Thursday, July 19, 2007

Will you kindly cover your face with a hanky when you bark !

There are no street dogs in England. Technically speaking every dog in this country has a comfortable house to live in with a caring owner to take care of all his worldly needs.
I see different species of dogs everyday while walking to my office.
(Yes I can't afford a car even in Britain and all donations are welcome and would be tax exempted under the Help-the-Extremely Poor-Desis Act of UK).

Anyway coming back to the subject in hand, the English take their pets very seriously and it clearly shows when they bring them out for their daily walks every morning. While all are invariably well groomed with shining hairs and pedicured toes, the more pampered ones would be decked up in ribbons, hair bands, bow ties and even bandanas. Often they make me feel grossly underclothed.

All this attention and care however seems to have domesticated this species more than their wolf forefathers would ever have imagined in their wolfest of dreams.
There is something so very serene and calm about the dogs here that I have started to believe that it may well be only the sinners in the dog community who actually are condemned to bark at people or other dogs.
Those who go on to bite a person surely belong to the lowest strata in their social hierarchy or so the attitude of dogs in England makes me feel.

The British politeness which at times is nothing short of genocidal has penetrated deep into the psychology of the dogs here as well.

In India when owners take their dogs out for a walk, their direction is usually at the mercy of the animal and his subject of interest on that day.
While some day, Tommy would think it wise to rush in search of that fascinating looking frog in those hideous bushes while of course nearly strangulating his master in the process, on some other days, it may well be his desire to chase all the auto rickshaws in town leaving his master in a state of severe distortion and unwanted elasticity.
So though the chain may well be on the dog, it is usually the owner who seems to be dancing to the tunes of the chained.
Also when two such enthusiastic individuals happen to meet each other, they would politely exchange a few harmless expletives seemingly questioning each others family credentials and go along in their task of finding the best car to urinate upon.

Thus while on one hand our Indian dogs have earned a repute for thier uncouthness and utter lack of manners, their British counterparts, on the other would resemble more like the convent educated, finishing school outputs with an air of that all pervading sophistication.

An example of a typical conversation between two English dogs on a sunny morning would go somewhat like this :

Mr.Nobarker- "Good Morning Ms.Lacie, it is a mighty pleasure to see you on this beautiful morning."
Miss Lacie - "Good Morning Mr.Nobarker...Oh how honoured am I to meet you.I hope you're doing well."
Mr.Nobarker- "Very well indeed thank you. Please allow me to pay my compliments to nature on that lampost near you."
Miss Lacie- "Oh you are so kind."(smiling coquettishly).
Mr.Nobarker - "Also may I just make an effort to admonish this very insolent fly who has been continuosly bothering your behind?"
Miss Lacie - "Oh you are so kind. Pray proceed."
Mr.Nobarker - "Miss Lacie, this fragrance is wonderful, is it Davidoff or Elizabeth Arden ?"
Miss Lacie- "Oh Mr.Nobarker, You always flatter me so. Why don't you join us for lunch today? Mother has dug out some vintage cat bones and would be so delighted to see you."
Mr.Nobarker- "Oh that wonderful old bitch...she always had such a knack for searching bones..didn't she? I'll be pleased to come.
After all its raining cats and bones for lunch isnt it ...Har Har Har !"
(Note : Such attempts at humour have landed many Englishmen in jail)

Khooni Sheena and Dada GullyRaja from Kurla East also happened to meet in the morning and their conversation went somewhat like this.
Disclaimer - The blogger takes no responsibility of the kind of language used below and has merely presented a transliteration of the actual dialouge.

Dada GullyRaja-- "Kameeni kahan thi raat bhar, bulaya tha peet khujane ko..aayee kyon nahi??"
Khooni Sheena -- "Aye chirkut, bhankas band kar re...subhe se waisich dimaag ka pech dhila hoyela hain"
Dada GullyRaja -- "Kayko fuljhari ban rakhi hain be???..Kisi Pandu ne laath maarke uthaya kya tereko ya subhe subhe Chatri Gang se panga le ke aa reli hain ??? "
Khooni Sheena -- "Are Nahi re ..Gayi thi Bandra Kurla ka chakkar lagane ko...Wohan Memsahab log morning vaak karne ko aata hain aur jaate jaate Biskoot bhi khilata hain aisa mereko woh Langda Tony bola..."
Dada GullyRaja -- "Phir ?"
Khooni Sheena -- "To apun jaake pahucha teen aunty log baithele bhi the....Ek do baar paas jakar poonch hilakar Vyajantimala jaisa haseen bhi diya ..pan sala biskoot to kya ek mumphali tak nahi diya aur upar se Shooo Shooo Dirty Dog, Dirty Dog karge bhaga diya.....Khaali Peeli neend khoti kiya saala..
Aur dekh kismat apun ka ....Usi time me Moonicipalty wale bhi aakar sab Garbage lekar kalti...Kal woh Chopra ke wohan chicken bana tha ....Chamaila...ek haddi tak nahi mila...."
Dada GullyRaja --"Hmmm...bad day.....chal apun jaata hain abhi...Woh Kurla sewage ka Naala kiske territory me aata hain uska decision hain aaj.....apun ke favour me nahi gaya na to kutton ki maut marunga salon ko."
Khooni Sheena- "Chal phoot le."

