Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chavanni, Atthanni aur Rupaiya... Raja, Kalmadi aur Radia! (Part-1)

First we had the 'sovereigns'. A time when... gold coins reigned. And rained. Then their reign ended. Since "all that glitters is not gold". Thereafter... the elderly and senile poly-tricks brigade took over... 'Coz "old is gold".

We called these gold coins 'mohars'... and they were abundant... courtesy 'the Company'. But now it is difficult to even spot the 'gulmohar' trees... what to say of the 'mohars'. The philosophy of 'company ka maal, dariya mein daal'... resulted in the 'Boston tea party'... without wine, cheese, caviar and Page 3. This in turn resulted in the American Revolution... and the awakening of Uncle Sham. And the world has not been the same again. See... chai and paani makes for some dangerous concoction! Take your (non Darjeeling/Assam) tea and shove it.

After the 'Mohar'... came the humble 'Anna'. Not Anna Kournikova silly! Just plain Jane... 'Anna'. However... this 'Anna' was immortalized by Kishore Kumar in the song 'paanch rupaiya baara anna... marega bhaiya na na na na'.

One Anna was equal to 1/16th of a Rupee. It was subdivided into 4 Paisa or 12 Pies. Thus there were 64 Paisa in a Rupee and 192 Pies. Shortly thereafter... we all ate humble pie... courtesy 'Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai'.

Sometimes, 50-Paisa is colloquially referred to as aath (8) anna... that is 'Atthanni' in Hindi. Since cost of living generally likes to live life King-size (or is it Emperor size?) and be a permanent high-flier... paeans were sung to the not quite humble 'atthanni' viz. 'aamdani atthanni, kharcha Rupaiya'... even inspiring a Bollywood movie by that name.

Last heard... the government of India has taken a decision (!!!) to withdraw '25-paisa' coins from circulation from June 30 2011. From this day the 25-paisa coins will cease to be legal tender in the country... and will be consigned to history. The days of 'chavanni' and 'char anna' are numbered... so to speak. Even beggars can and will be choosers... and thumb their noses at the theory of 'beggars can't be choosers'. Boo!

But this act of our very 'charitable' government will give a promotion to 'chavanni chaps' throughout the country... thus ensuring a substantial vote bank.

But don't underestimate the 'char anna'. After all... a pair of hands belonging to someone who was not even a 'char anna' or a primary member of the King Cong... is the hand that rocks the cradle... and rules this anna-less nation.

The Finance Ministry said in a statement that, "The minimum denomination coin acceptable for transaction will be 50-paise from that date."

... But 50-Paisa isn't enough to buy dates!

... Plus the 'atthanni' has not taken too kindly to this demotion... and is planning to go on a hunger strike... demanding a separate nation. But may make a climb down and settle for... demanding a separate state instead.

From June 30, 2011, together with 25-paise coins, all other coins of lesser denomination: one paisa, two paise, three paise, five paise, ten paise and twenty paise also 'will not be accepted in transactions', it said. Most of these coins vanished a long while ago as the government found the cost of minting them many times more than their face value. You see... these above-mentioned paise did not have a Face Book account... since FB was yet to take its virtual birth. They may decide to sue Lark Zuckerberg for causing loss of face value.

The colloquial saying... 'Char anna murgi, barah anna masala' too have to be modified... in keeping with the times. It literally means: Chicken for 4 annas, spices for 12! Actually means: In adversity, everything takes a bad turn.

It would be modified to: 'Aath anna murgi, ek rupaiya masala'... while adversity will remain... constant. Except for the humble servants.

Meanwhile... the 'Paisa' was characterised by: "Paisa, Paisa, Paisa, Paisa... Tu Bhagwan hai kaisa?" And "Paisa phenk tamasha dekh."

India introduced her first decimal coins in 1957. The coins were initially called 'Naye Paise', or new Paise, to distinguish them from the previous coins. In order to aid the visually challenged people, each coin was distinctly different. Wonder why though. Kyunki 'yeh paisa bolta hai'.

A rhinoceros is featured on the 1994 - 25-paise. This is very symbolic. 'Coz both are nearly extinct.

The 1999 - 50-Paisa features the Parliament building and a map of India. The mere presence of the former... is a sure shot health insurance against the periodic 'withdrawl from circulation' virus. Therefore the 50-paisa aka atthanni cannot be retired. Movie halls from across the country... can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Meanwhile... the stock of chlormint will continue to travel northward... guaranteeing fresh breath and a permanently lit batti in the dimaag.

