Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions and randoms

On December 19, 2009, I started this blog. I cannot believe that it’s been two years of me going on about my life and I haven’t once gone on a long sabbatical. That’s a big deal for me to be honest. I have this amazing habit of completely switching off and not writing for the longest time. It is this behavior which will ensure that I will never write a full-length book.

Not that I can’t do it. I can. But, I’m happy blogging, tweeting, spamming news feeds on Facebook, offering unsolicited commentary on my company’s blog (“unsolicited commentary” is my new go-to phrase). I am writing. I am saying things I want to say. I am laughing at too many inside jokes that no one knows about. Work-wise life’s good and fun. I’m not going to be over-ambitious and try to write a novel. I mean, no thanks. To sit and write some 100,000 words might actually end up with me having nothing left to say to the rest of the world. I cannot imagine a life like that.

That aside, I’m going to jump right into the mass movement called the year end celebrations, and make a new year’s resolution.

My resolution for 2012 – punctuality.

Punctuality is something I’ve struggled with forever. I suck at managing my time. I know I want to be on time. I try, but I never can. So, in 2012, I will do my very best to be on time as much as I humanly can. If I fail every once in a while, it’s not for want of trying.

On that note, I’m going to end this. I have two books to finish reading.

Happy 2012 my dear frands on the interwebs. I hope you have the most epic fun ushering in 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Books and others


I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that 2011 is finally ending.

The year can be best described with the word – shitty. However, I don't want to be crass, so I will just say 2011 was a bad year for me.

There's a lot that happened that didn't get mentioned here. It was too emotionally demanding and mentally stressful for me to deal with, hence the silence. That being said, one good thing did happen this year, I fell in love with HarukiMurakami all over again, via 1Q84. I mean, there's something about the realm of the unreal that's appealing to me and to have that presented in such amazing words and sentence choreography, is to me, a sign of genius.

I've also been on a huge Flipkart buying spree. Cash on Delivery is a RAACCCKKKSSSTTAARRR feature means!

Thanks to Flipkart, I've read two more books by Devdutt Pattaknaik. He's amazing. Just, plain amazing. No other word describes what he does. What makes him that much more awesome is the fact that he is not all over the place about his contribution to the world of re-telling, quite unlike Ashok Banker. I'm a huge Ashok Banker fan, have been since 2003 when I first read The Ramayana Series. That being said, I have several issues with how he over-states his role as the storyteller. If he could tone it down a wee bit, I will find him more tolerable. But this is a highly personal viewpoint. I don't expect people to agree with me or even like it, I don't care.

While on the subject of books, there is one book I'm reading that has completely overwhelmed me. It's a non-fiction title – Indlish. Written by Jyoti Sanyal, this book is a searing look at the way Indian English-speaking people have made a huge mess of this thing called written communication. The problem lies with our education system. When English teachers don't know the difference between the words “wedding” and “marriage” what do you expect them to teach their students? When the English Department of the University of Madras encourages its students to study a particular set of questions before the finals, how do you expect people to think for themselves?

I don't know Mr.Sanyal, the future is bleak. There are no good English teachers left. The ones who do teach as best as they can, thump Wren & Martin at every given opportunity. Grammatical propriety is a must, I will not let anyone tell me otherwise. Because I cannot have “writing as one speaks” accommodating “cannot able to” as acceptable English communication. If it does, then I'm going to stop writing altogether.

There's wrong English (featuring misconstructed and grammatically incorrect language) and there's wrong English (featuring flawed sentence construction). If you are asking that we be rid of the latter, I will join the eradicate Indlish movement immediately. If this movement is, in any way or form, accommodative of the former (grammatically incorrect language), then please count me out. I'm happy in my world of verbiage.

Indlish is a must read. There's no two ways about it. If you're a writer, chances are you will experience a searing sense of shame at having written the way you have for years and years. As a reader, you will be armed with enough to send the editors of newspapers scathing letters pointing out the flaws in langauge. If you are that one writer who has been writing as Mr.Sanyal recommends you write, then you, dear anoynymous person, are eligible for a Nobel.

More from me, tomorrow...


Saturday, December 17, 2011

That thing they call modesty Pt2

First off, I want to group hug everyone at Chennai Hollaback! I just do. I don’t know how they got a hold of my previous post on this subject, but they did and they’ve passed the word around on Twitter and I’ve been getting a lot of positive shoutouts. My sincere gratitude. This blog’s sole intent is entirely and completely selfish. If it finds a resonance with people, then I’m all the happier to share my stories with the world. 

Let’s get to part 2 of this dialogue shall we?

The main reason for this faceless violation of my body was because some random man thought I had either “asked for it” by the way I dressed or by the fact that I had big boobs and a round ass. I honestly cannot attribute any other reason to this form of sexual violence except one’s physical appearance. There’s no other logical reasoning for something this pathetic. What else do you think could be their motivation? Sex-depravation? Uncontrollable impulse just like that suspicious twitch in the left eye some people have? A woman’s body is the only reason.

As a teenager, my breasts were the bane of my existence. They still are, but I like them better now and do a lot less to wish they’d disappear forever and leave me gloriously flat-chested…

 [If some shit-resembling man mentally thinks that women are never happy with what they have, I will find him and burn him alive in Anna Square bus stop.]

…The fact that my 14-year-old body ached from the weight of my breasts didn’t help my daily travels to school. I was in a pinafore, awkward as hell, and carried a school bag that was doing everything in its power to snap my neck. On that 17D to school, there was barely any room to stand, and yet, there were men who had the wherewithal to snake their arms around the throng and grab a boob, because, you know, boobs are the equivalent of a bus ticket and they need boobs like they need bus tickets.

I mean, the fact that I was wearing a school uniform had no bearing on the hand-snaking. Absolutely no bearing. It’s pathetic.

I’m not sure if this contributed in any way to my issues with my appearance or in my opinion of men. I have a feeling it has. I don’t see one single word in this blog post or the previous that in any way redeems men. And I will not take away this umbrella hatred because the How to Judge a Person handbook excludes the “nice, non-harassing guys”; you might not grab my boob, but you sure as hell have spent time wondering what they look/feel like and that puts you in the category too my nice, non-harassing friend.

Ever since I started working, I stopped taking the bus to where I had to go. This auto-taking has left me with zero savings, but having zero savings has never felt this liberating!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

That thing they call modesty

"She had it coming."

Those are by far the four most disgusting words I've heard come out of a person's mouth.

Mostly used in the context of sexual violence, it makes these words all the more vile. A sort of moral commentary on a woman's body, that is uncalled for and completely unnecessary. Choices I make, or any woman makes, are not subject to the scrutiny of a man's moral and social compass.

These videos online about someone commenting on the morality of a bikini, on the morality of showing a woman's eyes/face/body are repulsive to say the very least. The very, very, least.

As a man, there are certain things one feels entitled to. The freedom to do and say just about anything is one of these things. And this freedom, as is the case with most things freely given, is exploited everyday. Take for instance, the random dude standing near a tea shop, smoking a cigarette, drinking a cup of tea. For starters, that tea shop is an illegal structure, built on a footpath that is supposed to serve pedestrians, however, legality notwithstanding, the corner tea shop is the scene of the seemingly innocuous scene of violence - commentary. [Carol Ann Duffy explains her response to this quite beautifully in a poem whose text I simply cannot find online or remember the title of. When I do, I will edit this post and link to that poem.]

Walking past a tea shop does not mean, I am game for some asshole's thoughts on my appearence, or any other woman's appearance for that matter. It only means the tea shop is an incidental location on my way to some place, not that every man standing there can, while drinking tea, wonder aloud at my breasts, ass, face, clothes. The fact that I choose not to confront them is a sign of assent, to let them talk freely and not allow myself the frustration of being a woman.

But assent brings with it a host of other problems, assent means I am giving a strange man the freedom to access my body in any way he should choose, whether it is by words, touch, or in any other way. Assent, however given, makes me a willing and consensual party in the process that is sexual crime. That knowledge is the most difficult thing to live with everyday. It colours just about everything I do. When I get into a bus, especially one that is crowded, I know that I will silently deal with some faceless, spineless, bastard who chooses to rub an erect penis across my back. Yes, it's true, it happens, and there are scores of women who silently deal with this everyday.

