Ask the vexpert - 2

I am a 24-year-old woman. My boyfriend and I are planning to have intercourse. We aren’t going to marry each other though, because of religious differences. Are there any chances that my future husband can come to know of my sexual past?

Sexpert: Once your hymen is ruptured after intercourse, the future husband has reason to doubt you if he wishes. About safety, there is no safe day without a condom. The days during which conception is likely to occur are from the 10th day till the 15th day counting from the first day of the period.

Me: It sounds like a plan! I am glad you have realised that the below the waist area has no religion, but take care not to involve any body parts that might have any affiliation to some faith. If your future husband belongs to the same religion, and is religious, then put the fear of god in him by saying “Oh god, oh god” several times. It will work by boosting his ego and confirming your devout nature.

- - -

I got married a few months ago and was having a healthy sexual relation with my wife. However, after moving to US a month ago, I am not getting an erection. I have tried oral sex but nothing has happened. I have the desire for sex but no proper erection. What can I do to remedy this?

Sexpert: Have your blood sugar (diabetes) checked. If it is normal, identify tensions, etc., that can temporarily lead to the problem. Take a few days off and relax. If you don't feel better see a sexologist.

Me: Get yourself a good lawyer. You are well within your rights to sue the US government. However, considering your wife does not have erection problems, her having no such function to perform, your case could be weakened. You will need to ask her to fake a problem or pretend to have a penis. Regarding oral activity, I suggest you start campaigning for one of the candidates; you could also try dressing up as a Somali war chief. The best remedy though is to leave America and move to China. As you know their population is not the result of immaculate conception. It is very likely that following the herd mentality you will succeed, for they have‘elections’ lound the clock.

Barack O Bollywood


Some news...

It's not our duty to expedite Afzal's execution, says SC

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to the Government to expedite execution of the death sentence of Mohammad Afzal, convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack case.

"It is not our duty. It is for the executive to decide how to consider the matter. We cannot pass such a direction," observed a Bench presided by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.

"This court cannot give such directions. We already passed the final order. You go to the executive," the Bench told the petitioner, Lashkar-e-Hind, an NGO.

I have already held forth at length on the case in two blogposts:

Parliament attack: Why should Mohammed Afzal be hanged?

Mohammed Afzal ko ghussa kyon nahin aata?


Am I 'fraustrated'?

Received this letter. Reproduced as it is:

Hello Farzana

Greetings from
B a n g l a d e s h.
Fraustration, too much
Farzana, really. You should
enlight to your reader, not fraustration.
I some time go through with your writings.
I want introduce you to Bangali reader here.
I can translate some of them for our newspaper.
In that case you need to send a straight photograph.



- - -

I have a feeling someone is pulling a fast one on me. A Bengali may pronounce something differently but not spell it phonetically. Yet, thought it was rather nice!

Without seeming to reduce the person, should he be genuine, I might have replied as follows:

Bhelcomb! And thank you for going through with my writings, that is why I was whaandaring why my writing always having kaampani, saamtimes pulling, saamtimes phushing. I hope my fraustrations has not made you less bhalo. Ami ki korbe? I was thinking of Jaarman Frau so fraustration became too much, hain? Not phinding it phunny? I promise to enlight reader once I start thinking of French Madame, then tumake komplaint hobe na. Shotti.

I also want introduction to Bangali reader in Bangladesh, but how you will translate my fraustration? Bherry diphicult tashk. Phull dukho-dukho.

Also, am whaandering about the word ‘straight’ for the picture. Is mine ‘gay’, no, dada, not like haapy, but ooman liking ooman? If you think so, then is there problems? Will gentlemens say whatphor this raabish nhonsense like eating mishti doi and plain doi together, tchah-tchah? I don’t want traabal phor you. Kindly enlight me pliss.

With all fraustrations I say nomoshkar,


- - -

Some words/phrases that might not register

Bhelcomb! - Welcome

Kaampani - company

Bhalo- good

Ami ki korbe? – What can I do?

Jaarman - German

tumake komplaint hobe na. Shotti - you won’t have any complaint, I promise.

