I love kids and have raised two kids of my own. In retrospect it might seem to be the toughest job on earth but I actually loved every moment of it, playing with them, talking to them, celebrating birthdays, deciding the menu for their parties, buying or sometimes even making return gifts for their friends and receiving at least 20 hand made cards from my kids on my birthdays and many more such events. The whole purpose of this preamble is to prove that I love kids and admire the patience and perseverance of the parents of young kids and please don’t hate me for writing this post.
Most young parents, especially first time parents never tire of speaking about their children. You get so bored and saturated of this topic that you are scared of meeting them even in the market. One can’t make out when the first story ends and the next story is about to begin. “People are waiting for me for dinner”, you try to interrupt, but no, you can’t leave without listening to the latest commercial that she has learnt from TV. Gathering all my patience and experience I try to listen with a smile on my face, but my patience runs out after the child stammers after the first line and starts all over again. I am helpless as the enthusiastic parents decide that I desperately need entertainment so magnanimously provided by their kid . I have no choice but to smile and applaud. The mood of the audience or tone of the conversation is irrelevant. Even if your eyes stray or you look distracted, they won’t take the cue and change the subject. The story of their gifted child is told with the same verve, animation and enthusiasm as if it were the latest gossip from Bollywood.
Anything and everything another child has achieved, their kid has already been there and done that, and they are ever so enthusiastic to tell us about it. A one year old child who has barely learnt how to walk has a potential of winning the latest child reality show because of the way he or she cries or walks. The fact that that the child’s vocabulary is limited to baba, papa and mama is not important. It reminds me of the ad in which the child is asked to say Czechoslovakia after he successfully repeats dad and banana.
Realistic sound effects and expressive hand gestures complement the narrative nicely. One is surprised by how abruptly the anecdote appears. You are talking about Asha Bhonsle and her versatility when the topic of their cute little daughter singing just before she is put to bed comes up. She loves Jagjit Singh’s rendering of Mirza Ghalib, she loves classical music and you know that she is 2 year old. She walks on her toes so she will be a ballet dancer, her fingers are long so she will be an artist . I become fidgety and restless, anxious that my precious weekend is slipping away but that doesn’t matter, I need to be convinced that their daughter is the next little champ!
Shahid Saiyad, Tariq Saiyad – sons of policemen posted in Surat – and Abu Bakr Sheikh allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl in a moving car. The entire crime was captured by the culprits on a cell phone with the idea of blackmailing the victim. Surat police recovered the video clip from them when they were arrested. The three were sent to 14 days police remand by the court. Deepak Swaroop, the police commissioner of Surat, who has now been transferred, allegedly made a statement that the victim was in a compromising position with a fellow student of her tuition class when they were abducted. How does that justify rape, only Mr Swaroop can answer. According to reports he had also chastised the girl’s family for not taking care of the young girl and allowing her to venture out of the house alone so early in the morning (the victim and her family are to be blamed now, it seems). Not surprising in a country where in a certain college, girls are banned from wearing jeans to deter eve- teasers.
The three alleged rapists were taken to Surat civil hospital for medical examination where patients and other visitors at the hospital beat them up severely. People shouted slogans and expressed fears that the police would not take the case to its logical end because two of the accused were sons of police personnel. Most people I talked to about this incident criticized this sort of mob justice. General opinion was that it is a terrible thing for a mob to take the law into their hands. A lot of mistakes can be made and innocent people can be victimized. There is no way that mob justice can be condoned but common man has become so desperate in his bid to survive that he is left with little choice but to take law into his own hands. Mob justice may not be correct or fair, but it is effective and efficient. Due to corruption in our judiciary and police forces, criminals can sometime “buy” their freedom and society is left with no option but to react. I don’t think most people see mob justice as a first resort but sometimes it seems like the only way for those, whom the justice system has failed. When people lose confidence in the security apparatus of the state, what else do you expect? If the law enforcement officers do a fair job, there would be no room for mob justice. When the law starts protecting the ‘high-ups’ and people with connections, this is the only way left. People take the law into their hands because the criminal justice system has failed them.
