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The Band of Bullies

In my living memory, this is an unprecedented time in Indian politics. 100 million more Indians have registered themselves for 2014 elections than the corresponding 2009 figure and my facebook news feed is constantly cluttered with different news items covering the political atmosphere in the country. One thing stands out; on second thought, it is the only thing I have been seeing on my news feed these days: AAP vs BJP troll-war and I have a big issue over the rampant attempt to criticize, defame and eliminate AAP. I will get to it but I want to digress for a moment now.

BJP launched a campaign to get 272+ seats in the general elections some time back in September, I think, last year. Modi had been recently made the campaign chief and further upgraded to PM candidate. And then came the elections in 5 states, where AAP made  a stellar debut in Delhi elections. They chose to form the government but the performance was far from satisfactory. Worse, it ran into controversies with Somnath Bharti trying to do the work of police but being labelled as vigilante and racist; then Kejriwal trying to do a dharna to get a couple of policemen suspended and being labelled as anarchist and a man of gimmicks than substance. I don’t know what worked out for AAP with 49 days in power, but it sure worked out for BJP because they got the ammunition which they needed to tackle the problems generated by Arvind Kejriwal.

You see, politics is a playground of bullies. The one with the strongest arm will outwit and displace the others and there is nothing bigger than the muscle power in Indian politics. How do you win against these bullies? By knowing secret things about the other and becoming a bigger bully. Congress was the biggest one till 2009 until the scams broke out and prices started to skyrocket. It was caught red handed by the middle class and the poor in the rural parts alike as the symbol of corruption. Congress being the bully in ground, twisted SP, BSP many times and managed to complete its complete terms. And then there was the rival in the same ground, BJP. Strong in a few states, but lacked the punch to fight the grand old bully.

But things changed in 2011/12 when Anna Hazare and his team came into the same ground and suddenly there was a bull attacking all the players. It was opening all closets and putting the skeletons out in front of the people. People, who were used to being bullied by lies and with “lets try these guys out this time” attitude were suddenly talking about national issues. The 10 crore new registration has a very large contribution from these people who had started to talk and discuss politics actively with the Anna movement. News programs became more interesting than comedy nights with Kapil and IIFA awards. AAP came to party without any skeletons in its closet giving it enormous conviction to attack everyone else. Worse, there was little to attack AAP with and it was a movement that was scaring the shit out of politicians. BJP switched to Harshvardhan to counter the clean-guy image of Kejriwal, they aped AAP campaign and sold the same lollipop to Delhi-wallahs as AAP. Finally, they figured out that AAP was more of a movement and less of a one time election headache.

And so began the smear campaign with the sting operation that was covered all over the media for hours and not a squeak when EC rejected it as nothing but useless propaganda. AAP won the elections, and for three days, they became the poster boys of media till the question came of forming the government. BJP was seething because despite thrashing Congress in 3 states, it was AAP who got all the plaudits and they went back to the smear campaign.

AAP was pretty much free of skeletons in its closet. Although that sting operation was proven a waste of space, it did sow doubts in the minds of public and BJP IT-cell has done a remarkable job in amplifying it. They invented skeletons to show that AAP wasn’t a ray of hope, but yet another bully. They forgot that it was in their tradition to forget their promises made during campaign and they told us that AK has made a U-turn and taken a 4 bedroom flat after denying official residence. Suddenly how could we trust a leader who made U-turns! It was Anna and AK who woke up the sleeping masses in India and made them talk and discuss corruption and price-rise in country. Suddenly all they wanted to discuss what was the next food item AK will eat which he had never eaten in his life. Congress, its scams, its backward ass policies which has slowed the economic growth, price rise were the subjects which AK and team Anna raised. I believe that if the atmosphere wasn’t as charged as it was, the cry for proper development so loud, Narendra Modi would never have been selected as PM candidate. That environment gave Modi with his development credentials the perfect boost to pitch himself in the fray and win over many different aspiring leaders in the party to become the PM candiate. And in the Modi success story of Gujrat, BJP marked all the real issues of elections as tackled and resolved and changed the topic of discussion of social media from real issues to “which hand AK used to wipe his ass this day.”

This is what we think, don’t we? We think Modi will come to power and all issues of economy will get covered. Or, we can simply trust is the government and sleep off. If this was not the case, why is there little talk over development issues, or the agrarian crisis which is crippling farmers, or the corporate hijack of media, agriculture, politics alike. Why are so many of my friends so hell bent on proving day in and day out that AK is a U-turn specialist, an anarchist, a leftist, or a B-agent of Congress? I ask you people, how much did you tweet and post over the misuse of govt funds in Saifai mahotsav? If I ignore Parliament as the stage, why is their no discussion over the influence of Ambani and other corporates on the Indian policy making on the social media at least? How many have you got a view point on the agrarian crisis that is gripping the country? How much have you studied and posted about the kinds of economic policies which are needed to tackle the inequality in the country?

