The A-Z of ISM Dhanbad

A- Aloo

The staple food ingredient of every student-mess of our college. I think if I were able to stack all the potatoes that I’ve seen people consuming in the past 4 years, it would easily surpass Burj Dubai in height.

B- Bakchodi aka BC

The favourite past time of every ISMite. If Tbc be the time spent in bakchodi and Ts, Tec, To  be the times spent in studies, extracurricular activities and other activities combined, then

Tbc = 10(Ts+Tec+To)

 Bank More

The Times Square of Dhanbad. Umm, well not necessarily in scale and appearance but certainly in its utility. Bank More is certainly the commercial heart throb of the town, and the hotspot when it comes to food and drink, with due stress on the latter!

 Bhokali

Bhokali(adj.)- Well, not necessarily the brawny guy with long curls that we all remember from Raj comics, but usually someone who has made a mark. Now the definition of ‘mark’ is well, quite exhaustive and can range from securing a foreign intern to scoring the best (of the lot) chick on the campus!

C- Carry

Less frequent than a Suppli (see ‘S’ below), but still frequent enough to make it to this list. Let’s just say, some people like to take it easy in life. The administration understands this fact and co-operates with them completely. Subject achcha nahi laga? Iss saal paas nahi hona chahte? Koi baat nahi beta, agle saal exam de dena!

D- Dhaiyya, Doomer

While the former qualifies as the Official Hangout Zone#2 for the single guys on the campus (with the committed ones being found in the diagonally opposite zone, see R below), especially those in the Sapphire, Topaz and Amber hostel, the latter is the Official Sutta Joint #2.

Dhakkan

Dhakkan literally means ‘bottle cap’. Figuratively, Dhakkan is the last man in his branch, ranked as per our great IIT-JEE system!

E- End-Sems

The most dreaded phrase and phase on the campus. 5 days of hell, every 4 months. But don’t pity us people, we are engineers. Fuck yeah!

Equator

And what’s the most favourite phrase? E-Q-U-A-T-O-R. The nectar-serving heaven which attracts almost every guy and girl of this campus at least once. And for many, much more than once!  Dim lighting, posters of Bollywood classics and bartenders that make you feel-at-home (Sushil bhaiyya \m/), it’s not just a bar, it’s WUNDERBAR!

F-Fame

Ancient single screen theatres, with shabby furniture and rats for company, were the only way for ISMites to enjoy movies on the 72mm screen. Come Fame Cinemas in 2008, and Dhanbad, ISM in particular, has never looked back. Whether it’s bunking the Friday/Monday classes for cheap morning shows or getting those expensive corner couches in the matinee (for a complete ‘cinematic’ experience) everyone just loves Fame.( And those Bollywood movies’ dialogues over every urinal in the washroom, boy that is some hilarious shit!)

Foreign Intern

Basically it’s a go-out-and-fucking-enjoy-your-life thing disguised as an educational ‘achievement’. Yeah right! I know what most guys intend to ‘achieve’ when they are in phoren land. And it certainly can’t be mentioned in their CVs.

Fundae

The birthright of every ISMite. And they shall give it. Your choice doesn’t count!

G- GPL

GPL stands for G***D pe laat- The reason why our generation started believing that a birthday can be a pain in the ass. Literally.

(See how I censored the Hindi slang while I let the English ones go unscathed! That’s how we Indians roll!)

H- Halder

Official Sutta Joint #1. And for a shopkeeper in Tier 2 city, this guy has got quite a sense of sarcasm and humour (Guys sure do remember the posters asking people not to use abusive language or come knocking in after 11pm). Also known for his street fighting skills! All the more reason for him to be here in this list.

I- IIT Dhanbad

An elusive dream, a matter of national debate, an eye sore and a lie that each one of has resorted to at least once in our 4 year stint at ISM/IIT Dhanabd! Sometimes to deceive others, sometimes to deceive ourselves!

ISM Discount

The only other (and better) use of our I-cards is the revered 10% discount. Trust me, it might seem passable, but when the bill runs upwards 10k, that’s one of those moments when you truly feel proud to be an ISMite!

J- Jawaani

The most wasted commodity on the campus.

K- Khokhe

Khokha(n)- A blatant lie/ overly exaggerated rumour, most often told with the idea of gaining 15 minutes of fame.

There’s a famous, though tacit, saying that goes around in the campus- “Sensationalism is my birthright, and I shall have it!”

