Saturday, July 31, 2010

Amit Shah on well 'earned' vacation!

Former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, who eluded arrest for over a day, has now embarked upon a well-deserved vacation for a few days. It was on advice of Dr Nin Com Poop, his renowned Japanese physician who he was consulting during the time of his disappearance, that he has now moved into Sabarmati Central Luxury Jail. 

His Excellency Nobody's Excellency Amit Shah has been suffering from Diabetes for the past few months. He had a sudden relapse recently, due to deficiency of alcohol and nicotine in his blood stream. So Doctor Poop advised him to take a few days off and go to Sabarmati Luxury Jail to cool off. The ambience there is excellent, and all his special needs will be provided for. After all, the jails portfolio was also under his excellent administration.” said Dr Nin Com Poop's assistant.

A Gujarat BJP spokesperson said, "When the news of his arrest holiday reached us, we were fraught with worry about other concerns like his food, lodging and safety as it is rumoured that the other residents of Sabarmati Luxury Jail might have certain violent streaks. But the jail authorities have assured us that everything is under control."

Sigh! This is where he will have to stay
Shah has been put up in a deluxe cottage near the Jail SP’s office, with bedding,  mattresses, cutlery, round-the-clock room service, internet, TV, a masseuse, and a doctor on call for his rare and critical disease called ‘diabetes’. According to the doctor, a case like his is very rare, and we at NTMN believe in his expert opinion.

The latest medical report is, however, very relieving to us, his devotees and well-wishers. “He has only sneezed thrice since yesterday. We have made sure he gets home-made khichri with ghee, curd and aloo ki sabzi deep-fried in bulletnut oil. This is just the way he likes it,” said Dr. Nin Com Poop licking his fingers after a plate of chilli chicken and a chilled beer from Amit Shah’s fridge in the cottage. 

Next week, in August, jail authorities are hosting a large gathering at the terrace of Amit Shah’s cottage to celebrate his August presence there. The only restriction is that loud music will not be allowed beyond 11 pm, especially abusive Gujarati rap, which is Shah’s favourite genre. There are rumours that Brazilian pole dancers will perform in the party. Real encounters will be staged, for which twelve lookalikes of Sohrabuddin Shaikh have been caught by Narendra Modi's loyal police. A prison employee said, "We wish him all the best and hope that he gets back to his normal, patriotic, hard-working, humanitarian, righteous riotous self soon!" (No pun intended. Actually, what the heck, YES, pun intended!)

This satire news report was written by me for News That Matters Not

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ud Jaa Saale- Mumbai's New Talent Hunt!!!

Mumbai’s malls, coffee houses, billboards, college canteens, Marine Drive, and all popular hangouts are reverberating with excitement caused by a talent hunt contest, Ud Ja Saale ("Fly away, my wife's brother!", also "Fly away, you idiot!"). The interest is because it's not a mere hunt for the next supermodel, singer, dancer or husband, but for ordinary people who’ll be flying and controlling real commercial aeroplanes. ‘Ordinary’ here refers to people who might not have even seen an aeroplane in their lifetime.

Making Fools Pilots out of Aam Aadmi
The Congress government of Maharashtra strongly believes that the aam aadmi’s time has come. Perfectly in sync with the party’s motto, it is now giving him a chance to be a part of Mumbai’s glorious dreams through this programme. A spokesperson said, “The present staff has proved themselves of little use. Two major accidents were averted recently. A number of near-collisions have occurred in Mumbai airspace, which is getting as congested as the city itself. We can't take any more chances and thought of bringing some fresh, young blood in. So we have started the hunt for amateur pilots and Air Traffic Controllers."

He continued, "We are targeting video gamers and teenagers. They are our future, and instead of wasting precious years on education, we feel that they must get started right away. They have got enough exposure and real-life experience from simulated video games and movies. We think they are now ready for the real thing.”

Forever a site, or some sight coming soon?
Recently, when the world’s largest aeroplane, the Airbus A-380 landed in New Delhi’s latest pride, the IGI-T3 (the flight was delayed by 30 minutes due to a stray dog on the landing strip, but it was still a great achievement), the whole of Mumbai saw dark green (with jealousy, nothing to do with the environment). Mr. Raj Maratha and Manoos Thackeray, two (in)eminent personalities from the high profile ‘all talking, no thinking’ circles of Mumbai, expressed their dissatisfaction for Delhi being chosen over Mumbai, the financial capital, for the honour. The Navi Mumbai Airport, Mumbai's expected answer to IGI-T3, has a problem - the foundation stone hasn't been laid yet. The deadline of 2012 might be extended to 2013 if the world survives 2012.

