Monday, December 1, 2008

A distinct Article on Bambay 26/11 terrorist attack!!!

I just cudnt help but post this damn true...Poor of India are not only getting Poorer but also neglected. kudos - Gnani Sankaran....

Hotel Taj : icon of whose India ?
Gnani Sankaran- Tamil writer, Chennai.
Watching at least four English news channels surfing from one another during the last 60 hours of terror strike made me feel a terror of another kind. The terror of assaulting one's mind and sensitivity with cameras, sound bites and non-stop blabbers. All these channels have been trying to manufacture my consent for a big lie called - Hotel Taj the icon of India.
Whose India, Whose Icon ?

It is a matter of great shame that these channels simply did not bother about the other icon that faced the first attack from terrorists - the Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station. CST is the true icon of Mumbai. It is through this railway station hundreds of Indians from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Tamilnadu have poured into Mumbai over the years, transforming themselves into Mumbaikars and built the Mumbai of today along with the Marathis and Kolis
But the channels would not recognise this. Nor would they recognise the thirty odd dead bodies strewn all over the platform of CST. No Barkha dutt went there to tell us who they were. But she was at Taj to show us the damaged furniture and reception lobby braving the guards. And the TV cameras did not go to the government run JJ hospital to find out who those 26 unidentified bodies were. Instead they were again invading the battered Taj to try in vain for a scoop shot of the dead bodies of the page 3 celebrities.
In all probability, the unidentified bodies could be those of workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh migrating to Mumbai, arriving by train at CST without cell phones and pan cards to identify them. Even after 60 hours after the CST massacre, no channel has bothered to cover in detail what transpired there.
The channels conveniently failed to acknowledge that the Aam Aadmis of India surviving in Mumbai were not affected by Taj, Oberoi and Trident closing down for a couple of weeks or months. What mattered to them was the stoppage of BEST buses and suburban trains even for one hour. But the channels were not covering that aspect of the terror attack. Such information at best merited a scroll line, while the cameras have to be dedicated for real time thriller unfolding at Taj or Nariman bhavan.
The so called justification for the hype the channels built around heritage site Taj falling down (CST is also a heritage site), is that Hotel Taj is where the rich and the powerful of India and the globe congregate. It is a symbol or icon of power of money and politics, not India. It is the icon of the financiers and swindlers of India. The Mumbai and India were built by the Aam Aadmis who passed through CST and Taj was the oasis of peace and privacy for those who wielded power over these mass of labouring classes. Leopold club and Taj were the haunts of rich spoilt kids who would drive their vehicles over sleeping Aam Aadmis on the pavement, the Mafiosi of Mumbai forever financing the glitterati of Bollywood (and also the terrorists) , Political brokers and industrialists.
It is precisely because Taj is the icon of power and not people, that the terrorists chose to strike.
The terrorists have understood after several efforts that the Aam Aadmi will never break down even if you bomb her markets and trains. He/she was resilient because that is the only way he/she can even survive.
Resilience was another word that annoyed the pundits of news channels and their patrons this time. What resilience, enough is enough, said Pranoy Roy's channel on the left side of the channel spectrum. Same sentiments were echoed by Arnab Goswami representing the right wing of the broadcast media whose time is now. Can Rajdeep be far behind in this game of one upmanship over TRPs ? They all attacked resilience this time. They wanted firm action from the government in tackling terror.
The same channels celebrated resilience when bombs went off in trains and markets killing and maiming the Aam Aadmis. The resilience of the ordinary worker suited the rich business class of Mumbai since work or manufacture or film shooting did not stop. When it came to them, the rich shamelessly exhibited their lack of nerves and refused to be resilient themselves. They cry for government intervention now to protect their private spas and swimming pools and bars and restaurants, similar to the way in which Citibank, General Motors and the ilk cry for government money when their coffers are emptied by their own ideologies.
