Friday, November 28, 2008

Soapbox Part II

Been watching the news all evening today as well. I don't want to be too controversial and have people baying for my blood, but some things occur to me as I watch these images.

1) Though I have followed all of this night and day, I have a sneaking feeling the media have been inappropriate in how relentlessly they've covered this story disregarding the safety of the people inside and the pleas of the police not to let slip information that might help the militants. I don't know if anyone else noticed this yesterday, but Barkha Dutt (someone I hugely respected) revealed in her piece to camera that the security forces were using a secret passage to smuggle hostages out of the Taj, and then proceeded to tell us exactly on which floor it was and connecting which two buildings. Would it be so hard for some informer to call one of the terrorists inside the Taj to say, hey I was watching the news... you better check out the 14th floor? Does she have blood on her hands in her thirst to get the exclusive before the 15 other channels covering the carnage 24/7? Even if what I just said wasn't an issue, I may have misunderstood--or she may have been given the info after the threat to those people had gone, but it still seemed unnecessary just to slake our curiosity.

Another is the insensitive interviewing of family members outside. When a woman said she had no doubt her husband would come out alive of the hotel, a visibly unbelieving Dutt gushed, "That's what you SHOULD think to keep your spirits up. What a braave woman you are!" (Facing back to camera) "This is a woman who hasn't seen her husband in 24 hours and hasn't heard from him in 12."

Atleast these journalists were doing their job, what sickens me to the GUT are the people who have gone to gawk and position themselves right behind the journalists, looking straight into the camera with a "Look Ma, I'm on TV!" expression. There were such a crowd of people that the police had to ask the camera people to switch off the lights, because after all crowd management should've been the LAST thing on their minds right now.

2) My second point is, these terrorists who're captured alive should be shown a brand of their own justice; but in our self righteousness, let's not forget that justice is still pending for the 1000s of people who were systematically murdered in Gujarat. Not only do we know who did it, we allow him to remain Chief Minister of that state, and that's a crying shame. So when we bay for these terrorists' blood (as we rightfully should), let's add Narendra Modi's name as well to the list, and let's ask to avenge our murdered countrymen in Orissa as well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I've been watching the news channels all afternoon and evening. I can't imagine how it feels for everyone in those hotels, and for the families of all the people mown down senselessly at the railway station, hospitals and the pub where it all started.
These were people who were well-adjusted enough to go about their lives; instead of throwing 20 to 25 years away (i'm guessing that's the age group these terrorists fall under) on total lunacy, total misguided malevolence. What will this evil get them do they think? Are they enjoying it? Or are they going about it like we do our jobs, necessary but sometimes unpleasant? Have they been so brainwashed that they think these monstrosities will get them 'justice' in this life and heaven in the after life?
If God existed he would spit on such aberrations of nature. I'm suprised that hasn't occurred to the 'Deccan Mujahideen' as they shot down and bombed innocent people. People in hospitals for God's sake, can victims get more helpless?
Talking about it further would trivialize it so I'll stop here. The crisis isn't yet over. I hope our army and police get these men and make them pay. And my respects to the brave people who're trying to get things under control.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I am a Salsa Dancer.

When I first heard of the salsa course comprising 13 workshops that my office had organized I was thrilled to bits. I applied immediately and was rejected. (Apparently there were many other thrilled takers in the organization.) So much so that they announced a second batch and I applied again. This time I was accepted. Hooray!

I had that floaty feeling I get when I feel something big has happened. This will be the beginning of the rest of my life I thought. I had always wanted dance classes but somehow it had never happened. (Read: I am a Lazy Bum.) Now here it was handed to me on a plate and I was going to make the most of it. What did I expect from it? To learn dance of course. Daydreams of being crowned “Worldwide Queen of Salsa (Senior's competition)” played through my head.

And then came the big day. My class was at 6-30. By 6 I was ready and fidgeting at my desk. By 6-20 I was upstairs and looking around for my classmates. I saw a long stream of men with skullcaps heading for a room and I thought I should ask, just to make sure. “Is this salsa class?” No, came the curt answer. It was Ramzaan and they were reading Namaaz.

Alrighty then.

By the time I located the class I was 15 minutes late and the last one to get there. A stern look from the instructor with the John Abraham hair made me feel sorry for myself. That first class, as we learnt the steps, my plans of dazzling people with my innate dancing talent looked bleak. Something I hadn’t accounted for was all the touching strange men you had to do. And very unattractive ones at that. I think that was the prevalent feeling among all the class (male and female alike); and the instructor (George) quickly explained that if a man’s hand slipped; not to slap him straight away; but to just pick his hand up and place it back firmly where it belonged, i.e just under your shoulder blade.

Midway through the class George stopped his count abruptly and asked, “what are you doing?" I shied like a nervous horse and turned to face the worst. Luckily he was looking the other way at another couple dancing. The man looked on the verge of a nervous breakdown. “Why are you holding her with tissue paper?” I noticed that the man in question had tissue paper stuck to the palms of his hands, and he was holding on to his partner like she was a hot dish straight off the stove. “Er…I didn’t want to get sweat on her…”

“No, no. it doesn’t matter! We all have to get used to the sweat.” He then went on to smilingly explain that he often got so sweaty that he had to quickly change out if his shirt into a new one. I think I heard a few ragged female cheers from the back of the class.

So that was the eventful first class. Of the 13 classes there is now only one that remains. I’ve missed 4 of the 13, two because I was on leave and two because I didn’t feel like hopping around like a bunny rabbit at the end of a long, hard day. (of course, I later realized that’s precisely what one should do at the end of a bad day. Rabbits – except for when they’re being hunted down and eaten - are rarely stressed.)

I feel sad that it’s all going to end so soon, and my life will settle back into the go-to-work-go-home-pay-the-bills routine without a dash of salsa to spice things up.

Let’s see. Maybe I’ll take up something new. Like bungee jumping.

Or dusting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quote of the Day...

'A pen can be a nuisance instrument if it is absent.'
- A wise colleague who was looking for a pen.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

No Time Like the Present...

Though I always crib about modern times, I’m always cured off my disaffection when I give myself pause and think , “what would I have done if I’d been born 500 years earlier?”

With my artistic leanings (read: no practical skills whatsoever) farming or business would’ve been barred to me as occupations. I’d probably have gravitated to the royal courts of the land and eked out a living there:


“Yes, your majesty!”

“What was that?”

“That was our new bugler sounding the war bugle, sire!”

“I thought my elephant pooted.”

“No indeed, lord, it was the bugler: he lacks lung power somewhat.”

“String him up by his thumbs when we come back from battle, we can’t have the enemy dying of laughter before we get to them, can we?”

“Very good, sire.”



“Ji Huzoor…”

“Please ask that back up dancer not to eat from my guests’ plates.”

“I will, sire” (Anarkali begins to back away)

“Atleast not while she’s dancing, it affects the aesthetics of your show…”

“I’m terribly sorry, Huzoor.”

“Anyway she should knock off the laddoos, look how chubby she is.”

“A Thousand pardons, my Lord.”

So, apart from the off chance of being born as a princess with loads of dowry to bring to a marriage (with my luck I would’ve been the sort of royalty who’s severely inbred with buck teeth and eventually gets burnt to a crisp when her 90 year old raja-husband cops it) I would’ve, male or female, been a sorry failure back in the day.

So next time I complain about how horrible our times are, you are welcome to remind me I wouldn’t have had a job to help keep body and soul together -- nor a blog to write about it in, in any other time but the present.