November 12, 2009

On my Changing Blog persona...and two brilliantly funny posts

Used to be that my earliest blog posts were so much more interlaced with humour..reading through a few of them reminds me gently that sometimes I wrote assuming I was the greatest funny writer available on the planet when I wasn't... at other times I'd say I've managed to frame a few lines of brilliant humour that even now strikes me as not too bad at all...

But of late my posts have been less funny. In fact they haven't been funny at all..if funny was dynamite, then the funny in my last fews posts would be hard pressed to blow the kneecap off a mosquito... In fact, the last funny post on my blog was I recall not when, BUT,( to rhyme with duh! as George put it so well in his review of Wanted) I do appreciate good humour when I come across it and in recent blogdom nothing has come quite so close as these examples of fine funny writing one a movie review as only George Thomas could write it..and the other a muse out loud on the names of scandinavian kings by one of the sharpest minds I've had the misfortune of not interacting too much with - Kunal Sawardekar

Read, and enjoy!!!

November 04, 2009

On the new Twitter-er on the block...

As always in keeping with my slightly late but dedicated adoption of new technologies, am now hooked to twittering. Had played with twittering a couple of years back but then it wasn't the phenomenon it is today.

I tweet @arkab Link HERE

Now you know...

September 28, 2009

On Daaru Parties Bygone...

Yes, I used to drink like a fish and smoke large quantities of Nicotine per diem.Not only that, if there was vegetarian food offered to me I knew how to steer clear of it while letting off invectives at the poor soul who tried to offer it to me. Now, having given up Booze, Faggin AND Non Vegetarian food to boot, people might scarce recognize me. I know for sure a lot of my friends would take double or triple takes on hearing the news. Anyways, stumbled upon a blog by a close friend describing one drunken night about four years back, and it brought back some fun memories, so i couldn't help but copy paste the same here. So here it is - apologies to Das who really comes off worse in this story than the facts suggest. In fact, I'd rate him as the most fun person I've ever had booze with. Anyways, here's the (hi)story :

The Great Indian Daaru Party - 1st July 2005

I catch the first day 7pm show of Sarkar and rush to Bandra to meet up with my dear Iconos (members of my engineering group ICONOCLASTS) Das and Arka who are waiting for me at Toto's. I enter at around 10.30 pm to see our dudes on Pitcher No. 1. Arka seems comfortably high and is repeatedly told by the bar owner NOT TO DANCE. I ask Arko to chill and he is like: "Arrey bahut dekhe hain isske jaise... Maa %@#@# dalenge! We order Picther No. 2 at this point.

At around 11 pm, my colleague Surbhi joins us. Arko, the babe magnet, doesnt waste time chatting her up and soon the two are on back-slapping terms. We find a place to sit finally. By now, I have given Das enough gyaan about how engineering was a waste of time and now he has these 2 years at NICMAR to make it in life. Soon enough two more colleagues Shweta and Aparna join us. By now Arko and Das are totally freaking out on Whisky and Tonic. Das is totally sloshed while the rest of us are really HAPPY!

Das keeps entering conversations with gems like:
What, you motherfaacker! OR
What Shit she talking? OR
Shaat Aaap! You are South Indian (to my colleague Aparna).

Its 1:30 am and the place has closed down almost. Das has been in the loo for half an hour now. I go and get him out. Boy is he drunk! And now we bright (and drunk) people decide its a good time to go to a disc and dance.

So we take rickshaws and reach Shooters in Bandra. the girls go in first and the bouncer stops us as he thinks he cant allow Das in as he is too drunk. The ever intrepid Arko, balancing a semi-conscious Das on his able shoulders decides to give the bouncer a piece of his mind and while he is doing so Das does the unthinkable...

He pukes full blast on the bouncer and arko! While Arko goes off to wash himself and his bag, I seat Das on the steps near the disc.

I break out into an uncontrollable fit of laughter (2 mugs of beer ka effect) at the sight that surrounds me: Das eyes closed muttering to himself "Main theek hu" , Arkos washing vomit off his bag, a highly perplexed and distressed bouncer, and two women inside the disc who dont have a clue about the mayhem outside.

By now, Arkos and me are back to our senses, so Arko calls KT and takes Das to his place, while I go into the disc, gather the women and drop them home. All in all, a night to remember for a long long time.



