Archive for April, 2007

The beginning of the end of Narendra Modi?

30 April 2007

The Gujarat government has admitted today before the Supreme Court that Kausar Bi, the wife of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, the extortionist who had been killed in a fake encounter in November 2005, had also been killed by the police and her body burnt a few days later.

Is this the beginning of the end of Narendra Modi? Will the Gujarat chief minister be forced to step down so that the BJP can extract some political mileage before the Assembly elections? Or will it, usual, rake up the 1984 Sikh pogrom after Indira Gandhi‘s assassination, as an escape clause?

The BJP pointed to Sheikh’s shady past as if that is justification enough to do away with him. What could its justification be for eliminating Sheikh’s wife? And possibly also their friend Tulsiram Prajapati?

If prayer has power, why can’t it get you an…

30 April 2007

The mindblowingly prolific, versatile and acid tongued Christopher Hitchens has a new book out called God is not Great. In an interview with New York magazine’s Boris Kachka, he has this little gem of a quote.

Have you ever prayed in your life?

I probably once did pray for an erection, but not addressed to anyone in particular. Nor completely addressed to my cock. You’re too polite to ask if the prayer was answered.

Was it?

No. There was an answer, but I don’t think it was the result of the prayer. After all, if one was not a mammal, and could get erections on demand, there’d be no need for prayer in the first place.

Read the full interview here: Are you there, God? It’s me, Hitchens

CHURUMURI POLL: A pardon for Afzal Guru?

30 April 2007

Pending a final decision for almost six months now, the mercy petition of Mohammed Afzal Guru, the death row convict in the Parliament attack case, has bounced back into international reckoning with the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, raising the issue during a meeting with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in Strasbourg last week.

The fact that Pottering broached the issue is a victory for British and European human rights campaigners who have said there has been a “miscarriage of justice”. But the BJP has denounced the European Parliament’s interference in an internal issue of India. Kalam, who has only a few months to go before he remits office, has clarified that the fate of Afzal Guru will be decided as per “the law of the land”.

Questions: Should Afzal Guru be pardoned given the facts of the case and the mounting international pressure? Or should India cock a snook at the rights’ activists and hang him, regardless of the diplomatic ramifications? If Afzal Guru is pardoned, should all the other 22 mercy petitions before the President be dealt with similarly? Is the UPA government buying time and playing votebank politics? Or is it being fair and just in dealing with a human life?

A Mysore jewel very few Mysoreans know about

30 April 2007

BAPU SATYANARAYANA writes: In an environment populated by pretenders of shallow learning who garner awards by the power of lobbying; by men who flaunt their learning by their power to impress; by authors whose popularity rests on caste and religious bashing, there is an uncut diamond of rare quality extracted from the deep soil of Mysore—a Mysorean whose many splendoured exploits would shame the combined merit of our latter-day stalwarts in various fields of excellence.

It has provided lustre across the globe but it not seen the light of the day back home because he is shy of publicity and because he has steadfastly chosen to remain obscure, silent, and humble to the extent of being a nonentity. Now the time has come to unearth this treasure so that we may know and feel blessed that such a person walked the streets of Mysore as many as 75 years ago.

He is Dr R.V. Ramakrishna, RVR to his friends and admirers.

A man who could count T.S. Eliot and Somerset Maugham, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan among his fans and admirers.

A man who very nearly became the first vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, was instrumental in setting up the Bal Bhavan.

A literary genius who once topped a Shakespearean contest while contesting with the cream of English literature.

***

RVR, obtained a basic BSc in natural and agricultural sciences from the University of Mysore. But he has a PhD in child psychology from Sorbonne University, Paris; another PhD in agriculture sciences from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; a DSc in social psychology and rural extension from the same University; and a DLitt in English literature from the University of London.

Eliot, it is said, was amazed at RVR’s mastery of literature, religion, philosophy, psychology, music, dance, and art among a host of subjects. His favourite subject, on top of all this, was etymology but he also had intimate knowledge of Mozart, Beethovan, Chopin and Schubert.

“Here is a man who does not know his own worth, just like a flower, which is not aware of its own fragrance,” said T.S. Eliot of RVR.

That’s RVR for you, RVR from Ballal Circle, Mysore. Writer, teacher, essayist, agriculturist.

