What do Kushal’s girl friend and Mayur’s girl friend have in common? They are remembered for their one time boyfriend, and they can’t stop it. They can’t create an alternate identity. Whenever they are remembered, it will be by their association with something else, and usually only one of it. Its not so bad if you are an athlete or a dancer, because then of course you should be remembered primarily for your art if that is what you set out to do. Unless your Tiger Woods.... But the case is much the same with one-hit-wonders or journalists who get stuck in a particular beat- they can't shake it off.
We are currently in a public process of linking up and hand cuffing and indeed it is getting a little violent. This is a mass project of ‘tagging’ people. Arvind Kejriwal’s Wiki page could have been tagged under ‘RTI,’ but due to his association with the Lokpal, he will now always be tagged under ‘anna’ as well if not more often and only.
But Hazare gained recent prominence due to his views on corruption... not Kasmir..
The guys who beat up Bhushan dont really care about that detail. For them, by the tagging system, Bhushan=Hazare, and now Bhushan/Hazare said something about Kashmir, so if A=B and B=C then A=C!
So they want Hazare to make clear his colleague's remarks on Kashmir and comments going around are hoping for Hazare to give some indication of his own view on the issue as well.
This is a dangerous line for Hazare to walk. Soon, all kinds of people are going to ask him all kinds of questions and their support for the anti-corruption movement will take a back seat to their communal agendas- Just like the Egyptian blogger M on a hunger strike (coincidence!) for being censored. Support for him has broken down after he made public his views on Israel. Hazare should have anticipated that his opinion is going to be sought on everything now that he has propped himself as the moral guardian of the nation. Since he cares for India so much, the hope is that he will always have an opinion, or better still, can pull a ‘fast-one.’
To add, Hazare recently released a video asking people not to vote for the UPA. This, along with his previous comments on Modi and link ups with the BJP, Ramdev and Agnivesh, got him tagged with the ‘Hindu right’ and he was alleged to be a tool by the ‘Opposition’ against the Congress.
News reports however say that the Hazare’s supporters who were beaten up, were shouting anti-BJP AND anti-Congress slogans yesterday.
Then this beat-up happened... True that no one beat up Hazare, but associations are going to be made by the press and the public, and Hazare is soon going to be untagged from ‘BJP’ because BHUSHAN was beaten up.
So now suddenly, Hazare’s political stance is back at being apolitical and/or neutral, and we can once again re-tag him under ‘civil society’ by his own creation of the politician-civil society binary.
In one of the more unlikely link ups, Bhushan’s remarks on Kashmir, have provided fodder for small talk between Arundhati Roy and himself, should they ever meet! She said similar things about Kashmir, only then there was this big furore about sedition.. Bhushan hasnt met that response. I dont know, but I’m guessing its the Anna aura/ tag that helped.
Except that this link up is quite fragile- they both differ terribly in their views on Hazare. Some tags are just bigger than others. This couple wont last and this link up wont go very far.
Yea… waiting for that one.
Well here it is.
I woke up to #SteveJobsLegacy and was stunned- there’s just been too many deaths this year of prominent people with whom I have some connection- Maathai, Tiger, and now "the death of Jobs".. as if we weren't already hearing that one on a daily basis.
Why is Jobs a working class hero?
Its because he gave the middle class an ambition. Apart from being a techie, he was also a keen businessman, and this multifaceted role he played seems to give everyone an aspiration- if you can't invent, then market. If you can’t market, then own the company. And if neither of these high heeled things are possible, then at least own an iPod. Owning an iPod is a huge middleclass ambition, the kind that many people work hard and save up for. This is an ambition worth its weight in part. But whether the Apple itself is really worth its weight in comparison to other open source ideas, is another discussion and quite debatable. The rationalization is that people with money are allowed to aspire to waste it, #LaTomatina style.
Jobs' funeral is a simple one to attend. Owners of Apple products can easily drive down/ fly down/ stream it online. Gates' funeral is more tricky- there will be those in corners of Africa and Asia who don't have the money for an air ticket, but who do have a life now, a real living breathing one, not a virtual one, thanks to 'Bill and Melinda'. These survivors, as well as thousands of NGOs and individuals who have received grants from the B&M Foundation, will want to attend it in person, and not just over Facebook- because Gates actually gave. Healthcare, education, poverty alleviation, research and disaster relief, have been some of the things that the Foundation has worked on. In contrast, when Jobs resumed control over Apple in 1997, he cut off all of their philanthropic ventures. He dabbled with a foundation that was to work on food sustainability, something vague like that, but shut it down after a year.
