Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A letter from Susi Tarur to Paki Tarar

Dear Tarar,

While I am writing this letter my heart is bleeding. From nariyal ka pani to lupus to tweets of a morning bird, everything scares me. There is TV-phobia because of mike-holding devils running after me and there is twitter phobia as well. As you know I used to find happiness interacting with the cattle class every single minute. Call it a fatal fall of a born-tweeter, today, I am a tweet-free man.  (They say discretion is better than valour)

Jab we met, the first thing you told me was that I have a huge heart. Though my heart is big enough to accommodate as many as beautiful people, Miss Pashkaar’s entry was like a googly. And I was clean bowled. Like a 20-20 match, everything ended in a fast spell. I was the media’s darling when I landed in Delhi to try a khadi kurta for the first time in my life. All said it looked nice on my handsome body. There was some itching though, and those who have been wearing it for decades without even washing, told me, “You will make it big in politics if you turn a blind eye towards all kinds of itching, mudslinging and horse-riding.”  Huh! Whenever the political itching was unbearable, I flew to Dubai. 

You remember the sunny morning when we found an ant drowning in my coffee cup. How much time I stole from you to save the poor ant’s life! “Susi darling, you can’t even kill an ant,” you pecked me on my cheek. And now these media moguls bark at me: “Murderer”.  If wife dies, they say catch the husband. When will they start believing poor husbands of dead wives?  Country fellows…When will they start believe the existence of coconut theories? You know, I get nightmares of people offering me coconut water even in bars. My constituency is full of coconuts and I got a chance to visit there during the election. Country Mallus, they wanted development, drinking water, blablabla…I gifted them a cricket team. Still they call me ‘imported Delhi Nair’. Media say I am an agent of ugly looking Dawood Ibrahim. Only you know I hate men wearing cooling glasses and holding guns.  

I should blame the fatso businessman for dragging me into this IPL muck. I did play not a single stroke, but everybody starting throwing yorkers at me. A marriage of convenience, they say. But Pashkaar lady was such a love! We visited this temple, that temple, this Guruji, that Guruji and many desi English-speaking business morons…  And honestly, I couldn’t breathe a moment ever after. What a haunting end to a love saga! . A poisoned FIR, unending question hours and media trial…

The bugging man of all, Subbu Swamy knows everything. Given a chance, I will deport him to Siberia; damn sure the mommyji and her papuji (no pun intended! Sigh…) will pat me on the back. Ouch...My back hurts. 
Now, this is a secret. To wade through all this bad phase, I went to a saffron swamiji. After taking the vibhuthi and chanting NaMo mantra, you don’t believe what happened! A broom appeared from nowhere, and I was told to keep cleaning. My party spies---they know nothing---allege that this was Moditva. I swear I do not know what it is.

Muck still stops here. I am fed up. When I went to UN, they said I was meant for big. When I came to politics, they said I am meant for something else. Each wife told me I have only the lover boy material. Since this world is not grown enough to encompass a person of my stature, I am contemplating shifting to Mars. Sorry Tarar, Mom entertains no Pak collaboration. My mission is to find some inter-stellar love there. 


With Love
Susi Tarur

(Characters may appear real, but it’s not my fault. An invisible hand helped me decode these secrets)
(Photo for representation purpose only)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

‘I peeled many onions to see God, but I found Him in my tears’

He was dark and masculine. Having his favourite God Murugan’s tattoo imprinted on his chest, he had certain godly charm, but uncertainty writ large on his wide face. He wanted a job. He left his home in a non-descript village at Kadayanallur in Tenkasi and wanted to return making some moolah in God’s Own Country where the desi youths had some kind of allergy for menial jobs.  
Life took a dramatic tu
rn soon after he started working at Muslim landlord Pichemuthaliyar’s hotel. His daughter fell in love with him and soon he was thrown out of job. He was made to flee from village to village with his Muslim wife.  Twenty-three years passed by; Ramalingam and his three-member family are now following Christianity. More than a religious decision, it was a choice of getting the much-needed protection and a job.
As Joseph alias Ramalingam bows down to pray Jesus, with Murugan’s tattoo still on his body, I was curious to know what’s his take on Ghar Vapasi (Home Coming). “I peeled many onions to see God, but I found Him in my tears.”   
The lesson: It’s not varied religions but his struggles that helped him find God.  For him, life was not just about faith but surviving each day.
Who’s coming home?
 The term Ghar Vapasi should have evoked poignant memories of good old days or nostalgia in everyone’s mind  instead of hatred and divisiveness. Is conversion and reconversion an individual’s choice or their political and social aspects making it more a public issue? Is there any genuine reason for predatory (missionary) religions supporting conversion and opposing one’s reclamation of old religious beliefs? Is a debate on conversion and reversion is uncalled for or can we find a win-win situation for all by introducing a law? 
This vexed topic is a double-edged sword for common man.  One cannot deny the fact that Semitic religions thrived on conversions. Muslim rulers promoted their faith and converted lakhs of people while the British did the same offering goodies and some sort of identity to the underprivileged in a caste-hierarchical society.
 We have come a long way; but aren’t we still peeling the onions? Though science and modern thinking bloomed, religious supremacy failed to fade. Can the state have a say on individuals’ choice of changing or sticking to their religious faith? Who can stop somebody moving from one place to another in a global village? The reasons could be personal, financial or religious.

