The world is a really big mafia town and a family is its smallest unit.
September 14, 2016
August 14, 2016
July 28, 2016
We don’t eat beef in India.
We prefer Salman Khan.
Don’t ever cross his path. Or of his friends. Or of his fans.
Don’t get fooled by his religion, if you want to be safe.
All these may not be enough.
He may still cross your path.
June 19, 2016
औरलैंडो घटना के बारे में भारतीय जनता की टिप्पणी:
ओ तेरी! पचास छक्के मार दिए! ये तो धोनी कोहली से भी आगे निकला!
April 8, 2015
जंगली जानवर तो
सब खतम हो गए
खूब शिकार खेला
हज़ारों साल खेला
पहले खेला खाने के लिए
फिर खेला मज़े के लिए
इतना मज़ा आया
इतना मज़ा आया
कि सौ दो सौ साल में ही
सारे जानवर निपटा दिए
और जंगल भी सब काट डाले
उसका भी अपना मज़ा था
मगर क्या करें यार
शिकार की तलब तो
अब भी वैसे ही लगती है
पर इजाज़त अब ज़रा
मुश्किल से मिलती है
लेकिन जब मिल जाती है
तो चूकते हरगिज़ नहीं हैं
पर जैसा ऊपर कहा जा चुका है
जानवर तो सब खतम हो गए
पालतू को मारने में मज़ा नहीं है
तो बचा बस अब आदमी ही है
(मिसाल पालतू आदमी से नहीं है)
उसी का शिकार करना पड़ता है
यानी आदमी का जो पालतू नहीं हो
इजाज़त चाहे मुश्किल से मिलती हो
पर उसका मज़ा ज़बरदस्त है
जिसने किया है वही जानता है
पर लार दूसके भी टपकाते हैं
आदमियों, माने इंसानों की
कोई कमी भी नहीं है
एक ढूंढो हज़ार मिलते हैं
निपटा तो सकते नहीं
पर टपका तो सकते हैं
थोड़ा माहौल बनाना पड़ता है
कभी-कभी तो शिकार को
मुठभेड़ भी दिखाना पड़ता है
एक बार आदम-खून लग जाए
तो छूटने का नाम नहीं लेता
और छोड़ना चाहता भी कौन है
मुश्किल घूम-फिर के एक वही है
इजाज़त ज़रा मुश्किल से मिलती है
और शिकार के बाद कभी-कभी तो
सिरफिरों की गालियाँ सुननी पड़ती हैं
पर भौंकते कुत्तों की परवा किसे है
हम तो भई खेलते हैं
गर्व से खेलते हैं
और खेलते ही रहेंगे
खूब खेल चुके हैं अब तक
छप्पन नहीं साहब
छप्पन हज़ार, कि लाख, कि करोड़
कौन जाने, गिनती थोड़े ही रखते हैं
कभी शहर में, कभी गाँव में
कभी रेगिस्तान में, कभी पहाड़ पर
कभी वाहन के भीतर, कभी वाहन पर
दोपहर को, शाम को, मुफ़्ती में, वर्दी में
काले का, गोरे का, भूरे का, पीले का
इस धर्म वाले का, उस धर्म वाले का
(धार्मिक शिकार का मज़ा अलग ही है)
कभी दिन में, तो कभी अंधेरे में
कभी इमारत के भीतर, कभी बाहर
कभी समंदर पर, कभी जंगल में
जंगल में शिकार: वाह भई वाह
उसकी कोई बराबरी है ही नहीं
समंदर से भी नहीं, किसी से नहीं
(वैसे समंदर सब को नसीब भी कहाँ है)
पुराने दिनों की याद आ जाती है
आदमी-जानवर का अंतर मिट जाता है
बराबरी का बोलबाला, बुरे का मुँह काला
बिल्कुल ग़लत कह रहे हो यार
हम शिकार करते ही नहीं हैं
हम सिर्फ़ तो बलि चढ़ाते हैं
जैसे पहले चढा करती थी
वैसे ही अब भी चढ़ाते हैं
पर कुछ बात तुम्हारी सही है
इजाज़त ज़रा मुश्किल से मिलती है
और बराबरी चाहे जाए भाड़ में
पर बुरे का मुँह ज़रूर काला
[8 अप्रैल, 2015]
July 20, 2013
(Man of the Year: 1938)
(A Noble Revelation)
(Monster of the Year: 2013)
(So There Has Been Progress)
(Now That’s What We Call a Hero)
(The Self-Serving Cowards)
(Losers Whining in Their Panic Room)
(But These Lives Don’t Count)
(Why Are You Complaining?)
(And We Have a War Going On)
(That Will Go On Indefinitely)
(But We Are Not Heartless!)
(Haven’t We Pardoned This Terrorist?)
(These People Are Not Enjoying Their Old Age in Peace)
(They are Broken and Tormented At The End)
(Our Hero Kissinger Dies Happy)
(He Was Not Tormented At All)
(These Are Uneducated People)
(We Are Smart And Sophisticated)
(Have We Sinned? We Have Not.)
