visit these tiny villages, sometimes located in the most mesmerising locations! This little world of people has a world of it’s own problems. Here they are struggling to live. To live at least till the next moment, next day. When you visit them, you realise the whole futility of trying to find life somewhere else when we can’t even respect most of them here. Now. At this moment. Alive.

Last week I set out to go to a tiny place, near Kasara.

At the first glance, it was a breath-taking view! Wow. What more could one ask for! I mean people pay crazy amounts to go live in a place like this – be it only for 5 days! I was standing at one of hills surrounding Upper Vaitarna dam, and this village was right in front of me on another hill. What beauty!

But there was no road to get there. So we climbed down the hill we were standing on, and climbed up the adjacent one! No connect, no roads is the just the beginning of their miseries. It did not hit me so hard till we actually reached the village, and oh my, what I saw was what I used to think was just a sure-shot formula for a successful movie! People had no water to drink. TO DRINK. Forget spa, jacuzzi, have a bath, or even cook! Let us not even speak about water therapies! They did not have water to drink, when they were surrounded by a dam, that gives water about 200kms away! I cannot emphasize on this more!

Government is trolling them. In their face!

Can you see the little rocky trench? Can you see a little wet portion above the 3 buckets in the trench? So what actually is happening is, there a few drops of water coming out of those rocks – and this is “paani aaya” situation for them! This is how they fill water. Drop-by-drop. And can you see the queue of vessels? By the time even one fills up, we would have wasted 10 of those – just putting things in perspective!

We have heard this a lot. I mean I won’t say I haven’t seen millions of pictures (award-wining) or videos where people are struggling to fill their bucket. It doesn’t hit you so hard, till you don’t see it. For yourself. It was the saddest, the most helpless moment of my life for me. Very clichéd,  but this was like a “swades-moment” of my life.

I know for a reader like you, this will yet again be another story, heard from someone else-you will empathise with it, may be even agitate a little, but it will not make you think twice before the hot water shower bath! Still, on my end it is attempt to show the reality. And our so-very-efficient government!

You know what was worse? I came home and told about this to a few people, and the reaction I get is – “yeh toh kuch bhi nahi hai, waha toh aisa hai, yahaan toh waisa hai, aur woh toh sabse bura hai!”

Seriously?! Signing off before I can’t stop myself from adding another bad pun!

50 shades of Ban

No one told me when the Make in India was replaced by Ban in India. It is not even funny the number of things we have banned in the last one week.

The only thing that is common in all these bans is our inability to tackle sensitive issues. Banning is running away from the scenario. It is a reflection of our hypocrisy, narrow-mindedness, bias, and cowardice. It shows that we have no faith in our thousands of year old culture and value system, that we are questioning its sustenance.

Having said that banning does not deter the fact that we are what we ban.

I mean if we have to ban anything, implies that it exists, that it is our value-system, a trend now. And banning a video doesn’t change that! Whom are we kidding? Do the policy makers really believe that banning products, actions, videos, and words really curbs their use?  In fact, all it does is people looking for more illegal ways to do “it”, eat “it”, watch “it”, and all this while saying “it”.

Seriously, don’t we all know where to find alcohol in Gujarat? And by now, beef in Maharashtra? Don’t we all use cuss words? Haven’t we seen the AIB Roast or the documentary? In fact, banning the video gave it more popularity, and all the people who did not even know AIB exists, have access to the aforesaid video. And don’t even make me question banning 50 shades of grey.

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I think this simply shows the power of the words don’t, no, ban has. We just have to do it. Cannot explain the psychology more simply. That exactly is how it works, government! “Ban” is not the solution.

There are 50 shades of our mentality to be tackled, and putting even a fraction of our energy in that direction will get a lot more achieved than banning these things.

PS – Let me know when we Ban Janata Party!