Bherry diphicult tashk. Phull dukho-dukho - Very difficult task. Full of sorrow

Ooman - woman

traabal phor – trouble for

mishti doi – sweet curd


On and off - 3

Not on…

The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai turned away an 82-year-old woman because she was wearing slippers. The report says:

“Manjamma who lives in Davangere in Karnataka is in Mumbai visiting her grand daughter who is an engineer and lives in Vashi. On an excursion to Gateway of India Manjamma, who was accompanied by her daughter, her doctor son-in-law and another grand daughter who is also a doctor, expressed a desire to visit the Taj. Manjamma told her family of how her own mother had sipped coffee at the Taj and described to her the beauty of the hotel.”

I am really angry and am glad that Mumbai Mirror took this up. Usually only when the fancy unshod by choice M.F.Husain is refused entry into a club it becomes news. These are two different things. A club can by right make any rules it so desires. Hotels cannot. As long as a patron is paying, there ought to be no problem.

Foreigners enter the hotel wearing soiled sandals and dirty shorts and no one stops them. And trust me, quite a few are only sitting in the lobby. Or using the facilities. This applies to well-dressed locals who make use of the loo or just to get the cool air-conditioning air as respite from their walk or shopping.

I am afraid the hotel cannot make rules where it will not allow people to walk in with slippers. Slippers qualify as footwear. Yes, if it is a formal restaurant, then I would understand. But please, how many wearing Jimmy Choos (and yes, we do have those) know how to conduct themselves?

It is disappointing that the family is straining to emphasise they are educated. Education has nothing to do with it. Unlettered film stars and underworld dons get into these places quite easily. As do politicians. Imagine what a heart-warming story it would have been had Manjamma gone to the coffee shop and recreated her experience and her mother’s and compared them.


A news item from Japan:

“Welcome to Butlers Cafe, princess,” says a Western man in a trim suit as he places a sparkling tiara on a woman’s head.

In a nation where many girls grow up on Western fairy tales, Tokyo’s Butlers Cafe is tapping into the popular fantasy that they will grow up to meet their Prince Charming.

Just stepping over the threshold, Japanese woman can forget for a few hours that they are in Shibuya, one of the capital’s most crowded areas, and enter a world where a handsome man rushes to the tinkle of her bell, goes down one knee and asks "Yes, my princess?"

I don’t agree with the Western fairytale part, but let us be realistic. Many women do not have these luxuries and having travelled to Japan I do know about their Western obsession. We all read fairytales; some of us start believing in them. A little fantasy does not hurt.

We all know that when women grow up the Prince becomes an Emperor without clothes. That ain’t too bad, but where is the titillation?


Jemima does Mush

Since I am not a Pakistani journalist, I need not worry about Jemima Khan’s oh-oh lookie here, what I got…so here is an attempt at deconstructing THE interview…

“Much to the justifiable fury of every journalist in Islamabad, he has now granted me an exclusive half-hour interview despite or perhaps because of the fact that I have recently described him as one of the most repressive dictators Pakistan has ever known.”

Dear me, she thinks he is into masochism. Sweet.

After an hour I am shown into a huge sitting room, divided in the middle by a latticed wood screen to segregate ladies from men at more formal functions.

Really? This lattice screen thing is there also at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, and ladies are sitting with men…the screen is to facilitate keeping an eye from the other side.

Musharraf enters. The last time I saw him in the flesh he was in his full army regalia. Somehow his civilian clothes have diminished him. I find his brown business suit and dainty penny loafers which have replaced the sturdy army boots almost unsettling. He seems to have lost both height and swagger. And his body language seems just a touch defensive.

So, she is playing the stereotype…army swagger, civilian clothes diminish him, blah and blah…but then she likes the swagger type.

The immaculate hair also troubles me. Boot-polish black, artfully grey at the temples, it shows signs of some work.

Yes, some men work at it, others on it, still others with it…ask the “ex”, who she mentions like a punctuation mark throughout.

Often he fails to see the irony in his own words, which can be unintentionally comic. Several times I have to suppress a smile. When confronted with the suggestion, for example, that he will have to work with a coalition government consisting of some the most infamous crooks in Pakistan, he responds with great sincerity, “I’m not running a martial law here. What can I do?” He adds, “My role as a president is simply the checks and balances – the seatbelts … a sort of father figure to the Prime Minister but I won’t have to see him for weeks.”

