Baahubali: A lesson from Lanka.

While scrolling through facebook posts, I come across umpteen of innuendos about Dalits, Muslims, ‘We upper class’, Sardars, the Hindus, Brahmins, Biharis, We Indians, Those Pakistanis, and so on. The fight for claiming one as better race never ends. And we condemn Hitler? Anyway, back to Bahubali.

Baahubali of my story wasn’t anybody close to the muscle-men of movie, rather a disproportionate figure sledged once as ‘overweight fat cunt’. On top of it, he was heading a crew beaten and bruised since its inception for last fourteen years.

He belonged to a strife-torn kingdom fighting war of races since years. A country debt-ridden. A country so small mimicking almost a ‘tear-drop’ on world map. A country infamously called Lanka, the land of demons. The ugly ones.

Entire Baahubali’s kingdom denounced the minorities,  suppressing them, burning their houses, decimating them. Mutthu’s house too was burnt when he was a kid. While many Dalits turned Naxals, Mutthu rose beyond the ashes believing in the place he belonged. His skills were unique when he could spin the ball beyond human imagination almost like the leper ‘Kachda’ from Lagaan movie.

While many would have resisted, but Baahubali must had spoken like Aamir Khan, “Kachda khelegaaaaa!”. And so he played.

Baahubali took his newly shuffled bunch alongwith ‘Kachda’ to the land of whites down in a southern island of world. They were thrashed and booed. Kachda’s bowling action was made fun of, when he was asked to bowl seven times on the ‘Boxing day’. This wasn’t a dalit being made fun of, but a Lankan. All the majority upper class in their own country have been reduced to ‘dark uncouth race’ in the land of ‘whites’. This all caste and race thing is so relative. A brahmin in India would be a ‘brown indian’ somewhere else. All the barriers vanished, and Baahubali’s crew stood firmly with Mutthu.

A calm determined Baahubali took up the task to organise himself and take the revenge. He just looked at the bunch, their playing order, and shuffled it. Man at the top goes down, and men idle at bottom comes up. Lying at bottom for many years, when somebody get a special privilege, he thrives to do his best. To prove himself. Like first dalits who were renamed ‘harijans’ or uplifted by ‘reservation’, didn’t dance with joy but had tear in their eyes and thrived to sustain themselves. Sanath and Kaluwitharna proved giant killers.

Baahubali wasn’t alone. Another land of Moslems were too blamed for ‘fixing’ by the southern-islanders. And the prosperous land of Gandhi joined them naturally.

The supreme south-islanders had reason to laugh and scorn when an embarassing ‘bomb blast’ happened in Lanka right before the world cup. They refused to even step into the land of demons. What the world saw in return was unprecedented. The ever-fighting people of two lands- The Pakis and Indians joined to form a single team, and played an exhibition game with Baahubali in that very ‘blast-struck’ land. When Waseem Akram couldn’t find his T-shirt, he accidently wore the Indian captain Azhar’s T-shirt. Quintessential enemies were joyous together every time they took a wicket. The borders were broken as if they never existed.

Bahubali’s top men fired from the first ball. No defense. No pause. No adapting to situation. It was just blasting the bowler from the word ‘go’. This kind of cricket was never played before, and the same kind would be played now onwards. They changed the pattern of game forever. Sanath Jayasuriya rose from nowhere to ‘Man of series’, and ‘Most valuable player’ . Mutthiah Murlidharan shined with his swerving, dancing, mysterious balls, and what more? (Oh yes! Coach was Dave Whatmore).

Top batsmen of world cried at the pitches; Pace bowlers flummoxed by attack resorted to spin bowling; Spectators couldn’t bear the brutal thrashing of Baahubali’s team and vandalised the Eden Garden.

The murderous lankans reached to coveted finals with Australia. The Baahubali’s revenge to South-islanders.

For the first time, entire Lahore of Moslem was roaring for somebody from other land, flagging Lankan flags. A nation so neglected and deprived was getting a full-house crowd of supporters, that too in a jingoist Islamic country.

