Not that we needed any proof. But if ever we did, then this experiment of the National Trust in Britain would be evidence enough. Evidence that our cultural arrogance is not only justified, it also has its basis in sound scientific reasoning. What else can you expect from the people who gave the world zero, all those centuries ago?

The National Trust is conducting an experiment at one of its heritage properties to conserve water. Its gardeners have therefore been instructed to pee in the open, on beds of straw provided for the purpose. Finally, vindication of the fact that Indian men whipping out their penises to pee when confronted with walls is nothing but concern for the environment! If, as the Trust claims, just 10 male staff members following this recommendation will result in a reduction of the estate’s water consumption by a third, can one imagine the trillions of litres that we have saved as a nation? After all, our sex ratio is skewed in favour of males.

Given this fact, it’s even more critical now that we stand our ground at the Climate Change Meet at Copenhagen. Bolstered by such third-party data substantiating our continued active concern for this planet’s fragile ecosystem and scarce resources, we can grab the moral high ground.

We should actually go a step further – we should humbly (but not too humbly – remember, pride in one’s culture is a good thing, and we should slap that point home), underline the fact that even our great defecating tradition, apart from being as environmentally friendly as our urinating habit, is actually a precursor of organic farming.

In fact, we could actually pep up the agricultural sector’s numbers by some clever marketing, selling our farm produce at premium prices by labelling them ‘100% organic’. Let’s set up a Green Certification Authority that certifies agricultural products as completely natural, with little stickers that say, for instance, that “This carrot was nurtured by pure, uncontaminated human faecal matter, carefully, personally and naturally sprayed on by the farmer and his family”. In time, like with the great wine estates of France, particular fields in India will also develop their own characteristic identity. You know, potatoes with a unique taste and aroma from one estate, and distinctive enticingly-flavoured cauliflowers from another. India’s fruits and vegetables will become global brands!

But we still need to take one last small step in our journey towards being one with the environment. While we are an “Outdoors” people (not to be confused with the Canadians, who are just an “outdoors” people), we still use water to, well, clean up after. That has to change if we are to preserve water. No, I’m not recommending paper – that only destroys rainforests. But surely we can use leaves? Completely natural, totally bio-degradable, absolutely environmentally friendly.

Let not Copenhagen be another exercise in papering over the cracks.

Let’s wipe the planet green. Let’s bare and green it!

In 1947, there were approximately 568 princely families controlling our destinies. They, along with a few thousand zamindars and other members of the minor royalty, formed an elite corp, completely insulated from the rest of India. Going by their incomes and lifestyles, they may as well have been from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as the rest of India was concerned. By and large, these families had no abiding interest in the progress, development or betterment of their fiefdoms and peoples and sought only to perpetuate their power, which was the source of their incomes and therefore lifestyles. The faceless masses, with their aspirations, dreams and nightmares, may as well have been from some other planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as this bunch was concerned.

In 2009, there are approximately 543 princely families controlling our destinies. They, along with a few thousand MLAs, MLCs, Corporators and other members of the minor royalty, form an elite corp, completely insulated from the rest of India. Going by their incomes and lifestyles, they may as well be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as the rest of India is concerned. By and large, these families have no abiding interest in the progress, development or betterment of their fiefdoms and peoples and seek only to perpetuate their power, which is the source of their incomes and therefore lifestyles. The faceless masses, with their aspirations, dreams and nightmares, may as well be from some other small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as this bunch is concerned.

We sure have come a long way!


Ref: VRSCRUD/000

Date: 15/10/2009


You are invited to submit your bids for the abovementioned in one single sealed envelope, quoting abovementioned tender number and abovementioned date, at belowmentioned address, taking into account belowmentioned terms and conditions.

Earnest money is Rs. 1 lac only. Award of tender will be based on seller’s ability to transfer large, unaccounted and non-refundable (Duh!) sum of money to numbered offshore account. Seller will be allowed to mark-up bid to the extent of 250% only of the said large and unaccounted sum abovementioned, not counting transfer fees and bank charges, which will be on seller’s account.

You are requested to submit your bids at the earliest, preferably before-it-is-too-late. (For the issuers of this tender, not the bidder.)


Effing Clueless

I was having no luck getting an auto-rickshaw yesterday, and was resigned to a spirited sprint in the rain (admire the alliteration?), when I saw one just ahead of me, with the disembarking passengers paying the driver what they owed him. As I ran towards the auto, I thought I caught a smirk of sorts from one the passengers as he walked away.

The driver leaned across and said something in Hindi that I couldn’t catch. I thought he was saying that he couldn’t go, or wouldn’t go, or some such thing, and I geared myself up for another one of those fights – till I realised that what the driver was saying to me was “Bhaisaab, mujhe abhi number 2 jaana hain”.

Which is the Hindi Victorianism for “Dude, I so gotta take a dump right now”.