AAP came as a hope to change politics. It has made its mistakes, but why is everyone so hell bent on exterminating it? Why is losing 20-40 seats to SP or BSP acceptable and losing maybe 10 seats to AAP unbearable? It won’t take a PHD in Maths to know which one will hurt the mission 272 more. But I don’t seen a single goddamn attack on SP or BSP or other regional parties. I guess that is because BJP knows that they are bullies from the same ground and the lust of power will get them in fold eventually. But at the same time why is AAP attacked left right and centre for trivial issues? BJP and Congress and others have shared the rule and have had their share of limelight of making a mess of law and order. State wide bandhs, vandalism of public property have been their forte, but AAP blocking a few stations becomes the only law and order problem that India has ever had? How is not discussing the real issues and spending hours bashing AAP and AK nationalistic?

Finally the bullies have succeeded, haven’t they? There was a craze in minds of people for the betterment of this country. Indians used the right to express their will and realized how such discussions empowered them politically. For once, cricket was rivaled in this country with some other zeal. And today major part of it has changed its focus. Known corrupt and thugs (Yeddyurappa, Shiv Sena) have joined hands with BJP and there is not one discussion or criticism on that. But the movement which gave people a voice isn’t being spared at all. I can understand why people look up to Modi and BJP and if I were voting, I will vote for BJP as well. There is simply no other alternative to escape the bane called Congress. What flummoxed me was how did the ray of hope, became enemy number 1 in the eyes of those zealous to see BJP coming to power.

I have concluded one answer. I sense a desperation in the millions of trolls in facebook that nothing short of a 250 seats for BJP will assuage them. Many had married to the idea of AAP coming to power in Delhi and BJP coming to power after general elections. This has been bedrock of their political understanding and wish in the eyes of many. Having lost at the former, it has now become critical to the survival of that bedrock, that a complete victory is obtained in the latter. AAP tried to turn the population and its anger towards system into a movement. But, in the end, I found and I feel that living under the rule of bullies had, ultimately, changed us into bullies as well. The ridiculous posts, the AAPtards and Moditards genres in an evidence of that. Movement isn’t important anymore, the victory and seat of power, irrespective of its means or collateral damage (AAP), is important.

If we don’t engage our leaders to discuss the issues which grip our nation, they will focus on throwing stones at each other and in turn keep us occupied with same activity. It is not just the political parties which alone makes that band of bullies, in the end, it is actually us who make that band real. It is very essential to protect that movement, and appreciate everything that AAP has done for it. In that everyday attack, in my eyes, we are delivering body blows to the movement as well. All the best.

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Messi texts to Martino Again

When current FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, recently called Messi a good boy and Ronaldo a commander on the pitch, Blatter appreas to be right while calling Messi a boy. It has come to light that, in a childish display, Messi has once again taken to texting his coach, Martino Tata, for his continued position as striker of the team. The Satire Blog has learnt from sources in Argentina that Lionel Messi is scared about the ascent of teammate Alexis Sanchez and has expressed his fears to Martino over SMS. Messi’s SMS to Pep Guardiola over Ibrahimovic’s role as striker was widely reported. It had brought much ridicule to the four time Ballon d’Or Winner and it appears that the boy hasn’t grown.

Recently, he suffered an injury and Barcelona had to be carried forward by different striker, Alexis Sanchez, to shores of victory. It appears that Messi sees ascent of Sanchez as a threat to his chances to win the Golden Boot, a precursor for him to win the Ballon d’Or prize. The source also informed The Satire Blog that Ronaldo’s reply to Blatter with a hattrick has made Messi even more worried about his chances for a fifth consecutive Ballon d’Or prize which had been looking uncertain ever since the thrashing FC Barcelona were handed by Bayern Munich earlier this year. The Ronaldo troll fans, meanwhile, have already labelled the prize as Blatter d’Or.

A close source to the Barcelona dressing room adds, “It has been years since a proper striker has completed the duties for Barcelona as Lionel Messi has been in an amazing form. With his teammate Xavi in some form of decline in form, Messi has been worried off late.” Now it remains to be seen who will be other recipients of Messi’s texts. In the meantime, Pakistani population have taken to Twitter to calling Messi a “Dehati Aurat”.

Changes 2014: Just Modi?

What does the upcoming general elections in 2014 mean for India as a nation and for Indians as nationals? Sadly, there is no short answer to this because of a multitude of aspirations of different parts of the society. However, there is one section of the Indian community for which the answer is predictable: the political class. Those out of power, want to come into power and those in the seat of power want to hold on to that seat of power. Among the common people, some are jingoists of a political clan, some are religious fundamentalists, some are optimists of a radical change and many don’t care. There can be more detailed classification of the society but I am not interested in knowing every line of difference in the society but rather focus on the dangerous undercurrent which can plague every dream of every section of society: What are the changes we need? I will focus on only two things here, politics and Indian culture.

I would like to ask the population who want to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister: Say, BJP wins the elections and he does become the PM, what are you going to do after that? This question has extreme relevance to the development of India as a nation. For one small reason, Modi is developing into a brand (apparels, mobile phones, mobile apps etc.) and in the long run, brands make people blinds. So it is imperative to realize that letting BJP and Modi run the show isn’t enough. The population of India which is aching to see a change must not wait on the changes to come to surface; they should seek it. It must remember that when it votes for BJP, they are looking for development and they should seek it instead of being doled out to them. With RTIs and protests, the movement must continue to make the political class more and more accountable and their election manifestos rigorously evaluated by the public. To many, voting for Modi is their contribution to the nation. I think we cannot call it anything other than a start. How many of us have that fervor to participate in the development of Republic of India under Modi? On the other hand, if BJP isn’t able to form a government at the center, what do we do then?