***

It may be of interest to know a remarkable fact connected with his birth. It is learnt that RVR’s grandfather from his mother’s side, a man named Ramnath Cowsik, was a staunch follower of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and was closely associated with the Ramakrishna Mission.Swami Shivananda, the first President of the Ramakrishna Mutt, used to visit the family. During one of his visits in 1923, he told RVR’s mother that she was going to bear a son and asked her to name him as Ramakrishna. The tradition of prefixing ‘Rama’ got fortified since every one of RVR’s brothers name starts with ‘Rama’.

The name of their house in Mysore on Kantharaj Urs Road, behind the present Nilgiri’s department store, was appropriately named ‘Ayodhya’ for the Ramas who inhabited it. In those days, where the Nilgiri’s now stands, was Ballal Hotel, run by Ballal.

RVR’s grandfather, Ramaswamy Iyer originally hailed from Thiruchirapally and settled in Mysore in the late 19th century. He was a civil engineer and was responsible for constructing the steps to Chamundi Hills, the remnants of it can still be seen by the side of the new steps built later. He was also connected in the construction of Mysore palace.

***

My interest in writing about RVR is twofold.

First, it springs from the fact that our two families knew each other for many decades and still keep in touch. During a recent visit, RVR’s brother Dr Ram Prasad, a dentist in Trichy, drew my attention to the blog he had written about RVR which impressed me profoundly.

Second, I felt it my pleasant duty to place before Mysoreans across the globe the great personality of RVR so that we get inspired to bring back the values for which Mysore was rightly famous and which lately seems to be fast fading lately.

Eldest of eight children (two daughters and six sons of whom only three sons and a daughter are surviving) born to R.V. Ram and Vani Devi, RVR married Champa in 1954 , RVR has a daughter Shailaja. At 82, he now lives in Seattle, USA, with his family. His favourite hobby: getting into the car with Champa and driving for hundreds of miles for days on end, the free spirit he is.

As children we spent many happy moments in the RVR household. The house, now a little dilapidated, essentially remains unaltered, and a jackfruit tree adjacent to the gate reminds me of old times.

My elder brother, H.R. Bapu Seetharam and my uncle H.R. Bapu Krishnamurthy were RVR’s classmates in Sarada Vilas High School way back in the late 1930s. RVR is the product of Lakshmipuram middle school where the late nuclear physicist Dr Raja Ramanna too studied.

While studying in high school, RVR took part in a variety of sports: cricket, football and table tennis. Earlier we all used to play ball badminton and RVR was the State champion in the game.

In those days, apart from taking part in school sports the favourite pastime was friends was going on long walks chatting about many topics and these three friends were no exception except that RVR would all the while concentrate on reading. He always dressed in simple dhoti. The usual route was JLB road, for all lived around Krishnamurthypuram.

Sometimes they would go to the Town Hall and eat kadle kai (groundnuts). RVR was not only a voracious reader with interests in a variety of subjects but was also equally adept in different sports which came to him naturally. His appetite was fed by the Central Library which was then located opposite the present Maharani’s College. Obviously his speed of reading and power of assimilation must have been amazing and he would complete the book in no time.

His brother tells me that he could read seven lines at a time, coming very close to President John F. Kennedy who had mastered reading nine lines at a time. In fact, this habit continued throughout his professional career to this day. Obviously, this appears to be an inherited trend from his mother.

A brief interesting background will explain this. In those days every time anything was purchased from the nearby Shetty angadi, it would be wrapped in a paper cover unlike present day plastic covers. These covers used to be the torn part of any newspaper or magazine. RVR’s mother had this habit of unwrapping and unwrinkling it and reading whatever information it contained.

As at present, in those days too ‘hale paper and khali sisa’ paperwalas (mostly Muslims) would come door to door to purchase old newspapers and magazines, which they used to sell for a profit to make their living. The negotiation of price and testing the accuracy of the balance (thakkadi) is a lively art in which the ladies of the house excel.

The paperwala who frequented the RVR household was in the habit of keeping the bundle of the newspapers and magazines in their house to be picked up later on. RVR’s mother would take the paper from the bundle to read and keep the magazine for a day or two with her to go through and give it back to the paperwala.

I am told even while cooking she would have a book in her hand. Therefore, it may be logical to assume that this habit of his mother’s rubbed off on RVR. To that extent it may not be wrong to consider his mother as his role model. Besides the mother tongue Tamil, she could speak English, Kannada and Telugu.

