I haven’t written here for a long time; I want to write but have no idea what to write about so I’ll write about random things that have been happening in the world.
I’ve been reading the small news snippets for many days that the central government is making an all-out effort to make life hell for the author whose misfortune is that she has decided to take refuge in India. I wonder why she is still here when she can get shelter in some other, more liberal and democratic country. First she was thrown out by the West Bengal government and now the central government is putting pressure on her to keep a very low profile if she wants to remain in the country. She has been in a virtual house arrest — she cannot go anywhere, nobody can visit her, she cannot call anybody, and nobody can call her. Of course she has contacted every newspaper and TV news channel to pour out her heart and our external affairs minister was looking really upset when he talked to the reporters regarding how she is not heeding to the government’s advisory.
What stumps every freethinking person in the country is how the complete government machinery can be cowed down by a handful of fundamentalists? If nothing else then to just prove a point she should have been provided full security and she should have been allowed to move unrestricted. Why should the fundamentalists decide how a person should live in our country? It is utterly shameful for a country as big as India. We want to have the independence of possessing the nuclear warheads but we cannot ensure safety of a single person; isn’t it ironic?
IT people in Bangalore
A few months ago the people in Bangalore had a big problem with the poor street dogs and now they have a problem with the people working in the IT industry. The last week’s issue of the Outlook magazine talks about how the Bangaloreans hate the way the outsiders are sullying the original culture of the city. I think they should be left alone and all the other people and dogs should move out of the city. For all you know it could turn out to be a matter of life and death. Is it some city in India or Saudi Arabia/Iraq?
Shooting in Gurgaon
Recently two teenagers shot dead their classmate in a Gudgaon school. They were both I think 14-year-old and the main culprit had stolen his father’s revolver who in turn had been given the revolver by a neighbor who in turn, I think, had obtained the weapon illegally. I’m sure a lot has been written about the gun culture arriving in India and the teenagers emulating their American counterparts. Just like in America, the problem is not with the guns, it is with the society, the screwed up societal fabric that we are weaving. The father of the boy had himself taught him how to use the firearm. Violence is constantly glamorized and justified in the media especially in films and on television. I recently realized how immune we have grown to violence around us when they showed a Sri Lankan woman entering an office and blowing herself up. I wasn’t shocked for even a second. Perhaps I have seen too much blood and gore on TV. But yes in many cases the availability of the weapon makes a big difference; the unfortunate boy would have been alive had the other boy had no access to the gun.
In this particular case the other problem was the bully culture; it is said that the dead boy used to bully the boys who shot him. I think bullying should be taken very seriously both by the school authorities and the parents and the children should be taught how to handle bullies without resorting to catastrophic means because by the end of the day you want a reformed bully and not a dead bully.
The recent movie we watched
A couple of weeks ago we watched “Om Shanti Om”. It is a movie you wouldn’t want to spend your money on, I mean it is not dull but it is not a well-made movie considering who all have acted in it. Deepika Padukone is a stunner as long as she doesn’t act and Shahrukh Khan looks stupid throughout the movie. They have tried to make fun of the stars of the 70s era but they have only succeeded in making a pathetic show of themselves. The script is drab, the acting is boring, and even the direction is immature.
This reminds me — a few days ago I was watching a Rajendra Kumar song and was just wondering how old those actors used to look: he always looked like a hero in his 30s and he often acted like one and that made him look graceful. Watch “Sangam” to know what I mean; the two male heroes and the heroine all look so mature. These days our heroes cross their 40s and still act like demented teenagers. But I would quickly like to add here that actors nowadays are far better than their older counterparts as far as the acting skills go.
For many months — yes, now it takes not days, not weeks, but months — I have been reading “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas, an exceptional 19th-century French author. It is a big book, I mean, you can easily fit three novels in the amount of paper and text the book has used. In fact, while reading it I switched to another book “The Inheritance of Loss” by Anita Desai, and for a change I read the book almost in a single day. I wonder why “The Inheritance of Loss” got the Booker — it is nowhere near the other Booker books that I have read for instance, “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy and “The Midnight’s Children” by Salam Rushdie. Maybe they didn’t have a better writer this time.
Coming back to “The Count of Monte Cristo”: it’s basically a revenge saga, and I’m not reading it because I’m in love with the protagonist and the plot. I’m simply reading it because the author has written it exceptionally well and with lots of detail. He has turned his protagonist, the Count of Monte Cristo into a preternatural genius who falls into a mammoth fortune by chance. Okay, not completely by chance but still it sounds quite tedious sometimes. The plot moves very fast and the person who has written the introduction has rightly called Dumas the John Grisham of that time.
I haven’t been reading much newspaper these days because after getting up I’m always in a hurry to do my vocal music practice and after that I start working.