September 23, 2007

"Off with his head!" he said.

Dear 24-7-on-the-warpath VHP,

The news, nowadays, really is a delight to read. So much entertainment. So much masala. Wild quotes fly around, threats are made, people rush in and out of jail. But I have to hand it to you, you take the cake. What you will hate, of course, is the fact that you share your limelight with Karunanidhi, CM of TN. And, to be frank, I personally prefer him to you, just a wee bit more.

After all, this 83-year-old atheist is still young and happening. I don't know why, but I feel he's getting an almost vicious, sadistic pleasure out of spouting quotes like "Rama was a drunkard." And somehow that's hilarious and endearing. It's the sort of thing I would feel like doing, just to see the reaction. I mean, imagine throwing the nation into tumult with one sentence, which is nothing more than an opinion. Brilliant.

And things go as expected. Some loony from your side is offering an equal weight in gold if someone can behead Karunanidhi. Come on. The man's 83. Cut him some slack. Not because he's old, but because all he has done is state an opinion and question mythology. Anyway, if you believe in your God so dearly, why does Karunanidhi's opinion make such a difference to you?

And then, the VHP itself has no great place in India. I mean, okay, you have a few rabid Hindu fundamentalist supporters. So what? The media pretty much hates you, the political parties are scared of being associated with you. Even the BJP, which began its journey with you as a companion, now hedges and mouths platitudes about secularism when questioned about their connection to you. Face it, you're in a pretty sad position. And coming up with "Off with his head!" type of dialogues made even the Queen of Hearts a pretty unpopular character in the 19th century (or whenever Alice in Wonderland was set) so I don't see it benefitting you greatly in this day and age.

Finally, Karunanidhi is such a dude. I mean, those black glares, the nonchalance, the atheism, the stubbornness, the sarcasm. Do you really think he'll give a damn what you think of him or what you want to do to him? This is a man who survived a midnight rough-up by Jayalalitha's men quite suavely a few years ago. Proof enough of resilience.

Plus, southern states. Now this may sound like I'm stereotyping, but they do have a larger-than-life image of every icon. Be it Rajkumar (of "Tic tic tic" fame) or Rajnikanth, no one can beat the southern states for pure idol worship. A bit of that extends to their politicians as well. To many, Jaya didi can do no wrong. The same rule applies to Karunanidhi. And admit it or not, public adulation for a person will always be more than that for an organisation. So you kinda start on a weak footing in that department, you know. And if you think he will lose the next election because of this, dream on. He may lose the next election, but that'll probably be because of anti-incumbency, or negative policies, or something that affects the people more than whether Rama drank liquor or not.

Be broad-minded. You wanna fight over the "Ram janmabhoomi," go ahead. You wanna propagate silly ideas of a Hindu nation, your wish. But don't yell blue murder when someone else decides to make statements that are equally controversial, and don't threaten homicide when someone questions your God's existence. Believe and let believe.

Wishing you a healthier, happier, less violent tomorrow,
The author of this blog.

PS: Remember the Sethusamudram project? That's where this started. Just thought I'd remind you. Not that it would matter to you, considering you've attempted to understand science just as much as I've attempted to understand the bloody blinking yellow and orange lights on my printer. But hey, I think the coral reefs out there are a bigger reason to save it than it being the "Ramsetu". There, I said it. So, now what? Off with my head also?


Unrelated to this, but, "I want to thank you back home Pakistan and where the Muslim lives all over the world."?! Excuse me?! Since when did "Muslims all over the world" and "Pak supporters" become synonymous?

September 22, 2007


A few brilliant entries by some of my favourite bloggers:

Rama Rama (Greatbong) -

Sastrigal and Engineers (Neha Viswanathan) -

God Resigns (Amit Varma) -

Don't insult pasta (Amit Varma) -

Finally, I could say a lot about the match but wouldn't be able to say it as well as it is here - (Greatbong again)

PS: Blog turned a year old a few days back. I think it's high time I rechristen it, especially considering that the first Mindspace is more or less defunct now. People with suggestions please leave comments. Thanks!

September 12, 2007

Writing For The Market (Sounds like a B-grade management kitaab, doesn't it?)

It is often said that the most important thing to think of when you write something is the market. Different publications want different things, as do different categories of readers. I would like to set forth, in my own humble way, a list of things you should do for each.

