Friday, October 29, 2021

1984 by George Orwell

 Does anyone know why 1984 was written for one corner of the world and came true in the exact opposite corner? In the exact space that was meant to be the opposite of 1984?

I am truly interested in thoughts.

Book Review: Maharani by Diwan Jarmani Das

I have long campaigned that if we have to save the planet, we should not tax consumption. We should tax the waste generated. Every household should be taxed according to the waste it generates and the progeny it creates. 

If the trash tax was a reality, it would apply to this book. The publisher would have been taxed on every copy going off the press. 

According to Diwan Jarmani Das, it is customary for the Maharajas to have mistresses and concubines, but for their own safety, the Maharanis must be kept in the 3 layer security in the palace and any transgression should be suitably dealt with. 

Not content with convincing us that the Maharanis had only one side to their personality - the erotic, he also goes on to generously disburse his opinion on why working women and educated women are a disaster. The woman comes home tired and is not able to look after the welfare of the family. This leads to a situation where the husband returns tired from work and finds that there is no one to look after him and his needs. This is the main reason why men go astray. 

So generously is this advice doled out, in fact, that the book reads like a sermon book rather than a record of the maharanis. Not content with giving advice to mere mortal beings, the author also decides to give advice on the Khajuraho temples. (Read excerpts below) 

And the book is not about Indian maharanis. It also tells us the details of the sexcapades and the bitter retribution given to European queens. That section, of course, is a waste of time because the book was bought to read about the lives of, well, Maharanis. 

Here are a few excerpts from this book. They are self-explanatory. 

In my opinion, women's main job is to look after husbands and children and the formation of their character. 

The homes which were like paradise before the so called emancipation of women have become, in most cases, a blazing till due to the disparity in thought and culture between husband and wife, between father and daughter. 

Most of these perverted maharanis were the offspring of the ultra modern education with they received under British tutors in India and at schools and colleges in England. 

The husband and wife do not have enough time have intimate talks with each other on family matters and to spend a few hours of bliss which is the duty of the wife to provide for the husband who comes home tired after a hard day's work. 

Women in the services, and particularly in high posts, dominate their husbands, with the results that mutual love or confidence between them is gone. In the upper classes, wives are becoming nagging monsters and behave like superior beings. 

They wear chiffon and high coiffeurs, and their mouths are reddened with lipstick and the eyebrows blackened, the back lines above the eyebrows giving them the look of a professional prostitute. 

But the majority of women do not believe in feminism, they care for more for femininity. 

French women, even though they are in service or politics, are seductive and sexy. They take care of their figure and complexion unlike the suffragete women of England and the USA who, when in politics or high office, look more manly and neglect their dresses. 

Women want to create a lovable impression on their husbands and get things done without having legal rights. 

In France, before the Matrimonial Bill of 1964 which abrogated the old laws that forbade women from opening bank accounts or obtaining passports, the wife's infidelity was considered more serious than her husband's desertion and infidelity.

And finally, advice for our temples: 

Khajuraho and similar temples in Orissa and other states depicting sexual poses are a gross insult to Indian culture and civilisation. 

We should either demolish these temples or forbid foreigners to visit them. 

Whatever explanation one may be able to give the visitors about the true interpretation of these sexual poses, they begin to believe that Hindu religion and temples are all dedicated to sex worship. 


1. Women should not buy this book because (read excerpts above) and chauvinistic men who agree with the author should not buy this book because the book will kill their domestic monopoly on misogynistic advice. At least within their house , they deserve to remain the specialists on the subject of what women should and should not do. 

2. This book, if it remains in publication, should be heavily edited to completely remove the personal insights of the author, remove the European history and sexual laxity, and just share the facts of the lives of the maharanis. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

More Venting

Please tell me that you have a running season of "Teenage Tantrum, Mad Mom" in your houses too?

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

One more sexist joke, and my repartee

 पत्नी औ घड़ी के बीच का संबंध :....

 - समानताएं :

1. घड़ी चौबीस घंटे टिक-टिक करती रहती है !! और पत्नी चौबीस घंटे किट-किट करती रहती है !!