I am afraid the lady does not see the irony of his delicious last line.

A uniformed bearer offers fruit juice and warm roasted almonds. I down my juice in one gulp, then worry it may have looked unseemly. In the past four years I'd forgotten that Pakistani women are expected to overplay their femininity. I'm lounging like a bloke and downing pomegranate juice like lager.

Oh, cut out the act. As though you down lager at Annabel’s like a bloke. Honestly, the readers in the UK may get awfully charmed by this, but we know that the only ones who overplay their femininity are the ones who are dying to play to the gallery. Have you met the Red Bull mixed with rum ‘bibis’ in Lahore? They’d drink you under the table.

The President, it turns out, is very disappointed in me. For a moment I think I have been called to his office for a sound ticking-off. “I was disappointed. Very disappointed,” he says. “I was disappointed because you ought to be knowing our environment … what Pakistanis are like … what is our society. Well, it’s acceptable if a person has never visited Pakistan and doesn’t know Pakistan to have ideal views [presumably, he means idealistic views]. But I thought you ought to be knowing what Pakistan is … This is not an ideal society.”

Presumably, ideal also means archetype or idyllic…Also, I don’t think any head of government or state has had the courage in recent times to openly say this about his country.

As I leave he presents me with a clock inscribed "from the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan". It seems an inauspicious gift from a man whose time may be up.

I wish she was more graceful about it. Is it inauspicious for him? What if he still believes in himself? Is it inauspicious for her? Like, she would want the swaggering, powerful one to present it to her and not someone on the way out? Then, a clock is just a clock. It shows the time. It isn’t quite Cartier, but Ms. Jemima you may write for The Independent but how independent are you?


So, Pakistan goes to the polls?

Today Pakistan went to the polls. We in India do that so often that it might have been a yawn. Except that this is momentous. Last night they had a special show on NDTV where a group of women discussed the elections. It was held in a Lahore haveli and they had a small fire (oh puhleeze…). The two Urdu-speaking women hardly got to say anything.

I am sorry, but I got no new insights. This is crucial…we need democracy…people are afraid…polls will be rigged…one is expecting change…and so on…

If polls are going to be rigged, what change are people expecting?

Now, I read a few reports. Let me deconstruct some of the arguments in bold:

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People's Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have decided to launch a movement if the Monday's election is rigged.

Should they not have launched a movement before to show their commitment to the country and not merely to the polls?

Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif said that if free, fair and impartial election is held their parties would defeat the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) candidates in both national and Punjab Assemblies.

This is of course possible, because in almost all societies people like change. So, what is new?

Meanwhile, Mr Zardari is 100 per cent confident of garnering a majority but warned President Pervez Musharraf-led government not to rig the election which will force him to launch massive street protests leading to the break-up of the nation.

The bloody gall of the man. If he is 100 per cent certain (and not 10 per cent), what is the warning about? And what does he mean by launching street protests and breaking up of the nation? He is sounding like a terrorist. He is no revolutionary. If he is talking about people being on the warpath, they have been doing so for a while, ever since the Chief Justice issue and Jamia Hafsa movements happened.

“We've taken part in the elections rather than boycotting them. Now it's up to them to give us a free run. People are angry, they are on the breadline, despite the $60 billion windfall Musharraf has enjoyed over the past eight years.”

He better recall that the PPP wanted to boycott the elections. Then, when his wife was killed, he started to jump about. I am sorry, but his going on the “Bibi, Bibi” track is his only calling card. Yes, it is sad that there is shortage of essentials, but the windfall that Musharraf or anyone gets is used for what our stupid countries think is more important: arms.

By the way, what about the windfall he had made?

You don’t need great analytical skills to predict the results.

Puff prophecy:

The polls will be rigged, but selectively. The PPP will win in Sindh, to drive home the point about sympathy votes. Nawaz Sharif will get a few crucial Punjab votes.

Musharraf is in deep trouble, anyway.

