Inside Photo Essay: Humans of Delhi 30-31
Himanshu P. walks around the capital city, camera in hand, in an effort to discover what lies beneath the stereotypes that Delhi and its people face and exhibit on a daily basis.
Finer Focus: Kejriwal and Modi share a couch
On a soon-to-be-aired episode of Koffee with Karan, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal reveal that they are actually very good friends. Guardian20 acquires an exclusive transcript of the interview.
Profile: A vigilante defeated 25 Rajesh Hooda, more popularly known as Muffler Tau, talks to Ajachi C hakrabarti about his failed fight against a city seeped in bad manners and the sacrifices he made in the process.
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FIVE CONGRESS TO SWEEP POLLS ON ITS OWN
Extract: The India of many in-betweens 27 In this excerpted passage from his new book, Andrew S. Shole writes about an India caught in a tug of war between the old and the new, the rich and the poor and orthodoxy and modernity.
Comment: The lost art of faking it 26 The fake review is a device that was used to devastating effect by literary geniuses like Anthony Burgess and Jorge Luis Borges, but has now become a weapon in the hands of vengeful trolls on the Internet, writes Aditya Mani Jha.
A new poll conducted by an international firm has revealed that, contrary to all expectations, the Congress will win the upcoming general elections by a landslide majority. Indrajit Hazra reports on the change in sentiment on the ground following this shattering revelation. New Delhi: The Congress is set to sweep the forthcoming 16th Lok Sabha elections, according to a nationwide opinion poll conducted by Price Cooper Pizza Hut McDowell, the global consulting firm, in consultation with an independent wing of the Congress Youth Congress that has nothing to do with any political party. Bucking all trends, the incumbent party is set to storm the 16th Lok Sabha with 288-302 seats on its own. Responding to these projections, a BJP spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous until she changed her mind 33 minutes later stated via Twitter that the opinion poll results were “skewed & biased in
favour of perpetuating a moribund government that has destroyed the economy that voters will see through on election day” (139 characters). The BJP spokesperson was not Nirmala Sitharaman, who was this paper’s first choice to obtain a reaction, but Smriti Irani who responded while she was taking a break from election campaigning by being with her family on a holiday in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. Ms Irani’s mother-in-law was refused a comment, as was Sushma Swaraj, who isn’t, as some of her detractors on social media keep saying, Ms Irani’s mother-in-law. The Congress reaction to what would surely be good news for the leadership
Responding to these projections, a BJP spokesperson stated via Twitter that the opinion poll results were “skewed & biased in favour of perpetuating a moribund government that has destroyed the economy that voters will see through on election day.”
was provided by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Singhvi, despite no longer being a party spokesperson. “There are eight reasons why we should avoid taking this opinion poll seriously. One, because its results are not the final results, for which we should wait for till 16 May. Two, since the Elec-
tion Commission of India has frowned upon such surveys being conducted so close to actual polling dates, if not by law then in spirit. Three, because...” At this point Mr Singhvi realised that the poll results were highly favourable to the Congress, a party he belongs to, and started over
again. “Sorry, I thought this was some kind of exit poll. There are 12 reasons why this opinion poll actually reflects what will be the mandate of the people. One, because its sample size and methodology is sound. Two, because it has been conducted by a genuinely independent party. Three, because the Congress Party has known the truth for a while now by being in touch with the people of this country and knows this truth with extra force when verified by scientific methods such as those used in this survey. Four...” At which point Mr Singhvi returned to his first three points that he now proceeded to deliver in three more different ways. Covering a sample size
of 814.5 million, the survey was conducted between 2930 March, between breakfast and dinner time, using an intensive questionnaire comprising the following six questions: 1) Are you seriously not going to vote for the Congress and jeopardise your future? 2) Are you seriously going to vote for a non-Congress party and jeopardise your future? 3) Would you like to be resettled within your state if the Congress doesn’t come to power? 4) Would you like the Congress to give you a stipend for the next five years? 5) Would you like Rahul Gandhi to be sworn in as continued on Page 22
The Best of Your Week Ahead 30th Sunday
Colours of Hope Azad Bhavan, ITO
Spring Festival Alliance FranÇaise de Delhi, Lodhi Road 6 p.m. Organised by Alliance Française De Delhi in collaboration with Prithvi Fine Art and Cultural Centre, Spring Festival will have eminent artists from the city participating in workshops and giving live art-making demonstrations.
11 a.m. Indian Council for Cultural Relations is hosting an art exhibition that will display works by Indian and Pakistani women artists. This show is an effort to display the artistic language of love and unity across borders. Featured artists will include Ayesha Durrani, Amna Ilyas, Gogi Saroj Pal and Seema Kohli.
Jungle Me Niv Art Centre, Plot No. 210, Neb Sarai 10 a.m.
Prayog 4 Kamani Auditorium 7 p.m.
Niv Art Centre presents a cutting-edge contemporary art exhibition of works by French artist Jonathan Longuet. The show includes a selection from his latest Green Graffiti series. Longuet’s focus is on people and relationships as they evolve in the urban environment.
Presented by Nritarutya, Prayog 4 is an unconventional dance production featuring classical dance forms, martial arts and yogic discipline. The highlights of the show include performances of Matsyaangnaa, Trishanku and Chakra.
Meraki Convention Centre Foyer, India Habitat Centre 10 a.m.
Elements of the Earth — An inspiration Art Konsult, F- 209, Ground & First Floor, Lado Sarai 11 a.m.
Indian Divine Delhi Art Gallery, Hauz Khas Village 11 a.m.
IHC plays host to Nupur Chaube, a self-taught artist based in Delhi. The solo exhibition will showcase her vibrant paintings in different mediums like acrylic, oil, charcoal, pastel and watercolour.
The exhibition focuses on the role of primitive art on the development of contemporary art through the works of various modern and folk artists. Participating artists include Amit Harit, Amrita Jha and Bhuwal Prasad.
The exhibition presents 300 artworks by nearly 80 modern artists. The show spans a large time-frame, beginning with 9th century art on mythological and religious themes from diverse regions.
t he s u n day gua rdia n 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 03. 2014 | new delhi
High Five: Congress to sweep polls on its own continued from Pg 21
the Prime Minister in white khadi? 6) Do you honestly love India?
am Admi Party leader and now-closet psephologist Yogendra Yadav was sceptical about the whole opinion poll process. “It has been sponsored by corporate houses who want to see the Congress come back again this time on its own.” Responding to the question about why the same charge that he and his party colleagues levelled against the BJP only a week ago doesn't hold any more, Mr Yadav said, “That was before the BJP and Congress colluded to give the Congress a thumping majority at the cost of conducting a genuine democratic process and at the cost of ending corruption, hunger, violence against women, poverty and Arvind Kejriwal jokes on Twitter.” Upon being reminded that this was only an opinion poll, Mr Yadav said, “That is exactly what I mean. And the methodology used to convert votes into seats seems dodgy since according to this poll AAP gets only two Lok Sabha seats which, as you and I know, is silly.” Projected to up its current number of 206 seats in the Lok Sabha by at least 82, this will be, according to the survey, the first time since the Congress was swept in with 414 seats in 1984 with Rajiv Gandhi at the helm that any Indian political will form a majority government by its own. The DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, who had last week “forgiven” the Congress — without being specific about what he was forgiving it for — and had signalled that his party would support the Congress “to keep communal forces at bay", was seen taking off his glasses in public for the first time in decades to mutter, “If these projections are correct, then I will forgive the Congress even more.” Whether he started sobbing or continuing to talk after this could not be confirmed. Amar Singh of the Rashtriya Lokmanch was seen in his New Delhi residence conducting closed door meetings with leaders from various other parties including the Rashtriya Lokmanch. Senior sources in the Congress claim that Mr Singh
sound and vision The importance of deception in strategies for self-endorsement
musing conversation at the studio yesterday veered towards the inherently charlatan nature of the music scene and its constituents. Let’s start with a few quotes I picked up along the way while talking to artists. Believe it or not, these are real things real people have said about themselves and their art. “I had an amazing gig in Bangalore that you heard about from a friend who’s friend noticed it on a friend’s feed on Fakebook.” “I am a bundle of energy.” “I am a musical genius.” “I love brothers and I love ladies.” “I am really dancing to my own music for a few hours three nights a week. I just can’t help it. It’s so good I just start dancing. Just like you are right now. It’s controlling me. It’s making me make itself.” “You look lost. My beats can shine you the way out of this waterfall of spirits. My melodies can lift your spirit away from the uncouth mess on the dance floor. My sub-bass is programmed to grab you by your solar-plexus and bring you to me. I can’t help it. I am the music.” “Audiences drop gentle words of praise as they crowd around the console. They are always interested in the luminescent morse-code fantasies of music gear. The leaders of tribes howl and hoot their appreciation. I am transported so often into a world primordial; before the vagaries of language caught up with us. Innocent men and women paying homage to a shaman silhouetted by the moonlight.” “I went to this crazy after-party where everyone knew me, everyone loved me and everyone wanted to hang with me. This happens to me a lot now, or at least my impression of it is quite usual.” “I played at an amazing electronic music festival in France. Besides the fact that it was an independently organised club event in the same city (and possibly the worst club in all of France), I do indeed believe I performed at the festival itself by virtue of proximity of ambience. And there were no scruffy hippies at our gig, only cosmopolitan Parisians.”
(Top) Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi rejoicing at the news; (L) Narendra Modi misses L.K. Advani’s high five at a conference; (R) Yogendra Yadav looks on
has already started brokering deals with the Congress central leadership to bring in BJP stalwarts such as LK Advani, Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi, Lalji Tandon and Lal Muni Chaubey into the party. BJP Rajya Sabha MP and Amritsar candidate neither confirmed nor denied whether BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and party president Rajnath Singh were also in this fray. Mr Modi, who was at a rally somewhere very crowded, stated in his address, “There
Mr Modi stated, “There is an opinion poll out just now that says that there is a Congress wave in the country.” Heavy breathing through his nose, Mr Modi added, “The only wave I can see are the ones breaking all along the coastlines of India.”
is an opinion poll out just now that says that there is a Congress wave in the country.” Heavy breathing through his nose, Mr Modi completed what he was saying, “The only wave I can
see are the ones breaking all along the coastlines of India.” Former Gujarat Home Minister and the BJP's chief election strategist in Uttar Pradesh Ahmed Shah, however, was reportedly told by
Mr Modi to not waste any more time looking for his replacement as Gujarat Chief Minister.
olitical analysts attest the sudden swing predicted by the survey in favour of the Congress to a last-minute nationwide response to the electrifying contents of the Congress election manifesto that was unveiled last week. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to comment, which was understandable considering no one had gone to him seeking any comment.
The Price Cooper Pizza Hut McDowell opinion poll was conducted across all the 543 parliamentary seats that will be going to the polls from 7 April. Unconfirmed sources say that Rahul Gandhi is planning to replace Sonia Gandhi (related to him) as the Congress Party president, with current AICC secretary Rajiv Shukla set to replace Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. “The UPA will not be disbanded,” insisted law minister Kapil Sibal at a ceremony in New Delhi that saw the release of his latest collection of poems.
Carnatic & jazz make for cool (con)fusion
BJP and INC One Big Party! Shady Records NOTA The Bebop Jazz Police (BJP) and the Insane Neo-Carnatic Collective (INC) are obviously smart enough to know their shortcomings; which is why a covers album with a jazz-Carnaticfusion flavour is a masterstroke — they both suck at writing original music. Nevertheless, the charming frontman of the BJP, Ravendra Dhoni, and INC’s enigmatic leader singer, Rohan Pandey, carry this fantastic release by virtue of their clever interpretations of famous songs and their mesmerising vocal prowess. Dhoni is more inclined towards a rhythmic delivery, taking the lead on album opener Killing in the Name of (Rage against the Machine), shouting its memorable refrain: “F**k you, you will do what I tell you,” while Pandey leans more towards a melodic style on the mic. King of Pop Michael Jack-
son’s Smooth Criminal — “You’ve been hit by/struck by…a smooth criminal” — is again typically Dhoni’s territory so he takes the lead on it, admirably too, while on Incubus’s Megalomaniac, we hear Pandey’s immense range as he balances the highs of the chorus before plunging downwards to shameful lows during the verses. Mogwai’s 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong sees the two taking a backseat vocally, instead playing guitars and exchanging solos immersed in one-upmanship on this instrumental behemoth with a multi-layered meaning. Up next is a delightful duet, Love the Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna. Pandey handles Rihanna’s tricky singing bits while Dhoni holds fort rapping his heart out, but unlike the original, where “lie” is in context to lying down,
here the “lie” means the opposite of truth in some smart wordplay. Next, they do Nirvana’s version of Bowie’s Man Who Sold The World, before transitioning seamlessly into The Doors’ This is the End, with a fantastic two-piece harmony on the “My only friend, the end” part. The album concludes with Stairway to Heaven, which features Harvind Nainital, lead guitarist of Alternative And Progressive (AAP) band, Buffalo Excrement. Nainital, while immensely talented, is known more for his songwriting skills than his guitar solos. Here, the solo starts off with quite an unexpected bang. But the second section of the solo is all over the place, and then it just abruptly stops after just 49 measures, lending a sense of underwhelming disappointment to it. And, just like the Led Zep original, this song too has a subliminal message embedded in it in reverse. If you play it backwards, you’ll hear a robotic, lifeless, emotionless voice repeating, over and over again, “We’re f**ked, aren’t we?” — Akhil Sood
“Speaking of my out-station gigs, Berlin is the hippest city for us electronic music folks. The parties end on Monday afternoon and start on Thursday night. I couldn’t believe how much they welcomed my music. I think they already heard it somewhere. Isn’t the Internet amazing?” “I’ve never paid for my fans on Facebook. Never.” “I’ve never pushed up my SoundCloud hits. Never.” “I’ve never sent bots to hike up my YouTube video views. Never.” “I don’t strategise my tweets. I just try and be myself and share that with the world.” “I’ve never taken money from a brand to endorse them.” “I’ve never taken free gear; this is what I buy anyway.” “Speak to my manager. He says he is me in disguise.”
“ I played at an amazing electronic music festival in France. Besides the fact that it was an independently organised club event in the same city (and possibly the worst club in all of France), I do indeed believe I performed at the festival itself by virtue of proximity of ambience.”
“I was born with turntables in my crib.” “I was raised with a mic in my hand.” “I live with a headphone on one ear.” “I make peace signs for cameramen.” “I stick my tongue out for cameramen.” “I am going to die deaf.”
“This latest track I made is the best one I have ever made.” “This new music video I am making is the sh*t.” “European underground labels are going nuts on my music.” “You should have seen the girls at my gig last week. Why can’t our own city have such hot chicks?” (Can be used in any city. Beautiful.) “I used to be a tabla prodigy. But that got boring so I thought I should learn new things. I really believe in evolving myself always.” “This is who I am. This is who you need to like. Not that other guy. Granted we have a lot of similarities but its the subtle differences you need to appreciate and magnify into life-altering ones. Yes its broadly the same sort of music, give or take a few BPMs, but his is just really cheap and uninformed. It takes hard work, and I work hard. Or it shows. It just shows how different our sounds are. Listen carefully next time, okay?” An insider’s view of an electronic music persona reveals some pretty interesting strategies that might appear deceptive but can also be forgiven for being, well, strategic. BLOT! is Avinash Kumar and Gaurav Malaker — an electronic arts collective based out of New Delhi. See some of their work on www.blottin.blogspot.com and www.soundcloud/com/blot
th e su n day g u a rd ian 2 0 : s u p p l e m e n t to th e su n day gu ar d ian | 30.03.2014 | n ew d elh i
Fact & Fiction: Banksy finally speaks out Nidhi Gupta
orld-famous street artist Banksy has been the subject of much controversy and growing admiration from within and outside the art world. In this exclusive interview with Guardian20, he talks of being famous, being anonymous and perhaps coming to India. Q. Why do you persist in keeping your identity secret? A. That’s partly to do with keeping “authorities” at bay. Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place. That’s how I look at it. The secretiveness is also because I feel this kind of thing creates its own kind of buzz. Had I been a recognisable face, I don’t think I’d have been able to paint the kind of stuff I have. You wouldn’t be so charmed, coming all the way from India, looking for me. But there is also a philosophical angle. I strongly believe that if you want to say something and have people
listen, then you have to wear a mask. If you want to be honest, then you have to live a lie. At the same time, I think the artist and his “constituency” must have a direct connection. My work should be able to speak to the commonest of men, not be hung up in galleries for the enjoyment of a privileged few. Again, this wouldn’t be possible if I’d become a public figure. The world is bent on finding its heroes — and placing them on a pedestal. Q. But despite your best efforts, it is evident that you enjoy a very high degree of celebrity today. Mark Getty, Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber are among your fans. Your work is finding place in significant auctions, being stripped of its context and actually hung up in halls of fame. A. Like I said — the world must find its idols. What we don’t understand is that we don’t need any more heroes; we just need someone to take out the recycling. Still, it’s not like I’m a rockstar. I don’t want applause, or big money or the drug-soaked, groupieridden lifestyle. There are four basic human needs —
Graffiti art work by Banksy
food, sleep, sex and revenge. I’m just dedicating my life right now to taking care of the first three. Maybe when I’m 80 years old, I’ll find the need to take care of the last too. That’s when I’ll probably want to burst Justin’s (Bieber) balloon. Q. Your work is immensely subversive and deeply political, making you one of the most provocative artists of our time. Some of your most controversial and celebrated work is to be found on walls in Syria and Israel. How do
you reconcile the statements you make with the medium of exhibition? A. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little. When you’re talking about medium, you have to look at how all these big, jazzy installations use everything — light, sound, paint, film, cloth, brick, animal hide, glass cages, formaldehyde — to make such petty points. It’s all very well to say that art is subjective, but meaning isn’t always what the spectator can endorse
Cut Copy Paste
your work with. That’s just lazy. It happened to me too — I’d been painting rats for three years before someone said "that’s clever, it’s an anagram of art" and I had to pretend I’d known that all along. But beyond signifiers and meanings, there is the real world. A world with a million real problems — poverty, war, bloodshed, inequality, child labour. People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine. They follow the rules. The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but
by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages. It’s the cops who say “I’m just doing my job”. It’s also you when you say “mind your own business”. This is why graffiti is so important. Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss. Since we’re talking about fixing meanings, look at this situation — a man standing against a wall, looking up at an art work that might just nudge his attention away from his dreary life to think about things larger than him. This is why I say that a wall is a very big weapon. It’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with. Q. Where are you headed next for your next exhibition? What will it be about? A. I don’t believe in advertising my work before I make it, because that obviously defeats the purpose of “anonymous” graffiti art. But I will give you a hint — I have been reading a lot about India,
this watershed election that is coming up and all these leaders you’re faced with. I think in a great democracy, fear is important. You should be afraid of your choices because fear sometimes triggers reactions you’d never be able to come up with in your senses. Your mind is work-
ing at its best when you’re being paranoid. You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity. At times like this, I’d say to you: speak softly, but carry a big can of paint. And if you’re prowling around at night in the capital, I might just meet you there.
It’s a hoax! Krishna Kumar isn't real, admits Raza aditya mani jha
Wolfgang Beltracchi is considered to be the greatest art forgers of all time. This fake Heinrich Campendonk abstract work had even film actor and avid art collector Steve Martin fooled, when he bought it in 2010. The forger, after selling hundreds of fakes of important artworks across the world, is now in prison in Germany facing a $27 million lawsuit.
his was not only unfair, it was a slap in the face of the art establishment. If you keep alienating curators and artists, soon there will be no patrons, no money and the whole thing will crumble before you can say ‘retrospective’.” The noted critic and curator Siddharth Banerjee wasn’t in a mood to mince his words. Last week, Banerjee was just one of the 100-odd artists, enthusiasts and journalists who became the victim of a practical joke perpetrated at the National Gallery of Modern Art. At the centre of the hoax was veteran artist S.H. Raza, aided and abetted by a handful of curators and patrons, all of whom later admitted to being in on the joke. The 92-year-old artist had announced a month ago that a reclusive friend of his, one Krishna Kumar, had recently passed away at his New Delhi residence. An orphan who never married, Kumar supposedly had only Raza by his bedside. Raza had announced, further, that Kumar had left a stash of 36 paintings behind, none of which had ever seen the light of day. What really set the grapevine on fire was Raza’s claim that his late friend was “an artist, certainly one far superior to myself. The concept of the “Bindu” as the source of universal energy and lifeforce was actually something
An artwork purportedly by Krishna Kumar
Krishna came up with. He was simply too shy to show the world what he was capable of.” As if on cue, several Indian artists and curators began to reminisce about an elusive old man they had seen speaking to Raza at certain obscure exhibitions and galleries down the years. Musicians started to talk about private concerts where they had performed, where a friend of Raza had stunned them with his encyclopedic knowledge of Western classical music. At least one writer, in the process of writing Raza’s biography, claimed to have been in on it,
saying that he had been preserving this little nugget for publication. On Friday, however, Raza pulled the carpet from beneath their feet by clarifying that the whole thing had been a hoax. In the printed statement that he read out at NGMA, the artist elaborated on his motives. “Art is only worthy of our consideration if artists, aesthetes and those who profess to care, keep their sense of humour intact. When I decided to come up with the persona of Mr. Krishna Kumar, I did so not out of malice, but out of a sense of duty almost; to break the crushing inertia
that I saw in the art world, to remind people to view artworks on their own merit and not out of some misinformed, half-baked sense of the artist’s reputation or ‘eminence’. The culture of mutual back-patting can only be cancerous for all the stakeholders involved here. I just wanted to remind people of this.” The hoax was reminiscent of the one pulled off by author William Boyd, in collusion with Gore Vidal and David Bowie, among others, in March 1998, in which they dreamed up an obscure American master called Nat Tate.
