Friday, March 30, 2012

Time For A NEW i-Constitution?

Time For A NEW I-Constitution….

We the people of India give to ourselves this constitution….so starts the Indian constitution to which all of us right thinking citizens of India give our allegiance to. Did we really give it to ourselves and do we really appreciate or even deserve what we got…this and other questions about the Indian constitution, Our Constitution, was  inspired in me by reading a recent news report where the Punjab Chief minister Mr.Badal has said its time for a new constitution for India. Yes, I seem to hear a million voices all over India shouting in unison. We do need a new constitution to fit in with the times. Look how man upgrades an average piece of software undergoes in its lifecycle and we have been having this same constitution since independence…with just minor tweaks here and there. So we should think over what’s wrong with the current one before we could suggest how to improve it. Here goes, my version of certain landmark constitutional events….

1)      The first major error was in electing to the constitution panel, people who submitted their inputs to the Indian constitution and then migrated to Pakistan with independence – almost 1/3rd of the committee. I mean how can you take their recommendations seriously, when they were even undecided about their allegiance to the country. I guess they were laughing up their sleeves the whole time they were offering suggestions on how the Indian constitution should look like, after all they were not going to live in a country with the rules they wrote.

2)      The next point was in not allowing Dr.Ambedkar, the constitution drafting committee chairman a free hand. From whatever I have read of him, Dr. Ambedkar was a modernist and a pragmatist….he was in tune with the times and had forward thinking (come on, anyone who wears a bright blue suit for all public appearances had to be with the times..) but he was seriously handicapped by all the status quo traditionalists of the committee who forced on him a conservative constitution which was destined for obsolence soon.

3)      The emergency provisions: The hero in many books says to the arch villain during a particularly violent scene- I will tear  you a new as****le….similarly the constitution was torn a new as****le by Madame Chop-Chop in the emergency era. Madame Chop-chop aka former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried to take on everyone at the same time, relying on the power of her brute majority in parliament. She trashed the constitution, wrote graffiti in the Preamble, where she added words like Socialist, Secular etc without really reflecting on how she was tearing apart the whole fabric of the constitution. The moth eaten preamble was left as it is by the courts even after she was trounced in the elections, as the courts found new justifications for the words in a exhibition of self-delusion. The Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme court said that the word Socialism meant only Gandhian Socialism- the despotic rule of the Panchayati Raj rather than Marxist socialism, the rule of the party. The only other country with Gandhian socialism or despotism of the village masses was Cambodia during the Pol Pot era and everyone knows how successful that experiment was.

4)      Indira Gandhi also introduced the concept  of fundamental duties in the constitution which sorry to say are the most hilarious crap ever written, so much so that I always take care to sit down before I read them for fear of falling down with laughter. Anyone who is ever in a depressed mood and need cheering up should read it too.

5)      The Indira Gandhi attacks on the constitution gave the courts licence to meddle and they took it too far in the name f public interest and started poking their noses into everything. The pendulum swung to the other extreme in judicial interpretation of the constitution with the judges imposing their own quirky views on what the constitution really says. For some time, it was free for all.

6)      Then came the turn around- the Rajiv era..when former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi restored the balance by two ways, firstly by proving with a brute majority that you can do anything democratically and constitutionally and secondly by showing the crusading judges where they got off. He did this most famously in the Shah Bano case by telling the judges’- to keep off the personal lives of law abiding citizens and stick to hanging the wrong-doers -take that your honours.

7)      Finally, came all those effete Prime Ministers, who followed him, IK Gujral, Deve Gowda, VP Singh and Manmohan Singh, who could not even pass normal amendments let alone constitutionally important ones. For example, the women’s reservation bill is still hanging in the balance without any resolution and so is the Lokpal bill and all others.

So that’s the story of the assault and battery on the constitution till now and now the politicians want to further lay hands on it to suit their conveniences. Now I wonder how a constitution drafted by a committee comprising of people like Digvijay Singh, Laloo Prasad, Sharad Pawar and P.Chidambaram would look like? Can you imagine what we will end up having? A constitutional monarchy with Sonia as Queen Mother and Rahul as Prince Regent? I wouldn’t be surprised…

Friday, March 23, 2012

Exam Fun....

At the Exam Hall

This interesting conversation was overheard by me at the exam hall in a recent exam…..

Journalist (J): hello there, how are you doing?

Student (S): doing? Doing? Can’t you see that I am pulling out every last one of my meager and disappearing stock of hair on my head? 

J: Why? Is the paper that tough? I see that you have been reading and re-reading it for the past 5 mins.

S: Tough? Tough? You know what tough is? Tough is doing a 100 free squats at the gym and then walking home without grimacing every step of the way. This? This? This is the demented writings of a crackpot with a massive chap on his shoulders.  A work of pure sadism.