Karra

Karra(adj.)- Sounds awesome. Means awesome!

Kholu

The opposite of Dhakkan. Mr. Numero Uno. The fool who led others into the hell pit.

L- Lack of girls

Male batch mates- 400+. Female batch mates- Around 30 (Ballpark???). Thus, I rest my case.

Litti-Chokha

I am not supposed to say anything negative about this or the Biharis would kill me. Probably death by suffocation from Litties (I just made up that plural). And chokha. Lots of chokha.

M- Matiyao

Matiyaana(v)- Procrastination to the power 10.

The universal reply to every dilemma/ doubt/ question in ISM. Should I elaborate? Matiyaoooo!

Main Canteen

There are college canteens and then there’s ISM’s main canteen. The great M/s Daffodil’s serves you the (un)freshest food possible in the most (un)courteous manner possible . And with cows and dogs running around playfully, you are sure to never have a dull moment. Your favourite profs are around too, so there ain’t no bitching possible, bitch! If only it wasn’t for Balram bhaiyya and his ‘Maggi ho gaya’, the only people visiting the canteen would be the local school kids and some odd Dhanbadi couples. Talking of them, I really feel sorry for those poor chaps! I mean their hangout zone is our canteen?? LMAO!!

Mani’s

Sasta, (not so) sundar and definitely not tikau either. But, this southie food joint shares an old connection with the ISM campus. Best thing is it remains open even during the times of traditional North-Indian festivals! 😉 😛

Mid-sem

The only joke that admin and students laugh together at.

N- Night-out

Sometimes, it’s just easier to stay awake till the 8am class than to wake up for it!

O- Opal Hostel

First year hostel/ Scene of all the introduction and ISM culture ‘crimes’. Which stopped occurring after we came in second year. Dafuq is the problem with MHRD?

P- Pothebaazi

Pothebaazi(v)– The act of initiating, participating in or encouraging any activity which is so much boring that it rips off people’s testicles(pothe).Literally, of course!

BC and light pothebaazi usually go hand in hand, but some people in the campus have dedicated their lives to the sole purpose of become the deadliest ball-reapers alive on the planet.

Placement

What it all boils down to in the end. Every single sin you ever committed on this campus is washed away in the November Rain (Usually with the aid of a huge ‘dumper’ from CIL!).

Porn/Pondy

Self  XXXplanatory.

Politics aka Poli

That time when everyone starts thinking they are the re-fucking-incarnation of Chankaya, going around playing the ‘satta ka khel’! L.A.M.E.

Q- Question Paper

A fancy name for a potpourri of the last 2-3 years of question papers. Yeah it’s kind of an endless loop!

R- RD

The heartbeat of ISM and the essence of ISM culture. Late Ram Dhani (aka RD) ji’s tea shop is one of those few places in the campus that lets you get out of all the brouhaha attached with engineering, and enjoy a cup of peace and happiness with your friends.

 Ruby Lane

The lover’s lane of ISM Dhanbad. Stays barren during the day but livens up after sunset. I won’t go into further details!

S- Suppli

The ‘Motichoor ka laddoo’ of ISM Dhanbad. Jo khaaye woh pachhtaaye, aur na khaane waala padh padh ke apni marwaaye!

Srijan

It is supposed to be, in fact touted to be the biggest cultural event in all of eastern India’s colleges…….BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Station/Sher-e-Punjab

Yes, one has to actually travel all the way to the Dhanbad station if one’s feeling hungry after 11 in the night. Sooner or later everyone comes to terms with this sad state of nightlife in Dhanbad. And the fact that at Sher-e-Punjab (an average ‘Sardar ka Dhaba’)  you are eating in the same plate that probably a dozen people ate in before, and that the curry has a fair share of the cook’s sweat.

Sutta

Being a teetotaler, I’m not the right person to comment on this, but in the words of one of my smoker friends- “Both cigarette and sex give you a high. But cigarette is better because it’s cheap, readily available and you don’t have to marry the shopkeeper to get a lifetime supply!”

T- T&P

The T&P cell is pretty much like a leap year in that it gets noticed only once in four years(by every batch , that is). And even the peons working there enjoy their 15 minutes days of fame!