(And This Has Nothing to Do With Us)
(We Can’t Waste Our Time in Trying to Understand)
(Why and How a Tragedy Like This Happens)
(We Told You Al-Qaida was in Iraq)
(That’s Why We Attacked and Destroyed It)
(This Has Nothing to Do With Us Either)
(You Have a Morbid Obsession with Death)
(Totally Irrelevant. You Are Crazy.)
July 7, 2013
– अगला आडमी बुलाओ।
एक आदमी अपने काग़ज़ लेकर आगे आता है।
– क्या नाम है टुम्हारा?
– कीर्ति आज़ाद
– (एकदम गुस्से में खड़े होकर) साला बाग़ी! टुमको आज़ाडी मांगटा?
– नहीं साहब …
– साला, झूट बोलटा! ए सिपॉय सीटाराम!
– जी, हुज़ूर!
– इस बागी को उढर मैडान में लेजाके डो सौ कोड़े लगाओ।
– पर साहब, मैं तो आपके खिलाफ़ नहीं हूँ!
– साला, फिर झूट बोलटा!
– गुस्ताखी मुआफ़, हुजूर, पर ये सही कह रहा है। ये तो दोस्त रियासत की दोस्त पार्टी का है। हिंदुस्तान में बी जे पी का एम पी है। हिंदुस्तान के बारे में तो आप जानते ही हैं, और इसकी पार्टी भी बड़ी वफ़ादार पार्टी है। हिंदुस्तान की सबसे वफ़ादार पार्टी है।
– टो ये अपने नाम में आजाड काए को लगाए है? खैर, इसको लेजाके डो घंटे कोठरी में बंद कर डो।
– हुज़ूर, ये तो ज्यादती हो जाएगी। सरकार बहादुर का तो नाम है इंसाफ़ के लिए।
– टुम ठीक कहटा है। फिर भी सबक डेना टो ज़रूरी है। इसे डो घंटे उधर बेंच पर बिठा डो।
– जी हुज़ूर। बिल्कुल जाय़ज़ सज़ा मुकर्रर की है साहब ने। .. आओ, चलो।
– पर ये तो ज़्यादती है!
– अरे, ख़ैर मनाओ। तुम बी जे पी के हो और एम पी हो और यहीं से वर्ल्ड कप जीत के गए थे। अगर नहीं होते और आंध्र प्रदेश या उड़ीसा या, भगवान न करे, छत्तीसगढ़ में आंदोलन वगैरह से जुड़े होते तो कौन जाने शायद यहाँ से तुमको उठा के ले जाया जाता और एन्काउंटर भी हो सकता था।
– पर मेरे नाम में आज़ाद तो …
– पता है, पता है! पर आज़ादी का फ़ैशन अब चला गया। दुनिया आगे बढ़ गई है और तुम्हारा नाम पुराना पड़ गया है और खतरनाक बन गया है।
– अच्छा ठीक है, पर बी जे पी से क्या? राज तो अभी कौंग्रेस का है …
– कौंग्रेस के होते तो भी बच जाते। वो भी तो दोस्त पार्टी है। … तुम्हारे अकेले के साथ ही ऐसा नहीं हुआ है। दरअसल कॉरपोरेश बहादुर, जिनके राज में कभी सूरज अस्त नहीं होता, आजकल काफ़ी सख्ती बरत रही है। किसी भी तरह की बग़ावत को एकदम बर्दाश्त नहीं करेगी। तुमने सुना ही होगा, आजकल तो राष्ट्रपतियों को भी नहीं बख्शा जाता, एम पी की तो छोड़ो।
– तो दो घंटे क्या होगा?
– कुछ नहीं, आराम से बैठकर सज़ा की फ़ॉर्मेल्टी पूरी करो। यह सोच लेना किसी और को सज़ा दी जा रही है। हमारे साहब बहादुर को क्या तुम बेवकूफ़ समझते हो? ऐसे ही थोड़े ही ना कह दिया है। अब तुम एम पी हो और वर्ल्ड कप विजेता हो तो खबर तो बनेगी ही। यह खबर दूसरों के लिए सबक का काम करेगी। कोई बड़ी बात नहीं है। … और तुम्हारी पार्टी चाहे तो इसका भी चुनाव में इस्तेमाल कर सकती है … इसी आज़ाद नाम को लेकर … क्या समझे?
– पर इज़्ज़त भी तो कोई चीज़ होती है। एम पी की भी तो कुछ हैसियत होती है।
– अरे अब छोड़ो भी! अब नाम ऐसा है तो थोड़ा भुगतना तो पड़ेगा ही। ऐसा करना, वापस पहुँच कर प्रेस को एक बयान दे देना। मन हल्का हो जाएगा।
April 25, 2013
To be more precise, not just an utensil (though it can serve as that), but a device. No, not an I.E. Device, but a common cooking device.
