Now hot, now cold climate-wallahs

Demeter, the Olympian goddess of harvest and climate, is known to act in extremes, at times her benevolence knows no bounds and so does her wrath. Probably, the climate nowadays seems to be going along with the whims of the ancient Greek goddess. Suddenly, there is a flash-storm in Philippines, an earthquake in Haiti, hurricane in Florida, unbelievable snowfall across Europe and now the east coast of the US. The whims of Demeter seem to be dictating the climes now.

And she isn’t the only one whimsical around. The climate-wallahs or more appropriately the climate change-wallahs seem to be more whimsical thanDemeter and with passage of each day they seem to turning ridiculous as well.  Savour this, not such a long-time ago, there was a large looming question mark over our very existence, every action from the computers we run to the farts of the cows (they are a big cause, by the way) were dubbed as detrimental to our environment and hence our health as well. The climate seers while predicting doom, also prescribed big sacrifices from all, from what we eat to how we commute. Continue reading

Dear MF Hussain-saab

Salaam from India. I hope you are doing well, which I can well imagine you are, considering that at your age there is so much little that one needs and there is just so much that you already have. Well, to be honest, I have been wanting to write you for some time but I was confused about where to send you the mail, as some said that you were a royal guest in UAE, while a few contested that you were put up in London and the rest assured me that you were very much on your way to India.  It was not until that you took up residency in Qatar, that I wasn’t sure of your precise location. In fact, it is about this precise location that I wanted to talk to you about.

Let me first make an honest confession, I am a great fan of yours and your work. Even though, I cannot imagine ever being able to own a Husain piece (and so do probably 99.99999 crores of Indians), yet there is an unknownaffinity that pulls us to your canvass or any piece that you touch including tablecloths, handkerchiefs and even walls. Probably, it was exclusivity of your work that made it so valuable to us. Sotheby used to auction your work for millions of Dollah. I well remember there was this industrialist that had commissioned a hundred paintings from you for some Rs. 100 crore. Now, it is not every day that a painter gets that kind of money, do they? We all Indians were awed and intimidated by your paintings, even if those stark and blurry figurines did not make any sense.

Also, there was a personal connect for me. In most of your paintings that I chanced across in various magazines, etc. your favourite motif was the horse. White, black, yellow, purple horse with open jaws or mouth shut, galloping or standing still. Even when there was no need for a horse in your painting, there would always be one. For instance, in one of the paintings your muse Madhuri was naked and straddling your motif, a horse. Now that was certainly hard to imagine, considering that Madhuri would never ever ride a horse like that. Nevertheless, I share with you the passion for horses. As a kid, I remember my father taking us to Juhu Chowpatty, I used to love the horses there and would lug at my dad’s shirt asking for a horse ride or even two. Some years later, they stopped horses and camels on the beach, and yet I still loved them and would gallop on an invisible horse often when I was alone. So you see from that time on, I have been very impressed by horses.

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A letter from Mrs. Ramalinga

At some point in time in our cyber lives, each one of us has encountered the Nigerian 419 mail. Namely, a mail that comes from some old bank employee or a widow, that promises huge sums to the gullible fool that does not dump the mail into the trash bin.

The scamsters, which in spite of their rather mundane modus-operandi, are pretty much successful and account for millions of dollars in fraud each year. One of the reasons behind their high success rate, is their adaptability. So when the US invaded Iraq, their were lot of messages coming from the Baath Party, or even from Afghanistan. The Nigerians are pretty well aware and out there to con you.

So, when my friend Nelson Johnny sent me a forward from Mrs. Radha Ramalinga, I was much amused. The text was strikingly similar to the Nigerian 419 scams. The same bait, the same hook and the same story. Some preliminary Googling on Radha Ramalinga revealed that the con mail has been around for some time, with many people reporting about the same. Also the fact that Mrs Ramalinga is a real person, was another interesting bit.

Somehow, I feel this mail did not originate from a cyber cafe in Lagos, but some where in Ulhas Nagar in India. The look and feel of the same give a very ‘Indian’ touch to the mail. Though on closer inspection one finds that the Namaste spelling is incorrect and there are quite a few typos, namely no space after comma. Also, the mail id provided for future interaction is slightly different from the one the message originates from.

Nonetheless, I have high regards for Ramalinga Raju as a con artist, his corporate swindling should be studied like a case study. In fact, I had written a piece on it earlier, “Why demonise Raju?” ( And now receiving a con mail fron someone purporting to be his sister-in-law, I really felt good (though I need to thank Nelson, but whatever).

So, if you have been unlucky till now in receiving the mail, here is a copy of it: Raju420. Continue reading