NB: There is reaction for any action; both conversion and reconversion can stay, provided there is consensus.  Let there be a law to allow people to practice many faiths at a time and find their god or allow them to change it if they want. Let others live without any religion and in peace.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Selling memories a crime

It was a thriller-of-sorts video game enacted on an unusual sunny holiday. The invasion of a few strangers into my two-bedroom humble apartment turned things upside down and caught me and numerous cockroaches and other parasites, who shared the paradise, off guard. They, a poker-faced scrap paper dealer (raadiwala) and his zero-size better half, proclaimed their mission--- the 'Operation Junk'--- with their missile-paced movements inside the house.
From a raadiwala's point of view, every house has a hidden treasure trove inside. The lion's share of contribution comes from huge heaps of newspapers reminding umpteen tragedies and incidents of historical importance. Adding glitz is magazines with celebrities' speeches that left millions speechless over the past decades and collections of not-so-easy-to-digest articles that you plan to read on a fine day when you are absolutely free. The hurry-burry urban life often makes reading the “bundle of information” every morning a few minute headline-gulping exercise. Books eat up a major portion of storewell cupboards and book racks. Supplements and advertisements run into many glossy paper sheets also pitch in to build an unappealing castle of paper in every household.
Who led the anti-junk gang was my warring spouse who had many a times warned of putting even the house on fire, just because I refused to dispose off even a single piece of paper. Apart from books with fingerprints of countless friends and acquaintances, diaries dated to past years of anarchist bachelorhood occupied an almirah. Handwritten letters reminding the faded love of the yesteryears hid themselves inside the crumbled diaries, presumably with an inferiority complex in the e-mail era. She heartlessly called it junk, and graciously shed tears lamenting over marrying a person who is wedded with newspapers. My valuable possession, which invariably intertwined with my childhood, has indeed received disdainful glances from visitors. The irresistible affection towards newspapers started long before the arrival of the paperless revolution and also my wifeless years. My grandfather, a living encyclopedia of his time, had irrepressible appetite for reading. Books of diverse genre adorned wooden shelves of his spacious library. One could dig out even decade-old newspapers from the neatly wrapped bundles. At his twilight years, much before the sun shows up its bright face on the sky, he could be seen near the gate awaiting the newspaper boy. Holding his fingers, many times I had dreamt of becoming a newspaper boy, whom I thought, the most-wanted person in the life of my grandfather. Old habits die hard. In the passage of time, dailies and books have become my best accompaniment. Many have worn to shreds, but the dusty, archaic papers had a smell of unconditional love that embellished with childhood memories.  The battle has already begun. Reminding a video game of Ra-One type, the womenfolk armed with 'Hit' mercilessly pounced on the unwanted occupants. The army of ants and cockroaches who vigorously marched towards other rooms had to relinquish. The innate womanly traits made my wife hate all kinds of harmless worms, and she had a blow-hot, blow-cold relationship with book worms. Newspapers flew in the air like rockets. Some half-naked, half-torn sleazy magazines tumbled out of the closets of bygone teenage days. Nevertheless to say, they got a special treatment more than it deserved from the raadiwala. More such gems might have tucked away inside. I realise discretion is always better than valour. After hours of backbreaking digging, bundles of papers were filled into sacks and cardboard boxes. It's time to bid adieu to the priceless possession. My ladylove, who gleefully sold even my 'hundred years of solitude' to a raadiwala, looked jubilant. Tranquility prevailed all over. True, peace comes at a price. Having lost the paradise I was so used to, I lost sleep that night. Fond memories wiped out. Who will tell the world selling memories is a crime?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We are like this only

