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Boys in a hurry

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I found this piece of writing in my inbox – something that I had done last year. It never made it to any publication because it was rejected for reasons best known to numerous editors. I honestly do not know what to make of it, so here it is.


Back in 1999, I spent about 3 years looking for the slightest excuse to travel from Indore to my home at Goa. I was doing my graduation, away from family.

When deciding on the best route home, my friend Deepak, who hailed for a small town in Bihar, told me that the nearest rail-head where we could catch trains (Bhagalpur express and Mangala express), to our respective homes in Purnia and Madgaon, was a place called Khandwa, a small town roughly 150 Kms south of Indore. The road to Khandwa lay in tatters but there was a meter gauge railway track that connected the two cities. During our first of those journeys, we realized that traveling in a meter gauge train was an experience we weren’t really prepared for. I was usually equipped with a John Grisham novel, a walkman, a few tapes and a set of batteries that barely lasted the journey.

At Mhow, an army cantonment town just out of Indore, we ate stale kachoris sold by a man outside the railway platform, while our train had a scheduled stop of 45 minutes. To us, fickle-minded and hurried boys, a 45 minute stop at a station that had virtually nothing to offer while the unrelenting sun baked the steel coach, made no sense. Then, a few hours later, a village unimaginatively named “Kalakund” where they sold only one thing – a sweet by the same name (“Kalakand”), cut into imperfect squares and served on thin newspaper sheets (now oily but a closer look revealed on them stories of places we had never heard of). The train then chugged to a station called “Omkareshwar Road”. Omkareshwar, we were told, was a place of legends, stories and of worship, alongside the Narmada river; The railway station itself almost appeared in trance – with sadhus and pilgrims scattered everywhere. A notice on the station asked us to “get down here for the Omkareshwar pilgrimage”. But what were we to make of it? We just wanted to go home and this thing stopped everywhere. An hour or so before Khandwa, it was usual for a group of villagers to stop the train (“a wave of the hand usually works“, someone once remarked), attach an array of milk cans and logs of wood by the hook, to the windows. I vividly remember, once our coach smelled of fresh coriander.

The first time we reached Khandwa, that place whose once famous resident was one Kishore Kumar, our train, despite all the time it had in the world, managed to delay itself by 45 minutes. Deepak was worried because his connecting train was to depart around that time. Later, we realized that his fears were unwarranted – his onward journey was further delayed because the connecting train coming from Bombay was running late. When inquired around, two men, idly playing cards on the platform with a steel trunk by their side, laughed at us. We were told that the Dadar-Bhagalpur express that was supposed to come the day before, had not yet reached Khandwa — what were we doing here looking around for the train that was merely a couple of hours late? My friend was stunned. To his relief, he boarded his Bhagalpur express eventually, 3 hours after we had reached Khandwa.

The year after that, on the same voyage, Deepak reached Khandwa, this time, 30 minutes late — quietly assured that his onward train to Bhagalpur must be, as always, running late. This time though, he changed the platform hurriedly (he was still in a hurry though it was the “unworried” kind of hurrying), crossing from the medium gauge platform to the broad gauge platforms. On the over-bridge between platforms, as he stepped on the stairs to come down, he saw what he believed was the back of the train that he intended to board, slowly slide by. Slowly — but fast enough for him to catch the red light, constantly blinking at the back of the tail coach as it rain into the distance. A woefully tired and breathless Deepak then asked, in sheer hopelessness, a fruit vendor on the platform – “Oh bhaiya, yeh Bhagalpur express kahan hai?” (“so, where is this Bhagalpur express”).

Meanwhile, keeping up with the overall set mood, my onward journeys to Madgaon were a mix of uncertainty and adventure. The train arrived usually at midnight. Hours were spent at Khandwa, learning patience on a railway platform. Strange city, this place, I used to think. What to make of a city whose most important landmark is its railway station itself? At least, that was what we knew of it then. As my patience grew thin and the journey took its toll in the form of tiredness, it was between 11:30 pm and 12:00 midnight that Mangala express arrived. In fact, sometimes not one, but two. Yes – going in opposite directions. One towards Ernakulam and the other towards New Delhi. You could pick which one to board and you did not want to be wrong then.

