Monday, December 24, 2012


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Le Carre

(Finally) watching Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, let me to get into reading the Karla Trilogy, as well a chance purchase of John Le Carre's "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold".

Being transported to the Cold war and the 1960s/70s, was a delight, and so was the discovery of heroes like George Smiley.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Malayalee Komerade!

Well.. you need to be a mallu or lived in Kerala to understand this!
(c) Sept 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

23: Kill a stick?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

If only

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Phase II

Life begins again in Mumbai. Different in many many ways.

Some facets are captured here:

Will blog, will blog...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Random ramble

I have been reading a lot of new blogs recently which are written by very erudite Indians and other subcontinentals. (Acorn, Chapati Mystery, Sepia Mutiny). These are all very popular blogs and very widely read by the Indian and NRI crowd.

Usually, the comments and discussions on these blogs are excellent, and much better than the original article. From these discussions, one can see that there exists (and I guess has always existed) a set of very well read and well informed Indians who are very articulate and brilliant (and also have a lot of time on their hands to blog so proficiently.)

Many of them are PhDs or experts in their fields, and some one can directly be in awe of.


Reading a discussion on Indian politics, and the blindness of the elite to the ground realities (viz. the current election), one can talk about an Indian Narrative or narratives, or the lack of a Grand Unifying Indian Narrative. The asinine terminology "India vs. Bharat" tried to capture this dichotomy.

The elites (if you are reading this, you are one - and so are most of your pals) have one particular understanding of India, Indian History and of the Indian experience (or the Urban experience). This is the India that protests against 50% Reservations and caste politics, the India of the Multiplexes and cable TV. This is the India I know.

In the real India (real in the sense of political power) - caste and community, religion and region matter, and will make or break the powers that be. Many of us may consider the use of caste cards and election time sops as cynical ploys - but the fact is that broadly they work because the vacuum exists for such tactics. A vacuum that most urban elites cannot see as it does not conform to their narrow understanding of how India is or should be.

Rural areas, and different communities of the country have a very different narrative of their lives and existence. These narratives are occasionally captured by some journalists and writers, who understand this dichotomy of narratives and who have a first hand experience of the syncretic nature of the Indian experience.


Let me take an example of a college.

The management has a particular narrative and view of what the college is, what it means to them and where it should be going. The staff of the college has another view as to the colleges existence and purpose, and their role in the same. At the other end from the management are the students - who have their own sense of entitlement and views on running the college. And of course, their own narrative of college life.

There are certain power equations between these entities. The final direction the college does take depends on the balance of power between these entities. Another problem is that it is difficult to form a unifying narrtive in such a syncretic stucture. Maybe only outsider (with his own biases and prejudices) can attempt such a description.

In 1947, India was like an unpoliticised campus. The management had all the power (the elites) and they did what they liked (whether for good or bad) and staff and students followed suit.

By the 1970s, the staff formed unions and taking a united stand, could wrest some of the power from the management. The students (the "teeming millions") watched and slowly attained political enlignement.

By the 1990s, the power balance had started shifting - the elites had lost the grip on power and true democracy meant that even students could vy for control of the college or different parts of it. Different hostels (aka communities) elected different leaders to weild power and control the college.

From the managements (the elite - upper cast, educated, rich, urban, middle class) point of view, they cannot understand what is happening and how to deal with it. The management always thought that they knew what was best for the college (the students' opinions be damned), and now they have these rowdy uncouth kids taking over parts of the college.

From the students point of view - they have finally got power and will no longer have to bear the overlordship of the elites who used to completely ignore them and have little or no understanding of their concerns and issues because they live in their ivory towers. The students have a very different narrative. This is the story of Mayawati and Laloo Yadav.

Democracy means a transfer of power to all, and to the elites it has been a steady erosion of power.

While the majority of students may not have econimic power (yet), the political power they have wrested can either result in a re-distribution of wealth (eg. Reservations in Pvt. Sector) or of the student leaders partaking in the loot with the elites. (aka all your corrupt self serving netas).

What must the elite do?

Open their eyes, and see that there exist multiple alternative narratives of being Indian than what they are used to or comfortable with. This is not going to be easy, and will involve dealing with significant cognitive dissonance.

Accept that democracy will mean a loss of power for the elites, and maybe even a loss of relevance.

Learn to work within the new power structure, or exit the nation so as to be cocooned in the diaspora.

I am sure there must be parallels in history that might tell us how what the future is going to be like for India.

Monday, March 30, 2009


These words exist,
because you are reading them.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Iss Baar Nahi

Iss Baar Nahin

Is baar jab woh choti si bachchi mere paas apni kharonch le kar aayegi
Main usey phoo phoo kar nahin behlaoonga
Panapney doonga uski tees ko
Is baar nahin

Is baar jab main chehron par dard likha dekhoonga
Nahin gaoonga geet peeda bhula dene wale
Dard ko risney doonga,utarney doonga andar gehrey
Is baar nahin

Is baar main na marham lagaoonga
Na hi uthaoonga rui ke phahey
Aur na hi kahoonga ki tum aankein band karlo,gardan udhar kar lo main dawa lagata hoon
Dekhney doonga sabko hum sabko khuley nangey ghaav
Is baar nahin

Is baar jab uljhaney dekhoonga,chatpatahat dekhoonga
Nahin daudoonga uljhee door lapetney
Uljhaney doonga jab tak ulajh sake
Is baar nahin

Is baar karm ka hawala de kar nahin uthaoonga auzaar
Nahin karoonga phir se ek nayee shuruaat
Nahin banoonga misaal ek karmyogi ki
Nahin aaney doonga zindagi ko aasani se patri par
Utarney doonga usey keechad main,tedhey medhey raston pe
Nahin sookhney doonga deewaron par laga khoon
Halka nahin padney doonga uska rang
Is baar nahin banney doonga usey itna laachaar
Ki paan ki peek aur khoon ka fark hi khatm ho jaye
Is baar nahin

Is baar ghawon ko dekhna hai
Gaur se
Thoda lambe wakt tak
Kuch faisley
Aur uskey baad hausley
Kahin toh shuruat karni hi hogi
Is baar yahi tay kiya hai

--- Prasoon Joshi

Sunday, October 05, 2008

On Mortality

There is nothing quite like the feeling of being invincible. Knowing that the world is yours for the taking - one by one easy piece. And there is nothing sadder than losing this feeling - for it leaves you so incomplete, and so defeated.

I want the Groove days back...