The terrorists have learnt that the ordinary Indian is unperturbed by terror. For one whose daily existence itself is a terror of government sponsored inflation and market sponsored exclusion, pain is something he has learnt to live with. The rich of Mumbai and India Inc are facing the pain for the first time and learning about it just as the middle classes of India learnt about violation of human rights only during emergency, a cool 28 years after independence.
And human rights were another favourite issue for the channels to whip at times of terrorism.
Arnab Goswami in an animated voice wondered where were those champions of human rights now, not to be seen applauding the brave and selfless police officers who gave up their life in fighting terorism. Well, the counter question would be where were you when such officers were violating the human rights of Aam Aadmis. Has there ever been any 24 hour non stop coverage of violence against dalits and adivasis of this country?
This definitely was not the time to manufacture consent for the extra legal and third degree methods of interrogation of police and army but Arnabs don't miss a single opportunity to serve their class masters, this time the jingoistic patriotism came in handy to whitewash the entire uniformed services.
The sacrifice of the commandos or the police officers who went down dying at the hands of ruthless terrorists is no doubt heart rending but in vain in a situation which needed not just bran but also brain. Israel has a point when it says the operations were misplanned resulting in the death of its nationals here.
Khakares and Salaskars would not be dead if they did not commit the mistake of traveling by the same vehicle. It is a basic lesson in management that the top brass should never t ravel together in crisis. The terrorists, if only they had watched the channels, would have laughed their hearts out when the Chief of the Marine commandos, an elite force, masking his face so unprofessionally in a see-through cloth, told the media that the commandos had no idea about the structure of the Hotel Taj which they were trying to liberate. But the terrorists knew the place thoroughly, he acknowledged.
Is it so difficult to obtain a ground plan of Hotel Taj and discuss operation strategy thoroughly for at least one hour before entering? This is something even an event manager would first ask for, if he had to fix 25 audio systems and 50 CCtvs for a cultural event in a hotel. Would not Ratan Tata have provided a plan of his ancestral hotel to the commandos within one hour considering the mighty apparatus at his and government's disposal? Are satelite pictures only available for terrorists and not the government agencies ? In an operation known to consume time, one more hour for preparation would have only improved the efficiency of execution.
Sacrifices become doubly tragic in unprofessional circumstances. But the Aam Aadmis always believe that terror-shooters do better planning than terrorists. And the gullible media in a jingoistic mood would not raise any question about any of these issues.
They after all have their favourite whipping boy - the politician the eternal entertainer for the non-voting rich classes of India.
Arnabs and Rajdeeps would wax eloquent on Nanmohan Singh and Advani visiting Mumbai separately and not together showing solidarity even at this hour of national crisis. What a farce? Why can't these channels pool together all their camera crew and reporters at this time of national calamity and share the sound and visual bites which could mean a wider and deeper coverage of events with such a huge human resource to command? Why should Arnab and Rajdeep and Barkha keep harping every five minutes that this piece of information was exclusive to their channel, at the time of such a national crisis? Is this the time to promote the channel? If that is valid, the politician promoting his own political constituency is equally valid. And the duty of the politican is to do politics, his politics. It is for the people to evaluate that politics.
And terrorism is not above politics. It is politics by other means.

