Monday, 1 February 2016

Random Suo Motu Rants

It is so random, even I can’t make sense of it.

Sifting through the social media crap that piles up in front of me day in and day out is becoming extremely tedious. There’s so much made-up shit in there, you wonder what makes these people do such things. Bill Maher recently said that, “Somewhere along the line the Information Superhighway became Bullshit Boulevard. And truth was roadkill”. The other day, I received a devotional song rendered beautifully by a small kid, with the caption that she is M S Subbulakshmi’s granddaughter. She is not. Why would someone deliberately add a falsehood to a song? Then, there is the steady stream of proud Indians sending out some proud things about which I am instructed to be proud of. Some messages explain how unscrupulous, scheming foreign forces are collaborating with sickular anti-nationals to malign our ancient land of honey and milk, about which I should be angry and react as a proud Indian.

Recently, there was a story in a friend’s Facebook page about a rich man living in a villa and his watchman.
The story goes like this – Rich man living in a villa. Whenever he goes out in his luxury car our watchman opens the gate and wishes, but the master never responds. One day master sees guy opening garbage bags for leftover food. Next day the watchman saw a bag near the dump filled with fresh food, and this became a regular thing. One day the master dies, and the bag also stops (note: the protagonist, thickheaded obviously, still hasn’t connected the food bag to the master). After some time, our dude asks the master’s wife for a raise, who could not believe this guy needed a raise. However, he tells her the story of the food bag. She started bawling because she realized it was her benevolent hubby. Next day onwards the son started bringing the food bag. Wait, it is not over. There’s a twist. Our guy says thank you, but the son too doesn’t respond. Guy is miffed. Later momma explains that the son is deaf, just like his dad. So, the moral of the story is - don’t judge people without knowing the truth.

A whole bunch of people liked it, shared it and expressed their appreciation at the profound meaning of the story. "Awesome," "touching," "great," went the comments. They were all sympathizing and identifying with the poor, rich, deaf feudal lord who “so generously” left the food bag by the "dump" for his watchman. Not with the watchman who had to scrounge the waste for half-chewed breadsticks, but with the boss who won’t pay a living wage to his employee. And the madam and the son continues with that generosity. The guy, instead of being grateful for that, was passing judgments. The f#$%ing serf.

It obviously is his karma. As it was for Rohith Vemula, the kid who killed himself in Hyderabad. A few days ago I was reading stories from the Mahabharata to my sons and I came across this paragraph about Ekalavya after he severs his thumb as guru dakshina for Drona.

“You may think it was a hard and cruel demand that Drona made, but a very important lesson underlies it. A man is born according to his past thoughts and actions, and his body is part of his karma. He must not forcibly snatch advantages denied to him by his physical condition, but must patiently bear his disabilities till he has worn them out, and the way opens before him. Ekalavya would not wait. He resolutely grasped the fruit that to him was forbidden, and the body that had sinned had to pay its debt.

Rohit Vemula too did not wait. He was, and others like him are, reaching for that forbidden fruit, which is irking some people, who would like to restore that old system and show these upstarts their place in society.

I started writing this post a few weeks ago when the Supreme Court upheld the bar closure in Kerala. The Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, deemed that only those mallus who can afford five-star bars or have friends in elite clubs need to booze. I wanted to rant against that verdict but then two words – suo motu – stopped me in my tracks. Suo motu is Latin for “You fat f#$k”. This is used by judges when they throw the book at you. E.g. “Suo motu (You fat f#$k), solitary life imprisonment for you for writing dumb blogs and other crimes”. We live in a “kinda democratic” country. Being “kinda democratic” means you can say some things and get away with it. However, there is a non-democratic institution which can screw your happiness just like that and that is the judiciary. A judge can call you “Oy suo motu” and throw you into jail for anything and everything or even make you write imposition (Judge makes police write imposition).

Though “kinda democratic”, there is one no-go area. Religion. Hurting religious sentiments is a big crime in India, as Sanal Edamaruku found when he rubbed the Catholic Church the wrong way. And there are many other such instances.