Subodh Gupta retires Warhol's portrait of from art world Bappi Lahiri found
Lady Gaga to make second India tour
Madame Tussauds in the National Museum
Eminent artist Subodh Gupta has decided to retire from the world of art. The announcement, made at a press conference earlier this week, took everyone present by surprise. According to sources, the decision comes after an incident where Gupta chanced upon college-goers making fun of his work at the NGMA. “They kept poking fun at his use of utensils. He couldn’t take it anymore,” said the source.
Pop megastar Lady Gaga has announced her second tour to India. “I got such a warm reception and so much love that I couldn’t resist coming back,” she told Guardian20. Since her last tour in 2011, she has been studying Bharatanatyam. On this tour, she says, she will be giving a rendition, but with a surprise twist. She also said that there might be collaboration with actor Kamal Hassan on the cards.
As part of an attempt to increase their global footprint, Madame Tussauds is all set to open in India. The London-based gallery will open a smaller version in a section of the National Museum, New Delhi. The opening is slated for 14 July this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the gallery. India has been a popular part of Madame Tussauds galleries around the world, with wax figures of Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan already part of the London gallery. The Indian branch will play host to more local, but equally popular figures like Rakhi Sawant, Jayalalitha, Rohit Shetty and Harman Baweja, among others.
American pop artist Andy Warhol’s tryst with Asia doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. After the stunning sale of his portrait of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong at an auction in London last month, the owners of a small-time gallery in New York have uncovered another work that he’d done of Indian musician Bappi Lahiri. The Bollywood icon has been painted in shades of black, gold and red in a work tentatively being dated back to 1983. The dilapidated painting is now being restored, and will soon be up for display with other works found in the storeroom of the gallery, including a long-lost painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
the s u nday gua rdi an 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 03. 2014 | new delhi
Modi and Kejriwal dazzle Karan Johar on his show Karan Johar recently invited both Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal on Koffee With Karan. Sorabh Pant shares an excerpt from the transcript of the soon-to-be aired interview. main toh ab tak ek kirdaar nibha rahe hai. KJ: Really? You had all of us fooled! AK: Of course, Karan. That’s what makes it so realistic. Nari — that’s Narendra — and me were having a drink the other day. Not in Gujarat — because, you know dry state… NM: (Laughs) He drinks only vodka. No whiskey. He even wants his drinks to be transparent.
Karan Johar: Today, on my show, I have a man who has revolutionised the topi look and brought the Gandhi topi back into fashion. He’s also some kind of politician; Mr Arvind Kejriwal is here. Arvind Kejriwal: Hi, Karan. Big fan.
KJ: What about Rahul? AK: Rahul?
KJ: Oh, you watch the show? AK: Of course. It’s my favourite source of political news… KJ: Really? But, this is a Bollywood show. AK: Well, Alia Bhatt did say that Prithviraj Chauhan is the President of India. It proved that Gujarat’s development story was a lie.
illustration: rashmi gupta | dev kabir malik design
with Mahesh Bhatt; they’re great at low budget sequels. KJ: Dharna Mana Hai, right? AK: Leave the jokes to me, Karan. I’m hilarious. Did you hear my Advani/Adani pun?
KJ: Okay. I don’t understand. AK: Well. Obviously, younger women these days are not getting the right nutrients, reducing total IQ by 34%. Nutrients come from milk. Who makes milk? Amul! Amul is in Gujarat! Obviously, these cows are just Modi bhakts and hate women. As if Pramod Muthalik wasn’t bad enough. Then there was Emraan Hashmi…
KJ: Of course. Well, we have a surprise guest for you. He built Shanghai, invented breathing and was solely responsible for The Big Bang which started the universe: Narendra Modi. (Modi enters. Air kisses Karan. Sits next to Arvind.)
KJ: He is political? AK: No, he’s just an idiot. AAP did an RTI and we found that his brain is actually in a Swiss bank. I have all the records with me. Here! All the Bollywood guys whose body parts are in Swiss banks. Emraan’s brain, Akshay Kumar’s English, Mahesh Bhatt’s logic. All in Swiss banks.
KJ: Have you met Arvind? NM: Who? Sorry, I don’t see him. AK: You can’t keep ignoring me forever! NM: I tried. But, then your nipples greeted me in every newspaper in the country. Bhai, why did you have to be topless? You’re taking your stance on transparency too far. AK: Really? I haven’t seen you topless ever. What do you have to hide? Is there a tattoo of the Godhra files? NM: Sorry, I don’t talk to Pakistani agents. When are you marrying Sonia? AK: That’s completely needless. I’m a real politician… NM: Haan, woh to everyone saw. You were CM for 49 days,
KJ: Fantastic. Now, you’re really busy: what releases do you have this year? AK: Oh, I plan to release 22 dharnas this month, followed by 16 more dharnas. We’re doing dharnas against Modi, BJP, RSS, corruption and a dharna about how they’re too many dharnas. We’ve tied up
KJ: Mr. Modi, it’s a pleasure. NM: Namaskar. Abki baar Modi Sarkar.
“ Well, Alia Bhatt did say that Prithviraj Chauhan is the President of India. It proved that Gujarat’s development story was a lie.” — Arvind Kejriwal
bhai. I’ve had wives who lasted longer than that. You’re a dramebaaz. Nothing else. KJ: Wow. This has gotten totally out of hand. Let’s relax. Let’s have a rapid fire round. NM: I DID NOT START THE FIRE! It’s all a conspiracy. There is no fire. AK: See, you can’t even hear the word “fire” and not freak out. Guilty mind! KJ: If you were forced into a Hindutva encounter with anyone, who would you chose? AK: Karan, there is no gun in the world that could make me spout Hindutva.
AK: I have a rapid fire for him: How many planes and helicopters do you have? Why did 800 farmers kill themselves in Gujarat? Why is one of your ministers Ambani’s son-in-law? Why? Why? NM: No comment. It’s Karan Johar. Not Karan Thapar. KJ: This has never happened before in Koffee With Karan. I’ve never had one celebrity ask another celebrity questions. Your anarchy won! Congratulations, Mr. Kejriwal, you win the Koffee Hamper. NM: I don’t need the Coffee Hamper. I have my own. It has: SEZs, FDIs, infrastructure. Made in Gujarat. AK: (Giggles) It clearly says, “Made in China”. NM: (Giggles) Aap bhi na. Stop breaking out of character! (Both Arvind and Modi start roaring with laughter.) KJ: I don’t understand. What’s happening? AK: Sorry, sorry… It’s too much to hold back. NM: Ho gaya. Bas. Ho gaya. We can’t keep doing this forever!
KJ: What is your relationship with your jhaadu? AK: For the ninth time, we’re just good friends.
KJ: Aren’t you guys mortal enemies? AK: These are all media exaggerations, Karan. We’re actually good friends.
KJ: Very good. Now, Mr. Modi. Relax. Narendra, can I call you Nari? Now, Nari.
KJ: But, you called him AK49. A Pakistani agent. NM: Karanji, I just say what my script writers tell me to. If
Times of India to sell space between words to advertisers
KJ: But, Arvind, you called him a liar and a cheat! AK: Yeah, that’s my own script. I write it myself. NM: He’s like the Aamir Khan of Indian politics. Khud likhte hai, khud karte hai. He’s almost a dictator! AK: Now come on, NaMo, you don’t say anything about being a dictator! Modi and Kejriwal laugh and hold hands. NM: Good one. Good one! KJ: I really don’t understand this. NM: Karanji, what do you know about politics? KJ: I love politics. Bebo and Piggy Chops have been fighting since 2009. No coalition could help them. And Devgn and Rohit Shetty, it’s a hung house. And… NM: Nahi Karanji. Real politics, what do you know about real politics? KJ: Believe me — these are real politics! Piggy wanted to throw acid on… AK: … I think he means the less important: the Delhi politics. Netas etc. KJ: Oh yeah. I love that too. I’ve seen the first 10 minutes of Rajneeti. NM: Haan. Then, you’ll know all of it is planned. Kejriji aur
Star suspends commentators for making sense on TV Vineet Jain
The Times of India, the country’s largest selling English daily surprised everyone last Friday with their Delhi edition, which had advertisements and brand endorsements between every two words of the news copy. The newspaper that revolutionised the newspaper business in India has come up with a completely new way of making the printed material more exciting and profitable in this way. A note written at the bottom of the first page (not to be confused with the seven ‘jackets’ before that) explained — “while you are reading the news (if you manage to find some), the empty spaces between words look dull and that space is essentially wasted, so we have decided to come up with this new way of advertising. Once you get used to it, you will start liking it. If that doesn’t happen, well, you have a couple of months to make your peace with it before everyone else starts doing the same.”
Can’t find love? Here’s your chance to sniff out your perfect date
lthough they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a new dating venture suggests that it’s more reliable to trust our noses when it comes to finding true love. That’s the idea behind “pheromone parties”, singles events where attendees aim to sniff out a hot date. The parties started in the States, where the formula for a pheromone-filled night out was created: party-goers sleep in a white cotton T-shirt for three nights prior to the event, put it in a zip-lock bag to seal in the scent, and bring it along to the party’s venue — which is what I did on Tuesday evening for the UK’s first pheromone party. Around 100 people gathered at Stories bar in east London, to look — well, smell — for love.
KJ: Rahul Gandhi? NM: Oh, dekhiye, Rahulji is a character actor. Thode over the top hain. He really needs to tone it down. We’re doing national politics, not Gujarati theatre — we’re just happy that people believed anyone could be so stupid. KJ: Okay. So, you both are good friends. But, isn’t there still an election to win? AK: Who cares? I’m famous… NM: … and rich. Some of us drive Wagon R’s but, come on… KJ: So, it’s all a scam? NM: Nahi Karanji. Not a scam. Just the best scripted show in Indian history. AK: It’s like any reality show. You just vote for your favourite performer. Like Indian Idol meets Face The Nation. Simple. KJ: Alright. I have my final surprise for you. We have with us Rahul Gandhi. (Rahul Gandhi walks in.) NM: Oh, time toh dekho. I really have to run. AK: Sorry, Karan. I’m late for a dharna. RG: Hi, Mummy! KJ: Oh good God. Well, in conclusion, India is united by one thing: making a fool of the whole country and avoiding the Congress. Happy Democracy! Sorabh Pant is one of India’s top comedians and the founder of East India Co.medy.
Rajdeep Sardesai denies rumours that he started Veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who on Friday had announced his own demise on Twitter, addressed a group of (mostly CNN-IBN) journalists outside his home, assuring them that he was, in fact, alive and well, prompting Rajdeep Sardesai a few cheers and not a few groans of despair. Sardesai has already replied to his own tweet, saying, “Deep apologies: am now told that my info on the state of my brain is unreliable. Picked it up from a tweet. Apologies to all and especially to myself.”
If the commentary during India-Bangladesh match sounded odd to you, it was because Star TV had given the day off to Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Ramiz Raja. “The newly contracted commentators refused to use and overdose the audience with banalities that they apparently en- Ravi Shastri & Sunil Gavaskar joy so much. They were actually trying to analyse the match. There was no point in keeping them on,” an official comment on Star’s website read. The celebrated trio has be called back and they will be talking about things like “intelligent cricket”, “buzzing stadium”, “electric atmosphere” and “the need to build momentum” for the rest of the tournament.
Rishi Kapoor plays Dawood Ibrahim in a film, it doesn’t make him a terrorist.
Freelancer overjoyed after getting paid on time In a stunning turn of events, a f re e l a n ce writer, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of jinxing himself was paid the money he was promised by a publication he had contributed to within three weeks after the article was published. “It’s probably just a one time thing, but it means a lot and I am not considering a shift to copywriting for advertisements anymore,” he told Guardian20 during a telephonic conversation.
Photo credit: The Pheromone Parties on Facebook
I talk to Philippa, 35, a serial online dater, who shares amusing anecdotes about her love life. I ask her why she decided to come tonight. She tells me that she likes “doing things that are different” and doesn’t think she “should put all her eggs in one (presumably digital) basket.” Judith Prays, the LA-based founder of pheromone parties, would probably agree with Philippa’s pragmatism. She started the company four years ago after coming to the realisation that online dating consistently led to short-lived relationships. Her answer was to incorporate science into the search for love. The parties are modelled on the “sweaty T-shirt study” conducted by Claus Wedekind, a Swiss biological researcher, who, as part of a 1995 study, asked women to smell shirts that had been worn by a group of men for two days. He discovered that the women were most sexually attracted to the whiff of men whose “major histocompatibility complex” genes were most dissimilar to their own. Simply put, if someone smells different to you, you’re more likely to be attracted to them. “The parties are less about the idea that smell is the answer,” says Judith, “and more about asking questions because our dating approaches are clearly not working so well. The parties open up a new way of looking at dating and which pieces of information we consider when making decisions about someone.”
id-conversation with Philippa, I catch a glimpse of a man who is clutching my T-shirt. Everyone’s Tshirts are numbered and placed on tables around the room. People come up for a whiff and, if a person likes a particular T-shirt’s aroma, they have their photo taken with it, which is then projected on to the wall of the bar. It’s an icebreaker of sorts – if you like the look of the man or woman that digs your odour, you can then go up and talk to them. I don’t fancy the guy but Others smell of cigarettes, go up to him, anyway, to ask him a few quessome have seemingly tions. “There are three types been submerged in 99p of T-shirts,” he says. aftershave while one “Some smell like the T-shirt conjures up mental owners were ashamed and gassed themselves images of a biryani. I soon with perfume, others realise that my favourite smell like rancid butter, and there are also tops smell clean. I can’t the ones that are kind say I smelled all of them of OK. I chose this Tshirt because I wouldn’t for sure but, by the end mind that smell of the evening, none of around.” Eat your heart out, Romeo! My second the fragrances hit me like suitor describes my a thunderbolt of lust. scent as “very sweet” (a slightly more romantic appraisal). I battle the hordes surrounding the T-shirt tables for a proper sniff. Some of the shirts are particularly potent: body odour with enough gusto to singe a girl’s nasal tract. Others smell of cigarettes, some have seemingly been submerged in 99p aftershave while one T-shirt conjures up mental images of a biryani. I soon realise that my favourite tops smell clean. I can’t say I smelled all of them for sure but, by the end of the evening, none of the fragrances hit me like a thunderbolt of lust. I feel that choosing the just-washed shirts defeats the object — so, with the help of Philippa, we pick some bags that at least smell mildly of something more. After a couple of hours, I lose the will to smell any more, and, after saying goodbye to a defeated Philippa, I sit chatting to Alex, who I’d met earlier in the evening. We’re heading in a similar direction home so jump on the same night bus. Discussing the night, he tells me that while he wasn’t sure about the evening at the outset, he ended up having fun. It wasn’t love at first sniff, then, but he smells like a kindred spirit. THE INDEPENDENT
th e su n day g u ar d ian 2 0 : s u p p l e m e n t to th e Su n day gu ar d ian | 30.03.2014 | ne w de l hi
Beaten by apathy: Delhi’s first masked vigilante hangs up his muffler As Muffler Tau, Rajesh Hooda tried to get Delhiites to become better citizens, but failed to appeal to emotions higher than their thirst for violence. He tells Ajachi Chakrabarti about his failed crusade.
ajesh Hooda is a contented man. He’s back home with his family after almost seven years apart. When I meet him for the first time, he says he hasn’t had a drink in 17 days, three hours and 25 minutes. He’s deeply conscious of the struggles of maintaining this new-found sobriety. “I’ve got to take it a day at a time,” he says. At first, he’s reluctant to discuss his years as Muffler Tau, the masked defender of civic sense in a city on the verge of self-destruction. It is only when I explain to him the economics of merchandising that he allows me to make public his identity as Delhi’s first vigilante. The most famous of those arch-nemeses was Arvind Kejriwal. “I spent a decade trying to improve this city; most of it spent fighting alone. People had finally started taking me seriously, actually listening to what I had to say rather than just mindlessly uploading videos of me beating up people on YouTube. Then this joker shows up. Which is fine; I’m not a this-town-isnot-big-enough kind of guy. But then it gets cold, and he
starts wearing a muffler. Now, whenever I showed up people would say, ‘Kejriwal aa gaya.’ They thought I was copying him, imagine, when in fact he totally stole my gimmick.” Matters came to a head this January when a sloshed Hooda confronted Kejriwal as the latter sat on a dharna outside Rail Bhawan. Fighting off the AAP workers who had formed a human shield, he clawed at Kejriwal’s muffler, shouting “Chor! Chor!” As he was being carted off by the police, he realised that maybe dedicating his life to fighting Delhi’s refusal to be good citizens had finally pushed him over the bend. It was a noble battle while it lasted. Hooda moved to New Delhi from Bhiwani in 1999 to work at a garage in Jhandewalan Extension. Commuting daily by bus from Dwarka, he soon found himself getting more and more frustrated with how his fellow passengers would elbow each other before getting on the bus, how they’d go sit in seats reserved for women and senior citizens, how they wouldn’t bother to buy their tickets first. Then one day in late 2004, someone did all three. “This little idiot barges through the crowd at Patparganj,” he says, “and plonks himself down on this Senior Citizen seat. I’d been standing right
The name “Muffler Tau” was given to Hooda after a daring night raid on the Delhi Metro at Central Secretariat station on 25 October 2005.
After the Kejriwal fiasco, Hooda briefly attempted wearing a green muffler to distinguish himself
next to it, not sitting down because, you know, those seats are for old people. He then hands me a tenner and asks me to buy him a ticket. I couldn’t stand it any more.” He then proceeded to beat the passenger senseless. The driver stopped the bus, as everyone turned to watch. Someone called the police. Hooda calls it his moment
of awakening. “I realised that this city needed someone to teach it a lesson in civility,” he says. “I realised that that someone had to be me.” The first step was to avoid detection by the police, a priority since the “little idiot” was in fact Bachcha Yadav, a prominent fixer in Delhi’s corridors of power. Hooda’s brother, an ATM guard in
Malviya Nagar, provided him with the necessary disguise, giving him his muffler. “The winter was over, and I didn’t need it any more,” says Rajdeep Hooda, his brother.
he name “Muffler Tau” was given to Hooda after a daring night raid on the Delhi Metro at Central Secretariat
station on 25 October 2005. While the newly launched metro service had coaches reserved for women, the rule was honoured more in the breach than the observance. That night, Hooda, armed with a lathi, attacked every man hovering in the women’s coach, even chasing one of them out of the train and onto the platform. Cellphone footage of the raid made its way to news channels, who gave him the name he would go by for the next decade. The police were embarrassed, and were forced to have constables in all women’s coaches in the future. Hooda first realised that his message wasn’t getting across four years later. By then, he had married Savita Garodia, a neighbour, and stepped up his crusade. He had lost his job in the garage and would spend his days lurking in the shadows, waiting for people to
break his laws. “If I saw anyone peeing against a wall, I would sneak up behind him and pee on him,” he says. “If people parked their cars on the road, I would smash the windows and slash the tyres. If they spat on the pavement, I’d rub their faces in that spit.” The problem was that while his actions became notorious, no one seemed to care why he did what he did. “People would post on YouTube,” he says, “‘Watch Muffler Tau deliver epic beatdown’, but my whole message about better civic sense seemed to be ignored. Whenever I saw some idiot with a cellphone recording me, I’d deliver a brief monologue about how this city is mine and yours. People couldn’t understand my Haryanvi, so I learnt Hindi and English. But to no avail. People would spit on the road on purpose while their friends hid in the bushes with a camera. The whole thing became about recording me.” The attention and apathy combined to drive Hooda to drink. It didn’t help that ever since he had assaulted the Commissioner of Delhi Police in 2006 for parking his official car in an ambulance spot at AIIMS, he had had to hide his wife and two children in Churu, the small town in Rajasthan his wife hails from.
As he went from occasional tippler to full-blown alcoholic, Hooda’s actions became more and more unpredictable. “He began attacking people at random,” says Rajdeep. “This one time last year, there was a chain snatching incident in Connaught Place. The police and victim were giving chase to the thief, and one guy threw a banana peel in front of the guy. He slipped and the police arrested him. But bhaiya beat up the guy who had helped for littering. I called Savita bhabhi that night and said, ‘Raja bhaiya needs you.’” Savita tried over the phone — Rajesh still wouldn’t let her come to Delhi — to counsel him, to get him to give up drinking. “I refused to listen,” said Hooda. “I knew by then that I wouldn’t succeed in reforming this city, that these people are too far gone. The alcohol was the only thing I looked forward to every day; beating up people had become a chore.” He’s clean now, but uncertain about what’s next. A publisher is pestering him for rights to a comic book, while others want him to go on the speaking circuit. Offers have also come in from friends and relatives for gigs as a bouncer, MMA fighter or even to enter politics. All that will have to wait. He wants to play with his kids now.
