Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paneri's fav RIMC Story

Paneri is a wonderful story teller. His art is not in writing stories... but in narrating them. Here I will try and note down one of his oft repeated stories. His fav one obviously.

First a lil bit of background. Paneri was my class mate in UG. We hit it off almost immediately and through 3 years we were thick as thieves. I was more frequent in his room than in class. But his room still didn't beat Anna Kadai. Every good college boy has an "Anna Kadai" in his life... where he 'smokes', has 'rasna' and 'verai kadalai' and most importantly... where he can keep 'account'.

Now 'Anna Kadai' is a special place and maybe that deserves a blog post on it's own. So I won't get in to that now. But basically we used to sit there for hours and hours and hours and hours(k... u get the picture don't u???) and chat about anything in the bloody world. And that's also usually where Paneri would come up with his gems.

Now Paneri studied in the Rastriya Indian Military College-RIMC, in Dehra Dun, which is supposed to be India's best military school. You study in the school from class 8th on till your 12th. And, as in all army schools, discipline was a real pain in the ass( not just literally... they would get thrashings with hockey sticks for breaking rules!). But boys being boys being boys had to naturally get around them.

Now cutting bounds was forbidden- but naturally all the guys knew a way. But it was a very risky proposition. Caught out of school bounds and you could be demoted or even thrown out of school. So you'd do it only on very very rare occasions... only for something special.

Now it happened that 3 of Paneri's classmates had gone out one weekend. They came back.. all fabulously excited and called everyone around to tell them what they'd experienced.

"Boys... we just watched a XXX movie in the theater!"

"OMG!"... everyone was excited. "How? Where? What?"

Turns out that a movie- "Machalti Jawani" was playing. And it had everything. Everything, everything, everything required to satisfy an adolescent. :).

Now everyone was keen to catch this movie... and the boys couldn't wait till the weekend. Now it was a risk cutting bounds on weekends... but to do so on a weekday was almost tantamount to suicide coz of the strict vigil.

But never mind... anything for "sex" said the boys and off they went... cut bounds and to the theaters to watch- "Machalti Jawani".

The movie started... and the boys were all 'eager', 'excited' and 'desperate' for some "action". It started... and they were waiting for something to happen... and there was nothing. Interval... and the boys were looking at each other and wondering what the hell happened. They decided to stick around till the end of the movie.

The movie went on and still there was nothing. And finally it ended. The movie was a bloody lousy drab.

Dejected the boys returned to the dorms. The other 3 rascals were on the bed and dancing to... "Machalti Jawani... Machalti Jawani... Machalti Jawani!".

I remember laughing my head out at this point of the story. And Paneri in his trademark way was just nodding his head and smiling at the rest of us. We were laughing at it for so long... it was crazy.

And finally Paneri was like..." you know dude... there was a scene in the movie where the villain was going to rape the heroine... and I thought... ah.. finally something! But guess what? The bloody HERO comes and rescues her!!!!"

Paneri... you are one of a kind!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting over our Pakistan Fixation

Rahul Gandhi has said many things that I have disagreed with. But for once I totally agree with him when he says that it's time for India and Indians to 'get-over' Pakistan.

We've been giving too much time and effort in dealing with Pakistan. Sure our history, the wars we've fought, and even the current threats posed by Pakistan require our attention. But we have to admit that our fixation with Pakistan is more than just that. We are obsessed by Pakistan.

Every Indian will have an opinion on Pakistan, and usually it is a negative one. Our history books go on and on about how the two nation theory was actually a 'complete falsification of the idea of India'. Most of our obsession is due to the trauma of partition on our national psyche. Our National leaders took partition as a slap on the face and till date our policy makers don't seem to have recovered from it.

Our obsession also has much to do with the romanticism of our Independence movement. No doubt our freedom struggle was a glorious one. And the ideals that held our leaders and our people together are timeless and true for all of humanity. In this context - Pakistan, or the creation of it, went against everything that our National movement stood for.

Somewhere along the line I think we Indians feel that India and Pakistan should get back together, that the aberration of Partition must be done away with. Like in the movies- where the errant brother finally realizes the follies of his ways and returns home to his elder brother seeking forgiveness. This romanticism is evident not only in general every day talk but also in our policy.

