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The Tik-Tik Man October 8, 2008

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, contemporary, Faction, Life.
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4 comments

The Tik-Tik man was always there. Outside the ice-cream parlour, while the rich kids ate, the Tik-Tik man walked up and down, with a sack on his shoulder, and toys in his hands. He would make the Tik-Tik toy go tik-tik every few seconds, hoping the sound would penetrate the ice-cream cones and the traffic jams. He had spectacles and greying hair, a slight figure and an expression of un-envy as car after car would disgorge its contents onto the pavement outside the parlour. College kids, small kids, young couples, and lots and lots of veiled women. Perhaps the Tik-Tik man wondered how they would lick the cones of anjeer ice-cream through the barrier of the veil. Or perhaps the Tik-Tik man said fuck you bitch. Perhaps the Tik-Tik man says fuck you a lot more often than his benign appearance betrays. Fuck you, you piece of shit. Your ice-cream costs twenty eight bucks. Your auto costs another twenty. One way. My toy costs thirty five. And I’m evening willing to negotiate. Fuck you for not having to begin your day at six in the morning and end it at twelve at night. Fuck you for not having to do two jobs to feed your family and put your kids through school. Fuck you for being able to not notice me.

Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.

But the Tik-Tik man will probably not utter the ‘f’ word. The Tik-Tik man probably tells himself that his dignity is not ground in dust every second, that he doesn’t mind being just a part of the scenery. I don’t know. What I do know, is that the Tik-Tik man works for an advocate in Andheri in the day time, and sells toys from eight in the evening. The advocate pays him three thousand rupees a month, an amount that I contribute towards my (muchly) shared flat every month, and what I do know, is that it is not enough to sustain his family. The Tik-Tik man has two children who go to college, and the Tik-Tik toys that are bought probably go into the college fund. What I do know, is that the Tik-Tik man sells his wares with good cheer. What I do not know, is why the Tik-Tik man doesn’t hate us more.

I, too, wonder at the patience of the poor in our country.

Bombay, theatres, and gender in educational spaces July 22, 2008

Posted by K in contemporary, Gender, Politics, Reviews/Rants.
17 comments

Maybe I need to go on a Saattvik diet or something (if I were to believe HT Brunch), but I HATE watching movies in theatres in Bombay! I resent the imposition of the national anthem on me, and I resent the arm-twisting of every theatre goer into standing up for the anthem. Just what is achieved by the exercise escapes me. I wonder if people rebel against it… or is the social pressure too strong for that. I know when I was late in standing up, I heard a voice say, rudely, ‘khare ho’. ‘Stand up’. I stood, because I was the only one not standing, around me. I succumbed to the ‘air’ around me. I felt threatened, as if I would get branded ‘anti-national’ or something. In ordinary situations, such a tag wouldn’t bother me. But in a strange city, amongst strangers, I’m not that brave. I suddenly realise, ever so often these days, what it is like, being the minority.

This automatically leads me to question how I became the minority. Was I, and people who think similarly, ever the majority? Or did the privileged space that I called my college lead me to believe in, and expect, a different reality.

I’ve often thought about the space and place of all-girls institutions. I was mostly against it. Incomplete education, unfair to the boys, unnecessary and bla bla. But Pallavi pointed out something that I had never considered. We are who we are, largely because we studied in an all-girls institution. And by that, I mean, we grew into people who are confident of their, our, ability. In several co-ed colleges, one sees that very few girls ever occupy union positions. If they do at all, they are elected into positions that are traditionally seen as a female domain-cultural representatives, literary representatives. Seldom will one find a girl sports representative. Very few girls are allowed to get their hands ‘dirty’ by running from pillar to post, arranging for sponsorships. In things like theatre productions, seldom do girls get to carry the heavier props, if there are boys around. I’m not making a very coherent article, but what I am trying to say, is that it is only in a girls college (I shall not speak about school at this point…) that girls do everything that goes into the making of college life, from administration, to running around, to doing a hell lot of ‘dirty work’, to you name it. Perhaps that is why students who pass out of such institutions gather such infamy as ‘feminists’. The lack of a need to depend on the other gender, or a need to protest against gender violence, verbal, physical and psychological, seems to ‘de-feminise’ the female. Having a mind of one’s own, and caring about things like how gender is portrayed and dealt with, automatically constructs a forbidding image.

How little the world has changed!

India. Myanmar. Tibet. April 8, 2008

Posted by K in contemporary.
11 comments

India does not want Myanmar freed of Military despotism. India does not want a free Tibet.

India needs the Military Junta so that we can sell them arms. And indulge in shady agreements, such as the recent proposal to build a waterway project upto Myanmar and through it into the Northeast, because Bangladesh won’t allow India to access the North East through it. The waterway project costs some many crores, and in return, Myanmar get a dam or some other structure paid for by India.