U- University (or not)

Sometimes it’s ISM-Indian School of Mines. Other times a U, standing for university, is also attached. And then dropped. And then reattached. Dropped again. Reattached.  To ‘U’ or not to ‘U’…

V- Viva

The day, probably the only day that every professor lives to enjoy, year after year after year. It might actually have been nature’s way of trying to maintain equity, and it might have succeeded too had it not been for our Do-we-care-if-you-insult-us attitude! Don’t tell the poor disillusioned fellas though; they get a lot of juice out of putting us in supposed misery!

 Verma ji

The true ‘nightrider’ of Dhanbad is just a phone call away. His dichotomous life consists of a sane day job while at night he is driving sometimes-drunken-sometime-not lunatics around the town in his auto.

W- Wasted

The state of the boys during the day with all the intoxication going on in the campus during the night.

X- Xerox

Undoubtedly, the most important invention of our generation in terms of its indispensability, especially in an engineering college. On second thoughts, I think pornography would share the honours too.

Y- YB

One year extension of a 4-year long paid vacation called engineering, usually awarded in recognition of an exemplary display of matiyao and bakchod attitude.

Z- Ze End. Ze Fuck Off!

Labour Day Revival: Where the fuck was I and what the fuck was I doing!

Dear Readers,

Okay there’s no excuse for depriving people of there regular dose of off-the-roof humour and scathing sarcasm for almost one-fourth of the calender year! ‘People’ in the above sentence includes both people who have loved this blog and people who have hated this blog.(FYI Buddha lied. There’s no middle path. Not with The Pyjama Warrior at least. You either love it badly or hate it even more badly.)
People who’ve adored me with ‘awesome’, ‘phaadu’, ‘baap’ and other cool tags and people who’ve called me things I didn’t know even existed. Eg: ‘The shit from a dead spineless chihuahua’!!! Girls who asked me out(very very rare) and guys who threatened to cut off my Johnny and throw it to the vultures(very very frequent). People from all corners of this country and from many countries of this world. People without whom this blog would be in a very neglected and dismal state, pretty much like all the Indian sports except cricket. In fact cricket too!

And now that I’m done sucking your scrotum, let me get back to what I’m very very good at!

January was going to be a critical point in my professional life! Wait, I just made it sound a lot more critical than it was! 😛 It’s just that CAT results were going to be out, and it would pretty much decide whether I was going to be on my way to achieve the stereotype that everyone in my near, distant and extremely distant family had dreamed of since my birth or whether I was going to slog it out for an MNC in Bangalore! So, from my perspective in either case I was not exactly going to do what I wanted to do. Anyhow, I scored a measly 97.42 and  before you go ahead and bash me for my nerdiness, let me get your facts right.
Fact 1: This is India we are talking about people. A country full of kids who’ve spent their childhoods and teenage towards the sole purpose of achieving higher marks. They compete with each other and when they have no else left to beat, they study the shit out of themselves!
Fact 2: For anyone born before 1980, MBA in India implicitly means MBA from an IIM,preferably from the older ones(BLACKI). So if you are looking for a ‘socially acceptable’ MBA degree, and a good spouse later on, you have to slug it out for a 1000 odd seats with lakhs of those nerdy-self-destructing kids mentioned above. And 50% of those seats are already ‘reserved’.
Fact 3:  Suddenly from this year, MBA colleges decided they were going to play hard to get. The words ‘general’, ‘male’, ‘fresher’  and ‘engineer’ actually turned out to be the four horseman of apocalypse!

So the measly 97.42 raised a few hopes and a lot many eyebrows. The next 8-10 days were spent in damage control- explaining to every uncle and aunty on this planet how the ‘system’ works, detailing all the options I had in sight (running away being one of them!!). I ingested a lot of belittling and farted a lot of frustration during that period. But ultimately in my foresight I could see that all this would seem okay in hindsight one day.

The CAT fiasco took a back seat and I celebrated being 23. The celebration was actually a ‘pain in the ass’, both literally and figuratively, if you know what I mean. And streaks of gray hair have started making their presence felt (damn!). But then unlike growing old, growing up is always optional!

