Thursday, 18 October 2018

From Secular Progressive to Regressive

From secular progressive to regressive. That didn't take much time, did it?
There is a palpable sense of glee in some quarters, eagerly waiting for the religious floodwaters to break through and drown this secular bulwark against communal bigotry.  They hope that this would be another deluge, with Sabarimala the first shutter opening of the Cheruthoni dam of religious bile. Let’s hope we find enough fishermen and boats to survive this flooding.
Ideally, one would expect these people to be protesting in front of the Supreme Court, as it was that court’s decision to let these "impure" women in. It’s hard to believe that the secular, liberal intellectuals had any kind of influence on the court. Or for that matter, anyone, because then that will not be a fair and impartial judiciary.
My initial reaction was, “hey, let the ladies believe in whatever hocus-pocus they want to believe”. However, after seeing the attempts by a section to hold God’s Own Cakoos to ransom, I became more interested and started looking up largely uninteresting facts (or fake news, as they are known now).
We have to admire the audacity of this group. The women who filed the case were not, as a Facebook friend commented, WEIRD (Western-Educated Industrialized Rich & Democratic) people with a liberal agenda. If anything, some of them were from the “right” stock (check out Prerna Kumari/husband in fb). An initial smokescreen was created in the name of the Indian Young Lawyers Association, which was headed by a guy called Naushad at that time (2006), who didn’t have anything to do with this petition.
The case dragged on for 12 years, and the Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom (or is it ignorance, if you believe these people), and hopefully after studying the case meticulously, gave a verdict. All these people, including the NSS, the descendent of the family that ruled over the Pandalam municipality and surroundings, and even a guy called Rahul Easwar, had the opportunity to present their side to the court. Naishtika brahmachari (it will be interesting to know how many people who spout this word know its meaning (I googled)), menstruating women, magnetic force, magic fire in mountain, crowds killed in stampedes trying to watch magic fire in mountain, e-coli in Pampa river, everything. Still, at the end of the day, the court decided in favour of the women who filed the complaint.
Then, before you could say swamiye saranam ayyappa, it all became some devious liberal agenda. Suddenly, some of them saw a chance to open that shutter to let the pent-up religious bigotry on the people. The glimmer of a chance to get a foothold was too good to pass. Hence the change of heart from
Suddenly, ancient customs became important. The RSS supreme leader now blames the judges for ignoring tradition. Irony drowned itself in the Pampa when a Dalit priest said centuries-old customs should be respected. The guy would have had to stand close to a century steps away from the Namboothiri thantri of Sabarimala if those centuries-old customs were intact.
Regardless of the feeling towards the ruling dispensation in the State, it’s time once again for mallus to pull together like they did during the floods.
P.S. It is interesting to note that a similar centuries-old tradition was ditched some time ago at the Shani Shingnapur Temple in Maharashtra after a court order.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Whats Appi Syndrome

It’s almost a month now since I resurrected my life in Japan on Easter Sunday. On April 1, I moved into this small apartment, a few minutes from the school where my kids are enrolled. Japan is one place which teaches you that you don’t need humongous space or thingies to be happy. All you need is … an electronic potty. So, first things first, I went and got myself the cheapest electronic potty available and installed it. Heated seat and warm water butt wash for the winter months.  With that done, we moved on to other essential items - a table and few chairs, some home electronics items, a gas table, a few futons, etc. – and we were all set to start our “minimalist” life.

There were, however, couple of major items left. Mobile phones and Wi-Fi. In fact, I was on the verge of experiencing withdrawal symptoms without access to the virtual frikkin’ world 24/7. I missed the daily dose of inspirational doo-doo from bad gurus. I wanted to read fairy tales that start with I’m not a bhakth, but*. My body yearned for fake news and memes. To put it in a nutshell, I missed my Wi-Fi, something I never expected to happen to me. You see, I have this habit of taking the phone to the potty in the morning to catch up on the WhatsApp messages from the previous night. There are usually a few of the aforesaid inspirational and other such posts in the list. These messages, believe it or not, have a laxative effect because of the convulsions you undergo while reading some of the gems, all the while trying hard not to fall off the commode. It could be convulsive laughter or just plain epileptic ones, but whatever it is, it smoothens the passage of doo-doo from your body. Plop!  Things, obviously, were getting difficult. The appi, as turd is called in some parts of Kerala, was creating problems without WhatsApp. Dang! I had the dreaded WhatsAppi syndrome.

