If the Eskimo language has x number of words for snow, since they are so well versed with the many forms of it, why don’t we have x raised to e raised to pi raised to a googol number of words for bullshit?
Rameez spent the day teasing his sisters for being ‘shorties’. “In another few months I will overtake you” he sang in a mocking tone. The sisters could be mean when they wanted, and height, apparently was a touchy matter in their world, and now Rameez had had enough.
When this puzzled Rameez, they withdrew into a serious tone and Razia added “You see Ammi and Abba always wanted to have a boy, but Ammi did not want to carry a heavy weight for one whole year, so they borrowed you from the lady who comes to sell vegetables”
“No!” said Rameez “That is a lie”
Rabia took over the tale “Can’t you see? She is taller than Abba even; that is why you are growing tall. Why else do you think she gives you an extra carrot every time she comes here”
“So that I can run fast!” Rameez claimed
“Yes, Yes, she loves you sooo much” they sang back to him this time.
They went on and on, giving him various reasons why he was not really part of the family. Finally Lubna, their Ammi, having heard the last part of the exchange stepped in and admonished the girls, telling them to go mind their own business.
The end of the episode saw Rameez retreat into one of his dark moods where he spoke to no one and spent time locked up in his room. When his mother pestered him to go out and play with the kids in the street, he took out his bicycle and screamed away in silence.
He pedaled hard, feet kicking with anger; he wasn’t sitting, but standing erect to get that extra thump into his cycling. He did not slow down to take the turn, but when he took it, he saw a pack of street dogs rise up from their slumber and look in his direction. Rameez increased his speed, pedaling like there was a life to save -or take- somewhere. He headed straight at the first dog he was about to encounter. The dogs took a couple of steps towards him, barking and making vile noises but they soon sensed the madness that was approaching them and retreated. Rameez was bent on running over the meanest looking canine on that road, but the dog leapt out of the way at the last moment – scrambling to safety. Once he had gone past the pack, the dogs began chasing him again, but Rameez was playing catch up with the wind and he raced away towards the end of the road, took another turn, skidded, and was gone.
Minutes later he had reached the tall water tank tower. It was a place he and his friends used to frequent a year ago, back when they first discovered it. Slowly it lost its sheen after the boys found other exciting places to visit. Once in a while Rameez still cycled down here, as the place made him feel comfortable for some strange reason. He climbed the spiral staircase inside the wide and circular pillar that supported the huge water tank. There were a lot of stairs and Rameez would usually be out of breath when he reached the top. Today, he ran up the staircase, his bicycle had not been locked to a gate like his father had taught him to do, but was lying on the ground where he had left it. He was running up the metal staircase that was making a barrage of clangy-mangy sounds at his behest.
When he reached the top he was out of breath alright, but upon opening the maintenance door the breeze hit his face ever so gently – just like his mother blowing on his forehead after she had prayed for him - that a calm came over him. He sat down on the metal slab, let his feet hang down through the railing, and began surveying the world around him. He could see the street where his home was situated, behind the street the rectangular ground where they played cricket, further down the main road from where he took the school bus.
It was Saturday evening and the traffic was light, there were a few kids on terraces flying kites; the season was just beginning. Further away, towards the horizon, the famous Ayyapan temple rose up into the sky, its glorious goburam attracting birds of the peaceful kind. Closer to the main road the half constructed shopping complex stood like an abandoned fortress, its guardians having retreated for a weekend of fun and frolic. What struck Rameez was the ghastly scene atop the work-in-progress terrace of this lifeless market place.
For a few scary seconds, Rameez saw what he thought were body parts of dismembered men lying naked to the elements. Soon though, to his disappointment, he realized what they actually were. They were those same elegant looking bodies that stood proud in shops that sold clothing. He had seen them often enough, slim and sleek in their shapes and adorning the most tempting outfits and hairdos that a store had to offer. Standing unmoved all day at the gawking of the shoppers and the amazement of small kids who thought they were real people. Those very same mannequins now lay broken down into their most basic structural parts – a few limbs lying scattered on the floor – hands being introduced to legs, a headless torso leaning against a bamboo – wondering where the rest of it was, and a couple of heads paying knock-knock against each other – beautiful but ugly. Some of the heads were bald, and the torsos looked like they belonged to a misunderstood woman. In spite of its now apparent benign nature, the scene still had a sting of malignancy to it. It set in motion such wild and fantastic ideas in the fertile mind of Rameez that time flew by on top of the water tank.
Text by Hameed Uddin
Top Photo by Shivam Sinha
That the U.S. spies on other
countries is no revelation; but the fact that our
government is choosing to react in such a supine
manner and refusing to stand up for the privacy
of its citizens and the confidentiality of its official
communication is truly shocking.
It should not be shocking, especially to a news organization that had pretty stern words for the Indian Govt. Regarding its nuclear deal with the USA, and more recently collaborated with Wikileaks to publish diplomatic cables that featured India, that our overlords continue to act more like the vassals they are.
“If they had taught a class on
how to be the kind of citizen Dick
Cheney worries about, I would have
finished high school.”
Edward snowden would have been great to have at 3bulls
You’ve been to the edge of childhood, haven’t you? It’s a few streets from home, at the corner of Saturn and The Milky Way, where the stars become trinkets and shower down in a haze. There is a great big tree there; it bears a million leaves each year. Today if you were to climb up a branch and shake it lightly, little pearls might rain down still.
