It’s an undisputed fact that Arvind Kejriwal is the greatest soul to have ever set foot on a grateful earth. An eminent member of His party called Him greater than Mahatma Gandhi. Many of His ardent fans have called Him the last messiah – the eagerly anticipated 10th and last avatar of Lord Vishnu, who will set everything right in this sinful world by single-handedly destroying the hideous demon of corruption with His flaming broom of self-righteousness. Now Justice Markandeya Katju has said that 90% of Indians are intellectually challenged. He being a secular intellectual, his statement has to be accepted as the gospel truth. And democracy being rule of the majority, we have to accept everything that intellectually challenged folks believe. Hence, we cannot question the fact of Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s godhead. We accept Him as the supreme being not only on earth, but in the entire universe
(BTW, where is Lord Katju these days? He seems to have disappeared as completely as a cucumber that has the misfortune to get into Sherlyn Chopra’s hands)
Wonderful and perfect though Kejriwal is, He sometimes tends to forget that His followers (affectionately called AAPtards) are not as perfect as Himself. They’re mostly ordinary, simple minded folks, who cannot sometimes fathom the subtleties of wisdom that their great leader speaks. For instance, when Kejriwal pronounced that all businessmen are corrupt and the root of all evil in the country, these endearing simpletons believed that He was espousing socialism; that soon the great leader will lead them in a great social revolution, where they will be able to gleefully massacre all rich and corrupt people and become rich and corrupt themselves. So when recently Kejriwal proclaimed that He’s not against businessmen, his devotees were stunned, and had to declare on various social media platforms that from henceforth they were all capitalists.
Another such incidence occurred yesterday which will help to drive home my point.
A certain AAP fan, whom we shall simply refer to as AA (Aam Aadmi), went to a departmental store in his locality in Delhi. He picked up all the things which an aam aadmi needs – shaving cream & blade, deo spray, biscuits, chocolates, veggies, fruits and such stuff. At the last moment, he recalled that his wife had specifically asked him to get cooking oil. For a moment his heart froze with terror and beads of sweat erupted on his forehead – like all aam aadmis, our AA too was terrified of his wife’s wrath. He mumbled a small prayer of gratitude to God Kejriwal for having had such a narrow escape, picked up the oil, and strode to the exit with all his goodies. There he was accosted by the guard, and the following conversation took place.
Guard: “Sir, may I see your bill of purchase?”
G – “Sir, your bill”
AA – “I don’t have a bill”
G – “But sir, I need to see your bill”
AA – “Who says so?”
G – “Sir, the manager of this store says so”
AA – “Take me to your manager”
Whereupon, the guard took AA to the manager. He informed the manager of the problem, and then the following conversation took place:
Manager – “Sir, the guard does need to see your bill”
AA – “What bill?”
Manager – “Sir, the bill of purchase. Which shows that you have paid for all the items that you’ve bought”
AA – “How can I show that? I haven’t paid for the items”
Manager – “In that case sir, you cannot take these items out of the store. You have to pay for what you buy”
AA – “Who says so?”
Manager (confused) – “That’s the usual custom, sir”
AA – “Custom, eh? Well, customs have changed. Lord Arvind Kejriwal has appeared on earth, and He has decreed that all customs will change now. New laws will be written, people will now have all the power – in fact, Shri Kejriwal is going to write an entirely new Constitution which will give the aam aadmi every right without any responsibilities. And yesterday, Arvind ji has declared that He believes in free markets. So now, I also believe in free markets”
Manager (more confused than ever) – “Sir?”
AA – “Don’t you understand? Not only will the aam aadmi have free water and electricity, but the markets will all be free. You understand? FREE. Which means, I can have anything in this supermarket for free”
At this point, the manager decided to call the police. But if he thought that our brave AA would be scared of the police, he was grossly mistaken. AA made a call on his Nokia Asha mobile, and pretty soon a large no. of AAP partymen appeared on the scene. They were headed by the former Law Minister of Delhi, the great Somenut Bharti, who never let such minor hindrances as the law get in his way when he decided to help the common man. Ever since a popular fairness cream – which promised to convert a crow to a swan in 3 weeks – had failed to produce even an iota of reduction in the darkness of his skin, Somenut Bharti had begun to hate all big businesses and corporates. So as soon as he had heard AA’s story from the donkey’s…err..horse’s own mouth, this modern Robin Hood turned to his followers and ordered them to ransack the departmental store. The corrupt police of course failed to arrive in time, as this departmental store had failed to pay its last two installments of ‘hafta’ in their due time. So by the time they arrived, they only found the bewildered manager and his stunned coworkers standing in the store which had been swept empty by the broom of the people’s revolution.
