Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jodhpur heaven fetish

Those, my pretties, are apparently search words that will bring you to this blog. Not that I've ever been to Jodhpur or heaven, and I don't remember discussing my fetish here either. What does it even mean, Jodhpur heaven fetish? Some kind of strange desert-spirituality-gone-perverse thingy, I suspect. Leave me out of it, is awl I'm saying.

I made my first plastic purchase on the 19th of this month. This is not something you need to know, of course, but then, most of what I write here isn't either.

Like my chocolate cravings, I suddenly have this intense, inexplicable, paralysing desire to be fabulously rich. It's different from the garden-variety desire for wealth, which, I usually don't have anyway. Suddenly I want a weekend getaway chateau in .. oh, I dunno ... Belgravia (am I making up this place? I don't know, but I sure as hell know exactly what it looks like) and want to be able to afford every fucking spa treatment at Ananda.

I also want to live on tuna and truffle cake for the rest of my life.

Yes, that is correct, I am burning up with fever.

I thought Pujos would be miserable this year, what with the job and everything, but I had an enjoyable Pujo. I didn't sleep, worked from afternoon to evening, then festive-cheered all night till late morning, then back to work in the afternoon, till I was ready to collapse. But it was great.
It bothers me a little bit that I spend every fucking Pujo with a new set of friends. Every single year. I'm a drifter, aren't I? Bob, I apologise. There is in me, a very screwy something that I do not care to share. I hope that excuse was cute enough for forgiveness. Ish, that was not sarcasm, promise. Just defensiveness. Promise. Please don't leave a comment.

Ok, what else. My friends. They're great. I just wish they wouldn't try to deconstruct me. Or, assault me physically [I'd say rape, but that wouldn't be politically correct. I'm a fucking journo now. p.s.: They did try to spread my legs, though]. Panu and Pablo, I'm looking at you.
My other friend thinks I'm an idiot. Plenty of people, I suspect, think I'm an idiot. But I think I'm smarter than many of them. Emphatically. Look at these last statements. Q.E.D.

Gawd. It's the bleedy paracetamol combined with some other fecking pills. I swear I'm quite nice. Haha, plenty of people think I'm a "good person". Thank you, brothers and sisters.

Doods, if I don't quit smoking I will seriously die. It's a struggle, this breathing. Honest bolchhi. Ma go ma, I am so never going near a cigarette again. Of course, it may also be that I'm so FAT now that my lungs are clogged up with all the cheese and the 24/7 thoughts of crispy chicken and Valrhona.
Deep, deep inside somewhere, I think I'm Britney Spears.

I can't fucking believe I'm writing this shit. Who is reading this, I wanna know.

Ok, I'll stop. Forgive me, gentle reader, for the liberal use of fuck. You will now please to fornicate fiendishly elsewhere.

[holy crap, I must be very ill]

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bhulbo Na

Most of you are familiar with the Rizwanur Rahman incident that's been getting national coverage.
For those of you who aren't, I'm going to copy paste the facts that someone has very helpfully put up on the 'Get Justice for Rizwanur' group page on Facebook.
On September 21, Rizwanur Rahman was found dead on the tracks near Patipukur. The 30-year-old computer graphics teacher had been about to send a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about the police harassment he and his wife Priyanka Todi were facing over their marriage. The source of the harassment was rumoured to be Ashok Todi, Priyanka's father and the proprietor of Lux Hosiery. Within the space of a few weeks, Priyanka and her husband were summoned three times to Lalbazar on very flimsy grounds, and they were threatened, intimidated and abused. Priyanka was then induced to leave the family home in Tiljala by rumours that her father was ill; her uncle Anil Saraogi signed a bond promising to return her to Rizwanur in seven days. That never happened, instead Rizwanur's body was found, lying face up on the railway tracks with the back of his head blown off. The Police Commissioner stated that it was suicide, in advance of the evidence, and moreover justified the Todis' 'outrage' at Priyanka's marriage and the police interference that had ensued. A probe was announced but none of the concerned officers were suspended.