J: so you were caught absolutely unprepared with this one? Anything in there look vaguely familiar? Any old friends hiding there in new/different clothes?

S: I don’t think so. As you know that one week ago I sat down with a book called the question bank, full of previous years question papers?

J: yes, so anything came from there?

S: wait for me to finish. Don’t put words in my mouth.

J: so what happened?

S: well there was this last year’s paper, the very most recent paper. And as you know the examiner should know, or any decent examiner should know that you should never repeat a question from the most recent question paper. Students know it examiners know it everyone knows that’s the most decent thing to do. But guess what this examiner did?

J: uh! Let me guess. Repeated a question from last year’s paper?

S: not just A question….but the Essay question. Tell me, Is that cricket? Is that fair and just and playing by the rules? Who does he think he is?

J: uh! The examiner? He thinks he is God and he is right....anyway what happened to all your preparation?

S: as a matter of fact I did a lot of hard work on my preparation but sometimes things don’t go your way do they? You just don’t get a break…

J: you studied long and hard?

S: you bet….i studied that damn book top to bottom a hundred times..Went all the way from cover to cover- as soon as I bought it- right in the beginning of the semester itself.

J: so you must know all the answers.

S: answers? What answers? it contained only questions….where does it have the answers?

J: what book are we talking about here? Just to check that we are both on the same page.

S: the 5 year question bank…..that’s the one I studied cover to cover a hundred times- trying to predict what would come today.

J: (Aside) so there you are ladies and gentlemen..another student bites the dust….just goes to show that nobody beats the system, it wins every time….signing off here from the exam hall…..

If you have ever felt like this in the exam hall, then you must know that both the Journalist and Student, who were talking in mind-voice, were yours truly……..and I am sure everyone has a variation of this story in their own lives

55 words on Love

Thanks to Sowmya Swaminathan who blogs here : .... for  picking me for the Liebster Blog Award.....

The rules of the award include Rule 1) picking 5 other blogs i found interesting...heres a few:

Susan Deborah's:

Ashwini CN's:

Michelen Cleary's:

Jen Mueller's :

Pratibha Muthu's :

And Rule 2) Spread the love...... which i do very well as a matter of course.


And now with that out of the way......Let me spread a little more love around. This next post is a personal tribute to my young friend Sowmya who professes not to believe in true love (shocker!!).....
May she meet the man of her dreams, fall head over heels in love and have her heart broken (ok....maybe not that)....or atleast feel the agonies and ecstasies of true love.....from the slings and arrows of outrageous comes my little (maiden) attempt at 55 fiction....where you express yourself strictly within the 55 word limit.

55-words on love….

Hit Me and I Grin Back,
Stab Me and I bleed not,
Bury me and I dig me out,
Burn me and watch me reborn
But leave me Alone, My Princess,
And Then die I,
For You Are, My dear,
My blood, My heart, My soul,
My Everything, Darling,
Light of my Life,
My Love.

Criticisms and comments are most welcome....for i am on the path and i do not fool myself that i have arrived....


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Ide's Of March......

The Ide’s of March..

For those who have not had the advantage of a fine classical education, like yours truly and if you cannot roll Latin and Greek aphorisms off your tongue like so many sweet peppermints, then for your enlightenment- the Ides’ of march refer to that fateful day when Julius Caesar was stabbed and in general parlance refers to the madness which suddenly descends on men and women when march arrives. Although I am generally immune to all kinds of madness, being a living proof that if you are already afflicted with something that thing cannot come back to bite you…. Anyway, I woke up today screaming and sweating enough to rouse the whole house, which is just a metaphor (in the best traditions of English literature, think Charles Dick’ens, he, he, can’t help sniggering, whenever I say the second part of his name) as everyone else at the house was already awake by then as they don’t have the advanced ability or superhuman strength to sleep through a power-cut, I screamed and only woke myself up. 

Sweating profusely, both from the airless room and my absolute terror at the nightmare I had just had I tried to recall what it was that had made me shiver me timbers, laddie (that’s pirate speak for being afraid- see what a fine all round education I’ve had), I recalled the nightmare involved something about writing an exam and not finding the time to complete it or the supervisor running out of additional sheets just when I finally remember the answer and that’s it. If there is a phobia specifically for fear of exams, I am sure they can use me as a poster-model for it. Every year when March dawns slyly, I, like thousands of students all over India wake up sweating at all hours of the morning to study for upcoming exams.  And this doesn’t involve a proper morning time like say 8:00AM – it involves waking up at unearthly hours like 4:00am when the only other people awake with you are Vampires rushing home after a fun filled night of biting necks.

