Telegraph Calcutta

Ladies & Laydas Here’s the Post truth


Get the bud. Get it? Now go get it. It’s out there and it’s simple. Get. Bud. Get. Didn’t get it? Bud followed by Get? Ah. Got it? Now go get the bud, man. Oh, I mean go get the bud, woman. But that sounds a bit, what do they call it in watchamacalit? Politically incorrect. That’s what “Go get the bud, woman” sounds like. You know, INCORRECT! How dare you Incorrect. But here’s the problem, or tell me if I am wrong.
I would probably have gone down to Mahadeb and posited this to him — as I often posit flaming dilemmas to him — and been satisfied with what he said because he is a no-nonsense wholesale agent of common sense and uncommon wisdoms and he would have said it like it is. But he, alas, isn’t there astride the cart across the street and there isn’t the opportunity at the moment to run down and pose a question to him between servings of piping tea or coffee in those earthen bhaanrs whose absence everybody rues so much all the time.
Mahadeb would have said it like it is. Without fear of the politically correct or any favour to the politically correct. What is this notion of politically correct, after all? What is correct is correct, what is incorrect is correct. Actress is correct. Check your dictionaries. Spokesman is correct. Check your dictionaries. Spokeswoman is correct. Check your dictionaries. But no. In the surreal realm of political correctness all of those things that are correct become incorrect. You can’t call the blind, blind, would you believe it? Or the short, short. Or the disabled, disabled. Or a servant a servant, unless it is being employed in an utterly duplicitous and dubious manner to denote the very opposite. Like someone we all know all too well likes to call himself servant of the people whereas what he really is, and wants to be more and more, is an absolute and absolutist master. The same one, you’d know him, bhaaiyon-behnon!
But such duplicity is not the PradhanServant’s exclusive domain. It is far more pervasive. I mean in order to prove they are worth more than they are generally thought to be, they want to be the ones who wear the pants. Not pants as in pants with those two chutes into which legs slide and which we used to at one time get tailors to stitch. Pants as in metaphoric pants. Pants as in She Is The One Who Wears The Pants. Leh! as they say. Or even Ladakh. What inverted travesty is that!? They want to wear pants, whereas they should be aspiring to make men wear skirts or saris or whatever it is they wear. They aspire to be men, when men are condemnable folk, totally and utterly. Agreed. Don’t seek to wear pants. Don’t seek out a separate queue. Be a woman, man! Turn chivalrous. Don’t wait upon doors to be opened, begin opening doors.
For a start. But we are very far from that start. We are still fighting over things past and seeking to change them. Third person pronouns, for instance, cannot be He. He has to be She. Man. Woman. Child. Child is the father of man, we have been told. Or no! Mistake. Oh no, again! Can’t say mistake, can we? Okay then, mistertake. Soon will come a time history will  be called herstory.
Whooooosh! Bhrooooom!! What? Was I dreaming? Who was making that terrible case against the Ladies in my dream? No, not dream. Nightmare. Must have been some Layda, some layabout lout. What vile nonsense was he spewing? Even though we are well used to it now, even though it has been nearly five years of nonsense being spewed upon us. Where were we, but? At Bud? And Get? We always digress. (Psst, and when it’s the ladies, digression is the way to go.) But we were at Bud and Get. Also known as that budding star who is getting all things:
PayPushKoyal, who else?
Look I am so thrilled I’m beginning to bud
So here’s a case full of goodies for you
I do the bidding of the one and only stud
So the goodies are jumlas, and that’s your due.
Telegraph Calcutta

A House For Mr Bindu

Nobody loves Bindus. It might often and rightly be said even Bindus don’t love Bindus. MahaKaljug! What has Brahmaand come to! Wake up, chew the toffee! You are being told a truth hitherto untold — nobody loves Bindus. And if you happen to be a Bindu, be told that nobody loves you either. Understand? Nobody loves you because you are a Bindu. Start to behave like an unloved one. O Bindus, the time has now come to do unto others what has been done to you — make others feel as unloved as you are. Make them feel exactly what it feels like to be a Bindu in this world. Bindus are in danger, Binduism is in danger. But Bindus have been negligent of their rights and requirements all this while. Bindus have been lulled and taken for a long ride in that lulled state. Such a long ride that they have come a very long distance from being and behaving as Bindus.
Such a long and lulled ride that Bindus have forgotten their identity, Bindus do not know they are Bindus, or don’t even want to know. Because they have become purged of the sense of being Bindus.

Continue reading “A House For Mr Bindu”

Telegraph Calcutta

Brimstone Turned To Ashes — George Fernandes 1930-2019

George Fernandes, Photo : Copy negative, Date : 15.9.82
George Fernandes — The Telegraph Library

As minister for Jammu and Kashmir affairs briefly in the V.P. Singh government, George Fernandes flew to Srinagar and vanished. The Valley was smouldering in the grip of a violent insurgency at the time and George’s slip to the security detail in a private car sent the powers scurrying.