If January was a downer, February turned out to be a complete bitch! With the writer’s block aggravating with each passing day, I could now sense the impatience that was building up inside me. I just wanted post something. But thanks to all the fans and their expectations, I would press the delete moment right before the last paragraph. You see, nothing short of amazing for you, sires and ma’ams! On the other hand, one of the silliest ‘Day’ on this planet was lurking around the corner. I can’t ever reason out why anyone besides greeting card companies, jewelers and condom manufacturers should be so upbeat about a day that claims to have brought upon mankind it’s biggest plague-love. Anyway, V-Day came and went, the only thing I felt bad about was not getting laid when even my hostel dog Sheru made it out with the bitch that lives in the slums behind the college! Guess that the proverb ‘Every dog has it’s day’ is really exclusively meant for dogs! The old bastard had been eyeing her for quite a while now, and finally, probably over some licks of beer from the trashed Tuborg cans and some canine vows of ‘forever together’ (in canine years) made his move on her. Attaboy!

The later half of February and the entier March were spent in the ‘Great MBA affair’! Interviews, interviews and then some more interviews. In this period, I made several visits to Kolkata, my favourite city! After my previous post in which I poured my heart out about Bengalis, I was afraid I might be stabbed at the Howrah station itself, or thrown off the Howrah Bridge into the river. Hence, I made it a point to keep all my visits under tight wraps! (I shall be writing about these trips in detail in a later post.)

April 3 needs a special mention now. On this day, I achieved what I had been vying for for the past 1 year or more. A seat at the prestigious Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad. And so finally, I’m en route to to realizing my dream of being a kick-ass ad-maker! Cheers to that!

The rest of the month was spent in (not) preparing for the last engineering based exams of my life! I (did not) study with utter determination and concentration and I (do not) hope to come out with flying colours. Yeah right, like I give a fart to that!

And now here I am. Finally, coming back to what I really enjoy! With a hell lot of spare time ahead, and some big plans about the future of this blog up my pyjamas, all you readers can really expect a great reading experience in store!

Yours sarcastically,

The Pyjama Warrior.

The Rattling Just Wouldn’t Go!

Mornings can play a complete bitch sometimes. Given the amount of responsibility on its shoulders, you would expect a decent morning to prep you up for the day ahead. But no sir, with great responsibility comes the license to play a bitch!

The routine schedule of going through e-mails and reading random blogs, along with the usual side platters Facebook and Twitter, was disturbed by dear mommy’s distress call. Now, let me tell you THAT is not the thing you want in the morning. That’s the thing you don’t want the whole day either. Or night. She has this way of calling out my monosyllable nick in different ways to go with her purpose and mood. It’s like a Britannica of tones and we certainly don’t want to venture in that territory, not at the moment at least.

I got my lazy ass up to the kitchen which was the source of SOS. Apparently, the fridge was giving some trouble, making unwanted rattles. It kind of looked like an attention seeking tactic to me. Both on the part of the fridge and the mom. The most I was going to do was push,pull and turn the fridge. Probably finishing off with a kick in its ass,which seemed to be the trouble maker. Mom could have done that. She is better at kicking asses than me. But then, maybe this is her idea of telling me I need to get up and start doing some household work. And that the money they have spent on my engineering needs to be materialized thus.

Acting like a professional (mind the word ‘acting’ here), I examined the annoyed patient. It looked like an alignment problem. Probably the floor was playing foul which made the fridge cranky. My limited engineering knowledge prompted a push-pull-turn action. Nothing happened. Repeated it. No respite from the groaning appliance. 15 minutes gone and now along with the fridge I had to listen to mom’s rattlings too. So much for helping your parents! Like it was my fucking fault that the fridge was being a dildo!

Anyway, from force I turned to pleadings. I started pressing the fridge in different places, mentally asking it to calm down and not escalate the situation. It kind of worked actually as the noise stopped after a few minutes of pampering. Guess it had had enough attention for the day.

I looked triumphantly at mom, who downplayed it and opened the fridge to take out items for breakfast. And suddenly, the rattle resurfaced! What the hell fridge? Why won’t you just keep quiet?

It’s been over an hour now since the kitchen fiasco and I gave up about half an hour back. Even the kick didn’t work. I am having my breakfast now. Cornflakes with a heavy dose of nagging and rattling.

I hate this morning. I hope not everyone’s new year started with a struggle with home appliances!

PS- I am thinking of starting a comic strip on the blog soon. Excited!

Travelling with Bengalis: The Diary of A Victim

July 19, 2008 (Delhi to Dhanbad)

As I write this down, my hands are still trembling. I never knew one train ride could change my life forever.  Today, at 0730 hours, I boarded the Kalka Mail for Dhanbad, my home for the next 4 years. Nervous as I was, the sight of the train was in no way comforting. At first I mistook it for a freight train. There seemed to be more luggage in the train than people. But when the train finally stopped at the platform, I realized this was it. It was really happening. In a few minutes, I was going to travel with Bengalis. Lots of Bengalis!

