Gangs of Wasseypur Effect

My neighbor watched it…finally!!!!

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Writing blogs when you are 4 days away from your exams is an Ongbak level stunt. At the same time, it’s secretly  exhilarating, like murdering your thickhead uncle who keeps dropping at your head monotonus career advices. I’m not that concerned this time though, and that’s the reason why I have been busy picking literary devices from a friend’s English assignment question yesterday. Euphemism is when you say I’d miss the boat instead of I’d flunk in exams. I’d study religiously for the next 4 days is a Hyperbole.

Anyways, I am writing this to tell you about my neighbor’s aka flatmate’s aka The Kota Guy’s latest stunt. He is the queer man you tell your grandkids about, his queer-ness queer-y enough to stretch their eyes wider than Kardashiyan butthole. After the date debacle, he’s sort of gone bonkers. I had been badgering him to watch Gangs of Wasseypur as there never was a gangster movie before or after, that has surpassed the swag pinnacle touched by this movie. I have never seen a gangster movie so gangster. I mean when people told me Godfather was the greatest gangster movie ever made, I watched it and later had to google why the fuck it was the greatest gangster movie. I mean the marriage scene lasted for probably half the movie. Dumb people. But when I saw Gangs of Wasseypur I was mindblown and speechless.  

But needless to say, my neighbor wasn’t convinced. He is the guy who keeps half a dozen movies in his phone but never watches them until they rust into flakes. And he is the guy who watches the whole movie forwarding and jumping scenes before watching it in one go. And he likes to give away spoilers of the movies he’s already watched. Basically, he is the guy you’d rather discuss integrals with. 

But boy a boy! Did he go nuts after watching Gangs of Wasseypur! All he has done since then is watched the movie on loop. He keeps singing Chi Cha Leather and Electric Piya all the time. He even practices Rajkumar Rao’s steps in isolation. 

“Barbossa, “he says, “people are so stupid. They travel to stupid places. I want to go to Bihar. ”

The other day he was asking me if I had a pistol or something in my cupboard. When I gave him a quizzical look, he shrugged his shoulders and said, 

“Biharis are dangerous people. ”

I took it as a compliment and decided not to ruin the respect the movie was fetching me. 

“I want to be a goon. “He said dreamily, as if he was wishing for candies. I wondered if I should shake him to reality. But then, I remembered Apple-philosophy and realized consciousness is complicated and realities can be warped and so I should probably not give a fuck. 

About Apple-philosophy? Well, if there’s a fruit philosophers love, it’s apple. Like a mad scientist’s poor cat, apples are the victims of thought experiments. So there’s a question – if an apple is consumed does it cease to be an apple? Now, it may seem like a child’s play, but if you look deeper, the question gets extremely bewildering. Aristotle is much like this 9 year old cousin of mine, who believes his shoes are actually dwarf cows. 

“What make it a shoe?” That little rug asked me when I told him it was a shoe and not a cow. Now I could have given him a little smack on the temple and he’d have agreed it was a shoe, but I chose to be a good influence and explained to him that cows have horns and a tail. 

“Just because my cow don’t have tail and horns don’t make it shoe. “He argued and ran away with his cow, I mean shoe. I was left puzzled. 

Is it a shoe, I wondered. Or it’s a cow? What do we call a cow who’s lost the tail and the horns? At what point does a cow stop being a cow? 

I never disturbed the kid again. 

Anyway, all my neighbors friends have watched the movie and they flock in the hall and rehearse profane dialogs. The scenes are discussed in great details, as if the movie is a central theme of their research paper. They keep interrogating their Bihari friends if they know gangsters. 

I wondered if I should cook up gangster stories and tell them but then it dawned upon me that I do care about exams and so I let them rot in their gangster debauchery and shifted my focus to agrarian expansion of early medieval India. 

 

Understanding History 

The relevance of it…

A distant relative of mine once came to see us. Slumped in my chair, he sipped tea and talked about stuffs I wouldn’t care about in centuries. My mother listened to him attentively, with harmonic nods, as if he was dispersing grains of wisdom into the open air. I went to him, wearing a photoshopped smile, and touched his feet. We began general conversations. After I told him I was studying History he asked me if I knew where Lord Hanuman belonged to. 

“A jungle. “I clenched my brows, not sure whether it was a real question. Then he threw at me a random Sanskrit shlok and asked me to decrypt it. I was blank as a barrel. 

