My son, apple of my scheming eyes/ I have so many dreams for you/ I see you gather a rabid crowd/ From a golden stage, shouting loud/ And burning then a bus or two
You know, it is not easy is politics/ You’ll stumble, sometimes you’ll fail/ Often there will be nothing coming/ From a 3G Spectrum sale/ But always keep this in mind/ We might be like pigs in sties/ But we get to increase FSIs/ And as a humble party member/ We get to screw so many lives/ For every road that comes to be/ We get to sell a footpath free/ Once we sit in standing committees/ We can treble the asking price
My son, apple of my scheming eyes/ I see you proud in Parliament/ Slyly ignoring the quorum bell/ And when the whip gives the signal/ The first to go down the well/ But if ever you lose an election/ Remember this father’s final advice/ We are politicians, we never say die/ Next time, double the votes you buy
Loser wakes up early morning to find a note by his side where his wife should be. She’s quit on him. Note says she can’t live with someone who has got the sack. The bell rings. Loser jumps out of bed, opens the door, but, no, it’s not her. There’s a newspaper there where his wife should be. He looks at page 1 and two items get his attention. There’s a provident fund scam and there’s a stock market scam. Loser’s got all his money in stocks. Loser’s got PF coming after the sack. So Loser’s now wifeless and bankrupt. He goes inside, drinks a bottle of vinegar, tops it with phenyl and blanks out. Loser wakes up in hospital with a hospital bill he can’t pay and the cops have a case of attempted suicide against him. The cops come for him but the hospital won’t let him go. As he lies on his bed, he hears faint discordant notes of an argument outside. They are quarreling over him. Loser smiles. He feels wanted again. He is happy.
Union Home Minister P Chidamabaram yesterday did not rule out more flip-flops over granting statehood to Telangana and blamed his psychiatrist for the crisis.
Knocking his head with the knuckles of his right index finger, he said, “As long as my psychiatrist does not figure out what’s wrong over here, you can expect more impulsive decisions which could lead to bloodshed and riots. All we can do is to hope that that fellow does his job properly and fast.”
Breaking down for a minute to sob uncontrollably, the Home Minister then collected himself and went ahead with his statement. “I am on Xypac 25. It’s a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. I have been asking the doctor to increase the dosage. He says it is still too early to do that. He wants to observe me for some more time. I hope he finishes his observations fast. I am itching to give statehood to Bodoland and Mithila Pradesh even as we speak.”
He said he was planning to have consultations with Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. “All options are open including threatening the revocation of my psychiatrist’s licence unless he delivers some results. It is imperative that he fixes my brain immediately. The future of India’s federal structure is at stake,” he giggled.
Nine-year-old Uchil Raj, a fourth standard student from St Francis High School, Mumbai, yesterday did his parents proud by doing something about 26/11.
Said a beaming Sachin Raj, his 32-year-old father, “I had returned from work. No sooner had I stepped into the house than I noticed a change. The television was off and Uchil was sitting at a corner table, hunched over his notebook. From the corner of my eye, I saw my wife Madhavi putting a finger on her lips. She was telling me to not make any noise. I realised that Uchil was doing something really important.”
Madhavi recounted what had happened. “I was watching CNN-IBN in the afternoon and there was Rajdeep Sardesai repeatedly asking Chidambaram, ‘Tell me honestly, what have you done about 26/11, what have you done about 26/11, tell me honestly, honestly, have you done anything about 26/11, honestly now, what what what have you done about 26/11.’ Uchil had by then just come in from school and I saw him looking fixedly at the screen.”
According to her, Uchil was decidedly unconvinced by Chidambaram’s answer that he had sent four dossiers to Pakistan, improved infrastructure and intelligence, and that war was not an option. “He had that strange look in his eyes,” said Madhavi. “He told me, ‘Amma, enough is enough. If no one else can do anything, I will do something about 26/11.’”
After Sachin returned home, both parents waited with bated breath as Uchil kept writing in his notebook. Around 10pm, he raised his head and told them, “It’s done.”