So, my wifey and I went shopping for Wi-Fi and mobiles. Now, in most countries, I’m guessing, this should be a breeze. Not in Japan. We first went to one of the top two companies, where a smartly dressed young man with a tablet (computer, not pill) sat with us and explained, with the help of various charts and diagrams, the stuff they have. Then he listened to what we wanted – two phones. Well, with Google and WhatsApp, if possible. Here, in Japan, you can’t just buy a sim card and insert it in your handset. You have to buy the phone/sim as a bundle. Anyway, the guy gave us a few printouts of the quotes for the different plans he had, and then escorted us courteously to the door.  

Outside, we walked straight to the competitor’s shop. Another well-dressed young man -could have been the first guy’s twin brother or even the same guy- appeared and the same routine was repeated. Deja-vu. We finally decided on this guy after he kinda impressed upon us, with some convoluted logic, that we’re getting the handset free if we use it for two years. He then passed the baton to another dude who sat behind a counter. We were expecting him to produce a paper and show us the dotted line to sign. Totally wrong. He started off by asking our address, and was almost professorial in the way he went about explaining things. He printed out certain papers, brought them to us, and explained the contents. In between he was marking some crucial places with a yellow marker, perhaps for us to study for the test he’ll conduct at the end of all this. Then he printed out some more papers. The process continued. Did he just say “the Company reserves the right to cleave off the left kidney of the user if he/she exceeds 2 gb data”? Nah. Maybe I dozed off.  When I looked up, he was again printing out stuff. I was feeling guilty and personally responsible for destroying a few hundred acres of Amazonian rainforest. Anyway, after a few hours, my wife signed the various papers including the kidney one, I think, and we were owners of smartphones. But…the Wi-Fi won’t come for two more weeks. What?!   After all the bureaucracy and signing and stuff!  

Contrast this with India, where you can go into a mobile shopeee (the more ‘e’ s, the better), flash your Maine Pyar Kiya underwear tag (which, of course, is linked to your Aadhaar) as identification, throw 500 rupees on the counter, get a SIM card, and before you can say “I’m-not-a-bhakth-but,” you’re  a man with a plan.

All thanks to the ****nis and ****jis who rule the country.

* - ”I’m not a bhakth, but” is a new genre of fairy tale similar to the “Once upon a time” stories. These tales have gained in popularity in the past three or four years, and is especially popular during election seasons. Here’s a sample.

I’m not a bhakth, but the other day I was talking to this dude who is the illegitimate son of my grandfather’s brother’s, now-deceased wife. This guy - I can’t reveal his name - so, let’s call him Jai, was employed as a senior janitor with executive powers at the Exalted One’s abode. Another thing is that, he and all his family members, legitimate as well as illegitimate, were Biju Janata Dal voters for hundreds of years, even before Biju was born. So, you can guess their dedication. That night Jai had woken up to go to the loo to pee out the gaumutra he had consumed before sleeping. It was about 3 in the morning. He saw a light coming from one of the rooms. Out of curiosity he went and peeped in, and to his surprise he saw that the light was not coming from any electrical light source, but the Exalted One was emitting an aura so powerful, the entire room was lit up. Then, the Exalted One picked up the phone and called this scavenger in Kendrapara and instructed him to clean up the sewage in two hours. Great or what?
If you agree, forward this to all the people, in particular to those with WhatsAppi syndrome.    

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Do Frogs Fart and Other Philosophical Questions

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – Arthur C. Clarke

The scream pierced the Trivandrum night. He was holding this chest and screaming. His grandfather, a medicine man, had bequeathed him that ancient chest. The chest was called “Chest Z,” because right from ancient times people in Travancore were using English alphabets to denote variables and unknown parameters. Nobody knew what was inside the chest and the old man never gave a hint. He was in the attic holding Chest Z within seconds of his grandpa croaking, trying hard to open it. Nothing worked. He was going crazy screaming, when suddenly, another old man, probably a relative he didn’t know existed, appeared near him and told him the secret behind the chest.

The chest is locked with a magic hymn – a hymn that is made up of seven farts of a dodo bird in varying frequencies. Not only that, there is a secret sound in between, which certain trusted sources have said, is the wet fart of a gastric brooding frog.

“What the #$%&?! Where do I get these creatures and their farts? Who told you this?” he began panicking. The old man smiled and said, “There are books by NASA which cover this in detail, but they have kept it a secret. They stole from us, y’know. You have heard of Alibaba and the open sesame cave thingy, right?”

He nods.

“Same technology. Where do you think they got that from? Us!! Where do you think they got the knowledge to develop this voice recognition software and all?”

“That’s all OK, but where can I find this dodo and the brooding frog,” he wondered, but the old man had disappeared.

He had an idea. He flipped out his smartphone, which works like magic. You open up this thing called Google and type in “dodo bird” and you get all the information you need on dodo. How does it work? It’s f$%&ing magic. You can even say “brooding frog” and this nice-sounding lady will tell you everything about the frog in English.

And the information was shocking. Both the dodo bird and the stupid frog are extinct.

