It’s an Animal planet out there!
The Buffalo glanced at me with rheumy eyes- a bored look. He or was it she?? (Never mind, let me assume it to be him) wasn’t as surprised as I was, to find me there. I slowly looked all around me. Strange land it was- as if enchanted and enclosed by an invisible magical line. The lion, tigers and wildcats watched us from near the edge of the grassland beyond which were the dark woods, but did not dare attack us. There was the herd of elephants, a little away, but God! Didn’t they look hostile! And over there the goats and sheep were grazing at the somewhat dried somewhat yellow tinged meadow. Before I could take in completely the Animal Kingdom that I had landed myself in, I jumped with a start as The Buffalo spoke up! Yes The BUFFALO spoke up!
“New you are! Aren’t you?’
I kept staring at it dumbfounded. I was not into Hashish or marijuana so why was I seeing things? Nor did I consider myself a schizophrenic.
“Come on don’t be surprised. There is nothing surprising here. You just are a bit confused. Isn’t it?”
“Oh!’ was all I could manage.
“Since you are not going to say much, nor are you going to ask what’s going on, let me introduce myself. Well we buffalos are the ruler here. Aren’t we?”
“Oh! … As in king?” I asked
“Ah! You have got a voice. Don’t you?” It had an irritating habit of punctuating every statement of his with a counter question.
“Well not exactly King, rather we have been chosen to administrate. We do the choosing every four months. Previously it was the elephants. This quarter it is us.”
Maybe he sensed my irritation, but at least he was speaking normally now.
“So you take turns? Will it be the sheep’s next?” I now asked encouraged by this weird tale.
“No. It’s basically us. And if we are lucky we may come back the next quarter too. The elephants were brought down from the rule because they were not doing a good job of administration. You see, the selection depends a lot on how we function”
“No doubt they are hostile. So you people… umm… I presume, you buffaloes are doing fine?”
“Honestly speaking,” he said lowering his voice, with a wicked gleam “not much different from the elephants but we try to keep everyone happy.”
“So why are the Lions or the Tigers not here. Aren’t they supposed to be the rulers normally?” Now, I was really hooked by his tale.
“Do you really find anything normal here?” he sniggered “But coming back to your question, well, they used to long back, but all of us came together to chase them away. The elephants, the sheep, and every animal you see in our land. They now just stare at us from the periphery and keep a watch on us to see if they can raid back. The moment we start fighting among ourselves, they start moving in ready to spring at us, but phew! Good sense prevails and we again stand united to stand up to them. So till now we have been able to keep them at bay.”
“Impressive!” I said settling down in the smooth grass.” So the sheep, goats and the cows, why aren’t they here in this part? This looks greener while the meadow they are in… looks dry. Err, Why so?”
“How foolish of you to say that! Of course we are the rulers. Do you expect that we will be staying together with common animals like sheep goats and cows? Ah these lush green juicy long stemmed grasses with plenty of water and shade for us to laze around! Why on earth will we allow them here? But psst! Of course they are very valuable to us. The cows being the most useful to us, and guess what! They have immense physical strength, but naïve as they are, they don’t realize this. Good for us! We keep on utilizing them for our gains. But of course Now and then we do spare them some leftover grass from our pastures.”
“And the sheep and the goats?”
“Ahh! Now they are the tricky part. They have the capability to think, unlike the cows, -they are not that easily fooled. They have intellect. And the irritating part is they know how to make noise too. Oh, they can do that quite a lot when they wish so, and sigh! They are so hard to satisfy .Our major concern remains of keeping them quiet because their bleating can create quite a movement. The unfortunate part is that they also constitute quite a work force, so cannot ignore them either. Nor can we subdue them with too much force. They have brains along with the physical force. Have you seen the Ram?” he shivered slightly
“Quite interesting” I murmured my eyes wandering and pausing on the crows. They were high up but I had noticed them making a lot of noise since a long time.
He let out a chuckle on seeing my point of focus-“Oh them? Silly birds! Though not literally, but they just make harmless noise from atop. Ask them to come near, and off they fly away. They are just all noise and no matter. They could have turned out quite powerful with their sharp beaks and claws, but they prefer to just make noise and do nothing.”