At that time nobody suspected that RVR would one day rise to such dizzying heights of achievements to carve a unique niche winning laurels in many diverse areas.

***

It is unbelievable that even to this day Mysoreans are largely unaware of the sweep of his learning and the prestigious awards he has won. During his student days he did not exhibit any extraordinary potential and was like any other student, quite ordinary.

The nearest that the people of Karnataka came to know about RVR was when he was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of University of Agriculture Sciences, Hebbal.

At that time it was ranked third and was sliding down. Within a brief period of four months, RVR was reversing the trend. However, due to difference of opinion, RVR submitted his resignation. It was the students who submitted a memorandum to the Governor to retain RVR. S.R.Bommai was the Chief Minister. Unfortunately, the government of the day failed to use the golden opportunity and RVR left because he would not compromise on principles.

That in a nutshell is RVR—the rarest of gems, who has now set up a Rs 2 crore foundation to provide donations to institutions dealing with physically handciapped and mentally challenged children.

Words fail me to come to grips with his personality and the overwhelming sentiment is one of incredulity. As a Mysorean I feel humbled and deem it a great honour to be able place before all a snapshot of what he stands. For the benefit of Mysoreans, nay, for the whole of India if not the world, for he belongs to all.

Why teetotaller Banta still drinks two glasses

28 April 2007

MURALI KRISHNAN forwards a joke which he claims “won the best joke prize in London”.

***

Banta Singh walks into a bar in London and orders three glasses of beer and sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn.

When he finishes, he comes back to the bar counter and orders three more glasses. The bartender tells asks him, “You know, beer goes flat after I fill it in the glass; it would taste better if you buy one at a time.”

Banta Singh replies, “Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in Dubai , the other in Canada and I’m here in London… When we left home, we promised that we’ ll drink this way to remember the days when we drank together.”

The bartender admits that this is a nice custom and leaves it there.

Banta Singh becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way. He orders three beers and drinks them in turn.

One day, he comes in and orders only two beers. All the other regulars notice and fall silent.

When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, “I don’ t want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my sincere condolences on your great loss.”

Banta Singh looks confused for a moment. Then he laughs. “Oh, no,” he says, “Everything’ s fine. Both my brothers are alive and kicking . The only thing is I just quit drinking.”

Should VIPs get special treatment at temples?

28 April 2007

The controversy over the Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Bachchan post-marriage trip to Tirupati reopens an evergreen question: can our temples of worship—sab ka maalik ek and all—really roll out the red carpet to those who drop greenbacks in their wake while keeping His (and Her) less-endowed devotees waiting in the wings tch-tching about the injustice of it all? Can devotees be discriminated between ordinary mortals and not so ordinary VIPs? Or is it a good thing to allow the celebrity businessmen, sportsmen, cinema stars to quickly have their darshan because it won’t create hassles for them and for us? Or is this all much ado over nothing, like so much else in our lives?

Also read: SC allows special darshan in Sabarimala

Indian cricket will improve in four to eight years

28 April 2007

Two of India’s smartest advertisers—Hindustan Lever and Pepsi—seem to have come to the conclusion that the future of Indian cricket is really in the far future.

In a Surf Excel commercial (top), a mother, far from being harried by children sullying their clothes by playing cricket, says it’s OK if it improves the chances of India winning the 2015 World Cup.

Agar daag lagane se 2015 mein World Cup jeetne ka chance hota hai, tho daag achche hain na?

And in a Pepsi Gold commercial (below), three young boys go to Kamal Tailors to place their measurements for the uniform for the Indian cricket team.

Tailor: Delivery kab chahiye?

Boys: Chaar saal baad. Agla World Cup hum layenge.

All mouse work and no spouse play makes…

27 April 2007

“They spend more time with their mouses, but they have no time for their spouses,” is NDTV reporter Sam Daniel‘s thunderous opening line on a story on the sexual woes of workers in India’s Information Technology industry.

According to an observational study of over 3,000 IT workers, more than 60 per cent techies lack sexual drive. Laptops have encroached into bedrooms; many prefer chatrooms to real time intimacy with their spouses.

In some cases, marriages remain unconsummated due to high stress and erratic working hours. There is a spurt in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation in men; women suffer from orgasmic disfunction and painful intercourse.

Sexologist Dr N Narayana Reddy says, “The highly targeted demanding skills of the IT industry puts tremendous pressure on couples and they are not able to rise to the occasion.”