But then, what about “scientific sentiments”? What about my scientific sentiments that are being hurt every time I see Mr. Gajendra Chauhan, the FTII head, peddling Hanuman pendants on TV for good fortune?
What about my hurt sentiments when I see that prosperous-looking woman selling a “valampiri shankhu” for prosperity?
O Supreme Court, What about my frikkin scientific sentiments?

In the meantime, our city got a new mayor. I was reminded of the Eagles song “New kid in town”, except that in this guy’s case “Nobody’s talking about the new kid in town.” He is invisible. At the same time, another election is approaching. So, the railway god was brought out for the customary light metro gibberish for the capital city, which is into its fifth year of gibberish-ing. The chief honcho is raining promises on the electorate from dark clouds covering the sun. The opposition is waiting for the sun to come out.

As Chanakya, with his brahminical, stern, constipated look, his stretched index finger poking your eyes, said about democracy, “When the fart gets wet, it is time to change the langot”.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Scroll Down You Heartless, Type Ahem

Most days I get up in a reasonably neutral mood. Get up, poop, shave, send out some GMs, get the kids up and ready for school, etc. Routine stuff, not necessarily in that order. Well, except for the first one. You have to get up first. Pooping and then getting up would be disastrous. Would like to kick the bucket before reaching that stage. Some days I am a bit cranky, but never once have I woken up in the morning in a euphoric mood. Never have I got up with a “Yay, I’m gonna kick ass today” spirit. Maybe I should get some of that kickass mojo somewhere, keep aside reason and scepticism and try going through the day in false high spirits. Maybe not.

I am also put off by motivational bullshit messages and stories. Especially stories, almost all of which turn out to be fake. Today’s “true” story was about a kid called Robby who played Mozart’s Concerto #21 for his mom who died of cancer. Conveniently, Robby died in the Oklahoma City bombing. Inconveniently, there was no person of that name among the dead. There is some profound hidden message in there from the Lord, which I am supposed to grasp to enrich my life. However, I never understand such messages. I need clear, simple explanations straight up. I am dumb.

For example, during the recent floods in Chennai, you kept seeing messages such as “Save them O God!” or “only God can help them now”. Based on the generally accepted definition of God, it would have been this very being who unleashed this floods on Chennai just some time ago. Why would he now want to save Chennai? For some prayers and offerings? What kind of a psychopath would do such a thing?

Then there’s the “Scroll down if you’re heartless; or type Amen” postings on Facebook with a picture of a child with no limbs or of a pregnant woman who is dying from cancer or a guy with an extra testicle. You see half a million people liking or typing amen. Heartless, I usually scroll down. How does this work? Suppose the picture gets a million amens, will the extra testicle disappear? I have no idea. I am yet to see a picture of a kid with a caption, “thanks to your million amens, this child has now grown back a full set of limbs”.

And, this just in - the Vatican has come out with an announcement saying that Pope Frank has approved a second miracle for Mother T, who is now in line for sainthood. Wow! A second miracle. Apparently, a Brazilian man was cured of multiple brain tumours by Mom T.

Is this reproducible? The Vatican’s benchmark for sainthood appears to be pretty low. If you’re doing a scientific experiment, you have to be able to replicate the results, many times over, for it to gain acceptance. Here, it is just two “miracles,” and you’re a saint. I hope the Vatican comes out with the exact procedure as to how to pray to this lady – go to her church, say some verse a million times, type amen on another cancer patient’s Facebook post, squeeze a goat’s balls, break a coconut … on a goat’s balls, etc. I’m sure people will do all these and more, as long as you give them some kind of guarantee. For instance, if your goat has only one testicle, your survival rate will go down by 25 percentage points, or something like that. But then, that would be science.

“Science is Life,” thus wrote our PM on a digital wall a few months ago in Abu Dhabi, one of the pit stops of his travelling roadshow. It was an excellent thing to say in one of the top non-scientific regions in the world today. He could’ve said “Vedic Science is Life,” but he didn’t. He is shrewd. He was in town recently, almost. The town was “grazed” by him. It was the most disappointing PM visit in my memory because the only good thing during such visits –the roads getting fixed– didn’t happen. He landed at the airport, flew out to a nearby town to meet some religious dudes and flew back and flew out. In between he gave a few minutes on the tarmac to the Chief Honcho and other ministers to discuss the state’s issues while he was walking to the plane. He is a busy man, and he also knows that these pols don’t have their fingers on the pulse of the people.

