Oct 25, 2012

Elementary Lessons in Politics

I had my first lessons in Politics at some point in the highly-prone-to-learning days of my (probably everyone’s) life. It happened when I was living the life of a primary school kid – a little bigger than a toddler – who used to undertake that universal journey from home to school and back every day, wearing knickers and backpacks, and carrying a water bottle, in search of knowledge and experiences, though unwillingly, but in some days enthusiastically, and in some other days being pushed, pulled, pinched and dragged by his furious, yet responsible elder sister.

This is the story of my third standard. I guess learning was not happening as fast as the same is being happened among the present, highly sophisticated young generation. Politics was never heard of. But we were outgrown enough to learn longer rhymes, bigger stories, more complex alphabets, and more complicated Maths, though were far inferior than today’s kids who learn the language of C and C++ even from the kindergarten level.  

The school was going very smooth. Our class was made of both girls and boys, and in the conservative way, both these crucial segments of humanity were made sit in two different seating rows. That gave each one of us greater freedom to mingle within our own respective segment. Boys became more friends. Similarly girls. I invite your attention to the boys section. Probably I can better tell the stories happened among boys, right? I happened to notice schisms in the tight pack of our friendship. Though was not influential to our daily activities in any way, the boys became parts of two different groups headed by two boys, L and S (the names are kept hidden in order to prevent them from gaining free fame). 

I still don’t understand the reason for this fragmentation. Perhaps the instinctive behavior, which is more transparent among the kids than the matured ones, might have prompted us to show more affinity to the one who looked friendlier from the individual point of view. I was comparatively inactive, as far as this mock politics was concerned, so I happened to live the life of a NAM country (Non Aligned Movement), like India in the international politics during the WWII. Some other boys also were there who lived a groupless life like mine, but we didn’t have a common policy; there we differed from the international policy of the NAM countries.

When I gradually happened to understand the stronger bonds created between the members of each group, I also realized the importance of becoming a part of a group. I knew that I was missing the adventures that the strong members of each group were passing through. I was also not considered for the special gifts and food items each of the group members used to share within the group. I didn’t need a second thought of joining the class politics. My immediate affinity was towards the group headed by L. L and his friends welcomed me to their group happily. 

But after becoming a member of L group also, I was inactive in terms of class politics. I used to keep a healthy relationship with the other group members also. Always L group was stronger in terms of headcount and talent. When my group members noticed my free-mindedness, they decided to keep me as a reserve member. I was not taken seriously in the joint interactions within the group.

Most often the S group remained a one member gang, only sometimes accompanied by one or more accomplices. Quitting a group and joining the other one was very common. I also had a single experience of quitting L group and joining S. It was when L denied a favour to which I asked him, and I immediately joined S group, proving my capability to create changes in politics. Following me, more dissatisfied members from the L group also jumped to the S side, giving hard blows to L group and its leadership. That was the only time, when S group surpassed the L group in terms of headcount. But my alignment with S group remained only for two days, and the third day I rejoined L group. After that L was keen on taking me also seriously, and I also decided to be an active member of L group.

You need to keep in mind that there was not any fight between the groups. No wars, only cold war; that was the situation. By the end of the academic year, S also became a part of L group, and the groups were dismissed afterwards. 

The lessons I learned from the class politics:
  • Everywhere in humanity, there are groups; two of them are most likely to be prominent.
  • Right or Left, you always will have to be part of a group. Having no sides will not take you anywhere.
  • Quit a group and join the other, if you feel that you are being sidelined. That will help you to get acceptance in your home group.
I think these rules are applicable everywhere in Politics.

Oct 7, 2012

Blogger Behind Bars

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 32; the thirty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'An Untold Story'
“You promised me that you would tell me a story today!”

“Aha, did I promise something like that? And what story was that? ”

“You said it was an untold story. A story of embarrassment that happened in your life, as you said.”

“Don’t misunderstand me! When I say a story, don’t expect a fiction. Instead of anything dramatic, you can find only the real life narration, and don’t wait for any suspense in the end.”

“It’s okey! By long term affiliation with your posts, I learned to read them without waiting for suspense”

“But you know I am very much ashamed to tell this story. Though this incidence happened some years back during my time at Thiruvananthapuram, I still find it difficult to share. And the second thing that prevents me from telling this story is that people may feel irritated when finding that the incident had nothing awe inspiring.”

“This is your problem. You start with long introduction making people expect something great”

“Ah ok, I am not extending my claptrap. So, here is the suspense. Did I say you that I was jailed for a day?”

“You were jailed? You haven’t told me that. What crime you committed?”

“Apparently I had committed no crime. But I had done something against certain rules imposed by the police during that period to suppress a public agitation”

“Tell me more?”

“Well, I was staying at Trivandrum with two friends on the second floor of a house. At that time, a teenage girl, who was an engineering student committed suicide by jumping from a big residential building in the city. Don’t think that her tragic action was over any failed love relationship. On the contrary, her decision to put a full stop to her life was due to her poor parents’ inability to pay for the huge fee of her engineering studies. As she was coming from a financially backward family, her parents decided to discontinue her studies. She was insulted by the management for several times, for delaying the payment. Distressed by all these thoughts the girl decided to commit suicide, and the way she found to do that was such a terrible one.”