My question is - why is it a given that men are allowed to rub their crotches on women's backs and these same men go ahead and talk about the ownership and possession of their wives/girlfriends? Their bodies seem to be forcibly thrust onto silently unwilling women, so why do they feel the need for monogamy? Why do they get the freedom to access bodies other than those they have supposedly tied themselves to, and us women are expected to be virgins/monogamous and untouched/unsullied by other men.

To be perfectly honest, the two years on the local trains when I was studying at Madras University, were by far the best years of my life, public transport wise. I left early, 8.45am-9am, the trains were running mostly empty and I could sit anywhere, read a book, relax until my stop. The buses ran empty too, just feeling the sea breeze hit you while you made your commute helped me deal with the bullshittery that was travelling back home by bus after classes were over. The funny thing is, my toe rings, a supposed sign of "wedded bliss" seemed to not have an effect on these faceless, spineless, bastards. Apparently violating some other nameless, faceless man's "property" was an even bigger high.

[And another series begins.]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Let's talk about God Pt1

Some of my more "inspired" writing, comes from conversation.

As I type this out, there is a chat window open, with me talking about a subject that I'm a little afraid to broach generally, God/Religion/Faith.

There was a point in time, my late teens I think, when I was very clear that I believed in God and that I was a religious person. But somewhere down the line, something happened, and I seemed to have lost the plot? I don't know what happened, but I'm no longer under the religious label, that's for sure.

I have a few valid, at least what I think are valid, reasons for this - what I can't see, I cannot believe. When we were in the Chemistry lab in school doing flame tests to find out which salt we were "analysing" the flame turning green or red meant something tangible. It was evidence, it was something that I could understand and, more importantly, see for myself, which is why it was easy for me to enjoy Chemistry lab hour, there were things to do, things to see, and things to mess with. Things, real things. Things that made the smell emanating from the Cooum seem like floral bliss. So many things.

With religion, however, there are certain things that I have issues with.

Like knowing.

What are the references? Where have these people gathered their evidence from? On what basis am I expected to believe "knowledge" that was "discovered" so many millenia ago? I mean, why?

We're talking about texts that were not accessible to my people at one point in time because we weren't socially acceptable. Now that there is temple access, and available translations of religious texts, what am I expected to do with it? Assimilate everything and just accept it because some wise man said so?

Who is this wise man? Who or what made him wise? Why does everyone think he's wise? What sets him apart? Why does he want people to follow him and reuse his words? Why the propaganda? Why the staging of miracles? If he's really wise then why didn't some of these "godmen" not have the brains enough to not get caught?

I don't know if I've been able to articulate this properly and appropriately. There must be many loopholes here. Which serves to prove my point about my own personal issues with this entire thing. I don't know what it's about to begin with, and then to have it thrust on me just because everyone else believes in it, is pure and utter BULLSHIT.

There's more to say here, and I will. When I stop feeling like my brains have imploded in my skull and when the light doesn't seem to want to pierce my retinas and travel through my nervous system to destroy my head, I will talk, a little more clearly about... religion.


Friday, December 2, 2011

When friends are a letdown

Yes, it is possible that sometimes, despite what I keep harping on about, friends can completely and without a fucking care in the world, break you. No, wait. Make that destroy you.

See, the thing is, you get used to having friends around no matter what. To misappropriate one of The Huffington Post's headers I believe that "Boyfriends may come and go, but friends are forever" ("Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever" is the original). When even a friendship cannot withstand the flux that is life and circumstance, it is damn near impossible to believe that anything can be right with the universe. How can it be when the people you trust blindly are themselves incapable of courtesy?

It bothers me that the people you expect the most from are the last ones to live up to them. I mean, family, as I've said before on this blog, has it's own agenda. However, friends are people you assume a certain truth and honesty with, and when that openness is taken for granted, it seems to me that there is something fundamentally wrong.

How is it that you can be selfish with a friend? Is it because you know that this person is not going to bring it up and confront you with it? Or is it that you have gotten away with far worse in life otherwise? Whatever it is, the reason and the reasoning are wrong.

I could keep going on and on, but it will all boil down to this, sometimes in life, you're the only person you can trust and expect highly from. The rest of the time, if the situation calls for it, it's best to keep a distance and STFU.




Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kyuk and eecee


  • I'm trying my best to use seriously bastardised English. Only because I can and because I think it's fun. Does that make me smug? It might, but it's okay. It's good for my health. I use "proper" English to communicate at work anyway, so once in a while to slip into non-English English is good for my health! 
  • I'm turning into a Twitter addict, about two years too late. I think. I don't know. All I did was put "Justin Bieber" on a tweet and I had about three new followers within the hour. Please remind me not to say unsavoury things about him online. I don't want death threats.
  • This is my new workplace. Please do check it out. It's quite different from the things I complain about incessantly. If you're on Facebook, please do hit "like" and hit "follow" if you're on Twitter. Thanks. My work at the site can be found here.
  • I'm still broke. Since my wealth generation plan was a fail, I'm going to be a civilised child and wait for my salary to get credited next month so that I can live peacefully ever after.
  • TRAVEL PLANS! Colombo from November 24 to November 27, for a wedding. Sigh. One more, and this time it's an international love story. Singapore from December 1 to December 6, chumma justlikethat.
  • There is a pending long post, coming soon. 
  • Right this moment, I need to get back to online stalking so that my company's blog can get new writers. KTHXBAI.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For a friend


Thinking of mortality in your 20s. Thinking of death, actually dying, dealing with insane and too quick ways of dying in your 20s cannot be a good thing.

It's highly selfish to be thinking like this when someone you know has passed away and you are mourning their loss, but then again, when you are confronted with death and the possibility of you also dying under similar circumstances, it is difficult to keep selfish thoughts at bay.

This year, birthday month was ushered with bad news, again. My friend Mamta, who was a very dear friend from my MA days, succumbed to Dengue fever on the morning of November 5. In the four years since I finished my MA at Madras University, I met Mamta just once. She moved cities and we were in touch, rabidly, on G-talk and sms and phone calls, but we never met.

Finally, four years later, sometime in June this year, Mamta and I, met for a long overdue lunch. I must say that it was one of the best catching up meals of my life. I'm so happy that I met her after a long gap and got the chance to re-establish our friendship and be in touch again, texting, emailing and chatting.

This news has shaken me up and I don't want to think that I will never see her again or share some of the things that she and I did. She was my favourite gossip buddy in this world and she's no longer here for me to take the freedom to sit and cackle with.

Mamta, I miss you terribly. I hope you're in a happy place. After everything you struggled for, and after getting what you fought for, I'm sorry that you didn't get the chance to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of that. Know that you were loved immensely and wherever you are, I hope its the awesomest place on this planet!

Love always,
Shru

Monday, October 31, 2011

The endemic of nonsense


This one is for Sumedh Mungee, who like the lady who wrote an open letter to Delhi boys, seems to have garnered quite the response to his article on leaving India.

For starters, his last name kills me. It honestly does and I don't mean to say it contemptuously. It's just hilarious. The number of times people must have made some funny joke about it, I cannot imagine and don't think I want to either. Poor guy, some small part of him must be eternally angry at being handed a name like Mungee.

Now, jokes aside, let's get serious.

I don't like his article. Who the hell is he to pass judgment anyway? He chose to leave the country to make something better of his life or to study, either way his reasons are based in Economics not in some altruistic, aspirational dream or anything. He probably went in the hope of getting a good degree and with that get a super-paying job. Money. That was his driving factor as it was for many non-resident Indians. I have nothing against them. I do, however, take offense when they start behaving like my favorite type of people, the tourists.

I'm sorry, does dirt and poverty bother you? Never seen an unbathed person before. Wow. You must live in such a sanitized world. Wake the fuck up and take a good look around person.

Dirt, apparently this curious phenomenon exists in countries like the USA it's so shocking no?

Poverty, again, exists in the US and if recent statistics are anything to go by, exists in abundance too.

Misery, er, existential angst came from Europe thanks to the Schpenhauers and Nietzches of the world. [Even if existential angst is a state of mind that originated elsewhere, I'm just going to keep this here for the purpose of being mean to someone and not having that flow hindered. Indulge me.]

