Mahatma Phooley’s Thoughts on Education

In this post I will reproduce the letter written by Joteerao Phooley (मराठी: जोतीराव फुले ) (in the modern times his name is written as Phule instead of Phooley as he himself wrote) one of the great reformers in India. The letter was written to the Hunter Education Commission for “opinion as to the system and personnel employed in the lower schools of the Educational Department” in 1882. Though the suggestions were largely ignored by the commission they give us an insight to the state of education and its possible remedies during that era. But when one reads the letter, one can relate immediately to the present state of education in the country, all the possible issues that one will think of are covered: the overarching presence of divisions in the society (caste, religion, gender), teacher training or rather lack of it, textbooks, syllabus, scholarships for the needy, school drop-outs, school inspections, school management, structure of fees, distance learning, privatisation of education etc.

This reminds of of a quote from Seymour Papert in Children’s Machine: Rethink of School in Age of Computers which suits very well what I am going to describe.

Imagine a party of time travelers from an earlier century, among them one group of surgeons and another of school- teachers, each group eager to see how much things have changed in their profession a hundred or more years into the future. Imagine the bewilderment of the surgeons finding themselves in the operating room of a modern hospital. Although they would know that an operation of some sort was being performed, and might even be able to guess at the target organ, they would in almost all cases be unable to figure out what the surgeon was trying to accomplish or what was the purpose of the many strange devices he and the surgical staff were employing. The rituals of antisepsis and anesthesia, the beeping electronics, and even the bright lights, all so familiar to television audiences, would be utterly unfamiliar to them.

The time-traveling teachers would respond very differently to a modern elementary school classroom. They might be puzzled by a few strange objects. They might notice that some standard techniques had changed and would likely disagree among themselves about whether the changes they saw were for the better or the worse but they would fully see the point of most of what was being attempted and could quite easily take over the class. I use this parable to provide a rough-and-ready measure of the unevennes progress across the broad front of historical change. In the wake of the startling growth of science and technology in our recent past, some areas of human activity have undergone megachange. Telecommunications, entertainment, and transportation, as well as medicine, are among them. School is a notable example of an area that has not. One cannot say that there has been no change at all in the way we dish out education to our students. Of course there has; the parable gives me a way of pointing out what most of us know about our system of schooling: Yes, it has changed, but not in ways that have substantially altered its nature. The parable sets up the question: Why, through a period when so much human activity has been revolutionized, have we not seen comparable change in the way we help our children learn? (emphasis mine)

In this letter one gets a window in the past, regarding the practices of education in that era. It is as if we are time-travelling to the past, and we can indeed relate to most of things that Phooley says. If one were to write a diagnosis and possible solutions for the problems of education present in India, many of the sentences from the letter can be taken as they are, and they will fit in the current scenario. This letter presents shows that Phooley had a deep understanding of the educational system that he was trying so hard to reform. The educational experience that Phooley had was wide ranging, as he started the first indigenous school for girls, then went on to open the first “an indigenous mixed school for the lower classes, especially the Mahars and Mangs”, along with these he was “also been a teacher for some years in a mission female boarding school.”

In the first part of the letter he quotes extensively from Slavery (मराठी: गुलामगिरी). And sets a stage upon which the systemic way in which “Brahmin thraldom” is in place. I do not know if he is talking about Marx when he says:

A well-informed English writer states that our income is derived, not from surplus pro ts, but from capital; not from luxuries, but from the poorest necessaries. It is the product of sin and tears.

He questions the policy of the Government

Upon what grounds is it asserted that the best way to advance the moral and intellectual welfare of the people is to raise the standard of instruction among the higher classes?

And at times becomes very dramatic to describe the dire situation at hand!

I sincerely hope that Government will ere long see the error of their ways, trust less to writers or men who look through highclass spectacles, and take the glory into their own hands of emancipating my Shudra brethren from the trammels of bondage which the Brahmins have woven around them like the coils of a serpent.

The next section is in particular about the state of primary education in Bombay Presidency. Joteerao has hold of relevant statistics in this regard. He laments the absence of schools for the lower classes in general and identifies in general the cause of misery as the general lack of education.

A good deal of their poverty, their want of self-reliance, their entire dependence upon the learned and intelligent classes, is attributable to this deplorable state of education among thepeasantry.

About village he says that

In villages also most of the cultivating classes hold aloof owing to extreme poverty, and also because they require their children to tend cattle and look after their fields.

And makes a recommendation that:

… primary education of the masses should be made compulsory up to a certain age, say at least 12 years.

Citing statistics he says:

Under the promise of the Queen’s Proclamation I beg to urge that Mahars, Mangs, and other lower classes, where their number is large enough, should have separate schools for them, as they are not allowed to attend the other schools owing to caste prejudices.

As regarding the actual suggestions that he makes for the Commission, are worthy to take note of:

With regard to the few Government primary schools that exist in the Presidency, I beg to observe that the primary education imparted in them is not at all placed on a satisfactory or sound basis. The system is imperfect in so far as it does not prove practical, and useful in the future career of the pupils.

