Wednesday, February 15, 2017


One word which kept ringing in my head during my trip to Bihar was "unapologetic". Everything I saw or heard was in its raw form. There was no tact or attempted sweetness.
The Auto rickshaws did not wait for you to move off the road, but somehow without scratching you, they will pass right through. Driver will turn his eyes towards you for a brief second and then spit the pan on the other side. "Chawtiya" was his assessment of me followed by peels of laughter from the other cramped passenger whose one butt cheek was hanging like an overgrown pumpkin. I did not mind. Neither did I revert. I just smiled and walked. It was around 9 am. The market was already bustling. We stopped at a dingy sweet shop. The owner was sitting on a tall stool as if he was judging a tennis match between Rafa and Federer. We asked him the rates of the plates. He just showed us in and indicated V with his finger as his entire mouth was overloaded with Pan induced Saliva. The walls were never painted since Jay Prakash Narayan had died and nobody cared. Every time the man sitting on the stool wanted to call any waiter he would press on a spine-chilling ringer, I literally jumped off my seat. Waiters just smiled. This was their daily routine, no apologies, no thank you's, just plain and simple, unapologetic Bihar.
"khaana kha Liyeee"

Saturday, November 19, 2016


I don't know the name of the founder or the owner of the Kickass-Torrents site, and frankly, I never bothered about it. There was no Wikipedia entry on where he went to school. Did his ancestors come to America on a ship or an Alien craft? Nobody knows or cares. All I wanted is to just find the damn torrent, hook it to the Bit torrent and just wait till the download was complete. Nobody batted an eyelid and everything was hunky dory. I even thought it was all in good faith and purely legal. There were a couple of banners on the site saying get a VPN to avoid getting tracked. But, we the people of India are very well aware of the tech savviness of our  Police. Plus, who gets arrested for downloading a movie. No one.

The site had so many amazing features, you could search the movie by the genre and even by the actor's name. I remember once searching for Collin Farell movies and stumbling upon a gem of a movie called  In Bruges. What a movie it was. It was never released in India. None of my friends and immediate circle had even heard of it. I would have probably died in my late 90s without even watching it had it not for the kickass Torrents.

Now, that it is gone, I fondly recall it the way a man recalls his past flames during the mid-age crisis. A question comes to our mind, that why out of the blue was this gentleman, who was doing more good to people than the last 20 Presidents of United States of America combined, was arrested that too in a remote country in Europe. This rings a lot of bells.

Well, once again our friends in WikiLeaks have found the answer. The have gained access to the trove of emails exchanged between Kickass torrents and CIA.  Without killing your perfect night with more boring emails, I will cut to the chase and explain the whole scenario in simple English.

It has come to light, that our hero and CIA had a pact, a long-standing one. In lieu of the immunity from any kind of prosecution, CIA wanted some simple coordinates from him. What they would do with those coordinates, well that was none of his business.

Every day millions of people would go to the site and download whatever caught their fancy. I want to believe that he never tracked the downloaders or anything like that. But, he could locate the source of the download if he wanted to and make a note of the IP address. The same, if used correctly could easily lead to the physical location.  This was gold for NSA and CIA.

We all know what is happening in the Middle East. ISIS has occupied huge land mass, oil fields, and treasures. But, in all these war times, even terrorists want some relaxation. Even though ISIS Talent hunt team is working day and night to recruit more gullible girls, but the demand always exceeded the supply. Often these terrorists during night time, like many of us, used to open their laptops and go to the Kickass-Torrent site and look for the latest XXX video uploaded. This led CIA to their location, because who else would be downloading porn in the ISIS controlled Iraq.

This partnership went successfully for the last couple of years. But, something tipped off our hero and refused to be the source of these drone hits and he went AWOL. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky as Snowden. He was caught on the border while exchanging his passport for a safe passage. Rest is history. Suddenly, we wake up and find that the site no longer works.


That was that and let's come back to India and try to understand what is actually going on in Kashmir from the last couple of months. Things have really gone from bad to bat-shit crazy in just a couple of months.