Because couple of days later, he had lots of spare time to sit down and talk with a person who definitely had his fingers on the pulse of all nations - Google CEO Sundar Pichai. His company comes out with that data every year and this year also the top searched person in India was the porn star Sunny Leone. The throbbing pulse of the nation.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all


Friday, 13 November 2015

OMG! Facts

Smartphone, WhatsApp, Facebook – I succeeded in staying away from these for a long time. Then, one day I surrendered (Year-end Ruminations 2014), first to the smartphone, then gradually to Whatsapp and finally to Facebook. It all happened only about a year ago. Nowadays I get up and the first thing I do is check the phone, which also serves as my alarm clock, send out good morning messages, and more often than not carry the phone to the potty.

And there you’re, straining, veins in your neck taut, smartphone in hand and you see the WhatsApp message
“The Sinister and Nefarious Design of Breaking India Exposed. Must Read Indians”
So, as a passport-holding loyal Indian, I immediately relax my various muscles and read the message. There is so much of scary things in that message, you almost shit in your pants, i.e. if you were wearing one. Luckily, I wasn’t. So it didn’t matter.

I am paraphrasing below in italics some of the contents that my bullshit sensor picked up randomly from the message.
GOI intelligence has investigated #award wapsi and primary reports suggest US-Saudi-Pak are involved
Ford foundation and Greenpeace hired international PR firm and millions were invested
The writers, poets, Narayana Murthy, Raghuram Rajan, film makers…they all use one word which is common in every statement.. "intolerant". How is it possible?
US is worried its people are driving toward Hinduism & Vatican is worried about Christian future
So expose media, seculars, etc., with facts.
You’re the frontline of defence for MODI. He has got the toughest job in the world.
Wow, those award wapsi guys are really the scum of this world, aren’t they? Involvement of Pakistan, no surprises there. But USA and Saudi! How could they do this to us? Anyway, I’m not overly worried, because our broad-chested leader will surely retaliate against these loathsome countries trying to destabilize us. Some sanctions on USA would be nice. Those guys keep imposing sanctions on everyone at the drop of a hat.

International PR firm? I hope it is not APCO, which is known for such shenanigans (got Gujarat vibrating, got Maggi back on shelves!).

Narayan Murthy et al. using that same word “intolerant”. Hmm, reminded me of that saying, “if it looks like shit, smells like shit, and feels like shit, you don’t have to actually eat it to know it is shit.”

US people driving toward Hinduism? Must be driving one of those Ford gas guzzlers provided by the Ford Foundation, without doubt.

Vatican is worried about Christian future? They better be. How long can you sustain such stories? Even Pope Frank says you should study evolution.

So, expose seculars, etc. with “FACTS”. Facts such as the above ones provided by GOI Intelligence, I am guessing, since I don’t have any facts with me.
As a first line of defence, I deleted that message.
But, before you could say Jack Robinson the next message hits me.
This message compares two religions. Its contents are given below in italics with my thoughts upon reading it after the “>>”.
Until today no one has told you the truth that ???
>> No...what?

There are 3 lakh mosques in India.
No other country in the world has these many mosques.
>>OK. Is there a problem with that? Last time I checked there were no restrictions on the number of religious buildings you can have in this country. (That is a lie. I never checked. I just guessed, again. Sorry.)

There are only 24 Churches in Washington.
71 Churches in London.
There are 68 Churches in the city of Milan in Italy.
While in Delhi alone there are 271 churches.
>> At least google before posting "truths". Still, what is the point here? Fewer Americans/Brits/Italians are believing in imaginary beings?

And you call a Hindu communal.
>>No, when did I do that? There are some communal, bigoted Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews and even Buddhists. If you are not one, why worry?

Further I have not come across an Indian Muslim opposing ISIS.
>>Again, a li'l googling would've saved some embarrassment.