I grinned at some private joke.
“So the elephants, what do they do?”
“They oppose us in everything we do. They trumpet the moment we act, sometimes even before we act” he guffawed. – “Just anticipating what we might do. It’s always a tussle between us on who can keep the sheep goats and cows on their side, because it’s they who choose the rulers ultimately.”
“And those weaver birds, tailor birds? What are they doing? The cranes?”
“Well they are very much with us. They are the real workers among us. The most intelligent and professional ones. We don’t mess with them because we are quite dependent on them. The cranes are our conscience- always poking us, pointing us.
Sometimes we listen, at times we ignore. The elephants and us, we have our own cranes.”
“So I get it. You have a fine arrangement of work distribution. But, what do you do? The Rulers?” That was a faux pas, but it was too late.
“That is an impertinent question.” he said emphasizing on each word deliberately. “You don’t ask rulers what they do. They rule. And moreover, no matter what we achieve to do or don’t, Nobody is going to advertise our achievements. We have an image of corruption to uphold, a sort of image drawn collectively by all. How can we disappoint the masses?”
“Eh! That’s a very dangerous way to think.” I interjected.
“Oh is it?” he growled “But that’s how it functions, how many rulers in your human world are admired sincerely?
A few! And the rest! Were all of them tyrants? Monsters? Useless? Hopeless? Did they do nothing useful?”
“Whoa! Hold it! It was just a rhetorical question.” but I had already set him off.
“We rulers are meant to be criticized, but the funny part is that our critics, the goats, sheep and the crows, seldom come to take the job, a fact, which we take advantage of. Fine! Crib on! as long as you do nothing, you are fee to crib as much as you want.” he shut his eyes and turned his face the other way.
Mr. Buffalo was seriously hurt by my questions.
I cleared my throat slightly. His majesty was mollified a little and turned towards to me.
“But we do have some aberrations among us sometimes. Among our own kind, some may turn out to be completely different. See the white elephant in their herd, similarly we too have a… You win some, you lose some.” he was considerably mollified now.
I kept ruminating all the facts that he had provided. As I looked far and away, things did start making sense. Yes he was right, but wait a min what were those?
I excitedly turned towards him and exclaimed- “There is a group over there. It is a mixed one of all the animals.”
“Oh that? Well we have isolated them,” then lowering his voice to a whisper he said,
“They are diseased. A virus did them, you see- the separatist virus. They have this disease of separatism. Tch! Tch!. a very bad one. Almost incurable. Some say that we should try to cure them, some are of the opinion to just finish them off. We are still deliberating on what to do. It is becoming difficult to contain them, as they go on a mad rampage. See the vultures circling above? They brought the disease and now are waiting to feed on us once we are finished by this disease. A very bad situation, but we are still deliberating. Hmmm!… That reminds me, I have two meetings to attend now , one with my fellow buffaloes and the other with the Elephants. Hope you will make yourself comfortable and excuse me”
“Sure” I said “But could you at least tell me where I am. What is this place called?”
“Why? Didn’t you guess it? Its…”
And I woke up with a start. What a weird dream. Guess I slept off reading. I shut the book Animal farm and switched off the light hoping to dream of Aamir Khan instead.
Hic (!) Hic (!) Hurray !
Pop! I have unscrewed the cork and the mellowing fragrance of fermented grape has filled the room. I’m now pouring the sparkling red wine into the chalice, and I’m already feeling good about it. I am also trying to imagine the soothing effect the aqua vitae would have on me the moment I empty the cup. After a hard day in the office, a man needs something to cool him down. And to relieve your mind from all the stress, you need to tune in to the idiot box.
