पनहद

मैंने सोचा था
कमीनेपन की
कोई तो हद
होती होगी

इसका उल्टा जानने की
मेरी कोई इच्छा नहीं थी

पर कोई मेरे घर
आकर और खाकर
ज़बरदस्ती बता गया
कि नहीं होती
एकदम नहीं होती

It Could Happen to You Too

If it doesn’t, perhaps it should.

The third person pronoun used repeatedly above refers to this. A short quote:

Ocampo’s view of the timing of the arrest warrant in 2008, which applies just as much today, was that as any prosecutor, with such evidence in his hand, had a duty to act and did not have “the luxury to look away.” Ocampo, who also believes that he has a duty to contribute to the prevention of international crimes, has pointed out that every day which Bashir remains free enables him to engage in the commission of additional hostilities and abuses.

Sounds familiar?

And the second person pronoun in the title? Is it just one person? Is it hard to guess the candidates?

About the title itself? Well, the sub-editors have been following the local version of the Truman show and they got mighty inspired.

Street to Worridor-Morridor

There was a window on my right
And there was a window on my left
I was walking in a narrow corridor
There seemed to be a similar one on my right
Just as there was one on my left
Someone was walking in the right corridor
At my pace, almost in step with me
Someone was walking in the left one too

The windows were only a few feet wide
They were as high as the tallest man
And they started out from the very floor
One was followed by another
And was preceded by one too
On either side of me

But I could see only a few windows ahead
And a few behind
I just couldn’t see further

As I walked past a pair
Another pair came into the view ahead
Just as one disappeared behind me
There were windows but no doors

I couldn’t remember what building I was in
Its front door, the path leading to it
I couldn’t remember how I got there, or why
The last thing I could remember
Was that I was walking on an open street
People were walking on my left
And they were also there on my right

The most that my memory seemed to be saying
Was that the open street had simply
Become the narrow corridor
And I felt as if I had a part in this
And I desperately wanted to say
That I had resisted, that I did

I couldn’t see the end of the corridor
I turned back, but I couldn’t see the entrance
I turned several times to make sure
But then I realized I had forgotten
Even the direction I was walking in
Whichever side I turned
The people on the right
As well as the people on the left
Were facing the same way as me

I looked up at the ceiling
And I looked down at the floor
They seemed quite ordinary and stable
But I noticed small holes in both
One hole per pair of windows
I bent down and tried to look
Through the one on the floor
There was something below
But I couldn’t make out what
I could see shapes and figures
I could see some movement
But I didn’t know what it meant
Still, one side of my mind
Continuously kept telling me
That I knew everything
About what was below

The ceiling was too high for me to try
But the same side of my mind was telling me
That I knew something about
What was above too

I walked in the corridor for a long time
Long as long can be
Going past windows past windows past windows
Then I started noticing some sounds
It took me a while to recognize them

One was like a loud splash
Another was that of a sudden snap
One was intense, condensed and explosive
Another was of total suffocation
One sounded like a painful gargle
But I couldn’t recognize them all

With each of these sounds was an empty window
One sound and one empty window
On my left as well as on my right
One after the other and another after that one

The head whirled for a while
Then all became very quiet
The windows were no longer empty
But there was something odd
I could see myself on my right
And so could I on my left

The windows had all become mirrors
And all I could think of doing
Was to wait for a sound
But I couldn’t help hoping
That it would be something different

Walls have Fears

On walls live creatures
They don’t just have ears
They have eyes and they have teeth
And they sure don’t have tears

What adds to their terrors
Is that they can’t be easily seen
But you can feel their presence
If you are one of their victims

They can communicate with each other
With a system more sophisticated
Than that of elephants or whales
It’s so sophisticated that only
Intelligent Design can explain them

They have concrete manifestations
But they are mostly abstract
No wonder so is their food
They don’t eat your meat
They eat your lives and your work and your protestations

You can be safe from them if you want
It’s all a matter of belief and loyalty and obedience
As it has always been through the ages
With other kinds of fearsome creatures

The question is whether you accept
The benevolent supremacy of the Intelligent Designer
Who put them there to watch over you

Just believe and abide and salvation can be yours
Don’t and you, with your work and your life
Can be completely mucked up, inside and outdoors

Watch the Experiment

The movie to watch now is Das Experiment, which is based on two real social experiments.