But we have millions of Hindus who are opposing views of RSS.
>>Quite true. The RSS is a good organization doing lot of good voluntary work, but some of the ideas are retrograde and not in tune with the modern, secular ethos of this nation. And the sartorial abomination of corpulent men in khaki knickers! (I heard they are considering a wardrobe overhaul. Good for them.)  

I have not seen any Muslim holding party on Holi or Diwali festivals for Hindus, but have seen Hindus holding iftar for Muslims during Ramadan.
>>Have no idea. Some of my Muslim friends drink liquor, eat pork and do lot of un-Islamic thingies. I celebrate everything as long as good food is involved even though I don’t belong to any religion.

I saw Indian flags being burnt in Kashmir by Indian Muslims.
But never saw an Indian Muslim burning a Pakistan flag.
>> It's not as easy as it seems, is it? This Kashmir issue.

I have seen Hindus wearing topis and visiting Mazars.
But I have neither seen nor heard an Indian Muslim applying tilak on his forehead and visiting temples.
>>You have 33 crore gods. One more wouldn't make a difference. My sister has a Jesus figure besides Krishna and other Hindu gods. I'm sure she would have had a Muslim figure too if there was one. Even the Marxists have inducted Jesus and the crescent, etc. into their acceptable list.
Anyway, I know a guy called James (not exactly a Muslim, I agree) who visits temples regularly. He told that after reading your message.

This is called Hindu tolerance and respect for other religious community.
>>Thank you for being magnanimous.
You guys respect each other's superstitions, but believe in only your own. No problem with that as long as you don't kill each other. In that sense, Islam does have a problem and they have to tackle it. In terms of tolerance, I'd rate Christianity as the most tolerant one out there right now. But then they (rather, the whites, who happened to be Christians) screwed up the whole world, destroying cultures, converting and colonising people starting 500 years ago. Job done. Now they can afford to be tolerant.

It's my humble request to share this message with your friends & near and dear.
>> Sure. Will do, but do some basic googling before posting emotional diarrhoea.
The typical convoluted logic behind your post is that, "hey, we Hindus are letting you guys stay here. Be grateful". That condescending tone is what scares people.
In the meantime, though the church figures you cited above for Washington, etc. are wrong, church attendance in general is dropping in most of the developed world. People have seen through these fairy tales and the number of non-religious people is increasing. So, slow down with that emotion. Sit back. Think!
P.S. I was not planning on any ranting, but the deluge of scientific and other "facts" was too much to ignore. This is a modified version of my WhatsApp response. In the midst of writing this, I received some facts about the Rama Setu (the “bridge” between India and Sri Lanka), a few of which I would like to share with you.

It was built by 10 million vanaras (apes) in just 5 days. It is 1.7 million years old and built with stones that started floating after the architects Nala & Neel touched it. It is mentioned in the Ramayana. You got your proof right there. Many geologists say it was a natural process, but you know, they failed to provide concrete proof. There are other proofs that it is man-made (man-made? what about the 10 million vanaras?). Of course, NASA makes an appearance, without even them knowing it. Then, within the space of 2 minutes into the video the Rama Setu becomes younger by 0.5 million years. It now says the bridge was built 1.2 million years ago. You could walk across to Lanka till AD 1480, when it was destroyed by a cyclone. Built 1.7 million years ago! Wow! In some other part of the world, the Homo erectus had just appeared on the scene, and here we were, building enormous sea structures with the help of ape labour.

Could this be the science our children and grandchildren will end up learning in the future? I am almost tempted to believe in god and write OMG! (It’s scary – the spectre of black ink, death threats, cutting off of hands, etc. is not imaginary. Have to tone down even more.)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mythology, Sacred Cow, Beef Issue

I am a big fan of mythologies. I grew up listening to stories from the Hindu mythology told by my dad, uncle and aunt. Then my dad gave me a book called “Balakathamaalika” (in Malayalam), which had Greek, Egyptian and numerous other mythological stories. I read about Jason and the Argonauts, Hercules, Ra, Thor, Charlemagne, Lancelot and King Arthur for the first time in that book and became fascinated. I still have that book and sometimes read it to my sons.