Further he has particular suggestions regarding the remodelling of the system. First of all he talks about the almost complete occupation of teacher’s posts by Brahmins and that too untrained ones. These issues particularly relate to teacher professional development. I do not know anything about the colleges for training teachers which were present then. Also he suggests the minimum salary for the teachers “To secure a better class of teachers and to improve their position,”

As to the actual content which is to be taught to the students he is very practical.

The course of instruction should consist of reading, writing Modi and Balbodh and accounts, and a rudimentary knowledge of, general history, general geography, and grammar, also an elementary
knowledge of agriculture and a few lessons on moral duties and sanitation.

And for the villages he says (a studio approach to education!)

The studies in the village schools might be fewer than those in larger villages and towns, but not the less practical. In connection with lessons in agriculture, a small model farm, where practical instruction to the pupils can be given, would be a decided advantage and, if really eciently managed, would be productive of the greatest good to the country.

The textbooks which are lamented about in almost all educational surveys find a mention here:

The text-book in use, both in the primary and Anglo-vernacular schools, require revision and recasting as much as they are not practical or progressive in their scope. Lessons on technical education and morality, sanitation and agriculture, and some useful arts,. should be interspersed among them in progressive series.

As regards to the fees paid by the students he suggests that: “fees in the primary schools should be as 1 to 2 from the children of cess-payers and non-cess payers.” And on important note he also advises on placing a quality control over the schools by inspection, but at the same time mentioning “advisability of visiting these schools at other times and without any intimation being given.” It seems the schools then as they are now are only dressed up when they are being inspected. Also he says

No reliance can be placed on the district or village officers owing to the multifarious duties devolving on them, as they seldom find time to visit them, and when they do, their examination is necessarily very super ficial and imperfect.

Further he says that the number of primary schools need to be increased and provides ways in which these schools can be funded. Though he is very much for the municipalities providing the funding for the schools, but he is totally against the management being transferred to them.

The Municipalities in large towns should be asked to contribute whole share of the expenses incurred on primary schools within the municipal area. But in no case ought the management of the same to be entirely made over to them, They should be under the supervision of the Educational Department.

Also he is particular about the handling of funds as regards to primary education.

The administration of the funds for primary education should ordinarily be in the hands of the Director of Public Instruction.

In the next section he describes the state of Indigenous Schools in the Bombay Presidency.

Indigenous schools exist a good deal in cities, towns and some large villages, especially where there is a Brahmin population. From the latest reports of Public Instruction in this presidency, it is found that there are 1,049 indigenous schools with about 27,694 pupils in them.

And this is what he has to say as regards to the content in these schools

They are conducted on the old village system. The boys are generally taught the multiplication table by heart, a little Modi writing and reading, and, to recite a few religious pieces.

And is particularly harsh on the quality of teachers in these schools:

The teachers, as a rule, are not capable of effecting any improvements, as they are not initiated in the art of teaching. … The teachers generally come from the dregs of Brahminical society. Their qualifi cations hardly go beyond reading and writing Marathi very indi fferently, and casting accounts up to the rule of three or so. They set, up as teachers as the last resource of getting a livelihood. Their failure or unfi tness in other callings of life obliges them to open schools.

This we can say is true for many teachers in our own era. There are a very few who will choose to become teachers, usually it is the last choice, when all other choices are gone. And further Phooley adds for the training of the teachers:

No arrangements exist in the country to train up teachers for indigenous schools. The indigenous schools could not be turned to any good account, unless the present teachers are replaced by men from the training colleges and by those who pass the 6th standard in the vernaculars. The present teachers will willingly accept State aid but money thus spent will be thrown away.

The next section he describes the state of Higher Education in his times.

The cry over the whole country has been for some time past that Government have amply provided for higher education, whereas that of the masses has been neglected. To some extent this cry is justified, although the classes directly benefitted by the higher education may not readily admit it. But for all this no well-wisher of his country would desire that Government should, at the present time, withdraw its aid from higher education. All that they would wish is, that as one class of the body politic has been neglected, its advancement should form as anxious a concern as that of the other.

About the general education in India he says:

Education in India is still in its infancy. Any withdrawal of State aid from higher education cannot but be injurious to the spread of education generally.

He furthers this by adding that the withdrawal may be partial.

A taste for education among the higher and wealthy classes, such as the Brahmins and Purbhoos, especially those classes who live by the pen, has been created, and a gradual withdrawal of State aid may be possible so far as these classes are concerned; but in the middle and lower classes, among whom higher education has made no perceptible progress, such a withdrawal would be a great hardship. In the event of such withdrawal, boys will be obliged to have recourse to inefficient and sectarian schools much against their wish, and the cause of education cannot but suffer.

Phooley also has concerns regarding privatisation of education, which we are facing now.

Nor could any part of such education be entrusted to private agency. For a long time to come the entire educational machinery, both ministerial and executive, must be in the hands of Government. Both the higher and primary education require all the fostering care and attention which Government can bestow on it.The withdrawal of Government from schools or colleges would not only tend to check the spread of education, but would seriously endanger that spirit of neutrality which has all along been the aim of Government to foster, owing to the different nationalities and religious creeds prevalent in India. This withdrawal may, to a certain extent, create a spirit of self-reliance for local purposes in the higher and wealthy classes, but the cause of education would be so far injured that the spirit of self-reliance would take years to remedy that evil.