I n d i a ’ s f i n e s t S u n d a y n e w s p a p e r. P u b l i s h e d s i m u l t a n e o u s l y f r o m N e w D e l h i , M u m b a i a n d C h a n d i g a r h .
t he s un day gua rdia n 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 03. 2014 | new delhi
From practical joke to commercial black humour Fake reviews used to be three bagfuls of fun, until a bunch of remarkably short-sighted modern authors used them (clumsily) for a better bottomline, writes Aditya Mani Jha. that Inside Mr. Enderby was, in fact, written by Burgess, they fired him. This brings us to the modern hall of fame, which for fake reviews, is really more of a hall of shame. At the front of the queue stands the British historian Orlando Figes, who posted reviews on Amazon that praised his own work — and here’s the kicker — criticised fellow historians including Robert Service and Rachel Polonsky. Figes vehemently denied the allegations of wrongdoing, threatening
ff the top of my head, there are several excellent reasons for faking a review. There’s the doublespeak that professional reviewing can leave you with; the sort of tepid fare that praises in a tired way and dismisses with a heavy-handed hamming spree. The reasons for this sort of mechanical reviewing are many: not least of which is the sheer weight of bad or merely very similar books in the market. Fatigue suffered as a reader gets passed on by the writer. But in this era of warby-numbers social media firms, fake reviews are not those found in the literary sections of newspapers, but on retail sites like Amazon and Flipkart. Anonymous foot-soldiers, banging away at their keyboards in the dead of night, trolling strategic corners on the Internet; the art of the fake review, unfortunately, is theirs now. What has ended up as technoforgery began as a practical joke; on some of these occasions, it was blessed with rare artistry. One of those occasions was Borges’ short story The Approach to al-Mu’tasim (1935) that reads like a review of an imaginary book of the same name. The book-within-the-story itself is a bit of a museum of assorted delights for Borges fans; there’s a violent conflict, a shadowy shaman-like figure and the existential journey that lies at the heart of many memorable fables he wrote, like The Aleph and The Book of Sand. The part where Borges describes the plot of the book under review is pure Borgesian fantasy. “‘A lean and evil mob of moon-colored hounds’ breaks out from behind the black rosebushes. Fiercely beset, he takes refuge in the tower. He climbs an iron ladder — some of the rungs are missing — and, once on the roof, where there is a blackish well in the center, encounters a squalid man squatting by the light of the moon and urinating noisily. This man confides in him that his profession is to rob gold teeth from the white-shrouded cadavers which
When Anthony Burgess wrote Inside Mr Enderby (1963), the first in a quartet of novels featuring the titular character, he thought it’d be a hoot to review his own work; convenient, this, because the novel itself was initially published under the pseudonym Joseph Kell.
(Clockwise from top left): Matt Lynn, R.J. Ellory, Orlando Figes and Stephen Leather have all been caught writing online reviews of their own work in recent times.
the Parsees leave in this tower. He talks of other equally vile matters and mentions that 14 nights have passed since he last purified himself with buffalo dung.” Mind you, not all writers wrote fake reviews with altruistic or even artistic intentions. When Anthony Burgess wrote Inside Mr. Enderby (1963), the first in a quartet of novels featuring the titular character, he thought it’d be a hoot to review
his own work; convenient, this, because the novel itself was initially published under the pseudonym Joseph Kell. Burgess reviewed the novel in the Yorkshire Post. The review was a supremely entertaining one, too, featuring passages like the one reproduced below: “This is, in many ways, a dirty book. It is full of bowel-blasts and flatulent borborygms, emetic meals (‘thin but over-savoury stews’,
Enderby calls them) and halitosis. It may well make some people sick, and those with tender stomachs are advised to let it alone. It turns sex, religion, the State into a series of laughing-stocks. The book itself is a laughing-stock.”
nfortunately for Burgess, the newspaper did not appreciate his practical joke. When it came to their notice
legal action against several newspapers and writers, but eventually admitted that he had posted the reviews and paid damages and court costs to Service and Polonsky, saying that he had “been under intense pressure”. The British crime writer R.J. Ellroy also indulged in a bit of back-patting by proxy, when it emerged that he had used several fake identities to give his own books five-star ratings on Amazon. The controversy had erupted after fellow crime writer had made the allegations on Twitter, citing several suspicious handles, one of whom praised Ellroy’s “magnificent genius” while giving one-star ratings to rivals like Mark Billingham. It’s a bit of a pity, really: as Borges and Burgess show us, the fake review can be used to devastating effect. Not only is the modern avatar of the fake review (as practised by Ellroy and co.) malicious, it is also utterly humourless; a cynical and cold-blooded act that does inestimable disservice to readers and writers worldwide.
Bye Penguin Random, hello Random Penguin Danny The Vito
In a unanimous decision made by their executive board, publishing giants Penguin Random House have changed their name to “Random Penguin”. The change of name is the first among a host of changes that the group seeks to usher in. Our source at the Random Penguin office clarified the company’s stance. “Penguin books, up until now, had been easily recog-
nisable because of the little white bird down the spine, right? We want to mix it up a little, let the reader find the bird; hence ‘Random Penguin’. Given the attention span of your average reader these days, a game of spotthe-penguin should warm ‘em up nicely. And if it’s an Indian debut novel about a love triangle and dirty politics, this is about as much fun as they’re going to have for the next few hours, so the random penguin makes sense that way, too.”
Illustration By Akshar Pathak
Unconfirmed rumours persist about the move being a re-branding exercise following the Wendy Doniger affair. Random Penguin’s pulping The Hindus was seen by many observers as a move that promised to backfire
spectacularly. The company, of course, begs to differ. “Look, all of us know that Random Penguin could have fought Mr. Batra, and anyone else the Sangh threw at us. But let’s face it; it’s not easy launching something
like Metro Reads. Our copy editors are demanding that their salaries be doubled because of all the crappy MR manuscripts we have been receiving. They’ve formed Facebook groups like ‘Colons and Colonoscopies’ and ‘I Too Had A Penchant For Grammar!’ Random Penguinbaiters, do you know how difficult it is to pander to the bird-brained?” At the time of writing this article, our correspondent was standing on the Nizamuddin railway station plat-
form, looking for something good to read on his journey. His eye travelled as far as the Wheeler’s stall, and stopped. Before him were those Random Penguin stalwarts Ravi Subramanian, Ravinder Singh, alongside vanity books by Karisma and Kareena Kapoor, a weight-loss manual and a stack of self-help books. He recoiled in horror, and did not look at a paperback again until he reached home and clutched his Bible to his chest. He just wanted a decent book to read…
The Kama Sutra of our times
A Highly Sexualised Book About Sexy Sex Megha Raheja Cloak-and-Dagger Publishing Pages: 150 Price: Rs 150
“She was ready to see him for what he really was now: a rich, bored, impossibly well-endowed young man with a textile fetish. Hurry up, he commanded, and don’t you dare forget the scarves. Her amber-green eyes flashed with either desire or the pangs of an eating disorder. She was ready to be deprived of food and depraved in everything else.” With this stunning opening, Megha Raheja’s latest novel enters the pantheon of Indian erotica, joining luminaries like Shobhaa De, Khushwant Singh and others. We learnt last month
that the novel was written “after a nightmare I had sounded too embarrassing to be on television, although I might change my mind if Spielberg calls.” The Erotic Underpants tells you everything you wanted to know about heroines in the Anastasia Steele, because, clearly, despite several painful regurgitations across different media, we just can’t have enough of them. And like the best of its genre, it has several pointlessly beautiful locations, like Ibiza and Kathmandu. Go buy it before your train leaves the platform. —B. K. Worm
The novel is s***, but nobody cares
The Great Indian College Novel Satan O. Singh Trashy Pulp Imprint Pages: 200 Price: Rs 95
It’s finally here, and no amount of wishing it away will work. Satan O. Singh — or SOS, as his fans call him — has finally written what he calls, quite simply, The Great Indian College Novel. In SOS’s previous works, we’ve followed 83 young protagonists (this is the 42-year-old SOS’ 84th book) as they negotiated the slippery corridors of engineering college, medical college, B-school, J-school and most recently, bartending classes. But this time, SOS has gone meta on us all; his hero Ratan aspires to become a writer of college
romances. As the back cover proclaims, “And why wouldn’t he? In every stupid party that he attends, every girl he crushes on, every fake start-up that he gets involved with, he sees nothing but adoring readers and the 5,000 copies required to claim the bestseller tag.” Indeed, one might argue that SOS has thus condemned his story and his hero to a rather prosaic and unfortunate fate, but hey, isn’t this the most accurate meta-development of all? When in doubt, read SOS. — Aditya Mani Jha
Biblio file sanjay sipahimalani
Now, a reading app that does away with reading
here’s been much chatter of late about a new app that promises to increase reading speeds. Claims are being bandied about that from an average of 250 words per minute, this app can make you reach up to 1,000 words — about four times as fast. There’s no need to quail anymore, enthusiasts say, at the sheer bulk of books such as War and Peace or Infinite Jest, which can now be finished in a day. One imagines librarians across the land groaning at the increased rate of borrowings from the stacks. What has been a closely-guarded secret until now, however, is that another app is being developed that takes speed-reading a huge step further by eliminating the need to read at all. After all, these developers say, why bother with mundane details when you can — in their words — think out of the box while pushing the envelope?
“A group of like-minded people will assemble to listen to a trained representative of HearHere, called ‘a Storyteller’.”
Understandably, the developers don’t want to release too much information at this stage, as they’re wary of competitors latching on to the same formula. However, this columnist has managed to unearth some particulars of their venture, which is radical in the extreme. I’m legally bound not to reveal all of the details, but suffice to say that the world of books and reading will never be the same. What I can report is that, as with all works of genius, this one has simplicity at its heart. In essence, their plan is to eliminate the need for a person to measure reading speeds and eye movements simply by having the books read out to him or her. As the company’s vice-president said, “The ear is the new eye”. Those who think that this is just a rehashed version of an audiobook could not be more mistaken.
nce downloaded onto your smartphone, HearHere, as the app is called, will store details of your location and offer a menu of titles. All you then have to do is to tap your choices onto it, and you’ll receive an address and time where one of the titles is to be read out in public. Such venues are typically campfires, riverbanks, town squares and other such open spaces. Here, a group of like-minded people will assemble to listen to a trained representative of HearHere, called “a Storyteller”. The initial plan is for such Storytellers to recite titles from mainstream and genre bestseller lists: thus, on any given evening, there would be a wide-eyed group listenWhat has been a closelying to tales of the many guarded secret until now, shades of grey, whereas however, is that another app elsewhere, they would be is being developed that takes enthralled by robots overtaking humans, or thrilled speed-reading a huge step by locked-room mysteries. This revolutionary further by eliminating the new step, the developers need to read at all. After all, claim, also decreases the waste involved in a single these developers say, why book being read only by bother with mundane details one person at a time. (“It’s a Multiplier Effect”, one of when you can — in their them said.) words — think out of the box HearHere’s founders while pushing the envelope? don’t plan to stop here. Once the stock of titles that people want to listen to start to dwindle, they intend to coach their group of intrepid Storytellers in order to take it up a notch. In this phase, they will start to riff on subjects such mythical battles between champions and demons, the origins of the universe and our place in it, local legends of love and loss, and so on. In passing, this is also the basis of HearHere’s business plan: companies can sponsor such tales and have their products woven into them. For example, a detergent manufacturer could sponsor a folktale of a washerman’s donkey, and cleverly imply that you’re an ass if you don’t use washing powder. Ingenious. When I asked one of HearHere’s founders how their scheme differed from age-old pre-literate storytelling activity, he bristled. “There’s all the difference in the world!” he spluttered, taking a few sips of his hazelnut latte. “You see, in the past they simply recited stories. Now, we plan to simply recite stories — by using an app!” Refusing his offer of another latte, I returned home, marvelling at the uses of 21st century technology.
words of wisdom
“A good friend will always stab you in the front.” Oscar Wilde
th e su n day g u a r dian 2 0 : s u p p l e m e n t to th e su n day gu ar d ian | 30.03.2014 | n ew d elh i
An exhaustive account, an exhausted journalist Andrew S. Shole’s journey to India, and his subsequent career as a foreign correspondent here was a long and illustrious one. In an extract from his memoirs, we discover India like never before.
fter spending three years in India, one gets used to the hyperbolic and often dismissive narratives that surface during conversations about the country and its future. There seems to be a set of preoccupations with which a majority of books written on the topic are inflicted. The effort with this book was to tap into the space left in between the travelogues that romanticise the subcontinent and news reports that miss the bigger picture, and present a first-person account of a country trapped in a tug-ofwar, with the privileged on one side and the deprived on the other. The seemingly incomprehensible “Idea of India” can reveal itself to the onlooker in individual spectacles that he encounters on a daily basis while navigating the subcontinent. When seen in isolation, the reason behind a traffic jam or the condition of a road may seem trite or banal, but with a probing eye, one can see something bigger, something emblematic of that tug-of-war. More than anything, it is an attempt to provide readers with an intimate sketch a country whose economical and geopolitical significance will increasingly affect the rest of the world. After embracing the Nehruvian socialism for more than 40 years, India liberalised its economy, opening international trade and investment, which helped create the huge private sector. If we care to find them, there are innumerable stories written by acclaimed journalists and authors about this transformation, providing a montage of the country as a whole.
“Because like every single white man to set foot in India, I must devote a chapter to Varanasi and the Kumbh Mela.”
The new India comprises of glass-enclosed buildings for an ambitious middle-class, while those stuck on the lower strata of economic ladder populate the slums nearby. Mumbai, the financial capital of India is the home to the biggest cabbage-town in all of Asia — Dharavi, a bustling hub which can be easily mistaken as a city in itself, inhibits about a million residents, whose somewhat less remarked-upon priorities — there are more televisions than toilets — are reflective of the deep desire to escape from the miserable state of affairs. Even though the economic liberalisation lifted a large chunk of population from below the poverty line, this progressive upward mobil-
Books you would think were fake, but aren’t From a series of dinosaur romance novels to a how-to essay for arsonists, we raise a toast to these gloriously awful books. “Without you, there’d be no chaff to separate from the wheat / no books to celebrate on BookBeat.” (via boredpanda.com and geekologie.com)
Not too long ago, when I went to meet an IAS officer, he turned up an hour late. The reason that he gave me is a telling reference of the compromised modernity that India has negotiated with itself. “ I had accidently broken the rear-view mirror of the car and my wife didn’t let me before saying prayer to the deity”. “ It’s a bad omen,” he added.
ity is still haunted by the customs and beliefs of old India. Not too long ago, when I went to meet an IAS officer, he turned up an hour late. The reason that he gave me is a telling reference of the compromised modernity that India has negotiated with itself. “I had accidently
broken the rear-view mirror of the car and my wife didn’t let me before saying prayer to the deity”. “It’s a bad omen,” he added, sounding ominous. The modern Indian isn’t an extremist as far as religion goes but they aren’t ready to completely detach themselves from it either.
hen I met a couple of employees at Infosys’ Bangalore campus, they had similar stores to tell. Infosys hired Rohit, who graduated from IIT Roorkee, one of the most prestigious institutions of higher studies in the country, before he finished the course for an annual salary of Rs 9 lakh. Bear in mind that the state doesn’t count those earning more than Rs 32 a day below the poverty line. Rohit is a devout Hindu, as he tells me, but doesn’t empathise with the extremist views of the groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that spearheaded the movement that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque in Uttar Pradesh in 1992.
However, it’s not just the issue of religion where the old India can impose itself on the aspirations of a country aiming to be a superpower. For a nation where everything is changing fast, the government offices in India can be shockingly depressing. I was shocked while trying to make sense of the Kafkaesque proceedings but what is even more interesting is that the earliest signs of bureaucracy in subcontinent date back to 300 BC. Arthashastra, a text written in Sanskrit, describes the duties of the state, not one of which can be traced in the uninterested characters who, by the looks of it, are only in office for chai (tea, essentially, but with a lot of sugar). In the 40 minutes that I spent in a little room of the Ministry of Home Affairs, a boy (not more than 10 years old) served chai thrice to the employees. Despite the dusty computers running on out-dated operating systems, there is no sign of an IT revolution in these offices. Almost all of government data is still available only on paper. But the mercurial nature of India’s vision of itself aside, during the course of writing this book, I learned that the world’s biggest democracy provides endlessly fascinating anecdotes that can be used to tell the India story in a number of ways, all of which can be true. I have tried to weave these narratives together to provide the reader with a montage of this enigma of a country. I must also thank Edward Luce, Patrick French, Ramchandra Guha, Nandan Nilekani, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Siddharth Deb, William Dalrymple, Shashi Tharoor and many others from whom I have learned a great deal about India and without them this book could not have been possible.
Are you a blurber? Take the Shteyngart test to find out this year, make it this one. Shukert rocks the lulav.”
The game: Spot the fake blurbs from the ones written by Gary Shteyngart, the author of Absurdistan, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Super Sad True Love Story and most recently, Little, Failure. The reward: wisdom that, hopefully, makes you immune to blurbs and blurbers, the next time you visit your friendly neighbourhood bookstore.
The City of Devi is so exuberant and sexy, one may wish to purchase a prophylactic alongside it. When the world comes to an end, I will spend my last days in Mumbai clutching a copy of Manil Suri’s dazzling epic.”
When I started reading this book, I thought it would be another poorly plotted, obscure, inaccessible, shaggy-dog of a poorly-edited novel. After 642 pages of impossibly arcane King James English, a meta-narrative involving a retired professor of classics and a femme fatale who recites Eliot and Pound from memory, I can gladly and unequivocally say that I was wrong.”
blinding magnificence “ofThe this debut novel made me wonder why the author hadn’t — up until now — taken the time to write a clichéd coming-of-age story set in a politically turbulent area. May I (playfully) fling his next offering against the wall soon!”
When a new Ken Kalfus novel appears I stop eating, drinking, shaving, and breathing until I finish it. Equilateral is one of his smartest and most ambitious books yet. It left me thinking and wondering well past my bedtime.”
you like pugs, wine, “andIf Greece, Vintage AttracGary Shteyngart
could do worse than pick up this book — you know, like murdering his kitten, cheating on his wife or setting the neighbourhood bookstore on fire. (Kidding.)”
lock look like a bunch of old ladies playing Patience. The last time I had so much fun was when my boss sent to me report on a record-breaking blizzard in Dras.”