So the first time on the Mangala express, a railway snack vendor, Selva, became a friend. My cash starved wallet could always afford his banana bajjis – the Kerala snack. Then, another time, with an unconfirmed ticket, I stood at the door of the coach. As the train entered Maharashtra in the thick of the night, an elderly man offered me half of his seat. Tired as I was, I could not refuse the offer. Then God arrived — in the form of a ticket examiner who searched the manifest and allocated me a berth for the night. During the day, as we entered the Konkan route after Panvel, I was delighted to meet Selva again. Quite sure that he remembered me, this time I spent a few hours in the pantry car, wide-eyed and amused at the fluency of how Selva and his friends reduced a sack of onions to salad.

Those wanderings – where you thought you were alone. Maybe not.

With the sun setting along the Konkan, the train arrived at Ratnagiri – a stop I eagerly awaited. By then starved and exhausted, it almost became a custom to treat myself with vada-pavs and a bottle of coke. It occurred to me years later — I passed through Ratnagiri for those three years, an ignorant being oblivious to this town of great historical significance. Instead what did I associate it with? Nothing more than a stale bun and a potato patty. But little did I know then, that years down the line, inspired by Amitav Ghosh’s “The Glass Palace”, I would set forth on a trip to this town again, at the heart of Konkan, to visit a dead Burmese king’s palace. Maybe it came as a singular act of atonement, but I am glad it happened. This is what good books make you do – look back in wonder and try and make you travel.

Meanwhile, eating my vada-pavs, I used to think about Deepak and take a guess that by now, he would have reached Bhagalpur, waiting for the bus to his town – that last leg of his journey. He used to later tell me that his train ran late, inevitably. He reached the morning after.

Back then, we were boys in a hurry. But we learnt to wait.

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August 1st, 2015 at 12:34 am

On the other side

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Sometime during 2000/01 in Indore, Dainik Bhaskar, the Bhopal based newspaper (which also had an Indore edition) held a series of media events that were open to the public. During that week, many prominent media personalities visited Indore. Suddenly the otherwise quiet town was in focus (or it was made to look like that to us, anyway).

In my late teens then, I had never seen anything like it. One like minded friend, Girish Sekhar (who was already disillusioned with our netas then and later joined the Army – always ahead of his times, Girish Sekhar) and I decided to make the most of the opportunity. We wildly hunted for passes that were freely available but required traveling to another part of the city, trying to get into as many events we possibly could. Indore’s public transport was pathetic then so commuting was a major problem. We did manage to get a pass to the event at the infamous Sayaji Hotel, one of the town’s few five star hotels. It was the stuff we could only dream about — hearing top media people speak at the best hotel in town, for free.

Loitering in the hotel after the event as if we had always belonged there, Girish pointed me out to a man walking in the lobby, who seemed to be returning from the rest room. “I’ve seen him somewhere – I just have”, exclaimed Girish. I had the same gut feel and of the two of us, I turned out to be the assertive kind. I walked to the man, all confident and ready to speak the clichéd line: jee, aapko kahin dekha hai (Sir, I have surely seen you somewhere). The man looked at us, broke into a smile and said: aapne mujhko Zee TV ke kaaryakram, Ru Ba Ru pe dekha hoga (You must have seen me in Zee tv’s program, Ru Ba Ru).

That man was Rajeev Shukla. Down to earth, introducing himself to a bunch of nobodies in a Five-star hotel lobby. Of course, he was much thinner then though his moustache, almost gone now, loomed thick when you looked at his face. he broke into a smile often and when he spoke his pure hindi, you could swear that you had never met a more modest man than him (I also realize now that he may have been a MP then).

In the late 90s, Rajeev Shukla, someone who started his career as a journalist went around seeking answers from people in power, on national television. In his usual head wobblling style while stating things matter-of-factly, he would ask uncomfortable questions in chaste hindi that made way for more uncomfortable answers. His website claims that “he interviewed eminent personalities ranging from political leaders like Congress Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr I.K Gujral, the then President Mr K R Narayanan, Benazeer Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Dalai Lama to film celebrities and sport stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan”.

Come to think of it, maybe that is why Girish recognized him and was happy to meet him. Because here was a man that made it very uncomfortable for the same people that we had grown to get disillusioned from, and in a way we could all admire not just from a distance. We could bump into him in an expensive place and he talked to us in a way that we could understand. He was one among us.

That is also why I am now disillusioned by the same Rajeev Shukla who now, among holding other powerful positions, is also incharge of The Indian Premier League. And who, despite everything that has happened, has mostly been mum about the latest scandal that has rocked BCCI’s premier tournament. Wouldn’t the Rajeev Shukla I met in 2000, the man who looked for accountability from the most powerful people of his times, be outraged with this silence by now?