He says that the Government schools are much superior to the private ones, one does not know whether this claim will hold in the current times, though for Higher Education this may be generally true as to get admitted to Government run colleges and institutions is much harder than private ones. But whether the reason is same for that one does not know, comparing the salaries that are paid in international schools as opposed to the Government schools the balance is upturned.

The superiority of Government schools is mainly owing to the richly paid staff of teachers and professors
which it is not possible for a private schools to maintain.

The content of what is taught in these schools is again brought under scanner as in the case of primary education:

The character of instruction given in the Government higher schools, is not at all practical, or such as is required for the necessities of ordinary life. It is only good to turn out so many clerks and schoolmasters.

And one wouldn’t agree more with what he says about the matriculation exam:

The Matriculation examination unduly engrosses the attention of the teachers and pupils, and the course of studies prescribed has no practical element in it, so as to fit the pupil for his future career in independent life.

Also he is very much for printing of textbooks by the Government, which will encourage “private studies”, thus opening up possibilities for distance education and lead to “diffusion of knowledge in country”:

The higher education should be so arranged as to be within easy reach of all, and the books on the subjects for the Matriculation examination should be published in the Government Gazette, as is done in Madras and Bengal. Such a course will encourage private studies and secure larger diffusion of knowledge in the country. It is a boon to the people that the Bombay University recognises private studies in the case of those presenting for the entrance examination. I hope, the University authorities will be pleased to extend the same boon to higher examinations. If private studies were recognised by the University in granting the degrees of B.A., M.A. &c., many young men will devote their time to private studies.

Further he has to say regarding the scholarships being granted to the students

The system of Government scholarships, at present followed in the Government schools, is also defective, as much as it gives undue encouragement to those classes only, who have already acquired a taste for education to the detriment of the other classes. The system might, be so arranged that some of these scholarships should be awarded to such classes amongst whom education has made no progress.

On this issue he further adds:

The system of awarding them by competition, although abstractedly equitable, does not tend to the spread of education among other classes.

In the final section he mentions the state in which “educated natives” are left who are not able to find public service, as most of the education that they are imparted with is “not of a technical or practical nature”.

The present number of educated men is very small in relation to the country at large, and we trust that the day may notbe far distant when we shall have the present number multiplied a hundred-fold and all betaking themselves to useful and remunerative occupations and not be looking after service.

Also in the last lines of the letter he recommends the spread of female education.

In conclusion, I beg to request the Education Commission to be kind enough to sanction measures for the spread of female primary education on a more liberal scale.

Thus the letter ends and Phooley states his status as:

Merchant and Cultivator and
Municipal Commissioner

To read the letter in retrospect about 130 years later, one cannot but help to relate to the status quo in many aspects of education in general which Phooley describes, thus reminding one of the time-travellers of Papert. One theme which runs through the entire letter is that the people who are already on the higher class of the society, are the ones who benefit most from the educational reforms, and this is detrimental to diffusion of knowledge in all strata of the society. As regards to the content of what is actually taught in schools, absence of practical knowledge, quality and quantity of teachers, prospective jobs, the quality of textbooks one would recommend almost the same things even today.

The complete letter is reproduced below. A PDF version of the letter is available here.

Continue reading

Y – The Last Man

Recently read the comics series Y The Last Man.

 Tale of a single human male and his pet monkey, who survive an instant death to all the mammals that have the ‘Y’ chromosome; read males. All the mammal males, even the sperms die at the same time. This leads the world in chaos. Yorick the only male to survive this disaster is escorted by Agent 355 with Dr. Mann a scientist, who seems to be the only woman who is capable of doing anything about the catastrophe. So starts the adventure, with only one male remaining in the world



Who wants peace, when we have not yet begun to fight?

I am not afraid of the world…. I am afraid of the world without you.

# 5

When the game is over, the Queen and the Pawn go in the same box.

# 7

No price is too great for your opponents king.

# 8

There’s a line I never thought I’d have to hear again.

# 09

Your imprisonment was also your emancipation.

# 12

Euphemisms are only for those who feel guilt about what they are

With little power comes little responsibility.

# 13

None of us is innocent.

# 14

… but sometimes you must do terrible things for peace.

# 15

This is what happens to friends when a man comes between them.

# 18

Ain’t nothing worse than ladies in numbers.

Is this some kinda joke?
That’s what I keep asking myself.

The Day of The Locust

# 20

It was like, they had crossed the finish line already, you know? But I
still had a million laps to run.

Everyone else just thinks I’m dumb and impulsive and .. well not that
I am not…

Endings have to be earned.

# 21

Isn’t this the part where you do something stupid?

# 22

Good thing, our shit lawys goes according to plans…

Just because you can dance doesn’t mean that you are a dancer…

# 25

I came here for forgiveness… but now I’ve just got more shit to be
sorry for.

The things we do make us what we are.

You fuck better than you preach.

# 27
 You, young man are wise beyond your years.

# 29

Karma is a fucking urban legend.

# 32

Waters won’t be always this calm.

# 35

And I’m no more guilty than you are qualified to sit on that bench.