Anyone who wants to “understand “This is such an amazingly “If you read only one memthe mechanics witty, action-packed detec- oir by a disaffected, urban, of the financial meltdown
tive novel that it makes Sher-
20-something Jewish girl
tion is for you. It’s so postpost-modern it’s almost premodern. I read it on a stone tablet and loved every word.” Bonus: Here’s Shteyngart talking up his own blurbing habits: you gotta love this guy. “Gary Shteyngart’s blurbs are touching, funny and true. This is a blurber to watch.”
left of cool aishwarya subramanian
A Psuperhero book that wastes a promising start
hen it was announced that Sebastian Faulks would be writing a Wodehouse-estate-sanctioned Jeeves and Wooster book, I don’t think anyone (including Faulks himself, possibly) thought it would go well. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells was published last year, and if the reviews weren’t terrible, neither were they good. Wodehouse is easy to parody; but it seems to be impossible to imitate him well. Perhaps a Wodehouse tribute needs to be done slantwise if it is to be done at all; unexpected and outrageous, and containing the implicit admission that paying tribute to Wodehouse by recreating Wodehouse is impossible. In that case the most successful tributes are the unlikeliest (presuming they are done well); consider the ridiculous and wonderful What Ho, Gods of the Abyss section from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, in which our heroes face a creature from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. Or, closer to home, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, which feels suspiciously like a Blandings novel set in Haryana. And then there’s A.L. Krishnan and Supriya Mitra’s graphic novel Psuperhero, which feels at once both completely unexpected and completely obvious, and which pays tribute to Wodehouse in part by going back to his sources. Wodehouse famously based his greatest character Psmith on Rupert D’Oyly Carte, the owner of the Savoy Hotel and proprietor of the D’Oyly Carte Opera company, with whom one of Wodehouse’s cousins had been to school. Psmith first appears in Wodehouse’s school story Mike and Psmith as a wealthy, monocle-wearing, too-magnificent-to-be-pretentious schoolboy. Unlike D’Oyly Carte, however, he falls upon hard times in the later books, having to (horror of horrors) work for his living in a bank, as a journalist, and eventually as secretary to Lord Emsworth.
one of these events befall Rupert Pirbright (his name a reference to another minor Wodehouse character), the hero of Psuperhero. A suave and superbly dressed man about town, he uses his considerable wealth in charitable causes; a more outgoing Bruce Wayne by day. By night, he rids the town of the scourge of a sinister cabal of fish suppliers (the original character, it will be remembered, worked for a brief and unhappy period in that industry). Naturally, this is a superhero story. Pirbright would never wear his underwear over his trousers and reserves capes for visits to the opera; his disguise, in a nod to the superhero canon that made me laugh out loud, is simply to remove his monocle. But the superhero tradition isn’t the only one Psuperhero Wodehouse draws on; comic opera of the famously based sort D’Oyly Carte’s company popularised is frequently Psmith on Rupert referred to. Krishnan and D’Oyly Carte, Mitra are clearly part of India’s massive Wodehouse the owner of the fandom and there are referSavoy Hotel and ences to this as well, including a minor character who is proprietor of the clearly intended as a version D’Oyly Carte of Shashi Tharoor. And then Opera company. there are Wodehouse’s own books. And it’s in this last area that Psuperhero reveals its weakness. Wodehouse wrote over a hundred books, many of them containing great moments that have come to be loved by fans. Krishnan and Mitra make great use of some of these; there’s a little interlude involving a fascist group and ladies’ underwear, and a glorious moment when Pirbright finds an umbrella for a beautiful young archivist. They even almost manage to capture Psmith’s voice. But it is simply impossible within a mere 150 pages to allude to every incident that one loves, and in trying to do so the authors lose control of plot, structure and character. By the end of the book it’s all rather a mess, loosely-connected Wodehouse gags overwhelming the clever central conceit. It’s a frustrating conclusion, because there’s so much promise in Mitra’s clean lines and Krishnan’s absurd dialogue, as well as the sheer scope of their joint project. Perhaps if the duo had been more irreverent, or someone had had the discipline to cut out the dross. Psuch a Pshame.
words of wisdom
“The covers of this book are too far apart.” Ambrose Bierce
Young & Restless
t he s un day gua rdia n 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 07. 03. 12. 2014 2012 | new delhi
Delhi’s brand new fitness trend: Headbang your way to a sixpack Kamalpreet Sekhon
f you talk to Govardhandas Chowgule’s father, he will tell you that his no-good son does nothing but listen to mindless noise posing as music all day. He will complain about how he can’t sleep at night because of the strange sounds that emanate from Govardhandas’ bedroom till the wee hours of the morning. He’ll also talk about how he disapproves of his son’s refusal to find a real job. If you talk to Govardhandas’ mother, she will complain about his hairstyle that resembles “a porcupine poised to attack” and the fact that his clothes never seem to be in one piece. “I’ve given up shopping for him,” she says. “In any case, he only wears those hideous band Tshirts.” She’ll also talk about how she disapproves of his many tattoos and piercings. If you talk to Govardhandas himself, or GotCha as he likes to be called, you will hear a very different story. It’s a story of entrepreneurship and innovation, part of the larger canon of young India’s refusal to settle for mundane jobs. Marrying his twin passions for heavy metal music and going to the gym, GotCha’s Heavy Metal Gym — he admits it’s not the most original of names — is helping Delhi’s metalheads
Headbanging burns more calories than running, cycling or swimming, just a little less than sex. afp
get into shape in the most unique of ways: headbanging. The method is simple. “Headbanging is a great way to show your appreciation for great music,” says GotCha, “but it’s also a great way to exercise. People don’t know this, but headbanging burns more calories than jogging, cycling or swimming, almost as many as sex. It’s exercise for your entire upper body.” It’s not just cardio, though. GotCha has devised a new
Manchester United sack David Moyes Azeem Banatwalla
In a not-so-startling revelation, Manchester United has released a statement announcing that manager
Watching one of GotCha’s students attach himself to The Eddie can be quite painful to watch. But Gurkeerat Chadha says any pain is worth it. “ It’s all psychological,” he says. “You’ve got to feel the music more that you feel the pain.”
technique to use headbanging as a means for weight training as well; through a machine he calls The Eddie. Named after Iron Maiden’s famous mascot, The Ed-
die has a network of wires that are attached to weights. “You’re supposed to tie the wires to the piercings on your face,” he says. “The weights also have cables at-
tached that you can tie to your hands and legs so that the movement of the weights also exercises your biceps and calves.” Watching one of GotCha’s students attach himself to The Eddie can be quite painful to watch at first. But Gurkeerat Chadha (or Chad), the 18-year-old school student who’s demonstrating the machine, says any pain he feels is worth it. “It’s all psychological, man,” he says. “You’ve got to feel the music more than you feel the pain.”
He puts on a Cradle of Filth track in the in-built music system and begins a vigorous 20-minute set. “In the beginning,” explains GotCha, “choice of music was a major issue. We used to have classes, where everyone would headbang to the same song. But then the Goths couldn’t get along with the death metal guys, and the progressive metal guys would interrupt proceedings by bashing up the Scandinavian Nu Metal fans. Eventually, I decided that the best thing to do was for everyone to listen to their own music. But you can’t listen to metal over headphones; you need to feel the music in every pore. So I built soundproof pods for everyone.” As we speak, 15 young men — you hardly see women come in — are furiously headbanging to 15 different songs, none of which are audible to us; the whole place resembles some sort of loony bin. GotCha began what is now a chain of eight gyms with his fitness centre in Jangpura. Other gyms have come up in Kailash Colony, Vasant Kunj, South Extension, Vasant Vihar, Gurgaon, Maharani Bagh and Greater Kailash II. He plans to open another 10 in the next year, and to finally realise his dreams of making moshpitting an Olympic sport. “In the next year or so, I hope to set up the Indian Moshing Association.”
tweet beat # What? Supreme
Fans in Manchester appear to have taken the news well, with parades and general revelry on the city’s streets. Mr Gigi Emyoo, a Manchester United fan for over 25 years announced, “I can’t
# Once upon a time I killed everybody
on earth except the man most worthy Court proposed to ban Chennai Super to live: an obsessive-compulsive animal hoarder who heard voices. Kings from this @TheTweetOfGod year’s #IPL7? Just Wait, I’m going to ban Supreme Court.
# I’m beginning
to get slightly pissed off with Yogendra & team. Come on, man! Friends don’t let friends run against Narendra Modi.
and stand-up comedian David Moyes has been sacked. “After much consideration, we have decided to part ways with Mr Moyes,” the official press release stated. “We are actively seeking out a replacement manager of greater competence, and have lined up an interview with an orang-utan to that effect. We believe his tactics will be much more incisive than the incumbent Moyes, and we are quite impressed by his opposable thumbs.”
put into words how happy I feel. Watching Manchester United play under David Moyes was like watching a bunch of blundering newborn giraffes.” When asked whether he may have mistaken the National Geographic Channel for Sky Sports, Mr Emyoo refused to comment. One particularly crazed fan was spotted streaking across a pub while wearing a Shrek mask, although reports suggest that may just have been Wayne Rooney.
# Teen Titans are
like The Breakfast # Horse made Club with super terrifying noises powers. when I hummed @BaneTheBOSS ‘Mein desh nahin mitne doonga” as I rode it. Must be a Paki agent @MarendraNodi
# That is the very last time one lets
Camilla park the Range Rover. #tightspot @Queen_UK
# We just bought a virtual reality
company for $2 billion, so now we can create a world in which such an acquisition would make sense for us. @notzuckerberg
Delhi farmhouses begin farming Aditya Mani Jha
“Nothing is farmed here, of course. But, when, in the 1970s, the Delhi elite began seizing swathes of land to the south of the city to build private estates, the entire belt was reserved, according to the regulations, for agriculture — and, with a touch of propriety that touched the names of things even if it could not touch the things themselves, they called their new mansions ‘farmhouses’.” (Excerpted from Rana Dasgupta’s Capital (2014, 4th Estate/HarperCollins India) 25-year-old Aman Ahuja read these words off a book a friend had forgotten to
take with him. He vowed to make a difference. Sitting in his home theatre, Ahuja tells me, “I may not always be the smartest person in the room, but I know how my ancestors got rich.” Ahuja is just one among the many young Chattarpur residents who, in a bid to change the landscape of the region, have started to farm in their farmhouses. Ahuja, who identifies as “a practising hipster” is upbeat about what this means for the city; in fact, he’s looking at the larger picture. “When you think about it, this is terrific for the country — I mean, all those farmers committing suicides, it’s basically because of the risk attached to farming, vis-à-vis costs, unpredictable weather
Illustration: Rashmi Gupta | Dev Kabir Malik Design
conditions and lack of alternative means of income. Here, most of the farmers don’t need the money, they have no pressure and the yield ought to reflect that.” What others might find unrealistic, Ahuja finds to
be patriotic. During our interview, he confessed that he had started watching Krishi Darshan last year on a whim, sick of watching the news on television. “The Newsroom’s right, news programming of late has been slightly… crap,
if you pardon my French. As if the music channels weren’t bad enough, our news is now beginning to resemble MTV Bakra, and I smashed my settop box one day, out of sheer frustration. When I turned to Doordarshan, there it was, Krishi Darshan, programming perfection if you ask me. So when I read that fat old book, it only confirmed what I’d already suspected: I ought to be a farmer.” Not all of the new-fangled farmers have such altruistic fervour, though — some of them have outsourced the job to actual farmers, and started “rustic theme parks” that take visitors through the basics of farming in a large area. Some of them charge as much as Rs 5,000
for a daylong guided tripcum-workshop and it’s not just the foreigners or NRIs who’re signing up. When I asked Ahuja if he found these developments to be cynical, he said: “There will always be some people who will never set foot in a village, unless it’s Hauz Khas Village. Sudan, Monsanto, Bangladesh, Crimea, Twitter crashing more frequently than a five-year-old fresh off training wheels; I get it, the world is depressing. I just don’t let it distract me, and neither do others like me, my friends here in Mehrauli. We want to farm on our own terms.” The Ministry of Agriculture declined to comment on the matter.
perfect on paper isha singh sawHney
Sunny Leone is the new face of women’s liberation
tem girls and porn stars are the new ambassadors for women’s empowerment. Hot on the heels of Rakhi Sawant’s political debut, Sunny Leone is getting ready to become the face of Indian feminism. Riding high on her success story of porn star to mainstream Indian cinema’s most celebrated (code for most Googled) actress and the hottest face on Indian TV, Leone is proof of how liberal Bollywood is. Sure, you had your doubts, what with all the blurred brassieres and cleavages in films seemingly edited by a five-yearold to save audiences from the scars of human carnality. But
now with a porn star batting for Indian cinema, we finally know those days of conservative parochialism are behind us. Indian cinema is now liberal, gendered and free. If you don’t believe us, a quick Google image search for Ms Leone will prove how emancipated India is on her way to becoming. Ekta Kapoor’s horrex — I’m sure we all now know by now that that stands for horror and sex — film is a showcase of Leone’s unabashed attempts to liberate Bollywood audiences, both women becoming bastions in the women’s movement by challenging the structures of male-oriented films. The media hasn’t stopped falling over itself, calling the Rs 22-crore grossing woman-led film a unprecedented success. Now being fêted by some of the biggest women’s organisations, Leone’s story is the quintessence of every woman’s dream: her rise to stardom in Bollywood from risqué girlon-girl scenes, her appearance on Satyamev Jayate for all her astounding women’s lib work, and now bigwigs like UNICEF and OXFAM (after being ditched by Scarlett Johansson) are vying for her to be the face of their next campaign.
or their “Women on Top” protest, AIDWA wants Leone as their next mascot for 21st century suffragette; inspired by the freedom an adult film star represents and what I assume is the answer to many a feminist debate. What better poster-child for freedom — the freedom to wear what you like, how you like it, do who you want and be what you want. Even the RSS and Modi approve. The HJS (or Hindu Janjagruti Samiti for those living under a rock) has even invited Leone, Kapur and the cast of Ragini MMS 2 to their next satsang. Talking about the Hanuman Chalisa that plays before the film, the HJS says that Leone and the film are true upholders of Bharatiya culLeone’s chameleon-like ture, dignity and Hindu deities. Word has it that narrative has captured Modi wanted the film star the imagination of to campaign for him, too. But AAP, as Faking News the public with a reported this week, has heartwarming story of bagged her as their spokesperson. women’s empowerment Inspired by her fellow item girl and D-grade Bollywood star’s self-defence workshops, where Sawant herself teaches women all kinds of awesome, deadly hip-gyrating skills, the ethnically ambiguous porn star is now using her on-screen talents to spread awareness about sex(uality) and (women’s) power. Role playing and domination should be on every mother’s “10 Things to Teach Your Daughter” lists. Buzzfeed, are you listening? Looking at how Reclaim Your Orgasm, Leone’s protest group, has become a buzzword for activists, I’d say topless protests are fast becoming completely redundant. “If Sasha Grey can do it, why can’t I?” Leone asked an interviewer cheekily. Moving seamlessly between the hardcore world of triple X, acting, directing and producing films in LA, and Bollywood, where she shies away from even accidental nip-slips, Leone’s chameleon-like narrative has captured the imagination of the public with a heartwarming story of women’s empowerment, and the freedom of choice. Twitter as usual put it succinctly: “When a pornstar becomes one of the top leading ladies in Bollywood you know #ConditionSeriousHai.” Isha Singh Sawhney can be reached at email@example.com
words of wit
A witty saying proves nothing, though it can make you really, really famous. Oscar Wilde
Young & Restless 29
th e s u n day g u a r dian 2 0 : s u p p l e m e n t to th e su n day gu ar dian | 30.03.2014 09.12.2012 | n ew delh i
#HKVonFire: The hipsters fiddled as Hauz Khas Village burned to the ground Sahanubhuti Singh
he first time Aditya Shanmugham realised Hauz Khas Village was on fire was when he couldn’t get a waiter to bring him a fourth Cafe Marrochino. In fact, he soon realised, there was no restaurant staff to be found anywhere. The only other people in Mama’s Coffee House were the two guys at his table he was discussing the relative merits of Gotye and Bastille with, and a couple at another table who were oblivious to anything happening around them. Karthik Iyer’s first reaction to the blaze was to curse his roommate for not extinguishing the cigarette they had just shared. “Joseph has this bad habit of just chucking stuff here and there,” he says, “I’ve never seen him use an ashtray. So yeah, when I smelled smoke, my instinct was to blame him.” Joseph Mascarenhas, who plays
bass for Iyer’s progressive ska band Pink Nutella, was too spaced out to respond. Graffiti artist Pablo Pathronobis was busy adding another coat of paint to his latest creation, a 10-foot high portrait of Ryan Gosling, when the wall he was painting on caught fire. It has been alleged that the paint used accelerated the rate of burning, but at the moment, Pathronobis was too busy trying to get the right amount of intensity in the eyes to notice that a giant firewall had blocked his way out. At the time of going to press, investigators were still unsure of what caused the massive fire on 27 March that completely destroyed Hauz Khas Village. Theories range from the mundane (a short circuit or minor fire in the kitchens of one of the many restaurants that dotted the urban village) to the suspicious (police are investigating a possible conspiracy by real estate agents to rein in the skyrocketing
“ These fools actually resisted our efforts to save their lives, because we were interrupting their bonfire.” — Parminder Singh, Firefighter
Illustration: Rashmi Gupta | Dev Kabir Malik Design
IPL format to be revamped this year Azeem Banatwalla
In an official statement on 28 March, the BCCI confirmed wholesale changes to this year’s IPL, creating ripples in the cricketing world. A spokesperson addressing the press conference confirmed that “This year’s IPL will be very different from the last few years. We feel that just like any good reality show, we need to keep mixing things up to keep the audiences en-
This year, boundaries will not fetch four and six runs, but 14 and 16 runs respectively, to ensure more gripping run chases. Players will be encouraged to sort their differences out on the field. Swearing and fistfights will no longer be illegal. Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and a number of other cricketers will be banned from this year’s IPL for not looking attractive enough on camera. As a compromise,
W.H.O. declares sickularism a communicable disease
New study highlights health risks of puking rainbows
AAP launches T-shirts with ink and egg yolk designs
Apple recalls 23,000 iPhones infested with maggots
Putin challenges Vitali Klitschko to boxing match over Ukraine
Kim Jong-un announces plans to raise army of clones
Jackky Bhagnani to contest elections from Amethi
these days?” The three who died — Ramesh “Rambo” Sharma, Jatin “Django” Adhikari and Ganpatrao “Gandalf” Shinde — could not be saved despite the best efforts of firefighters. Other residents say that the three had not been seen for days after they returned from Kodaikanal, that they had brought 12 dozen psilocybin mushrooms and were holed up in their tiny flat. “When the firemen started banging on the door,” said a neighbour who did not want to be named, “they started shouting about the attack of the purple people, whatever those are. The poor rescue workers tried in vain to explain who they were, but Rambo kept shouting, ‘Go back to your brinjal God! This is no place for you!’ and we could hear them barricading the door with all the furniture inside. By the time the firemen broke through, they had all died of smoke inhalation.”
Asaram has a bad dream in jail
MS Dhoni’s nose grows 5 cm longer
Music pirate vows to buy original music, industry ecstatic
The proposed set for the third umpire
tertained and the TRPs high. Hence, this year’s IPL will feature a number of changes to the rules and aesthetics of the game, to ensure the most gripping season yet.” The changes detailed in a 20-page document filled with legal jargon, can be briefly summarised as follows: Umpires will no longer be ex-cricketers or respected personnel from the cricket world. Their positions on the field will be occupied by cheerleaders who will have different dances to signal boundaries and wickets.
EC says Bappi Lahiri songs violate code of conduct
land prices) to the bizarre (“Aliens, man,” was Mascarenhas’ theory). But all the first responders to the fire I spoke to, from police to firemen to medical personnel, were united in blaming the denizens of Delhi’s hippest place for not reacting to the calamity in time. “We heard about the fire and immediately rushed four fire engines to the scene,” says Rajesh Parmar, Director of Fire Services. “When our guys got there, they found a crowd of people had peacefully made their way to the en-
trance of the village and were watching the fire. These were mostly waiters and shopkeepers and attendants from the various boutiques. But as they advanced further, they found all these other people just walking around as if nothing was happening around them. Some people were actually still sitting around in a circle, roasting kebabs and pretending the whole thing was just some fun bonfire. It’s a miracle that only three people were killed.” Parminder Singh, one of the firemen, was more scathing. “These fools actually resisted our efforts to save their lives, because we were interrupting their bonfire. They started shouting, ‘F*** the Police!’ We’re not even policemen; we’re firefighters. You’d think that with a giant fire blazing around them, they’d figure out who we were. Then there was this group going around the ruins, Instagramming photos of the burning buildings. What is wrong with kids
they may be allowed to take the field if they wear Virat Kohli masks and apply Set Wet deodorant four hours in advance. Team coaches and players shall be instructed before every match to “Do it for Sachin” This year’s IPL promises to be the most entertaining season yet. Watch out for the IPL preview show airing from next week at 8.30 pm, hosted by Raghu, Rajiv, Rannvijay, and newly appointed perpetual pundit Navjot Singh Sidhu.
“Can’t wait for our pizza to come in an hour!?????” Photo by @satiregram Follow @ajachi to be featured here.
“For years now, journalists and so-called experts have mocked us for sticking to an obsolete business model, saying that the Internet will make us unnecessary. This is a slap in all their faces.” — Devraj Sanyal, MD, Universal Music India
mpromptu celebrations broke out in record label offices all over the country this week amidst news that a notorious music pirate had decided to renounce piracy and actually buy original music. Twenty-one-year-old Ankit Arora, who operates under the pseudonym ‘l33thax’, announced his decision on Facebook and hopes that other pirates will follow his example. Explaining his turnaround, he wrote, “Lars Ulrich appeared to me in a dream and showed me the devastation my unthinking downloading had caused him and his family. They’re forced to live in a 40-room hovel and even had to sell off the family Learjet to make ends meet. I woke up with tears in my eyes and vowed to never download again.” Arora went on to say that he plans to repent by buying one Indian album a week, starting with the discography of Mumbai metal musician Sahil ‘The Demonstealer’ Makhija, who is well known for his anti-piracy advocacy. When not busy recording music or working on his metal cookery show Headbangers Kitchen, Makhija often takes to Facebook to rail against the perfidies of the Free Culture brigade and to urge music fans to buy indie music and “support the scene!” Makhija was ecstatic about Arora’s recent change of heart. “This just proves that all my efforts to shame and guilt-trip my fans into buying my music were not in vain,” he said. “If I can convince even one of these free-culture Naxalites to see
Illustration: Rashmi Gupta | Dev Kabir Malik Design
the light, I can rest easy.” The momentous impact of Arora’s announcement was most visible in the outpourings of joy and smug self-satisfaction from the beleaguered Indian music industry. Devraj Sanyal, Managing Director of Universal Music India, claimed that this was a vindication of the industry’s much derided ‘ostrich’ strategy. “For years now, journal-
ists and so-called experts have mocked us for sticking to an obsolete business model, saying that the Internet will make middlemen like us unnecessary,” he said. “This is a slap in all their faces. Ankit Arora has proved that we can continue to swindle musicians and take most of their earnings while contributing jack.” Universal Music India has al-
ready announced a bonus of Rs 10 lakh for all their top executives, and is planning an event in Amsterdam to “reward all the hardworking industry people who have made this possible.” Meanwhile, the Indian Music Industry (IMI) has revised their revenue estimates for 2014-15 upward by Rs 400 crore. Explaining the decision, the organisation’s spokesperson
Arun Joshi said: “We’ve come up with this number after some rigorous research. Based on figures released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), we calculated that every song illegally downloaded costs us $750, or Rs 38000. Now that Arora won’t be downloading music anymore, all that money will come to us, no?” Joshi terminated the interview when this reporter pointed out that the songs are legally available for only Rs 10 per track. However, not all the responses to the announcement were positive. A number of indie musicians known for their links to Free Culture ideology have stated that they will continue to give out their music for free despite this setback. However, the most scathing response came from the Bangalore metal community. “This guy is a poseur,” said Bangalore metalhead Sandesh Shenoy. “He just wants attention. I’ve been buying music since 1899, long before it was cool.” Fellow metalhead Vikram Bhat added: “Bro, does he even vinyl?”
t he s un day gua rdia n 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 03. 2014 | new delhi
Picture Essay 31
th e s un day gua r d ia n 2 0 : s uppl e m e nt to t he s unday g ua r d i a n | 3 0 . 0 3 . 2 0 1 4 | ne w d e l hi
HUMANS OF DELHI
“Is your father a halwai? Because you’re one hot gulabjamun, baby.” “Could you just answer the question please?” “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I pull you into my car again?” “I’ll think I’ll just leave...”
