More images!The focus is on Khaana Peena today. I am waiting for Federer to finish off the damn match - don't really care who wins. Both men are like machines. I prefer emotion and drama on Centre Court - a few tantrums, orgasmic grunts and groans. Not two robots playing technically superb but essentially passionless tennis.
Fire-fighting took on an entirely new meaning when Mumbai’s Mantralaya went up in flames recently. Timing ki baat hai, boss. There was a fire. A pretty major one. But nobody to fight it! Howcome? Well, what is the point of a well-planned fire if it’s going to be efficiently put out? Of course, that nasty word ‘árson’ was scrupulously avoided by babudom the morning after the night before. ‘Accident’sounded so much better.White washing of the iconic building began hours later.Literal and metaphorical damage control was set into motion phataphat! I live pretty close to the Mantralaya and drive past it nearly every day. Looking at it from the outside, nobody can guess that a massive and mysterious fire recently destroyed such a large portion of the building, or that behind the hastily painted exterior there is a charred shell where floors ( and more importantly, incriminating files) once existed. So accurately executed was the short circuit,even the flames knew exactly what to look for and destroy. What clever flames!
Then came a man with an impressive Chambal Valley style handlebar moustache.Just looking at him should have scared the daylights out of a few ministers. Maybe that’s exactly what happened. CBI Joint Director,RishiRaj Singh, was abruptly shunted out after the charge sheet in the Adarsh Society scandal was filed. Evidently, the devastating fire had not completed its job. There was unfinished business that Rishi Raj Singh had unwisely made his own. One former C.M. ( Ashok Chavan) had been boldly named by him. But two more NCP ministers were about to be exposed.... and that wasn’t fun. Marching orders were promptly issued to the man who had spent the past four years with the Anti-Corruption Wing handling some really hot cases involving mighty names. He wasn’t due for a transfer till May 2013.
While all this was going on, what were the people of the State of Maharashtra doing?Wringing their hands in frustration and grumbling, but nothing more than that. Fat lot of good that does. It’s not just about the disgraceful history of one building, ‘Adarsh’’( which has aptly been labelled The Tower of Corruption).It is about the brazenness which has come to define the running of this once great State. Look at the shambles it is in... Chief Ministers come and go with the frequency of recycled stale samosas, musical chairs are played with top bureaucrats - the ones who are out of favour with current political bosses, go to jail, the others waltz around freely offering pathetic alibis, our cops are ridiculed and mocked for chasing teenagers, the cops armed with hockey sticks, while the really big fish ( terrorists included) roam around the city freely picking their next targets to bomb. Civic officials talk about converting Mumbai into Tokyo, a comment that makes Mumbaikars gag ( when did Tokyo displace Shanghai?).... all this nonsensical talk while India’s premier city rots. Literally. Each year we act like heavy rains are a huge surprise - a rare , freaky weather phenomenon, when for centuries we have suffered monsoon devastation. Confronted by these routine hazards, our successive Chief Ministers either grin fatuously (Vilasrao Deshmukh), or scowl menacingly ( Prithviraj Chavan). Solutions? You must be kidding. Responsibility? Don’t joke.
Meanwhile our precious Prime Minister gives himself a generous character certificate and declares there has been ‘no explosion in corruption’ under his watch. So, what is Manmohan Singh waiting for? A corruption holocaust that wipes us out? But he adds self-righteously, “I have maintained a high standard of integrity in my conduct.” Matlab? It’s okay to look the other way when party colleagues are looting the nation, so long as his own hands are clean? Come on, Mr. Singh. Ever heard of collateral damage? If this is the message filtering down from the very top, it is inevitable that we shall have to live with more fires breaking out in various government departments over the next few months. It is the season for short circuits. Our over worked, under paid firemen are going to be really, really busy as they rush from one inferno to the next. Of course, there will be poor water pressure when they get to the scene of the crime ... sorry... accident. By then, most of the evidence... sorry... files, would have been reduced to ashes. And Mr. Handle Bar Moustache won’t be around to do his job, either. That will leave us. I know what we, as citizens, must do... join the fire brigade.Train as firefighters. Short circuit the system. Water hose the guilty. And get Ram Gopal Verma to make ‘Mumbaikar ki Aag’ and keep our fingers crossed the film is a bigger hit than his earlier turkey.