We have seen the images of Chaman Matoo, father of the late Priyadarshini Matoo, Mrs. Neelam Katara, mother of the late Nitish Katara and Sabrina Lal, sister of the late Jessica Lal on our television screens fighting for justice for their loved ones. All three of them fought bravely and the gruesome murders took place in Delhi and NCR thus these cases received their fair share of media attention. I am not sure if justice would have prevailed if these tragedies had taken place in some remote area. Mob justice is wrong and two wrongs don’t make a right but how long can one continue to be wronged and not react!
Entertainment galore! The long standing deadlock between the producers and multiplex owners has finally been resolved, the Twenty20 World Cup opener at Lord’s started with a bang – Netherlands stunned England by a 4 wicket win and the JD(U) chief, Mr Sharad Yadav threatened to “consume poison” in the House if the women’s reservation bill was passed in its present form. I am not able to decide which of these 3 news promised bigger entertainment.
Gandhiji resorted to death threats (popularly known as fasting until death) as a last resort to make sure that people followed what he thought was the right and truthful way but politicians in India are giving people threats of a different kind to force their agenda on them. Sharad Yadav’s threat reminds me of a few more entertaining threats issued by our politicians over the years. In hindsight I feel they were opportunities lost. In the larger interest of entertainment and the nation they should have been allowed to follow through their threats.
Sushma Swaraj, present deputy leader of opposition in Lok Sabha and health minster in the A.B. Vajpayee cabinet protested against moves to make Sonia Gandhi the Prime Minister of India. She declared that she will live like a sanyasin if a “foreigner” ruled the country. Uma Bharati, the true and official sanyasin of BJP would have felt more threatened than Sonia Gandhi, I am sure. The end of the story was quite boring although not predictable. Sonia declined the post and Sushma continued to be the materialistic politician she always was.
My nana used to tell me a story which could be called mythological because Indra the king of devtas was the main character. The story goes something like this, a sadhu decided to perform tapasysa to please God and attain super powers. Indra true to his character felt threatened (singhasan dol gaya) that he will lose his throne and he tried to scare away the sadhu by taking the form of a ferocious elephant. The petrified sadhu folded his aasan (seat) and started running. A friendly akaashwani said- gajo mithya which in English means that the elephant is fake. The sadhu spread his aasan once again and said gajo mithya to bhago bhi mithya, if the elephant is fake my running away is also not true. If Sonia is not the Prime minister why should Sushmaji forfeit her worldly pleasures. Sushma Swaraj with a shaven head, wearing white saree, sleeping on the floor, and making chickpeas and water her staple diet would have been quite an interesting sight. An opportunity lost!
While campaigning in Rampur Samajwadi Party General-Secretary Amar Singh said that actor-turned-politician and his party’s candidate from northern Rampur seat, Jaya Prada might commit suicide if she loses the poll. The emotional Indian public voted for her and she won the election despite Azam Khan’s selfless and untiring campaign against her. I don’t think she would have commited suicide but it would have been quite interesting to know how she would have wriggled out of the situation. One more opportunity lost. Phew!
In 1996 Mamata Banerjee is said to have threatened to strangle herself in public if a party colleague with a criminal record was given a ticket by local Congress bosses. Mamta di is alive, kicking and enjoying power. Whatever happened to the criminal candidate, she is safe. An embarrassed Ms Banerjee would have been a sight to behold. I am sure she would have found ways to wriggle out of the situation, politicians are great survivors . The Indian public missed one more chance of entertainment.
Now Sharad Yadav says- “I will consume poison and die but I won’t allow the women’s reservation bill without a quota for Dalit/Tribal women.” Let us buy some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle. Who knows this could be as entertaining as the T20 world cup or the latest Hindi movie!