It’s amazing how the 63rd birthday of an actor was celebrated in Tamilnadu; the phenomenon called Rajnikant. A girl of,perhaps twenty years says in a TV interview that she has a ’genetic’ liking for the actor; because the actor is liked by her parents and family members! On the one hand it’s gratifying to note that people of one sprawling state have one unifying factor and a hero to hang on to; going by the media hype. At the same time one wishes that this is not true and it’s only the media hype. But the question remains as to why media hypes Rajnikant? Media is known to dump people once they lose mass appeal. So what is the truth?
People of Tamilnadu are known for extreme forms of hero worship; particularly cinema heroes. This doesn’t mean that the northern parts of India are any better; the Amitabh-Sachin worship is nauseating to say the least. What’s amusing is that the phenomenon of Rajnikant is amusing to them; a case of pot calling the kettle black!
What is bewildering in Tamilnadu is the tendency still lingering in such huge proportions even among the younger generations who’re supposed to be intelligent and discerning. Two generations earlier political leaders enjoyed huge following, the next generation worshipped actor turned politicians. In this context looking at Rajnikant, he is only an actor; he contributed nothing towards politics or administration, on the other hand he appears to be afraid of entering politics, or anything else except acting in films and providing entertainment. He is not known as a great actor, a title Kamal Hassan could claim with ease.
He was at best good at certain pranks which his fans consider as style. He made a lot of money but is not known to have contributed anything significant to any cause. He is afraid of entering politics. He sure goes to Himalayas in his ‘spiritual quests’ and would like that aspect to be private, but somehow the ‘private’ photographs of ashram visits get leaked to the press at appropriate intervals. Physically he is puny but manages to maintain his screen image of a superman.
I don’t think he personally does anything to maintain his super hero image; it’s probably happening to him.
So what is this phenomenon? Perhaps common man is able to identify with his anti-hero looks. Or perhaps Tamilnadu has nothing to show case or inspire the younger generation with. May be the younger generation has nothing lofty to pursue and being a generation interested in entertainment wants only such heroes to worship?
The biggest debate in India now is the atrocious gang-rape of a girl in a bus in Delhi. there are no two opinions that it was the most horrifying crime in the recent memory; the beating the girl and her companion with iron rod and throwing them on the road, as though the heinous crime of rape was not enough.
This is not about what to do and how to prevent such incidents in the future; there are enough institutions and people to think about these aspects. Let’s look at the reactions.
Markandeya Katju, the retired Supreme Court judge and the Chairman of the press council is quoted to have asked a question whether such crimes committed in the rural areas would have received the same kind of reactions from the people. Well, some time back he said Indian people are fools; he was probably right because we put up with such questions too. Our question is whether some such incident from a village would have received the same kind of coverage by the media, of which he is an integral part?
another judge has asked what the police was doing before the incident? Why the check posts didn’t stop the vehicle to check violations such as tinted glasses of the bus?
Well, is it possible to check every vehicle for such violations considering the bludgeoning vehicle population and the shrinking police per population ratio? Doesn’t he think it was a great job on the part of the police to have apprehended the criminals asap? What does he expect the police to do? Set up hundreds of thousands of check posts all over the country, stop every vehicle to peep in and see whether a girl is being raped? And set up another force to oversee that the policeman doesn’t rape someone while checking or to solve all such problems, simply put a policeman to stalk every citizen to protect him or her?
Sonia Gandhi has demanded severe action against the criminals and Sushma Swaraj has demanded action from Sonia and not another demand from her. The Home Minister has assured proper action and preventive steps such as increased patrolling by the police. Amitabh,the great, has condemned the incident.
I leave it to you to decide what’s right or wrong or inspiring in these comments.
The accused have said they wanted to ‘teach a lesson’ to the girl; Wow, some teachers in our society! The moral police who smash bars where discos are held will hang their heads in shame and feel humbled before such ‘lofty’ versions of themselves taking law into their hands and meting out gore justice.
Now on to our ‘foolish’ Indians; the ‘aam aadmi’, what does he say? I don’t have recourse to see what everyone thinks; hence some samples of what they would be thinking; the girl shouldn’t have gone for a movie with a boy friend or another man, shouldn’t have traveled so late, shouldn’t have chosen to board a dubious looking chartered bus, shouldn’t have argued or defied them? Or she should have learnt kungfoo or some sort of thing to defend herself; at least carried a pepper-spray to protect herself?
