Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For all Bangaloreans excited about the La Tomatino Festival

Just imagine you were born in a third world country
That is if you know what third world even means
Think about what you would do if you were starting sick
And you had no food to send through
No, not even a tomato
A sweet red juicy tomato to just sink your teeth in and get the relief of a dose of lycopene

But in a country nearby
Where millions die from starvation alone
Folks who don't have an imagination at all want to have some fun
Playing with tomatoes is the sun
Smashing all that precious lycopene
When it's a thrill but really mean
For all those kids who don't even have a scene with lycopene

Have you ever seen your ribs stick out, and stand out like you've over-exercised your chest
Because your legs just seem so thin
And you wonder how you can even stand on your own two feet

Have you ever sat around, huddling, sharing a piece of bread, or maybe a tomato
Because your stomach's rumbling and it won't stop
But that'll only happen if some food from heaven drops down
And you're thankful it did so you dig in to whatever you got
And share it with whoever else's stomach is as well
But if you've had it upto your nose
Every single thing in overdose
You probably never know what it means
To be nutrition deficient-forget about not having lycopene
And you'd probably agree that there's nothing wrong when

In a country nearby
Where millions die from starvation alone
Folks who don't have an imagination at all want to have some fun
Playing with tomatoes is the sun
Smashing all that precious lycopene
When it's a thrill but really mean
For all those kids who don't even have a scene with lycopene

So here I cry, not "Save the trees"
But have you gone so, so cold
You don't let them hog the lycopene you want to waste
Throwing it all around the place instead
Messing up each other's faces
How can you be so heartless, ruthless and mean?
To smash tomatoes in each other's faces when they don't even have a decent scene with lycopene

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Jokpal Tapes

UPA: "Anna, don't blackmail us by fasting."
Anna: "Arrey, I'm not trying to blackmail you. I'm just protesting."
UPA: "No, it's blackmail. You can't have everything your way."
Anna: "I'm not asking for anything my way. I just want corruption out."
UPA: "But that is what we said we will do, no? The Bill has already gone into process. It will be released in the monsoon session."
Anna: "How do you expect such a rubbish bill to be introduced when it is protecting government servants from exposure?"
UPA: "Dear Anna, please don't make this about your opinion or say about the matter. It's not you. It's an entire nation the bill is designed for. Please don't be selfish. Moreover, making laws is a prerogative of Parliament. Don't mess with the system. Simply why?"
Anna: "Selfish? If you want to take all opinions into consideration, put even ours. Let both be looked into in Parliament. Why the self privilege? Why are you protecting your people? What do you have to hide? If it's your prerogative, it's also your responsibility to do so for the benefit of the entire nation - not just your ilk. How many more scams do you want end up being smug over?"
UPA: "Annaji, this is too much. We will not allow civil people to make laws. What are parliamentarians there for?"
Anna: "If you don't agree to re-looking, I will fast. You are NOT greater than the nation."
UPA: "Arrey. Ok fine. Let's at least talk about some terms and conditions. How long do you want to carry on this fasting nonsense?"
Anna: "No. I will fast till you make the bill non-nonsensical. What do you have to protect anyhow?"
UPA: "Then we will have to take action against you."
Anna: "Go ahead. I know what I have to do, and I refuse your "terms"."

(UPA Huddle)

UPA: "Yeh Delhi DS ko bulao aur dekhlenge ki kis section invoke kar sakenge hum."
DS: "Saab, CRPC ka Section 107 hain. Uske andhar Hum Sec 151 kar sakthe."
UPA: "Hmmm. Ek aur section hain na? Section 144 kuch?"
DS: "Haan Haan. Wo bhi. Kisko jail main dalna hain abhi?"
UPA: "Arrey, yeh Anna Hazare aur unka log."
DS: "Teek hai. Aap jab bolaga."
UPA: "Haan Haan."

The police arrest him

DS: "Anna Hazare, we are arresting you under section 107/151."
Anna: " Chale."
DS (perplexed, thinks to himself): "Yeh kaise aadmi hain yaar?"