Maybe this is how life comes a full circle. Maybe this how it is on the other side.

Written by aditya kumar

May 21st, 2013 at 8:41 am

SMS Y to 5782711

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Do you remember the time, not long ago, when people, at least here in Bangalore, formed human chains? When they had fancy stickers on the mudguard of their bikes, at the back of their cars, wearing black on a certain day while proclaiming their love and support for a man who they had never heard about ever before? Besides the things people did to show the support, there was one thing constantly making rounds: If you indeed supported him and really wanted the bill, his bill, to be made into a law, a piece of paper that could suddenly transform the times that we live in, for better or for worse only God can tell, you had to give a missed call. Yes. A missed call.

Anna Hazare asked the country for a missed call (A far cry from Subhas Bose’s demand for blood in return for freedom but hey, this is 2012). And we all obliged.

Hazare did something that no one in recent times could. Of all things, rekindled that fire, channeled that anger. We all had always thought that we deserve better politicians, now we were sure. But somewhere he also managed to create a beast out of the whole political system and made us believe that this external entity, this bad thing that could bite us all off, had to be tamed and put on a leash. We were our own heroes, the good guys. Those holding office, those ministers, the bad guys.

So we continued to live our lives as we always had. On one hand we put pictures of Hazare on our car bumpers and on the other we bribed traffic policemen, registrars, brokers and everyone else who could make our lives a little easier than standing in queues or visiting courts. But yes, we always were proud of supporting Hazare, our demand for that bill that most of us never bothered to discuss the internals of, forming human chains and giving missed calls.

And now we would be continuing our good deeds every sunday morning. Just like we believed Hazare would eradicate corruption, Aamir Khan has arrived with a bang to put a full stop to all social evils, one evil at a time, every week. The convenient time of a lazy sunday morning: all we would need is to press “Y” and send an sms — that’s it.

Did that just sound that I am against Satyameva Jayate? To many it did. Well, here’s my credo: I believe Anna Hazare and Aamir Khan have done all within their power to bring about a change. But I also believe that social evils can’t vanish when a celebrity hosts a tv show or writes a letter to a state’s chief minister.

I went about, asking people, about this change they were expecting. I was given many examples, quotes that startled me — like compared to America, there’s no incentive to be honest here. I have pondered on this for sometime but I can’t understand, why would someone need an incentive to be honest? And if that indeed holds good, lets say it has merit for we have an argument at stake, won’t you understand if your local politician comes up with a mini-scam?

And then there’s this golden excuse: Let them at the top change first. A top-down approach: The change for the good should begin at the top, why bother until then?

There will be many times in our lives when we are not on a couch and when it’s not a sunday morning, when we are not thinking of Aamir Khan that we’ll have two choices: one would be easy, all we would need to do is look the other way and the other would be tough, way out of our comfort zone. If for once, when we choose not to look the other way and take that tough call, we would have made an impact to our society in our own way.

So, Power to Aamir Khan and his show. But an “SMS Y to 5782711” will only take us so far.

Written by aditya kumar

May 10th, 2012 at 12:51 am

This culture of arbitrariness

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From rediff’s article here, this quote:

“I don’t understand why the president of this country, who is the supreme commander of the army, doesn’t issue orders to shoot people like Prashant Bhushan. Anyway, we, the people of this country have some responsibility and we will teach him a lesson.”

I won’t quiz you around about who said these lines: Inder Verma, 24, self-proclaimed president of the State unit of Sri Ram Sene, who attacked Prashant Bhushan in his chambers within the court premises in New Delhi, earlier today (btw, this is the same Sri Ram Sene that once beat ladies entering a pub in Mangalore).

Apparently Mr Verma and his friends did not agree with some of the views Mr.Bhushan, a Supreme Court lawyer and a close member of the Anna Hazare group, had about Kashmir and Kashmiris. So they decided to tell a lie, gain access to his chambers in the court and beat him. Very convenient. This is a situation similar to when you and I have a disagreement on certain things. And then I decide to “teach you a lesson” – I enter your office and beat you up. If this does not enrage you, nothing will.

Anyway. These kids also threw away a bunch of pamphlets around. The last line goes:

“Frustrated from traitors and anti-nationals and motivated from A Wednesday movie” (sic).

