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Cruel… June 19, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in Cinema, Cricket, crime, india, Mass Media, Media, People, t20 world cup, victim, viewership.
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…every which way.

A man allegedly rapes a woman working at his house. The channels go berserk calling her a ‘naukrani’ or ‘naukar. The heinous allegation almost being mitigated by the social position and of the girl and the nomenclature of her profession.  The media of the biggest democracy in the world doesn’t extend basic courtesies to victims of crime. In this case however they extended the same to both parties. For so long considered the repository of all things promiscuous – the film actor now has proved that he or she is indeed a vile, licentious animal that preys.

The perpetrator of this crime – Shiney Ahuja had to strangely be barefoot. That is the rule in India. An accused can’t wear shoes. What do shoes and guilt have in common? No idea. Anyways he still has to be chargesheeted, the case fought and the sentence delivered – a long way from now, some years probably – but why can’t he wear a shoe or a chappal for that matter.

India’s loss at the T20 World Cup. Another instance of the mob fury. Cricket is a sport. Cricketers are not gods. You win some and you lose some based on your strategy. Like petulant schoolboys with no emotional anchor finding solace in somebody else’s victory, they came out on the streets and burned the captain’s effigy.

It is not the mob alone that is to blame. It is the incessant analysis and counter – analysis, by ‘I-know-better-than-you’ ex-cricketers, who have to justify their payments, who hype the match and then impute reasons where there are none.  The self-feeding hype machinery of all media has to strike a balance between reporting responsibly and viewership targets.

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Kasav is Pakistani January 7, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, crime, india, nation, pakistan, Policy, Politics, State, terror, terrorism, World, Writing.
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Kasab (Kasav) is Pakistani. In a roundabout manner the Pakistani government has accepted that the lone captured gunman of the 26th nov atttack on Mumbai/Bombay is indeed from their territory. After more than a month of denial and abrasive posturing the Pakistani government has found its 1st scapegoat. NSA chief Mahmud Ali Durrani has been sacked for making statements about Ajmal Kasav without the consultation of Prime Minister Gilani. 

Where will this lead? Does this mean th first signs of good intent from our neighbour? Or will it lead to more obfuscation? Only time will tell.

Will this acceptance lead to a momentous attitudinal shift in echelons of power in Pakistan? Will the weak government suddenly gain the balls to take on the well entrenched nexus between the rogue military, intelligence agencies and the militants? Will the civil society rally behind the government or is hatred of India too rooted and entrenched to even make them realize that opposing and uprooting terrorism is as much of a benefit to them as it to India and the region?

Before I run away astride my horse of romantic idealism lets touch base with reality – it is going to be a long and hard battle to reach thresholds of sanity. Probably a decade to undo the institutionalized terror networks; to weed out the silent sympathizers and to given birth to new relationships. 

Kasav could be the beginning. Will Pakistan take the opportunity?

After Terror August 4, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, crime, india, Personal, Politics, Society, terror, World, Writing.
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After every terror attack in India I and am sure you hear some oft repeated statements remarkably similar in tone, attitude and messaging.

The government, using Mr. Shivraj Patil as their spokesperson, will say that they are doing the very best in tackling it, extending all possible help to the ‘region’ under attack. What does that mean?

That people in power at the ‘centre’ or in Delhi are separate from the regions experiencing these attacks. That the ministers and India is under threat only when Delhi is attacked? Otherwise it is these ‘regions’ that are under attack and the center can only look on helplessly? Beats me.

My apologies to Mr. Shivraj Patil, but he is one of the most fragile and uninspiring home minister’s we have ever had. In this time of unlimited exposure on various media here is one man – the home minister of the country –whose own voice is shaky and rattled.

The ordinary people outside whose security has been outraged because they don’t roam with Z+ security don’t want to hear your homilies. They want to hear somebody reassuring. Somebody who at least with his/her words can make them feel secure. But alas, he himself looks at sea most of the time.

The same with our intelligence agencies. Considering that we are fighting violence in half of India isn’t it time to have a network that is receptive to modern crimes. We have not been able to capture and punish a single perpetrator of any of the major terror attacks in the country. There is utter lack of any order, coherence and direction.

An example. The Aarushi murder case and its horrible bungling. It will not be an extreme statement that more often than not our investigations occupy the pride of place in textbooks of ‘how not to conduct an investigation’. Outdated equipment, de-motivated and untrained personnel, their jurisdiction being perpetually encroached by other wings of the government – in 1 word – it’s a MESS.

How far is Mr. Modi responsible for all of this? Has his pogrom so alienated the ‘muslim’ that all and everybody in the community has become a passive observer to the growing militancy – a Point of View so all-pervasive and condemnable in the just released film Aamir?

