All India Radio

September 9, 2009

Samar Halarnkar is pissed off that Indian FM radio stations only play Bollywood songs and puerile PJs (a sentiment I share to some extent) and proposes a solution in the Hindustan Times – putting AIR on steroids.

AIR has found fans like me — though let me confess that before I ‘discovered’ AIR, I was quite addicted to a radio spot in Mumbai called ‘Kamla ka hamla’, the random outpourings of a fast-talking transvestite — not because of a grand plan to counter the explosion of private radio but because it is a public broadcaster that is not beholden to the demands of the mass market.

Ideally, public-service radio must give voice to and reflect the needs of democracy’s silent majorities and minorities. It cannot be left entirely to the whimsical flick of a few hundred million wrists. “Broadcasting,” as Tony Benn, a British socialist politician once observed, “is really too important to be left to the broadcasters.”

An AIR with vision and verve could lead India’s radio revival. Imagine if it became a National Public Radio, the wonderful public-radio network in the US. There are many like us, waiting for lively, intelligent radio.

So because Samar Halarnkar is too cheap to buy an iPod and download podcasts (or a Worldspace receiver for that matter), the taxpayers of India must shell out their money to revamp AIR and the brightest people in government must go build a vision and verve for public radio instead of, oh I dunno, fixing the university system or conducting police reform or something.

For this he gets paid to be a columnist?

Chaand Sitaare

June 24, 2009

Mayank Austen Soofi performs a service to humanity, and informs us about Prince Kamakhya Singh, who in addition to having a psychic connection with Nicole Kidman, owns the sky and everything in it:

“I’m the single owner of the sun rays, the moon rays, the stars that shine in the night, and the entire sky,” the Prince noted as I was helping myself with buttered toast. “They all are individually owned by me and I’ve legal papers by the Rajasthan High Court as proof.”

(The Delhi Walla)

The implications of this are staggering.

Will solar plant operators have to pay him royalties for the use of the sunrays? If tidal activity causes damage at ports, is Kamakhya Singh liable as owner of the moonrays? Is it limited or unlimited liability?

And what about astrology? If he owns all the stars that shine in the night, can people who are going through Shani dasha appeal to him to help them out?

And all the lyricists who write songs about getting the beloved the stars or the moon – are they aware that they have been describing criminal activities?

But seriously, why did the man go to the courts to establish his claim? Is there an existing property dispute over the sunrays and moonrays? The idea that there are multiple people trying to claim ownership over the sunrays makes the mind boggle. And if there is no dispute, why the hell does he need the court to give its stamp of authority? It reminds me of the furore over getting the Central government to declare Kanadda a classical language – I mean, if it’s a classical language why does it need a Central government certificate?

Teen Movies

May 11, 2009

Last week, I discovered the awesome Penny and Aggie webcomic (via). The archives only had 840 strips back then, so reading them all didn’t take too long. This is a good thing, because Penny and Aggie is one of the few webcomics where I’ve dropped everything to go and read the whole thing from the beginning. It has American high school teenagers, rich dollops of teen angst, pop culture references that aren’t overdone, and pretty good drawing.

Anyway, in the course of reading the archives I realised that there are hardly any successful teen movies these days. Starting from when I was in Class 9 or 10 to the time I was in third year of college, Hollywood cranked out teen movies almost endlessly. They spawned franchises and created superstars. You couldn’t go six weeks without seeing a new movie with scatological jokes and awkward sex and romance in the US Top 10. But these days, nothing. Even the teen movies that show on HBO and Star Movies these days are all from the 90s or early 2000s. Stuff like The Princess Diaries and 10 Things I Hate About You.

The simplest explanation for this is that as I’ve stopped watching movies and stopped being a teenager I no longer notice teen movies. But I notice and appreciate teen webcomics and old teen movies. And besides, what good is a simple explanation for a blogpost?

Sure, you can cite the High School Musical movies, but they are not teen movies despite being about teenagers. This is because they have no sex or references to bodily fluids. The High School Musicals are movies about teenagers for preteens. Similarly Juno is a movie about teenagers for adults.

Not only that, but if you look at parody or spoof as a measure of success – Not Another Teen Movie came out in 2001. Since then there’s been Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie and three Scary Movies, but no more teen movie spoofs. Clearly, on the Weird Al Standard of Arrival, teen movies have departed. 

Here, then, are three explanations for the Dark Age of the Teen Movie.