Unemployment, again I urge you to look at the recession and statistics please. I am not going to sit here and articulate these things for your benefit.

There are so many phenomenons that are assumed to be some kind of third-world constant. People who live in first-world countries are devastated by it when they come to so-called third-world countries. Okay. Fine. Be devastated. But you are many levels of common senseless if you think that your first world nation is prosperous and problem free.

And what is with this hate-filled attitude anyway? What? You don't like domestic help because they steal and lie? You mean you don't?

You don't like bad drivers? So you follow traffic regulations to the letter and have never once violated rules?

I don't understand why this holier-than-thou attitude even exists? Who the hell are these randoms who have exalted themselves to some kind of bizarre socially elevated pedestal from whence they look upon a deteriorating society? I mean, who are you, really? Please do me a favor, find a country that has perfect infrastructure, zero bureaucracy, zero poverty, zero discomforting realities and go live there. I think the name of the country is Utopia. Find it on the map, book a one-way ticket, I'm sure they don't have visas as well because entry is free and no one is a foreigner in Utopia, and please build a perfect home and live there. Everything will be peachy, perfect and delightful. You will never be angry or upset. Perfect balance of emotions shall be maintained and you will live happily ever after.

Please continue to stay in a land far, far away. The more of you that live far, far away, the more space I will have to roam freely. Thank you for your cooperation.


For those interested here is Mr.Mungee's response to the online venom that followed post his rant in NYT.

Here is one writer's response to the original article. I think it is quite interesting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Letters to entities


Dear god in heaven,

I write to you because I sincerely think that it is not possible to think of you in any time except crisis. And right now, I’m in crisis. The crisis is of course related to money. I’m perpetually running short and I don’t like it one bit.

I propose that we come up with a wealth-generation plan. Basically, I will bury a Rs.1,000 note underground [because that is the highest denomination available] and you will, with your epic powers, multiply that Rs.1,000 into may 1,000s.

Since you played a part in my gaining wealth, the money cannot be termed ill-gotten. Yeah, I didn’t exactly earn it because of my hardwork or anything, but heck, I am a child in crisis, help me out here.

That’s all for now. I will be in touch during my next epic crisis. Please do the needful as and when a need arises.

Until then, a very poor and a very distraught

Shruthi

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dictionary

Hai!


I've been waiting a while for a nice word to put up here. And today's word comes courtesy of Nrithya.

Stupidhead. (meaning) boys who don't know better; boys

Best used in context of dissing the mentals who act like fools when we don't but they assume that we are acting stupid. Hence, stupidhead.

Check out Nrithya's blog though, she's hella awesome. :D




Monday, October 3, 2011

Recollections of the strange kind

Did you ever go through a phase when you only wanted to discuss your period? I was 12 when that phase happened. I don’t know about other countries, or cities in India, but in my Chennai and specifically in my school, this one subject was something that almost every girl talked about, at length and in some cases with an unhealthy amount of smugness. To be perfectly honest, I never got the hype behind it when I was in school, I still don’t, but now I have come to terms with it and I know that I have only a couple of decades left before it stops altogether.

In school, however, we had these weird strange conversations centering around our period. I have no idea why I am thinking about it now, but a strange advertisement involving blue-coloured liquid being soaked in a sanitary napking probably brought it on.

What are the strangest period conversations you’ve had?

What were the most bizarre myths you encountered?

I have a cracker – one of my seniors in school, she was in the 12th grade, asked a Proctor and Gamble rep “Will I lose my virginity if I use a tampon?” I was in the 9th grade then and I knew that a tampon and virginity were not in the least bit connected!

Oh well. I’m off to sigh over MasterChef and then watch Criminal Minds.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Idiots and other things


I’m quitting my job.

There, I said it out loud. I’ve been terrified of articulating it, but I said it, I’m quitting. Okay, I’m done talking about that now, onto other things.

The main motivation behind this post is a woman. Usually, I like women, I have some amazing woman friends who are very dear to me and who also love me a lot. The dynamic and honesty in those relationships really makes my life a much better place to be in.

However, there are the girlfriends, complications, and other assorted relationship categories who will want to mess with you because they’re crazy, I dedicate this to them.

Dear crazy lady,

God clearly missed out when moulding the many segments that make up your non-existent brain. Which explains your complete lack of a decent sense of humour. Since your head is hollow and light, and your liver is marinating in alcohol [an excuse you use all the damn time, mind you], and you cannot look past the blinders you’ve got on, I am not going to waste my time trying to explain what friendships mean.

You are way too insecure and I cannot deal with your shit. I will not entertain you, who has no concept of boundaries, texting me from your boyfriend’s phone. I’m usually not a very nice person, when people like you behave the way you do, I’m inclined to being more terrible than usual. Which leads to a confrontation with my friend, which leads to him distancing me, which leads to you being happy.

Which brings me to I don’t like it when you are happy. For the most part, I’m very peace-loving. However, when you are this annoying intentionally, then you will have to live with the fact that I don’t like you being smug. I just don’t. I don’t care if you’re his woman and two of you love each other so much. I don’t care, really. I do care when you take a joke, an insider thing, and make it an issue. Like I told my friend today, you need a brain and a one-way ticket to Antarctica.

And please, don’t tell me this was a drunked episode, it wasn’t. You wanted to stake claim to territory, I don’t feel like letting you do it.

So yes, your boy is my “husband”. He always will be. I don’t care if it makes you miserable. I don’t care if your insecurity is too overwhelming that it kills you every time you hear it from me. I don’t care if you think that being the love of my friend’s life gives you privileges. I don’t care.

Sincerely,
The “Wife”

Okay, I’m done.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday questions

  • Is it just me or has the "Blogs of Note" segment in the new blogger interface disappeared completely? Might be me. Just asking to see if anyone knows where I can access that.

  • Also, I think my father just wants to spend his money on some showcase wedding so people will think we are socially appropriate. I mean, not once has he shown me any profile online that is worth any kind of discussion. The last one I saw, I just shuddered. I mean, I think I can do better, but as time passes and my father's "picks" get worse I'm wondering if this is all just a joke to him or if he thinks that these boys are actually worth my time because their parents are hounding my father. It can't be because he's feeling pressurised no? It can't. Can it?

  • There are two short stories that are in draft mode. Two. I haven't been able to finish them and it is seriously bothering me. I don't like it that I haven't been able to. Shit. What's this bleddee nonsense?

  • Do you like runny eggs? I mean, I love eggs, cooked any which way, but it should have at least coagulated you know? Soft boiled eggs that still look transparent bother me a little. Does it bother you?

  • I don't like this point format writing that I've been doing a lot of in my recent posts, but then, so much to talk about, how to make everything an essay and post it at one go?

  • What do you do when you meet someone who arranges currency notes the exact same way that you do? The only other person, apart from myself, who does this is my father. I recently met someone who does the same thing - arrange currency in descending order arranged in a way where Gandhi's face is in the same direction. Sigh. I was so overjoyed, I almost kissed him at the coffee shop we were standing at. Maybe I should marry him and have his babies? At least we'll have the same values to give our children, No? Yes?

  • Have you read this? I think she's an idiot. She's making me and others like me look like a complete mental. The reality of women in the South is completely different from her "empowered" self that it makes me sad to watch how she keeps going on and on and also, it's not a very objective opinion! She then comes up with this to deal with the viral blog post and trending topic on Twitter. I have nothing more to say except, you should have thought it through. For someone who rants as much as I do, I think she kind of overdid it. But hey, mine is a personal opinion, as is hers.

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope you woke up late and are lazing! :)






Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dental

Mindfuck. It’s a term that I’ve used a lot in the recent past. Especially when it concerns the men that have come and gone from my life. To me, it means a place where you are having an eternal conflict with getting your ego on and telling guy-who-hurt-you to fuck the hell off and balling up in a corner and crying your eyes out because you miss the idiot so damn much. It’s about being in an unhealthy place where your every thought is about someone who doesn’t seem to care about you as much you care about them. A mindfuck is a pain in the brain of epic proportions.

However, an emotional mindfuck pales in comparison to what happens a dentists office!