There are many such experiments going on right now.

In most cases with involuntary participation.

Not really in labs.

And on a much larger scale.

And not so benign either.

Sooner or later the results are going to be visible.

Even if neither the participants nor the perpetrators want them to be.

They have a habit of moving out of control.

 

P.S.: The documentation says no violence (whatever that means) allowed.

महाशक्ति-गान

रम-पपम रम-पपम
रम पपम-पपम
हम तो हैं महाशक्ति
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

घर में घुसेंगे तुम्हारे
सब तोड़-फोड़ डालेंगे
जो भी पड़ेगा बीच में
उसकी टांग तोड़ डालेंगे

रम-पपम रम-पपम
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

दो-चार जड़ेंगे तुम्हारे
बाहें डालेंगे मरोड़
हाथ-पैर जो फेंकोगे तो
हरजाना भरोगे करोड़

रम-पपम रम-पपम
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

मकान जो तुम्हारा टूट चुकेगा
उसे फिर से बनवाएंगे हम
खर्चा तो खैर तुम ही दोगे
बस मुनाफ़ा उठाएंगे हम

रम-पपम रम-पपम
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

चूं-चपड़ जो अगर करी तो
जोड़ देंगे लादेन के साथ
जंग छेड़ेंगे तुम्हारे खिलाफ़
दाँत दे देंगे तुम्हारे हाथ

रम-पपम रम-पपम
रम पपम-पपम
हम तो हैं महाशक्ति
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

नई-नई फ़िल्में बनाएंगे
विलन होगे तुम, हीरो होंगे हम
फ़िल्में जीतेंगी ढेर-से इनाम
कला के पारखी भी करेंगे सलाम

रम-पपम रम-पपम
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

ज्ञान हो, विज्ञान हो, अज्ञान हो
इतिहास हो, परिहास हो, बकवास हो
नाम तुम्हारा मिटा डालेंगे
तुम को तुम्हीं से लड़ा डालेंगे

रम-पपम रम-पपम
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

मार खाओगे तुम, मुद्दई होंगे हम
खून बहेगा तुम्हारा, दावा ठोकेंगे हम
तकलीफ़ होगी तुम्हें, आँसू बहाएंगे हम
हमीं होंगे पुलिस, जज भी होंगे हम

रम-पपम रम-पपम
रम पपम-पपम
हम तो हैं महाशक्ति
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

सभ्यता का पाठ पढ़ाएंगे हम
सलाम ठोकना सिखाएंगे हम
ताकत का आदर करवाएंगे हम
नाक फर्श पे रगड़वाएंगे हम

रम-पपम रम-पपम
जो चाहे करेंगे हम

गफ़लत में पर मत ना रहना
तुमको ना करने देंगे हम

रम-पपम रम-पपम
रम पपम-पपम

 

[2009]

बर्फ़-ए-हस्बे-मामूल

 

बर्फ़-ए-हस्बे-मामूल (Chilling Normalcy)

 

Chilling Normalcy

 

हैदराबाद, जनवरी, 2009

Hyderabad, January, 2009

 

Picture of the Future

Orwell described a picture of the future rather bleakly as:

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face … forever. (1984 by George Orwell: Part III, Chapter III)

This, I believed, was a dystopian picture. I still do. I have my own picture of the future, which has remained almost unchanged for the last decade (at least). Three recent events somehow seem to me to be describing my picture of the future.

The picture is mine, but the future need not necessarily be mine.

But it can very well be.

The first is the unbelievably and blatantly criminal assault by Israel on all Palestinians: man, woman and child. I won’t give references for this. It’s there prominently even in the mainstream media and has been there for some time now.