Well, I have switched on the TV, and I’m with HBO now. They are playing Demi Moore’s famous scene with Patrick Swayze from Ghost. Well sorry to say but I just cannot help myself from ogling at Moore. In her heyday, she did raise a few eyebrows with her dare-bare roles. Although she has lost her screen presence of late, she apparently has retained her charm. Otherwise can you expect a woman on the wrong side of forty marrying a man almost half her age? I must say Ashton Kutcher is a brave man (it requires guts to marry a thrice divorced woman who has a history of troubled relationships)! He has finally come of age. But isn’t it a style statement of the rich and the famous nowadays to hook up with people much older/younger to their age?
The only other Hollywood actress who can strip Demi Moore of her sex siren image is Sharon Stone. She is one irresistible woman! There are not many people who haven’t seen her landmark movie Basic Instinct. When she did King Solomon’s Mines (in 1985), no one could imagine that the Plain Jane Sharon would turn into a sex siren a few years later. But that is basic human instinct: if you want to be famous, you will do anything to achieve it. Nevertheless, fame does come by your way unawares sometimes. Did King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba realise in their age that they would become legends to their posterity?
Solomon the Wise was the legendary ruler of Jerusalem, and the son of the great King David. He was the constructor of the first temple in Jerusalem and the last ruler of the united Jewish kingdom of Israel. Solomon is associated with the Golden Age of the independent Kingdom of Israel, and he is also considered to be the source of judicial and religious wisdom. According to Jewish tradition, King Solomon has written three books of the Bible: Mishlei (Book of Proverbs), Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) and Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs).
After Solomon’s death his son Rehoboam ascended the throne. But the ten northern tribes of the Kingdom of Israel revolted against the Davidic line, refusing to accept Rehoboam, and instead chose as king Jeroboam who was not a member of King David’s family. The fate of this northern kingdom was sealed when they were eventually conquered by Assyrians who exiled them completely until they became “The Ten Lost Tribes”. It is believed that the Mizos of Northeast India are one of the lost tribes.
Mizoram! Ah, dear! It is such a beautiful state! At one point of time, it was the state with the highest literacy ratio in India. Today, it is the state with the second highest literate population in India, after Kerala. For this, the Christian Missionaries have to be thanked. They have done a yeoman’s service in penetrating deep into the interiors of the Northeast, carrying with them the light of education and the Christian faith.
Christianity today is the most dominant religion in the world. When Jesus of Nazareth was born, no one thought that this King of Jews would become the father of a faith that would transcend all borders and generations. Only the Three Magi—Balthazar, Melchior and Casper had some idea that they were
amidst greatness when they came to meet him. It horrifies me whenever I recall the fate of the Son of God: how he was persecuted in his lifetime, and how he was put to a painful death. The Roman fiends were so nasty, they used to make Jesus drink raw vinegar, so that his flesh would rot from inside while he was still alive, pinned to the crucifix.
Hey hold on! If you think what’s wrong with me, let me tell you that I always start blabbering after a few glasses of wine (I never forced you to read this, did I?) Of late, I am rambling too much. Man, I have lost my mind! I am finding it very difficult to balance my private and professional lives. It is like walking on a Chopine (I wonder how women balance their weight on stilettos). I will go insane if I continue this way.
I have realised only recently that it is actually my boss who is making my life hell. He has returned from the US and you could call him a Standard American in Indian skin. He dumps all the hard work in the world upon me, as if I am some trash can. Wish I could tie him up to the Methuselah grove and shoot him down with a Double Magnum! He is fiddling with my life as if I were a Piccolo, which he can pick up and play whenever he feels like.
Well enough of TV watching! I need to listen to some good music now or I will burst. I have Lady Sovereign numbers. I can play that. She is a grime artist, and her music somehow fits my mood (as it is always screwed up). Do you like such music? I mean, I’m playing it now so don’t want you to feel left out. It’s relaxing…you can try music therapy, too. The wine is already enlivening my spirit. Man, someday I will be King Nebuchadnezzar and make my own Hanging Garden of Babylon at office. There, I will hang all my enemies, including my boss—people who drive me crazy and make my life hell.