Every since I joined the educational system at the tender age of around 3, when I was torn from the bosom of my mother (again another metaphor, see dad, paying my school fees is not in vain) and sent to a correctional institute for the criminally inclined called Pre-school where they torture kids with insubordination tendencies to try to make them into fine upstanding citizens with anti social tendencies. Anyhow that’s when the culture of writing exams slowly permeated into my consciousness like the slime monster from outer space taking over the earth and my dad started his “wake up, its dawn, start studying” routine….for he knew that when it comes to waking me from sleep, even a dozen alarm clocks had no chance to disturb my tranquility for I would retreat into my Zen zone and disregard the external noises and disturbances. My mother on her part would deal out aphorisms like “March goes marching past” to try and make me, already shivering with fright, to pee in my pants at the thought of approaching exams and a blank answer sheet in exchange for a full question paper theory of bartering…(see, I even know a little economics too...)

This constant hectoring about exams and marks has left such an imprint on my psyche that 30 years later when I no longer have to be afraid of exams or answer sheets or mark lists or PTA meetings or the abominable snowman or love letters… errr to get back to topic, when I need no longer be afraid of anymore exams – I still wake up shivering and screaming, come march. The exams I write now are purely for fun and games, as it has become an addiction with me to get additional degrees and failing them is not going to make any difference in my life, but childhood habits die hard and I find myself waking up again at the Brahma Muhurtam of 3:45AM to sit and read something/anything.

Finally, all this fear of exams has lead to one positive thing- the benefit of students at my college. Whenever I take a test for them, I usually correct their answer sheets, strictly and fairly and then to their marks, I always add a Pongal/Deepavali bonus of twenty marks each- uniformly to everyone, leaving everyone with enough marks to get full internals when compared to the other “strict” faculty who show their superior intellect only in correcting exams and never in teaching class.. That’s my way of getting back at the educational system which has terrorized me all my life, what’s yours?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Part 2_How A 3-D Film Ended Up Becoming A 3-X Film

(This Post contains Strong and Explicit content and is suitable only for Adult Readers and those above 18+ yrs.....)
 Part 2 – We decide on a movie

So there I was sitting and minding my own work when, guess who pops in? Manoj. Actually, I had more than an inkling that he might do…for the day had gone uniformly bad till then and as they say bad luck never comes alone but in spades. I had hoped for a quite end to the day, but it was not to be. The nurse who was stationed outside had failed to warn me that I had an unwelcome visitor and I just couldn’t run out the back door like I had often done before. But this time I was caught in a vice and had to go with the flow, wherever fate lead me on today, because Manoj was here and he was not the character to take “no” for an answer. Resigned to my fate, I gave a wan smile and welcomed him in and asked him to sit down and then as the stupid nurse at last peeked in, I signaled to her to go and get us a couple of coffees and that gave us the privacy to talk freely.

After the initial “Howdy dudes” I asked Manoj what was up with his life and he shrugged to indicate nothing major. I went on probing “I heard you got engaged some time back, how’s that coming along? When’s the glad date, for the nuptials?”. He shrugged again and said “It’s been called off- the girl didn’t like me or my attitude” “What attitude?” I enquired in a wondering tone “You usually know your way around girls, dude and I can’t believe that you messed up. Looking foolish in front of girls is for mere mortals like me, but you?” I shook my head in disbelief. ”Ahhh” he dragged the word out as if unwilling to share a painful story, then taking the plunge went on “everything was fine till the engagement dude and then she showed her evil side. She wanted me to abandon my parents and move in with her parents. How can I do that? Am I not an only son? And you know how much love my mother has kept on me?” and he wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. 

I almost believed him then, almost, and if I didn’t know my friend better, I would have said that he really grieved for the lost girl. But I had already had inside information and so I only wondered how fine an actor had been lost to the film world. I looked around in my drawer for the box of tissues I kept there for the rare day I needed some solace and I offered him one and waited for him to wipe his eyes, blow his nose and compose himself before I said “Dude. Bala told me everything already” and I smiled at him. He immediately grinned at me and winked – “It happens dude, she deserved it.” And I smiled back. That’s the thing with Manoj- you catch him red-handed – he will accept it immediately and cheerfully, instead of offering any half-assed excuses. 

Now the story that Bala had told me earlier was that Manoj’s mother, for his father was always away on official duty somewhere or the other (and we who had lived in the same apartment since childhood had never met him more than a couple of times) and Manojs’ mother, who herself was a high ranking officer in the central government had through her contacts, fixed up a nice and proper alliance for him- same family status and all. For a change, Manoj seemed to like the girl too which was a rare experience, for he was always dodging the wedding bullet, by asking for time to consider. 

But this time his mother decided not to let him get away that easily and so had arranged an immediate-on the spot engagement at the end of the girl seeing itself and Manoj was caught. He had no advance warning and there looked to be no escape from it or at least for an ordinary person, but this was Manoj and they hadn’t reckoned on his ingenuity. Anyway, Manoj had patiently gone through the engagement as if he was such a dutiful son but had been plotting a mega plan in his mind.