The film shows Aamir being led on by various people of the muslim community, entire stretches of Bombay and everybody is in cahoots with the villain. Wonder how this was missed by reviewers because it shows the extent of not just sympathies that a common member of the community has with the terrorist, but also overt participation!

The government also immediately announces a compensation package – it releasing a stink of guilt at having such inefficient intelligence appendages that 20 + bombs are placed in your capital city.

Another familiar sight is the publicized condemnation by various Muslim groups. If they don’t do it then it is assumed that they are supporting it. Extremely stupid.

The most irritating bit is this – ‘terrorists belong to no religion’. A true Hindu or a Muslim cannot be a terrorist etc. He is a criminal first and a criminal last and should be judged irrespective of religion blah blah bhah.

Now all this subjective analysis of crime is good. But can’t cut off the arm and assert that the shoulder is not incapacitated. There was a reason why one got infected in the first place. Only an accident can warrant such an excuse. Terror attacks are not accidents. They are the most organic of crimes. It has an ideology in place, which is reasoned, has historical reasons and sometimes does enjoys religious sanction (no matter how twisted).

We can’t wish the problem away by saying these motivated people (call them terrorists/freedom fighters/rebels etc) don’t belong to us.

It is like a parent saying that the errant child belongs to another unknown species.

By doing this we are conveniently absolving ourselves of all blame. There is Sati, child sacrifice or there was…do we say they are not part of us and everything is hunky dory?

It is an escape and something all rational minds should oppose. We are giving birth to the future; the future which comprises of inventors, entertainers, engineers and also terrorists. It is only our actions, acts of omission and commission that is shaping all the lives around us, our culture and the civilization.

This facile argument is actually a cover up on the part of all religions and societies to shy away from looking hard and fast at what ails them. The monarchy was rotting Nepal. People opposed it rallying around the Maoists. Now they have elected representatives. Follows a logical pattern. The Vatican tried to push child-abuse under the carpet but failed.

Chattisgarh’s economic inequalities and encroachment on forest rights of the aboriginals has led to the current horrible and violent impasse. There is no coherent policy in place for development, resettlement, local indigenous populations and what emerges is a sorry story of exploitation.

Similarly the current lot of extremists; Hindu, Christian, Muslim etc too have an ideology of inspiration. What is it? Where does it come from? Does it come from education, history, a feeling of exploitation, religion, social ills…the list is endless. We have to study and solve it.

Denial is not the solution.

Are Indian Cops Braindead? May 21, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in crime, india, Politics, terrorism.
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Two unrelated but gruesome crimes of the past fortnight throw some interesting light. The Jaipur bomb blast and the murder of Arushi Talwar in Noida (UP) are prime case studies of police ineptitude.

The Jaipur blast is a terrorist attack. Doesn’t matter who did it. After the Jaipur blast, the NSG (National Security Guards) was rushed to the city. The local cop there said that RDX, at least a KG, according to him was used in the blast. Within hours of the blast news channels were of the opinion that ammonium nitrate was used. They also found 1 bomb that didn’t go off. RDX, it was again announced. Now after a week, the NSG says that RDX was not the prime component…it was ammonium nitrate!

Why do they have to shoot their mouths so quickly? Sometimes my meager mind thinks that it’s all a grand strategy to throw the terrorists off-track. To confuse and capture or some such brilliant move on the part of our much misunderstood and criticized cops. But no, they stand true to their standards of inefficiency.

The cops also released sketches of the supposed perpetrators. None of them matched with the descriptions given by shopkeepers who had sold them cycles, the vehicle for the blasts. The sketches have been done and re-done thrice. The cops are now saying that this time they have called in ‘experts’!!! Why weren’t the experts called for so long? And pray when will they be used? What are they doing if not drawing sketches of perpetrators of a terrorist attack?

Who is the amateur here? Not the terrorists for sure. They do reconnaissance, plant their weapons and disappear. Our cops are twiddling their thumbs. These guys are professional and motivated with a zeal…to harm people. Are we motivated to prevent and failing which to catch them. I don’t think so. It looks like a spoof, a la, Pink Panther.

Similar stupidity with the Arushi Talwar murder case. After her body was discovered the cops announced a missing servant to be the prime suspect. A day later an ex-cop visits the victim’s house, finds hand imprints on the wall which leads to the terrace, where the missing servant’s body is lying.

The recent Chandigarh murder care has a similar modus operandi…on the police’s part. Blame the missing servant. This time it was even funnier. The Punjab cops announced that a body discovered close by was of the servant (exact reverse of the Noida case). A day later…voila, he resurfaces.