The chief minister met Rizwanur's mother today, and asked her for time. In the past three weeks not a damn thing has happened. There have only been meetings and defensives issued by the government and the police. No ostensible efforts are being made to investigate the nature and cause of the death at all. The police commissioner, entrusted with the security of citizens, was quick to decide that the death was a suicide even before the post mortem report was out. For a man more concerned with offices in cricketing associations, he should have known that statement was, well, not quite cricket. Ashok Todi, the father-in-law of the deceased owns a company with a 200-crore turnover. They're the ones with the tagline "yeh andar ki baat hai". Ironic, that. Priyanka Todi, Rizwan's wife, has been systematically silenced, with only the State-run Women's Commission, paying her a visit, only, apparently to see how she was doing and to, in effect, give the impression that she was alright and essentially, didn't want to be involved in the fight for justice that would invariably implicate her family, her father being considered to have masterminded the whole "mysterious" death. Again, it is important to read between the lines. We only know what transpired from what the representatives of a state-run body are telling us. Already, police officers who have admitted to having acted on orders from seniors and interfered in the marriage have not had any action taken upon them. The police, today, are marriage counsellors, protectors, and, it appears co-conspirators in the plot to terminate innocent lives and ruin families. A devastating talent pool of multi-taskers.

The problem is very basic, if you want to get to the root of it, really. When a government is given absolute power for over thirty years, units of its state machinery are likely to think they are god, given that there is nobody to challenge their stake as guardians and keepers of the welfare of citizens. They tend to find it convenient to forget that they are responsible for millions who have put their trust in them.
The purpose of democracy is to ensure that this kind of complacency is not allowed to afflict the larger State. In India, the idea of democracy has never quite been uniform, I think. But the present government in West Bengal would like to believe that they can make an utter sham of democracy and rest easy. They did it in Singur and Nandigram, they're doing it again now. Question is, are we, as educated and aware citizens, going to let them get away with it?
Those of you who have been following the case, are aware of the 24-hour vigil that has been on outside the main gate at St. Xavier's. The response to the vigil has been overwhelming. People from all over the city,across socio-economic *insert correct word that I can't remember. What I mean is, the rich and the poor alike* have come to Xavier's to light a candle for Rizwanur. I don't know how I've come across with what I've written so far, but I need you to know that the protest to get justice for Rizwanur has taken on dimensions of a mass movement that is not political. It is a demand for justice, a demand for the truth to be told like it happened, and without fabrications to save the asses of people in high office. Most of you already know what I'm talking about. I don't know if you've gone to the vigil, but even if you've just passed through Park Street lately, you couldn't have missed the spectacle of people, sitting on the footpath, in the midst of thousands of candles. It's a beautiful, touching sight. The Telegraph has been covering the case and this movement pretty extensively, and there are accounts of how senior citizens have travelled from the other end of the city to come and express their solidarity, and how, people who never knew Rizwan have sat at the vigil and shed tears for him. The facts of the case, and the way its investigation is being handled, are gory and polluted, but the public reaction has been inspiring, and is taking on historic proportions.
This is the part you actually need to read
Ok, enough. You don't need me to go yapping on about things you already know, and it's amazing how everyone has been reacting to this in their own personal way. So I'm going to cut to the chase now. The government and police authorities have been silent all this while, possibly in the hopes that the Pujo craze will push attention away from this issue. But we're not going to let that happen, are we? I know the Pujos are a festive time for us, it's about meeting relatives and friends and having a great time. Which is fine. But somebody lost a relative and a friend for no better reason than that our system does not treat all its people equally, and is favourable to those with money and power. There is an unhealthy lack of concern for the value of human life that must not be allowed to persist. A bunch of us are trying to organise events through the Pujos that will keep the protest going strong even at this time when the city takes on a different life altogether. We are not an organisation, just a bunch of individuals trying to do our bit, and we need as many people as possible to join in and help out. I'm going to list what we have planned for the Pujos, and this is where you all come in:

