The English Patient

“We die.

We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in – like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.”

K writes to her lover Almásy, waiting in a cave for him to come back and rescue her. She has just realised he might be too late to save her. The husband, the pilot, has died in a suicidal plane crash, in which she was a part of and was the second of the three targets(The third being Almásy himself). Almásy is unhurt and takes her to a cave, which has drawings of swimming figures; and, leaves after promising to return to rescue her.

The Husband loves her. More importantly – trusts her. When he finds out about he the affair she is having with Almásy, it shatters him.

Almásy, who hates ownership plunges deep into the ravines of a woman’s Love. Unable to own her and after she ends the affair, unable to bear the pain asks her, “How can you ever smile, as if your life hadn’t capsized?”.

After the crash, Almásy, after dropping her off at the cave with swimming figures, after promising to come back, is caught by the British, who think he is a spy.

Ultimately, he betrays the British and hands over the maps, all important maps, crucial to wartime efforts, to the Germans, in exchange for a plane to fly back to the cave to rescue his darling. Is betrayal really betrayal if it means you can hold your end of the promise to the woman you love?

Katherine is still there, but only in her letters to the Count.

The English Patient is Cinema at its best. I’ve been aching to watch it ever since I heard of it in an episode in Seinfeld. I am livid with myself for delaying the watching of this magnificent picture.

It transports you to a world you had seen in movies and paintings, but had never felt. The passion of the love between Katherine and her lover, eclipses that of the husband. You would think that there’d never be a reason good enough to betray your side in a war; you’d think there’d never be a good enough reason for a wife to cheat on her loving, caring husband. This movie works because it elevates the characters from the reel to the world of you and me, without you even noticing it.

Katherine in her final moments writes to her lover:

“My darling. I’m waiting for you.

How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I’m horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there’d be the sun. I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words.

We die.

We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in – like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.”

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The old lady across the street

There was an old lady across the street.

The house is all she obsessed about..

“The house is in such a nice locality”, she claimed.

“My children will sell the house, I know, if I leave one day..”, she prophesied.

Cared for it so much she did, that she chose the house over the Husband.

Fought with the neighbours she did, for the tree in their house was shedding leaves into hers!

Fought with the neighbours she did, with chest full of contempt for people who lived in rented houses.

Not that she was evil incarnate, oh no no no..

She lives among us all, obsessing about things which really don’t matter.

Driving away friends, saying mean things to the ones whom we love and need later.

Died she did in, but not in her house of bricks..

Died she did in some far away place where the elderly mix.

The fool is the one who doesn’t learn his lesson.

The fool is the one who has less love for people than his lousy mansion.

My neighbour since 2002 passed away today. She was 68. She died in an elderly home, after moving there about a fortnight ago, after her Children and Husband thought it best to move her there.

She didn’t die in the house she lived for so many years, the one thing she loved above all..

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Our very own “Argo”

Recently watched Argo. Loved it. Especially bit about the secret agent, infiltrating into enemy territory and getting the good guys out. There was much appreciation of the methods of the CIA(Even though, in this case, most of the work was apparently done by the Canadians), especially after the Osama episode. Scarcely does anyone come to know what our own premier Intelligence Agency – RAW – has been upto.

I first found out about this couple of years ago. Lets get into details.

What happened on January 30, 1971?

1) What we know is there were two Kashmiris, Hashim Quereshi and his cousin Ashraf Butt, who went on to highjack an Indian Airlines plane named ‘Ganga’ using a Toy Pistol.

2) They take the craft to Lahore, burn it down, Pakistan was happy, they were treated as heroes, Pakistan created a mini-media spectacle thinking it would promote the Kashmiri cause. Passengers were safe, as the intention was to, apparently, promote the “cause” and advertise it to the world.

A picture of the type of aircraft in question. Ganga was an old Fokker F27 Friendship Indian Airlines aircraft.

3) On January 31, Z.A. Bhutto, Pakistani PM to be and the most prominent Politician of the then West Pakistan, visited the airport and embraced the two hijackers as true champions of the Pakistani cause. After five days, he issued a statement to the effect that the hijackers were “two brave men” and their deed demonstrated that “no power on earth can stifle the Kashmiris’ struggle for liberation.” The Pakistani authorities justified the hijacking which they described as the direct result of repressive measures taken by the Government of India in Kashmir.

