Vantage point

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pune Cops WIN Sakaal Times FAIL

This article from Sakaal Times had me rolling in laughter for a good half hour. I don't know which is funnier - the bizarre grammar and selection of words by whoever wrote/edited the article, the hilarity of the incident, or the earnestness of the cops in risking lives (their own and others') for a minor parking violation. I can't resist posting it here with annotations.

PUNE: In an incident taken straight from a Hindi potboiler, a Indian origin foreign national merrily drove past in his car dashing two bikes, with an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) clinging on to the bonnet, while a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) firing rounds to stop his vehicle.

Merrily? Was he dressed up as Santa Claus? How do we know he was merry? Maybe he was doing it all with a heavy heart.

The high drama took place near Aurora towers in Camp on Sunday morning.

Wonder if the drama was classified as "high" because it took place near Aurora "towers(sic)"

The police have arrested the errant driver who was later identified as Kamal Jain (65) working as an advisor to managing director in the private company which is based at Shivajinagar, police said.

Now that's a sentence dripping with information - the culprit's name, age, designation, ownership of the company, and location of the company!

Jain an engineering qualified from Germany has been living in India since 12 years. The incident left five persons injured including the ASI.

What is "an engineering qualified"? An engineer? Diploma? Is Jain a branch of engineering by himself? Is he from Germany or was he "qualified from Germany"? The public would like to know!

According to the police, ASI V. B Jadhav was discharging his duties in the Camp when he spotted a Ford Icon (MH 14 AE 5131) in no- parking zone.

Heh, "discharging duties" is such a typically Indian official-ese phrase. And of course, an article where it doesn't belong, and one missing from where it should be.

“I was applying a car jammer when a person came from Aurora towers and sat in the car.

Applying??? ROFL!

He sped away towards me while I signaled him to stop.

He sped "away" AND "towards" him? Cunning!

I jumped on to the bonnet clinging on to the wipers”, said the injured Jadhav.

He hung on to the wipers the whole time? Must be the most resilient wipers in the world, to support a grown man's weight at high speeds!

Meanwhile, DCP Special Branch, Ravindra Sengaonkar was stationed in the area because of the VVIP presence in the city including the Vice President Hamid Ansari and BJP leader L K Advani.

How is the presence of "VVIP"s relevant? Sounds like one of those useless details from an FIR like in Mhais.

“I saw the traffic policeman on the bonnet which triggered suspicion that something was wrong.

What an observant man! Nothing gets by Sengaonkar, does it?

I followed the car with the siren on, but to no avail” Sengaonkar said.

Does that mean the siren did not turn on? Or that the car did not stop. But seriously Sengaonkar saheb, if a full-sized cop hanging from the wipers did not lead to any "avail" from the driver, what could a puny whiney siren do? If anything, the siren is a step backwards. Once bonnet-riding sub-inspectors enter the picture, you gotta up the ante.

Sengaonkar fired six rounds from his service revolver to deflate the tyre of Jain's car.

That's what I'm talkin' about, dude! Unleash some fire power at him!

“The car was traveling at a speed of about 70 to 80 kmph.

At this point, was young Jadhav still hanging on to the wipers? If so, tut-tut Sengaonkar! If you had actually managed to shoot straight and miraculously deflate a tyre, the car would have careened out of control, and at those speeds, it would have meant lifetime pension for Mrs. Jadhav.

I had to be cautious and wanted to stop him desperately as he dashed two bikes in front of me,” the DCP added. The car sped away towards Dorabjee chowk, later towards Nehru Memorial chowk and took a U-tun back towards Dorabjee chowk. He later sped towards ISKCON temple towards teen tofa chowk. The drama came to an end after the hot chase of about 2 km, when the car was waylaid by the DCP.

We demand more details. How exactly did the DCP "waylay" the car? Was Jadhav on the bonnet the whole time? Details please! This needs to be made into a movie.

The DCP flashed wireless messages about the runaway car. A team of police reached the spot and took Jain in to custody. Meanwhile, the injured couple Satish S Kanwalkar (42) and Neelima S Kanolkar (40) , both residents of Bhosari are recuperating at a private hospital. The ASI who sustained minor injuries was discharged after treatment while the two others on a two- wheeler have been hospitalised. The police are investigating the reason as to why the senior citizen tried to bolt from them.

Swaccha shuddhalekhan aahe!

Jain has been booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

Looks like he dodged the parking ticket after all! Which was kinda the point anyway. Kamal Jain WIN!

The incident which has sent ripples in the police department has triggered the question of the safety of traffic policemen.

