Tuesday, November 30, 2004

P.J. for the day
What do you call a raunchy Indian soap opera?
Quickie Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Of Popes and Brown (pun intended) skins!
This is kind of weirdly coincidental. I just finished plodding (yeah that’s right!) through Jai’s (God bless him for selflessly lending me everything from his prized DVDs to favourite books) copy of Angels and Demons. Dan Brown’s thriller —before Da Vinci Code became a runaway success — is a tale of intrigue set in the Vatican. The book, besides milking dry the conspiracy theory angle associated with the Freemasons and how they were infiltrated by an anti-Church, pro-Science cult called the Illuminati, gives an insider’s view of what goes on inside Christianity’s holiest site, including the ritual involved in electing the Pope.
Imagine my surprise then when I saw this PTI copy:

Asian Pope a possibility: Cardinal Toppo
Shyamal B Roy
Kolkata, Nov 24

The Roman Catholic Church has come to a stage wherein the possibility of a non-European or even an Asian Pope cannot be ruled out, Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, the first tribal in Asia to be included in the college of cardinals that elects the pope, said here today.
Fr Toppo, who as cardinal is eligible to be a candidate for the papacy, however, declined to comment whether an Asian might succeed the present Pope, John Paul-II, as head of the Catholic Church.
"There is no use speculating. The papal election is guided by the Holy Spirit."
To elect a pope, cardinals from the worldover meet at the Vatican for a week-long conclave during which they remain closeted in prayer and meditation before creating a panel of candidates. After the panel is created, pieces of paper containing the names are burnt in a stove. While the pieces of papers emitting black smoke are rejected, the candidate whose name appears on the paper that emits white smoke is made the Pope.
Over the past few centuries, popes had traditionally been Europeans, more specifically Italians, the favourites being the bishops of Milan, Naples and Genoa. A deviation was made about 25 years ago with the election of Karol Wojtyla, Bishop of Krakow, Poland, as Pope John Paul-II.

P.S. That part about the black\white smoke wasn’t there in Angels. It mentioned something about the ballot papers being burned to signal to the world that the conclave, a top-secret affair, had not yet chosen a Pope. However, the choice depending on the colour of the smoke sounds a bit iffy to me. Which means, either Brown or Roy has got his research wrong.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

This is the end, my friend

"Yasser Arafat died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I saw the news on the CNN website: 'Yasser Arafat dies' That doesn't mean anything. It may have happened yesterday."
With due apologies to Albert Camus, I couldn’t but help replace ‘mother’ with ‘Arafat’ in one of the most hard-hitting opening sentences in literature.
There was a time when I hero-worshipped this man. His accented English, the gun holster, his black -and-white keffiyeh made me believe in the Palestinian Cause. I identified myself with the hundreds of Palestinian youth, who armed with nothing but rocks, challenged the might of the Uzi-toting Israeli Army.
It was the David-and-Goliath story, the irony being that the Israelites and Philistines had swapped places.
There are a few memories of him that stand out. Arafat addressing the UN Assembly with his gun by his side, Arafat giving Indira Gandhi a fraternal hug, Arafat offering to shake hands with Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin to seal the Oslo peace agreement at the White House lawns...
But over the last few years, the media destroyed the image of Arafat the freedom fighter. Increasingly portrayed as a man interested more in furthering his own political ambitions rather than seriously trying to win freedom for the thousands who looked up to him as their leader, Arafat lost his halo.
Another iconic figure had started to crumble, the disintegration hastened by a partisan media.
In the last few years, Arafat had joined the dark corner were I had relegated my collection of Fallen Idols: Maradona, Azharuddin, Tyson, Nadia Comaneci, Bachchan (post-ABCL)...
So, even as news about his virtual incarceration, his cancer, his comatose condition filtered through, it failed to touch me at a personal level. Even today, when I read that he is ‘officially’ dead, the first thought that came to my mind was that the newspapers would not have to sweat too much, as they had enough time to ready his obit.
A sad end indeed.
Adieu Arafat, long live the intifadah!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Head to head

The Telegraph: Bush Kerries on (Brilliant, just like mine)
TOI: It’s two in the Bush (Good one)
HT: Bush is back (sucks)
Hindu: Bush retains the White House (typically Hindu, no-frills)
Asia Age: Bush defeats exit polls (MJ is losing his touch)
FE: Encore for Bush Jr (rhymes)
ET: Bottomline Bush (doesn’t make the wow! grade)
BS: Bush makes it, just (What else did you expect?!)
Indian Express: US hands the key back to Bush (hmm... not snappy enough)
Statesman: Bush back with a bang (Did I hear anyone whimper?)
Business Line: Bush emerges victor as Kerry concedes defeat (Is this the intro or the header?!)
Deccan Herald: Bush clinches cliffhanger (...but headline doesn’t scale any creative heights)
Deccan Chronicle: Bush creates history (Is there a barf bag around?)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Desk spends night giving Bush good head

The newsdesk went into creative overdrive trying to come up with a smart headline for the Return of Dubya, the Dickhead. Anyway, these were the better ones:
My Boss: Kerry Bushwhacked
Smart colleague: Bushfire burns Kerry
Smart arse me: Kerry on George
Me again: Return of the fink
One more: There’s no ism like Bushism
Smart colleague again: Bush stars in stripes

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


We are living in the Information Age, right?! We are on the threshold of a Brave New World, where different modes of communication will converge to create a wired e-niverse where all information will be just a click away, isn’t it?! The medium will be passé, Marshall McLuhan be damned. We are already fiddling around with sub-atomic particles, trying to peer into the backyards of our possible alien neighbours a million light years away and some stupid jerk somewhere is probably tracking my online activities even as I post this blog. But, hey, just before we start jumping around with joy because the power of technology can now bring to our bedrooms every intimate detail of Paris Hilton’s amorous proclivities, let’s do a reality check. I for one believe that no matter how far we may go on the information superhighway, the masses, meaning me and you, we will always have to make do with trivia, the larger issues will always elude us. Look at me, there are so many things that I do not know and that bothers me no end.

I DON’T KNOW what to do about adipose that is accumulating layer upon layer around my midriff.

I DON’T KNOW what is happening to the PF that my previous employers owe me and which I am just not getting around to retrieve.

I DON’T KNOW why my digestive system just can’t take up the challenge of trying to assimilate any food that is remotely spicy.

I DON’T KNOW why the PC at home just refuses to respond if I don’t reboot it a zillion times.

I DON’T KNOW how these stupid telemarketing companies get hold of my cellphone number.

I DON’T KNOW why my life so unerringly follows the dictates of Murphy’s Law.

Come to think of it, I DON’T EVEN KNOW what the hell I am doing here!

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