A considerable number of pages in the history have been dedicated to narrate the countless battles of ambitious men for pretty women and precious land. The temptation is boundless and people,
like bees drawn towards honey, indulge in mad scramble to posses land. What stands testimony to
this fact is that the ever-increasing number of land scams involving many politicos and skyrocketing
prices of land. A piece of land is strong enough to kill the peace of the entire world.Well, what left me perturbed is a piece of paper that I received from the Revenue department recently. It represented the sordid tale of red-tapism and the lackadaisical attitude of the bureaucrats. After taking its own sweet time, now the department has asked us to pay Rs 2,000 related to a land deal dated back to 1992. A long 19 years had been passed and too much water has flowed under the bridge since then. The “icing on the cake” was the deadline of five days and if fail to repay, they were all set to initiate revenue recovery process. The story is set in a Kerala village in the 1970s. Long before the land-hungry people dived into the money-spinning real estate business, my grandfather was a landlord, having nearly 80 acres of agricultural land. Elephants hardly realise their might, so did my grandpa. Despite helping hundreds of labourers of all castes and creed to eke out a living at his farm, he was tagged as a “bourgeois” by the erstwhile Communist rulers. At a time when landlords are considered harbingers of capitalism, an ideology that faced stiff resistance from the working class, it was indeed an undisputable argument. When the Communist government revolutionised the land scenario in the state, my grandpa had little choice, but to give up 20 acres, arguably for the cause of landless people. There was consolation too. Each acre was valued as per the government standards and was given a meager Rs 100. So grandpa’s 20-acre loss was compensated with Rs 2,000. Some others had better plans to hoodwink the government. Registering lands in numerous benami names was one among them.The story had a follow up. Years after, my father, a born legal warrior he was, took up the issue and embarked on a legal battle to get back our lost land. The wearisome process that reached the Supreme Court finally bore fruits and two acres was given back. Years passed by. Both my grandpa and father are no longer with us. Call it Anna Hazare impact, an official in the Land Board wanted us to return the compensation given for the returned land
forthwith. The due which was just Rs 200 in 1992 has apparently gone up further. The department,
which had a “technical error” not recovering the amount then, had no qualms whatsoever to add an
interest of the past 19 years that marked their inefficiency. It has now become Rs 2,000.
We neither had archaic documents to prove that our forefathers had paid the amount, nor time
to go for another legal battle to drive our point home. Having learnt a few basics of the cobwebbed land rules, now I look upon myself as someone nothing less than an enlightened landless lord. In fact, I have developed an aversion towards the dusty, mind-numbing land records. The thought was why should we pay price for the mistakes of our “hardly working” babus. Given that the so called bureaucracy is a necessary evil, it is understandable that there is no need to brood over the issue, but sacrifice my hard-earned money (though one can argue that the amount could not even earn me a Johny Walker moment) and bury the matter forever.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The so-called chicken revolution

  Ask me who the great teacher in life is. I swear, it’s the nature, which has myriad ways of making you enlightened. Nevertheless to say even the small creatures, whom we treat with least respect or often take for granted, can open your eyes to the world of wisdom, of course, in their own unique ways.

Here is the queen, an ‘ugly’ black hen. She was neither an onlookers’ delight nor a landlord’s pride. Yet, she was in the list of the ‘hottest’ pets in my animal lover grandmother, a Maneka Gandhi of sorts in my home.      

Born in a magnificent village in Southern Kerala, the bond with nature and care for animals and birds were in her blood. What stood testimony to that fact was nearly 11 cows, sheep, rabbits, roosters, parrots and dogs of varied breeds sharing the living space of our ancestral home in a sprawling three acre land. The ‘quack-quack’ army of around 40 ducks, who encroached upon the backyard of the house, was the cynosure of all eyes. They stood united all the time, while there was dissent in the chicken family, with other members often isolating the black queen (Karambi), for reasons unknown. However, my grandmother’s practical wisdom was far from illusions. After surviving two fierce attacks from Rocky, the German shepherd and a stray otter, Karambi held a special place in grandma’s heart.

As months flew past, Karambi turned as a dutiful egg-laying machine, religiously contributing at least two eggs every day. Soon, my ‘body-builder’ brother’s eyes fell on her and subsequently, his diet was enriched by her eggs. The moment she ‘blessed’ with eggs, they landed straight on his mouth. The routine continued for a few days. And a fine morning, she vanished in thin air, leaving all of us wondering what prompted her to sacrifice the coziness of her hut and nutritious food?

After constant searches that lasted for many days, it was discovered that the broody Karambi has made a dark corner of the ginger plantation her home. The broody hen was sitting on her ‘precious’ eggs; refused to leave the place and when we approached, she strut around making clucking noises. A few days later, when grandma took off the dry coconut leaves laid on the field, we saw Karambi, squeezing out sluggishly. What followed her growling and grumbling was a rhythmic chorus by seven new-born chicks.

Swiftly making a move to protect the chicks from the jaw-opened spectators, she, predominantly keeping an eye on my brother’s six-pack-in-the-making half naked body, fell into violent hysterics. I found myself near to the point of self realization when the rebellious hen blew the trumpet in a bitten voice. “Hey man, be at least decent in relationships. You feed me, you shelter me and you reap the benefits in the form of eggs every single day. You took care of me all these years for nothing but for your advantage. My maternal rights were never taken care of. If it was not an unconditional love and care, it could have been at least on the basis of a ‘give-and-take’ policy. Now this is my life, my rules!”