What exactly is the nature of these ripples? And how does a question get triggered? Isn't there enough triggering in this whole incident already?

“This is the 49th traffic policeman this year which is a victim of a road rage” Joint Commissioner of Police Rajendra Sonawane said reacting to the incident.

Indeed, it's hard to be a cop in Pune. You're either a victim of road rage, or then you get pigs thrown at you.

DCP Sengaonkar and ASI Jadhav will be awarded a bravery medal for his valor and courageous action.

For "his" valor? If both are being awarded medals, it should be for "their" valor. Unless of course, they are being awarded the medals for Kamal Jain's valor and courageous action(sic). In which case, "his" works.


Friday, July 17, 2009

"Canadian" Cricket Team?

Why the quotes? This is the playing eleven from Canada's ongoing 4-day match against Netherlands as part of the ICC Intercontinental Cup (which Canada is on the verge of winning!).

Geoff Barnett
Rizwan Cheema
S Jyoti
Qaiser Ali
S Dhaniram
TC Bastiampillai
AA Mulla†
S Keshvani
Khurram Chohan
U Bhatti
Zameer Zahir

The only two players born in Canada are Barnett (the only white guy in the whole team, counting reserves) and Keshvani, who seems to be a 2nd generation Indian immigrant. All others were either born in the Indian subcontinent, or are Indians from the Caribbeans. In fact take away Barnett's name, and replace it with some other South Asian from the reserves, and ask someone from Canada to guess which team it is.

Hilarious! The Netherlands team on the other hand is almost all white. But my guess is they, along with Ireland, and some African countries are exception. Why doesn't the ICC call the "Intercontinental Cup" what it really is? Club cricket for the South Asian diaspora.

Hangover and Bruno - Short Reviews


I'd heard only good things about this movie, and it lived up to its reputation. Hilarious movie, a much smarter version of Dude Where's My Car?, I though. There have been a spate of good stoner movies of late, and finally the alcohol lovers have responded with a drunkard's movie (although technically of course, it is a roofie-ers movie, but we'll kindly adjust). All the actors, relative unknowns (except Ed Helms of The Daily Show and The Office fame), have done a great job. The situations and all hilarious, and it all comes together very nicely in the end. This is definitely a must-buy-DVD-for-repeat-viewings movie.


Funny and incisive, but somehow failed to achieve the heights of Borat, IMHO. Which is surprising, because in Da Ali G show, I always found Bruno sketches funnier than Borat sketches. I think the movie falters because unlike Borat, which had a single target to poke fun at, Bruno has two - the vapid LA-centric lifestyle in the first half and the American heartland's homophobia in the second half. And the transition from one to another is not seamless. I also did not think the basic underlying "storyline" was as coherent as in Borat. Worth watching nonetheless. Warning to those who get scandalized easily - if Borat made you worried about losing your lunch, Bruno will make you puke your intestines out.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Chandrasas, Arzee, Coelho

As many of you might know, my friend Chandrahas recently released his debut novel Arzee the Dwarf. I am looking forward to reading it soon, and I am sure it will do very well.

I read this interview of him on Rediff, and absolutely loved it. The honesty, frankness and thoughtfulness he conveys in the interview is so Chandrahas, I can almost hear him saying those things. The interview, which is already very cool because of the peek it offers into how the book came about, becomes uber-cool when he minces no words in going after one of my pet-peeves. The following that Paulo Coelho has, especially in India.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, read a lot -- read varied stuff. Don't stick to your comfort zone. Read something that challenges you, makes you think about it. If you understand everything from the beginning, you're a passive consumer, which won't increase your range. Don't stick to Paulo Coelho and Dan Brown. In fact, throw them as far as you can! Paulo Coelho is a rubbish writer -- I know many people like him, but I think it's just comfort food for the mind. It's not going to lead you anywhere. I honestly do NOT believe that if you want something bad enough, the universe will conspire to give it to you. Rubbish!

Total pwnage! The indignant responses by Coelho fans on the message board below the article also make for a hilarious reading, as Rediff message boards always do.

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Are gays born gay or do they choose to be gay?

The correct response to this question in a regular conversation or a scientific debate of course is, they are born gay. The correct response in a debate about legality or public policy should ideally be "That's an irrelevant question" or "That's none of the state's effing business". That is, from the libertarian freedom-based point of view.

Remember Colin Powell's famous interview where he endorsed Obama? He said that whenever people say "Obama is a Muslim", then the response "No he is not a Muslim" is correct, but the really correct and perfect response would be, "Why should it matter even if he is?".

