Historical Levity


Amit Kaundinya’s review of Priyadarshan’s new movie Dhol  has the following paragraph

Armed with a script that is as old as the Harappan Civilization and with actors who are competing for the Worst Actor Award, director Priyadarshan sets off to make the audience laugh. And as expected he fails miserably. Clichéd scenes, garish cinematography, tiring songs and perhaps the most banal screenplay are what you take back after watching Dhol. [Dhol]

ASI archaeologist Karunanidhi, who also doubles as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, would have explained Priyadarsan’s miserable failure as the result of a Dravidian trying to adapt a script as old as an Aryan civilization. Besides this, Priyadarshan also used Aryan actors in a movie which was initially written and performed by Dravidians.

Hosted Democracy

Word processors like Microsoft Office or Star Office chain you to a computer. Instead, if you opt for hosted services like Google Docs and Spreadsheets, your word processor is accessible from anywhere an Internet connection is available. Hosted services, like Google Apps, are powerful and requires no setup or maintenance. The software and hardware are updated without the user even having to know about it and whenever there is a problem in the service, the host will take care of it. Thanks to Bush administration, now a hosted democracy service is available for countries like Pakistan and Iraq.

Recently, after seeing that no one Pakistan was listening to him, the General in the labyrinth decided to impose emergency. He  had already signed the order declaring emergency when the phone rang. “Yes, Dick”, he probably answered, thinking it was the Lord Voldemort on the line, but it was Dr. Rice. A few minutes of conversation and Gen. Musharraf, who is seen a macho macho man only in India was shredding the document.

“Hey, isn’t the hosted service provider saving dictatorship here”, you may ask. Calm down, grasshopper. Sometimes to save democracy, you need to save dictatorship. Yes, it is one of those Zen things.

Since Gen. Musharraf is nearing his expiry date, the Bush administration has been looking for a Prime Minister. Sadly, the available ones cannot enter the country. So, there has been negotiations and re-negotiations between Benazir Bhutto and Bush administration officials about a possible deal. Maybe the Bhutto deal won’t work out and it maybe Nawaz Sharif. Either way, you will hear it on CNN before the Pakistani people know about it.

We all know Pakistan cannot handle democracy and such outsourcing helps them avoid wasteful expenditures in terms of elections, booth rigging and bullets fired into fellow Muslims. It is not just Pakistan which is having problems in democracy. The ratings of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been plummeting and his opponents in Iraq have decided to campaign against him, not in Iraq, but in Washington D.C. Ayad Allawi, who was the interim prime minister is  paying the GOP firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR) more than a quarter-million dollars to lobby on his behalf

Finally we are sure that a group of armchair quarterbacks in Washington D.C. will do what is right for Iraq. Isn’t this kind of democracy wonderful?

We won't be landing on Saturn this trip

In an article about Santosh George, who could be India’s first space tourist, PTI writes

He will pay around Rs 1 crore for the two-hour-flight on SpaceShip Two but there will be no landing on another planet. The tourists will experience zero gravity and re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.[President meets India’s would-be first space tourist]

Imagine the disappointment of Santosh George, when he knows that he cannot get off at Saturn as planned. Seriously, how old is the person who wrote the PTI  article and how old is the Rediff editor who approved it?


If California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger meets Sonia Gandhi (mother of India’s future), they will have a common topic to talk about. As per American laws, Arnold cannot be the President of United States since he is a citizen by naturalization. In India, the Supreme Court has asked the Government’s opinion on the issue of registered citizens holding constitutional posts. By registered citizens’  everyone means Sonia Gandhi.

Let us say by some miracle, the court finds that Sonia cannot hold any constitutional post, it still does not prevent the next generation of the Royal Family from giving us that world class governance.  More effective that this PIL business would be to plead with Rahul Gandhi to give a public speech every day.

If there has been one news which has denied front page coverage of Abhishek Bachchan’s marriage to some Ms. Rai for at least one day, it has been the kissing (not on lips) of Shilpa Shetty by that foreigner Richard Gere. Apparently this is not Indian Culture and I agree for it provides excellent business opportunity for my effigy making startup. Due to this Richard Gere-Culture-Vulture thing, I am missing all those wonderful Rakhi Sawant, Mallika Sherawat, Emraan Hashami movies on TV which were instilling Indian culture into us.

The last foreigner issue comes from the Infosys Campus in Mysore where they decided not to sing the national anthem in a function attended by the President of India. Instead they decided to play the instrumental version. So far so good. Then Mr. Narayana Murthy made the statement that they decided not to sing the Indian National Anthem in India because the foreigners present would feel embarrassed.

