The American Ritual Dance

Dear God,
With heavy hearts
We gather here
To say goodbye
To those who were taken away
At the prime of their lives;
(By our inaction but that’s another matter)
And send our condolences
To the grieving families,
May time heal their hurts,
(Sure time heals everything you know)
And make them whole again.

Phew, with that out of our hearts
It’s now time,
Let the barbeques begin,
And the donations roll in;
You know it’s not easy folks
To stand up for your rights
To bear arms
With empty pockets
Every two, four or six years;
Let the good times begin.

And while we are at it,
Don’t forget to remember those
Who gave up their lives
To protect your rights
To turn this land of
The free and the braves
Into killing fields,
With AR15s for one and all;
Don’t you fret,
We have judges who know
Which side to butter the bread;
Well, obviously they obfuscate
During the nomination process,
Lest they don’t get elevated.
(They are not politicians you know)

God willing we shall make this land
A prison soon,
With guns for one and all;
(Isn’t that what 2nd Amendment all about)
Let’s decree guns for the newborns,
Afterall we are the ones
Who stand up for their right to be born,
So that we have enough
For our target practices;
Remember, it’s not guns that kill,
People do,
So go and make merry as you like,
What did you say?
A knife?
It doesn’t kill that many,
AR15s that’s what you must have
To kill a deer unarmed;
We are a country of laws,
And we shall fight
With all our might
To preserve your right
To snuff out the light,
From young and old alike
With futures bright.

Ah, what you say,
Tears coming down our cheeks..?
(Must be the smoke from the barbeque)
Hey, don’t you blame the crocodiles,
They don’t come after their kids with guns,
You need a special breed for that,
We are Americans!
And you know for those who need
We have mental health,
(That we ourselves surely need)
But no, can’t deprive them also
Of their rights,
It’s a free country all right,
Except for the rights victims of rape and incest
To abort;
We are a great country,
Unique in the world
Remember that well on the Tuesday of November.
The list grows longer they say,
Well you know the more the merrier,
Gives us more opportunities
To come out and assure our constituents,
We stand with them dancing
The American ritual dance.

Ubered in the City of Joy

Uber Experience in Kolkata: April 13, 2022

I am in Kolkata for the last few days as part of my travel to India during March – April of 2022 staying with my friend in New Town, a planned satellite town being developed for last so many years with wise streets, modern amenities, highrises and the town being near the airport makes it a desirable place to live. Infact residents of New Town do not have to go to old town Kolkata unless visiting friends and relatives. And that’s where the issue arise. I was here about four years back when the metro connection was being built. That metro is still not completed. So to visit family or friends in other parts of old Kolkata one has to depend on app based taxi services unless someone is brave enough to take the public bass services. I was not that brave to face an overcrowded bus in the oppressive humidity for which Kolkata is well known.

So come evening yesterday I and my friend found ourselves just outside the gates of the housing society waiting for the UBER driver who was supposed to be there in a few minutes. Well, after few cancelled reservations by UBER drivers and multiple calls going unanswered we were finally graced by the visit of an UBER driver. With a sigh of relief we sat down expecting the comfort of air conditioning to dry off the drenching sweat that had bathed us by that time. Well, we expected too much. Our merciful lord, the UBER driver, gave us all the excuses under an invisible moon hidden by the smog or cloud that had been hiding the sun for last few days in Kolkata why he would not allow us the privilege of an air conditioned ride to the City of Joy except agreeing that he was contractually obligated to turn on the air conditioning. To make a long story short, we had the pleasure of listening to his running commentary of how UBER was responsible for the devious ploy of depriving us of the pleasure of having what we have paid for and how and his fellow cohorts are going to ensure that we get our dues in some not too distant future because they were hard (or was it hardly) at work to serve their customers to the best of their abilities.

So one part of the ordeal was over. We had a good time with our friend and now it was time to come back. And then the fun started. If during coming it was couple of cancelled bookings now it was one cancellation after another. For every booking there would be about ten or fifteen minutes waith time. On your cell phone phone app you see the car moving a few blocks and then a permanent stall with calls being answered by a voice message saying that the caller was not reachable. We must have waited about an hour before an UBER driver picked up the phone and the app showed a constantly moving car.

Hallelujah! So we were finally on an UBER car about to be driven back home. But oh, wait! More surprises were waiting us. As we sat down on our seats the driver shut off the engine and asked my friend for the fare agreed upon by UBER. We were surprised. My friend asked whythe driver needs the fare. It’s between him and UBER. However the driver refused to budge and ultimately my friend gave in. We were simply too tired. More surprises waiting for us. Now my lord the driver wanted to see the cellphone of my friend and he really insisted. My friend asked the driver if he didn’t believe what my friend said but the driver just was insistent. Finally my friend gave his cell phone to the driver who took one look and gave the phone back to my friend. The driver said that he cancelled the booking and we could give him the agreed fare once we reach our destination. We were shocked but what to do. Get down and start the whole process again? What guarantee was there that we would get another one and if we get one how much time we may have to wait. We agreed and finally the car started moving. What a relief! We asked the driver to put the a/c on and lo and behold! another surprise. That would be an extra fifty rupees. This time my friend lost his patience and gave the driver a most profound sarcastic tongue lashing in perfectly chaste Hindi with due emphasis on the appropriate words to drive his point home. The result was that the sullen lord graced us with some cool air from the car a/c. The rest of the journey was made in dead silence.