I don’t understand why we need to access a limb of our country through such a circuitous route. I can understand why the Chicken’s Neck makes life difficult, but surely we could have tried to go through Nepal and/or Bhutan through existing roads. Both are friendly countries.

If anybody knows more about this particular issue, do leave a comment…

(Oh yeah, I remember I was much amused when I read this piece in the paper: an MP from the North East, I forget which State, threatened the Parliament that if the Centre did not provide Rail Connectivity to the North East, then they would ask China to do so! 😀 Very effective strategy, I must say…I am anticipating work beginning soon…) (PS- I was shocked to know the North East did not have rail connectivity…my hegemonised mind assumed all of India had access to the chuk chuk gaari.)

As for Tibet…enough has been written about it politically. I don’t want to add my uninformed two bits here. I am just SO glad Tibetans around the world are causing the Chinese Establishment to choke and sputter ahead of the Games 😀

Parisian Tibetans- great job on extinguishing the Torch (‘technical fault’ or otherwise…!!) 😀

For Shame, India. February 13, 2008

Posted by K in contemporary, Disgust, Politics.
Tags: , , ,
7 comments

For shame, Maharashtra.

I’m finding it hard to believe that in our country we allow politicians to openly avow hate for a region WITHIN the country, and encourage party men to embark on a violent rampage against North Indians. The deaths have begun.

We bristle when charges of primitivism and barbarism are levelled against us. We are not ‘backward’ we like to claim, we are ‘right up there’ with the best in the world.

Yeah right. Sure. Whatever. Like, how many “PROGRESSIVE” countries have frightened women giving birth in a dirty train toilet?

It’s scary to think Narendra Modi is not an aberration, he might just be the norm.

Sick.

January 26, 2008

Posted by K in contemporary, Diary, Gender, Recent reads-and my comments, Reviews/Rants.
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11 comments

Hindustan Times has a new obnoxious writer: Vinod Nair(Damn, and I thought all Mallus were nice). I don’t know what his column profile officially is, but it ends up being a space where he unleashes his misogyny. The first column I read of his was about Indian women and their inner wear , and the second one I read, today, was about inner wear again, and though he tried (or did he…?) to make it about both genders, he managed to produce schpiel about how women like displaying bra straps and underwear bands, but get offended if men stare. Now the problematics of him not seeing a problem with lecherous men apart, I wonder why he writes such shit. Does he get paid by the scale of nastiness? It’s HT City, hence quite possible (though I admit I quite like Under Honey’s Hat: the fictionalized gossip column).

Maybe the issues raised by him are pertinent, if not to me, then somebody else; but why does he deal with his subject matter with such female body related venom? Why does he objectify women with his very male gaze, and more importantly, why is he allowed to??

In other matters, I attended a placement presentation by a company called Star Magna. Now I don’t know what the company actually is like, but the representative who presented the company sure didn’t create a very good image of it. And considering that this company deals with brand management it seems a trifle amusing that they couldn’t build their own brand in front of wee college students.

The problem was not so much with the nature of their work-brand management. I might not be a fan of the luxury segment but that doesn’t mean I go about, fangs bared, looking to bite all such companies. I had a problem with what she said. They were looking for PR (Press Relations) agents who would talk to the media regarding whatever company they were handling. She went on to qualify ‘media’: we, ofcourse, don’t call the likes of Punjab Kesari and Jain TV, she said. My head went !!! immediately. One of the first things she said was that at the end of the day, what the clients want is money. And managing brands ought to be about maximising profits. So I asked her if she thought readers of Punjab Kesari and watchers of  Jain TV either were all poor and/or did not desire brand-y things. She seemed too think not. Her answer made it evident that either she wasn’t doing a good job presenting the company, or that the company was disgustingly wannabe and wannabe-elitist.

A part of the presentation spoke about how the company also deals with model management and promotion of artisans and craftsmen of India. So when Question Time came, I asked her how the elitism was reconciled to this NGO work, how one company could on one hand, only want to deal with the likes of E-News and not the ‘masses’ that presumably patronised the likes of said Punjab Kesari and Jain TV, and at the same time look to give visibilty to the artists who come from such ‘masses’. She, ofcourse, felt the question was irrelevant, that the NGO was just something the owner did as a hobby (why put it on the COMPANY profile, then? And even so, the incongruity/hypocrisy stands)  and that I was asking it just for the sake of arguing, and that she didn’t get my question anyway. I was much amused by now, and conveyed to her that I, however, had got the answer.

The woman was rude when others asked less-controversial questions, and had come to recruit without an idea about the package she would be offering. She snapped at people, was ill-informed ( “We would prefer post-graduate students here”… “How many first and second years are here”…”Doesn’t your college offer post-graduate studies?”), and didn’t know she had earlier conveyed to the Placement Cell that the recruitment process would include a GD followed by an interview.