One of the latest targets of the newest witch hunts is something called a pressure cooker. Photos of a destroyed pressure cooker have been all over the screens and papers of the world. They are almost presented as the photos of a monster.
The other day, that great conman of the 21st century who holds the title of the President of the US of A (not that most of the rest are any better), was giving another one of his precious speeches in which he said solemnly and seriously that the surviving accused —
Let us repeat it together: The surviving – accused. Accused.
Repeat the last part once more: Accused.
Or, alternatively: The suspect.
Or, another alternative: The alleged perpetrator.
Repeat the second last part: Alleged.
(This repetition excercise is courtesy another famous president, famous at least in my part of the world).
– So the great conman president was telling the world that any time bombs are used against innocent civilians (presumably for political purposes, though he didn’t say that), it is an act of terror. Two days later, I heard on the news that the accused has been charged with “using weapons of mass destruction”.
For a moment I actually thought that I was in South Park.
But South Park is a much saner place.
A brave journalist (citing the above statement) did, in fact, question the White House spokesman (shame! shame! what an office to hold!) about whether the US considers its bombing in Afghanistan carried out only a few days earlier, that killed 14 children and a woman, i.e., innocent civilians, (presumably for political purposes, thought she didn’t say so) an act of terror. The spokesman gave the kind of moronic reply that only spokesmen, PR guys and morons can give.
Fifteen is five times three. If you are allowed to say that two plus two is four.
Anyway, all that is not very relevant to the topic of this article. The theme, or rather the protagonist, of this article is the utensil, the cooking device called a pressure cooker. Animals can’t speak for themselves, but they can still express some feelings and reactions. A pressure cooker cannot even do that. It is not even a living being. It is not even an entity. It is a type that represents individual pressure cookers such as the one you have been seeing (in a mutilated condition) for the last so many days.
But the need of the hour is that we talk about a type as an entity. Sometimes that is necessary. For example, we talk about the common man. Almost everyone does. At least they do in India, where I am from, which is very relevant to the current theme. They do, even though there is no ‘the common man’, as many wise men keep pointing out. Still, it sometimes makes sense to pretend that there is. Similarly, we can talk about ‘the pressure cooker’, when we are actually talking about a type. And it is more justified in this case, because ‘the pressure cooker’ is much more like ‘a pressure cooker’ than ‘the common man’ is like ‘a common man’.
So, let’s get on with it.
Pressure Cooker for Dummies
What is a pressure cooker? It is a cooking device that is shaped like an utensil (it is an utensil, at least a part of it is an utensil). It is used to cook a wide variety of home cooked food (and even some non-home cooked). It is an utensil with a lid. The top of the utensil and the bottom of the lid are made in such a way that the lid can be screwed on to the utensil that holds the item to be cooked. The lid requires a washer (a ‘gasket’) to be inserted in it, before it can be screwed on to the utensil. The washer makes the pressure cooker air tight: It prevents the water vapour from escaping from the utensil. The part of the science behind the pressure cooker is based on the famous Gas Laws, which are primarily based on the (very aptly named) Boyl’s Law and the Charles’ Law. One of the basic ideas is that as the temperature of the item in the cooker increases, since the volume and the mass remain constant (as the water vapour cannot escape), the pressure goes up. High pressure means faster cooking. But that is not all. The other basic idea is that water boils at higher temperature at higher pressure. That means that, inside the pressure cooker, since the water boils at higher temperature, the cooking items can be heated up to a higher temperature, which also greatly helps cooking.
So what can happen if the pressure cooker is left unattended and the pressure goes too high? Not to worry. Every pressure cooker’s anatomy (and physiology) consists of another important part, that is, the safety valve. When the pressure reaches a carefully set limit for which it was designed, the safety valve lets some of the steam out, thereby avoiding the possibility of the cooker being blown up. Just like a circuit breaker prevents an electric device from catching fire.
Pressure Cooker for Grown Ups (Reader Discretion Strongly Advised)
Why is it important to defend, indeed, praise this device about which the current consensus seems to be that it is dangerous device? A weapon of mass destruction!
Take a fucking sanity check, you morons!
The pressure cooker is a great friend of humanity.
To digress just a little bit, not everyone has been calling to execute the pressure cooker. There have been many who have defended it. However, sadly, some of them have put it in the same category as guns. They are saying, they are in fact petitioning, that: “Don’t ban pressure cookers. Don’t ban guns.”
Now, in an ideal world, I would like not to have any guns or bombs or anything of the sort. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, I am prepared to discuss why guns should not be banned. Still, even in practice, in the present world, I personally favour gun control, based on common sense. But the point is that I am prepared to discuss whether they should be banned or not. I am unlikely to change my opinion though, for reasons on which we can’t spend the precious space here.
But putting guns and pressure cookers in the same category? No way! They have hardly anything in common.
I won’t talk about guns, but I will about the poor, much maligned pressure cooker that is such a boon to a large population of the world. And to the planet.
