Saturday, 27 February 2010

I commend you sir.....stand tall forever....

I think that M.F Husain is a wise man. Why bother about a country who stands shuffling it's feet and looking away as targeted attacks on the integrity of a cultural icon occurs, stretching from one government to another in time, and no change in attitude occurs. Why should he feel any national pride or sense of belonging to an ethos of such betrayal? Why are we questioning his motives and once again absconding from our own accountability within this situation, that has led to a man of 95 finally defining his dignity by saying "thanks but no thanks, I am not going to wait forever at a closed door"! I salute you Husain saheb because I think no person should wait indefinitely for justice and be treated as a criminal when no crime has occurred in the first place.

We are a chicken livered society who pretends at being liberal and democratic, and who are instead hypocritically conservative with our noses forever in our neighbours garden, digging away for something fishy that will allow us to anoint ourselves with a feeling of superiority with our desire to drag people through the dirt. True grit belongs only in film scripts, whilst in reality apathy and corrupted values rule the politics of our entire nation. I commend Mr. Husain for showing up the pretenses of this entire farce that has gone on too long, garbed in communal robes and which has become a parody on what secular ideals should not ever be.

When a door is slammed in your face so deliberately and so crudely, why beg to be let in ? I for one am someone who will never seek an entry where I believe I am unwelcome. And no, I am not over simplifying this issue at all. India better wake up to the rot in our judicial system and the flaws of zealot vigilantism that is allowed to spread violence and fear so openly. A great artist without whom our art history would be incomplete, today has been welcomed by a country who has embraced him through his darkest hours. Why expect that this cultural hero should fight a battle for himself to prove his loyalty for his nation, when we have in fact orphaned him. The paradox is that we want to possess him and dispossess him at the same time!

I support Hussain saheb's decision to accept the Qatar citizenship. A host who treats you like a family member is one who truly respects you, and who deserves your trust. Why leave the comfort of their embrace for the brickbats of fanatics who crucify the innocent merely to flaunt their power? M.F Husain deserves to be offered dignity, respect, belief and trust. We have failed him on all these counts and in the process compromised our own history.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Four boys and a girl!

I strongly advocate travelling with close friends! It is rejuvenating, fun and an extremely tender experience of sharing. I jokingly referred to our group as "Four weddings and a funeral : four boys and a girl"!

Each of us lead really busy lives and to take time off to wander in South Africa with one another, was primarily because we fall into an energy of complete compatibility. Silly laughter and absolute idiocity could shift to sheer stillness, and where the impact of new discoveries could trigger independent associations of need, and comprehension.

None of us had been to this part of the world. So each of us could conjure images of expectancy and alter the focus of our perception to what we wanted it to be; walk together through an experience, or stand apart to reflect.

The delight of intimacy, where time is spent from need and not circumstance, yields a poignancy of spirit and camaraderie that cannot find true description through relating it to another. These special moments, often not profound at all, exist in the intangible areas of time spent in one another's shadows, and where meaning percolates through memory.

I share with you a poem by Abu Bakr Solomons ...................


Beyond the raised bamboo blind,

early morning sunlight filters

between the hibiscus flowers and green-grey foliage;

contours and shades deepen

until its hierarchy of being

bursts into magnificence.

Healing fragrances gently arouse waking life

in the slumbering garden;

branches form tangled, tangible lines

against faint strokes of pale, blue sky

echoing a pact with peace.

A dog barks; finches, blackbirds

sing a shrill duet;

each sound, stirring, shape

strung together.

Coherence, the simple elegance of lavender

augment respect:

bearing witness becomes a splendid purpose.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The true marvel of South Africa.....

South Africa is a country everyone in India should visit. The reason is not it's phenomenal scenic beauty or the wild life or the glorious climate it possesses or the fun it allows you to have as a holiday maker, but to learn from the wisdom of how it's freedom movement defined a future upon truth and reconciliation. Where the white oppressors were not driven out but instead today live in the rainbow nation that chooses to exemplify the possibilities of racial harmony, and to avoid the temptation of retaliation.

The Apartheid museum in Johannesburg brings the sharp reality of the bestiality of white supremacy out into the open, with many film clips that detail the white propaganda of Afrikaner politics that chose to validate their inhuman approach, to the indigenous South African people. The impact of this museum is that it avoids over dramatizing the horrors of the Apartheid regime. It merely presents you with the factual, which leaves you feeling numb and horrified at how a world kept silent for so long, whilst these atrocities of persecution occurred so openly. The Apartheid museum equally celebrates the spirit of freedom too, through the documentation of speeches and interviews of Nelson Mandela, and gives to you an intimacy of information that allows you to grow to know this great man before the mantel of becoming a liberator of an oppressed land became his live long mission.

