Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Girls In The Rickshaw !

By Manuwant Choudhary

For local errands I prefer taking the rickshaw..especially the battery-operated Hawa Garee...the ride is  smooth and it makes no noise..even the autowallah appears calm...with four passengers full..he does not have to stretch his neck into alleys or shout.

As I climbed into one I notice I had three other co-passengers - all girls.

They were all well-dressed in jeans and shirts, handbags....but seemed unsure about their shopping.

Two of them sat right across me and seemed quiet mostly. They spoke only when they were asked something by the third girl who sat beside me.

All three were pretty but the third the prettiest..and she had a way with words.

She asked the first girl if she would like to shop at a store nearby or go to Pantaloons as well.

The first girl, shy, would reply in mono-syllables.

The second girl wanted to buy a pair of sandals.

"Is this for pujas?" The third girl asked. "I will take you to this shop I know tomorrow."

The third girl looked affluent...she had a nice cellphone...and as the breeeze got into her hair...she would straighten it....

And then she took some 5 selfies !

Just then the red light !

And we could all hear a girl and boy arguing on a rickshaw alongside..The girl tells her boyfriend..."If you don't let me study then my mummy will not allow me to stay here beyond first year !"

The third girl beside me was all ears and then she blurts..."Agar padhai nahin kee to  meree mummy bhee humein bas first year hee hone dengeen."

We all laughed.

The guilt showed and she adds, "Abhee to raat bakee hai,,padh lengen.."

Then they spoke about some technical stuff even I could not follow....they said, "Bahut tough tai...samajh mein nahin aatee hai.."

Out of nowhere the third girl remembered something..."On Tuesday I have to go to the temple. Will you come?"

The other two girls said no as they had classes.

The third girl wanted the other two to talk more but when they didn't she broke off into a song or poem..something like..."Please don't mind me because I want you to talk.."

Just then a car passed us by...

The third girl went.."Oh wow...whats that car..the black one..its so beautiful...."

The other girls asked her.."Batao naam uska.."

All the third girl would say..."I don't know...I just liked it...the black colour..."

The other two knew..."Its a Jaguar !"

Monday, October 1, 2018

I feel like Manto

By Manuwant Choudhary

This Sunday evening I watched Nandita Das's film Manto.

I had been looking forward to the film ever since the trailers were out.

Because Sadat Hassan Manto's short story Toba Tek Singh featured in our ICSE school text book and it left its mark.

The mad sardarji who kept uttering gibberish ..oh pad dee gir gir dee...moong did daal deee..but one thing he was clear on was he came from a village called Toba Tek Singh, except he did not know where it was - in India or Pakistan !

I grew up wondering who the writer was?

To be frank I do not know Nandita Das except having met her once at a wedding in Bombay.

But I could relate to her Manto completely.

Especially the Manto in Bombay - a city that asks no questions, as he put it.

Manto loved Bombay and his own life as a writer in a city where he could write freely and get paid for what was his...and drink...

The film is a bit slow but life in those days must have been just that way - a walk on the beach was all that mattered and an evening party with the top film stars.

I had grown up wondering how and why a writer like Manto would choose to leave Bombay and India for Pakistan.

Nandita Das's film explores just that and very sensitively.

Its painful seeing Manto leave Bombay.

You must watch the film.

Unfortunately, the hall was mostly empty, a few rows were booked thats all.

It seems our audiences have somehow become identical to the Muslims who wanted Pakistan.

So in the film when two Muslims in Lahore announce the killing of Gandhiji with a glee, an old man scolds them, but I found two men sitting beside me laugh.

70 years later we have become them.

Manto was lonely in Pakistan, and a wreck. He had no freedom to write what he wanted...the remunerations were even lower...and then a jail term...for his short story 'Thanda Gosht' (Cold Meat)

The last scene is from the story Toba Tek Singh.  Two months after the partition...both the Indian and Pakistani governments realise they are yet to divide the mental ayslums - Hindus and Sikhs to be sent to India and Muslims to Pakistan.

I thought the mad house was exactly how I visualised it as a child reading that story...even the characters - the sardarji - just amazing.

If he was alive today, I wonder what Sadaat Hassan Manto would have written on the lynchings in Modi's India ?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Day of the Bandh !

By Manuwant Choudhary

I personally do not think we need a Bharat Bandh...ever since Modi became Prime Minister the markets are barely fact the only person who works in India is just Prime Minister Modi.

With petrol at Rs.86.76 and Diesel at 78.30 and the rupee at Rs.72 per dollar...Ive sent my car to the garage.

And I don't want it repaired anytime soon.

Instead I walk around mostly.

But with the restaurants going to be shut I decided to buy my eateries for the day. So I picked up a can of baked beans and an MTR Dal Makhani which one can microwave, to take care of my day.

But to find a tin opener I had to walk some 10 kms...and I finally found one ...Made in China...

They don't make them in India.

So I wonder what is Modi's Make In India?