Humans of Delhi was started in 1998 by Suninder Bhulla, photographer, entrepreneur, auteur and CEO. Hailing from the greater Najafgarh area, he owns many steel sheet plants and 14 Al-Gajab Mughlai take-away food stalls in Paschim Vihar. Mr Bhulla makes lot of money by buying cheap brown (coloured) sugar from illegal sugar mills in Haryana, which he then retails in upscale south Delhi cafés. Recent studies have shown that New Delhi has the highest level of brown sugar consumption, only next to Mumbai. In the dark corners of the HoD office, you’ll find six full time staff and 17 freelancers. For this photo essay, we all walked around New Delhi and asked people some fairly simple questions. Here╒s what happened. Himanshu P. is a writer, blogger, creative person and PR manager for HoD. He is a B.Tech graduate in computer engineering, and currently preparing for his UPSC examinations. He one day hopes to land a job as the Probationary Officer in the Greeting Card Corporation of India.
“I think most people are just phonies. The only person I think I can relate to is Anurag Kashyap, because he understands what it’s like to be me, to see the world like I do.” “As an aimless, jaded young man?” “As a giant jerk.”
“I’m learning to light this hookah. I don’t really smoke, but I feel that we shouldn’t deny our heritage and culture. Besides, there is a certain charm to these old things. The small rituals, the little peculiarities that make us who we are.”
“This doesn’t look like Delhi.” “Abbeyaar, photo essay ka quota poora karna hai, tu bas photo kheench.”
“How long has it been in your family?” “1992. My father looted it from some momdens.” “I moved here five years ago from Shillong, and I still face a lot of discrimination in the city. Just the other day I was at this pub and this guy thought I was a waitress. I mean, what do I look like, a freaking Nepali?!” “I just had the sweetest thing happen to me. I’m at work, and a letter addressed to me shows up at my desk. It says CONGRATULATIONS right on the envelope. I open it and glitter and confetti and stuff falls out. I take the letter out, and it’s printed in coloured paper, has some logo on it... I mean, it looked like a real official letter, right down to being signed and stamped and everything. Anyway, it reads “Congratulations! Out of thousands of eligible applicants you have been chosen as the lucky winner of our weekly Lovestruck Lottery! You can collect your prize at C-114, Shanti Vihar, Sector 12, Faridabad.” These movie tickets fall out. I hear this squeal, and I look up to see who made it. It’s this mousy girl who sits across from me. She doesn’t talk much, but I just know she sent this. And I just couldn’t hold it in any more, I smile at her, then I giggle, and then I laugh, hard.” “Ha ha, yes I’d be happy too.” “I know, right?! I mean, Faridabad? Really? What was she thinking?”
“So, how did you two meet?” “He lives in the farmhouse next to us.” “She used to frequent the same club I used to. But we never spoke.” “One day we both got drunk, and separately, ran over the same pedestrian.” “Our dads split the kickbacks.” “And we’ve been together ever since.”
“If you were to give one advice to everyone, what would it be?” . . . . . “Don’t Do Drugs.”
t he s un day gua rdia n 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 03. 2014 | new delhi
Drop out, tune in: New courses at IITs for the exceptionally bright aditya mani jha
he Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are going to introduce a range of new courses from the upcoming academic year 2014-2015, the directors of the different institutes announced, after a meeting at the capital last week. This is part of a wave of reform measures being implemented after professors and alumni felt that the academic standards of IIT had been in a free fall for some time now. Here’s a quick round-up of two of the most exciting new courses being offered:
Dropout Technology “Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out and we can teach YOU how to do it” goes the brochure at IIT Delhi, namechecking three of the most famous college dropouts of recent times, all of whom went on to become billionaires and visionaries. But Gates and Zuckerberg would be the first people to tell you that the point — or one of the points — of dropping out is to escape the tyranny of mind-numbing classroom lectures; isn’t the institute concerned that the course is an exercise in self-defeat? “Not quite,” said a professor who agreed to speak to us on condition of anonymity — let’s call him Professor X. (Do you have a cooler name? Didn’t think so.) “You see, we now have a sophisticated way of preparing the JEE ( Joint Entrance Examination);
Students at IIT Roorkee
A wave of reform measures being implemented after professors and alumni felt that the academic standards of IIT had been in a free fall for some time now. there are a few very, very intricate problems scattered throughout the paper. People who manage to solve them at 17 will be marked as future dropouts and — this is under lab testing currently — potential mass
murderers. They will be accorded a higher degree of brain-washing and correctional skills compared to normal students, to ensure that they leave the campus as quickly as possible, preferably without
molesting or depressing anyone.” In the first year, students will be started off with beginner’s subjects like “Passive-Aggressive 101”, “Talking to Errant Parents”, “RolePlaying: The Cool Outsider” and “Making People Wish You Weren’t Born”. For more details, watch this space.
Narcotics Engineering In the 90s, a few plants of cannabis
“Bring back the timestamp!” atul dev
Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp may have been a good deal for the instant messenger company but removing the “last seen” timestamp may not have been a wise step. Reports from all over the country have shown that nobody cares to reply even after reading the message, leading to a rift within healthy relationships. Even worse, without anything new popping on smartphone screens to stare at, people travelling on the metro in the capital
are unconsciously making eye-contact with each other, turning the compartment into a bubble of exasperation. Some users have also taken it to be a positive change. “There are always these annoying groups and friends who take offence for some reason if you don’t reply to their stupid jokes and pic-
tures immediately.” An active user told Guardian20. “Now I can act like I haven’t read the damn thing. Of course nobody believes that, but who cares?” Female users are particularly annoyed by the change. “It’s like, everyone has turned into a douchebag all of a sudden. Pretending to be asleep
a 1 a.m. Can you believe it?” An aggrieved user posted on Twitter. The rage has only built up recently, when the feature was removed from the update last month, it wasn’t initially considered a big change but now an online petition has been signed by over a million users worldwide to bring back the Timestamp. Another counter petition has also been doing the rounds on the Internet. As of yet, there has been no official comment from either Facebook or WhatsApp about whether the Timestamp will be brought back in the next update.
five tech solutions for everyone The objective to connect the digital world with the physical world is making 2014 the year of integration. From the unification of fragmented IT systems to smartphones and wearable computers, modern technological advancements have enabled incredible intuitiveness, coherence and seamlessness for users. Here we salute the tech world by highlighting five of our favourite innovations of the year so far (and it’s only April!). 1
Google Gaze Google’s latest development in their mission to utilise the power of online identity, Google Gaze is wearable computer in the form of “digital eyeglasses” with an optical head-mounted display. It helps the wearer size up whoever s/he is looking at through these glasses, on the basis of the information provided by them on various social media websites. Possible thanks to the Google Search Bot, one look is all it takes for you to receive their details including background information, family/ relatives, relationship status, career details and even favourite TV shows and music bands. Displayed in the form of text snippets enclosed within speech balloons, Google Gaze is all set to change social interaction forever.
Solar Powered iPhone
According to a usually reliable source, Apple is working on a revolutionary development in the modern history of mobile technology — an iPhone that uses solar energy to charge its ridiculous battery. The formal announcement is intentionally timed to coincide with ‘Earth Hour’, observed worldwide on 29 March. The battery is rumoured to be able to support 1,000 hours of standby and 250 hours of talk time. It can be
charged through a customised solar panel, which will be provided by Apple. The benefits of this are endless, especially for India where it’s about to get unbearably hot all over again. That aside, we’re looking at a renewable source of energy, zero pollution, low maintenance and the possibility that this phone may finally become affordable.
McAfee has announced the release of Vigilante, an unparalleled antivirus that completely redefines real time protection and takes resident scanning to a whole new level. Once installed, it automatically runs a check on every single file on your computer at regular intervals; if ever it comes across malware, heuristic analyses are sent to the user in the form of e-mails, SMS notifications and Speed Post.
Night Vision on your Smartphone
Samsung latest smartphone is a limited edition mobile called Magnificum. It promises to give your mobile device (and you) the exclusive opportunity to see and capture the world in total darkness while unveiling things not visible to your naked eye. Both dangerous and cool, what’s not to like?
being grown inside an IIT Kharagpur hostel became a cause célèbre for the parliament, no less. More than two decades later, the institute has decided that if you can’t fight them, you can light them. “Elementary, my dear Padawan,” said Professor X, mixing up his fiction with his science fiction, while cleaning out what looked suspiciously like a bong with burn marks all over the bottom. “There are students all over this place, up to their eyeballs in you name it; LSD, heroin, brown sugar… with the increased fees, there are a lot more rich kids, so cocaine, too, is making an appearance every now and then. It’s a goddamned smorgasbord here, and someone ought to, you know, make an inventory for starters.” At this point, Professor X was overcome by a fit of racking coughs, but his point was welltaken. A frequent question posed to IIT students down the years has been, “You must be so happy?” The traditional answer has been, “Are you high?” Now, tradition has met academic rigour and they’ve sealed the deal over a toke. Beginners will be started off on preparing the cannabis plant till maturity, after which they shall be given a small practical test on a nearby street corner. Professor X indicated that the ultimate test, to be held in the fourth and final year, shall “make Walter Whites out of the most deserving students; the other colleges in the country can only produce Pinkmans at best.”
Jokes from the Web Why did the hipster drown? He went ice skating before it was cool. Why did the Can Crusher quit his job? It was soda pressing. Two men walk into a bar. It’s funny because the second man should have seen the first one walk into it. www.reddit.com-jokes
Father of App Nation Ahimsa App Genre: Reference Price: Free Like the father of our nation, the Ahimsa App is straight-up and nononsense. When faced with a multiple-choice problem, just type in what’s bothering you, hit “What Would Gandhi Do?” and let Bapu take over. From relationship advice to existential crises to everyday tips, this app’s got you covered with solutions that include “An i for an i will make the whole world switch to Android”, “F*** if I know”, “Find my glasses first” and “Try not to kick him in the gonads because violence”.
Timely comebacks Zinger Genre: Reference Price: $3 Good answers are always what you think of later. Unfortunately, later is too late. The moment’s gone, your offender has aged, no one is interested. If you know what we’re talking about, you’re going to love Zinger. An app designed to detect an awkward silence and offer you a list of comebacks on the go, it’s a great way to stay on your A-game. The paid version comes with a set of helpful filters (flirty, business casual, drunk lolz, Siddhuisms) that’ll make it easier for you to add the right zing to every conversation.
Just for laughs JustLoff Genre: Entertainment Price: Free Ever enthusiastically made everyone in the room shut up so you could tell them this crazy joke you just came up with? Ever stood there wanting to stab yourself because all you got was a moment’s silence when you were done? JustLoff is just the thing you need! It boasts a carefully curated inventory of people laughing outrageously at other people’s jokes in surround sound. All you need to do is hit the SOS button when you’re nearing your next punch line and pray that laughter is indeed contagious.
Facebook buys India for 30 Trillion Dollars Azeem Banatwalla
Facebook made history last night by becoming the first site to own Instagram, Whatsapp and a country. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Supreme Poke Master of Facebook updated his status saying “Woohoo. India is myn. Lyf is gud. :D :P :O” Facebook’s newest purchase has caused ripples in the UN as President Obama has unfriended Mark and Indians all over are terrified because this means the Indian government is going to be dissolved and replaced with a group called “India is rox”.
“This is disgusting. I’m moving to Orkut,” said a disgruntled Indian who then booked flight tickets to Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Modi, Rahul
and Kejriwal camps have responded to this surprising new development in characteristic fashion. An unnamed member of the BJP blamed it
on “the Gandhi-Nehru family, of course. Who are they to sell the republic, when they cannot even provide proof of citizenship for ‘Madamji’?” A spokesperson for the AAP, on condition of anonymity said, “We demand a full enquiry into the Swiss bank accounts of Mr Zuckerberg. Also, his travel plans should be investigated to find out whether he has had any contact with the Quattrochi family.” The Congress dismissed this rumour, saying, “What’s important is that more women ought to be empowered to put up selfies on Facebook, without fear of right-wing trolls.”
Cars for cashback on iPhone 6 Azeem Banatwalla
With interest rates on EMIs skyrocketing, smartphone giant Apple has announced that bank balances will no longer hold back consumers from getting their hands on the upcoming iPhone 6. Flirting with controversy, Apple spokesperson Tim Cook said “We have realised that many potential iPhone buyers in India are unable to afford the iPhone 6 because they are, well, poor. Like you guys!” before pausing to point and laugh at all the journalists present. Catching his breath around 73 seconds later, Cook continued, “But debt is no reason to not own an iPhone, and thus, the top executives at Apple
have decided to implement a car cashback program. We will be offering Rs 15,000 cashback for most modern cars, with the exception of the Tata Nano. We feel this is a great deal, because in all honesty, most people would rather walk to work than use a BlackBerry.”
It is expected that the iPhone 6 will retail for around Rs 1,20,000 in India although Cook argues that many features are worth the price. “In the new iPhone 6, we have completely revamped Siri. As opposed to a voice-operating aide, this year, Siri will be an actual
person, who will remain oncall for consumers for up to 12 hours a day,” said Cook. “In addition, the iPhone 6 will be able to read your mind and tell your future with the help of the revolutionary new palmistry chip installed on the phone.” While the car cashback scheme is expected to be a big hit, experts believe that Apple’s new initiative may spark a trend amongst other smartphone manufacturers. The rumour mill suggests that Samsung is already working on an initiative to accept tractors in exchange for the upcoming Galaxy S5. However, reports that Nokia is willing to accept scrap metal in exchange for any mobile phone remain unconfirmed.
th e su n day g u a r d ian 2 0 : s u p p l e m e n t to th e su n day gu ar dian | 30.03.2014 | n ew delh i
Skynet’s Cyborgs change your mind, make you love Google+ The Internet community is, expectedly, outraged. The discussion forums are filled with declarations of panic and references from George Orwell’s 1984. Since the announcement on Google’s blog, “rise of evil empire” is the most commonly used phrase on Reddit.
n Friday last week, Google announced on its official blog that the search giant is collaborating with Skynet, a self-aware artificial intelligence system whose stated goal is the extermination of human race. The post, however, also said that Google is not in complete agreement with the “extreme measures” that have been the face of Skynet, and will only be using Cyborgs (humanoid war machines) for increasing the user-base of the company’s social network, Google Plus. The news sent both mainstream and social media into a frenzy, but the deluge of news stories and tweets questioning the authenticity of the news stopped altogether when a teenager who had recently became an icon of protests against Google Plus after courageously deleting his account was found dead, with his head smashed on the keyboard. Reports further revealed that the 17-year-old’s continuous tweeting may have given his given his location to his followers and compromised his security. The police is still investigating the case, but many have claimed that a man with eerie resemblance to the Governor of California was spotted on the scene. Later, in a press conference, Eric Schimdt declined to comment on
Illustration: Rashmi Gupta | Dev Kabir Malik Design
the incident but said that “expanding the user-base of Google Plus is one of the top priorities” and “the collaboration doesn’t mean Google is responsible for the actions of Skynet’s Cyborgs as they are intelligent beings and capable of making rea-
BLOG SURFER From D’oh to Aiyyo Meet the Iyer Simpsons. Dhoti-toting, sari-clad South Indian Brahmins who seem completely at home in Homer’s friend Apu Nahasapeemapetilon’s country of origin. Conceived and created by Sasank Gopinathan, a product designer based in Cochin. www.behance.net/gallery/The-simpson-iyers/15468439
sonable choices.” Google Plus is currently the second-biggest social network after Facebook with 540 million monthly users, though a large chunk of these users are stuck with it because they just can’t figure out how
to delete their account. “I have deleted the account numerous times but it comes back like a regenerating virus,” a user told Guardian20 on condition of anonymity. “I don’t really mind having another online profile but over time I got sick of those e-mails saying ‘someone has added you to their Circle’. I don’t even know what that means!” he whined. Despite many successful online franchises, social networks have never been Google’s forte. After the failure of Google Buzz, the company raised the stakes really high with Plus, making it an integral part of the Google ecosystem. Many other users said that the only reason they haven’t opted out of Google Plus yet is because it is makes other Google services like Mail, Maps and YouTube
easier to use. “The condescension Google Plus has faced as a service has brought us here,” Schmidt explained in the press conference. The Internet community is, expectedly, outraged. The discussion forums are filled with declarations of panic and references from George Orwell’s 1984. Since the announcement on Google’s blog, “rise of evil empire” is the most commonly used phrase on Reddit, with 80 users a minute, on an average, writing the same. While speculation about the nature of Skynet’s programmed humanoids grows, there is no solid information available despite Fox News’ hour-long definitive segment on the “religious identity of cyborgs”. As Google faces widespread criticism for putting the success of Google Plus over the sanctity of human lives, reports have surfaced that another Silicon Valley giant is considering Skynet’s help. According to the Palo Alto rumour mill, Apple may also use Cyborgs against those who refuse to see the superior beauty and veneer of iProducts. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has denied any such plans. “If Cyborgs were important, it would be in the five-year-plan (Steve) Jobs has left for us,” Cook said. “...And if we plan on doing it, Jonathan Ive will design new iRobots who will look better and classier than those manufactured by Skynet, in different colours.”
Tomb Raider — CROFTY AMBITIONS SAHIL ARORA
Thrills & Chills: How Lara Croft became Tomb Raider Developer: Crystal Dynamics Publisher: Square Enix Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 Price: 1999 (PC), 2999 (PS3,Xbox 360), 3999 (PS4, Xbox One) The long running series of Tomb Raider received a reboot in 2013, which was an excellent game and we gave it four and a half stars out of five. Despite being a brilliantly addition to the successful franchise, the prelude to Lara Croft’s journey didn’t establish her real past as well as we expected the game to do. And thus the question of how Lara Croft became a “Tomb Raider” was left unanswered. Obviously Lara wasn’t born with the flexibility we’re so used to admiring while playing with her character. This is where Tomb Raider: Crofty Ambitions cashes in. Succeeding where Tomb Raider (2013) had failed, it establishes the unknown
territories Lara besieged before she started raiding tombs. I cannot get into the details of the backstory without ruining a fair bit for those whose curiosity may be piqued, but let’s just say that once I got to know her past, I was blown away. Those territories she laid her mark on have got nothing to do with tombs. No, not even close. You’ll notice this as soon as you start the
game, when you meet a timid yet fiery 18-year-old Croft who is all set for her first voyage — a trip to the fictional isolated islands of Humpleton, where lies a secret artifact that contains the location of 2,000-yearold lost treasure. Lara and her team, a bunch of hungry corporates who are also funding the journey, start out the expedition from a ship. After a tumultuous week of sailing, they finally
reach the isolated lush islands of the long lost civilisation in Humpleton. Not only is this Lara’s first voyage, it is her first trip without a designated guardian. It doesn’t take her long to realise that she is a free person, for a change. The local populace, a poor congregation of half-naked people who have no clue about what the Internet and electricity is about, populate the island. Lara’s has never seen humans in such a form, ever. Crofty Ambitions is all about what Lara sees and experiences while on this island, and trust me when I say that it has little to do with finding the artifact — that, she immediately discards as the ultimate motive. The game has a great soundtrack, and comes with DLC that you can acquire if you’re in the mood for a background score of amient sounds. All in all, it isn’t the best title in terms of gameplay, but it’s definitely something you’ll want to buy and spend some time exploring.
Pack a punch into your morning GADGET REVIEW Product: The Mike Tyson Alarm Clock Price: Rs 2,999 His controversial career left him bankrupt, and he’s given up on fighting to pay off the debts. So what does Mike Tyson do to smooth the road to solvency? Do what George Foreman did. Get into retail. And so, the much publicised launch of the Mike Tyson Alarm Clock in Las Vegas on 28 March. Tyson was asked about following
in Foreman’s footsteps in the press conference. It’s a touchy subject, especially with all the rumours that he was scared of fighting a 50-year-old Foreman in 1990, and Iron Mike lost his temper, repeatedly shouting “That b----- got nothin’ on me!” The rant overshadowed the product itself in the media, which is a shame because the Mike Tyson Alarm Clock is a much more revolutionary product than the Foreman Grill. With the tagline “Knocks You Out to Wake You Up”, the clock is that rare and delightful piece of technology that aims to make itself redundant while improving your lives in a
meaningful way. Here’s how it works. You set the alarm (and time) by unscrewing the head of what looks like a simple action figure and pressing a few buttons on the base of
the neck, and place the clock at your bedside. When it’s time to wake up, the figurine throws a vicious right hook that will awaken the soundest of sleepers. It then unleashes a flurry of blows every five minutes and bites your ear every 15, so you can forget about snoozing. By Day Three, I found that my body had begun twitching by 6.55 a.m., and by 7, I had already shot off the bed. I don’t need the Mike Tyson Alarm Clock any more. I can get up at any hour, simply by telling myself that I’ve set an alarm. That’s all right; I now have a fairly menacing action figure at my bedside. — Roshan Singh
FULL SPECTRUM Omair Ahmad
Scientists start to worry about the Big Pop
n 17 March this year the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which operates a microwave telescope at the South Pole announced that they had detected distortions in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. These distortions would be the afterglow of the Big
A picture of colliding galaxies from The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.
