A Spineless State Government And Vote Bank Politics.

One of India’s biggest literary festivals in Jaipur has shown up the Indian National Congress party to be a weak kneed, non secular, ineffective group of politicians concerned with vote bank politics.

Some Muslim clerics objected to Salman Rushdie attending the festival and the state government of Rajasthan, under the excuse of being unable to provide security for Salman requested him not to attend the festival. Some hot headed Muslims went further and announced that even a telecast will not be allowed at the festival, and instead of providing the necessary protection to the fair, the state government washed its hands off the whole matter and the telecast was also not carried. This report from the BBC covers it in its usual balanced style.

Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses was banned in India to mollify Muslim sentiment. I wonder how many Muslims have read it. Since it is banned, how could they take objection to something that they have not read? This is the height of absurdity and to deny Salman the right to visit India and attend a literary festival, if necessary by providing the protection of the might of the law, is nothing but pandering to the lowest denominator in the fringe elements of Islam in India. It is reported in the Indian press that most Indian Muslims think that the whole affair was totally unnecessary and has only added to Islamophobia and I agree with them.

What a miserable bunch of spineless politicians that runs Rajasthan and our country!

Crime And Politics.

Nani Palkhiwala wrote on 16 January 1984.

“The picture that emerges is that of a great country in a state of moral decay. The immediate future seems to belong to the doomsayers rather than to cheer-mongers. We suffer from a fatty degeneration of conscience, and the malady seems to be not only persistent but prone to aggravation. The life style of too many politicians and businessmen bears eloquent testimony to the truth of dictum that the single minded pursuit of money impoverishes the mind, shrivels the imagination and desiccates the heart.
The tricolour fluttering all over the country is black, red and scarlet “black money, red tape and scarlet corruption.”

Our good friend Mayo sent this cartoon to me to see if I can do something with it in a blog and how can I not?

There is hardly any dividing line between crime and politics any more in India though in all fairness, many businesses can be exempted from the sobriquet of being criminal. Businesses however have to be very politically savvy to survive successfully in India.

Under the circumstances, what advise can one give as the father in the cartoon? Quite some famous politicians are cooling their heels in prisons just now! India however has a vast public sector which can easily accommodate the young lad. He can then combine his criminal tendencies, operate within the government and flourish.

Poor Nani must be wishing that he was alive to say “I told you so!”

Gratitude List – January 21, 2012

I was reminded on Saturday about Sunday being an auspicious day for us by my cousin. I had clean forgotten about that as on that day, we normally prepare a special dish which otherwise would not have been made. Later, Aishwarya on a short visit to Pune decided to wake me up from my siesta to request whether she could visit. Had she not done that, I would have slept through the entire afternoon! She did come and challenged my intellect enough for me to decide to forgo my evening walk. She also grandly announced that she has brought some goodies from Ahmedabad and she would see that I get them on Sunday.

My net friend led me to a book which I could not get in the kindle version but the search for which led me to another fascinating book on receiving which, I almost stopped all other work. I went to it later in the night and I was happy to have bought it.

Just as I was winding down for the night, my father developed serious breathing trouble and was in considerable discomfort. Luckily Ranjan was around and as usual our GP suggested a course of action that was followed after Ranjan went to the chemist and procured the medicines. My father settled down in better shape than when the problem started and all three of us had a peaceful night after midnight.

I did get around to getting Pongal, the special dish made for our Thai Pongal. You can read more about the festival here too.

On Sunday, an old friend who dropped out of view some ten years ago, suddenly reappeared through the good offices of a mutual friend. Shakti, a feisty and ebullient personality of the Osho Ashram was a frequent visitor to our place but after the death of Osho disappeared from view. It was nice to get back in touch with her.

A dear friend in the USA and I have been in correspondence on a matter of spiritualism for some time now. On Sunday I decided to gift him with a book published in India and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could source it at Amazon to be shipped to him in the USA. Indian online stores don’t ship overseas. I am grateful that I could sit at a computer and arrange for this instead of purchasing locally and sending by post or courier which would have been quite a chore as well as far more expensive.

Since I was quite concerned about my father’s condition, I thought it prudent to stay at home with him the whole of Monday. This gave me enough time to read and sort out some other home matters. Luckily, my father stayed stable and rested well.

On Tuesday, my father’s condition improved quite a bit and I took him to the doctor for a check up. Everything is back to normal though he has to take some medicines for a few days. Since he was stable, I was also able to go to the dentist to get my tooth capped. One bridge is damaged and I need to get that done next week! I had enough confidence in his ability to be alone at home and went to the park for my evening walk and meeting with friends. Vimlu was going to the chemist and readily acceded to my request to get some medicines saving me a trip.