Will we mourn the death of Gates as much as Jobs?
Probably not. I blame Microsoft's marketing- MS has made itself so commonplace that no one regards it with awe anymore. It is easy to download, patch and use. Not that we have too many alternative operating systems going around to choose from- its MS for the non geek, most of us, or Apple if you can afford it, or open source if you have a good geek friend to guide you. But in the case of Apple, we actually do have a number of alternatives. They are not the only ones with mp3s- remember, the iPod is still an mp3, it only provides you with a snazzy interface. And I hear the most wonderful things about the Android from Android users. So instead, note how Apple's work ethics are monopolistic. Most of their products are stubbornly incompatible with other technologies, and this is in an effort to ensure that they remain exclusive, unique… and soon, alone. Which will mean cutting off access to millions. This may be acceptable in today's business practise, but should not be acceptable by consumers, for whom choice should be king. Choicelessness is not a working class dream. So before you eulogize how this man's ideas 'changed the world,' consider HOW he changed it.
What Jobs did right, was innovation in design, or rather innovation by design. White was a hard colour to sell, but they did it and it made them stand out, even in the dark. The slow ebbing glow of the bitten apple on the screen of the Macbook has grown to be as comforting as fairy lights in December. Jobs is more charming than Gates. He's younger, and he created a technology that just looks and feels so good, its almost Megan Fox. Besides, having a life threatening illness makes the wiring in humanity's heart melt (I remember how people waited with bated breath when Jade Goody was going to have her very public death).
Yet Apple's strength lies in their cunning success at creating needs in us and making themselves the sole satisfier. Why, even the musicians who are bitter about not making all the money they could have, because of illegal downloading, because mp3s made it so easy to carry around a 1000 songs… also love their iPods! I won’t be surprised if Gates agrees to let iPhone and Macbook into MS Word’s spell check (‘iPod’ is already in, so I see as I write this).
People are spinning philosophies around Jobs that don't really exist. The only one that can truly be credited to him is the old cliché, "Work hard and achieve success" and "Rags to riches is possible."
What is happening instead, is that people have actually had the audacity (and here I get really upset) to compare the death of Jobs with the death of Lennon. The lady I am referring to said that she felt emptiness and a sensation of loss similar to when Lennon died. Another lady said she lost a "magic sparkle," and "Someone (who) filed me with so much awesomeness! <3" "He helped us realise that less is truly more," says yet another Tweeter. You mean in terms of the minimalistic design? Or you mean the money you spent on the product? "He brought together heart of tech, people, community in ways we didn't know we needed, but couldn't live without," says another person. Dear friend, the internet is bringing people together, Apple is no prerequisite for this, and you can just as well "Come Together" with another brand. Others are charting their lives around their Apples. "I can remember stages of my life based on the different Macs and Apple products I've had since my first Apple. That's #stevejobslegacy" says one. Another mom, serial posting on Jobs said, "I can remember my kids excitement w/each hand me down iPod, iPhone they got as we spoiled ourselves w/new one!" Hurrah for you… lucky you.. Teach your kids to want expensive things, and teach them that only expensive things are good things. And finally, one lady said, "I live for my iPhone and Mac Book…".. At which point I have to end.
When Jobs' supporters talk about changing the world, I believe they are referring to "How touch is better than push" as one person said online, claiming this to be the #SteveJobsLegacy. It’s a very different type of "change" that I usually associate with "the world". The Jobs-change and the Gates-change, are as different as apples from oranges, and I'm inclined to the latter. How did you guess. Here's hoping you remember to shed an extra tear next time.
PS- Just a little note on Lennon, if you didn’t notice I am going to direct you to it- Read the embedded links on ‘Working Class Hero’ and ‘Come Together’, all right?
The most radical of protests and national movements we saw in recent times was that of an already old man, deciding to make his anyway imminent death, worth some while in history. He decided to fast unto death. And he had the country up in storm- Over morality and ethics. As for corruption, “we need stricter laws!” of course.
This is not to say that I wished we had looted and committed arson. But this is to juxtapose our protest with that of the world’s and show you how feeble we really are. Being feeble is not the same as being ‘pacifist.’ It really is just plain old jane old passive. It’s a Gandhian hangover perhaps. But what excuse do we give for our misguided sheep mentality?
The fact is Anna Hazare SAID he would give up his life, but he didn’t. He ate. And that’s not a fast UNTO death. That’s a fast unto publicity or a fast unto fame.
Anna’s highly original and innovative Plan B, is Jail Bharo.
We are not ready for Jail Bharo.