IT bhaiyon aur behenon, come clean. Tell us, this ain’t true.

View the full story: Sexual woes of IT workers

John, Tom or Jimmy: coaching the new coach

27 April 2007

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: There is an unnecessary brouhaha about who the next coach of the Indian cricket team will be. Will it be Dav Whatmore or Tom Moody or John Buchanan or John Bracewell or who?

Well, it doesn’t matter who India’s next coach will eventually be.

What’s important is what happens after that.

Here’s the likely scenario:

1) The television networks, frothing in their mouths, their cameras craning for angles, will splash it all over. Except when he is in the loo, his appointment as the new coach will be covered and uncovered everywhere.

2) Before the appointment, he would have been suitably ‘appraised’ by senior players, and after he gives in to their list of ‘do’s and’ don’ts’, they would have recommended him for selection.

3) The obsequious coach next meets senior ex-captains like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri (a one-Test captain) et al seeking their help. They assure him of their support, keeping aside their knives for the time being.

4) The new coach starts his job by drawing a line in the middle of a paper and writing down who is most important on the Left side and who can be safely ignored on the Right side from among the Board, Selection Committee, Cricket Academy, State Associations, Sports correspondents, Networks, etc. The outgoing coach would have briefed the new coach to get this right as his survival would much depend on this. He borrows additional sheets from Board Secretary Niranjan Shah.

5) In the evening he is asked to visit Raj Singh Dungarpur to pay his respects, who in turn gives a long lecture on Pentangular Cricket and takes him to his uncle to pay some more respects. After another long lecture, the coach comes back tired with a splitting headache.

6) At night there is a call from Calcutta. The President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Prasun Bannerjee invites him to inaugurate the Sourav Ganguly temple in Beliaghata with Buddha Deb Bhattacharya and Brinda Karat as special guests. After he hangs up, there is one more call. Now, their rivals under Jagmohan Dalmia invite him for the inauguration of one more Temple of Ganguly next to Amitabh Bachchan’s temple by Mamta didi and Jyoti Basu. Both the callers hold a veiled threat that they can’t promise his security at Eden Gardens if he skips the function. The coach starts sweating mildly even in the A/C room.

7) Next day, the committee which selected him feels he should be hired on a temporary basis and given a contract only after he proves himself. Till such time, the coach will draw his daily wages from Treasurer N. Srinivasan. This is communicated to him by an email which is leaked to the press even before the new coach receives it.

8) The new coach attends a felicitation function in which Mohinder Amarnath the ‘Comeback Kid’ of Indian cricket fires a salvo saying the only reason BCCI goes for a foreign coach is because of its slavish mentality even after 60 years of Independence. Worse is yet to come, when Mohinder sings a Punjabi song and sings for another half-an-hour.

9) In the same function, Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma who are still in the West Indian hangover ask Ma Prem Rithambara to consult her tarot cards and predict how long the coach will survive .The coach is asked to show his palm so that she can read between the lines and predict for him. Finally, she admits she can do so only after seeing BCCI President Sharad Pawar’s hand. Everybody knows, nobody in India can read Pawar’s hand, not even Mr. Pawar himself!

10) Next day, the players send a delegation of advertisers to meet the coach .They feel a discussion between them could bring the players closer to the coach. At the end, coach does a bhangra with the players joining him for the song ‘agale baar cup jaroor leayenge!’ which comes as ‘Breaking News’ by all Networks in their 11 pm News.

Late night, as he is lying on the bed he remembers he hasn’t opened his coaching manual yet.

Then, he remembers the parting words of the previous coach: “You won’t need those manuals as long as you are in India!”

CHURUMURI POLL: World Cup—good, bad, oh god?

27 April 2007

The 2007 World Cup is just one game away from receiving its boarding pass for the home of one of the 16 participating teams: Australia or Sri Lanka. How was cricket’s “quadrennial showpiece” for you—good, bad, boring? How was the quality of cricket—the batting, bowling, fielding, umpiring? Have you still not recovered from India’s shock exit, or did you find solace in Matthew Hayden‘s innings, in Mahela Jayawardene‘s captaincy, in Shaun Tait‘s and Lasith Malinga‘s pace, in Herschelle Gibbs‘ sixes, in Dwayne Leverock‘s girth? Is there any match that is firmly etched on your cricketing memory, or will you only remember the tournament for Bob Woolmer‘s murder? Has the venue and the format helped cricket, or have the horrific timings left you yawning after 12.5 overs of the second innings to care? And on a scale of 1 to 10—one being ugh, 10 being wow—where would you rank the Cup?

