Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Aal Izz Well

“We the Indians are ready to host the commonwealth Games 2010 & welcome the world to help us show India’s unique hospitality. We will provide facilities unheard of in many games villages around the world” … This is what the OC (used to be organizing committee, last time I heard) officials boasted few weeks earlier. They have kept up their promise. Athletes were allotted apartments in the village and indeed found facilities unheard or unseen in any games villages around the world. Laborers had used these apartments for defecation. Stray dogs were feasting on the faeces. Clearly, the most unique hospitality the athletes could not have got anywhere in the world.
Athletes from New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Ireland have praised the Games village as ‘unlivable’. Where else in the world could they experience the famous ‘unlivable’ environment? Our laborers and stray dogs would never be able to appreciate the value of living in ‘unlivable’ environment. No wonder foreign tourists appreciate India and its heritage better.  

A Canadian newspaper writes, "Monsoon rains, a dengue fever epidemic, car bombs, a collapsing pedestrian bridge, corrupt construction rackets, traffic Armageddon, indifferent politicians and a filthy athletes' village that does not even have proper plumbing yet. Or wiring. Or paint on the walls,".

As rightly pointed out by Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee (CGOC) secretary-general Lalit Bhanot the standards of cleanliness and hygiene differ from one person to the other. What one thought was clean may not appear that clean to others. The same way, what one person feels as filthy may be clean to others. We are surrounded by faeces, public urination, stray dogs, pan stains etc and we feel this is clean and hygienic. We expect the visiting athletes appreciate it as much as we do. 

The same paper continues to write, "India's showcase moment is at hand. The entire world is watching. But what the entire world is seeing - at least so far - looks more like the travails of a First World wannabe nation still struggling with its lingering Third World problems." 

To this Lalit Bhanot clarified. “We have told the Chefs de Mission that the level of hygiene and cleanliness at the Games Village will be upgraded within 36 hours.” In all likelihood, all facilities would be upgraded from travails of First World War to travails of Second World War in the next 36 hours.

Australia's swimming coach Leigh Nugent says hygiene at the Commonwealth Games Village in Delhi is a bigger concern for him than the terror threats.

He quotes, "You can go to a Western-style country and still get sick, but on the subcontinent they have bugs we have no resistance to. Things like vomiting and diarrhea can run rampant through a team, wreaking havoc on months of preparation and destroying medal chances. So you have to be extra vigilant and make sure you have as many preventative measures in place as you can.” The best preventative measure I can think of is to outsource participation. We can have people from India and other Asian countries participate on behalf of Australians. 

Leigh Nugent continues, “All the Australian swimmers have been given hand-sanitizing gel, probiotics to boost immunity and long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and bug repellent plus mosquito zappers to guard against diseases such as dengue and malaria. And even when you're having a shower, you should keep your mouth closed.” Looks like Australians seem to be missing air filters/purifiers. We have many viruses/bacteria/bugs which enter through the nose.

Leigh Nugent goes on, “We're living in the village with probably 7000 or 8000 other people and not everyone has good hygiene, and you don't know who's touched the door in front of you. Touching things, you can pick up bugs that you're not used to in our normal environment and next thing you're sick and out of action. All of these bugs are invisible, so you have to be ultra-careful.” This is the same challenge which astronauts face when they are visiting some unknown planet. All visiting athletes should be provided with space suits. This would help provide the same level of protection as astronauts would get.

In view of the short time available for the whole cleaning process, OC members could consider sprinkling “Yamunajal” (sister concern of Gangajal) to purify the whole Games village. There is a plenty of it available for this purpose now.