The old man mysteriously appeared again and told him, “Don’t open the chest. It will destroy everything here” and disappeared.

Possible, he thought, the f#$%ing thing is filled with farts. Must be toxic by now. Scream....
Are we in frikkin 21st century or what?

I sometimes sit and brood and some people think that I’m thinking deep philosophical thoughts. They’re right. I have questions all the time. “Do frogs fart?” was one such thought. Luckily for me, Google God gives me all the answers I ever need. It is magic.

Apart from the Google God, I have a thing for gods who protect their own asses. You see it quite often in the aftermath of a natural disaster. A god figurine that was left untouched by an earthquake, or a place of worship that survived a tsunami when all the blooming worshippers living around it were washed away, or a tsunami that bypassed the god and destroyed everything a few kilometres away. These are the gods I love. Parochial, territorial and selfish. Just like us.

Anyway, get ready to be destroyed, because the Supreme Court wants Chest Z…no Vault B of the Padmanabha Swamy temple opened. The court probably thinks it is a bar in a city, for which it gave permission to open. The question I asked in this post on Devaprasnam from 2011 still stands.

Is the lord going to destroy Trivandrum? Or, could it be the area under the erstwhile Travancore kingdom (parts of which the lord anyway ignored when the tsunami came) or is it going to be Akhand Faarath that is going to be destroyed if the Supreme Court order is carried out? Scary!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Kootharas of the World, Unite..

We are mallus (some consider this term derogatory. I don’t). Many of us were and are proud of that, though I never understood why. We had achieved immense progress, the propaganda machinery had told us over the years – high this, low that, big schlo…, what not. And somehow, even after learning from G Carlin (that being a mallu is not a skill, but a f#$king genetic accident - G Carlin on Pride), there was this subconscious pride in me. Dormant, most of the time, more or less like the subconscious religious and racist bigotry found in the depths of people’s hearts, which peeps out in unguarded moments.

All this pride, however, has been slowly crumbling in front of my eyes over the last couple of years, ever since I started using Facebook and WhatsApp. I found out that we are one of the most reviled people in this country. Chu#$ya mallus. All those achievements were nothing but old wives’ tales. If this continues, the only legitimate remnants of mallu achievement could be the gooey remains in sleazy movie halls across the length and breadth of the country.

The first inkling of what was going to come was when the Grand Poobah compared us to Somalia. There was, however, another hint much earlier in my life when in college a Delhi kid told us “You south Indians are all like that.” Never understood what he meant by “that”. We just told him “Po thaya#$” and left it at that. He was a fair and lovely kid and I think had a fancy-sounding (at least to us) name like Saxena. We were all Bijus and Jubis and other disyllabic names and many of us were jet-black wheatish complexioned. Obviously, no one was there to advise our parents on how to get a uttama santati. No north-faced banyan tree twig, no 72 days of abstinence. They got married, fornicated and reproduced like rabbits. No, that is not true. They didn’t reproduce like rabbits because they were vaccinated, which, in case you’re not aware, is a big scam by the West to depopulate the world. Well, the result is clear. Look at me. They got one parameter right, by accident, for sure. Tall! That’s all. Tall….dark, ugly and dumb.

Well, subsequent to the Poobah calling us Somalis, they started downgrading us one by one. We became the worst state in the country. The crime capital. Our cities are dumps. People, especially of a certain majority religious persuasion, are on the verge of becoming refugees. There is murder, mayhem, and there are trans-genders in workforce, etc. and before you could say Jack Robinson, we became “thundery Pakistan”.

That was when I lost it. “Thundery?!” What the f#$k is thundery? My dormant pride was stirred. Are they alluding to thunder thighs? Those plump women in the mallu movies; a genre that the country loves more than Bollywood fare. Are they telling us that when the Gujaratis were lunging for their asmita, we were embracing Silk Smita movies here? So, that is the deal. They want to paint us as “kootharas,” which could be translated as dirty rotten scoundrels. Once we start believing that we’re kootharas (I know quite a few who have become believers), they, the fair knights in shining armour, riding their cows, will come in and save us. It appears to be from the playbook of certain religions. You’re a sinner who needs to be saved.  

I was downcast at this turn of events. The horror of knowing that you’re universally hated! But then, I do have some friends, who religiously post uplifting messages and motivational bullshit in my WhatsApp groups, which I used to deride. Not today. Today, those have come in handy. I’ve decided to look at the positives and take ownership of being a koothara. After all, I was born and raised in one of the koothara-est neighbourhoods of Trivandrum, thanks to which I had developed a fine command over koothara language at a very tender age (a fact revealed to me by the taxi driver who used to ferry us to school). So, here is my response for calling us thundery. I’m raising my lungi to you in protest, an ancient vedic ritual practiced in this region to express dissent. NO! Not that, don’t look there, you koothara. Look at my thighs, my thunder thighs!