A box of poems is mightier than a sten-gun

27 April 2007

The Telegraph, Calcutta, has a cute story on the paranoia that has gripped American campuses after the Virginia Tech shootout. Kazim Ali, an Indian professor of “Middle Eastern descent” in Pennsylvania, leaves behind a box of his student’s poetry submission near a recycle bin, and all hell breaks loose. Bomb experts are called in, classes are cancelled for the 7,500 students of Shippensburg University, the Kerry/Edwards sticker on his car arouses suspicion…

Reda the full story: Indian poetry ‘bomber’ jolts US 

Should Karunanidhi be hauled up for contempt?

26 April 2007

In a sign of chutzpah bordering on contempt that seems to come all too easily to politicians who have made language, caste and religion their  leitmotif, Tamil Nadu chief minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi has said the “fate and future of 100 crore people cannot be decided by two or three people” and that this would be harmful for democracy.

The target of Karunanidhi’s not-so-veiled attack are the honourable judges of the Supreme Court, who seem to have become a thorn in the flesh of politicians eager to bend every rule in the book to ensure 27 per cent reservations in central educational institutions for the Other Backward Classes from this very academic year, if not tomorrow morning.

By Karunanidhi’s yardstick, how many judges should ideally sit in judgment on an issue of this nature? Are his reservations on the judges’ competence to adjudicate on such a mammoth issue confined to the OBC quota alone? Or does it extend to other issues involving millions and crores of people, like, say, the Cauvery water issue, too? SEZs? Privatisation?

By this yardstick, can our legal courts adjudicate on any issue? Or should everything be decided in the peoples’ court as our politicians would ideally want it?

CHURUMURI POLL: Kalam for President again?

26 April 2007

The hunt for a successor to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has hit a dead end—and bounced back. On the one hand, the names of potential candidates (Somnath Chatterjee, Karan Singh, Amartya Sen) that were doing the rounds a few weeks ago have receded out of sight. And, on the other hand, a “campaign” of sorts to give Kalam a second term has picked up steam. Nearly 60 per cent of MPs and MLAs polled by NDTV are apparently in favour of Kalam again.

On his part, Kalam, who was saying he was looking forward to going back and teaching a few weeks ago, has developed slightly warm feelings of occupying Rashtrapati Bhavan for another six years. In Strasbourg, yesterday, Kalam said: “The nation is bigger than Presidents or presidential candidates. It would make no difference what profession I pursue in the future. The economic development of India has been, and still remains, the purpose of my life.”

So, is Kalam as President again a good idea? Is he really irreplaceable or are our politicians being clever and playing it extra safe? Is this nation of a billion people incapable of finding one man or one woman worthy enough of being the titular head of the republic? And, let’s ask it, is N.R. Narayana Murthy‘s dream of occuping the hut on top of Raisina Hill dashed for ever after the national anthem controversy?

We live and learn the English language

25 April 2007

SAC forwards a picture, presumably from Bangalore, that elevates the Queen’s Tongue to stratospheric heights. But it’s the thought that counts, surely?

If only Hutch service was as good as its ads

25 April 2007

Is a mutt head more qualified than a scientist?

25 April 2007

The coalition government in Karnataka has reportedly decided to release Rs 30 crore—yes, Rs 300,000,000 i.e. three followed by nine zeroes—to Sri Raghaveshwara Bharati of the Ramachandrapura Mutt in Hosanagar in Shimoga district.

Purpose: “to protect native cows”.

Sure, it’s a coalition government, with the party of the second part being the honourable Bharatiya Janata Party which believes massaging the cow can appease the masses. Sure, Shimoga is the home-district of the deputy chief minister and chief minister in waiting, B.S. Yediyurappa.

Have the cabinet and the legislature okayed the move? If so, does such an effusive wastage of public money justify the cause? What, in particular, is the mutt’s or the mutt head’s expertise? If native cows are in danger, why can’t the task of protecting them be given to more qualified scientists and experts?

Sign of an alive democracy, or a sad mobocracy?