  1. The Generational Cohort Theory: I would probably never have thought of this theory if I hadn’t started reading Penelope Trunk, and as a consequence, reading anti-baby-boomer blogs. But anyhow. According to this theory:
    • The traditional audience for teen movies now consists of post-Gen Y kids who prefer to get their entertainment from YouTube and MySpace instead of movies.
    • American kids these days go to college and then go to graduate school and then move back with their parents to discover themselves (you can really tell I’ve been reading too much Penelope Trunk now). Therefore adulthood starts later and later in life. So all coming of age movies have to be set in first jobs instead of high school. You can actually see this in Questionable Content, though that’s a webcomic, not a movie.
  2. The Seeds of Its Own Destruction Theory: According to this theory, teen movie producers all thought Lindsay Lohan was the Next Best Thing and staked their hopes on her and inflated her salary to astronomical levels. The genre as a whole became dependent on Lindsay Lohan. Then, when she burnt out and had to stop doing movies, she dragged the whole teen movie industry down with her. Like Lehman Brothers, Lindsay Lohan became so big that her failure spread systemic risk to the entire industry. It’s horrifying.
  3. The George W. Bush is Evil Theory: This theory basically pins the blame on the Bush tax cuts for the rich and the stimulus checks. When Americans got their enormous tax refunds or stimulus checks, they went out and bought new means of entertainment like iPods, Nintendo Wiis, Tivos, and HDTVs. Faced with this, the teen movie languished and died. So it’s all Dubya’s fault. But now Obama’s tax cuts for 95% of Americans, which provide a slow trickle of funds instead of one time windfalls will change the situation. With 20 extra dollars a month and a recession on, Americans will spend money not on expensive durable goods but on one-time luxuries like teen movies. And a thousand poop jokes shall bloom!


    Now S Gurumurthy Channels Jagadguru

    April 22, 2009

    The ever-insightful S Gurumurthy writes about black money in the New Indian Express:

    That is, in just five years, Indian wealth amounting to Rs 6.88 lakh crore has been smuggled out of India. This gives a clue as to how much Indian money would have slipped out of India in the last 62 years, particularly during the Nehruvian socialist regime when the income tax (97.5 per cent) and wealth tax (almost equal to the income earned on investments) together constituted double the income earned.

    It is undisputed that the Nehruvian socialist model forced huge sums out of India. So the amount of Indian black wealth secreted away in the last 60 years — estimated at from $500 billion (Rs 25 lakh crore) to $1400 billion (Rs 70 lakh crore) — does not seem to be wide off the mark. Economists call it flight of capital. This is the people’s money stolen from them.

    Mr. Gurumurthy goes on to suggest that the solution to the problem created by Nehruvian socialism is outright communism, and siezing said black money deposits for the use of the government:

    See the consequence even if part of it is brought back. A portion of it would make India free from all external debts which is now over $220 billion; India will transform into an economic superpower; some 10 or 15 Indian rupees could buy a US dollar which today 50 Indian rupees cannot; a litre of petrol on our roadside would cost Rs 15 or even less, against today’s 50 plus; the cost of imports in rupee terms would be down to a third or half; India’s entire infrastructure needs can be funded; India will become so energy efficient and costcompetitive that exporters may need no sops at all; India will lend to — not, as it does now, borrow from — the world; Indian housing can be funded at affordable cost; rural poverty can be wiped out… The list is endless.

    If only earlier governments had siezed the black money directly before it even left the country, we would not be facing this problem today. Thatz why we need strong regulations.

    Setting an Example

    March 28, 2009

    Writing in Dawn about Slumdog Millionaire, Arundhati Roy says:

    That’s what Slumdog Millionaire is selling: the cheapest version of the Great Capitalist dream in which politics is replaced by a game show, a lottery in which the dreams of one person come true while, in the process, the dreams of millions of others are usurped, immobilizing them with the drug of impossible hope (work hard, be good, with a little bit of luck you could be a millionaire).

    The pundits say that the appeal of the film lies in the fact that while in the West for many people riches are turning to rags, the rags to riches story is giving people something to hold on to. Scary thought. Hope, surely, should be made of tougher stuff. Poor Oscars. Still, I guess it could have been worse. What if the film that won had been like Guru – that chilling film celebrating the rise of the Ambanis. That would have taught us whiners and complainers a lesson or two. No? 

    The logical conclusion of this is that we urgently need a media blackout of Arundhati Roy. If a mere fictional movie about sudden runaway success is so scary, imagine how bad her real life story is. She too used to live in slums and then she won the Booker Prize with her debut novel. Now she is so rich and successful that her bank puts her in the list of its top twenty five forex remittance customers, along with major exporting corporations. Imagine how much impossible hope that is filling aspiring writers with. For god’s sake, she could be responsible for creating Chetan Bhagat or Tuhin Sinha.

