Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Writing About Not Writing

When you have nothing to write, write about not writing. So said a writer, tongue partly in cheek. Others too have dispensed valuable gems. Write even when you don’t want to. It’s about discipline. Well, today I’m going to do just that. Write about not writing.

After almost eight straight years, lately, I haven’t published anything. Truth be told, my draft folder holds a dozen odd unpublished articles. Some cooked, some half-baked. But for some reason, the soufflĂ© didn’t quite rise to perfection. The idea that one must write no-matter-what, seemed repugnant – too dictatorial for a Freebird. What article, after all, is worth sharing if it doesn’t flow from free will?

Writing, for me, has been about self-expression much before it was a literary endeavour. If you’ve read my blog you know that I write about news and media. Despite the stench emanating from the media cesspool, this is what I enjoy the most. And yet, Padmavati pandemonium, Trudeau’s fancy dress, Media’s madness, R.Chaudhary’s cackle, Yogi’s debacle, Sridevi’s speculation, and N.Aggarwal’s indiscretion – nothing nudged me from my idyllic stupor.

Even if I ignore the public disenchantment with news, the biggest challenge was to write straight away. Quick. Tez. Sabse Tez. Because if you don’t write within twenty-four hours, hundred others will. Everyone and his neighbour is a writer. As a result, soon the topic will be as stale as old beer. News is ephemeral. What makes waves today is gone tomorrow. Remember the shocking news of a dead couple, lying naked in the bathroom early this month? What did the autopsy report say? We forgot all about the couple as soon as the NE election results were out. Then there was the news about the sudden demise of Sridevi. By the time I had penned a piece, the web was flooded with tributes. If I publish that tribute today, readers will sneer, “Leave her alone. Aren’t we over her demise? ”

Above all, writing a blog sets to establish that you want readers. Validation. The moment you press the publish/post button, you are looking for an audience. Blogging, over the years, has lost novelty in direct proportion to its readers. The online blogs on news portals attract more traffic than personal blogs. With shortening attention spans, online readers look for brevity of Twitter and the charm of video blogs. Pixels over print. Bullet points over loopy sentences.

Today when I look at my blog traffic, the post that drew maximum page views was the one that read, ‘How to write like a twenty year old when you are sixty.’ At a time when Google answers all our queries, the sure shot way to grab eyeballs is to write ‘How To’ articles. You can cram your posts with funny anecdotes, literary gems, poetic pearls or biting satires, but in terms of cold arithmetic, only three words get you hits – Why, Where and How. Which is why food, parenting and travel blogs are more popular than non-fiction musings. 

People want answers. Information. Not opinions. Well, mostly. Accept that, ‘How to reduce tummy fat’, will find more readers than your musing about news.

Then there is twitter. Even though brevity is not exactly conducive of an in-depth discussion, short attention spans have ensured that readers read a summary and move on. Not long back, we loved reading articles on Readers Digest, newspaper editorials or satirical centre page spreads. Not as much anymore. 

Another reason for what appears to be my disenchantment is the fact that twitter is infatuated with lies. A study reveals that false news on social media travels six times faster than the truth. Worse, it reaches far more people. So if I pick news from Twitter, chances are I will be expressing views about something that did not happen at all. On the other hand, if I wait for confirmed news, the topic is done and dusted faster than Usain Bolt.

With shortening attention spans, the only thing shorter than public memory is public enthusiasm. Strictly in terms of public interest, Trudeau’s faux-ethnic ensembles provided more fodder for writers than Emmanuel Macron’s substantial visit. 

So is it time to enjoy the luxury of keeping ones thought’s to oneself? Perhaps rationing is a better idea. As Santosh Desai writes, ‘Time has come to revisit the pleasures of not sharing, of not reacting, and of not enacting our feelings as they occur.’ But then what will writers do? Bury their pen? Ah, herein lies the dilemma. 

Coming back to the moot question: should you force yourself to write? If you want to pursue writing, you should. The initial push is hard. Perhaps the key is to keep writing and wait for the day when you are aroused enough to publish. Once you have penned a hundred odd words, you will know if the juices are flowing. It may not be the best you baked. Yet, it will be fulfilling. Write for the sake of your own clarity of thought. Like I did today.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sidebarring - Nay or Yay?

