This is what happens when you go to Goa

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A dear DEAR friend of mine putting up a fine display of what happens to the general homo-sapien when he chugs six beers back to back. I give you…

I believe I can fly...*hic*

In the interest of integrity, I will not mention his name, though I am sure he will murder me anyway. Let me make it very clear that how he reached here, is according to me, a feat worthy of applause. Ignore the name on his right. 😛

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Dear Mr.Shiv Sainik, From the Stupid Common Man with Love.

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I woke up today morning, went online and found one of the best things I have ever read. The author of this letter is yet unknown but whoever he is, hats off.

21st Feb 2010.

Dear Mr Shiv Sainik,

I trust you have read Rajdeep Sardesai’s open letter to Mr Uddhav Thakeray
doing the rounds on the internet. Frankly, for two reasons I won’t be
surprised if you haven’t. One, it is in English. And two, it is extremely
well-written and very thought–provoking. If you haven’t read it I suggest
you ask your children to translate it for you. Like the offspring of most
Shiv Sainiks I presume yours too are studying in the most elitist of convent
schools.

But first, let me introduce myself.

I am just a Stupid Common Man. Have you seen the film *‘A Wednesday’*? You
must, even though it is in Hindi. Nasiruddin Shah’s soliloquy at the end of
the film where he spits out his pent-up anger against the system and all
politicians will make your hair stand on end. He calls himself just a Stupid
Common Man. That’s what I am too, as are the faceless thousands and
thousands of us in this city. And like the Stupid Common Man, we are a very
angry lot today; angry at your silly and immature antics, and angry at the
city being held to ransom by your aging leader and his coterie of Yes Men.

I have tried to understand what your core values are, but I am stumped! Let
me spell out why.

Your agitation against Shah Rukh Khan, Rahul Gandhi, Mukesh Ambani and
Sachin Tendulkar turned out to be as riveting as a deflating balloon. Nobody
paid heed to your leader’s call, least of all we Bombay *manoos *who you
have turned into a kind of experimental guinea pigs in the political
laboratory. What kind of wishy-washy, spineless, sloppy fellows are you!
Sorry, Mr Shiv Sainik, the nation did not want an apology from SRK – far
from it. They just want good, edge-of-the-seat cricket. And the nation
showed what they think of your fading leader by making SRK’s film the
biggest grosser in Bollywood. What Rahul G gave you gentlemen was a
resounding slap-in-the-face by doing what your leader has never done – Rahul
mingled freely with the ordinary *manoos* in Bombay. Sachin endeared himself
to the whole country by proclaiming that he was an Indian first. As for
Mukesh Ambani, please await the next chapter.

Now let me tell you why we are an angry lot. Your creaky gramophone record
about Marathi pride being hurt has ceased to convince us any more. During
your current tenure at the BMC, 35 Marathi municipal schools were shut down.
Is this your idea of pride? Rahul Bose (I don’t think you gentlemen have
even heard of him) in a recent TV interview gave statistics to show that
Bombay has already lost out to Delhi in virtually every department of
administration. Forget Delhi, it is losing out to Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.
Is this your idea of pride?

And your flip-flop about allowing the Australians to play in Bombay has many
of us in splits. If you are against immigrants, surely you should be
supporting racism in Australia! And if you are protesting racism in Oz, does
it mean that you have had a change of heart about the North Indians? Is this
pride, or total Alzeimeric confusion? Yes, we are angry at your threats to
paralyse Bombay at the drop of a sparrow’s droppings. And, more important,
we are angry at your wanton destruction of public property. Your loss at
successive elections is enough proof of the adage *“You can fool some of the
people all the time, or all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool
all the people all of the time.”*

Now let me tell you why some countries are great and the others are not.
This will perhaps appeal to you, if you have progressed beyond high school.
You have probably heard of a country called USA – it is the most powerful
nation in the world today. It is so because of the way it allows the human
potential to flower and flourish. Leaders – in politics and in business – in
the US come from all parts of the world. If you ever were an avid newspaper
reader (real newspapers, not the Saamna variety) you will recall that there
was a man called Henry Kissinger. He was a German refugee from the
Holocaust, and he became Secretary of State. That Mrs Indira Gandhi gave him
a bloody nose during the ’71 war is another story. But let me give you an
example that you would probably relate to better. You surely have seen
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films. He flexes his biceps and can put Salman K to
shame – iconic and breath-taking stuff for your stone-throwing, public
property-destroying foot-soldiers. He migrated from Austria about 40 years
ago determined to make it big in the US. Arnold is presently Governor of
California. And there are several Indians in Obama’s (he happens to be the
President of the US) administration, including a few Marathi *manoos* (No,
Please, Al Gore is NOT a Marathi *manoos*). And their contribution to
American society and economy is just enormous.

