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Friday, 26 April 2013

I,Rapist - 2

Dear Rapist,

I shudder from top to toe when I write ‘Dear’ but then my values do not permit me to start with anything else. I read with interest and some amusement your note, your autobiography as you call it:This--> .

I could decipher the snigger and sarcasm dripping out of every syllable that the note carried. I could feel your sense of being ‘untouchable’ and your complete confidence in yourself to get away with murder as the expression is. Not to mention your tone which was patronizing and reeks of “I am like this only and you can’t do a thing about it”. I concede you, your moment of mirth and indeed agree on a few of your accusations regarding the way I have treated the women as second class citizen. But I also sense something more from your note. A sense of desperation, of fear, of defeat, of screws tightening around you.  You knew it the moment you accused me of mainstreaming you. Mainstream! No longer will you be able duck under the radar; no longer will I allow you to disappear from our collective conscience. Your mask of anonymity is pulled off, your cloak of mystery shred to pieces. Nothing, just nothing is going to restore your peace of mind.  The reams of newsprint, hours of primetime television as you say is after you 24/7. From social media to chatrooms, you are being disrobed across the world, real and virtual. The spotlight as they say is now firmly on you and nothing is going to take it away. Every time a politico says something senseless, you get the brickbats along with him. Every self styled godman who spouts medieval wisdom, has the kitchen sink thrown at him and you. Every time a youth on a strike shouts “We want Justice”, you get a step closer to being brought to it. And every time the police look the other way, I know they too will be in the docks keeping you company. No more dark alleys to hide, you are here, there, everywhere and I will keep it that way. You still think you are beyond my reach?

What you refer to in your note is just what is physically visible on the ground and you guffaw at measures which have failed to completely uproot you. No, I am not looking for tougher laws to rein you in as you suspect. No, I am not talking death penalty as it has never worked and never will. 24/7 policing I know it is not feasible. Chemical castration is like locking the stables after the horses have bolted. They are not a deterrent strong enough to hold you back. Did I hear you mutter “Then how?”?
You have only scratched the surface and as one would expect from you, are unable to look inside my subconscious. What you have failed to notice is the change in me. I, Husband, who could not stand up for my wife in a patrilineal household, am now standing up for my daughter. I,Mother who bore all the biases silently is now saying no to your domination. I,Son who was the prima donna in the society am now ready to take up cudgels on behalf of my sister. And I,Women, whom you tried by all means to eliminate and subjugate, am here not as a weakling but as an educated, independent, confident and empowered being. Empowerment! Guess you would never understand this word! And I am not referring to Gen-Next; I am Gen-Now, here and now.  No longer will you bully me with the fear of Shame!  No longer am I worried of hiding your deeds under the carpet in the name of Family honour, fear of seclusion, afraid of living a life of a recluse. I have mainstreamed you, I am changing the mindset of the dark ages and I am closing the easiest escape route that you took by putting ‘kudumba gauravam’ below the well being of my woman, my girl! I have got you cornered, hurting you where it hurts most. Through my mindset. I have learnt that to send you to ‘in’, I have to come ‘out’ into the open. Pun intended! Is that a frown that I notice developing on you face Mr. Rapist?

Long haul, you said? Yes! I know it is. A very long haul at that. It is a slow process indeed. Mindsets developed over millennia do not change that fast or easily. The process has begun, slowly but surely. It gains momentum by the minute and sooner rather than later will snowball into a deluge never seen before. A revolution that will permanently wipe off that smirk of yours! It is now but a matter of time. Welcome, be my guest, be a cynic! So were many more once, till 15th August 1947 happened. The second freedom movement is well and truly underway.

 As my parting gift, here are a few lines which you can sing to yourself during the lonely life that awaits you in the nether world Mr. Rapist:

“The mindset of the dark ages which enslaves us,
 Is being set to a bonfire!
Slavery is a thing of the past,
 Men and women will live as equals in this great land of ours!”

I, Hope!

PS: The verse is from Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi’s immortal Tamil song “Viduthalai Viduthalai” (Freedom,Freedom). For helping me understand the soul of these awe inspiring lines and for this link (third stanza) my humble Namaskaram to Shri R.Janakiraman, @periyakulam! Thank you Sir!