A very large woman in her 40s warmed me up for the ride by crushing my feet with her even larger suitcase. I could judge from the strength of impact that she was probably carrying blocks of lead in it, though I couldn’t exactly figure out why. After battling my way into the compartment aisle, which by the way is not a very spacious feature in Indian trains, I realized what I had seen from the outside was the tip of an iceberg. There were bags everywhere. American Tourister trolley bags, VIP suitcases, Harrison Trunks, Jute bags, XXXL polythenes. It seemed like bags were travelling with people and not the other way round. It was like every non-resident West Bengali had suddenly been ordered to relocate back to West Bengal with all their belongings. What other possible explanation could be there for a man who was carrying 2 ceiling fans and a bunch of tube lights over a distance of 1200 kilometers?

My mom had told me to keep my luggage close to me at all times. She would have been really happy that night as I was so close to my luggage I had to even sleep with my bags on the 2 X 6 berth.

Note to self- Indian Railways should take a cue from aviation sector and levy charges on excess baggage. Record profit from East-Central Railways guaranteed.

March 3, 2009 (Dhanbad to Delhi)

I am still getting used to the space issues. It is not only the volumes of their bags but the volumes of the people themselves are intimidating enough. Which is not very surprising given that one-third to one-half of their luggage is food. I have never seen any Bengali individual or family finishing up all their food during their journey. Which leads me to believe that Bengalis are always on the travel and hence the stockpile of food. The fact that no matter how early I try to book my ticket, I see ‘W/L ***’ everywhere also points to the same.

No, they never offer me anything. Unless of course I am sitting near the window in which case they frequently hand over peelings of fruits, wrappers and packing foil to me, and I dutifully throw them out. The phrase ‘being somebody’s bitch’ has started making sense to me.

Note to self- No window seats.

January 8, 2010 (Delhi to Dhanbad)

‘Loud’ seems like an adjective with a complimentary connotation when you are sitting in a train with Bengalis. It has been over a year now, but my ears are still not able to adjust to the 150 Db+ conversations happening in the compartments. Sometimes even the rattle-tattle of the train becomes inaudible, giving me a 1AC feeling while being in Sleeper. Talking of sleeper, I want to kick Shashi Tharoor in the ball sack for his ‘cattle class’ remark. Cattle don’t make this much of noise. And cattle certainly don’t travel with excessive luggage. You bastard, why did you defame poor sheeps and goats?

I have stopped purchasing magazines also. I cannot read amidst a medium scale riot that lasts for around 18 hours, if the train is on time (which is hardly the case ever). They say ‘Time flies’. To me time looks like a tortoise that has lost 2 of its limbs to paralysis.

Note to self- The superlative form of ‘vociferous’ is ‘Bengali’.

October 14, 2010 (Delhi to Dhanbad)

More than two years but I haven’t yet got a glimpse of the fabled ‘Bong beauty’. I have travelled in different trains at different times in different classes. It’s not like I am dying to meet a girl. But somehow I do believe female company would be way better than grumpy oldies or pesky Bong minions who want to see Kung Fu Panda on my laptop. One thing about the former though, every one of them looks like a CPI(M) politician. It might be my imagination but they just look like hardcore leftists, trust me! I cannot make a word of what they are discussing, but it looks like they are mostly talking about communism et all!

Maybe I need to see a shrink. That is for later.

This time I am glad to see an F-21 just below my name. Her name is Aparna. Typical Bong,eh? I got to my seat and she was already sitting besides mine. I broke the ice by asking her if she was going all the way to Howrah. She nodded in the affirmative. It was mostly a night journey. (I had made it a point to try to travel at night. That was the only time Bengalis don’t talk. Yup, these guys love their sleep. They want everyone to be on their berths and the lights out at 10, even if it means you have to sit in the dark at the upper berth and eat your food. Still, it was a better option).

So, we didn’t talk much. But I noticed she had those Bipasha Basu type eyes. Nice! I dozed off around 11 only to be woken up an hour or so later by a shrill, part-laugh part-shriek. It looked like one of those scenes from Mahest Bhatt movies where they apparently try to scare you by blocking your sense of hearing. I looked down and I saw Aparna on the phone. Somebody on the other side, not hard to guess, had apparently cracked a joke which had invoked the witch in her.