The point I am making is simply this: you can throw out the ‘outsiders’ only
at your economic peril. All along you have been talking only about job
reservations. Have you ever given a thought to job creation? Have you ever
wondered why very, very few Marathi *manoos *make it to the IFS, IAS, IRS
and the higher echelons of the armed forces? It’s now high time you gave a
thought to that, AND DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

Now try to picture this. Bombay accounts for about 35% of the income tax
collections of the country. This you probably know. What you probably do not
know is that companies pay income tax in the city where their registered
offices are situated. Now just imagine – and please try to do so seriously
because we are not talking *kaanda bhajiya* but real big mega stuff – what
would happen if the big 3 suddenly decided to shift their registered offices
to Baroda, or Bangalore, or Delhi? Do you recall the downfall of Calcutta
when Charu Mazumdar and his naxalite thugs ran amok there? And the ruins of
Uganda when Big Boy Idi Amin threw out the Indians? In economic terms it’s
called flight of capital. The Tatas called Mamta didi’s bluff and shifted
the Nano project lock, stock and barrel to Gujarat. That left Bengal gasping
for breath. Mukesh Ambani is already talking of shifting his registered
office to Jamnagar . . . I leave the rest to your imagination.

And have you ever thought what would happen to Bombay if the film industry,
what Bombay is really synonymous with, decided to move to Noida?

Sorry for being harsh on you, dear Mr SS, but I am just a Stupid Common Man
letting off steam against your apathy, utter lack of vision and foresight,
and utter lack of concern for us.

Now let’s see what you gentlemen CAN do. You are controlling the BMC for the
moment. And I say for the moment because I see the Rahul G tsunami in the
distant horizon fast approaching Matoshree. SO IT’S TIME YOU DID SOMETHING
FOR BOMBAY! You have until 2012. Merely changing names of cities and roads
and monuments, and creating an identity crisis for everybody, will not help.
I’ve never heard you gentlemen talk of

· Urban planning

· eliminating corruption, especially in the BMC that you presently
control,

· giving us good roads and footpaths,

· parks and gardens,

· upgraded municipal hospitals and schools,

· uninterrupted water and electricity.

All that I’ve heard is the tinkling of shattered glass panes of the IBN
Lokmat office, cinema theatres and of *bhaiyya*-owned taxis, and attacks on
Kumar Ketkar.

And you gentlemen have woken up to the existence of Vidarbha only when they
started demanding a separate state. It just boils down to plain neglect; so
much for your oft-touted Marathi pride. This polemics has ensured your
survival, but it has not taken you very far. You are fast approaching a
dead-end. In fact, when the obituary of the Shiv Sena is written what will
be remembered will not be the flyovers you built, but:

· Bashing up south Indians

· Bashing up north Indians

· Digging up cricket pitches

· Damaging the only world cup trophy brought by Kapil’s Devils

· Enron-Dabhol scandal

· Michael Jackson fund-raiser and the funds that disappeared

· Miandad-Supremo camaraderie

· Flight of capital and business (Hope you read ET. There must be a
Marathi version)

But there is hope for you yet. *Start talking economics* and you may just
survive the Rahul Gandhi tsunami. But above all, please read Rajdeep’s mail.
If you survive you will have Rajdeep Sardesai to thank.

Yours angrily,

Stupid Common Man

Respect 🙂

Ars Moriendi

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This random piece of doodling somehow turned into something good. I modified it using photoshop and this is the result :

Ars Moriendi - The Art of Dying

Ars Moriendi is latin for The Art of Dying.

This image shows someone, who wears a crown of thorns and is crucified but is obviously not the son of god. It also shows an angels wings and burning on the stake. The most gruesome and famous ways of medieval execution and the ascent to heaven.

Deviant Deliberations

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*A poem which was where I first came up with the name ‘Deviant Deliberations’. Written over 3 years ago *


Devilish haunts through a cemetary gate
A dying soldier cursing his fate
Tears splashing over her grave
the love he was unable to save.