Hold on a second, I think I have an SMS. It’s my boss! @#$%^&! Just see what he has written: “Mani, do a story on wine. I need it by tomorrow evening. Get on with it.” What does he think of himself? He expects my head to churn out ideas every time he needs a story. But that’s not always possible, is it? What do you expect from a dead tired, half-drunk man who has only started meditating upon his frustrations in life? And see the irony, the same wine that I am enjoying (…well I was until now), is to become the subject of another experiment. This is life, mate!
But hey, I think whatever I have talked about can become my story. After all, Demi, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Balthazar, Melchior, Chopine, Standard, Methuselah, Double Magnum, Piccolo, Sovereign, and Nebuchadnezzar are all names of different wine-bottle sizes. I didn’t even realise it! Did you?! Man, it’s time to celebrate! Hic (!) Hic (!) Hurray!
- Written by Manimugdha Sharma. He is an Editor in Indian Express, (a national daily) and also an avid quizzer who has hosted prestigious quiz shows all over India. A self confessed history buff with an inclination towards Urdu literature.
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Khap-shup to Twittergate!
Illustration by Gayatri
What an eventful week! Full of noise, tweets and finally ending with a tweetergate! Twitter took its first toll in Indian politics – atleast it all started with a tweet.
But last week actually started with khap-shup.
In love? Are you on the verge of falling in love? Hold on. All is not fair in love and gotras – Going by the stance taken by some still-in-medieval age khap panchayats of Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. Don’t tell them love is blind coz they are deaf to any romantic reasoning that may crumble their own archaic marriage code. If you fall in love with someone of same gotra – you will be wanted shot or lynched. No sympathies here.
So next time you are about to fall in love, stop. Check both of your gotra first. Imagine, you are all decked up for your date, dressed to kill. You meet, exchange smiles and your gotras and pray that it does not match. If it is same gotra, and you are a die-hard adventurous lover type, then my silent prayers for you and best of luck.
See this young couple in the pic. Like you and me, dreams in their eyes and heart and starting a new journey in their life together but only to be brutally killed in the name of honour by the relatives of the girl and a khap panchayat leader. This is just one of the many honor killings that happen some reported, many unreported.
Next comes the modern face of India. Era of twitter politicians. Shashi Tharoor – Face of Indian Twitter GenX. Twitter must be happy with the amount of free publicity they been getting coz of Twitter of late. Now that he is sacked from his ministerial post they could approach him for being their Indian brand ambassador.
First mistake our ex-minister did was failing to understand the Trimurthis of Indian controversies. He messed with two of the the trimurthis and now paid a heavy price.
Religion. Cricket. Politics – the Trimurthis of Indian controversies. A potent mix. They can stir maha controversies and make or bury many dreams. Unfortunately, Shashi Tharoor messed up with two of the maha murthis and that too with Cricket – a religion on its own for Indians and that proved a costly mistake for him and let it spill over his political life.
First it was his tweet In cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows that alienated him within his own party men. He was a twitter follower’s delight cos he had something and everything to tweet everyday. When Kochi bagged the IPL auction, he cheered it tweetrociously ( read: vociferously)
But he failed to comprehend the Indian politics.
- Networking. The mistake Shashi Tharoor made was he branded himself as a techie politician. Yes, we are a fast developing tech-giant but Indian politics is a different ball game. You need to network and maintain a decent relationship with your co-ministers, party leaders, party men and public and not just restrict to tweets.
- Tweets don’t translate into winning votes. Real “poli-tricks” lies in the world outside your virtual networking.
- Tread the path of the trimurthis carefully. Politicians have a penchant for cricket. Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley, Lalu Prasad, Narendra Modi knows how to spin a trick or two being the presidents of cricket boards. But IPL is a different ball game since is it is perceived blatantly capitalistic venture and the chances for you to be vilified and de-sanctified is considerably high. Cheer for IPL team of your voting catchment, you will be loved but the buck should stop there or atleast make your back door moves invisible.
- Give time to mature in Indian politics. Sudden meteoric rise of junior politician unless you have a strong dynasty tag will lead to many heart burns who will leave no chance to bring you down.