I won’t say much but this is exactly the reason I have grown to loathe movies like “A Wednesday” and RDB (though elsewhere on this blog I once seemed to have an opinion that it’s a movie worthy of a watch, not anymore). In “A Wednesday”, Naseeruddin Shah’s character decides to “teach a lesson” to the Government and the Police, which includes detonating a few bombs at will. In RDB, of course, a few college kids also decide to teach the neta a lesson, the movie ending with the kids on a killing spree.

You can’t ban these movies. But the problem starts when people start taking inspiration from these flicks. Today, armed with a lie, Inder Kumar and his bunch of goons were able to access Bhushan within his office, not far away from The Supreme Court of India and Ministry of Defence. Tomorrow, they could arm themselves with a gun.

So this culture of arbitrariness, the judgement given by a man based on his own discretion and opinion, could make the difference here. For example, well, I feel this man has an opinion that I do not much like and that he deserves a punch, so I go to his office and punch him. Another day, I may feel that his opinions deserve a bullet, so be it.

Tehelka’s article here already mentions The Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena taking the responsibility of the attack. The group already has 4000 people associated with them on facebook. They claim, according to tehelka, that they are a group of people “who are ready to take any action” against the people it considers “anti-nationals & traitors”.

Ready to take “any action” against the people it considers “anti-nationals & traitors”. This culture of arbitrariness. Remember Rang De Basanti?

Update: A google search for Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, the man who has claimed responsibility by The Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena reveals his state of mind. A few tweets from his twitter feed go by: (1) he try to break my Nation,i try to break his head.Hisab chukta. Congrats to all. operation Prashant Bhushan successfull (2)I will give my arrest tommorow.desh ko todne ki mang krne walo k sath aage bhi yhi kia jaega

Moreover, Bagga’s Google+ profile shows him associated with the BJP youth wing. Also, he had been arrested for a day recently when he and his group had protested Arundhati Roy’s recent book launch in Delhi. DNA reports, about Bagga and his sick bunch of goons here.

Written by aditya kumar

October 13th, 2011 at 1:20 am

Defending Secularism

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This week’s tehelka magazine carries an essay I wrote about Chinatown buses that burst into flames and Pakistan’s notorious ruler Zia-ul-Haq, among other things. This is a story that took a lot off me, mentally and emotionally. A prelude to this actually appeared on my blog, in October 2010 I wrote a writeup called “Of Chinese buses and tough questions” – it can be read here. The story can be read at tehelka’s website here. Though the headline there might suggest a serious religious angle to it, you will see that I ended up defending secularism. And it has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism as well.

Anyway, below is the unabridged version of the story. Again, I am thankful to Tehelka for publishing me another time (I wrote this for them last January). I am grateful to those who have wished me (and been critical), in person, on email, facebook and everywhere else.

Yours thoughts here and elsewhere, welcome.


The four hour bus journey from NYC to Baltimore hadn’t really lived up to the expectations. Maybe it was the bus, one of those that run from the Chinatown district of the city, that had put me off. Or maybe it was the blandness of the route. Being used to the twists and turns (literally) of a bus journey on Indian highways, I found the Interstate-95 a dull ride. But then, on a 6 month trip to America (which also happened to be the first), you look forward to interstate travel.

Months later, when I found out that the Chinatown buses have a reputation of bursting into flames while in transit, the thought of the bus-ride not living upto expectations occurred again. Only that, this time, I was glad it hadn’t.

So, while coming back from Baltimore to NYC, in the same bus that night with expectations hit rock bottom, I found myself with a middle-aged, South-Asian gentleman sitting on my left. Almost 50, neatly trimmed beard, metal rimmed glasses, fair complexion and grey hair. When he answered a phone call, I was almost certain that he was from Pakistan.

We got talking, as travel-culture in the sub-Continent warrants. My co-passenger, let me call him Bashir, had now stayed in America for more than two decades, owned a 7-Eleven convenience store somewhere in NYC. My recent purchase, Peter Hessler’s acclaimed book, “Oracle Bones”, an account of his experiences as a journalist in mainland China, was our icebreaker. Bashir’s old-fashioned rimmed glasses and a neatly trimmed beard gave him almost a scholarly-like look and so it was no surprise when he started talking, almost authoritatively, about Mao Zedong’s policies and Deng Xiaoping’s vision of China.