Was it a case of karma, law of fate or simply law of accidents? That it was probably an inexplicable accident and we as a society are totally helpless against such accidents in future?
I don’t know. But what I know is the police are doing their job silently as ever.
My salute to the much maligned hero, the police.
We all know he was the head of Shiv Sena, a Hindu outfit from Maharashtra who fiercely championed the cause of Hindus, especially in the context of anti-Muslim sentiments. He also championed the cause of ‘sons of the soil’ movement in Maharashtra. The methods he used were not always palatable to secular forces in the country; the bandhs and attacks on establishments were designed to make people sit up and notice. I hated him when shiv Sena attacked South Indians, particularly Tamilians in Mumbai asking them to go back to their state since in his perception the Tamilians were taking the jobs, which otherwise would have gone to the sons of the soil. The so-called secular forces thought he was a threat to national unity.
But nothing could deter him from growing into a force to recon with in the Indian polity cutting across party lines. Even when he was waning; the Raj controversy et all , There is no personality worth the salt, be it politics, cinema or religion, who has not visited him and sought his help, support or blessings. As far as Maharashtra was concerned he was a king-maker and no one could stop him from calling the shots even if another party came to power in the state. He was never seen holding an high office nor was he giving long discourses on Hinduism or seen worshipping in temples. What was his strength then; fear? The fear he managed to create in people’s mind with respect to the violence his followers were capable of?
In my eyes he was a creator; creating a an organization single handed, creating instant appeal to the masses who remained loyal to him forever, create and retain the myth and image of savior of Hindus, call the shots in the state as well as the central governments; was not a mean achievement.
There will always be controversies linked to his name and not all will agree to his policies but there can’t be a controversy as to what he achieved as an individual; creator of a powerful myth, that of a savior of Hindus.
You start off as an uninflated balloon
Only essence possibility of a full blown
As you grow add air on the way
Raring to go kiss the sky
The view is grand on top of the globe
Buildings look small people smaller
The rainbow colors beckoning far
You rise and rise with sky the limit
Pinpricks come in the form of pain
Aches of love and flaming anger
Swaying emotions threaten your feet
Simmering heat takes you adrift
Gas gets low and you work the pump
Need the praise and the ego boost
Nothing works when the wind is still
Descend or float depend on the will
The gas inside and the outer winds
Conspire to bring you crashing down.
You land on a tearing treetop or flat desert
Depending on how well you fall.
I get up to go writing
Put on the shorts the active shirt
Whey protein shake and frozen blueberry
Here I start a creative non-fiction
The fifty push-ups and the sixty air-squats
The hip rotations and knees tucking
Shake up the mind and clear the heart
Words flow free and thought waterfall
Set the weights @ seventy pounds
Set the handle to taught
Hold the breath and pull the mind
Wipe the drops of inspiration to paper
Set the incline and speed for strain
Jog on the treadmill in brief bursts
Allow the thoughts to wander for a while
Squeeze nectar to the pencil end.
Alas, I wish twenty biceps and triceps
Workout bring out one line
Ten rounds of Serra park jogging
Equals one stanza of a poem.
My reading for the Open Mic Tea Talk on 09/07/12 at school:
I was thinking about a suitable topic for discussion today. It had to be serious enough and literary sounding for Carolyn Cooke to approve of it.
‘ why not about good vs evil, the oldest and the profoundest question of all times? The question, which concerned humanity’s destiny since origin of life on earth.
My inner voice intervened urgently; it knows my impulsiveness or so I thought. It was soon evident it knew more than that.
‘You dumbhead, don’t ever touch such subjects, you just can’t handle serious issues let alone epic themes such as this one’.
‘Why not? If John Milton could write Paradise Lost, a man who couldn’t even see what he was writing, why not me?’
Don’t ever compare yourself with such noble souls; you would slip into frivolousness as smoothly as a fish back into water or like a ripe banana into the eager mouth of a monkey. You just can’t handle it.’
‘will you just shut up?’
The voice went silent.
So here I am, trying to find a contemporary analogy for the conflict between good and evil. It occurs to me what better example than the cinematic conflicts between hero and villain.