Infinite dreams of a megalomaniac
a whore feeding on aphrodisiac
a nymph running through flowers like light
sticking a needle, now theres a sight.

A four year old asking his old man
“Father, why is the little girl limp? Is the beauty a slut and the beast her pimp?”
And as the slap tears his face
the boy can only cry.
Soon to be a soldier,
Soon to die.

The father walked down the hall
down to the whores room
He stared and smirked
wondering what to do.
But he died with the mothers bullet
in his heart through and through.

The mother racked in pain
remembering her years.
A nymph with a needle
running through flowers.

The world is a circle , the stories connected.
But put together
We are all forever
All demented.

The First Gig Ever

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” Up next is band number 7! Would band number 8 please come backstage now.”

Cheers, light applause and a hall full of people surrounded me as I got up with shaky feet.

The stage seemed a mile away as I walked towards it, the others behind me. Our usually cheery lot was unnaturally quiet, lost in their own thoughts as we headed backstage.

Our first performance. Or as it’s more commonly known – ‘gig’.

We were understandably nervous, our emotions a cocktail of anticipation, excitement and most predominantly, fear.

The band that was to play before us had started and there was no denying that they were good.
As they played, I could just sit there with my fingers clenched, flinching at every cheer from the audience.

One Night Band

Each of us was lost in our own work and our own thoughts. The guitarists tuned their guitars, the drummer tapped his drumsticks on his knees nervously and I hummed the song we were to play under my breath, afraid to sing it too loud for fear of cracking my voice or too softly for fear of singing the wrong note and not realizing it.

I looked at my friend asking him to pluck the note on his guitar string so I could sing in tune. He gave me a look that suggested I had just asked him to eat his guitar.

The drummer still hadn’t stopped tapping his sticks. The otherwise inaudible taps were now as loud as war cries.

I wiped the sweat from my brow.

“We’re up.” Someone murmured.

I looked up in panic and realized that the band on stage had finished and it was our turn. The compére walked onto stage with a stride that suggested she had been catwalking since she was eight.

“After that brilliant performance, we now have band number eight !”

Again the polite applause filled the air as the curtain dropped and we went on stage to set up our equipment. After the quiet of backstage, the stage itself seemed like a fish market. Techies running about helping us with our equipment, a man asking me if I needed a stand for my mic ,the drummer yelling that his bass drum was sliding and needed to be more steady, the organizers yelling into their walkie’s for something or the other.

It was all a blur.

It took about 3 minutes for all the equipment to be properly connected and in place.
Are you ready?” Asked a kid with a microphone dangling from his ear and looking too harrowed to be alive.

I looked at my band members and it dawned on me that it really didn’t matter. In the end, we will all go home. So lets just get it over with.

I nodded. “Yes. We’re ready”.

The compére’s voice boomed around us as the curtains rose.

” And now I give you, Band Number 8 !”

The curtains rose and I saw before me a confused spectacle of lights, smoke and upturned faces.

A sudden adrenaline rush made me yell into the mic – ” Whats’up K-scope!”

For half a second that lasted an aeon, there was silence. Then screams loud enough to shatter glass engulfed me. The lights flashed, the guitars squealed and the drums boomed.

And I smiled. I realized I had been wrong.

I had been home all along.

Rajdeep Sardesai Pwns Uddhav Thackeray !

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Rajdeep Sardesai, a reknowned Indian journalist with over 21 years of experience has written to Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray questioning the Shiv Sena’s doings and views and in the process raising questions that the whole of India would probably like an answer to.

Respect.

This is the letter :

Dear Udhavjee,

At the very outset, my compliments for the manner in which you’ve literally ‘stolen’ the headlines from your cousin Raj in the last fortnight. After the Assembly election defeat last October, there were many who had written you off as a weak, namby-pamby politician, who would be better off doing photography. But now, it seems that the ‘fire’ which burns inside Bal Thackeray is alive in the son too. After years of struggling to establish yourself, you have finally discovered the mantra for success as a Shiv Sena leader: find an ‘enemy’, threaten and intimidate them, commit the odd violent act, and, eureka!, you are anointed the true heir to the original ‘T’ company supremo.