Having researched on the subject lately for something I wrote, it came to my mind, to ask Bashir his honest opinion of Zia-ul-haq’s Islamization of Pakistan – a defining moment in the history of our neighbour. The extent of it’s effect is probably better understood keeping in view the religious radicalism brewing in Pakistan today. Among other things, Zia-ul-Haq had gone about formulating an education policy around Islam, nurturing hatred for India and glorification of war. Bashir was quick to be dismissive about it. Instead, he chose to attack Bhutto, who in 1972, had started a drive to nationalize the major industries in Pakistan, resulting in a massive reduction of employment opportunities. Come to think of it, it was the same time Bashir had left Pakistan for America. He later continued to dwell upon how much his country had lost to it’s last tryst with Military rule, this time his object of ire being Pervez Musharraf.

We later spoke of our two nations, the trouble brewing in our own backyards. We spoke of earthquakes and tsunamis, examples of mishandlings by our governments. For someone visiting his country once in two years, Bashir was well aware of things happening in the sub-continent. We could talk on forever: about our countries, our culture, our hatred for politicians and our passion for cricket. A few times, he even advised me on life – his wisdom seamlessly flowing through his aging, bespectacled eyes.

We had little moments of silence but words now, though after much thought, were flowing fluently. This time, Bashir asked me my religion. I gave it my best shot not to appear taken aback and told him that I was a Hindu. I think we both knew we were treading a thin line – words now had to be carefully chosen. After a mini-lecture that endorsed Islam and lasted a little more than ten minutes, Bashir, in his heavily Punjabi accented Urdu, asked me to consider embracing his religion. To be honest, this was not a first. I had just had a mostly insightful conversation with this gentleman – for the little while that I had not, I have long learnt to politely nod my head on talks that revolve around religion. I added two words to the nod: I’ll consider.

A few moments of silence went by, this time a longer gap than usual, until Bashir spoke again. He was of the opinion that people of different religions (mazhab) can’t stay together. He said that secularism was a failed concept – a pretension of the larger world we live in. Not only was I disappointed, I was left appalled – that one statement was contradictory of everything I had known of him in the last few hours – his wisdom, his experience and his intellect. And Bashir was not a 20 something from Pakistan, fresh out of the radical and fearful times that the country is living in; Bashir had to be 50 something, who was born a Pakistani citizen and had come to America a young man, sometime in the late 70s. He had aspired to be successful in a foreign land and he had succeeded. He was a muslim who had been given citizenship by America and whatever his religion, America gave him rights that protected him.

Bashir was a direct beneficiary of the secular values that America believed in.

So, I paused. I thought a while. And then I said, attempting my best in clear, concise English:

“Bashir saheb, on the way to office everyday, I come across a street in my colony. It has a temple. A hindu one, with a big statue of our God Hanuman. On the same street, there is a masjid. There is nothing strange about this arrangement but you may be shocked to know that the masjid and the mandir, they share the same wall. I want to tell you that this is how secularism works in India. I am sure this is how secularism works in America. And I am sure this is how it should work anywhere else”.

It was dark outside, but I could see in the faint light, for a second, his mouth open. Bashir stared at me, stunned. I, for once in my bus journey, looked out of the window, on to the otherwise boring I-95.


Written by aditya kumar

August 17th, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Waking Up a Nation’s Conscience

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Eleven days ago, activist Anna Hazare, in the heart of India’s capital, started a fast unto death until the Government agreed to an anti-corruption bill that had been lying around for 42 years. Governments had come and gone without giving it a serious thought. The Jan Lokpal bill was what one could call the second automatic step a democracy like India was supposed to take after the Right to Information Act (RTI). That a 72 year old man had to stay empty stomach for 90 hours, in Delhi’s harsh sun to make it happen was a shame. The legislation should have been serious about it. The opposition should have taken note of it. As expected, the moment Hazare went on strike, Advani and the likes came out in support. Question: Why was this not taken up by the opposition in the parliament earlier? If BJP was serious about a bill of this stature and believed in the merits of it, why was this not taken up when NDA was in power? After all, a draft, open for discussion, existed then, too. But then it is a party based on an ideology that can be explained in a single, four letter word frowned upon by Computer Programmers: Null.

Now about Hazare but a bit of history first. Ambedkar, after India’s independence, had called upon the nation to reject Gandhian methods like Civil Disobedience and non-cooperation, simply because those methods do not have a place in a land ruled by a constitution. But here we had a bill that the politicians, combined across those in opposition and those in power, had a, sort of, silent consensus on not bringing it up even in a draft-form. And it is that unsaid pact that made Anna Hazare do what he did. Maybe Ambedkar would have approved of that? Now that Hazare’s 90 hour fast has accomplished what 42 years could not, let us allow the Constitution to take it from here.