Bang, and would have resulted from a period of “Inflation” that occurred 10-35 seconds after the Big Bang. This seems to validate the theory that the universe expanded from the size of an atom to the humongous thing it is today. Imagine one of those balloons that are fixed to the end of a Helium cylinder and expanded very, very quickly into a full blown up version. Except that the scale would be much, much bigger and much, much quicker. This latest discovery by scientists validating theories of the Big Bang and Inflation, have started to worry scientists about what happens next. If the universe is an expanding balloon, could it pop? What is holding it all together and how reliable is the glue? As Lam Guthrie, the senior astrophysicist at B’Larney Institute, says, “We have all had the unfortunate experience of having a birthday balloon pop in our hands just as we think it has expanded to its proper size, what if that happens with the universe? The resultant ‘Big Pop’ would be far more cataclysmical than a few children upset at a party.” Much of Guthrie’s work has been derived by studying The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. The Atlas was originally compiled by Halton Arp comprising 338 galaxies, and published in 1966 by the California Institute of Technology. Arp was interested in documenting galaxies that did not seem altogether “normal”, including odd characters such as, galaxies with jets, disturbed galaxies with interior absorption, galaxies with material ejected from nuclei, galaxies with irregular clumps, interacting galaxies, and even galaxies with wind effects (although there are no galaxies known to have had Isabgol to deal with wind effects).
oday we know that many of these unusual galaxies have been formed by galaxies colliding into each other, and reforming in unusual ways. But Guthrie’s queries have led him to ask how this happens in the model of the universe as we know it. If there was a Big Bang, and Inflation, leading to a relatively uniform expansion of the universe, how could bits of it collide? This is like bits of a balloon colliding — it simply cannot happen, but what can happen is if bits inside the balloon collide. Imagine the balloon being blown up, but before it is blown up there are bits of things put in to the balloon, and as it expands these collide with each other. “But if matter can collide with each other, as the galaxies seem to do, maybe they can collide with the outside of the universe as well, its shell, so to say,” suggests Guthrie in his new book, Driving Dangerously at the Edge of the Universe. “We have no idea what This would suggest that the shell of the universe is like, and if a random the current universe is galaxy could breach it, an incredibly fragile and what would happen construct that could pop then.” Very few scientists at any moment, giving have engaged with such a whole new meaning to new discoveries in the the term of uncertainty way that Guthrie has done, but Arvind Shivaat both quantum and nathan, at the Foresight universal levels. Project based out of Miopya University, suggests that Guthrie may be worrying too much. “What Guthrie has not engaged with,” Shivanathan suggests, “is that such an outcome, a Big Pop, as he puts it, might merely be a prelude to another Big Bang.” Shivanathan presents us with the image of a person blowing soap bubbles, one pops and other appears. “Basically the multiverse can be seen as four-dimensional geodesics being continuously produced and destroyed.” This would suggest that the current universe is an incredibly fragile construct that could pop at any moment, giving a whole new meaning to the term of uncertainty at both quantum and universal levels. There is one aspect, though, on which both Guthrie and Shivanathan agree, which is the blindness of the physics community to look towards the future. “Sure we have more and more data about what happened immediately after the Big Bang, but what good is it to look back if we cannot look forward?” Shivanathan asks. This basic question led him to start the Foresight Project, to look at models of the future. Unfortunately much of the data they are collecting is opaque, leading to the conclusion that the future of the universe may not be there, or swamped in dark energy, or maybe just pink with purple polka dots — very large polka dots. Clarification: the discovery of polarisation in Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation actually happened, though it awaits more validation. And the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies is a real publication, and quite stunning.
the sunday guardian 20: supplement to the sunday guardian | 30.03.2014 | new delhi
taylor swifts serves an ultimatum to selena gomez Taylor Swift issued Selena Gomez an ultimatum when the singer reunited with her exboyfriend Justin Bieber. The truth now emerges on why Swift ended their friendship. She tried talking Gomez out of it but realised the futility of her efforts when Bieber proposed and Gomez accepted. What alarmed her were the plans of a secret wedding at which point she walked out of the friendship. Meanwhile Gomez and Bieber have been spotted with rings and are believed to have had a quiet wedding.
britney spears posts family vacation photos
Britney Spears has been busy posting pictures of her beach holiday in Hawaii with David Lucado and children Sean Preston and Jayden James. The singer and her family make for some great pictures as they take a break to have some fun. Although she is in shape, she will get back to working out once the vacation is over. She will be playing herself in an upcoming biopic and wants to look her best. She is also working on two new tracks exclusively for the film.
Extinction injects new vigour to the franchise video drome Abhimanyu Das
sturm und drang
arely proving themselves more than cynical cash-grabs on already tired original premises, sequels are almost never a good idea. Transformers: Age of Extinction is, however, the exception that proves the rule. Taking the previous films’ sensory (and sensual) approach to transcending plot conventions along with their tendency to deconstruct social ills ranging from racism and misogyny to militarism and techno-fetishism, director Michael Bay adds a distinctive auteurist sensibility to what is already a groundbreaking franchise. Exhibiting pop-philosophical elan that eludes hollow sensationalists like Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola, Bay trawls the concept for all its thematic potential, turning a series about anthropomorphised alien automobiles into nothing less than a Dadaist tapestry of primal urges made celluloid; a dark reflection of the audience’s roiling id. Age of Extinction swaps out the regular cast, injecting a fresh burst of performative energy into the franchise and filling the void left by ungrateful former star Shia LeBeouf whose defection to sub-pornographic Lars Von
Mark Wahlberg in a still from the film
Trier movies can only be interpreted as unwillingness to engage with Bay’s genuinely challenging material. The new lead is rap star “Marky” Mark Wahlberg, fighting typecasting in his role as Cady Yeager, a single dad and embittered inventor who accidentally activates dormant Cybertronian technology and triggers a multi-factional conflict. Said conflict involves a deranged designer (Stanley Tucci) who repurposes sentient robots as design elements for his art (a clever meta-commentary on the recycled nature of franchise entries), heroic Autobots and Dinobots, the nefarious Decepticons as well as the normally benevolent Dr. Frasier Crane as an evil government agent. However, all the attendant metallic sturm und drang is in service to deeper strains of creative ambition. The brilliant organising conceit of the franchise thus far — that machines need love
The brilliant organising conceit of the franchise thus far — that machines need love too — is subverted to an almost cruel degree. Where the Transformers were originally metaphors for man’s uneasy relationship with technology, they are now walking talking reminders of our troubled relationship with each other.
too — is subverted to an almost cruel degree. Where the Transformers were originally metaphors for man’s uneasy relationship with technology, they are now walking talking reminders of our troubled relationship with each other. There’s a level of zen purity attained by the incessant sequences of earsplitting CGI combat, incomprehensible to a degree that cannot possibly be accidental. That sensory overload is an aesthetic extension of the more profound,
mila kunis and ashton kutcher to have a baby Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher got engaged recently and are expecting their first child together. The couple is part of a growing list of Hollywood celebs on the path to parenthood. Perhaps it’s the baby boom that is making Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie want to adopt yet another child to add to their brood of six. While talk about their upcoming wedding is keeping others busy, they have been in touch with adoption centres in Sri Lanka and may visit the island state soon.
existential incoherence of war, the real-life tools of which are merely diminished versions of the chrome-plated doomsday devices of Bay’s pacifist allegory. It’s an audacious take on the futility of armed conflict; to recast beloved fictional characters as the mechanical representations of man’s own sense of inadequacy and frustration, to prod viewers with the stick of simulated global destruction toward the revelation that war is ultimately self-defeating. Why else would everyone be shooting at monolithic presences unaffected by bullets? Those bullets are the hollow ideologies bouncing off the carapace of our self-renewing insecurities. Every moment is charged with the AllSpark of political subtext, right down to the robotic minstrel routines that serve as self-reflexive indictments of racial archetypes. This is not to say that all of Age of Extinction’s delights are subtextual. The film’s chaotic surface and fractured plot are themselves a statement, reaching beyond
kanye and kim surprised with all the vogue attention
Jennifer aniston runs into still water again Jennifer Aniston’s tough luck regarding her relationships claims yet another man from her life as she has split from her fiancé Justin Theroux. The couple began dating in 2011 and got engaged in 2012. They have been delaying a wedding date for the longest time and there were rumours of a split last December. Rumours of a pregnancy further added stress to the pressure of announcing a wedding. The couple are playing down a split and are spending time apart to re-evaluate the relationship but those close to the actors say they don’t see a reconciliation.
Anna Wintour may have come out and defended Vogue’s cover with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, but the move has only further fuelled discussions over it. Even Kanye is surprised at the attention it is generating and now the selfobsessed rapper is getting paranoid about his wedding plans. He was already trying to uninvite Oprah Winfrey to his 24 May nuptials with Kardashian in Paris, worried she may steal their thunder. But the kind of attention the Vogue cover is getting them he is now considering even changing the venue and redoing the whole guest list because he is convinced they will face trouble from paparazzi and guests who may try to rain on the couple’s parade. He is also in talks with a major media house for exclusive images from the wedding. Part of the deal involves additional security cover to be borne by the firm.
boring conventions of narrative structure to a rarefied level of abstract storytelling reached only by experimental artists like Kenneth Anger or Andy Warhol. It must be understood that Age of Extinction is not a linear sequence of events — a tired, practically bourgeois structural conceit if ever there was one — but a unified experience that accumulates around the viewer like a weaponised nano-fog. The intention is to strip away tedious clichés of ‘meaning’ and ‘sense’, immersing the viewer in a Pythonesque collage of ideas and images that, nonetheless, add up to an intellectually justified whole. It’s filmmaking on the level of the sublime; performance art that combines influences as diverse as the work of Picasso and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. The film’s allencompassing implications for our continued existence and sanity eclipse even the oeuvre of H.P. Lovecraft in their pessimism, making it clear that for all the thrumming metal phalluses we point at the stars to forget about our essential insignificance, there’s no stopping what can’t be stopped. The things from beyond the stars will point their own phalluses right back. Entropy takes all, chaos rules, there are no good guys and no bad guys, and the Autobots are just the same as the Decepticons. They are us, we are them and if you gaze too long into the abyss, it gazes back into you.
Masala Art 35
the sunday guardian 20: supplement to the sunday guardian | 30.03.2014 | new delhi
Kashyap and Ali are determined to make it big on television Even though Ragini MMS 2 is doing decent business at the box office, Sunny Leone is upset with the less than flattering reviews she has got. Wanting to be taken more seriously as an actor she is putting away the glamour image for a while at least. The word goes that she has just about agreed to sign up for a film that requires her to play a monk. She will have to appear bald for sections of the film and though the filmmakers intend to use prosthetics, Sunny is so serious about her part she is toying with the idea of shaving her head. Imran Khan is a very happy man these days. He is expecting his first child with Avantika Malik soon and he has discovered a latent talent for singing thanks to the chance to do a voiceover in the Hindi edition of Rio 2. But being a part of an animation film has opened his eyes to new possibilities. Secretly quite worried about his ability to emote on screen he has now decided that he will only do animation films. That will take care of his wooden expressions and give him more time to explore a singing career. Tired of being pitted against each other due to the common man in their lives, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone have extended an olive branch to each other. Soon after word began spreading about Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika doing a film together for Imtiaz Ali Katrina made the first move and called Deepika. The conversation was awkward at first but the two arrived at a common ground to not let media gossip get to them. They aren’t exactly friends but they are on talking terms now. There may be some truth to Katrina and Ranbir’s marriage plans. And Katrina’s way of preparing for it is to win over the people in her boyfriend’s life, much the same way she converted her ex Salman Khan into a loyal friend.
(L) Director Imtiaz Ali; (R) a still from Zabaan Sambhalke Abhirup Dam
t the beginning of 2014, cine-goers were all excited with the number and range of new cinematic releases scheduled for the coming year. While some phenomenal successes like Highway and Queen have already hit big screens, anticipated biggies like Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet are yet to be released. But a new set of remarkable announcements might shift the focus on Indian television again — a much needed move being facilitated by initiatives that route themselves from top of the tinsel town itself. Two mega television shows from the ’90s are being remade by two prominent Bollywood directors. Both of these shows comprise the early
experiments in making Indian sitcoms and gained immense popularity. Zabaan Sambhalke was the Indian version of the British sitcom Mind Your Language and was directed for Doordarshan by Rajiv Mehra. It ran two successful seasons, one from 1993-94 and the other from 1997-98. The original series had Pankaj Kapur playing the role of a vexed Hindi teacher Mohan Bharti whose multicultural students were no less than a riot. After making Highway, director Imtiaz Ali decided to take a break from filmmaking and focus on television. He signed up a project with UTV for remaking Zabaan Sambhalke with a completely new ensemble cast. Speculations have revealed that Ali, who is known for his almost Sufi romances on screen, is planning on a few epic
(L-R) Anurag Kashyap and a still from Hum Paanch
cross-border and cross-cultural love stories between the students. Ali had expressed a desire to make 2 States earlier but was disappointed when the project did not fall his way. Sources have said that this is Ali’s way of getting back. Ashutosh Rana has been cast to play Mohan Bharti, the character played by Kapoor in the original series. Vidya Balan will play
the role of Lata Dixit, the incorrigible principal of the language institute Bharti works in. This character was played by Shobha Khote in the ’90s. As soon as UTV announced the remake of Zabaan Sambhalke, Anurag Kashyap made a few quick decisions. Seeing Imtiaz Ali launch himself head-on in the television industry, Kashyap
A lot of pixels in the mango orchard
Haapus Ka Farishta
Director: Sajid Khan Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra There is a scene in Haapus ka Farishta where our hero Ranbir Kapoor stands under a mango tree, the sun glazing through the branches casting god rays on his face, his eyes fixated on the fruit in his hands. He stares at the fruit with a rainbow in his heart, delighted that he finally got his hands on it after searching for it for so many years, yet distraught that it will no longer exist on this Earth if he finishes it. His eyes twinkle with the conflicting emotions enveloping his heart. His hands tremble as the dual nature of the dilemma swathes over his body, as the wind rustles through the leaves over him. That scene is a magnificent
display of pure acting talent, sheer screen presence and utter mastery of dramatic acting skill. And director Sajid Khan transcends the power of the scene right through the screen all the way to your face. Such is the precipitous nature of Haapus ka Farishta, a masterpiece that will be remembered in the annals of time as the Gone with the Wind of India. Haapus ka Farishta is the first Indian film to be shot in the new 4k technology. To those unfamiliar with the technical aspects of filmmaking, 4k is four times the number of pixels used in Ram Gopal Varma films. With a budget of Rs 300 cr it is also the most expensive
Indian film ever produced, and with Sajid Khan at the helm and Ranbir at the deck it goes beyond what David Lean and Peter O Toole achieved in Lawrence of Arabia. Mildly inspired by the unknown film Forrest Gump, Haapus ka Farishta chronicles a young man named Chomu (Ranbir) who goes on a road trip to find a legendary magical Haapus mango tree in the hills of Kasol. According to legend, the tree grows only one mango, which is so tasty that whoever eats it attains the power to awaken the dead. Such a plot could so easily have been laughable but from writer Milap Zaveri, who was responsible for the breathtak-
ing Housefull and Grand Masti, the script carries such sensitivity and so many emotional layers that it leaves you with an indelible mark on your memory. Chomu’s backstory and motivation are impeccably realized. The reason why he seeks out the Haapus is that his late wife (played by Parineeti Chopra), who had succumbed to the tragic results of cancer, had asked for a marijuana joint and a mango munchie on her death-bed. She wanted to pass out on a high, and Chomu had failed to give her the one thing she needed. It’s a searing plot device rich with irony and devastation that will leave you in tears.
quickly turned to his new found friend in Karan Johar. Sources say that Johar and Kashyap had several meetings where the former advised the latter to come up with something more kitschy and entertaining. Both of them decided upon the mid’90s sitcom Hum Paanch. The series ran in two phases, first from 1995-99, and later returned with a second sea-
son which ran from 2005-06. The story involved around a middleclass man called Anand Mathur and his five daughters who could raise hill in a jiff. To add to his miseries, the ghost of his dead first wife would constantly bother him, speaking from her photograph on the wall. The original series witness a number of changes in actors for the lead roles. Kashyap’s take will be a little different and “edgy”, as revealed by a close friend of the director. Nawazuddin Siddiqui will play the role of Anand Mathur, which was played earlier by Ashok Saraf. Johar has somehow roped in Preity Zinta to play the talking photo-ghost of Anand’s first wife. Reports say that Zinta, who was bordering on alcoholism has found a new lease of life after this offer was made to her.
I have always believed in the kindness of strangers. Chris was one such stranger. Gwyneth Paltrow on her divorce with Chris Martin
He made me feel that I was indeed Noah. Russell Crowe on meeting Pope Francis
A film that will inspire future generation of gadgets Majority Report Director: Steven Spielberg Starring: Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Robin Williams The problem with 3D is that the films somehow become dim after wearing the glasses. This is a technical problem faced worldwide in every film industry, and technicians have been working round the clock to look for a solution. Ticket sales for 3D had been dwindling over the past two years due to the dimming issue — people had lost faith in the medium. In his new film Majority Report, director Steven Spielberg, the genius that he is, broke the biggest technological barrier since Jurassic Park, and came up with an idea that will change 3D filmmaking forever. He decided to shoot the film in 2x brightness, so that when you wear the 3D glasses, you can see it in normal brightness.
Technological advances aside, Majority Report is a tremendous storytelling triumph. A sequel to the hit 2002 film Minority Report, Majority Report continues the story of John Anderton (played once again by Tom Cruise) who discovers that everything that had happened to him in the last 20 minutes of the previous movie was all in his head. He had been imprisoned by the villainous Lamarr Burgess (Max Von Sydow) and was dreaming about suddenly becoming a hero, rescuing his wife and proving Lamarr’s murder. Majority Report follows Anderton’s escape from the ‘mind prison’, where he realizes that he himself was one of the four original precogs and has the ability
to bend the laws of physics. Anderton’s escape from prison follows a breakneck chase through various futuristic landscapes, and even a chance encounter with John McLaine (Bruce Willis from Die Hard) who is assigned the duty to capture Anderton. The touch screen CGI of Minority Report has been extensively copied in today’s electronics like the iPad and Android phones, and I suspect the amazing wink-based CGI in Majority Report will inspire companies like Apple and Google to emulate the UI. There is another mysterious villain in Majority Report who seemingly controls even Lamaar’s actions, and those who have keenly observed the previous movie will no
doubt guess the identity of the villain. Majority Report is produced by James Cameron, he makes a cameo as a Na’Vi in a faux advertisement for Avatar 14 within the movie. It’s a nice subtle touch, as is the role of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an emancipated speech therapist. Unlike in the previous movie there is plenty of comedy this time around, courtesy of Robin Williams who plays the Bicentennial Man who constantly jokes about how bad his own movie was. The ending itself sets up the foundation for a third movie, and with the upcoming smell based 4D technology it remains to be seen what sort of filmmaking wizardry Spielberg doles up next.
Did you just call me fat in a weird twisted way? Kaley Cuoco on being asked about her rumoured pregnancy
Every year this day I get this huge desire to flip out. Lady Gaga on her birthday
36 th e su n day g u a r d ian 2 0 : s u p p l e m e n t to th e su n day gu ar dian | 31.07.2011 | n ew tdhe elh s un i day gua rdia n 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 03. 2014 | new delhi 37
To eat, or not to eat? That is always the question Abhirup dam
If we were to tell you that when it comes to the food you eat, almost everything you’ve been told is rubbish, you’d believe it. That all that has been advised by nutritionists and dieticians in the name of a healthy balanced diet is a complete hoax, you’d agree. That you needn’t have felt compelled to let go of that last chunk of dessert or say no to a beef steak in the name of healthy living...well, then, perhaps that’d make you really, really mad. But who can keep track of this stuff any more? One day red wine is good for you, the next day it’s the worst thing you can put into your system. One day dark chocolate is aiding weight loss, the next day it’s giving you chicken pox. Recently concluded research at The Institute of Food Research, United Kingdom has demonstrated that food items considered taboo in the health world are actually essential for the human diet. The research has further shown that some food items that have
occupied the harrowed abodes of healthy eating are not fit for human consumption. Dr Jamie Blumental of IFR, who headed the research, said in a press conference organised last month in London, while presenting the findings: “The results are shocking and revelatory at the same time. The research has debunked major theories and assumptions regarding diet and healthy consumption. We believe that this research, based on rigorous testing, experiments and data analysis is a definitive step towards understanding the nutritional requirements of the human body effectively.” We decided to list a few food items that were considered healthy or unhealthy, but just as quickly proven to be the opposite.
Things you should start eating again, in plenty: Butter This French necessity has always occupied a rather curious position in the culinary world. While butter has been making a comeback in the hands of contemporary chefs,
the hot list The Forward Watch
tions in making and processing food, but they also simplify the ingredient statement. Egg yolk contains lutein, which has been shown to be a factor in preventing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Moreover they are great memory boosters as Choline from egg yolk has proven to aid in memory development.