Kootharas of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your lungis.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Alternative Fact-ory

At times, I want to be Sivan. Not the destroyer god with three eyes, though I wouldn’t mind having that third eye. Especially when driving. Would love to incinerate some of the f#$%ing maniacs who magically appear in front of me when I am driving. The other day, driving from Rama Rao Lamp towards Palayam, easily one of the widest stretches in the city, my smooth progress was blocked by a woman on a scooter, two guys on a bike and a small van (engine power = 0.005 Mhp; Mhp denotes “Miniature horsepower” a new SI unit I just made up) all cruising in sync at 25 cm per hour, occupying three lanes – three f#$%ing lanes. Oh, for that third eye! Oh, for that frikkin’ third eye!

Lady on scooter, blissfully unaware of the havoc she’s causing around her… Poof! Ash!

Guys riding bike, carrying a sack, probably filled with 10 rupee notes given by the bank in accordance with the 56th RBI regulation of the day… Poof! Gone!

Low Mhp, make-in-India van loaded with PVC pipes… Poof! Smouldering f#$%in’ embers!

And just for the fun of it - lady in small car going in the other direction, head barely visible, knuckles white from strangling the steering wheel… Poof!

I’d gladly give my eyeteeth for that third eye!

Enough ranting for now. Let’s get back to Sivan.

Sivan appeared before me some five or six years ago. I don’t remember exactly when. It was about six in the evening, and walking back to my house I saw him sitting forlornly on the steps of this deck-like extension of my dining room.   

I went up to him and said something like “Yo, ‘sup Sivan?” in Malayalam. Sivan is hard of hearing and in the twilight he could barely read my lips, but he replied. It was more of a statement. “I don’t have a place to sleep.” Till the previous day, he was at a neighbour’s and apparently he had had a tiff with the lady of that house. Sivan is always having tiffs - with walls, with stray dogs, with guava trees, etc. And from what I learned, he has switched his residence a few times in the last few years after having tiffs with the house owners. I shrugged and pointed at the deck and that’s where Sivan has been for the last five or six years – the longest he has stayed anywhere in recent memory.

Sivan does odd jobs in the neighbourhood like cleaning yards and dehusking coconuts for, literally, peanuts. He won’t accept more than 200 rupees at a time, which is probably enough to cover his food expenses for two days. No financial planning for him. His material possessions (he has the key to the shed in my yard) has increased to two bundles now, and for some reason he has a fetish for footwear. His footwear collection is reaching Imelda Marcos-esque proportions with 7 or 8 pairs of sandals of different hues lined up by the deck.

So, what I’m getting at is that Sivan was the one person I knew who was not affected by the Supreme Leader sucking cash out of the system. No banks to go to, no 500 or 1,000 rupee notes. Sivan didn’t care. And I wanted to be Sivan. I know that demonetisation is so 2016, but I started writing this piece back then and couldn’t complete it (as I was standing in the queue). Please bear with me.

Another thing that has been bothering me for some time now is the words being used to describe our rulers by their devotees. We have a supreme leader with a 56-inch body part and a state leader with dual organs. I haven’t heard anything yet about our mayor, who seems to be busy doing nothing. It’s possible that he too has an inordinately long organ – a 12-metre long small intestine, perhaps – and his devotees are waiting for the right moment to publicise it.

Anyway, with all these talks about organs in the air, I suddenly felt a nagging doubt about the adequacy of my organs. Being a science-oriented person, I immediately went for the tape measure and set about measuring myself. I am a reasonably big man. I’m six feet tall and can oscillate between well-built and fat f#ck in the space of few hours. The tape went around my chest and said 108! Wow! “I’m the biggest! I’m the biggest!” No, wait. That is in cm. Converted, it was just 42 inches. Pathetic. My self-esteem went poof like the lady on the scooter in front of my third eye!

I needed to come out of this dire situation and that’s when I got this idea of calling up the Central Statistical Office. They’re good with numbers, I had heard. The voice at the other end was brusque, “What’s your problem?”

I explained my problem and there was a smirk at the other end.

CSO man: “Where did you start your measurement from?”

Me: “Seerow…sorry, Zero..that was my mallu accent acting up..y’know unguarded moments.”

More smirking at the other end. Was that for the accent? Hmm.

CSO man: “Well, there lies your problem.”

Me: “What?”

CSO man: “Try starting from 15.” Click.

It worked. I’m a 57-incher now. My self-esteem zoomed. I was on par with Arnold Shivajinagar.. sorry Schwarzenegger!