Last week I attended a book launch along with a friend. The venue was teeming with people and guests milled in the room amid rush and murmur of voices. The acoustics were bad and the panelists went on and on about their books. When the ‘I-Me- Myself’ spiel continued much after an hour, I sent a text message to my friend sitting in the next row.

‘Bored to death. Let’s slink out for some fresh air.’

She responded instantly, ‘Me too. The whole freaking event is so tiresome.’

‘Will they serve refreshments? I’m thirsty.’

To which she messaged, ‘They should, I need a cuppa coffee.’

Next few minutes were spent exchanging texts in a room of fifty odd people. While both of us engaged in a secret phone conversation in public, the host was sidebarred in the flurry of our texts.

I can sense that you are rolling your eyes and wondering where this is leading, right?

So I have to tell you that nothing can be more apt than talking about my experience and sharing the new word in The Macmillan Dictionary – Sidebarring
Sidebarring is essentially the practice of having a text conversation in a meeting or a social gathering when the subject of your conversation is present in the vicinity. The term takes its name from the fact that many smart phones have a sidebar button to ignore or mute calls. 

Does it offend? Maybe. Does it entertain? Absolutely.

Don’t judge me because chances are that you have done it too. Hand on your heart and out with the truth. If the answer is an emphatic NO, you are fibbing. Or you don’t have Whatsapp on your phone. Or you could be a monk, but it is unlikely that a monk will read this blog. Anyway, according to a study more than 70% of us have indulged in the act of sidebarring. 

And if you think you are a master at juggling several tasks, let me burst your holy bubble. The study says that it is virtually impossible to pay full attention to a conversation while texting. Because when you are texting, you are partially deaf to the surrounding sounds. Which is why the ‘multi-tasking’ excuse won’t pass.
Also, when you look down at your phone slyly thinking no one’s watching - the glowing light of your phone and your thumb jog makes it known that you are not in the zone. The truth is as obvious as watching a politician make election promises or Salman say that he is a virgin on a chat show.

Now that we know ‘Sidebarring’ is universal, could it be possible that Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni exchanged texts lampooning the wasteful wedding expenditure during the Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma reception? 
Ah, junk it.

It’s tricky to pass moral judgements, because if you are in a boring meeting or enduring an inane verbose lecture, talking about people in the same room can provide a delicious kick. However it could be undesirable, even discourteous, if you invite a group of friends over lunch and two of them engage in ‘sidebarring’ you. Bam that would hurt, no? Sidebarring is already a 'brutal dating trend' according to a UK tabloid.

Why do we indulge in sidebarring when we know that it’s obvious and disrespectful to those present in the room? For one, it’s addictive. A research says that a secret phone chat can give us a dopamine rush. Second, subconsciously we don’t like to do nothing. Every second counts. As technology is advancing we are becoming more and more impatient. Third, bitchy gossip may be rude, but harmless chit-chat about a situation or a person can boost the levels of feel good hormones.

Finally, a word of caution. Don’t get paranoid if you see me texting when I’m with you sipping a drink. For I could be texting my husband to tell him where the house keys are. Or I could be tweeting a thank you reply on social media. You do realize that I don’t have time to spare, right? And that we are a generation that believes in instant gratification. 
So if I’m not texting someone about you, the act could be called 'semi-sidebarring'?  Wonder what dictionary has to say about that. 
Ah, the perils of ghastly tech-tyranny!

Image Courtesy Here

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


As a nation we are obsessed with three things - Bollywood, cricket and weddings. Little surprise that no matter what happened on Gujarat's electoral landscape, the Tuscan wedding of globally hurrah-ed cricketer Virat Kohli and reigning Bollywood deity, Anushka Sharma sidelined every news. My social media notifications were flooded with pictures and videos of how the Captains knock had bowled the maiden over. The pleasure you derived from the images was directly proportional to your tolerance for candy floss.