“What are you studying history for? “He shook his head, and added, “if you don’t know about your own culture. ”

My mother gave me a glare of disappointment which said, “Didn’t I tell you to opt for science after X? ”
Now people, the very fundamental misconception among the ‘non-history people’ has to do with the meaning and composition of history. A basic, misconstrued assumption which has deceived people for generations is that history, heritage, theology and mythology are the same. A historian thus cannot entertain the luxury of not knowing the birthplace of Hanuman or translation of religious verses. A mechanical engineer might be excused for his ignorance on the intricacies of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, but a historian has no such impunity. 

What makes it a more relevant topic of discussion is the allpervasive nature of history. Everybody may not claim a knowledge of quantum mechanics but when it comes to history, everybody has something to say. We all are aware of some history, and that leads us to assume that we are well-informed and educated about our past. The nonhistory people would thus fight to death defending their versions without critically examining the aspects of their narratives. They form their opinions on the basis of whatsapp forwards and clickbaity articles. Drenched in chauvinism and nationalism, they aggressively defend the glory of their community even if history doesn’t agree with their notions. They base their thoughts on fables, epics, legends and claim that they are aware of history. The recent fuss over Padmavati and Taj Mahal are burning examples of misinterpretation and politicization of history by shrewed leaders and ignorant masses. Thus, as of today, it is of utmost importance to know what is history and what is not. 

History is not mythology. Some people will kill for Ram but his historicity is restricted to fables and tales. In the same way, Allah’s flying carpet is yet to find a scientific proof. These characters, for a historian, are mere characters who carry some hint of the past, of their creators. Religious texts thus only give a whiff of truth as they are gilded with exaggerated realities. Religious texts, as additional sources, might tell us about the societies that wrote them, they never contribute anything more of value. Historians are not interested in Gods and Goddesses, their interest is in humans. The motto that God Created Us is read in reverse by historians. We are not intrigued by Ram or Allah, we are intrigued by their creators – homo sapien sapiens. Thus, history is not what you see on Devlok at 8 pm on Epic, history is what you find in libraries, in those humongous tomes that come without photographs and are boring and monotonous as fuck. So please stop harassing your historian friends or relatives for not knowing where Hanuman came from. 

Another phrase that is often used by fringe groups is ‘our history’, which is wrong if by ‘our’ you don’t imply mankind. History cannot be owned by a faction. A heritage may belong to a community, history, however, is universal. It can be questioned, criticised and reinterpreted. The Achilleses of the past can be reconstructed as devils. History, unlike heritage, is not rigid or stagnant. It changes with time, it changes with lenses. Heritage is something you would be proud of; history is something you would learn from. Those who lay a claim over history are people who don’t know what history is. 

The recent heat over Padmavati is a burning example. People are brutally attacking the movie, saying it portrays Padmavati in a bad light and it distorts ‘history.’ Well, let us talk about the ‘history’ of Padmavati. To begin with, the historicity of Rani Padmavati is as clear as of Yeti the abominable Snowman. She first appears in a poem, as a fictional character, and remains invisible for a couple of centuries. Then, she is revived, as an epitome of sacrifice and valour, in the context of freedom movement. As for her existence, history doesn’t register it. Contemporary sources don’t mention such a queen and there’s no account that hint at such events. You are talking about distortion of history, but for that, it has to exist in the first place. Another attack is aimed at Ala-ud-din who has been deemed as the most evil soul of the millennium. Now that would be the distortion of ‘history’ because Ala-ud-din existed in the first place. 

Anyway, this growing tendency to see Muslims as villains is historically inaccurate and unfair. Their invasion is often portrayed as assault over ‘India’. When you are commenting on centuries old events and processes you have to keep in mind that these should not be viewed through the hubble of 21st century. The fact is that India and modern-day Hinduism never existed before 1900s. The subcontinent was a culmination of princely states who kept fighting among themselves. The religious philosophies were diverse and so were the people. The colors of nationalism are very fresh ones, so we have to look deeper. Once you eliminate the notion of ‘India’ it is easier to see things clearly. Medieval people fought for Glory and Gold and that drove them to uncharted lands. If they are resurrected they would probably not give a monkey’s fart about your nationalism. Muslims no more attacked us than we attacked Seleucus and others. Kushans came from China, Hunas from central Asia. Hunas were one of the groups to become Rajput later, and that is ‘historically’ accurate. (Consult B D Chattopadhyaya). 

