General ravings, Potshots, Verse perverse

Crowd-source money for Rahul Gandhi’s foreign trips! Restore his SPG cover!

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URGENT APPEAL TO ALL INDIANS

All Indians must save Rahul Gandhi from Poverty’s claws

All of us should contribute generously to this worthy cause…

Since 2015, our Rahul-ji, beloved Blather of the Nation

Has gone abroad 247 times, as per latest information…

And we fear creditors will soon be howling at his doors!

 

So tirelessly, these four years, has Rahul-ji explored foreign lands for us

That his air-tickets alone must’ve surely drained his entire corpus…

He earns only two lakh rupees as MP’s monthly fees

Hardly enough for flying 247 times overseas…

And we’re quite sure he didn’t go to Hanoi and New York by bus!

Rahul the globetrotter

 

We’re alarmed, too, by this mean BJP government’s direction

To deprive our beloved Rahul-ji of SPG’s protection…

On the flimsy ground that he gave SPG the slip

On the above-mentioned 247 foreign trips

As well as 1892 domestic ones…we just don’t see the connection!

 

Hence, let’s crowd-source money to sustain dear Rahul-ji’s travels!

Let’s throng  international airports, to bid him fond farewells!

Let’s also urge  Home Minister Amit Shah-ji to exercise his power

And not just restore, but triple, Rahulji’s SPG cover…

We might then get to know where Rahul’s gone, to serve us through his revels!

Musings, Remembering, Verse perverse

Barog: rediscovering the joy of simply being

After three days of choking-level air pollution, it’s a glorious morning here in Delhi!

Today’s the 6th of November. I began the day with 90 minutes of pre-dawn yoga, followed by a brisk two-kilometre walk. Now, energized by a hearty breakfast and healing kaapi,  I check the Air Quality Index on the Weather Bureau site. It announces that the PM 2.5 particulate emissions are a mere 210 micrograms/cubic metre at 9 a.m.

That’s wonderful… 210 mcg/m3   is not even four times the maximum safety level of 60 mcg/m3 … why, it’s almost as good as being in Bhutan!

I wipe my smarting eyes and breathe deeply of the pleasantly chill light-brown air, revelling in the tingling sensation that courses through the entire body and mind as the lungs fill with a perfectly-blended mix of SO2, NO2 and CO, flavoured with delicate hints of ozone and hydrogen cyanide and just a touch of that rare element, oxygen…

Forgive me the laboured sarcasm, O most valued Reader; but I’ve finally understood that it’s futile taking the issue of air pollution, or indeed any issue at all, very seriously  in our beloved India that is Bharat. Three years ago, in 2016, I actually took the issue of air pollution seriously enough to write about it [please click here to read it]. But now I realize that nothing’s changed since then, except for the worse.

So:

Instead of wasting my breath in gasping rants

At Kejriwal and Goel, and their many sycophants

I abandon the idiocy of all netas and affiliated fools

For the serenity of hills and rills, still quiet pools…

Let Delhi and its denizens make Haze while the Sun shines!

I’ll find refuge in flowery meadows, sighing pines…

In this illuminated and detoxified spirit, I recollect and relive four wonderful days I spent in the quiet little town of Barog, near Shimla, in late September 2017. I stayed with my dear friends Micky and Abha: their warmth, their generosity and hospitality helped me shed decades of accumulated stresses and blues, and rediscover the joy and wisdom of simply BEING.

I’ve written earlier about walking up to the old army cantonment of Dagshai during this visit. [You can read it here]. Here are some more photos from that time.  A mere four days’ R&R; yet for me they evoke memories to draw on for a lifetime…

On the way up: Himalayan Queen

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In and around home

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Timeless mornings and evenings, lazing out on the terrace with Abha and Micky.   Tiger was usually present to test and certify quality of biscuits, pakoras, cake etc.