Things which are better left alone: Lettuce
Clockwise from top left: Grapefruit, red meat, butter and lettuce
dieticians warn against it if one is watching one’s waistline or heart condition. But IFR’s research team has conducted a series of tests wherein heart patients were given a controlled yet generous amount of butter in their everyday meals. Surprisingly, about 85% of the patients exhibited a substantial improvement in their condition. The carotenes in butter which are plant derivatives present in milk are fat soluble hydrocarbons that
are rich sources of Vitamin A.
Red Meat I mean how long could you have possibly put up with just eating chicken and fish in the name of meat? “Avoid red meat as much as possible,” your dietician would sermonise looking up from behind horn-rimmed glasses. But the bird-fish routine is about to end. Research has proved that cattle meat has conjugated linoleic acid,
which reduces our risk of cancer, obesity and diabetes.
Egg (yolks) There was a time when you were advised not to exceed your egg intake beyond two a week. And god help you if you were a little on the heavier side, or showed any tendencies for high cholesterol, you would be deprived of the pleasure of eating the most amazing part of an egg, the yolk. But IFR’s research confirms that not only do eggs perform multiple func-
Lettuce is pure and unmitigated evil. Yes, you read that right. At a time when a fast growing contemporary food culture puts a lot of emphasis on salad greens (especially lettuce), IFR’s findings have shown that the primacy of lettuce in your diet can lead to dangerous malnutrition, grave weight loss, and in women, infertility. Take the word of our research fellows. Some things are better left for rabbits.
Grapefruit For as long as I can remember, the US and by extension the world
A place where you don’t need to rely on your own poison
over now, has been obsessed with the Grapefruit Diet, more commonly and famously known as the Hollywood diet. The diet is based on the assumption that grapefruit contains a fat-burning enzyme or a similar property which aids in weight loss. On the contrary, the present research has proven that grapefruit contains a number of polyphenolic compounds which inhibit the drug-metabolising enzyme in our body. So even if you are taking medications for a common cold, grapefruit intake can lead to fatal drug toxicity. Moreover, grapefruits have too few calories (below 1200 calories a day), too few carbohydrates, and too few essential micronutrients.
Granola For most human beings, a small amount of granola provides a huge kick of trans fats and sugar — both of which have been shown to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Granola also often leads to excessive calorie intake because people believe
Chef Keith Guerke
by our correspondent
Price: Rs 3,588
Step Up Jimmy Choo is all set to introduce a range of footwear that provides a desirable height to the wearer. The shoes come with a fitted auto-adjusting pair of soles which works with a micro-hydraulic device triggered by sensors.
The Ultimate Wake-up Call There are days when you cannot do with a cup of coffee and an advil. But if you’re not a keen pill-popper, here’s your new best friend. Coffeespirin is coffee with pre-added aspirin. www.coffeespirin.com Price: Rs 350
The Skunky LBD
Price: Rs 3,500
Author of Leftovers Right: Making a Winner of Last Night’s Dinner
Zeher Address: Central Market, Lajpat Nagar Tel: 011-2554933678 Price for two: Rs 1400 (approx)
Time Turner Pro is a watch that will forward itself and the other watches and clocks in your house by a desired pre-set time period. With it, never get late. www.thetimeturnerpro.com
Price: Rs 8,000 & up
The Institute of Food Research, United Kingdom has demonstrated that food items considered taboo in the health world are actually essential for the human diet.
New York-based entrepreneur Josh Collins has come up with a chic and nasty design for women to drive away unwanted wooers and creeps — a stylish LBD with an inbuilt micro vent which contains skunk spray. So whenever you are being bothered lady, just spray some stink. www.joshcollins.com
Cautionary warning to the unwarranted: This pub is not for the faint hearted. And no sir, it is not just a manner of speaking. You can order from the list of regular IMFL fare, but the bar insists one tries their wide ranging and rather intriguing combos and cocktails — because Zeher is not the place where you go to catch a Cosmo with the girlies. Their menus come with a disclaimer: “A serious drinkers’ den. Avoid visiting if you lose it after 120 ml.” For example, you can order yourself the Guzzle and Wreck, a combo which is composed of a Jägerbomb, a shot of tequila, a can of Jack Daniels and Coke and two pints of beer to top it all. But Zeher truly lives up to its name when it comes to their in-house cocktails. A section marked Desi Chuskis on the menu is where you need to look if in the mood for a truly poisonous mix. Almost all of Zeher’s cocktails are made from government authorised and certified country liquor — yes you read it correct, the good old tharra. Imports from other states like the narangi and mausambi ,
Turbo Gravy Named after a Judas Priest song called Turbo Lover, this is the ultimate gravy with leftovers.
along with some arak and toddy, feature prominently in the heady concoctions available at the pub. The absolute knockout Jhatka, made of arak, toddy, coconut water and kokum is a must — ladies, take heed, this drink is capable of sprouting hairs on your chest. The pub has recently procured a substantial supply of mahua, a fermented alcoholic drink made by the Santhals from the flowers of the Mahua tree. A whole range of cocktails are being planned around this intoxicating, flowery smelling liquor and will be part of a limited edition menu. The pub has also tried brewing their own hariya or rice beer earlier but the effects were rather detrimental. On the first night the home brewed beer was put
The Government of India had asked a New Delhi-based SMB to come up with a wallet that can correctly predict the right bribe amount in real time. The company came up with a prototype which has a camera and transmitter that use face recognition technology and the resultant data accessed through social media identification predicts the correct bribe amount. See www.callthebribesir.com
Ingredients: There are no fixed quantities for this recipe. Use your instinct and imagination to balance out things according to preference. And don’t, everything’s gonna go down the wash anyway. Jalapenos Leftover gravy Fried chicken Ham Corn Bacon 2% milk Gherkins Some marshmallows Pumpkin pie Method: Chuck your ham, bacon, gherkins and jalapenos into a liquidiser and blend. Put a slice of the pumpkin pie in, making sure not to get too much crust in. Follow with the corn and the fried chicken. Heat up the gravy with the marshmallows. Once it comes to a boil, take it off the hob and cool. Add the milk and combine with the rest of the ingredient in the blender. Whizz away to glory and serve warm.
My boss asks me to do “weird things” in bed Guardian Angel veenu sandal
The Bribe Predictor
up on the menu, enthusiastic drinkers ordered the strong and rather lethal concoction in plenty. What followed was a scene straight out of Fight Club. Nevertheless the good brewers at Zeher have decided to shift to another indigenous alcoholic beverage — chaang. This fermented drink made out of millet is consumed in Nepal, Tibet and other parts of the Hima-
layas. They are hoping that this will go down a little better than the hearty hariya. Please check out their menus online before you visit to make sure you don’t land up on the first chaang night. I was lucky enough to get a taste of the lovely mahua, served with a spritz of lime and some seltzer. The feni cooler that I also tried was delectable, but I was too inebriated by the time it arrived to discern what all it contained. Zeher also hosts a stag night every Friday wherein men get free entry and complimentary shots while women shell out some extra cash. So if you are in the league of Hercules, who according to legend had 30 barrels of ale a day and fornicated with an equal number of individuals, you migth enjoy a visit to Zeher.
Q. I belong to a family which is not financially strong at present. In my first job I got lured by promises of all kinds of favours by my boss in return for a physical relationship with him. He is keeping his part of the bargain but I’m finding it difficult to keep my part because he makes the weirdest demands and I can’t say ‘no’. He’s very satisfied but I come away not feeling good. The problem is, he’s doing so much for me and my family. If I call it off, all of that will stop and I’m too new in the job market
to land some other cushy job. I’m okay with the physical relationship with the boss except for the weird parts which I find very distressing. I don’t know what to do. Please advise me. —A. A. Have you told your boss that you find the ‘weird parts’ in your physical relationship distressing? For all you know, he may be thinking that you actually enjoy them or that you’re fine with them. If you want the relationship to
continue without being too distressful, a frank but obviously diplomatic one-to-one talk about something that’s bothering you so much may smoothen out your problem. Q. We’re first cousins, but she’s my biggest enemy. It’s not that she’s not doing well; in fact, she’s doing far better than me in so many ways. But not only does she resent anything good that happens to me, but also makes sure she spoils it in some way. Last year we were both selected from the campus itself by a top firm, but within a month of joining, she started a whispering campaign against me. It was totally baseless, but it made things so unpleasant for me, which I guess was her intention, that I decided to quit. Now I’ve got a boyfriend — my first real relationship and she’s trying to sabotage things by
sending him one-liners like “I can tell you lots about her, but I won’t”. Now I’m worried that she’ll succeed in poisoning his mind, she’s so scheming. What should I do to save my relationship and generally about her? —S. A. If there is a good understanding between your boyfriend and you, what a third person says — no matter who it is — should not affect your relationship. But since you feel your first cousin is “so scheming”, why not explain the situation to your boyfriend? That way, he’ll be pre-warned and ignore anything she may say and may even decide to cold shoulder her. Generally too, you must stand firm against her, ignore her, and that way send out a strong message to her that you’re
not going to get unsettled even if it means having to swallow or shrug off unpleasantness at times. Q. We met about two years ago and though it wasn’t love at first sight, we soon got into a very comfortable relationship. Now the question of a live-in arrangement or getting married has come up. But he’s put a condition. It can happen only if I take diksha from his family guru and become the guru’s follower. I’ve met this guru and was not impressed and in any case I’m not drawn at all to all this guru business. But my boyfriend has made it clear, “no guru, no relationship” even though he’s fully aware of my views and feelings in this matter. My dilemma: is the relationship worth sacrificing my beliefs and convictions? Please guide me. —M. A. How much does the re-
lationship matter to you is for you to decide. But certainly, there should be no pre-conditions of the kind you mention, especially when your boyfriend is as you say, “fully aware of my views and feelings in this matter”. The important thing is you’re not stopping him from following what he believes in even though you don’t believe in it. Giving that kind of space to each other is a way of saying to the other person, “I care for you as a person”. Perhaps you should try and discuss the situation afresh with your boyfriend from this perspective. His response will help you decide whether the “relationship is worth sacrificing your beliefs and convictions”.
th e s u n day g u a rd rdian ian 2 0 : s u p p l e m e n t to th e su n day gu ar d ian | 30.03.2014 16.07.2011 | n ew delh d elh i
town If you can pose for the camera, you can definitely design a dress or two & about surfeit of ankle-length pants, bow-ties and bowler hats. The colour blue, however, has no place in this collection. Meanwhile, a little birdie also told us that Bollywood actor Salman Khan is interested in collaborating with Tendulkar on this venture. Maybe he’s an opportunist; maybe he’s just being human.
Nagaland’s Kitchen, S2 Green Park Extension Market. T: (011) 4608 8968 Lunch and dinner from Monday to Sunday Till 20 April Nagaland’s Kitchen celebrates its Smoked Food Festival with an exotic array of smoked dishes prepared by Naga chefs. Smoked meat is produced by keeping the meat above fire or hanging on the wall of the kitchen for two weeks or longer. Meal for two (without alcohol): Rs 1200 + taxes
Amour Bistro, 10/48 Malcha Marg Shopping Complex. T: +91 98108 77553 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. With summer around the corner and the mercury steadily rising, Amour Bistro is offering a variety of refreshing smoothies. You can choose from healthier options like the strawberry and green tea smoothie, the raspberry celery smoothie or the more indulgent peanut butter and banana, and the chocolate mint smoothies.
ack of all trades, master of none? Well, well, well. We’ve been seeing a number of jacks popping out of their boxes, even hopping out and invading other boxes, all in the name of thinking out of the box. If you’re a public figure enjoying some degree of celebrity in this day and age, you have the passport to try out as many careers for size as you want. Exhibit A: Mandira Bedi — the Shanti girl has gone from being a stage actress to a cricket commentator on TV, and has now launched her own label of designer clothes (read noodle straps). Fashion designing, apparently, is among the more popular such avenues that people want to try on for size. Following in Bedi’s footsteps is one-time model and actor Jas Arora, who now has a huge, swanky showroom in the newly opened JW Marriott, Aerocity. We dug around for more such celebrities and found, to our surprise, some very interesting takers. Here’s the lowdown on the most promising of such sartorial enterprises:
Vidya Balan She’s made a name for herself as the modern-day Rekha of Bollywood, but much like the character of Silk Smitha
Baba Ramdev From top left: Vidya Balan, Baba Ramdev and Sachin Tendulkar
Fashion designing, apparently, is among the more popular such avenues that people want to try on for size.
that she played in Dirty Picture, there’s no stopping her. Sources tell us that Vidya Balan is also on the prowl for a supporter to launch her line of elegant saris and plus size clothing. With an overdose of zari and gold gilt, the ethnic wear in her collection is perfect for day wedding occasions, where you want to look subtly sophisticated by pairing your sari/anarkali suit with a pair of gold-rimmed aviators. While she herself prefers the sari for dress-up occasions, her fashion line has a little something for
everyone who doesn’t want to take a GM diet but still wants to look their sexy best — long skirts, backless kurtis, glittery red figure-hugging dresses that, she advises, will look particularly nice with uncombed, loose long hair.
Sachin Tendulkar When the God of Indian cricket retired, the world spent a weekend wondering what Sachin Tendulkar will
do with his time now. Turns out, he is one step ahead, as always. The master blaster has decided to apply his hardhitting skills to building a suitable wardrobe for, er, little men. Being shorter than the average Indian male is no longer a reason to feel like you can’t look debonair. Simply try Tendulkar’s, a line of clothing for men, that is currently retailing out of Sachin’s mobile Ferrari. On offer is a
Not satisfied with being yoga guru par excellence, a protestor, a politician and a drag queen, Baba Ramdev has decided to expand his empire by launching a fitness fashion label. This line is targeted at all the people who’ve lost too many pounds and can now see their own bowels churning in their stomachs, by drinking too much of his signature aloe vera juice. Affordably priced — because nirvana, not profit, is the Baba’s mantra — the line has flowy unisex dhotis, long kurtas, and wooden khadaus retailing out of a tent in the sprawling ashram in Haridwar. You might be a sagely, wise person, but who will take you seriously unless you look the part?
Kapil Sibal Sometime lawyer and now a prolific politician, Kapil Sibal has had a lot of time on his hands while handling the portfolios of Law and Justice, and Telecommunications and
IT. We base this deduction on the surprise announcement of his fashion label, titled 2G Redux, which will retail out of Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk. The line specialises in size zero dresses — brownie points for getting the exclusivity part right — mostly done in hues of white, saffron and green. But here’s the real scoop: just like everything else he says, do not take his word for the size zero part; there’s a lot of room for interpretation in his definitions, as always.
Arnab Goswami The conscience keeper of the nation and TV anchor Arnab Goswami knows how to dress down guests on his nightly debate show. Sources tell us that when he recently heard Justin Timberlake’s song What Goes Around Comes Around, it prompted him to introspect on life and its meaning. After a month of rumination, he decided to join Raymonds, the fashion and fabric retailer, as a consultant on their upcoming line called The Nation Wants to Sew. The line is targeted at the perfect man, who must always be sharply dressed in snug fitting suits in black, dark blue and slate. Goswami’s personal best, though, arrives in the form of ties, cufflinks and mufflers that have the motif of a pointing finger plastered all over them.
Krrish 5 scheduled to be released in 2017
Rakesh Roshan confirmed that he is making another Krrish movie and going to continue the tradition of titling it incorrectly to insult mathematicians. “Krrish 5 is the fourth movie in the series, following Krrish 3, which followed Krrish. I can’t help it. I’m just a fan of odd numbers” said Roshan. The plot is rumoured to be a story of love where Krrish realises that Jadoo is his real mother and
Lodi - The Garden Restaurant, Lodhi Road T: +91 99530 08636 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. At the restaurant’s table d’hote you will be able to avail a multicourse meal — from appetisers to dessert — at an affordable price. The delectable spread includes risotto dumpling with cheese and pepperoncini, farm fresh broccoli puree with pan roasted almonds, penne arrabiata, farm fresh vegetable and parmesan risotto, eggless chocolate truffle, cheesecake and much more. Price for one: Rs 1195 + taxes
A teaser from Krrish 3
then flies to space to confront him. The first Indian on the moon Rakesh Sharma will also be making a guest ap-
pearance in this movie. Film shooting starts at the end of this month on any odd date Rakesh prefers.
Activists inaugurate India’s first Ikea store
The Body in Performance
By our correspondent
Venue to be confirmed. T: +91 98365 09386 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 19 – 20 April The Arshinagar Project presents Breath, Body, Space — a workshop led by founder-member Arka Mukhopadhyay. This workshop is open to actors and dancers, musicians, painters, other creative professionals or to anyone interested in exploring the relationship between breath, body, space and the performer within. Fee: Rs 2000
A Spanish Navratra
Domestic diva Nigella Lawson was spotted at a red carpet event in London last week. Lawson, who underwent a messy break-up sometime ago, made some nasty comments about Gwyneth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling” with Chris Martin
Obama shopping at the Gap
around the area and also for generating employment for a lot of individuals.” Roy was also joined by activist Medha Patkar and filmmaker Anand Patwardhan.
Neighbourhood auntyjis bring you a desi treat abhirup dam
AuntyJi’s Address: 984/D Shahpur Jat Tel: 011-6543987790 Price for two: Rs 750
Pintxo, SF 90, DLF Galleria Market, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon 31 March - 7 April The special Tapas Trio from Pintxo is a delectable offering of Navratra food and beverages — nutritious, light and a perfect meal for all. The Tapas Fasting Trio includes potato bravos, eggplant caviar cheese and fruity sangria. Meal for one: Rs 500 + taxes
The country’s first Ikea store was launched in the capital last week. Located in a sprawling 32-acre space, the construction was on hold for some time due to land disputes and interference from the Aam Aadmi Party’s social vigil. Nevertheless all burdens were deftly handled and overcome and the store opened its doors to the numerous customers in the city. The store was inaugurated by eminent writer and social activist Arundhati Roy who has been closely associated with the project since its inception. Roy said, “I have supported this Ikea store for the remarkable work they have done in community building
If there’s one community I can swear by and vouch for, in terms of sheer visibility, consolidation and all-round awesomeness, it will definitely be the auntyjis of Delhi. You can find them anywhere — triumphantly making their way through the throbbing Saturday evening crowd in Sarojini or Lajpat Nagar market, consuming a kitty lunch at a posh south Delhi
restaurant, stepping down from shiny cars in their jewelled finery at socialite gatherings, throwing gala bashes and parties, or just doing what they take pride in doing the best — conferencing. Food forms a large part of any social gathering and auntyjis perhaps know the best — what to serve and what to pick from. “I don’t mind being labelled an auntyji,” says Savita Rastogi, who has had a good share of social limelight thanks to her rather “naughty” comic-strip namesake. “If you are an aunty, accept it. And trust me, we do know the best.” Rastogi, along with two other auntyjis, has
Mrs Sharma ke naram bhalle
recently opened an eatery in the rapidly urbanising haunt of Shahpur Jat. No brownie points for guessing what is it called. A modest 32-sitter, AuntyJi’s is done up in red — from red velvet cushioned chairs to crimson wall paper. Crochet
doyleys adorn the glass table tops as menus with bright fuchsia flowers are handed out while you sit down. The menu is unique and remarkably irreverent (read frank). “The idea was to include signature dishes from our vast repertoire. Every kitty or
ladies group will have food tagged with and referred to by the names of members and participants whose signature dish it is. And believe me, more than often we welcomingly allow the titillation attached to most instances of such nomenclature,” smirks Rastogi. One look at the menu and you will have no difficulty in understanding what Rastogi means. The first dish that I ordered, just by the virtue of its name, was Mrs Bhalla ke naram bhalle (“World famous in Delhi, Renu Sharma’s dahi bhallas are as soft and tasty as they get”, reads the description). To wash down the soft bhallas, we ordered Mrs Me-
non’s Extra Juice Cocktail (The description reads: “Once when a guest asked for a cocktail at the end of a party, Mrs Menon threw in whatever juice and alcohol was left in a glass and served it. The rest was history.”) With other delicacies like Razia Aunty’s rasile samosas and Mrs Shah’s chatpati chukandar, one thing is for sure — even if the food is what you get for free at any lot of social gatherings, a visit to the place is must, just to honour the admirable “boldness” of our very own auntyjis. Don’t leave without sampling Rastogi’s dessert, Savita Bhabhi ki farm fresh firni.
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
the sunday guardian 20: supplement to the sunday guardian | 30.03.2014 | new delhi
Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau
Wizard Of Id by Parker and Hart
B.C. by Johnny Hart
Speed Bump by Dave Coverly
Strange Brew by John Deering
Duplex by Glenn McCoy
The sunday crossword Up & Running by Gray and Shack scribble space
Foxtrot by Bill Amend
Last Week’s Solution
Peanuts by Charles Schutlz
kakuro Kakuro puzzles are like crosswords that use numbers instead of words to paralyse your brain. The aim of the game is to fill all the blank squares in the grid with only the numbers 1-9 so that the numbers you enter add up to the corresponding clues. Whatever the hell that means. Kakuro puzzle grids can be any size, though usually the squares within them have to be arranged symmetrically.
20 pages, 83 absolutely rubbish stories and one very happy team. What am I?