When I met a young man at an India Against Corruption rally, he said, “I am fasting.” I asked, “Since when?” “Morning I didn’t have breakfast…lunch also, I have not yet had it..” he replied. “For how long will you fast?” was my last question. To which he said, “Till I start feeling very hungry…”
We won’t fill jails. The ones who will, will be party workers. The rest of us just want to get to work on time. The ones who understand what it means to honour your word and lay down your life for what you believe in, are not in this country. They live in others. At the risk of being beaten, arrested or even killed, the do what they have to do for their country.
I was snubbed, and that too in front of a friend. “No Uncle, I didn’t mean that I wanted you to get up for me... I was just telling my friend here that...”
“Don't make loud comments and hope that I vacate the seat for you.”
I walk on to the platform nonchalantly. Check my phone for messages. Check my diary for things I have to finish today. Balance my pen behind my ear lobe, as I dig in my canvas bag for my music player. Some guy is looking. That’s ok, harmless. Lots of people on the platform, its still day light.
Metro screams in. A queue falls into place, with the guy at the head of the line shifting slightly from left to right, trying to approximate where the carriage will open. The line behind him sways on his leading.
Enter. Scan the carriage. Vacant seat? Someone I can squeeze with? Nopes. Standing again, standing every day. “Please mind the gap”, the familiar voice advises me. “Passengers are requested not to sit on the seats reserved for ladies,” she carries on moralizing. I look to see if anyone’s expression changed, did anyone feel uncomfortable about sitting on the ‘seats reserved for ladies’ when she made the announcement in English and he made the announcement in Hindi? Seems not.
I find a plastic loop to hang on to. Reach into my bag and take out my newspaper. Open it carefully, mindful of the people around me. Balance my pen in my ear lobe again. Corruption. Suicide bomb. Scam. Lady Gaga. Cricket.
My hair is coming loose from its pony tail. Need to re-tie it. Will wait till I’m out, it will swish in someone’s face otherwise.
Is that his belly? Or is that his bag rubbing against my butt? It better be his bag. Is he doing it on purpose? Should I turn around and give him my stern look? Or should I try my I-will-embarrass-you look? Should I stare him into feeling uncomfortable? Then again, they don't seem to feel uncomfortable. Don't want to create a scene and attract attention…
Why can’t he turn the other way? Why can’t he face his back to me. No that’s not good either.. I wish he would stand to his side. That way we won’t rub against each other controversially.
Where’s my phone?! In the front pocket of my jeans, good. Is my wallet visible in my bag? Should not bring these open bags.. should carry my back pack so that I can zip it up safely. But a back pack doesn't look good with a kurta.. Better buy myself a jhola with a zip, this one is very easy to steal from. I pull my bag closer to my front.
Another guy looking. What? Is my button open? I try and peer at my kurta without making it obvious. Forgot my dupatta at home. Well, at least I’m not wearing a t-shirt today. Ok can you stop looking now? I pull my bag closer again. Maybe I should turn the other direction. Is he still looking? Don't want to meet his eye. Why can’t everyone just read a newspaper on the metro?
So hot, want to take off my jacket. But I can’t- Wearing a sleeveless t shirt today. Brought the jacket so that I can cover up on the road and while travelling, will take it off when I reach work.
Don't want to travel in men’s compartment today. General compartment not men’s compartment. We just automatically consider the general compartment to be the men’s. I will travel in ladies’ compartment.
Rummaging in my bag on the platform. Should I go to ladies’ compartment? Its further down the platform, I don't want to walk to it. I’m wearing a long kurta today, Ill be safe. I think I will travel general.
Blind man enters the carriage. Guy gives up his seat for the blind man. He did it spontaneously, nice of him, bless him. Blind man takes out a large book. “Shlokas, today I am going to recite some Shlokas for you.”
Guy in front of me has very large toes. Can’t help notice these things- in metros, elevators, anywhere where you are in close physical contact with other human beings, you must let your eyes wander anywhere but to their eyes. Never, make, eye, contact.
Guy looks for his metro card in his wallet. Another card is peeping out. Says IIT Delhi. Decent. What if he talks to me? What if I talk to him? He must be a decent guy.
Suddenly, “We are working with the concept of Braille, on laptops.. for blind people.. with this NGO.” What?! Who? Me? IIT Guy is talking to me? Uh. Oh that’s cool I said. Moment(s). Mm. You’re. You’re working with JAWS also probably… (?) “Oh yeah, JAWS also.” “Final year project” I asked. “No, working independently.”
“Next station is, Barakhamba Road. Doors will open on the…”
Should I say bye to him?
“.. right. Please mind the gap.”