Whoever finally sits in office, the Pakistani people are a long way from democracy.

News meeows - 13

Ex-armyman held in Pune for ISI links

The Pune police on Friday arrested ex-armyman Shailesh Anantrao Jadhav (29), a native of Satara district, for his alleged links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

“Jadhav was carrying classified documents related to the Indian Army. He was planning to give these documents to another ISI agent, Mohammed Syed Desai, who fled from police surveillance in Pune on January 23,’’ ACP (Crime) Rajendra Singh said on Saturday.


Fantastic! Catch the small fry, talk about “alleged links with ISI” and we begin to look so good. Why has the report not quoted the designation of this ex-armyman, Jadhav? He is only 29; he either quit or was thrown out of his job. How did he have access to classified documents related to the Indian Army?

Who is this Mohammed Syed Desai, purportedly an ISI agent? Why don’t the police publish his photograph and the armyman’s? Let us see what these agents look like. Maybe the public might help in capturing the bloke. I like the way the ACP announces with a straight face that he fled from police surveillance. How? Did someone help him? How?

Tell us.

* * *

SC acquits ‘killer’ after 15 yrs in jail

Indraj, a cobbler, carried the murder charge on his head for 15 years, most of them behind bars. He was convicted by a Ferozepur court and the Punjab and Haryana HC did not find anything amiss in his conviction and screntence. Both the trial court and the HC believed the police’s story to be true.

But the truth unfolded in the SC, which suspected that the prosecution story was cooked up as the police had not explained the injury marks on Indraj and his wife Maya. The SC examined the evidence on record and questioned the prosecution, which led to the unfolding of the true story. A man, after an altercation with Indraj, assaulted him with a sharp weapon. Maya intervened to save her husband and was injured. Cornered, Indraj delivered a blow to the assaulter with a sharp tool to save himself and his wife. The blow proved fatal.

An SC bench concluded that the blow delivered by Indraj was more in self-defence than with the intention of causing the assaulter’s death.


How many such cases are there? We have lost count. We don’t care. We are more interested in whether Maanyata is a resident of Goa and entitled to be married to Sanjay Dutt. Yes, even I know about it, but I did not know about Indraj. I don’t have great interest in cobblers beyond the point that they occasionally eye my shoes with a little more than added interest.

Why does it take ‘truth’ to be out after 15 years? What prompted the SC to suddenly wake up? On the one hand we have fast-track justice for the pampered sons and daughters of the soirees, and then we have this. The evidence was already on record, so why did it examine it now?

* * *

Comedienne Manorama dies at 80

Yesteryear actor Manorama died at a local hospital on Friday. She was known for her comic and vampish roles in superhits like Seeta Aur Geeta, Mere Mehboob, Bachpan, Laawaris, Kundan, Main Awara Hoon, Raj Kumar, Jaanwar, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Post Box 999 and Half Ticket. She was 80.

Manorama acted in over 145 films and her last film was Deepa Mehta’s Water. “She did not even have a house to stay and Mehta got her a house in Charkop where she stayed till the end. She has one daughter but one does not know where she is now.’’


To be honest, I might never have written about her. It was only that when I saw the film Water and spotted a familiar face that memories came back. Manorama was a terrible actress, over-the-top, but then that was the style of acting that probably made villainy seem truly demonic.

She was gross, made funny faces and rolled her eyes grotesquely and had a grating voice. She really did not seem as evil as Lalita Pawar, but I liked her in Water, as the exploitative old widow supplying young girls to the zamindars and subsisting on hash. She was truly good. I am glad that was her last film and one got to see a more subtle aspect.

And then there is the tragedy of her being alone; even her daughter is untraceable. Life isn’t much different from celluloid.

* * *

I like the caption!

...AND THE MEN ARE DUMMIES: A woman soldier displays a multi-purpose aiming reflex sight (MARS) rifle during the inauguration of the International DefExpo 2008 in New Delhi on Saturday. About 450 weapons companies from 30 countries are offering their latest hardware at the four-day show.