So what I am trying to say is that as free citizens of a democratic nation, we should not encroach upon the freedom of others. If you have to form an opinion about history, read it and decide for yourself. Don’t pick up historical pieces from the speeches of politicians, for they are poisoned with hatred and evil. 

Happy Diwali 

Not so happy 😑

My eyes are full of tears as I write this. No, nobody died. It’s just that the blockheads who live on the second floor have been performing some fucking yagna for the last few centuries. As ancient Romans would call it, my apartment is gravioris infernum now. All I see is veiled objects, smoke billowing in and out of every window and door, and I don’t even have Asthma. It’s just that my eyes are a bit sensitive and more than that my brain is. I was happily watching Reaction channels on my mobile phone when my eyes started to hurt. Four minutes later, I was sure I was going blind. 

“Didn’t I tell you to stay away from phone? “My mother would say and I wouldn’t be able to see her. I wouldn’t be able to draw naked ladies. Every time I’d admire a beautiful woman she’d know I’m lying. How awful to be blind! 

I pulled myself up from that nightmarish thought and blinked profusely. I ran around like a pesticide-stricken honeybee, unaware of my destiny or senses. I ran for air but every inch of it was polluted, like they show in disaster films. The pigeons at my window had already flown away, and I with a complete lack of wings, was flailing my arms because that’s what you do when you are dying and don’t have wings. Those fucking pigeons! I rushed to the bathroom and splattered a sea across my face but it didn’t help. It felt like there were ants running on my cornea with katanas attached to their bootsoles. I started sneezing as well. The whole thing was like a Stephen King novel. 

Restless and dying, I soaked my towel, wrapped it around my head and stood at the bathroom door like a B grade remake of Tutankhamun. I was also cursing in muffled voices and bobbing and shaking my head out of irritation and pain. And then I heard the shriek of a woman. 

I removed my face bandage and discovered my landlady standing horrified, her face paler than a fish, her eyes two big meteor craters. 

“Aunty..I..I was just..”

And she scooted away. Perhaps she had come to ask for rent. Perhaps. Perhaps she’ll soon find a new renter. 

I thought about going down to the 2nd floor and confronting them, but they have an animal named Lucy. They say it’s a bitch but I am sure it’s a Leopard or something. Goddamn Lucy. I couldn’t go there. So instead I imagined my empty dustbin-carton was Lucy and kicked it till it crushed like a Styrofoam cup. Now feminists will say it’s misogynistic but I don’t give Santa’s fuck. I was dying. I could kill a bitch. Or whatever she was. 

There’s this sink in our apartment which we don’t use, as it leaks. The water flows directly into their flat. I thought about peeing in the sink but then I didn’t have the required urinary urge. I didn’t even have water. 

So I wore a shirt and went to fetch a bottle of water from my neighbor, or as I’d like to call her affectionately, my landlady. There she was, brewing tea peacefully. As I entered she froze like a spider. When I passed her she trembled. The minute that passed filling the water was the quietest minute in recorded history. It was so quiet scientists heard Big Bang waves without those byzantine radios. It was so quiet libraries and hospitals went into shock and Zeus rubbernecked through clouds to check if everybody was dead on earth.

I filled the water and my landlady asked, staring into my red eyes with stark fear. 

“You didn’t go to home? ”

“Hehehe..No Aunty. Hehehe..My home is very far. It’s so far…”I thought about adding humour but she was gazing me like sheeps gaze at a murderous lion, so I left. I went back and the mist hadn’t melted yet. I sniffled and sneezed and cussed and decided to write thise grumbling post. 

As I finish this, the pigeons are back on my window. And they’re fucking each other like it’s the end of the world. 

Sometimes I wonder how spectacular my life would be if I were a pigeon. 

And yeah, Happy Diwali

Long Day #1 : Birthday Cake

We decided to celebrate it…formally.

Index – Following are the petnames of people in my group :

  • Netaji – Hailing from a political and gangster background, he wants to become the president of India.   
  • Popatlal – Otherwise a genius, his skeletal frame makes him look like a grasshopper. 
  • Danger – I have no idea why he is referred to as that. 
  • Ummm, I don’t know, but we have a petname for his future wife – Begum Noor Jahan. For the sake of convenience let’s call him Dick
  • The Aggressive Guy – He so desperately wants to pick a fight that when he’s got no enemies he kicks empty air. 
  • Laddoo – well, that’s what they call me. Because I’m fat. 