The point that I want to highlight is simple, are we really looking forward to participate in democracy to contribute in nation building? Or we think that Narendra Modi and BJP are magic wands to change the fortunes of the nation and society? Or is the word circulating in media “the anti-incumbency effect” going to be a factor in our minds when we vote? The voting is a right and choice of an individual. But it must be done for the right reasons and after thorough analysis of the ground reality. It is the first step to building a healthy democracy. If the mindset stops at voting BJP or Congress into power, we have only chosen a possible benefactor with no benefits guaranteed.

That was my first observation. Out of no disrespect to the Muslim community, I have a direct question to them: how does the Muslim community allow these media assholes and politicians to label them as votes? Even though I was born in a Hindu family, but I don’t give a fuck about that, I find this phrase “Muslim votes” derogatory. In fact I find the connotations of Yadav votes, Hindu votes, Sikh votes and many such created currencies a spit on the customs and traditions with which we identify a community. In my eyes, such labels reduce sentinel human beings to a herd of senile animals which can be manipulated with ease every 5 years. Isn’t that is what Lalu did for his entire period of rule? Isn’t it the same what Congress has been doing for more than 40 years after the slogan “Garibi Hatao” was launched? Isn’t it what BJP did when it led a mindless Mandir Nirman initiative?

People have lost their lives, livings and loved ones. How did we get so blinded by religious affiliations that we cannot see shit for shit? When did the culture and faith and practices that made us a community became hard lines of segregation which have cauterized our human connection with each other? Did it happen when we rioted? Or when we stopped trusting on our neighbours just because they had different ways of dressing? Or was it when in 1909, the Britishers coined the appeasement policies in Morley Minto reforms to communalise the electoral representation? If a person of a certain caste or religion sits in the legislature, it doesn’t mean that the entire community is represented. Nor does it mean that the aspirations are represented, and the culture and traditions guarded. It needs to be guarded by us. Otherwise we are actually an unguarded bank, waiting to be betrayed every 5 years and then robbed over the course of next 5 years. Politicians have used our culture as a weapon to betray the populace at multiple times. And their selective actions have instilled hatred in us for other cultures. Our country is a multicolored and thus there is just too much discontent among people. Were we wrong to stick to our cultures? Or our culture sucks that it didn’t teach us a way to protect us from manipulations?

Our culture isn’t inherently a system which sucks. It sucks on many fronts today because we have held on to the wrong things. Sticking to the love of a particular God made us animals to kill each other. If we had stuck ourselves to what those Gods said about brotherhood and humanity, our culture wouldn’t have become a base for manipulation of individuals. We wouldn’t have required to ask for equal rights for women or need Satyamev Jayates to highlight the plights of the lower sections of society. Our culture gave us the colorful festivals of joy and celebrations and they would have given us an evolving understanding of each other as well. But we stuck to a God and tried to be God by assuming power. But Gods have a major side-effect that he/she inspires lust for power and lordship in corruptible species called human beings. It is only natural that we are in such a situation where distrust among us is rampant: Where you cannot shave your head fully as that is a practice of a different religion; where you wonder, quoting from A Wednesday, what the name of a shop should be. The questions in the in the last lines of the last paragraph have an easy answer: Accepting that love towards mankind is a greater ideal than its enforcement director, the God.

The politics of a our country is inspired and divided by the religious and social divides. It should rather be united and forward thinking in the wake of the problems of the society and not its divisions. We neither have an administration which can promote the development of a civilized society nor we have a culture where we allow dignity to everyone. The upcoming general elections is just a point in time, these changes have been necessary since a very long time. When we look at 2014 as a new hope, how broad is our horizon?

Kick Ass v2.0

It is an emotional obligation for me to right this review. After all, the first movie that I had reviewed was the first instalment of kick-ass series. But this one is an improvement, because unlike the first one where I reviewed it a couple of years later, I am writing this 3 days after I saw the recent instalment. If you haven’t read my review to the first movie, or haven’t seen it, this piece of writing will appeal little to you. You can however make amends with a small step here: https://jayant1212.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/kick-ass-2010/

On a lot of levels, it is still Dave and Mindy story but a lot of things have changed in the kick-ass world. The story is a continuation and evolution of a lot of plots that were opened in the first movie. While Chris D’Amico is trying to be able to kill kick ass to avenge his father’s death, Dave tries to team up with Mindy and carry his streak of vigilantism. Kick-Ass inspired the Red Mist in the first movie as another superhero in town and now he has inspired a zillion others. Marcus was hell bent on keeping Mindy a normal girl, and he grills her to her bed inside his house and even sends her on a date. Eventually, Dave  finds some more wannabe superheroes like him to team up with and make a gang. But like a perfect spoof, the evil in D’Amico, like Sauron, was growing every day.I liked the fact that the growth of characters and their human bodies hasn’t been neglected. Aaron Taylor Johnson as Dave has made himself a formidable looking guy whereas the swearing girl Mindy of first movie is getting pangs of adolescence.