As for me, I still can’t comprehend the need to travel to Borgo Finocchieto, a property listed second on the Forbes list of twenty most expensive holiday destinations to indulge in a Punjabi wedding, when most of it could be recreated at any Indian five star resort. But hey, who am I to comment on how a celebrity spends his money. What goes of my father!

Anyway, barring some over-pitched deliveries from the guy who tweeted, ‘I’d rather watch an ostrich wedding’ or a writer who felt that the couple shouldn’t have indulged in the extravaganza when children are being raped and trafficked, social media was awash with positivity. Twitter, albeit for one day, was like Arnab Goswami of all prickly feelings transformed into Sooraj Barjatya of all mush.

The reactions veered around jokes about how the couple will rush back to link Adhaar with their marriage certificate, how a stumped Ravi Shastri looked like a grumpy old coot, how Virushka (Virat and Anushka) should be called Korma (Kohli and Sharma) and how a journey from a dandruff commercial ended with vermillion (sindoor). One guy said, 'So happy today. They met, they fell in love and they married. What a magical love story.’ And magical it was. A text book shot.

One of the reasons why the dream wedding amid mountains and valleys felt overwhelming was because we were truly happy for the couple. Happy, that amidst all the trappings of hate and negativity, two people we adore had found everlasting love.

So what is it about a celebrity wedding that excites a billion plus people? After all, it’s just another wedding. Celebrities are normal people and most normal people get married. 

For one, we are a hierarchical society and the common man has always been excited about the weddings of kings and queens. Truth be told, some degree of fascination with the rich and famous is inherent. Moreover, cricket is not just a game in India - it is a religion where cricketers are Gods and every victory is a festival. As it happens, this is not the first time cricket has stumped Bollywood. But it is indeed the first time a team captain and a high profile actress tied a knot on a fast turning pitch.

Second, it is likely that when a cricketing hero and a Bollywood diva decide to marry in a setting that looks nothing short of a movie itself, we get excited about experiences that we are unlikely to experience ourselves. In some ways, watching the wedding snapshots are like the idealization of our dreams. How many of us can dream of a destination wedding, wear a Sabyasachi lehnga with Renaissance embroidery and surpass the net worth of hundreds of crores as a couple? Given that the new power couple represents loyalty, love and family, both Virat and Anushka will be flooded with offers to endorse brands like insurance, housing, cars and consumer goods.

The enthusiasm is not exclusive to us. The Brits hang on to every detail about their royal weddings and Americans binge on Hollywood nuptials. Also, the phenomenon of celebrity adulation is not exclusive to the common man. Remember how some of our film stars had their own fan moment when Ed Sheeran visited India? In most pictures it appeared as if Ed Sheeran was a hostage crying out for help!

Needless to add that when talent and charisma marry beauty and glamour, social media goes over the boundary. With two receptions coming up, the celebrations are going to continue this December. But since the ‘will they, wont they’ factor has gone for a toss, the events won’t be as seductive as the Tuscan wedding. And once Virat Kohli is back on the cricket field in South Africa, social media is likely to revert back to sledging, reverse sweeps and bouncers. Is Anushka lucky for Virat? Should Virat have focussed more on cricket and less on the lavish wedding extravaganza of heady wining and dining? Well, that’s how we spin, don’t we?

Image from here

Monday, December 4, 2017

When Harry met Meghan

Unlike others, it seems, the Brits are destined to have all the fun. While we get to suffer electoral stench, they get to celebrate life with all its royal trappings. Royal marriage. Royal baby. Royal anniversary. Repeat. 

It’s like a modern day fairy tale. 
Recently, the Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th marriage anniversary by releasing souvenirs. And even before the celebrations welcoming Kate and William’s third baby could commence, Prince Harry announced his engagement to American actress, Ms Meghan Markle. 

It all began with romance under starry nights in Botswana. When Prince Harry went down on his knees, Ms Meghan broke into an orgasmic, ‘yes’. And the media was flooded with speculations, expectations and celebrations.
No sir, not the divisive caste and religion stories we suffer back home, but real spicy narratives.