The silver lining is that Shah Rukh Khan is expected to attend the CWG opening ceremony. We are surely showcasing out best to the world. Its time to say “Aall iz well”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Salman has delivered a “The Bangg” hit with his Dabangg. We have been hearing news of cash registers ringing and the producer dancing his way to the bank. Songs are a rage and would continue to be for the rest of the festive season. “Munni” is bound to replace “Beedi” as the national anthem of the masses. Promos had created quite a buzz, Salman making the caterpillar moustache look amazingly endearing. One of the best launch pads any new comer could dream of, for “Ooomph” Sinha, daughter of the famous “Khaamosh” Sinha.
Salman also delivered a “Dabangg” performance with his statement on Mumbai attack. Only Salman could deliver a punch line, “The whole world knows Pakistan had nothing to do with it” and get a patriot certificate from, can you imagine MNS and Shiv Sena. The same MNS and Shiv sena, who are the flag bearers for marathi-ism, Hinduism and Hindustanism supported Salman (this feat could not be matched by Big B too).  Truly, Salman is the one and only “Dabangg” of Bollywood.

But the biggest “Dabangg” of all is Golu Jagtap from Madhya pradesh. We have heard of people stealing bicycles, we have also heard of people stealing bikes and we have heard of people stealing cars, but Golu tried to achieve a feat that is unparalleled in the history. He tried to take off with a train and that too when it was filled with hundreds of people.

He probably could have sold the components of the train in “Chor Bazaar”, wonder what he would have done with the people.

He got into an unmanned engine of Mhow-Ratnam Fast passenger and tried to get away with it. I guess he chose the Fast passenger because he wanted to be “Gone in 60 seconds”. It would have been quite a feat, but unfortunately for him he could not locate the accelerator of the locomotive. He managed to steer the train for 50 meters, quite an achievement for the first attempt.

He has been arrested by the Railway police, but clearly he has proved himself to be the biggest “Dabangg” of all. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Legalizing the World's oldest profession

Prostitution is always referred to as the World's Oldest Profession. The first prostitute was one of our cave dwelling ancestors who was 'nice' to a cave man in exchange for a haunch of mammoth. It was a common sense 'survival' sort of arrangement back then. Things have not changed. It still is today. 

Historically Hindu mythology does not have anything against this profession. Rather the depiction of the character of Basantasena (played by Rekha) in the film Utsav eulogizes the profession, showing they were accepted by the society. I don’t know the authenticity of the story, but remember the character Vasantasena from some other story of the same era. Hence I can safely say that they were accepted in ancient Indian society.

Modern day prostitution can go back to the Devadasi system of South India, Baijees of North India. We find the profession was established around temple towns and near Palaces. In old Kolkata, where the erstwhile Zamindars resided, this profession was patronized by the high-class society, rich and the aristocracy.

But prostitutes are not a respected lot.

Governments across the world are faced with the question of legalizing this profession. The Supreme Court of India supports legalizing prostitution. 
"They (sex workers) have been operating in one way or the other and nowhere in the world have they been able to curb it by legislation. In some cases, they (the trade) is carried out in a sophisticated manner. So, why don't you legalize it?" Justices Dalveer Bhandari and AK Patnaik told Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam. 

It’s high time this profession is legalized. They should receive benefits like Provident fund, Retiral benefits, tax exemption etc. In fact, their service should also be subsidized by the Government. They should also be honored with President’s medal, life time achievement awards etc. As lunatic as I may sound, these people serve to protect the innocent.  

The main reason why prostitution remains relevant till today is because sex has always been regarded as a highest form of pleasure for humans and thus explains peoples’ crave for it. The same craving results in bizarre and unbelievable acts. We have seen umpteen incidents of rape highlighted in the media (not to forget hundreds of fake rapes.. a la.. violinist L Subramanian and the more famous Shiney Ahuja). There are two incidents in newspaper today, which are so disturbing and were the motivation for me to write this piece.   

In a shocking incident, two tipsy youths stormed into a temporary house of an 85-year-old widow and allegedly raped her. The incident took place on the outskirts of Hardoi district (Uttar Pradesh). The victim is in a critical condition, doctors are trying to stabilize her.

In another incident, a 20-year-old man tried to rape his one-and-a-half-year-old neighbour. He failed in his intention as the mother reached the place before he could succeed in his attempt. This happened in Bangalore.

By legalizing prostitution and making it easily available to craving individuals, we may be able to save some innocents from such attacks. These attacks crush the entire lives of affected individuals. (Quite the opposite in case of Shiney)