General ramblings

A Man Kills His Wife on Grounds of Adultery and Cheating

I read stuff like this all the time, but I don’t know why this one’s stuck to my mind since the past 36 hours or so. Some newspapers have built articles based on Orkut scraps left behind by people, known and unknown. Since when has Orkut become an authentic source of information? I remember reading similar articles when Minal Panchal was shot in the Virginia Tech massacre.

Perhaps this is good reason to activate those privacy settings in your Orkut scrapbook- even if you happen to die, people won’t hound your scrapbook. Google, of course, won’t delete your account, unless it has been notified to do so. I don’t know the exact procedure, but I’m guessing that it is very elaborate.

During times like these, I feel happy that I don’t use Orkut and that I’m not much of a Facebook user either.

Coming back to the killing case, does anything ever justify taking someone else’s life? For most of us, the answer would be no. It is only when the answer is a Yes that we get to read about it in the media. If you think that everyone is condemning this act, then think again. You will be surprised to know that there are tons of people out there (mostly men) who support Amit Budhiraja’s killing act. I was reading the scraps left in their Orkut profiles and going by that, people have given various justifiable reasons-

“..If the story is true about the affair, I don’t condemn your decision.. I feel sorry for the pain you must have gone through, insecure or not, there’s no man in this world who is going to have the woman he truly loves even in the thoughts of another person…” – If every man would kill a woman because of adultery and justice is meted out in this manner, then why bother having a judiciary?

“…You saved more than 3 people by killing just 2, you saved your parents, yourself and your relatives from the dowry harrassment!! You set the right example for others.”- Which brings me to the question of Dowry Harassment. The Dowry Laws in India have been deemed inadequate by lots of people, who feel that a woman can always file a false dowry harassment case against her husband and put the husband and her in-laws behind bars. Is it so simple? Of course not. So why exactly are we over-simplifying this issue?

I’m not denying the fact that there are women out there who misuse the law and undermine the genuineness of some other dowry cases. But an eye for an eye will make the entire world blind.

There are others out there who don’t know the couple personally, yet are hasty in drawing conclusions based on shaky premises. For example- Some are accusing Rinku of adultery and of cheating. Do we know her side of story? All that’s come to light is a 6 page suicide note written by Amit. And there are some more who have taken their hatred one step further and have abused Rinku’s office colleague, Arvind Kejariwal, of having an illicit affair with a married woman and for being responsible for the deaths. Why blame him? Why blame anyone?

I came across this quote sometime back, that tries to explain the psychology behind cheating-

โ€œIโ€™ve thought a lot about the psychology of cheating and reckon it flows largely from one thing – you donโ€™t value yourself as a person: if you did, youโ€™d end a relationship that was not fulfilling because, knowing how valuable you are, youโ€™d be sure to find someone else.โ€

Why not just keep quiet, take a note of the matter at hand and move on? You don’t need to physically end someone’s life. This can also be achieved through mental torture…something like what V.S Naipaul confesses to have done. Isn’t he a murderer then? Why not put him behind bars?

General ramblings

Oh Calcutta!

Puchka. Jhal Muri. Rasogolla. Tram. Metro. Rickshaw. Issshhh. Calcutta Book Fair. Park Street. Durga Pujo. Pandal hopping. Maddox Square. Aloo dum. Adda. Cha. Bengal Bandh. Mamta Banerjee. Satyajit Ray. Jhumpa Lahiri. Amartya Sen. R.D Burman. Bappi Lahiri. Mithun da. Bipasha Basu. Sushmita Sen. Phule phule dole dole. Victoria Memorial. Maidan. Chowranghee. Bada Bazaar. Salt Lake. Bhowanipur. Lake Road. Menoka Cinema. The Namesake. Devdas. Hooghly. Jyoti Basu. Pranab Bose. LK Mittal. Howrah Bridge. Second Hooghly Bridge. Theater. Plays. Football. Eden Gardens. Sourav Ganguly. The Great Bong. Humidity. Maach. Santiniketan. Rabindranath Tagore. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. City of Joy. Nandan. Indian Museum. Birla Planetarium. Race course. Writer’s Building. Mother Teresa. Missionaries of Charity. St. Paul’s Cathedral. Ramakrishna Mission. Kali Temple. Saraswati Pujo. Rabindra Sangeet. Pantua. Haldiram’s. K.C Das.