The second is a recent call by the Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Commission chief (Chairman) for “legislation to prosecute parents with diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, leprosy and dyslexia should they, knowing that they have the disease, have children”.

Inhuman Rights Commission?

The third is the news, or rather the lack of it, about the recent death of a Hindi writer living in Jaipur (yes, the connection with ‘your’ places does make it worse) Lavleen (लवलीन) who was relatively young. She had a reputation as a ‘bold’ writer and woman. She hadn’t really established herself as a great writer, but she was known among the Hindi literary circles. Let alone the Indian English media, (it has been pointed out) even the ‘biggest Hindi daily’ Dainik Bhaskar didn’t report it, even after many requests. And even the small but very vibrant and inter-connected world of Hindi blogging (which is very enthusiastic about events like the wedding of someone’s relative among them) mostly ignored it, though they are trying very hard to find out who ‘the real Tau’ (असली ताऊ) is. Like a lot of other writers, she died with the dream of some day writing a masterpiece.

(But still, I came to know about this from a Hindi writer’s blog).

And, no, I didn’t personally know her. Nor do I know the A. P. Human Rights Commission Chairman. Nor have I ever been to Israel, though a large percentage of the people (in History) I admire happen to be Jewish and most of them (I am sure) would have or have been horrified by what Israel is doing.

I don’t know why but these three events (or should I say sets of events: being a ‘professional’ practitioner of language sciences, crafts and arts is tough when it comes to writing anything) somehow represent for me the picture of the future.

This picture is not quite as horrible as that painted by Orwell (actually, by O’Brien the character, whether or not by the author).

But it doesn’t seem very pleasant.

Fashionable Phrases – 1

Just like anything else, at any given time, there are certain phrases which become so fashionable that every third person is using them every third day for every third thing for every third …

These are times when many such phrases are in fashion. They are flying thick and fast.

One of the phrases I have noticed with increasing dread is ‘nip in the bud’. Every third etc. etc. is arguing for (even boasting of) nipping something or the other in the bud. Especially the experts talking about serious problems of the day in the mainstream media.

It’s time to listen to a certain song by Bob Marley.

Anonymous Abuse – 1

Internet is giving rise to some brand new genres and giving life to some others. The genre I am going to refer to in this post has definitely been revived with extraordinary vigour (vigor for the dominant party), if it is not a new genre.

This genre is called Anonymous Abuse. It’s quite like terrorism, but it involves much less risk. You can be as dastardly cowardly as it is possible for a human being to be, which is saying quite a lot. In fact, there are no risks involved.

There is a particular elite variety of this genre which involves a person in a very safe position at the abusing end and a person in a not very safe position at the receiving end. Naturally, this is even more dastardly cowardly, just like the worst kind of terrorism, minus any risk again.

Even if you surf the net randomly you are likely to find whole sites full of such abuse. But if you go to places like certain kinds of ‘forums’, you will get more on one forum than you would probably have the stomach to read. Forums of news magazines are one such example, especially those which are not moderated much or at all.

So, from now on, I will, once in a while, present gems of this genre. I can do this freely as the person, by choosing to remain anonymous, has implicitly given me the right to reproduce his (or her) stuff. The anarchist in me likes this.

Here is the first gem I found on the Outlook magazine website. One reason I have selected it is that it is probably written by someone on the campus, but more importantly (for me) it might just be the first ‘creative’ spoof that someone has taken the trouble to write that is possibly (even if very very remotely and, of course, mistakenly) connected to either me or what I have been doing and writing.

So here it goes. Verbatim.

Daily Letters | 4 Jun, 2008 07:08:31AM (IST)

It was a great Himalayan assault by the Congress Party that has put Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary to shame. It was the conquering of the Supreme Court and planting a Scheduled Caste judge as the CJI making it a Scheduled Court or Scheduled Caste court, as you like, for all future quota purposes. The political class rejoiced. Everything has been going as per the plan. With no unity or integrity left in the people except their quota greed to preserve nothing could now stop the Congress to cobble a measly majority of “like-minded” parties when the LS polls are over next year.

