Reflections and rumination, Society & Culture

The holy cow of dissent

There is serious misconception about what dissent is, what is the idea of a nation, and what is democracy. Democracy enables one to participate in the idea of the nation. You are the nation in many ways. It takes time to build this idea of the nation, and each election, each generation adds a little into it. If at any point, any individual feels that the current state of affairs are a sharp departure from this collective idea of the nation, they are entitled to notify their dissent. However, their dissent cannot be against the shared idea of nation itself, it can only be against those who execute the will of the nation.In short, dissent needs to identify where the government ends, and a nation begins. The moment they dissent from the idea of the nation, they move from the dissent to treason.
Why is dissent against the idea of nation treason 

Nationhood is a contract that we agree to. When we identify as citizens of any particular country, we agree to recognize it’s collective idea. In return we enrich it with our participation through the elective process, and abide by it’s laws. This contract is the basis for our stay, and protection by the state. The moment we dissent against the shared idea of a nation, we no longer have the moral right to enjoy pleasures of the nationhood.

Then what should a disgruntled dissenter do?

To start with, they can continue to participate in the elective process by choosing the right representatives. If they can’t find anyone to represent themselves, they can contest elections themselves. If they feel they are completely at odds with the shared idea, and would not get much support in elections, they can choose to find another nation that is more in tune with their idea of the nation. Or, they could make themselves indispensable, enrich the nation with their contribution, thus gaining more influence, and then attempt to seed their ideas again. Sadly, none of the prominent ‘dissenters’ of India are enriching her with contributions beyond their dissent. The hollow, impotent dissent has no takers. However, they are not the only one who do not understand dissent. The government of the day, doesn’t either.

How the state should approach dissent 

The idea of the state has moved from being a ‘parent’ to a ‘facilitator’. The responsibility thus on those that run the nation, is not to crush any voice of dissent, but to simply facilitate means of intellectual purification. A dissenter must be asked to validate their dissent with actions, as the state provides the means. For example, in the context of J&K, it could be asking the dissenters to build model of governance, and provide a model village for implementation of the model. If the dissenter rises to the occasion, then confidence on state is built up, if they don’t then they lose face.

Unfortunately, we are at a strange Mexican standoff as far as the idea of dissent is concerned. Those who employ it, are not judicious in it’s use, and those who are to tackle it, are caught up with indecision. In Yuval Noah Harari’s thought – provoking book – ‘Homo Sapiens’. He remarks how all the nations are but figment of our imaginations, and depend on our willingness to accept the idea as a reality. Coming days will tell us exactly how willing we as a nation are to accept a uniform idea.

Economics and Politics, Life changes, Relationships & Families, Society & Culture

What Rahul Gandhi really wants


Have you ever seen another man so desperate to ruin his own reputation than Rahul Gandhi? Perhaps Arvind Kejariwal can be tough competition, but his reasons to become a national joke are quite different. I suspect he is trying to play India’s love for dramatics to his advantage. Since patriotism, development, and authoritarian leadership have already been claimed by Modi, and liberal socialism has too many faces, he has perhaps gone for downright ridiculousness. However, despite his ridiculous statements, you can see a pattern emerging from statements made by Kejariwal. He has rightly identified that there isn’t any other leader worth gunning for, and simply attacking Modi would be enough for him to stay in news. This pattern is starkly missing with Rahul Gandhi. Over the years, he has made some astoundingly ridiculous statements. With the resources, available to him, and the life experiences that he has gone through, he shouldn’t be this naive and politically clueless. Consider this.

This man grew up in the shadow of his grandmother’s assassination, his uncle’s supposed accident, and finally his father’s assassination. Yet, his worldview appears too optimistic, like a teenager with will to change the world. That just cannot be true. I could consider his initial hiccups as a learning curve, but after spending more than a decade in public life, even the worst performers pick up a thing or two. Look at Priyanka Chopra, she started out as an awful actress, and now she has landed herself in an overly sexualized Hollywood role. That’s progress for you right there. Anyway, there is no reason for Rahul to not improve as a politician, unless… unless he didn’t want to.   Imagine for a minute that he was actively trying to sabotage his career. Wouldn’t making himself to be a fool suit perfectly? However, you would be thinking why he might want to do that. He is practically a political royalty. Why wouldn’t he want to be in power? If you assume that he isn’t as naïve, and has an average intelligence, a study of children with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) can help.