# 37

The future never shapes up like you figure it will…

# 38
Come on, we have a rumour to kill…
# 42

Love isn’t an emotion it’s an abstract construct mammals assign to a
biological imperative they don’t fully understand.

# 43

Everybody needs somebody.

Sure, this will probably end up being another in a long line of
emotionally crippling misadventures.

No, real relationships can only be forged by hate.

The gangster of love knows how to simulate all passages great and

Yes, you are very beautiful when you cry.

# 44

Everybody has got something to hide.

Everybody’s got something, right?

# 47

How is it wrong if no one ever knows about it?

We may be changing countries, but we will net let that country change

# 49

Mixed messages in my bane existence.

# 50

Faith and science can be friends, but they make for a disastrous

Answers to the unknown are all around us.

# 51

Our bodies tell us that we love so many, but there’s room in our
hearts for so few.

# 52

Our sexes maybe equal, but they are not the same.

Because you confused your protective instincts with romantic

# 53

Still, you can take the girl out of htthe amazon, but you can’t always
take the amazons out of the girl, right?

# 55

A good relationship isn’t where one the other person makes you feel
better, but where they make you better.

# 57

So you would have said no to the man, but yes to the last man.

I have so many different ways to respond to that, I don’t know even
where to begin.

# 60

We spend nine months trying to get out of a women and rest of our
lives trying to get back in.

A Woman’s Snare…

They chatter with one man,
Look at another with amorous gestures;
And in their minds think of yet another,
Who then is loved by a woman?

From: Bhartrihari [7th Century]

When you read these lines, the immediate thing that you want to do is to find a woman in your memory lanes that fits the above bill. One will perhaps find not one, but many. But, perhaps this also applies to men, in fact I think they are more likely to do so, if you accept the explanations from evolutionary psychology and comparative psychology.

In evolutionary psychology they say that the males want to produce as many offspring as possible. So they try to mate with as many females as possible, many times the quality does not matter, only quantity does. This is so because the males do not have to invest [sic] a lot in mating. The analogy that is often given to the sperm production in males is to spam mails that hit your mailbox daily. Even if one in 10 million makes it, your job is done. But for the females the bodily investment is much larger. So females they say prefer quality over quantity. After the copulation it is the female who has to bear the child, and the responsibility of male becomes minimal. Imagine if a human male copulated daily with a fertile female, which I guess one can, how many children can he produce in a life time? Perhaps in thousands. Similarly if we think of human females producing children when they can, that is taking into consideration their biology; perhaps one child in a year, considering all other factors, the total number will be max at 2 dozen or so. So it is the males who would are more likely to be mating more than women to produce children and that too with many different ones, if they have the capabilities.

This particular observation is not general, and of course does not apply to all species. There are species of sea-horse in which the males rear the young ones, in almost all birds the rearing of offspring is the joint responsibility of the couple. In animals who have social structures, as in case of humans and monkeys, the young ones are raised socially.

But we being humans, do not copulate just for procreation, we do also copulate for recreation [of ourselves that is]. They say that dolphins and chimps are the only other creatures which do so, no wonder they are called intelligent. All other animals copulate when their natural cycle tells them to. So in this light of recreational copulation the above verses acquire a different meaning. There are women and men who copulate and want to copulate for recreation, it is perhaps their nature to do so, but perhaps they are bound too strongly by the social sanctions that surround them.

The next question to ask is that is it right for them to do so?

Well, the answer depends on what one thinks of such social norms. Are they to be followed in to to, or they have an interpretation dependent logic.

The answer is something that I do not know…

PS: Perhaps the essay might sound silly, it is; I have to expand on certain sections.

Anonymous Stranger

Last month I has a strange experience with a anonymous stranger.
I call the person anonymous is because the identity of that person is not known to me. I received a SMS which has some riddle like lines..
This led to an exchange of SMS which I am reporting here.
This is a monologue, which some people in the past have accused me of doing, for the reason that `Save sent msgs’ function is disabled on my phone. So feel free to fill in the in between SMS on my side, where you want to

It all started with these two messages from this number 902856xxxx
[The numbers at the beginning are YEAR:MONTH:DAY:HOURS:MINUTES]

2010:04:14:00:46: Yews over unwilling. Restless elated yet. Elated sumer amply relumes each..
2010:04:14:16:36: Each Not Chancing His Arrival Not To Ingenuity Not Green