I covered my face with the blanket and tried to sleep all the way to Dhanbad.

I still get chills down the spine when I remember those long hairs, those eyes glowing in the dim light of the cellphone and that laugh.

Note to self- See the shrink. ASAP.

Diary discontinued….

Liebster Blog Award

Hmm, so Storm Rider has been my Santa Claus this year, nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award! Well, even naughty boys do get Christmas gifts, you see! 😉
I want to thank Vineet Karkera aka Storm Rider from the bottom of my heart. He is a wonderful blogger and you must read his posts at http://theconfusedgraduate.wordpress.com/

That being said, I would want to nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Award. This is not just part of the drill for accepting my own award, I really appreciate these guys’ and girls’ works and I would love to see them getting the deserved attention. So here they are

Reflections of A Compulsive Mirror Gazer – A klutz’s (that’s what the blogger calls herself!!) take on the world. Don’t worry, the one thing that doesn’t falter is her pen!

The Rune of Self –  His soulful poetry is a treat to senses. Do keep an eye on the Byron in the making!

A Blob had a Hunch – We share our birthdays and our love for the lens. It’s just that this bastard has a DSLR! Just kidding, he’s a talented photographer and his interpretations are beautiful!

P.Subbu’s Mind Crap –  Never judge a book by its cover, or a blog by its title! This teenage girl has a lot to say and she is doing exactly that!

Ishaan’s Blog (Summers in Africa) – IT guy by profession, blogger by passion!

I want to thank Storm Rider once again for my maiden Blogging Award. It feels good to be appreciated!

What you need to do in order to accept the award is:-

1. Thank the person who nominated you in your acceptance post and paste a link to their blog.

2. Post a photo of Liebster Blog Award on your blog.

3. Nominate 5-7 blogs that have less than 200 followers and that, according to you, deserve a bigger and better audience!

Coming up soon- My experiences of travelling with Bengalis! Keep watching this space…

Kab, Queue, Kahan: India’s fixation with lines and gender parity!

Of all the things I hate (and there are many!), having to go to a sweet shop in festive season surely features in the Top 20. Being born in a country obsessed with food, sweets in particular, comes with its own set of problems. Festivals don’t really get their culture and traditional factor pumped up unless there has been a royal exchange of sweet boxes for every single one of the nC2 combinations, ‘n’ here being the number of relatives and friends one has. And ‘n’ being a very generous number for all of us, it is imperative that nC2 gives us hell and makes sure that one third of our time is wasted in purchasing sweets, another one-third in distributing them (and getting stuck in traffic jams), and the leftover in wondering what to do with the Giga tons of sweets that have taken over our living rooms and kitchens.

Anyway, coming back to the point, it was Diwali time and I was at Bikanerwala. Apparently, this guy is like the Jim Morrison of the sweets business, and everyone wants a piece of his stuff (no pun intended)! The scene was frightening, to say the least- Baffled uncles running around with lists, aunties yelling at the staff for cheating them of their pieces of Kaju Barfi and kids squealing and jumping around. I mentally replaced all the sweets with fire and Jimmy’s staff with devil’s imps and I could very well visualize what hell would look like!

Amidst this entire hullabaloo, in one corner of the shop, there were two neatly formed queues for billing- One for ladies and one for gents! I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this. Apparently, India has a huge obsession with the 2 queue system. From the long ‘l’ shaped ones at railway stations and government offices to the wavering horizontals at Gol Gappe/Tikki joints, queues in India always exist in pairs. Like the poles of a magnet. Many theories have been propounded to explain this phenomenon. The most prominent ones include the Theory of Equality of Women, Theory of Convenience to the Fairer (by which they mean weaker) Sex, Theory of Hypocritical Display of Gender Parity and the Theory of Touchy Feely. And so it had come to this? Purchasing sweets had also become another variable in setting the male-female equation right? Pardon me for my naivety if I am unable to figure out the relation between gender parity and (purchase of) Gulab Jamuns! But, in a country obsessed with proving it has the largest number of morons, this seemed to be another feather in the cap of the supposed guardians of female rights. Really?

Sisters, mothers and others, if you really believe that most men of this country will not ogle at you if you stand in a separate queue, that you won’t be mentally undressed by most of them if you stand 5 feet farther, and that this virtual sexual assault is not as bad as actual physical advances, please do form a separate queue.