Touching new heights, Ud Ja Saale is one to "die" for
About the name of the programme, the spokesperson said, “It has a very casual feel to it, which is exactly our attitude towards governance in India, especially Maharashtra. Ud Ja denotes being able to fly away into dreams and Saale is, well, perfect Mumbai lingo!”

“Winners of this talent hunt will be appointed right away into the Airports Authority of India as permanent employees. Their month-long training will consist of very necessary tactics like drunken flying, drunken air traffic controlling, hands-free security checks, human drug-sniffers and drug-quality testers, martial arts sessions to deal effectively with unruly passengers, flight-ejection and parachuting in case of emergency and a special 'ultimate-prayer-programme' in case all the above tricks fail. The new employees will start work on August 15."

We at NTMN have cancelled most of our flight reservations post-August 15 and prefer to cycle our way around the country for health, environmental and mortality purposes. We advise you the same.

This fake news story was written by me for News That Matters Not

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Morning After

There are good days, and there are bad days. Last night was one of the worst. It was one of those days when you feel sick of life, when you want to get away. I did. I came alone and sat at the beach, at the edge of the sea.

It was a starless night, a little cloudy. A small sliver of the moon played hide and seek behind the silver clouds. The night perfectly reflected the color of my melancholy.

There was a sudden crack of thunder. Great, I thought. This was all I needed. In moments, the clouds became darker and steadily began to envelope me. Then it started to rain. Not a sprinkle or a droplet. But cold, merciless torrents slashing and slapping against me. I began to realize how small I was. And I felt even more helpless, powerless.

‘This would be a good time to go back inside’, said the smart voice in my head.
‘NO. Stay put’, said a deeper voice. So I stayed.

By now, I was drenched to the bone. I was shivering. It was getting really cold now, almost unbearable. But not yet. And I sat there at the edge of the sea, perhaps trying to kill myself out there.

Lightning flashed in front of my eyes again and again. At first, they were just flashes. Then I began to see them as if they were incidents of my life, sharp and painful, against the dark picture of my life.

It was one of those times when you feel a little bad about something.Then, as if from nowhere, dark thoughts burst in, flood you and begin to take you down to drown.

Each flash was followed by a painfully loud clap of thunder. And I began to see things. I began to see moments of my life that I had forgotten about, that I had locked away deep inside. I didn’t want to think about them, let alone speak. But here they were, playing across in front of me. And I sat watching.

It was the darkest, blackest, coldest moment of the night. And this was the darkest, blackest, coldest moment of my life. I could feel myself sinking deeper. If there had been a time when I had more depressed in my life, I do not remember when that was. But this one was right down there.

My face was numb with the ice cold drops of water precipitating there, and I felt two small tears form in my eyes. They oozed out gently, and began getting heavier as more painful thoughts seemed to weigh them down. And then they spilled, flowing down my cheeks, mixing with the rainwater somewhere along the way.

‘This would really be a good time to go back inside’, said the smart voice in my head.
‘NO. Not yet’, said the deeper voice.
‘Do you want to die in the cold?’ scolded my smarter half.
‘Yes, that would be nice. But not yet.’ insisted the deeper half.

So I sat still. By now the cold began to chill my very blood. I could feel it.
It was beginning to pain now. Even my breath came in short wheezes. But I obeyed.

I closed my eyes and gave a quiet sob. I quickly opened my eyes and looked around. There was no one. So I gave another sob, a little louder this time. Two more tears dropped down.

At that moment, it was as if my whole life was coming crashing down on me. It brought in all the moments when I had felt the weakest, the most vulnerable and all hope was lost. I let go. I closed my eyes and howled into the night. I cried my heart out.

Not for me, for I wasn’t a bad man. But for the world around me.
All I could see was a dark, dark night that refused to end.
All I could see was a thick curtain of rain that refused to yield.
All I could see was loss, pain, tragedy and suffering around me, inside me.
Not mine, for I wasn’t a bad man. But for this world around me.

I do not know how long I was there, but when I came to my senses I was lying down. I had probably fallen asleep. The rain had stopped and it was a little warmer now.
A trickle of water at my feet from a small wave woke me up.

I was lying at the edge of the sea. With a start I got up to look around me. It was still pitch dark, and had stopped raining. But that was not what captivated me.
It was the smell in the air, probably of everything the rain had brought in.

A sudden movement caught my eye.
In the pitch darkness, a slight tinge of yellow moved somewhere.
Almost as if it were shy. Almost as if I had made a mistake and not really seen it.
I blinked. Yes, there it was again.