 After the engagement, he had started talking to the girl and somehow they had hit upon mutual friends and all, as both were working for IT companies. Gradually, he had established confidence in her and had started taking her out and as they went out oftener the girl got more and more comfortable with him. And then had come the master-stroke.

He had somehow arranged with the girl to go on a picnic trip to Mahabs stating that a lot of their mutual friends and couples were coming along and the girl had told her parents that she was going on a orientation/bonding trip with her company people on the weekend and then went away with Manoj. 

Once at GRT, Temple Bay, Mahabs he had somehow convinced her that no one else was coming and this was going to be a grand experience -a trip worth remembering all their lives- and she had consented to stay on. They had spent the weekend together having sex and on the way back, in fact just as soon as they had left Mahabs limits, Manoj had used his Brahmastra.

 He had gradually introduced the topic of their future married life and had insisted that she give up her job and stay home and cook for him and his mother. Argument had escalated into a shouting match and she had called him the usual “male Chauvinist pig” and all, which was what Manoj was waiting for. He had driven her to absolutely rage cold-bloodedly (calling her a slut for sleeping with a him before the wedding) till she was foaming at her mouth and just when she looked like assaulting him with deadly weapons (for suggesting that she fall at his feet and beg forgiveness if she wanted the marriage to go ahead) he had dropped her off at her home. 

There had been absolute silence for a week after that, till on the weekend her father had turned up at Manoj’s place. With a sorrowful look on his face he had apologized profusely to Manoj and his mother and had said that he had come to call the marriage off as his daughter absolutely refused to go through with it for reasons she refused to tell. Manojs’ mother had shouted at him for their loss of face in society if the news got out, but he had apologized with tears in his eyes saying his daughter threatened to commit suicide if they went on with further arrangements.

 Manoj stepped in then very graciously and offered to forget everything, for as he put it, what good will a marriage do, if there is no meeting of the hearts and it was better to avoid now itself, all future unpleasantness. The poor man, his ex-father-in-law had gone off pouring out his everlasting gratitude to Manoj and promising him any help he wanted at any time in the future. And Manoj’s mother, to heal his broken heart, had financed him a trip to Thailand to undergo “Naturotherapy”.

“Dude” I just had to ask him “but how were you so sure that she wouldn’t trip you up by telling her parents about your weekend together at Mahabs? That was a damn big risk you took”. Manoj smiled at my naivety and said “For the simple reason that this wasn’t the first trip she gone to Mahabs. She had already been on a company “Family Get-together” couple of times before. She confessed it all to me at the room and I graciously forgave her past remarking that we are here to start a new life and so let the past go- in the mood I was in then, I would have said anything. And so, there was no way later that she was going to snitch on me to her parents”. 

I leant back in my chair and paused to admire him. He had pulled off a difficult one- the old “Use Your Finger to Pock Your Eye” technique. It was an old one, been around for centuries and I thought no one fell for it nowadays, but now and then you do find someone stupid enough to fall for it, huh? Besides it was quite risky, as sometimes it may backfire on you, as another one of my friends, Raj, found out to his cost.

Raj had been quite a player in his time but he tried that same trick one too many time and had got caught. He had taken out a lady friend, when no one was there at his house, for a bonding session and had later tried the old technique to get rid of her. But she, wise woman, had stuck to him like a leech, despite his more and more desperate and frantic stratagems to get rid of her. Nothing worked. She had successfully threatened him with the law and punishment and women’s organizations and Dharnas in front of his house, until his parents to prevent their son from going to jail, had finally got him married at a local temple silently and the lady became his wife.

Raj ended up getting a daily reminder from her at bedtime –of all his attempts to besmirch her reputation every single day of their “happily” married life and was increasingly being driven to desperation until he attended a conference at a different city. There, he happened to meet a few erstwhile college mates of his wife and as they were all discussing what happened to the girl who was such an easy lay during their college says, raj discovered that the woman in discussion was his current wife. 

Greatly relieved and armed with authentic knowledge (and evidence) Raj returned home a new Man, master of his own household and silenced his wife’s attacks on him permanently with his knowledge of her past history. He is back to playing the field again and his wife has now a don’t ask/don’t tell policy regarding his hunts.

Anyhow, Manoj then proposed that we go to a film as he hadn’t seen a Tamil film for a long time. I pointed out that we may not get tickets at this late hour. He waved me off and said that there is a film called Ambuli-3D for which you can walk in and get tickets anytime. So, I wrote down a permission letter for the afternoon and we left for the theatre to catch that movie. As we went out, I asked Manoj whether we should call Bala, but he smiled mischievously and said “its afternoon, I don’t think he will choose to spend his time with us, dude, when the next door auntie, you remember her from the opposite flat?, will be all alone at home” And so we went away. 

Whatever was going to happen at the movie?… on in the next part.