When we reached home my friend asked me to take a photo of the license plate which I did. The driver was visibly upset and asked why we took a photo of the license plate. My friend responded that there was nothing further to talk and the driver would come to know the consequences soon. The look on the face of the driver as he drove away was enough to sooth some of our pains being ubered in the city of joy. Neither UBER nor it’s drivers care for the customers. They are there in this business to make money and customers conme last.

A final phweet

The tweets from toilets were stopped,
The bully pulpit slipped away,
The swamp did not get drained, prisons did,
A final executive order revoked an earlier one,
Opening the flood gate to refill the swamp again,
Pardoned cronies will need a job,
What’s better for the alligators than the swamps of Washington,
After all the conman needs money to live his lifestyle,
Airforce One not his private jet any more,
His name in the dump, he schemes for a resurrection.

And a faded sunset beckons, hinting
A tarnished legacy,
Humiliation and oblivion.

Five Years Old Today

I can assure you that when I got up today morning, I had no intention of writing this post. Forget the morning, even ten minutes back I had no inclination that this post was brewing. I was happily preparing my lunch, boiling lentils for the ubiquitous daal, staple of many Indian households for lunch and dinner, when suddenly popped up this announcement on my cell phone. Thank whoever is up there that my betterhalf did not see the announcement first. She would not have had the patience to scroll down and would have shot first. No, not with a gun, we don’t own one, but I dread more the treatment that would have been meted out more than the gun shot that I  am sure she would have missed.

To cut to the chase, I am five years old today. No, not in physical age, I don’t even remember being thtyat old any more. I am five years old by WordPress calender and that’s the anniversary note that popped up on my phone just few minutes back.

And what a wonderful five years it had been. Brought to social media kicking and screaming, I now relish the wonderful friends I have met across all the continents of the world except Antarctica. I have not met any of them physically yet but many of those friendships I cherish. They make life worthwhile through their writings and comments.

So without much ado, and before my dall boils over(and to spare myself from a tongue lashing), here is to friendship and a long, fruitful journey together in the world of writing in WordPress.

Uncomfortable

In search of a comfortable place

To seat and write my masterpiece,

I forgot my pen and paper,

And carried the words in my heart,

That made me very uncomfortable,

Ah, when you need your cell phone the most,

Why is it always out of charge,

And now that it is fully charged and rearing to go,

The words have left my memory bank,

(did I say I was getting old),

So now I am sitting comfortably,

And spewing out rubbish to make you uncomfortable,

(like the one tweeting every morning from his toilet seat).

Growing Up

Growing up is no fun,

Before one realizes,

Grows up to

What used to be despised,

And now being resented

For being despised

For the same

That used to be despised,

And the whinings start,

For being misunderstood

Oh, why the world can’t see

What one sees,

Is the world that blind?

Growing up is

Surely no fun.

Waiting for Two Seventy

Just a humorous (I hope) look at the end of the presidential campaign in USA.

For those of us
who became two seventy(lb),
waiting for two seventy,
pound hard the ground,
to shed those extra pounds,
hit the ground running,
and not spend time golfing,
stop comfort food wolfing,
stay away from
fast food venues, and
welcome idly dosa
to the White House menu,
with two healthy leaders
to look up to, and
with the obese one on his
way out,
we should soon be
on our way to
shedding those
accumulated pounds, and
habits healthy, of
not tweeting early
every morning,
from the golden
toilet seat.

Conflict of Interest

We are in that time of the year, when every four years a circus comes to the town, nay country. This year by grace of God or COVID, we are spared some of the drama. At least the last few months of stay at home has made us experts in ignoring the noise and concentrating more on other important distractions like social media, Netflix , Amazon prime and others like them. Unfortunately, come November, whether we like it or not, the circus will be at its climax and we shall be either participants or spectators. The poem below is a tongue in cheek look at our dilemma. Nothing in it is remotely connected to reality, so don’t even try to read too much into it.

Conflict of interest manifests,
when a thief is sent to guard the assets.
the institutions on which democracy stands,
slowly gets dismantled.
capitalism rears its ugly head,
socialism around the corner, faithfuls shout.
while the liberals lick their wounds,
conservatives gloat.

beware, beware,
what goes around, comes around.
will you still be standing
when they come for you,
and you have no where to hide?
alas, we are being trained
to disagree without being civil to each other.

we aim for the jugulars,
while the goats bleed slowly
the meeks are always the sacrificial lambs,
to be slaughtered at the alter of greed.

and as the lemmings run to the sea,
the drama of election unfolds.
the pious utterances fill the atmosphere with hot air.
no wonder we experience a heat wave all around,
and the grinch all ready to steal Christmas.

rejoice,rejoice,
there is always a tomorrow.
people get what they deserve,
isn’t that what democracy is all about?
asking for privileges without exercising one’s rights,
or is it the other way around?

who cares, we are the
Greatest of All Times,
goat, is that such a grand animal to be?
silence of the lambs,
or the dead silence music to the ears
of powers to be?

democracy, ah democracy,
somewhere dead King George must be laughing in his grave,
and Hitler may be rueing
being born at the wrong time.
we march on, divided we stand, United?

 

Irreverrent Thoughts

I doubted thee,
why everything in pairs,
thought spectacles
were invented
because of two ears.
now I know,
two ears are there
to wear the mask.
so covid-19 was
in your plan before?
will never doubt thee,
now if you tell me,
what else are in store?
some would say
I’m irreverent,but
I know you know,
my tongue in cheek
does make sense, now
I scratch my head,
why only
one tongue though?

सिफ़र.

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