I got a root canal done today. I had an anesthetic injected in my jaw and the right side of my face went a little limp and then, after 15 minutes in the waiting room I watched as a dentist with a drill was fixing my tooth. I didn’t feel a thing. I heard everything, smelt something strange, watched as the dental assistant used some kind of suction device to get the muck out of my mouth, and saw stuff being put in my mouth and then it was over. I didn’t feel a thing, obviously. But knowing what was going on and not feeling it was, well, a mindfuck. Not that I wanted to feel it. I get the feeling I would have passed out in pain or something close to that.

The last time something like this happened, I was getting my wisdom tooth extracted. Now that was a whole other kind of tableau. That poor dentist had to yank really hard on my tooth while I just chilled on a reclining chair not feeling a blessed thing, while this poor man had to stand up, brace his foot on the stand and yank. I was torn between laughing and pretending to wince in agony. After that procedure was done, the rest of the evening was spent talking through a mouth stuffed with cotton with people hovering over me.

To make today’s trip to the dentist even more exciting my darling friend Poornima sent me a link. Ogden Nash’s poem was prescribed reading for me in Class 9. Thanks to the poem, I was thinking of the dentist’s drill accidentally drilling my cheek open, and like another colleague at work thought it through, possibly leaving a hole in my face thereby disabling my ability to drink water and other liquids. Honestly? I don’t know what I would do without people like them.

I might be a little high on painkillers and antibiotics at the moment, so I’m going to stop rambling, yes?

Goodnight!

Monday, September 12, 2011

September things



  • Onam has come and gone. My favourite festival this year saw some 50 people coming home for an epic sadya. My mother’s avvial was just awesomesauce. Then were my aunt’s payasams (both ada pradhamn and pal payasam), gorgeous! I love Onam so much! What’s not to love? It’s the one day dedicated to vegetarian food. Sigh. Joy!

  • My friend over at Moonshine and Dubito has left Chennai for Scotland where she will be working on her masters in Creative Writing. I miss her terribly! It makes me sad to see people leave Chennai in the search of better things from life. There is a sudden paucity of coolness that occurs and in Chennai, we need what little cool we can get. Add to this brain drain the hipster culture that seems to have taken over and I want to throw up. I mean, really, you think you’re cool because you’re not interested? Then why don’t you tear yourself away from your phone and look at the damn leaves to kill time. Why text?

  • I need to write. I feel like my writing’s been too neglected for too long. I mean, I can write, that’s the reason why this blog is running and people read it. So this need to keep pushing myself is a little wrong. This is why I sort of dislike a career in writing, it doesn’t leave you the mindspace to have a creative writing career. Or maybe it does, and I am, as always, the last person to know these things.


  • I strongly dislike younger siblings. I love mine, but I also want to smash his head in from time to time. Keeps harping on fatness and ugliness. I know, bro. I know. Stop pretending to be a talking mirror if it’s not too much trouble. I’d like to not be in a bad mood thanks.

  • How sad the death of Hazare hype after the High Court blasts? Everything is still the government’s fault. Everything always is, has been, always will be. Now, Narendra Modi’s case, India’s War on Terror (only because we’re incapable of coming up with original names for our wars) and other things are at the forefront. Hazare is threatening other things of course, but it’s no longer the headline-making monster it was in August. It will be again, the people behind the whole operation are nationalistic propaganda artists par excellance, Hazare will be headlines again, soon. I’m waiting for it.

  • People bother me. Especially people who pretend to be close to me and then spout steaming turds of bullshit like “you’re awesome”, “I love you”, and then come up with some inane reason not to have conversations with me. Reason? They’re busy. I mean, really? Really? You’re busy? Are you fucking kidding me right now? You want me around when you’re having a crisis and then you expect to be a silent spectator when I’m having a crisis? Go and hang yourself from an old ceiling fan!

  • I am on Twitter (@shruthipady if you're interested :D). I finally caved. I have managed thus far to make a point in 140 characters. It’s a little boring to be honest. I mean, you have to keep tweeting (I don’t like the word “tweeting”). I need more characters to make a point, which is why I love blogging, so much space!!!




Friday, August 26, 2011

Important things I think of


  • It’s raining an insane amount of rain as I’m typing this [August 24]. On my rooftop office, the sounds are heightened. Almost as if the water drops are little pebbles being artlessly dropped by the bucketful by some playful cherub. It’s, well, annoying and beautiful. Annoying because I need to get home and I live in a particularly traffic-congested part of the city. Getting there, in this rain, with the autos acting like complete bitches (which I don’t appreciate because they don’t have meters and I hate that I depend on them) is going to be a bit of a problem. Beautiful because I’m a fan of this kind of rain, drizzles annoy me as do “mild showers”.


  • So anti-corruption – they made the PM cave, but with more time passing there seems to be plenty of voices of dissent and non-support coming through. A lot of people just don’t like Hazare and what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. Truth is, it’s getting into blackmail territory now and it’s not pleasant. I genuinely do not appreciate the way in which the Parliament is being threatened and cornered into doing something. The laughing matter is this; the BJP supports the Lokpal Bill and the creation of a Lokpal. Sigh. It’s disgusting. If Anna Hazare says the BJP is a clean political party and others should emulate them, I’ll just have a minor heart seizure!


  • Note to negligent parents – while crossing the road, with your young child, please ensure that you create circumstances for your child’s survival. Letting them be on the side of oncoming traffic is selfish and well, wrong, for the lack of a better expletive. The footpaths might be too far away from the point on the road that you want to cross, that does not mean you walk on the middle of the road during peak traffic hours holding your child’s hand. Do you want to die? (Or as they ask in Tamil, “Enna veetile solittu vandirikkiya?) Idiots. Don’t you dare blame the doctors at a government hospital for the death of your child because it was probably your fault that the poor thing got hit in the first place. 


  • Note to contrary people – stop blaming it on being modern and young and “confused” and “post-modern angst” or even, and this is priceless, being Libran. I’m going to hunt you down and slash your damn jugular! For the sake of peace and sanity and the non-necessity of a world war, if you don’t know or don’t remember what you said, STFU and find a corner to sulk in! I will not tolerate you coming my way and telling me different things every single fucking day. If you have an opinion, air it, post which, please do NOT change your mind about it. It’s annoying and a lot of work to keep up with your ever-changing moods – I’m not your wife or mother! Fools.


  • Note to drunk people – hai! Naice to meet the you. Let’s be in deep and abiding friendship forever. However, if you have an alcohol addiction issue, don’t call me. I happen to like my liver enough to not have cirrhosis and then die or something. If you just like drinking every once in a while, let’s be frands okay?


  • To the English – thank you for the language. It is much-appreciated. Really. Today, every city has a localised and khichdified version of your language, many of which have Wiki pages and guides. It’s fun to communicate with these horrendous spellings and pronunciations from time to time. It more than makes up for my lack of finesse whilst using my own respective mother tongues. When other Indian children, especially the ones that live abroad and think they’re better than me, don’t get it, I’m happier and my ego takes a huge climb up the ladder to megalomania towers. 


  • The linguistically challenged – need to go die. Especially when they come up with “my hairs are so soft, I want to keep touching them” on national fucking TV. I refuse to like the ad and go out and buy the product. I absolutely refuse. On the same line of thought, there’s something about “here” pronounced as “hair” that really annoys me. There are some specific people who think “hair” is the actual way in which “here” is pronounced. I blame their shitty English teachers. I blame the English teachers who don’t teach their kids pronunciation and then claim to have taught them the eight parts of speech, the twelve tenses, and then claim to have done a good job in teaching children English. Uh, what? It’s a first language in this country dearincompetentone, how on earth do you assume the right to misteach and then have the gall to be proud of it?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Of replies and outrage

It turns out that someone does not like what I have been writing here about Anna Hazare. Here are his comments. He goes by the user name "kooldude1782".

"Hi Shruthi,
I dunno who you are, what you do. But by reading this blog, I can see that you are one of the privileged kids in the block.

It seems that you must have never been to a government office for any paper work. If you have a habit of writing and want to develop your essay writing skills, then please write something about you, your folks, about nature and general topics. Please dont write about things which you have never experienced or never come across.
Little knowledge is very dangerous. Its always good to know both sides of case before coming to a conclusion.