* * *

End Uh-huh:

British men spend a year ogling women

An average Brit bloke spends a year of his life glancing at women, says a new research. The research stated that the guy ogles at eleven girls every day for a full two minutes each first looking at her breasts, then bum and legs. This adds up to 134 hours a year, amounting to 350 days over a lifetime, reports The Sun. A third of the total men admitted that sneaking a peek at another woman had landed them in trouble with their wife or girlfriend. However, girls are a bit behind in this scenario. They check out a couple of blokes every day, sizing them up in just 90 seconds. Almost half said they were first attracted to a man’s eyes, followed by a glance at his bum and then a whiff of his aftershave.


This is hilarious. How can it be guaranteed that the woman who is the centre of attention will be around for those two minutes? And if the guys look at breasts first and then the bum, how do they go round? What if she is standing against a wall? And her legs – what if they are covered?

Now come the girls, and I shall include women here. We take half a minute less, though how we manage it by looking at the eyes, then the butt and then “a whiff of his aftershave”? What does this mean? Where has the guy applied the aftershave?

Anyway, this probably applies to British women. I think this guy’s bum thing is over-rated. Unless it is a bit too sumptuous, no woman cares. Okay, a good cologne is nice, especially if you want to filch it. I think eyes are by far the most important and the voice. And do glance at the crotch, ladies. No, not for it, but because that particular area tells you a lot about the kind of trousers the man wears and how he sits and stands. It shows whether he is a class act or a slob.



Bambai, meri jaan

Will there be trouble in Mumbai? That was the query being asked around. I did not know. I can only recall moments that are trouble-free…

One evening we were trying to find a spot to park near Shanmukhananda Hall where we were attending a Jagjit Singh concert. There just wasn’t any space. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this kid, about 13 years old, appeared and raced ahead guiding us. He made us take a loop, but finally managed to get a slot, held back the cars behind with tact and charm. I realised that I had no change. My cousin said she had chillar. (We had dropped the others who were with us at the entrance to save them the trudge.) He deserved at least ten bucks. She managed to find enough. But the lad protested.

Bees rupaiya rate hai (The rate is 20 rupees),” he said with complete confidence.

“Rate? Yeh pay-and-park nahin hai…udhar se idhar hi tau laaye ho…(What rate? This isn't a pay-and-park slot, you just brought us from there)...” I said without much conviction.

Nahin, eik kaam karo…aate time mein de dena…(No, but you can give me the money on your return)...”

Haan, haan theek hai…(All right)...” I said, feeling a mix of guilt and irritation.

After the show, we were walking to the car and, hoisted at the split level, we heard a voice, “Main idhar hoon.(I am here.)” Ah, he sounded so chirpy at almost 11 pm. How did he keep track of the cars he helped to park? There were other boys – how did they divide their work? It seemed that they had fine-tuned the operation. I began thinking about him… Had he had his meal? Where would he sleep? I told him how congested the place had become and impossible to park.

He said nonchalantly, “Fikar nahin karne ka, apun hai na yeh fit karne ka waastey.(Don't worry, I am here to fit everything)”

I gave him the money.

And like a chivalrous gentleman he opened the door for me.

Do you still want to know why I love Mumbai?


Ask the vexpert - 1

I do glance at the columns about emotional and sexual problems. Sometimes they are a hoot. Here is one example, the 'sexpert' answer and mine, the vexpert...

Whenever I dream about sex my underwear gets wet with sperm. Is there any chance of shortage of sperm in my future?

Sexpert: No. In fact you will have to control their activity to ensure they do not create unwanted babies.

Me: First, I would like to tell you that when you are dreaming you should stop wearing undergarments. Sperms are attracted to them, especially since in India even male ones have names like Roopa etc. It is entirely possible that it might result in pregnancy of the said garment. If you take the precautionary step of not wearing it, then the sperm might fall. Usually fallen sperm do not survive if they are falling from a height. Since I do not know how tall you are, I am assuming there will be some height to take into account. These dead sperm should then be given a decent funeral, depending on your cultural or religious customs.

Regarding your query about future shortage, I suggest you store these before the fall. It might be a bit of a long drawn-out operation but you do not want to stand in the ration line later in life, do you?