Friday, 19 April 2013


I hate you! Rather I have developed this hatred for you since the past few months. Here I was blissful in anonymity; post the deed well done, till you mainstreamed me. Many things have been written about me recently ranging from uninformed, well intentioned but wrong, stupid, outrageous and some bordering on downright hilarious to say the least. All this attention though is bothering me no end, not to mention the downright libelous things being spoken about me.  Well the last straw did break the back and hence I take it upon myself to set the record straight so that one can reach my authentic autobiography. I, your friendly neighborhood Rapist.
Why shouldn’t I rape her? It is all her fault. For wasn’t she the one who bit the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden?  Hence she is an object to be killed when she is a foetus. Should she survive this attempt, she must either be abandoned or as my midwife friends in many villages do, fed with a liberal dose of ‘Aralippal’ to put her in eternal slumber. But we know this girl is a pretty tough species to get rid of easily. So we must prepare her to a life suited for her. Education did you say?  Why, when all she has to do is to listen to me, that’s all the intelligence she requires. Household chores she must learn because she is a servant. She should eat last, less, left over or starve as she is inferior. She should be prepared to be wed/sold as and when it catches my fancy or the need arises to the highest bidder. Isn’t she ‘Paraya Dhan’ anyway? (Disposable property my Tamil friends, welcome!) Why shouldn’t I profit from this ‘dhan’? She shouldn’t wear clothes of her choice, love and marry as she wishes, go where she wants after dark, decide her destiny, nothing. These go on to make her a person of bad character. Of course she will wear revealing clothes for films, sell flesh in every market from Kamathipura to Sonagachi and more, will walk the streets after dark to pick hungry customers when I say so! I have been raping her in million different ways and here are you, the ignoramus, raising a hue and cry for a simple act of intercourse against her wishes or an odd tap to her vagina with an iron rod.

STOP! If you get the impression that I am some sort of a fiend, I think it is my duty to correct you here and now! I love women, nay worship her.  Haven’t you seen me in temples from Kashmir to Kanyakumari offering clothing, jewellery, ‘prasad’ to her? Haven’t you seen me offer my hair as a mark of respect at Velankanni? Haven’t you seen me cover her in a protective black tent so as to avoid your ‘evil eye’?  Every ‘aadi maasam’ I organize festivals for her and feed ‘koozh’ to poor in her name.  I take ‘padayatra’ to Deorala in respect of her supreme sacrifice of joining her husband in his funeral pyre and become ‘Rani Sati’. I deck up the entire city of Kolkata, nay the entire state of Bengal and more to celebrate her annual arrival during Pooja and its Gujrati/Tamil variant ‘Navratri’. I try my best to stop her from visiting ‘mazaar’ of ‘Pir’ like Haji Ali lest they get afraid of spirits. I have even developed dance forms like ‘Garbha’ to celebrate the ‘sacred womb’ that she is blessed with. In Thiruchengode in Tamil Nadu is a temple where I have given half the body of Lord Shiva to her, ‘ArdhaNarishwaran’ as we call him. (Ardha-Half, Nari-Women, Ishwaran – Lord, Welcome). What more can I say about my ‘devotion’ for her!

I, Rapist have been outraged by this incessant focus on me being a pervert, a sadist, an animal and what not. My village background, my lack of education, my lack of ‘cool quotient’, my class, even my race, geography I belong to, has been dissected in reams of newsprint and hours of primetime television.  I mean that’s like missing the trees for the woods. Since when has education, urban background, bulging bank balance, ‘upmarket’ community or south Indian geography prevented me? I rape, period. Class, region, education, BPL status, age, religion no bar. Please note, I rape because I have been programmed to treat her like a worthless piece of garbage that she is. I rape, every minute, every day! And if you still want me punished, let the man who has never sinned throw the first stone! Amen!
Now where did she go??.................................

                                                                         --- End of Part 1---

Part 2 is in the offing. If you are not already disgusted with this ‘Mirror’ that is…………

Saturday, 13 April 2013

My Friend - Rahul Dravid

“Anand………Bangalore……..St.Joseph’s, two years senior to Rahul!”