I was happy. That was all that mattered, and as luck would have it, I had unwittingly become part of the hottest trend sweeping the world. I plunged headlong into the “alternative fact-ory” movement.

Though I wrote headlong, it was not that I didn’t think about it at all. I did get some insights from friends who made me see the light about reading such “alternative fact-based” news. The fact is that such news made them happy. These are good people, and like good people in many countries, they’re constantly worried about their country going to the dogs. Especially, dog forbid, to dogs from a different religion or dogs of a different colour. 

So, when they hear that a decision by their supreme leader (also known as the “master stroker”) has led to a drastic fall in cancer incidence in Rarotonga, which was verified by NASA’s sister organization NAUSEA (National Absurd & Unverifiable Story Excretion Agency,) they go overboard with happiness. They also altruistically spread that happiness around through WhatsApp and other media. Once it is posted in three WhatsApp groups, it becomes a universal fact. (Also, stop smirking at the word stroker. I didn’t mean that!)

Well, you can’t blame them. He is a Cisco Certified National Leader (CCNL). He came in fifth initially, but after some time, was revised upwards to third. More happiness. Cisco promised $100 million investment in India after giving the certificate. Unbeknownst to us, Cisco had promised 100 times that, i.e. a $10 billion investment in our bad-ass neighbour up north in China. Guess Xi Jinping pings at a higher level.

Then, there is Jason the Yankee Hindunaut. His greatest advantage is that his identity can’t be tracked down easily, unlike say, a Mark Tully. Jason is what they call a double agent, a RAW CIA agent. In his day job, he is the run of the mill CIA agent, but at night he turns into Trishul Subbu (scary rudra veena bgm). Happiness all around, again.

Now since I’ve jumped into this happiness-generating alternative factory movement, I thought I should dredge up my own stories from the interwebs. That is the great thing about this movement. There are no leaders. Anyone can come up with anything. If someone contradicts you, all you have to say is, “that’s your opinion.” Ultimately, everything boils down to your pursuit of happiness. So, here’s an alternative factory product.

Godse didn’t kill the pop of the nation for his Muslim appeasement as propagated. Some people say…could be Jason. I’ve been reading things on the net and lots of people are talking about many such things. In fact, I’m going to come back here and cite myself... well, some people say that Godse might have been a lovechild of a Ghandy, and was acting out his primal id to eliminate an imaginary father. Look at the names – Mohandas Ka"RAM"chand Gandhi and Nathu"RAM" Vinayak Godse. Scary, isn’t it? Incredibly, if you rearrange Nathuram Vinayak Godse, you get “u a very matka gandhi son”. These are things the mainstream media and the biased historians don’t ever ever want you to know.

So, don’t be fooled guys. Come aboard. Pursue happiness. Create your bubble.  

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

First-time Ever Greatest History of Ever-greatest Nation EVER, SHARE MAXIMUM!!

If you don’t know by now, the history of the greatest ever nation to exist under the sun god that you have been learning all along at schools and colleges is not exactly true. This is a humble attempt to fix that anomaly and create a new history of our glorious land out of thin air god. And, this is the first-ever attempt because this is the season for first-ever this and that. At this point of time, however, I can only provide you with a first-ever abstract with random contents, because I’m expected to sit and make profound observations about everything under the sun god.

Like, for example, if you lie down on your left side, you’ll fart. This is mentioned in our ancient texts. It, without doubt, proves that our ancestors were in possession of deep knowledge regarding flatulence, which modern science has not yet fully digested. Anyway, I’ve found some time, in between making such profound observations, to write this abstract. Use this as a guide to important events in the history of this land.

Another thing I'd like to mention is that any time you undertake such huge responsibilities, you’re supposed to follow certain regulations and guidelines. Some of them are prescribed by the government of the day, while some others are set by religious organizations. These are simple but strict rules and if you err, you may be charged with sedition or even end up losing an organ or two. So, I’ll strictly abide by those guidelines and in order for you, the reader (as well as the government and religious kernels), to easily identify those areas where I’m following regulations, the sentences will be in bold italics as in the portions in the above paragraph.

Ancient Land

Let’s start at the beginning. In the beginning there was nothing. God just sat there for gazillion years in the dark, doing nothing. And then, out of the black (well, it was dark, so, you can’t use “out of the blue”) 6020 years ago on a chilly October 23rd, he had this brainwave of turning on the light and creating planets and stuff (on the assumption that god has a brain – and before you god people go bonkers, let me clarify that I’m just thinking of an anatomical structure like the human brain and not his/her/its “infinite wisdom”).