President Abdul Kalam thinks Mr. Narayana Murthy would be a good candidate for the post of President of India. As President, Narayana Murthy will have to receive  many foreign dignitaries and there is a 100% chance that the national anthem will be played in all those occasions. To avoid embarrassing situations for foreigners, President Narayana Murthy will have to enforce a new rule –  visitors can bring their own songs which will be played instead of the national anthem. This could sometimes result in the Teletubbies theme song being played when President Bush visits India, but hey Athithi Devo Bhavah!

 What would we do without foreigners?

A New Business Idea

Last month, Discovery Channel’s planned telecast of The Jesus Tomb was scuttled by Joseph Diaz, the General Secretary of Catholic Secular Forum. Mr. Diaz without even watching the documentary, clairvoyantly assumed that it trivializes the Bible and would hurt the sentiments of people. Christian population in Christian majority countries and the Vatican had no issues with the documentary and in such countries Discovery Channel went with the telecast. In India they meekly submitted.

This time Joseph Diaz was able to step in at the right time and prevent people from seeing the documentary. We fear that sometimes things may slip through, like for example, he forgot to get the book, Da Vinci Code banned.  Books like Satanic Verses and Dwikhandita could only be banned in time because the concerned people were alert.

Also it is not just book banning that requires help. Political parties and communal organizations need help in disrupting the life of Indian citizens for matters which have nothing to do with India like the hanging of Saddam Hussein or the Palestinian issue. Besides this there are various effigy burning worth national incidents, like Khusboo’s remarks on sex, or India losing to High School cricket teams or the Shilpa Shetty- Big Brother incident.

Continue reading “A New Business Idea”

Triggering Musharraf's Dopamine System


Dopamine, a naturally produced chemical in the brain functions as a neuro transmitter, which means that it helps pass signals from one neuron to another. Dopamine is the reward center, so when something pleasurable happens, like news of Quattrocchi being arrested, dopamine is released in your brain. Understanding dopamine can help in your love life and explain Musharraf.

A recent study was conducted on 15 people who were mending broken hearts. They were shown pictures of people to whom they had intense romantic feelings and some neutral images. Magnetic Resonance Images showed that when they saw the pictures of their loved ones, the dopamine system in the brain was triggered. This implied that they still maintained feelings for their loved ones. 

After 9/11, Musharraf had to part company with his loved ones, the Taliban and al-Qaeda, to whom he had intense feelings. If you do an MRI on Musharraf’s brain and show him images of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden or Mullah Obaidullah Akhund you will see that dopamine system is triggered. In medical tests it has been found that subjects with such failed relationships show brain activity associated with risk taking, and controlling anger. This risk taking mentality explains why Musharraf allows al-Qaeda to roam freely in Pakistan while denying it and we have seen intense anger when it is suggested that Pakistan is not doing enough in the war on terror.

Currently, the relationship between United States and Pakistan, like that between two old lovers has become mundane and not so exciting. Brain studies help here too. It has been noticed that over a period of time, the intensity of the romance  between couples fades and something must be done to ignite the passion.

One set of couples were asked to perform new and exciting activities like sailing or an art class while another group was asked to perform familiar activities like dinner with friends. Couples doing new activities found that their quality of marriage got better as the novelty of the new experience triggered the dopamine system.

After 9/11, the relationship between United States and Musharraf has been like that between  Charlie Sheen and Heidi Lynne Fleiss. The US pays some money, called aid, and in turn Pakistan offers some Taliban/al-Qaeda types at regular intervals. This worked quite well from 2001 and now after 6 years, the intense romantic feeling has died down. To rekindle the love, United States thought instead of money, why not send some F-16s, but still Musharraf’s dopamine system was not triggered enough.

Then what you need is a drug. Steven Kotler in his book, West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief talks about an experiment conducted by Swiss neurologist Peter Brugger in which he gave the participants L-dopa, a drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Such people had increases in the levels of dopamine, the drug which evolution created to get us to do the things we need to do to survive.

Apparently Dick Cheney has the same effect.  We don’t know how much of Musharraf’s dopamine system was triggered by the exciting activity called one on one meeting with man who shot a lawyer in the face, but the end result is that Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, former defense minister of the Taliban government and #3 in the leadership council was arrested.

This also explains why India is not able to get Musharraf to budge on anything. Every time there is a Pakistan sponsored terrorist attack in India, all we do is re-issue previous warnings with just a change in the time stamp on the documents. Then there is the usual accusation/counter accusation new cycle and all goes still till the next terrorist attack. If we are able to pull a Dick Cheney on him, something tangible might happen.

