Monday, April 29, 2019

Of red ants and black ants

I do want to name and shame the misogynists, the traffic violaters, the above the law citizens. I really do. But then I look around and find, that there are just too many of them. Like red ants, too many of them, and each one bites.
And then I think some more.. this is true of the human species - they are inherently destructive and incredibly creative. There are red ants and black ants. The black ants are the ones that work together. They create things because they are inherently creators. In Indian houses, the black ant is considered auspicious.
The red ants are the ones with hierarchy, with internal competition all the time, the ones who will bite without reason. Even when they work together, the glue holding them together is their individual selfishness - their need to get to an objective that they cannot reach alone. In Indian houses, the red ant is a harbinger of bad luck and to be rid of immediately.

Each of us has the choice - to be a red ant, or a black ant. And an inherent desire - to hurt, or to help.
In nature, mutations are rare. But for humans, it is possible to go from being a red ant to a black ant, or vice versa.

What kind of ant are you?

My democracy

And then the crows cawed so loudly,
That the swan song was not heard.

The cacophony of the crows was accepted
as the collective wisdom of the crowd,
and a decision was made, for all birds.

The swans, the peacocks, the flamingos,
they suffered
Because they could not scream
As loudly as the crows.

The sparrows, the cuckoos,
The parrots and the mynahs
For safety
flew with the crows.

And that is how
the decision was made
when the crows cawed
instead of reading.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


जब ये पढ़े लिखे लोग जहालत की बातें करते हैं, तो मन करता है की इस देश से Education subsidy ख़त्म कर दी जाए. 

भई तुम पढ़े लिखे हो. सोच के न मुंह  खोलो,जान के तो खोल सकते हो! आठवीं तो पास की होगी स्कूल में ? जिस बात पर बोल रहे हो, उसके बारे में ज़रा सा पढ़ भी लो! भगवन ने दो आँख दी हैं, दो कान दिए हैं, मुंह एक  ही दिया है. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

On 14 years of marriage

तुम्हारा अनुराग 
जैसे चाय में
हौले से घुली शक्कर।

मेरी उपेक्षा 
मधुमेह के रोगी सी 

Your unending love
like the gently dissolved sugar
in my cup of tea.

My response
is that
of a diabetic.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

On Startups...

I like this model of acquiring customers even at a loss per transaction. Then telling investors that you have spent real money to acquire price sensitive customers who will ditch you as soon as someone can undercut you on price.

#WeWork, #Amazon....

Friday, April 19, 2019

On opinions and other things..

There was this awfully smart thing i knew i needed to write here.  And then... short term amnesia!

OK here goes: (remembered the next day)

People: What do you think of this?
Me: I don't think of this.

People: What do you think of that?
Me: I don't think of that.

People: Don't you have opinions? On anything?
Me: I have a life. In my experience, you can either have opinions, or have a life. Rarely both.

People: :/

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

On Indian Elections 2019

Thought of the Day:

Ye bahut achhi baat hai that the EC is penalising politicians who either seek votes from, or target a particular religious or ethnic group.

Will it also now please penalise the voters who are passing religion  and caste based orders to vote for so and so and so and so? It is time to make the model code of conduct applicable to citizens.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Understanding Hate Speech in India

Today, i wanted to report a hate speech. And realised that there is no clear way of doing it.

So, in case you want to report hate speech, the first thing is to know the laws related to hate speech in India.

I did not find anything in particular that would allow me to report hate speech, am sharing what I did find:

Law Commission of India's Report on Hate Speech - a fairly comprehensive report

This article has awesome details in a succinct format:

And this is the most comprehensive coverage yet:

For now, I have decided to collect more evidence of the work of this gentleman.

Film Review - The Tashkent Files

The inspiration from "Ek ruka hua faisla" hits you instantly - the dim lighting,  the dusty wooden long desk, et al.
 But that is where the cinematic inspiration ends. After that initial inspiration is over, Tashkent Files emerges as a film that stands up for itself - and in more ways than one, sets standards for others to follow.
While the former film deals with peeling out layers of the personality of each juror and how those layers contribute to their understanding of a simple crime, in this case, what was revealed, layer by layer, was not the personality of the committee members, but the facts of a really complicated case.