While Miss Lacie would have a delightful lunch and look forward to a cozy siesta in her new Danish Design Snozeee bed, Khooni Sheena would consider it lucky if she managed to fight out a piece of rotten bread for herself and is not run over by a speeding truck by the end of the day.

The world is so diverse isn't it?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Freedom of Speech- Article 19

While casually roaming around in search of some Bong movies available in YouTube I chanced upon such a fascinating foreword to one of the old Bengali classics that I could not resist giving it a wider audience.

The movie is question is "Saat Pake Bandha" of 1963 starring Soumitra Chaterjee as the lead actor while the all-time beauty Suchitra Sen played the heroine's role. This movie was also remade in Hindi a few years later and named Kora Kagaz which starred Vijay Anand and Jaya Bhaduri in the lead roles.

The original Bengali movie directed by Mr.Ajay Kar brilliantly captured the angst and pain of two individuals in a failed marriage and their stoic acceptance of their destiny.
Suchitra Sen became the first Indian woman to win the best actress award at an international film festival when she was bestowed the honour in the Moscow International Film Festival for her performance in this movie.

The fantastical foreword to this movie which can be found here read as follows and I quote completely.

"The movie “Saat Pake Bandha” is one of good movie of 1963 in Bengali language that have ever made.The directors of this movie KAR and Ajoi had set the story that are related to our society. This movie starred with the popular bengali actress “Soumitra Chatterjee” also carries some real moral lessons to the society as well to the whole world.
The story is about Soumitra Chatterjee, the daughter of Subrata Chatterjee who performed her role like a real. In this movie she fell in love with a poor professor of the college eventhough she is from a rich family.But their love story is not acceptable to her mother and opposes their marriage.
But Soumitra who is crazy in the love of the professor, marriages the professor against her mother wishes.But at the end of the movie she eventually realises the value of her own marriage, and tries to repair relationships which is the main storyline of this movie.
This movie provides full entertainment to the audience with a message that love is the most valuable thing in the world than the money…and there wouldn’t be any status of rich and poor in the real love and cannot be break out easily"

Maybe the legendary and enigmatic Suchitra Sen who now lives a life, completely alienated from the public eye could be enticed to come out of her life of seclusion, should this charming article ever happen to reach her.
As for the 72 year old veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee, I am sure news of a gender change at this age would not be very beneficial for his health.

Hats off to the genius who wrote this article.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rashtrapati ya Rashtrapatni ??

When I was in junior school, the school authorities bought a piece of land just adjacent to our school building to give young kids like us, more space to hone our sporting skills and that we surely did with full enthusiasm. We innovated on some very popular games like the farthest-spitter event and the tadpole-catching competition which however wasn't too well received by my mother when she saw her water-storage tank playing host to around eighteen well-caught-future-frogs. They all went down the drain and with them my ambitions to one day become the world's leading frog-breeder.

However what was remarkable about all these games was the manner in which they spread and caught on with the fancy of the entire school.
So while a few weeks would see numerous squatting huddles engaged in very serious games of marbles, the next weeks would see the entire school divided in groups with each banging their Hot-Wheel cars head-on to see whose wouldn't overturn.
Often the head banging could not be restrained to the toy cars alone and after around five or six hospitalisations, a new game such as Fart-Jumping would crop up from nowhere and all would be friends again.
(**--Many such wierd things happen in all boys schools most of which are kept under wraps to leave us happily with the illusion that we are still civilised.)

The whimsical and fairly ridiculous manner in which we came up with our games however fades in comparison to the fascinating selection process adopted by our politicians over the last few weeks to choose a candidate, competent enough to be our country's next President.

I hereby briefly touch upon the profiles of some of the candidates whose names have cropped up in this presidential race.
Guest appearances in this race by stalwarts such as Amitabh Bachchan and Narayan Murthy did not qualify them to merit a mention in this list.

Somnath Chatterjee
This angry old man of Indian politics who started his political career in the early seventies has a kind of ever-frowning face that would make you think that either his favourite underwear is being stolen every morning or that he suffers for chronic piles.
In his position as the speaker of the Lok Sabha, he holds the record for having staged more walk-outs than all the other MPs put together.
A cartoonist's delight, this man's desire to be the next President of India has been chosen as India's official entry in this year's list of 10 most hilarious comments made by a politician.