Finally, I don’t understand how an intelligent person like Sashi Tharoor who has served in UN could think his public life and private life will not be clubbed when he was seen together with Sunanda Pushkar at many a place and still maintained he has nothing to do with the 75 crore sweat equity offered to her while he proclaimed himself as the mentor of the Kochi team.
Finally he could not bat the IPL googly. Mr.Tharoor, Welcome to real world of Indian politics. You still can bat your second innings, if you read the pitch clearly after all, we mango people have a short public memory.
Next what? The Great Indian Paisa League may see more skeletons out of it’s closet and most probably the man who made it happen, Lalit Modi may go down with Tharoor. A double whammy for Twittergate.
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet this.
- Written by Lakshmi Rajan. He is the Chief Blogger-Editor of GingerChai. To read other articles of Lakshmi Rajan, Click HERE.
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My name is Shoaib and I am not married
My Name is Shoaib and I am not married.
This may sound as a Ripley’s Believe it or not but all I want to say is My name is Shoaib and I am not married. Don’t believe? You have to be innocent like me to believe it. When I was kid, I was worried about the image of Pakistan as a sponsor of cross-border terrorism. I wanted to do something about it. When I was around 20, I hit upon an idea and decided to work on a cross-border love to spread peace. By now, you must know how innocent I must have been when I was back then.
Some 8 years back I received a call from someone. She sounded like my angel of peace. Believe me – I decided very soon that my love is in Hyderabad. Dil to pagal hai, I swear! I should have stayed in Hyderabad in Pakistan but my heart beat for someone in Hyderabad city of India. When she talked, I melted. I saw her picture and my heart sang Kuch kuch hota hai. Love was in air and emails. What a wonderful time like good old days of the history when lovers send chits through pigeons! I believed everything and you know I will believe everything since am innocent and I know you will all believe whatever I say now since aren’t you innocent like me? Am sure you are. One day back then I decided to marry through telephone! Ok… ok… I can see your raised eyebrows. I have an explanation. I thought it was a game like how kids play mummy-daddy, even though I was an international cricketer, I was still innocent you see. People say I even signed a certificate of marriage. By that time of my career, I was used to autographs you see, so I did not think twice before signing. Blame it on impulsive behaviour. But now, all I want to say is my name is Shoaib and I am not married. (…really)
I admit I am not flamboyant like Imran Khan still due credit should be given to me too for my innocent exploits but all I get is a cheater tag. Why is it that some people get away with the name lover boy while innocents like me are always on hook? World is really biased. I did say some years ago when I was in Hyderabad that it’s my wife’s city. It was a simple prophecy back then that I would marry one day Sania. People ask why my brother-in-law does all the talking for me in the news channel. What can I say? I have to listen to my well-wishers after all. After all it was me who had my foot in my mouth when I made a statement “I want to thank everyone back home in Pakistan and Muslims all over the world. Thank you very much and I’m sorry that we didn’t win” after Pakistan’s defeat against India in a cricket match. So on hindsight it seems to be a good decision to keep my tongue tied and my “innocence” intact. But still egged by my dear ones, I came out finally with my fiancé to face the barrage of media questions. Did I bat well in the sticky wicket? I have no other options in any case. I have to duck somehow. See, I can’t even fly back home. So let me keep saying again all I want to say is my name is Shoaib and I am not married (…really)
I have set a journey from Pakistan to India carrying baggage of love, marriage and dhoka err sorry Love, marriage and peace. All I want to say is my name is Shoaib and I am not married. My story seems very Bollywoodish and I am open for a movie based on my movie. 3 Idiots would have been a better title but Amir already made big bucks out of it. Pati, Patni aur woh would have been a great title too. I think I would settle with a film title My name is Shoaib and I am not married.
In short if KJo has to narrate my story:
My name is Shoaib.
I might seem a little different to you. That is because I have Innocent syndrome. Being Innocent does not mean I am stupid. I am very intelligent but I don’t understand people. Rather, people don’t understand the game I play. In short, My name is Shoaib is the romantic-tragic-dark comedy of an unconventional, innocent bordering stupid (or other way round) hero overcoming obstacles to bury the love of his past life that haunts him now. To clear his tainted name by tainting it further, he embarks on a touching, noisy, emotional, inspiring, TRP raising journey to India.