Feel Free to comment below... :D

September 25, 2009

On Lords of Poverty...

Graham Hancock's books have always been excellent reads. See this earlier post of mine. Got my hands on another book of his today, will surely post a review once done but when you read this upfront:

" Lords of Poverty is dedicated to those senior staff at the World Bank who illegally acquired and read my original synopsis in the early days of this project. By attempting to limit my access to inside information they convinced me that the aid business does indeed have much to hide."

and when a dedication like that is followed by this poem:

The development set

Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet
I'm off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I've had all my shots
I have traveller's checks and pills for the trots!

The Development Set is bright and noble
Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes
Our thoughts are always with the masses.

In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
We damn multi-national corporations;
injustice seems easy to protest
In such seething hotbeds of social rest.

We discuss malnutrition over steaks
And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
Whether Asian floods or African drought,
We face each issue with open mouth.

We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
Raises difficulties for every solution --
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
By showing the need for another meeting.

The language of the Development Set
Stretches the English alphabet;
We use swell words like "epigenetic"
"Micro", "macro", and "logarithmetic"

It pleasures us to be esoteric --
It's so intellectually atmospheric!
And although establishments may be unmoved,
Our vocabularies are much improved.

When the talk gets deep and you're feeling numb,
You can keep your shame to a minimum:
To show that you, too, are intelligent
Smugly ask, "Is it really development?"

Or say, "That's fine in practice, but don't you see:
It doesn't work out in theory!"
A few may find this incomprehensible,
But most will admire you as deep and sensible.

Development set homes are extremely chic,
Full of carvings, curios, and draped with batik.
Eye-level photographs subtly assure
That your host is at home with the great and the poor.

Enough of these verses - on with the mission!
Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray god the biblical promise is true:
The poor ye shall always have with you.

- Ross Coggins

Well , you know right then that come rain or hail, it's going to be a damn entertaining read.

P.S.: Sitting here in Francophone Africa I can easily identify with what he's probably going to say in his book.

P.P.S: Me extremely happy to see my reading habit reviving un peu in francophone Africa ( By Jove,it's not easy to find English books here!!!)

September 03, 2009

On Life not being too bad...

Manali happens to be absolutely a gadget freak and one those people who keep changing mobile phones more frequently than you or I would change clothes. But it's been a while since she's last changed her phone, and so when she went all ga-ga about the new Iphone 3Gs White with its 32 Gb memory and this and that avec bells and whistles , I just gave in...

...And got hooked myself ( people who have seen me with my endless string of abused lower end reliance phones can vouch for me not being even remotely in the same universe as gadget freaks )...but oh yes !!!... the iphone is IT..indeed eet ees!!

And that's why I now have bought myself ( an even smarter looking, but perhaps less feature turbo charged) iphone 3G 16 gb Black :

Oui, C'est vrai, mon vie, ce n'est pas mal pour le moment !! :D

August 21, 2009

Defending Jaswant

I'm a Congress person. Have always been as far back as I can remember, and yet it's true that the congress has a long way to go before it can be the party that I would unreservedly support.The Congress is far from perfect:- conspicuous errors in policy, rampant evidence of corruption by party members, a tendency to play to the galleries by even the highest level of leadership, an irritatingly continuing dependence on the Gandhi family to provide incumbents to the top post of the party, etc.the list goes on and on...

In recent times the alternative has been BJP, a party that I would not normally subscribe to simply because it's roots lie in a jingoistic pro Hindu agenda that stands contrary to the very fibre of Hinduism as I understand it. Also because it roots lie in an organisation (RSS) that draws its inspiration from Hitler and the National Socialist Party.
[aside]One of my closest friends happens to be the great grandson of one of the key founding leaders of the Sangh. I have all respect for the positive contributions the RSS has made to many communities. But I'll be excused for my decided opinion that the RSS's ideological underpinnings are fatally flawed and that, in general, it's not a club that I'd want to be part of[/aside]