Feminists, women’s rights activists and promoters of equality of women, if you think that a separate queue is a possible cure for all the ills associated with gender disparity, think again. Whenever any uncle tags along an aunty with him to a railway reservation counter, hands her the money and the form and places her in the ladies’ queue, he not only makes her look like a puppet but he also makes all of you look like a fool. I feel the purpose is defeated every time that happens. And isn’t the provision of separate queues based on the fact that some people here actually believe that women aren’t strong enough to bear the inconvenience of long queues? That they are weaklings who deserve some leverage? So, doesn’t that make this whole thing self-contradictory? And if this whole system exists to provide some extra convenience to women, aren’t you tilting the balance against the Martians? Trust me, it sucks to be a man when you are standing in a kilometer long queue for hours and suddenly some girl walks right up to the counter, utters the magic words ‘Ladies line hai’ and voila, her work’s done. It hurts. A lot.

Lawmakers and public administrators, you are assholes. Instead of putting up ‘Ladies queue’ boards at every public office, try getting your law and order in order. Prevent crimes against women; give them equal education and employment opportunities; make legal inclusions for them in bureaucracy and government.

Men of this country, don’t think that giving women some space at counters is all that you’ve got to do on your part. Give them space elsewhere too. You know what I’m trying to say. So, let’s just all try to be decent enough and broaden our perspectives. If your thoughts promote equality and respect, your actions will reflect them.

Meanwhile, back at the sweet shop, an uncle tried the old trick of making a puppet out of his wife. Some others followed suit. An elderly fellow raised questioned the morality of this act. A verbal argument ensued and finally it was mayhem at Desi Jim’s Diwali concert!

Queues are made to be broken, eh?

India Needs a Revolution, Not a Revolutionary

Enough has been said, heard, written and read on the now ubiquitous Jan Lokpal Bill and Anna Hazare. For the past year or so, the nation has witnessed and participated in the moment that has been slated as ‘the end of corruption in India’. I have often wondered why all this time I never wrote anything on the issue. Going by the amount of related data currently circulating on the internet, especially social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, anything I would have written would have had an ephemeral lifetime and then it would be lost in all the brouhaha.

Why now? Because now I am starting to see an equilibrium being initiated in an otherwise unilateral agitation (movement, if one wants to call it that). The haughtiness of the campaign leader(s), which had been carried over to an extent in the followers, is now finally giving way to the much needed reasoning and a reasonable dialogue between the people and the government. Now is the right time for showing the other side of the coin.

I will begin by asking one simple question- What is corruption? We have all heard this word over a zillion times in the last few months, and every time we do, we instantly declare how much we hate it, how eager we are to get rid of it and that there need to be stricter laws to deal with it. I would like to know, is corruption an individual? Or a group of individuals? An institution or perhaps an organization? No, it isn’t. Corruption, like all other social evils, does not have a physical entity. Corruption, like dowry, domestic violence, honour killing, gender discrimination and female foeticide, cannot be tried in a court of law and punished. The accused- the corrupted- can be punished, but saying that it will lead to eradication of corruption is akin to believing that a sinking ship can be saved not by repairing the hole but by drying up the ocean. We all know it can’t be done.

And I have examples from both distant and recent past to demonstrate this fact. Fully competent laws exist against dowry and domestic violence. I take them into consideration because these are the two most widespread, deeply rooted social ills, which also happen to be the most under reported crimes. Thus, these two resemble corruption the most in occurrence and treatment. In the recent years, there has been an increase in the number of cases pertaining to domestic violence and/or dowry being bought to light all over the country. However, two things worth mentioning are- The number of reported cases constitute a fraction of the actual number of happenings and that the urban-rural divide can very well be seen here too. The former can be attributed to the fact that no matter how much developed India claims to be, women are still supposed to play second fiddle in a largely male dominated society. It is expected from them to be forever obedient to their halves and it is imperative that any nay-saying or straying from the usual course would be meted out with punishment, even physical abuse. As far as dowry is concerned, in many parts of India it is still seen as an integral part of  the ‘culture’. And so is ‘Sati’, against which people have been working since the time of Raja Ram Mohan Roy. All these maladies are more prevalent in rural areas, where education levels are low and people are still chained in dogmas. Today, Gram Panchayats, which were supposed to be the epitome of grass-roots governance, have their integrity in question because of a plethora of cases of the panchayats in Northern India supporting and even participating in honour-killing.