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Dagshai Cantonment – seen from terrace

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Every evening we’d walk to Micky’s ‘Sunset Point’ and watch the clouds roll in
just walking
Just walking around…

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Tiger doing his Think Tank act
Tiger contemplates the State of the Universe

A dreamy day in Kasauli

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At the beautiful old Christ Church (estt. 1853)
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Army Holiday Home
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Kasauli Club
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The wildflowers run riot here!

Barog railway station

Walking down

There’s no road to/from Barog railway station. There’s only a steep, 400-metre path leading down through the forest from the Old Shimla Road.  So Micky dropped me off at a signpost showing where the path begins, and I followed the path down…and down….

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At Barog station

I never imagined I’d enjoy waiting for a train so much.  I spent just over an hour at the station, during which I met only four souls: the cheerful Asst Station Master, an ancient and sleepy gangman; the young man who presided over the station’s canteen and fixed me two cups of black tea;  and a phlegmatic dog who decided I needed constant supervision.  Nothing seems to have changed here since the 1.15 km-long Barog Tunnel was completed in the early 1900s…

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Barog tunnel – named after Colonel Barog, British Army engineer, who was entrusted with boring this 1.15 km tunnel through the mountain.  To save time, Barog deployed two teams which proceeded to bore the tunnel from both sides simultaneously. Alas, Barog’s calculations were wrong; the two segments of the tunnel were misaligned, and when it became clear that never the twain would meet, poor Barog was fined the princely sum of Re 1 for wasting the British government’s time and resources. Unable to bear the humiliation, he shot himself, and the tunnel was realigned and completed by another engineer:  H S Harrington. Legend has it that the tunnel is still haunted by the unhappy spirit of the Colonel…
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Station guest  house – I was told the rooms are nice, the food excellent, and the best way to visit Shimla is to stay here and take trains up and down (2 hours and a bit each way)
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My mentor: the slightly accusing look is because he believed (despite my strong denials) that I’d eaten the larger share of biscuits

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And so…time to go
Musings, Verse perverse

A Short Prayer on Deepavali Eve

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Even now

As residents of the neighbouring apartments, in pre-Deepavali revels

Rend the peace; render the night hideous with 240 decibels…

I contemplate the serene wisdom of the ancient sage

Who counselled against rage, advised restraint with the adage

Of Yudhisthira, that troubled  but patient ass of bygone age…

 

Even now

As the last ghastly Bollywood song fades, like a bad dream

Anon a Voice begins reciting Tambola numbers in soprano scream

Interspersed with inane jokes, in baritone bray

As hardened bandicoots flee in terror, their fur in disarray

 

Even now

In this dark noisy hour, when Despair threatens to cloak all humankind

Lo! The clouds disperse; Inspiration illumines my fevered mind!

Now we too can play Tambola; there’s no need for tiles

All we need are tickets; that Voice carries for miles!

 

Even now

I beseech thee,  O Mighty Devi—thou who felled Mahishasura, that Incarnation of Ignorance!

Do shine Reason’s Light on these cacophonous fools; gift them Silence, common sense!

That our ears, and Earth, be spared their racket; that we may awaken from this deafening dreadful night

To the glorious Dawn of Deepavali – the Celebration of thy Light

A short prayer pre-Deepavali - 2

 

General ravings, Verse perverse

A Dreamy Climate Conference

The hall is quiet; the chilled air heavy with the heady scents

Of fetching young Facilitators, murmuring spells of somnolence

Overlaid with aromas of spice and season, from the buffet hall thence

Tables laden, for the ravening audience to satiate every primal sense

 

Alas! Ere long the howling winds of the Climate Conference

Shall disperse this glorious cocktail of fragrance

Shredding sleep; satori; sanity; blessed silence

With speeches high in pretence, long in sentence

 

But now an electric tension engulfs the conclave

Murmurs ascend, subside…a soft, sonorous sine-wave

Pulsating in the silence…till, bathed in TV cameras’ glare

The simpering Chief Guest gallops in, glistening from shoes to hair

 

A beauteous Anchor welcomes all, the ceremonial lamp is lit

A few giggles and chuckles echo as the mikes throw a fit

But fade away as the Organizer takes his place at the podium

And scowls, his eyes gentle as cyanide of sodium

 

As he launches into his interminable speech

In my disintegrating mind I frantically beseech

Divinity, to help me in this hour of need so deep

And preserve me from sliding off  into sleep

 

O, have mercy on me, Great God of Power Points pointless!