Everytime Modi publishes a growth rate..his billionaire friends become multi-billionaires.

And yes apart from billionaires we make space shuttles like Chandrayan and what do you call Mars in Hindi...Mangalayan...

But this morning I overslept for was silent outside...the bhajiwalas, paperwallahs, batterywallahs, chaadar wallahs, raddi wallahs were all missing.

The pheriwalla have always been a part of the Indian landscape but what has changed now is that earlier there were single or double storey houses, now you have multi-storey apartments, I've noticed how they stretch their vocal chords so they can be heard even on the 6th floor !

But the loudest of them is Mann Ki Baat on All India Radio, replayed on all private radio stations and TV channels.

I am not sure how Modi can help India's economy...but I just love his confidence.

New India by 2022...we will win 2019....we will win for next 50 years !!

As for Pakistan, to save the economy Imran Khan wants to ban import of cheese,

But I love phoren cheese !

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Love Equally Only If You Have Aadhaar Card !

By Manuwant Choudhary

As the Supreme Court landmark judgement came in every landmark  turned rainbow...from Rashtrapati Bhawan, to Parliament to 7 Race Course Road, even Qutub Minar and yes the love monument Taj Mahal...

What a rare moment in India's history when the Supreme Court mentioned the word `individual'.

"I am what I am", words from Chief Justice of India, Shri Dipak Misra.

The court also spoke about another rare item....fundamental rights of citizens...when it said it cannot wait for a majoritarian government to decide on fundamental rights.

And yes Karan Johar reaction was among the first.

Section 377 gone.

The real credit for this whould be given to the brave Delhi High Court which had originally struck this law criminalising homosexuality.

And yes not to forget Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP, who brought a private members bill in parliament, which was not supported by even his own party.

The bill was defeated hollow.

But this is how a BJP government works...they want the Supreme Court to handle all controversial issues, issues that would expose their hypocricy and agenda.

The RSS also spoke up with a shift in stand...`homosexuality is not a crime, but we do not think its natural'.

But the Supreme Court says `Homosexuality is not a mental problem either.'


I spoke to a Sangh  pracharak about this judgement and asked him if Hindus and Muslims can fall in love now?

He said, "No, this judgement does not allow that..."

Me: "You mean Love-Jihad is not love?"

Pracharak, "We oppose everything thats not natural. Love is not natural, hate is. "

Me: I am confused, so what is natural?

Pracharak: Aadhaar Card !

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Walk In Delhi

By Manuwant Choudhary

Petrol prices touch Rs.86 per litre, the highest ever, so decided its time to walk to work.

And guess what? Just at Connaught Place in Lutyen's Delhi I found someone walk alongside me. First I notice his lanky legs, then his neat pin stripe blue suit, a red tie,  a white trimmed beard, Amitabh Bachchan..India's only real Super Star...

But then I looked again..and no...this is a look alike...a fake News ! He seemed thinner and lesser than Amitabh, i mean personality-wise.

But as I walked on...I was not that unlucky.

Because I met Amit Shah - India's most powerful man - even more powerful than Modi - the Prime Minister.

Of course, I could not speak to him because he was surrounded by suspicious looking intelligence men and black cat commandos.....SPG or something...but I overheard him ask someone..."Lunch mein kya hai?"

The reply, "JNU canteen se uthaa laoon Saheb?"

Then in the park..I met this man in Dhoti-Kurta...who  was praticing something like how you would spin a cricket ball....I asked him "Sir, you want to be Imran Khan?"

He replied, "Aisa kuch bhee nahin..main to bas aise hee boltaa rehta hoon."

He was Rajnath Singh, India's Home Minister, who speaks with his hands.

So I asked him where is Modiji these days, his reply with a spin, "Wo 14 rashtron ke bhraman pe nikle hain...ho sakta hai wo 26 rashtra ho jaye kyonki petrol bachana hai.."

Just around the corner I met Sushma Swaraj....she is actually the nicest of the lot...India's foriegn minister who is mostly at home...but she is BJPs Mother Teresa....imagine she gives visas to Pakistanis who just twitter her for help !

I did a Namaskar to her. She smiled.

I thought I wouldn't meet anyone exciting anymore...can't be luckier in one day...But then I see someone whom Rishi Kapoor likes, whom Nitu Kapoor likes,  whom Ranbir Kapoor likes. Get that??

Yes, Alia Bhatt.

She was wearing those nice faded jeans with gaping holes in them, either Mumbai has no tailors or too many rats these days? She is India's hottest actress.

On my return journey home I felt like Rahul Gandhi.

I had three khakhi uniformed cops around me....with those acrylic batons...thankfully not chilli powder guns...

Actually I decided to take the Hawa Gaaree, battery-powered auto, and the cops were taking a free ride.

I asked them where is Rahul Gandhi these days and one of them told me he is in Kailash Mansarovar- where there is no hatred....

He is walking 60 kms to Mount Kailash in Tibet....

Everything has an upward trend these days !