Saturday, February 23, 2008

Writer's Captivity

When one pictures a writer writing, one thinks of a closed room. There is a small window which lets in sunlight, moonlight, cold breeze or rain as per nature's proclivities. A rickety chair...okay maybe a proper chair beside a simple table with sheafs of papers flying about obscuring the writer's face would adorn the room completed by a water jug and some food lying around.
The writer is imagined to be a recluse with questionable hygiene and poor social judgment. Clothes are assumed to be disheveled with hair to match. There is little sound in the room but for the chirping of birds or other sounds beyond our control. All in all, the scene is typical and the conjecture is probably right.
One wonders about the power that a writer wields. Not the kind that we are normally familiar with, but the one in their own world. This thought is, of course restricted to fiction writers. They create ideas, situations, characters and whole universes. One thinks of the story as a little bird in the hand of the writer; a bird he can nurture and pet, or squeeze to death at a mere whim. It seems pretty obvious that the writer is the creator and god for this world.
What we don't see is that the writer, someone who visibly creates worlds and stories is as much a captive to fate as anyone else. There are many stories with alternate endings proposed by the authors simply because they probably published the official ending motivated by the need for public acclaim and popularity. The alternate ending or the twist which goes unsung ends up in the files of the author until his widow discovers it while clearing his room after wiping her tears for the umpteenth time.
Maybe I am being too morbid in my account, but one sees the literal morbidity in the previous few lines but the all consuming morbidity of the writer's captivity escapes most non-writers.
To them I advise writing something. When you relax yourself and allow thoughts to flow, there is an omnipotent gravity or rather gradient which forces your thoughts to flow in a particular manner. There is no reversibility here. The weirdest part of it is that this gradient is different for each person and yet common to all. We cannot control thoughts...we just cannot.
They control us.
When an author of a popular book series kills a character much to the chagrin of the reader, the reader wonders whether this was done just to attract attention or raise collections. The truly deviant one even casts aspersions on the character of the writer. These accusations may hold water if one assumes that the author is controlling the story.
It rarely happens so.
The truth is that an author can be truly successful in creating stories that readers can relate to only when he or she allows the random...Let the chips fall where they may...kind of flow of ideas. So the story flows from the author who ends up nothing more than an insightful medium. The rest of it...the flowery imagery, the thrilling writing, the emotional connections etc are mortal gifts that make books readable.
The ultimate proof of the writer's captivity is something that someone who writes will readily recognize. The impulse to write...the sudden, irrational, all consuming impulse to write...ignoring hunger, fatigue and most easily academics!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Judge above judgment

The adversarial legal process is a time-tested one. The idea of a public prosecutor whose only job is to do everything within the bounds of the law to convict the accused is as good as that of a defense lawyer who must everything he can to prevent that very action. One may think this to be a waste of valuable time and resources pitting smart people against each other, but the truth eventually emerges. The idea is that the side that triumphs after such a stiff fight has to be the truthful one.
This is excellent in theory, but in reality what we often encounter is talented litigators forced to win at all costs due to competition within their offices.
So, does the law and ultimately, justice suffer?
The judge comes into play here. He presides over the events in the courtroom with an impartial eye. This is a person who must be above the game and one with the law. The law must win at all costs.
The judge cannot prejudge the case and assume the accused's guilt. Such a judge may end up steering himself and a probable jury towards a guilty verdict. As much as it might bite him, the judge has to rise above personal conflicts and adhere to the law. It is probably the hardest job of all. The sad part is that too many prosecutors become judges. It seems to be on a prosecutor's agenda to either run for office, or become a judge.
Expecting a former prosecutor-judge to be completely impartial is not fair. These people have spent all their lives putting people away. It must be near impossible for such a judge to spot and deride any encroachment upon an accused's civil rights. No matter what one is accused of,(be it a simple matter of theft or something heinous like a brutal rape and murder of a minor) he or she deserves a day in court. The accused deserves the chance to confront his accuser, to cross-examine his testimony and to put up a defense. If he cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to him. He has the right not to cooperate with any investigation which might result in his incrimination. These simple rights cannot be breached by any government official, and any evidence and following prosecution as a result of such a breach is void as a matter of law.
These are certain legal principles which are sacrosanct and the judge is employed to protect them from being raped by over-zealous prosecutors.
This is not a game in any way, but the judge must, in a cynical justification, treat it like one. The judge has to be a referee, an arbiter with no vested interest in the outcome. These judges have to be above judgment and refrain from judicial anarchy even if they are sure that an accused is guilty of the crime.
Such a beautiful legal system is based on the one premise common to all nations and free worlds: Let a hundred guilty escape, but not a single innocent one should slip through the cracks of the law.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A different Language

A different Language

Ever get the feeling
That everyone around you
Is speaking a tongue
That only you don't get

It haunts me these days
I feel seriously inept
When I hear all around me
Knowing so much about knowledge

If it was my IQ deficiency
I would have accepted it
But it is a deep cluelessness
That I can't swallow

I always thought I was
Capable and yet well above average
Feelings of cluelessness
Taunt me to no end

How come all of you
Were born with a purpose
And I was bereft of
Of that very gene
That tells me what
To think and to do

I am tired of being called
Lazy and impertinent
When all I need
Is merely a scent
Of a goal in life
In education
In work, in society
In family.

Times change people do too
There is something finite in me
That I must find and accept
So I can dream too you dare?