Your cousin has chosen to bash faceless taxi drivers and students from North India, soft targets who are totally unprotected. You’ve been much braver. You’ve actually chosen to target national icons: Sachin Tendulkar, Mukesh Ambani, Shah Rukh Khan, powerful figures who most Indians venerate. Shah Rukh is no surprise since the Sena has always been uncomfortable with the Indian Muslim identity. Forty years ago, your father had questioned Dilip Kumar’s patriotism for accepting an award from the Pakistani government. You’ve called Shah Rukh a traitor for wishing to choose Pakistani cricketers in the IPL. That your father invited Javed Miandad, the former Pakistani captain and a close relation of Dawood Ibrahim, to your house is a matter of record that we shall not go into today.

I am a little surprised that you chose to question Ambani and Tendulkar though. The Sena has always enjoyed an excellent relationship with corporate India. Why then criticise India’s biggest businessman for suggesting that Mumbai belongs to all? After all, no one can deny that Mumbai’s entrepreneurial energy has been driven by communities from across India. The diatribe against Sachin is even more strange. He is, alongwith Lata Mangeshkar, Maharashtra’s most admired and recognised face. Surely, you will agree that Sachin symbolizes Maharashtrian pride in a manner that renaming shops and streets in Marathi never can.

Of course, in-between some of your local thugs also attacked the IBN Lokmat office. I must confess that initially the attack did leave me outraged. Why would a political outfit that claims to protect Maharashtrian culture attack a leading Marathi news channel? But on reflection I realized that we hadn’t been singled out: over the last four decades, the Shiv Sena has targeted some of Maharashtra’s finest literary figures and journalistic institutions. That you continue to live in a colony of artists while attacking artistic freedom remains one of the many tragic ironies in the evolution of the Sena.

Just before the Assembly elections, you had told me in an interview that you were determined to shake off the Shiv Sena’s legacy of violence. You spoke of the need for welfarist politics, of how you were saddened that rural Maharashtra was being left behind. I was impressed by the farmer rallies you had organized, by the fact that you had documented farmer suicides in the state. I thought that Uddhav Thackeray was serious about effecting a change in Maharashtra’s political landscape.

I was obviously mistaken. Farmer suicides still continue, the after-effects of drought are still being faced in several districts, but the focus is now squarely on finding high profile hate figures. You claim to have a vision for Mumbai. Yet, on the day the Sena-controlled city’s municipal corporation’s annual budget revealed an alarming financial crisis, your party mouthpiece,Saamna, was running banner headlines seeking an apology from Shah Rukh Khan. You asked your Shiv Sainiks to agitate against Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Mumbai, but why have you not asked them to wage a war against the water cuts that have made life so difficult for millions in the city?

At one level, I can understand the reasons for your frustration. The Congress-NCP government in the state has been thoroughly incompetent: the last decade has seen Maharashtra decline on most social and economic parameters. Yet, the Shiv Sena has been unable to capture power in the state. Your war with cousin Raj has proved to be self-destructive. The Assembly election results showed that a united Sena may have offered a real challenge to the ruling alliance. In fact, the Sena and the MNS together garnered around 43 per cent of the popular vote in Mumbai-Thane, almost seven per cent more than what was obtained by the Congress-NCP combine. Yet, because your vote was split, you won just nine of the 60 seats in the region, a result which proved decisive in the overall state tally.

Your defeat seems to have convinced you that the only way forward is to outdo your cousin in parochial politics. It’s a strategy which has undoubtedly made you a headline-grabber once again. Unfortunately, television rating points don’t get you votes or goodwill. There is space in Maharashtra’s politics for a regional force, but it needs to be based on a constructive, inclusive identity.

Tragically, the Shiv Sena has never offered a serious social or economic agenda for the future. Setting up the odd wada pav stall in Mumbai is hardly a recipe for addressing the job crisis . Why hasn’t the Sena, for example, started training projects to make Maharashtrian youth face upto the challenges of a competitive job market? Why doesn’t the Sena give regional culture a boost by supporting Marathi theatre, literature or cinema? The wonderful Marathi film, “Harishchandrachee Factory”, nominated for the Oscars, has been co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala, a Parsi, who like millions of other ‘outsiders’ has made Mumbai his home. Maybe, I ask for too much. Tigers, used to bullying others for years, will never change their stripes.

Post-script: Your charming son, Aditya, who is studying English Literature in St Xaviers College, had sent me a collection of his poems. I was most impressed with his writing skills. Let’s hope the next generation of the T company will finally realize that there is more to life than rabble-rousing!

Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra!


*Click Here to read the article on www.ibnlive.com*