    My New Hobby

    September 1, 2008

    My offhand reference to curmudgeonly thathappas in the last post inspired me to actually search for examples of thathappesque rants. Udupendra helped out by suggesting search keyphrases, and now I have a new hobby: collecting examples of this art form, which derives its beauty from its surreal illogic. So far, this letter to the Deccan Herald is a strong contender for best thathappa-rant ever:

    The Indian youth are embracing the global culture and have become more endearing to their way of customs by loosing our precious culture which is invaluable in turn getting lured by their materialistic culture of leading lives which are seen normally in western culture by throwing all values of human parameters.

    But Gult thaathyas are not far behind:

    The Indian youth is getting carried away by the Western culture, values and practices. This has led to a disturbing trend in which the Indian youth are more often visiting discotheques, night clubs and amusement parks. It may give them some excitement but they don’t get that much-needed peace of mind and confidence.

    I’m sure Madras thathas aren’t far behind either, but I haven’t started searching just yet. I’m sure it’ll prove to be a goldmine.

    On a related note, Neha Vish putted her own attempt at this art form a year and a half ago.

    Desipundit, Poopi, and Disability

    June 17, 2008

    Jagadguru’s latest post is a wondrous marvel. I reproduce it here in its entirety:

    Only DP will link to such crappy review like the one they linked for Dasavatharam. The nutcase who reviewed is known for his ignorance and disability to understand science. He writes such a crappy review and DP people link to it. What a shame!!

    (Jagadguru on Politics)

    This establishes Jagadguru’s divinity once and for all, just as in earlier incarnations He had demonstrated His greatness by showing Yashodha the cosmos inside his mouth, or Arjuna his radiant form.

    The Jagadguru as Agony Aunt II

    January 25, 2008

    In his continuing efforts to solve the problems of His devotees, the Jagadguru presents the second instalment of his irregularly published column – Dear Jagadguru: Krish on Love, Sex, and Home Appliances. We would like to remind all His devoted readers that they can gain His darshan by emailing their problems to dearjagadguru AT aadisht DOT net.


    Respectful Jagadguru,

    Forgive me for my gall in asking this question. Your wisdom is boundless but I see you have restricted your advice to only Love, Sex, and Home Appliances. I understand Love and to an extent, home appliances. But why Sex, it arises out of carnal impulses and is sinful. Or is it part of your deeper Maya that ordinary mortals like me cannot fathom? Please enlighten your devotee.

    At your Holy Feet

    Dear MMM,

    If you cannot understand this it is because you have been fooled by the crap of free-market fundamentalists. These right-wing fools can only see things in black and white and can’t understand that Love and Sex are the same thing. As for carnal impulses well I have already explained it clearly that this is all part of human biology. As I have said an ideal society is one which will be based on biology-driven humanism. Writing about sex is only helping the biology-driven humans.

    Good night and good luck!



    Dear Jagadguru,

    Why have you adopted the title given to you by those lousy right-wing fundamental capitalists? Why have you changed your website from to Isn’t buying lot of domain name falling for corporate conspiracy to make money off people?

    Your chela,
    Arthur Dent

    Dear Arthur Dent,

    how do you bullshit with a straight face?

    Goodnight and good luck!!!!



    Dear Jagadguru,

    You give advice on so many things. Like love, home appliances, sex etc. you have impacted me Very Much. I want ur advice that is why. I have problem relating to all these fields you are expert of.

    Some years I have been happily married. I have very loving relationship with my caring godfearing husband. But only in one aspect he is lacking. He is not being able to satisfy fully my sexual hunger.

    I cannot tell anyone this because in Indian culture manhood is very important, and I do not want our friends to think that my husband is eunuch.

    This is giving rise to very uncommon situation. I am working everyday in the house (I am not maidservant, I am only taking care of our family house). One day, after my husband went to work in the morning, I was feeling very tired, and resting my backside on the washing machine. Then I felt the vibration from the machine giving pleasurable sensation to my buttocks like how the sensation feels when my husband is thrusting and planting his seed in me. Only, my husband finishes all this very quickly, and washing machine being on for 15-20 minutes, it is very exciting. Nowadays, I am feeling very attracted. I am sitting on it as soon as my husband is leaving for work and getting lot of satisfaction.

    But this guilty pleasure is making me feel very sinful. It will be very hurtful for my husband if he is coming to know that washing machine is causing more satisfaction. Please help, Jagadguru.

    Thanking you


    Dear SDG,

    In my perfect society people will use reason over emotions in solving their problems. So there is no need to get guilty about your washing machine. It only shows that women should be the most against religious crap. In fact it is the religious fundamentalism which has led to you feeling guilty.

    If your husband cannot give you pleasure, it is because he has a biological defect. Huh well this is not unlike the biological defect which most right wingers have. But at the same time you should use dryers rather than washing machine. This is because of the inherent dumbness of the trickle down theory.

