Stories From A Yellow Room

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What’s kept Anna "Hazare-ism" going:

  1. This is everyone’s “revolution” moment. The crowd that is currently protesting is a motley mix of those who have seen a partial glimpse of the moment of independence (1947) + India-Pak war(1971) and are thus fuelled by a patriotic high. To the younger generation that has lived with second hand versions of revolutionary ideas, this is their “moment”, their first hand account (though a much peaceful one) of standing tall with a flag in their hand and protesting for a "cause".
  2. Let’s not forget Bollywood - the Rang De Basanti attitude coupled with the “Munna-bhai-ism” like calm and composition, definitely finds a reflection in the on-going protests. It is worth a mention that not even a single incident of unrest or violent upheavals has been seen across the country. What has been popular on the contrary is music and lots of it…walks, candles and victorious shouts.
  3. The leader himself, who has has every instinct the "aam-admi" (common-man) can relate to. His demeanor, his anguish over the state of things and a no-frills attached approach.
  4. Attribute the revolution mode to the ripples seen across Middle-East (Egypt, Libya) which went west-ward to London up till last week and then found way to India.
  5. Even if majority lot does not know how the Lok-pal bill will impact their lives, they are more than willing to be part of the “glory”. The so-called “struggle” against corruption against bureaucracy, against monopolistic alliances that need to be more transparent.
  6. The branding is just what a successful acts are made of…and “mein anna hun” t-shirts did exactly that. I still need to buy me one!!
  7. Youth mobilization, just the kind of crowd that will bunk college and go to Ram-Lila ground come hail or high-water. There must be 100 small groups of volunteers who are constantly finding ways and means to get people together; get venues organized; arrange food for the hungry and ensure shelter for the rainy days. It’s a domino effect and nothing seems to stop it.
  8. And let’s not forget the faithful social media propaganda that’s been instrumental in all the recent protests across the globe. Writers, non-writers, civilians, artists et all are pouring their thoughts out there strengthening the movement’s tempo.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mayawati's Maya:

A morning meeting took me to Noida after a gap of six months. What could have been an hour's ride was obviously converted to two. As we strove hard to get to the meeting on time, after spending 8 minutes on each of the 7 red-lights, the consistency of Mayawatis's posters was alarming. In between all the chaos, the madness, the traffic and the labyrinth of roads crossed the pompous display of “Man-n-niya Surbhi Mayawati Ji” posters did everything to infuriate me.

Evidently her media team is doing an excellent job. The posters supported by an campaign on national TV every evening at 8:55 pm on how progressive the state has become in the glorious presence of the “biggest property-broker of the state” ( ref to “The Stinking Land Deals” as published in Tehelka July2011) brings in a sense of angst shared by a commoner like me to see public money and space go to sheer waste.

So I thought why doesn't Mayawati travel to noida not in one of the dozen Pajero's or Land Rovers but in a normal non-laal-bati car (red-light vehicle)..I mean only once she gets time off her ad campaigns and the poster-posing. I am sure even the very ugly plain outfit she poses in must be costing a hefty amount to the state, as her bills for the "official" attire must be at least 10 times their original cost. Even her cheap leather bag must be costing a poor man his year's meal.

Or even better, why doesn’t some really brave soul cover her posters with images of bad roads, hungry eyes scouting for food and plain chaotic images from every-day life?

On my way back the sight of the BR Ambedkar memorial being built on tax-payers money was an added treat to the eyes. The never–ending stretch of land worth Rs 650 crore for which nearly 6000 tress were buried dead, is nothing but a symbol of authority,power, monopoly and supreme hierarchy.

After such prodigal waste of resources while many of the country's “relevant” problems find no solution, it will only be a matter of time till Indian cities see a London situation.

But till then, how can Mayawati's Maya ever be justified??

Monday, August 8, 2011

Slut Walk anyone?

The idea of the "slut walk" organized in Delhi didn't appeal to my feminist instincts at all. I don't think that protesting against eve-teasing will help curb the Delhi male’s inappropriate gaze. By going on a rampage men in Delhi will never feel threatened or ashamed, if anything they will only feel stronger at having been successful at intimidating half of the city's population. Their powers both muscular and genital give them too much confidence to think of women as nothing but a perverted visual treat.

What will indeed work is harsh punishment implemented rigorously. A couple of hours rotting behind bars…long term sentences, or in severe cases even life-sentence (I know we don't give death-sentence anymore, therefore the exception). But the slut walk seemed too embedded in an idealistic vision - one that will never come true.

I stay in proximity to what has over the years translated into a very active pick up joint (basically the road that leads to Defence colony Nirula’s). Rows of cars with tinted windows pause every evening in search of a quick take aways, causing traffic congestion, inconvenience and above all aggravating an illegal activity in the middle of a busy junction.

Till a few years back, there weren’t too many signs of such greed and lust. The number of prostitutes has multiplied over the years bringing with it disgusting men from all over the city, stopping their cars, rolling windows at the sight of any girl walking down the road. The trade has led to a scary and ugly conversion of normal girls being mistaken as sex workers. The area obviously has become inaccessible to people like me, who cannot even think of walking down what used to be relatively safe lanes post 8 pm, lest I be considered a potential pick-up.

And who is to blame to creating such a lethal barrier? A police post centres the area, which is in the heart of South Delhi. As pimps and prostitutes all make a bee line for potential customers, normal people walk ignoring the presence of such an activity. The police thrives on collecting its weekly commission from the pimps for letting them flourish their trade. And no one, ever seems to have a complain against it. And then our commissioner tells women in Delhi not to venture out in the streets alone, confirming his knowledge of many such pick up joints thriving all across the city.

As I wonder if this will ever come to an end, a car has possibly picked another one of them up, the pimp has probably been paid a handsome amount for it, and before the week ends the 4 police men will have their pockets full!!

And slut or not all women crossing that area will be treated at par!!