Wednesday, 31 August 2016

First-time Ever Greatest History of Ever-greatest Nation EVER, SHARE MAXIMUM!!

If you don’t know by now, the history of the greatest ever nation to exist under the sun god that you have been learning all along at schools and colleges is not exactly true. This is a humble attempt to fix that anomaly and create a new history of our glorious land out of thin air god. And, this is the first-ever attempt because this is the season for first-ever this and that. At this point of time, however, I can only provide you with a first-ever abstract with random contents, because I’m expected to sit and make profound observations about everything under the sun god.

Like, for example, if you lie down on your left side, you’ll fart. This is mentioned in our ancient texts. It, without doubt, proves that our ancestors were in possession of deep knowledge regarding flatulence, which modern science has not yet fully digested. Anyway, I’ve found some time, in between making such profound observations, to write this abstract. Use this as a guide to important events in the history of this land.

Another thing I'd like to mention is that any time you undertake such huge responsibilities, you’re supposed to follow certain regulations and guidelines. Some of them are prescribed by the government of the day, while some others are set by religious organizations. These are simple but strict rules and if you err, you may be charged with sedition or even end up losing an organ or two. So, I’ll strictly abide by those guidelines and in order for you, the reader (as well as the government and religious kernels), to easily identify those areas where I’m following regulations, the sentences will be in bold italics as in the portions in the above paragraph.

Ancient Land

Let’s start at the beginning. In the beginning there was nothing. God just sat there for gazillion years in the dark, doing nothing. And then, out of the black (well, it was dark, so, you can’t use “out of the blue”) 6020 years ago on a chilly October 23rd, he had this brainwave of turning on the light and creating planets and stuff (on the assumption that god has a brain – and before you god people go bonkers, let me clarify that I’m just thinking of an anatomical structure like the human brain and not his/her/its “infinite wisdom”).

Anyway, little did god know that we, here in India, were one up on him and were pre-travelling planets with our vimanas long before that. In fact, 7,092 years ago, on September 12, 5076 BC, much before earth was even a piddling thought in god’s head, Hanuman met Sita in Lanka. How do we know? Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas. That is how we know (Ramayana dates). Even NASA (an organization set up to corroborate ancient Indian wisdom) has confirmed this, which clearly points to the superiority of our ancient science. There is another group of historians who claim that the land bridge to Lanka was built 1.7 million years ago to bring back Sita. These are minor details, and the vedic historians and scientists are cooperating and doing peer reviews to pull out better explanations from different orifices.

What matters to us here is that we are an ancient land, unlike, say, South America. We were the first-ever ancient land. We were also very rich. Well, we were humming along very nicely over these thousands of years (or millions, whichever), inventing stuff, discovering stuff, and generally evolving into a tolerant super species, with an occasional fratricidal or parricidal war thrown in, when we lost everything in a mysterious way. Everything vanished without a trace into thin air god – our vimanas, our surface-to-air bow-launched nuclear-tipped arrows, our plastic surgery techniques, our bridges made with floating stones, our rooparkana rahasya radars, our MRI scanners, our WhatsApp..everything. Which meant that we had to go back to low-tech stuff.

Maurya Empire

So, let’s jump straight to the Maurya Empire, which was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, whose mentor Chanakya with his stony face, blazing eyes and wagging finger famously said, “Skip this portion and go straight to the Gupta Empire. This Chandragupta is not the golden one”.

Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire was the golden age of India (learn this by heart). It was the first-ever golden age of India. History texts don’t mention any silver or bronze ages of India, partly because there’s no History Olympics. Moreover, no teacher has ever read history answer sheets fully. All you have to do is bloviate and end the essay with “Thus, the Gupta Empire was the golden age of India”. Around the time the Gupta Empire (The Gupta Empire was the golden age of India (read 10 times)) was kicking ass, Manu wrote Manusmriti, which was the first-ever smriti written by Manu. There is a claim that a guy called Hammurabi wrote a similar smriti much before this. This is patently false since we’re the ancient-est around. Also, what kind of a name is Hammurabi? Would you name your child Hammurabi? A famous journalist once told me that he liked the name Ajatashatru and wondered why people don’t name kids Ajatashatru anymore. Would you name your kid Ajatashatru? Sorry, losing track here. This is not

Back to history. During the Gupta Empire, which, in case you forgot, was the Golden Age of India, Hinduism was able to claw back some of the space it had lost to upstart (startup?) cults popularized by Buddha and Mahavira, especially, Buddhism, which had the support of Emperor Asoka, who got his name from the Asoka Chakra in our flag, or vice versa (use vice versa wherever possible – teachers like it). Hinduism is a very tolerant religion. This could be attested by the fact that around this time the lower castes, especially the untouchables, were making great progress. They didn’t have to do anything. They didn’t have to go to schools and learn difficult trigonometric equations or astrophysics formulae, and they had 100% reservation in easy jobs like cleaning streets and poop. This continued for 1,000s of years to the chagrin of the upper castes who had 100% reservation in all the tough jobs, though they tolerated it. The tolerance levels reached great heights in the Malabar Coast where the lower castes tolerantly kept distance, some up to 96 feet, from the upper castes lest their shadows hurt the upper caste people. It is also worth mentioning that the lower castes contributed to nation-building by paying taxes even for their boobs.

In between, we failed to mention, there was Indus Valley Civilization, which was a super-duper ancient civilization, though we have our doubts regarding its ancientness. The two main sites of this civilization, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, are now in Pakistan, which is a hellhole.

This history thing is getting tiresome. Only some key points from now on. Pump in your own gas.

Islamic invasion of India

Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent mainly took place from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The previous sentence is a straight lift from Wikipedia. Here, we have to say that Islam is a peaceful religion, and after some peaceful negotiations, which included loss of lives, looting and plundering, the various Muslim dynasties got to rule over much of North India for a few centuries. You people will have to look up Battles of Panipat I, II and III on your own (very important). Also, there was a Shah Jahan Trump, who built a Taj Mahal casino, or something. Maybe I got it wrong.

Vasco da Gama

While these guys were running riot in the north, Vasco da Gama landed up in Calicut and the Malayalis, as was the custom, raised their mundu in traditional welcome and asked him to take a hike (avantey oru gama). He went back, only to return with more firepower and lobbed a few cannon balls over, after which the Malayalis relented and let him in. That was a big mistake, as he went around cutting noses and ears and stringing people up on masts.

Brits and Independence

When other Europeans heard about the Portuguese, they also wanted in on the action and this eventually led to the Brits coming and helping the country to become good at programming computers in English. They also built railroads and ports to help the natives get rid of their unnecessary stuff, which were packed and shipped off to Old Blighty for safekeeping. This was something they altruistically practiced around the world - helping the natives (when not actively exterminating them).

Anyway, somewhere in the late 1940s the Brits packed up and left because of the Indian Army, while some other people and ahimsa wagerah, wagerah played a m-i-n-i-m-a-l role, as per Maj. General Bakshi, a major historian, unlike me. Real independence came much later in 2014, according to the Maj. General. There’s a high likelihood of the period from 2014 becoming the actual first-ever golden age of India. Some people are already raising doping allegations against the Gupta Empire, and if proved, it may be stripped of the golden tag.

One ridiculous thing that the Brits left behind was cricket - a mindless, meaningless game they invented to kill time in between drinking tea and eating biscuits. Pakistan, a hellhole near us, is No.1 in it now. It is a hell of a place. It is a hell. That's where we stand now.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Samprati Hype-aha Shruyantham

  It’s been close to two months since I left the heat and grime of Trivandrum for the cooler climes in the northeast of Japan. With temperatures hovering around 0°C most of the time, my brain also went into a freeze mode, occasionally perking up like a dog’s ear to some bullshit in WhatsApp, but rarely responding actively. Some of my friends say it was because I’ve been active only in eating (exotic items like basashi, or raw horse flesh, and uni, sea urchin roe) and drinking most of the time.