Once the 'Rupee' aka 'Rupaiya' appeared... it inspired the 1955 and 1976 Bollywood films titled: 'Sabse Bada Rupaiya'... and the song by the same name (sung by the late Mehmood). The song had the following brilliant lines... which captured the essence and the importance of the 'Rupaiya' in society and in one's life:

"Na Biwi Na Bacha Na Baap Bada Na Maiyan

The Whole Thing Is That Ke Bhaiya Sabse Bada Rupaiya"

Need we say more...??

OK! Lets hear some Patti Rap then:

palmolive mitti tel gehu ko
(palmolive oil, karosene oil, wheat)

poore nahi poore nahi
(it is not enough)

paise kabhi poore nahi
(money is never sufficient)

ek aana do aana gullak ko tod ke
(one aana [6 paisa], two aana, breaking the piggybank)

char aana aath aana karza varza jod ke
(four aana, eight aana, considering the debts)

ek aana do aana gullak ko tod ke
(one aana [6 paisa: old unit], two aana, breaking the piggy bank)

char aana aath aana karza varza jod ke
(four aana, eight aana, considering the debts, etc.)

handa vanda girwi mein daal ke
(having pawned all the household utensils)

paanch das bheekh le ke paise nahi poore padte
(having got five or ten paise in alms, money does not suffice)

tum ho gyani tum ho gyani
(you are the wise one)

he mirjapur ke tum ho gyani
(hey, you are the wise man of mirzapur)

choona bhatti jhopad patti ragdam patti patti rap
choona bhatti jhopad patti ragdam patti patti rap
tharra bhatti jhagda kothi joota patti tulla patti
tharra bhatti jhagda kothi joota patti tulla patti

(More later...)

Note: Mehmood's yesteryear classic 'Sabse Bada Rupaiya' (1976) returned with the 2005 Bollywood movie 'Bluffmaster!'... starring Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra. A Ramesh Sippy production, the flick has been directed by Rohan Sippy. Keeping Mehmood's original voice intact, this one was remixed by the UK band... Trickbaby. Chetna and Saira Hussain give their additional vocals to this three decades old track. Music: Vishal-Shekhar. The lyrics can be read here. To read the lyrics with English translation click here.

The foot-tapping beats (of the remixed version) make the number quite pleasurable... further helping you to dance to the tunes... as the song progresses. (Link)

The lyrics of the song 'paanch rupaiya baara aana marega bhaiya na na na na'... from the 1958 movie 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi' can be found here.

The Patti Rap lyrics are from the 1995 movie 'Humse Hai Muqabla'... starring actor-dancer Prabhu Deva, Nagma, Vadivelu and Girish Karnad. Written and directed by S. Shankar. Complete lyrics: here. Alternatively click here. Incidentally... this was the dubbed version of the 1994 Tamil movie 'Kadhalan'... which was a huge commercial success. This was the first Tamil movie to be dubbed in Hindi. The Telugu version was called 'Premikudu'. 'Kadhalan' means 'Lover' in English.

A. R. Rahman composed the background music score and the soundtrack. The soundtrack, released as Kadhalan: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, features 9 songs composed by Rahman, with lyrics scored by Vaali and Vairamuthu. This soundtrack cemented the popularity of A. R. Rahman and earned him national acclaim. New styles were experimented with, as in the song "Pettai Rap", a Madras bashai song that was written in a rap-like style, interspersing Tamil with English words.

The synthesizer and the keyboard feature while drawing from Tamil folk music. Songs like "Urvasi Urvasi" and "Muqabala Muqabala" became huge hits and were played everywhere in South India. Even in the rest of the country... these songs gained popularity because of the dubbing of the movie into Hindi.

On Coins and Mohars: Do read:

1. Gold Coins of India (link)
2. Earliest known coins from India (link)
3. Coins of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan from ancient times to the present (link)

Photographs: Courtesy link.

1. India's first decimal coins includes odd shapes: This six coin set includes the round 1 Naye Paisa, scalloped edge 2 Naye Paisa, the square 5 Naye Paise, the scalloped edge 10 Naye Paisa, the round 25 Naye Paise, all dated 1957, and the round 50 Naye Paise dated 1960, its first year of issue. The coins have the denomination on one side and the Lion Capital of Emperor Ashok from the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath. The Ashoka Pillar was erected around 250 B.C. and now serves as the national emblem of India. All 6 coins are uncirculated.