In other countries when we require any paper work from the government, there is a website which says whether I am eligible to receive that document, and what will be the requisite supporting documents and the duration taken by the office to get the paper issued, otherwise I can file a case against the office for not giving me the papers. And the judiciary also does not function like in India,
Do we have this or anything similar to this...?
Few years before there was a bill passed called "Right to Information Act" which says that the citizen has the right to know the process and what is happening for a particular case. But that Act does not mention anything about what to do if the duration has passed due.

Small instance:
when applying for a ration card(this is the card given to every middle class and lower class and BPL citizen, not sure whether you know what it is) I received it after 1.5 years. The first time when I visited the office to apply, the requisite documents were no where mentioned, they just told to submit whatever document we have. After 2 months when I went to the office to know when I will receive the ration card, I was asked me to submit a different set of documents.After 5 months we heard from the neighbours that on a particular day all people who had applied for ration card in that area will be receiving it. But the issuance was put on hold due to elections. The government changed and then the new government took another 6 months to verify the supporting documents and issue it finally after 1.5 years.

When I turned 18 and I wanted to cast the vote, I couldn't because I dint have a ration card to prove my age and identity. those times when I was able to cast the vote, illegitimate votes would have been cast, but how will I prove it...? to whom will I report it...?

I had applied for voters ID card when I was 18, now I am 29 and still have not got it. Even if I get it, I wouldn't be allowed to vote since I now look different than how I was looking when I was 18.

I have a very simple question, when any person gets a job, his performance is monitored on regular basis by people who have selected him. Same should happen with MPs, once they are selected their performance should also be monitored by public. So, public has right to say that MPs are not performing well and voters should also have right to make a complaint against an MP if he/she is not performing well. And by passing the JanLokPal bill we are giving a platform to our voters to exercise this right.

BR,
Citizen of India "

I have a few things to say to this person. However, before that, I would like to clarify that the comments are not intended to be malicious. They are a response.

A) My mother is the principal of a school. She was a school teacher before that. My father is a retired army Colonel. My grandfather was a freedom fighter with the INA and my paternal grandfather was the headmaster of a school. I come from a family of mostly teachers and some privately employed individuals. I do not form part of the "privileged kid on the block" club. I find it extremely annoying when educated, English-speaking individuals who have blogs are thrown in the "privileged kids on the block" club.

B) I have been to government offices. Shocking I know. But it's true. I have chased my passport from pillar to post all because one sheet of paper was put in the wrong order. So, I spent way too much time climbing stairs and running around Shastri Bhavan, Chennai, for a document that I was entitled to own. I have my passport now. It's valid for another eight years. And surprisingly, my family has a ration card. I know right? I do know what it is and I have been to the civil supplies office. Oh yes, I have a driver's license too. For which I went running in circles. Turns out it is a small, laminated document that is too tiny to justify the amount of circle-running one has to do. As for my voter's ID, in a completely bizarre chain of events, people came home and took down my details and I went to a, wait for it, government office to pick my voter's ID up. Thus far, I have taken the time to vote in every election held since I turned 18. Now, I don't know if my privileged upbringing has to do with the fact that I am in possession of government-issued documents. Last I remember, an FIR I filed two years ago is still being "searched for" by the police station. I need a copy to get a replacement of my Army-issued ID. I keep hounding them. At one point, I threatened them with my press ID, didn't work. I'm still hounding. I haven't, however, paid them money to search for it. Paying them might magically aid in the finding of this document, but I don't feel like it!

C) My essay-writing skills, as you so politely put it, are not for writing this blog. I get paid to write. I used to work for a national newspaper. If there is one person in this particular conversation who has been acquainted with ground realities, it's probably me. Therefore, I take offense to the fact that you feel I should be writing essays on nature, about myself and my parents.I vote and pay taxes my friend, this is my country and I'm free to express my dissent. Not supporting a person does not mean I am privileged or even pro-government. There is actually a provision in the Constitution that allows a citizen to register a non-vote. This country lets you be free enough to be a registered apathetic citizen.

Please keep in mind that we are a country of 1.2 billion people. If you would like a proportionate consensus on this issue, everyone needs to be on board. This is not a middle-class movement, nor is this a movement of a certain section of outraged people. This is something all the citizens of the country should agree to. I would appreciate a referendum on whether the Jan Lokpal should exist or not. Let the draft of the Goverment's version and the original be read and studied by the people and let the people decide what they want, without Anna Hazare and his supporters cramming Facebook and the TV news channels with their campaign. Let every citizen of this country make an informed choice. I don't see that happening. Instead, the people who are questioning the motives of this bill are being categorised as anti-change and a few other unpleasant things. I don't appreciate it. Feel free to call me names, don't expect me to feel shameful and cross over to your side of the corruption movement. I live in a free country, I'm free not to like something, as are you.

Stop pressurising agencies like the government and tell the middle-class, that is standing behind Hazare to stop paying bribes. The Lokpal is not an agency that is elected by the people. The Lokpal will be an independent body that is not answerable to anybody. There is no assurance that a non-elected body will keep the best interests of the people at heart.

A few questions - Are you telling me, despite the history of corruption and political avarice in this country, that so much power is good for one organisation to have? What is the point of going through so much trouble and voting? What good is my vote if someone I voted for is knocked out because the Lokpal feels that he is corrupt? Who is going to arrest the people who give the bribes? The Lokpal? The police? If a police official who arrests a bribe-paying citizen is found guilty of corruption by the Lokpal, then what happens to the arrests he/she has made of people who pay bribes? Will they be termed wrongful arrests? Who is going to run the government offices if most of its staff is suspended because they are guilty of corruption? If the MPs and ministers found guilty of corruption are thrown out of office, who will run the country? The Lokpal? [I don't want someone I have not elected to power running this country.] What if the Lokpal does not process a complaint within the time frame that it sets, who is monitoring the Lokpal and the Lokpal's efficiency? [Let's face it, judging by the surety of everyone's assumptions that everyone is corrupt, the Lokpal will have an immense volume of complaints to wade through. If each and every one has to be addressed in a satisfactory manner, it will take time.]

As for Mr.Hazare himself. He's threatening the government. He says he'll fast till death. That's mutinous and childlike behaviour. By being unreasonable, he is saying that he and all his supporters are people who are not keen on discussion and consensus. How do you trust an organisation like that to function objectively?

Comparing his protests to Gandhi's protests is wrong. Gandhi fought for us to be able to rule ourselves. He fought against foreign rule. We are ruling ourselves. We have a system in place. By saying that this system is not working, you are, in some way, trivialising people like Dr.Ambedkar and their work in creating a secular democracy like ours. We live in a country that affords us the freedom to do as we please, and a country that has a free press. Despite this, India is one of the most unhappy populations. A simple example, we bitch about traffic like it's going out of style, but do we take the effort to drive as per rules? We don't. How the hell does a population that is this scornful of simple rules get  the right to bitch about corruption?

The Constitution was framed by Dr.Ambedkar for the population of this country to enjoy equality. Caste, education, hunger, basic healthcare, palliative care, care for the aged, women's rights, prostitution rackets, drugs, communalism, and so many things need attention. Instead. the media has sensationalised this issue to the point where people are no longer driven by common sense but by media-fuelled outrage. Ask the media to shut up first. They should have all killed themselves after the Nira Radia tapes came out.

Corruption is a problematic term. It is complex and problematic to understand. Leaving a tip at a restaurant over and above the service charge is not charity, it's corruption -- it's currying favour from a person in order to ensure better service for yourself the next time you go there. Being nice to your boss, sucking up to him/her despite your dislike of him/her is also a form of corruption. You are ensuring that  you get decent performance reviews and a better pay and better treatment at work. When there are so many definitions, making one version of corruption go away is not going to create a cleaner system or make things easy.

Here is something else we should all be thinking about - freedom. We, as citizens, have the freedom to do as we please. This is a tolerance-preaching, secular, democracy. To see this framework exploited to achieve a goal whose long-term consequences are not known cannot be, in any way, good for us.

