Monday, August 18, 2008

All about the sixth sense, a second sight, and a third eye

There are some people I know who are very big on bad feelings. “I had a bad feeling last night about the meeting today and sure enough the boss yelled at us.” “I had a premonition the trip would be a disaster and so it was.” Some people have dreams that people will die and they do.

I really envy such people. Not because bad things keep happening to them, because bad things keep happening to me too. It’s just that…I never have the satisfaction later in telling people, “I told you I had a bad feeling, didn’t I?” I feel like an idiot, blundering into bad situations without telling someone in advance that I’m sure it’s a bad situation. It’s awful I tell you.

To remedy the situation, I tried to heighten my sixth sense. I would open my mind up and let it wander where it will. I would sleep extra long (more than my customary 9 hours) in the hope that premonitory dreams, less ready in my unconscious than in others, would finally reveal the future to me.

To no avail. Letting my mind wander only had the unhappy result of reminding me (alas) about the unfortunate things that have happened in my past. Sleeping extra long no doubt left me refreshed, but not much wiser about the future. I have the most pleasant dreams (alas) all about me sitting in a tree when I was 18 and skinny. The worst dreams I have is of frying meat, miles and miles of frying meat, after I’ve been particularly gluttonous at dinner. Could that be classified as a bad feeling? More like indigestion.

And then probably because I brooded on it too much, one day I had one. I had a terrible bad feeling, and I called one of my friends up all in a panic.
Me: “Are you OK?”
Him: “Of course, I’m OK! Why?”
Me: “Er…All righty then.”
Him: “Bye.”
Me: “Ta!”

It was a bit of a let down let me tell you.

And then to add insult to injury my sister and one of my cousins started having bad dreams about me, all at once. (So far only my husband had complained about nightmares related to me but he meant the waking variety.) My cousin made an ISD call all of a sudden on a weekday to ask me if I was OK. “Yes, I’m OK” I said. “I just had a dream about you sobbing and sobbing inconsolably so I thought I’d just ask.”

Well isn’t that just dandy. “No, I haven’t been crying for unusually long periods…I’m fine.”

“Aah, well, I’ll go back to sleep then.”

“You do that,” I said a trifle resentfully, and that was that until my sister called about a month later, all in a panic. “Are you OK?”

(SIGH) “Yes, I am.”

“I just had a dream about you…You were crying…and trying to drown yourself in a bucket of water.”

Dear God, why couldn’t I have dreams like that? Trying to cover the naked envy in my voice I reassured her that I didn’t even own a bucket (at the time -- I own several now; I’ve moved up in the world) let alone be limber enough to drown myself in one.

“I’ll just go back to sleep then.”


I gave up the idea of having prophetic insights or dreams myself, and waited with interest to see if my cousin or sister’s dreams would come true. Happily enough for all concerned, nothing happened. Not even the mildest urge to pop my head into passing buckets for a minute or two.

So my question is: obviously my family sucks at this, but what about the others? How do they do it? One could be that they have bad feelings all the time and only tell people when it comes true. The second option is, they really have a sixth sense, a second sight; a third eye.

It’s not entirely out of the question you know. Have you ever wondered HOW you can tell if someone’s looking at you even if you’re turned away and at a distance of 50 feet? These people probably have that skill but honed to a point where they can not only tell that someone’s looking at them right NOW, but that something bad will happen later on today.

Or they could just be yanking your chain so that you get all envious and devote a whole post to their talents.

I plan something clever along the lines of sneaking up behind one or two of them, braining them with a cricket bat and asking them later if they'd dreamt of it the previous night. Expect results in the net post...

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Apologies: a reader told me Deepa Mehta hadn't won the Oscar. Anyhow, my point remains the same. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We Object -- All the Time!

One grouse I have with social groups (and when I say ‘groups’ I don’t mean always religions, it could also -- in fact more often is -- along state lines, caste lines, and language lines) is how ultra-sensitive they can be. I am all for one being sensitive about the failings of an individual, especially to his or her face, but the extremes to which demands for political correctness have gone nowadays is worrying.

Nowadays any movie that strays a little bit away from the poor boy falls in love with rich girl and rich girl’s father goes chasing after poor boy with a gun storyline is doomed to be banned in some state or the other.

Take the case of a certain movie about a couple who lived a long, loooong time ago. They lived such a long time ago in fact, that I would’ve thought people wouldn’t watch the movie, let alone care what was said about them. Imagine my surprise then when people started throwing stones at cinema halls and eventually got the movie banned in the state this lady belonged to. The contention: not that the movie had depicted them in a bad light but that the two historical people had been shown as a couple, whereas I hear these people say she was the guy's daughter-in-law. Now if the lady concerned had thrown stones at buildings herself I would've understood, because let's face it, it's gross to be linked to your father in law. But it being banned in a whole state because of it? Incredible.

