Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sophie's Choice

This happened yesterday – on the 29th of July, 2008.

The day began early for me. I was in Ludhiana and went to a store at 6 to see the delivery of the morning produce and the subsequent invoicing process.
I returned to my hotel Fortune Classic at 8:30, had breakfast at the dining hall and then went to my room and slept.

Early in the morning, while going to the store, I was surprised to see it (“Her” as I learnt from the medical report) alive. The “it” being a pup I remembered hearing crying over outside the hotel last night, who in the failing light seemed to have a car passed through its forepaws and was dying. Seeing her again, I vaguely asked the driver if there was any veterinarian around, and was told that the one hospy opened at 10:30. Coming back I bought a chocolate cake from Reliance Fresh and dropped a couple in front of the dog and retired to the room, my conscience lulled for the moment.

I woke up at 12:30 and walked down; sure that the poor beast could not have survived the ordeal so long. Sure enough, the pup was missing from the parking lot. I casually asked the guard about the pup and was told that she had been put on the side of the road. I went peeking and there she was – alive!

I think I found her being alive disturbing because it made things tougher for my conscience; and not so much because of the extended ordeal of the pup.

I took the pub to the govt. hospy. Surprisingly, clean for a govt. hospy but still a govt. hospy. The fees to get the card made was Rs. 20. It took me almost an hour to get that made after an indifferent compounder finally revealed the mystery of its origin to me. The officer who made the card was, in contrast, fast and efficient. I had kept the pup in a huge airy foray, grey, and with a row of washbasins, the kind in chemistry labs, at the centre. I kept her besides a washbasin trying to feed her a the cakes, but she refused. I wet the cake and she only weakly ran a tongue over it and then nothing. After asking half a dozen of the staff for any kind of bowl, I, finally, found a piece of cotton and over the next fifteen minutes was able to feed it water – water that it lapped with more life than I had seen in her the entire day. A seasoned compounder came along, initially refusing to believe my tale that it was not my pet, but eventually did and was most helpful after that (to quote him: punya ka kaam hai).

To cut a long day short, after the doctor came, I had to get some Xrays done. The Xray doctor was unexceptionally brusque and rude and demanded that I get a second person to hold the dog. I lost my temper, in a flare of ten joints in a single puff hitting and clouding my brain, shouted at him, went out and got someone for the promise of ten bucks, with the help of the sr. compounder. The xray was taken by another senior doctor, equally rude, who answered my query to whether I could come for the xray after 15 minutes (I needed some tea) with “Jaroor aao. Aap kabhi bhi aao. Par Xray aapko ek ghante mein hi milega.’ I again lost my temper and asked him why he was being sarcastic. In both the doctors, I found a strangely staid immunity to anger; their bored faces unwrinkled by my flashes, their apathy untinted. But to their credit, they did not take offence either, and did not deliberately impede my attempts.

All this time I was carrying the pup in some old newspaper. The paper had gotten soggy and I thought that the pup had peed. But as it turned out, it was the brown watery pus that flowed from its wasted front right paw, being gorged by ants and flies alike. I walked around two kms to and from between the various buildings – the cab requisitioned by another co-worker for a market visit. As I carried it back from the Xray, the pup was so limp that I had a real fine act to balance it without the pus flowing down my shirt. And then my nose began to itch – as they always do in times like these. When I reached the mail hall again, tears were running down my cheeks with the itch but again the apathy that is the hallmark of all govt. institutions that made no head turn.

Tea was a canteen that looked like an abandoned bus-stop but again, surprisingly clean, and a couple of bargad peds set in concrete plinths. I drank three cups of good tea and smoked a couple of cigarettes to kill the hour. The senior compunder met me there and I got into a conversation with him and an aged sikh whose dialect I could hardly understand. Explaining what I did, business analyst supporting merchandising arm of organized retail, was rather, to say the least, tough. They asked for my package. I quote a figure roughly fourth of my package (already half of what most of my peers take home) and their jaws dropped. The sardaar bluntly asked me what did I do with all the money. The compounder then told me over a tea why he thought baba ramdev was the biggest charity king in the country. A friend called – washing bikes in office for charity and having fun. It was a charity I understood – fun, removed and convenient; like a quick dusting over the conscience.

I went for the Xrays and found that they had arrived roughly half an hour after they had been taken. They showed multiple fractures. Two legs wasted and possibly also the spine.

