Friday, June 29, 2007


The Government of Sikkim has sanctioned a total of 22 hydro power projects in Sikkim, including Dzongu in North Sikkim which is a Lepcha Reserve. This will have an immense negative impact in this ecologically fragile land. ACT or Affected Citizens of Teesta had launched their protest against these mega projects some years back. But, as can be expected, the government chose to turn a blind eye to their protests.

Recently, a small group of young people from ACT launched an indefinite hunger strike in the capital town of Gangtok to make the government rethink their decision. The hunger strike led by a young documentary film maker, Dawa Lepcha, is still on. Through these brave young people, the people of Sikkim have finally found their voice.

All visitors to this blog who wish to be a part of saving the Teesta, please visit Ani Sikkim Runcha [translation: And Sikkim Weeps]
and participate in the debate. I don’t know who’s running this blog but whoever it is, that person is doing a damn good job.

Hats off to the protestors and the blog administrator!


Just in case you were wondering the MockingBird had sung its last song, you're dead wrong. It's been a long hiatus, I agree. But that's bound to happen when one keeps putting off getting net connection and is also too lazy to go to internet cafes. That said, I am yet to get myself a net connection and I don't know when I'll do that. But for the time being, I'll just post this piece I'd written sometime last week [I guess] for a Gangtok-based publication whose launch has been postponed.

If Madhya Pradesh government had its way, it would have us believe condoms are meant only for birth control. No, sire, it’s not supposed to promote pleasure. For us ‘cultured’ Indians, sex is only about reproduction and adding to the country’s already bursting-at-the-seams population. Sexual pleasure is a deviation; it is a part of the ‘tainted Western culture’. Yes, of course, Kamasutra – that ancient Sanskrit guide to sensual pleasure and sensuous lovemaking – was actually written by a degenerate firang posing as an Indian.

That is exactly why the government in Madhya Pradesh is mulling a ban on Crezendo, a relatively new condom marketed by Hindustan Latex Limited. Had Crezendo been like any other regular condom, there would have been no political furore over a tiny piece of rubber. But this contraceptive comes equipped with a battery-operated rubber vibrating ring, which can be used with or without the condom.

The vibrating condom, priced at Rs. 125 per kit, has seriously shaken the sensibilities of our political leaders who are otherwise insensitive to issues that demand their attention. Yes, they are currently vibrated and lubricated enough to move out of their luxuriant VIP bungalows and into our humble bedrooms.

The Delhi edition of Times of India, dated 20 June, 2007, had quoted MP’s state minister for energy, roads and information technology, Kailash Vijayavargiya, as saying: “A product of this kind is a tainted portion of Western culture that we can do without. We are concerned with the availability and sale of a sex toy in the open market”. Would have it been okay if these ‘sex toys’ were being sold in the black market at three times its retail price, mantri ji?

This is just one example of our misplaced Indian sensibility and India’s fascination with banning anything and everything it finds ‘morally inappropriate’. This, at a time when India is home to world’s largest population of HIV positive people, a position that was till very recently reserved by Africa. By the end of 2005, India had 5.7 million people living with HIV. Most of these infections in India were caused by unprotected sex, studies indicate.

This should have alarmed the state governments enough to put aside their tendency to be politically correct, take a step down from their moral high ground and pitch in wholeheartedly to encourage safer sex practices among its citizens, irrespective of their age or gender. Instead, what it has been doing so far is going on a banning spree and outlawing anything it finds ‘objectionable’.

In November 2005, Bangalore colleges banned male and female students from sitting with each other. Taking ridiculousness to newer heights, in May this year, the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka banned sex education in schools to ‘preserve culture’! It would come as no surprise then if our morally superior authorities mull over closing down The Condom Bar in Chandigarh. This bar, inaugurated a few months back by an HIV Positive woman, serves not only alcoholic beverages but also free condoms to its patrons in a bid to promote safer sex practices.

As if banning sex education in schools was not enough, in June, two Mumbai schools banned boys and girls from making any physical contact with the opposite sex in the school premises. So, the students of these schools now stand to be penalised if they so much as give a high five or a birthday hug to their friends of the opposite sex, or shake hands for that matter! Are we being made to witness the making of a socially and sexually repressed generation here?

The enforcers of these laws are either ignorant of or indifferent to the fact that more and more young people are indulging in premarital sex and will continue to do so, without or without their moral sanction. Their argument that sex education can ‘irreparably harm’ the minds of the young is ludicrous. What can harm them irreparably – physically as well as psychologically – is hurtling into puberty with unhealthy attitude towards the opposite sex and half-baked ‘knowledge’ about sexual matters gained from their equally ill-informed peers and pornographic websites.

Surveys reveal that the average age of first sexual encounter among the Indian youth is dropping. In most cases, these young people are engaging in sex with little or no awareness about their bodies and misguided notions about sex. In such a scenario, not equipping these youngsters with correct information about unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV and AIDS is not only irresponsible, it is criminal.

