Saturday, 27 February 2010

Of Fourth Estate, climate change and the worst ad ever - part1

I didn't mean to be so quiet here for so long. In fact, one of my
lesser important new year resolutions was to update my blog at least
once every week. I wanted to make posts on the climate change fiasco,
the IPL-SRK-ShivSena thingie and a few other things as well. And then
one day, I saw on TV, a member of the public making exactly the same
comments on our neighbours being snubbed that I was to make here in a
blogpost on the same day that I wanted to update. It would make me
feel like I was plagiarising those thoughts and so I settled on doing
it at a later point in time, some day in an obscure area of a
blogpost.

I'd been to Hyderabad recently. Finally. Had a fun time. For the first
time, I liked biryani. And for the first time, I was surrounded all
around by men with moustaches. Scary.

People around me always compared Bangalore and Hyderabad, and I always
wondered why. Now that I've seen both places for myself, here is my
ruling - Bangalore scores high on pleasant weather while Hyderabad
scores high on landscape. Everything else is pretty much the same.
Only, Bangalore doesn't have as many men with moustaches as Bangalore.
Score!

My family received news of my paternal grandfather's demise while at
Hyderabad, so we had to make a trip to my native place, Sompeta for
the '12th day rites' after meeting my maternal grandmother in
Berhampur, Orissa. Her dynamism amazes me. Sompeta is just a few
kilometres from the AP-Orissa border, about 40kms from the famed
'Ichchapuram'. It's the first village you see after crossing the
border from Berhampur aka Brahmapur in Orissa. We went to Sompeta by
car. It was an amazing experience seeing rural India with the remix of
'dil to bachcha hai ji' playing on full volume in my ears. Awesome! It
was a Shah-Rukh-Khan-from-Swades type experience. So different from
the world I know and live in. It made me wonder if these women working
in fields were really happy with what they were doing, if they desired
something more and better, did they know there's another world out
there completely different from their own, did they know I was
watching them in awe and amazement wondering how it would be to be
living a life like that. How would it be if all of these people moved
to cities, or if this little village turned into a city? We depend so
much on them. If it weren't for these men and women working hard under
the scorching sun we wouldn't be eating all the vegetables we're
eating. We would be surviving on chocolates. Which still is awesome.

Sompeta is a village. It was only the second time I was visiting this
place. There were few known people when I reached and until cousins
arrived that evening my only source of entertainment was Dork - The
Incredible Adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Varghese. Sidin's book. The
beginning disappointed me. I was expecting so much Sidin. The only
thing that kept me going was it's uncanny resemblance to my own
journal writing style. The style, the voice, same to same! Alas, I
can't provide proof.

Back in the village, I met 98% of my relatives from dad's side. Two
weddings that were in the pipeline before grandfather's demise are
still in the pipeline. The death didn't change a thing. The most
scandalising moment I had there was when a girl told me that she was
'chosen' by the guy for marriage ONLY because she was 'slim'. All the
girls he had seen until then were 'fat' and he and his family wanted a
girl who was 'slimmer than he was'. I heard the whole story with my
mouth open. The guy 'warned' the girl not to grow fat. I couldn't
believe my ears. This could not be happening. Even in a village. Is
that how marriages in villages take place? Just then, an aunt appeared
with another relative who I wasn't acquainted with. She introduced me
to her and then went on to tell her about why my sister couldn't make
it. And then she said, "She is much prettier. She's active and
smarter. Too bad she couldn't make it". It was demoralising. If it
weren't for the conversation I had earlier about marrying for
thinness, I would have spent the rest of the day sulking. It wasn't
the first time somebody compared my sister's and my looks. And no
doubt, my sister is so much more prettier than I am, and much more
outdoorsy and fun than I am, but it still hurts every time someone
does that. It's very shallow of them to say things like that. I may
not have the looks, but I do have other good things about me that
people could appreciate. Anyway, what this relative did was undone by
mum's side relatives the next night when we visited mum's younger
sister's family in Vishakapatnam.

People who say Hyderabad's landscape was good clearly haven't seen
Vishakapatnam by night. The lights there are not man-made, they're
god-made. Like stars on earth. Taare Zameen Par. The road from the
railway station to BHPV is in its own right, an unplanned wonder of
the world. A sight to see. It was so beautiful. Heaven must be like
this. Back to the undo button, my mum's sister said Asin reminded her
of me. Ahem. I'm not that fond of Asin, but I truly deeply sincerly
appreciate the sentiment. And then swoops in my cousin. Deepu. He said
I reminded him of Priyanka Chopra. Can you believe that? Priyanka.
Chopra. Piggy Chops. Our very own, my favourite Piggy Chops. Yay! We
had to catch a plane to Chennai early next morning and had little time
for conversation. Deepu, Sandeep and I slept in a room and we talked
and talked and talked until we heard snores from the next room. I was
surprised how Deepu told me about all those things he wouldn't tell
his mum or dad. Being a good sister that I am, I counselled and guided
him a little. He seemed to get convinced. And I did all this in
Telugu. With negligible helpings of English. Am I awesome or what?

Air India sucks.

Robin Einstein Varghese kept me company on the train from Chennai to
Bangalore. I finished the book on the journey. The story in itself
wasn't so great. There is nothing 'incredible' or 'adventurous' about
the story, nor did I laugh like I've never laughed before, as the book
claims. It is a good book nonetheless, for light reading, when you've
got nothing better to do. I wouldn't buy the next two volumes if I
wasn't truly madly deeply in love with Sidin's writing. What? Who is
this Sidin Vadukut? If you don't know who Sidin Vadukut is, you might
as well go and live in Afghanistan. Or Kazakhstan. Here -
www.whatay.com Read it and laugh like you've never laughed before.

While alighting from the train, I saw a girl and a guy.
Girlfriend-Boyfriend. Public display of affection freaks me out.

With the new people I follow on twitter, most of them journalists, I
can't help but notice that they are always complaining. About the
decisions our politicos are making. It's true, our politicos don't
always make decisions that please all citizens, but I do think running
a country is not easy and it's impossible to please everybody. Would
all these incessantly complaining journalists do a better job if they
were at the helm of running a country? If the decisions bother them so
much, shouldn't they do something about it? Stop complaining, if you
don't want to do anything about it.

Now that I've started ranting about the Fourth Estate, let me also say
that Barkha Dutt, who I had so much respect for, lost some of it after
her interview with SRK recently regarding his comments on IPL
auction. I totally support SRK's views. Sports and politics should be
kept separate. What did the Pak players do to deserve this rejection?
It was highly humiliating for them. And for us. When I heard the news,
the first thing that my mind said was, "Oh no! This is not good" and I
immediately knew we would see a series of terror attacks soon. And we
did. We brought it on ourselves. I'm worried about the Commonwealth
Games and IPL3 that will take place here. We've angered our neighbours
so much it's would be foolishness to think we have enough security to
ward off a terror attack. Was saving some money more important than
our fragile relationship with our neighbour? You can earn that money
back, but will you able to earn trust from Pakistan after the snub?
There's nothing to gain by fighting and hating our

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