So my request to Shri Kejriwal is to please specify exactly what He means when He says something. Though, I do admit that the subtleties of His wisdom are so subtle that often it is difficult to convey the exact meaning of His words to humble mortals – especially mortals so intellectually challenged as our innocent AAPtards. Maybe it would help if He tells his followers that when He says something, His followers are to understand that He actually means exactly the opposite. Also it would help if Lord Kejriwal were to tell His followers the exact dictionary meaning of the words He uses. For instance, the other day He said that He hates crony capitalists, and His sweet, innocent, simple-minded followers beat up their own cronies who are so used to outraging on social media using all caps
In another man’s bed, the sun strokes her cheek
With his youthful gold-fingered supple fingers,
And prying her sleepy lids apart, she prepares
For the day, her scent on his bed lingers.
Her fingers knead the dough, that his strength
Nourishes; and later, when the Sun is older
And fiercer, she plucks his dried clothes,
Clean, but his scent on them for ever.
She haggles with the grocer, scolds the bai,
And takes time off from her reading, and fills
His balance sheet and pay his taxes, and later
Makes the bookings to travel to the hills
And in the night, in bed with him,
When she mingles her body to his
The name that reverberates in her mind
Making her orgasm, is mine, not his
A piece of paradise, in the city of kings,
Walled-in from its grime and its crime
By white-washed walls, white pebbles strewn
Beneath rough tables and chairs, a nook in time.
Beneath the shade of gentle pristine trees,
Whiskey like liquid gold flows on the rocks,
Wisps of Gold Flake smoke like silver dreams
Curl upwards and vanish in the darkness of her locks
The smiling waiters, melting into the shadows,
Unobtrusive, indifferent, respectful, calm, silent;
Not so the dark, angry, moral policing clouds,
Rumbling in envy of love, threaten to be violent.
And then her voice, full of the joy of now,
A song of passion, wistfully beginning to rise,
But suddenly choked, by sadness of coming separation,
That melts the clouds, and they flow through her eyes.
The process by which the female of any animal species selects the male with whom she will cohabit and let him pass his genes to her progeny is called sexual selection. And while feminists are often prone to confuse Homo sapiens males with canines, the fact is that even the female Homo sapiens is essentially an animal. Consequently the rules of sexual selection apply to her as well.
This process of sexual selection is not merely a biological abstraction. The reality of its existence hits you like a Tysonian punch on the nose, when impelled by your hormonal storm and confident in your belief in being a youthful Adonis, you approach the most beautiful girl in your college and receive a summary rejection – without so much as a backward glance to check if the thud behind her was just a falling log or your head hitting the ground. After you’ve endured the amusement of your dear friends and well-wishers and finished contemplating the various non-painful means to end your life and your shame, you begin to think : What went wrong? Why did she reject you, when according to you, you were the most suitable play…err….life-mate for her. The answer, my dear fellow, is sexual selection.
According to the principles of sexual selection, a female is always on the lookout for the best possible man to father her future children. And her criteria are often entirely different from what you think they are or should be. For instance, you may be the sort of person who jumps to rigid attention every time the National Anthem plays, even on your radio while you are seated in the 2nd class compartment of a train, and thereby lose your hard-earned seat. You may attend your local Nationalist organization meetings regularly and do the daily exercises, giving the stick in your hand an extra twirl whenever you spot the object of your desire at a distance, nearly poking yourself in the eye with which you are lechering at her. You may think that your patriotic fervor makes you the finest fellow on earth. But, believe me, your patriotic acrobatics have as much chance of making her sway as the Eastern wind has of toppling Mount Kilimanjaro.
Or you may be the nice guy, a man with a heart as tender and soft as Katrina’s cheeks (the ones on the face), who picks up stray kittens from the streets, feeds them Parle-G biscuits dipped in milk and put them up for adoption on Facebook. While everyone is flying kites on Makar Sankranti and focused on the sky, your eyes remain focused on the ground, to look for pigeons that’ve been hurt by the kite-strings, to take them to the vet. And every day, you go to the girls’ hostel to meet the girl of your dreams and enquire dutifully after her health, take the list of her day’s shopping and fetch all the items in a jiffy, like an especially well-trained and intelligent dog. You keep to your task with the persistence of the above-mentioned canine, until one fine day she introduces you to the love of her life who has come to pick her up on his Yamaha Superbike. And later in the year, to put some Burnol on your wound, she parcels a loving Rakhi for you on Rakshabandhan. Of course the Burnol feels like Kissan chilli sauce.
