Saturday, April 11, 2009

Looking for Albert Pinto...

This appeared in The Asian Age today. From Fluff a la Nita to stuff a la Joota. Take your pick. I enjoy writing. Period. Every piece has its own validity and context. Yenjoy!!

Are we angry enough…?

No, we are not! Angry enough, I mean. We are conveniently slipping into a semi-comatose condition, getting lulled by all the election rhetoric, and compromising on our rage. Rage is good. Especially at a time like this. Anger has the power to demand change – permanent change. This is a do-or-die election. There are more young, educated people registered as voters in 2009 than ever before. They are impatient and restless… or ought to be. That’s what they started out being… but even they seem to be losing steam and dissipating their emotions. We cannot afford a ‘thakela’ electorate. Not now. Most people one speaks to, insist they are up to there with meaningless ‘bhashans’ and empty promises. But even the more passionate amongst them are feeling frustrated and helpless by what is loosely called ‘ the system’. We have created a gigantic monster out of this very ‘system’ and already conceded defeat! Who can fight the system, everybody asks. What are we – losers? I hope there are enough people out there who’ll feel insulted enough to contradict me.
When I talk about the Mumbai terror attacks, I tend to get hysterical and shrill. As my children would describe it, “ Mom, you sound psycho.’’ Perhaps. But better a ‘psycho’ than a resigned, complacent Mumbaikar stoically waiting for the next strike. I keep yelling out to anybody within earshot, “ We are not out of danger. Far from it. Please don’t sit back and behave as if the situation is normal, because it is not so!” Some of these startled people ask me a really, really stupid question at this point (“ My God…are you sure? Kuch khabar hai?”), which makes me go ballistic – I feel like replying, “ Haan hai. Bahut buri khabar. I just received a call from Osama.” They raise a quizzical eyebrow and demand, “ But…. But… were you directly affected by the terror attacks?” By that they want to know whether my immediate family members were trapped in either of the two hotels…was anybody close to me killed, maimed, injured? I want to shout back, “ Sorry to disappoint you, but by God’s mercy my loved ones were spared. But that does not mean I was not ‘directly affected’ – weren’t you?? Wasn’t everybody?How does one get ‘indirectly’ affected in the first place??” I know I am wasting my time, but I rant on regardless. The thing is I have not switched off. Can’t. Won’t. What happened in Mumbai was a mere taste of what might happen anywhere in India. It has taken a captured 17-year-old lad to spill the beans about the Taliban presence on our doorstep. But we refuse to wake up. This morning’s papers are full of reports about a school in a high security zone in Mumbai, that has been asked to move out of its premises for fear of a terror attack. The school has been functioning from Navy Nagar for the past 35 years. Where and how far can it go? Even if this one school shifts out, what of other schools? Hospitals? Multiplexes? The idea is to cause maximum outrage. Targeting large groups of innocents is the easiest way to get the dirty work done. What better photo- op than a bunch of terrified school children, or patients in wheel chairs as hostages? This is but one ghastly scenario. Unfortunately, nobody wants to deal with it. Not even those smart talking politicians seeking our votes. I guess they too were not ‘directly affected’!
Tackling terror ought to be the number one priority for any and every political party. So far, I have not seen it being given the focus it warrants. Most politicians are still stuck on caste issues, past issues or singing the old ‘secular’ anthem that has ceased to have any meaning. Since very few politicians are ‘directly affected’ by the recession ( their trillions are safe in Swiss accounts – why do they care?), there are few references to the current crisis, apart from a weak mew or two about reducing taxes. Women and their myriad problems have always been a low priority for political parties – and so they continue to be this time around as well. None of the Behenjis, Ammas and Didis are making any promises to better take care of their underprivileged sisters. The slugfests so far have been staged by non-entities like Varun. And , no thank you, Manekaji. You can keep your beta to yourself… please don’t thrust him on an unsuspecting nation. Television debates have again been personality driven with key issues taking a back seat. Party spokespeople have gone hammer and tongs at one another…. but after all that hot air and fake fuming, I still don’t know what the drama was all about. No party is keen to discuss the tricky issue of criminals in parliament. Naturally. Which party is free of these pests? Without criminals occupying those seats , our parliament will look pretty empty. The current Withering Violet ( Rahul baba), has sensibly backed off from taking the pole position in the prime ministerial race. Which is a good move. And Manmohan Singh’s respectable ‘special appearance’ at the G20 has boosted his image a little and worked better than all the multiple stents in the world to unclog those overworked arteries. Phir bhi, the national mood remains a bit too somber and cool. And one shoe does not a summer make!! First of all, this particular joota missed its mark. Secondly, it made a hero out of the shoe thrower. Thirdly, Jagdish Tytler’s thick skin is shoe-proof….. even in defeat. Fourthly, it is not a case of one shoe fitting all. Fifthly, Reebok is the only real gainer, especially in size 8 shoes. At least, Jarnail expressed his anger and his act may even trigger off a chain reaction with other jootawaalas. But my guess is, lobbing shoes at netas won’t become an all- out national sport, since shoes ( Reeboks etc) are expensive. Why waste them?? As of now, people are more concerned about the shoe string budgeting required to keep the home choolas burning. Cheap chappals are a more cost effective option….. and I have several to spare, in case anybody needs them. Happy to oblige. The entire world will be watching this election, and taking its cues from the way India handles this monumental responsibility. Democracy kuch aisi vaisi cheez nahi hai, bhai. If we blow it, we will be doing ourselves a huge disservice… duniya ke saamney. Even a Martian can tell there are no real issues involved this time. No defined ideological clashes either. Just survival of the toughest. As the declaration of assets by the candidates has shown, there are no saints in this race. Just crorepatis who started their lives as slumdogs, but have amassed unimaginable wealth - and that’s the official part of their disclosure.We take them at their word – Soniaji, poor thing, does not possess a car. Rahul baba has no home. Pawar, of course, has neither!! Doesn’t your heart go out to these seriously deprived becharas??
This is just so disappointing. Albert Pinto ko gussa aana chahiye. Par kyon nahi aa raha hai, boss?? Jawab do…

