The sorry feeling that stays after watching Aligarh

A still from the most touching scene of the movie

I went today to watch Aligarh and let me be very clear about one fact, this movie is not about homosexuality. It’s a portrait of loneliness of a man in not even the gray shades that lies between black and white. It’s the sad shade of orange that colors up the sky just before the sun sets. That is Aligarh for me.

Its about a man who does not even know the difference between “He is a gay” or “He is gay” but definitely understands the longing of love. He refuses to be typecast into labels without any activism, He shies, he is embarrassed on taking a photograph, he is sad but not aggressive , he is betrayed but not bitter and Manoj Bajpayee creeps into the soul of Dr Siras with his expressive eyes, the tearful eyes, eyes which do not meet our eyes, eyes which stare in a distance but the eyes which make us uneasy. Does Manoj Bajpayee realize he has surpassed himself as Dr Siras and when he embarrassingly smiles after a selfie, you just want to go and hug him.

Hansal Mehta is ready to take risks and his risks are being made into a classic through brilliant writing by Apurva Ansari. Apurva: I have followed Dr Siras case and the stereotypical reactions that ensued it but when Aligarh was announced I could not imagine how will it be written. Be it the poetry reciting at the party or the beautifully calm boat ride, you came out with a script that does not scream for decriminalizing homosexuality, rather you showed us what lies behind the loner journey of coming out.

Last year I went to Bangalore for a study report on AIDS where I met a cooperative run by hundreds of people all of whom were “Men who have sex with Men”. After a long session of interaction, filming and documenting their stories, their struggles and their coming out, we decided to leave. They insisted to stay back for a while as they had prepared some cultural program and refreshment for us. Well we stayed back and a young man started his dance number “Munni Badnam hui” in as seductive way as possible. I giggled and today after watching Aligarh, I wondered why did I giggle? Why i don’t giggle when fat aunties try to act sexy and dance on the same number. Doesn’t that one giggle make me a part of the same mob that paints their profile pics in colors on a judgement in favor of homosexuality but are never free of the hypocrisy of prejudices surrounding sexual orientation. I want to say them a SORRY today.

Bravo team Aligarh. You wrote a poetry out of a chaos.

Dr Shrinivas Ramachandra Siras reading out his poetry, shifting from campus after suspension and protests against his suspension (Source- NDTV)

ज्यादा भोकाली में निकल जाती है ऐसी बात

चित्र साभार- द टेलीग्राफ और मेरी एडिटिंग

पिछले कुछ दिनों में “द टेलीग्राफ “ पेपर ने आतंक मचा रखा था अपने क्रिएटिव हेडलाइंस से। देश जब अभिव्यक्ति की आजादी बनाम देशद्रोह के नित नये रंगों क देख रहा था तब चाहे PATRIOT हो या फिर “क्यूंकि मंत्रीजी कभी स्टूडेंट नहीं थी” जैसे हेडलाइंस के साथ “द टेलीग्राफ” ने जॉर्ज ऑरवेल के उस कहावत को चरितार्थ किया कि “ freedom of press means the freedom to oppose and criticize”.

हम सबने सोचा कि वाह टेलीग्राफ तुम ही हो जो क्रांति कि मशाल जलाये रखोगे।बस तुम रवीश कुमार वाली फैन बेस बनाने ही वाले थे कि तुमने स्मृति ईरानी के सनी देओल को काम्प्लेक्स देने वाले भाषण के लिये उन्हें “AuntyNational” कह दिया. कर दिया न भोकाली?

वही लोग जो तुम्हें बेधड़क शेयर किये जा रहे थे, अब तुम्हारे खिलाफ हो गये। और हो भी क्यूँ न, राजनीतिक विचारधारा एक ओर है पर नारी का अपमान के खिलाफ हम सब साथ हैं।जहाँ सभी को स्मृति ईरानी साक्षात् काली, दुर्गा और झांसी कि रानी लग रही थी वही आपने उन्हें आंटी कहकर रहा सहा गुडविल ख़त्म कर लिया। अभिव्यक्ति की आज़ादी का इतना भौंडा प्रदर्शन? अगर हिम्मत है तो करोल बाग़ की महिलाओं को किसी किटी पार्टी में आंटी कहकर बुलाओ?