I tried to call, then  all other SMS came from this number, when 909612xxxx

2010:04:14:20:31: Dont dont dont call.. Look what happens when you do.. Now i have to text you from this number..
2010:04:15:20:35: so i assume you could not decipher the first two text s code
2010:04:16:21:15: Ok lets take it this way.. If you dont want me to text give me a missed and if you want dont react.. I highly suspect we have the prevalence of the former here.. So please go ahead..
2010:04:16:22:05: You know you are like pepin but of course in only your stubborn and nonchalant ways..
2010:04:17:09:41: Finally.. Not that i know what s m means but still its porgress.. Did you decode?
2010:04:17:09:47: Attitude.. It like it.. Infact i think you should patent it.. For obvious  reasons you know..
2010:04:17:10:01: Ok now amit s again become pepin.. Tell me are my text so loathable or its just you..
2010:04:17:11:27: Ok so my texts are not good and you are intended upon talking in monosyllables.. At least we agree on one thing.. Its progress again..
2010:04:17:14:07: didnt intend upon disturbin bt i texted n it ws nt deleverin so i thought i hav troubled u 2 d extend of switchin off ur phone..wanted 2 ask if u really dont like.. I wont text.?
2010:04:17:14:11: Yea i know you want to say ‘your wish’.. cos i started.. But seriously you can say bluntly..
2010:04:17:14:16: Oh regarding choice between texting or not texting or something more difficult..
2010:04:17:14:22: Ah.. Thats  what i meant by difficult.. No nothing.. Nothin at all infact.. Lets save us both some messages.. You : then why are you texting me. Me : nothing particular but i ll stop the moment you tell me to.. you: ….. Me : oks… Now you can complete..
2010:04:17:14:25: Flattered..
2010:04:17:14:25: At least pepin thinks i m worth hmmm s..
2010:04:17:14:28: Ok then.. Do think.. Do what you rmind says.. What is it saying now..
2010:04:17:14:36: Ok forget if you dont want to answer.. Or still wordless.?
2010:04:17:14:43: Come on pepin.. Ok dont try to know your mind. Its complex.. Ask me who has been trying to extract replys from you all week..
2010:04:17:14:45: Oh god.. Will you ever reply without me asking you a question..
2010:04:17:14:53: He was french dictator.. Reminds of you..
2010:04:17:14:59: Angry?
2010:04:17:15:02: Hmmm.. So you know him..
2010:04:17:15:13: Cute.. but dont know try to know him personaly.. not a nice guy..
2010:04:17:15:17: Why not.. I know all dictators personally..
2010:04:17:15:19: Ok.. Who s your ideal person.. O mean you admire the ideas of whom,, Somebody i would know..
2010:04:17:15:26: Lets see if i am a physicist if would like chandrashekhar or einstein or stephen hawking.. Read breif hostory of time? Its beautiful..
2010:04:17:15:30: Come on pepin… Say na..
2010:04:17:15:34: Khan
2010:04:17:15:38: ?
2010:04:17:15:44: Yeah y him.. He was worse than pepin.. Are you kidding..
2010:04:17:15:58: Please talk in more than one word.. Its difficult you know..
2010:04:17:16:30: Kay zhala..
2010:04:17:16:33: :-).. Am i very boring.. Yes you are interesting..
2010:04:17:16:55: That means yes?
2010:04:17:17:02: That is because you.. No first answer.. Am i really boring..
2010:04:17:17:03: Or moderately so..
2010:04:17:17:19: At least yes or no..
2010:04:17:17:24: Can you know if you ll talk to me..
2010:04:17:17:25: Did you realise this was your longest sentence
2010:04:17:17:26: No.. I m otherwise very boring.. Its better on text..
2010:04:17:17:27: Yup.. Your highness is gettin better..
2010:04:17:17:31: No.. I m otherwise very boring.. Its better on text..        
2010:04:17:17:32: Yup.. Your highness is gettin better..
2010:04:17:17:35: You feelin it.? Because for me its like.. Come on girl.. Come up with something cool..
2010:04:17:17:48: The signal is bad here.. Airtel sucks.. And what else s going on..
2010:04:17:17:50: Ok mr pepin but please say more that two words..
2010:04:17:17:51: Okay chose one.. Sea or moutain.. Orange or red.. Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:17:54: Afraid? Of what 🙂 I have given up on studies.. How s your ph d going..
2010:04:17:17:59: No silly.. Given up means going okay okay..
2010:04:17:18:00: Y u got married..
2010:04:17:18:00: Sounding so sad like hmmm..
2010:04:17:18:02: Okay chose one.. Sea or mountain.. orange or red.. Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:18:04: Sea or moutain..
2010:04:17:18:05: Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:18:05: Yaar amit i dont know.. Y would otherwise i ask you..
2010:04:17:18:10: Ok.. You are somebosy who gets angry unexpectedly, likes travelling, loyal to very very limited people and.. Okay select one.. Eyes or nose..
2010:04:17:18:12: And think what people are from inside is more mp that what people look..
2010:04:17:18:13: .Am i correct or wrong. What percent
2010:04:17:18:24: You know this is what is unexpected.. The moment i think you are ok you become cold again.. Ok you only say since my talks are vague apparently
2010:04:17:18:27: Your game.?
2010:04:17:18:30: Cute but.. Anyways..
2010:04:17:18:32: Its just too early… And by the way mr pepin my knowing your identity is default.. And playing games.. Not my cup of tea
2010:04:17:18:33: Well you r naive.. Lets assume for the moment what you said was cute..
2010:04:17:18:35: Ok then it is.. Do you realise.. One sms includes more than sixty char nad you use just two of them.. National wastage..
2010:04:17:18:35: Ok fav author..?
2010:04:17:18:36: Coffee.?
2010:04:17:18:38: Amit say na..
2010:04:17:18:40: Say one.. You are such a spoilsport..
2010:04:17:18:45: Yeah since i am an expert on abbreviations that one beats me..
2010:04:17:18:47: Ok..
2010:04:17:18:51: Kay zhala again?
2010:04:17:19:10: So what does sm really mean
2010:04:17:19:11: No say na..
2010:04:17:19:12: Come on say na
2010:04:17:19:14: I understood that pepin.. But justified enough.. I m keeping my share of identity so you can keep your sm to yourself..
2010:04:17:19:16: No my initials are not that.. But whats that.. Where did you get it from..
2010:04:17:19:17: No ad they are not my initials..
2010:04:17:19:19: No.. Come on.. I m hidin.. Will not lie..
2010:04:17:19:21: Yeah.. I really dont know where you are getting that from but do tell me..
2010:04:17:19:21: Say na whats sm
2010:04:17:19:24: And you hav
e appeal for..?
2010:04:17:19:25: Seriously..
2010:04:17:19:27: No not why not at all.. Cool..
2010:04:17:19:33: Kay zhaka again?
2010:04:17:19:38: Ok.. Will text you once i am in a position to disclose my identity.. Take care..