Do we have something called Forensic experts? It doesn’t seem like that. There is one in Hyderabad. For a country with a billion strong population under the weight of terrorism and other social crimes, there is 1 recognized crime lab! What are people thinking in this country? For the Scarlette Keeling murder case, her viscera was sent to Hyderabad and Bombay because Goa has no specialized lab.

We have the centuries old excuse on our side…India is a poor country. Can’t afford roads, water, electricity, health, social benefits. Who will believe this any more? In the year of Mayawati in UP there have been almost 500 cases of rape, murder and assault on the Dalits, the people she ostensibly represents. It tells a tale that is too obvious. We don’t care.

Countries spend billions to make nuclear arsenals…all in the name of deterrence. The lack of infrastructure, zeal and corruption does just one thing…provides inspiration to the criminal…wannabe and professional.

Reliance I want my Refund – Part 2 April 1, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Anger, Blogging, Business, crime, Economy, Globalisation, Health, india, MNC, News, Personal, Writing.
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Everyday you feel like doing something bad to someone or something. It’s not just me for sure. I am quite convinced that everybody, each and every one of us, thinks of doing something drastic, earth-shatteringly anarchic. It could be the guy in a car or bike in front of you who thinks he is a rattle-snake. Or the noisy neighbour with no lift manner. Everyday various degrees of physical and mental harm are played out in our heads and then suppressed. For good. Otherwise the world would not suffer from a population problem.

For the past 2 months I want to take my revenge on 2 corporate entities. One that I have grown up with. The Tatas. I come from Jamshedpur. My father was born there so you can imagine the kind of loyalty I feel, no change it to felt. Buying Tata Sky and installing it was nothing like their now-famous commercial…Isko Laga Dala To Life Jhinaga Lala’ which when translated roughly means that ‘life is all a bed of roses once the bloody machine is plugged into our homes.

I almost broke the machine before it was installed. Various agencies that are disconnected to each other; welcome to off-shoring, outsourcing whatever, call you at odd hours and ask questions which you have already answered a hundred times to the various personnel. Sample this;

9 A.M – Caller – Madam/Sir, can we come at 11.

Receiver: you mean today.

Caller: yes

Receiver: I told your support staff that I leave at 9 and am back by 7 in the evening.

Caller: oh. Ok

Caller at 3 P.M (same day): can we come by 5?

Receiver: today?

Caller: of course!

Receiver: but I told

this story continued for some days. 1 saturday and sunday was spent waiting for these angels of professionalism to dismount and install but zilch.

Now the entire story is being repeated with Reliance who promise NETWORKS anywhere, even in Hell.

After failing to install a Broadnet connection because of greenery (YES – their technology doesn’t work if there are trees close to the connection; especially palm trees) and buildings (in Mumbai)!!I have gonefrom pillar to post but no refund has still seen the light of the day.

The extremely courteous emails acknowledging our problem have been followed up with inaction that would have made the late Prime Minister P.V.NArsimha Rao proud. I am at the edge. I would love to wring their necks and dry them on the many towers that they have built across the country to proliferate their networks.

What they are doing should be construed as harassment and crime.

Any and all help with regard to this would be highly appreciated.

No Victim No Crime March 13, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, crime, England, Goa, india, justice, peace, People, Personal, Places, Society, Tourism, Writing.
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 We shall close the beaches because they prompt us to wear swimsuits and swimsuits are provocative. They arouse our manly nature and then what can we do?

 We have to rape. Rape because the other is wearing a revealing costume. The other is drunk. The other is flirting. The other gave a come on signal and then backed out. The other was teasing. The other was winking. The other was showing a bit of leg. A bit of breast. A bit of shoulder. The other was arrogant. The other is a foreigner. The other is white. The other is black. The other is rich. The other is poor. The other speaks a different language. The other is a woman. The other is a boy. The other is a girl. The other is weak. The other deserved it. The other is an other. The other is not from my country. The other is not from my state. The other is not from my family. The other is not my brother. The other is not my sister. The other is a nobody.

 They will slap a case on Fiona also. How can you give your child independence? Didn’t you know that Goa has an underground drug culture. Don’t you also know that we are all in cahoots with the mafia. They can rape and kill people because they pay ‘protection money’ that helps us finance our election expenses. They pay us every day, every week, every month, every week. You will pay us indirectly, probably once in a lifetime. You are useless to us, but these criminals are always so…

 Why can’t they treat it as pure and simple crime? Catch the criminal(s) and then we can play the moral game. What does Mr. Digamabar Kamat think? That Fiona is not drowning in guilt – having left Scarlette in the custody of people she believed were friends and would look after her?

 What is Mr. Kamat saying – DON’T TRUST GOANS? We are not the feni-drinking-chilled-out-tolerant-Indians that you think we are. The victim is, by the concerted effort of police, politicians, administration and other officials, being turned into a monster mother who cared not for the daughter. THEREFORE she deserved whatever happened.