I am not going to be tolerant of people accusing me of being privileged because they assume that I don't know what I'm talking about. I talk about what I know and understand. If I don't get it, I will say that I don't. I do not have the time or patience to sit and write a pretentious piece about such a big issue because I have a blog. I am a citizen of this country, there are enough documents to prove it. If you don't think I'm thinking the "right" things, it's okay. I don't care. I don't think you're thinking the "right" things either. The beauty of being Indian is that you and I can continue to live our lives in disagreeable agreement.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why it’s important to slap the citizen


Sorry, but my mood off late is social commentary.

It cannot be helped. Such is the nature of the events unfolding in the country at the moment. For those interested, kindly Google “Anna Hazare” for more information on what is happening.

I just have a question to ask – why are these citizens being all self-righteous suddenly? They claim that this is a new “freedom struggle”. I find it a little ridiculous. The fact that it doesn’t occur to anyone that they are free to protest and call the government on its bluff is a little strange. How do these people feel shackled? They are allowed to elect. They are free to follow rules, or not. I’m willing to bet that some of them spit on the road and follow it up with “my forefathers fought for a free country, so I will spit. This land is my land, etc, etc, etc,” and some other truckload of tripe.

Have none of these “protestors” paid a bribe? Ever? Really? I find it hard to believe. In a country where minor traffic violations are pushed under the carpet with a Rs.50 bribe and no challan issued, it’s a little strange to see people gather by the thousands and be morally upright about an issue that clearly requires two parties to participate.

Let’s not look at corrupt officials and governments and government offices for a moment. Let’s look at citizens who go ahead and offer up bribes and under-the-table ways of dealing with an issue. They don’t pay bribes because it is the only way. I’m sure there are enough and more people in government offices that don’t need to be bribed for your work to get done. The way people are protesting, one is led to believe that every single government official is corrupt and so on. Truth is, most of them might not be. If you go someplace and act desperate and say “I will do anything, just please clear my paperwork” it won’t occur to the government officer to call the cops on you. He/she will take what you are offering and get on with his/her working day. People don’t realise that these people get paid anyway and they get employee benefits anyway. Anything more than that is probably going into their kids’ college  funds.

I don’t appreciate the fact that self-righteous citizens are taking to the street protesting. I want them to ask themselves if they’ve ever paid a bribe, willingly. If they have, they need to stop protesting against corruption, ASAP. These people are exactly like the fuckers who don’t vote and then bitch. If you haven’t voted, then who the fuck are you to tell the Prime Minister he’s shit? Aren’t you being undemocratic by not exercising a system that has been created just so you can create a governing body that will benefit you and others in the long run? If that is such a failure, then on what basis are these new watchdogs of society going to function? Are they officials elected “by the people”? No. Then how do people know that they have the best interests of the people at heart?

To me, this fight against corruption seems like a war with the government officials and corrupt ministers more than it is about the problem of corruption itself.

When the desperation to get work done is what governs most requirements, and there is a willing populace to encourage a rat race of “whose paperwork will get cleared first”, how the fuck is corruption ever going to go away?

The unfortunate, or fortunate, reality is that India is a secular democracy. Everyone here has the right to do and say as they please. Sometimes it’s fantastic that we do have this freedom. Sometimes, not so. In the instance of Anna, the hypocritical, right-wing, in desperate need of a retirement plan, Hazare, the freedom to express dissent is being misused to its nth degree. He wants a non-corrupt system. It’s difficult to achieve, but not impossible. In order for this lofty ideal to even pretend to be some form of reality, the second hand in the corruption clap needs to be slapped – that of the bribing citizen. However, what Hazare wants is a non-elected body of civilians to scrutinise every move of the Prime Minister, the CBI, and an assortment of other government offices.

Erm, a little Big Brother / 1984-ish, no? Probably worse.

Apparently, the existence of a watchdog entity that has the power to bring down even the highest political authority in the country, the Prime Minister, will eliminate corruption. History has proved time and again, that power in the hands of those who don’t know what to do with it, always gets abused. I don’t understand why “the people” don’t see that we’re headed straight towards a massive spiral of complete chaos. The existence of a secular democratic system while a non-elected superbody exists simultaneously, is at complete odds. It is at odds with the ideals that this country was built on. I don’t see how a part-dictatorial system is democratic in any way.

Corruption is not just about A Raja costing the exchequer a ridiculous amount of money or Suresh Kalmadi misappropriating resources to make the country look like an inefficient entity. Corruption is also the offering of an “incentive” to someone in order to push your work along. Corruption is about mutual benefit to both parties. The fact that only one party is being targeted in Hazare’s protest is a little weird. I want the jails to be overcrowded for sure, but by both the people who took the bribe and by the people who offered it.

The fact that only one part of the corruption equation is being held accountable for a problem that clearly needs two participants is a little ridiculous.

Dear upright citizens,

Kindly stop supporting Anna Hazare if you’ve ever bribed someone in life. You’re the reason why A Raja thought he could get away with it. When you supply, there will be more demand. It’s a rule that governs just about everything in life and reality. To think that you’re not asking yourself what kind of citizen you are is in itself indicative of the kind of people who will be in the Lokpal. I don’t want to be governed by two agencies. I’ve elected one, while in the full possession of my faculties. Don’t ask me to stand by and watch as random people with a so-called sweeping ideological match with most of the country’s moral fibre decide which of the government officials I elected are worth being in office. As a citizen, I find it personally offensive that my vote, and my democratic rights are being undermined because Anna Hazare feels that the government I elected needs to be scared of someone watching over them. You are trivializing a process that requires time, money and a lot of hard work.

Shruthi

There are some people who have articulated their non-support for Hazare rather beautifully. This particular one (by Peter Griffin) was epic and also led me to discover Facebook’s character limit (500) –

“1. I'm anti-corruption.
2. I'm anti-Anna Hazare.
3. Hazare is a sanctimonious right-wing tyrant so cloaked in his own virtue that he believes he is above the law.
4. The law is frequently an ass.
5. Nevertheless, the law is frequently our only hope.
6. Better the elected asses than the dictatorial unelected.
7. The government is playing into Hazare's hands with its idiocy.
8. Yes, these views can be held simultaneously.”

The trouble with people who put themselves on a pedestal is that they don't have the option of making mistakes. When Hazare called himself a Gandhian, he had already begun a process of intense scrutiny. The truth about his ideology was bound to come out sometime. When self-righteous, do-gooders think they are the shit, they are setting themselves up for a fail. I’m sorry but when you decide that you are above any kind of moral scrutiny, then you need to understand that you should have a flawless record. Those that don’t should shut the fuck up and move on.

I, for one, am not a perfect citizen. I am not going to be a part of this “fight for freedom”. I already am a free person in a free world. I don’t see the need to fight for freedom, again. I’m not being suppressed, oppressed or anything. Underpaid, maybe, but nothing else.

Have I paid some police uncle somewhere some money so he will not hassle me, yes. Does that make me a bad citizen, yes. I don’t like that I did, but I’ve had to. There is no justification for a mistake made. However, when I do see my type going to town and acting like they know better, it irks me. When you cover up your mistakes and pretend to be a person you’re not, then what’s the difference between Kalmadi / Raja / Kanimozhi / Bellari and you?

EDITED TO ADD THIS link

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rants from "the concerned person"


The terrible, terrible thing about going to a friend with a rant is that you forget an existing forum for spilling your guts and articulating your mind the way you want to without having someone constantly interrupt with their opinions. The comments section opens up after I’ve typed so this blog is a form of self-indulgence I’ve missed, IMMENSELY. Not that friends aren’t awesome, just that sometimes you just want to keep “talking”, uninterrupted.

There’s a lot going on for me off late, and I don’t think I can talk about it here just yet. I’m not sure of how it is all going to shape up, until then it is silence. However, the world and its infinite idiocy continues on, uninhibited and fearless, giving me so much to bitch about. So much. 