I really don’t know what sense to make out of all this…

Dev D

Dev D

Saw Dev D. Had heard it and about it. Had seen it in parts, now completely. Liked the movie and the posters [they are really good too]. The story is based on one of the most [ab]used characters in the Indian cinema. Just think about the dying scene in Bhansali’s DevDas. I can’t stand it, but I know many who adore the performance of the King Khan in that film. Sorry. I can’t. Period. It’s [rather he’s] not my type. Have seen the older Devs too. But, nonetheless, found them boring too. What is that fascinates directors, actors and the moviegoers to the character of DevDas. What is in the character for everybody, that again and again the character resurfaces with the cream of actors each time.

Abhay Deol has done really good work so far, I mean he is definitely much better than his two cousins. The choice of the movies that he has made over the years, and his portrayal of the characters tells his story. No need for me to certify. But the character of Dev played by Abhay is the most brilliant one he has played so far. From a boy who has everything in life in his grasp, including Paro, love of his life, to a DEVastated Dev, who is lying waste on the streets of Delhi, the journey itself is the main theme of the film and also the essence of Dev’s character.

Why is that what we desire is just within our reach, but we can never reach it?

The teasing is always there…

Life is like a juicy, ripe fruit just out of our reach.

Dev has Paro [Mahie Gill], but is unable to take her. Mahie Gill plays the role of Paro well enough. The rustic charm of a गवांर jaat babe, is present in her character and in her. The thought that she has shared herself with someone is unbearable for him. This is where the first explosion is shown. The breaking of bottle on the head, is where Dev unleashes himself, from the bonds of Paro. But the bonds are too strong, to be broken. The farther she goes from him, more intense the attraction is [F = -kx ?]. Why does the thought of sharing the one you love with someone [or even something for that matter] else is just unbearable? If this was not true lot of world’s problems would have not arisen. But this is the tendency of the human mind and the human kind. True as Mr. Smith says, we are like a virus [ Do viruses have a mind?].

I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
– William Shakespeare: A Mid Summer Night’s Dream

Dev tells Paro, what he does not want to, its just a few moments of hate and rage, during which the silent bitterness comes out. This is one of other problems of life, you cannot tell a person how you excactly feel, the feeling is always within you, but somehow it does not find an exit. The feeling remains within you, becomes a part of you, does not depart, for there is nowhere for the feeling to exist outside you. And when you make a decision to talk about it, something else comes out, something that is not planned at all, something which has no meaning, but can be quite devastating and this is what Dev does. For me this is the “emosional atyachaar इमोसनल अत्याचार” of life. This is where Anurag Kashyap is brilliant. If it was any others formula film-maker, the scene would have had required gallons of glycerine. Dev is oblivious to the fact, even when told explicitly that he also did [ the same to] Rasika, that its the same thing Paro did. But obviously as for any self loving, self indulging person the standards for the self and the others are not the same. So is with Dev, a promiscuous Paro is not acceptable for him …

Would a promiscuous lover be acceptable to you?

Paro more stronger than before [and definitely more than Dev] and “moves on” with life. Even when promiscuous, she has an absolute love and is mad about Dev. Dev is her first and true love. But after the Dev-debacle she first reluctantly and then whole heartedly takes the new life that comes to her post-Dev. But post-Paro Dev has no where left, so he goes to Delhi. When he is unleashed he is all around but no-where in particular, like the mists of Delhi. Life for Dev, becomes a psychedelic experience for us. The life revolves in circles in bottles of vodka, fumes of smoke from cigarretes, and the ATM. The hotel room which he lives in is a sort of mirror of Dev’s own life, chaotic, orderless, yet we are somehow strangely attracted to it.

And the one encounter with Paro in Delhi, Dev again loathes her. Paro still down to Earth and still caring about Dev. [Is caring for somebody same as loving them too?] Paro does not stop his advances, but neither does she give any encouragement. [This can be really frustrating, believe me.] On the other hand, the imagery of Paro doing it with her [superman] husband is too much for Dec. This is surely इमोसनल अत्याचार.

Can you bear to see your loved one in someone else’s arms?

So he again bursts, Chunni is there to handle him. And guides him to Chanda.

