Saturday, September 25, 2010

A verdict, a crime, aggression and infamous almonds.

1. How to respond to people asking me to 'be careful' in the light of the Ayodhya verdict. How is one to be careful, in this context? Any suggestions?

2. Yesterday afternoon, at a signal. The sun warm again now that the rain is gone. The autos have been difficult as always, but still. Somebody finally was willing to ply. Struggle, thy middle name is Mumbai, I remind myself.

I glance outside. On the pavement to my left, a young man sits, legs splayed, head lolling forward onto his chest. A piece of thick white and blue plastic covers his head and shoulders, and is bunched up all around him. He is very still. Ill? Drunk? Exhausted? Drugged?

The signal hasn't changed to green. I glance out at the man again. Another young man walks past. He carries a stick, or is it a metal prod? Some piece of junk furniture perhaps or broken machine part. From a distance, it is hard to tell. This fellow walks past the sleeper, once, twice. He pauses, prods the sleeper with the stick. There is no response. He bends at the waist and chucks the sleeper under the chin. Grabs his chin and waggles it hard. There is no response.

For a moment, my heart skips a beat. Is he dead? Is he that ill? The traffic light has changed from red to yellow.

Then the young man with the stick, still bend, touches the sleeper's chest. I think he is feeling for a heart-beat. He is not. His fingers reach into the sleeper's pocket, right in front of his shirt. From that pocket, he takes out a note - ten? twenty? hundred? - and straightens up.

The traffic light has changed to green. I consider, for a brief moment, the wisdom of raising some kind of alarm. But the auto engine has come to life, car horns are blaring all around. Traffic is moving between me and the pavement. I lose sight of the two young men for a few seconds.

Then I spot him again - the young man with the odd stick. He is walking away. I can clearly see the currency note in his hand. He holds it lightly, casually, looks straight ahead. The sleeper is still. Legs splayed, head lowered to his chest. Traffic moves, and so do I.

3. There's petty theft. Then there's highway robbery.
‎'The Geneva centre of housing rights and evictions reckons sport to be one of the biggest displacers of humanity, perhaps second only to war. In two decades some 2 million people have had to make way for Olympic stadiums and "villages"...'
Sports. Who'd have thunk?

The commonwealth games reports of undoing and mal-doing have begun to elicit 'Oh no! Now what?' kind of response from us Indians. But people in Britain are concerned too. They are hosting the Olympics in 2012 and according to this writer. Also, he says: 'There can be no other state activity that dares such presumption. No arts activity, no theatre or rock festival, no adventure project or charitable fund-raiser would demand such colossal subsidy. The nearest parallel in cost per week is probably the military invasion of a foreign state'.

Made me think about sport and war.

Ever since I was a child, I was taught to think of sport as an 'alternative' to war. Nobody specifically said it, or maybe they did too. I don't remember clearly. But people who turn combative on the sports field were cheered, as opposed to kids who get into random fights on the playground. This seems to be a maxim that holds good all over the world. Movies, books, educators - they all recommend that 'aggression be channelized', preferably into some kind of artistic expression, or competitive sports.

Is that what the channels lead to - violence of a slightly different sort? Is there no way of looking at aggression and chauvinism as just that, and sport as just that. Play. Fun. Something you do aside from work, something for your body's needs. Something that is not about national egotism and international bullying.

4. On a happier note, I was thinking that there should be a retweet option on blogs too. There is always good old-fashioned linking, but when I read this blogger's thoughts about Munni Badnaam, I just wanted to retweet this extract.

K- I can’t find any white people on the internet! I Googled ‘where can I find white people’ and it was phail.

S- I can’t believe that didn’t work.

K- I KNOW! The internet must be broken. I also Googled the English translation for MunniBadnaamSong. Did you know that Munni Badnaam Hui means ‘Munni goes infamous’?

S- Is that the right translation?

K- It was on the internet so it must be true. Munni goes infamous.

S- Is that like going hungry? Is the song about famine?

K- Could be. Or it could mean she is becoming criminals.

S- Like Bandit Queen.

K- I actually thought the song was about almonds. Doesn’t ‘badnaam’ mean almond?

S- I think that’s ‘badaam’.

K- That’s not the same thing?

S- Apparently not.

K- Why not? Sounds same only. Munni Badaam hui. Munni Badnaam Hui. See? Same only.

Ok, we’re going to end this conversation right now.

Maybe ‘badnaam’ is a bad almond. Maybe the song is about food adulteration.

S- Either we end this conversation now or the phone becomes lodged within your nasal passages with great force and violence.

K- You’re really mean. And I didn’t even put the song on also.

S- Hang up now. For your own good only I am saying.

By the by,

S- Shut up your face and hang up.

K- By the by,

I’m not kidding.



S- Did someone die? Because I can’t think of any other justifiable reason for you to be calling me at this time unless someone is dead or the Americans have finally invaded our one number country.

I want to know something. In the MunniBadnaamSong,

S- You have got to be kidding me.

K- There’s this line that apparently means ‘Became cinema hall for you darling’.


K- I’m curious to know if that is a sexual metaphor or is it symbolic of the fascination that our country has for the cinema combined with the objectification of Woman or is it a reflection of the fatalistic outlook of the common man?

S- Why don’t you go fuck yourself?

Read the whole thing. Caused me much amusement on this late, strange night.

1 comment:

WiseDonkay said...

The blogger who wrote that conversation about Munni Badnaam Hui is Kuzhali Manickavel. Awesome, isn't she?

She's giving us a blurb for the backcover of our Visual Poetry book

Madness Mandali

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