At all times the story of freedom is never appropriated as the legacy of one man, but attributed to the many ANC voices that charted this fight for reclaiming a nation sieged. Visiting Robin Island and finding that many of the volunteers are ex-prisoners from the Apartheid period, who have chilling tales to relate in the quiet narration of a tour guides agenda, suddenly silences you into confronting the apathy that governs free voices. Why outrage and denouncement did not resound through out all true democratic nations when encountering this flaunted oppression, is a question that should always haunt us. Today Aung San Suu Kyi is another voice fighting for freedom whom the world conveniently ignores.

The cleanliness and civic order of South Africa is yet another lesson for us to learn from. Eco friendly slogans are worn on uniforms and flashed on billboards; and a palpable commitment to the environment and to preserving the beauty and resources of their country is so evident in every nook and corner of this beautiful country.

The wide smiles and friendliness of the South African people, and the detailed vision of enhancing this nation as a tourist's paradise, shows up a country like India to be such a poor comparison. The Apartheid regime has a history so much more painful than our period of colonisation. And yet in such a short time of liberation the hope and development that is clearly evident has been possible because the black South African truly believes that the future will be defined through their endeavours to be empowered people.

Our black South African guide in Johannesburg has a little daughter, and his ambition is to put her into the Oprah Winfrey School for South African Girls, from under privileged situations. His eyes light up as he tells you how he sees the future of his daughter being empowered via the road of education, and that in learning and developing lies the success of all those who struggle. These voices are the real beacons of hope in the world and for me his shining hope is a light that will always infuse me to be inspired.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

It's the 11th of February and we are still celebrating!

Surendran and I celebrated 25 years of togetherness on the 6th of February by reaffirming our commitment to one another by signing the special marriage act at home, with family and friends to encircle us with the embrace of their love. We are now off to South Africa with some very close friends to enjoy and have fun filled holiday!
As a practice I shut myself off from the cyber world of communication whenever I travel. It's 1.30 in the morning and I have still have to tidy up my studio so I will sign off and reconnect up on the 21st of February. Till then cheers......

Friday, 5 February 2010

My boy Shahrukh Khan!

Despite my tongue in cheek cheekiness about Shahrukh Khan, I am so damn proud of this guy for being absolutely clear on his position that he is not going to retract any statements he has made regarding his opinions about the IPL non inclusion of Pakistani cricketers, and that the Shiv Sena can take a walk because he is not going to be intimidated by their thuggery and threats. As a public figure who holds many people's attention he has established a very positive message about communal harmony that is far more genuine and truthful than all the public service messages put out to uphold Indian unity these days. If any one is the son of our nation right now it is Shahrukh Khan, so beta I embrace you. You have the courage that others need to learn from and emulate. Thank you!

Last night I didn't know whether to laugh or cry whilst listening to two interviews that Barkha Dutt conducted. One was with Rahul Bhatt about David Headly. The entire interview sounded like a school boy's attempt to get some brownie points from an indulgent teacher! The other was with Udhav Thackeray. This was an exercise in sheer idiocity. The man has no charisma, no basic intelligence, no comprehension of political history, no logic to his own positions and the funny thing is that he knows what a fool he really is! This was the most hilarious thing to observe. Even Barkha didn't even feel inclined to expose him beyond a point because she too knew that he too knew (!) what an idiot he comes across as!!! And he is being projected as a great leader of our times!!!

But the dangerous thing in all this is that little bullies don't like to be exposed for the cowards that they really are. So with Mr. U. Thackeray showing himself up to be the wimp that he really is, I fear that the goondas will be now sent out to flex their muscles to make up for mister in your face stupidities inability to look strong. Well the nation waits and watches. Lets hope that innocent people and property do not become the helpless targets of madmen on the rampage. And lets hope that the law enforcing agencies know what is right from wrong!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Paint the slate clean!