It didn’t take long for pen-wielders to dig Meghan’s lineage, her past and her ex-husband. With certain inevitability, the initial stories revolved around the fact that Meghan was divorced. Those who have been Netflix-ed by ‘The Crown’ know how being a divorcee in a royal family can twist traditional knickers. And yet, once the stiff upper lip had swallowed the divorce pill, it was time to go deep into the woods to dig her past – her half brothers, sisters and pictures of her parents. The Daily Mail went ahead and featured a story about how Meghan was ‘made to stuff her bra’ with foam for the American ‘Deal or No Deal’ show she had anchored. 

Finally, the happy union of playboy soldier turned humanitarian Prince with American biracial divorced actress was cheered by the monarchy. 

Spoof Photographer, Alison Jackson posted these lovely pictures before the actual wedding. 

The first test for the ‘would be’ bride was to have tea with the Queen and befriend her Corgi’s (over 30 Welsh dogs) who took to Ms Meghan straight away. Ms Markle had made her mark. Thereafter, when the newly engaged couple undertook their first official duty together, the tabloids went in a tizzy reporting how the royal couple couldn’t keep their hands off each other. 

But wait. There’s more to the royal wedding than tabloid level gossip. The wedding is said to push the UK economy by 500 million pounds by boosting tourism and strengthening the US-UK relationship. What Trump and Theresa couldn’t do over talks, Meghan and Harry did by slipping a ring.
A day after the engagement was announced, the ‘Meghan Effect’ was expected to sell bags and apparel worth millions modeled by Meghan, the model. What fun to compare ‘Meghan Effect’ with ‘Kate Effect’ that already accounts for about 200 million pounds a year! 

While our bookies are busy speculating about Gujarat elections (yawn), bookies in the UK are betting their odds against the name of Kate and William’s third baby. Interested? Arthur is going for (10/1), Robert (100/1) and Alice (8/1). 

There are other fun activities too. Speculation is rife over the wedding venue, Meghan’s dress designer, and what Prince George, 4 and Princess Charlotte, 2 will wear. Don’t go bananas, but much before the announcement of the D day, The Telegraph reported, ‘This will be the first royal wedding cake made from bananas.’ 

In a fit of idyllic reverie, I am wondering what if Harry met Meghna, an Indian girl? The idea is a bit nutty, but Uff - the possibilities!

Imagine Prince Harry in a sherwani, sitting on a flower bedecked chariot surrounded by dhols of Maharaja Band. Of all the images, Kate in a Ritu Kumar lehnga and Williams in a Sabyasachi kurta dancing to ‘London Thumakda’ is the most riveting snapshot. Given the Indian setting, there would be a customary crisis of a ceremony related misunderstanding. It’s quite possible that a pink turbaned Charles would break into a happy jig with his samdhi to the tune of ‘Le Jayenge, Le Jayenge Dil Wale Dulhaiya Le Jayenge’. Once dinner is served, Kate’s parents would crib about food being too spicy and nothing compared to what they served during William and Kate’s wedding. Later on, Badi Ma Camilla would tu-tut about being given a cheap sari and not a Banarsi. 

The works!

Moreover, Indo-UK ties would boost tourism, people will forget all about pollution and we would be a step closer to Kohinoor. 
Alas, that is not to be. The only Indian connection is that Priyanka Chopra, a good friend of Meghan could be the bridesmaid.

But I’m holding on to the imagery in an attempt to run away from the ‘yawn-worthy’ narrative back home. Sigh, why don’t we have royals whose weddings and births we can celebrate as one country? I want real ones, loved by all, and not the Shezada and the Shezads.

Instagram Image 
Image Courtesy here
Spoof Photography via Alison Jackson in the Daily Mail.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Good News Is

Far away from the din and fury of chopping people’s nose and hands, we have some good news. 
Ivanka Trump is coming.
Such a blessing because the political narrative on television has been so cringe-worthy, that you want to cry. But now that the ‘first daughter’ is here to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, we will hear what she wore, how she smiled, and whom she met. A breath of fresh glamorous air. 
Yes, thank you. I’d rather drool over celebrities and feast over my slavish cravings than watch our politicians indulge in an ugly slugfest.