My annual tryst with a cold that eluded me last year, came back with a vengeance on Wednesday and laid me low. Luckily, Ranjan and Yakob were able to handle some urgent chores. I was also able to solve a problem for my father by pulling strings on the telephone.

Thursday was bad too with the cold intensifying but other things to be grateful for happened. I was able to get a lead to two old friends from my sister in law with who I had a very long telecon catching up with my late wife’s side of the family. I also received some payments from my principals which was very welcome indeed.

On Friday, the cold intensified further and I was quite listless. The saving grace was the very welcome phone calls from two of my colleagues from two decades ago who called to invite me to a get together in Bengaluru. It gave me an opportunity to catch up with news of many of my old colleagues and was in particular very gratified that I had been given a wrong message about the passing away of one of them, who turned out to be alive and kicking!

I have a great friend in the grand daughter of my neigbour and I was able to cook up one of her favourite dishes which surprised her on her return from school. She promptly sat down at her study desk and made out a thank you card:

She also gifted me with a plaster of paris Angel, hand crafted by her for a Refrigerator Magnet! I am unable to reproduce it here, but it is quite a work of art!

The boredom of inactivity due to the cold was somewhat mitigated by Ranjan getting some light reading stuff from our club’s library.

All in all, a mixed bag of days but much to be thankful for nevertheless.

The Joy Of Giving.

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where twelve of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Rohit, who has been rather silent now for some time. The eleven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

“We enjoy thoroughly only the pleasure that we give.”
~ Alexandre Dumas.

When I was a salesman in Central India, there was a particularly difficult customer from who collecting payments was tough. I suspect in retrospect, that he enjoyed the process as he would eventually make the payments. I made the process easier by once using word play which became legendary among salesmen in that part of the country. The customer’s name was Tekchand, a common Sindhi name meaning Rested Moon. On one occasion I just told him that he should change his name from Tekchand to Givechand which amused him a great deal. I don’t recollect him being joyful in making the payments, but he was more forthcoming from then on.

That is my friend Vimlu who features often in my gratitude posts, giving a toffee to another friend of mine Lavanya. Lavanya like many other children come to our neighbourhood park to play at the children’s corner, to reach which, they have to pass where Vimlu and the rest of our gang sit every evening after our walks.

Vimlu and her husband Chandru whose knee and quad cane can be seen in the photograph are famous among the children for being crazy enough to carry a box full of candy, toffee or eclairs to be given to children.

You can see the joy that Vimlu is experiencing but it is a pity that I could not get Chandru’s expression seeing the transaction. The two of them enjoy doing this every evening and the rest of us enjoy watching them.

There is an old lady mendicant, must be over 70, who comes every Sunday to our front gate and raises such a racket calling for me using fancy titles to persuade me to part with some alms. She knows that she will get it, but she enjoys the suspense till I come personally to give the alms to her and gets offended if any one else comes to do the same. I enjoy scolding her for raising such a racket before giving her the alms as does she in being scolded. There is great joy in that giving and banter with her.

I cannot think of anyone that I have come across who does not enjoy giving. Perhaps I have not looked hard enough, but that statement is a fact. The proverbial misers have luckily kept away from me and I have been very fortunate to see many people who genuinely enjoy giving.

Déjà vu.

This is Rosalyn, the first person ever to make me a rakhi brother. Unfortunately, I am not able to locate a better photograph of hers than this passport photograph which I borrowed from her daughter in law for the purpose of this post.

We moved into the flat that we live now in December 1990. Just a few months after we had moved in Rosalyn Soans with her son Lubin, daughter in law Suzan, grand children Amrisha and Arup moved in into another flat in the same complex. As Indian neighbours are wont to, over a period of time we both families became very good friends and that friendship continues till today.

Rosalyn was a regular visitor to our place as were we to their place. Many a meal has been shared together if not in one dining room, by exchanging dishes cooked in one.

After Roaslyn made me her brother, I used to tease Lubin and his sister Sheela who lives in Mumbai that I was their Uncle now and they should start calling me Uncle instead of by my first name. Like all nephews and nieces, they never obeyed me.

Rosalyn passed away in 2003 and one of her great regrets was not being able to see her other daughter Edna who had settled down in the USA and was unable to visit India due to some technical/bureaucratic problem with obtaining a visa. Forty years after she left India, Edna finally sorted out all the problems and visited India last month and came to stay with Lubin and Suzy.

I went to meet her and it was déjà vu. I was speechless for a while till Suzy asked me to say what everyone else was saying about seeing Edna after so many years.

It was like meeting Roaslyn!

Have you got any similar resemblance stories that brought about déjà vu? If you want a similar, but in lighter vein story on similarity, you can do no better than read this.