The youth of India has had enough of unsolicited moral advice and lengthy lectures on India’s enviable purer-than-pure culture. Those who have the power and the means to bring about a positive change – and this also includes organisations working towards HIV and AIDS prevention – should start emphasising more on action than on words. We need to shake things up if we really want to reach out to the country’s sexually active populace as well as those young adults most likely to have their first experiment with sex.

Stress should be on being more proactive. Existing norms have to be replaced by something that is more effective to the needs of our current times, even if it means being politically incorrect and ruffling a few feathers. This needs to be done, even if that means providing them sex education and distributing free condoms – with or without those vibrating rings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Minutes to Midnight

This is for all LP fans.
Linkin Park's upcoming album Minutes to Midnight will hit the stores 15 May. To view the new video for their first single "What I've Done" [directed by Mr. Hahn], click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Attack of the Noise Terror Squad

Professor Dumbledore hollers to a roomful of young, unruly, freckle-faced future wizards.

Enjoy the Silence…
Exhorts Depeche Mode.

Silence… that elusive silence! Silence… my current quest for the Holy Grail. Silence… is it too much to ask for? I hate to bring myself to face this bitter truth but, yes, it is way too much to ask for.

With 99.9 per cent of the project I’m currently working on having been completed, I no longer need to go through Monday Morning Blues. I can work from home for a better part of the week -- a glorious arrangement envied deeply by Crazy P.

So, I decide to stay home on Monday and curl into bed with Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. But things don’t always go as planned and, like it or not, there are at least two spoilsports for one almost-fortunate person in this world.

So there I was, ready to take a stroll around Frankie’s Sin City when a sudden and confusing disagreeable sound ruins my plans for the day. It takes only a peek out of my bedroom window to realise that a group of extremely vocally challenged beings have united to unleash terror upon the world [or at least the part of Dilli I live in] under the pretext of singing bhajans. [Just a thought -- why is it that every time it’s only the ones who can’t sing insist on singing the loudest during such ceremonies?] Unsynchronised cymbals and drum beats add to the cacophony, threatening to blast my eardrums to kingdom come.

To drown out the noise, I turn on the music at full decibel. I don’t even bother to check which playlist is playing on winamp. I just need some sound to block out the noise outside. Any sound -- barring the one generated outside -- will do; I’m not in a position to be choosy. A few minutes of respite…

And then, the lights go out, followed promptly by that list playing on winamp. And the noise, the cymbals and drums come rushing into my head.

My brain screams, a scream unheard by the most vocally challenged devotees. The baying continues, so does the unsynchronised clanging of cymbals and drum beats, infiltrating my space, violating my senses.

I lose my sanity for the next many hours, interrupted only for a few minutes by a phone call from the office. And during my hours of insanity, I volunteer to lend my help in ensuring the completion of a project -- anything to stay away from this madness.

After the devotees have [finally!] left, cymbals are packed and drums whisked away, some semblance to normalcy returns, and so does my sanity. It’s then I curse the noise terrorists for my just-around-the-corner Tuesday Morning Blues.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Comically Yours

My life has become comical. That's probably why I made a couple of comic-book related slides today. And that's probably why I'm leaving one of them here.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Life in black and white… and gray

In between black and white, there are shades of gray. And sticking out of my otherwise black headful of hair is my first gray hair. In case you’re planning to plant your tongue firmly in your cheek and say, “Oh! Really?”, please hold your horses. Though gray is one of my favourite colours, the gray that has just sprouted on my top storey somehow fails to elicit the same enthusiasm with which I usually greet anything wearable in gray.

This is certainly not the age to grow your first gray hair – or at least that’s how I look at this new, unwelcome development. I mean, my mom got her first gray when she was well past her 50s! Life certainly isn’t fair.

After discovering my first strand of gray hair, I looked at Crazy P for some sympathy, only to be further disappointed. I needed someone to lend his sympathetic ear and also his helping hand to pluck out that gray monstrosity. Instead what I get is a guy – who just had his dance with Mary Jane – laughing his belly off at my newfound misery.

So I continued my futile attempt at plucking out that scalp intruder. An attempt, like I said earlier, as futile as straightening Crazy P’s curly locks. So the only recourse left for me to take was to come upon a firm – and inconvenient – decision. From now onwards, I’ll colour my hair every month. Heck, if required, I’ll colour it every week.

Between his throaty laughs, Crazy P suggested I just let the gray hair be. Oh, I’ll wait till he gets his first gray; then I shall tell him “Honey, it’s no big deal; after all, it’s just gray hair” with a smug contented smile on my face. That, I shall do certainly. Yes, I shall… one day. One fine day. One fine, glorious – and very gray – day.

Until then, for me, it’ll be a case of careful parting of hair to cover that gray monstrosity. Colour my hair frequently? Nah! Too impractical and time-consuming. And have you noticed how gray hair turns an ugly shade of orange when coloured brown? Yuck! Anyway, I don’t think the next gray ‘hairling’ will freak me out the way the first one did. And after the third strand, I guess I’ll even get used to the idea of graying.