I know gays are very emphatic about people recognizing that their orientation is something they were born with, not chose. And considering the narrow-mindedness of the general population towards gays, I can understand where they are coming from. Whether gayness is something you can choose or not is a valid question to be answered correctly in academic, social or even scientific debates. But it DOES NOT belong in the policy realm.

Because even if tomorrow it is somehow miraculously proven by scientists that being gay is a choice, Sec 377 was still wrong, and banning gay marriages is still wrong. What two consenting adults do is their choice, and the state has no business poking its nose into it. There should be no onus on them to prove that their sexual orientation is caused by nature and not by choice.

I understand that the whole "being gay is not a choice, but what you are born with" line is necessary to counter the slippery slope naysayers. Naysayers who say, you legalize gay sex, so why not legalize beastiality, prostitution, polygamy? To which the correct response should be, yes, we should! Prostitution should of course be legal, as long as it is being done by choice. Same with polygamy. As far as beastiality is concerned, if it is OK for me to buy an animal, then kill it, chop it into little pieces and eat it up, why should buying an animal and buggering it be such a crime?

In the end, I guess the choice argument is important in policy/legal debates dependent on whether you are arguing from an equality position or a freedom one. From the equality angle, which is where almost all gay activists seem to be coming from, I guess the "not a choice" point is central to the debate. From a freedom angle, it is at best peripheral.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Blogger Demands HAF Remove Offensive Demand

As a meat-eating Hindu, I demand that the Hindu America Foundation immediately cease a demand campaign that is highly disrespectful and offensive to meat-eating Hindus worldwide.

The foundation displays a clear-cut Brahminical bias by claiming that the Hindu religion proscribes offering meat to deities. The foundation clearly has not heard of the tradition of Gatari Amavasya, observed by non-Brahmins in Maharashtra for a very long time, when animals are sacrificed to Gods and then consumed. Traditions of sacrificing animals to rural deities, and then consuming their meat are prevalent among Dalits, Kashatriyas and Shudras, all over India. Are they not Hindu, I ask the foundation? Are only vegetarian Brahmins qualified to be called Hindu?

Last year, MS Dhoni, India's cricket captain, sacrificed a goat at a temple in Ranchi. Is he not Hindu, I ask the foundation? Is he going against the religion, and is thus a heretic or a blasphemer?

If you want to make demands of Burger King, please do, but do not, I repeat, DO NOT insult us in the process. I demand that you immediately issue an apologies to all meat-eating Hindus, Hindus who belong to communities where meat offerings to deities are part of age-old tradition, and to MS Dhoni, whom you have implied as being a heretic. I also demand you withdraw the letter to Burger King, or at least amend it to make it non-insulting to us meat-eating Hindus. I await your swift response.

Yours Sincerely
Gaurav Sabnis

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Budget Day in India leads to a funny observations

In the United States, issues like tax rates, spending, budget deficit etc. and other budget-related points are a BIG deal in terms of their being election issues. But the actual federal budget presentation hardly gets any news coverage.

On the other hand, in India, no one can make spending cuts, tax rates or deficit reduction an election issue. And yet we treat the day, on which our federal government announces is budget, like some big national festival!

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Is Michael Cera the teenage Gary Coleman?

Remember Gary Coleman? Little Arnold from Different Strokes? The little kid who, like Peter Pan, always stayed the same age because of a kidney disease, and even now in his 40s, could pass off as a kid with some make-up? Well, I have been wondering - is Michael Cera the teenage Gary Coleman?

I am a big fan of Michael Cera. He has that understated yet engaging screen presence of Amol Palekar, without the in-your-face nerdiness of Woody Allen or Larry David. Almost everything he has been in, has been watchable at worst and classic at best. But I've been thinking... whether it was his breakthrough role as George Michael Bluth in Arrested Development in 2004, or then good teen movies like Juno, Superbad in 2007 or Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist in 2008 he looks almost exactly the same! Even in Year One, with all the prehistoric make-up, he still looks like a teenager for cryin' out loud! And he is already twenty one!

Which begs a question even more important than who the father of Michael Jackson's kids is - Is Michael Cera the teenage Gary Coleman?



Just woke up to this amazing bit of news. The Delhi High Court has struck down section 377 of the IPC, and effectively decriminalized homosexuality. w00t!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Square Root of Three

A brilliantly cutely nerdy love poem by Kumar Patel in the movie Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay David Feinberg in reality.

I’m sure that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality

When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three

As quietly co-waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands

Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed

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