The rain was gone, and a sudden gush of wind came in.
It swept my hair backwards and smelt strangely sweet.
I breathed in deeply and even dared to smile a little.

It seemed as if cracks were beginning to appear in the dark blue canvas of the night sky, and yellow rays began piercing through it. So this was it. The night had ended.

I tried to remember what I had been crying about, but just couldn’t recollect.
Maybe the rain and cold and darkness had washed it all away.
A lightness seemed to spiral up my chest. What was it?

As if in answer to my question, the dark blue of the sky began to disappear altogether. Bold yellow rays seemed to stretch across the sky as if it were a painting board. An invisible hand continued to paint yellow strokes until I could see a neat outline of the horizon.

The dark blue turned to violet, and then, after a second in transition, became bright blue.
Like last night, this was another big moment. It felt as if everything that had ever made me feel alive was coming together in this grand finale- the love, laughter, and joy seemed to fill me with such strength that I felt I would burst.

After the darkest, blackest, coldest moment of the night, sunshine was upon me.
But it was a second later that the real miracle happened.

Far, far away, at the very edge of the horizon, an orange dot began to appear out of nowhere. It was very faded and seemed to blend with the purple that was around it.

The wind stopped blowing. The water stopped moving. My heart stopped beating.
We were all holding our breath to see what was going to happen.
It was as if none of us knew that the sun rose every morning.
It was as if, forgetting about this one simple fact, we had come forth to behold this one astounding miracle. The birth of a new day.

The orange dot steadily became larger and brighter. Then it became yellow. And then it turned gold. It was getting bright, blindingly bright. It reached a crescendo, and just when I thought I could bear to hold still no more, it happened. The sun broke through. And the night was killed.

Another gust of wind came with that sweet smell. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in.

At the same instant, everything that had ever held me back or pulled me down seemed to break away. Just like one ray of sunshine had pierced through a hopeless, eternal darkness, something reciprocated inside me. The chains of fear and sorrow that were strangling me snapped into pieces as I flew away, high into the sky.

‘Open your eyes. See around you!’ urged the smart voice in my head.
‘NO.’ smiled the deeper voice. ‘Keep your eyes shut. For you have never been able to see better in all your life...’

I smiled. I knew the deeper voice was right.

-Avinash Agarwal

I am participating in the WeBlog's Sleepy Sunday contest! You may read other participating posts HERE

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio sick and tired of Hollywood, plans moving to Bollywood

You would have thought Leonardo DiCaprio, Hollywood’s current heartthrob is basking in the rave reviews and commercial successes of his recently released psycho-thrillers Shutter Island and Inception. But following his telephonic interview with NTMN, it appears that DiCaprio is not at all enjoying the accolades.
In his own words, he is ‘sick and tired’ of working with ‘challenging, sensible, character-oriented’ scripts and would like to move towards more colourful, senseless and sensational cinema, read Bollywood. He said he was moved to tears after watching the English-dubbed versions of Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag ("Ram Gopal Varma’s A** on Fire"), De Dana Dan ("Give it to me, rhythmically") and the Bhojpuri cult classics Sasura Bada Paisawala ("My filthy-rich father-in-law") and Tohar Khetwa Mein Murga Hamaar ("My Cock is in Your Farm").

The reason? He feels he has wasted time doing ‘arty’ films like Titanic, ‘violent’ films like Body of Lies and ‘mindless psycho’ movies like Inception. He regrets he missed the ‘Indian opportunity’. He missed out on the splash of colours, the rhythmic dancing and the unscripted, spontaneous, raw, ethereal charm that oozes out of the mentioned Indian ‘masterpieces’. He was inspired and shaken to the core when he watched all four of these movies back-to-back last Saturday.

"The theatre is a place where audiences go to unwind after a hard day of work. And why do we subject them to mental pressure there too? It’s pathetic. What have I been doing all these years?" said Leonardo over the phone in the interview, his voice trembling with emotion. He is all set to showcase snippets of these handpicked Bollywood and Bhojpuri ‘classics’ at the International Film and Theatre Fraternity of Artists Convention to be held in Berlin next Saturday. He has also invited noted Indian cinema personalities like Ravi Kishen, David Dhawan, Priyadarshan and Ram Gopal Varma for the Convention. They are yet to confirm their presence there.

After ‘breaking off ties with this hollow, disgusting Hollywood film fraternity’ Leonardo DiCaprio aims at spearheading a worldwide movement to spread awareness and gather support for the growth and enrichment of colourful, senseless and sensational cinema.