If you were a resident of Bangalore and a Josephite , it is mandatory that your introduction would not be complete without reference to the batch you studied in, relative to Rahul Dravid. Suffices to say that Rahul’s tenure at St.Joseph’s College was a benchmark almost at par with BC/AD in the Christian history  for the alumnus of this great institution. And two year seniority in the college was good enough to command a “Sir” from the freshers including the man who went on to Captain the Indian Cricket team and shrugged/smiled every time someone mentioned the mundane and lifeless nickname, The Wall. Of course we were on to first name basis once the ragging period cooled off!
I would be lying if I said the entire college wasn’t sure that RD would play for India and with distinction no less. We were confident; nay convinced that the heir to the great Gundappa Vishwanath was amidst us. Also secretly happy that finally we had an endangered species from Karnataka in the Indian team because post GRV and Brijesh Patel, the marquee players from the State were all bowlers who could at best throw their bats around in hope. Names like Jumbo Kumble, Venky Prasad, Babu Srinath, Dodda Ganesh, Sunil Joshi, Roger Binny et el were all people who lived by trying to make the ball talk. Happy that finally the bat would speak for the city!

If you are expecting that I would be dwelling on RD the player, then I would have to disappoint you. What more can I write about the Legend that has not been  already written, by wordsmiths who either make a living doing it or are much, much more well versed with their ability to dissect the gentleman’s game. What you can expect though are a few nuggets about someone whom you call The Wall, Rahul, Dravid, RDX(?),Jammy and I call a friend. And one, from whom I am proud to say I have learnt so much. I am not at all ashamed to admit so even though I am ‘two years senior to Rahul’, remember?

One of my meetings was when Jam had just quit the Captaincy of the Indian Cricket team. While nursing a drink in the Oberoi lounge, I could feel Jam, for the first time show signs of fatigue. And as close friends generally would know this was serious. What the best bowlers in World cricket, toughest of conditions, crisis prone Indian batting line up, pressures of reinventing his game to suit the slam-bang version, misguided barbs of illiterate fans who questioned his strike rate in test matches, the constant glare of 24/7 media couldn’t do to him, this one incident had managed to, pierce that legendary composure. As I was about to enquire into what was happening , a disgusted Jams stopped me from even broaching the subject. “Andy, please not today and anything but THIS today!” he pleaded. If one could be happy and sad at the same time, this was the moment. Sad, to see my dear friend going through the turmoil and happy that he chose me to spend a quiet evening with on such a day. I respected his request and we spent the next couple of hours talking about everything that the youth of Bangalore do except Cricket. Two things about my friend were reinforced that day. There was something seriously murky going on in the circles that run Cricket in India, that it became impossible for Jam to carry on with something he valued so much, the Indian Captaincy. And he will not be a party to something that his conscience didn’t permit. The other was, unless somebody from the then dressing room or from the management, fell out and squealed for either getting back at the powers that be or for 30 pieces of Silver, we will never know what went on during that phase. Jam will not open his mouth to spew filth. He is too dignified to even contemplate such an action.

The recent meeting was after he had excused himself from the assignment to do commentary on TV to prepare for IPL. This was the usual cheerful Jammy who showed up that day, this time at Taj Westend. “You know Yushi, sitting in a airconditioned cubicle and spouting wisdom is a walk in the park in comparison to the sweat and tears one sheds on the field!” he joked. Not surprisingly he gave me small lecture on the art of doing running commentary during cricket matches. “The most important thing is you must listen well, before answering”, “Never rush into an opinion unless well thought out, there is more time available than one thinks there is”, “it is not how much you speak but what you speak that is important” he went on. The same old dear dear meticulous Jammy! He must, absolutely must excel in whatever he took up.

Now with the CLT20 already underway, guess I would have to be satisfied with seeing him in the Royals’ jersey from the stands.  And I fear maybe for the last time! But I am willing to bet he will finish the tournament with his already sky high reputation further enhanced.  Jammy! Never said this before mate, but thought I should let you know. Thanks Mate for accepting this mere mortal as your friend.
PS: I wish whatever I wrote above were true and Rahul Dravid had indeed been my friend! I, needless to add, believe in every word I have typed in about him except the ‘My friend’ part! God! What I would not give for this to be real and not just a figment of my fertile imagination, not a piece of fiction which it is!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tomar Naam ki?