Long story short, Dave tries to group his superhero buddies, while Chris tries to create an army of villains. In the meantime, Mindy tries to behave like a high school bitch of her own age. The movie moves in a slightly nauseating manner which it attempts to handle with pangs of fun filled moments. Jim Carrey is another of the kick ass inspired wannabe superheroes and has an interesting role. For almost 60% of the movie, there isn’t any end in sight. Until, every character gets a motivation.

Chris unleashes the demonic side of him, and Dave loses his father. Mindy has realised that dating isn’t for her and says a formal euphemism of “fuck you” to Marcus and gets on team Dave. In a climactic sequence which spooves the battle at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Mindy, Dave and Chris measure each other in one of the most emotionally charged moments of the movie. Three characters, all driven by the loss of their fathers, enter in the duel. And with some of the most improbable stuff on this planet, team Dave is able to exact the revenge and stop the gang created by “the motherfucker” Chris D’Amico. Yeah, that’s right, that’s his evil moniker in the movie.

The movie is neither driven by emotions nor by strong writing. It manages a fun filled ride because apart from the wannabe superheroes on the celluloid, humans like to imagine themselves as a superhero. But the relevance of such dreams of anyone can come if the individual actually tries to give a damn about things that are wrong. And once that is done, I can agree with Dave in the last moments of the movie, that you don’t need to don a mask to help someone. Kick Ass will be loved by fans like me, not so much by many others.

Rating: 3.5/5

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1650554/

This movie will be adored by kids till eternity, by elderly as well for its light-hearted full filled approach, and by a lot of adults alike who went to the theater to have a laugh. However, it may get panned by critics for being too shallow or being full of unrealistic nonsense. I guess that they are more of cynics, yes you read that right: cynics, not critics, than the ones who can enjoy a movie.

Despicable-Me-2

Gru has changed from a villain to someone who is fussy about Margo, eldest of her three adopted daughters, having crush over boys. He dresses like a fairy for his youngest daughter Agnes and stares at her another daughter Edith turning into a Ninja. Moreover, he has started to prepare jams and jellies for his living and employed his assistant minions and Dr. Nefario in the work. He is called by the Anti Villain League to track a big bad man who has stolen a pretty wild chemical formula which can turn living organisms into “enhanced” zombies: who can eat, other than other zombies, metal as well. While on his job, Gru has a partner, Lucy. That is all there to the story.

Gru and LucyGru and his family

I guess that tells what happens between Gru and Lucy. Anyways, on emotional level, the movie doesn’t offer much. The innocence of Agnes is heart touching and Gru does a solid role as their father. We get to see little bit of childhood of Gru and the ending of the movie has a nice touch with Agnes getting her wish for a mother.

The real show is that of the minions, they carry this short junk of story on their zippy zappy French-Spanish-Murmurs-Gibberish-What-the-hell-they-said language and amazing comic timing. Their silliness and amazing facial expressions work a lot of magic. The 21-fart salute was an amazingly hilarious and so were the minions on a beach. The movie is introduced by minions, they are the core of the fun and they leave smiles on the faces of audiences as the credits roll up.

Minions

Watch it for the fun filled moments.

Rating 3.5/5

Lootera: Movie Review

I will start with what it is, a great movie. Ten minutes coming out of theatre, the worst I could think was the predictability of the ending but that too isn’t a criticism, as the movie wanted that end. And I will clarify that it is not a period movie. The core of movie would work equally well if it was set in modern times which revolves around a mighty zamindar who starts to lose his possessions as the result of abolition of zamindari system in India. This can be replaced in modern times to something else and the same story can be executed in a different era but I am not complaining. This movie works and that is all which matters for makers and the fans alike.

I am happy that Sonakshi has done something other than being a showpiece item in a movie. She fits well in the role of the daughter of zamindar. Ranveer Singh has performed well too, although I liked the performance of his side kick more. I loved the way love “happened” in the movie between the two lead actors instead of extrovert and in-your-face methods which usually woos Sonakshi in a movie. Pakhi (Sonakshi) gets into an accident with a clean and well dressed Varun (Ranveer) and is attracted to him when he comes to work as an archaeologist in the land owned by her zamindar father. Slight flirtations, painting lessons build a great comfort level between them which becomes more important for them than what they are or what they do. And that’s the rub of the life.

Lootera

Varun has to betray her trust after getting the trust of Pakhi’s dad to marry her and leave her robbed of all emotions. Pakhi was his way out of his life into something new which he couldn’t take and in the second half of the movie he pays for his mistakes. Pakhi, in the meantime, finds out about her terminal illness and counts her days while looking at leaves of a tree in a blizzard. She protects Varun from police in his soon to be tomb house while he takes care of her till the end of the movie.