26 comments:

Arjun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shiva S K said...

Dear Ms.De

true.. we have all conveniently chosen to exclude ourselves out of the Political "system", while failing to understand tat it would NEVER exclude us! I mean these guys- cheapos/goons whatever determine the scheme of things for us and control the governing of our deeds.. And with wat credentials? time and again we are choosing to be like educated corporate employees with a eighth grade fail as a CEO.. like school children under a teacher who is a drop- out.. Lets unite and utilise this web space to raise a voice for something worth it, can we? For Meera Sanyal or Mallika Sarabhai to begin with? Let us create an innovative chain or series of posts or whatever.. and publish with unity.. We have a voice, lets try and make it heard ma'm!! it may or may not work out, but I THINK ITS WORTH A TRY!! isn't it?

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

The day we are aware of our rights & duties the day we will decide what we want for ourselves. Till then pinto baba ko sone do.
I appreciate Madam Kiran Bedi "Aap Ki Kacheri" television program. That is a step towards awareness.
We need more such programs that reach masses in seconds. Any billionare/media listening ?

Falc said...

hey Shobha,

A small point !!! At the start u wrote "Yenjoy". I expected it to be some light article. It turned out to be very heavy duty, made me sad, angry, emotional, like as if u were all worked up and shouting in my ears. Something like " Listen u goddamn idiot, its in our hands, get ur ass off that couch and do something !!" It was everything but enjoying. So I guess the better words would have been, " PONDER AND ACT...NOW !!!"

Priyadarshini Karanjai said...

Rang De Basanti time!! And I am 'directly affected' by this post.

Anil Kumar said...

Our democracy at present is like Barkha Dutt's BUTT while Shobhaji and majority of people wish our democracy to be like John Abraham's BUTT.

BUTT needs sacrifices BIG TIME but there are no Bhagat Singh, Chandreshekhar left, who can ignite that fire to shape this deteriorating BUTT.

Hoping, that the law of land will improve the sorry state of BUTT, has proved wishful thinking REPEATEDLY.

cmpershad said...

"Most people one speaks to, insist they are up to there with meaningless ‘bhashans’ ..."
but where to find leaders of actions!!!!!:)

kala said...

If I remember correctly, even Anil Ambani declared he has no car! And our dear Nita Ambani also must be declaring something like that. You always attack the political class. But atleast they face the public once in 5 years or even less if the government is defeated on a no confidence motion. Atleast they do something out of fear or otherwise. Many of our industrialists have businesses in places like Mauritius and you know why. While politics have become a sort of business, business has also become political with all the grime stuck to it.

Tongue-fu Lady said...