What s in a name said the bard?  And we now know that he was, at least on this occasion, far removed from the reality. Name!!! Of course it is important. Very important. Imagine being stuck with a nomenclature which does not ooze class or style from every alphabet. Or being called out loudly in an ‘up market’ gathering with a ‘down market’ brand name?? Haven’t you heard of that young man who cringed every time he was addressed by his very holy name “SaDayan” lovingly given to him by his pious parents as a mark of devotion to the family deity? Or the young lady who contemplated suicide because she was branded for life with a ‘oh so vernacular’ Akhilandeshwari? And of course you have heard of Aayush who though very happy with a modern sounding and suitably ethnic-chic name, was so annoyed at friends in school calling him ‘Aai’! (For the uninitiated, ‘Aai’ in Tamil is what you flush out every morning , Welcome!)

Innumerous are the cases where notices are filed on hourly basis with notaries across the country for a ‘Change of Name’.  If you don’t believe me, try browsing through the classified advertisement page of your newspaper. It is nothing but the case of taking matters in one’s own hands because you don’t want to be stuck to the misguided decisions of your parents who had no clue of what branding and brand equity is all about. There is an instance that I had read about where the young daughter fought with her parents and won the right to change her name to “Nayantara” after her favorite film star, much to the dismay of them who thought the entire exercise was one of needless blackmailing. Especially, when she had a perfectly divine and pure Tamil name in ‘Kuzhalvaimozhi’. I must confess though that I am yet to hear of a case of anyone converting to Christianity or Islam because they love Michel Jackson or Salman Khan.

My tryst with name/names took a turn to the serious once I reached Kolkata during the Bharat Darshan as we kids in the family used to call my father’s frequent transfers. (It was called Calcutta those days but we will let it pass! And Since many dialogues in this paragraph are in Bengali , the translations are in the bracket, “We never disappoint our readers” being my motto). On day one, the gentle landlady caught me with a “Tomar naam ki?” (What is your name?)  Anand I said. “Eto choto naam ?”  She said (Such a short name?).  Anand Natarajan I said. “Kintu title ta kee?” She persisted. (What is your title?) That stumped me as cleanly as Thala M S Dhoni behind the wickets. This called for research I thought and embarked on one.

This called for research.......

The data was quite revealing to say the least. For those not accustomed to Bengalispeak, “Title” is not anything like the one conferred on Sir Garfield Sobers by the Queen or the Padma Bhushan conferred on Rahul Dravid. It is not even the King Khan, Ulaganayagan kind of signatures bestowed by lazy film journos. “Title” to cut the story short is nothing but ones surname. My research into Bengali names delivered gems like the following:
1.       Most Bengali names are not authentic Bengali if they do not have three parts. Example Swapan Chandra Dey, Indra Mohan Kundu, Uttam Kumar Haldar i.e., First name, Middle name, “Title”.
2.       “Titles” among Bengalis are as many as the pot holes on the Kolkata roads which in the last count were…………you get the drift I am sure.
3.       You have titles which are pan India in nature like, Pal, Sinha, Roy etc.
4.       Two-in-one titles like Roy-Chowdhury, Dutta-Gupta, Das-Gupta.
5.       Titles with hangover of the Raj where Chattopadhyay, Mukhopadhyay, Gangopadhyay became Chatterjee, Mukherjee and Ganguly because the Brits couldn’t pronounce the original. (Forget Dada my Madrasi friends, you aint no fan of his if you cannot pronounce Saurab Chandi Gangopadhyay).
Puro Naam Title shoho!

Armed with the above knowledge I prepared myself with my ‘puro naam’ and was ready for that eventual question which will pop up with regularity. Below is a verbatim version of my subsequent interview with a soon-to-be friend:

He: Tomar Naam Ki?
Me: Anand.
H: Eto Choto naam?
M: Anand Natarajan.
H: Title ta ki?
M: No title.
H: Ki kore shombhob? Puro naam ta bolo title shaho! (Can’t be, entire name please with title)
M: Keezhambur Ramaier Srinivasa Nataraja Anand Aiyer!
H: Eto boro naam! (Such a long name!)