As far as  Kashmiris are concerned the only major group or the section which they kind of fear is Jan Sangh, the erstwhile name of BJP-RSS cult. And it was only natural for them to react to the PDP-BJP coalition. If you see from the year 2008. There has been a cycle of some sort to bring every Chief Minister to his/her knees. It first started with Ghulam Nabi Azad, then Omar Abdullah and now Mehbooba. These separatists rake up one issue after other bringing the entire social machinery to a grinding halt. This is their leverage. That is why they are airlifted to AIIMS even for a butt- wart. They are invited to every Indo-Pak Banquet. This is their power. They want the Indian government to make a deal with them to stop shutting down their own city. And boy! haven't successive governments been just doing that?

It may come as a surprise to many, but there have been reports in the newspapers that Army officers negotiate for peace with the henchmen of these separatists. Imagine that. Money flows from the treasury to their coffers and for what?

But, this time around. We have a seasoned hawk in the PMO. Ajit Doval. The man who doesn't give in. He has actually called their bluff. How long can you shut-down? How long can you reimburse the common man for his loss of livelihood? How long can you expect people to support when your start burning the schools of their children? Just how long? It is 126 days now. And in this eyeball to eyeball situation the hawk eye of Doval is never going to blink.

All credit to PM Modi for having such no-nonsense people around him in PMO. He hand-picked Jitendra Singh as MoS PMO J&K State BJP unit. Jitendra Singh is a diabetologist who has been treating Kashmiri Pandits for almost two decades. After the migration, a huge percentage of Kashmiris unable to adjust to the new exile fell prey to hypertension, diabetes, and migraine. He has been a live witness to all this. One more thing about this gentleman. He has been a regular columnist for 25 years in the premier newspaper Daily Excelsior in J&K. Every Sunday I used to straight away turn to the editorial page to read his column Travesty of truth.

And while one may be tempted to call him an arm-chair strategist, but his election record proves otherwise. He slam-dunked the former CM of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad in a straight fight.

These two gentlemen, Doval and Singh, know the inside out of these separatists and are dealing with them the way it should be. They were the brain-trust behind the mention of Balochistan in the Independence speech of Modi. This took some heat off India regarding the Kashmir issue and put Pakistan under the international microscope.

My two paisa on this is that government should wait for this siege out. Let the people of the Kashmir understand that where would this stalemate lead them. Who is the real loser in this fight? Are separatists losing anything? Nope, they have their regular supply from the hawala. Their kids are studying in foreign countries. This stand-off only gives them international exposure.  Is is the Indian government going to get affected? The truth is no. J&K is a heat sink. With their GDP they cannot even pay the salaries of the mammoth army of the Public Servants. The private sector is non-existent. 80% of the population doesn't pay the taxes So, for Indian it just means a change of plan for the summer vacations, nothing more. Hope this actually etches onto minds and they can see truth from bullshit.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The cycle of Violence

Another body was lowered in the ground in Kashmir. This time the direction of the violence was from the other end of the Jawahar tunnel, an area which is known as the safest place in Jammu and Kashmir. It is almost a garrison town, surrounded by Army cantonments and ranges. The summers are less harsh in this area. I am talking about Udhampur, the place where the two kashmiri truckers were attacked.

I don't know whether their actions warranted this kind of vicious attack, or the other technicalities of the case. But, what I am worried about is the cycle of violence that will get unleashed aftermath.

More coffins, more graveyards, more protests, more violence. Again and Again. This time it is the cow-meat debate, next it would be Quran desecration, cartoon from Denmark. In short, any thing which is out of normal will lead to a complete breakdown of the normal life in the Valley.

When are we going to look up, take out our head from this sand. Has any one single journalist ever asked Mr. Geelani  where his kids are living. Are his children also a part of these protests. Are they leading some procession to the security forces camp? Have they endured the hardships of the police custody or anything remotely close to that?

How can Kashmiris be blind to these facts, the man who is claiming to be their messaih, has kept his kids and family safe in Dubai. Where they are living normal lives, working, studying far from the shutdowns, curfews, cross firings.

What have we gained in all these years except tears, death, blood shed. Is the lives of our youngsters so cheap, that we send them to pelt stones on the armed security forces.

Every time a kid gets killed or injured during the protests, instead of introspecting and halting the protests, we send another brain washed kid up the ladder. Another bullet gets fired, and somewhere some mother who doesn't know shit about the world politics ends up beating her chest as she looses the apple of her eye. Nobody can understand the pain of Kashmiri women. The have lost uncountable sons and husbands in this love triangle of militants, Pakistan and India since last three decades.