Or you may be one of those souls who go to the gym and punish the machines, until the weights start having vertigo, and the owner starts complaining that the steady stream of your sweat is spoiling his carpet. Soon you start resembling Hercules. As she passes you, she steals many glances at your bulges and cuts. And when you both turn around to check each others’ asses out, the thing happens, which Karan Johar calls love, but more discerning philosophers call lust. You go out, you shop together, you watch movies together, you eat together and finally you sleep together. You’re happy that you’ve found the princess of your dreams and you suggest that she fix an appointment for you with her dad, the king, so that you can formally apply for her hand. She calmly tells you to not be silly and that marriage is the last thing on her mind at the moment. She actually means that marriage WITH YOU is the last thing on her mind, at ANY moment. And despite your Schwarzeneggeresque physique, her dainty cold shoulder crashes into you with the power of 11,000 volts of pure electricity and you’re knocked out cold.
By now, I can visualize you screaming at the top of your voice, the age old question:
“WHAT DOES A WOMAN WANT????”
See, it’s not the question of what a woman wants. That’s the wrong question. A woman wants pretty much the same things that a man wants – a comfortable easy life, moderate life challenges that pleasantly exercise the faculties without taxing them too much, the latest iPhone, pizzas on weekends, new clothes and shoes, and a bit of love to make it all seem grand and fulfilling. The real question is not what a woman wants. The real question is, what nature wants.
Remember that eccentric old Irish-English dramatist GB Shaw? He wrote a lot of atrocious things and also a lot of sensible things, and among the latter was this: that a woman is nature’s vehicle through which she determines the sort of genes that will be passed onto future generations.
Look at most of the animals and their mating patterns. Who does the female select to mate with? The strongest or the smartest male she can find, right? Someone she can trust to provide and protect herself and her kids. Because that’s the sensible thing to do from an evolutionary point of view. Because only the fittest will survive in the future.
And strength in the human society is determined not by muscle or brain, but by money. The wealthier a man, the stronger he is in the society. Too obvious to state, isn’t it?
But hey, hold on, you say. What about smartness, you protest. What about intelligence? Isn’t intelligence the motive force of the human civilization? Shouldn’t human intelligence then hold the highest esteem in a woman’s eyes, and the intelligent man have the best chance of entering into her…uh…affections?
Not really. Because the most important consideration for a female is that her male should be a good provider and protector – and what provides and protects better than money? Besides, intelligent men are too often eccentric and dreamy and impractical. And most women believe that the richer man is also the smarter man. So if they have to choose between say Sid Mallya and Vincent Van Gogh, 99 out of 100 women would tell Vincent to be practical, earn some money, and go for some other girl who will make him happy.
And what about men with a sense of humor? Women’s magazines are full of articles about women practically soaking wet for the man who can make her laugh. I tell you, that’s the biggest joke of the century. Women enjoy talking to men with a sense of humor – hell, everyone does. But that’s all. Strictly platonic bro. And she may be wet because his jokes made her laugh so hard that she leaked a bit, that’s all.
So my friend, you can have any girl in the world you want – the most beautiful, the sexiest, the smartest or the one with the biggest, you know, heart – provided you have the dough. It doesn’t matter if you’re as bald as Tibet or as ugly as a toad, or as dense as the Gurgaon winter air. What matters is not the bulge on your arms, your forehead, or even the one between your legs – what actually matters is the bulge in your pocket. So don’t build those muscles, but exercise the little grey cells in your head and build your bank account. She doesn’t want the man of steel – she wants the man of gold.
NB: And dear feminists please don’t call me misogynist. Blame mother nature
The old folks of my city believe that the City Development Authority develops and maintains public parks exclusively for their benefit. Towards twilight, you can find any number of these seniors scattered around these parks, like over-ripe fruits fallen from the trees above. Some are sitting morosely on the benches; others inhaling and exhaling great gusts of air, like scaly fishes freshly yanked out of water, performing the lung calisthenics prescribed by the winking yoga guru with the straggly beard who peddles them as cures for all maladies – asthma, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, and possibly even lymphosarcoma of the intestines. And periodically these veterans cast baleful glances at the children gamboling carelessly on their precious grass and flower beds, desecrating their ‘meditation’ with their raucous play. They barely tolerate the salwar suit clad portly aunties huffing and puffing in their Reebok sports shoes through their weight loss kilometers. But their severest disapproval is reserved for the young couples cloistered in imaginary bubbles of privacy in secluded corners beneath shady trees, stuck to each other with the glue of fresh lust, delighting in the refreshing hormonal breeze of rebellion and daring. The geezers shake their heads and mutter to each other, worried about the degeneration of Indian culture and values.