Alcohol and children

Children who have witnessed ritualistic alcohol abuse of their parents often stay away from alcohol. They have no intention of undergoing same catastrophes. They are also likely to avoid other behavioral similarities with their parents, just to be sure. Seems very logical, doesn’t it? Similarly, Rahul Gandhi with the horrendous history of deaths in his family should not want to be a politician at all. So why is he one? Because he is compelled to by the congress, and his mother. But why would a grown man listen to his mother?

The single parent trap

Young adults who have lost their parents tragically, tend to gravitate more towards the surviving parent. This can be intense if the parent and kid have opposite sex. Men usually grow out of their mother’s influence, breaking the Oedipus complex after puberty. Since India is a largely family oriented country, this age gets pushed a little further. Rahul would have been a young adult, or a pre-pubescent teen when he lost his father, leaving his family in disarray. And believe me, no amount of connections, and money would be able to replace this loss. This could have left him completely incapable of standing up against his mother, no matter what his personal wishes are. So he has done what any average man who doesn’t want to get into a fight will resort to. Tanking the fight.

A long failure

Now, the tragedy of Rahul Gandhi really starts taking shape in front of you. Imagine someone desperately trying to throw the fight. Maybe it’s an average Joe up against Muhammed Ali. While Ali is taking the fight casually, Mr. Joe would still get hurt. But what if he falls at the first punch and doesn’t get up. Surely it would end the fight. Not in case of Rahul Gandhi. Despite his numerous attempts to get up, the referees have held him by the shoulder, lifted him in front of killing punch machine that is politics in India. Each time he falls more spectacularly than the previous time, only for congress sycophants to lift him up on their shoulder, and to eulogize him.

The latest threat to bring in the earthquake could also be another attempt by him to throw the fight, and I believe he should be allowed to. He has a right to enjoy his life, and his privilege even if it means advising political euthanasia. We live in a democracy after all.


Humanity, Reflections and rumination, Society & Culture

How demonetization made me healthier


Frankly I am tired. Of all the cribbing around the long lines, about elaborate hyperbole on how  it hasn’t done anything at all. I think one must look at every policy change positively. I think demonetization is helping the common man get healthier.

Here is why: 

  • I walk more in search of working ATMs.
  • I stand more than usual due to queues.
  • I avoid junk on street as well as copious chai I used to consume.
  • I sleep on time, because I need to get up early to hit the bank.
  • I am making a lot of friends at the bank, so social life is booming, and that is good for my mental health.
  • Finally, I have completely stopped drinking, because I would rather spend what money I have on food, and other basic necessities.

Honestly, the inner fakir is loving it. 🙂 🙂

advertising, Branding and Communications, Economics and Politics

How Rahul Gandhi Could Make Political Come-back


Rahul Gandhi has been made into a national joke. People think he is completely incapable of leadership, and has been given the mantle due to nepotism. They are partly right. However, for better or worse Rahul Gandhi must work at redeeming himself in eyes of the populace, or make space for his sister. Politics, like brand building is all about perceptions. At least, that is one way of looking at it. Often a product doesn’t sell with strategy X, even after trying hard and employing all the dirty tricks in the book. Why? Possibly because it has some irredeemable quality. And who better can teach turning irredeemable things into USPs than Volkswagen?

Accept who you are
The Volkswagen Beetle was a ‘reasonably ugly’ car when it launched. So there was no chance of it competing with likes of Chryslers and Fords. It completely turned this handicap into an advantage by accepting what it was, and created the campaign aptly launched as ‘the Ugly one’. It garnered a lot of sympathy for the brand. Rahul Gandhi is often thought to be naive, and yet he pretends to be all knowing, big boy. He is not that, nor will he ever be. However, naivety is excusable for three types. Artists, idealists, and the young. So in order to accept his naivety, he must choose either of the three.