I must reiterate here that I totally love myths; myths that tell the “stories” of men with supernatural powers, and of course supernatural beings. Most of these stories are from ancient times, hundreds or thousands of years old, passed down from generation to generation.

My beef, however, is with the recent myths – Hindu myths - that are propagated as facts. Hindu mythology, it appears, is still evolving. I am not sure whether this process started with the advent of the Hindu right government or whether this was behind the rise of the right into power. The problem with this new myth creation is that it appears full of bovine excrement, unlike the ancient stories written by people with great imagination for that time.

Every once in a while you get a forwarded message of how something great was done by a Hindu sage zillions of years ago and how everybody got up and bowed, etc. These mythmakers are also obsessed with the NASA, for some reason, as if it gives the story some legitimacy.

Some of the stuff I found interesting:

NASA recorded the sound of the sun and it is the great mantra Aum, says a YouTube video with an American-sounding voiceover. For one, NASA didn’t record the sound of the sun. Some scientists at the University of Sheffield recreated the sound by turning some visible vibrations into sound and speeding up the frequency. And it doesn't sound like Aum. It sounds more like a wet fart passing through a stringed instrument.

There is a guy called Dr. Gopalakrishnan, who is apparently some big-time scientist who taught the sahib a thing or two about something. He says things like the Vedas were made a UNESCO World Heritage, whereas the Bible and Quran are not. Deceptive half-truths, but gulped down by his fans as absolute truths. Some 30 Rigveda manuscripts were accepted into the “UNESCO Memory of the World Register” (note the difference in name), which has numerous other such entries including the Convict Records of Australia and the Communist Manifesto, not to mention biblical or Qur’anic items. This venerable Dr. is also obsessed with NASA. In a speech, he talks about a visit he made to the NASA, where he saw, “with his own eyes,” every American space scientist listening to Vedic chanting while working. Can’t argue with that, can you? Personally saw thousands and thousands of American scientists listening to Vedic chants. Probably the rap version, sung by Tupac Shakur; after he died.

Then there is Cap’n Bodas, who was cited in an earlier blog here(ancient Indian air travel), and his interplanetary machines, which were presented to the world at the Indian Science Congress. The book this guy cites is probably written in the 20th century. There are some funny videos out there, with the customary American voiceover. It is quite detailed, so it must be pretty easy for one of these “engineers” to cobble together a flying machine based on that material. It even says what the pilot should be eating. I am waiting.

Another one I received recently was how Edison went all the way to England to get Max Mueller to blab for his first gramophone recording. Sailing across the Atlantic for a recording. Pretty routine for those days, I presume.

“Hey, Max, want to say some bullshit into this contraption I made?”
“Yeah, why not? Why don’t you get  on the next boat and hop over Ed?”

So Edison went across the Atlantic to Max who spoke the first verse of the Rig Veda in praise of Agni, in Sanskrit. At the end of it all, the entire audience stood up as a mark of respect to the ancient Indian sages. And, probably also because their asses were burning as Max screwed up in invoking Agni, who set their seats on fire. It was a rigged veda show, because Edison’s first recording was some shouting and Mary had a frikkin li’l lamb.

Why do they come up with this bullshit stories? As a country, we have enough to be proud of and enough to be ashamed of too. Why do they want to build this false sense of great pride in some mythological stories and plain stupidities by portraying them as science? I have no idea, but anyway thought I will do some myth-busting.

Stay with me for a few more lines. This is important for me. I am worried about the beef issue in this country. I like my beef. I have tasted the best beef in the world. Kobe, Matsuzaka, Kuroge wagyu, and Angus. I have had Brazilian churrasco and also the fibrous chewy beef from cattle that walked all the way from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu to Kerala. So as a beefeater it worries me that I might not be able to do so here in the future.

While thinking about it I checked out how cows evolved. I learned that all cattle are descendants of a few animals domesticated from wild ox (aurochs) 10,500 years ago. What we have here in India is mostly Bos taurus indicus, which at some point of time became holy. Then this thought struck me –“Do the other species qualify as sacred cows?” Y’know, a Holstein or a Jersey? So, I googled and hit pay dirt instantaneously. They are not sacred! Eureka! Only the Bos taurus indicus is sacred! Says da bovine man Shankar Lal, who is the president of the Akhil Bharathiya Gau Sewa.