2. Modern Indian coin sets includes odd shapes: This set of ten recent coins of India includes 6 odd-shaped coins. Included is the 11-sided 2002 - 2 Rupee features a map of India. The 2001 - 1 Rupee is struck in stainless steel. The 1999 - 50-Paisa features the Parliament building and a map of India. A rhinoceros is featured on the 1994 - 25-paise. The aluminum 1988 - 20-Paisa coin is a seven-sided coin. The 1988 - 10-paisa is also struck in stainless steel. The square 5-Paisa is dated 1993. The 1971 - 3-Paisa coin is a six sided coin. The 1976 - 2-Paisa has scallopped edges. The 1972 - 1-Paisa is square. Because of their low purchasing power and the high cost of production, the lower four denominations are no longer issued and are increasingly difficult to get. The reverse of the coins features three lions from the ancient Lion Capital of Ashoka, a sandstone pillar from the third century B.C. It is an interesting set that includes a variety of unusual shapes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: The Journey of Om by Chandru Bhojwani.

About 4 weeks ago... when I received a mail from debutant author Chandru Bhojwani... enquiring if I would be interested to do a feature on his book - 'The Journey of Om' (JOM)... I had heard of neither. But the write-up in the mail... gave me some insights which sufficiently piqued my interest. I agreed and he offered to courier a copy across. When even after a week the promised courier hadn't arrived... I enquired... and discovered that... he was having difficulty getting his hands on his own book!

Apparently... half of the review copies (purchased by him) were taken by his mom and distributed amongst her friends and family. (Must be the X-mas season *wink*) Result: he ended up running short... and was relegated to pounding the pavement, trying to find the odd copy here and there... 'like a junkie looking for a fix'! This was an eye-opener for me. I never knew that authors have to buy their own books! After all they are the creators and sole developers of the intellectual property that forms the basis of all publishing and book-selling business. Yet they lie at the bottom of the food... oops 'book chain'. Must say... it's an unfair world. I also understood the connection between the publishing industry and the footwear sector *wink*

In a year's time... JOM has gone in for a second publishing... that I must say is fantastic news for any author... especially a first-timer. 'Coz it is difficult for first-time authors to get published. "If only someone would just read my manuscript," they plead. Fortunately Chandru was able to get some copies from Flipkart... and I finally received the courier earlier this month. Making JOM my first book of 2011 :)

JOM makes for a surprisingly pleasant read, an entertaining read... and a light read. The writing is simple and not overly flowery. The narrative switches from the past to the present and back many a time, yet it does not spoil the pace. It is not soporific... like some award winning books by first-time authors... who have gone on to become celebrities... on the strength of those very books. In JOM... the characters, the events and situations they find themselves in and/or around them, the language, the works... will ring a bell... with the reader... who will get to taste a slice of life in 'The Journey of Om'. The author uses real-world language and expressions... the "guys kinda language"... which enhances the effect and makes it more identifiable. It is hard not to relate to JOM. It is very contemporary. It is essentially everyone's story. Even Chandru claims that the book contains some bits and pieces from his own life. But which bit or which piece... my guess is as good as yours.

Do not get mislead or confused by the name 'The Journey of Om'. It is not a spiritual journey nor is the cosmic Om being discussed here. Om - an Indian writer in NYC - is the name of the protagonist. Not Makhija, not Kapoor... OK! It is about his journey... or rather trials and tribulations when he 'falls' in love... and his attempts to 'rise' in it... or rather from it. You see... the oh-so-romantic guy discovers that his girlfriend - Preeti - has been cheating on him. Nice name Preeti... don't you think? Not Zinta, Sabarwal or Jhangiani though. But then it takes two to tango. Is Ravi the 'Raavan' here... or are there latent causes too? After all... when you point one finger, three point back at you.

"Devastated by his beloved's betrayal, Om collapses both physically as well as emotionally and with that, begins his arduous battle for peace. Torn between love and anger, Om inadvertently starts to lose his grip on life, as he knew it causing his world to spiral out of control. Hoping to recover, Om turns to his closest friends, Arun and Mona. However, instead of gaining support, he bears witness to the trials, which have besieged their lives."