Of course, we are again assuming that there are considerable numbers of potent sperms in whatever is being ejected. Since there is no way of returning them to their rightful place, you might want to freeze them. They might produce hardened generations of leaders who could probably withstand extreme climates on the Siachen Border, which will still be under dispute, or take the cold vibes produced by the socio-political-economic environment.

At the end, I can only ask you to stop dreaming about sex. Maybe if you think about the sensex your ardour will dip.


Today morning

Sitting with my back to the sun, I liked the shaft of light on the floor.

A song that may seem unconnected but which I hummed...

jalate hai.n jisake liye, terii aa.Nkho.n ke diye
Dhuu.NDh laayaa huu.N vahii, giit mai.n tere liye
jalate hai.n jisake liye

dard banake jo mere dil me.n rahaa Dhal naa sakaa
jaaduu banake terii aa.Nkho.n me.n rukaa chal naa sakaa
aaj laayaa huu.N vahii giit mai.n tere liye
jalate hai.n jisake liye

dil me.n rakh lenaa ise haatho.n se ye chhuuTe na kahii.n
giit naazuk hai meraa shiishe se bhii TuuTe na kahii.n
gunagunaauu.ngaa yahii giit mai.n tere liye
jalate hai.n jisake liye

jab talak naa ye tere ras ke bhare ho.nTho.n se mile
yuu.N hii aavaaraa phiregaa ye terii zulfo.n ke tale
gaaye jaauu.ngaa yahii giit mai.n tere liye
jalate hai.n jisake liye

Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music: S.D.Burman; Singer: Talat Mehmood; Film: Sujata


Saeed Mirza Haazir Ho...

Saeed Mirza has written a novel, Ammi: Letter To A Democratic Mother. One day I will read it. As a film-maker, I used to consider him one of the finest we had. He did not quite make the leap that Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani managed in parallel cinema, but his works left a huge impact.

Arvind Desai ki Ajeeb Dastaan, Albert Pinto Ko Ghussa Kyon Aata Hai, Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho, Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro…the titles were more or less representing the stories.

While my memory of Arvind…is a bit hazy, I can never forget Albert…the anger, the helplessness of coping with unemployment, the trade unions, personal relationships. Mirza did have a way with both the city of Mumbai and the minorities, religious or economic. Mohan Joshi is fighting a battle in the courts against his landlord…it turns into a Kafkaesque drama, although the darkness is farcical. Salim deals with the Muslim issue without really emphasising communalism. His physical handicap is metaphor enough.

Why did Mirza remain on the fringe? Was he too preachy? I think that he did not use emotions very effectively. There was something that held him back. That is a failing when you are trying to reach out. He was also not a canny craftsman…no jerky hand-held camera movements to convey disorientation, no sudden light switch on-off tactics (oh, how tired I am of this ‘device’ whenever they want to show confusion; now even Ekta Kapoor uses it in her saas-bahu serials!).

Mirza used a clean wall and then he wrote out messages that he might himself want to wipe out. He took clear sides but it was like watching from a distance. I suppose this is what appealed. His cinema is what I am not. I liked the ‘otherness’ of it. The low lighting, which is not candlelight, just something close to darkness.

The novel is based on his mother, and I like what he said about her, that she “symbolised possibilities”. What a potent phrase.

It all got mucked up when a report mentioned that Rahul Bose who was reading out passages said that people like Mirza were the “chewing gum that held society together’’. I wish he would shut up instead of trying to get smart. Since when has chewing gum ever held anything together? Whenever the word chewing gum and bubble gum are used they have a negative connotation. Remember “chewing gum for the eyes” for television? It is about something jaw-aching, cud-chewing, perhaps boredom.

Bose probably did not want to use an ordinary word like glue. And yet in my city it is said his sex appeal works for the intelligent woman. Bah! I shall remain a dullard for life…Read what I think if you wish…


The brittle Raj

Jaya Bachchan, as expected, said, “I don’t know who Raj Thackeray is.” She emphasised that she only knows Bal Thackeray and his son Udhhav. Smart woman, as always the sharp guddi. There is some substance to what Raj said about Amitabh; everyone knows that Uttar Pradesh is run by this close-knit mafia of Mulayam Singh, Amar Singh and the Bachchans, with Anil Ambani and Subroto Roy making guest appearances.