The voice of the oppressed against the autocratic set up! An uprising, if not a jasmine revolution, a ‘chicken revolution’. When my grandma took off the dry leaves, the army of seven cute chicks emerged out in style and marched past the awe-stricken onlookers with a new vigour and pride.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Different shades of Mubarak moment

At last that moment has come! They say its a moment of truth too.
Trust me, this word came from the street; we saw it's ripple effect from middle east to Africa, Africa to Europe, Europe to United States, there to China, China to India, then JK to Delhi, Delhi to TN, TN to Kerala, Kerala to K’taka and the list will go on. This is the enigma called the Mubarak Moment.
The people have lived a dream for this moment. Bound by common frustrations and propelled by hopes, they have joined hands, and it resulted in the moment of truth. Events rapidly unfolding in the world may signal that this is not just the M moment, but a moment of truth. It took 30 years and 18 days for Egyptians to wake up, so is Husni Mubarak, who tasted the grape wine of power for years and years, amassing enormous wealth and ironically, the hatred of his people. He had very little time to read the writing on the wall, yet , he managed to flee for life from the country of bloody battle. No matter toothless, for him, life is life. Another moment of truth!
Tale of Tunisia is no different; the death of one educated youth propelled the rebellion and at last autocrat Ben Ali had to surrender the precious moment to Tunisians. Till last moment, these rulers were weighing on the threat of an Islamic takeover if they step down. The only thing they have to pretend is wear a secular cap and do anything that violates the fundamental rights of the people. You have to have the mask of secularism to kill your own people. The moment was waiting to happen in many Arab countries, Libya took up, Oman, Bahrain, Yemen, Ivory Coast and many countries are carrying on, the so called Kings’ defence became waterloo. They wait for the beginning of the end.
Though the repressive regimes kept their territories safe, the people’s urge for reprisal morphed into a hatred of the US. These countries wealth was never oil, but it’s civilisation.
Damn sure, Man Mohan Singh’s ‘guru’, Obama is going to feel the pinch of the moment in the next elections. And in last, but not least, it is going to be a tightrope walk for our neighbour Pakistan. The clerical tsunami in the PK will vanish; the Mubarak moment is waiting to come there. The revolutions have been betrayed the people, but the moment of truth will survive and in mind for ever.
PM’s moment of truth
Man Mohanji UPA- version No 1 was not a ‘weak’ prime minister when there were people to back him from Left, right and elsewhere. Now things have changed for the worse, with coalition dharma off the track. Grapewine is that he has little idea about what is happening in the country, and the world, except in the US! Remember those supercilious words from the horse’s mouth. “Now we are changed and we have no time to teach others the ABC of democracy.” Wow! Democratic India has changed. I could see   Man Mohanji on a run to join the bandwagon of the very M moment. Domestic conditions are suitable for this, from 2G to S-deal and CWG to CVC, the professor Moricarty had lest remembered the Gandhian values. Despite his grand economic plans, the unbridgeable divide between the billion dollar people and millions living in slums continues to widen. He is a man of deals, I should say, the king of deals. Remember the nuclear deal saga, an image makeover act. Nonetheless, his cabinet colleagues, like Raja, were also pitched into the world of ‘deals’, and got their deals right, though cost the Rs, 1.76 000000000000 lakh. Singh is King, but, Man Mohanji UPA- version No 2 is not.
The UPA’s confidence deficit raj is evident in all matters, from Telangana to Tamil fishermen issue and scoring self goals with Pak, he is really groping in the dark, waiting for the true light to come in right moment. Nobody is putting spanner in his work, but Singh is whining.
Kerala’s temerity
Gone are the days when tea was national drink, of the state. The state soon to declare rum as its official drink; and is indirectly pays a heavy cost due to illness, loss of productivity, death and crimes caused. Holiday or no, morning or evening there is a long queue of people in front of wine shops. The state, as an onlooker, is waiting for that moment. Be it development or polls, Kerala has its own style. The oscillating movement of power sharing between two fronts can be an eye opener for the nation. The state bunked five years for getting into the international IT map. When elections come calling, the Left government is stepping out of its skin to catch the development bus. Reasons unknown, the people allow the Left and the Right attain the M moment every five years of ruling, a significant phenomenon in the country, others can emulate.
Karnataka’s pain
The regressive political formation bereft of politics looks like a circus in Chief Minister Yeddyurappa’s land. Yeddys will come and go, the state won’t change. MLAs, irrespective of party colours, will switch loyalty, give lectures about community, insider-outsider fight and will conduct more Kannada sammelanas in 2050 also. A Mubarak moment in the offing? Not sure.