4) Indian Government seethes with anger and bans overflight from West Pakistan to East Pakistan. A major blow, considering soldiers were being transported in civilian disguise in civilian planes, for the impending bloody massacre of fellow Pakistanis by Pakistani soldiers; and the war that is to follow. The crucial air link is cut off.

5) India liberates “Bangladesh” from Pakistan.

Till now facts speak for themselves. But, strange things begin to happen.

1) Pakistan jails one of the high-jackers for 19 years! Labelling them agents of India and calling one of them BSF. They realised that this Highjacking was used by Indira Gandhi to ban overhead flights between the 2 wings of Pakistan.

2) It comes to be known that the aircraft in question was the oldest of its type in the fleet of the Indian Airlines, was in a poor state of maintenance and lacked certain items of equipment usually carried on such aircraft. Basically the loss of the craft was no-big-deal. It was old and dusty.

3) Now, G.M. Sadiq, the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, calls this an Indian plan. Basically, a false flag operation by India.

Who benefits, who loses?

To put things simply. Pakistan loses, India gains tremendously.

Pakistani losses: Pakistan wanted to highlight India’s actions in Kashmir. But, ended up getting cut off from its own Eastern wing. By helping the Terrorists, Pakistan forces India’s hand to ban the overhead flights between the 2 wings.

Considering most of the troop movement used to happen using these overhead flights, under civilian disguise, this was a major blow to Pakistani war efforts and a disruption of troop movement.

Indian gains: Needless to say, India had nothing but to gain from these two idiotic youths taking their plane to Lahore. Even the Aircraft, as it turned out, was old and had no real value. No passengers were hurt(even though their lives were at risk). India gets a solid reason to ban the overhead flight privileges, stops the Pakistani troop movement, escalates the cost and time to transport the troops from West wing to the East for Pakistan.

When Pakistan jails the Terrorist accusing them of acting on behalf of India, India manages to ignite few protests against Pakistan by Kashmiris in Pakistan and outside of the Sub-Continent(Owning to pressure of overseas Kashmiris and the disquiet of Kashmiris in PoK, Pakistan had to release the Terrorist, who later gives up arms to pursue a peaceful resolution of Kashmir. I wonder why!).

Into the realm of speculation and conjecture

Now, with our bases covered, lets look at the interview of the high jacker, who now lives in India.

The interview can be found here:

“In a haircutting salon in Lal Chowk, I met a Kashmiri Border Security Force (BSF) officer. I told him I wanted to go to Pakistan. He agreed to help me cross the border provided I brought some information the BSF needed. I agreed and the BSF managed my clandestine entry into Pakistan through the Sialkot border.”

He was actually double-crossing the BSF. In Pakistan, Hashim was trained for the hijack.

“Maqbool Bhat said to highlight the Kashmir problem we must hijack an Indian plane. Javaid Mantoo, a retired pilot, helped familiarise me with a Fokker Friendship plane. He took me to Chaklala airport where I was allowed to see the plane from inside.”

After hijack training, Hashim crossed back into Kashmir from the Sialkot border.

“I boarded a bus, but the bus was stopped by police and I was caught with a pistol and a hand grenade. I was taken to a BSF interrogation centre. I told them how I had been trained along with three others for the hijack in Pakistan.

“I was asked by the BSF to keep a watch at the Srinagar airport. An advertisement appeared in a newspaper about the sale of a look-real pistol which could be used to scare away thieves. I ordered one by post. I fabricated a wooden hand grenade and painted it with metallic colour.”

After the episode, Pakistan alleges that Indian agencies conducted this false flag operation, by R&AW, tags one of the Terrorist as an Indian agent and tortures him and puts in jail. 

Now, tell me if this isn’t better than Argo!