She said with a deadpan expression that if the Maharashtra government gave them land they would build a school named after daughter-in-law Aishwariya. No one has bothered to question how they are getting land in UP. But then, a lot has been happening there…

By hitting out at Raj she forgets that his animosity towards the North Indians has been learned from his uncle, Balasaheb, whose grandson’s book launch her husband attended and showered treacly praise on the ‘heritage’.

Now live with it.

Coming to the main protagonist, Raj Thackeray, I had written about him a while ago and reproduce it here:

The one time I saw him has remained etched in memory. I was waiting to get out of the car at an office building in Nariman Point. A monster SUV blocked the entrance. Two gun-toting bodyguards jumped out and stood at attention. A man wearing a starched shirt that would look better in a laundry than on a human body stepped out. He flicked his hair, which was blow-dried and very likely sprayed to stay in place, for that motion of the head moving did not seem to affect it; it flopped back in a neat fall. He went in, leaving the place reeking of an indecipherable strong fragrance.

It did not smell of power. It had the scent of obsessiveness about it. Even desperation.

Raj Thackeray, it was said, walked, talked and even thought like his uncle, the Shiv Sena leader. The man I saw that day seemed more like a small-time struggler faking it in a Bollywood blockbuster.

In some ways, that has been Raj’s story.

Little man tries to emulate marquee man. Realises with time that cloning does not work. Not in the long run.

In the short run it worked like a dream which turned into a nightmare for many.

Raj became the Sena’s ‘hitman’. In Hindi film terminology, he was the spot boy, the makeup man, the stunt artiste. The problem is, he started living those parts. He went around carrying a mirror to look at himself, he worked on his gestures, he took part in the street fights.

As sidekick he got a few brownie points and a place next to that ridiculous Maharaja chair that Balasaheb occupies. But he was no Birbal or Chanakya. He was just another loyal soldier with the right name.

During the Mumbai riots it was Raj who was known for his pugnaciousness (much as Sanjay Gandhi was during the Emergency). At the shakhas, Raj groomed the lumpens. He fit in perfectly in the Shiv Sena scheme of things.

He may have quit the party and started his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, but nothing much has changed...


"Life so far"

Betty Friedan, bless her soul, sometimes confounded me. She wrote The Feminine Mystique, she was among the earliest voices of the women’s lib movement. Years later it was discovered that she lived in a marriage where she was battered.

Did she live a lie? Was she a hypocrite?

I think that human beings often have to make tough calls. The public face is not a facade – it could be a genuine stand, a belief.

People believe in god; they do not become god.

No woman chooses to live through physical torture, but she could make a choice to treat that torture in her way – walk out, confront it, give it back, use catharsis...I find it difficult to just pick on individuals because we do not know the histories they have embedded deep within them, we do not know how the environment has affected them, we do not know who has done what and how they have been viewed.

Every woman is also a little woman who wants to connect with the littlest of things. She uses her time well for every speck of dust in the eye forces it to lubricate.

Two years ago Ms. Friedan died.

Here are some of her words:

"When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman”

“Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.”

“It is easier to live through someone else than to become complete yourself.”

“The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.”

“It is better for a woman to compete impersonally in society, as men do, than to compete for dominance in her own home with her husband, compete with her neighbors for empty status, and so smother her son that he cannot compete at all.”

- - -

I love this Clarence Darrow quote, "I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood"!

If anyone wishes to read my views, this is The Feminist Manifesto


This person needs a job...

(This is a forward!)

This individual seeks an executive position.
He will be available in January 2009, and is willing to relocate.



1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20520


Law Enforcement:

I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.


I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.


I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.


I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.

I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.


I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida , and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President of the United States, after losing by over 500,000 votes.


I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleezza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.

I am the all- time U.S. and world record -holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convict ed criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any President in U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States Government.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election).

I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.

I garnered the most sympathy ever for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.

I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations , the majority of U.S. Citizens and the world community.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.


All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review. I specified that my sealed documents will not be available for 50 years.

And this one doesn't want one...