Mona craves for love, marriage and a family... complete with a loving husband and kids. Is she chasing after a mirage? Will Arun chuck his Market Research job and accept the offer made by his girlfriend's father? Or will he choose his self-respect? Will he self-destruct? What does Gope - his pa-in-law to be... have in mind? What is Arun's take on Om... who is like a bro to him? What is it that Mona tells Om... prompting him to respond with an incredulous "Really"? What is the 'benchmark' that Om refers to? Well... read the book to find out. Somewhere along the way Om develops a very close 'friendship' with firangi paani. He becomes a reluctant agony uncle to Arun... who is determined to keep his 'drunken mistake' from Rakhi... his girlfriend turned fiancée. He watches as his pillar of support-cum-agony aunt-cum-closest friend Mona disintegrates in front of his eyes. He takes basketball duel to another level. Hell hath no fury like a man scorned. Hell hath no fury like a man devalued. Hell hath no fury like a man who has lost the love of his life. Hell hath no fury like a man who has been cheated on.

You get to read about: The Desi Guy's Kryptonite: Ram Ram HAIR-e-ram, Stankonia, Klingon, Digger, Gamer and more. No doubt you are familiar with 'Yummy Mummy'... but do you know what a 'Rummy Mummy' is? Have you heard of 'Owl Aunties'? 'L'Oreal Aunties', 'Google Aunties', or 'Hari-Om Aunties'?? Read the book... to know about them (courtesy... The Mind of Om) - and I'm sure you'll recognize the types. The last one has no relation to the protagonist though! The short articles in the middle are immensely readable and humorous... displaying Bhojwani's wit and perfect journalistic acumen. The column "The Aunties" is one that most of us would be able to relate to. "Observations" make for some entertaining read. While the article titled "The Break Up" (sorry Sandra and Ryan... there's no proposal here) provides some expert advice/tips on recovering from/surviving breakups. Echoes of 'Jab We Met'... after the 'final partition'!

I have mixed feelings regarding the ending... though I quite enjoyed reading the book. The open-ended climax... left me to ponder. Methinks... an open-ended climax scene is a brave attempt by an author... and leaves the reader to assume and wonder... and hope that the story would end as he/she had desired. They have their own charm though... and activate the gray cells too. What might appear offensive or unappealing to some may be quite the opposite for others, so 'to each his own'. Rather... to each his own climax scene! What? Do tell me... what ending you would like to see.

Om's character is well fleshed-out. So are Preeti's and Mona's. No 'Mona-Tony' here I say. But I wish some more ink was spent on Jim... the guy who would rather not know what meal he's having every night. We find that Jim, Arun, Rakhi, Preeti, Om and Mona are friends... yet it is hard to comprehend and/or reconcile his character's actions in the end... given the description of his personality. What is amiss is the depiction of the transformation process... in Jim... for him to take the plunge. This forms a void in the plot. We know that 'opposites attract'... but we also want to know about the how, what, when, where and why. Even the path-breaking 'Dil Chahta Hai'... took pains to take us through the journey of Akash (Aamir Khan) and Shalini (Preity Zinta); Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) and Pooja (Sonali Kulkarni); Siddharth aka Sid (Akshaye Khanna) and Tara Jaiswal (Dimple Kapadia). Right?

Monica (not oh my darling) - is everything that you would expect a hard-nosed magazine editor to be. She is one tough cookie... and her dialogues thoroughly entertain. While 'Cyber-Man' Sunil's character unravels gradually. So does Radha's. But who is Jaymee? Is she a 'sure thing'? Easy! Easy! No bling!

Suggestion: I feel that the cover could have been done better... instead of the abstract art that we find there... to suit the contents of the book. As we all know... visuals are important in choosing a book... especially by a debutante author... where... 'First impress-aan izz last impress-aan'!

My Rating: I'll give JOM a good 3.5/5. A promising debut novel... with a blend of intrigue, humour, wit, romance... the works... in a neat package. Chandru Bhojwani is one author to watch out for. For sure! Happy reading!

Parting shot: I see JOM having a lot of potential for the big screen... with some tweaks of course. That the author's initial is C.B. has nothing to do with it... I assure you.

The Director: The usual suspects... KJo, YRF. Even... Abbas Tyrewala, Imtiaz Ali, Ayan Mukherji. Or... Nagesh Kukunoor. I know Nagesh doesn't exactly possess the Midas in his touch off late... but he has given us some very good films: Iqbal, Dor, 3 Deewarein (3 Walls) and the charming Hyderabad Blues (great casting comprising of little known amateurs and supposedly shot in 17 days with a tiny budget of Rs. 2 million). He still has what it takes to continue on that path. Infact... Om's brief tryst with Anita reminded me of Varun (essayed by Nagesh himself) with his young cousin in 'Hyderabad Blues'.

Note: Chandru tells me... that my review ranks as one of his favourites. So much so that he has already listed it on his website (link) and forwarded to his reader base. *I'm taking a bow*

He also says... that the new print (of JOM) will be sporting a new cover... and that hopefully we will see it on the big screen and soon. Cheers to that!

