Sunday, July 30, 2006

Shiv Sankees, not Shiv Sainiks

...and there I was, hanging on to his collar, my other arm flailing wildly in thin air as the raindrops battered my skin as if sanctifying his act. One feet rested on the footboard and the other bobbing wildly outside like a towel on a clothes-line. The wind made it even worse and all I could was stare blankly at his face in fright.

I still maintain, I'd done nothing brave in asking the few puerile Shiv-Sainiks to behave themselves, crowding illegally into the first class compartment. Their cacophony wasn't music to our ears. The other commuters merely tched tched in disgust. I was there too, a representative of a generation awakened (Right, Mr.Rakesh Mehra?) to fight for something which I believed was right.

Initially when these saffron banded, ruffian looking boys entered the compartment, they brought along with them the nauseating smell of booze. But that was not the end of it. There was dirty talk that followed, apparently about a certain lady that one of them had dumped. Triumphant about it, they were celebrating vociferously and their conversation would have given the Censor Board much fodder to chop (or rather, chomp on). It was numbing, especially when you could see the partially crowded ladies comartment wince annoyingly at their foul language and rash behavior.

The Rang De Basanti spirit is a dicey feeling. Sometimes, it overwhelms you so much that you forget the situation you're faced with and firmly believe in righteousness. But the resulting feeling is an unbelievable calm and serenity of thought, wherein nothing, absolutely nothing can shake your resolve, forget breaking it. And with such firm resolve I confronted them.

"Excuse me, do you realise this is a first class compartment? Do you have the required ticket?" I ask.
A sheepish grin followed as one of the four men startlingly looked up at me. "Are you the TTE?"

"No, I'm not...but I must request you not to create chaos in the compartment..." I replied flatly.

"Huh? Who're you to say so?" he hollered back. This time, I felt several faces peek around from the rest of the compartment. Everybody's eyes rested on us. That's Mumbai for you. Any minor confrontation, any minor abuse becomes an event, a spectacle which people watch with craned necks. And that's exactly what happened here. I was expecting some support from the rest of the 10-odd men in the compartment.
"What are you going to do?" he continued.
"Nothing. Just don't create pandemonium in the train." I retorted calmly.
"Why? What will you do? Throw us off the train? Eh?"
And saying so, he rose.

A slap followed on my neck, which I could not manage to defend. A few men from the other corner of the train let go off their I-pods and Palmtops momentarily and tried to come to my aid, but this fellow had already dragged me to the door. The train was running swiftly, almost adding fuel to the proceedings.

And then he almost threw me off. Almost. I clung on to his collar, as the rain battered my eyelids, the scenes passing around me in a hazy marquee. My heartbeats almost climaxed into a pounding and I gasped to suck in wet air laden with raindrops. Suddenly, I felt a great rush inside me and I was pulled back into the train. Unable to breathe, I choked for air.

I was knocked out.

From what I was told when I woke up a few minutes later, just in time before my station arrived, the burly young men were in fact Shiv-Sainiks and it was the leader of their gang, who could have almost flung me at a passing railway pole.

I thanked my fellow commuters for the help, but silently brooded over the fact, that it was me alone who rose to pick a fight. Was I wrong in doing so? Or was I just trying to find a cause to take Shiv-Sainiks to task?

PS: Make that Shiv-Sankees, please.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The spy who shagged Jaswant

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect - the release of his book ‘A Nature’s Call to Honour’ (Wasn’t it ‘A Call to Honour’?) which supposedly has a mention about the mole in Narasimha Rao’s PMO. The current PM, the very mohan man, Manmohan has dared Jaswant Singh to shag the spy out of the closet. When last heard, Jaswant had done it.

But what one cannot deny is the focus that his sheepish narrative has received. If a certain DNA reviewer’s remarks are anything to go by, Jaswant has missed a golden chance to give an inside view of a “fascinating period in history”. (Bunty says Jaswant’s next book is going to be titled ‘One Night at Nature’s Call Centre’ about Jaswant’s nightmarishly long sojourn in Rashtrapati Bhavan’s shauchalay.)

Meanwhile let us treat ourselves to one of the most incredibly long and inane sentences in English literature lifted from Jaswant’s current literary accomplishment…

“in governance, to meet any form of challenge, such are routinely presented decisions will always have to be made and always in a relative void of information, for information is never complete, never in time, never focused and never entirely relevant, because no brief, however well prepared, will ever be adequate, no theory however astute will or can provide the needed insight, certainly not for long and theory by itself is never able to sufficiently absorb information and to then convert that into a series of effective actions…”

God only knows what point he was trying to make here. (Bunty says, the ‘God’ here could be the ‘mole’ he talked about. Smart Bunty.)


Is our Prime minister too docile? I admire the fact that he’s the most highly qualified PM of the world, but at times, you need fire to retaliate to something as much as a terrorist strike. I guess Sonia just doesn’t do well enough to strike that match, or else, our supposed ‘puppet’ PM would have genuinely given fiery speeches.

My belief in thinking so stems from the very day he addressed the press after the 7/11 blasts. I believed atleast an occurrence like this, would arouse him from his ennui with the cabinet members.

Parag Kansara (The Great Indian Laughter Challenge finalist) offers some hope. ‘Socho…oolta socho…how would it be, if one day at a press conference, Manmohan would fling around his clothes just like Saurav Ganguly did at Lords…? He would remove his turban, swing it round and round, hurling abuses at Musharraf…’


Kurukshetra always has been a place for events. Mahabharata was the greatest of them and the recent Princely tragedy was treated as an ‘event’ too, by the media. Going by the non-stop coverage, news-anchors were reduced to mere commentators. The best part – Prince is going to be given Rs.5 lakhs as compensation by the state government. Why? Just because it was an unfortunate incident and the poor emaciated kid fell into it.

Ah..! Now I know, why Johny Joseph hasn’t got those pot-holes removed from Mumbai’s streets!

Good-bye people, I’m off for a night in one of those deep-potholes. But before I leave, I must leave a tip-off for the media, shouldn’t I? And who better than Zee News!