Bulls-eye! This election phase is nothing but gab-fest of the media knighted netas. Nobody cares about the real concerns like terrorism. After all our octogenarian leaders have one leg in their graves and the other in Lok Sabha- anyway its bye-bye world in sometime for them..who cares about the future generation??
Problem is, vote karu toh kiske liye..all are from the same block!

omsherryom said...

sorry! bahut gussa aata hai Albert ko aur pInto ko ! but the point is that Albert Pinto gets mocked for his anger. That the Congress antidote - keep silent, keeep silent- the irritant would go in slumber by himself. The shoe-kaand is this menifestation. Theis election is seeing new BJP. And strangely it is the opposition that is raising issues for which BJP stood in the past. Many important economy and development related issues have been raised by the party this election season (thats' why I put the BJP button). But hear replies of Kapil Sibbal, Digvijay Singh, they irritate us. They think that they are most knowledgable and we, others are just rabble rousers.
So 'shoe-mania'is just the beginning. Wait, the elections will be going to be bloodier (literally) and some shoe will finally find its target!

kala said...

When you see people like Mulayam Singh Yadav advocating the abolition of computers and English education, dont you feel that the terrorists are doing us a favour? Why no words about Milind Deora who has done good work in his constituency and has a Boston degree? Is it because he belongs to the Congress Party?

kala said...

Mumbai is not Maharashtra. Maharashtra includes a vast area encompassing deprived people in the hinterland. To provide electricity 24hours for Mumbai, other areas are getting 14hour powercuts. And water is another story. We dont want exclusive people like Meera catering to the exclusive needs of a pampered segment. Will she sacrifice 4hours of electricity by asking South Mumbai people so that there will be equality in power and water distribution. Dont say that we are the taxpayers. Every one pays tax directly or indirectly. If there are traffic snarls due to some minister or if there are terror attacks on Mumbai's prestige areas there is so much anger. But the hinterland people are suffering silently and there is not even lip sympathy for them because they are not like us. India is essentially backward. One set of people are fully equipped and are highly impatient to stop even for a little while so that the others can also catch up. Only if there is real empathy for the deprived, then only we can expect to have more smiling faces.

Anon said...

Yes yes & yes! Thank you a million times Shobhaa. I'm in much the same situation itching to do something sure the danger is right here just snoozing for a bit. My near & dear ones are more polite "paranoid" is the word I hear. My God why can't people wake up the danger is here & what's worse is we refuse to accept it. Being an ostrich won't work I keep hollering & for all my efforts get the usual "tweet tweet shush shush you let your men folks worry about it" dialogue which is SURE to make me even more ballistic & I have to confess shrill. Why is this a purely masculine thing I ask you? We women are as much in danger if not more than men are. What's more we can be smarter tougher & more resilient. Maybe we need a womens movement like minded ladies to try for a change in attitude??

Theyoginme said...

Shobhaa, Someone very wise gave me this piece of wisdom a long time ago "The culture of your company will come from the top, the leadership, as a leader you define or your organization you set the tone of your employees and business". The same applies to a country...if the leadership is corrupt and worried about burning their own choolas, then guess what the rest of the people are worried about....

muthu said...

Ms De I am moved and inspired by your piece. I want to something for a change rather than giving a wise crack answer but other than going out to vote, what else do you think anyone can do? And if the guy who got elected is gonna be the same, what are we to do? Wait till the next election campaign?

Chanakya said "The country is in shabbles not because of the action of the bad people but because of the inaction of the good people".

I would have liked to have asked him "Oh really......"



P S - There has been a ragging issue in Coimbatore, South India. The victim is said to have almost lost his eyes and after the recent suicide, people(ok thats me esp) are distressed.

I had my absolutely good and fun days with my seniors when they "ragged" me. A handful jerks who dont know whats the limit of a teen are destroying the reputation of the entire student community.

And if you are going to make the system tough on seniors who rag, then it works both ways, Doesnt it. The seniors are also intimidated by freshmen who can wreck their life apart by simply stating a complaint.

I would like you to write on this stating your own college experience Ms.De.

And Man I love your blog. Not only because of your candid writing but because of the people commenting.... Dude such diverse comments and often funny comments......

And Damn Ms.De you are one classy lady to be writing one cool blog

ravi said...

Please provide a starting point!!!
I have been reading columns of ur's. they were interesting and awakening but I would like to ask you and the whole community the same question Are we angry enough?? We are just writing columns. We have been writing columns after 26/11 happened. By just writing columns and replying and commenting on columns, what have we achieved till now?. We have to come out with issues, not sitting at home and writing columns. The media has grown so strong that everybody knows all these issues, but unfortunately no body knows where to start from?? Everybody thinks the other will start, we will follow. Please provide a starting point based on action. A poor man always thinks about his livelihood and never bothers about other issues. A middle class person is worried about his monthly income whether he can meet the expenses or not? Everybody thinks about his family first. This attitude of just living for oneself should change, only then we can change our locality, community, district, city and country as a whole. Till then nothing will happen. Just suggest action plans what can be done to make people come out of their houses and fight for issues. Thanks, hope I have drawn some attention at least.