Details of the Book: The Journey of Om (Paperback): Chandru Bhojwani, pp 287; Rs. 175, Cedar Books - Pustak Mahal.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Delhi's dinner diplomacy.

Author's Note: I came across this piece a while back. Perhaps while trawling the net. Perhaps a friend forwarded it. Don't remember now. You see... it's quite foggy and chilly these days *wink* so... if I'm unknowingly violating someone's copyright... please do let me know. The piece makes for an interesting read... so read on.

The winter session of Parliament is always a good time to network, and most politicians put on their party gear, and start some major dinner diplomacy. The most politically significant one was undoubtedly the 'fishy' dinner hosted by Somnath Chatterjee for Opposition leaders. After much activity, the dinner marked the first coming together of Opposition stalwarts, whose friendly cooperation will undoubtedly result in the total rout of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, followed by the inevitable domino consequences in the rest of the country... maybe even a midterm election. Dinner diplomacy is not new in Indian politics, and as women in politics we have often found to our disadvantage, that when the sun sets, male politicians begin their nocturnal networking, and since we are totally shut out of this bonding exercise, women are usually the last to know of any development in the party.

Sometimes I feel that Parliament is a mere background, because after about 12 noon, hardly any MP will be found seated in the House. There are of course some hard core members who determinedly keep the House going, but most will be found on the move, touching base with various colleagues, and catching up on the latest.

In my first couple of years in Parliament, I behaved like it was the High Court, or similar place of work, and sat there till the bell rang for us to leave. I gained tremendous experience of Parliamentary practice, but gained precious little on the political front. I was always two steps behind politically, and would realise too late the significance of any particular development. It was in this way that I was completely ignorant of the importance of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Bofors. I had no idea that being made a member of the Committee was a sign of the Prime Minister's confidence in you, and many senior members were lobbying hard to be on the Committee.

When my name appeared, I just assumed it was run of the mill, perhaps because of my legal background or something, and I was thus totally unprepared for the terrible resentment my appointment unleashed among several senior colleagues, who felt slighted that they had been left out, and a raw junior like me included. If only I had moved around a bit more, I would have understood the ramifications of being a member of the Committee.

One thing stands out in my mind. I went to the Prime Minister, at that time, and asked him what he wanted us to achieve on the Bofors Committee in terms of the Congress Party. He looked me straight in the eye, and told me "Jayanthi, there is only one thing I want you to do... fear no one, and go after the truth with all your heart."

That is one of my cherished memories of Rajiv Gandhi. In later days so many lies were spread about him, and so often, his idealism and essential goodness were completely obscured. At the height of the worst controversy in his life, when his very integrity was being called to question, Rajiv looked me in the eye, and said. "Fear no one in your pursuit of the truth. We have nothing to hide."

Thus I went my merry way, innocent of any political survival skills, and it was not much later, after many bitter experiences of betrayal, and treachery, that I learned that the only way to survive in politics is by keeping your ear to the ground, and keeping in constant touch with your colleagues. It is of course quite another story that when I did rouse myself to go for a dinner, I simply assumed that we were meeting to eat, and would be more or less blind to other activity, unless it was explained to me in one syllable words!

There are so many dinners I have attended, that it is a nostalgic trip down memory lane to recollect them. In those days, the Prime Minister always called Party MPs for dinner during the Parliament Session. That was the high point of the session. Rajiv Gandhi always had small groups of us over for dinner, and it gave him a chance to interact with us at close quarters.

The best Parliament session I remember was the one where I was deputed by the Prime Minister to write some report or other, and consequently had to attend every dinner. I felt more important than if I had been made a Cabinet Minister! Narasimha Rao never called us for dinner... he preferred to keep a distance from his MPs, and kept interaction to a bare minimum. He was always courteous when we went to meet him, but it was clear that he did not want any kind of personal rapport with the likes of us.

Rashtrapathi Bhavan keeps a list of MPs who are called whenever foreign dignitaries visit, and the dinner I will never forget is the one to which Princess Diana came... There she stood looking so beautiful, that we could not take our eyes off her. If I remember correctly, it was winter then, and she shivered a little in the fresh evening air.