Dr.Karan Singh
This scholarly gentleman's existence in the Congress party is acknowledged every 5 years whenever there is a question of shortlisting candidates for the presidential post and he too very well knows that he will never be really chosen and instead spends his time authoring autobiographical books with extremely relevant titles such as 'Brief Sojourn' and 'A Tryst with History'.
This periodic media attention seems to be the only candy offered to him for his unquestionable alleigance to the Gandhi family which goes to such extents that he is rumoured to have undergone surgery to stitch the Nehru cap to his skull.
Of course he has also been appointed the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Cell of the Congress Party and his personal website summarises his position as follows:
"In this capacity he is present whenever a visiting Head of Government calls upon the Chairperson of UPA, Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, or when she calls upon visiting Heads of Government."
Rarely has a former king been bestowed with more gracious a post.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Mr Vajpayee, the poet-politician was the choice of the Trinamool Congress, a party whose only contribution towards social welfare till date has been in the field of calling statewide bandhs thus giving the people of West Bengal a well deserved mid-week paid holiday every now and then.
Their dimunitive leader Ms.Mamata Banerjee whose histrionics in the public arena is the basis of many a Bollywood movie script however could not pull this one off for though she had been advised that bachelors invariably suffer from senile dementia after 75, Mr.Vaypayee held on to his wits and politely declined the offer. The party is considering on a West Bengal Bandh on this issue soon.

Sushil Kumar Shinde
Elementary geometry books often use his face to describe a perfect circle.This man who sports a goatee in his head however was never a serious contender and his name was proposed primarily to fill the OBC quota in the presidential nominee list.

Shivraj Patil
Our Home minsiter was actually out in the market to choose the right design for his new name plate to be used in the Rashtrapati Bhawan when he received a call from Dr.Manmohan Singh's PA who said " Non sarete il presidente Sig.Patil" (Italian is the lingua franca of the Indian Cabinet these days) which translated to "You will not be the president Mr.Patil".
This soft spoken, former Lok Sabha Speaker who often uses the powerful weapon of his stern looks and stony silence to counter Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Al-Jaish terrorist threats, reacted to this message in his typical fashion and has dutifully gone back to his daily routine of political inaction and professional inefficiency.
After the bomb blasts in Delhi on the eve of Diwali, this man who aspired to be the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces was quoted to have said
"I appeal to the people to please go back to their families immediately. They will feel secure when they see their relatives."
Although retirement for Indian politicians is considered unconstitutional, this man if he ever thinks of quitting active politics, would be best advised to not take on a career as a motivational speaker.

Pranab Mukherjee
He has been the country's Finance Minister,Defence Minister,External Affairs minister and is currently the Foreign Affairs minister.With no other top ministry in sight, and the Prime Ministership not on offer, he thought of becomming the President of India and got all his Bengali comrade friends to support his candidature. Soniaji who is rumoured to have a memory stronger than that of many elephants put together, sweetly reminded him of two things. First he had opposed the Congress's choice of Mr.Rajiv Gandhi as the next Prime Minister of India after Indira Gandhi's death in 1984. Second his experience in governance is so highly indispensable and so very invaluable to the UPA government that it would be quite impossible to let him go.
Soon after he was seem roaming in the corridors of the Parliament House listening to Mukesh's all time hit song "Jaoon Kahan bata aye dil...Sonia badi hain Sangdil... Gaandhee aayee ghar jalane....Sujhe na koi manzil....""

Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
He is 84 years old and has 17 election victories and two open heart surgeries in his rather impressive resume. While most other people in the above list have been sidelined in this fascinating race, this man continues to run the marathon 'independantly' claiming to have some secret winning formula which goes beyond plain airthmetic. Maybe he is banking on the conscience vote factor but he would surely be aware of the loose sand he is building his hopes upon, for conscience is something which tops in the list of Ineligibilty Criteria to be an Indian politician.

Pratibha Patil
When people grow old in politics, they usually become Governors and lead the next 5 years of their life inaugurating everything that opens new in the state. Pratibha Patil was no exception to this rule and was leading a fairly ordinary politician's life with only one murder accused brother and a loan default of only Rs.17.5 crores. Once Mr.Shivraj Patil's candidature was rejected by the Left parties, the UPA government did a quick search in their database of other available Patils who would not mind naming any child born in their families after Soniaji. When the search results showed that all Patils in the Congress party were willing to do so, they thought of conducting a quick survey on some other fundamental aspects of Indian presidency. The questions were as follows :

a) Do you have the strength of character to take the firm decision that everything needs to be decided at the 10 Janpath residence?
b) Are you adept at changing nappies and willing to baby-sit Priyanka's children during the 2009 elections?
c) Do you know the difference between Oregano and Orangutan.

Though the last question filtered out most of the contenders, yet when no clear choice emerged out of the survey, Soniaji decided to take matters in her own hands and she came up with that one defining criterion which she felt must be their in any individual who was aspiring to be the head of the largest democracy in the world which was
He/She should have seen and communicated with an actual ghost!!

(Hasn't surrealism always been an integral factor in Indian politics ?)
And it is here that Mrs.Pratibha Patil Shekhawat beat all other contenders and raced ahead to be the official UPA nominee for India's next President.
With her exhaustive and entensive knowledge on both Indian and Italian culture and history, she indeed seems to be the most eligible candidate to replace the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna awardee and current president Dr.Abdul Kalam.
Her husband who in all likelihood is going to have the rather dubious distinction of being the first male 'First-Lady' of our country was quoted as saying "We are in a state of shock" and for once, I think we can completely empathise with this gentleman.

This completes my humble effort to touch upon the profiles of these luminaries and any hint of sarcasm anywhere in this post is purely speculative on the part of the reader and absolutely unintentional.

Jai Hind .