Friday, 18 May 2007

Expecto Patronum!

"Patronus" is Latin for "protector".
The Patronus Charm. When literally translated, the phrase "Expecto Patronum" means, "I expect a guardian."

The recent move by the Karnataka Government to issue a ban on women working in night shifts has stirred up a hornet’s nest. This Patronus charm by the Government has the public divided as well. There are those few who are up in arms against a move they call retrograde. There are others who laud this move in the name of security for women. With the recent spate of untoward occurrences in this city, the latter argument does hold water. However, this issue far flung implications.

Bangalore is touted as the Indian Silicon Valley. One look at the infrastructure here and I can do nothing but laugh. The mention of the word Bangalore always conjured up pleasant images in my mind – Green, slow, lovely weather... But Alas! To look at Bengaluru that way now seems to be a pipe dream.

Thanks to my internship in Bangalore, I have realized one thing. The Bangalore beyond Brigade Road, Forum and all the other zillion malls is very different. A stark difference from the sophisticated, trendy, suave image it portrays.

It is ironical that many parts of this Silicon Valley is often plunged in absolute darkness. Although I live two minutes away from my work place, having to walk back home after work send shivers down my spine. There are a number of issues. In the pitch dark, you don’t know which pothole your leg is going to get into, you don’t know which vehicle is going to speed at you and leave you dead, you don’t know which freak is going to grab your wallet or even worse, attack you and keep up the notoriety this city is fast acquiring. All this if you are a man. Women, worry about protecting yourselves against maniacs who will reach out for you from a speeding auto or a bike apart from the long list.

Double jeopardy if you have to travel by auto. Why? The automen are so damn choosy about where they will drive you. Believe me or not, I had to ask 27 autos before I could finally get one from Cox Town to Safina Plaza, approximately five kilometers apart. Maybe the automen, like the IT crowd in the city like to earn big bucks. Surprisingly, NO. I had to hunt equally for an auto that would take me to Marathahalli – a one way trip from my place would cost you 85 – 100 bucks.

Alright, I thought of taking a bus. I had seen those posh red Volvos- automatic doors, low steps and good competition to the red buses in London. I quickly learned that they ply on very few routes. I have no issues traveling by the “normal” bus… just that I don’t know where they go to coz all the name boards are in Kannada. Strange, for an IT Hub.
It is quite unsettling for a first time dweller in Bangalore to figure out routes. Even a person with a good sense of direction would get lost in the maze of one ways in the city. I still travel nervously back from a dinner or a movie, clinging to the hope that the auto guy will drop me home, safe and sound, coz I have no clue whether he takes the right route. And I don’t want to let him know I don’t know the route either. So I sit with an unperturbed countenance and a knotted stomach!

I am not saying this does not happen in other cities. But Bangalore prides itself on being the IT hub and this certainly does not go well with the image. I lived in Bangalore as a kid. I always thought I would settle down in the Green City. This blog entry is a knee jerk reaction of sorts, probably, the Bangalore I have always known and the Bengaluru now are so disparate that it is too much of a rude shock for me to take.

Back to the gender curfew issue. As a woman, it is not possible for me to take a stand. If I say no, the next time I go to register a complaint at a police station, I can picture a few rude words and poking remarks from a frustrated official. If I say yes, what happens to the independence and career growth potential of a woman? Wouldn’t it be more like saying, “Oh God! I’m so scared of these goons, let me stay indoors and protect myself even if it means taking a hit at my promotion chances!” Wouldn’t it be more like succumbing to the big bad fellas?

It is easy to give case study solutions like, it is the responsibility of the employer to protect its employees. Things don’t work that way. No, I’m not being a pessimist, I’m just saying there is only so much that even an employer can do. If you are stuck with a maniac of a cab driver, well, at that point in time I’d probably say, “To hell with my promotion and job! I need to live a peaceful life!”

At the end of the day, the sad truth is that either way, women are stranded between the devil and the deep sea.

Thursday, 3 May 2007


“Appareo” is Latin for “to become visible”. This spell allows the spell caster to appear instantly in a given place. It is used in conjunction with Disapparate. The caster must Disapparate from one location in order to Apparate in another.