A leader brings stability and peace not death, he doesn't asks for your kids so that he can feed them to the bullets. We are at least 20 years behind any half-developed state in India. There is dearth of jobs, industries as well as opportunities.

Stop this cycle and let there be no more Zahids, or Shahids dying in the protests. We are the most politically aware state in India. Let's use our brains instead of hearts, let's forget the ghosts of the partition. Our future is hitched with India, the sooner we get that lesser the number of graveyards. Punjab is an shining example in front of us. Only public-will together with the support of the state police can end this scourge of militancy. No one else can do anything about it.

Ikk Kudi Jeda naam......Udta-Punjab-Review

Finally, the mavericks at Phantom have started to churn out movies which can both stir the social curry as well as money counters. 38.8 Cr in the opening weekend must have been a big deal for the producers. It's been a long time since the money came in crashing for them.

Udta Punjab is a treat to watch, for a lot of reasons. Is it an unconventional movie?Yes. Is it entertaining?Yes. Does it have a message for the society? Yes. Does Alia have an item Song? No. Sorry. She was not paid that much or even Kareena for that reason. 

The latent stench of a documentary has been well camouflaged behind the long flowing locks of Shahid Kapoor. Within ten minutes of the movie, you get a feel that the director means business. There is no excess social drama that usually forms the part of movies which are on Drug menace-A poor family with a little source of income and the main earning member hooked to the syringe-No, Sir. This one started right at the barbed Indo-Pak border of Punjab from where this stuff is pushed in.

Now, why of all states Punjab is hooked. Well, let me try to give you a concise explanation-Pakistan is our neighbor and its goal since inception has been the destruction of India. Now, once the top echelons of the Pak leadership realized that India cannot be fucked straight on, they took on the age old method of poisoning our roots, turning our people against us and smuggling every contraband ever invented by man. They first brought terror to Punjab. The Khalistan movement which was spearheaded by the legendary Bhindrawale was at its peak during the early eighties. Gurudwaras across were Punjab were agog with the chatter of the Sikh rebellion and formation of the separate Sikh country. Pakistan provided the movement with all the logistics and ammunition required.

Once Bhindrawale was killed in the Operation Blue Star the movement died. But, my flatmate who is a Punjabi tells me that Bindrawala is still revered among the youngsters in Punjab as Sant Bhindrawale. Songs full of words like "Bhindrawaley tere peccche assi hainge" can still be heard in college dorms.

So, the next plan of Pakistan was to be the DTDC for the contraband manufactured in Afghanistan. From what I have heard is that one kg of stuff can be made for only 1000 rupees in Afghanistan. Its value shoots up to 1 million on crossing the Pakistan border and by the time it reaches it the barbed wire between India and Pakistan it costs 10 million rupees. So, it serves both the purposes, getting the entire generation hooked and generating huge profits. These profits are then reinvested in propagating the Jehadi sentiments among the tribal youth in Afghan-Pak border and sending them to suicide mission across Pir Panchal.

The trailers of the movie were too much focussed on the antics of the Shahid Kapoor, who I think had a very limited role in the movie. He was just a motif, a live example to make it easy for the audience to relate to the situation as well as a comic relief.  For me, the main hero was the Daljit Dosanjh. Honestly, I had never even heard of Daljit before Udta Punjab. For Indians, everything is okay till the problem is outside the boundary walls of the house, but once the devil enters our house suddenly we are up in arms. This has been accurately captured through Daljit's character. 

Initially, he was shown as the Police guy complaining about the low rates of bribes at the check posts. And when the same stuff nearly ended his brother's life, he came to his senses and together with a doctor (Kareena) started to expose the system. 

From the sidelines, Punjab has been captured beautifully, the language, the rural settings and the scale of the issue. I guess a huge credit must be given to the screenwriters who made the camera cover all the aspects of this menace without once losing the flow for the audience. 

For people who  don't know the basics of the business got to see all spheres of the operations. The audience was exposed to the full supply chain of this operation. Right from the sourcing of the chemicals, manufacturing, transportation till distribution. Drugs trade or any illegal trade at such a large scale cannot stand without the express support of the administration and politicians.