So, now that the beggars of Hyderabad have been dumped in orphanages, Charminar has been given a fresh coat of paint, potholes fixed, Falaknuma Palace given a makeover, searches conducted, fingerprints taken - Hyderabad would love to host Ivanka every month. News is that the Hyderabad police is on a high alert. They have requested people to inform them about any suspicious movement while Ivanka is there. After she leaves, Hyderabad residents can go jump in Hussain Sagar Lake for all they care.

Meanwhile we in moon-crater land Gurgaon are hoping Ivanka ji blesses us with a visit. The pollution scene has improved from ‘severe’ to ‘poor’ category - which is wonderful! As a result, Khattar and Hooda in Haryana are squabbling over the most important issue – who will felicitate Ms World, Manushi Chillar. And Arvind Kejriwal is back to launching books on odd days and reviewing movies on even days. 

Coming back to Ivanka, it all began when Modi ji activated his Trump card by inviting POTUS . Given that ‘Daddy’ was busy holidaying at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, he decided to indulge in some Daughter Diplomacy. It’s like you invite your boss to attend your marriage, but he sends his high profile private secretary instead. With a huge bouquet. 
Hopefully Modi ji will refrain from a hugging spree, instead, Sushma ji can clinch her in a motherly embrace. Frankly, by now the jhappies and pappies with Nawaz should have taught us that moments of cleavage are a waste of emotions.
But it doesn’t matter. We are an obsequious lot - as long as there’s white skin and a powerful family name, we are happy to repaint Hyderabad for eleven year old Barron Trump (Son of DonaldTrump) too .

Come Tuesday, and our microphone wielders will fawn over Ivanka’s dress, her smile, and her hour glass figure. Even the Trumpphobes will line up to shake her manicured hands. Of course, we are eager to know if she wore a Dolce & Gabbana or her own label that sells bags, apparel and shoes. And to adduce the meaning behind every extended handshake and twinge of her lips.

Ivanka with her mom Ivana
Image courtesy

Lest you think otherwise, Ivanka will speak to men and women of all shapes, sizes, colour and religion. Talking about religion, the visit to a mosque is aimed at building bridges with the Islamic world. Yes sir, Rahul and Modi are not the only ones visiting religious places to score political brownies.

But here comes the real shocker. Unlike our dimpled family scion, Ivanka Ji is a qualified graduate in Economics from Wharton. She is so qualified that she decided to work as an unpaid White House employee in the capacity of an advisor to the POTUS. This is nice, given that her dad is so privileged that the first job he ever had to apply for was the president of the United States. According to the US administration, Ivanka is supposed to be her daddy's 'eyes and ears'. That people want her to be her daddy's tweeting fingers is a different matter.

Image from Instagram

When Ivanka’s Wharton classmates were quizzed about her most of them said she was very gracious and dignified. Well, if your mother was a model, poise and grace would be a given. Also the fact that the Ivanka was a model at fourteen and much before her 15th birthday, she featured in Elle magazine along with a campaign for brands like Tommy Hilfiger. 

Now to the family part that will dampen the chances of those who fancy her. The thirty six year old Ivanka has three kids – Arabella, Joseph and Theodore. Oh, and I almost forgot. Arabella can recite poems in Mandarin and name most zoo animals. This is remarkable given that her grandfather told a rally in Indiana that China should not be allowed to ‘rape our country’. Ouch!

 To give the pretty girl her due, calm and focused Ivanka has raised the bar with her gracious demeanour and sensible tweets. 
All said, celebrities like Ivanka should visit us every month. A new city each time. This is the only way our pot holes will be fixed, our security beefed up and our monuments given a makeover. Maybe we will do something about our pollution too. What’s Kate Middleton doing in December? 

Ivanka Trump Donald Trump

Images from here

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Why Film Stars Don’t Speak Up?