From this romanticism and idealism springs the fear in Pakistanis that India means harm to them. That India wants to do away with Pakistan, that India poses a constant threat to Pakistan. The military and political establishment have milked this paranoia for all it's worth and have kept Pakistanis in the grip of fear. No wonder the people there don't question the military's involvement in running of Govt. They feel that it's a necessity born out of the threat posed by India.

What this means is that our romanticism and idealism and Pakistan's fear is entangling us in a vicious circle. Do we need that? Isn't there another alternative?

Yes, there is. But it requires us to me objective, practical and smart. And let me tell you we are hopeless in all three.

We need to accept the idea of Pakistan and partition. No doubt it was a painful exercise and that it definitely could have been handled better. But let history be where it belongs. Let's not be victims of history- but let's learn from it.

It's been 62 years since Independence. That means there are at least two generations of Indians and Pakistanis that have never been part of the same country. We are two completely different nations now. Different ideals, different systems of Govt, different policies. India should learn to treat Pakistan like it treats any other nation.

There are the usual examples we cite when we compare India vis Pakistan. We are a functioning democracy, our economy is now the fourth largest in the world etc etc. But let's not get jingoistic about it. That's again a trap.

Let us not be victims of our past. Let's get over this impasse and look towards a brighter future. Sure it requires us to look at history in a different perspective and that is going to be a very very difficult task. But it can be done. And it must be done. We need to.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger- Trying to get Traffic to my blog!

There is nothing I like reading more than comments to my posts. It gives me the 'euphoric high'. I feel like a million- billion bucks when someone new comes to my blog and makes a comment.

Initially, when I'd just started blogging, I'd have just a few guys & gals who commented on my posts. Usually the same people in all posts. It was nice. But I wanted more.

So I focused on improving traffic to my post. And I've learnt a few things along the way-- which I thought I'd share with you.

I looked to other blogs with decent "readers' count". I tried to make sense of what I was going through. And I have to admit- it wasn't easy!

Most blogs had guys and girls ranting about 'random arbid bull shit'. That seemed a sure shot way of attracting the crowd. But I couldn't do that even if I wanted to. :P

So it wasn't content that was driving readers' to these blogs. What was it?

I figured that you had to go out and be visible. You had to go and make comments on other blogs. So I did. This wasn't easy either. You see it is one thing to read 'random arbid bull shit'. But to try and actually find something to comment on was(&is) extremely difficult.

So you try and improvise. Usually the first 3 lines of a post will tell you were it's ending.
Most bloggers need psychiatric therapy (and have very big egos- Don't tell them that k!). So you need to sound nice and empathetic in your comments. There are of course trademark comments like- "Nice one", "Loved it", "Brilliant!" etc. (if I've used them in comments to your posts I really meant it-- this is only for the 'others').

Guys and Gals with 'sexy' profile pics again manage to attract traffic to their blogs. I'm still trying to find a photographer who can shoot a 'sexy' profile pic for me. Everyone I go to says... "Saar very difficult Saaar.. your face very difficult Saar!".

And one more thing... if you are a guy- focus on 'girl-blogs' and vise-versa for the women. Why? Guess there's a bit of Freud in it. We arouse curiosity in members of the opposite sex. They'll usually come back to your blog. You go to theirs again and they come to yours again--- and a relationship(blogging!) is established. With members of your own sex it doesn't seem to work that way. I guess we all figure that if this guy actually likes the 'random arbid bull shit' that I'm writing then he'll come back again. Why waste time and effort reading his 'random arbid bull shit'.

Well... be grateful that I've actually shared this knowledge and insight with you. So you won't have to go through all that 'random arbid bull shit' that I had to go through.

K... enough of this 'random arbid bull shit'. Back to work... off now. Ciao!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Heads or Tails

This is my shot at 55-word fiction. I've read a few interesting stories around. Thought I'd give it a shot. Hope you like it.

Heads or Tails

There was a lot of money... and a lot more if it didn't have to be split in half. I had the gun. Ram was busy packing up. I was confused. My conscience was pricking me. Finally I decided to toss a coin. Heads- he lives, Tails- he dies. I tossed it... it came down... Tails!