खैर चलिये हम सब द टेलीग्राफ को इस एक गलती के लिये माफ़ कर देते हैं।तारीफ झक कि तरह चढ़ती है और जब चढ़ती है तो गुस्ताखी हो जाती है। इस बात का ध्यान रखा जाये कि “freedom to oppose and criticize” की शह में व्यक्तिगत कटाक्ष न हो। नहीं तो स्मृति ईरानी अगली बार कहेंगी “Yes! I am taking it personally”.

फिर तो तुमको रखे राम, तुमको अल्लाह रखे (राम के चांसेस कम ही हैं) ।



Scoring less on points…….Let’s bring in martyrs

Image Courtesy- India Tribune

Disclaimer – Read before you brand me anti national or anti army.

The country is divided into National vs Anti National debate. We all have opinions, we all have a side to which we are “defend to my death” loyal and the debate turns into verbal abuse and cuss words.

A country which terms raising slogans as a seditious act is a country which has failed the culture of having an alternative opinion. The whole JNU row shows that we the people define “Nation” in terms of what should not be said ( aka Pakistan), what should not be eaten ( aka beef) , what should not be used (aka condom according to a MLA) and everything that falls out of the narrow lane of “should nots” is anti national.

Nation is a collective identity for each one of us and from a collective identity, it has become an inflated ego. Nationalism has one single definition and anyone disagreeing with it will be thrashed upon or to quote some law makers :

“Nothing wrong in beating up or even killing someone shouting slogans in favour of Pakistan.”

But my problem here is not the media trials and the dangerous trend of blind following. My problem is bringing up the issue of “Shaheeds” when the so called Nationalists are scoring less on debates.

When Arnab Goswami shouts at students saying  “how dare [they] speak over [him] when [he was] speaking about Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Now I call you an anti national” and somewhere in a part of India people who have a mob idea of justice get a point to counter.

Yes exactly, the utmost sacrifice by the valiant men for country is being used to score political points. We can not compare #JNURow with the sacrifice of Martyrs. We just can not compare that.

We are a country that fails our soldiers. They live in the most inhabitable conditions, have poor quality equipment, have been protesting since ages for “One Rank One Pension” and every day young chaps are losing life because of failure of state to control infiltration. We remember them when we have to close a case on who is the only nationalist. We quote Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, We compare Captain Pawan Kumar and the alleged“Anti nationals smile thinking “Dekh boli band karwa di maine”.

When this patriotic tamasha ends, you know who has lost this debate – the fallen soldier left behind with a family who will have to fight for some basic rights because of corruption by the great patriots.

Three years back I was hosting a run which was organized to mark Vijay Diwas –India’s victory in Kargil War. I met Professor S.K.Nayyar , Father of Mahaveer Chakra Shaheed Captain Anuj Nayyar. Having watched the movie “Dhoop”portraying the struggle of Mr and Mrs Nayyer to open a Petrol Pump allotted to them during which they not only  suffered corruption at every level but also hooliganism. When I asked Professor Nayyer “why has Mrs Nayyer not turned up today”? He replied to me in a bleak voice “ Humare saath jo kuch hua uske baad Meena kabhi bhi aise function me nahi jaati, use chidh hoti hai”

I was ashamed. Yes my dear countrymen if this is what a family of a Mahaveer Chakra Awardee  suffers, just imagine what would be happening to other families. Yet very shamelessly we bring up the names of Martyrs to score a point on the debate of nationalism. Because you know that a soldier losing his life is there at the borders protecting your right to dissent.

Don’t use martyrs as pawns. Get your nationalism sorted. Read Tagore, Bhagat Singh , Orwell’s essay and even Mussolini’s speeches but don’t score a point by saying “Wahan sarhad par sainik jaan gawa raha hai aur ye naare laga raha hai , Maaro saale ko itna ki pant me hi mut de “

A fallen soldier does not need a certification from your idea of deshbhakti.

Respect a soldier, it is the least you can give them.



The Pachauris & the complaints…….


Image Courtesy- Deccan Chronicle

Few days back when a high profile college mafia was murdered at Bhilai in a said conspiracy by a girl whom he had been harassing, I spent the whole afternoon thinking “Why not police complaint”? My home town again was in news over a suicide by a Rape victim when she was being harassed by those in system to take back the case against a policeman and a doctor doubled up as a rapist, I spent the whole afternoon thinking “Does this happen when you complain”?