“Oh, that was tragic. But tell me, how did you get arrested in this case? Did you know that girl?”

“No! I did not know that girl. I also came to know about her death through newspapers. Agitated by a poor girl’s death in such a circumstance, many student political organizations, especially the leftist ones called for strikes, and educational institutions had to stop functioning indefinitely. To put an end to this situation, the police declared curfew in the city. Gatherings of three or more students were banned, especially after 9 O clock in the evening”

“Ah, now the picture is getting clear. I think I can guess the events that lead to your imprisonment.”

“Let me complete the story. On that particular night, as usual, we three friends went to sleep in our apartment. I guess I had told you some stories of my smoking experiences. Anyway, at that time I was a smoker, though I quit it a few years before from now. I was unable to sleep that night, and when the time was around mid night, I intensely wanted to smoke. I knew that half a kilometer away, there was a shop which used to function round the clock. I thought about walking till there and buy a pack of cigarettes.”

“And there was this thing called Curfew, right?”

“Yes, but I forgot that. Even if I remembered it, I don’t think I would stop going out. I got up, and I could hear my friends snoring. Without letting them wake, I unbolted the door and went out by keeping the door ajar. I walked to the shop hastily. On reaching the shop, I saw a road side fast food centre was still functioning there. I bought a half packet of cigarettes, and strode back by lighting one of them.”

“On the way back the police caught you right?”

“I walked back slowly, by smoking the cigarette, enjoying the admixture of calmness and darkness. Suddenly, I heard the sound of police jeep crawling behind, like the ugly, calm sound made by a predator when it aims at its prey by creeping behind a hiding. I began to tremble, and I threw away my cigarette, knowing that if they happened to notice it, that could be a reason for them to charge me. Without turning back I walked swiftly, but I heard the sound of the police jeep stopping beside me. An officer stepped out from the front, and questioned me in an arrogant harsh voice,

“Where you are going at this hour?” he asked.

With a trembling low voice I said, “Sir, I was hungry so I thought of eating something at the nearby shop.”

“Ah, you were hungry? And what did you eat?”, he asked.

Remembering the egg omelets being made at the fast food centre, I said “Sir I had one half boiled bull’s-eye egg”

“Bull’s-eye! At this time! Where is your identity card?”, he asked scornfully.

I had none of them with me. He asked me to get into the back side of the jeep. I pleaded him, but he didn't let me go. From the smell of his breathe, I knew that he was drunk. He even raised his knee against my stomach pretending the action of kicking to threaten me. Another officer who was driving the vehicle, calmly asked me to obey him, and he assured me that no harm would be done. I got into the vehicle, and when it took momentum, I threw away the remaining cigarettes with its packet, though I was worried of doing that. Even if the travel was on a police jeep, it was enjoyable. I could see the trees at the road side moving away into more darkness. Finally, the police jeep reached the station. The inspector asked me to remain there.”

“They put you in the prison?”

“No, though initially I told you I was jailed, they hadn’t done that. There was a wooden bench in the front room. They asked me to sit there. They said I can go back only when any of my friends or responsible person comes and produces my identity card. Since it was mid night, they prevented me from calling any one; instead, they asked me to remain in the station.”

“The next day you called your friends?”

“Yeah! When my friends woke up in the morning, they found me missing and the door was half open. They thought for some time, and one of them realized that I could be in the police station only, considering the political situation of that time. And he even guessed the particular station correctly where I could have been taken” 

“Ah, he must be a brilliant one!”

“Meanwhile, I called one of my class mates using the phone at the station, and informed him about my pathetic situation. He initially disbelieved me. But when I kept on telling it, he decided to visit our apartment, before believing me. He reached at my friends, and prior to asking about me, the brilliant roommate informed him that I was caught by police.”


“For them, it was a funny experience. They both laughed first. Without wasting time, they both came to the station on his bike. You can’t imagine the relief and the humiliation I had on seeing both of them in the morning.” 

“Then what happened?”

“Then what more? I was released and was permitted to go with my friends. They even advised me to not loiter around during such odd hours of the night.”

“That’s it?”

“Yes! I told you! Don’t expect anything dramatic or thrilling at the end. This was how it ended.”

“Oh! I thought you were going to tell me how you helped the police to find something valuable with your one night stay there. Or at least I thought you would reveal me something odd that you noticed at the station.”

“Man, I am not a story teller. I can tell you only real life experiences. If you had thought of me as a suspense writer, you are wrong.”

“Oh you are disappointing me!”

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: The Solitary Writer and Someone is Special, Participation Count: 02

Oct 2, 2012

Santhosh Pandit – Vile, Wicked, or Virtuoso?

Writing about a person like Santhosh Pandit had never occurred to my mind as a serious thought. Seeing him the first time in those viral videos, which were released simultaneously with the wave created by Rebecca Black in YouTube, I too joined the laugh riot ignited by whoever saw them. Frankly, I am of a different opinion regarding Rebecca Black and her infamous Friday lyrics. Perhaps being not native English, I couldn't find any problem with her singing or with the lyrics of her music video that earned her huge notoriety overnight. Instead, I kept on playing the video admiring the young artiste’s talent time and again, and had even tended to hum her song and to learn the lyrics by heart.