HOWTO: Let Quattrocchi Escape

Remember Ottavio Quattrocchi? The middle man for Bofors who represented Snamprogetti and big pal of ex-dead-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi? He was arrested in Argentina on Feb 6th and there is a 30 day period during which India should ask him to be extradited. Of course bringing Quattrocchi to Delhi is not something the UPA would like to do and so they decided to let the 30 day period lapse.

Then some spoil sport “leaked” the news after 13 days and there is lot of activity in the Parliament. Apparently the file went to our Prime Minster and no action was taken because a) they could not identify it was Ottavio Quattrocchi and b) They could not find anyone to translate documents from Spanish to English. Now that the news has been leaked the CBI is forced to book a ticket to visit the beautiful Buenos Aires.

According to the Government, which always looks if the glass is half full or empty by tilting the open side of the glass towards its face, the criminal in this whole case is the person who leaked the information to the media. He has been called a “saboteur” and “culprit” and various agencies have been asked to find the “mole”.

It was with great effort that the Congress Party erased the word “Bofors” from public memory and now this saboteur-culprit has undone two decades to hard work. If Bofors comes back, it is going to be trouble for lot of pundits. They will have to refresh their memory on what the case was all about and teach their spell checker to correctly spell Quattrocchi.

This will also distract us from other  issues  of national importance like the Abhishek-Aishwarya wedding. N. Ram will soon start publishing photo copies of Quattrocchi’s nursery school mark sheets and will have no time to reprint articles from the People’s Daily. The UPA Administration will be busy denying all Bofors allegations that they will not have time to express shock at various acts of terror happening in the country. Do we want this to happen?

We hope the CBI officers take  one of those boats at the Gateway of India which takes tourists to Elephanta Caves  or  better, Air India, to go to Bunos Aires. Once the 30 day period is over, then Quattrocchi will be safe and both Sonia Gandhi and rest of the nation can sigh in relief.

Technorati Tags:
Ottavio Quattrocchi, Bofors, Bunos Aires, Argentina, India

The Tom & Jerry Show

Kerala is currently run by Tom & Jerry. Tom is Pinarayi Vijayan, the Communist party state secretary and Jerry is V S Achyutanandan, the octogenarian Chief Minister and they love each other the way Nouri al-Maliki loved Saddam Hussein. At present, administration in Kerala essentially consists of both of them and their supporters trying to out smart one another. If they ran into pitch forks or doors and like how Hanna-Barbera intended, it would have been more fun, but it is not so.

And the politburo is not amused by this cartoon show. Good Communists are supposed to get rich, keep the masses poor, create agitations, disrupt life, but not fight among themselves. The politburo has zero tolerance for such behavior which is common among the bourgeoisie.

In a recent speech in Kannur, Pinarayi came out against the Chief Minister’s crony Manjalamkuzhi Ali MLA for the reason that sun rose in the east. Pinarayi claimed that Ali was infected by the Shahjahan syndrome. This did not mean Ali was importing marbles to construct another Taj Mahal, but just that Pinarayi had lost his marbles. Pinarayi also mentioned that Ali would have the same fate as Shahjahan. People took it to mean that when Ali dies Indians would pay Rs 20 to visit his tomb and foreigners would pay Rs. 750.

That was not what Pinarayi meant. He meant that like Shahjahan, he too would be expelled from the party. Then some newbie party worker reminded Pinarayi that Ali was not a party member and as an Independent member of the Assembly, it would be difficult to expel him. Pinarayi admonished the newbie and said that facts should never deter a good communist.

Another point of disagreement among the communists is on whether the state should take an ADB Loan. The Chief Minister is against it while Pinarayi is for it. In a speech in Kozhikkode, Pinarayi said that people who opposed the loan were Dogmatix.  Later he said, he meant “dogmatists”

When you are charged up like this and going to the politburo, you have to be prepared. Yesterday  Pinarayi was detained at Chennai airport, on his way to Delhi, for possessing five rounds of live cartridges in his bag. He did not have a gun though. Probably one of his Maoist comrades would have loaned it to him if needed in Delhi.

The State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that this was certainly illegal, but the media need now blow up the incident. On hearing this Osama bin Laden called up George Bush and asked if he can use the same defense?

This makes you wonder. Does everyone come with firearms and bombs to politburo meetings? Is this how unanimous decisions are made? Maybe it is like a scene in Tom & Jerry where Achyutanandan comes with an AK 47, Buddhadeb with a Howitzer (Copied and Made in China), Prakash Karat with a bow and arrow and Brinda Karat with a rolling pin. They all bow to the Chinese flag and then start shooting each other while Scott Bradley’s music plays in the background.