To come to grips with it and to eventually eliminate it, the practice of politics by proper means needs constant fine tuning and improvement. Decrying all politics and politicians, only helps terrorists and dictators who are the two sides of the same coin. And the rich and powerful always prefer terrorists and dictators to do business with.
Those caught in this crossfire are always the Aam Aadmis whose deaths are not even mourned - the taxi driver who lost the entire family at CST firing, the numerous waiters and stewards who lost their lives working in Taj for a monthly salary that would be one time bill for their masters. Postscript: In a fit of anger and depression, I sent a message to all the channels, 30 hours through the coverage. After all they have been constantly asking the viewers to message them for anything and everything. My message read: I send this with lots of pain. All channels, including yours, must apologise for not covering the victims of CST massacre, the real mumbaikars and aam aadmis of India. Your obsession with five star elite is disgusting. Learn from the print media please. No channel bothered. Only srinivasan Jain replied: you are right. We are trying to redress balance today. Well, nothing happened till the time of writing this 66 hours after the terror attack.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A lot to learn from 'Katrathu Tamizh M.A.'

I was a bit skeptical about blogging movies. My apprehensions to this were that films are my weakness. I adore movies. To me they are the best way to ease stress, have fun with friends and admire the creators' baby. But I distanced my self from blogging them down, didnt want to invite comments that could cripple my passion for them. Moreover, most people blog about socially But after watching this movie 'Katrathu Tamizh M.A.', I was really stirred and wanted to blog. It was like I was destined to do this.

A holiday, Vinayaka Chathurthi, not in home, lazying before the television, watching all interviews and hopping channels was wat my roomie and me were doing, till 'Katrathu Tamizh M.A.' title flashed on the 21" monitor. This should be intersting, I was murmuring to myself, for I had heard good reviews from all direction of the magnetic compass. Also, the protagonist, Jeeva, was lauded a lot for his divergent choice of scripts and extraordinary acting efforts (Raam was indeed a revelation). Chalo! let's watch it and we were totally consumed into it for the next 3 1/2 hours.

Movie starts with a kidnap of a cameraman played by Karunas by Jeeva.
Prabhakar (hence Prabha), a Tamil teacher by profession, is Jeeva's role, donning a long unkempt hair and beard for a major part of the movie. Kidnapped Karunas, is threatened by Prabha to shoot a video of his story. Prabha contemplates suicide and his narration cites the rationale. Karunas was indeed a perfect choice for the camera man in plight of life or death, but in the later part, he emotes well and empathises the hero's mishaps in life.

Prabha's story from his childhood to date is a mixture of ill luck, victimization by a corrupt policeman, unexpressed love, ever looming loneliness and harassed due to social disparity. He loses his family early, except his army father and longs for parental love when left in a boarding school. He finds affection and care in the form of his Tamil Head Master in the boarding school. Azhagu Perumal enacts a wonderful character as a caring teacher of Jeeva. He moulds Jeeva into a man and scenes that brings this into picture pleasurises the viewers. Azhagu Perumal's death finds cord with Jeeva finishing his school, which somehow leaves a blob in our throats. Jeeva's decision to become a Tamil professor is drawn from inspiration and memories left by his beloved teacher. However, life as a Tamil Professor does not end as up a bed of roses for Jeeva and his finds himself an untouchable in the society that hails technology and IT boom. The scene where he visits his class mate working for an IT firm, earning couple of lakhs a month, while he makes only a meagre thousands every month, really unearthes the hidden wide gap within the educated youth. "Being educated is not important but being educated with what is more important." His shocked expression and following funny scenes, is something that we must be shameful of. Being pulled up by a policeman for smoking a cigarette in public, and tormenting that follow with a tinge of state of tamil and the respect it commands are sure to leave a thought on the viewer's mind.

Another plus of the movie is the malacotic narration of love between Jeeva and newcomer Anjali. Anjali is a tanned beauty and quite raw in her looks without make-up. She was the right choice for the heroine and all through the movie kept a very controlled performance with powerful dialouges. Her sufferings due to poverty and at the harem are emoted very well by her. She was indeed the right choice for the lady's role. Her inspiring talks to Jeeva to withdraw his criminal acts and lead a new life are captured with elegance and reality.

Though, murder, blood and gore, rotate the movie, making it unwatchable at time, the theme behind these justifies the acts. The Director has tried to point out that frustration of common man turn him to villian like Prabha, which the governement should turn its gaze to. Tamil being such a sweet and age old language, needs if not respect atleast recognition. Yuvan's music and Na. Muthukumar's lyrics supplement the theme. In all, Katrathu Tamil is a watcher's delight, tamil patron's pride and a common man's thought provoker....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Silent Espousal

It was a Sunday morning; I was on my monthly visit to one of Chennai's famous temple and my all time favorite too. To avoid the Sunday morning crowds, I ensured that I reached the temple much earlier and was there standing before the huge temple doors at the 1st rays of sun. When inside the praharam, I noticed a couple dressed in the traditional marriage costumes and carrying garlands. Only then I realized that the day was a Muhurtham day (a day considered auspicious for conducting marriages, ceremonies). Not paying much attention then, I continued with my prayers visiting every deity in the huge temple.