Enter Chanda [Kalki]. As a daughter she has “disgraced” her family and her father kills himself in shame. But Chanda emerges stronger, from all this. Post-MMS, she lives a double life, one of a prositute [A commerical sex worker if you prefer] and one of a college student, thanks to Chunni. Chanda makes a point when she says that, what right do they have to call her a slut, when they all watched “it”. The character of Chunni identifies Dev as an appropriate candidate for the business he runs. In Dev, Chunni finds the ideal customer. And in Chanda, Dev finds the traces of lost love that he is looking for.

Though initially Dev loathes Chanda, she persists, in his life and his outbursts. A bond develops between them, which gives, if only vague, aim to Dev’s life. So there is some relief from the Vodka bottles, but this is short lived too. Dev again unable to bear Chanda doing it to another man, walks out, literally. Again the psychedelic trance life begins. The relfections on the aviator that he wears is now his life. The neon lights of the nights are what Dev sees all around him, life is like a roller coaster ride, which only goes down, always speeding up, never slowing down, but which gives Dev a high, a high to rise above all the troubles life has presented him with.

And here we [all] wander in illusions.
– William Shakespeare: Comedy of Errors

Now that Dev has a BMW, the life speeds up. The life and the BMW gets a hit, literally. The accident scence is another brilliant stroke by the director. You would otherwise see tankloads of blood and dozens of dummies being crushed by the car… But here you see the accident from Dev’s perspective, after all this film is about Dev. The scene is as it would look when you are in non-drivers seat and Dev is in drivers’. The deaths are just like bumps you would feel on a bad road. [Maybe they _are_ bumps for Dev on a bad road of life.] Overwhelmed by the experience he [rather his system] just crashes. Dev is in hospital. And in all this turmoil Sattu is dead. So Dev gets bail to attend the funeral. While coming back, Dev just runs away from the harsh
realities in waiting for him back in Delhi. Dev escapes to the Himalayas, maybe seeking a nirvana, maybe just running away like a coward. Finally, his health forces him to come back to the coarse realities in Delhi.

… my pride fell with my fortunes.
– William Shakespeare As You Like It

Once the cash reserves are all gone, Dev takes to the streets literally. Paro is nowhere, neither is Chanda. Dev is and has lost. He desparately looks for Chanda, not Paro mind you, but she is nowhere to be found. Roaming aimlessly on the streets of Delhi, finally Dev finds Chanda, or is it the other way round? Anyway the end is a welcome relief from the other who followed the original DevDas blindly, without any brains good enough for their own interpretation of the story.

The story _is_ loosely based on Devdas, the novel.

Final rating 4.8 out of 5. Must see.


The first time I had seen her, she was different. She seemed energetic, flamboyant and full of life. There was a sparkle in her eyes which I have not seen in many. The dusky complexion of hers with the kohl lined eyes had made an imapct on me, which was not easy to forget. And to add to that she had a great sense of dressing, which again is not easy for me to forget. The choice of colors and materials was almost perfect. And her smile, it was a confidant and smile of a winner. Anywhere I would have recognized her. She was hard to forget. I would have liked to retain this image of hers….
But ….
The other day saw her and I was devastated. The first thing I feel bad about is that even though she was sitting close to me, I failed to recognize her. This is what hurt met the most. Then after straining the memory a bit she came to light. And I felt sorry for her…
I may never know the reasons why she became so…
Maybe there were genuine reasons, maybe she could have been helped, 


Eyes that decieve...
Eyes that decieve…

I will never look, into your eyes again…
For your eyes, lie again and again…
I am afraid, I might fall for them…
For the result, would be the same…

Three Femmes

That day three remarkable events happened. All of them involved females. The first one I call strange attractor. In the morning I was supposed to go at the RTO, for the test of the permanent driving license. When we were still at the driving school, which incidentally is just across the road of the Centre, one particular female caught my attention. She was in her late 30’s and had a typical look of a Northern lady, who has maybe brought up in Delhi or some place nearby. This I deduced from the kind of dress and its fit she was wearing. Somehow I don’t know, but I felt suddenly attracted very much to this lady. This particular lady was not that attractive, neither she had a very curvy figure, but nonetheless I felt a strange attraction towards her. She was standing on the other side of the road, I could not see her properly, but still this strange charm of her, had been cast over me. Why? I could not understand. 

The lady found some friend, who was on the same side of the road as I was. They both came to the middle of road, at the divider and started talking across the street. This was funny. Two women talking in the middle of the road [literally], talking loudly as they could not hear each other clearly. So that they became the centre of attention [again literally]. Anyways the lady, then came to my side of the road, then I saw her close by. She had not put on any make-up, even if she had it must be very light, the kind of which is unnoticeable. As for my attraction, I still didn’t know why I strangely felt attracted towards this particular female, I had no reasons to. If she had a very striking face, I would have fell for her, or if she had an awesome figure, I would have fell for her, or if she was wearing a very hip dress, I would have…. But, but neither was the case, then why, why did I fell for her?

I did not miss a chance to see her, see her move, see her talk, trying to figure out why, I felt so attracted to her. With her I felt a sort of familiarity, which I should not have felt, because I was seeing her for the first time. I felt familiar with her face, her body and her body language, the way she talked, it was so familiar. I had seen her. Deja vu. But why? I could not figure out….