From the feeble mumblings of old men in public parks to discourses over Marigold biscuits dipped in light brown tea in middle class drawing rooms, the same dirge to the dying Indian culture and values is sung. From his black cat commando cordoned pulpit, the khadi clad politician attempts to hide his failures by blaming the increasing crimes against women on the same degeneration of culture. Young English-hating men with vermillion dabbed foreheads, smash glasses and furniture and terrorize young girls and boys enjoying themselves in pubs and discs to defend this same culture.
What is this thing called the Indian Culture – this all pervasive force that is supposed to be the guide and control of our society? How do you define Indian culture? Which fountainhead does it spring from? From where does it derive its immense and unquestionable authority?
Certain images immediately waft into the mind. Young men and women bending low to touch the feet of elders. Women in brightly colored flowing dresses, twirling to the musical notes emanating from a piped instrument at the lips of a heavily mustached man. Huge numbers of people in varying stages of devotional frenzy, swarming up a hill to the famous shrine of a goddess. Young men in checkered neckties, digging their teeth into MacDonald’s burgers and chomping out statistics about the high divorce rates in America.
The images rush in now. Women scrubbing their fingers off to keep their own homes spotlessly clean, while strewing the garbage onto the streets. Men winding down car windows to expectorate out globs of pan or gutkha on the same long-suffering street. Plump, jewel-bedecked women jiggling their bosoms and hips in a garishly lit marriage procession, while the clogged traffic behind them blares its horns in strident, yet futile protest.
Some more images, if you reflect further. Hard-working cynical parents, silently dismissing their child’s dream to become Superman, while plotting his rise to the top of the corporate ladder. And if he persists in this foolishness, then crushing his dream with the debt of gratitude for all their sacrifices as he grows up. The same parents, poring over the classifieds of several newspapers, selecting the perfect bride for him – very fair, well-educated but homely; the daughter of rich parents of the same caste. Is the grounding of the fragile glass of dreams into the mortar that glues together the identical bricks of society the thing that we call our culture? Are the aspirations of young men and women mere weeds that have to be brutally hacked away by the gardener to maintain the beautiful garden of our culture?
The images get murkier. A few old men with hateful eyes of the past, bubbling hookahs in the village square, calmly condemning a young couple to execution for daring to love against the tenets of caste or gotra. People segregated and branded, not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of something called caste, which is supposed to be determined by caste of the father whose loins he/she has sprung from- the chain extending backwards to the murky swamps of an extinct past.
Our culture teaches us family values. My parents, my spouse, my children, are all that matter to me. I drop my popcorn and cola and stand up dutifully when the national anthem plays in the movie hall, but the rhythm doesn’t resonate with the beats of my heart. I continue to bribe and swindle the citizens of my country, so that I can accumulate wealth for my family. I have a strong work ethic – I work long hard hours, not because I have a passion for my work, but because I have a passion for money. I don’t create anything new in my work, because my creativity is employed in finding new ways to earn money and secure my family. I don’t love my spouse, but I continue to drag the heavy burden of my cheerless marriage because I’m afraid of what people will say if I free myself from the shackles. My culture has taught me to accept the hegemony of my neighbor, to let him bind me in his rules of behavior and thinking, just as I bind him myself. I’m afraid of freedom, because my culture has taught me that freedom is poisonous.
Why do we let these cultural irons fetter our imagination and our lives? Why do we think that the ghosts of the past have the right to enunciate their rules of living and thinking into our ears? The promulgators of these rules of living are long dead, ground into the dust by the ruthless feet of time. Is it reverence for our ancestors, or is it mere intellectual and spiritual laziness that prevents us from exerting ourselves to frame new rules that suit our present circumstances? Rules that help us grow, rather than shrink; that help us to express rather than suppress our inner selves.
Yes, this culture is the breath of dead spirits, but it is very much alive. And yet, it’s not the breath that gives life – it’s a puff of poison that suffocates our inner spirit. It makes us yearn for an imaginary past of glory, while our imagination should be fervently alive with dreams of a better present. Are the living meant to enslave their souls to the dead?
Throw this culture to where it belongs – into the dustbin of history and mythology. Sure it will entail difficulties. There will be the pain of intellectual teething and the agony of emotional uprooting. The fear of the unkown will haunt us as our ship cuts away its deeply rooted anchor and drifts off into the vast ocean of intellectual and spiritual possibilities. But somewhere beyond that turbulent ocean with its deeply buried incredible treasures is, I believe, the horizon of a brave new world of freedom, hope and happiness.