The movie highlights many fine points about human emotions: love, weakness, depression. It has solid emotional content which is quite ably demonstrated by the two leading actors. Varun is a man who has a weak soul because his life has been full of mistakes and he cannot trust Pakhi’s love to come out clean and elope with her. Pakhi’s is a betrayed woman who loses every hope from life. The feeling of betrayal is a tough one to handle and the ensuing depression is even worse. So is the situation of a heart full of lies inside a man with a life dabbled with wrong moves. But the moments of happiness etched into memory lanes aren’t lost either. One just has to convince the heart that the happy moments before betrayal weren’t fake. And that love forms the basis of catharsis of twisted lives. The movie has a slow pace but proceeds with mighty confidence to deliver the ending it deserves in form of the rejuvenation of a sad heart and a black heart.

Totally worth the time. 5/5

The Modi Debate: Modi as PM

Narendra Modi is the biggest topic in Indian political landscape. Althrough not formally christened, in the eyes of many politicians and citizens alike, he is the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP. I remember 1999 elections of India when people around me had the wish to see Atal Bihari Vajpayee to emerge as the Prime Minister of India. It happened and the government had its share of highs and lows. Kargil war, hijacking of IC 814, Godhra riots, booming economy, inflation and cost of fuel being low, golden quadrilateral project, IRCTC vision etc. My surrounding gives me a similar feel as in 1999 with the hope that Narendra Modi led BJP may establish a government at the Centre.

However, he comes with his own set of burning questions. Can he be trusted? Will he take care of the minorities? Is he a monster? Can he be impartial? As much as I know, there is nothing to be scared of him. He has been investigated by SIT appointed by Supreme Court of India and has been found innocent of any wrongdoing. The claims of rioters carrying ballot paper information with precise details of Muslims gives a very thick plot to write a Satan Bourne story on him but every tragedy has a set of conspiracy theories. Now, investigations into political offices are often toothless, so I cannot really comment on the credibitlity of the SIT report. However, a team appointed by court has to report directly to the court and given the fact the Modi’s biggest haters, Congress, have held the government for last 10 years and the SIT hasn’t been able to prove anything incriminating about Modi, makes him the head that must be sacked after a disaster. As the history goes, Modi did resign from the post of CM, and he came back to power in the elections that ensued.

The only significant thing from the above paragraph to the topic in hand is that there are a lot of assumptions about Modi. I want to digress for a moment and clarify that I am not belittling the deaths of people in Gujarat and its really sad that people in 21st century want to be dumb enough to consider religion as a reason for fighting. Religion as a philosophy can provide a meaning and ideals to living a life. But it doesn’t give any meaning to life to every normal human being, but even the underprivileged ones get a reason to feel fundamentally different from someone of other religion to take up arms against each other. But then, that debate is for some other day. There were a lot of innocents who lost their lives in those riots. I hope that such a tragedy never happens because God knows that with insurgents inside the country and terrorists on the borders, we have enough ways of dying as innocents. Coming back to Modi’s situation, there are a large number of assumptions around Modi and one should try to look at the facts. Opposition parties potray him nothing short of harbinger of death, some people inside BJP probably hate him for scaling the ranks so quick and eliminating so many other aspirants of the top job. Nitish Kumar might have severed the ties with BJP over ego instead of claims over Modi’s secular credentials which Modi lost in the midst of all the investigations. Most of it is the result of slow and gradual building of stories about him. The veracity can be doubted and I hope that Modi haters would agree to me that there is no conclusive proof to show that he is a harbinger of death. Many politicians inside a major party would agree to policies made by someone at the top, and some would disagree, but that wouldn’t make the policy a divisive one. In politics, politicians strive only to remain in power, and policies may or may not help that goal, but in the name of greater good, things must move on.

Is Narendra Modi the name for India and BJP to move on? Now, this one is a real question. I think to obtain an answer here one must look to answer various subquestions which can be answered with FACTS instead of assumptions. Can he lead a government? I say, yes he can. He has done that for more than 3500 days in Gujarat and it has delivered a success story better than many other states. There have been numerous reports in the media about RSS calling the shots in the BJP, but he did work against the RSS mandate of anti globalisation policies. He has been a proponent of Gujarat’s development more than making ties with RSS or VHP to the point that he had 200 illegal temples in Gujarat demolished.  The irrigation development in Gujarat which increased the agricultural productivity also answers the question if he can lead development. The growth rate in 2001-2010 decade was 10.97% compounded annually which mathematically yields to an increase of almost 283% from 2001 levels. He embraces technology, he promotes technology oriented projects (solar power, wind power) and that has reflected in the growth of cities in Gujarat leading to Ahmedabad becoming one of the most sought after destinations in India.

Can he be trusted as benefactor to all? This question has a sketchy answer. He carried out the Sadbhavna Mission but refused to be presented with a scarf around his shoulders by a Muslim leader. He took his own team to Uttarakhand recently to rescue the stranded Gujaratis. Some Bengalis too were rescued by him as I have heard. He is part of BJP where RSS is allegedly the glue, and RSS is into development of Hinduism primarily. So, there is no clear answer in facts that he can be a benefactor to all. In Uttarakhand, it is alleged that he saw a political opportunity to rescue the people of his state and come out as benefactor. Or he had a noble heart as BJP would claim. Either way, he was decisive and quick enough to see an opportunity to do something good. Just the way he was been decisive about developing Gujarat, he showed his quick decision making skills and the alacrity in his organisation to make things happen. I wouldn’t hazard on saying anything more as the issue is contentious, but apart from the lives saved, I see his quick decision making ability as the only genuine silver lining in the attempt to rescue them.