Do you really dare, Mr Raj Thakeray, to stand in front of the trains which come from North India?
Why are you so stupid as to create a feeling of national animosity towards Maharashtra? Aren't you afraid Maharashtra will be asked to leave India?
We can create another Mumbai anywhere else without your impeding self!
Economist S.D. Naik said that as of 2006, Maharashtra has a debt of Rs 1.15 lakh crore. Please count the zeroes in it. And then count again. And might get it right eventually.First bother about returning it, then will address the issue of Maharashtra's autonomy. You being so proud of Mumbai and asking others to get a visa to come here shows your gross dereliction of a little book called the Indian constitution. Do you know who is making Mumbai the business centre? Take a look at Dalal street. You have a chance of learning Gujarati in one hour just by standing there....but then I don't believe in observation, analysis and reason.
Mumbai is a geographical part of Maharashtra. It is just a bunch of people which includes but is not limited to Maharashtrians. It is portable, believe me. Remember when USA brought the IT industry to India and offered it to Mumbai, your stupid ass uncle Bal refused to take it and Chandrababu Naidu of Hyderabad lapped it up. Ergo, Hyderabad-Cyberabad.
You really are a dumbass.
So, go ahead. Stand in front of the trains coming from North India. To the rest of the nation, I advise playing Train Simulator. It will arm you with the necessary skills to put this idiot out of the way.
The deepest irony is this Raj, that I thought you were a shrewd politician, and you will eventually overthrow your cousin Uddhav. But believe me, while you are bumbling around being Sonny, Michael is at home with the Godfather learning his ways and who knows, Uddhav might improve. One thing is true, Bal Thakeray is a gunda too..but he is a smarter politician.
My final advice, collect some people of your party that you trust, go back to your uncle and plead forgiveness. Use the same expression we use to confront our dad after denting his car!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

MNS has PMS!

The recent drubbing of Samajwadi party workers along with innocent taxi drivers and hawkers by gundas belonging to the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena led by the hero Raj Thakeray has reminded us just how far behind the rest of the world India really is.
The journalist from Times Now asked Shishir Shinde, the spokesperson of MNS as to why this was done etc etc...(Here I would like to add a word of praise for her for, as Dan Rather calls it Speaking Truth to Power). This man arrogantly replied that the taxi was destroyed as it carried SP members who had abused Raj Thakeray. Hellooo! We are allowed to abuse him. This happens to be a democracy. Here, I will show you...Raj Thakeray is nothing but an educated bandit who is raping the people of Maharashtra by preying on their frustration...just like his inept cousin Uddhav...just like his bandit uncle Bal. I have every right to say this as I am a citizen of India having the right to free speech.
This stupid pustule Shinde has the gall to say, (when the journo questioned him on innocent people harmed in this display of bullshittiness...there I said it again!) that these things sometimes happen. So here you go Mumbaikars, you are being partly represented by an ignorant piece of shit who treats harmless victims as collateral damage.
I think Raj simply has a case of PMS, which leads to PISS (Political Idleness & Stupidity Syndrome) which leads to CRAP (Cowardly Rape and Pillage). Sadly for you Raj, people were watching this on TV and they won't be swayed by fake Marathi chants unlike the public during your uncle's reign. There are reasons for this. First of all, your uncle had a semblance of a reasonable excuse: There was enough violence on both the Hindu and Muslim sides. Hindus needed some radical representation of their own. Secondly, people weren't as educated then and hence more given to radical thoughts.
I assume you collected a bunch of Gundas from people who had nothing better to do than do what you command coz they probably failed all their courses and could not get into good colleges even after you & your ancestors self-righteously halved the entrance cut-off for your brothers. And you are upset coz Amitabh wants to do something for UP? What crap! Don't we all celebrate when NRI's build nice temples in the Western world? Try to understand know what, go back to school and learn might learn some civic sense too.
If you are really upset with Uttar Bharatiyas coming to Mumbai and flourishing, (which by the way, smart Maharashtrians are doing too, as you prove by your 500 crore property, why don't you donate some of it as a true Maharashtrian, you hypocrite!)...again you are really upset with north indians flourishing, try and beat them at their game if you can...coz I love the samosas and chaat on the road...and I buy vegetables from better in business than them and the gujjus...make your kids get better marks at school than UPites...oh wait...I forgot...your kids don't need good have rigged the system well enough to ensure that!
The person who loses in all this is the true Marathi who I know well. They form a bulk of my friend circle and they want nothing to do with you. Firstly because they are educated hard-working people who believe in getting what you deserve and deserving what you get and secondly because...well they are educated!
And lastly, another person who is most confused is someone who is not originally from Maharashtra but is as Maharashtrian as all of you. I belong to that category. Yes I have a native place in the south but I rarely go there and Mumbai is the only world I know. Who the fuck are you claiming proprietorship over our bhoomi!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Black letter on the Wall

I don't know if anyone else feels it or not. To me the Democratic Primaries are turning slowly from completely unpredictable to more and more one-sided. With the inevitable pull-out of Sen. John Edwards from the race, it is becoming more and more clear that Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee to the most powerful office in the world.
Anyone who read Paul Krugman's article in the New York Times about the Edwards effect will appreciate the astute conclusions drawn by this man, which is just how important Sen. Edwards has been to this campaign. While he has thrown in the presidential towel, he might still be used to balance Obama's ticket. He will certainly add cream to Obama's coffee so to speak and help White America vote for the change that Obama represents.
With the combination of Edwards and Obama, and the support of a Democrat Congress, there is a good chance of seeing the dream of America's first non-white president.
When Obama became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, he told people to refrain from thinking that black rights in America are now real and tangible. It was far from it then, and is far from it now too. Even today, your chances of being pulled over for almost nothing at all are more than double when you are non-white.
Who knows, Obama may actually help improve the condition of the people who make up America's true diversity.