He called them over and said, “See, if you multiply 11 by 2, it’s 22. Remember 2. That’s the first part of the answer. 26-22=4. What I did was put a 0 after the 4. But what Chidambaram perhaps did not know was that you have to put a decimal point when you add a zero. Now, remember 11 multiplied by 3 is 33. Now, that’s the second part of the answer. So, all I do is add .3 to the 2, which we’ve already got. It’s important to have the decimal point.”
Uchil then scribbled the answer: 26/11=2.3.
Sachin and Madhavi say they were overwhelmed by the occasion. “I am not saying this because he’s my son,” said Sachin. “But I always knew he would do something to make his country proud.”
Justice M S Liberhan yesterday answered charges that he had missed the deadline for the Babri Masjid demolition inquiry report.
Speaking at a press conference which started 16 hours late, he said, “It is true that the inquiry was set up on December, 1992. It is true that the report was to be submitted within 3 months. It is also true that it was submitted after 17 years. But my question to you is this, what is time?”
Pausing for two hours, Liberhan went on. “Immanuel Kant has very clearly said time does not exist. It is only a mental construct. It is the mind which tricks us, you and me, into thinking that we exist within time. Space is also likewise but I will not dwell on it since we are talking about the Liberhan report.”
The former chief justice, whose delay has been called a disgrace by commentators and politicians, added, “In Zen Buddhism, time is only a thought. I have read in a book that time exists but does not exist, is permanent and impermanent, fixed and elastic, necessary and unnecessary, to be held in the hand and wondered at: why?” He paused again for an hour and said: “Why?”
To Hindu right-wingers, who had condemned his report, he referred the Bhagavad Gita. “It is specified there that one day of Brahma is a thousand ages of man. And what we are talking here, 17 years. Can you even conceive how infinitesimal that is?”
Among other things, Liberhan also alluded to the Greek sophist Antiphon and Parmenides, before concluding: “If whatever I have said so far does not make sense to you and the rest of the country, then I dont know what will. Think over it. There’s no hurry.”
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi, who had been slapped by MNS activists in the Maharashtra Assembly for not speaking in Marathi, yesterday unfriended Raj Thackeray from his Facebook account.
“Yes,” said Azmi, when contacted. “I wanted to send a strong message to Raj that violence in any form will not be tolerated. I have 347 friends in my Facebook account and we all network like a happy family. There is no place for violence here. I hope this makes Raj realise the error of his ways.”
Sources close to Azmi said that soon after the unfriendment, his Facebook account received a poke from Raj Thackeray. “He wants to be back in the friend’s list. But we will wait for some time to see if there is any improvement in his behaviour. He has only himself to blame for being unfriended,” said the source.
While Raj Thackeray was not available for comment, MNS spokesperson Shirish Parkar said his party would not bow to such pressure tactics. “Rajsaheb will not go back on his demand that all those in Maharashtra must speak in Marathi.” When told about Raj poking Azmi on Facebook, Parkar looked a little puzzled. He said, “Rajsaheb does not eat pork. There is no question of sending it to Azmi.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s plan to highlight cross-border terrorism with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari in Afghanistan will have to wait.
The two heads of state were in Kabul for the inauguration of Hamid Karzai’s second term. A senior level diplomat from Singh’s contingent said, “The Prime Minister did manage to get Zardari alone near the bar at the dinner party. After exchanging pleasantries, he was about to discuss new intelligence showing no let-up in jehadis entering Kashmir when Zardari asked, ‘What's the only thing visible in Pakistan during power cuts at night?’”
When Singh replied that he did not know, Zardari reportedly said, ‘my teeth’ and laughed uproariously. The source added that before Singh could say anything, Zardari emptied his glass and said, ‘The post office recently released a stamp with my face to mark my presidency and now people don't know which side of the stamp to spit on.’
Islamic fundamentalists chopped off his right hand. His college dismissed him. The government abandoned him. His wife ended her own life when she could not take the trauma any longer. And his son was hounded by the police for no reason. Open met TJ Joseph in his hometown in central Kerala. The indefatigable teacher is in the midst of writing his memoir