Here are couple of links.

As per him saatvik (virtuous) Indian cows can reduce crime, reform convicts, prevent evil thoughts, etc. whereas milk from, say, a Jersey cow has devil in it and has poisonous particles that make you think impure thoughts resulting in increased crimes. Whoa!, and all along we thought it was the guys drinking alcohol who were committing crimes. It was the milk drinkers. (Nothing related, but reminds me of the Ghost who Walks ordering milk at bars, and the stoopid Kerala government which has shut down the bars here).

Shankar Lalji is planning to build cowsheds in schools, conduct exams and courses on cows, a university to study cow science and do Gau Kathas in temples.

“Holy Cow!” I thought. Not because he was doing these things, but because I suddenly saw a way out of the beef conundrum we are in now. If Jersey and other species of cows are impure and are not considered as cows (not by me, mind you, but by Mr. Shankar Lal), there ought to be no problem in killing them for meat. It is just like chicken. Another animal that can be eaten. To be frank, these foreign species are more meaty and succulent than the bony Bos taurus indicus. I hope we can import more Jersey cows and other varieties and sell them as Jersey meat. Everybody, including me and the crazy beef fest holding bozos in Kerala, can breathe easily now. Problem solved. Brilliant. Wow, I won't be able to sleep today. Thanks Shankar Lalji.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Rainbow Treatment

Recently I gave the rainbow treatment to my Facebook profile picture. I had earlier read about it and seen some people do it but had left it at that. You see, I’m not that big on symbolism. While I dearly hope the LGBT community succeeds in their endeavour to get accepted around the world as regular human beings, I didn’t feel my face in rainbow was going to make any difference whatsoever to that effort.

Then one day, a Facebook friend posted a message on his timeline asking his friends not to promote gay marriage with this rainbow thingy. The usual reasons – god, devil, Leviticus, etc. I’m not that Facebook-savvy, in the sense that I started using it only a few months ago, though I had an account for long. I don’t have many fb friends either. I accepted requests from people I knew. This person also was one such acquaintance, but he turned out to be god overload. His posts are mostly about god. Perhaps he thinks god is actively trolling the Internet to see who is posting what or who is surfing the smut channels. Anyway, my friend doesn’t realize that I’m not big on god. Sometimes when I see a whole bunch of god-related messages such as “share if you believe blah, blah,” I go “avantammoommede…” To be sure, I don’t mean anyone’s ammoomma, but use it as a general cuss word in the privacy of my home.

Why are these religious people going ape-shit over this issue? Wouldn’t the all-forgiving, compassionate, loving, merciful being forgive these LGBT people (by burning them in hell, forever, ha ha), that is, if what they’re doing is a crime/sin? At any rate, they, the LGBT people, are not going around imposing anything on others. They’re just asking for equal treatment as human beings. And the religious people want to deny that. They want to impose their beliefs, based on some medieval stories, on others.

The Jesus & Mo cartoon of July 1, 2015 expressed it the best, where Jesus says, “It goes against our fundamental right as believers to tell other people what they can and cannot do”.

And that is what got my goat when I saw his message. So, I decided to convert my iruttinte aatmavu (soul of darkness) profile pic to a rainbow aatmavu. Not just in support of the LGBT movement’s victory in the US, but to support freedom in general. Freedom to be yourself, freedom to not conform, freedom to think, speak and write. Freedom from bigotry, freedom from racist, religious and parochial nationalistic brainwashing, freedom from bullshit. I can dream, can’t I?


Friday, 22 May 2015

Garv se Kaho "What?"

Foreigners new to Japan initially find it hard to understand the calendar here. According to the Japanese calendar, this is the 27th year of the Heisei era, which started in January 1989 when Akihito, became the new emperor following the death of his father Hirohito. Hirohito’s era from 1926 to 1989 is called the Showa era and he is now known as the Showa emperor. This is used officially too, so you should know how to convert from the Gregorian to the Showa (I was born in the Showa era!) or Heisei when filling in your date of birth in some government form.