The day when the agitation was at it’s peak, I had the good fortune of sitting at home and doing nothing except be on twitter all day. I saw “Anna Hazare” climb up and become a “Trend” in twitter. At it’s peak, there were about 60 tweets about Anna in 20 seconds. That is phenomenal. Then there was this email circulated with a phone number where you could give a missed call to, if you supported Anna Hazare’s fasting. I do not know what happened next. How and where did that call, a missed call at that, made a difference, I have absolutely no idea. But is this all what we ever wanted to do against corruption?

It is true that the citizens of this country have been subjected to corruption of the highest magnitude. In the long list of scams, the scandals can only be differentiated by the sheer amount of money involved. In that, let us not stay oblivious to the sins we have ourselves committed: Paying that little extra money for the electricity connection, that bribe for getting a gas connection, the monies we end up paying, at various traffic signals to various traffic cops, the thinking that a crime is not a crime until we are caught — Those lines only look good on T-Shirts. The moment we pay a bribe of Rs.200 to a traffic cop for a crime that attracts a fine of Rs.500, we lose the right to complain and be dismayed about the system and the corruption rampant in our Government. In that light, I ask you this — How many of those tweeters that day who made up for the “Anna Hazare” trend would not pay a bribe to the traffic cop? How many of those who swore by Anna Hazare that day would actually make a conscious attempt to follow the law of the Indian Union? Here’s the thing: Unless those who constitute what Nandan Nilekani calls the Demographic Dividend, those who are educated and literate, those who are driving the GDP of the nation to new heights, do their bit by educating themselves of their duty as citizens, I am afraid, posting status messages at Facebook, holding hands at Jantar Mantar and lighting candles at India Gate would be of no avail.

And accomplishing that, after being used to the petty crimes we all audaciously commit or have committed in the past, would not be an easy task or a stroll in the park. It would drive us way out of our comfort zone (as it rightly should) but until we do that, very less can be accomplished and guess what, we may be left out of this all, expecting people like Anna Hazare to fight for us.

Hidden inside a 72-year old man’s revolt is an attempt to wake up our conscience. Please don’t expect him to fight our battles, really. Start with yourself.

Written by aditya kumar

April 15th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Convenient Stereotyping

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One of the things that I fail to understand, and I have asked myself this a few times, is that why is Goa shown in a light so different than what it really is, by the Bombay Film Industry? Before you jump to conclusions, let me say that I did not mean that the movies show Goa in a bad light, I said that they show what is not true at all, most of the times.

It seems people from Goa have been a victim of stereotyping, something that Bollywood does often. Goans are not the only ones which are generalised. The film industry time and again has given in to the temptations of generalisation. A Goan Catholic will be a drunkard, a sardar would eat chicken with a patiala peg everyday and would be ready to break into a bhangara jig at the slightest of excuse, a muslim man would speak impeccable urdu which would be so much different than Hindustani, which we commonly speak in India (sprinkled generously with English of course) and a Tamil Brahman (if you find one in a Hindi movie), would end every line with a “jee” and exclaim “aiyo!” after every couple of sentences.

So if the latest bollywood film claims that Women are cheaper than liquor in Goa, I would say that this is nothing much but an extension of Bollywood’s convenient stereotyping. Bollywood’s relation with Goa goes beyond stereotyping the typical Goan Roman Catholic to a drunkard. Hindi movies give Goa it’s rightful place as a holiday destination. But not all people go to a holiday to get drunk. Not all people go to Goa and get drunk. There are teetotallers in Goa (I am one, though I am not a Goan but hey I have home there). Bollywood takes it’s actors to Mauritius, shows bikini clad women and clear water on the shore, the lead actors get cosy in a song and that’s all packaged in a 15 minute sequence and sold as Goa. Whats more, the audience is naive enough to believe that Goan women are easy, roam around in bikinis while their men booze all day.

I honestly don’t see much in Basu’s dialogue. As I said, it is basically something they have tried to build up on an already existing platform that has been made by generalising Goa over the years. When they have repeatedly marked cheap liquor and drug peddling as Goan brands, could prostitution be too far behind? For them, it’s a complete package. The pity is, there is a section of naive audience out there, who’d believe it.

Bollywood’s breaking free of this convenient stereotyping would help, though.

Written by aditya kumar

April 5th, 2011 at 1:59 pm