Why India Should Have Hosted The Olympics Games 2012:

So we hosted the Commonwealth Games last year and it wasn't a proverbial egg on the face, was it? Since Aamir Khan didn’t dedicate an episode to it, I’m guessing that it isn’t on our National Shame List. Aiming higher, we should have probably hosted the Olympics games as well. Hey, if our home-bred Maut Ka Saudagar Narendra Modi can aspire to be Prime Minister, I think even Kalmadi should have got a shot at hosting the 5 rings in India.

  1. The Queen jumped off a plane! With James Bond! While the rest of the world hoos and hawws over this, I think we’ve conveniently forgotten how Madame ex-President Pratibha Patil flew in a Sukhoi fighter jet. It would have been a piece of cake to get her jump off a chopper in her whole nine yards. And no piddly parachute for her. Our ex-Prez would just unfurl her pallu and glide down in it.
  2. Our opening ceremony would be the brain-child of Karan Johar. A bare-chested Shah Rukh Khan would take us through the history of India – right from DDLJ to My Name Is Khan.
  3. If the Games were held in India, I’m sure Sachin Tendulkar would have won a gold medal. And then he’d play in the next four Olympics Games as well.
  4. Anu Malik would have written a theme song for the Games. With so many games, he just needs to add the “ing” suffix to them and voila, you've got the lyrics!
  5. Team Anna couldn't ask for a better platform to raise the cause of their, er… Anti-Corruption Bill or Anti-Pranabda rant or whatever he’s trying to bully the government into doing. Heck, they could even include it as an official game, except that most Indians below the poverty line would not find it tasteful.
  6. Why exactly are we so impressed by the Tube? We've got underground trains in Delhi and a super local train system in Mumbai. The players & co. will have a wonderful time evading rape, wondering whether Andheri comes on the left/right side, practicing with sleeping cops’ guns and playing other local games.
  7. The first family of India can light the Olympic torch. Aaradhya Bachchan, of course, will still be in a shroud. We can then laugh at how Aishwarya Rai can participate as the ball in some game.
  8. No need to bother about finding a beach for beach volleyball. We can just use one of those extended potholes for added effects. Now since the girls wear shorts in these games and it’s completely against our culture to show legs (that’s why we use tablecloths) we can ask the Shri Ram Sene to come forward and donate clothes for them. If they don’t comply, we screen the Guwahati clip as a social service message.
  9. We don’t need no gatecrasher. Rohit Shekhar can take the stage for 30 seconds and announce, “N D Tiwari ji, Mubarak ho, beta hua hai.”
  10. Then Mamata Banerjee can accuse everyone of being Maoists.

Only Pretty People Deserve Justice

How attractive do you have to be to get justice? How glamorous does the crime have to be for the media to take up your cause? How pretty should you look in your photos that people make posters of you and rally for your cause?

I may be taking off on a tangent here but the media, and the general public, sure seem to like taking up the fight for attractive urban crime victims. To filter it a bit more, let’s look at some of the big crimes that have been plastered over our newspapers and television screens in the past few years.

The pretty teenager Aarushi met a gruesome death at her home a few years ago. Mysterious facts and revelations followed, and fingers pointed at everyone – from her watchman, to her parents to the compounder who seems to have absconded to Nepal. Friends and well wishers created Facebook support groups for the deceased teenager to keep the fight for justice on.
In a less whodunit manner, and quite far away, a poor Dalit was hacked to death by a priest in Jaipur, Rajasthan, around the same time. Does Ramphool Koli ring a bell? No? You wouldn’t recognize his face anyway. No Facebook pages pray for his soul or speedy justice. No minister visits his home and ensures that his family is looked after.

Maybe 2008 is jogging your memory too far. You definitely remember Maria Susairaj, Neeraj Grover and Emily Jerome. We loved the gruesomeness of the crime. Pretty model, handsome executive and the angry boyfriend. Add to that the Bollywood seasoning and it was a yummy crime that took hours of prime time television where they re-enacted the whole sex, anger and blood.
But there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of those ugly, wretched “lower-middle class” people who die everyday, you’ll whine. They fall off construction sites, get tortured by their bosses, burnt by their husbands and such like. You can’t “connect” with them. And you can’t empathize with them because your lifestyles are starkly different.