Your bicycle could have well been your stallion, for you were known to use your sheets as capes. There is a plastic cricket stump in your attic that has seen the blood of many a dragon. What about the Math teacher who wanted you to add things in your head, and the midgets who wouldn’t let you? If you had the foresight then, you’d have fed the midgets to the dragons and done well in math too. Your first math lesson wasn’t even math. The kid next door held up two hands and began counting backwards on his fingers “ten, nine, eight, seven, six and add the five from the other hand and it makes eleven” he said and ruined your entire week.
Remember the trusting toad you put in a box and carried to school for your science project? You let him live after all, and it is a story the frogs will never forget. Your name signed all over the neighborhood with the talented direction-control of piss; you had named it and claimed it and owned it. Those bumbling neighbors who spoke of your mom slyly would have known better if they had cared to smell their walls. Summer nights spent sneaking into the smuggler’s house down the road to check if he was storing gold biscuits in the garage.
Some little kid was run over by a truck and you had to play carom for weeks, no one cycled in the streets, you sang movie songs in the night and when someone mentioned the kid’s name there was silence all around. You saw him once or twice after that, always waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the tree make scary shadows on the window pane. You had to try many times to blow off all the candles lined up on the cake that year, and your cousin said it was bad luck.
That year you also learnt that fathers sometimes leave and go away without even dying, that sometimes the lies people tell about your family have a way of coming true. Zeroes made their way into you report cards and somehow, inexplicably, at the same time teachers became friendlier. Dragons became scarcer; the shadows on the window became scarier. You punched a boy in the street because he said something about your parents. He got up and screamed something nastier, you rushed at him screaming and teeth barred. Tell me, when you went home that evening, were you consoled or punished? Tell me. You’ve been to the edge of childhood, haven’t you?
Sometimes someone sets their sights so firmly on the goalposts that they don’t realize that they are moving, sometimes into an entirely different ballpark*.
Of course, the Jane Fonda question is the easy one. Realistically, the American government is not going to deliberately (in both senses) target and extrajudicially execute “an American not engaged in combat on American soil” anytime soon. Nor, as far as we know, has it ever done so. The only time the American government has adopted a formal policy of killing American citizens on American soil was during the Civil War, and the citizens it set out to kill were most definitely “engaged in combat.”
That statement is so white, i used it to find my emergency lamp during a power cut.
Drones are different. Apart from austere pacifists who reject war or violence in any form, hardly anyone rejects drones as a matter of principle, the way much larger numbers of people reject torture. Nor are there many who maintain that drones are just another weapon whose use should be subject to no more checks or restraints than an infantryman’s rifle.
“We talked it over at the New Yorker, guys, and as long as you keep us informed, blast away. We’ll handle the dirty fucking hippies!”
A common thread that runs through many of the American foreign-policy misadventures of the last couple of generations—the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran and of Allende in Chile, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Vietnam War, the Iran-Contra debacle, the catastrophic Iraq war that was launched ten years ago this week, the torture scandal—is the manipulation of secrecy, deceit, and unchecked executive power.
Is it Rudyard Kipling week at the New Yorker? I mean, ‘misadventure’? really? like really, really?
Apparently the other common thread in evidence; that of gaining control over ‘resources’, using violent force on entire populations, and the loss of millions of human lives across the world, collectively known in earlier times as colonialism is too slender to grasp for Mr. Hertzberg, let alone question. What matters is that those dastardly republicans/tea partiers not gain any ground.
* = Is that metaphor twisted enough to qualify me for the Annual Thomas L Friedman vacation “i can’t believe it’s not a blog” op/ed in the NYT?
Thanks to the generous information provided by a kind mentor, and thanks even more to my mom for spotting me a bit of cash during the interstitial no-money days, I have picked up two cameras that are older than me, and are also more expensive to maintain than I am. The first, above, is a Konica Auto S3 from around 1974. It’s a svelte snapshot of japanese high-tech at the time, and at the same time it’s an enduring design that has recently had some sort of a revival – with Olympus, Ricoh, Fujifilm(!!) and Sony among others pulling back from the size and megapixel monsters being proliferated by the two camera colossi Canon and Nikon. On the other hand is another camera of older provenance than I am though due to it’s long production run, it could be anywhere from 1 to 25. This camera is hefty enough to serve as a blunt weapon in times of need, and I am sure that hanging this off my neck will cause severe vertebral degradation at some point in the future. But it’s so worth it!
I have put a couple of rolls of film through both of them and will report on them when i can.
It’s one thing to stretch the law to stop a criminal syndicate or terrorist organization. It’s quite another when prosecuting a reckless young man.
So says Tim Wu in an article about the suicide of one of the leading lights of the blogosphere, Aaron Swartz. Being unfamiliar with Mr. Wu who is a law professor, I am not sure if he has observed the following: If one can stretch a law for one purpose, one will tend to stretch the law for any whim and fancy
A LATE REALIZATION: Why are we always talking about laws being ‘stretched’ and never ‘shrunk’ to fit? is there a 3rd law of thermodynamics for, er, the law?
A wise man once said that the best way to rob a bank is to own one. the US Govt. is dead set on proving him right. Yet another wise man put forth the ‘Iron Law of Institutons‘ which states that any person holding a position of authority or power within a given institution will first look to cement his power within the institution without regard to the overall health of the institution. The US Govt. is dead set on proving him right too.
“State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.”
Explain to me again why Wall Street is a shining example of a free market?