  Anyway, now I am in Shonandai, south of Tokyo, where it is quite balmy and nice, and the brain has begun to thaw, ever so slowly. That is when I got this message extolling Sanskrit. Mind-blowing facts, it said. It’s too big for me to reproduce here, but trust me, it is beyond any normal human being’s comprehension. All the usual suspects – NASA, Brits, Russians, Germans, etc. - are deep into Sanskrit now. I got a feeling that if you know how to read Sanskrit in a certain way, the resulting energy waves would even cure cancer (see P.P.P.S). So, I was reading it intently, when a sentence caught my attention –“Learning of Sanskrit improves brain functioning”. Given the frozen condition of my brain, I immediately latched on to it.

  There was, however, one major problem. You really don’t know anyone who can speak Sanskrit. I personally have heard only two. One was my father’s elder brother, who is long dead, and the other is Baldevananda Sagara. He, Baldevananda Sagara, is a pravachaka (usually refers to one who cannot be criticized) and has been around for as long as Sanskrit has existed, which is “millions of years”, the message tells me. There were a few others in between. Panini, who drew up the grammar some 1500 years ago (don’t ask me about the millions of years before that), Vararuchi and Patanjali. Panini was appropriated by the Italians and made into a small bread roll (grilled sandwich), while Patanjali, of course, makes and sells Italian pasta with no Ruchi, or taste. Pathetic, how these Westerners are stealing everything from us.

  Somebody had to put a stop to this, and as if on cue, Our Lady with the Convent-educated English Accent stood up and instructed the elite technical university students in India to use their palm-tops to study the latest technological secrets inscribed in Sanskrit in state-of-the-art ancient palm leaves. NASA is doing it! so, why can't they?

  #$%&! It is a frikkin’ language. Dead, for all practical purposes! There is pride; and then there is cow dung! We sure must keep that language alive. Without doubt, there will be many people studying it, for the classical literature or for the legitimate early scientific works by Indians, but do we have to impose it on engineering students? Why are we getting all chauvinistic about it now? It was an elitist language to begin with.

  It all appears to be part of this constant bombardment of jingoistic hype, propaganda and hyperbole about everything from the prime honcho wanting to make somebody else’s trinkets in India to reasons why god gets pissed off. God recently got angry in Kerala, probably because Malayali women are wearing jeans now. To god’s credit, he/she/it did send a sign that things are getting out of hand – a god figurine fell down from atop an elephant. Our morons, as usual, didn’t understand the significance of it. God could have just said, “Ladies (it’s always the ladies), time to discard those tank tops and leggings and get back into mulakachchas. OK, not all of you. You there, you are not allowed to cover those boobies up”. But, for reasons which our brains will never be able to comprehend, god didn’t say anything, and killed a hundred for ignoring that sign.

  I’m now in Japan, a country at which god is perpetually angry, again, probably because the women here wear shorts, though nobody in Japan has caught on to that fact yet. In fact, god has been angry and sending hundreds of earthquakes every day for millions of years in anticipation of the last 40 or 50 years of miniskirt-wearing Japanese women.

  A few days ago I took my kids to see some actual dinosaur fossils from millions of years ago. My younger one, not old enough to comprehend the time scale in millions, wanted to know why there aren’t any dinosaurs alive now. Instead of just the volcanic and meteorite theories, I should have told him the entire truth – “Son, it was the thongs worn by the female spinosaura that invoked the wrath of god, who smote them with meteors”.

  Ithi vartha ha.

P.S. “Sanskrit has the highest number of vocabularies than any other language in the world,” says the message I received. I’m sure there is a “vocabulary” for chasmosaurus too, which was first used millions of years ago by, you guessed it, Baldevananda Sagara. He is a living fossil in his own right. The only known living person who can string together a sentence in Sanskrit, let’s hope he is offered a Nobel Prize that he can refuse.