Why do victims suffer? Because he is the boss, he is the one with better networks, because he is visible, yes he is a family man and he represents an organization. He does not take No for an answer, rejection is too big for his shoes, he gropes, he forcibly kisses, he stalks though romantically laden messages and when you decide to speak against him, he makes your life a living hell, stalks you again and this circle will be completed when you either die or kill. The solution is within you. And in between this whole cycle you are being named, shamed and given character certificates. Why do you even complain?

This is not about only one creep, sexist R.K.Pachauri being elevated in TERI, this is about many Pachauris making a mockery of internal complaint committees, FIRs that haunt the victims and harassment which doubles when you decide to speak up. And now few more women have decided to speak against this man who thinks it is okay to make internal environment toxic in return of the wonderful work he has done for the external environment.

It was never about getting degrees from this douche bag but its actually about where do complaints lead us to? In a country where everyone talks of contacts, “Pauaa” and aukaat , complaints are just a joke and Pachauris multiply exponentially.

P.S- In the suicide case that I talked about earlier, I came to know that one of the woman from Rapist family said “Aadmi hai to karega hi” . This sickening thought is what fails every woman who decides to speak against harassment, it fails each and everyone of us, It fails nature in its attempt to make us an evolved species.

This non sense called Matri Pitra Diwas



Its that time of the year again when the town is painted in red, cards gallery are a showpiece in themselves, flower vendors have promised their wives a good saree that she demanded a month back and the goons of sena and Dal will have a work to boast of.

Valentine’s Day is overrated. The couples, gifts, online retail sites, FM channels and even those Pink laced sets of TV shows gives you a puking feeling. Come on, love is beautiful, it indeed makes your heart dance and jump when you are enjoying that being together waali feeling.

Having a long chat on tryst with destiny in a coffee shop followed with a late lunch or clasping someone’s hand tightly while taking a water ride is as romantic as giving someone a heart shaped gift (Oouch! That’s tacky infact). But the only good thing about Valentines Day is sena and Bajrangis get a job, yes a real job to drive the couples out of their love joints, break the “Aaaww” decoration of Archies and hallmark gallaries, beat those love birds and even perform their marriage.

Now the last act is what garners my utmost respect for them, If I have a crush on guy and he is not giving me any Bhav, I will invite him for a coffee or a lunch in those customized with heart venues, will those goons make me marry him……………Waah ! What an idea sirjee! I hope they don’t ask do we really want to marry or not?

We are a society of bigots, a country of double standards where talking and speaking of love is a taboo. Where even in this age boys and girls are beaten up to celebrate a harmless festival and we think about decriminalizing homosexuality. Adding to the list of this bigotry is Matri- Pitra Diwas. Lets burden this unethical PDA with a heavily laden respect for your parents.

How come in this whole world love towards Parents can be equated with what hormonal locha we feel for the opposite sex.  And why does valentine pose so much a culture shock to medieval pundits of Sena & Dal. Is it an option given to us that we have to choose between Respect your parents (read: respect the sanghi culture) or Fall in love with someone. I can be madly in love with a guy and take care of my parents too. Does this also needs to be explained?

Have you seen that scene in Swades where on the occasion of dussehra an elderly woman says to Shahrukh “ Par ek baat hai jismein hum America se aage hain, wo hai humari sanskriti “. This naming  Valentine as Matri- Pitra Diwas reeks of same mentality- Use Culture to hide dichotomy.

By the Way Chattisgarh is celebrating this nonsense called Matri- Pitra Diwas and today when I was returning from Market, I stopped my vehicle to see a street play being acted to encourage this Diwas.  A big truck with many boys sloganeering “ Mata Pita se prem karein, humari sanskriti ko bachayein” were on the top of the truck. I stood and started watching that street play, Suddenly these boys were giggling towards me with that eve teasing look.

Yes these saviours of Culture and to be Shravan Kumars were concentrating on my waist that was peeping through a side slit on my top. So much about respecting your parents.

Happy Valentines Day to the one who celebrate love( Don’t listen to me, Enjoy your heart out).

No Happy Matri- Pitra Diwas please because you can break up from your valientine but never parents.