Few would ever know where that jaunt took him — “to meet friends who can’t be named in places I cannot tell you” was all he ever said — but it soon became apparent the Union minister had disappeared to tryst with “the other side”, or advocates, political or militant, of Kashmiri secession.

Nothing ever came out of it, but George would underline that at 60 he still revelled in playing the maverick and resorting to the unthinkable. Continue reading “Brimstone Turned To Ashes — George Fernandes 1930-2019”

Telegraph Calcutta

In The Land Of The FirstEvers


So fair. And so fitting. TheChaiwala is bestowed the FirstEver Ketli Award. The absolute Absolutist of FirstEvers. FirstEver rider on an amphibian jahaaj. FirstEver celebrant of “Ghar mein shaadi hai, paise nahin hain!” FirstEver HornbillHead on HeadOfSarkar. FirstEver Tadipaar as HeadOfParty. FirstEver RockShow at MadisonChabootara. FirstEver EyeToEye with Han Terracottas, and a goggled EyeToEye at that, an EyeToEye that seemed to say “Main Emperor FirstEver, aur tuu kaun?” FirstEver kiss-and-touch with MadameFussaud’s likeness. FirstEver PradhanSewak with a PradhanSewika not allowed anywhere near the house. FirstEver to go on air with pilla, or puppy, or pappi and, often, all too often, jhappi. And what jhappis; jhappis from the front, jhappis from behind, jhappis from this side and jhappis from that side. All FirstEver jhappis. (Applause please) FirstEver. FirstEver. FirstEver. FirstEver. FirstEver. (Applause please, ab to baja do taali, ki main khud hi hatheli taal deta rahoon?) Bhaaiyon-behnon!! There’s more. I am not talking peacocks here, which I am one, of course. But this more is not that more. This more is more, as in the angrezi waala more. Aur. There is more to come. This more is in front of you, but there is more to come. Understood? Continue reading “In The Land Of The FirstEvers”

Telegraph Calcutta

In The Lee Only Me, Very PlaneLee


We needed more Rifales, many more Rifales. This is election year. Rifales are useful, they come in handy, they always have in election year. No? Oh perhaps you don’t understand, or you understand little. Or nothing. Rifales, bhai! Rifales! Bandooks!

The fundamental thing to understand about Rifales is that they are Bandooks, they fire. Uff, I know they fly and some people call them aircraft and planes and jets and stuff like that, but here is the fundamental flaw with that. (But let me first pause here and purse my lips and nod my sagely head and look into the far distance, which is about as far as the wall on which hangs my leader’s head, and  give you time to grasp the wisdom of what I am about to say. This is how I do things. I realise not everybody is able to understand my simplifications of complications, of which there are more than just a few at the moment. Explaining Rifales is just one of them. My name is ExplainLee, and I am to SamjhataHoon what Bruce was to KungFoon.) Continue reading “In The Lee Only Me, Very PlaneLee”

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

What’s All This That’s Going Pop, Pop?


POP! Oye, did you hear that? Was it that sound? Did you just hear pop! like it had gone POP!? But stop. Let me listen again, let me carefully listen. Or rather, recall what I heard more carefully. It was not a pop! that I heard, it was a POP! Like the grandpop of a pop! It was like POP! Like something happened. Like 2018 dissolved. In the space between a tick and a tock. One whole year, 365 days and some, gobbled by the puniness of a nanosecond.

Imagine when something so voluminous is consumed by something so minute. A monumental effort that takes and that effort makes a sound: POP! That’s what must have happened, a nanosecond devouring a calendar-full under cover of darkness. POP! And lo and behold, more than just a calendar-full is suddenly gone.

Continue reading “What’s All This That’s Going Pop, Pop?”

Telegraph Calcutta

A Note On A Hangover


The year that has begun might well turn out to be the most momentous in the memory of our lives, or in the memory of the lives of most of us. How many of us are still around, after all, who were alive and aware in 1947? Or in 1950? We, as we are today, began in 1947. And then, in 1950, we agreed upon the fundamentals of who we would be and how we would go about being so — we gave unto ourselves our Constitution.

Its letter and spirit have never come under such rampant and consistent assault as during the years that Narendra Modi assumed the reins of government and Amit Shah the reins of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The lines between government and party, loyalty to nation and loyalty to person, have been sought to be cynically obliterated during this time, and a new ultra-aggressive, right-wing monotheism spurred. Democratic dissent has come to be renamed treason.

Continue reading “A Note On A Hangover”