After I was done with all my visits to the gods and walking round the praharam, I sat down near the pandal, with delectable puliogare and vadai....God bless whoever invented this as other food will taste so good in the mornings. As I was gobbling my way thro' these, I again noticed the couple whom I had seen while entering the temple. Something forced me to notice the happenings keenly. Marriage in temples to me, was a still a scene from blunt tamil movies. Only other place where I enjoyed a marriage taking place elsewhere than a marriage hall was in a Crazy Mohan's play. Having attended so many weddings in my life thus far, all I comprehend from it is lot of relatives, lots more to eat, friends all over, noise and buzz of activities whichever direction the needle pointed to. Well, this was in total contrast that made me look up.

It was silent, there were just about 10 people, both men and women, apart from bridal couple and thr’out prevailed a hushed elation. That was the 1st prominent contrast. Unlike, the glossy display, which I was accustomed to, this, was rather an unadorned vista before me. More interesting was the couple. The Bridegroom must be around early 25 something, a tanned, bony fellow, looking excited like a kid waiting to rush into a theme park. He just adorned a white dhothi and a white shirt, both of cotton and not silk, which is what announces the traditional 'Mappillai' in an emphatic manner. The thin rose garland that hung around his neck was all that he seemed to be proud of on his best day. Bride bore an air of shyness which is tagged to any south indian girl. I could notice the colour of happiness in her face though she had it bent thro’ the ceremony. A simple pattu saree of bright yellow and red, lots of flowers on the hair, not much of ornamental display, that’s all she bore. But she still looked exultant. And this took me by surprise 'cause every girl getting married whom I had come across were at their peak of beauty, plated with gold, adorning a dozen of so sarees like 'Aadi sale' ads, 4-5 ladies attending them all the time, juices, water and lot of other stuff...what not???

And here were the modest couple, equally thrilled but not drawing any attention. I watched. The priest came down with the 'Thali' (Mangalsutra) and garlands, chanting mantras all along. Bridegroom's friends were getting instructions from him, which looked like a Collector was on duty and commanding his staff. Then the couple exchanged garlands given by the priest. All was happening in silence except for Priest’s tongue wag, which made me realise that music was...simple missing. The nathaswarams and thavils, where were they? In a normal kalyanam, you just can't do away with these things, noisy or whatever, no 'Getti Melam', no kalyanam....such importance they commanded !!

Poor couple, I shrugged. The Priest handed the Thali to the bridegroom. He smiled at his friends, looked at the bride for a moment and started with the 1st Knot. The three sacred knots were over, but still the bride's eyes were still searching the ground. But I noted drops of tear peeping at the end of her eyelids. Only these drops which gestured her happiness. Typical South Indian Bride. Friends congratulated the Bridegroom, while ladies whispered and smiled with the Bride. I too wanted to wish, but....I still did'nt know what was stopping me....and I walked away...happy and feeling content as if one of my buddies' got married...

As I took my bike out of the parking and accelerating outside, I noticed the couple come out of the temple, I stopped and watched further....curiosity killed the, no exception even with 6 senses. They walked together, hand in hand followed by the small cluster of witnesses to their marriage. And got into an auto, with the Bridegroom, taking driver's seat (indeed) and lady sitting beside. And they whizzed away leaving a bunch of hands waving at them. All that was missing was 'Just Married' letters and flowers on his auto. I smiled again and headed home.

Marriages of such kind also end happy, truly an unforgettable one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Her smile radiates warmth,
Her stride chimes the silent street,
Her eyes send the flowers to hide,
Her talk mesmerizes those who watch.
Definitely, she’s not one among the lot.

The wind gets kindled.
The clouds get a hurdle.
The sun is veiled.
The birds start to plead.
Aah!! She is a beauty indeed.

She always so silent, so does the savant.
She is a synonym to patience, well…that shows a Godly semblance.
She shies so sweetly, is she naughty?
She looks intent, but even steel can be bent.

To many, she’s a perfect babe,
But her thoughts and actions leaves the crowd agape.
To the needy, she’s hope
Being selfish is something she just can’t cope.
To the helpless, she’s an Angel
She shows them their future, like a ball of crystal.
To the world, she’s a maverick
All we have to do is just mimic…