Doors open on the right. I left. Didn’t say bye to IIT Guy. I minded the gap.
Did he get out with me? No. Good. How come he decided to start a conversation with me? Smart guy.. I should have said bye. Decent fellow..
Delhi metro versus BMTC buses in Bangalore?
Delhi metro versus Delhi autos?
Kyunki, Delhi metro is AC and clean, and cheaper. Arm pits will be in your nose but at least they are not sweaty. No pollution or traffic jam. Don't have to fist, fight or swear. Don't have to ask bus conductor to give you your ticket and full change back. Don't have to text a friend the registration number of the auto in case of emergency. Don't have to force auto guy to go by meter and then worry if he is taking you on a longer route.
Dad told me to buy a large and heavy thala and keep it in my bag at all times. So if anyone tries to act funny with me, I can swing my bag in his face or anywhere else. Dad also told me to carry chilli powder. So if anyone tries to act funny with me, I can put it in his eyes. Dad told me to not leave my hair open and always wear a dupatta. “Don't attract attention, be simple.”
A friend gave me pepper spray for my birthday.
I don't carry it with me, because I think that by the time I find the pepper spray in my jhola, I would have been raped thrice. Also, if I carry it, I will always be fidgeting with it, because it will just make me all the more nervous. I will always be worried about a shadow behind me, a footstep behind me, and I will get paranoid trying to keep my thumb on the trigger all the time!
Another day, another metro. Doors open. Enter. Scan. First I scan the seats. Then I scan the stickers above the seats, to find which one is reserved. When I find it, I look at all the faces on that row and see if anyone of them looks like the kind that will give me the seat. All men. None respond. It’s like reading the rows and columns of a complicated table of figures, trying to find your value.
Even in the special "Women Only" compartment, women are often mobbed and harassed by men.
Some of them are elderly. But they’re men all the same. Do I deserve the seat more or do they? It’s a matter of weakness is it not? I may be a weak young woman, but he is old.. thus weak, and though a man, he is weaker than a weak young woman. So he gets the seat. That’s how it works.
Someone gets up. Me and another guy try and slide into the space from different ends. I get the seat but so does he. So actually I only got the edge of the seat. Now there are nine people in a row for seven.
“Please vacate seats for old, physically challenged and ladies,” said announcer aunty.
But why THAT order of infirmities? First old, then physically challenged, and after that ladies. Poor kids, forgot to add them in the string of ‘those who are of weak capacity’.
Do I want to be grouped with them?
“Please offer your seat to someone in need,” says the green sticker in the metro.
This is really the clincher of the issue. While it provides the answer, it does not provide the solution. Because how do you find who is in need or rather, who is in need more?
I’m a healthy young woman and I can stand for the thirty minute journey. But there are some days I’m carrying lots of stuff, or like last week when I was running a temperature. I considered asking a man for his seat but realized he was not sitting on the ladies’ row. So I went to the other side of the carriage and asked someone who was. But did I have to? Did I have to justify my claim to the seat that day? Did I have to go to the areas designated for my womanliness to be treated well?
According to the latest report from the National Crime Records Bureau, out of the 3,43,749 crimes against women that were reported, Delhi alone accounted for 13.2 per cent.
Dharini was slapped across the chest, in the Delhi metro ladies’ compartment, earlier this year. She says we need to Mend the Gap.
Sonali from Bangalore was roughed up by cops in Bangalore for going home late. She says we have a Right to Choose.
Slut Walk wants the public to know that no one can be raped, not even a slut.
Jaagori is asking for women to awaken.
I would like the freedom to be safe.
Like how about either of the teams opens a couple of beers and says, “In peace bro, enough of this nonsense, you can have the match if you want to.”
I know I know, this is not practical. And the game should go on, no need for this idealistic blabber. I agree with you. I’m just saying, for argument.
Its quite terrifying for me to think of the millions who have called in sick today or are not studying for exams, to sit at home and hope that Pakistan loses. I was asked to pray that India wins. Why do we Indians wait with bated breath for Pakistan to LOSE?
Exhibit A: “India has taken peace talks with Pakistan a bit too far by gifting them a place in the finals of the World Cup.” This is what a friend of mine had to say. This is racist, as far as I'm concerned, and hardly nationalistic.
I have never feared for my life, more than after this post =/
The '68 Revolution in France didn’t mean that deGaulle wasn’t reelected, because he was. In spite of how often we cite the protests today, in some respects they failed, because they were unheeded except by the future. There is a tendency for protests to go down this way.
But Egypt has overthrown its President of 30 years, and we have a new legendary square on the world map.
*walks like an Egyptian!*