18 July 2011

Q & A

Since May, an odd number of questions have surfaced again, in the international context as well as the Indian one. They're not all related but perhaps they are and somehow we- the hoi polloi, the great unwashed, the plebeians- have failed to hone in on the connection. Perhaps, because we're unaware of the intricacy it takes for a foraging eagle to swoop under the surface of murky waters and snatch the fish. 

There are a few questions that bear thinking about.

1) Why is Europe bankrupt and continues to be so? Do they really have less money so they're forced to eat stale food? Or does it just look like the governments are shuffling around the money from table to table and don't actually understand the simple formula of Earn 10 quid, Spend 8  quid, Save 2 quid in the bank (or under the mattress really, these days)
Answer: Umm, yes, they are rather broke. But not that broke that they can't have fancy meetings in Switzerland and Belgium over cases of Cristal to talk about how broke they are. And no, they can't spend 8 quid because it takes 10 quid to make 10 quid. Rubbish old-fashioned theory really.

2) Why are the Asian economies flourishing? Or are they really? Don't they have beggars and dirt and injustice and homelessness anymore?
Answer: The GNP and GDP are up. The complicated figures on complicated charts are showing upward trends. The markets and media are all terribly excited and talk all at once. The postman has a BlackBerry. But the beggars on the street, the dowry deaths and the squalor that causes fatal malaria, are still there to remind us that we're in Asia.

3) Why is the man, who's been in jail after the deadly 2008 terror attacks in Bombay, still in jail? Why isn't he dead? How much more evidence do you need?
Answer: Umm, yeah, it's sub-judice. The law takes its course. Meanwhile, you can keep paying the government taxes to build an ultimate security prison for this chap, while he laughs his head off at India.

4) Why is Rupert Murdoch suddenly a villain? What's the big deal about phone-hacking and why did News of the World have to shut down?
Answer: Rupert Murdoch is evil, of course. Phone hacking is wrong, of course. The media is overstepping its limits and must pay of course; hence the closure of NOTW and the arrest of Rebekah Brooks. Everything that isn't done with the express or implied permission of a holier-than-thou government is wrong and illegal. Got it?

5) And what happened to the intelligence machinery in Bombay? Why were there three bomb blasts across the city again in July 2011?
Answer: That's not an intelligence failure, really. More like absence. More like complacency. More like internal corruption. More like a cancer that's metastasized. Don't worry, we've got listless, overworked coppers patrolling random streets and even though they look completely inept at fighting crime, you should feel reassured.

6) Is all the crime and misery in the world inter-connected somehow?
Answer: Yup. When you join the dots, let me know what it looks like.

And now, I'm going to that grand bastion of all crimes, misdemeanours and torts. The supermarket.

02 May 2011

The Devil is Dead

Or is he? I must confess the title of this blog comes from my cousin who aptly captured what we all surely feel upon hearing of the death of Bin Laden. This should indeed be a day of rejoicing. Except that I have a small problem. I usually have troubling believing governments. Any government. Especially one that blatantly lied about so many things and so many wars. It was wonderful to watch Obama as he proudly declared that Osama bin Laden had been captured. I experienced a small hiccup when I heard he was 'buried at sea.' Sleeping with the fishes? Really? I wondered idly, at first, then rather vehemently, why this man, hated by one and all, hailed as the Unholy Grail of all captures, would be buried without any of us, the common public, being given a chance to rejoice at the fall of Lucifer. I remember Saddam's capture. His humiliation and his death. Every detail captured on camera for posterity. A dance of victory by the Allies so to speak. And here we are. An enemy that shook the world. It's just announced to us, he's dead. Captured in a military compound in Pakistan. Dead. Buried at sea. Why weren't we given the satisfaction of seeing the remains? Of blood and gore which for once would be a great feeling of victory to watch? To perhaps test for DNA? You can call this a conspiracy theory if you like but can you state with certainty, that you absolutely believe he's dead? Should I believe a government that has a fantastic history of lying? And Pakistan has been strangely quiet. Are they embarrassed? Worried that now the world will surely know they harbour terrorists like old women hoard plastic bags? I see no proud statements coming forth from them, about how they helped the US intelligence forces to capture the modern day Satan.

I mean it IS 2011. It IS a modern age with technology and ability and supercommunication. Really, was it that hard to perhaps document a little proof that he really is dead and that the brave, heroic men who brought him to his final end have done the world the biggest favour since the man who photographed Hitler's remains?

Just asking, you know.

20 April 2011

Ten Similarities between London and Bombay

There are probably more than ten similarities but these are the ones I find excruciatingly funny and probably ironic and no, you can't argue with me about it. 

1) Everyone has a bloody pet name. Mostly an irritating one that's not remotely connected to their real name. And since it seems there are more Asians on the streets of London than white folk, statistically speaking, you know I'm right

2) The weather sucks. For various reasons but suck it does, at such a level that one immediately wants to one's their knickers and run up and down the street exclaiming 'it's the end of the world!'

3) Curry pervades. It doesn't matter what colour or intensity or flavour. Curry is omnipresent, whether at an Indian store or a fancy restaurant or the stain on your shirt you're trying to hide. Curry curry, everywhere. And no, I do not care for it. 

4) Politicians will make long speeches, clever speeches, democratic speeches and then do bugger all about it while the common man lights candles and marches about for whatever latest cause there is.

5) The much-touted heart of either country has very little heart and a very troubled soul and you will be pickpocketed at the most inconvenient time. 

6) There is always some 'breaking news' that often ends up being about someone's skirt blowing in the wind a la Marilyn Monroe or some really rich bastard who inaugurates yet another Louis Vuitton store. 

7) Everybody has a scheme. Get rich, get laid, get elected, get back, get out, get more, get get get. No giving. You, with the self-righteous conscience, shut up. 

8) Everyone's looking over their shoulder. Whether it's a fundamentalist mob, teenage punks, rapists, terrorists or spycams, people carry their fears around like a bad odour. 

9)  Bankers, lawyers and doctors are always rich and always out to get richer at your expense. Even the good ones. 

10) Everyone dreams of their 15 minutes of fame and a lot of them achieve it by being nothing but famous for being famous. And people are still fascinated by the ultimate fame- the monarchy.

I know this should make me smile and feel more at home in either city and it does, in many ways. It just makes me realise rather sharply that no matter what, it's not people who shape a city. It's a city that shapes people.