Anyway, little did god know that we, here in India, were one up on him and were pre-travelling planets with our vimanas long before that. In fact, 7,092 years ago, on September 12, 5076 BC, much before earth was even a piddling thought in god’s head, Hanuman met Sita in Lanka. How do we know? Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas. That is how we know (Ramayana dates). Even NASA (an organization set up to corroborate ancient Indian wisdom) has confirmed this, which clearly points to the superiority of our ancient science. There is another group of historians who claim that the land bridge to Lanka was built 1.7 million years ago to bring back Sita. These are minor details, and the vedic historians and scientists are cooperating and doing peer reviews to pull out better explanations from different orifices.

What matters to us here is that we are an ancient land, unlike, say, South America. We were the first-ever ancient land. We were also very rich. Well, we were humming along very nicely over these thousands of years (or millions, whichever), inventing stuff, discovering stuff, and generally evolving into a tolerant super species, with an occasional fratricidal or parricidal war thrown in, when we lost everything in a mysterious way. Everything vanished without a trace into thin air god – our vimanas, our surface-to-air bow-launched nuclear-tipped arrows, our plastic surgery techniques, our bridges made with floating stones, our rooparkana rahasya radars, our MRI scanners, our WhatsApp..everything. Which meant that we had to go back to low-tech stuff.

Maurya Empire

So, let’s jump straight to the Maurya Empire, which was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, whose mentor Chanakya with his stony face, blazing eyes and wagging finger famously said, “Skip this portion and go straight to the Gupta Empire. This Chandragupta is not the golden one”.

Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire was the golden age of India (learn this by heart). It was the first-ever golden age of India. History texts don’t mention any silver or bronze ages of India, partly because there’s no History Olympics. Moreover, no teacher has ever read history answer sheets fully. All you have to do is bloviate and end the essay with “Thus, the Gupta Empire was the golden age of India”. Around the time the Gupta Empire (The Gupta Empire was the golden age of India (read 10 times)) was kicking ass, Manu wrote Manusmriti, which was the first-ever smriti written by Manu. There is a claim that a guy called Hammurabi wrote a similar smriti much before this. This is patently false since we’re the ancient-est around. Also, what kind of a name is Hammurabi? Would you name your child Hammurabi? A famous journalist once told me that he liked the name Ajatashatru and wondered why people don’t name kids Ajatashatru anymore. Would you name your kid Ajatashatru? Sorry, losing track here. This is not

Back to history. During the Gupta Empire, which, in case you forgot, was the Golden Age of India, Hinduism was able to claw back some of the space it had lost to upstart (startup?) cults popularized by Buddha and Mahavira, especially, Buddhism, which had the support of Emperor Asoka, who got his name from the Asoka Chakra in our flag, or vice versa (use vice versa wherever possible – teachers like it). Hinduism is a very tolerant religion. This could be attested by the fact that around this time the lower castes, especially the untouchables, were making great progress. They didn’t have to do anything. They didn’t have to go to schools and learn difficult trigonometric equations or astrophysics formulae, and they had 100% reservation in easy jobs like cleaning streets and poop. This continued for 1,000s of years to the chagrin of the upper castes who had 100% reservation in all the tough jobs, though they tolerated it. The tolerance levels reached great heights in the Malabar Coast where the lower castes tolerantly kept distance, some up to 96 feet, from the upper castes lest their shadows hurt the upper caste people. It is also worth mentioning that the lower castes contributed to nation-building by paying taxes even for their boobs.

In between, we failed to mention, there was Indus Valley Civilization, which was a super-duper ancient civilization, though we have our doubts regarding its ancientness. The two main sites of this civilization, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, are now in Pakistan, which is a hellhole.

This history thing is getting tiresome. Only some key points from now on. Pump in your own gas.

Islamic invasion of India

Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent mainly took place from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The previous sentence is a straight lift from Wikipedia. Here, we have to say that Islam is a peaceful religion, and after some peaceful negotiations, which included loss of lives, looting and plundering, the various Muslim dynasties got to rule over much of North India for a few centuries. You people will have to look up Battles of Panipat I, II and III on your own (very important). Also, there was a Shah Jahan Trump, who built a Taj Mahal casino, or something. Maybe I got it wrong.

Vasco da Gama

While these guys were running riot in the north, Vasco da Gama landed up in Calicut and the Malayalis, as was the custom, raised their mundu in traditional welcome and asked him to take a hike (avantey oru gama). He went back, only to return with more firepower and lobbed a few cannon balls over, after which the Malayalis relented and let him in. That was a big mistake, as he went around cutting noses and ears and stringing people up on masts.

Brits and Independence

When other Europeans heard about the Portuguese, they also wanted in on the action and this eventually led to the Brits coming and helping the country to become good at programming computers in English. They also built railroads and ports to help the natives get rid of their unnecessary stuff, which were packed and shipped off to Old Blighty for safekeeping. This was something they altruistically practiced around the world - helping the natives (when not actively exterminating them).