DS reports to UPA

DS: "Saab, hum arrest kar chuke."
UPA: "Kin kin logon ko arrest kar diye thum?"
DS reads out the list of people
UPA: "Acchi baat bhai. Good job. Good job."

In UPA Cabinet meeting after the ruckus

Manmohan: "Bahut thaklif kiya yeh Anna Hazare. Unho ne samjha ki Bill unka hai ki, ya pura desh ka?"
Sonia: "Aapne teek kaha, Manmohan. Kuch ko tho karna hai unko."
Manmohan: "Abhi tho jail main shanti se upvaas kar rahe hai. Jab thanda hai, thanda rehne do."
Manish: "Par PM ji, ithna gadbad karne ke bad... log kya bolenge."
Manmohan: "Manish mere bhai, chod do yeh baat. Yeh kahani kaise likke ja rahe hain, hum on-the-way kuch na kuch strategy banana padega."
Manish: "Haan PM ji, magar main tho spokesperson hoon. Mujhe tho atleast ek accha utthar dena padega na?"
Manmohan: "Main hoon na. Main sambalega."

Manish hides the expression on his face. As they walk out of the meeting, he pulls the Prime Minister to the side.

Manish: "PM ji. Suniye tho. Yeh aisa vaisa maar peetna ke liye karan dena bahut mushkil hai. Main kya bolu media logon ko?"
Manmohan (puts hands round his shoulders): "Dekh. Yeh sab chote mote cheez ke bare main math gabraey. Yeh sab coalition politics ka lena-dena hain."
Manish is dismayed, but holds his own.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Freedom and the Fundamental Right to be Heard

There was an interesting thought that came to mind at work recently. We had to come up with ideas for posters to give to clients every month. And for August, we decided to give one on the occasion of Independence Day. All the advertising thoughts that came to mind boiled down to one thing. Freedom is something that we can never lose. It's something we can only abuse. It's not dependent on what we get. It's what we are indeed. Anything we feel we must protest for is something, that even if we get, will bind us within it. And every time we demand a certain freedom as a right to exercise, we also snatch a little of the same right from somebody else's.

It's a bit like that law about energy in Physics. The total amount of freedom in India always remains the same. If I'm free to stretch my elbows, they are bound to be in someone else's face in a matter of seconds. But then it's my right. I can't help it if it naturally deprives somebody else of theirs, right? Or not?

Yesterday, Aug 15th, was one of those days when everyone got poetic and patriotic. It amuses me, the passion with which we celebrate Independence Day. Independence from what, I say. If it was Independence from the British, we went from the frying pan into the fire. Wasting time on the details is useless. The bribe-takers-and-givers and the politicians have been sounded out to enough. If they aren't shameless yet, we should be loosing hope already. Let me talk about the most interesting of aspects about our freedom that made news this time around.

I have been amused by the policy of having to get permission to protest. Not just when Anna Hazare was refused permission to protest yesterday. But since time immemorial. In Bangalore, there's a park called Freedom Park, which is specifically meant for protests and such. It's like the government telling you that you can have your say, but only when, where and how we would like it. It is also saying, now that you have your say and have exercised your fundamental right to do so, be happy. What about the fundamental right to be heard? Or was there one at all, ever?

It was very funny that the Delhi Police restricted Anna Hazare's latest fast (I've lost count now of which one this is) to three days and five thousand people only. What kind of tokenism does the Government think any worthwhile protest should be? Just right, so that the shoe fits perfectly? Doesn't that make them fascists when their control of the situation is beyond excuse?

I think we need to stop talking about Anna Hazare and start talking about Irom Sharmila. The joke in this case is that she been "arrested" for suicide because she has decided to fast indefinitely for the ASPCA Act to be revoked in Manipur. She gets arrested every time she's in danger of dying and gets released when the government thinks that she will be OK for a while. The cycle repeats over and over again. And unlike Anna Hazare who fasts and breaks-fast at will, she has been force fed for the past close-to-eleven years now.

As for people who actually have bills to pay and such, we just seek to get to work on time and stay alive.