And so many other things, reasons and places to love this city. ๐Ÿ™‚

Related Reading: The Pre-Independence Calcutta

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The Pre-Independence Calcutta

I was lucky enough to stumble upon these pictures while roaming around the internet. This collection is a rare gem for people who’ve ever lived in Calcutta. Nothing seems to have changed, except for the model of the cars and the crowd on the streets. And the color and quality of the pictures. I wish I could go back in time and live in that era. Everything becomes history, even before we realize it.

These photos were taken by Frank Short, an American serviceman, while in Calcutta and Madras in 1944. He was on duty in the Burma theatre during World War II.

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The Honest Corporator

Nadkarni had received his transfer order for the 60th time in his 25 year career. His superiors were running out of places to transfer him to. They had sent him to the most arid regions of Maharashtra where water visited taps as sporadically as sense visits an imbecile. They made him live in areas where electricity hadn’t been invented but all their efforts were in vain since in the end, the man remained as stoical as ever. When the politicians, whose campaigns were funded by the restauranters and merchants whose shops bore the brunt of Nadkarni’s honesty noticed that punishments didn’t affect him, they resorted to bribes. After all, it is said that everyone has their own price. Unfortunately for them, they never discovered what Nadkarni’s was. It was said that no deals could be made under Nadkarni’s table because he bred scorpions there. Needless to say, his honesty earned Nadkarni more enemies than friends. Due to the continual shifting, his children suffered; they had changed more than 15 schools and as a result, didn’t make many friends. The pressure of adapting to a new environment once in a few months also took a toll on his wife’s health, especially since she was a diabetic. His family often wondered how life would’ve been if Nadkarni had been venal. Overtly, they gave him great mental support, never complaining about how nomadic their existence had become or how they had to travel in a battered down ambasaddor while his peers rode in air-conditioned Japanese cars like princes but inwardly, they led shattered lives. Their only property was a two bedroom apartment in a seedy area of Pune in a building that wasn’t even occupied anymore. The apartment had been stripped completely-lights, fixtures, faucets and even screws, by its tenants over the years. If they could’ve robbed the walls, they would’ve taken them too.

Nadkarni and his family entered the outskirts of Pune early in the morning. As he had expected, nothing had changed. If anything, the encroachments had multiplied. In the narrow strip of suffocated land that was hardly wide enough for a single bus, the traffic ran two-ways. At the very edge of the road, just as the tar ended and the mud began, shops rose up. Private property invaded public areas like an ominous domestic quarrel pouring out into the neighborhood. The city was a bad joke on its population.

Realizing that his time was short, since big cities had richer places and people, Nadkarni began doing his job, which was to destroy all encroachments on government land. The first one was a high end disco in the commercial district of the city; it was a popular get-away for college students and young professionals and was owned by an MLA. Just as the wrecking crew was setting up, a notice arrived. Without reading it, Nadkarni knew it was from his superiors who always discover clauses and legal barriers at the last minute to prevent the demolition of the property. Sliding the unopened envelope inside his pocket, Nadkarni gave the order for the disco to be torn down as it was occupying land originally meant for a garden. An impeccably dressed man, who looked like the manager, ran towards him and implored him to stop.

“You cannot do this”, he blurted out, “do you know who owns this place?”

Unfazed, Nadkarni told him, “Yes, the Government. Now get out of my way and stop wasting my time”.

The manager frantically pulled out his cell phone and spoke to his master, sweating profusely as he did so.

“yes…yes sir…I’ll tell him…I know, I know…don’t worry Sir, I’ve the situation under control”

Then he spoke to Nadkarni.

“My boss tells me that we could arrange something, come to a mutual understanding, get what I mean?” He said, smiling shrewdly. “a small token of his respect for the government”

“How much is he offering?”, Nadkarni asked him and the manager seemed relieved. It was true, every man had his price.

“We can discuss that inside, over a glass of Scotch or if you’d prefer something else, we have that too. Our bar is well stocked you see, in order to handle contingencies like this”

“ah, nothing like a good drink eh? I see you know how to treat your guests”

“of course, of course. After all this is the hospitality business and we are always hospitable to our guests, even those who threaten to ruin us”, he unctuously said.

“Please lead the way, I’ll follow you” Nadkarni offered politely.