Say, for example, you were writing for that Holy of Holies, Bombay Times. (That supplement of TOI that has gone from 4 pages to... 12? 14? in a matter of years, and from news about BMC carelessness and civic consciousness to the colour and location of Koena Mitra's tattoo).

7 Easy Steps to Writing a Story for the BT:

1. Maintain contacts with the spot boys, makeup artists and struggling designers of the film fraternity.

2. Make sure that when something significant (e.g. the chipping of Sushmita Sen's nails) takes place, you are the first one to be informed.

3. Have a constant horde of psychiatrists, sociologists and small fry of the industry on standby for quotes. If not that, the easier (and better) option is to ask them to give you full liberty to print what you want as a quote from them. [While this may strike many as improbable, it is a fact to be noted that small fry in the industry have no qualms about being misquoted as long as their names are in the paper. Front page, even.] So when Kangana Raut has a bad hair day, you have a trichologist who will give you 2 columns on the likely problems, a psychologist talking about how hair affects subconscious behaviour, a "PYT" describing her own horrendous experiences with hair ("Ooh, I remember, like, I woke up one morning, and it wasn't silky!!" *tone of anguish*)

If you get really lucky, Kangana might herself give you a quote about how it felt, and hint at the cause being disastrous relationships et al. This, naturally, will move this article from front page bottom to front page top.

4. Polish language, make up a few quotes, put words in people's mouths.

5. Get a few photographs (Google Image Search would be the obvious choice) of celebrities all over the world having bad hair days. Also dig up stories of international celebs with bad hair days. If possible, random quotes by anyone about bad hair days.

6. Round it up with words of wisdom for those suffering from the deep angst that comes from bad hair days. BT is the only paper they read anyway.

7. Get back to your cabin, write a story, submit.

7 Easy Steps to Writing a Story for Mid-Day:

1. Go to the panwalla across the street.

2. Buy a pan.

3. Ask him, "Toh, aaj khabar mein kya hai?"

4. Don't write down. Rely on self to remember.

5. Ask, "Aur gossip?"

6. Repeat Step 4.

7. Get back to your cubicle, write a story, submit.

7 Easy Steps to Writing a Story for JAM (for college students only):

1. Recall your day's conversation with your friends in the college cafeteria. [Brainstorming]

2. Select a topic at random. [Ideation]

3. Call up 2 more friends (preferably the kind who wouldn't know Bush from Al Gore) and ask for their opinion on that topic. [Research]

4. Write 300 words on your laptop about it while eating cookies, playing Solitaire and surfing Orkut. [Multi-tasking]

Note- At this point, it would be good to remember the FSS rule: Fabricate, Stereotype, Sensationalise.

5. Read it once. [Self-congratulation and vanity-pleasing]

6. Run a Spell check. [Optional, because very often they don't either.]

7. Submit. [Your value addition to the coolest youth magazine in the world!]

N.B. All opinions expressed herein are purely personal. And very strong. Do what you want.

September 07, 2007

I Hate Writing

I hate writing.

I hate writing because it never seems complete, a process that doesn't stop when you put the pen down.

I hate writing because it occupies my mind, my thoughts, my world whenever I write even a paragraph.

I hate writing for the words that swim in my head, elusive, backing away, vague.

I hate writing because every word, every sentence, very paragraph has me obsessed.

I hate writing because I know that nothing matches it. I hate writing because I hate this feeling, this "knowing".

I hate writing for the unfinished thoughts, the broken sentences, the words that never seem quite perfect when I create them.

I hate writing for the mood swings it inevitably brings with it - the excitement, the disgust, the despair, the apprehension, the conflict.

I hate writing for the dark, vast ocean of things you can do with it, and for the choice you must make to choose a single way.

I hate writing for the power it single-handedly wields over the mind.

I hate it.


Written in a rare dark mood. I think I'm getting old.

September 04, 2007

Update - Yet Another Random Entry to Prove I'm Alive

I'm back after a break of nearly 3 months. Nothing much to say, except: please watch "Mona Lisa Smile" if you haven't already. (Yeah, I know, I seem to be specialising in entries that are more like random snippets of conversation and don't even deserve comments, but I'm past help.) Brilliant movie.

The rest, later. If there ever is another entry. I seem to be facing writer's block of a peculiar kind - nothing seems important enough to blog about. (And then again, considering I've blogged about absolute random crap in the best, this shouldn't be happening.) So until I actually feel like writing... blah.