But is it really that? Or do you look at the face of that dark, wizened old man from some godforsaken village in India and just shift your gaze to something less ugly? If he looked like a model from the cover of Playboy, you probably would have sighed, “Oh, such a young life, cut short so soon…” But the poor peasant who was murdered because of his caste didn’t have the luxury of a hair-colouring session every week. The activist who was gunned down outside her house probably won’t make it to the cover page of any magazine but she damn well had an exciting life. Not the party-hopping, anti-Dhoble kind; the stuff that armchair activists (the irony!) are not made of.

But they aren’t pretty! Their deaths don’t have the masala that can be dragged over pages and graphics for weeks. Where’s the revenge? Where are the happy-times-videos that you can make a montage of and play over and over again? Do they have that pretty toothy smile which won’t piexellate when you make banners out of them? Will they look good in the frame when a candle glows below their smiling pictures at India Gate/Azad Maidan? Is there a jealous ex-boyfriend/girlfriend?

The truth is that we love glamorous crimes. We will fight for the people who are like us. We want justice only for those who look good enough to deserve it. The crimes in cities are “real” crimes that deserve to have journalists and social commentators shouting their lungs out at each other on television debates.

Those ads on television about fairness creams and whitening soaps get made because people watch them and buy the product. This isn't some sneaking government conspiracy; it’s a problem with our heads. Our lives revolve around beauty, we change ourselves to fit its mould and we judge others by it. We want to watch gorgeous people on our screens, we want to marry people who we can make good-looking babies with and they are the ones who win our support. It’s our version of natural selection.

Good looking politicians win (Kennedy Vs Nixon). Only pretty people deserve our sympathy (Aarushi or Ramphool). We will shed tears after watching Laila Khan’s last recorded moments with her family and not for Mohamad Ali Kurban Sheikh who died after he fell off the construction site he was working on.

Because only pretty people deserve justice.

Will appear in the August issue of YSM.

Why Poetry Appreciation Is Useless

We're used to seeing poetry in different forms; from the cheesy 'Roses are red, violets are blue...' to the erudite 'I wandered lonely as a cloud...', poetry is a part of our life, whether we like it or not.


There was once a time when we all loved poems, or at least the poorer cousins of poems. We sat on our little desks in school and repeated after the teacher mind numbing lines like "Ring a ring of roses". It was like a herd of buffaloes blindly following the human who held the stick. It was very simple: you hold hands, walk in a circle singing it and sit happily once its done.

Sadly, things got progressively worse as we grew up. You had to learn the names of the poets, recite them to your teachers and earn marks.

What An Onomatopoeia!

Have you EVER said that while reading a poem? The moment you have to analyse what kind of a line was used in a poetry, its like taking the most adorable baby penguin from its mother and telling her that her baby is way down the evolutionary chain. Do you really care which letter is repeated how many times? Will you refuse to read a poem if its just 17 stanzas? Is abab a better rhyme scheme that azdf?

Blank Verse

Imagine you've spent hours grooming yourself elaborately for one of the most exclusive parties in town. And then the host tells you, "Well, you can come in a bathrobe too." Blank verse makes rhyming poetry look something like that. But its very beauty is that breaks it doesn't allow a rhyme scheme to bind your words.

Haiku To You Too

Seventeen syllables to contain your thoughts. Nothing less, nothing more. 5-7-5 is the best. While the short format of haiku is very appealing, its constraints are too much for me to bear.


The outcast of the family of poetry, the funniest and the most non-sense ones. Though they are easy to read, once you try writing one of them, you realize that it is not as easy as it looks.

Poetry will save your sorry backside when you forget your girlfriend's birthday. It will resonate in your soul when it talks about the dead warrior they brought back home. It will make you smile when it talks of death like an old friend. Forget what your school taught you; poetry is food for your soul, not a mathematical formula to be analysed.

Appeared in the April-July edition of Youth's Stop Magazine.