Inside, the disco had a gothic kind of decor with gargoyles springing from every corner and chains hanging from the cieling. The place was unoccupied since it was very early in the morning, an inauspicious time for bars in general as since time immemorial, night has always been the best drinking companion.

The manager took out two glasses from the freezer and began pouring a golden colored liquid into them followed by soda. Then using a pair of silver tongs, he took out some ice cubes from an ice bucket and dropped them inside the glasses. They sank to the bottom producing a steady stream of bubbles that looked like miniature pearls.

The manager lifted his glass and Nadkarni lifted his own. The glasses clinked and the manager said “cheers”. He quickly finished his drink in one gulp and saw that Nadkarni hadn’t touched his drink.

“What is the matter?” He asked him with an air of concern, “don’t you like Scotch?”

“I never drink on the job”, Nadkarni told him matter-of-factly.

The manager didn’t know what to say. It seemed to him that the fellow in front of him was deranged.

“All right then. Let’s get down to business”, he said seriously “name your price”

“You can’t afford it”, Nadkarni told him bluntly.

“You don’t know who my master is”, the manager told Nadkarni arrogantly. “He buys people like you wholesale”

“Then pay me the opportunity cost of not constructing the garden”

The manager didn’t understand.

“Are you joking?”

“Which is”, Nadkarni continued, “the price of the happiness of thousands of people”.

“Are you mad?” The manager shouted, getting up from his seat, “stop talking nonsense”.

“I cannot accept checks. Pay me in cash, right now”.

The manager again pulled out his cell phone and started speaking to his boss.

“Sir, this fellow is completely mad, he is talking all nonsense, some opportunity cost crap…yes..yes Sir, I’ll put him on”.

“hey, you”, he said addressing Nadkarni rudely, “My boss wants to speak with you”.

Nadkarni took the phone from him. The manager wore a sadistic expression on his face that seemed to say, “he is in for it now”.

“yes…yes…I understand…no…of course, I know who you are, thank you, you’re very kind”

He finished talking and handed the device back to the manager.

“So now do you get it? What did the Boss tell you?”

“That he will have me transferred if I touch his establishment”

“Aah, I told you not to bring him into this, we could’ve handled this between ourselves. Anyway, I’ve a lot of work now, its time you and your men cleared off”

“it is. Unfortunately, your master doesn’t know how many times I’ve been transferred”

“What did you say?” The manager asked him, in utter disbelief.

By then, Nadkarni was out in the sun and gave the final go-ahead. The Manager watched them trembling as a bulldozer razed the construction to the ground.

That incident earned him a lot of fame. A photograph of Nadkarni wearing a yellow work helmet appeared in the local newspaper a few weeks later under the letters, “Honest man or Honestly Mad?”. The article was as follows:

“Amit Nadkarni is an icon of integrity in today’s corruption ridden society. Where most people would have given up and succumbed to the pressure, he refuses to back-down. The past few weeks have been hectic for him as he moved from one street to another tearing down all encroachments upon public property. Since he arrived here, he was demolished six hotels (all of them three-star), four dance bars, one disco, four restaurants and twenty three paan stalls! Wherever he goes, he creates an aura of fear and respect around him. He bows to no one, maybe not even God. The world needs more heroes like him”.

The journalist who wrote the article was fired the next day. Someone else replaced him and another article about Nadkarni was written, this time, brutally criticizing him.

“Nadkarni is a menace to society. He thinks of himself as a modern-day Gandhi whose mission is to bring peace and integrity to a troubled world. He takes it upon himself to demolish whatever he sees fit to be demolished. Neither does he obey his superiors nor the will of the populace that has clearly expressed its concerns over the loss of such fine establishments that have been the pride of our city. It isn’t surprising that he has been transferred more than anyone else in this country, maybe this planet even. It is time the people stood up to bullies like him”.

A week later, an international channel broadcasted a program on Nadkarni, praising him in the same manner as the first article written by the journalist who was fired. The entire country suddenly knew about this hitherto unknown government servant who was literally turning the earth inside out to stand by his principles. Everyone said that he would receive a national award from the president of India. The local channels aired his activities all day long. Wherever Nadkarni and his crew went, journalists from TV channels followed behind them closely. But Nadkarni quietly went about doing his job, which was supervising the demolition of private buildings on government land. He neither accepted interviews nor gave speeches. If someone called him a hero, he would politely shake his hand and move on with his crew. During his tenure in the city, he destroyed many more illegal establishments ranging from cheap motels to elitist wedding halls, all of which were brilliant examples of constructive destruction.