And the feeling was very strong, I felt as if I had known her for so long, that I could not imagine things without her. Why should such a case occur with a complete stranger? Not that I have not been attracted to strangers, but this was something different. Some connection was present here, which I could not comprehend or understand even when I wanted to. I felt a sense of belonging to her, which you usually do not feel with complete strangers….

For the next hour or so, my mind was intensely struggling about this. I had to find a solution, I had to. Otherwise memories of her and the strange attraction that I felt would not let me be in peace. They say there are two types of things that you cannot see. One when the things are too small, and other when they are too large, too large for you to imagine. I guess the cause of my attraction to the lady was of the later type. Epiphany! And the mystery was resolved. The familiarity with the face was striking, it must be, for it was her face. How could I over look such a simple thing?  This one, was definitely too big. This should have come to my mind as the first thing, when I saw her. As with other problems, once you have had looked at the solution, you find otherwise cryptic steps simple. Once you decipher a cipher all the mysteries surrounding it, are gone. So was this case, she was as beautiful as her, but maybe 6-7 years in the future. But she had all the elements of her, she really had them all…. All the charms of her, were present in her. But anyway, I felt a bit relieved when I could figure out what had happened…. 

Finally things made sense….

The second case was in the evening. We went to the bus stop to drop her. There was a young [most probably college going] couple sitting at the bus stop. When we went pass them, they seemed to be having a serious talk. The body language of both was heavy, both were carrying, it seemed, a huge burden on them. The girl was fair, maybe 18-19, a real PYT. She was wearing a pink top, which matched with her fair appearance, and had right mass at right places. They were having a silent argument, in which all the violence is in the mind instead of the words. These are the more dangerous types, as you don’t know when the other person will erupt, burst out, when will the physical manifestation of this struggle would occur. I am more this kind of person. 

When we went to our stop, the fighting I guess intensified, not verbally but mentally. Just as her bus
was at the gate, I saw the guy throwing a bag or something towards the girl, the things
were getting out of hand. Then she said something to him, and…. Smack! He hit her right on the face, with a forceful blow. We were standing maybe, 25-30 feet away but I could still clearly hear the unmistakable sound of someone being slapped. They were not looking, they were too keen about the bus that was coming. Though for me the sound of the slap lasted for briefest of moments, for her I guess, it would be audible in her head  for some time to come. It was all happening like it does in the movies. After this incident, the girl could not be seen, as 2-3 buses obstructed our view and when they cleared the girl had already walked out of the depot. The guy was still sitting there on the stop, with an expression on his face as if, nothing had happened. Then came the discussion that whether we should have intervened in what happened. Had the girl still been there, there was a chance that we could have done something about it. May be if she had replied in kind, people around her and us would have supported her. But she did not stay, she offered no resistance and so all our discussions on this issue are all theoretical…. Is this also not the plight of the women who suffer, that they do not offer resistance? They do not face and stand things when they should? May be other people will come to support them, maybe they will not…. If she had shown the guts to face him, I would have of course taken her side, even not knowing who was the wrongdoer. Was it the girl or the boy?

Should we have gone to the guy and asked “Why did you slap her?” Or we as all others at the depot be mute spectators of this event and just be away with it. May be if we had asked he would have attacked us, may be we should have asked her instead. What would be her reaction? What made this guy do this thing to her? What were their troubles which led to this event? These and a lot of other questions will go unanswered and maybe will bother me for some time to come….

Now, to the third one. The enchantress. We went to have ice cream in the night. As soon as I parked and we entered the parlour, I was dumbstruck. For there were a pair of eyes, with almost enchanting and magical effects staring straight at me. The light colored eyes, were full of make-up, with eye-liners and eye-shadows, but even without them, just with a line of kohl, the effect would have been the same. Lisa Ray has the eyes of same color, but this female’s eyes and body were much bigger than hers. With the gaze that female wore, there was no escaping, when she stares at you, you have to look back. And once you look you cannot look for long, as she stared straight right up to your soul, it touches and stirs somethings deep inside you, which you yourself don’t know exist. The gaze penetrated right through your flesh and went beyond, much beyond. It was a glare of something un-human and there was something about it, which I cannot describe in words. You have to experience it to see what I saw. Something in it was not natural, the eyes were scary and yet fatally attractive at the same time. When I stared back, I felt what a moth must be feeling when it goes straight into the flame. The sort of feeling that you get is some sort of fanaticism. The beauty was such that it looked raw, fearful, yet pristine and supreme. I felt a strange attraction towards her, but I could not stare at her, for it was too much for me to handle. Maybe this is what they say happens to you, when a tiger in the wild stares at you, you just cannot let the gaze go….

“Did you look at her?” was her first reaction. She was too scared of her, too scared after the first look itself. So scared that she did not dare to look back at her, for the fear of the gaze of those enchanting eyes. She wondered sleeping next to a person, with eyes like this, and in the middle of the night they suddenly open their eyes. You will not be scared like anything? The female was fair, but not so fair. If she was a bit darker the effect of her eyes and complexion would have been really awesome. Somehow I like dark toned women who have light colored eyes. They just steal the show. There is something about them, which makes them so desirable, they are different and yet they are the same. Simply put it is beyond words, find her and look for yourself what I mean….