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Black day for Indian politics

They say July 22, was the blackest day of Indian Parliament and the democracy. I am surprised…since many many black days we have seen prior to this. Corruption? Let’s retrace our past a bit yes regarding vote of confidence, horse trading. Yes I agree that that money exchanged hands, horse trading took place, also the fact that the ‘bookies’ were placing bets on whether the UPA government will win the confidence or not, that in itself is a strong indication that many developments regarding cash exchange was taking place. As a journalist, the minute the news of bookies role or their favourites made it to our newspapers, so it was NO surprise then that the Members of Parliament chose a moment before the vote to ‘expose’ the ruling parties. For once I am glad that the role of Congress party has been ‘exposed.’ Now the problem is investigation of these allegations. Wc were shown all over the country. Notes of Rs 1000 & 500 were flashed. Amar Singh of Samajwadi Party & Ahmed Patel of Congress both who are known to be fixers for their parties & the govt were named. The MPs conducted a sting operation as their names of crossing over were being circulated. They played along, their conversations were taped, their movments were taken on camera. Now see how the media how they play pawns in the hands of the powerful. The channel & its head wc has made tall claims being righteous, have scrubbed their noses in muck! Firstly they did NOT give the recording to the police, they aired for 3 minutes. The channel was called by few authorities – names are flying in the sky- SP party heads, the promoter of their channel who is one of the leading industrialist close to this party; plus a NCP powerful leader close to the channel head, etc etc. The channel stopped airing the clipping. Then gave it to the Speaker of the Parliament (who has little constitutional authority…but lots of power in the parliament) then gave it after 24 hours! It wasn’t even the full recording…just clipped version. Now the speaker has set up a committee said it will investigate, they can’t show it openly, kill six months & then we will have elections. Also the talk in the power corridors is that the channel was paid Rs 90 crore to ‘settle the matter-wc means NOT air or record the full play.’ Since the player called Amar Singh is a SP party fixer, important post u see. Media’s role too is as fuzzy & blur as that of the politicians & their fixers, who also are politicians. Being ‘silent’ wc we are as a nation is soooooo common now. No one I think is compelled, especially if the journos & channels claim to be true, righteous & honest. Now if we see history, in the Harshad Mehta’s case, he is known to have paid bribes to the former PM PV Narasinha Rao, then again Shibu Soren along with the other JMM MPs collected large amounts from the Congress ministers in exchange for his vote in support of the P.V.Narasimha Rao Government. Then let’s recollect the role of Congress in one of the wrost disasters of our History. The party allowed the locks of the famous Babri Masjd to be opened. Then the BJP, VHP Kar sevaks threatened to break the masjid. They were NOT taken seriously or so the party leaders showed, as the Congress was I power in 1992. The kar sevaks went to pull down the masjid, wc they did eventually. It is on record of Libarhans committee that the then defence minister Sharad Pawar told the PM Rao that he could fly a military helicopter on top of the masjid & the vibrations would make them all run away, then the police could take over. He was told no ‘Hindu’ will be touched. We do NOT need proof as we saw on the national television how the Uttar Pradesh police stood on the spot turning away their faces. Congress party put all the blame for all of this on the then PM. But we cannot forget NO decision in this darn party can ever be taken by any single person. It is an extended, incestuous family! This time it was for the survival of their government, as they are in lead. All I am saying is that ‘the’ party that claimed to be the cleanest, most secular, righteous, morally number one, is NOT. If they had really stuck to their guns & NOT let any of their pimps or agents trade on their behalf, I don’t think they would have won the vote of confidence. I am aware of the problems of the Left or Communist parties. As far as the Indian context is concerned they are by far more honest & more than anything they are definitely secular & do NOT divide on communal lines or create riots. Yet, the problem is they are anti-development. As seen in Singur they have resorted to violence in theri protest & the police quelled their fury with more violence. The voters really have little choice when the power of muscle & money dominates & pervades issues like development, social commitment & uplifting the deprived.

Happy Birthday

My birthday came & went. It was nice, pleasanter than usual, I should say.

Aai had left on the night, eve of my b’day. In fact as I dropped her & left to return homewards, & I began getting calls & smsz…u know as one gets older one stops giving Birthday so much of importance.

I’ve always had this love-hate relationship wt 21st May, the day I was born. When I was a kid I would hate my b’day simply bcoz it fell in the middle of the summer holidays. So I always had to live wt NO friends on my BIG day. Strangely it prepared me for more tough days ahead.. also prepared me to live a far more independent, single life. Wc I’ve so gotten used to now.