P.P.S. There is also the mythmaking and the personality cult being created around our supreme leader. “Subtle observations” (means made-up crock, like the one about the Google map pointer being the tilak on Lord Vitthal’s head) keep popping up at regular intervals. Movie-goers may soon have to sit through propaganda news reels like the days when Indira was India. It hasn’t reached Kim Jong-un-esque proportions yet, but pretty soon you may hear stories of how the first words the Chosen One spoke as a baby was “Bharat mata ki jai”.

P.P.P.S. Had to “share (at least) this to the maximum” so that people know the truth and live a healthful life away from anti-national medicines. Excerpted from the voluminous “Why Sanskrit Kicks Ass”:
“Sanskrit is the only language, which uses all the nerves of the tongue. By its pronunciation, energy points in the body are activated that causes the blood circulation to improve. This, coupled with the enhanced brain functioning and higher energy levels, ensures better health. Blood Pressure, diabetes, cholesterol etc. are controlled. (Ref: American Hindu University after constant study)”

P.P.P.P.S. Nah. Nothing more. To your health!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Woaa, Thanna, Thanna

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. - H.L. Mencken
There’s another election around the corner. It is an interesting time and I was planning not to endorse anyone. Not that it matters. In the USA, influential people will endorse one of the candidates, which could get the candidate some votes. Given my influence, or lack thereof, I usually decide to sit tight and enjoy the show.

Things suddenly changed a few days ago. The rant gods smiled at me slyly. And I bowed and crawled and did the complex hand movements involving middle fingers to appease them. Because…

The Big Jumbo Party of all decided to bring in a guy boasting the most slap-worthy cheek south of the Vindhyas as their candidate in Trivandrum. As you all know, the Big Jumbo Party, led by the Grand Poobah, is the biggest party of all in the universe. If you have a mobile phone and you look at its keypad at a particular angle, you get enrolled as a member of that party. They had built up a humongous fan base in Trivandrum through that technique and has been planning to enter the legislature leveraging that base.

Until now, what was preventing them from capturing the State was the fact that “they party with a difference”. Unlike the other parties in Kerala who party with booze, babes and beef, they party with milk (A2 milk from vedic cows), banana and honey. This never went down well with the locals, who enjoy their tipple with onion fry garnished with beef shreds.

It was all going to be different this time around. Many people had finally ploughed deep into their heart and found the latent bigotry buried in there, and were slowly getting comfortable with it - justifying it, defending it and at times ready to kill for it. This was going to be the coming out party (with A2 milk and all, of course).

Then Sreesanth happened. After meticulously going through their huge fan base in Trivandrum, the Big Jumbo Party found that none of their local payalukal stood a chance. In fact, not many from the erstwhile Travancore state (also called Pappanavan’s land) stood a frikkin chance, as they are commonly considered as scoundrels. So, cocksure of themselves, they have decided to import good, decent people, mainly from Kochi and beyond, to represent us poor suckers.

Now, this is not new and you shouldn’t blame them for taking a cue from the other groupings who have tried and succeeded with outsiders for long. The old, used-to-be-grand party brought an UN super commando all the way from New York and we all fell for it. Before that, the left had the long-haired dude from the north, and recently another guy (who miserably lost) who, though technically from Trivandrum, could’ve been from Mars.

To be sure, the pickings are slim for all parties. There is a sickening parade of jaded celebrities on all sides. You really don’t want to endorse any one. Maybe, we deserve to get it good and hard. Still, I had to rant against this man-boy, who brings only one image to mind - of a crying face -, and the sound of a slap that reverberated from Kasaragod to Kaliyikkavila. For #$%’s sake, he is not even the best cricketer the state has produced. That is going to be Sanju Samson (OK, I'm obviously biased here). So, at the polling booth, look at the other options, a NOTA perhaps, or a name that sounds like the person can say, “Woaa, thanna, thanna”.
P.S. He, the Kochi lad, is going to make Kerala into a Gujarat apparently. A quick google study threw up the following numbers.