Save me from those, whose slides neither enlighten nor impress

With Sacrifice of Sacred Gobbledygook, I pray that Thou bless

Me with patience, bladder control, and wakefulness!

 

The speakers drone on through hours torturous

The audience’s breathing grows ever more stertorous

As my mind is rendered number, ever dumber

I slump in my seat, drift into peaceful slumber

 

Presently, in dream I float above a World of Emissions

And behold therein most extraordinary visions

Now Roaches rule, with Ant armies legion

And Adaptation is the new State Religion

 

The few humans I can see, all in chain-gangs toil

To grow bugs  for their Lords, from the saline soil

“Tis Dharma, “  a passing Wasp hums; “for you humans did spoil

Our lovely Earth, with your greed for coal and oil…”

 

I’m overcome with fear as the Wasp draws near

And grasps me in her jaws, her intentions clear

She dives and deposits me in a field of bugs

The humans draw near… all look like slugs!

 

I yell in terror, and lurch to my feet

Fall headlong, and feel coarse fur with my teeth

‘Tis the carpet I chew; I’m back in the hall

On my knees; when I dropped off,  I cannot recall

 

I resume my seat, embarrassed at my fall

Look around…and realize no-one’s noticed me at all

Because the entire assembly is in Morpheus’ thrall

Even the Panel Members droop, loll and sprawl

Potshots, Verse perverse

Understanding the Budget: An A,B,C Primer for Rahul Gandhi-ji

Whether the ‘Interim Budget’ presented by acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal was actually interim or not is immaterial – as immaterial as the benefits you and I will receive from the Budget.

Far more tangible was the utter bewilderment on the face of Congress President Rahul Gandhi during Goyal’s speech. Clearly, the poor man was quite flummoxed by the barrage of economic spiel, financial terms and affiliated data Goyal dished out, tera-flop by tera-sop.

Long on speech, longer in face

Following the budget speech, we staggered up to the terrace and espied a piece of paper gently floating in from the general direction of Parliament Street. Grabbing it and smoothing it out, we discovered it to be a page torn from a standard-issue Lok Sabha jotting-pad. The page was filled with writing, starting with a four-line piece of doggerel!

We transcribe below, O faithful reader, the lines from this solitary page. We can only guess at the identity of the author – perhaps a cynical Congress or CPI(M) Member whose heart is yet in the Right, or even Left, place?

[QUOTE]

Rahul-ji’s angst and anguish doth grow and grow

With Goyal’s every buzz-word, every cackle and crow

Rahul-ji’s frown deepens; his face grows longer – little wonder

‘Tis clear he can’t follow a word, however hard he doth ponder

With general elections a couple of months away, and with strong indications that our Mahagathbandhan might well form the next government with Rahul-ji as prime minister, surely we must all try and help Rahul-ji understand some common terms used in connection with the budget?

Here is a small glossary to get Rahul-ji started:

 Appropriation Bill: This is a bill of receipt, or challan, given to you by team from Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate or CBI after they raid your home and/or office and appropriate assets disproportionate to your known sources of income. [Always remember: when raided,  insist on Appropriation Bill].

Balance of payments: Denotes the difference in total value between various payments into and out of India over a certain period of time on account of kickbacks on defense equipment, hawala transactions and so on, through legally disapproved channels such as Channel Island companies.