And then she has the gall to say “I mean, aren’t you guys, like, a little, like, whatever” Rude, I think she wanted to say.

I mean,like, yeah I want a, like, a jawb, but please don’t insult my intelligence, and don’t think you can bully me just because I’m a wee student. Sheesh.

Iron Maiden Tickets January 20, 2008

Posted by K in contemporary, Diary, Maiden, Music.
Tags: , , , , ,
20 comments

WHY are the Iron Maiden tickets not out in Delhi as yet?smilie

More importantly, WHY does Delhi not have an outlet as yet??smilie

Let there be an outlet let there be an outlet let there be an outlet let there be an outlet…smilie

Yes, Global Terrorism and all that… December 27, 2007

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, contemporary, Death, Life, Uncategorized.
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3 comments

How does one stop global terrorism? I know today I wrote a whole shpiel on how terrorism is a matter of who defines it and how we are all potential terrorists and how intellectually we can never be rid of terrorism…but all that seems so far away…theorizing and all is fine, but what does one do now, at this very moment, to stop people blowing up people? What concrete steps can be taken by the establishment to stop the most visible face of terror?

One thing is obvious; it’s all a matter of money. Goons need money to buy the AK-47s, to buy bombs, to buy the material to make bombs. STOP the flow of money, trace the lines of funding and cut it off! If anybody is serious about fighting this kind of violence, this is the very least that they can and must do! As for the deeper questions of what is a terrorist- let the bloodshed stop, and maybe we can take it up from there…

Guilt December 15, 2007

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, contemporary, Death, Life.
Tags: , ,
6 comments

Today’s newspaper carried a story about a train that rammed into a bus carrying a lot of school children. The story struck me as tragic at many levels. Not only did 16 people die, but many of those school children would normally not have taken the bus. Their parents had banned them from cycling that day because of the fog.

I’m trying to put myself into the shoes of the mother who lost two children because she sent them by bus. What must she be feeling? How long will it be till she’s able to forgive herself? Will her decision ever stop haunting her? Will she be able to go on living?

What about the siblings of these children? Not only do they have to bear the loss of a brother or sister, they will also have to carry the pain of parents who might be too guilt-ridden to be themselves, if not forever, but atleast for a very very long time to come.

The collision occurred because the children had begged the gate keeper to let them go because they were late for their exams. I know nothing can excuse the dereliction of duty, and one would perhaps be justified in condemning his action, but that still doesn’t matter in the present, does it? What has happened has happened, wrong or right, but how is he to reconcile himself to his action?

His 11 year old daughter too got on to the bus. She, however, was miraculously saved. The guilt he must be feeling must be two-fold. Survivors guilt; what I did killed other children, not mine. Joy that his daughter was spared, and guilt immediately after.

How does one live with oneself when one has killed/hurt a near and dear one, or even a complete stranger, unintentionally?

I remember an Oprah episode about such incidences. There was a mother who had accidentally killed some of her children by falling asleep at the wheel. A grandmother who had reversed over her tiny grandson. A boy who had rammed into his mother’s car, killing her.

The worst kind of prison has to be this. Self imposed and un-relenting. If there is one thing I never wish upon anybody, it has got to be this.

Quote Misquote December 15, 2007

Posted by K in contemporary, Funny, People.
Tags: , , , ,
5 comments

Hindustan Times occasionally manages to nail it 😀 I am talking, ofcourse, about the ‘Quote Misquote‘ feature on their editorial page, where they (11doh.gif) quote someone (usually famous) and take the piss with a What he/she really meant and What he/she definitely didn’t column. Today’s features Modi.

” Do you want Modi to be CM?

Do you trust Modi?

Do you love Modi?

Don’t you think Modi lives only for Gujarat”

What he really meant

Who’s your daddy? Who’s your daddy? Who’s your daddy?lol.giflol.giflol.gif

What he definitely didn’t

I must say it’s odd to refer to myself in the third person singular, but it makes me less of an ego-centric person, doesn’t it? I hope you answered yes,yes and yes to the questions on your left(referring to the quotes) , otherwise I’m afraid Modi will be very, very upset.

I hope the bastard doesn’t win the elections, but I’m afraid he will. I am finding it quite hard to believe how even after Tehelka’s systematic expose(yes,yes, I know we all knew anyway, but this just seems to put it on a platter, doesn’t it?) NOTHING is happening with regard to him.

Hyderabad bomb blast August 25, 2007

Posted by K in contemporary.
4 comments

Yet another blast in Hyderabad.

I don’t even know what to say. The news item on rediff is followed by numerous comments like kill muslims, boycott muslim businesses etc.

I’m scared to think of what our world will be in a few years.