The Gregorian calendar has the birth of Jesus as the starting point. How did they come up with that date? Don’t ask unnecessary questions. We demand unquestionable faith. Coming to the current era, we, now have a chance to devise a new calendar.

I recently found out that I may not have been proud to be an Indian till 2014. This was revealed by our prime minister, who is now the “greatest leader of the greatest nation on the earth”. That sobriquet, till recently, was owned by whichever douchebag was the president of the USA at that time. So, at some point of time in the past Nixon and GW Bush were the greatest leaders of the “free world”.

Now that mantle has been appropriated by Mr. Modi, if you believe the noise in the Hindu web world. Global leaders are kowtowing to him (though it is our leader who is going around). Everybody is respecting Indians (except maybe Indians). We have reached superpower status where we can project our *#$% into other people’s affairs and get away with it like the USA (we could try Maldives? Maybe not). Canada gave Indians visa on arrival (VOA) status (Don’t try it. It is the other way round. We gave VOA to Canadians). Perhaps if we repeat it enough times all these will come true.

With nothing to be proud of pre-2014, we ought to divide our calendar as BM and AD, i.e. “Before Modi” was elected PM in 2014 (hereinafter “AD 1”), while retaining AD but altering its meaning to Anno Domini Nostri Modi.

“Hey, hey, what about Gandhi? Surely you can be proud of him!” You might ask. Well, what about him? Look at him. The man was walking around in a loincloth. Was it a designer langoti? Was it monogrammed with his initials MKG? In gold? No. I doubt whether the langoti even had the black dots and lines the dhobis put to identify clothes. On the other hand you won’t catch our PM in the same dress twice. Pretty soon he will have the RSS musclemen in designer khaki knickers (made in China).

“How about the Gupta period? Y’know, the Golden Age blah, blah we learned at school”. Stop asking questions. We’ll instruct you on what to learn, do, eat, think, wear, etc. in due course of time. Just follow our lead. The last time we were close to being proud was about 7000 years ago when we had intergalactic space machines and our gurus were doing head transplants. Got it?

So, now I am a proud Indian. Proud of things we are instructed to be proud of. Proud of the fake Macaulay minute of 2-2-1835 in sepia print floating around in the Internet, where he saw a super country when he travelled the length and breadth of India. Did he come down to Trivandrum? If he did, he could have seen my great-great-great grandmother walking nude waist up because it was a great period and feminists were having a “Free the Nipple” campaign of their time, and not because of some crazy caste rules, as the fake historians would make you believe.

There is a right-wing narrative being slowly scripted now, of what a super race we are (were), of how we had invented everything that had to be invented, of how all these foreigners looted us, etc. Some of it may be legit, but quite a bit are based on dodgy historical interpretations and on mythology.

And it is being implemented stealthily and incrementally. A beef ban here, a new history book there, a religious nut in an education board here, a dress code there, a false quote (Macaulay) in social media here, a fake Vivekananda smart-ass riposte to a white man there. It is slowly building up and at some point of time it will reach the critical mass needed to engulf a naïve public who is taught not to think for themselves and not to question authority. The modus operandi is somewhat similar to the right wing in the USA, where the Christian right (in some States) wants the Genesis to be taught as science along with evolution. So, it is possible that in the near future we might be taught there is nothing to be proud of Gandhi, Nehru or Tagore, or that we did the first live television broadcast of a major war thousands of years before CNN brought the Gulf War to the living rooms.

Any which way you look at it, we are screwed.

We will be screwed left, right and centre – by the lame and limp left; by the rabid, rampant right; and the corrupt and clueless centre. And, to rub it in further, we’ll be screwed all over by the corporates, for whom these three exist.

A prime example is Trivandrum. Mr. Modi, the Calendar Divider and the Generous, recently gave a billion dollars to Mongolia, which has a population about the same as Trivandrum district! At the same time, these three groupings (the left, the right and the centre) are falling over each other trying to screw Trivandrum, whether it is over a mass rapid transport system, the Vizhinjam port, a waste management system or any other development whatsoever.

My only hope is that one day Mr. Modi the Generous will throw some spare change our way from the air when he flies over our airspace to some distant land.