 2. घड़ी की सूइयाँ घूम-फिर कर वहीं आ जाती हैं !! उसी प्रकार पत्नी को आप कितना भी समझा लो, वो घूम-

फिर कर वहीं आ जायेगी और अपनी ही बात मनवायेगी !!

 3. घड़ी बिगड़ जाये तो मैकेनिक के यहाँ जाती है !! पत्नी बिगड़ जाये तो मैके जाती है !!

 4. घड़ी को चार्ज करने के लिये सेल (बैटरी) का प्रयोग होता है !! और पत्नी को चार्ज करने के लिये सैलेरी का प्रयोग होता है !!


- विषमतायें :

1. घड़ी में जब १२ बजते हैं तो तीनों सूइयाँ एक दिखाई देती हैं !! लेकिन पत्नी के जब १२ बजतेे

  तो एक पत्नी भी ३-३ दिखाई देती है !!

 2. घड़ी के अलार्म बजने का फिक्स टाइम है !! लेकिन पत्नी के अलार्म बजने का कोई फिक्स टाइम नहीं है !

 3.घड़ी बिगड़ जाये तो रूक जाती है !! लेकिन जब पत्नी बिगड़ जाये तो शुरू हो जाती है !!

4. सबसे बड़ा अंतर ये कि घड़ी को जब आपका दिल चाहे बदल सकते हैं !! मगर पत्नी को चाह कर भी बदल नहीं सकत


My Response: 

पति और गधे के बीच समानताएँ और विषमताएँ

  1. गधा समय समय पर धैचू- धैचू की पुकार लगता है और पति समय समय पर चाय चाय की।
  2. गधे से आप वज़न उठाने के अलावा कोई काम नहीं करवा सकते। वो भी तब जब उसकी इच्छा हो। पति का भी ऐसा ही है।
  3. गधे की टांगों को बांध कर न रखा जाए तो वे कहीं भी भाग निकलता है। पति का भी ऐसा ही है।
  4. गधे किसी के सगे नहीं होते। सालों उन्हें कोई खिलाए पिलाए, उनका ध्यान रखे, पहला मौका मिलते ही नकेल तोड़ कर भाग जाते हैं।
  5. गधा घास चरता है, और पति दिमाग।
  6. गधा दुलत्ती मारते हुए बिल्कुल नहीं सोचता कि चोट किसे लगेगी, कितनी गहरी लगेगी। पति भी मुंह खोलते हुए ऐसा कुछ नहीं सोचते।
  7. सारी दुनिया को पता है कि गधा अव्वल दर्जे का आलसी, बेवकूफ, नीरस, और बेसुरा प्राणी है। किन्तु गधे को इस प्रकार का कोई आत्माभास नहीं है। अपनी नजर में वह सचमुच दुनिया का सबसे सुंदर, सर्वश्रेष्ठ प्राणी है।
  8. गधे की नजर सदा नीची रहती है। उसके इरादों पर भी यही विशेषण लागू होता है। पति भी पत्नी के सामने भीगी बिल्ली बनने का अभिनय करते हैं, और उनके इरादे भी अपने समतुल्य प्राणी जितने ही नीच होते हैं।   



  1. इन दोनों प्राणियों में कोई विषमता नहीं पाई जाती। विधाता ने इन्हें एक ही साँचे में ढाल कर बनाया है।
But this is so painful, that people think it is ok to post stuff that is this insensitive and cruel. I hated writing this repartee. Its cruel and insensitive. But telling people to lay off sexist jokes makes one appear as a party pooper. Giving them a taste of their own medicine will hopefully help them understand exactly what they are bringing to the table. I have now asked the group to post fewer sexist jokes. If this person does not stop, i will have to write more obnoxious stuff. Gives me something to vent, for sure. But not the thoughts i want to have. 
This is, however, the best way to get rid of the anger that such petty content creates. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Why does the development sector lie so much?

I have now been engaged with the development sector for more than 25 years. 

Yesterday, we found another overstated work that could not be verified. 

While complaining to a mentor, I said, 70% of the work in development sector is hogwash. 

He agreed. We both knew. 