 It was Netaji’s birthday recently and so Popatlal decided to throw in a surprise. Yeah, we are so single that we plan birthday surprise for our male friends. Danger called me and we agreed to a deal. We would get him a cake – that would be, essentially, for consumption. There are people who buy cakes for face, which, if you ask me, is the worst use of money after Pablo Escobar’s famous logfire. Anyway, we decided for a small cake (chocolate -> MANDATORY). It’s just that when we went to the store nobody had money. Cute. 

“That will be 220 rupees. “The shop owner said with a smirk.

Popatlal looked at me, I looked at Danger, Danger looked at Dick, and Dick stared at the duststorms left by the glamorous cars that zoomed by. 

“I don’t have that much. “Popatlal said. “What you all got? ”

“Umm..let me check. “I fished in my empty pocket, “Nothing. ”

“I was born poor. “Danger said. We all loked at Dick, who stood there, pale and flaccid. 

“We don’t have enough money in our family to buy a pen so that we could apply for Ration Cards. We are Bangladeshi immigrants. “Dick said. 

The Agressive Guy waited for somebody to ask him so that he could turn it into an argument and pick a fight, but nobody said him anything. 

“Here’s the money. “The Aggressive Guy gave in eventually, “If I don’t get it back soon, I’ll break all your teeth. ”
We happily accepted the money and I chose a beautiful cake with a dark chocolate layer at the top and two more in between. 

“Do you want to write something on it? “The owner asked. 

“Netaji. “We echoed. He smirked.

“No wait. ” I said. “Write Chutiya. ” 

They all stared at me. A pause. And Popatlal nodded. 

“Yeah. That. ”

The shop owner smirked again. There was something fishy about that guy. He took the tube and wrote the word on it. While he was doing so, his phone rang and Saare Jahan Se Achcha started playing in the air. The customers looked at us, the old ones, as if we were the reason why God sent Earthquakes and Floods in this world. 

But we got the cake anyway. 

“Wait, I’ll go first. “I said, as we stood outside his alley, “and when I say ‘All Clear’, follow me. Okay? ”

They nodded like a good battalion. But didn’t follow my advice. 

Netaji was already leaning on the rails of his balcony when we entered the alley. So that just ruined the surprise. He was dumbfounded to see the word Chutiya though. 

“Whoever wrote this, I’ll get him hanged when I become the president of India. “He vowed. 

After the formal birthday song was sung, Popatlal divided the cake into 4 parts – as the Aggressive Guy had a fast, Netaji wasn’t interested in cakes –  which he claimed were equal. They would have been way more equal had a bee, with a knife tied to its tail, divided the cake. Fight broke and I grabbed the 2nd largest piece. I licked all over it before I began to eat, in order to safeguard my possession from any possible foreign invasion. 

“This is unfair. I got the smallest. “Said Dick.

“You are a Bangladeshi immigrant, remember? You are lucky to even get a whiff. “

The Editorial 😑

Imagine going through this every morning….😡

1

Editorials are monotonous as fuck. When I was a kid my tuition teacher advised (ordered) me to read An English Newspaper everyday, especially the Editorial page as it’s rich in knowledge. I was 14 then. I had Ben 10 Alien Force stickers on the inside of my pencil box! Ugh..I had a pencil box!! My perception of knowledge wasn’t very clear back then. I mean I knew about Null-Void, but was that something that constituted knowledge? It was all so confusing. I watched insect wars on Discovery. I don’t know.

Anyway, I subscribed for a morning daily. The Times of India. It was either this or The Telegraph, and the latter didn’t offer glitzy Sunday supplements, so I went for the former. 

Now there are one or two things you need to understand here. I lived in a small non-English city of a small non-English state of a fairly large English country. The aforementioned newspapers didn’t have many readers around and so they weren’t published in a nearby locality. 

“You’ll get it a day late. “The hawker said as he sipped the free tea, sitting like a crab in my favourite little chair. Have I told you about my little chairs? Okay, I’ll. 

“Okay. “I nodded. It’s not as if I had a choice.