From Pariah to a dreamer
Rahul Gandhi needs success desperately, and in order to achieve that he must learn from his enemy. Narendra Modi is an expert at selling dreams and successfully shedding the tag of a political pariah. He has an advantage though.In many ways he is a suave charmer that is easy to believe in. Yet, he is a seasoned politician, so his dreams are received with skepticism. Rahul on the other hand has no such backlog. If he can come up with compelling dreams for the nation, he will be ridiculed yet again, but back your dream with little data and people may notice. Right now, he just needs to occupy the mind-space again without being completely kejriwalled.

A fresh Start
To rebuild his political career, Rahul must first wipe the slate clean. It means getting rid of culture of sycophancy and elitism in his party. The new party line should be own up sins of their forefathers. Only then will people trust them again. There is also a need to do some hard word in constituencies that they own. Think of it like advertisement for the new ‘launch’. Once again, learning from the Gujarat model of trumpeting  may help. Concentrate on things that directly impact voters like roads, electricity, and cleanliness, and you would soon have a ‘model town’ that you can show off as your ‘dream’. Take notes from Anna, visit to Ralegaon Siddhi perhaps.



In many ways, Congress as a brand is dying it’s natural death, so it may not be so bad to re-brand it, much like how Snap-deal has done with themselves.Get rid of the hand and tri-colors. It seems ridiculously transparant, but symbols are powerful, they can recreate excitement. It’s a huge gambit, but if Rahul Gandhi backs it up with some token actions, like retiring Mani Shankar Aiyyar, and making Shashi Tharoor, the vice president, he would have a very good chance of at least surviving. Then, it would be pretty much a long struggle to gain back trust, but it’s not impossible. Will this change anything for India? Maybe not, but it will be worth my time to see how it works.

Economics and Politics, Society & Culture

Will ‘Basket of Deplorables’ turn into Clinton’s ‘Chaiwalah’ moment?


There are many parallels between India’s 2014 general elections and America’s presidential election in 2016. There are obvious comparisons between Trump and Prime Minister Modi, which are perhaps a little uncomfortable for many people. However Modi campaign wasn’t great from the start. What perhaps tipped the campaign was a vagrant quote from Mani Shankar Aiyyar, the congress spokesperson who suggested

“A chaiwalah (tea seller), can never become the prime minister of India”. 

Of course, Modi campaign jumped on to this comment with a gusto of a cat that found a canary. This was exactly the kind of elitist comment they were looking for. They turned the rest of campaign around the ‘Chaiwalah’ theme, and even hosted public gatherings around tea-shops. Modi completely owned the moniker of being a Chaiwalah, and gained favor of those who did not believe in him previously. The rest as they say, is history.

Now, Hilary Clinton in a bid to aggressively pitch herself, has gone ahead and called all the Trump supporters as ‘basket of deplorables’. Yet another elitist notion which has been unsurprisingly lapped up by Trump. The damage has been done. Akin to Modi’s chai-theme, a hashtag of #basketofdeplorables and handle @thedeplorables have appeared to make this gaffe from Clinton immortal.

So the question is, will this go any differently than the 2014 general elections in India?


Experience, Humanity, Reflections and rumination, Society & Culture

A Karnataka Bandh Story



So there is another ‘bandh’ scheduled in Karnataka over the water being released to Tamilnadu. I don’t have a position on this, neither do I support the idea of shutting down business. However, I do have a bad habit to being a storyteller, and being inexplicably attracted to real-life stories.

Last time I faced a Bandh, it did lead to something completely amazing. I was completely caught unaware about the Bandh, and had forgotten to stock up supplies. I drove throughout the refreshingly empty streets of Benguluru. That in itself is a good reason the support the Bandh. 😛

Apart from the serene ride, there wasn’t much luck in finding anything to eat, and I had not had proper dinner the night before. I had to meet a friend in a hospital in Kormangala, so I headed there in hopes that I might find something in Kormangala. As soon as I decided to leave the hospital though, torrential downpour began, with the rain gods deciding to support the bandh. There was no way I could ride and search for any hotel in those rains. So I decided to walk around a bit. Suddenly, out of nowhere I heard a call in a heavy voice.

Khana chahie kya? (Do you want food?)