But after the angst was over, i sat down to wonder why that is so. These millions of people who make it their life's work to change the lives of others -why do they overstate their impact? Why do they project that which we know, through experience, is not going to happen? 

Malafide motivation cannot be the answer, because development sector jobs don't pay that much. Even for large NGOs, getting honest grants on an ongoing basis is a real challenge. 

There is no easy answer. 

But the top 2-3 things that jump up are: 

A. The structure of the industry 

Everyone knows that human change is a slow and laborious job. Yet, funding agencies need to see numbers and impact within a finite time. If you want your mother to give up a habit (that is one person and one behaviour change), you do not know how long it will take. Yet, funding agencies want NGos to wave a magic wand and tell them that they will get 100x people to change 10x habits / beliefs / attitudes within  the next 2-3 years. 

B. The incorrect inherent assumption 

This is actually my realisation after 25 years in the sector. When we did गरीबी हटाओ, we assumed that that was an objective for everyone. That everyone wants to improve their lot by working hard and /or studying. If we just create the opportunities, those opportunities will be taken. 

Turns out, that is not true. People want to get rich, but not by working hard or studying hard. They want to get rich by getting doles that they can then sell at a profit and go back to being poor and underprivileged to get more doles. That is their personal revenue model. That is their chosen profession. 

Low income housing, MNREGA, PDS, and a host of other welfare measures, both state and private, have taught us that a small fraction of the population will indeed choose hard work or education as a means of upliftment. But that assumption cannot be applied to the entire population. 

Yet, 75 years and counting, neither the planners nor the funding agencies, nor the NGOs themselves, have started to factor in "beneficiary receptiveness" in their model. 

We created an employment model. The idea allowed a person to become financially self reliant. Out of over 100 people we presented the idea to, only TWO people wanted to try it out as a profession. 

In our other projects too, we have had a proportion of people who want to try it before not taking it up, and a much smaller population that then goes on to benefit from the opportunity. 

At first, we thought this was a case of poorly designed solutions. That if we created better solutions that actually do meet the need, that solution would be adopted by pull model and we won't have to push it. 

2 years and 2 research projects later, we learnt that we were wrong. It was not a case of a poorly designed solution. It was a case of poorly understood problem. We assumed that knowledge was an inherent need. It is not. People do not know because they do not want to know. This was a huge shock to us. 

But think of it from their perspective, and it makes perfect sense. 

We tend to think of life in terms of a single currency - money. Therefore, the more money we have, the better our lives will be. 

But they know instinctively that that is not true. Time, leisure, relationships, are all currencies. When we lift ourselves to a better financial position, we lose the social ties with our peer group. With our relatives. We have to fit into a new social circle which may or may not be as welcoming. When we devote time to hard work,  leisure is sacrificed. When we spend time in studying, we cannot use that time to earn, to help, to meet friends, to do other things that lead to more instant gratification. 

So, I end this day, not with complaint, but with understanding. 

Today's Thought in Head

In all relationships, the depth of the relationship is decided by the party that wants it shallower. If A and B are in a relationship, A wants it to be a deep, intimate relationship while B wants it to remain shallow, it will, per force, have to remain shallow or break off, because B will not make the personal investment needed to deepen the relationship. A can then choose to sustain the relationship at that shallow level or break off. 

In families, romantic relationships, and even business relationships, this is true. 

The thing with this is, that only one person makes the decision to keep a relationship shallow, but both parties pay the price. Most long term relationships are like good eggs, they must either hatch (mature into something deeper) or go bad (break off). 

Over a long enough period, keeping a relationship shallow hurts both parties because there is, nonetheless, a human need for a deep connection. This is more pronounced in romantic relationships, because we are only allowed one romantic partner at a time. But even among siblings or with parents, there is an inherent need to have a deep relationship. If that need is frustrated by the current relationship, one must look elsewhere (but there is only one sibling/ parent!) or live with the feeling of lack of fulfillment. 

It is this lack of fulfillment, this constant feeling that we are living sub optimal lives, that fills us with an inexplicable void. Its inexplicable because we don't understand that we are living at a layer that is not in sync with our needs. 

