Writing on the Wall
Rajesh Nakar’s installation art at Kala Ghoda festival may not be as eye-catching as those by others but it says a lot about Gen X’s disgust with the political situation. It is a makeshift sofa with a metal trunk as the base, although the artist calls it a `throne’. A foam mattress thrown over it serves as a lid but the chest is overflowing with jewellery and cash and some of it is sticking out of the trunk. Written in bold letters on the mattress is, `Get Up’; unmistakably addressed to those who have been sitting on scams. A parrot perched on the backrest has a tarot card carrying the theme of the installation art: `Kya Popat Banaya! (You’ve been fooled!)’. Lest the Aam Admi Party take vicarious pleasure from it, Nakar is on hand wearing a Gandhi cap with `Kya Popat Banaya!’ written on it.
Nakar says this is a spoof on today’s political situation where everyone thinks that the other is a fool. Let’s hope enough politicians see it and get the message.
A Hospital Tale
At Tata Memorail Cancer Hospital last week, an old man caught this correspondent by the arm and said, “What are you doing here my daughter? Come let’s go. Your mother is waiting.”
The shocked correspondent did not know how to react as the man looked from a good family from his clothes. “Come lets go. Come quickly. I have been searching for you all over. You give me so much trouble. This time I am going to make sure that your mother gives you a good scolding when we get back to her,” said the old man pulling her towards one of the cancer wards.
The shocked and scared correspondent did not know how to react. The old man looked very ill and weak. He took her to the ward, then to the next. The correspondent then had to stop him and tell him that he was mistaken.
The old man got even more furious. He started shouting on her in front of the whole hospital crowd while she went red blushing in shame. She looked all around for help but no one arrived.
Suddenly, the old man became unconscious and he fell on the floor. The wardboys and the doctors followed soon. Soon, she learnt that the man had blood cancer and has been abandoned by his son and daughter. He just has his wife who takes care of him.
The monorail may be the symbol of all that is new and hi-tech so this correspondent was amused to see a security guard at its Chembur station with a gun that was used in World War I, which makes it a century old! This gun, called a musket, is an antiquated smooth bore gun, notorious for misfiring. The musket does not have grooves on the inside of the barrel, as in a rifle, which stabilise the bullet. The Mumbai police last used these muskets during the 1992-’93 post-Babri riots and ended up killing innocent women and children watching the riots from their balconies at Bhendi Bazar.
It seems the Mumbai police has fobbed off these antiquated guns on the newly-created security force of the monorail when their rightful place is in a museum or a pawn shop.
The correspondent came across several men waiting in the office of Maharashtra State Women’s Commission. They were waiting to meet the president. Asked why they were there, one of them said, “I came here to meet the president. I will tell her about the problem I am facing since two years. My wife doesn’t look after my ill parents and always quarrels with them for no reason. She quarrels with me also and is forcing me to arrange for a separate accommodation for her.” He was told by an employee that the commission was meant for women only. Hearing this, another man sitting nearby said, “Madam, even I came here for the same purpose. This is not justice. It is not true that only women are victimised in the family and society. Men are also victimised. My elder brother is not physically fit. He got married 18 years ago. I am the biological father of their two children. All things happened with consent. Now the woman (brother’s wife) has filed a rape case against me. I know I am not guilty but legal provisions are against me. Where should I go?”
Panga Na Lena
It is not often when senior officials exchange banter in public. One such occasion was the inauguration of a traffic police chowky at Kurla. Vivek Phansalkar, Jt Commissioner (traffic), had, in a departure from tradition, chosen an assistant sub-inspector who had won the President’s medal, to inaugurate the chowky.
Speaking from the dais, Phansalkar jokingly said, ”We ‘pataoed’ Nagarale saheb to give a nod to what we were saying by telling him that we at the traffic department had passed a resolution about it.”
When joint commissioner (administration) Nagrale, who is holding charge in the absence of a police commissioner, took the mike, he replied, that there was no need to `patao’ him as he has feared traffic cops since the time he was a child. He added that he would have said ‘yes’ to any proposal Phansalkar would have given because, he did not want take ‘panga’ with the traffic police!
Colleges as Cash Cows
The plethora of engineering and medical colleges in Navi Mumbai compete with each other, not by hiring the best teachers or by stocking the best library, but by hosting the grandest college festival. Even that would have been ok had the focus been on the students. It is on hiring the costliest Bollywood performer/celebrity. Of course, there are also the usual sports tournaments and cultural shows. Surprisingly, there is an entry fee for participation. In one such college, there were 150 participants in a chess tournament with the entry fee being Rs 100. So, Rs 15,000 was collected. And what was the top prize? Rs 1,000. The second prize was Rs 500. There was no third prize. All this for students who have paid a capitation fee of lakhs! No prizes for guessing what students think of such commercialisation.
On Friday, a division bench headed by justice S J Vazifdar was hearing a case related to a housing society. During the arguments, the petitioner’;s advocate said that the petitioner as well as the respondent were North Indians. The judge objected the word ‘;north Indian’; and said that it is only Indian. But the petitioner’s lawyer used the word again. Justice Vajifdar got irked and said, ” What is wrong with you mister? Why are you using this word again and again? In your point of view, I must be ‘West Indian’; instead of Indian? ‘North Indian’, `South Indian’; are unconstitutional. If you do not stop using such words before the court I will issue notice to you.” The lawyer apologized.
Q) What do you call a person who has five brothers and sisters
Contributed by Anil Singh, Swati Jha, Sadhna Kumar and Manas Joshi.
Compiled by Anil Singh.