25 April 2007

The Kaveri Krishna Horata Samanvaya Samithi has put up this quite extraordinary notice at the Bangalore railway station, with pictures of T.A. Narayana Gowda and Kodihalli Chandrashekhar of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike adorning it.

***

KAVERI KRISHNA HORATA SAMANVAYA SAMITHI

An appeal

DO NOT BOARD TRAINS LEAVING TO AND FROM DELHI BETWEEN 26/04/2007 AND 08/05/2007

Passengers

The “Kaveri Krishna Horata Samiti” has arranged for a mega protest starting from 04/05/2007 in Delhi against the Kaveri tribunal verdict which has come as a death blow to Karnataka. More than one lakh people are going to take part in this protest.

The protestors are going to board rains from Bangalore to Delhi and back without tickets in huge numbers. Chances of others getting seats are very low. Therefore, please do not board trains leaving to and from Delhi between 26/04/2007 and 08/05/2007.

Please do not buy tickets for these trains in the above period. If you have already reserved tickets, please cancel them. We request you to help the Kaveri protest in this way.

Jai Karnataka

***

At least this courteous, well-crafted notice in English (and Hindi), is a step up from shocking the daylights out of non-Kannada reading passengers? But is ticketless travel, which is a violation of railway rules, the right way to seek “justice” on the Cauvery issue?

Is inconveniencing ordinary citizens by making it impossible for them to travel in peace to Delhi—people who may have interviews to attend and jobs to join; sick and dying people to call upon; connecting trains to catch to go elsewhere—the right way of making a point?

If the protest is from May 5, why block trains from April 26? Should the Centre sponsor an agitation against itself by running trains during these dates and allowing the protestors to ride ticketless? Would the Railway authorities only be doing their job if it books the ticketless travellers? Or does it risk being labelled “anti-Kannada” and “anti-Cauvery”?

And will such a street protest really help Karnataka’s Cauvery cause except to generate some square centimetres of coverage for its protagonists, when the need of the hour is calm, collected and calibrated legal response?

Also read: Karnataka Rakshana Vedike: Good, bad, sad?

How the sardar fooled the conductor on April 1

25 April 2007

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN forwards a dozen Sardarji “jokes”, quips and oneliners. “Some of them are really good ones,” he warns. You figure out which ones.

***

1. Lecturer: Write a note on “Gandhi Jayanti”.

Sardar: Gandhi was a great man but maa kasam, I don’t know who Jayanti is.

***

2. Sardar: You cheated me.

Shopkeeper: How?

Sardar: You said this is a German radio. But when I put it on, it says All India Radio.

***

3. Sardar gets into a bus on April 1. The conductor asks for ticket. He gives ten rupees, takes the ticket, and says “April fool.”

Conductor: Why?

Sardar: I have a pass.”

***

4. Sardar takes up a new job. On the first day, he works till late evening on the computer.

Boss is happy and asks what he did all day till evening.

Sardar: The keyboard alphabets were not in order, so I made them all right.

***

5. On a romantic day sardar’s girlfriend asks him, “Darling, on our engagement day will you give me a ring?”

Sardar: Oh sure yaar. From landline or mobile?

***

6. Doctor to Sardar: You will die within two hours. Do you want to see any one before you die.

Sardar: Yes. A good doctor.

***

7. Two sardars were fixing a bomb in a car.

Sardar 1 : What do we do if the bomb explodes while fixing?

Sardar 2 : Don’t worry yaar, I have one more.

***

8. Interviewer: When is your birthday?

Sardar: 13th Oct.

Interviewer: Which year?

Sardar: Oye, ullu ke patthe. Every year.

***

9. Sardar was busy removing a wheel from his auto. A man asks him why.

Sardar: Can’t you read the board? Parking is only for two- wheeler.

***

10. Sardar: Madam, what is the make of your car?

Lady: I forgot the name, but is starts with “T”.

Sardar: Oye kamaal ki gaddi hai, tea se start hoti hai. Hamaara gaadi petrol se start hoti hai.

***

11. Boss: Where were you born?

Sardar: Punjab.

Boss: Which part?

Sardar: Kya, which part? Whole body born in Punjab.

***

12. Question: How do you destroy a submarine full of sardars?

Answer: Simple. Just knock the door and one of them will open it.

The mother tongue gets into an underwear ad

25 April 2007

‘Adjust Maadi‘ has become the calling card of Kannadigas in the eyes of advertising copywriters, and the phrase that epitomises the ‘chalta hai‘ attitude sneaks into the new television commercials for VIP underwear.