In between this a parallel story of a young Bihari migrant girl was running its painful course. It was heart wrenching to see her plight. I think no actress could have done more justice to that difficult role than Alia Bhatt. At this point, you begin to appreciate the director's acumen. In all her movies, Alia Bhatt's "glamor" has been the main selling point. But, here she was without any makeup playing the role of a freckled and abused girl to the perfection. I am no expert but I found Alia's performance a new benchmark in Bollywood and she is still 23.  

I think her suffering actually struck the chord with the audience and they must have left the cinema halls with heavy hearts and thinking how the fuck we let this happen to the Land of Five Rivers. 

That is what should be the ultimate goal of a filmmaker. To expose the ugly side of the society and get a debate started on the issue. And mind you, this movie has exactly done it. There were full efforts by HIGHER powers to scuttle the release of the movie. But the makers stood their ground. Finally, the Censor board relented and it was released as per schedule without any cuts. Censor board got its revenge by leaking the copy on the internet, but that didn't hurt the movie much.

Any feedback and comments will be welcome.

I wanted to write Jason Bourne's review too, but I dozed off. But, you please go ahead and enjoy it.

For those who have not listened to the beautiful track, Ikk Kudi.

Here's the link:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Rage of Arjun

Sun had already begun his descent. Maybe, he could no longer bear to look at the mayhem humans had created on the battlefield. Dead bodies of soldiers lying on the ground for miles. Hordes of Hyena’s and Vultures were fighting over the carcasses.

The main architect of this carnage was not stopping even to take a breath as if some devil had taken hold of him. It was just difficult to digest the fact that a week ago same warrior refused to take up arms. Even the lord of three worlds who had reins of the horses in his hands looked perturbed. There was no stopping him. It seemed that Kauravas had already surrendered to his might.

Arjun’s quiver was fast emptying as the sunset was close. Kaurava foot soldiers were praying for the day to end. His deadly arrows have rained on them, piercing men and animals, earth and sky alike. It would take them all night to clear bodies which Arjun had left in his wake.
It was the bloodiest day yet in the Mahabharata.

On the other side of the Kurukshetra, the holy battlefield, other equally powerful warrior was getting the regular news on the exploits of Arjun, he was not too worried, though. “He is the only one, once I finish him, they will crumble like an aunt hill”, he thought.

Karan took out his lethal arrow, this arrow was a gift from a Sadhu he had once saved during floods. This arrow could pierce thousand people in one go and then return to the quiver same as before. He had planned to use it later but Arjun’s antics forced his hand. He wanted to finish the day at a high note for his Army.

To access the arrow, he had to say solemn mantras which were taught to him by the Sadhu. For that he needed a moment. 

From a faraway place, Yudishtar sensed what Karan was doing. He thought of informing Arjun or Bheem, but then he realised he needs to stop Karan himself or it will be too late. 

He ordered his charioteer to take him close to Karan’s chariot. It didn’t take him long to get close to the mighty warrior and see him hand folded saying his prayers. 

Yudishtar bought out his conch and blew it loudly  to announce that he was challenging the mighty Karan. Everyone was surprised, nobody challenged Karan, that was the unwritten rule.

Karan opened his eyes, he was surprised to see Yudhistar standing in his chariot ready to fight.

“Oh! mighty Son of Pandu, I hope you have not given up so soon”, Karan mocked him. “What brings you here? Turn back and I will not harm you. I don’t want Kunti to cry over you so soon.”

“Mock me as much as you can, we may have come from the same mother but this evening world will know that those who stand with evil will eventually fall.”

“Yudishtar, who is evil and who is not, is a tough question. We warriors do not concern ourselves with those questions. That is not our job. The hand that feeds us is the hand we abide by. Since, you have infuriated me, be prepared for the fury I am about to unleash.

With this a barrage of arrows escaped from the bow of Karan and pierced every inch of the Yudishtar’s body, surprisingly they didn’t go that deep. They just drew a small amount of blood and pierced the skin, Those arrows were not meant to kill and Karan saw to that.

Yuidshtar’s charioteer was not that lucky, one stray arrow was enough to kill him. Pandav king was unable to stand up now. Karan got down from his chariot and helped him to stand, took off his metal vests and handed him over to his foot soldier.