Baahubali knew he had arrived. He achieved the pride he never had.

Top order collapsed, but Baahubali was calm, assured. A Kumbhakaran look-alike Gurusinghe and Bibhishan look-alike De Silva have joined together for Lankan pride, and Bahubali kicked the final shot to glory. The world was conquered.

Arjun Ranatunga: The Baahubali, lifting World cup in 1996


Maare gaye gulfaam: My three vows in life

With all these Asaram Babu and Radhey maa escapades popping up, celibacy seems to be an unachievable task. Yet you may get close to it by subscribing The Hindu.They dare extremes like putting Rangana Herath, an ugly unknown cricketer on cover page of their sports mag…..wait a minute…..Rangana Herath (Use google. He exists). Closest obscenity I could find in one of the cornered columns of The Hindu, was Nargis Fakhri’s natural pout. I remember the Hindi dailies up north which would have dedicated flashy pages of poster size bikini girls, and so would have the famous Times. And the sexpert column, which I always believed had framed up questions from some pervert (how do they hire such pervert? is there some course like Masters in Perversion). Sneak-and-peek stuffs. Anyway, I am content with Nargis Fakhri’s pout at the moment, one of the sacrifice you have to do to join elite club of The Hindu-readers. I wonder how many vows I would finally take in life.

While my first vow featured in my earlier blog that I would never commit theft, the second one dealt with something on similar lines.

A leader is the one who can lead you on right and wrong paths with equal efficacy.

It all started with a blind date gone wrong with my friend. The girl instead of singing lovesongs, gave him an audio CD from some multi-level marketing firm. While I was pondering on the idea, somebody brought a similar platter where you can make a million from petty 2000 bucks in 9 months (what an apt gestation period). Anyway, I jumped into the fray. Rest was history! I sold the idea to somebody, and people were luring each other on chai-tapdi , the backseat of classroom, and even their girlfriends on dates. The chain grew exponentially. Soon, I found myself talking to a packed audience in some engineering college. But, somehow nobody was gaining anything. A fellow who incidentally was my neighbour would sluggishly stroll in front of me, “Jha, mere chain ka kuchh hua kya?” My smile assured him always, and he would go day-dreaming about his million. Soon, the dream castle began shaking. All we had, was some tree-like-structure on paper, with no money in it.  In those days, when somebody provided a login-password, it meant some credibility. The passwords never worked.  The company had cheated us all, albeit some of the dejected fellows extracted a local brand mixer-grinder from them (a sarcastic gift from company. What were we supposed to do? Put our ass and get it shredded to bits).

I took my second vow, to never indulge in any mode of corruption, especially if it concerns others.

Coming back to the topic of Nargis Fakhri, its a transformation in myself to even appreciate her. If it was my real self, I should have been rather dreaming of Vidya Balan or even somebody older. In my schooldays, when people were mad about bubbly Divya Bharati, I would hide an old newspaper clipping of Juhi Chawla in my notebook. And this was guided by my coach from Brilliant Tutorials (an old days coaching institute) who kept Suraiya’s clip with him in his student days. He quoted them as passions which keep us moving. Later, Madhuri Dixit stayed in my notebooks for long till I grew old enough to find my own Juhis and Madhuris. The long inculcated habit was not dying, and anybody younger was not appealing enough. A girl I was attracted to, lost her chances (lol her chances!!) when I accidently looked at her tenth marksheet. She was three months younger, marginally failing the eligibility criteria. My parallel struggles for Dilli-waalee girlfriend (my earlier blog) made it even difficult- Dilli-waalee badee girlfriend. So be it! A dreamer never gives up. But, when you fall from a higher tree, you get hurt even more. I jumped; I climbed; I reached; And, I fell flat.

I took my third vow, to never fall for an elder girl. After all, what’s wrong with Nargis Fakhri (except that she would have never featured in any article more than this blog)?