Let me grow a few more gray strands; then I can carry around this salt-and-pepper look… and wait for Crazy P to grow his first heartbreaker and see him freak out. More I think about this, more I like the idea. Revenge is sweet. Very gray and sweet.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lock, curls and barrel

There are some simple contraptions that scare the hell out of me. A simple example could be a mixer-grinder. It’s more the spinning blades than the apparatus itself that makes my heart want to break out of my ribcage.

I think it has something to do with the incident I had with the clothes dryer we had back home when I was a kid. It was one of those simple dryers, which, during those dark ages, needed to be bought separately from the washing machine. This story begins with one of my unfortunate trysts with the damned dryer. It was nothing more than a simple case of under-loading [that, folks, is the opposite of overloading] the machine, but, for me, something went horribly wrong. It was, what you’d call, a life-changing experience.

After I loaded – or under-loaded, if you please – the machine with my clothes, the bugger grumbled, roared, bumped around like some crazy ball, spun out of control and finally blew its top off – literally! Not only did the dryer’s lid came flying off, it also grazed against my skin, tearing away a good chunk of skin from my hand. Since then, I’ve never looked at a spinning apparatus [especially the ones operated by electricity] the same, simple, naïve, trusting way.

So, it was a few weeks back that a hair straighter somehow found its way to the pad I share with Crazy P. The little black thingy looked harmless enough but I chose to remain skeptical. Exhausted by my, what Crazy P would like to call, ‘unfounded fear of technology’, he tried the little meanie on his ‘just washed’ wet curly locks.

The locks were stubborn, just like their owner. After coming out of the mouth of the black monster, a.k.a. that black hair straighter, his hair was not exactly curly and not close to being straight. It was, like they say, something in between. So to make a believer out of me – and maybe also to convince himself that technology still works – he slapped on a good amount of hair gel on his curls – or what once used to be curls. [Okay, I admit, applying hair gel was my stupid idea.] The little black meanie opened its jaws like a hungry crocodile. As soon as it closed shut its jaws, out came a cry of help from his locks – SIZZLE! SIZZLE! SIZZLE! – as if someone was preparing sizzlers on top of his head.

I’m still not sure that incident turned me into a staunch supporter of technology but it sure did acquaint me with a new smell – that of roasted hair gel. And did his curls become straight? Let me tell you: I’m now of the opinion that it’ll be a whole lot easier to turn a gay man straight.

And yes, a mixer-grinder still scares the shit out of me. As for those stand-alone clothes dryer, thank God, they don’t make them any more.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Still alive… and kicking

The last time this blog saw an update was back in The Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Six. Those were the ten glorious months of opting to stay away from any activity that [literally] paid – such as a full time job, or even a part-time one for that matter.

Those were the golden days of spending quality [and quantity] time with my computer; browsing through some interesting [and some not so interesting] blogs all day, and posting some interesting and some not so interesting blog entries [like this current one] all night [sleeping was something someone’s grandma did, not your truly!]

Life has changed – that too in two short months – after I packed my backpack and left home. Gone are the days. Those glorious days. Those gloriously lazy days of bumming around in the blogosphere. And in these two short months, I’ve made my acquaintance with something I always managed to ignore – or even taken for granted – certain activities, like, changing my linen, doing the laundry/ dishes, etc., [you get the picture] because there were always others around to do it for me.

I guess that’s a part of what you call being ‘responsible’, or being an adult. So far, I’d managed to remain a kid, minus the diapers. Now, it’s ‘hello reality, hello dirty diapers, hello cleaning detergent’. And most importantly, it’s ‘hell-o 9 to 5’. Again.

I think my folks back home would get a minor heart attack if they saw me now. In these two months, I’ve undertaken a crash course in household chores [don’t worry, mom, I haven’t yet learnt how to cook. By the way, does switching on the rice cooker count?].

I’m a dish jockey: Yes, now I dare to bear the chilly Delhi winter water to do the dishes because I really am not crazy about hiring weird looking bais, which means I don’t really have a choice but to roll up my sleeves and get down and dirty.

I got my chops: Hang on, people! I’m soon to get a PhD in chopping vegetables. I’m getting really good at it. Cross my heart. But chopping onions still makes my eyes teary and my nose red.

Laundry service: I’m even washing my clothes myself because I still do not earn enough to afford a decent washing machine and I don’t like the idea of EMIs. And I hate Shakira for falsely portraying doing laundry as sexy as belly dancing. Someone sue that bitch!

Bed shit: And, yes, I make the bed everyday… well almost everyday. And change the linen too [almost forgot to mention that!]

Back to the grind: And two weeks back, I even almost made it to the office on time. What idiot made the dastardly rule that office hours should begin at 9 frigging 30 AM!

Anyways, I’m still alive and kicking the dirty dishes. And, barring the early morning weird office hours, life’s not really that bad!