I went down with a doctor – a young student who told me that the survival chances of the pup were very minimal. Whatever chances there were, lay in my taking the pup with me to delhi, taking very good care of it and likewise. But even then, she most probably would die in pain. And then he gave me the choice – shall I put erto sleep right now?

The pup must have been one and a half months old, white and festered with raw wounds, scars and pus. Her front forepaw was twisted twice around its axis and her entire bones were open like a medical instructional chart. She had lain limp for most of the day, only yelping when the doctor felt its paws and every time I had to lift her. That was the only time that her eyes sparkled with something close to being alive; though it was only intolerable pain. Sheseemed totally unaware and detached from me and the surroundings; like a very old war-veteran. I had a one-year old bitch who died after a protracted paralysis of the legs for a month – around seven years ago. Towards the end, her eyes, frisky and alive, had the same dull fatalistic expression as the pup. So did a rooster I had when I was a kid – who died of cold and depression after a hen died.

I had five seconds to choose. I waited for some sign from the pup but she lay inert, only her heart beating against my palm. The thought did rush into my head: who was I to decide on her life? But. But. But.
I was tired, I felt I had done enough, I felt that shewas already dying, its pain and condition … etc etc. whatever it was, I gave the thumbs down like a roman emperor at the colloseum.

The entire day had passed in a dull, surreal stupor. But as the doctor went for the injection, I had the feeling that the pup knew what was about to happen. It lasted for fifteen seconds but it was the only moment in the day when I felt close to breaking down.

Thankfully, the heart stopped even as only half the anaesthesia was injected; perhaps given that the pup was hardly bigger than the size of my forearm. So quick was it that it took me some seconds to realize what had happened after the doctor stopped midway.

I paid a grumpy ward-boy (a boy of the age of fifty) fifty to bury the pup instead of throwing it in the waste. I went to take a leak and coming back I saw that he had bundled the medical report, the cake, the cotton-wool and the pup - the entire remains of the day - into the very reliance fresh plastic where it had started. The man was true to his word and I saw him take a spade, walk a little into the shrubs behind the canteen and strike the first few plods.

I went back – empty handed; an entire day gone; with no catharsis; only a dull indifference and antipathy to what I am, my ilk, my corporate existence, et al. even Sophie had a choice between two deaths; I had life and death, and I chose death – I suspect because of convenience.

The pup was one and a half month old and the doctor said that the amount of pus indicated that she had remained like this for four days. In those four days, she had not eaten and drunk and been out in the torrential rains like the ones that had happened the day before. A thousand VIPs had zoomed in and out of the hotel in the meantime, and a million walked and driven by in the bustling thoroughfare.

Is there any justification to this pain, this existence? Loneliness seems a very petty word for this. Christians talk about Christ suffering for the world. What suffering did this pup atone for? Cycle of hindu karma? Is any amount of sins great enough to justify for this?

The only explanation possible is that there is no justification. Mercy, loneliness, charity, empathy – are words we have designed to give some meaning to the empty ruthlessness of life that threatens the very sanity of our thinking; thinking that us humans have been unfortunately gifted by nature as a survival mechanism. As survival eased and metaphysics crept into the space reserved for threatening omens -- sounds, smells, chattering of monkeys on the trees, and like – we invented words to address the maddening grief of existence. The little pup understood its existence (“the inexorable cruelty of it” in my human mind) more clearly and perfectly than I ever would.

Today has been dull and meaningless. A friend tried to console me when I foolishly confided. But it’s nothing to do with anyone but me and the pup. I wondered if my unsuccessful attempt made the pup feel somewhat wanted towards the end; if i could have put her to sleep a day before and saved her a day of agony; if my interference only served to bring death to something that might still have lived; but then what difference does it make.

Mediocrity, cheap sentimentality, platitudes and two-penny philosophies. Outside and within.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rassi jal gayi par bal nahi gaye

A day after the UPA won the trust vote, the Left parties on Wednesday said the victory was not a mandate for going ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal as the “moral authority” of the Government has been “compromised” by securing majority through “bribery, intimidation and horse-trading”.

Friends, gutter-roaches, comrades,

Let me get this straight.

Does this mean that your own moral authority was permanently compromised when you were welcoming China when they violated the Panchsheel and swooped down on us in '62, or when your leader Ajoy Ghosh was making secret trips to Moscow to take instructions from your mai-baaps?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

KArat's comment on the wad-malfunction in LS

While calling the incident shameful, despising and blah-blah, Karat deftly slips in, "The members belonging to the opposition in the Lok Sabha have been approached with money and inducements. They have spared the members of Left parties because they know they can't buy our MPs". Implying, of course, that the BJP MPs can be bought.