As the hunchbacked HRD evil Sherpa Tenzing Hillary sat with his Congress cronies giving finishing touches to his another magnificient Himalayan assault plan of SCHEDULEFYING the Indian Army post 2009 they heard a jarring noise. “What was it?” asked the Sherpa hunchback. An aide whispered. It was the Gujjars who were burning Delhi in support of their Rajasthan brothers. The strange noise was unsettling to Tenzing Hillary as even during the doctors stir in Delhi the noise was at low decibel with police slaves handling it firmly and nicely. As his nerves jingled, a courier came: Sir, you are wanted at the durbar of Empress Sonia. You are being called to explain leaking of the Congress secret of Rahul becoming the next prime minister.

As the evil hunchbacked Sherpa limped his way to the sanctum sanctorum of Her Majesty Empress Sonia he was quietly ushered into Her august presence as she sat flanked by her confidantes Jayanti and Renuka.

The kow-towing came very naturally to this born evil owing to his congenital deformity. A durbar attendant finally managed to steady the boulder from kow-towing to his death.

As the Empress stared at the hunchbacked evil incomprehensibly like a Sphinx sitting on the hot sands of Egypt, the jarring Gujjar noise grew louder and louder to an ear-splitting cacophony. The Evil Sherpa muttered helplessly that could be barely heard by the Empress. It sounded something like “FOR WHOM THE EIGHT BELLS TOLL? Jayanti understood it a shade faster as she spat: “It tolls for thee!” Renuka furious that Jayanti had beaten her to the draw by a micro second hit back with venom. And for once in her life spoke the truth: “C’mon Jayanti, you think you know everything. It tolls for us”

As the evil boulder was being slowly dragged limping away after a mild warning to his morbid cabin he wondered if he and his comrade-in-arm Chidambaram had done enough to keep the throne of his Empress secure from shaking.

VEDAM
HYDERABAD INDIA

You don’t get it? What’s the matter? Don’t you like the way the abuser shows contempt for the Dalits as well as the Gujjars (not to mention the Supreme Court or Victor Hugo or Tenzing or Hillary or John Donne or Hemingway or even the Sphinx, for God’s, I mean, Abuse’s sake)? Can’t you appreciate his humor (humour for the non-dominant party) at the expense of the physically deformed? Don’t you see the wonderful ‘Tenzing Hillary’ part? So blatantly racist. How lovely. In this age when people have found extremely innovative ways of hiding their racist and other such tendencies, doesn’t this blatancy come as a breath of fresh air? And the sexism. Good old stuff. But it may be a bit mild for some. What about xenophobia against the Nepalis? Isn’t that impressive?

Some people have a Muse. Some others have an Abuse.

You would have to know a lot of Indian history if you want to make anything of the reference to ‘doctors’ stir’ and the ‘police slaves’ in this particular context. Believe me, I know a whole lot about this. I could write ten books about this, but I won’t. I won’t survive.

No points for guessing that the abuser is a high caste elite professional. You will have to give it to him that he can at least string together more or less grammatical sentences. This is not a characteristic that is very common among the Anonymous Abusers. Because those who can, use their talent (and here I mean for Anonymous Abuse) in a manner that pays.

So what if the abuser doesn’t make any sense? So what if the abuser might make even Congress party haters and right wing ‘democrats’ and ‘liberals’ flinch? So what if even Narendra Modi or Praveen Togadia won’t dare to openly support this abuser.

Make no mistake. This is coming from what is called India’s Best. India’s Crème de la Crème. India’s Very Meritorious Class.

To be frank, I don’t like any of the individuals mentioned (by name) in the above abuse, except perhaps Tenzing and Hillary who climbed the Everest for the first time. And I would hate to see the Congress in power again. (Yes, I would hate to see the BJP in power even more).

But I like this stuff, though not for the above reason.

I am happy to post it here. I hope there is more.

As Ali G. would say, Respect!