Solution scribble space
Guardian20’s April Fool’s special
Grand Avenue by Breen and Thompson
Sign Up for the IAFLOFCI (OFFICIAL) J
Lazy Break 39
the sunday guardian 20: supplement to the sunday guardian | 30.03.2014 | new delhi
THAT SCRAMBLED WORD GAME
by David L. Hoyt and Jeff Knurek
Unscramble these six Jumbles, one letter to each square, to form six ordinary words.
Sign Up for the IAFLOFCI (OFFICIAL) Jumble Facebook fan club
©2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VEENU SANDAL Botal Daruwala
21 march - 19 april
20 april - 20 may
21 may - 20 june
21 june - 22 july
23 july - 22 aug
23 aug - 22 sept
Beware of dark alleys, dear Aries, for certain death lurks in the shape of a mugging gone wrong. That app on your smartphone says it will protect you, but phone battery issues will plague you in the week ahead, so tough luck. Don’t think that simply handing over your wallet will avert death; you won’t be able to resist laughing at the mugger’s high-pitched voice, and have no way of knowing that he is super sensitive about it. (You try surviving the cruel world of organised crime, always being made fun of by two-bit hustlers and pimps.) Yeah, yeah, you say you’d never laugh at someone just because he had a funny voice, but trust me, you haven’t heard this guy: he sounds like Dolly Parton swallowed all the helium in the Hindenburg.
Everyone will warn you that driving drunk after the party will kill you, but nobody, I’m sure, will correctly predict how. It’s not their fault; how are they to know that you’re dumb enough to think you could manually lift that cow blocking the road? It’s not as if there won’t be enough space for you to drive around the cow. But you’ve always held a grudge against cows. You’re angry at how they can laze around in the middle of the road like they own it, at how they leverage their holy status to get free food. “Not this day!”, you will shout, which will be weird because the rest of that monologue would have only been in your head. Unfortunately, your cry will awaken the bull that fell asleep grazing in the bushes on the side of the road. He will not be amused.
Twin disasters await those under the influence of The Twins this week. While the first one won’t kill you, it will make you pine for the death that the second will mercifully grant you. To be fair, the first disaster will be the result of you being nice and letting your new flatmate play the music that they like. So what if she insists on listening, dancing and singing along to Baby Doll on full volume, on loop, all day, every day? There’s such a thing as freedom of expression. Your accommodating nature will last all of three days, until you can’t resist the temptation to sneak into her room and delete the song from her iTunes. But you’ve never used a Mac before, and you’ll end up freezing the computer. Beware of naked live wires as you try to switch it off and on again.
Smoking kills. Especially when you decide to fumble around with a matchbox — that old lighter ran out of fluid years ago — while driving through a busy intersection with no thought to the truck bearing down on you. Then again, you wouldn’t be smoking again after 20 years if you hadn’t just lost your job for showing up hungover three hours late for an important client meeting. Then again, you wouldn’t be drinking till 7 a.m. if your wife hadn’t left you for the driver, which is also why you’ll be driving in the first place. There, there, Cancerians, it’s a tough week ahead for you. I know, midlife crises suck. Why don’t you relieve some of that stress by smoking a nice little ciggie? It’s not like you’re going to live long enough for the cancer to hit.
So Leos, we know you don’t get along with Scorpios, but seriously, dial it down! It was fine when you guys were just whining about how Scorpios are always smug about the fact that their sun sign is cooler than yours. (Get over it; scorpions trump lions when it comes to badassery.) But no, you had to get organised and form a pressure group to get the government to reserve a third of all posts for Leos. I understand that you guys feel that you’re natural leaders and deserve to rule over uthe rest of us mere mortals, but did you really think the other zodiac signs wouldn’t retaliate? Look over your shoulder as you sit at Jantar Mantar this week. A group of Scorpios is planning to disrupt your protest. And you know how violent these inter-zodiac conflicts can get.
If luck were measured in Bollywood movies, your next week will be as bad as R...Rajkumar. Most of it will be your fault, but for all of it to add up, you must really have someone up there furious. It’s your fault that you’ll lock yourself out of your flat and have to sleep on a park bench, but you won’t expect the torrential rain that forces you to take shelter under the dhobi’s shed. Again, your fault that you’ll accept that kind old lady’s invitation to sleep on her couch, but you can’t really know that she’s a cannibal, can you? Then again, she’s only an old lady, and you’ll easily overpower her. But you’ll forget that old maxim: always look both ways while crossing a road, even when you’re being chased by a crazy cannibal lady.
23 sept - 22 oct
23 oct - 21 nov
22 nov - 21 dec
22 dec - 19 jan
20 jan - 18 feb
19 feb - 20 march
Trust me; you don’t want to take a train this week. No, it won’t get derailed, stop being so morbid. You’ll even get to your destination in one piece. But that samosa you’ll eat at Meerut station contains potatoes that stopped being edible much before the world found out that Alia Bhatt could act. Entire colonies of bacteria are fighting for space on the putrid things, which have turned a disgusting shade of green and purple. Brace yourself for a week or so of frequent sprints to the facilities. In fact, I’d suggest you move everything into the bathroom now itself. Apply for a work-from-home. If you don’t get it, quit. It doesn’t matter; you’ll die of dehydration within 10 days anyway.
Nobody wants to be just a statistic, but that seems to be your fate this week. Fortunately, you’ll be a fairly important statistic: the 1,000th victim in Delhi of road rage because an SUV driver didn’t like the look you gave him when he reversed into your tiny Maruti 800. How dare you glare at the man, just because you’re jealous that he can ram his car into another without getting totalled? So what if he’s driven all over your front hood and just stopped short of flattening your entire vehicle? You have no right to look at him funny. If anything, he’s doing you a favour. Now you can finally buy that SUV you’ve always wanted. Oh wait, you can’t; you had the temerity to glare at the Good Samaritan.
I’m afraid it’s only a dull lightning strike for our poor Sagittarians. I wish I had a more interesting demise for you folk, but the cards say what they say. You’re walking home in the rain — running, actually, since you forgot to leave the catfood out again — and boom! Kitty stays hungry all night. You can’t change Zeus’ aim, so your takeaway from this prediction should be this: don’t forget to feed your cat. What? That’s not good enough for your money’s worth? Oh alright, I’ll throw in a couple of non-death-related predictions. That girl you like is going to enroll in salsa classes on Wednesday, and the old man upstairs whose newspaper you steal every day will catch you in the act on Thursday.
You’ll learn an important lesson this week: always carry a piece of cake with you, just in case you’re abducted by aliens. Too bad you won’t live long enough to get that message across to everyone else. Once you take into account all the probabilities involved, it’ll seem like too much effort, but as you’ll find out, it’s the difference between life and agonising death. I’ll spare you the details, but it involves pylons and lasers and Rebecca Black. You’ll be able to avoid this fate if you take my advice and keep yourself prepared — aliens love pineapple upsidedown — but no, you’ll refuse to believe the crazy astrologer predicting certain death for all and sundry. Fine, be that way. It’s your funeral.
I t ’s p o l i t i cal season, and while you should cast your vote and all, if you’re an Aquarian, you might want to give your civic duty some second thought. Voting means standing in long lines, and being a water sign, you know your bladder isn’t exactly made of titanium. As you debate whether or not to leave the line and find the closest loo, your position in the line will advance so fast that you’ll finally decide to wait until you’re done. But just as you’re about to enter, a fight will break out between toughs from the two big political parties in your constituency. But you won’t stand for such violence, not at this critical juncture, and you’ll try to break it up. Unfortunately, one of the goons will have a knife.
So you’re scared of flyi n g . H e re ’s a tip: don’t fly. Not even when you win that all-expenses-paid trip to Bangkok. Insist on driving all the way, even if it takes you two weeks. Because you know what will happen if you fly. You’ll be nervous at first; then you’ll be paranoid at feeling the slightest breeze. The final straw will come when the flight attendants decide to break the record for the highest game of sepak takraw ever played and the pilots show up to watch. Sure, you’ll have your co-passengers’ safety in mind when you try to shoo them back into the cockpit, but to the armed vacationing US Marshall in the third row, it’ll look like a hijacking attempt.
Now arrange the circled letters to form the surprise answer, as suggested by the above cartoon.
PRINT YOUR ANSWER IN THE CIRCLES BELOW ECWNHR THE TWCSIH
Now arrange the circled letters to form the surprise answer, as suggested by the above cartoon.
PRINT YOUR ANSWER IN THE CIRCLES BELOW THE
MORTAL WRENCH PETITE MOVING SWITCH PACIFY Bob wouldn’t buy a new house until this —
MORTAL WRENCH PETITE MOVING SWITCH PACIFY PRICE buy a new house BobTHE wouldn’t APRIL 17, 2011 WAS until thisRIGHT —
THE PRICE WAS RIGHT
APRIL 17, 2011
Quick crossword no. 11,266 quickword 1
Down 1 Of Etna etc (8) 2 Slender and elegant (6) 3 Child bunking off school (6) 4 Dandy (4) 6 Large Madagascan fruit bat (6,3) 7 TV (6-3) 12 Knock flat (8) 14 Brave (6) 15 Organise into a system (6) 17 Continuous change (4)
Steeped in myth and legend, countless beliefs and fascinating tales are related about the mysterious powers of gems and precious stones. Since ancient times, gems and precious stones have been associated with the zodiac signs and even in these digital, hi-tech times, continue to be credited with possessing immense power to bring good luck, good health and happiness. Here, based on your sun sign, are the activities that will benefit the most in April from the power of your special gems for 2014.
Colours are known to exert powerful effects both on people and their surroundings. Here, based on your sun sign, is a guide to colours that will fend off charging hippopotami during a stampede. Pay attention; this will keep you alive.
Virgo: White Sapphire — Getting leave approved Libra: Ruby — Catching flights Scorpio: Tiger Stone — Talking to women Sagittarius: Pink Diamond — Paying off mercenaries Capricorn: Blue Sapphire — Avoiding car trouble Cancer: Cat’s Eye — Potty-training pets Leo: Emerald — Convincing your wife to let you watch Aquarius: Pearl — Winning arguments the cricket match Pisces: Diamond — Easy breakups
Aries: Mauve Taurus: Pink Gemini: Sky Blue Cancer: Purple Leo: Deep Cream Virgo: Deep Blue
Vaastushastra or the Science of Architecture was accorded great importance in ancient India. Today, Vaastu Shastra and its benefits in ensuring a happy, prosperous, peaceful life have been rediscovered. The term ‘Vaastu’ is actually derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Vas’ (dwell) and is similar in many ways to Feng Shui, the Chinese science of placements and balance. Objects and their placing, shapes, materials, colours, directions are also an integral part of Vaastu. Here, based on your sun sign, are the best directions to face when making a sandwich in April.
Indian astrology bases its calculations on nine planets. It is interesting that the numerical system also has nine numbers as the base, with the rest being repetitions. In numerology, each of these nine numbers has an occult meaning or significance. There are various methods of numerology that can be applied to improve our lives. While some numerologists go by date of birth numbers alone, others go by name numbers and still others rely on a combination of the two. Linking numbers to sun signs also yields interesting results. Here, based on your sun sign, is a ready reckoner of when you will hiccup in the coming week.
Aries: Peridot — Finding your way back to the highway Taurus: Opal — Getting auto drivers to go by meter Gemini: Yellow Sapphire — Finding the cheapest happy hours (call me when you do)
5 Hobnail-booted yob (6,3) 8 Alliance of countries (4) 9 Playground game (8) 10 Betrothed man (6) 11 Island paired with Trinidad (6) 13 Holder of an oval thing (6) 15 More nippy (6) 16 Bewilder (8) 18 Unfortunate fate (4) 19 Champagne and orange juice (5,4)
scribble space Want more? Access over 4,000 archive puzzles at guardian.co.uk/crossword. Stuck? Then call our solutions line on 09068 338 248. Calls cost 60p per minute all times. Service supplied by ATS. Want to try to the Cryptic? Buy the new book Secrets of the Setters in hardback, priced £12.99 plus p&p, on 0870 836 0749
Libra: Red Scorpio: Black Sagittarius: Mustard Yellow Capricorn: Saffron Aquarius: Navy Blue Pisces: Smoky Grey
Last Week’s Solution No.Solution 11,265
E O B L
J U S T W I L L I A M
E I I N G L E V L P Y E L G N G O A L I L I M P M C F P R E A D A T U C HW E K A
A A B E L L S B T A E P H A N T Y O D B U X OM P G W E T H A N E A P S F E A R A L R N L O C K T P
fact of the matter
1732 A man sees a fish lay eggs and thinks to himself, “Whoadamn! Gotta taste that.” Boom. Caviar.
Aries: West Taurus: East Gemini: Southwest Cancer: North Leo: Southeast Virgo: Northwest
Libra: East Scorpio: South Sagittarius: Northwest Capricorn: East Aquarius: North Pisces: Southeast
Aries: 3 April, 5.06 p.m. Taurus: 2 April, 9.11 p.m. Gemini: 1 April, 6.18 a.m. Cancer: 3 April, 7.20 p.m. Leo: 2 April, 4.20 p.m. Virgo: 1 April, 4.47 a.m.
Libra: 3 April, 5.22 p.m. Scorpio: 2 April, 8.59 a.m. Sagittarius: 4 April, 9.40 p.m. Capricorn: 1 April, 8.24 p.m. Aquarius: 5 April, 7.11 p.m. Pisces: 3 April, 6.20 a.m.
sudoku Each Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically without guessing. But who has that kind of time? Enter random digits from 1 to 9 into the blank spaces. Or don’t. Every row must contain one of each digit. Or not.
t he s un day gua rdia n 20: s up p lement to t he s unday guardi an | 30. 03. 2014 | new delhi
In 1917, sisters Elsie and Frances Wright claimed to capture fairies on camera for the first time, fooling, among others, the writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a firm believer in psychic phenomena. In the early 1980s, Elsie admitted that they had used cardboard cutouts to create the “fairies” seen here.
a day in the life
Once Bitten Twice Shy Chaupat Ram Chaat Vendor Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi – 110067
“I met my wife in a Moorkhistan meeting”
london calling lakshman menon
Q. How long have you been in Delhi and where are you originally from? A. In spirit, me and my family hail from Moorkhistan, where we celebrate the donkey as our national animal, the cauliflower as our national flower and 32 July as our Independence Day. However, I was born and brought up in Delhi itself, in Chandni Chowk. Q. Isn’t that something out of a magazine, Moorkhistan? A. In Moorkhistan, we don’t read magazines, we only read Gadha-Pachisi, the sacred text written by our leader, the Creator (Sukhwant-ji). These are verses that praise the simple-minded, while banishing the crafty and the wicked to a lifetime of modern art and Shyam Benegal films. Q. Does your wife know that you’re such a devotee of Sukhwantji? A. She doesn’t mind; we met at one of the Moorkhistan meetings, nearly three years to this day, on 1 April 2011. The next day, India won the World Cup, so I knew our wedding was auspicious; it brought the entire country good luck! Plus, she’s busy with her own work, organising game nights for the women’s wing of Moorkhistan. Q. When and why did you decide to become a chaatwallah? A. This shop (points to his trolley) is only a month old. I was walking around the JNU campus on the eve of Holi, because I had heard that this is the best place to celebrate in town. But when I reached, I was told that there was something called “Maha-Chaat Sabha” going on, something that drew huge audiences, by the look of it. Right there, in front of my eyes, I saw that there were at least 500 people gathered for this Maha-Chaat Sabha. Immediately, I decided that I would cash in on the popularity of chaat on the campus. Business has been a little slow, but I expect it to pick up anytime now.
In 1708, a reader plaintively asked the English magazine, Apollo: “Whence proceeds the custom of making April Fools?” sparking a debate that rages to this day. One theory is that when the calendar was changed from the Julian to the Gregorian, a reigning politician confused the 1st of April with the 1st of May, thereby launching the good citizens of his town into an enthusiastic celebration of May Day a month too early. Having examined all the other theories, I am bound to say this does seem the most likely origin of All Fool’s Day since it also proves that politicians have always confused their dreams with reality. No less a political titan than Mr Rahul Gandhi thoughtfully furnished us with an example two weeks ago when he declared that not only would his party triumph in India’s forthcoming general elections, but that it would win even more seats
than before. Well, if desire is the china shop, Mr Gandhi is the bull. Occasionally, of course, the joke is on my fellow cynics. On 1 April 1962, America’s National Public Radio announced on its Talk of the Nation programme that Richard Nixon would be standing for President again in 1964 on the compelling campaign platform: “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” The ‘news’ resulted in the radio station’s switchboard being jammed with outraged callers. Cue gales of mocking laughter at Nixon’s expense when the radio station announced its broadcast was a joke. If radio stations could have faces, National Public Radio must have laughed on the wrong side of its face when, six years later, Nixon did indeed stand for the Presidency. And won.
Sinistral Sentiment And if you have ever wondered why every American President ends his speech
with the earnest invocation: “God bless America”, torment your brain no further. One 1st April, that famous repository of American haute cuisine, Burger King, took out a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of its very latest offering, the “Left-Handed Whopper”, especially crafted for the convenience of millions of left-handed Americans. The Left-Handed Whopper, the advertisement declared, contained the identical delectations — lettuce, tomato and, of course, burger — as the original iconic version, but rotated 180 degrees towards the left. No prizes for guessing what followed: a stampede of hopeful lefthanded customers stormed their local Burger King demanding the new culinary wonder. Poor old Burger King promptly fell victim to its own success; it was obliged to rush out another advertisement both confessing that the LeftHanded Whopper was a hoax and reassuring the thousands of people who had thronged Burger King to request they
be served their preferred “right-handed version.”
Each Man To His Own Asked by a journalist what could blow a political party off course, the wily Tory Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, replied; “Events, dear boy, events.” And so it has proved for Ed Miliband. Two weeks ago, Red Ed and his comrades in the Labour Party were coasting along on a seemingly unassailable lead in the opinion polls. Then, on Budget Day, George Osborne whisked a rabbit out of his hat. And in five minutes, the one sacred platform that has underpinned nine decades of Britain’s political philosophy was kicked into history; the egregiously paternalistic — and patronising — premise that the state knows best. Mr Osborne announced that from now on, pensioners may take control over their own pension savings instead of being instructed by the state how — and where — to invest it.
The concept of trusting people with their own money being wholly alien to Labour, Red Ed was at his wit’s end; not, of course, that he had far to go. But while he dithered, fumbled and flayed himself, the British people intuitively grasped what Mr Miliband couldn’t; having saddled us with a national debt of £1.2 trillion, the state cannot manage its own finances. How then can it possibly manage ours? Labour’s lead now lies with Bill Clinton’s trousers; about its ankles. Happy All Fool’s Day, Comrades.
Hobson’s Choice But let us not mock politicians alone. For if you scoured the world for a more elaborate or cruel hoax, who could come up with the joke that awaits my Indian readers, when, on 7 April, the world’s largest democracy will be confronted in large measure with a choice between the morally deficient, the deranged and the incorrigibly corrupt?
it's a wacky, wonderful, weird world A Terminator on the ballot paper
Arvind Kejriwal to pose topless for Hi-tech polling Man kills himself due to yet another Men’s Health magazine, AAP announces booths via Ra.One2 interface change on Facebook
An android has been sent from the future to contest the current elections. T2 or as his followers call him, Tanna Tazare plans to win people’s support by not eating or moving. “I am an android. I do not need food. I need to finish mission priorities. I’ll be back,” said T2 right before he gave a speech on poverty and the need to find Sarah Connor. He is on the third leg of his national tour and opinion polls show that nobody will vote for him unless he updates himself to the latest Kit Kat operating system.
Arvind Kejriwal knows how to please the masses. His topless photos from Varanasi were touted as the most viral thing on the Internet since cute cat videos. The extent of his popularity can be gauged by the fact that Men’s Health called up Kejriwal with an offer to feature him as the cover boy for their next issue. When contacted, Kejriwal said “While random models were posing nude for Rahul and Modi, I decided to take the matters in my own
hand and pose myself. I’m looking forward to the Men’s Health cover because it’s really popular with the aam aadmi (read: engineers).” Men’s Health, apparently, is desperate to finish the shoot now without any delays because they’re worried that 49 days later Kejriwal might change his mind and back out. The IITs, in a statement released yesterday, expressed their unequivocal support for Kejriwal’s latest venture. Sapan Verma
The wait is finally over. This year, Indians will experience a cutting-edge voting experience with the introduction of virtual reality polling booths. A far cry from the “press-a-button-to-vote” booths, these will have voters wearing virtual reality headsets with voice-activated commands. In addition to letting citizens cast votes by simply speaking, the new VR headsets will also provide voters a free preview of Ra.One 2, which many experts believe may be counterproductive, and deter people from voting in the years to come. Azeem Banatwalla
Virat Pal (name changed), a South Delhi resident, jumped out of his balcony after Facebook changed its layout for the 13th time in the last week. In his death note, he mentioned how the new interface made stalking really difficult for single men like him. The aggression increased further when he couldn’t find the Poke button. But the last nail in the coffin, for lack of a better phrase, was when
due to lack of choice, he logged on to Orkut. Suddenly assaulted by the ghosts of idiocy past, Pal went into a catatonic state for a full day before a concerned friend’s phone call snapped him out of it. It is believed that the last line he read before committing suicide was his ‘About Me’ section. It said, “m a kool hunkhulyks 2 ride ma bike but h8s d rulz….!!!!” Sapan Verma