And so, it started. My teacher was the happiest person on earth the day he heard this news.

“I’m so glad that you got the paper. Now nobody can stop you. You will touch skies now. Just wait and see. “He said, his eyes two little balls of wildfire and then suddenly soot, “And oh…I’m leaving for Delhi tomorrow. I got a job. ”

Whaattt!!?? How the fuck was I supposed to read that goddamn paper now?

I knew nothing to begin with. Words like Corroboration, Logistics and Heterodox gave me anu…anue….aneu…Holy Santa claus….aneurysm. I wasn’t born an Angrez. I had received my primary education in hindi medium, so English words swam like stoned jellyfishes in front of my eyes. I didn’t know why cat meant pussy but pussy didn’t mean cat. I mean according to Euclid, they should have been same. 

Anyway, I began reading the paper. There were some Chetan Bhagat articles, devoid of humour. There were no jokes in his pieces, all he did was trying to make sense which didn’t make sense. I mean I knew him as a story-teller. There were goliath articles, each the size of Indian Ocean, and I’d find twenty thousand difficult words before I could finish the first paragraph. It was a struggle, it was like decoding an ancient script, only without the possibility of winning a Pulitzer. 

I tried a few more articles and then I gave up. Except for Jug Suraiyya’s tiny comic pieces, nothing in those pages made sense. People wrote monologues on political, social and economic issues. Nobody talked about Null-Void. Nobody talked about how cool a KameHameHa wave was. So, I found an alternative use of the paper. I started cutting out sceneries and made an album. When my mother saw it she admired my work wholeheartedly. 

“Wow! This is so amazing! “She said, as she flipped through the album,

“Also, no paper from tomorrow. ”

2.

Fast forward to 2017. I have subscribed for The Indian Express. If The Hindu is the iPhone of newspapers, The Indian Express is the RedMi. Poor people read this and try to compete with The Hindu readers. This paper belongs to the phylum UPSCE of species Newspapers. People who want to crack CSE perform fellatio on this newspaper and then swallow it like a Black Widow Spider. I too have been licking it for some times. It’s not like The Times of India – full of ads and hot women and hot topics and that shiny Sunday supplement with raunchy series like the Diary of a Single Girl. On the contrary, The Indian Express is almost completely Black and White, with a complete absence of perky breasts, sparkling cleavages, screaming matrimonials and Hashmi Dawakhana ads. It is full of something which you’d rarely find in a newspaper – news

The editorial is boring as hell, still. There’s one event of national importance and bam! Everyone’s got their tits out and long and endless articles appear days after days till the issue is squeezed to the bones. In the recent privacy verdict, the front page was full of supreme Court judgement. Then, there were half a dozen pages full of explanations, detailed coverage of the event, history of privacy, interview of the heroes, future scopes, shit, poop, etcetera, etcetera. Then there was the Editorial page. Then there was the Ideas Page. I was so flummoxed I took a leave from the college for a couple of days to finish reading it and still had six pages remaining by the time my short holiday ended. I was disgusted. 

Most of the articles are similar in structure, they carry the same tone, and have the same appeal to the reader. Stirring articles – Yashwant Sinha‘s latest, for example – are rarer than Spontaneous Human Combustion. People wait, with telescopes, in their balconies, for such articles. Even Halley’s comet passes by Earth thrice before such an article shows up. Rest of the days, it’s just people ranting and rumbling, criticising or defending the government, pointing out how dalits are oppressed, how women are oppressed, how farmers are oppressed, how Muslims are oppressed, how immigrants are oppressed, and recently, how journalists are oppressed. They talk about the problem, mention a failing scheme/law and provide general solutions. Now if you’re learning how to make a soap such a narrative would be fine, but being a history student, a blogger and a novel maniac, this narrative doesn’t work for me. I have to read those like people read H C Verma – with care and guessjobs. 

Yeah. What else? There’s Sudoku. Well. And comic strips which are not The Wizard of Oz or Dennis the Menace. There’s Sports page without the column that’s usually reserved for a tantalising photograph of an athlete’s girlfriend. They discuss Dengue Prevention schemes on page 3. I mean, you get the picture, right?

I hope you understand how life is. But I’ve to plough. Because – to conclude with a cheesy English line – no matter how ugly the shipwreck, the Heart has to Go On. 

Okay. That was damn cheesy.