If he comes to power, can he be trusted to replicate the same success story of Gujarat to rest of India? I say no. In fact nobody can do it in the coalition setup. It will need a group of extremely dedicated and loyal base for his policies to take effect. Apart from that, one cannot clean up the huge economic problems of India overnight. Mamta Banerjee, however reckless in her words, is ruling a state which is practically an economical disaster. Economic problems do not go away in a short frame of time and it will be a lot of years before the levels of prices etc. similar to 2000-04 would be seen in Indian economy. But I think he will try, and I say that because I think he is passionate about development led politics. His success or failure would depend upon how the policies are executed and the underlying machinery (bureaucracy/ corruption) but that is the story of almost every government. So, in case you want to vote BJP into power, I think Naredra Modi is a good enough reason because of his work in Gujarat.

Last question is very easy to answer. Does India need a break from UPA? With economy in shambles and the string of scams, I guess this question is a no brainer. I would prefer AAP to be a very important part of the government but BJP is the largest party to be able to take on Congress and I don’t see any harm in most successful leader of BJP leading the party from the front.

Man of Steel: Movie Review

No Major Spoilers in this, because there was no suspense. I mean, you see a building in the movie, you know that it is going down.

It could be named Blitz Blitz Bang Bang. This was my first superman movie ever and I have neither read the comic books. So, I cannot comment on the relationship between the product and the source. Coming to my reactions about this, I enjoyed the first half of the movie. If they had made the second half shorter by say 20 minutes, the movie would have been awesome. Instead, we get to see a demolition spectacle. Big hollywood action sequences are obsessed with destroying glass paneled high rise structures. And after a building split in half in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, this was coming. A Forbes article puts the estimate of destruction in the range of $700 billion to $1 trillion. But, that is an amount we would pay for saving the entire life on earth, wouldn’t we?

Superman’s biological father, in every sense of the word, protects him via sending him to Earth. He is raised by the Kent family who teach him to control his powers and learn to make sacrifices, because they believe that he was sent to do something bigger than saving a few odd lives. As an adult, he lives the life of a nomad and changes his location each time he has done something extremely conspicuous. The lady of the movie, Lois Lane, finds him and accepts Clark’s decision to keep the side of the secret.

The story emanates emotions, through flashbacks, Clark’s internal conflict. Lois Lane doing the detective work to locate Clark is beautifully done. Clark making the ultimate sacrifice to honor his father’s ideas about him is emotional. Life on earth is normal, except for Clark’s display of prowess then and there. Then, comes General Zod. He was created with a purpose of protecting the race of his planet and Kal-el, holds the key to it. He wants him. At this moment I was on the edge of my seat for some amazing stuff to come.

Probably an hour of demolition later, I was done. I wished I had crossed the edge and went to my home. Russel Crowe as Jor-El comes and goes, acting as a motivator of sorts to various things. I was happy that he was finally relieved by Zod which ended his ambiguous presence throughout the movie. Everything beyond the point where Superman surrenders to Zod, is demolition. It can put all the Transformers movie combined to shame. But what is the point? Zod wants to destroy the planet and people, he could use his guns or bombs from the beginning of the movie instead of destroying buildings. Oh yeah, he didn’t like the Vaastu of planet earth.

Beyond first half, the movie isn’t driven by the director but the animators challenging their contemporaries working on Transformers or Avengers. They surely have had a party. Man of Steel was fathered by the creators of the Dark Knight trilogy and I expected better than the concepts of rebuilding a generation on earth or shipping Krypton on earth.

The story: 2.5/5

Effects: 4.5/5

Clark Kent transforming to Superman: 3.5/5

Superman’s costume: 5/5

Smart…. Asses

I guess we have a huge army of analyzing minds present in our country who spend a lot of time in understanding and dissecting current events. Most of the “discussion” is futile, because it is done by hypocrites who wouldn’t risk their necks to provide help and support when it was actually needed. I have managed to classify them in various layers on the basis of source of information feeding to their interpretations of an event. At each level, the discussion or comments follow a reckless pattern and are useless in alleviating the real pain present in the society. I am calling them smart asses, and by that definition, I have become one of them as well, on probably a different level, by writing this piece. At the center of  making too many smart people around us is the communication revolution through internet and ironically, smartphones.

On the heels and wheels of the rest of the world, life has changed in India as well. But I don’t want to reserve my treatment to India in particular, because people are getting connected in every part of the world. It has helped the common masses to discuss more, to share more, to experience more; the anguish, the pain, the happiness, the frustration that plagues a region or an individual. And frankly, this has done wonders; Tahrir Square is an example of that and to any of those reading this piece in Egypt, please take the title as my bow and a salute. But in most cases, throughout the world, and amid all the sharing of information over the social media, the backdrop of hypocrisy has prevailed. In this case, all those people over their keyboards, both in hardware form or in software form, form layers of being a useless pile of smart asses with their pattern of comments. I want to explore those layers, through a series of recent incidents that have taken place in India and in some cases globally.