Anyway, somewhere in the late 1940s the Brits packed up and left because of the Indian Army, while some other people and ahimsa wagerah, wagerah played a m-i-n-i-m-a-l role, as per Maj. General Bakshi, a major historian, unlike me. Real independence came much later in 2014, according to the Maj. General. There’s a high likelihood of the period from 2014 becoming the actual first-ever golden age of India. Some people are already raising doping allegations against the Gupta Empire, and if proved, it may be stripped of the golden tag.

One ridiculous thing that the Brits left behind was cricket - a mindless, meaningless game they invented to kill time in between drinking tea and eating biscuits. Pakistan, a hellhole near us, is No.1 in it now. It is a hell of a place. It is a hell. That's where we stand now.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Samprati Hype-aha Shruyantham

  It’s been close to two months since I left the heat and grime of Trivandrum for the cooler climes in the northeast of Japan. With temperatures hovering around 0°C most of the time, my brain also went into a freeze mode, occasionally perking up like a dog’s ear to some bullshit in WhatsApp, but rarely responding actively. Some of my friends say it was because I’ve been active only in eating (exotic items like basashi, or raw horse flesh, and uni, sea urchin roe) and drinking most of the time.

  Anyway, now I am in Shonandai, south of Tokyo, where it is quite balmy and nice, and the brain has begun to thaw, ever so slowly. That is when I got this message extolling Sanskrit. Mind-blowing facts, it said. It’s too big for me to reproduce here, but trust me, it is beyond any normal human being’s comprehension. All the usual suspects – NASA, Brits, Russians, Germans, etc. - are deep into Sanskrit now. I got a feeling that if you know how to read Sanskrit in a certain way, the resulting energy waves would even cure cancer (see P.P.P.S). So, I was reading it intently, when a sentence caught my attention –“Learning of Sanskrit improves brain functioning”. Given the frozen condition of my brain, I immediately latched on to it.

  There was, however, one major problem. You really don’t know anyone who can speak Sanskrit. I personally have heard only two. One was my father’s elder brother, who is long dead, and the other is Baldevananda Sagara. He, Baldevananda Sagara, is a pravachaka (usually refers to one who cannot be criticized) and has been around for as long as Sanskrit has existed, which is “millions of years”, the message tells me. There were a few others in between. Panini, who drew up the grammar some 1500 years ago (don’t ask me about the millions of years before that), Vararuchi and Patanjali. Panini was appropriated by the Italians and made into a small bread roll (grilled sandwich), while Patanjali, of course, makes and sells Italian pasta with no Ruchi, or taste. Pathetic, how these Westerners are stealing everything from us.

  Somebody had to put a stop to this, and as if on cue, Our Lady with the Convent-educated English Accent stood up and instructed the elite technical university students in India to use their palm-tops to study the latest technological secrets inscribed in Sanskrit in state-of-the-art ancient palm leaves. NASA is doing it! so, why can't they?

  #$%&! It is a frikkin’ language. Dead, for all practical purposes! There is pride; and then there is cow dung! We sure must keep that language alive. Without doubt, there will be many people studying it, for the classical literature or for the legitimate early scientific works by Indians, but do we have to impose it on engineering students? Why are we getting all chauvinistic about it now? It was an elitist language to begin with.

  It all appears to be part of this constant bombardment of jingoistic hype, propaganda and hyperbole about everything from the prime honcho wanting to make somebody else’s trinkets in India to reasons why god gets pissed off. God recently got angry in Kerala, probably because Malayali women are wearing jeans now. To god’s credit, he/she/it did send a sign that things are getting out of hand – a god figurine fell down from atop an elephant. Our morons, as usual, didn’t understand the significance of it. God could have just said, “Ladies (it’s always the ladies), time to discard those tank tops and leggings and get back into mulakachchas. OK, not all of you. You there, you are not allowed to cover those boobies up”. But, for reasons which our brains will never be able to comprehend, god didn’t say anything, and killed a hundred for ignoring that sign.

  I’m now in Japan, a country at which god is perpetually angry, again, probably because the women here wear shorts, though nobody in Japan has caught on to that fact yet. In fact, god has been angry and sending hundreds of earthquakes every day for millions of years in anticipation of the last 40 or 50 years of miniskirt-wearing Japanese women.

  A few days ago I took my kids to see some actual dinosaur fossils from millions of years ago. My younger one, not old enough to comprehend the time scale in millions, wanted to know why there aren’t any dinosaurs alive now. Instead of just the volcanic and meteorite theories, I should have told him the entire truth – “Son, it was the thongs worn by the female spinosaura that invoked the wrath of god, who smote them with meteors”.

  Ithi vartha ha.