He’d apparently told his previous passengers to get off as well…..and that is why they were laughing as they walked in the rain.

Shit happens.

Did you know that parrots make good investment bankers? At least, that’s what an experiment in a stock investment programme in Seoul would have us believe. A parrot took part, along with 10 other human investors, and was ranked third in the final tally…with a positive rate of return. The human average was negative!

Many have always suspected that the allegedly predictive models bandied about in research reports and lectures on stock picks – as well as the claim that this is a highly specialised ‘science’ – actually serve as fanciful methods of camouflaging what is essentially a ‘pin-the-tail-to-the-donkey’ game. Stories like this only serve to strengthen those beliefs.

One could always argue that this is just what the world financial system was looking for. One sore point with most people has been the bonuses that investment bankers (to be fair, not all of them were analysts or equity sales persons) took home despite plunging the world into the worst recession in history. And since everyone’s now wondering how best to clean the system, may I offer a suggestion?

Let the Goldmans of the world revamp…..hire parrots across the board. That should take care of the bonus problems that everyone keeps complaining about. Even if the parrots keep getting larger and fancier cages every year, and demand progressively more organically produced seeds and fruit, it’ll still save billions that can be redeployed in other businesses. So we have statistically better performance at a significantly lower cost….what’s there to argue?

Sheer genius, even if I say so myself.


Can someone please design a similar experiment where parrots take part in the business of government?

I am truly in awe of the possessors of great foresight. Of visionaries. And when the person concerned is part of the government, that awe is tinged with wonder. Because the government is the last place one expects to see any foresight or vision.

All this while, we thought that indefatigable loyalist, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was a gray, unremarkable man, remaining in the corridors of power simply by virtue of loyalty. (Lesser mortals might sneer and prefer to use the word sycophancy, but not me. As an exalted denizen of the trees, I choose to use the word loyalty.)

Mr. Azad, as part of his job as Minister for Health and Family Welfare, has gone above and beyond the call of duty – brought upon, no doubt, by the urge to top the impressive achievements of his equally brilliant predecessor – and hit upon a great idea for population control.

Late Night TV.

To ensure that we don’t breed like rabbits, ‘Watch TV Instead Of Having Sex’ seems to be his prescription.

A brilliant insight. Kill ardour, snuff out passion – and voilà, you have population control. Some may argue that marriage performs exactly the same function. But most kids I know are legitimate, so obviously marriage as a means of population-control-through-the-death-of-passion hasn’t worked very well.

The idea that the childish, convoluted crap that passes for TV programming takes away our sexual urges is not new. In fact, it might actually be borrowed from – horror of horrors – the BJP. But to actually see it as a policy instrument – that’s brilliant. And the best part is, you don’t even need new programming. Just re-run the DD archives. The Krishi Darshans, the Saptahikis, the Pragati Ke Ores….believe you me, these are lethal. Any residual sexual urges will be annihilated.

So where’s the vision, you might ask? What about that foresight you were extolling?

You see, the brilliance of the idea lies in the fact that it solves many problems.

Abstinence is always a hit with the moral brigade, regardless of religious affiliations. The fact that there are other people not having sex must make them happy. It’s like sharing their pain. Then, they’ll be pleased that the ‘new’ TV programming will be in sync with ‘our cultural values’ – meaning no racy stuff, no skin, no corrupting influences. So they’ll start behaving. Hopefully.

The biggest pay-off, however, is this: even if one assumes for a moment that most households will be able to ‘jugaado’ a TV set, they will still need electricity to watch it. If this scheme is implemented, 60 years of gross mismanagement and sheer incompetence in the power sector get knocked off. Let the H&FW ministry have a go at power generation. They really can’t do any worse than what we have already seen. And they just might surprise us all.

The cynics and sceptics might feel it would be easier and more cost-effective to educate people about the various methods and benefits of contraception, to incentivise birth control and to efficiently ensure free access to condoms, pills and diaphragms. To them, all one can say is, Shoo! Go away. We don’t need your negativity to dampen this kind of enthusiasm and out-of-the-idiot-box thinking. You’re the same lot that believes in Sex Education, you dirty sods.

We, the people, will have a new trade-off: Electricity in lieu of Sex. I think most Indian couples will jump (no pun intended) at this choice. Sex is not that electrifying, anyway. More power to the people. Besides, as true Indians, if we don’t keep our part of the bargain, and indulge in a safe-tumble-in-the-hay after we have been granted access to electricity, who’s to know, eh?

* Electricity Or Sex?


Is this something I should be writing to the NCW¹ about? How can any civilized society tolerate the stripping and vulgar display of watermelons – and that too around a pole? Melons too have feelings.

Stripped watermelons are against our culture. We want decent melons, with good values and morals. Not ‘sugarbabies’ and melons that reveal too much. This is India, not the decadent west.