We made Mr. A.B. God. So Mr. A.B. and family decided to use their “Godly” powers to take lessons from Hogwarts and apparate to the sanctum sanctorum of Tirupati. Obviously they could use magic in muggle land because none of the poor souls there would question their ways and means, which was very convenient to the “Ministry” as well. Lo and Behold! The spell was cast and they swept into the temple without a crumple of the grandeur they adorned.

It is often said - before God we are all equally wise and equally foolish.
Looks we forgot to read ceteris paribus somewhere in between. On the condition that we are not bollywood stars, not people in high places, we are all equally wise and equally foolish before God.

The recent Tirupati episode of the star couple has touched a raw nerve of many a people. I found a short crisp response here. I want my share of taking a dig at them. I would have generally come down real harsh upon this episode, coz I simply detest her. But well, read on to find out why I will not…

Incidentally, I had a pitched discussion with a family friend of mine about the same issue. She was only quick to point out that the “special ticket” that most people buy at Tirupati falls in the same category as the Bacchan debacle. I took the Van Gogh’s ear for music approach and brushed it aside with some silly argument, but it really set me thinking.

My own spiritual belief system is not in the “highly evolved” category. I am most definitely not an atheist; I’m not exactly agnostic… I just pray. I pray when I feel like shedding some weight off my mind, I pray for my loved ones, I pray whenever an ambulance zips past me, my prayers include thanks as well. I even have a favourite God! – Ganesha. Probably because of my liking for elephants, his many artistic representations or maybe just his delicious kozhakattais (modaks in Hindi I think…)! However, I hardly know those grandma’s stories about Gods, Godesses and Asuras that a nice Tam Brahm girl would be expected to know. I don’t know what you call this kind of faith… well maybe it’s just “never bothered to think about it” kind of faith.

We are quick to point fingers at the rich and famous. Isn’t it equally an issue of ethics and inequality when we by pass the circumventions in the “normal queue” and jump to a “faster queue” to pray the same God? To me it doesn’t matter where I pray – Tirupati or the Krishnan kovil down the road.

Check this out. Oxford University Press describes a pilgrim as “A person who undertakes a long and arduous journey in order to worship at the shrine of a particular saint and to earn both spiritual and physical salvation. The greater the hardship and danger endured in making the journey (pilgrimage), the greater the eventual rewards were deemed to be.” Be it special ticket or Mr A.B. apparate techniques, if one is anywhere in the periphery of the definition of theist, then he/ she ought not to use money as a means to be able to see God quicker than another. It would end up like a “let’s get done with this fast” trip rather than “let’s be nearer to God” trip.
Such issues will always have justifications aplenty. A special ticket will always make it easier for the old grandmother on a wheel chair to fulfill her desire of taking her grand child to Tirupati… and so on.

Speaking of he/ she, I was wondering why Sabarimala does not permit women between to take the journey. Sabarimala is known to be a very liberal place, as in, people of all castes are allowed to take the journey, and so are Non Hindus. I stumbled upon a wonderful piece by Barkha Dutt on this issue here. And check this out too.

There are scores of temples which allow only certain sections of people to enter shrines. Read this. Brilliant debate. Make sure you read the comments and responses as well.
I’m not too sure about other religions and places of worship, but I came across this by Khushwant Singh.

Digressing a bit, I had a pretty bitter experience when I was in… maybe class 4. I went to Puttaparthi, and at that time, I didn’t even know whom I was going to see. There was a lady in front of a huge hall checking the attires of women entering the hall. I was wearing a pretty salwar kameez with a dupatta around my neck. And when my turn came, the lady barked, “Wear your dupatta properly”. I retorted indignantly, “Why? What’s not proper?” She actually said, “You are not here for a fashion show. You don’t distract the people here. When foreigners themselves listen to us, what is your problem? It is because of rebels like you our country is in such a state”

I really didn’t understand what she meant by saying “in such a state” and “people like you”. Does she mean to tell me that a woman would be responsible if some really sexually loose guy had lurid thoughts running in his mind? A guy who wants to think dirty will undress a woman in his mind however “well clothed” she is. Sorry men… but it is the truth. Till today I feel like lynching her to death. Why on earth should the attires of people be checked anyway? All this pretence outside and we know how “dirty” the world of God – men is.

Back to the topic, as long as a person experiences the feeling he hopes to derive from being in front of God without any qualms, I guess it is ok. At the end of they day, it is a matter of personal choice.