Theyoginme said...

Ravi do you want to step up to the plate and "start"! :)

introspection said...

At a time like this we need your inputs/blogs like this one and not Nita Ambani's walk in the sun story & her riches. How could you have enjoyed writing that ridiculous piece of sh*t; as you claim you did (which I am sure you REALLY did).
Shoe-giri is the only way an aam aadmi can react by, coz his anger does'nt have access to internet, media, & blogs that are read by hundreds of people across the world. Shoe se he gets instant response to his anger. It's upto people like you to keep the fire burning about awareness. And please media, media, and media needs to be more responsible, and pro active in this respect. In the name of NEWS they dole out sh*it of the lives of rich politicians. I am sure the electioneering candidates are spending more on getting in the news than any other capmaigning. How else can they get into news except via journos? I am sure if one were to do an article on all the top journalist's wealth stats there will be more surprises than you can bargain for. Media & politicians and the celebraties are the real culprits of an insecure, corrupt, terror ridden, crime ridden, suicide ridden and pathetically poor India. Why does a Shobha de keep quiet after writing 1 para about the corruptest of all: Mayawati ? Amar Singh ? Why do journalists focus on Bollywood news than aam janta ? Do they know what responsibility they have in the roll they play for this country? Shunning their own responsibilty, and telling the jantaa to be angry is like saying 'you do the dirty work' and we will reap the results. C'mon wake up Shobhaa, you atleast write boldly, others just dont move their ass (pen/key boards); but you cover up colleagues who may be corrupt, scared, or plain disinterested. Wake them up by writing the truth and scintillating stuff about politicians' real lives to which you are a privy.
Telling the shoe thrower to get more angry is not enough. Go to poor & uneducated class to uplift their lives. Dont write about Varun gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Raj thakeray, and Sule (read Pawar). These are the young thugs who have inherited the style of big 'chori-giri' from their moms, uncles, and Dads. Work on ridding this country of these thugs. You know shobhaa, even by constantly hammering about corruption, incompetency, and frauds like you do, you can change the way the current breed of leaders will work in future. They may think twice before allowing infiltrators, pepetrators of terrorism and cheating openly. Bcoz unknowingly you ARE creating anger, and awareness in the public to think for their rights. Rural votes may be on sale, but the voter may know he has an option of a secret vote. They are getting smarter, they need a guiding force. You, I & we can do it in our own way. I dont ever pay fine to a traffic policeman without a pucca receipt for any rule (speed, seat belt, no PUC, wrong parking) that I may violate. Never Rs 20/50/100 to go in his own pocket. If I have my driver, he has to follow the road rules. If he does'nt then he pays the fine too. I dont pay it for him. I may compensate him in another way at a later date.
I do not permit oversmart people to jump queues at airports, cash counters, booking counters etc if I am a part of the queue. I teach honesty and educate my staff by paying for their kid's school fees, & books; and reward them for good grades and good deeds. This cannot bring about big changes I am aware but I dont have access to bigger platforms. You and your colleagues can do it. Forget about big B's tryst with the press, forget about Nita Ambani & the likes. These are people who eat into society's goodness.
Highlight the REAL ISSUES shobhaa. You can do it.

Theyoginme said...

Introspection you and I are on the same page on this one. Nita Ambani and her husband maybe from the middle class but this family (and I don't think anyone would deny this), has supported corruption whole heartedly by stuffing these politicians with money to get contracts or get ahead in business. That creates the incestuous cycle of give and take... you wonder why many of these billionaires turn away???? There is a new class of business people such Narayan Murthy and his cohorts who don't.

To Shobhaa's defense I think you can see writes about these issues, as she does about many other issues, including the masala/stardust issues. Ub wo kisko nanga kare, who uski choice hey. But what I like about Shobhaa's writing is that it is a Masala Chai, not pheeki!

mala said...

"Are we Angry enough..." Yes, we are, but what can we all do about it? I have a high regard for the writings of Shobha (the one with the single 'a') De but do not find any solutions n these writings. We all know that it is the younger generation that will bring in radical change of thought and action. But HOW can we make our vote count; WHO can we vote in if there is no appropriate candidate? There is no negative vote that will count, so where is the solution, when the aam admi asks, what can I do alone? The events in Mumbai on 26/11 make you angry.. I was a Mumbaikar for half my life, but it is the carnage in the WHOLE country that makes me angry! Let's not limit it to one city and think nationally and only then can we do something for the good of the whole country and not limit it to regions.
Mala Gupta (nee Bhatia)
Gurgaon

Rajlakshmi said...