Before we get down into analysis, let us define a smart ass. A smart ass at a level ‘n’ is a donkey, which feeds on the grass that was created at level ‘n-1’. And it is a special donkey, which creates more grass for the next level of donkeys to chew. Now, this must look slightly weird as it conflicts against natural order. But then, the grass and donkeys are just metaphors. I took the liberty of calling all those bright minded democratic people in discussion as donkeys, because they continue to repeat the same cycle of response which doesn’t do anything to make things move on the ground. They access the information which is available to them to create their own versions of events, or theories behind an event, and ultimately sleep over them to catch the next 9AM shift. Through the communication revolution, their analyses is propagated to higher layers.

Smart Ass Level 0: The creators of grass

This is the lowest level and there are no smart asses, by my definition, here. Most of the people over here are either misguided or a criminal by force or choice. In a generic spectrum, this layer comprises of those who disrupt the equilibrium of social harmony. A rapist, a terrorist, a hate speech maker, etc. should fall into this category. It can also include whistle-blowers, or an unwarranted raid of CBI. Basically, in this stage, an event happens which just triggers all the layers of the hierarchy to use their smartphones and smart brains. The miscreants over here, do not usually follow a pattern. Attacks and mishaps in society are largely unpredictable and asynchronous. CBI, however is a different case in India and you know what I mean if you have seen the news over the last week.

Smart Ass Level 1: The first responders and the shit hits the fan

When an event is triggered by entities of level 0, there are a few, who respond the first. Mostly, it is the political class which fuel the assembly line of creating more and more people in this hierarchy. In some rare cases, however, the media may arrive first or people like Robert Vadra may have the privilege to call the citizens of India as mango people and the vision of freedom fighters as a banana republic. This is how shit hits the fan: Through an obscene understanding of the situation. A bill over anti-rape law was recently being discussed in the Indian parliament. It sought stricter punishments to those who stalk women. And the analysis by Mr Sharad Yadav, generated the grass for the next level with his comment, ” Who among us has not followed women in their time?.” Politicians have a marked behavior of being escapist and self-centered in any situation. If a scam is uncovered, it must be attributed to the policies of previous governments. They always create laws which protect them from prosecution. Visionaries like Abhishek Mukherjee, Mamta Banerjee or Asaram “bapu” or the lawyer who is defaming the Delhi gang-rape victim to defend his clients, have continued to deliver shocking statements and generate more and more fodder for the next layer occupied by the media.

Smart Ass Level 2: The analysis and the experts on TV

Have you seen the circus of the media when Indian cricket team wins or loses the match? I am waiting for the day when they would provide breaking news and analysis for every over of the cricket match. This layer is comprised by the control freaks like Mr Arnab Goswami who has, to his great pain, allowed others to create controversy. But he exacts his vengeance by not letting them speak. So, do you think he is generous in giving others a chance to do something? I am not very sure, but let us come back to issue of the first layer of futile analytics. Most of the analysis is a waste of time. The breaking news has more reference to “your favorite news channel” which broke the story than the content really.  In case of a political event, the media will draw numerous parallels across governments in various states to countries and keep the common man saturated. The media is like a ruminant, which swallows the event and then sits while staring into its own shit and chewing the swallowed food over and over. It is ground and fed to the audience through visuals, various vignettes, animations, and in the lack of content, just repeated many times over.

Smart Ass Level 3: The social media fanboys and the candle light bearers

The pattern in previous levels is largely predictable, even if the events itself are not. From this level, things evolve in a different manner. Because, politicians mine shit in the political field, and media over their databases to produce an interpretation of the core issue. But the common people over facebook or a news page discussion uses his own grievances to interpret and link various issues to the triggering event. The basic agenda — open my new smartphock, and post anguish, shock, dismay; whichever emotion suits you. I really wish it had lacked hypocrisy. People wouldn’t risk helping others in pain, but they can always carry candles as some torch of justice to various places. People sweep through channels and read alternative versions of the issue to develop their own theories and remedies. At this layer, the real event has the capability to mutate and become something else. Rumors are spread and the core event attracts more and more issues. After the Hyderabad blasts, when the news was reporting the consistent failure of intelligence agencies, there was a visionary over the web complaining about the apathy of government towards its citizens. He criticized the blasts and the government in a line and then drew a parallel to crowded local trains of Mumbai to go off for a rant for next 6 lines of his comment. This is just an example, if you read the comments section of a match report on goal.com, you will know what I mean. This mutating discussion starts to carry the weight of multiple issues, and effectively waters down the event which had triggered the frenzy. The weight becomes too much and the verdict is declared. The media (previous layer) is a dog chasing sensation, and the entire system is flawed. Let us not berate the common man for saying that. Mr. Rahul Gandhi also came to same conclusion about the system.

At this level, the hypocrisy and nihilism inside the self-centered souls of human beings ultimately supplants the many techniques to bring about a change with hopelessness. They have found the media, the politicians, the miscreants all hopeless. Gang-rape stories and terrorists plots exist every minute of our life. A complicated soul cannot just abandon its life and strive for a political enlightenment and thus, every thread of analysis breaks down here. But there are few, driven by misery and pain than having a photo or a smart post on facebook, like those in Egypt, who are the smart ones to find meaning and motivation in all that criticism. Rest of the crowd, regardless of the validity and the significance of discussion, are asses who consume and transmit the information across levels.