 Mr. Kamat – do you have a daughter or a son. A son or daughter, who likes a beer one hot day and is crossing the road and another drunk, riding a car, runs him over. He or she might meet destiny one day and people will hang you.

 Scarlette, people and police are saying, took drugs. That DOES NOT justify the act of her rape and murder? We are all humans, prone to mistakes and sins. Fiona will introspect and undertake penance.

 It is none of our business. It is between Fiona and her soul. As a civil society, we should catch the perpetrator(s) of this crime. They too shall, hopefully, undertake penance, suffer, and see the love, grace and benediction that saves us all. Let us not be partial. Let us not be blind to the crime that has been committed. We all know the story of the cross.

 No Victim. No Crime.

 

A Thousand Suns October 8, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in Cricket, crime, Culture, God, india, Kitano, Life, Movies, Murder, Office, Suicide, Suns, Television, Tickets.
3 comments

Not done, I admonish myself. For not being able to write and post. But time is nobody’s slave. And to wriggle out of it all the time is well night impossible. So whats new? Grab it before it is old. New is India’s victory over Australia by 8 runs. A real cliffhanger. Couple of birthdays got celebrated at the office. The cakes had to wait till India’s victory to be blessed by the knife’s caress.

Ideation. Morning, afternoon, evening…ideation. Television is different from films. That’s obvious. Is it a bane? Probably. Network executives are millionaires. And news is made. The era of cultured news. Sohisticated, appealing to the eye to a population that is sucking on candy and wasting more than it can spend. Who cares about the world until the next tragedy knocks on my door?

Salary. The place I work is a reputable organization. But not when it comes to paying on time. Every month its the same story. Will the organization tolerate my incompetence if I display it? Your guess is as good as mine…sigh.

Saw a touching, humorous film yesterday. 3 films that is basically 1 film made by 3 different directors. Set on a train it is. Saw Kikujiro by Kitano yesterday. Simple and moving. What else?

Lots if one is honest. A muslim boy who got married to a hindu girl died under mysterious circumstances in West Bengal. Suicide or murder? Considering the manner in which the authorities are trying to cover and protect it seems obvious that a heinous crime has been committed. In India trying to take one’s own life is a crime also but you know what I mean. Where is the love? Not dead yet for sure. Inter-religious marriage is looked down upon. Inter – caste marriage is frowned upon. Adoptions are frowned upon.

We should be ashamed of what we are and what we are steadily becoming. All this knowledge, information, luxuries, faith, not to forget God. The onward rush is eternal. We and everything else are but milestones. Sometimes analogue, sometimes digital. Finally mortal.

judge dread June 26, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in crime, film, judge, justice, narrative.
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A judge in england has let go of a man who raped a ten year old because in his opinion the victim dressed provocatively and looked older than her age. It seems the judge was pleading the rapists’s case. And wearing or not wearing clothes is enough of an invitation to rape and later on a justification by judges to set free the abuser. Strange times we live in.

time and tide wait for none. yash raj films is getting it now and how. two of their films have not done well in the recent past tara rum pum and jhoom baraabar jhoom and critics…mainstream and otherwise who wash the very ground the chopra fraternity walks on have taken out their knives. the story was different when the films were released. critics who don’t know their job or don’t know how and what to write wrote dull platitudes, praising this and that and criticizing nothing in general. one would assume that a classic was being reviewed. the box office said otherwise.

a new vocabulary is emerging post-failure. mostly do with the importance of good writing, scripts, screenplay, dialogues etc. can’t take these at face value and such righteous anger is amply being displayed. what happened when the film came out. all those preview tickets and press dockets must have impressed one and all.

what is happening in the process is that films which are a predominant part of indian culture are being wrongly interpreted. a form of art is being misinterpreted and torn to shreds. the rules of reviewing are being rewritten by the same guys and girls who have no right to write in the first place.

film reviewers in india are a strange lot. they don’t know where they standor what they stand for. for cinema, good cinema or indian cinema. are they film lovers? or lovers of indian cinema? we all know that indian cinema is different from hollywod etc. that we make 900 films a year (not bollywood but the entire country) etc etc. that our films can still take on the might of hollywood studios etc. we walk on the red and green carpets in cannes and every other festival but…

where does our glam rich, all talk, all song film stand? don’t know.

rather we know but we don’t want to accept the rung we are on. it’s time we realise that what we make is sometimes trash. no, not all the time. one would be a fool to say that the narrative tradition indian film makers follow is trash. it’s not and film history in india has enough examples to prove itself.

but what good is the narrative when the language, the grammar, the punctuation is non-existent?