Here is why.
Because of the way it is designed and the science behind it, it is not only quite safe to use, but is actually a device that is beneficial to humanity in many different ways.
It is a great energy conservator. What would have required 10x of energy to cook, needs only 3x or may be just one 1x, depending on what you are cooking. Not exact numbers, but good indicators.
It is a great option for saving time. The same numbers apply as for energy, more or less.
Since it keeps everything inside it, it serves two other important purposes. First, less smell escapes, so that the neighbours will feel less envy. Or disgust, depending on the tastes and customs. Second, since less smell escapes, it is preserved in the cooked food. The food tastes and smells better. Now, some might not agree with the last part and there are indeed charms associated with, say, cooking on an old style wood-burning ‘choolha’, but such things are hardly practical in the cities.
It is also not very expensive. It costs less than a microwave. At least it does in the places where it is used the most.
And where is it used the most? That is a very pertinent and, dare I say, a burning question.
It is used in the poorest countries of the world. It is used, for example, in the whole of South Asia. So much so, that no South Asian kitchen (provided there is a kitchen and the kitchen owners can afford to buy it) is complete without a pressure cooker. If there is any one single item most commonly associated with cooking in modern South Asia, it is the cook’s best friend, the pressure cooker.
And I believe it is used in many other parts of the world. In countries of the South. The East. The Third World.
Plotting to deprive the Third World (and parts of the Second World) of the one common luxury that it has? It is criminal and diabolical, to say the least.
In the First World countries too, the pressure cooker might be one of the common denominators among the people whose origins lie in the the Third World.
There is always a need to find innovative ways to express as well as practice some time honoured traditions like racism and discrimination. An enemy has to be found. The enemy is mostly based on the race or some such criterion. But the enemy has to appear as race-neutral for reasons of political correctness. This time it is the poor pressure cooker.
Of course, as indicated above, there are vast numbers in the Third World who can’t even afford to buy a pressure cooker. But those who can, do. Because it is an essential item in the kitchen, often the first cooking utensil that is bought when a house starts becoming a home.
The pressure cooker saves money for people who earn relatively less (and even for those who earn a lot). It conserves energy, thereby reducing the greenhouse gas emission, the CO2 footprint. It saves time and thereby makes people more productive. It encourages better nutrition because those who are lazy can still quickly cook something if they have a pressure cooker at hand.
And to top it all, the pressure cooker’s existence is perhaps one of the few (or may be the only) redeeming features of that infernal activity called bauxite mining.
Take a look inside your girehbaans, you murdering scoundrels!
But pressure cooker can even be made from steel. And when it is, it not only deprives the bauxite industry of its redemption, it can be also be used with an induction heater. The pair together save even more energy.
The only negative side that I can think of is related to washing it. Washing it is somewhat more cumbersome than washing a microwave glass bowl.
I have been living alone for the last decade. I am known to be very negligent about food. So people, that is, family members, keep asking me about food. I have an elder brother. I have met him rarely in more than a decade, but whenever we meet, he advises me about using the pressure cooker to quickly cook something to ensure that the body gets at least the minimum that it needs. Before coming to France, and also when he once came to France after I came here, he stressed this point. He even advises me about how to use it in such a way that the neighbours (of the First World) are not scared by the (safety valve’s) whistle that the pressure lets out from time to time. (In India, we are all very much used to it). He does that, of course, because he is concerned about my nutrition and health. He is a highly qualified doctor by training. And a very good one. And he is telling from his experience, because he has travelled much more than me and has lived in even more places than me.
I haven’t followed his advise here. But that is at my own peril. The point is that I know the value of the pressure cooker. If I had it here, I would have eaten better.
So what about the dangers it is purported to pose to the community? Well, there can indeed be rare occasions when an old pressure cooker ‘blows up’. It did actually happen once when I was a teenager, almost in my sight. Fortunately, no one was injured. But that didn’t stop us from using it.
When I bought my first microwave some years ago, I once put something in it — a ‘paapad’ and what happened? It (the ‘paapad’) caught fire, which was easily put out as I was right in front of it at that time. But that didn’t stop me from using it. And everyone knows what can happen if you put a metal utensil in a microwave, something much more likely to happen in countries where the microwave is still a novelty.
Earlier it was the pagdi. Then it was the burka. Now they have got hold of the pressure cooker. They keep getting nastier and nastier.
While pagdi and burka were specific to certain communities (also from the Third World), the pressure cooker casts a much wider net. And, as detailed above, there is hardly anything rational to said against it. And a lot that can be said in favour of it.
Don’t let them get away with it.
A Very Boring and Unoriginal Excercise for the Reader
Who used the world’s first most famous weapon of mass destruction against innocent civilians? The one and only time it was used?
Which countries used chemical weapons extensively against each other, so much so that they had to be banned?
Who possesses the most weapons in the world and sells most of them? Each infinitely more dangerous than a pressure cooker BOMB, let alone a mere pressure cooker?