1. National Commission for Watermelons


And shame on those of you who read the title and hopped here expecting something else!


Don’t be laughing too much, peoples. Arre, not only is his hearty being in right place, we should also remember it is the thoughtless that is counting!


By the way, doesn’t this look like a bad movie poster of an even worse film? Of the ‘romance bhi hai, drama bhi hai, action bhi hai’ variety? Bald Pate, with the earring and the “kahan jaa rahi ho, Bharati?” smile, is the villain. The loser on the right is the romantic hero (don’t miss the hair parted down the middle…), powerless to stop Bald Pate’s machinations when it comes to Bharati. You can see the helplessness in his expression. And then, at the top of the poster, we have all the mai-baaps who control and manipulate all our destinies. In decreasing order of importance, left to right. Strangely enough, a lot of them seem to be benevolently approving of Bald Pate’s antics with Bharati!

The more erudite reader might look closely at the poster and say “What the eff men QI? Who dis Bharati? Where she is? What you are talking men?

I suppose the only thing worse than a bad film is a terrible metaphor.

But wot to do? I am like that wonly. 🙂


For those who are interested, some more posts on English in India:

Wǒ xiànzài zài xué Zhōngwén.

That basically means I am learning Mandarin. No, it’s not because I’m moving to Shanghai, or because I think Mandarin is someday going to rival English as a business language. It’s just that if I don’t switch to the Chinese ATP feed, from the English feed – with Brit commentators – we get in India, I’ll go off tennis forever.

What is it with these Brit commentators? I agree, Murray is a great player. But enough with the frigging hero-worship already. Sample this snippet from an imaginary Gonzalez-Roddick match (and it’s true of every other match today) :

Phil: ….and what an outstanding return of serve from Roddick…look at that angle! And Gonzo’s got to it with a spectacular forehand passing shot down the line. What a superb athlete he is…always making his opponent play the extra ball….

John: Yes, Phil. And you know who else can play so brilliantly?

Phil: Yes, John. Andy Murray. Such a sublime player. Such a complete player. And what a magnificent athlete he is. Truly a delight to watch.

John: Right you are, Phil. And a very thinking player as well. He reads the ball so well, Andy Murray does. I think we’re looking at a future Number 1…

Phil: Indeed, John. And dare I say it….the Wimbledon champion this year?

John: He does have what it takes….

During this time, Gonzo’s smashed rackets (twice), a streaker has run out on court (once) and Roddick has had a shouting match with the umpire over a disputed line-call (again)……but those damned Brit commentators are still going on about Murray!

Phil: Yes, I think Murray could even win the US open….

And so on….it’s enough to make me want to throw up. I thought it was the Indians who desperately look for heroes, especially in the realm of sports…..seems the Brits aren’t far behind. They’ve also done this in Formula 1, all of last year, when Golden Arse Hamilton could do no wrong. This year, thankfully, like water, Hammy Boy’s found his level and so we get to hear a lot less about him. It helps that the commentators have actually found a likeable Brit who’s winning, and have shifted allegiance en masse! So now, instead of breathless paeans to Hamilton, we have orgasmic odes to Jenson Button.

Not only do the Brits seem desperate for sports heroes, it’s almost as if they’ve learnt the Art of Irrelevant Commentary from what Hindi cricket commentary used to be, even during TV’s early days: “jee hahn, darshakon mein bahut hi harsho-ulhas, kaphi sankhya main yahan darshak moujood, outfield kaphi hara-bhara hain, match bahut hi romanchak sthithi main…… AUR YE OUT!……”.

Quickly followed by a commercial break.

Huh? Out? Who? What? How?

Quite clearly, Mandarin is the way to go!

I feel like a tiger. Not like the ones in Mumbai. The real ones. In other words, I’m endangered.

But there’s no need to start mourning celebrating (Note: Edited to reflect popular opinion!) just yet…..I have 5 million more years to go (which is considerably more time than tigers have), according to Prof. Jennifer Graves of the University of Canberra. Prof. Graves has confirmed the inevitability of every woman’s secret and guilty sci-fi fantasy: a world without men.

Another blow to my macho sensibilities came from a study conducted in Israel by Prof. Marek Glezerman. Not only am I endangered, it turns out I’m not even a tiger. I am a wimp. A tabby. WTF?!

I mean, it’s bad enough that I have no future, but then you rub it in by telling me that I’m weak and that manly is actually, well, unmanly. Like I said, WTF??

But let’s make the best of this; let’s not go out without a fight (no pun intended!)…..we should start organizing ourselves, demanding rights and privileges – including protected habitats where I can scratch my crotch and smash things without fear – so that our unique way of life can be preserved. Next demand: Reservations, as in quotas. Not as in habitats. I am also currently accepting subscriptions and donations for the WWF (World WeakerSex Fund!)…… please give generously!