Yet again, the cast and crew of the film Padmavati are hurtling from turmoil to threats and from controversy to crisis. Whether it’s the sentiments of a community, or celebrities from the neighboring country - the film industry has become a convenient target for  crusty pride honchos. Repeatedly. What remains unchanged is the silence emanating from the Shehensha’s and Badshah’s of Bollywood. 
At the outset, let me say that we have a censor board which will decide the fate of the film. Since we haven't seen the film, no one is in a position to judge the merits of the film. However, what we can do is condemn the open threats of bodily harm being made on television. 
But barring a handful, the Bollywood biggies have decided to stay non-committal.
When asked about the Padmavati row, producer Boney Kapoor on the IFFI red carpet said, "Well, it's not my film."
Lead star of the film, Padmavati, Ranveer Singh refused to comment saying that it is a very sensitive moment and that he had been asked not to say anything.
Also, when actress and censor board member, Vidya Balan was asked why stars shy away from taking a stand, she said that film stars refuse to open up because their views can jeopardize future films and careers of scores associated with the film. 

Truth is, after the uproar over Aamir Khan’s views on intolerance and outrage over PK, the Hindi film industry realized that it is better to zip-up. Forget starring in a movie that allegedly hurts sentiments, acting in a movie that supports a cause also creates negative vibes. 
When Akshay Kumar featured in the movie, ‘Toilet- A Love Story’ based on Prime Ministers Swachh Bharat project he was labelled as Knicker Kumar, a member of chaddi brigade based in Nagpur. When he launched an app to help the families of martyr’s, a senior journalist wrote, ‘Cannot expect much from an actor who opted for Canadian citizenship and talks about patriotism. Like leader, like bhakt. ’ 

We live in times when emotional fans judge every word coming from their favorite star based on their ideological moorings. Which is why, lead actors and popular stars avoid antagonizing fans. At a time when open threats are being issued on television and the state governments are mute spectators, the silence from the biggies is understandable. A Rishi Kapoor can tweet on Indo-Pak relations but a Salman Khan will not. A Shabana Azmi can speak against threats but a Deepika Padukone will not. Crores and careers are at stake.

Looks like everyone loves you if you are apolitical, but the moment you take a stand, you are loathed and ridiculed by those who adored you earlier. Anupam Kher, Hema Malini, Paresh Rawal, Anurag Kashyap, Amitabh Bachchan – there are many who fell from their high pedestal. Gone are the days when Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna and Govinda plunged into politics without stirring a hornet’s nest. 
It is worth recalling how Amitabh Bachchan scalded himself over and over again by flirting with different political parties. From ‘UP main dum hai kyonki jurm yahan kum hai’ to being the Gujarat and Swachh Bharat ambassador, he is perceived as a celebrity who aims to protect his own panama paradise. He is damned if he speaks and damned if he doesn’t.

This brings me to Southern super stars, Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan. The film industry down South is more vocal unlike Bollywood. Both actors have decided to take a plunge after testing political waters for a long time. There is no denying that after Kamal Haasan’s confusing stand on socio-political issues, he is likely to lose a section of fans painstakingly accrued over fifty years. Not everyone is a Jayalalitha or MGR.
Why then are Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth risking their unparalleled, unblemished reputations? Both are hugely popular, have enough money and power to work for the people if they so wish. In fact, Kamal Haasan’s fan clubs known as ‘Narpani Iyyakkam’ are already doing great social work in his home state. 

That said, binary definitions are not the way to judge film actors taking a stand on issues plaguing our society. Most film stars mentioned above did not start their journey seeking fame. They were already famous and accepted. For some, the privileges, adulation and recognition fuelled the desire for more. For others, like Jaya Bachchan and Hema Malini, the urge to protect their turf is so overpowering that they get trapped in the system. Although both are active politicians, we are yet to hear them take a stand on issues. 
Needless to add that when you want to be in the news, public scrutiny becomes your biggest challenge. Foreign trips, bank accounts, land deals, brand campaigns and friendships – all get dissected by fans and political rivals. As a result, most film stars prefer the stigma of conformity than the danger of a controversy.