                                                Kerala         Gujarat
Poverty rate                                7.05            16.63
Literacy rate (female)        93.91 (91)      79.31 (70)
Sex ratio                                    1084             918
HDI                                           0.825           0.599
GDP                                        $58bn         $110bn
Pop.                                           3.3cr            6.0cr
Households w/o toilets                 5%             43%
Infant mortality                            12%             44%
Life expectancy                             74             64.1

Saturday, 5 March 2016

It's Infectious, My Lord

As an armchair bloviator, I’m going through a period of fictitious existential crisis, i.e. whether to do a ghar wapsi – a reconversion to Hinduism - or to go back to college.

Ghar wapsi appears to be a safe option in the current environment. There are lot of things in favour of that option. Let me elucidate here, as Scat Cat says in Aristocats. The factors in favour of the first option include dodgy videos that could feature you, guy on TV with loud voice, the best police force in the world, lawyers, phone calls that can scare even old seadogs, squares who want their kid to go to cultural universities for education (unlike them), etc.

When you have these many forces arraigned on one side, you want to play it safe and be on that side. Imagine the best police force on earth – the Delhi Police (DP). How do I know? The DP chief (whose term got over a few days ago) himself told that on TV. He said DP is even better than NYPD. He had been to New York and was not impressed by NYPD. Need proof DP is the best? Some months ago, they received a distress call that a group of mallus were secretly eating beef. Within seconds a platoon was at the site kicking some beefy mallu ass. Even NASA has confirmed this. Mallus had to prove their innocence (an ancient DP custom – people are guilty until proven innocent).

Coming to lawyers - the term, in pre-Vedic Sanskrit, means “people who take the law into their own hands”. You wouldn’t want to rub them the wrong way. They make their own rules. And the DP outsources some of their kickass projects to them. 

Then, there are the right-minded people. The biggest factor. Regular people, people who probably were counting condoms back when they were in school, but became squares when their kids started going to school and they came into some money. These are people you definitely don’t want to offend. Many of them only recently found their middle class alter ego, which is quick to pass the death sentence on, or exile to Pakistan, anyone that they are instructed to dislike. They are the nation. The nation doesn’t want to know the minutiae. It wants only bullet points, in bold capital letters.

Many of the members of this nation are nostalgic of the good ol’ days, when their ancestors knew their places in society. When some of their grandparents were taking bath in the temple pond and going in to pray, some other grandparents were hanging around far outside, bare boobs and all (because they didn’t pay their boob tax). Oh, those were the days. Their aim is to return the nation to its former glory, cleansed of alien concepts such as democracy and free speech.

Did Chanakya, with that icy look of his, ever talk about democracy or free speech? No. He talked about powerful, autocratic father figures who make intellectuals and anti-nationals poop in their langots. We finally have reached that stage of development, which countries like Saudi Arabia had reached much earlier. The authoritarian father figure is now there, whose chest size we know. With this new parameter in place, I can only imagine sleazy British tabloid headlines if a woman becomes the premier –“New Indian PM; 36-inch Rack”. Anyway, if at all I go down this path, I think I’ll join the upper-est caste available, y’know, the crème de la crème of castes, whichever that is. I am not interested in being a Mala, or just an Iyengar or a Nampoothiri. I want to know who was at the top of the pile that came out of Brahma’s mouth and I want to join them. There is a small issue. What would I tell my kids, who are registered as having no religion at their school? (They’ve recently started showing interest in Dinkoism).

Now the other option, i.e. to go back to college or not? This is very tempting. It’s always cool to be a student - bunking classes, playing cards, smoking, drinking, counting condoms, singing songs about freedom (Aretha Franklin in the Blues Brothers). Again? You want to do all that again!? Well, those slogans are kinda catchy. Infectious, in fact. Can I? No? I’m too old? OK, then I’ll settle for Scat Cat (Everybody wants to be a cat).

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.)