Ayesha? Who? What? Where am I? Return of Ghajini – Part 2
Right To Blogging
Now that Right to Education has come into action after 63 years of independence, It’s high time we put forward Right to Blogging that promises mandatory blogging for this vast and diverse country. Following are the key points of the proposed Act that expects to empower the nation through blogging:
- Free and compulsory blogging to all people from the age of 12. Although law allows children below 12 from blogging but it shall not be legally compulsory.
- No blogger shall be held back, expelled or required to close their blog till their completion of the blog post.
- A blogger who completes a blog post shall be awarded minimum one comment.
- Provides for 25 percent reservation. for comment deprived bloggers in all pro blogger’s and popular blogger’s blogs .
- Mandates improvement in quality of blogging.
- Senior bloggers will need adequate professional SEO tips and Blogging tips within 1 year so that they can help out new bloggers.
- Blogging platforms (where there is problem) to be improved in short term, else will be blacklisted by search engines and blogging community.
- Financial burden will be shared between state and central government if the individuals or their parents cannot afford the domain booking/ hosting charges.
- Parents, spouse and relatives give peace of mind, time and space to bloggers for uninterrupted blogging.
- Companies/Employers shall provide a blog- time for employees to check blog comments and reply to comments.
Bloggers of the nation lets unite and voice for the Act to be implemented by the GOI in atleast another 63 years. Blogging is our fundamental right and lets make it free and compulsory for the betterment of our society and nation.
Let’s sip thoughts! Happy Blogging.
Now Running: Alice in GingerLand
With GingerChai having completed it’s 6 month run, we decided to have a creative promotional TV advertisement. We could not afford renowned ad makers like Alque padamsee or Prahlad kakkar nor the slot in TV space but will that deter creative chaiwalas that we are? ManiPadma decided to script our own play. So here we have our first in-house promo “Alice in GingerLand” . It’s a hilarious spoof based on the events,topics and comments so far in GingerChai land involving our wonderful authors. Let your imagination do the rest upon the script we have. Enjoy!
It is to let know readers that we seriously have a funny genes in us and have a dose of fun while working together for GingerChai. After seeing err reading?! and visualizing the promo, if you decide to jump into the bandwagon of GingerChai author panel, feel free to contact us.
Let the show begin. Have fun !
Visit the movie hall HERE
Mani Padma, What an idea Madamji !
What is your party ?
My friend wanted to join politics. Thanks to multi-party democracy, In India we have no dearth for parties.
So he joined a party. He had good oratory skills. His caste algorithm matched with potential vote bank so no one asked him why he joined the party.
First time he took the mike “I am proud of being Hindu, An Indian”. Well, he was given show cause notice and booted out of the party.
The crime: He sounded communalist.
Well, my friend thought he learnt the first lesson of politics. Anyways, he joined another party. He thought not to make the same mistake again. He took the mike and started talking “More than a Hindu, I am secular, my vision , my heart , my dream focuses on the minorities of our nation…” His speech was booed. Without any explanation asked or given, he was sacked from the party.
The crime: He sounded pseudo-secular and anti-Hindu.
Never the one to give up, he joined another party. He thought he would not talk this time. To show his inclusiveness to all people, he went to temple, church and a mosque. He was withdrawn the red membership and kicked out.
The crime: The party does not believe in God.
Shaken but not to be done with, he joined yet another party. A different stage. A similar mike. He started talking “No one is bigger than ideology, Leaders come, leaders go” Everyone listened attentively. He was quiet satisfied this time. Still, he found his way out of the party.
The crime: The party is held tight by one leader. Potential challengers are nipped early.
Never to be disillusioned, he banked upon his own fortunes. He believed in the power of paper. I mean the RBI paper and it did not fail him. He won handsomely.
Now every party wants him and asks him “what is your party?” and “be in our party” That is Indian politics for you !
Disclaimer: The friend in the article is fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. It applies to parties too.