Gussa tou bohut aata hai... but we have become laid-back ... In my place (Assam) blasts have become so common that it doesnot even matter now ... why in the first place the so called lawmakers let us become accustomed to such incidents ...

I have become inert to all the crap going on around me... Call me selfish but I dont give a damn to take part in anything related to sleazy Political drama ... It is beyond my imagination that people without heart and soul could exist ...

kala said...

I agree with Mala and Rajlakshmi. A true Indian should feel sorry for all the Indians whether they are in Assam, Kerala, Kashmir or Mumbai. We cannot be selective. Sleaze is more prevalent than honesty and sleaze has many forms. It is unlimited greed and it is ruthless. Fortunately the media highlights sleazy people in all walks of life and our courts also do some commendable job atleast sometimes. To contain terror, we need central forces and we must do away with narrowminded linguistic states. If the state governments deal differently with different types of terror, then where does the blame lie? The terror unleashed on North Indians in Maharashtra, the terror in Assam, the Gujarat carnage, the Sikh massacre, the Karnataka and Orissa incidents have sympathetic government backing. Otherwise how such terrors could have flourished? I am disturbed when educated people like Shobhaa de cry more for mumbai or only for mumbai.

Mayank said...

Good One de,
our Chalta hain attitutde is responsible for all this . i just want to see whether the 26/11 anger still there specially in thoose people who came out on the street and whether they will turn the tide this time or not ,i personaly like to see Mrs Sanyal winning I am more interested on Basic issues rather than fighting abt who did what at the time of kandhar and abt sikh riots ,who is guddeya and above all the stupid manifesto by SP, No body came out with the blueprint that what there manifesto will turned into.Criminalisation of Politics is not one party cake everyone have there chunk in it whether we have congress,BJP,SP,BSP or any other.I dont want to see election being held on RAM,GUJRAT,SIKH RIOT but on issues abt devlopment for women,abtSchooling must for everyone till 12,Water for everyone etc etc ,i Know i am seeing a dream which wont come into realty in this part of the EARTH

Riaz-NJ said...

Oh common... I know many WEALTHY people who dont OWN a car; simple .. because it is EXPENSED to the company (in this case, political party). The whole concept of DECLARING the ASSETS in an application form is a JOKE!!!

The point about many young educated people registered as VOTERs, is still not ENOUGH to bring in change!!!

The HUMANITY needs to find a better system than this current form of Democracy( I am not talking about communism or socialism or capitalism etc etc.)
It absolutely makes no sense to spend Rs 13000 crore to elect again and again same IDIOTS every five years to rule with the same old policies !!!

They spend around Rs 10-100 crores to get elected; How will they get this money back? They have built a system that allows them to get more than what they spent to get elected !!! You should write about this... We'll be part of this JOKE forever unless we HUMANITY come up with a better system where BY PEOPLE FOR PEOPLE system WORKS better than what we have today!!!

future mantra said...

Nice blog. Only the willingness to debate and respect each other’s views keeps the spirit of democracy and freedom alive. Keep up the good work. Hey, by the way, do you mind taking a look at this new website www.indianewsupdates.com . It has various interesting sections. You can also participate in the OPINION POLL in this website. There is one OPINION POLL for each section. You can also comment on its news and feature articles.

You also get Live Cricket , News Updates, Opinion Polls, Movie Reviews and Mobile Phone Reviews in this website.


Kindly go through the entire website. Who knows, it might just have the right kind of stuff that you are looking for. If you like this website, can you please recommend it to at least 5 of your friends. Your little help would help us in a big way.

You can of course use our Exclusive content in your blog (that is the ones other than that taken from news agencies). We would however appreciate if you mentioned the name of our website in credits. Thank you,

The Future Mantra

Sidhusaaheb said...

I feel outraged by the fact that I live in a country where my fellow citizens from the majority-community would vote to power any political party that can arrange for the mass-murder of members of any minority.

Cases in point are the thumping win that the Congress (I) scored in the general elections in 1984, following anti-Sikh riots, and the huge victory of the BJP in Gujarat state assembly elections in 2002, following anti-Muslim riots in that state.

It remains to be seen how far the BJP benefits in the ongoing elections, from the recent anti-Christian violence.

Then, the riot-hit areas, apparently, form the best-breeding grounds for terrorism ( http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Riot-hit_regions_breed_terrorists/articleshow/3511536.cms ).

It's a vicious cycle, really.