(The Writer is evading the question about who buys most of those dangerous weapons).
In the last one month, or one year, or one decade, or one century, how many have been killed by a pressure cooker BOMB, let alone a mere pressure cooker, a cooking device?
And how many have been killed in the last month, just one month alone by US made and US delivered BOMBS (with some other former empires pitching in), which had nothing whatsoever to do with the pressure cooker?
Given the quality of what is shown on TVs these days, if someone were to make a bomb using one of them (out of mere frustration from watching them), should TVs be banned?
(If you say that they should be banned anyway, even if they are not used as a bomb, you have the writer’s sympathy).
Just a Few Questions for the Really Grown Ups
Can TVs and other such devices be used as weapons of mass destruction? Even without them being used as BOMBS or even as detonators? Are they already being used as such? If yes, should they be banned?
Who is using them?
April 23, 2013
The horrible night (and evening) is back again. It’s back with a vengeance.
The same symptoms. Right according a scripts. Or a chemical.
You eat or (more usually) drink something and soon they are on you. All over you.
A vague pain starts in the stomach. The pain turns to a burning sensation.
The burning sensation, the inflammation spreads to the whole abdomen.
Pretty soon, your tongue seems to be on fire. It is not just the tip of the tongue, as in some other kind of problems.
Then it worsens. The whole upper body seems to be on fire. From the inside.
No other word can do it justice. Torture. That is the word, much as I try to avoid uttering (or writing) it.
(Any word used too much loses its meaning).
Anguish is also a good word, but perhaps not strong enough.
Some of the inflammation reaches the head. Fire seems to be running through your veins.
Everything else remains fine. You can think. You can even work, that is, if you manage to bear the pain and the burning.
Then there are the palpitations, of course. They add the terror that is hard to ignore.
The inflammation in the throat and on the tongue and the chest means that you feel as if you are choking, so eating (or sometimes even drinking) becomes difficult.
Apart from the pain and the inflammation, there is a real breathing problem. Which makes everything worse.
You can take a pain killer and an anti-inflammation pill, but it doesn’t help much.
Sometimes, the heartbeat goes wild too.
For the last few weeks, it had stopped. I don’t know why. In fact, I was feeling unusually well for the last two or three days. Today, it has started again.
As I am writing this, I am experiencing perhaps the worst of such cases so far.
I need to sleep, because I didn’t sleep much last night, or I should say this early morning.
Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a bank official. It is very important that I meet him tomorrow, but I am not sure if I will be able to make it.
I had met him some days ago. I have to meet him again because of a series of events that have taken place over the last few days.
Since I will be leaving France at the end of this month, I have to transfer my savings over the year to my Indian account.
It has turned into a nightmarish adventure that seems to have no end.
And I thought it was very easy to do. As a matter of fact, it is very easy. In theory. With internet banking.
The problem is that, to use the Internet banking for this purpose, I have to have my mobile phone number registered for something that is called a CERTICODE service. It is meant for better security.
The problems started because, after the initial period in France, when I got my proper mobile connection, I asked the bank to register the new number. It turned out that the number change was made only for certain kind of messages, not for this CERTICODE service.
I found this out only about a few weeks ago. I then started my rounds of the bank. At the counter, they told me that this can be done by calling their IVR (Interactive Voice Response) customer service number, not from the bank.
There was an Indian lady there, or someone of Indian or South Asian origin, who knew English (she did speak to me in English briefly and perfectly). But she pretended that she didn’t understand English and could only understand French. She talked to me mostly in French, which I could not understand. One of the other ladies there actually asked her why she was not speaking to me in English, but she evaded the question.
She did however (politely) made me meet the bank official assigned to me. He seemed annoyed at this meeting without an appointment, but he met me anyway. I explained the problem to him. He said, no problem. He checked my id card, as he is required to do. He opened the database and I could partially see the monitor. He said, yes, the CERTICODE number has not been changed. But he did not do anything in front of me. I was expecting that he would just type in the new number and save it. (He was expected to give me the receipt for the same too, as I understand, which he did not give). I noticed that he hadn’t changed anything, so I politely mentioned that this (the number still there on the screen) is my old number. He said, no problem, it is done. Since you have got it done with me, it is secure. I took him at his word, thinking that perhaps he was in hurry for something and he will change it later.
Several days gone by and the number did not change. In my Internet banking account, there was still the same old CERTICODE number.
Finally I went to the bank again. This time there was a person who did speak English. Initially he said it can’t be done. You have to call the customer care. He also said at first that the window (guichet) is closed, though others were being served. I stood there. Stood my gound, you could say. Then he asked me to wait at another counter. Finally he asked me for my bank card and he did change the number and give me a receipt. The number change takes 48 hours to become effective. That is one of the causes for the worry.
The same person had done a similar change many months ago, when I initially opted for the CERTICODE service, which is required for using the bank card as a credit card and for some other purposes such as money transfer.
