This glorious white peacock was spotted by my daughter Arundhati in Juhu last week! He appeared.... almost like a vision.... and she clicked him quickly! It was a good omen , I told her. And I swear everything is suddenly better! Thank you, peacock!
This appeared in Sunday Times today....
Have we finally had it with war games??
Have we finally had it? Or.... are we being had? Last week was a particularly disturbing one.The number of mixed signals coming our way from assorted sources, added to the aggravation. Suddenly, the trauma of rape was out and Pakistani atrocities were in. The deeply shocking story of Lance Naik Hemraj Singh’s brutal beheading took over every conceivable space in media. And we had gauche, inarticulate anchors blabbing away incoherently about how ‘bizarre’ and ‘obnoxious’ all this was… and how India must retaliate. Retaliate? How? Sushma Swaraj promptly provided an answer . Rashly and impetuously she thundered that for every Indian head we lose to Pakistan, we should bring back ten! Coming from a senior politician, this was a seriously dumb statement. Fortunately, the average citizen’s response was far more sober, intelligent and considered. Soon we had a cacophony of voices banging on about the signals we need to send out to our neighbor…. to America…. to the world. Nobody made much sense, least of all our Prime Minister who finally opened his mouth to declare it was ‘not business as usual’ with Pakistan. Really? No kidding! Everybody wanted to know what exactly he meant by that ambiguous, entirely vague remark. What ‘business’? What is ‘usual’ when it comes to Pakistan? As always, it was left to Pakistani spokespersons to smoothly ride over the crisis… pass the buck… and move on. All of this while the perfectly matched chiffon dupatta stayed demurely in place without once slipping off the coiffed head. The Birkin offensive worked – yet again!
Meanwhile, our bewildered citizens suddenly discovered the identities of a few hitherto unknown top brass of the army, who came out guns blazing, all bristling moustaches and belligerent words. “They fire.We fire,” declared Army Chief Gen.Bikram Singh. While one gentleman spoke about retaliatory action ‘at the appropriate time’ ( and when would that be, Sir?). The other spoke ominously about his ‘hope’ that our government would extend support to the army. Huh? Iska matlab? Were we meant to read between the lines and draw our own conclusions? Was the Government holding back on required support? And support for what? Did a Lt.Gen need to send out such a crucial message using television channels to convey it? Who was this message meant for? Those in power in Delhi? Their counterparts in Pakistan? The Americans , who are once again leaning just that much more towards our (un) friendly neighbours these days? The world at large? Bhagwan only knows.
Meanwhile, our hard working anchors were relentlessly at it . An emotional storm was being systematically whipped up. Panelists were frothing at the mouth. And everybody was in overdrive covering the grisly minutae of the heinous beheading and milking every tiny detail in a way that was embarrassing,morbid and insensitive.Suddenly, Nirbhaya and those 67 daily rapes across India – the ones that get reported – became stale news. There were no new angles to exploit. India had swiftly moved on. Hemraj Singh was the new martyr. And Pakistan had to be whipped once more in public.The flogging seems to be on hold for now. Pakistani actress Meera has planned a peace march in Delhi.Her agenda involves the granting of 5 year visas to Pakistani artists, and has nothing to do with heavier issues. A particularly clumsy gesture involved Pakistani hockey players being unceremoniously packed off. Raj Thackeray got into the act and accused our government of playing up the beheading of a brave soldier as a diversionary tactic.The rather pathetic truth is that countless people believed Raj! That’s how low our morale is right now. We are prepared to accept the worst charges against the ruling class. Even charges as grim as this one. Lots of loud noises later, the Hemraj story , too, is limping along, with non-committal comments from both sides of the border, after the shrill ‘war-mongering’ charges made by the beauteous Ms. Birkin herself. Everybody is ‘backing off ’.The daily routine of strutting and posturing is over.Soon it will indeed be back to business as usual. Sorry, Manmohan Singh.You’ll have to come up with a better line… and quickly at that!