Teesri Kasam is a Raj Kapoor starrer, where he takes three vows of – not carrying illegal goods in his cart, never carry bamboo which hurts others in his cart, and never carry a nautanki-dancer.

teesri kasam
A still from ‘Teesri Kasam’- the movie

Lage raho Jha bhai!

I sometimes feel pity for my kids who are pampered; their wishes fulfilled in seconds. Never smacked, locked in the room, made ‘murga’ in class, hit on knuckle side of hand with an innocuous yet fiery twig, piss in pants before sports-teacher could charge. They probably never err as we did. Flawless souls like Gandhiji’s monkeys.

Easiest theft of childhood was stealing from home itself. A fluttering ten-rupee note kept beneath ‘hajmola sheeshee’ enticed me so much that I began strategising its theft. But, it wasn’t cake-walk as my mother never needed a CCTV to monitor whether her ‘achaar’ drying at top being attacked by crow, or a cat sneaking into the kitchen. Her eyes and ears were in each nook and corner of home, vigilant and alert. Best way to dodge such tight security, was to engage her with another thief. My lucky mascot quintessential thief ‘doodhwala (milkman)’ arrived. As my mom began bickering with him for diluted milk, I sneakingly took ten rupees and hided in middle of my notebook. This proved to be my last cash pilfering in life, as I was beaten the same day when my younger bro took out hidden bunch of ‘Parle-G’ I had bought, and showed it to mom.  I vowed to never steal money in my life, like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Years later, I was on a Greyhound bus from Champaign to Memphis. For whatever reasons, whether India or abroad, I have predominantly got a last jerking and ass-smacking bus-seat in my life. While I was shoved to corner by hefty co-passenger and was somehow trying to adapt, I was expelled out of bus by ‘fart of the century’. Bloody Indian was out on road, suffocated almost to verge of death with poisonous bodily gases circulating in cramped bus. I returned to India soon, like Mohandas.

Zilla Ghaziabad- an epitome of crime and ‘gundaraj’ became first land of ‘satyagraha’. Tired and retired from hospital, I was driving my Maruti Alto through heavy monsoon downpour. When the mind was without fear, and streets without streetlights, potholes didn’t daunt this veteran who bore ass-smacking throughout his life. Rushing to home troubled by umpteen calls from Kasturba, I spluttered and tarnished a Ghaziabad Policeman riding a bullet beside. Even General Dyer would have pissed in pants if a Ghaziabad policewallah charged towards him. He blast opened my front door as if lock and knock were non-entity. Undaunted with bowed face, I offered all four cheeks (yeah the bottom ones too) which just melted our own desi respect-seeking policeman (dare I say ‘thulla’). Not much later, man was helping me locate my lost passport.

Rampant corruption and anarchy was hitting the headlines when a Gandhi-lookalike was leading a movement, and coining some unheard lost terms like ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Lokpal’. Any Tom, Dick and Harry were jumping in fray with black flags, marches, candles and so on in funky T-shirts displaying ‘Swaraj’ logos. I too could have done that but scorching sun and a cozy job restrained me. All I could do, was to blurt out tirades on ‘facebook’.

If there were ‘whatsapp’ and ‘facebook’ those days, Bhagat Singh and Azad would have some ‘sarfarosh’ chat group planning Kakori loot sharing photos and planning event. Nehru would have another group adding Gandhi, Azad, Patel and sharing an emaciated fasting Gandhi’s pic and people ‘liking’, ‘forwarding’, ‘thumbsuping’ throughout country…..’Nehru added Azad’…..’Zinnah left’…..’Subhash Chandra Bose started a new group’……Lajpat Rai tweets ‘Simon go back’…

But, there were none. They bore scorching sun, suffocated, beaten, bruised, hanged, murdered…..while we spoof them, sharing their wrongdoings and mistakes from some torn pages in history sitting in a cozy room sipping a cup of coffee. Celibacy experiments are raked up. Truth experiments are forgotten. And the patriots in us forward, like and share ‘Vande Mataram’ logos and ‘porn jokes’ with equal fervour.

