Pop Socio

The Pursuit of Happyness

Mark Twain aka Samuel Longhorne Clemens aka Josh aka, (and this is my personal favourite) Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, was in all possible respects, a Dude. You just need to read one of his novels, or travelogues, or short stories, or letters to find out why 🙂 What’s infinitely interesting though is to go through the man’s bibliography, and look at the manner in which his writing actually evolved through the years, and all the different layers it kept on acquiring.

I don’t think there have been too many other authors with a body of work, as distinct and truly varied as Mark Twain’s. I don’t think there have been too many writers, who started out penning flippant, outrageous prose and ended as a chronicler of their times; sombre, cynical, and faintly disillusioned. And defined happiness as, and I quote, “Happiness ain’t a thing in itself – it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant“. (Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven)

So, essentially, the greatest humourist of his generation would have us believe that happiness isn’t truly a tangible entity. Moreover, its so inconsequential that it can be defined only by taking recourse to an allied, and an entirely contradictory, concept. And so, the only way you can be happy, is if you ain’t sad. Bit sad, na. Its a little like defining light as the opposite of darkness, you know.

But then again, light isn’t merely the opposite of darkness. Light can also be the absence of darkness. For there to be light, darkness isn’t necessarily the logical precursor.

And neither do you need to be sad, to be in turn, happy. Happyness is a sturdy enough little thing, to be able to stand on its own feet 🙂

Happyness is when you read the likes of Pratchett and Wodehouse. And have a stupid grin plastered across the middle of your face.

Happyness is, and here’s another law school digression, spending some 40 odd straight hours on research paper submissions, and then going to a deserted library, reading Porterhouse Blue, and howling your head off.

Happyness is going to sites like this. And reading posts like this.

And at times, Happyness is about watching a certain guy score a double hundred in an ODI.

Advertisements

Inter Alia

Was caught in midst of a proper forex turf war today. Vicious. Like ’em mealy-mouthed piranhas. Like millions of ’em. Managed to escape relatively unscathed though.

Saw me a fight today. South City was the scene of action. Again. There’s apparently this Cal hotshot called Tapas Pal. Don’t think I’d heard too much about him before.  Well, in any case the chap merits a lal-batti. Which should suffice as a suitable hotshot qualificatory paradigm. (Heh, nudge, Maruti :), wink wink; Inside joke, don’t try figuring that one out). Well, in any case, our hotshot was traveling with his even more hotshot hanger-ons, when an Alto brushed their car’s rear fender. From the looks of it, I think the Alto came worse off. But, you should have seen the hanger-ons let loose. They probably regarded that as a personal affront to their resident deity. A few of ’em looked like they were on verge of coronaries. Good fun.

Disclaimer: I’ve no way of knowing whether the hotshot in question was INDEED, as stated hereinabove, Mr. Pal. Given my general knowledge of hotshots, I wouldn’t have known him from Father Adam. The credit for identifying THE man, must go to my auto-wallah, a maniac so engrossed by the spectacle that he parked himself in the middle of the road for five whole minutes, just to watch those gits shake their fists in each other’s faces.

Had some work at Esplanade yesterday. There was also this massive rally there, which basically put paid to all my plans. Now that’s not the surprising bit. Staying in Cal does kinda inure you to instances where bandhs, rallies, hartals, et al, reinforce again and again, the dictum of living in the moment. And that plans, of any kind, which do not involve ferrying people across in public buses to show the sheer groundswell of public support, are for cretins 🙂

But I digress. The surprising bit was that there was absolutely no publicity about this particular thing. Not even a word. Usually, the Telegraph, or more usually the Metro, might be relied on to serve some kind of advance notice, but in this case, nothing. Zilch. And then even today, forget about there being an article, there was not even a friggin’ sentence about it anywhere. I googled it then, all necessary catchwords, in place. All I managed to locate was one picture by some freelance photographer.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet. This was a Muslim rally. By which I mean, the entire stretch from about Eden Gardens till possibly the Indian Museum, was full of bearded men, in Kurtas, and wearing skullcaps. Dunno exactly for what reason. And as most Cal-wallahs would know, rallies and reasons don’t exactly always go together.

But those are not the points. Neither the participants nor their agenda. The point is about this whole-scale media blackout. What really gets my goat is this truly awesome political correctness thingie. Not to mention, having a media in place, which for all its positives, still believes that there are certain issues to be handled with kid-gloves, because, we, even after sixty years of democracy, are still not mature enough to handle them.

P.S. Questionable non-sequitur 🙂 I think Rann releases today. Dunno which RGV would turn up this time. The one of Sarkar, or the one of Aag.