We'll return here when trying to understand what the BJP's core ideology is all about (Going against which is what,as you'll grant me,resulted in the expulsion of one Mr. Jaswant Singh from the BJP). And yet, again, I have to admit there are many many things about the Party, it's leaders and its policies that one simply had to admire(forgive my use of the past tense but that is how I feel today) One of those leaders was Jaswant Singh, and another was Vajpayee ( Again forgive my use of the past tense but neither of them remains with the BJP today). Vajpayee's historical address in Hindi at the UN general assembly remains one of the bravest and most suave assertions of India internationally that I can recall. Let's not forget that it was the BJP again that not only had the balls to take India overtly nuclear but also the tactical wherewithal to steer India's foreign policy excellently in the aftermath of the blasts and Pakistan's tit-for-tat response. This was the party that had the insight to espouse "sadak-bijli-pani" and underscore the critical nature of Infrastructure and its role in the future of India's progress. This was the party that started the Bharatiya Pravasi Divas and engaged NRIs so so so much better than any government before it.This was the party that espoused the concept of a uniform civil code and equality before law. This was a party that had plenty of young , vocal, erudite and dynamic leaders (jaitley, mahajan, shourie, swaraj, modi and many more) and no "dynasty" syndrome. Above all it had four-five towering leader figures Vajpayee, Advani,Yashwant Sinha,Jaswant Singh,M M Joshi , etc.

There were errors as well, no doubt, not for a moment am I suggesting things were perfect. There was plenty of humble pie for Vajpayee at the Kargill-aceous end to his grand peace overtures to Pakistan or for that matter the hastily concluded Agra summit with pencil-mustache. To my mind the signal error plaguing the BJP was an inordinately high tendency to project itself as the next US/Israel. It wanted to or tried to change 50 years of world perception that India was a soft state over night. It didn't work out for them, or rather in hind sight I feel it couldn't work out for them.Consequently, there was humble pie for Jaswant Singh as well at the turn of the millenium with the IC 814 hijacking. And yet, Singh remains one of the few leaders that simply ooze refinement , erudition and finesse for me. I recall his interview with Tim Sebastian on BBC (Of HardTalk fame) simply awesome!!

In short here was a party that despite its fallacious ideological base did seem to have a lot of things going right and if you were an average Indian living in the India of 2003-2004 you might have voted BJP or you might have not when the elections happened in 1998,and then again in 1999, but you sure as hell were proud of the country and not too displeased with the govt. of the day. Five years from that point of departure I am pained at how drastically different things are with the BJP of today.

On Wednseday, the BJP expelled Jaswant Singh for writing a book on Jinnah. I haven't read the book but I have my doubts that Jaswant Singh covered any fundamentally new ground here. Basing my opinion on the one experience I have of his authorship I would definitely want to read this book. But the question I really haven't found an answer to is - exactly which core ideology of the BJP has he violated? According to Jaitley, he has transgressed the avowed stance of the BJP that Jinnah was the originator of the two nation policy. My question is - is the core ideology the BJP to oppose the Two nation theory ( which all said and done is not really a matter of choice now 60 years after the partition)or to insist on who originated it? If the latter,then Jaswant Singh's claims in the book seem to be good stuff for the party to build on rather than shun. ( I mean, really, if you can blame the partition on the Congress that's not all bad politically)

I'm not saying that what he has written is right or wrong, just that it shouldn't have resulted in his expulsion. There are two reasons for this - the first being that when similar statements were made by L.K. Advani after the initial clamour and his subsequent offer to quit as party president, things just tamely died on that issue. So why are things so different now, that a senior leader of the party is pointedly informed of his expulsion without so much as being offered a chance to explain himself. The other reason is that, if I have correctly digested the gist of what his book seems to imply about Jinnah and Patel-Nehru, then, the premise of his writing is actually a good ideological bolstering for the BJP a new plank / angle against the congress that the BJP sorely needs, given its dismal performance at the last hustings!

On whether what he is saying is historical fact interpreted with adequate judgement or not is something that I can only comment on after reading his book ( sitting here in francophone Africa, it must needs await my trip to India, I think, before that happens) but I have read one book by Jaswant Singh, a book titled "Defending India" and I was seriously impressed by the book.
[aside] To my delight I have read a personally signed hard copy of the book.The inscription signed by Jaswant Singh reads "To my Guruji" and is addressed to my late Grand Father who was his professor when he was a cadet at NDA Khadakvasla [/aside]

I just feel that it's a sad sad day for the BJP and that they've alienated a few erstwhile fans & followers with their arbitrary behaviour these past couple of years.I hope that they get a grip on themselves,because all said and done, the BJP has played an important role in shaping India's polity and gearing it for this century. Here's hoping they manage to salvage their relevance going forward...