1. On Saptami, there are going to be groups of performers - musicians, theatre performers and the like, coming together at the vigil in front of Xavier's, who will gather around and perform. Span and Nevermind have confirmed. There will be others. Any of you interested in performing .. anything at all ... a play, a song, reading poetry .. absolutely anything you would like that will commemorate the cause will do. This is NOT a concert, timings are flexible. Anyone can come up and speak or perform, basically lend support in any way possible. Even if you don't want to, you could come and sit in, light a candle, sign the register and posters. Every little gesture counts. I cannot reiterate enough that those who have volunteered have done so from the goodness of their hearts. There is no money involved in this. When I say generate support, I mean your presence, your signature, your ideas on how we can take this forward.
2. We're trying to meet Pujo committees of pandals across the city, including residential pujos and ask them if they will allow us to just keep a register and a poster with Rizwanur's photo maybe, and a compelling slogan. When people come to visit the pandal, all they need to do, if they want to, is sign in to register their support. The problem here is, when I said we're a bunch of people, I really meant just a handful, most of whom will have to work through the Pujos. We need more people. Whoever reads this, if you know someone or are yourself involved in your para pujo, would you try and see if this is a doable option? Pujo committees need to be reassured that there is no political colour to this, and their pujo will in no way be hampered for a register being placed in its precincts. The point is to remind those who need to act on the matter, that Calcutta is not so easily distracted. We have not forgotten. We demand immediate action.
3. Again, we're trying to gather people who will be willing to generate interest on the issue by performing even at the small pujos, the residential complex pujos are more personalised spaces. Reaching out there, through the same means as I've mentioned [albeit sketchily. Sorry, but dude, it's the fucking middle of the night] will give favourable results, no? Anyway there are usually functions in the evenings at all these places, so why not have something that is exactly on those lines, but has ... oh I dunno .. a mention of Rizwanur in it? For this also, volunteers are required. If you can do nothing else, just spread the word. Ask around for people who are willing to do this. I mean, maane, please and all that.
4. Because The Telegraph has been covering this issue and the public response extensively, I'm confident that it will cover whatever happens, in whatever scale. And so, if we can reach a complex of 200, or even 100 people, and then that is covered, another several thousands can get to read about it, so support builds exponentially.
5. Leaving this blank. Insert Whatever ideas you guys have. We could meet, you could leave a comment. Anything man. Call me. Anything. Lets ACT. [Please don't call me or leave a comment saying, "Lets blow up Writer's Building, or lets kill the police commissioner." etc etc. Primarily, because hullo, lets not go to jail? And more importantly because the beauty of this movement so far has been in the way it has been so united in a very personalised, emotional, peaceful way. Ok, that sounds corny, but you know what I mean, yea?]

The nameless, faceless individuals who have been sitting in at the vigil, some for 8 hours every day - for days on end, are not doing it for any sort of gain. Neither am I or those with me, and those all over the city, who have, in their own way lent support to this cause. The government needs to know that it hasn't been elected so it can get away with murder, as it has been, repeatedly. This is a mass movement.

We Will NOT Forget.

Lets show 'em what we're made of? Spread the word.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Shadows, signs and wonders

There's a lot of chocolate in the story of my life.

I paid the tana-rickshawalla extra because I told him, "Dada, ojon [only, I said 'ozun' because I couldn't remember 'wazan' or whatever the Hindi for weight is] jasti hai?" and he laughed,"aarey .. heh heh heh," and I was glad for the evasion. Also, he was very old, and didn't drop me once, like he promised he wouldn't.
New Market in this pre-pujo rush? NO. DON'T. Except that molesting shoe-shop person is too busy for his tricks, which is a good thing. While a million people crammed Shreeram Arcade looking for just the popular sort of tacky, I hid in a bookshop. Oh, and some Hindi, wouldn't you say?
I heart Anokhi. Hideously expensive clothes, but they play to the large woman's sentiments. I bought pants that were a size medium. I am NOT a size medium. Any more. Ah, pity.
I was told I'm "touchy" about my weight. I am not "touchy" about my weight. Merely aware.
This blogpost? It's called commitment. Because there are plenty of things I have given up on, and every other day I'm this close to giving up on this, but then I tell myself, no. I can do this. Look at me, such willpower. Such fucking strength of character. It's easy to forget something you have no use for any more. I will fucking prove that theory wrong.
Not that I'm stubborn or anything. Nono.
Look, I'm not whining, OK? Go away.
The mirror is such a cliche. I look into the mirror and the woman who stares back at me has no mouth and red eyes. Ok sofine, that's the conjunctivitis.
Wot ev ver, bad joke. Bad cliche. Boo.
Walking bothers me these days. I'm always afraid I'm going to fall. It's not a weight thing at all.
Khub exasperating, Ma Kali bolchhi.
I'd love to tell the story like it happened, but you never can, can you? Reality is just so .. very ... layered? Mottled? Both.
I'm going through that phase - the wotthefuck-wherethefuck-howthefuck.
I'm so glad for fuck. Releases me.
Lissen you pervs, that wasn't a sexual innuendo.

In college they're playing a corridor cricket series. And I wake up dreaming of jstor. Disconcerting, that.

There is an imagined future. Do you have one? What do you do when you know it shan't come true?
Look away. Sweep it under the carpet. Search for alternatives.
I will. It's been too long. I will.

OH!!! Listen!!!! Haleem at Aliyah! Dudes. Come eat with me. It is sexual satisfaction.
Now pretend I scratched out that last sentence because, my life? Totally not so lame.