Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I was travelling from Delhi to Patna in an air-conditioned railcar.  Outside it was blistering heat of late May of a typical Indian Summer. Inside the car a gaggle of infants pampered by their doting mothers sang unmusical notes in relay formation.  Two sets of such young families hung onto a single berth each. From Patna to my native town is another six-hour journey.  Detraining, I squeeze myself into a between- towns minivan.  This is cattle-class travel. An hour later I am sitting in the powerless darkened foyer of the town's old hotel. Sweating profusely, feeling slime covered and utterly abandoned I wait for the keeper of the guest house. I have been in continuous journey mode for some 27 hours now.  My cellphone comes alive. AK Das, dear friend, is looking for my whereabouts. Thirty minutes later he is with me. Another hotel -  spanking new this time - guides me to a well furnished room. I strip and toss my travel uniform in a corner. Half an hour of religious bathing later and wrapped in a fresh towel, I am singing the best notes I remember from an old movie. The conclusion of journey in summer has rekindled the memories of last spring.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Sometimes I wonder what on earth made me pick out such a dumb name for my Blog.  Perhaps I was bingeing on carbohydrates ? or a General Election was on in the country ??  Yes, I do take potshots at national politics..and one ought to..and we are a robust Democracy..

They were clamouring for a Woman Protection Legislation it seems ..or so the Govt. thought. Now they've got a law. Stringent jailterms, possible death penalties, no-bail clauses, etc.  Beyond the call to 'punishment for the rapists',... the stalkers, the eve-teasers, the voyeurs, they are all going to get it good ! and the word of the complaining woman is going to be the evidence !

Rape is a heinous offence.  It can scar the victim for life, and the offender, if he gets away, is likely to make another score of conquests - alone, with a party, in a party.....
Accusation of Rape can also be a dangerous tool - for exploitation, blackmail, trade for profit, revenge, a political weapon....!

After the barbaric gangrape in Delhi the public anger was for speedy trials, convictions and stringent penalty when the crime was proved.  the recognition of Rape as a heinous crime, and its trial in a different setting would have ensured that. the compulsion on State Police and Prosecution authorities to deal with it in a special and urgent way was what needed to be addressed.

the new Regime on crime threatens to be the new Taliban...a Taliban of forbiddings, denials, intimidation and persecution.
the Amol Palekar of Chhoti si Baat is an offender now,  Rajendra Kumar of Mere Mehboob, Raj Kapoor of Sangam, Mera naam Joker, Shammi Kapoor, Jeetendra....they all line up for punishment....and Shahrukh...???
Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh, Anand Baxi, would be sentenced for vulgarity...Rafi and Kishore are prime candidates for penalties.  the masses, you must have got the point by now, merely re-enact them...or sing their lyrics...or recite their melodies, a form of publicly validated action. (its the cinema you see !)

If some femme decides that she is offended ....because the street 'artist' is not of her class, caste, community, age-group, ...she can take umbrage and thus several of the clauses of the new law come into play !  and what started out as a movement to give dignity to our women would end up being a comic interlude !