Jai Hind!

(In his book ‘My experiments with truth’, Gandhi mentions his childhood theft of gold from his brother’s armlet and his vow to never steal in life; how he was thrown out of train, and the famous quote of ‘offer another cheek if somebody hits at one’ are well known. This blog has my personal views and experiences, and any reference to Mahatma Gandhi is symbolic)

A file picture from The Hindu
A file picture from The Hindu

A tribute to Thalaivar

Sunil Gavaskar and Jawahar Lal Nehru have virtually nothing in common, but they bore an uncanny resemblance in my childhood. Smiling glamorous faces who even looked a bit similar in their facial profile to me. One criticised for his dragging 36 runs in 50 overs, and other for mishandling Kashmir. In Doordarshan era, when we all would gather at a neighbour’s place to watch 1987 world cup, Ewen Chatfield was as precise and accurate as Glenn Mcgrath. While everybody was rooting for flashy stroke player Srikkanth who began charging from first over, I still looked with gleamy eyes at Gavaskar who would retire soon. Man who never scored ODI 100 in his life handled one of the best bowlers with panache, charging 4’s and 6’s (yes he did hit ‘six’), reaching his first and only ODI century in some 80 balls.

Trying to mimic Gavaskar, while others would swing their bats hitting the tennis ball smashing windows and hitting passerby in our ‘gully cricket’, I would try to slowly nudge my bat while I bring my one leg front. The ‘cover drive’ never happened. One who dreamt to become Gavaskar, ended up as an authentic ‘score-keeper’. I finally scored a 100 in mathematics in board exam, thanks to meticulous score-keeping and Sunny Gavaskar.

When you can’t achieve a dream, you prefer to change it.

So, I wished to become a scientist who would win Nobel Prize like Hargobind Khurana. To make the dream more colourful, I would say, “….and then I will return to India, to be crowned as Indian president.” This was the childhood dream, which stayed with me for the longest time.

I studied biology, chose the field of medicine, switched to research interests in my third year, and went to Indian Institute of Science for training. But, dreams began to shatter when test tube and pipettes came in my hand, and I would struggle my day with tiring tearful eyes on a microscope. I felt like a kid attempting a ‘cover drive’. It wasn’t easy at all. I could never make a ‘perfect tea’ in life, forget making a ‘perfect chemical solution’ for DNA analysis. Yet, I persisted. I left for United States after completing my medical school for a PhD, and often I would browse the profile of Dr. Khorana in MIT. Out of many faculties I met to choose my research guide, I rejected an offer as an assistant from a frail unattractive old man. Poor man had no funds in his lab. In the same year, the man I scorned about, Paul Laterbur was awarded Nobel Prize for discovering MRI. I felt like modern age Eklavya who showed ‘angootha’ to Guru Dronacharya, before he could cut it.

Sometimes when you fail to become something, you pretend it.

I would spent hours in lab, would sip coffee scribbling something on paper, pausing, looking at the sky, as if ideas would fall from sky, and I would discover something like may be ‘MRI’. I grew up my hairs upto shoulder, and a hefty beard. I was almost a scientist, till my old friend who visited from India was appalled- “Hey! you look like Jim Morrison. You are a rock star.” Efforts to become Hargobind Khurana and Paul Laterbur had failed, and all I could become was a “head-banging hippie”.

Journey from a dreamer to commoner is the smoothest.

I cut my long hairs, kept a suave ‘french beard’, returned to India and began working on something Paul Laterbur had discovered. Like many of us do. Let them innovate and discover, we would be the one to apply it. Doesn’t that make sense? Doesn’t even Mr. Narayan Murthy think the same?

A dream is after all a dream.

Playing gully cricket, becoming a scientist, growing long hairs, and crowned a president. Huh!

a still from ‘ I am Kalam’ the movie