Jan 26, 2011

The State of the Republic...

An Additional Collector is burnt alive in broad daylight. The State CM announces that "firm action" will be taken.

Indian fishermen are killed by the Sri Lankan Navy. The PM says "India is unhappy", and our foreign minister, or was it the diplomat, "lodges a strong protest" with Sri Lanka. A lady politician, with one eye firmly on the upcoming assembly polls in the state, calls the PM "ineffective".

A party, known for its opportunistic stirring of passions, wants to hoist the national flag in a state. The ruling party, known for its opportunistic weak knees, prevents it from doing so. Both seem uninterested in solving any issue, and more interested in calling each other names.

A corrupt minister miraculously turns around an ailing ministry. And gets invited to business schools for the amazing success story. A rabble rousing lady replaces him, and while one can blame her for many other issues, she is least likely to be caught taking money and has a clean reputation so far. And she promptly runs the ministry back into losses.

A girl is kept as 'bonded labour' for 7000 rupees. For the last 5 years. And she is just 17.

And these are just today's headlines. I am not even going back to 2G, Commonwealth, Adarsh, Swiss banks and etc.,

We have an impotent government. An opposition which allows the government to survive in spite of that. A judiciary which is increasingly being seen as corrupt. A media which is more interested in 'breaking news' than in keeping the other three estates on their toes. And we have ourselves. Yes, we the people, who are more interested in forwarding a 'Onion, Petrol and Beer at the same price' sms, more interested in speculating whether we will win the World Cup, people who click on 'Like' when someone reports 'Pandit Bhimsen Joshi passes away', people who'll fight our battles on rediff comment pages.

And some of these people wish me a 'Happy' Republic Day. I just hope they do have something to be happy about.

Jan 2, 2011

Funny Matrimonial Ads!!!

This is from my twitter timeline, cross-posted here since I had nothing better to do... also because I want to be able to look back at what I wrote and feel silly about it later... and looking up blog archives is far easier than looking up tweet archives...

So, presenting, What I find funny about matrimonial ads...

"I am a fun-loving person". 
Er, you mean that others hate fun?

"Looking for a person with clean habits." 
You mean, you are looking for a nun with a good laundry service? 
(People who don't get the pun, please go here)

"Well educated." 
Er, the only education that you can get out of a dug up hole filled with water is swimming lessons. (Again, people who don't get the pun, please go here)

"Traditional, yet modern." 
Can I say "Vegetarian, but eats chicken" or even "Religious, yet atheist"?

Why would you fear a being who is purported to be a source of limitless mercy, who can pardon everything?

"Respects elders." 
For what? Having spent more time than you on this planet? For always saying "Our times were better"?

"Trained Bharatanatyam dancer." 
Ok, you know 36 different ways of shaking your head "No" everytime I am in the mood?

"6.5 lpa, working with MNC." 
You mean, if you ever resign your job, I should be able to divorce you?

More when I come across them...

PS: I just happened to chance upon such gems while pulling my sister's leg since she is on the look-out. To all you babes out there, I am still single ;)

Jan 1, 2011

The more things change...

Usual disclaimer: Slightly long post. Personal. And boring.

Ten years is a long time. The world changes a lot in that time. People change. I did too.

In 2000, I was a gawky teenager, just about coming to terms with the fact that maybe Bombay is not such a bad place after all, and that I would be stuck in this place for a long time. But I wanted to run away from this place if I could afford to. Mettupalayam was becoming just a fond memory.
In 2010, I am no longer gawky (at least in my mind), no longer a teenager (except in my mind), and now Bombay is my favourite place. I guess I will be around here for a long time, but I still want to run away from this place because I cannot afford to live here. And Mettupalayam has become just a fond fantasy.

In 2000, money was scarce, but the needs were far fewer. 27 rupees was all it took to get a monthly railway pass from home to college, student concession included. 50 bucks a week was the allowance, and 40 of that was saved. I skipped movies, I skipped outings, and was this nerd who sat in the library all the time. The guy who the girls called Gandhi and was only remembered four times a year, on the eve of every exam, for his notes to be photocopied. I did not have much fun, and I always thought that was because there wasn't enough money.
In 2010, money is no longer scarce, but the needs have multiplied. I avoid the trains as much as I can, and cannot dream of saving 80% of my income anymore. I still skip movies, I still skip outings, and am this nerd who sits in office all the time. And while I do have other worthy notes, with Gandhiji's toothless smile, photocopying them is a criminal offence, and hence, the girls no longer have to undergo the trouble of being nice to me four times a year. I still don't have much fun, but I know very well that money can't buy fun.

In 2000, I was the 'role model' in the family, and in college. Yes, the same guy who was pointed out in gatherings and referred to in conversations which went "see, how chamathu he is! Why can't you study like him?" Chicken was dirty food, alcohol was yuck and God was the all powerful and omnipresent being whose help was sought for everything in life. I felt happy, not knowing that my cousins, and my friends, secretly hated me for being that asshole who always did his homework and never bunked classes. Sigh, you can never please everyone.
In 2010, parents keep their kids away from me if they can, since I am prone to advising them to have as much fun in their college life as possible, and not be the asshole that I was. Chicken is still dirty food (since I much prefer the prawns), alcohol still makes me puke (only sometimes) and god is just a figment of human imagination. I think those kids love me now, but the parents secretly hate me for having been chamathu when required and now acting to the contrary, leaving them in a hard place when it comes to scolding their kids. Sigh, you can never please everyone.

In 2000, the internet was something one did not usually bother with, email was disdained upon since it did not convey the warmth of a handwritten letter, and chat meant an hour catching up with friends at the tapri over a cutting chai. The only experience of the internet was from those sessions spent in shady cybercafes, surreptitiously sneaking at scantily clad models. Ok, sometimes, not even scantily clad.
In 2010, I cannot imagine life without the internet. The warmth of the handwritten letter has been replaced by the warmth of the overheated laptop. Chat sessions over Gtalk with multiple people, finding out what's happenning in people's lives on facebook, and knowing what people had for breakfast on twitter seems normal now. And yes, I still scour the net for the scantily clad models sometimes.

In 2000, the world was a wonderful place teeming with possibilities. When one could dream of being a millionaire by 25. When one could open a business magazine and picture oneself in a nice suit, being interviewed. When one had no idea how one would do it, but the sea facing bungalow in Malabar Hill wasn't ruled out completely. I had no clue about a lot of things, but the outlook was optimistic.
In 2010, the world is a challenging place, teeming with hurdles. When one becomes a millionaire and discovers that it is not a big deal after all, and one should have at least dreamed higher. When one opens a business magazine and thinks "I would never want to be that jargon spouting idiot when I am 40". When one has a fair idea of what it takes to own a sea facing Malabar Hill bungalow, and has ruled it out completely. I think I have figured out quite a few things, and that has made the outlook cynical.

In 2000, I was a loser.
In 2010, I am still a loser.

The more things change...