 Fiscal policy: Derives from the vision of  Congress fore-fathers, fore-mothers and fore-others, of an India where our youth – young and old alike – are strong and muscular, that is, fiscally fit. Fiscal fitness is especially important during election campaigning. Today BJP makes tall promises to set up infrastructure for fiscal fitness such as gyms, sports stadiums and so on. In practice, however, these promises are never kept and the money allocated disappears without trace in ghotalas and goshalas, leading to a weak fiscal condition in people known as fiscal deficit.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Although it might sound gross or unpleasant, GDP is a vital measure of the overall garbage output from the entire domestic or household sector in India.  As household prosperity increases, so too does household consumption of junk food and junk goods, and therefore of household garbage output. This is famous Garbage In = Garbage Out principle. Hence, high GDP growth is good because it means India’s economy is growing.

Inflation: Describes the tendency of the BJP government to make exaggerated claims about everything, including the size of Narendra Modi’s chest.  Affiliated terms are deflation and recession, manifest in shrinking chests of BJP members upon losing in successive state assembly elections.

Plan and Non-Plan Expenditure: Plan expenditure is what the government tells the public it wants to spend. Non-plan expenditure is what government has to spend, but doesn’t tell the public it has to spend, in order to spend what it tells the public it wants to spend as plan expenditure. [For more simple explanation, please consult Mani Shankar Aiyar-ji and/or Shashi Tharoor-ji]

 Public account: Refers to the public admission made by a high-level politician or government servant who is accused of swindling public money, during a court hearing that is open to public. When the hearing takes place in Supreme Court or Delhi High Court, the public admission is known as capital account.

[UNQUOTE…END OF PAGE]

P.S.:  We offer a reward of Rs 10,000 in non-demonetized notes to anybody who can trace the remaining pages of this invaluable document.

 

Musings, Verse perverse

Pralayam dream

Pralayam dream

[Inspired by the Beatles’ ‘A day in the life’ – with apologies to their estate, and to my gentle readers. Please click here to listen to the original song]

I read the news today, oh boy
About a glitzy man who made front page
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph…

He slew six mild folk with his car
Too high to notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he’d done wrong
Their Star he was…

I saw a film today, oh boy
The Indian Army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
‘N liked it on Facebook
I’d love to burn ‘n nuke it all…

Woke up, fell out of bed
Swigged black tea to clear my head
Checked WhatsApp, chewed some stale old crap,
Looking up I noticed I was late
Checked my Tweets, tripped on the mat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

I read the news today, oh boy
Ten thousand died in riots; ten million cheered

And though the dead were large and small

They had to count them all…
Now they know how many dead it takes to fill our Malls ‘n Prayer Halls
I’d love to burn ‘n nuke it all…

 

Musings, Verse perverse

Dark speculations on RFPs, Log Frames, and other profanities

[Dedicated to all fellow-spinmeisters in the Development World]

 

The more one delves into the Project Cycle

The stronger its leek-like reek; as palatable

As being ensconced in a warm, softly lit room

Sippin’ spiced spirits while gazing out at the chilly gloom

And shedding copious tears for the shivering poor without

E’en while raising crystal glass to quivering snout…

Joyously do we journey through forests of Problem Trees

Skinny-dip in Expertise Pools, as we compute our Consultancy Fees

From Global Conferences to Regional Workshops we flit, by jet

To meet, in every Core Committee and Advisory Group, those we just met

Globetrotting arachnids, spinning a web of silken jargon and hype

In which to ensnare, and feed on, suckers of every type

We’ve fabricated a Cage of Fabrications, a Programmatic Framework

In which we fatten ourselves all the more, on those who understand less

Creativity drowned, in a swamp of glutinous verbosity

Spontaneity lost, in Missions of pompous piety

Where did we start this? Why did we at all?

When did we start this slide? Last Tuesday, or last year’s Fall?

It makes no difference: it doesn’t matter at all

It’s enough for us, great Omar’s words to recall…

What without thinking, hither hurries whence?

And, mindlessly, whither hurries hence?

Oh! Another, another cup to drown

The memory of this impertinence!”

All we need do is keep churning out the gobbledygook

By the petabyte and ppt; throwing in a report or book

Outcomes and Outputs, Short-Term Extensions

Mid-Term Reviews, Course Corrections

Just fabricate those Indicators, by hook or by crook

And if some dare raise questions—cock them a snook!