I nodded eagerly to the voice, which belonged to an elderly waiter of a famous hotel. For sake of protecting their identity, I will not reveal the name of the hotel. The waiter asked me to follow him through the backdoor, to the kitchen, and then another very narrow staircase. By now, I did not care about the food I was about to get, the experience itself had made me excited. I was thinking that there would be a small cramped up place to eat here, but at least I will get some food. Boy, was I surprised!

The dingy staircase opened up to a dingy small room, which had a rickety old door that opened to a huge dining hall. It was exquisite in every way with chandeliers, an air conditioner and with jazz music playing on the background. I asked hopefully

“Kya milega bhaisaab? ( what will I get to order)”

My attendant, who was far better dressed than me, just gave me their usual menu card, and I ordered a hearty Indian meal of Paneer Tikka Masala, Pineapple Raita, and some Rotis. I was concerned about the bill, but I shouldn’t have been as it was just under 400 INR, quite decent for the quality of food. Just as I was about to leave the place, the same elderly waiter stopped me from getting down the staircase. He said

“Neeche gadbad hai saab, doosra door se mere saath chalo aap ( There is trouble downstairs, you follow me. )”

He took me through yet another maze of rooms and corridors, through a hidden dressing room for waiters which smelled like urine for some reason. As I was escaping from the backdoor, I could see the miscreants trashing the place, and harassing other patrons. I thanked the waiter, and offered him extra tip. He was gracious enough to take it from me, and asked me to keep visiting.

Well, perhaps I will go again tomorrow, courtesy another band in Namma Bengaluru. 🙂


Economics and Politics, Society & Culture, Strictly Humorous

The Ink Wars Part I

Once upon a time, in a land far far away lived a noble man. They called him the one eyed sage of golden land. He was courageous and well noble ( I have a feeling I already said that.) So the sage thought he could change the world, or at least the important part of it anyways, by teaching people to bend their bodies in way unimaginable to invoke the holy power which resides inside everyone. Soon people hailed him as their messiah, or at least some sort of cheap healer. It wasn’t that important to him. He was famous. Then came along an aged knight who was on search for holy grail for too long. So the knight got too tired and decided he would make the grail come to him instead. People thought it was very cool of him. Suddenly the knight was more famous than the one eyed sage. Of course the grail had other plans so she never did go to the knight. But well, people thought it was still cool. One eyed sage was immensely put off by the whole deal. He decide he would help the knight wait for the grail. He faced a peculiar problem however. People had already learned how to bend their bodies. So there was no need for him anymore. Still in spite of heavy odds he pulled on. He walked alone.

Meanwhile because people were all merry and happy, all the healers were royally pissed. They had kids who had to be fed. A man peculiarly started hating the one eyed sage. This was a guy who had no family, had no place to go, and most importantly nothing better to do. He decided, the children of the healers had suffered a lot. Someone had to throw light in the situation. Hey! Throw- Light- Kill-Light. Obviously like a divine intervention, he knew, the only way to save the world was to throw – hold a breath ( dramatic pause) INK!!!! ( dum- dum-da- da …. dum- dum-da-da! Continue till evil grin)

After long permutations and calculations, a plan was hatched. He was alone in the dark. He walked through the crowded busy roads, smelly armpits all around him, he walked. With a bottle of ink that will save the world, or a small part of it, he walked. Like a man inspired to create legacy of the level of an i-pod, he walked. His target was very near him now. He could hear his manic laughter as he spoke on the speaker. His saliva was flying, and the demonic one eye looking straight. The monster had found out!! There was no time, it had to be done. In slow motion he threw the ink on the sage. SPLASH!! It was all over the sage’s face. There was silence. Then the hell broke lose. They apprehended the man and tortured him for hours by making him watch Justin Bieber making out with Pattinson. Finally he gave in after they decided to put lady gaga in the background. It was revealed that afterall, the real king pin of the plan was someone else. Before they could get the name out of him, someone shot him with a covered statue. They said one look at the statue could kill anyone and there were thousands of them to be gotten rid off. The man died saying two words. Diaper & Pizza. It was enough for a man of sage’s experience to figure out that the real culprit was the snotty loser, Diaper Prince! ” Just you wait Diaper Prince! I will get my revenge soon! Muha ha haha, get me some ink boys. Its time to wet a diaper.”


To be continued….

Next part- Revenge of the Sage.