    Good night and good luck!!!!!



    Dear Jagadguru,

    My girlfriend and me like to bite each others’ necks when we are together. Although it is very pleasurable it eventually leads to bruises developing and this is very embarrassing when my family members notice. What is the way out?

    Your devoted worshiper,


    Dear MMA,

    Shameful. This kind of violent acts has no place in a civilised society. I don’t understand how you call yourself educated if you like biting. This kinda atrocity of biting and eating each other will lead to a cannibal society. I don’t see this is any different from you and Modi and bin Laden. Here is an offer. You can send your degree to me and I will burn it for free.

    Good night and good luck!!!!!!!!!!



    Once again, we would like to remind our readers that they can send their problems in to dearjagadguru AT aadisht DOT net.

    The Jagadguru as Agony Aunt

    November 21, 2007

    In his infinite compassion, the Jagadguru will now enlighten us not only on Politics, but on all our sundry queries of day to day life. To gain His darshan, you need only to email dearjagadguru AT aadisht DOT net. The Jagadguru will answer your queries in SCF(w)O’s new agony aunt column: Krish on Love, Sex, and Home Appliances.


    Dear Jagadguru,

    I am a management consultant. I have a flat in Mumbai which I share with some colleagues, but I work from Monday to Friday at my client’s office in Nagpur. While I’m out of Mumbai, some other colleagues drop in to my flat and use my room for all practical purposes. This leads to unpleasant stains on my bedsheets. How can I resolve this problem?

    Yours in devotion,


    Dear UWP,

    Well this just shows the dangers of unregulated free markets. Libertarian fools led by their leader Milton Friedman claim that lack of rent control will lead to an improvement in housing construction so that others don’t need to use your room. These free market fundamentalists can bullshit with a straight face. Actually because of lack of regulation in housing anybody can come and use your room. This is why I always say that only a democratically elected government with strong regulations against free markets can keep your sheets cleaned. There needs to be some strong regulations against use of your room by other people. Free markets by themselves cannot keep hormonal couples away from your room. We need some stronger regulations to keep them out.



    Dear Jagadguru,

    I am recently married. Although I want to have sex with my wife, I am unable to get an erection. Is this due to stress or is there any medical problem?

    Your eternal devotee,


    Dear LB,

    this is another act of impotents. Shameful.



    Dear Jagadguru,

    which is the best model of microwave oven to buy?

    Worshipfully yours,


    Dear RV,

    your ignorance is not my problem. It has been discussed enough times here and on the internet and I don’t need to explain it to you. It is clear enough which microwave is the best and if you can’t see it then you are a damn fool. There is a saying in Tamil that just because a cat closes its eyes it doesn’t make the world dark. You should gain an understanding of this matter and then only write. Don’t try to argue your side because itz wrong.


    Dear Jagadguru,

    I have been dating a boy for about a month. It isn’t very serious but he insists on always paying the bill whenever we go for lunch or dinner. This makes me uncomfortable but he insists that because he earns more than me he should pay the bill. Please give your blessings and direction on this issue.

    Krisham Vande Jagadguru,


    Dear CS,

    this is shameful. It shows how the priveleged sections of society try to keep down the unpriveleged sections. Well I won’t say anything more except that it just shows how the free market fundamentalism and the right wing Hindu fundamentalism go hand in hand. It only shows how both are opposed to an equal footing of the bill. You should send his degrees to me for burning.


    (Please send in your queries to dearjagadguru AT aadisht DOT net. They will be addressed in the next column.)

    Regulation, Zamindari, and the Jagadguru

    November 6, 2007

    The Jagadguru says:

    What I am against is the deregulation of the banking sector. Cutting off or weakening the regulatory arm is not good for the country. Letz have private players, with a strong regulatory body, under the control of a democratically elected government. I think this will ensure the best of both worlds. We will have private players in the industry bringing in the much needed competition (and hence better service) and we will also have strong regulations ensuring that needy people are not sucked out of their blood.

    The only way to stop such misuse is by having strong regulations on the market. Only strong regulations can stop ICICI kinda atrocity or zamindari system.

    The RBI had come up with a regulation against employing goons or intimidation for collections two years ago. But ICICI kinda atrocity wasn’t stopped. Why is this?

    Dumbhead free market fundamentalists will tell you it’s because regulation makes honest people overcautious while not changing the behaviour of rogues. But they are wrong. The true reason the strong regulation failed was because K V Kamath has not let the Jagadguru into his heart. When he surrenders himself to the Jagadguru, ICICI Bank will be transformed, and so will its outsourced collections agencies.

    Even strong regulations are useless if we do not surrender ourselves to the Jagadguru.