P.S. “Sanskrit has the highest number of vocabularies than any other language in the world,” says the message I received. I’m sure there is a “vocabulary” for chasmosaurus too, which was first used millions of years ago by, you guessed it, Baldevananda Sagara. He is a living fossil in his own right. The only known living person who can string together a sentence in Sanskrit, let’s hope he is offered a Nobel Prize that he can refuse.

P.P.S. There is also the mythmaking and the personality cult being created around our supreme leader. “Subtle observations” (means made-up crock, like the one about the Google map pointer being the tilak on Lord Vitthal’s head) keep popping up at regular intervals. Movie-goers may soon have to sit through propaganda news reels like the days when Indira was India. It hasn’t reached Kim Jong-un-esque proportions yet, but pretty soon you may hear stories of how the first words the Chosen One spoke as a baby was “Bharat mata ki jai”.

P.P.P.S. Had to “share (at least) this to the maximum” so that people know the truth and live a healthful life away from anti-national medicines. Excerpted from the voluminous “Why Sanskrit Kicks Ass”:
“Sanskrit is the only language, which uses all the nerves of the tongue. By its pronunciation, energy points in the body are activated that causes the blood circulation to improve. This, coupled with the enhanced brain functioning and higher energy levels, ensures better health. Blood Pressure, diabetes, cholesterol etc. are controlled. (Ref: American Hindu University after constant study)”

P.P.P.P.S. Nah. Nothing more. To your health!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Woaa, Thanna, Thanna

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. - H.L. Mencken
There’s another election around the corner. It is an interesting time and I was planning not to endorse anyone. Not that it matters. In the USA, influential people will endorse one of the candidates, which could get the candidate some votes. Given my influence, or lack thereof, I usually decide to sit tight and enjoy the show.

Things suddenly changed a few days ago. The rant gods smiled at me slyly. And I bowed and crawled and did the complex hand movements involving middle fingers to appease them. Because…

The Big Jumbo Party of all decided to bring in a guy boasting the most slap-worthy cheek south of the Vindhyas as their candidate in Trivandrum. As you all know, the Big Jumbo Party, led by the Grand Poobah, is the biggest party of all in the universe. If you have a mobile phone and you look at its keypad at a particular angle, you get enrolled as a member of that party. They had built up a humongous fan base in Trivandrum through that technique and has been planning to enter the legislature leveraging that base.

Until now, what was preventing them from capturing the State was the fact that “they party with a difference”. Unlike the other parties in Kerala who party with booze, babes and beef, they party with milk (A2 milk from vedic cows), banana and honey. This never went down well with the locals, who enjoy their tipple with onion fry garnished with beef shreds.

It was all going to be different this time around. Many people had finally ploughed deep into their heart and found the latent bigotry buried in there, and were slowly getting comfortable with it - justifying it, defending it and at times ready to kill for it. This was going to be the coming out party (with A2 milk and all, of course).

Then Sreesanth happened. After meticulously going through their huge fan base in Trivandrum, the Big Jumbo Party found that none of their local payalukal stood a chance. In fact, not many from the erstwhile Travancore state (also called Pappanavan’s land) stood a frikkin chance, as they are commonly considered as scoundrels. So, cocksure of themselves, they have decided to import good, decent people, mainly from Kochi and beyond, to represent us poor suckers.

Now, this is not new and you shouldn’t blame them for taking a cue from the other groupings who have tried and succeeded with outsiders for long. The old, used-to-be-grand party brought an UN super commando all the way from New York and we all fell for it. Before that, the left had the long-haired dude from the north, and recently another guy (who miserably lost) who, though technically from Trivandrum, could’ve been from Mars.

To be sure, the pickings are slim for all parties. There is a sickening parade of jaded celebrities on all sides. You really don’t want to endorse any one. Maybe, we deserve to get it good and hard. Still, I had to rant against this man-boy, who brings only one image to mind - of a crying face -, and the sound of a slap that reverberated from Kasaragod to Kaliyikkavila. For #$%’s sake, he is not even the best cricketer the state has produced. That is going to be Sanju Samson (OK, I'm obviously biased here). So, at the polling booth, look at the other options, a NOTA perhaps, or a name that sounds like the person can say, “Woaa, thanna, thanna”.
P.S. He, the Kochi lad, is going to make Kerala into a Gujarat apparently. A quick google study threw up the following numbers.

                                                Kerala         Gujarat
Poverty rate                                7.05            16.63
Literacy rate (female)        93.91 (91)      79.31 (70)
Sex ratio                                    1084             918
HDI                                           0.825           0.599
GDP                                        $58bn         $110bn
Pop.                                           3.3cr            6.0cr
Households w/o toilets                 5%             43%
Infant mortality                            12%             44%
Life expectancy                             74             64.1