Perhaps the greatest thing about the movie is that it is well-edited. This makes the story telling taut and keeps the viewer engaged. You could not take a break in this movie without missing something important. It is rare for a reviewer to say that a technical aspect was the best part of the film, but in this case, it really was. This movie owes a lot of its success to the ruthless editor.

The second great thing that this movie does is, keeping the narrative focused. It asks one question, and uses all the characters in the film, all the episodes, every single frame, word, and action, to answer that one question. No time is wasted on sub plots, no pointless song and dance, and nothing to just 'entertain'. Just great, gripping story telling.

The third thing that works for the film is casting. There is one heroine, but she merges into the ensemble cast effortlessly. The actors are well chosen, and being the veterans that they are, they get everything from body language to accent right. Each one of them brings the character alive. Casting is yet another technical aspect of film making and is easy to overlook. One can, obviously praise the acting, as one should. But this movie was gold because that cast was put together in such a perfect way by the casting director. And then every member of the cast worked hard to bring their character alive - be it the quiet menace of Naseeruddin Shah, or the volatile anger of the young politician.

The fourth great thing about the film is its insistence on sticking to facts. My interest in the topic of Shastri's death is old, so much of the information presented was known to me. There were some new elements that I hope to read more about soon. But the thing is, evidence like this can be dramatized so easily, especially since the episode itself is very dramatic. But the movie didn't do that. It presented the facts and asked the questions.

After ages, here is a movie that does not insult the intelligence of the viewer - in fact, it engages the viewer and is a delight for the little grey cells  that sit starved in every movie theater.

Because we have an intelligent film after ages, please go see it. This is good story telling. There should be more story telling like this one.

On this film being a propaganda film
Some people have called it a propaganda film or a film that seeks to present one party in a negative light. Let me answer that too:
1. If this is a propaganda film, then every murder investigation is propaganda against the murderer. This is merely stating the facts. Those facts cannot be rubbished just because they point a finger at the guilty person.

2. At the end of the film, the lead actress asks the politician - why did you do it? And he says, "Mudda". That scene was important because it lays the foundation of one thing - it is not the facts that sway you. It is your willingness to be swayed by those facts.
How can I be so sure? Read on.
My interest in Shastri's death came from an entirely different place. Shastri died on Jan 11, 1966. On Jan 19, within 8 days, Indira Gandhi was made the Prime Minister of India. She had no credentials, no political experience and was, in fact, one of the junior leaders in the party. How did that happen? That is where my journey into the death of Shastri started. I came to the same conclusion as the film - independently.

No one in India thinks that the Congress is not guilty of unspeakable crimes. This is the country that voted Sajjan Kumar to power with the highest majority weeks after he had killed hundreds of Sikhs on the streets of Delhi. The same Delhi voted him to power. It is not the facts that sway. It is our willingness to be swayed.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

My fucked up country

Sending a child to school should not be an act of bravery.

Ryan Inernational, Gurgaon, Chidrens Home Academy, Dehradun: Killer Schools of India

Last year, 7 year old Praduman Jain, a student of Class 2, was killed by a Grade 11 student in Ryan INternational School, Gurgaon. The school tried to pin the blame on a conductor in a school bus. The CBI discovered the truth. The year before that, another child at Ryan International School, Delhi, was found dead near the water tank on the terrace of the building.

In March, 2019, a 12 year old was tortured and killed by seniors in the Children's Home Academy, Dehradun. In 2017, a child went missing there and has still not been found. In 2019, the school quietly buried the body.

The Dehradun case was brought out because of Usha Negi, the chairperson of the Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The 12 year old died of internal haemorrhage.

Dear psycopaths who think you are students: You will reap as you sow. This is a bad, bad world. But even in this world, a special hell is reserved for you.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

On Gatka

While watching Kesari, something about Gatka struck me.

Most martial arts are designed for one on one combat. Judo, Kung fu, Kalaripattu, et al .

The Gatka is the only martial art that is designed for managing multiple opponents at once. It is, by design, the martial art of the outnumbered!

The movements are circular, allowing the combatant to cover his back and all flanks. The sword moves vertically and in an unpredictable, elliptical motion, allowing for quick change of holding angle, the direction and speed of movement, et al. To practice doing all this at high speeds, with weapons that are heavy, requires amazing training.

Guru Gobind Singh knew what he was talking about when he said "Sawa Lakh se ek ladaoon, Taan Gobind Singh naam dharaoon"