Someone should tell the Thackeray brothers to get a life! One cousin sounds more stupid than the other, and whenever I hear them airing their views on TV on regional politics and national issues of concern, I am always inclined to believe I am watching a very bad comedy show with TRP ratings that are surely bombing them off the screens forever! As for the old supremo Bal Saheb Thackeray; well he looks like a C grade bollywood villain who should team up with Dev Anand and do a film titled "Old men who cannot retire gracefully"! This of course will be directed by Karan Johar and be produced by Shahrukh Khan. KJ will then inadvertently refer to Mumbai as Bombay when chatting chirpily on the tomato ketchup couch with Koel, and then issue a thousand apologies for not minding his language! Shahrukh Khan will stand as the self appointed global icon and seriously be serious about serious issues of serious concern that seriously need to seriously be seriously addressed by serious people. Foreign policy on Indo-Pak relations will now belong to the sports ministry, as all talks on bi-lateral relations can only be conducted via cricket and hockey and volleyball and tennis .....and by the way Chidhambaram will be the sports minister. In any case he looks the part since he is always dressed in white, and looks like a deligent sports coach these days.

The girls from Bihar colleges will want Rahul Gandhi to wear a toga not because they really believe that the Rome putra must be true to his ancestry, but because they will get to see a little more flesh of their gora-gora -dimpy-do poster boy! Rahul Mahajan on the other hand can take over the PR of the BJP wala's and teach them a thing or two on kiss and tell subjects.

Amar Singh and his two twin sisters Jaya I and Jaya II can entertain us with more dimpled simpering smiles and photo opportunities of smiling brother with loving sisters, a la Yash Chopra cinema style of Silsila soft focus and tear jerking sentimentality fame. Since good old Mayavati has decided that Phoolan Devi's shoes must be filled and dadagiri is the new pink equation, Mulayamsingh is still being kept as the cuddly teddy bear amongst the three siblings to comfort them when the lights go out and they are all alone in the dark. Scary, scary, baba!!!! No rocking bullacart this missy Jaya II; its the cradle this time, and down we all fall!

And poor Omar Abdhulla didn't quite realise that sitting in the hot seat as CM gets hot quite literally, especially if your father has rattling skeletons in his cupboard and imagines each day is Halloween party night and parades them around without too much consideration for the weak and faint hearted! Boom-boom, bang-bang, can really mean anything today from great sex to a ragging war on a battle field; and handing out awards can get a little puzzling amidst all this confusing activity, especially if you have downed a chota peg too many.

I am seriously (yes very seriously) thinking of establishing a political party. Since I have abstained from the cocktail party circuit in Baroda, I think party hopping should not be something I miss out on completely in life; especially seeing what fun our netaji's have in parliament by punching and taking pot shots at each other. Exactly what a good pub brawl is all about dears. You have sex, money and scandals galore, and infidelity and heart ache, all there for the taking; especially the money! Sounds like so much fun and frolic! So watch out, Rekhaji of Kishkindah party invites membership from all and sundry. Criteria to be selected: brainless idiots with no scruples and pompous to boot will get first preference. I of course will stencil a monkey on my forehead as the symbol of energy and dance through the streets of Baroda singing songs (Joan Baez please) of revolution and change!

Monday, 1 February 2010

What a stinker...

That the Indian Express newspaper needs to report that Jessica Simpson "farted" at a meeting with executives seems so perverse and warped. And this is the great "world news" we receive when there are thousands of issues of genuine value which could use the space to bring real matters of concern to our attention. If Shekar Gupta is listening then I hope he recognises that this is not the standard of journalism that we expect under his leadership.

On the same day I read in the Times of India that Schumacher dyes his hair! So, as if I care!!! What idiotic stories fill up space these days. And then if you ever ask these publications why they print such drivel , their answer is that the viewers want to read it. Well I am "a reader" too so whose opinions do these publications poll? More than three idiots I think!

And then comes the issue of serious topics. Here we are sold out by another type of stupidity! Reading about the lack of truth and accuracy that major exponents of global warming have offered us, that distort an issue that we already fight so hard to place at center stage in the consciousness of people, makes me really angry. So once again we loose the fight to sensitise thinking and create an awareness for environmental issues, because of the incompetence of those who are supposed to know better. Or is it just plain and simple megalomaniac and greed of power that prompts these spokespeople to postulate on issues they are not equipped to talk about, just to get a little extra media mileage for themselves. So what if creating alarmist tendencies that distract from the real issues occurs, because hey that's how India functions most of the time: hit and miss, isn't it?! Nobel actions after all is what the game of life is all about!

Now another Modi fingers the fragile relations between communities and countries. The IPL god man has turned his back on the Pakistani cricket players. And as good old Chidambaram "talks merely as a cricket lover" and cautions of such boycotts being adverse for the "good of the game", the man in a white suite only laughs louder all the way to the bank, dimpled actresses and reality show celebrities in tow for company!

Well some will say it takes all kinds to make a world, but for me the fewer of these "types" the better! Oh well, if wishes were horses then pigs could fly too!