P.P.S. Might be guilty of a wee bit of stereotyping above. But then I guess, you gotta call a spade a spade. Much in the same was as a RSS rally = Knickerwallahs Unlimited or…No, I think I should stop here!

Getting All Tweeted Up

A person who tweets is apparently a very lonely man who is in serious need of social counselling. Or so the Congress party would have us believe. (Link here) No wonder they’re getting so worked up. Even intra-political party dysfunctionalism has some bloody limits, innit.

I don’t tweet, by the way. I merely blog (at times). Which, when I come to think of it, might be significantly worse. Damn.

Crash

Crash, undoubtedly is by far, one of the best movies I’ve caught in quite some time now (seems like I am enjoying something of a streak in good movies now, first RDB and now this). And this fulfilled the most necessary prerequisite for any magnificent flick; It makes you think. Racism, racial discrimination are the primary context in which the entire movie has been filmed with a series of interconnected episodes seamlessly woven into the storyline.

And it actually made me think that it all boils down to the kind of diversity America enjoys in the first place; it is by no means inherent, at best acquired. Reminds me of something I had read in the Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse by Nirad Chaudhari abt USA’s guiding motto being Ex Plunibus Unum (From Many to One) as compared to India’s Eko’ham Vahu’Sayam (Out of One Many) or as in its Latin form, E Uno Plures. As such, any effort to uphold and facilitate heterogeneity in a system which actively strives to homogenise its individuals can only be an utopian dream.

I mean to say, taking an analogy which might be completely out of line. India is primarily a Hindu nation right. Of course, we are a pluralist, multicultural society with a strong tradition of democracy but at the end of the day, the majority of India’s inhabitants are Hindus. Just look at the sheer number of deities in the Hindu pantheon. Guess it numbers somewhere around 108,000 or so. On the other hand, America; predominantly Christian, what do the one of the Ten Commandments say; Thou Shalt have no God other than me. Admittedly, a wretched analogy, but still, this is diversity, ain’t it.

Diversity cannot be fostered merely by a consciousness to be diverse. In India, the process of diversity, multiple ethnicities and their ilk commenced aeons ago. With a few exceptions, there are hardly any people in this country who can be identified as coming from a specific region or belonging to a specific religion. There has been so much of intermingling that most efforts at profiling ethnicity have come to naught in this country. Therein lies the beauty of India. America on the other hand was discovered in somewhere around late 15th Century. We had people like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King going around till around the first half of the previous century. Need I say more? There are no quick-fix solutions with regard to societal consciousness or individual bias. They can only be eroded with the passage of time and sometimes, sometimes efforts, however well-intentioned to rush up the process, as it were, actually amounts to a retrogade step. That is the fine line which all advocates of affirmative action or positive discrimination have to follow.

P.S. Whoa, I started with Crash and looked where I have ended. Actually, Crash reminded me of another entity as well…….Orkut……noticed how all the characters in the movie were connected to each other 🙂

Mr. Pandey, I presume

The time to roll up my sleeves and get down to some serious studying has finally come. I will be leaving for college tommorrow and will be staying in the hostel for a couple of days atleast.Hopefully, I should be able to complete the syllabus in the next two days and not have to take recourse to the path of selective study. God, I still remember that Bio exam in Class 8 when I had left one measly chapter dealing with some weird classification of some sort and around half of the bloody paper dealt with that chapter only. I barely managed to scrape through. Now, if skl was bad this place is worse. Really, anybody who ever said law skl was easy didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. Deadlines upon deadlines, assignments and whatnot. Thankfully, after the VIVAs only the end-sem exams would be left which would start in roughly a month’s time.

With all the hoopla that has been surrounding The Rising and the hype that has been created around it, I just can’t help wondering about the movie and its central character. Not to indulge in a baseless excoriation of a man who has been variously hailed as the forerunner of other like-minded, hot-blooded revolutionaries such as Azad or Sukhdev, but can any individual be truly hailed as a patriot, who was galvanized into action not by any sense of a loss of a national identity, but instead of a fear of religious persecution. Would Mangal Pandey have been Mangal Pandey if the Enfield cartridges had never been introduced in the first place? Patriots are fuelled by the courage of conviction not compulsion. Mangal Pandey was compelled into action by virtue of the prevalent societal norms and consciousness which placed religiosity at a pedestal far above all others. It was the internalization of this aspect which resulted in whatever followed. Undoubtedly, Mangal Pandey was an individual who had a determinative role to play in the events of his time, but whether he did so in the capacity of a patriot or not is something, which is in my opinion still open to question.