But, the case of Santhosh Pandit was different. Rebecca is a little girl, so her age can be considered as a relaxation factor. On the contrary, Santhosh Pandit is an adult, and every such disgusting performance from a matured guy would bring mockery from the audience. And exactly that was what happened. Pandit is being abused verbally in the internet, but with no change in the attitude of this sensational film maker.

Santhosh Pandit. Courtesy: http://www.indianmoviecorner.com/
To get a complete picture of Santhosh Pandit, you need to know the long history of Malayalam film industry. It is better if you have some information about the influence that the Malayalam cinema from 1995 to 2010 made upon the minds of an average Kerala film-goer. But time and space are very limited, so, here is a short intro for the person about whom we are talking about. Santhosh Pandit is a Kerala based Indian film person, who considers himself as a virtuoso, despite of the bad reputation he earned as an actor, director and singer. His life fell into a different track of defame when a video in which he and a school going girl dancing to a song composed, penned and sung by him, was posted in the internet. The video was strongly criticized for its lack of professionalism, and profoundness of immaturity. Comments with derogatory terms posted in thousands, and everyone thought he would be quiet within moments, despite of the initial popularity his video gained.

But that was where Pandit started. He announced that the song in the internet was just a song sequence from a film that he was currently making. The public shocked hearing the new announcement. Is something more awful coming on the way? Yes, Pandit retreated; his film titled Krishnanum Radhayum (Krishna and Radha) was under production, in which he was handling all the major departments except camera. He was the lead actor, director, script writer, producer, singer, lyricist, composer, costumer, choreographer, and was handling upto 18 departments. Within days, Santhosh Pandit became a celebrity (is there any other term to call people who become famous through negative publicity?)

As promised, Pandit’s film was released in a few of the low class theaters in Kerala. But in some centers, Krishnanum Radhyaum was screened in Government theaters. Almost all of the shows ran with houseful boards. The young wild audience abused him and his way of singing with scornful words whenever his face appeared in the screen. (I watched this film only very recently, via online. It was a difficult task to concentrate on the film for two and a half hours owing to its amateurish way of making and acting, though the story has something thought provoking to offer).
Rebecca Black in her Friday music video

As per Google Trends, at a point of time, Pandit was the second most searched name in Google, preceded only by Facebook. He was interviewed by media several times, around 150 times, within a time span that does not exceed 12 months. An achievement that not any super stars in our vicinity can claim. The interviews and chat shows in TV channels with Santhosh Pandit invited huge mass attention. Everywhere he appeared in his deviated kind of dressing style.

In talk shows he was criticized strongly. But his confidence was greater than anyone had estimated. Till now, no one could beat him in interviews. To every question raised by journalists, film critics, film students and college students, housewives, lecturers, and common man, he reacted in the same way, in a style that is found only in a maverick like him, an idiotic, funny, and enraged Pandit style. He furiously asked everyone to watch his film first. Some so called intelligentsia admitted in talk shows that they were not able to understand him. They said, either he is a genius, who knows how to sell himself, how to generate money through the negative publicity, or he is a dumb man, a fool who does not know the basics of film making. 

Santhosh Pandit’s way reminds me of Don Quixote of La Mancha, the fictitious Spaniard created by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote, an impoverished gentleman, who inspired from the heroes and adventures portrayed in the Romantic fiction of his time, set out on a journey in the wrong assumption that he was devoted to make changes in the world. With an accomplice, and an aged horse that he considers as a war horse, he traveled so many places, and met with failure in all his attempts. The event of Quixote’s fight with windmills that he believed to be ferocious giants is a sparkling chapter in world classics. Likewise, Santhosh Pandit is inspired from contemporary Malayalam cinema. He took inspiration from the super hero kind of characters being played by Malayalam Superstars Mammootty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi, and copies that inspiration to his real life. He pretends to be one like them, and even calls himself a superstar. But there are critics who term himself as an inevitable factor in Malayalam cinema industry, who appeared when the cinema here was in a demolishing state. 
Don Quixote battling with Windmills as seen in http://www.mainlesson.com

Santhosh Pandit is now being treated as a foreseeable shock to the bad tendencies in Malayalam cinema. Many people who followed the track of Santhosh Pandit met with failure, that itself speaks about his inevitability. Spiritual organizations like Art of Living Foundation tells people to think and behave like Santhosh Pandit, since only people with a free state of mind can be like him. That is true! All the time the public abuses him and criticizes him, he is enjoying his celebrity status. There are instances when people asked him to not act or sing, instead he could do direction or music composition (By the way, I like the music Santhosh Pandit has given to certain songs). I have one word to them. You can criticize any artiste or his works. But you have no right to ask that person to not act or not sing. Because it is his moral right. You don’t need to appreciate him or permit him to perform in your work. You don’t need to give attention to him. But, you have no right to ask him to keep quiet. Because everyone has the right to live on this earth and do whatever they wish. The beauty of life lies in such small small factors, I believe. 
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