Indira Gandhi, whom the liberated, free citizens of Bangladesh begin to call “Maa Durga”, deserves a lot of credit, for quickly using this as a justification for banning the flights, imposing a major tactical disadvantage on the Pakistanis. Apart from the CM of J&K saying this was an Indian operation, no accounts of this have been released by India and R&AW.

You can guess why – People in the aircraft(Indian citizens) were put at risk, intentionally, by the planners. Admitting this would create a controversy within India, as to why Indian civilians were put in harm’s way. India loses face at the international level, as India had long maintained that it did nothing to precipitate the war and war was forced upon it.

R&AW might not be as glamorous, or might have the technology of a CIA, but if this indeed, seems very likely it was, a R&AW operation, full marks to it. It achieved the desired result, with zero lives lost, no damage to the infrastructure and sowing the seeds of confusion in the opposing ranks. India gets what it wants – Stop movement of troops from West Pakistan to the East, thereby escalating the cost and the time required to transport the troops.

All of this using a Toy Pistol and a wooden “grenade”. And, we think CIA’s hunt of Osama was awesome!

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Things that make you a 90s kid from Bangalore

1) If your first favourite channel was DD2. The other choice was DD1.

2) The number of rings of the phone meant different things. Example: One meant call me back, two meant I am leaving house now.

3) There was only 3 actors in Bollywood – the 3 Khans. Well, not much has changed since then.

4) The number of channels available on cable increased, but for you there was only one channel that mattered – Cartoon Network.

My favourite channel of yesteryears.

5) If Cricket was the only sport you knew. No F1, No Football, No nothing..

6) You have seen Sachin Tendulkar in his prime. And, Brian Lara was the second best batsman, not Ricky Ponting, not Amla, not Hussey.

7) If you have debated with your friends who is better Dravid or Tendulkar.

8) If you have debated and still do debate, who is better Shahrukh or Aamir.

9) If you thought once Johnny Lever was the funniest guy alive.

10) You grew up with independent music movement or pop music, which sadly died out. You grew up with songs from Lucky Ali, Pankaj Udhas, Sonu Nigam, Euphoria, Bombay Vikings,etc. Please do add in the comments if you think this illustrious list requires some more additions. The songs coupled with the surreal videos added so much joy to your childhood.

11) If you thought there wasn’t a better looking girl than Aishwarya Rai and no man can match the handsomeness of Salman Khan. When they were together, it made so much sense..then..

12) Your dad had a Scooter or a Bike. Car was something a Doctor had(I know it sounds strange, but I actually thought it was so when I was a kid). He would take you for a ride everyday and drop you back and head on his way.

13) The only DJ you knew was DJ Aqeel and thought he was GREAT! 😛

14) If your teachers had thought making you sit next to a girl in class was “punishment”! I met my teachers and they are doing the opposite now.

15) If your favourite serials/TV shows were ‘Dekh Bhai Dekh‘, ‘Alif Laila‘ and Jaspal Bhatti’s brilliant ‘Flop Show‘. You parents preferred ‘Shanti’, ‘Maya Mruga’ and other stuff.. There is this TV show I used to love which used to be telecast on DD2 or DD1, but can’t place the name. The other notable mentions are Chandrakanta, Shriman Shrimati.

16) You used to just enjoy the Bangalore weather, now you just compare it to the good old times. Traffic was not even an issue then! Summer Holidays in Bangalore were the best in India. Indian Summer is brutal, but Bangalore was an exception. You went Swimming, played Cricket, roamed around the adjoining areas on your bicycle, used to spent the 2 or 3 Rupees you get as pocket money on candy or bhel-puri.

17) If you were able to reach from point A to point B, without ever fearing the sun. The tree cover has disappeared now. I used to travel from school to house, without worrying about the heat.

18) You have played a form of hide and seek – “Dabba”, especially during the power cuts. Video games were a distant dream, only your rich classmate had one and that was the object of your desire, which most of that era never really got when they needed it. You knew how to fly Kites, play “bugari”(I really don’t know if there is a name for it in English.. The thing which spins on a nail after you roll a thread around it and throw it in a certain way).