I did call the customer care number, which I have problem using because — I understand spoken French very little. But, as if by a miracle, I got connected once to someone who spoke English well. I asked him about the number change. He said he can’t do it because he will need to check my id, which made sense. He said I will have to go to my bank to get it done. He said they told you that? I said yes. He said then I should change my bank. I don’t know what he meant by that.
When I mentioned to someone about the problems I was facing in getting my social security number and my health insurance, which I have given up on, I was told sarcastically that I should move to Britain. I have no idea what he meant by that.
Anyway, meanwhile, I was starting to wind up some things as I did not have much time left. I have one broadband connection and I had one mobile connection. Both from the same company. According to their guidelines, to close the accounts, you have to send a written letter to them by post.
For both connections, there are two options. One is that you want to terminate the connection immediately at the receipt of the letter of cancellation at their office. The other is that you opt for closing at the end of the month (for broadband) or at the end of the billing cycle (for the mobile connection: the date for me was 4th May, a safe date, as I would be leaving earlier).
For the broadband connection, there was a PDF file that I could generate and just fill in and enter my name etc. For the moblile connection, there was no such letter. So I just used the same format and language as the one for the broadband connection. In both cases, I (obviously) specifically opted for the end of the month option, not immediate termination.
Why on earth would I opt for immediate termination when I am leaving at the end of the month and urgently need both connections till the end of the month?
I sent the letter just before I went to the bank on the day when the English speaking person actually changed my CERTICODE number.
The number was changed to this same number which I was going to close at the end of the month.
And what happens? Several days go by (certainly more than 48 hours) and the CERTICODE number was still not changed. Then I wake up one day I find out that my mobile connection is not working. I receive an email soon that my connection has been terminated. That evening, I also find out (from Internet banking) that the CERTICODE number has been changed to the number that has been terminated.
The electronic change of phone number had not taken place even after several days, but the snail mail went at the speed of sound and the required action was taken immediately. To terminate the account.
I bought another number, a prepaid one. A more expensive option. I tried to recharge it with my French credit card (bank card), but it didn’t work because I can’t receive the ‘security’ code on my mobile and that is because the mobile number that it is sent to has been terminated. I try my Indian credit card, but the payment is not accepted for some unknown reason. I had used the same credit card sometime ago without any problem.
Finally, after some research, I manage to recharge with the bank card through the mobile itself with those hash based codes, an option that does not require the CERTICODE. I make two recharges. One for international calls and one for French calls. It turns out that I can call to India, but I can’t call to a French number because I have no credit in my account. The small amount of credit that the SIM card came with was wasted in trying to call the bank’s customer care. Now I try to make another recharge in the same way, one that will add some credit to the account, so that I can make calls within France.
But this time, the same card is not accepted. I tried for hours, but it refused to work.
The next day, with no other option, I went to a shop and asked for a recharge voucher. That problem, at least, was solved (I hope it remains solved), although at the shop I had to endure some derisive laughter, as if they knew what was going on with me.
So I went to the bank again. To get my new number registered for the CERTICODE service. The same English speaking person this time refused to change the number. He said the counter is closed, though again, others were being served. He, instead gave me an appointment (for several days later) with my bank official. That’s why I have to meet him tomorrow.
I hope it is understandable that, especially given the fact that soon I will be without a job, I am worried about not being able to transfer my savings to my Indian account. I will have to live on that for some time (at least).
But the fire is raging right now. And I am not sure I will be able to keep the appointment.
And it came back this time, once again, after a visit to Paris. And while coming back, guess who came and sat opposite me for most of the journey? In the very corner seat at the end of the coach? The girl who I believe was taking my video on that day a month or more ago on that steep slope. There is a possibility that I might be wrong about this. But in any case, I have come across that girl a few times before on my rare visits out. And as my station came and I was getting ready to get down, she had a mischievous smile on her face, looking out of the window.
I came to to the apartment and found that someone had come in, as an inner door that I had closed for sure, was open.
I drank some water. There was a slight smell that I have come to recognize and I knew what was coming.
And here it is. I am in pain, to put it simply. There is fire inside my body. I want to drink water. But I know as soon as I drink it, it will become worse.
I must say though that I am not sure that it is because of the water. It could be something else. Sometimes it seems to be related to something else. But whatever it is, it is worse than anything I have experienced in India, where I did experience similar things continuously.
And it is not an anxiety attack. I am a veteran of anxiety attacks and I know the symptoms inside-out. I don’t feel any anxiety in that (clinical) sense. I am not even agitated. There is no panic. The only anxiety that I feel is a perfectly rational anxiety about not being able to keep the appointment tomorrow.
All I feel is pure physical pain and fire raging inside the body.
I know that writing this here is certainly not going to help me. It might make things worse. They can always get worse. But I feel it necessary to write it.
That’s why I am doing it.
