THIS ABOVE ALL
Mind your words, please
I was appalled to
read of the language used by Rita Bahuguna Joshi, head of the UP
Congress Committee, for Chief Minister Mayawati. The fact that
Mayawati is prone to use similar language—calling Mahatma
Gandhi natakbaz—was no excuse. Joshi should have
herself realised that she had crossed the limits of decency, and
tendered an apology. That would have been the Gandhian thing to
do. Instead, she chose to say that she had not meant to say what
she said, and had been misunderstood.
I hoped Digvijay
Singh would pull her up and apologise on her behalf. On the
contrary, he supported her and tried to divert the focus from
her speech to the attack on her house by Mayawati’s
supporters. I hope Sonia Gandhi will set the record straight:
either sack Joshi, or at least reprimand her. That will restore
the image of the Congress as one which maintains certain
standards of rectitude.
Why are so many of
our political leaders so loose tongued? Does it not occur to
them that by using bad language they only lower themselves in
people’s eyes and in the estimation of the party they belong
In the line of
fire: Sonia Gandhi should either sack Rita Bahuguna Joshi, or at least reprimand her for insulting Mayawati.
Pinki Virani is
a Muslim. Her husband Shankar Aiyar, a senior executive with India
Today, is a Tamil Brahmin. When I met her first time, I
asked her how the marriage was working out as both had stuck to
their respective faiths. "Fine. Just fine", she
replied. "I recite my namaz in one room. He tinkles
bells to his deities in the other. No problems,
whatsoever". I was happy to hear it. The more Hindu-Muslim
marriages, the better.
conversions demeaning. Pinki started off as a steno-typist, rose
to be an editor and finally an author. Her first book, Aruna’s
Story, is a true account of a lady doctor, who was raped and
left for dead by an employee she had sacked for neglecting his
duties. Aruna has been in coma for 31 years, a living corpse.
Pinki’s account of Aruna’s trauma and suffering is a true
heart-rending tale, a classic of its genre.
(Harper Collins) is her fourth book and first work of fiction.
It is ingenious in many ways. Its timeframe is limited to a long
weekend when a lady librarian dies unattended in her library
till her body is found the following Monday. It is ingenious in
its variety of characters—a girl with a cleft lip, two
starlets who make it to the top by serving financers, producers
and directors on the casting couch. There are male film stars
reminiscent of the Bachchans and the Kapoor family. There is a
lady beautician who reminds one of Shahnaz Hussain; a family
which, having made its fortune in Mumbai, moves to Delhi and
tries a shortcut to nobility by becoming polo players and
sponsors of polo teams. Above all, Deaf Heaven is
ingenious in language—a khichdi of English and
languages used by the urban middle class of Chennai, Kolkata,
Delhi and Mumbai. The novel makes joyful reading and keeps you
smiling from page one to the last.
Bill and Sam,
two elderly friends, met in the park every day to feed pigeons,
watch squirrels and discuss world problems. One day Bill didn’t
show up. Sam didn’t think much about it and figured maybe he
had a cold or something. But after Bill hadn’t shown up for a
week or so, Sam really got worried. However, since the only time
they ever got together was at the park, Sam didn’t know where
Bill lived. So he was unable to find out what had happened to
A month had
passed, and Sam figured he had seen the last of Bill. But one
day, Sam approached the park and, lo and behold. There sat Bill.
Sam was very excited and happy to see him and told him so. Then
he asked: "Bill, what in the world happened to you?"
Bill replied: "I have been in jail." "Jail?"
cried Sam. "What in the world for?" "Well,"
Bill said, "you know Mary, that cute little blonde waitress
at the coffee shop where I sometimes go?" "Yeah,"
said Sam, "I remember her. What about her?"
"Well, one day she filed rape charges against me; and, at
89, I was so proud that when I got into court, I pleaded guilty.
The damn judge gave me 30 days for perjury."
— (Contributed by Vipin
Buckshey, New Delhi)