All said, if the film fraternity doesn’t speak up for their peers, who will? While we may not agree with their politics, we can’t deny that our country needs more doers than talkers. We need Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan to counter the fragmented power hungry factions of the South. We need Aamir and Akshay to walk the talk unlike facebook and twitter fidayeens. 
Despite an earlier call to ban Aamir, the stupendous success of Dangal should embolden the film industry to take a firm stand. Because the only thing shorter than public memory is public enthusiasm. 

Related link : My take on cinematic liberties. Read here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October Fireworks

At a time when the country was bursting firecrackers, we in Delhi/NCR entertained ourselves with political bombs and news sparklers. The ground spinners (chakris), flower pots (anars) and the rockets played themselves, but with a twist. 

For Rahul fans, the month of October brightened with the news that rocket Rahul would be finally launched as Congress President. Unopposed, of course. Time will tell if he can push the boulder up the mountain but as of now he looks like those red popping strips with symmetric dot like protrusions loaded in a toy pistol. Remember them? You kept pulling the trigger, some went off, some didn’t? Phatak. Phuss. Phuss. Phatak. 

Propelled by the news of his coronation and retweets from Kazakhastan, rocket Rahul landed on Gujarat’s political landscape. He rolled his sleeve and called Modi’s GST, Gabbar Singh Tax without explaining why his party passed the Gabbar-esque bill in the house.

A tweet by Shahsi Tharoor

There is no denying that after DeMo bomb and GST damp squib, the BJP fireworks aren’t as spectacular as last year. Meanwhile, when Modi ji was celebrating Diwali with soldiers, his foot soldier lit a snake tablet (remember saanp ki goliyan? They emit the highest amount of PM 2.5) by denouncing the legendary Taj Mahal. Does the publicity seeking hate monger have any answer to the lovely churches of Goa and Kerala built by the Portugese or the Puducherry landscape so lovingly painted by the French? If we were to question the past of every monument, our inclusive culture and heritage will go up in the smoke of our colonial past. 

Looks like the Delhi CM was not in a mood for any festive revelry. No psychopath bombs, no anarchist bangs and no sparks on television. Total black out. Barring a favourable review of the movie the Secret Superstar and a populist stand on metro fare hike. Allegedly, the Delhi govt threatened to revoke the appointment of DMRC chief on fares but the board refused to give in to political pressure. Just so you know, the last metro fares were hiked in 2009. Moreover, there is no political interference in most countries, like in the UK for instance, it’s the Mayor who decides the fares for the London Underground. Subsidizing a world class service for votes can delay expansion and convert Delhi metro into another local train service. Sigh, you can’t blame the CM. Since there are no farm loan waivers in Delhi, aam-admi appeasement is the only ace up his chequered shirt.
Not to be left behind the Fin Min dropped a reform bomb for recapitalization plan of public sector banks. The Kapil The Sibal called it selling of another dream. Time will tell if this one is a big bang reform or another one that failed to explode. Because fireworks are great but where are trillions coming in from?

Meanwhile the set-jaw spokesperson of the BJP, GVL Narsimha Rao lit a sparkler by questioning the general knowledge of film industry. Rao’s comment by no means was directed at Manoj Tiwari who is a direct descendant of Albert Einstein and Madam Curie. While Kirron Kher and Hema Malini kept quiet, a furious Farhan Akhtar exploded, ‘How dare you Sir?’ 

Talking of Bollywood, Bipasha generated some light and more heat by featuring in a condom advertisement. But nothing is newsworthy unless Twitter trolls give you a hard time. Bipasha trolled for starring in a condom ad, read the headline. In a country with second largest population in the world, its funny why condom ads create such dhamaka.

Image from Pintrest

October was also a month that saw the acquittal of the Talwar couple framed in their daughter Arushis murder. It broke my heart to see them emerge from jail as shutterbugs circled them like vultures with their cliched, ‘Aapko kaisa lag raha hai?’
You know what, sometimes the loudest bang happens when we think fireworks are over. Even as I type, news is that Virat and Anushka may tie the knot in December. And Jab Virat Weds Sejal, perhaps this what Virat would say - You blow my Mind.

Image from here