April 13, 2013
Ever since the stranglehold of the Congress party was loosened over India, the Indian politics has had a succession of colourful leaders from parties which can’t even be put on a left-right spectrum or be identified with any other ideology, even nominally, though some of them sometimes make some ideological claims or wear some label. Purely for electoral purposes.
It would be foolish (and unwise) to dismiss these leaders and their parties as irrelevant to any serious political analysis, whether pedagogical or pragmatic or ideological or even historical. For these leaders, the leaders of the so called ‘regional’ parties (or other marginal parties) represent their constituencies in a more meaningful sense of the word than, say, Jawaharlal Nehru or any of his family ever represented the Indian population. They (members of the Nehru dynasty) got elected, of course, but why that happened (and keeps happening) is another long story.
Some of these leaders are more colourful than others. I have a kind of a personal Hall of Fame (or Infame, depending on your point of view) to which a small number of them belong. May be I will talk about them in more detail some time later, but I am going to mention one them now.
That one is Mamata Bannerjee. Maragaret Thatcher is still in the news as being the Iron Lady of Britain, but India had so many of them that we can only look with scorn at the US as it tries to elect its first woman President. It has already failed once.
And it is not just India which had women heads of state. Almost all South Asian countries did. Burma is on the track.
If it sounds great, let me spoil the party by pointing out that, of course, there is a catch here. Most of these women leaders were family members of a Great Man who was already in power, in one way or another. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and now Burma: the story is the same all over. Daughters and wives most often, but sometimes sisters or even mothers (at a little lower level than the head of the state).
What almost makes me proud is the fact that we even have the case of an unwed lover. At least one that I know of. Perhaps there are others. That makes me smile. With joy, not with sarcasm. Because that is something in Indian society. It is not a cakewalk.
Sorry, sorry, sorry! I just remembered another one. That makes my smile broader, because that case is even more to my liking.
Both of them are in my Hall of Fame. Or Infame, if you like. I prefer Fame, because I don’t see how they are any worse than any of the others.
But there are a few rare ones among these women leaders who got where they were (or are) on their own. As much as any man does.
One of them is Mamata Banerjee.
She is a worthy candidate for the label Iron Lady (in a somewhat different sense), in case you like such labels.
Who is she? She is the nemesis of the Establishment Left in India. At least in the only big state of India where the Establishment Left has a major presence. So major that it ruled that state for more than 20 years. Why it was able to rule that long is another interesting story, but the rule came to an end and the party that dislodged the Communist Party of India (Marxist), commonly known as CPI(M), was not a party that had any presence anywhere in India. It was a newly formed party called the Trinamool Congress. Trinamool literally means the one having origins in the leaves of grass. And for once, the literal meaning is not inaccurate, for the party is as much of a grassroots party as any party in India is, including all the Left parties.
And the reason her party is a grassroots party is because she herself is an untiring grassroots worker. She came up from below. She raised such a storm that the decaying castle of the CPI(M) ultimately collapsed. Neither of the two major parties of India (the Congress and the BJP) could take her place in Bengal after the fall of the (nominally) Leftist government.
I am not the right person to tell her story in detail, but I never cease to be amazed by the reaction to her from various sides.
You don’t like her? Don’t worry. I am not writing a eulogy.
Is she a saint? Is she a revolutionary? Is she a saviour? Of course not. There is hardly any space for such people in today’s India, if there ever was. She is as wily a politician as they come. Her rule today looks hardly any different from the rule of the Left Front. They seem to be twins, politically speaking. Except that she is not much of a Bhadra Lok person, a bourgeois. She can hold her own amongst what are (or should be) called the ‘people’. She is rough and crafty. She is an ambitious politician. There is much that can be said (justifiably) against her. But that doesn’t change the fact that she is a genuine grassroots leader, more than perhaps any other major leader in India today. You can see it as a positive point in her favour or as the living demonstration of the fact that just being a grassroots leader doesn’t make you the perfect leader, if anyone thought so.
And she is always in the news. The media loves covering her.
Oh, they don’t praise her. They don’t even like her. In fact, their feelings towards her sometimes border on hate. Neither does the Establishment (of which the media is a part). And it is not hard to understand why.
Once people (that is, individuals with roots in the leaves of grass) join the Establishment, they change, as any grassroots person knows. So has she, to an extent. But she has a strong personality. So the change in her is less noticeable. Whether that benefits the people she represents in any way or not is highly debatable.
One of the common elements among all the parties that have ruled West Bengal ever since Independence has been that they all had their goon squads. Proper goon squads. Goon squads on a large scale. Almost like storm troopers. And so, one of the common media stories in India (about West Bengal) is about the doings of these goon squads. They fight each other. Some times they join together and fight against the common enemy: the true revolutionary. They performed a great service to the nation in the 60s and 70s.
There is often violence. People get killed.