The fight against these evils has tilted against us. Why? Certainly not because there aren’t laws to deal with them. The crude, and cruel,  fact is that the guilty here is the mindset of a majority of Indian population. And the errors in mindset cannot be corrected in a court of law. The questions of morality cannot be answered by looking up the tomes of IPC. No doubt, laws need to be there against every possible form of violation of the ethical and moral code of conduct expected from an intellectually and morally developed society. But what if the morals are flawed, or worse, what if the necessary morals are missing?

I don’t see any reason why the fight against corruption will not meet with the same fate as the fight against domestic violence or dowry or Sati. My pessimism (if you want to call it that) arises from some very simple observations. Most of us treat the traffic and safety rules as a choice instead of following them sincerely. We simply don’t care about helmets, seat belts or signals. And when caught, 5 out of 10 times we will bribe a traffic police cop to evade penalty (I’m being very modest here because actually it should be at least 8/10). And then we blame the ‘system’ for the accidents and the traffic jams. Many of us will get railway reservations through agents and will be more than happy to pay ‘commission’ in exchange for a few minutes of hassle saved and a confirmed ticket. And whenever we are at the receiving end of this malpractice, we would either simply blame the ‘system’ or worse, try to bribe the T.T.E. Wherever it is possible to get the work done by showing some greens, we will happily take the detour.

And then we have the guts to blame the ‘system’ while sipping coffee and munching biscuits on a Sunday morning. The system needs reforms, agreed. And we are a part of it too. Hell, we are the system! A Tata Tea ‘Jaago Re’ ad campaign or a video of a chocolate-boy-turned-rebel-without-a-cause and claiming his ‘Haq’ raises only ephemeral social activists and brings only insignificant changes. The fight against corruption requires all of us to change the way we think. Permanently. This change won’t come in a day. You can initiate the process with the formulation of necessary laws. But it will still be the case of a paper tiger that will get its teeth only when the aam aadmi, in metros as well as in villages, realizes that a billion dollar scam is as bad as a 100 bucks bribe and that illegal mining of coal does as much damage to the country as the illegal consumption of electricity in a locality.

I was surprised when comparisons were drawn between Anna Hazare and Mahatma Gandhi. Both because of the similarities and the contrasts between the men in question. Anna tends to overshadow the entire campaign, much the same way as Bapu overshadowed the Freedom movement. I do not question his contribution, I simply want to point out how other people’s contributions was diluted because of the undue focus on one man. History is repeating itself here again. Somewhere in the chants for the leader, the cause is getting lost. People are awestruck by Anna’s ironclad image, forgetting he is but the face of a team that has worked for years without rest to formulate the JLP. He is not the answer to corruption. He is just one of the many of us who are seeking an answer to corruption. In a movement of this proportion, someone will naturally emerge at the forefront. And with the timeline, he might be replaced by someone else.

Courtesy: blessinsblogcenter.blogspot.com

The contrast I mentioned is in the situation. Bapu fought against a monarchy. Anna seems to have confused a faltering democracy with an autocracy. His methods are not suitable in a parliamentary democracy. No matter how dysfunctional the government is or has become, democracy demands that the people and their chosen representatives solve problems through a sustained and sustainable dialogue . Anna’s haughtiness and lack of willingness to listen to others is frightening. I cannot even imagine what will happen if every one of the billion Indians sat on an indefinite hunger strike to bring the government on its knees and get their demands approved. I am not ready to believe that all the people sitting in the Parliament and all the bureaucracy are corrupt. And unfortunately if I’m wrong, I have every reason to believe that 9 or 10 ombudsmen that come into force with the Lokpal will also be corrupt. In which case, the present situation would only worsen, maybe beyond repair. When recently Anna’s integrity was questioned in a TV interview, a member of Team Anna( why not Team Jan Lokpal?) said nobody’s perfect. That’s my point too. Nobody is perfect. So when the ombudsmen will falter, who will ensure they are checked?

I am in no way averse to the entire Jan Lokpal Bill campaign. What bugs me is that people tend to believe that the fight against corruption will end with the successful introduction of a Bill. Ironically, the fight will only start after that. I would love to see people’s faces when they will be required to report a relative involved in a corruption case. I would love to see the choices they will make. I would love to see morality and rationality beating dogmas and injustice, for once. But until that happens, I would be contended with correcting my own flaws and making sure I do not mock the very system I am fighting for.