The news spread like a wildfire in both the camps. “Karan sent the eldest Pandav brother without clothes and chariot". It was was like honey to the Kaurava princes

Everyone was wary of Arjun’s reaction. Yudishtar was put up in the Vaidya tent. He was unable to even turn his head. Injury marks were all over his body, even the medicinal paste applied by the Vaidya couldn’t keep the pain in check. 

Arjun had just returned from the battlefield. He was busy taking off his heavy armour, it took three people to lift that. He was about to sit to eat when Bheem barged and spilled the beans.

Arjun grabbed the nearest sword and ran out. Bheem tried to stop him, but the look in Arjun’s eyes rooted him in his place, he followed Arjun and sent the guard to Krishna to come fast. Bheem had this bad feeling. 

Arjun could see nothing, anger had blinded his eyes, blood was pulsating in his ears. He could hear nothing. Hundreds of men tried to stop him, but they just found the ground. Arjun was like a mad elephant, trampling anything that came in his way.

The naked sword in his hands wanted blood. Today was the day this ended, thought Arjun. 

As soon as he barged the attendants left the tent quickly. Yudishtar was stuck with fear.

“I wish you had died on the battleground, I would have burned you proudly. But you have hung my head in shame today. Are you really our brother?"

Arjun howled. 

“ He was summoning a lethal arrow, it would have killed a quarter of our army and there was no one to stop him.” Yudihtstar pleaded.

“I killed 10 thousand men today and lost another half, this is war. Nobody will come alive out of it. It has swallowed the mighty Bheeshma and you think you saved a thousand men by running naked from Karan. What a laugh Kauravas must be having on your expense? Tonight I will finish what Karan has left unfinished. Let the world know that cowards have no place in this brave clan of Pandu”

“Arjunnnnnnnnnnn…….kill me if you want to, but hold your poisonous tongue. I have always followed Dharma”. Yudhistra had tears in his eyes.

“Dharma!!!!!” Arjun started laughing loudly. "Which Dharma are you talking about? You are the root cause of every misfortune that has ever befallen our family. Who inspired you to play dice with that handicapped devil from the far east mountains? Was it the Lord Indra himself?  Who gave you the authority to gamble our lives? Were we your slaves? and you were the reason Draupadi was disrobed in full public view while she was bleeding. The blood of all the people who have died since that day is on your hands and you talk of Dharma. Yudishtar, I will be surprised if you will find a place even in the underground. You will die a dog’s death and wander in the as a ghost. And today, I will see to it that you get that”.

As soon as Arjun lifted the sword, Krishna appeared out of now where. 

“Parth, what are you doing?”

“Lord!! tell me why he should live after today. He ran away naked from our greatest enemy Karan. He is the black spot on our history and today I will have his head. From tomorrow onwards no one will be able to mock Pandava’s”.

“What has gotten into you? You think just because you are the greatest warrior, that gives you the authority to mock everyone. He is your elder brother, in case you have forgotten.”

“ Lord, how can I forget it, but I would rather have Shikhandi as our elder brother. It is because of him we have been reduced to paupers. We do not have a single village to call our own. From last 12 years, our women and  children are living like tribals. We sleep at night not knowing whether we will have a place to sleep tomorrow. We have trailed through darkest of the  jungles, fought and killed half the demons there. When the real demon is lying in front of me. I want to end his life and mine next. I cannot have him sully the name of the Mighty Pandu anymore. I cannot live with this.”

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Deja vu

Mr. Rama Reddy is a man of habits and punctuality. He is the village head or commonly referred as the Sarpanch of his village named Pulluru. His village is one of the hundred villages surrounding the town, YS Gate, which is again 15 KM away from Chittoor.

Mr. Rama Reddy is about 6 feet in height, stout, and no extra flab.  Years of working in field helps later in the age. His sun brunt dark skin is the testimony for that. He has very prominent wrinkles on his forehead. May be, he thinks too much.

Like all mornings, Mr. Reddy again woke up today at sharp 6 AM. With his years of discipline and will power, he no longer needs an alarm to wake him up. His eyes would open exactly at 6 AM. This morning was no different.

He unlocked his gate first, took a round of his small garden in the courtyard. Filled the water buckets and kept them in front of cattle. This took exactly 15 minutes.

