Sunday, 20 September 2009

Acting The Saheb

“Twenty five buckets of water! You will bring twenty five buckets of water and clean it!” my father screeched.


Sunday afternoons are always lazy and uneventful. If I’m not out and by myself, I’ll spend it in my room.

We have a small flat, on the ground floor. It’s in a relatively well-off neighbourhood. The bed in my room is horizontally placed against the wall containing the only window in the room. Right outside the window is a large bush, which is trimmed so that it fits the exact length of my window and ends just where the window begins.

I was in my room one Sunday afternoon, sitting on my bed. It’s my most favourite place to be, on days like this one. I heard an odd hissing sound, so I looked out and saw a strange man urinating in the bush outside. It seemed like he had purposely placed his three-wheeler goods vehicle close to the bush, because he stood wedged between the bush and the vehicle, doing his job in his make-shift toilet.

He didn’t know I could see him, from behind my Netlon.

I called my father, to come and see what was going on.


My father, is not a hot tempered man. He can be so calm about things, that he can make you angry for it. He is always controlled. In many ways, he is even timid.

But that Sunday, something went off in him, and he began to shout like a mad man from inside my room. The trespasser was shocked and looked around alarmed, trying to find where this strange voice was addressing him from. He hurriedly pulled his zip and pants up, and hopped back into his vehicle, trying to appear innocent. I was watching all this, from inside my room. My father then stormed outside, and began to shout at this man again.

Apparently, the president of the apartment’s owner’s association had hired this vehicle, to pick up some furniture from her house.

The president of the owner’s association is a rich woman. She owns six dogs and three flats in our complex. She’s quite the bully and a force to be reckoned with.

By this time, a small group of maid servants, sweepers, security guards and drivers had gathered. I could see how hard they were trying to straighten their faces. Some turned away, and I knew they were laughing.


The trespasser began to plead with his hands folded “Maaf kijye sir, maaf kijiye. Main patient hoon.” He then began to cough violently, his chest heaving in and out from the strain, hand placed over his heart. It didn’t appear to be a very real bout. He was obviously afraid of what the repercussions of his action may be. “Would they fine me?” Whether he was a heart patient or not, I will never know. However, he seemed to suffer from the illness of Elephantiasis, because even though he was a large man, one could see an abnormally large lower body, from his waist down.

That was when my father spotted a boy, of no more than twelve years in age, peeping out at the tamasha, from behind the vehicle. He was the helper, to the trespasser of the goods vehicle.

“Twenty five buckets of water! You will bring twenty five buckets of water and clean it!” my father screeched.

He did this first at the trespasser and then when he realized that the man didn’t look like he was going to oblige and his coughing increased dramatically, my father pointed at the boy, and screeched the same.

Acting the Saheb.

The boy reluctantly came out from his hiding place. One of the sweeper women shoved a bucket into his hands, stifling giggles all the while. Another woman helpfully pointed in the direction of a tap, that the gardener used to water plants. The boy began to walk in the direction of the tap. My father shouted again. “NOT THERE! That’s not for you to use. Go to the public toilet and fetch the water from there.”

Twenty five times the boy trudged up and down, from the toilet to the bush. By the time he got to the bush, there was hardly any water left in his bucket. It had left a trail all the way behind him, marking the path he took, for another man’s sin.

The offender sat in his vehicle all along. My dad stood outside with all the society-cleaners, supervising the young boy. The crowd began to dwindle. Only my father, the offender and the boy were left, my father still counting.

Friday, 12 June 2009

The Irony At Sunfeast


I went as a volunteer from the IYCN, with Saahas (a Bangalore based NGO, that deals with waste management and reduction), for the Sunfeast World 10k Run, held in Bangalore, on the 31st of May, 2009. No, we didn’t go to run the race. We went instead, with the common aim of ensuring that the event was a zero-waste event.

The event was highly publicized, with The Times of India being the print media partner and Kingfisher being the ‘good times partner’. Procam was the organizer of the event. The event was held to raise money for some 60 odd NGOs in India. There were 23,000 registered participants, apart from a stifling crowd of onlookers who had come to pass their Sunday afternoon.

While everybody in Bangalore is celebrating the success of the event, allow me to enlighten you on the excuse for a waste disposal system, that the event had.

There were about four hired young boys as cleaners for the entire stadium. I was able to find only about five dustbins, after much searching.

Kingfisher water was flowing through the Kanteerva Stadium- the water, packed in handy little pocket sized bottles, was free and uninhibited. If my mother was at the event, I know she would have stuffed as many bottles as would fit in my pockets, so that she can carry the cute things in her handbag when she goes shopping. There were several people like my mother at the event, hoarding up as many of the Pet bottles as possible. If they weren’t hoarding, they were taking a sip of water or pouring it on themselves to beat the heat… and then tossing the bottles all over the place.