19) Your first favourite director was, well.. Upendra! 🙂

20) Your Ajji told you stories of the notorious monkey, while she fed you ghee and salt rice. When she passes, that was the first time you felt real pain and cry your eyes out. You can still hear her sweet voice calling your name out. You going to your ‘Ajji mane'[Grandmother’s place] was the favourite excuse you had if you take a leave from school.

Ajji

She passed away when I was in 6th or 7th Standard. Sadly I can remember only one story from the hundreds she used to tell me every day.

21) There was this one Uncle or Grandfather or Cousin, who loved to take you with him to Dwarka “Hotel”, Vidyarthi Bhavan and Brahmin’s Cafe to feed you delicious Idlies or Dosas or Karabath-Kesaribath, with filter coffee in the end.

22) If you have scratches and bruises all over your body from all the climbing of trees, buildings, digging sand deposited for a nearby construction, falling off of the bicycle. I don’t see the kids today doing any of the stuff we did back then.

23) You dreamed of getting a Dog and name it Scooby. Every other Dog was named Scooby then! lol.

24) You tried to collect Music in the form of Audio Tapes. Now, you don’t even have a device to play them. Same with Video tapes, Video Cassette Players are long gone, they sit there on the shelf reminding you of simpler times.

25) You had lot of relatives visiting your place, staying over. Now, people are too busy to come or don’t want to take the trouble in this Bangalore traffic.

I’d love to hear your favourite 90s moment too in the comments section. 🙂

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Hafiz Saeed can be an Indian asset

Yes, you heard that right!

Hafiz Saeed, if used well, can turn out to be an advantage for India, from this point onward. Hear me out..

Hafiz Saeed has done great harm to India. Undeniable. A Terrorist. True.

But, it is also true that nobody can get to him in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan has no real power. His services to the military of Pakistan will not be forgotten, as there are too many people sympathetic to his cause in the ranks. Everyday we see him on giving statements and interviews, it hurts us, angers us.

The trick here is to turn this into an advantage.

What is our objective? To protect India, to project to the world Pakistan’s real face.

Why was Osama being killed a greater feat than a low key Al Qaeda figure? Because he was a symbol. So is Hafiz Saeed. And, unlike Osama, he is not hiding in secrecy, but moving around freely in Pakistan.

This is the key.

Things will not be the same forever. Today Pakistan is notorious for Terror. Pakistan gets away with it as US depends on Pakistan to get into Afghanistan; and, Paksitan has been using this leverage wonderfully well. But, that disappears after 2014. When NATO packs up, the dependence on Pakistan evaporates too. Add to this the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) – which run through less hostile regions and the fact that there will be far less troops to service – NATO can be free of Pakistani shackles.

US will likely blackmail Pakistan with sanctions or punitive actions to fight its war and hunt down Al Qaeda in Af-Pak. How will it serve us? We can use Hafiz Saeed as our Osama; Make him a symbol, a larger than life Terrorist, who has killed Americans and Indians, to paint Pakistan in bad light; Use our lobby-machine in Washington and Brussels to get what we want: Dismantling of Terror infrastructure in Pakistan and bring to justice the Terrorists.

Pakistan is heavily dependent on US/EU countries. A majority of exports from Pakistan is to these countries. They close down their market to Pakistan, millions will be out of their jobs in Pakistan. Deny financial help from IMF and WB, Pakistan will not be able to pay their own bills. Impose sanctions, Pakistan will be at US/EU mercy.

But, will they do it? That is where we come in. Our influence with these countries is substantial. If we take people like Hafiz Saeed and put on a show, where people like Hafiz Saeed are the villain and a danger to world peace, we would have achieved a major propaganda win over Pakistan. Its not that hard also..

We have to help Pakistan make the transition to another Iran or North Korea. Unlike Iran, Pakistan has no minerals or resources to bank on and its impact on the world is minimal. Like North Korea has nukes and its sole benefactor is China. Look how North Korea is faring.. Or, how Iran is caving, slowly, but surely, under the combined US/EU sanctions.

I know this is not nearly as equivalent to the heinous crimes he has committed with Pakistan military’s help. But, sitting on our hands and do nothing about it is not an option as well. This is doable.