Smart Ass Level 4: The intellectuals

This layer is interesting because the behavior of social media joins the subject of discussion. If there were only a few making statements in the media or newspapers, thing might remain in control. But with the social media, there are a lot of comments which a common man listens to. Very soon a person can see a pattern of accusations spread throughout the chain. At this level, people try to display some kind of vision with diplomatic statements. The general pattern is to criticize the miscreants, accept that the system is flawed and there is a need for change, and claim a higher level by criticizing the over zealous nature of the social media. They discuss how reckless political class has become, how bitchy the media has become and the savage turn that has been taken by the society. They are analysts of analysts of analysts of responders of disturbing events with the motivation to organize the stupidity. Naturally, they are on the top of the hierarchy.

Smart Ass Level ……. 47

But they are wrong. At next level are people like me. I usually don’t comment and I have been away from this self defined smart ass tag. But in fairness to everyone mentioned in this post, I should take the tag as well. Because, I am bored of the cycle of event, analyses, more analyses, hate and love over social media, and the intellectuals and experts. I have found a pattern in them with my own study to create a new level of smart asses. Soon many would join me at this level as well because patterns would arise among those intellectuals as well who attempt to organize people in being useless and stupid. There are many engineers like me who would have seen this pattern of taking a moral high ground. Try not to join me and do something good for the society. Be smart, not an ass.

El Clasico: A new turn?

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are two of the biggest names in club football across the world. The clubs are situated in the capital of Spain and the capital of Catalunya, which to this day, wants its independence from the Spanish rule. Naturally, both clubs enjoy a rivalry, dubbed as the El Clasico, which spreads far more than the footballing history. The shining point would be the tie (now called as Copa Del Rey) in which the Barcelona players were made to play, supposedly at gunpoint by the Spanish general, to a 11-1 defeat. That scoreline remains the largest, but for all football fans like me, (who started following the game in late 2008), two scorelines are perhaps the most memorable: a 5-0 victory to Barcelona in 2010 and a 3-1 victory to Real Madrid in 2013, both happening at Camp Nou.

The importance of these two scorelines comes from the fact that they turned the perception of the belligerents of this historic and iconic battle for Spanish supremacy. Although the Madrid victory is relatively fresh, and its psychological consequences are yet to be debated over Barcelona, no football fan can deny the fact that over the 2012-13 season, the Capital club have outclassed Barcelona in the six Clasicos which is the same as the Catalan dominance over Madrid throughout 2010-2012 coming after the emphatic and inspiring 5-0 thrashing of Madrid. Real Madrid had brought Jose Mourinho as their head coach, as he had a CV with recipe to stop Barcelona. But the thrashing in the November of 2010, left the Blancos in fear. Barcelona was the best club around. With their brand of football being touted to be the much needed revolution in football, they stamped each of those words of countless journalists into the minds of Madrid players.

Each goal that Barcelona scored against Madrid, produced a reaction from the Blancos which gushed through their faces as an inevitability. Madrid went after physical tactics to disrupt the Barcelona fluid system of play whereas Barcelona resorted to some serious play acting to get crucial decisions their way from the referee. Champions league semi final tie between these two clubs in 2011 was a hallmark of dirty play, which in my mind, sours the brilliance displayed by Messi to score the two goals for a victory. The league was lost, Copa del Rey came to the capital, and Champions league went to Barcelona.

Come the beginning of 2011 and in a scintillating display of football, Real Madrid came close to beating Barcelona when they fought fire with fire, only to lose to Messi’s inspired play by 5-4 over two legs. So far, Messi had proved vital to every Barcelona success and Ronaldo despite scoring in the Clasicos wasn’t getting the work done.

All of it changed in 2012, when Madrid registered a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou to put League title issues at bay and clinically outclassed Barcelona. This was the first, and since then, the story has been different. Now Madrid look much more capable of inducing errors into the Barcelona squad and taking their chances. Spanish Super Copa of 2011 was lost 5-4 due to reckless finishing from Madrid players while Barcelona executing perfectly on their chances. But things changed in 2012 in the same cup when Angel Di Maria made Valdes fumble to give Real the way out to clinch the title on their home turf, although on away goals rule. Either way, things had changed, Barcelona became profligate in finishing while Real have looked much more clinical.

So, for all the Madrid fans, like me, perhaps this is the turn of tide that the Madridistas have been waiting for. Only the time can tell about it. But the victory at Camp Nou in 2013 on last Tuesday, <savor this moment> changed things. I saw in the follow up victory in the League yesterday that Barcelona player had the same dejected look which Madrid players used to have all through 2010-11. Whatever be the case, the biggest turn Clasico has taken is that of respect of the players towards each other which was close to animosity in 2011. The animalistic games of 2011 yielded only in controversies. Come 2012-13, we see a tactical brilliance outclassing the opponent, and the games continue to enrich the history of the EL CLASICO.