All that I want to say is - we make a hue and cry when a person from tinsel town does not play by the rules. What about the everyday transgressions of morals that we normal mortals indulge in? Are we ready to face the truth?

Wednesday, 2 May 2007


From the Latin "impero," meaning "to give orders, rule, hold sway," or "imperium," meaning "power to command, rule, control." The Imperius Curse. This is used to control the actions of another person, leaving that person at the mercy of the spell caster. The experience of being under the curse is described as a fantastic sense of release, until the victim starts to fight back. The curse can be fought and its hold broken, but many witches and wizards are unable to do so. Because of its very dangerous implications, the Imperius Curse is one of the three Unforgivable Curses. Use of this curse against another human being is punishable by a life sentence in Azkaban.

I was lazily turning the pages of a daily newspaper, my mind plotting my own last Potter story. I was rudely shaken when I read an outrageous piece on a daily newspaper. It read “Protestors want helmet rule scrapped”. How ridiculous! The first image that came to my mind was my Class VI science teacher screaming her lungs out… “Thisss isss verrrry rrrriddddiccculllloussss!!!” (DAV Girls school junta…. Should’ve guessed by now! ;) )

Just to satisfy my curiosity, I logged on to only to find that the membership fee would cost me my internship stipend!! People with membership, look here to check out the accident stats – state wise, cause wise… the list is exhaustive.

The World report on road traffic injury prevention from WHO in 2004 documents facts clearly enough though. Look up the chapter on risk factors… To Quote,

“ Risk factors influencing crash severity:
Human tolerance factors
Inappropriate or excessive speed
Seat-belts and child restraints not used
Crash helmets not worn by users of two-wheeled vehicles
Roadside objects not crash protective
Insufficient vehicle crash protection for occupants and for those hit by vehicles
Presence of alcohol and other drugs”

“The non-use of seat-belts and child restraints more than doubles the risk of serious and fatal injury, as does the non-use of bicycle helmets. Similarly, the non-use of crash helmets by motorized two-wheeler users almost doubles their risk of serious or fatal head injury.”

That was way back in 2004 when the number of vehicles flooding the roads was definitely a smaller tsunami than it is now.

I always thought Stats was rubbish. I still declare that openly, despite being a manager in the making. Statistics can be so misleading at times. You never know base figures, constraints, assumptions, social / environmental variables etc… Throw these stats away. For the love of life, out of all common sense, isn’t it better to wear a helmet rather than have your skull split open and brain run over by some inebriated moron? Doesn’t common sense tell any nephrologist that prevention is better than cure? I thought that was the anthem of doctors world wide. Or am I so influenced by my education that it appears to be a potential, untapped channel of business for the health care industry? (How much case studies can skew your thinking!!! )

And to think of a “protest” for an issue like this…. Beats me! Are we under the Imperius Curse or what?

Wearing a helmet might prevent us from feeling the wind in our hair…no zipping past happening roads… no turning heads… no “macho” feeling… but friend, at the end of the day we’d rather live than gloat in fleeting pleasures.

I know helmets do not guarantee life. A gentle reminder: Accio Helmet does not work. So just wear the helmet - we might have just found ourselves a counter curse to Avada Kedavra.


Revives someone, especially someone who has had Stupefy cast on them.
I have hopped on to the blogging bandwagon finally!

Well, I have to confess that I have always been an anti blogger of sorts… I have always thought my writing and poems were personal and I didn’t want the whole wide world giving me a critical analysis of what I wrote (Of course under the assumption that people have the patience and time to read my blog! Why is there a sense of déjà vu?? PMA ??). It is a rather uneasy feeling when you know someone is reading your life, like an open book… well e-book!

However, I have discovered I can write beyond that and boy, I have been Ennervated or what?

I like the Harry Potter touch, you see. :)

This verse has been with me through my good times and bad, my “pillayar suzhi”, and God how I hate to admit it, this is written by “not – one – of – my – fave – authors” (Read Ayn Rand)… What an irony…

"In the name of the best within you, do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads.

Do not let the fire go out, do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The kind of world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible and it is yours. But to win requires total dedication.

Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude that yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth ... "

And yes… Disclaimers:

1. All the ranting on this site is purely a documented form of my arbit thoughts and does not hold any importance beyond that.
2. All the explanation for the titles of my posts have been lifted from :

Yes Mr. Bagchi, it is in my blood now :)