Gradually, people started getting bored of watching the same thing over and over again. They wanted something else to focus their attention on, like a crispy sex scandal involving Bollywood actors or an international match between India and Pakistan and within months, Nadkarni was back to anonymity. His brief stint at being popular was over. That was when the bureaucrats decided to sink their claws into him. They claimed that the building in which his apartment was situated posed a safety hazard as it was more than 20 years old and constructed from inferior quality cement. The only piece of property he owned in the world had been given the death sentence. Unfortunately, they couldn’t compensate him for this apartment as the legality of the land on which it stood was questionable in the first place and they pointed to a law suit-“The state of … vs. ….” . Nadkarni read this and in the same non-nonchalant manner in which he had tucked the envelope he received outside the disco into his pocket, he slipped this envelope inside his pant. The next morning, he got news that he had been transferred. He got inside the battered ambassador with his family and as he was leaving the city, everything he had demolished seemed to have been re-built. His wife sobbed silently next to him in the car and the children remained silent.Nadkarni knew it was the opportunity cost of being honest.

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Side Effects of Tata Nano Car

UPDATE (1/27/08): Kirtish Bhatt, the cartoonist who’s actually made these, surprisingly, e-mailed me today. I wanted to let you guys know that you can go to his blog to view more cartoons. And believe me, they’re lovely. ๐Ÿ™‚

I never thought that I would do a post on Tata Nano, but I got these really funny cartoons in a forwarded e-mail. Since they’re in Hindi, I’ve tried to translate them to English.

A man goes to a car show room and wonders if he can exchange his two wheeler for a Tata Nano car

Inside a car showroom- a simple man has enough money to book not one, but TWO Nanos!

An advisor tells a politician ” Television etc. are old things…now tell people that you’ll give them a new car”. The old saying “Food, Clothes and House” should be extended to “Food, Clothes, House and Car”.

In a toy shop, a boy tells his father that he doesn’t want the toy car. He wants a real car like Tata Nano.

Even an ordinary man staying in a small house has a Tata Nano, even though his house might not be centrally heated!

Beggars get more freedom with their new found mobility, thanks to Tata Nano.

You’ll never ever be stuck in a traffic jam, thanks to Nano’s style and design. ๐Ÿ˜‰

People driving “People’s Car” ask for “People’s petrol” at gas stations!

A politician is worried because of a new demand made by men- “Parking reservations for poor people!”

A wife tells her husband, “These days, our maid has a new excuse- I got late because the car tire got punctured!”

(If you find a particular translation to be wrong, then please leave me a comment with your suggestion).

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Review: Taare Zameen Par

Finally, I got done watching the most talked about Bollywood movie of 2007- Taare Zameen Par. Most of the websites and blogs have even finished reviewing it…and mine comes very late. But that’s all right, because not many people will agree with what I’ve got to say next.

When the movie started, I really felt as if I can finally expect something good from a mainstream Bollywood movie. Darsheel Safary, as Ishaan, captivated me right from the first scene, where he’s shown playing with fish in a dirty puddle of water, totally oblivious to his surroundings. I really enjoyed the colorful artwork that was shown during the opening credits. The first half of the movie was amazing. Ishaan’s struggle with the orthodox educational system is given full justice. I was telling myself, ” Aamir Khan as a director, is very good!”. Perhaps I shouldn’t have let that thought enter my mind.

The movie starts going downhill as soon as Aamir Khan enters the classroom, dressed like a clown. What exactly was the point of having that scene in the movie? All I want is a realistic movie. Is that too much from him? Mr. Perfectionist? This scene is followed by a trip to a school for special children. Then comes the title song “Taare Zameen Par”, interspersed with a lot of tear jerking scenes. Between all this, Aamir Khan, the honorary arts teacher, suddenly realizes that he’s almost forgotten about Ishaan. So off he goes to Ishaan’s house to talk to his parents and make them understand that Ishaan is dyslexic.

After managing to do that, he single handedly makes all the other teachers and the principal understand about Ishaan’s problem. Wait! We’re not done yet. Next, he teaches Ishaan how to read and write (Ishaan’s hand writing improves trememdously!). He teaches Ishaan to become “normal” in that the young boy is shown buttoning up his shirt, tying his shoe laces and his tie and combing his hair. Wasn’t Aamir Khan fighting against the set order and the “normal” way of doing things in the first place? What an irony!

