Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let there be light

By Rupa Gulab
(Published in Bengal Post, 14th September 2010)

I spent most of last week in quiet meditation. Not under a tree like Amar Chitra Katha yogis though – please, I do not wish to be attacked by soldier ants and other creepy crawlies. Take my word for it - lying on the bed staring at the ceiling fan can lead to enlightenment as well. Okay, so I haven’t hit upon an inspiring new religion yet, but I have had a few startling revelations.

Tony Blair will be remembered for owning more shoes than the entire female cast in Sex and the City: Everyone and his dog is writing a book these days. Why, George W. Bush’s poodle has just published one too. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s tell all memoirs (Tony Blair: A Journey) was recently launched. When Blair appeared for the first leg of his international signing tour at a book store in Dublin, anti-war protesters hurled shoes and eggs at him. There are a lot more anti-war protestors across the world eagerly waiting for him with shoes polished and poised. The Queen of England will probably toss her royal slippers at him too for revealing private conversations and exposing her inner-housewife. Why he had to tell us that Her Majesty dons rubber gloves and does the dishes every now and then, beats me. Fellow Labour Party member Gordon Brown is bound to hurl army boots stuffed with rocks at Blair as well for making him look ridiculous while pretending to praise him. From the excerpt I’ve read, I have to concede that Blair cleverly did to him what Mark Anthony did to Brutus. It’s a win-win situation for Blair, really: if the book’s royalties eventually don’t add up to much, rest assured he can make a killing by organising a quaint English jumble sale with all those shoes.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would have approved of Facebook: I have been giggling appreciatively at the non-violent protests of a Facebook group that has recently sprung to life. It urges people to "subversively move Tony Blair's memoirs to the crime section in book shops" and has over 7,000 enthusiastic members so far. The protest is a huge success and members have uploaded cheeky shots of the book in the fantasy, true crime and horror shelves at bookstores, tee hee. Now, if only I’d thought of this when BJP leader LK Advani’s autobiography (My Country My Life) was launched! It’s never too late though - if ever I chance upon copies of Advani’s memoirs, rest assured I’ll put them where they really belong. That’s the least I can do as a secular Indian.

There’s a glaring typographical error in Indian medical textbooks: Admittedly I haven’t seen it myself, but I strongly suspect that the solemn term ‘Hippocratic Oath’ is misspelt as ‘Hypocritic Oath’. I have always been opposed to the idea of doctors going on strike while patients (particularly the underpriviliged ones) suffer. Sure their problems must be addressed but there are humane ways to settle scores, for God’s sake. As I write this, a strike by 1200 resident doctors in Rajasthan has entered its third day. I have just been informed by a breathless and justifiably horrified TV reporter that over 50 ailing people have died so far thanks to medical negligence. The charming Dr. Nitin Dwivedi (President of the Resident Doctor’s Association) was interviewed and he airily brushed aside the reporter’s concern saying that the figures were titchy and absolutely nothing to worry about. More people than that die every single day when the doctors are on duty, he calmly assured her in his most comforting bedside manner. Hmm. I’m pretty certain now that if I so much as sneeze while holidaying in Rajasthan, I’m taking the next flight out.

There’s a new star on the horizon: While I was idly surfing through television channels the other day, I caught sight of a disgruntled middle-aged woman with eyes scrunched into slits shrieking into the camera. I shuddered, assuming that I’d stumbled upon one of those dreadful saas-bahu serials. And then I recognised her – it was BJP leader Sushma Swaraj live in Parliament! My God, Ekta Kapoor absolutely must sign her on as a TV mother-in-law – Sushma’s a natural. She’s got the right expressions, the right tonal pitch, the right clothes and the right manhole-sized bindi, as well. Why should only members of parliament enjoy her fabulous histrionics?


Aman said...


Delicious nuggets in here.

I wish they'd move all those mulgaonkar, godse, savarkar types of books to the Crime section in bookstores as well!!!

Also, the oath taking on an e-book bit is hilarious!

Good stuff! :-)

rupagulab said...

@Aman: Why, thank you!