At 6.15 AM sharp, he was in his bathroom. Singing religious hymns, he poured two buckets of cold water. He uses clay instead of soap. He was able to afford soaps after his teenage years, but then couldn’t change. Old habits die hard.

At 6.30 AM, he was back in his room. He wore a well laundered and ironed Kurta and Dhoti.

Every day after taking a bath, he cycles to the town YS Gate, which is 4 kms away from Pulluro, where all other Village Heads congregate for chit-chats and discussions. It was held at exact 7.30 AM every morning. For the last 15 years, since Mr. Reddy became the Village Head, he has never been late and in fact, never reached beyond 7.20 A.M. Punctuality was religious to him. During the meeting they would drink strong filter coffee from the nearby stall. After 45 minutes, the meeting is over and without further ado; everyone proceeds to their respective homes.

Today, the morning air had that chill which bore a bit of moisture in it. By the time Mr. Reddy reached Gate, it was already cloudy. The clouds were darkish and a downpour was on the cards.
Mr. Reddy was so engrossed in the discussion; he was unaware that showers had already begun outside. After the meeting, everyone huddled under the coffee stall.

It was already 10 minutes and there was no sign of rain abating. It has started thundering also. Every one present started getting calls from their homes checking for their whereabouts, except Mr. Rama Reddy. He gets very conscious of this fact and starts fidgeting with his phone in his pocket. He also wanted his wife to call him. He again checked; no vibration, no ring.  Finally buckling under the peer pressure, he takes out the phone and fakes a call to his wife, reassuring her that he was on his way.

The coffee stall vendor pointed out this to others with his eyes. Everyone feels for him.

Reddy was furiously pedaling. His dhoti was splattered with mud. He didn't want to be late. His wife always has breakfast with him. It was a sort of tradition.

Earlier when there were no phones, his wife used to ask the people coming from that road whether they had seen her husband. Someone may have seen him on the way, talking to somebody or stopping by. Hearing this, she would still wait standing at the door till she saw him.
Then the telephones came. She would call him at the meeting hall just when the meeting was over. Now these bloody mobile phones.

“She doesn't bother at all; the old woman wants me to call all the time, why can’t she call?” He was nodding his head while cycling. At the same time, his one hand went to his chest pocket checking for vibrations. He still wanted a call from her asking anxiously about his whereabouts. He was mentally preparing answers to her questions; that it was heavily raining or someone offered him coffee blah blah.

Even after 50 years of marriage, these things matter.

Now he is just 1 KM away from his home, completely drenched, rain has almost stopped. But still the scowl was there on his face. “Today I will skip breakfast and not speak to her for the whole day. That should teach her”, he was mumbling to himself.

 Ahead of him is a funeral procession He had to get down and walk besides his bicycle.

The constant and loud chanting’s of ‘RAM NAAM SATYA HAI’ irritated him. “Why is Lord’s name irritating me”, he ponders.

Suddenly, he has a sort of Déjà vu. He quickens his pace lest someone sees him. He moves ahead of the procession and pedals very fast. Rain starts again from where it left. He is no longer hearing the chants. He stops at the road side. The whole stretch of road is empty. This loneliness engulfs him.

He breaks down into tears. He buries his face in his hands and cries his heart out.

His wife died two months back.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10 people you would love to avoid at all costs

1. Nothing can be more frightful than a demonic scorn of a pissed off girlfriend. In olden days, it could have burnt you to the ground.

2. Colleagues, who side stepped you to promotion. You are no longer a big hug bunny to them.

3. Profs, whose courses you flunked. You may be a big shot manager by now, but you will always try not bump into him/her, during the alum meets.

4. Neighborhood Uncle and Aunt, who know your academic record like the Sachin’s centuries.

5. Relatives and family friends whose wards have foreign degrees and their parents can’t shut up about that; nor can yours.

6. That one cousin in your family, who shared the same crush as you.

7. Few school and college friends, you no longer feel connected to. Just share few old jokes and pass on mate.

8. Your weed dealer, if he is under arrest.

9. Landlord, when you bring a girl over for a ‘Night Cap’.

10. Former classmate, whose ‘Diaper-Delivering’ start-up just got a funding of 1 million from a VC, while you bide your time napping in the cubicle.