A kid whose hand writing is almost indecipherable, somehow, miraculously improves it to an unbelievable extent…all because of the encouragement and the love that he receives from a teacher. Now I understand why people accuse Aamir Khan of being a “scene stealer”. The movie became just about him after he entered the scene. The boy, Darsheel Zafary, is reduced to a toy, who is used to show off Aamir’s greatness.

And let me not even talk about the Arts Show that is organized towards the end. No prizes for guessing who wins it!

If you’re still reading this review, then I’m sure that you must be abusing me by now. I’m not bashing this movie because I hate Aamir Khan or because I hate Bollywood. I really wanted to like this movie and I really did, until Aamir entered the scene and reduced it to a tear jerker. Where is the subtlety?

This movie is worth a watch only because of Darsheel Zafary’s amazing acting and the beautiful artwork in the opening scene. The background score was overdone. Shankar Mahadevan needs to hire someone else to sing some of his songs. He’s becoming really boring and predictable. And Aamir…it’s better if you stay behind the curtains.

Edit: And if you thought that the 3*9=3 scene was an original masterpiece, like I did, then think again. Wanderlust (Please go to her blog for another amazing review) and Ish informed me that the scene was blatantly lifted from Calvin & Hobbes.


Rating: 6.5/10

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Replaying Old Ads and Songs

Ever since I wrote that post on Malgudi Days, I have not stopped thinking about Indian Television and the shows/advertisements/jingles that we used to watch in ’80s and early ’90s. If you’re away from India, like me, then it is likely that you miss these shows much more and can’t wait to catch a glimpse of these.

I’ve tried to collect some of them in this post-

1. Ek Titli Anek Titli (Thanks Bong’o’P’ondit)- An old song that talks about the strength of unity.

2. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara- The objective of the video was to instill a sense of pride and promote unity amongst Indians, highlighting the different linguistic communities and societies that live in India. Created in 1988 by Doordarshan. (From Wikipedia)

3. Humara Bajaj Ad- We hardly get to see such genuine, patriotic ads these days!

4. Doodh Doodh Doodh- It’s fresh. It’s pure. It’s co-operative Milk! Not so sure about that anymore. The proportion of water is definitely greater than milk. Lovely ad though. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Surf Lalitaji Commercial- Bhaaaisaab! Need I say more? ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Jungle Book- Chaddi pehen ke Phool Khila Hai ๐Ÿ˜‰ Wasn’t he the hottest guy?

7. Mahabharat Opening Credits- Every Sunday morning, every single household in the country had this song blaring from their television sets..I’m dead sure.

P.S- I don’t mean to hurt the feelings of people belonging to other religious sects. It’s just a general recollection.

8. Cadbury India Ad (Kuch Khaas Hai)- Never seen a hotter batsman…seriously. ๐Ÿ™‚

9. Yeh Joh Zindagi Hai- Beatiful Title Track sung by none other than Kishore Kumar and starring Shafi Inamdar, Swaroop Sampat, Rakesh Bedi and Satish Shah.

10. Orangie Orangie I love you Rasna!

11. Complan Commercial- The young stars in this ad are supposedly Shahid Kapoor and Ayesha Takia.

Famous punch line- I’m a Complan Girl! I’m a Complan Boy!

12. Old Liril Commercial (1975)- I’m surprised that they allowed a bikini clad woman to be aired in an ad in 1975. ๐Ÿ˜

13. Surabhi can be viewed at Youtube. (Thanks Ulag- for reminding me)

Some ads I couldn’t find-Does anyone have these video?

1. Bajaj Ad- Jab mein chota bachcha tha, badi shararat karta tha…meri chori pakdi jaati…tab roshan hota Bajaj.

2. Vicco Turmeric Nahi Cosmetic ..Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream.

3. Boost Ad (Kapil Dev)- Boost is the secret of MY energy…OUR energy!

4. Priya Tendulkar as Rajani. When I tried searching for this, I only found hits relevant to Rajnikanth and Sivaji. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

5. Old Nirma Ad

Please feel free to add more to this list. I’ll edit this post accordingly. ๐Ÿ™‚

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