Touche, Karat!

courtsey: Indian Express

Monday, July 21, 2008

MS Office dictionary bogged

The dictionary in MS Office still has no entry for "blog".
The closest word that comes is "bog".

Hmm, close; but quite not close enough.

Btw, what's the spellcheck recommendation for your name? Mine is Anshuman = Antihuman.
Creepily true, won't you say?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Untalented Mr. Kulkarni

It's been a month since i have started reading the papers again - Indian Express, my usual favorite. my decision on papers is usually on two fronts - front page and editorials.
hence, i was surprised by the unusually harsh, anti-Congress language of a certain Mr. Sudheerna Kulkarni.
I expect people to have political affiliations, one of my favorite commentators over the years, Tavleen Singh, has always made her dislike for Congress very clearBut Mr. Kulkarni seems to regularly cross the lines with ridiculous partisanship and language unbecoming the main editorial of a national newspaper.

Sample this from today's editorial-
"How a manipulative PM betrayed the Left, forcing it to withdraw support to the UPA Government on July 8, is well known" - This is a favorite tactic of Mr. Kulkarni - Substituting facts with "is well known". Did you know about this? Was the manipulative side of Mr. Singh was so apparent to you all along as it is to Mr. Kulkarni?
The Left betrayed??? It was lucky to have any say in deciding the national politics with 39 seats - leave alone, dictating it for four whole years.

Mr. Kulkarni goes one to expound on the purpose of his editorial - "But the nation must be alerted against a new conspiracy afoot to commit another betrayal." Spare us the alerts Mr. Kulkarni. A lot of us are fairly intelligent to make our own choices. Just give us your analysis, if you're one of those experts.

He goes on to say - "Dr Singh’s government, unsure of its survival, has been desperately trying to stitch together a majority by indulging in the worst kind of horse-trading New Delhi has seen, thereby setting a dangerous precedent in national politics."
Hello? what national precedent is he talking about? Did not a similar horse-trading take place in '99 too? haven't the same criminals who are going to vote in this motion, voted before on issues the Left was an ally with? And is the UPA the only party that is not indulging in horse-trading?

He ends the editorial with an ominous - "The apolitical PM, who has never won a Lok Sabha election, may not care, but his party should know that there is a heavy price to be paid for his wrongdoings in the next parliamentary election, whenever they are held. "

What the hell! Is this an election rally or an editorial?

That led me to investigate the credentials of Mr. Kulkarni and this is what I got: The writer is a former advisor to Mr. Advani (Don't the last lines actually remind you of the man himself) and a ghost-writer of Mr. Vajpeyee's musings, whatever that means.
In short, a BJP man, out and out.

Fair. Whatever your political idealgoy and vested interests, does this man deserve to vent that in such an esteemed national space? A man whose interests are vested much deeper, the venerable Arun Shourie, can still write an editorial based on facts and following the principles of honest and rational analysis.
Mr. Kulkarni, stop thinking about the dangerous precedents in national politics: though I fail to gather what precedents are left that might still be dangerous. MLAs, even Chief Ministers, are indicted for murdering eachother, burning IAS officers, raping minors, and evicted without charge. They spend 100 crores on weddings, known to supply heroines to senior national leaders, indulge in every possible perversion, dishonesty and treachery. Do you really think some horse-trading is going to do irreversible damage?
Think about the precedent you have already set in sub-standard, partisan editorials.

And please, I told you before, stop shitting from your mouth. The good ol' Lord provided quite a wide rear for the same. It's ok to tell your party whips to take their dickie birds out of it sometimes if you have to go and take a dump. If you're too shy about it, this is what becomes of you.

Roads today

Went on to the Osian today with a new friend. Caught up a Japanese movie - Tokyo Sonata. A bit long but a good movie. An interesting company to boot. Had a hearty breakfast at Defence Colony of sausage-stuffed omlettes, bun maskas, tea, iced tea and chicken pie. Where we were seated, the light came in through a light green gauze of a curtain. There was an interesting profile shot of my friend reading the menu that I promised to catch in lens the next time around.