Originally, the characters in the ad uttered a simple ‘Adjust Maadi‘, but probably because it didn’t make sense to non-Kannada viewers, it has been altered to ‘Please Adjust Maadi‘ and ‘Kindly Adjust Maadi‘.

On the same topic, Shah Rukh Khan‘s Kaun Banega Crorepati promo song had a neat line: “If we all wear Rupa underwear aur banian, what will Rupa wear?

The job of cricket selectors just got a little easy

24 April 2007

A CNN-IBN report says the Punjab government, bolstered obviously by the Centre’s unshakable resolve on the OBC reservation issue, is planning to introduce 25 per cent reservation in sports selections at the district and state level. Simply put, it means one out of every four spots in any team will be reserved, like it or leave it.

Punjab Sports Minister, Gulzar Singh Ranike, has been quoted as saying: “The backward classes have played an important part in all revolutions and so they should be give a chance.” Good move, bad move, what? And what next? Reservations in the cricket and hockey teams? In the Olympics, Asiad , Commonwealth squads?

It can be rightly argued that the backward classes were given the short shrift in education and employment? But have they really been kept out of sport?

Is this the best one-day side in the world?

24 April 2007

The Set Max “selection committee” comprising chief selector Tony Greig, captain Arjuna Ranatunga, and coach John Wright has come up with the Best XI of the 2007 World Cup on the basis of their performances in the Super Eight matches.

1) Matthew Hayden

2) Sanath Jayasuriya (all-rounder)

3) Adam Gilchrist (wicket-keeper)

4) Ricky Ponting (captain)

5) Scott Styris (all-rounder)

6) Kevin Pietersen

7) Michael Clarke (all-rounder)

8) Chaminda Vaas

9) Shane Bond

10) Lasith Malinga

11) Muttiah Muralidharan

***

Four full-fledged batsmen, three batting all-rounders, two fast bowlers, one seamer, one spinner.

Has Gilchrist been better than Kumar Sangakkara? Can he keep to Murali’s doosra? Is it a good idea to bat the world’s best batsman at No. 4? Won’t Brad Hogg be more effective than Clarke? No place for Jacques Kallis or Daniel Vettori? And has Ponting been a better captain than Mahela Jayawardene?

CHURUMURI POLL: Dr Raj Kumar Jayanti?

24 April 2007

In a mark of tokenism and cheap populism that only a serving politician can muster, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has reportedly said the State Government was planning to Dr Raj Kumar‘s birthday as Raj Jayanti from next year. According to a report in today’s Star of Mysore, on the occasion of the late thespian’s 79th birthday, he has been quoted as saying his “government will soon take a decision to grant a holiday” on April 24 every year.

Raj Kumar’s greatness—as a person, as an actor, as a singer—is beyond dispute. Raj Kumar’s emotional connect with the Kannadiga on the street if not with those in the drawing room is also beyond dispute. But is a holiday, which brings the world to a halt, what Raj Kumar would have wanted? Is a holiday the best way we can mark the memory of a man who exemplified hard work, through and through? Do we really another “government holiday”? And shouldn’t the State be doing something more concrete?

Our MLAs, our ministers need sex education first

24 April 2007

VINUTHA MALLYA writes: And once again our ‘rich culture’ has become the figleaf for the lack of political will to implement something useful for society. This time they are catching them young and the victims are school children.

If you thought Amitabh Bachchan was taking India to a regressive low, think again.

The people who should have the vision are making speeches that should have us up in arms, but alas, we fall for cheap rhetoric. Everything we don’t want to do can be pinned down to our glorious “culture”.

Our culture is so ‘rich’ and we are the stellar examples of a model civilization, are we not?

The honourable chief minister of Karnataka and his equally honourable colleague in the cabinet, the education minister, have decreed that sex education is only required in the West. And since we have such a “rich culture” (whatever that means—that Vatsayana wrote Kama Sutra?) we do not need to be educated on matters concerning sex.

Thus the buck has been firmly and effortlessly passed by this government—and indeed several others like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra—to the Centre.

Among the reasons cited in various newspapers, H.D. Kumaraswamy has used phrases like “sex education does not go well with our country’s culture and traditions”, and that sex education will be perceived as “anti-culture” and “anti-social”.