We’ll start with the Lokpal Bill (Tehelka's article has a huge part to play in today's social commentary from me), ‘kay? This is a mammoth issue in the country at the moment. However, the protests are mostly on Facebook, since, well, Facebook is the place to go if you have promotions to do and no money to spend except your internet usage bill. After many Facebook and email petitions, the numbers were small when compared to our gargantuan population. In India 100s is a big number, so who gives a fuck about a disproportionately numbered consensus? The person behind it all is Anna Hazare, a man who is Gandhian but will not hesitate to flog people who don’t follow rules set down by him to the point where international media will be given one more excuse to stereotype us. Case in point:

When some villagers were found to be drunk they were tied to poles/pillars of the temple and flogged, sometimes personally by Hazare. He justified this harsh punishment by stating in an interview to Reader's Digest in 1986 that “rural India was a harsh society”. (from here)


This is a man who talks peace, but acts like a petulant child when the government does not agree with him. If his version of the Lokpal is not approved by August 15, Independence Day, then as of August 16, he will protest again. Now, the terrible thing about this is that the 24/7 news media is behind him. Rajdeep Sardesai will begin to screech from CNN-IBN, Barkha Dutt will start talking (*shudder*), Arnab Goswami will take it upon himself to conduct a panel interview with him being the only one allowed to talk. Facebook will cram my news feed with more and more “concerned youngsters” looking to make a difference in the corrupt world that is Indian governance.

It isn’t like I’m not concerned, but if you think corruption is such a huge problem because corruptible people are in it and you seek to check that corruptibility with incorruptible people, then have fun. I would like to see this panel of righteousness last, incorruptibly, forever. Do Hazare and his minions even know why some people choose government jobs? Job security. There is nothing more than that. These government servants get a ton of employee benefits. It doesn’t make a difference to them one way or another if your file is not pushed. They get paid at the end of every month. They get festival bonuses. They get pensions and gratuities and a whole host of benefits. Do you think they care? Who are you trying to filter out of the system?

Let’s look at replacements. If you throw everyone out of presently functional offices, I say this because corruption has ingratiated itself so much in our system that one will be hard-pressed to find one sincere person in that office. Now, if you throw everyone out, who are you going to put there? Civil supplies needs people right – where is the aam aadmi going to get subsidized grocery supplies from? The RTO (Regional Transport Office) will need people – how will you get a driver’s license? What about the passport office? It is one of the most crowded offices in the country. I don’t even want to start off on the others.

If Hazare and his camp think they can root out corruption and find a new and more efficient and upright citizenry to run the machinery, then it’s good. I would appreciate it. I do know that paper-pushing and bare minimum wage is what drives some of this corruption. Employee benefits aside, a position of power drives this corruption. The problem is in selling these jobs to the masses. When some peon knows that he has access to the big boss and so on, he will sell his accessibility on a regular basis to people who will do what needs to be done to finish first.

In a country of a billion people, everyone thinks they are entitled to get there first. From admissions in educational institutions to traffic signals, just about everything in this country is governed by this race mentality. On the road, be a chooth piece and cut lanes and drive like there’s no one else there. Waiting to pay the bill at the supermarket, look irritated with someone who has bought fewer things because all three of your carts will only take 5 seconds to bill. Boarding a bus, shove all the 10 other people trying to get in, because your Rs.5 fare is secretly worth Rs.5,000. Travelling by train, since your luggage contains nationally relevant luggage you need to make sure it’s under your berth so that no one else can put their bags in the space they have paid equally for.

Never mind that people pay equally for everything. Everyone in this country feels entitled to more. Probably because their great grandfathers wiped Gandhi’s ass and felt the need to share it with the family, which then went on to become a mythological text, which went on to become the source of some sincerely misplaced entitlement, which is making my life miserable. Thank you. Please drown in the Cooum.

So Mr.Gandhian, self-righteous, morally incorruptible Anna Hazare, have you never committed an illegal act? Have you never done the wrong thing in order to protect your own interests? There is something in the Bible along these lines, although I cannot for the life of me quote it verbatim. The essence is this – if you’re judging someone then you ought to have a lived a life that no one can point fingers at. If you have, then please lead the way for humanity. If you haven’t, then please leave the building thank you very much. If Mr.Hazare thinks people are incorruptible, then he really should look back and ask himself if he did the “right” thing at all times. I don’t think he did. Threatening a national government that he will fast unto death is the wrong thing to do. Asking that a country equate the success of your protest on the same day as its Independence Day is cheap marketing tactics and the wrong thing to do. Expecting to be on national television all the fucking time because the government is not listening to you is the wrong thing to do.

You want to change the system? Infiltrate it, study it, analyse it, change it. Don’t be unreasonable and most importantly un-Gandhian. Gandhi was non-violent. He never threatened. He only asked that we all raise our voices against injustice. We did. That’s why we’re free today. Someone like you does not have the right to wear white, be impertinent just because the constitution allows you to, and then equate yourself to Gandhi. Gandhi was man enough to admit he made mistakes; the question is Mr.Hazare, are you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Glass bangle tales

Bangles make me happy. That’s just how I roll okay. Glass bangles especially. Since our magazine is setting up shop in Hyderabad, I honestly believe that a work trip is in order. I want to go to Charminar and buy bangles and just die in happiness. Just. Die. In. Happiness.

I don’t know from where or since when this bangle thing happened. I know that it has been around for a while now. My earliest memories with glass bangles are from having watched my aunt spend Sundays cleaning out her box of bangles, neatly arranging them according to colour and wiping the dust clean with a soft cloth and then using mildly soapy water to clean it proper-like.

Watching her bent over her bangles intently, with her long hair falling over her shoulders with the Chennai sun blasting in through the open balcony doors, must have left an impression. Of course, back in the day, I couldn’t be trusted with anything perishable, food included. So, I found myself with an enviable collection of plastic and metal bangles. Each set bought to match some insane dance costume that I had to wear for the insane Annul Day productions in school. Over the years, my capable-of-breaking-anything-breakable habit went on hibernation a little. Once that happened I wore glass bangles more often. While my mother was convinced that I would break everything I ever wore, I kept buying!

It was in college that this love for glass bangles became unhealthily obsessive. I had a partner in crime – S Bhuvaneshwari Rao – who encouraged my tryst with bangles and cotton sarees like it was going out of style. Bhuva and I would plan saree days and dress up – bangles, anklets, bindis – the works. Those were days when someone followed me till the bus stop to declare his undying love. I mean, I don’t see how a fat girl in a saree showing off her thoppai excites you, but it does apparently. I don’t see how you think passing on that information to the source of your excitement is going to make her swoon in absolute adoration. Fool.

Which brings me to July 2011. I have three full boxes of an assortment of bangles. All kinds of bangles in all kinds of colours and almost every single one of them is closely linked to the sarees in my mother’s cupboard. The only reason that my collecting has hit a roadblock is because, well, they don’t make glass bangles like they used to. These says, almost everything is covered with that unsightly glitter that falls on your clothes and face and you end up looking like some character from a school pageant! I want plain, cut-glass bangles.

I’m told that Hyderabad has all kinds of bangles and I hope that they have not commercialized to the point of making my favourite kind of bangle extinct. I’m looking forward to my work trip to Hyderabad. And I hope it happens soon. For now, I will be content with what I have. Chennai does not have a market where one can go mental and buy bangles. Yes, Mylapore, but even that is difficult to wade through. Till then, I have to deal with owning metal bangles like these, which seem to uncannily match the clothes I’m wearing today (I wore them because they uncannily matched okay!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and silly people

So today is the great release of the last Happy Potter movie, and apparently there will be so many sad people out there that a) Kleenex is going to have a fucking field day selling its products b) chocolate manufacturers are rejoicing at the potential spike in sales caused by depressed women everywhere turning to chocolate after the franchise’s end.

I don’t want to be a bitch, but the way things are being hyped, it’s giving me a damn rash.

I confess to never having read any of the Harry Potter books, except Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix. I have watched the movies part 1 -5. I like the concept and the setting and the creation of a parallel universe that all of us as children have wanted to escape into. Magic, wands, spells, things that humans cannot understand – Narnia was like that as well (forget the biblical references for a second please?). Since I haven’t read the books, I will not venture to comment about what Harry Potter means to my childhood.

Here’s what bothers me bout the movie franchise hype though. It has spawned a generation of pathetic people who think their lives are irretrievably twined with the release of the next film in the franchise. It makes me sick. Some women have gone on the record to say that they will never be the same again because they have nothing to look forward to now. Uh, I want to tell them to go read the books, but fuck, these women probably will complain about how intellectually over-burdened they are because of the emotional intensity of the books.