If it makes you feel better, Hafiz Saeed has done more harm to Pakistan, than he can ever do to India. He has sent thousands of people across LoC to be gunned down by our guys. The ideology he preaches has given birth to thousands of Pakistanis who have joined other Terrorist groups and killed other Pakistanis. Not to forget, every time a report features in the world media about the infamous Terrorist operating freely in Pakistan, it embarrasses Pakistan(Or, at least it should embarrass them).

India should get justice, in one way or the other. Inaction is not an option.

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How big is your Phone?

I was watching Titanic on TV and there’s this character, the designer of the ship, who keeps on talking how big it is. Rose turns to him and reminds him about what Freud says about the male preoccupation with size and its significance to the size of his phallus.

Bang! It hit me..

I did a bit of Googling and I found some truly spectacular and interesting stuff. Check this.

According to research done at Heidelberg University, it is a scientific fact that the purchases of Corvettes and BMW’s are inversely proportional to the length of a man’s penis.

Further in another article on a similar topic.

I started wondering what present behaviour, in our middle-class-urbanised setting would perfectly exhibit such male compensation for the size of their ‘thingy’Cars, yes. Per the above findings, the bigger your ride, the more likely you will have it to compensate for a small penis.

In India, cars are expensive and most people I know cannot afford to exhibit the type of behaviour in question with a car.

Hint: Now take a look at the title.

Is it possible that Samsung has been selling those big-ass phones to men in middle-income societies, who could be buying them to overcompensate for having a small penis? Is Samsung’s real advantage over Apple really dependent on the insecurity of a man with a small ding-dong?

My Phone is bigger than your Phone!

Another blogger put it well(link):

Many men subconsiously try to compensate for having a small penis by acting out in various ways. This can include (but is not limited too) squealing tires, exceedingly bad driving, road rage, picking fights, lifting weights, taking steroids, binge drinking, buying expensive objects, racism, sexism, belittling those weaker then them, joining the military, working construction, and many other forms of testosterone-based showing off. By no means do any of these examples mean that a person is compensating, they are just examples of what a compensating person might do.

Think about the implications!

Did Hitler impose war on his neighbours because sub-consciously he was trying to compensate for his smallness? Did the Pharaohs build those Pyramids(basically a fucking tomb) for the same reason? What about the guy who built the biggest bridge? Or, has the biggest and noisiest bike in the neighbourhood?

You now know what to tell the guy who insists on riding his bike rashly, with you sitting behind. You used to call him a show-off, but the psychology behind is so much more insulting! Not to forget funny..

Could the opposite also be true? A guy who is not insecure about his size and someone with a big stick, will not worry about petty things like the size of his vehicle or the length of his phone?

Is that the reason why that I am satisfied with a Nokia 5130 and in no hurry to buy a phone bigger than my palm?

Wink, wink..

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Songs that just get you!

What is with tones and sounds, even random noise, when arranged in succession or in a combination resembling a certain pattern, that just gets you[blatantly plagiarised from Webster Dictionary’s definition of Music].

If are you someone like me and never forgets an event, a word, a detail of people who once were dear, and still are; coming across something- a restaurant, a Facebook tag, a link to their blog- anything that reminds you of them is really hard.

You begin to question the adage that Art imitates Life in such events. Crazy images start flashing by; images of a  old you, the more innocent you, the naive you, sharing a space and moment with that person, somewhere, anywhere, in total bliss and harmony. Enter Music. Depending on the turn of events the sound either represents melancholy or nostalgia or .. I don’t know what to call it.

All I know is today, I came across something that reminded me of that certain someone and a song popped into my head. If I were to associate the emotion one feels at such a juncture to a song, this would fit the bill.

I talked about when things work out so well, you begin to quell the doubts you have about the existence of an intelligent maker. This strange and wonderful mix of emotion and music, in perfect sync, makes you wonder if this wasn’t a design from a supreme source. How can two things so perfectly gel together, so well! Think about it.

Whatever it is.. Like most things in my life, I like, as well as, don’t like, this feeling. I want to get it out of my system. As wonderful and utterly human as this emotion might be, not such a big fan of it.

Sometimes, some songs just get you.. They just do..

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