Immediately, the ever gallant Amjad Ali Khan whipped off his priceless Jamavar shawl and put it round her shoulders. She kept it on, and later went home with it, after thanking him with charm and wit. Her mother-in-law the Queen was totally different. When she came to India, a few years ago, I was Minister for Civil Aviation. And when I went for dinner, I was prepared to be rude and disagreeable, because her husband Prince Philip had made several obnoxious remarks about India's population (You really need more condoms in this country) and Jallianwala Bagh, and the entire country was up in arms. Then I met the Queen, and words forsook me. She is not the Queen for nothing... she was so regal and gracious, and queenly that I just did not have the courage or will to be controversial. Even though her clothes were old-fashioned and almost frumpy, she carried the day with her royal grace.

Then there was the dinner for Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev, but I would be lying if I claimed to remember anything. The moment I was introduced, I looked at Mr Gorbachev, and muttered something. There was such piercing intelligence in his eyes, that I was too intimidated to say anything remotely intelligent, and by the time I recovered my wits, it was too late, and he had moved on. Those were the heady days of glasnost and perestroika, and I have always regretted that I let the opportunity pass, because there was so much I wanted to ask him.

There have been so many dinners, and so many opportunities. Presidents, Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers have each their own style and signature food. One of the enduring advantages of being an MP, and in Delhi, is the chance that then becomes available to meet the movers and shakers of the world. And in case I have given anybody an impression that I get invited to dinners, where I gawk at the high and mighty, and leave without saying a word, I have to report about a very enjoyable meal I was invited to, along with Delhi's flavour of the month... Benazir Bhutto.

Benazir has taken Delhi by storm this season. Some thought it strange, that a politician in exile from her own country should get so much importance, and newspaper coverage in India, but these were just the usual disagreeable dissenters. After all, if Delhi could roll out the red carpet for Robin Raphel, a junior diplomat from America, who laid down the law for us on Kashmir, there is no reason on earth, why we should not encourage one of the few voices of democracy in or from Pakistan.

Those who knew her earlier say that she has changed, and is far more sensible and politically acute now. She definitely hit all the right notes in her interaction with Indian leaders and the media. She said that she would not repeat her earlier mistakes, and would adopt a more constructive approach regarding relations with India. She spoke about Empowerment of women, and was really effective, when she described her identity as a Muslim woman and politician. At dinner, she sparkled. There was a very small crowd present, and Benazir set out to charm them.

It was first name terms with everyone... Margaret (Alva), Sushma and Najma. She chatted and joked and laughed. She said that Najma had always been her favourite Indian politician, but now Sushma had taken her place, after Sushma's performance at the Agra Summit! And beyond all the good natured ribbing, she never lost sight of her political agenda. She kept on pushing her cause to Najma Heptulla (who is the President of the Inter Parliamentary Union) to send IPU observers to monitor the forthcoming elections in Pakistan. The only time she was a little taken aback was when she asked for kababs and biriyani and was told that this was a vegetarian household.

At this late stage, I have learned something. It is possible to laugh and eat and quietly push your political agenda. It now remains for me to be invited to other dinners, so that I may practise my newly acquired skills.

P.S. Perhaps it was written by Jayanthi Natarajan... a lawyer and Congress party member.

Note: Prince Philip is the tall chap who married Queen Elizabeth II - the Queen of England, enjoys making beautifully inappropriate comments, and feels intimate contact with his television might be necessary in order to make it work. In a revealing interview, only some of which seems to have appeared on the Buckingham Palace YouTube channel, the prince laid bare his electrical dysfunction, one that many might, secretly or not, actually share. His interviewer, a rather well spoken chap called Kevin McCloud, brightened up the pages of London's Times newspaper with some of the prince's heartfelt words. Perhaps the most elegant of the phrases turned by the 88-year-old prince was: "To work out how to operate a television set, you practically have to make love to the thing."

It has never been my habit to wonder about the conjugal behavior of the regal. Of course, the prince's imagery is so disconcerting that I wonder just what actions came immediately before the creation of, for example, Prince Charles. Must say... simple things of life get addled and muddled by the prince's highly colourful imagery. What??

Learn about the strange but true - The Prince Philip Movement (Religion). More about it can be read at: Is Prince Philip a god? And... the Prince Philip Movement. It is a cult religion of the Yaohnanen tribe - an ancient tribe - living high in a mist-shrouded mountain village on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu. The tribes' people (Yaohnanen) believe that Prince Philip, aka Duke of Edinburgh, aka the Queen of England's husband, is a divine being. Sputter! Gulp!


Pic courtesy: Link. Prince Philip aka The Duke of Edinburgh is not known for his politically correct choice of words. Talking to an Aborigine during a trip to Australia he asked "still chucking spears are we?" (March 2002)