Then it made a difference when I first fell in love, as in true love. Otherwise my crushes were on-off…this was short-lived romance…but closest I ever came to wanting to marry a man. In the courtship days one wants or rather insists the lover, boy friend, spouse whoever must remember our imp dates..now I shudder, even I thought like that? Now I feel chalo..even if its few days later the celebrations keep getting extended…I guess wt spouses, lovers things are too hung up & complicated.

Anyways the other reason I hated my b’day was simply bcoz I could NEVER party clothes on school days. A waiver all girls born on Mondays -Fridays & during schooling days were given. I think we born in May or Dec were losers. For me others didn’t matter ..it was tough..i mean as a child one thinks of oneself only. I would then throw a tantrum on my sister’s b’day & insist on wearing my party dress on hers. Now now touché, touché, wasn’t this sour!

My Aai & Baba would try to convince me that it was Smita’s b’day & NOT mine! And one day they will ask the school to allow me to wear a party dress. Its inexplicable let me tell u that during one’s school years to be left out brazenly like this. It gave such a deep sense of feeling of being deprived. Of not getting even one day in your life to celebrate! Now all this has NO impact…I can live with no one calling me or smsing me…tho’ I admit I go on a huge high when I am wished by my loved ones.

Also the gifts made a difference then -wc i NEVER got, since there NEVER was a b’day. I always gave gifts, however small or sometimes none what so ever in early childhood days. Can’t remember anything so way back. However one thing I do remember is I NEVER could have a party..simply..becoz of the fact there was no one around to celebrate my b’day. Eventually one year in my fourth grade my parents let me celebrate just to take the pleasure of a party. That is another issue that most who attended my party were my relatives & only a friends ! I at least had the pleasures of a party.

College things were obviously different & later as years rolled by working time…its office, old friends & new..so celebrations span over few days. That I now think is the crux of a b’day or celebration. Not one day but rolled over many..so here’s wishing a great year (s) to me! Yes with gifts too…

Changing streets

Living in old Bombay, i keep track of ‘real’ people, happenings & more important the topographical changes that take place around. With these changes we see physical, socio-economic & political changes. Example is now the urban renewal projects -suddenly we see old premises pulled down. Once what would be a quaint old house is being replaced by sprawling sky scraper.

As if the spiralling tall building is not sufficient, with it come changes in the kirana shops, poor around & hawkers are replaced by new faces & more fashion oriented shops. Rather plainly put more expensive shops that compel to part with large sums of money.

Years ago the first smell of change came when a hideous tall building called Pancharatna came up enar our house. My aaji’s simple logic was that building will always have problems cause it is obstructing the wind direction. Well in today’s times it is one of the most jinxed building. Irritating loud, farty smelling Gujju diamond merchants & traders rule from squeaky places. The first six floors are nearly illegal coz they have made unimaginable structural changes. There are thefts, killings, IT raids name it and all crime seems to happen there. More over it looks like a tall cheap chawl!

Adjacent to it was the old Roxy theatre. I would go frequently to Marathwada after the earthquake in 1993. After one of my trips i had to go to click a snap to the Election Commission’s unit enar Central Plaza cinema in Girgaum. I decided to take walk around. Suddenly i saw there was no Roxy!

I began calling out for help. Tears had filled my eyes & i enquired around what happened to the building, as if i lost a child. People or workers were amused to see my state and asked why i was so affected. Why?? I lived in that area. Conspiracies of taking over potential buildings have always taken place. But this was the theatre which i could rightfully call my own. The others were Royal Opera House which actually had boxes meant for viewing musical operas built in British raj. Now some maharaja has taken over & left for the building to simply crumble! There was Majestic cinema & other such theatres.

Change on the street also meant our old bhaiyajis have vanished. The shop that sold fugen gum! Remember the sweet chewing gum that was smooth & one could blow HUGE bubbles! Then the imly, awala wala more so all the sandwichwalas have disappeared. They would grill sandwiches on coal grill…well they all simply vanished.

The street side scenes too have changed. Kiranawalas have been replaced by dress material & Bnagkok returned dresswalas. The footpaths have become higher uff, much higher. Its cumbersome to climb them. Old trees droop or have fallen. Newer faces, many people migrated far away from these areas. Change on the streets are not mean, but very evident & obvious… they are far hard hitting.