It happens even in the 21st century and the way that it happens, almost make me appreciate the value of open violence of the 20th century (and of the preceding centuries) as against the covert, ubiquitous, and perfectly normal and civilized-sanitized violence of the 21st century (there are exceptions, of course, such as these goon squads). There always was hope against this kind of old style violence, but there may be none against the kind that we have now and we will continue to have in the future, as far as I can see. We will only have more of this. The hopeless kind.
There have been some such incidents of the old style violence recently and the media has been covering them heavily. But now the media loves these fights even more among the goon squads of the Trinamool Party and of the CPI(M) — I am not an idiot, so I know that not all of them are mere goons — and it loves them because it (and the Establishment) wants both of them gone. Eradicated forever. One, the leftist party that was a kind of a grassroots party in the days gone by. The other, still a grassroots party, though with flexible ideology.
There is business to be done. There are deals to be made. West Bengal has to march in step with the India Shining, Inc. How can West Bengal be left behind even Bihar! Unthinkable!
Neither of the two fighting parties has a place in the Vision 2020, unless they die and are reborn in a 21st century avatar (perhaps that process has already started).
They are Relics Of The Past. They are the Hurdles In The Path To Development. The sooner they finish each other off, the better. If we can do anything to make if fast, we will.
And both of them are actively collaborating with the Establishment. These are days when people don’t worry about digging their own graves. They just look for the earliest Return On Investment. Even these two are not exceptions.
What about my grave? Well, I am already in it, sort of, as you probably know.
Another major news item recently has been an account given by Natwar Singh, the famous diplomat and later a politician of the Congress party. A real true-blue aristocrat by origin, which must have given him better access to the leaders around the world, as it did him to Margaret Thatcher. And not only him. As he tells in the story, which has amused the middle class Indians quite a lot, he had once introduced the (really) infamous Godman Chandraswamy to Maragaret Thatcher at the former’s request, which he points out, was highly unusual. You can read the story elsewhere, but the relevant part here is that the then young and relatively unknown Godman (except to those in high places) not only met the Iron Lady (also relatively unknown then), but so impressed her with his magical tricks that she agreed to meet him again and in the dress and the accessory that he asked her to. At that second meeting, she asked him whether she will become the Prime Minister and when. And he gave answers (according to Natwar Singh) which turned out to be very accurate. The story has an even more amusing ending, which I won’t spoil for you.
I, of course, don’t believe in such things (neither does Natwar Singh), but the story as told by him, if true in details, is quite eery, to say the least.
Now Chandraswamy belonged to another class of colourful characters in India who are often as powerful (sometime more) as the top level political leaders of the country. His devotees (or clients) included Prime Ministers of India, as was the case with many other Godmen, equally infamous. Or Famous, if you like. I don’t.
This is not quite a digression.
One of the recent news items about Mamata Banerjee was about her being taken ill in Delhi. One of the items says that “I am leaving, Delhi is not safe: Mamata Banerjee”. Another one says that “Mamata Banerjee admitted to Belle Vue”:
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic with complaints of body pain, breathing trouble and palpitation after returning from Delhi on Wednesday.
The chief minister was driven straight to the clinic from the airport and was admitted at 4:30 pm. Clinic sources said she was being examined by a medical team led by Subrata Moitra.
Sources said her blood pressure level dipped to 90/65 against the normal range of 120/80.
So what’s this all about?
I know a thing or two about this.
If a charlatan like Chandraswamy can hog the limelight for making a prediction, well, I am in the prediction business too. I write programs that literally ‘predict’ things (on scientific basis too!). Things of much less significance, but nevertheless predict they do. And they are more likely to be useful for the ‘people’. And in a much more humble way.
So here goes. I am going to make a prediction too. But this one is not about Machine Translation. It is about bigger things.
The Establishment has tried to portray dissent as a kind of disease, with the help of a certain kind of ‘scientists’. It has succeeded in those attempts to a large extent. However, dissent still remains. As in the pesky presence of those like yours truly. And, in the eyes of the Establishment, equally pesky presence of the two fighting parties I mentioned earlier.
The Establishment in the 21st century has less patience than it did earlier. It is in a hurry. If it is not enough to portray dissent as a disease, what about literally making it one?
So my prediction is that, in the coming years, more and more of those who qualify for this disease will have symptoms somewhat (or exactly) like those mentioned above.
Sudden attacks of breathing problems. Palpitations. A high level of discomfort in the abdominal region. Inability to sleep due to the level of discomfort. Inability to work. Inability to dissent. And, who knows? probably even worse.
This won’t be the abstract and profound nausea of ‘nothingness’ of the dissenter of the 20th century. It will be very concrete and mundane.
For some, it might become a routine. The essence of their material existence.
All very sanitized. Any blame for unsanitoriness, if any, would lie on the patient.
Before you launch an attack on me for this gloomy prediction, let me say that I have no super powers. I just got ‘lucky’ in being able to make this prediction. And no one could hope more for this to be proved wrong.
But I am almost certain it will be proved right. Even if the Establishment has to cut a part of its Left Arm.
Unless you can do something about it.
Can you, now?