How, then, does one deal with this? If so few people want to invest in deep relationships, whether at home (even parenting has become checklist based and transactional), or in friendships, then how does one find the deep connection that one seeks? 

A simple, but not so practical solution is to not be the person who holds up the depth in a relationship. You may not realise it right now, but you are going to need that depth. One day, you will be fifty, and friendless. Think of this as investing in a pension fund. You don't see the returns until you retire. Then, you get them when you need them the most. 

I have also found it to be true in the work sphere. Long term work relationships based on mutual respect. Long term vendor relationships mean that our cost of procurement goes down. Long term client relationships mean that our cost of selling is low, and we can give the client a better deal. 

In fact, Indian businesses typically demonstrate very long term employment and vendor-client relationships. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Pashu Prem / पशु प्रेम

 गरीब लोग 

नहीं करते 

पशुओं से प्रेम 

वे कुत्तों से 

बचाते हैं 

अपने बच्चों को 

बंदरों से बचाते हैं 

अपने घरों को। 


बसाते हैं 

पार्कों में कुत्ते


उनका भी तो अधिकार है 

इस धरती पर 

उन पार्कों में 

जहां खेलने जाते थे 

गरीबों के बच्चे। 

अमीरों से पूंछ हिलाना 

और गरीबों पर गुर्राना 

कुत्ते भली भांति जानते हैं 

पार्क में आना 

छोड़ देते हैं 

गरीबों के बच्चे। 

This poem is based on a real situation. A community park near our house is taken over by stray dogs. So the slum children living near that park can no longer use even parts of the park to play. This pushes the children into unsafe playing areas. 

The people who feed these dogs in public areas claim that the dogs are sterilised but we see a litter periodically. They also do not adopt these dogs, but leave them in a public area which then becomes inaccessible to the rest of the community. There is blind authority with no accountability or responsibility. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

On sexist jokes

कभी कभी मेरे दिल में ख्याल आता है, 

कभी कभी मेरे दिल में, ख्याल आता है 

कि अपने पिता से घृणा करने के बाद, 

हर पुरुष 

अपनी पत्नी को, 

ठीक वही दुख क्यूँ दिए जाता है? 


Well, if you call out a sexist joke, you are told to "take it light". 

So, I followed that advice and took it light. Here is my light hearted response to some of these sexist jokes. This is only one day's work. My creativity is on a roll! 

My updated meme: 

Joke on a group: 

My response: 

And the lines you read above are also in response to another sexist joke. 

How does one engage with the world?

 I really do try to engage with the world. But it feels like salt in a coffee cup.

Today, it was a post that supported a market that is based on encroachment. Friends who will support eco friendly wood shavings board on Facebook but ask for teak and sal for their own homes. Teak and Sal only grows on the mountains. The same friends will also go to the mountains and complain about deforestation.

They complain about poaching but buy hide purses from outside India.
The poacher's poverty is not poverty, but the encroacher's poverty is poverty.

They will post sexist jokes but will be offended if someone calls this out. OR, worse still (I do this) if someone makes reverse memes, they will be suitably offended.

What does one do with such mind-numbing hypocrisy? How does one engage with such a world?

I am a deep sea fish, i cannot live on the surface. It gets too hot and too cold too soon. It depends on the winds too much. It is affected by the current tide and gets muddy with a little rain. Deep down there, we have to trust each other. We have only each other. No tides come to change the mood. No winds and rains muddy the waters. The heat and cold is ours, and for a long time. We know there is noplace else to go. Just us. Just this. We are creatures of the long term.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Dear Friends: Please do not read daily updates on Aryan Khan. The person is in jail and the due process of the law is being followed. please do not allow our media to add anguish to valid concern. his parents do not become less of a parent just because they have money. He does not become a lesser human being because he was remanded. Every human being deserves dignity. If you do not read, the media will not publish. Please do not write about Aryan Khan surviving on glucose biscuits or breaking down in a video call. Even he deserves the same dignity as the other accused. 

Thursday, October 07, 2021

You know exactly who this is

Just because he did not pull the trigger, does not mean he was not the killer. 

Just because he did not touch the money, does not mean he was not the one who held to ransom. He collected the ransom, all right. Then gave it to someone else.