Came home and slept. and then caught up with a very old friend after a couple of months. Very old. Went to Huda market - had momos, a couple of rounds of tea, paranthas and some fags after a long time. Talked about - love, excitement and life: or rather the absence of all of them these days.

So, I spent the first half of the day laying new roads with someone; and the latter, revisiting old potted ones.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kurien's very readable dream

I have just finished reading “I too had a dream” by Verghese Kurien and I might do another reading in this very month.
After RM Lala’s “Into the Blue Mountain”, a biography of JRD, this is the best book on Indian corporates that I have read in a long time. Kudos to the straight-from-the-hip honesty and candour of Mr. Kurien and the clear easy-flowing language of the author in capturing his thoughts.
An essential must-read and must-have.

Next in agenda is the Polyester Prince, a copy of which I have been finally able to procure. For those not in the know, this is the banned biography of Dhirubhai.

Also, I was following the work of Dr. Khan, the founder of the Comilla Model in Pakistan, and his work in microfinance, separately. Kurien pinpoints that the biggest roadblock to the Indian effort in self-sufficient cooperatives were the beureaucracy: an inheritence from the Raj, built to rule than to serve, and, hence, instead of unleashing the power of the people sought to direct it to its own interests (more or less Kurien’s words. Dr. Khans beautifully egalitarian model (of having voluntary farmers units at village and central level) was undermined by the landlord elite that tilted these cooperatives in their own favor and made them instruments to promote their own private interests. Interestingly, Bennet-Owen, in “Pakistan”, cites how these elites used religion as a tool to maintain their local influence in their community and negated the social upliftment benefit initiatives from both the government (esp. Ayub Khan) and NGOs. They redesignated themselves as the peers sometimes, holy men, and hence were able to channelize the gullibility of the illiterate and the wretched lot for their own domination over them.

Gullu Advice to the Nation on a Sunday

RAW (an acronym for Research and Analysis Wing and no reference to their investigative skills) has just declared that ISI is behind the Kabul blast. Gullu called up the Intelligence chief and told him that they should seriously investigate who was in the front of it too, besides the blown away gate, of course.

Indian Express reports that Mayawati has alleged that the Centre is using the CBI to target her. A visibly distresed Gullu immediately faxed the Centre the following text "STOP USING THE CBI! TARGET HER YOURSELF!"

Gullu is also confused by the incomplete phrase appearing in TOI - Spicejet chief resigns. Resigns to what? His proclivity to flash kids or just general fate?

Gullu has just read that Dr. Talwar is free again. People in Noida with ailments ( serious, hilarious or imaginary) should really avail this opportunity and go for the free consultation day today. If the good (if rather murderous) doctor refuses, citing such trivial reasons that his daughter got murdered and he's just come back for incarceration after two months, look perplexed and ask "Ok. But I still don't see what the issue is." Make sure that you do this when the doctor has a sharp scalpel in the hand and your throat is within slashing distance.

The IAEA is still reading the draft it seems. are they frigging dyslexic? Or is the print too small to be read?

CPM says it "can" support the BJP. Gullu is confused - of course, they can. In fact, they can all paint their body red and strut naked around the streets of Delhi on a hot summer day, nekked, and act like monkeys in heat. Is that what's been stopping them to do so, so far - the knowledge of the possibility they "can"? Sheesh, there are a million can's then. Starting with the possibility of a bunch of bananas in the chief's ass is an excellent beginning.

Gullu just read that panel TV has gas. He wants to ask if that explains the strange smells in the drawing room. Related to that, he wants to ask if he lives in a red house would he be still affected by the greenhouse gas effect.

Good Morning folks. Have a nice Sunday.

A Sunday to a T

i woke up hating the world. the fact that I was helped in my resurrection act by a mobile beeping in some godforsaken corner of the world didn't help.
made some tea, took some more calls (this time from Mother Nature) which, thankfully, didn't turn out to be wrong numbers.
took my first sip of tea and I am now a Kugfu Panda.

Gullu wisdom of the day

Many a wars, many plagues
have come from a bad shite and tea in the morning.

if you want less wars, make good tea and digestive medicines.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A laptop crashes
And I am again all alone.
A movie ends,
A book tires,
A conversation ends:
And I am left to fend for the emptiness
That rushes in.
A city sleeps beneath me
Dark, sinewy and beautiful.
A car plows in the distance
Slow, purposeful and alone;
I try to reach beyond the metal
But can’t.
A city sleeps beneath me
And I hover above it
Silent, smoking, conscious and