Some ultra sensitive members of another community, though very happy to have representatives breaking into a good natured bhangra in every Hindi movie ever made; had a problem with two movies made in the last 5 years because the movie makers DARED to depict one of them with ‘negative shades’. Apparently villains can only be from majority communities.

Speaking of majority communities, one would think they would be secure enough to keep quiet about such things; but no. Deepa Mehta was forced to abandon filming ‘Water’ because she showed widows being starved, abandoned and forced into prostitution in Benares. Not on the grounds that it was untruthful, because we are all proudly aware that it’s been so for centuries; but for the sheer gall of the woman for making a movie on it. ‘We want it banned because there are no poor boys chasing rich girls, and dads going berserk with rifles’ I believe is the gist of their written complaint in High Court records.

Deepa Mehta finally took her business elsewhere, and ‘Water’ won the Oscar in the Foreign Film Category for CANADA. (“Haha, India” – Deepa Mehta is quoted as having said later.)

Another ultra-bizarre one recently is when Madhuri Dixit’s return vehicle hit an unprecedented controversy because of the lyrics of a particular song which referred to goldsmiths being more fortunate than shoemakers. The shoemaker caste objected to the lyrics being prejudicial, and the producers issued an apology.

I of course speak of the country I know, but a recent blog I visited (Thanks for the link Nisho) complained of ultra-sensitivity in other countries as well. Apparently, some employees of an organization in the UK or the US (I forget which…hehe aint that convenient?) demanded that their boss apologize for saying
“All the documents are going down a black hole” or something to that effect.

Best bit is…he did!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


It’s so outrageous that I thought everyone must be mistaken. Live music and dancing has been banned in all places serving alcohol in Bangalore. You heard me. Even though I kept it under the mandatory 6-decibel-or-you-go-to-jail limit.

From what I understand I am forbidden by law to do the following things in this city:

1) Sing
2) Dance
3) Play music louder than 6 decibels
4) Eat or drink after 11-30 at night
5) Laugh

If you do 1 to 4 you get your sorry asses in jail. The fifth doesn’t need to be enforced.

(Oh no, you’re mistaken they say. Only in pubs and bars and restaurants. You can do all these things at home, as long as you keep it down and don’t tell anyone. )

If you don’t believe me read this article:

Is this really happening? What nightmare world have we come to inhabit? How come some complete lunatic (does my sorry ass get thrown in jail for calling him that? Do I get thrown in jail anyway for saying ‘sorry ass’ so many times?) gets to steal our culture away from us without anybody else in power stopping him?

What’s next…seriously? They already tried to ban women in most sectors from working in nightshifts. For our own safety of course. All of these bans are for our own safety. So that, after our nights of debauchery (music and dance is the devil’s work, the Commissioner is liberal in so far as we’re not being dragged to a stake and burnt) we don’t get robbed. Robbed by those criminals the police would have done better to focus on, rather than doing the rounds of pubs, bars and eateries checking if people aren’t God forbid…dancing.

So, in what new and novel ways will we be saved from ourselves? What’s next? I have no doubt there IS a next. A ban on women wearing pants and skirts? For our own safety? Because we all know rapists don’t attack if you’re wearing a sari? No woman walking about unattended by a man, so that all the criminals the police are too busy to catch don’t rape us? No looking up at the sky when you walk because you might fall into a manhole, the cover of which was stolen by a thief the police passed by in their hurry to get to the nightclubs to check if anyone was singing?

You can however by law:

1) Refuse to take a customer if you are an auto driver, and if you don’t feel like a refusal, cheat him/her, leave him in the middle of the road and abuse him/her in front of the cops. And get rewarded by the government by a hike in your starting charge. (you’ll be too upset and broke to get the wanton urge to sing or play the guitar!)
2) Spit (atleast it’s not as filthy as being a criminal musician)
3) Urinate on walls (It’s been in our culture for centuries)
4) Flash women while you’re at it ( the police blame dancing for it.)
5) Leave gaping holes in horrendously uneven pavements if you are a municipal official. (if someone falls in at night: Aah well, she wasn’t supposed to be out so late, and we suspect she had a weakness for singing and dancing. If someone trips over an uneven slab and breaks a foot; atleast he won’t be doing any illegal dancing, eh?)

If this bizarre and arbitrary talibanization of Bangalore goes on, there won’t be that many people left in this village masquerading as a cosmopolitan IT capital. Which, inspite of the slim pickings by way of bribes, might be exactly what the police want.