When I was young and immature I worshiped the hero,and when you talk about heroes you naturally think of James Bond. Yes, I was a huge fan of Bond and watched him twice or thrice on the big screen, every time a Bond movie released. One of the reasons for my repeat watch was actually to figure out what ‘Shawn Connery was shpeaking!’
Slowly my eyes opened to the monumental blunder I was committing all along, ignoring the villain completely at the cost of creativity and fun. For instance, I failed to notice, in my blind adoration of the hero types, the fountain of creativity the villains seemed to unleash. Look at the early Bond villains; one robs the Fort Knox of all it’s gold reserves and paints a nude girl with it, or the other who stole nuclear warheads and hid them under ocean bed and yet another sending rockets to the moon!
Compared to this, the actions of the hero pale into insignificance; pushing a button here and starting a fire there and undoing whatever creative hard work the villain did over several years!
Behoves badly of heroism, I thought.
But what affected me profoundly was the steady degradation in depicting the stature and standing of the villain, which perhaps calls for the ‘villains of the world to unite under one banner and fight. It was evident in one of the later Bond movies, Quantum of Solace, that the villain was on a shoe-string budget. For one thing, the choice of villain was pretty poor, a weak looking psycho! The plot: to control the water resources of a few villages in remote Africa, where, as it was, there was no water to control in the first place! He was given bad loose-fitting costumes, and was allotted only one BCW ( Bikini Clad Woman) who hovered three feet away from him due to bad breath issues of because he was refused allowance for buying mouth freshners.
The budget issues were so acute, the villain was not even allowed a private conference hall to hatch his not so diabolic intents. He was conned into believing it would be novel to meet his cronies in a public opera hall when the opera was in session and share the common mics to discuss the evil plot in coded language. No wonder even a dim-wit like Bond found this out by accident!
Looking at other villains, I was impressed with Darth Vader of Star Wars, such a resourceful aspirant for the Starry kingdoms, was never even allowed to show his face on the screen!
The lot of the villains is the same all over the world. Take Bollywood movies; the villain is treated worse than the comedian. In the hot, sweltering heat of Indian climate, the villain goes about his admirable duties in full black pants and shirts,a jacket, heavy chains, bracelets and leather boots, while the fortunate hero hovers around swimming pools in shorts and cotton tees! The hero can’t do anything but hover around pools as he doesn’t know swimming, is entirely another issue.
On the other hand if villain wants to relax in the pool and gets into it with a couple of BCWs, now don’t expect me to explain that again, he can’t do even that because the moment he steps into the water he will get that all important business call, conveying the bad news; confiscation of the drug supplies by the police and the multimillion dollar deal gone! The furious villain stomps out throwing the cordless into the water, and gets a three hundred dollar deduction from his fees towards the cost of the cordless phone by the peevish producers.
While the heros negotiate for more kissing scenes, the villains would be fortunate if they get so far as one nasty scene of attempted rape. When the scene is over all that he gets is scratches and blood all over his face, which put him out of action for the next ten days.
In his devotion to his duties he scarcely takes care of his health; smoking, drinking and eating bad food, and dies young for his admirable cause. Have you ever seen a villain dying a natural death in his old age, after taking his dog for a walk or while playing with his grandson, a la Godfather, who did all that a villain does but got the admiration of a hero too? In fact it’s the villainy that got Godfather the accolades rather than the heroic deeds.
Now coming back to our main theme of good and evil,
Did I digress a bit?
Am I frivolous?
Was my inner voice right, afterall?
I was staring out the window
Searching for images in my head
The birds, the homeless and the filth
‘Oh’, I thought. ‘What have we come to’.
What if our forefathers sat at a window
Stared at the space and wondered
What have we come to be
What filth lies around.
Some slaved away their lives
Some built bridges and roads
Banks business buildings and cars
Tanks guns soldiers and farms
I take the car, fill gas and gun down
@ 80 miles on smooth freeways
The car melts the asphalt sinks
The signs show skyward, the signals glow grey
Pack lunch from farmer’s market
cash from ATM & coffee from Starbucks
The lunch turns stone and grass
The cash ash coffee dung
Reach class, climb stairs, two in one
to the windows were there are none
forefathers peering thro’ the cave
Wondering what to do next.
The biggest mystery of the universe is the body. Even though religion and metaphysics speak only about other mysteries of God and the Soul and treat body with slight, the body has it’s share of fascination.