I don’t get it. The books still sell. The books are the ones that gave the movie studios the idea to make the movies in the first place. I don’t see how the movies’ ending is going to affect such a huge change in the emotional landscape of some people that they will be forever psychologically damaged. It makes me want to vomit!

Considering how the Harry Potter hype is shaping up, I don’t think I appreciate the fact that the books are getting undermined because the movies are successful. I mean, get over it man. If you’re so upset, buy the DVDs and watch it whenever you would like. If you think you will never be the same again, buy the books and exercise your brains a little, you will find that it will be good for your health and you might evolve to be a slightly more intelligent human being.

The world is full of surprises and I want to be surprised by non-readers who discover books. But if I ever find out that you think the movie is better than the book, chances are your skull will be cracked open, with great glee and joy, by my hands with the heaviest book I can find.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Diva-ness

It isn’t often that I find myself teary after a confrontation. This time, it happened because the reason for the confrontation was something really important to me – food.

In my house, I’m the odd one out. In a large population, my vegetarian/left-handed self would be part of a generic statistic – the one-in-every-500-is-a-nutter type. However, in this specific case, I am the odd one out. Basically this means, when my family sits down to elaborate Sunday lunches, my plate would be the least appetizing-looking. Why? “Shit, you. I forgot” would normally be the reaction.

Over the years, I got used to it and it even became a joke. But when I’m hungry on a Sunday and there is nothing for me to eat, I feel entitled to feel like a neglected child.

It’s that simple. I mean, you get to eat things that you enjoy because that’s what everyone’s eating? How fair is that. All I’m asking is to at the very least pretend to remember that I exist. That’s all. At the very least be consistent about that.

It’s hard to not make this whiny. And I know that some people will tell me about just going with the flow and becoming non-vegetarian, here’s what I want to say to you – “shut the fuck up bitchface. I’m vegetarian, I will remain this way. Just fucking deal with it. Am I asking you to be vegetarian? No. Then you back the hell off. Got that?”

I wish food wasn’t this necessary to life. I’d deal with this somehow or the other. However, food is a necessity. We all know that, so any deprivation of any kind is not acceptable.

As for the starving, poor children in the world who don’t even have the opportunity that I do to eat and be alive, I’m sorry for it but this once, I’d like for this to be about me, okay?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cross-linking

Two stories.

One is at Monkey Bicycle and the other is at The Medulla Review.

There is a third that I want to share here, not the same writer, but an amazing one nonetheless. It's a brilliantly written piece and I think it will have a resonance with women, particularly those who have experienced violence in some form or the other. Please do share these stories with your friends.

Sh.

P.S: I will be back with more self-styled social commentary because this blog wouldn't be what it is without that now would it? Meh.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The meta of life


I’ve reaslied that this month has come and gone and I haven’t posted worth squat here. It’s bothering me that I’m suddenly bored with a lot of things. Blogging included. More than bothering, I think I’m just plain scared that I have lost that interest in writing. Unless, and the following might be the actual criminals responsible for my present state of being - I’m wasting my time texting waaayyy too many people, I’m too into my new BlackBerry and of course I’m doing too much statusing on Facebook. This idiot need to constantly type is affecting my blog’s survival.

I’m not going to take a resolution to post more regularly. The fact that this blog has been running for more than a year, in a more organized manner than my previous one is enough for me. For now. This isn’t a writer’s blog, or a blog about writing, so, in some sense a lull is justified. To me. I don’t know about how my “avid readers” will feel about this!

But this is not about what I make of blogging. I don’t think I’m up to writing about that just yet. Maybe after I have 5,000 followers! Maybe never!

Today, I would like to talk about institutions. I wish I was talking about tangible structures that people can point out to, but these are abstract spaces that we traverse on a regular basis and yet, we don’t realize it because we’re so busy being.

This post comes from a long, fun, much-needed lunch conversation with a very dear friend. She was telling me about someone she knows who “hates institutions”. Now, of course, that set me off. And I wanted to know precisely what this “I hate institutions” means. Most everything in the real world is an institution as far as I know.

Some people try to make some things abstract and talk about how the time-space continuum does not allow humans’ tiny brains to comprehend the scale of the epic-ness that is this intangibility. What I want to ask them is this – did you get educated at an educational institution? Anyone who has had a formal education that has been prescribed by society loses the right to talk about institutions, unless and until said person is doing something about breaking down the system of institutionalising itself.

Sitting in a coffee shop, talking to like-minded people about how education ruined you a la Rousseau, does not an institution-breaker make. I don’t know how some people get away with being so meta while operating out of a structure and defined space. There are some people I know who are in universities or are part of a collective and then go on about how institutions suck.

The word institution itself applies to one specific institution and that is what really gets me. The institution being, of course, marriage. The “I hate institutions” refrain so oft-repeated in this specific context that it has lost its original meta-ness and has whittled down into the “worst excuse ever” category. What “I don’t believe in institutions”? Why can’t you come right out and tell someone to their face that you don’t want to marry them.

Yes, the excuse is that you are profoundly in love with her or have this cosmic bond/connection or some twisted shit like that. The reality of it is simple – she wants to get married and have babies, you don’t believe in institutions. You are on opposite sides of the camp, why bother trying to meet halfway? Because you’re in love? Really. If you’re in love then why in the hell can’t you meet halfway about this? It’s a tough question I know. But knowing the direction of a relationship and wanting something out of a relationship is important. Altering it to suit the convenience and comfort of one person is just, well, wrong.
It’s called compromise for good reason and that needs to exist in just about every aspect of a relationship. The fact that someone selectively applies nonsense meta theories to simple situations that can be resolved with some degree of common sense is a little offensive. I mean, for everything else there has to be dialogue and communication and so on, but for something that you are not comfortable with, out comes the meta, the post-modern existentialism and so on and so forth.

When people use big words, you should be afraid. They are the ones that are sales pitching something that you don’t need in your life. Look at all the times you fell for the nonsense you saw on TV and ended up buying cereal that tastes like sawdust and deodorant that doesn’t exactly make you smell good all day. This selective sales pitching for selective situations is the reason why so many people have these epic mindfucks and then go and die!

You want to be selective, then please be selective in the way you choose partners. Find someone who, like you, is living in some weird planet where nothing is institutionalized. Apparently, family, friendships, corporate employment, formal education, etc, are just social necessities that will arm you with enough ammo to talk about how you hate institutions. Do the world a favour and stop being a social human being, because society is a fucking institution. Don’t vote, don’t comment on the government, cancel your passport, don’t have a bank account, don’t get a telephone connection, and don’t do anything, because you “hate institutions”.

Someone ought to have the balls to actually live that life and I would like to meet that person. I’m just pissed that some people assume the mantle of truth and honesty while lying to the world and to themselves about their “principles and value systems”. The worst? They get away with it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quotable from Nat Geo

National Geographicise - it's the adjective that I am using to describe the gora in the Incredible India ad. It's the adjective I have referred to many times on this blog while telling off namma tourists who come here with their white skin and wide-eyed wonder at all things poor and ratty and tatty and bothersome.

However, that doesn't mean that Nat Geo is a bad thing. It's epic in terms of giving people opportunity to showcase our world in the harsh glare of the reality spotlight. We need to deal with it. We need to see it. We need to understand it.

On that note, I'd like to direct you to an essay. And would like to quote some mild WTf-ery from the Nat Geo stable. The essay is, overall, brilliantly written (I learned a new word "moxie") but has its moments of white-superior gaze that bothers me a little.

Here are a couple of excerpts - "Her mother had moved to her husband's village, as rural married Indian women are expected to do..." & "The very idea that young women have a right to select their own partners—that choosing whom to marry and where to live ought to be personal decisions, based on love and individual will—is still regarded in some parts of the world as misguided foolishness. Throughout much of India, for example, a majority of marriages are still arranged by parents. Strong marriage is regarded as the union of two families, not two individuals. This calls for careful negotiation by multiple elders, it is believed, not by young people following transient impulses of the heart."http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/child-brides/gorney-text/1