The volunteers from Saahas, IYCN and the MS Ramaiah Institute here, were the only ones responsible for trying to keep the event clean, and having waste recycled. The twenty of us brought about thirty of our own bins. We ensured that waste was segregated and all the Kingfisher water bottles were sent for recycling. Our collection of Pet bottles amounted to around 800 kgs (80,000 bottles). Other waste contributed 400 kgs.

With all its social motivations, a clean Bangalore, was just not on the agenda of the event’s namma Bengaluru plan. I've been told that the situation was even worse last year. We were the last to leave the stadium that day, and if not for us volunteers who cleaned up the place, the organizers of the next event to be held at the stadium, would have probably had to do so.

One may think this is a municipal issue, or an issue of the organizers of the event. One may even argue that we deprived the rag pickers who would definitely have come scavenging for waste, once the stadium had quietened down. Yes, the stadium would have been cleaned up, some how, before the next event. We didn’t need to leave our homes at 5am, to be there by 6am and finally leave the stadium only by 12pm.

But we did it, in the hopes of being able to educate this highly developed Bangalore, on the value of reducing and recycling our waste. I can promise you one thing- climate change will be a priority of the Sunfeast World 10k Run organizers (and Kingfisher, if you want to pick a bone), next year.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Blue stuffs

Uh. No idea whats up with the fancy blue stuff. Are your eyes spinning too? Apologies. Also no idea whats up with the formatting. Where are my paragraphs?!
Apparently its only on the home page. I just hope it doesn't follow me around. If its troubling you too much, I suggest selecting words you want to read, and then do so.


Who are you and what do you want from me?


Advani filed his BJP nomination papers from the Gandhinagar constituency today, at exactly 12:39pm.

So did, Suresh Patel, who filed his Congress nomination papers today. Also at 12:39pm.

Advani’s filing of papers was preceded by a Hindu puja at his house.

12:39pm is an auspicious time for Hindus. They believe that every thing they do at this stroke of the clock, will be fruitful.

Apart from the stark incongruity of the fact that both rival parties have filed their papers at the same time, both expecting that it will bring them luck in the form of winning the elections, is the fact, that the BJP who is rampantly claiming it is a secular party, amidst wide spread skepticism of the weight of the statement, conducted a Hindu puja over the nomination papers, with no thought to emphasizing their ‘secular nature’.

This issue really pertains to the possibility of a secular-democracy, and the possibility of existence of a democracy in a secular state. I have with me an article I’ve written over a year back, on the same issue. I haven’t blogged it, because I wasn’t able to arrive at a suitable consensus (I will soon, and this post will be rehashed). So I’m not opening that subject right now, but I do want to bring to attention this one fact, as below.

Is it appropriate for a secular party, to embrace the majority religion, as the party religion?

If I stand for election, as the BJP candidate for Gandhinagar, as a Muslim/Christian/Sikh/Jain/Buddhist/ Jewish/Zoroastrian/atheist candidate, am I expected to attend the puja, be decorated with a tikka, and file my papers at 12:39pm too?

All over India, in said secular environments, at business establishments, generator rooms and more, on every Hindu festival, puja is carried out, no matter what the sentiment of the minority community is. The sentiment is ignored by the minority community themselves, as well as the ones carrying out the puja, ie: the majority community. It has become commonplace, such that nobody has an opinion any more, and nobody expects an opinion either.

But, I'm not going to talk about it now. I will when I put up that post I mentioned earlier.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Why did the Punjabi throw his shoe at the minister?


And look how he sits back and relaxes after that! Placing his arm, calmly on the arm rest. This naughty Punjabi. He'd planned this all along I say. His shoe didn’t seem to be on that tight even.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Do You Enjoy Watching Women Being Beaten Up?

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The month of candies, cards, roses and hearts, saw an upsurge in violence on women, in Bangalore. Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka and considered to be one of the most developed cities in India.

Perpetrators of the attack are Ram Sainiks.

Apparently, the New Indian Woman is against the Old Indian Culture, and must be dealt with by beating her, groping her, dragging her along the ground by her hair, kidnapping her, along with several other remedies, in broad day light, in public view.

I can give you links to the articles on the internet, but instead Im giving you links to websites of 2 campaigns, which should tell you more, about what happened and what the people of Karnataka decided to do about it.
One is called 'The Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women'. They launched an all-India Pink Chaddi Campaign. Innovation, non violence and sarcasm at its best.

See the following for more:
>The Pink Chaddi Blog
>Details of the attacks on women in Karnataka
>Art-visim, who's designed some powerful posters