They say the identification of mind with body, which is called body consciousness is ignorance. The body is only a vehicle which the soul uses for working out it’s karma. When death comes the body only dies and the soul may taken on another body, just as a snake sheds it’s skin.
But to think of it, what a vehicle it is! Ferraris and Porches are chicken feed compared to it. No wonder, the human psyche is so much attached to it. It is born small with all the potentials of a fully grown man/woman. It has complex systems and energy feeds. The processing of food, water and air is done in the most intelligent manner.
The body has it’s demands, no doubt. We work, earn and feed it. We give sex to it. We clothe it, transport it and nurse it when it is ill, though it cures itself. We need it in perfect shape in order to carryout other functions.
Body comes in different shapes and colors. The color of the skin, the eyes, the hair and different shapes of short, tall, thin, fat etc. But the inner organs are uniform for all. You don’t boast of three ears or two tongues! Everyone eats through the front and excretes through the rear, though the shape of the rear is a matter of pride for some species!
It houses the senses and the brain for processing all the inputs coming in through them. We think and act on the basis of these inputs. Every cell of the body develops intelligence and is capable of performing independently.
It grows old, often due to misuse than anything else. But even when it is looked after well, we don’t know whether we are looking after it well enough, but it does grow old.
When it dies it dies once for all. Nothing is recoverable. For the soul they say another body may be waiting but for the body there is no another soul. It is burnt or buried but it never returns.
The biggest mystery is the death because we don’t know when it arrives. The body is totally out of our control as far as death is concerned. Disease is only an excuse but the end is certain and uncertain at the same. We know it is going to die one day but we don’t know when. Diet, exercise and medical intervention only help to an extent. There are hundreds of mysteries inside the body and we don’t know which mystery is going to claim our life when.
Our hopes are our next life, God, heaven and after life. But this life in this body is finished once for all in death.
This is the tragedy of life.
My inbox is full of frivolous mail
My outbox is equally superficial
Both deserve only the trash
And both go there to crash.
What I have in my drafts
Is what matters the most.
The drafts are unsent and unread
But remain there for ages for me to read
The drafts bear testimony to my life
My broken relationships and my self
The tragedies I can’t share
The tears I can’t shed
When life becomes unbearable
Drafts come to my rescue
I pour out and save as a draft
And my being feels light as a raft
My drafts don’t yield to delete
And remain forever in the cache
My mail accounts keep changing
But my draft folder is always full.
I am writing this on my IPad watching the Pune Warriors vs Rajasthan Royals. Poor Yuvraj just got out for no fault of his. The ball hit by his partner touches the fingers of the bowler and knocks the stumps out, and Yuvraj was miles away at the bowler’s end.
Now is Yuvy a poor guy? The recent triumphs in the world cup are yet to fade from the memory of the cricketing world. His wickets, runs and the Man of the Tournament awards. Is he out of form? Certainly not. In his individual capacity he is still doing good. Still the team he leads lost 5 matches in a row, and are at the bottom of the table, vying for a place with another loser the Delhi Daredevils.
That brings up another question: Is he fit to be the captain of a team?Siddhu brought up a very interesting point in his comments about Yuvy’s body language during the tournament, and he felt Yuvy needs to improve his body language to win as a captain. And I think he is absolutely right.
Now let’s look at Yuvy in the field. He wears the looks of a bored man. Chewing on his gums, and the gaudy coolers on top of his head, he looks casualness personified. As for His attitude towards his team mates he comes across as condescending and arrogant. When a wicket is taken he is in no hurry to go and congratulate the bowler. When a catch is dropped or when there is a mis-field he looks at the offender like he is dirt. He shouts for change of field. In short he looks like one hell of a slothful character on the field. Indeed he needs to improve his body language like hell.
On the other hand look at Shane Warne. I think he is one of the best captains. Notice how he goes and hugs the bowler when he takes a wicket. Look how genuine is he in his expressions. How humble he looks and conveys a feeling of amicableness. No wonder women fall for him!
The message is clear. It is not enough if you are a good player. You need to be a good man to lead and motivate your team. You need to be expressive, lovable and the one who leads from the front.
Is Yuvy poor? Yes he is as far as the skills of a captain go. The same goes for the wooden faced Shewag too. They may be good players but certainly no good captains. If their teams win it would be not because of them, but inspite of them.