This statement come on the heels of recent surveys on child abuse in India, and specifically the alarming levels of abuse in Karnataka, which is nearly at the top of the national AIDS totempole.

In a country where teenage pregnancies are not uncommon (the unofficial statistic is one out of every three teenage girls) and child marriages are still rampant in some parts, to say that “sex education is only for the West, we are OK, thank you”, should make the thinking population sit down and cry.

Cry at the foolishness of these men in power, cry at the short sightedness of the policy-making machinery, and cry because, like the chief minister says, “we are not a foreign country”.

I wish we were—a foreign country, that is.

At least then we would be realistic, at least then we would be practical, at least then we would actually have the interest of our young children at heart, and not simply pursue political brownie points.

Since the chief minister never felt the need for his teenage son to be introduced to the birds and bees, I wonder where his son picked up what he needed to know.

Hotel Empire, maybe?

With schools being told not to open the book, let us look at the choice on the table for Indian teenagers: pornographic films, mindless soft porn in mainstream cinema, recollections of touching and fondling by an elderly relative in early childhood, and Playboy magazines, to name a few.

Somewhere in all this, the teenager can surely learn the lesson that a girl cannot get pregnant by kissing alone, that she has a right to say “no” to a sexual advance, that there is a difference between a good touch and a bad touch, and that the violator is the guilty one and not the violated.

I am certain that one of these sources is teaching our young teenaged children that although sex looks like a ‘hot’ pleasurable activity to indulge in, it comes with responsibilities.

I suppose the chief minister’s son went through the awkward years when the hormones were jangling in his body knowing all the answers about what was happening to him and why.

But I wonder if the son who has brought him such glory in the recent past, has turned out to be the example of a well rounded personality on the basis of the right information being made available to him at the right time.

The only way perhaps is to force all legislators and parliamentarians to undergo a compulsory course on sex education. Let us start with the adults. They need it more.

When the Mysore-Bombay train fare was Rs 12

24 April 2007

K. SATYANARAYAN forwards us a link to a podcast interview with V.K. Murthy, the legendary cinematographer of the legendary Guru Dutt, who was behind the camera for Kagaz ke phool, Pyaasa, Pakeezah, and Sahib, bibi aur ghulam.

In the first part of his conversation with Kamla Bhatt, 84-year-old Murthy talks about his childhood in Mysore and his passion for films and how he made it to Bombay. In Part II, he talks about his Bombay days and Guru Dutt.

Click for the podcast here: Cinematographer V.K. Murthy

‘Hi, darling. It’s me, Brian Lara… I’m back’

24 April 2007

Brian Lara‘s departure has sent cricket writers to their best, and the anecdotes and the prose on The Flawed Genius—“a batsman of rare gifts, a night owl, a complex, haunted soul who never really found happiness”—are overflowing, even overwhelming.

# On cricinfo, Rahul Bhattacharya recounts a Adam Gilchrist-Lara incident in 2003. When the Aussies remove a fielder from mid-wicket and put him beside another at point, Lara hisses “mistake” to the wicket-keeper and promptly lofts the next ball to midwicket for a six.

Gilchrist taunts Lara to take on the two men behind point instead. Lara strings it between them for four. The next ball is straighter; Lara backs away and string it through again. Best remain silent now, decides Gilchrist.

# In the Courier-Mail, Robert Craddock recalls how Lara was deeply contemptuous of the pretentious swagger of some of his underperforming West Indian team-mates such as Marlon Samuels who wore sunglasses at the World Cup’s opening ceremony at 10pm: “What’s the guy ever done?”

# Craddock says a team-mate was only partially joking when he said Brian’s contact book was thicker than the New Testament. A team liason officer who picked Lara up in Australia heard him make three phone calls on the way to the hotel, all starting with the same line: “Hi darling, it’s me… I’m back”.

# In The Daily Telegraph, London, Derek Pringle writes: “Watching the left-hander construct an innings was like watching a Rolex with its back removed seamlessly rack up the hours. The unfeasibly high backlift, the same in defence or attack, led to strokes of such precision and quality that even suffering bowlers were forced to admire them.”

# But the killer comeback of all time has to be Michael Holding‘s. During commentary a few years ago, a co-commentator reminded Holding that Lara had named his daughter Sydney because he hit his first century in Sydney.

“What if he had hit it in Faisalabad,” asked Holding, deadpan.


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