Off the record, he also stated that he has started shopping and packing his bags for a ‘new destination’. “I plan to leave behind my home, family and everything I have ever known and loved in this divine quest of creating meaningful cinema. And yes, I’m also going to leave behind my years of experience, talent and brains as I set off to my journey in the East. I cannot disclose to you where exactly it is that I’m headed, but it’s going to be AWESOME! I can feel that it will…” he said.

Analysing this interview, a little-known critic told NTMN, ‘Subah ka bhoola shaam ko ghar aa raha hai, toh use bhoola nahi kehte! ("The morning's forgotten is coming back in the evening. So we don’t call him forgotten!"). This might as well be the title of the first film he makes on his ‘divine quest for meaningful cinema’.

Statutory Warning- This was a highly politically incorrect article you just read.                                   The above lines may/may not be true (You have to be the judge) But they’re based on and inspired by true events. So don’t hang me!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How OLD are you?

Let me start with a very personal question- How OLD are you? 
15 years? 20? 30? 40? Or 50? 
Without even guessing what your answer would be, I can say that you are wrong. 
The options I have for you are answers you would not even believe!

Think of this in terms of pure Science. 
Your body is made up of atoms at the simplest level, which, for example, are Hydrogen and Oxygen. 
Both of these are the components of water, which makes up 70% of our physical body. 
Now, how old do you think these atoms are? As old as you? No way! 
These atoms are millions of years old, and have been changing form and shape as time passes, whether as water, food, air or parts of your body. So, in a way, more than 70% of your body is millions of years old. Believe it. 

If you don't want to, here's another option- another answer that will stun you. 
How often do you breathe? Let’s estimate every breathing cycle to be three seconds long. Every three seconds, old and waste particles from your body are thrown out through your breath, and fresh, new air is inhaled. After that follow new bio-chemical reactions, generation of new cells and organic bodies, repairing of damaged cells and the cycle thus continues. So the second answer is three seconds... 

Which answer would you prefer?

The above theory may sound a bit too idealistic when you look at your solid, visible, tangible body . 
But hold on. Just pause for a moment and look beyond what your naked eye can see. 
What you see is not what really is. 
Beneath your skin, there are billions of tiny chemical reactions occurring every second that produce little sparks of energy to run your system. 
When you cut or wound yourself, something miraculous takes place- self healing. 
When you eat, the potatoes and rice, pizza and soda, chocolates and ice creams becomes a part of your blood, brain, skin, muscle, hair and so much more... 
Have you ever seen a machine that could perform such a feat? 
A machine that can match the sheer power and genius of the human body is yet to be conceived, and might never be. 

The skin replaces itself every month, the stomach lining every five days, the skeleton every three months, and over 98% of the atoms in your body will be new in one year’s time
Science has solid proof of this. 

Look beyond. 
Close your eyes and feel the subtle, all pervasive, super-intelligent life force vibrating through your body. 
It is this Life force or prana as the ancient Sanskrit texts call it, that is really YOU. 
Regular practitioners of Yoga and Meditation can feel the subtle life-force pulsating within them and touching every cell of their body, keeping them alive.
It is this that drives you through every passing day, makes you feel happy or sad, tells you if you are hungry or sleepy, and is still working when you are too busy in your daily routines to think about your body's functions. 

When you compare the size of the Nucleus of the atom to the entire atom, you will realize that most of it is empty space- a Nucleus is1,00,000 times smaller than the atom, which implies that most of your body is made up of empty space.
And since the very basic building block of your body is the do the math. 

Your body is not like a piece of bread that goes stale in two days’ time.
 In order to stay alive, your miraculous body lives on the wings of change.

Every burst of emotion triggers hundreds of millions of chemical reactions through your body that,  over time, become more permanent and visible. 
For example, have you every observed how your face or ears turn red when you are angry? 
Or how light and energetic you feel after a good, hearty laugh?
Some smiling people have eyes that always twinkle and laugh-lines around their mouths!

Do not be misled by the surface signals, they are but long-term results of continuous processes that you have been conditioning your body to. 
There are huge processes going on in this never-tiring, obedient machine that is our home. 
So you see, what you see is not really what IS. 

We make ourselves anew every instant. 
Age is but a number to fill in forms and on ID cards. 
A 12 year old can feel 80 years old after a week of bed rest, 
And a 60 year old can feel like a 6 year old after a walk on the beach, a bunch of balloons, and a nice chocolate ice cream.

So, the real question is- How OLD do you feel?! 

Before you answer take in a deep breath, close your eyes, allow yourself to be swept away by the billions of functions going on inside your body, and then breathe out. 
You are new again... 

(With learnings from Dr. Deepak Chopra's "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind)
 -By Avinash Agarwal