Foreign Affairs

“What time is it?”

“hmm..”, taking out the phone from the pocket, “7.50”, I tell him.

“At this time of the day, nobody would be out. If a young boy goes out, the soldiers will just take a stick and start beating. I miss Kashmir. But I don’t miss that fear. You know I come from a village. It is blacklisted. Nobody cares about us. No roads. No hospitals. No schools. And beatings if you are found by the soldiers after dark. It is only because of the cement factories near our village that people still live. These factories give some facility to the people, clinic, school etc.”

“how far is Pakistan from your place?”

“There is a short hike, and from top of a mountain you can actually see Pakistan. There is another point were you can see Afghanistan as well.”

“oh! Afghanistan? We share a border with Afghanistan? I don’t remember the map.”

” Yeah we do. Anyway the actual LOC you cannot see in most maps. One side taken  by Pakistan. Another by China. China takes a few kilometers everyday. You don’t believe me?”

“Why wouldn’t I? I know India is far less aggressive. But few kilometers everyday?”

“Yeah because India does not know where the actual LOC is. So China takes advantage. You know kashmiri people don’t need visa to visit China. Chinese consider Kashmir as theirs. You just need a passport. If the address in your passport is in Kashmir, you can just walk in. Infact whenever chinese tourists come, most of them take me out for Pizza :).”


This is the second part of the series of conversations I have had with a Kashmiri friend of mine. You can read the first part here called Sales.


भागो सेर आया

ये मेरे एक दोस्त की जुबानी एक सच्ची कहानी है .
“१८ साल पहले मेनका गाँधी ने हमारे गाँव के पास टायगर छुडाये थे . इनमे कुछ चिड़िया घर तो कुछ सर्कस से थे. एक बार में और मेरा दोस्त शाम को स्कूल से लौट रहे थे . में और मेरा दोस्त छज्जू एक स्पंज की गेंद से खेल रहे थे. में अपने दोस्त की तरफ गेंद फेंकता और वो मेरी तरफ. जंगल के साथ वाले पगडण्डी में हम लोग खेलते हुए धीरे धीरे घर की तरफ आ रहे थे. मैंने ताव में आकर गेंद कुछ ज्यादा ही ऊंची फेक दी. मेरा दोस्त आसमान की और देखता ही रहा और गेंद उसके फैलाये हुए हाथों के बीच से गिर गयी. झल्लाया हुआ मेरा दोस्त बदले की भावना से गेंद को और ऊपर फेंकना चाहा. लेकिन होनी में कुछ और ही लिखा था. गेंद कक्षा में सिखाये अनुव्रत जैसे रास्ता लिए हुए सीधे जंगले में गिर गयी. “साले तुने मेरी गेंद गुमा दी” चिल्लाया में. जंगल बहुत घना था. फिर भी एक बार ढूँढना तो बनता ही था. हम दोनों झाड़ियों और काँटों से बचते हुए आगे बढ़ने लगे. तकरीबन २५ मीटर ही चले होंगे की एक तीव्र बू आने लगी. अब हमें दर भी लगने लगा था. मेरा दोस्त बोला, “यार में नयी गेंद दे दूंगा तुझे, अब चल वापिस”. हम लोग दौड़ते हुए वापस जाने लगे. जैसे जैसे हम पगडण्डी के पास पहुँचते गए गंध और बढती गयी. पगडण्डी पे पहुँच के जो दृश्य हमने देखा, मेरा दोस्त तोह बेहोश ही हो गया. मेरी नेकर भी गीली हो गयी. सामने बैठा था जंगले का रजा अपने दांतों के बीच हमारी गेंद लिया हुआ. में तोह जैसे मिटी का पुतला बन गया. बाघ गेंद लिए हुए धीरे धीरे मेरी तरफ बढ़ने लगा. में हनुमान चालीसा के शब्द याद कर रहा था. वो मेरे कुछ दूर लाकर वो गेंद जमीन पे ही रख दिया. में एक पैर से छज्जू को लात दी. “उठ साले.” छज्जू उठकर कहता है, “हम लोग मर गए क्या? क्या ये स्वर्ग है?” वो शायद इस चीज़ पे पूरा विशवास कर रहा ठा की उसकी मौत हो चुकी है. वो बाघ के पास जाकर उसके सर पे हात फेरने लगा.

उस दिन शुरुआत हुई हमारी दोस्ती की, में, छज्जू और शेर खान की. हम लोग ३ साल ऐसे ही जंगल जंगल ख्हेलते रहे. फिर एक दिन शेर खान की मौत हो गयी. छज्जू ने उसे अपनी माँ के हाथ का बना हुआ ठेकुआ खिला दिया. बेचारे शेर खान के गले में ठेकुआ अटक गया और उसका देहांत हो गया. १० साल बाद भी में शेर खान के दन्त का लोकेट पेहेनता हूँ. शेरू तू जहाँ भी है, तुझे गेंद और खेलने के लिए बचे मिलते रहें. ” भागो सेर आया

For people who cannot read the hindi script (or the language), google translate comes to the rescue. Here is the translated version which is even funnier.

Run apple came

This is a true story of my friends verbally.
“18 years ago, Maneka Gandhi, Tiger Chodaye near our village the. Among these were some bird Hher some circus. Once in the evening and my friend were returning from school. Chtju and my friend were playing with a sponge ball. He throws the ball towards his friend and me. We play in the woods with the Peghadndi were coming slowly towards the house. I came in anger threw the ball too high. My friend was the sky and see the ball fell from between his Afailaye hands. Zllaaya’s my friend wanted to throw up the ball with vengeance. But something else had to be. As taught in the classroom Anuwarat way straight to the ball in Jngle fell. “My brother-Tune lost the ball” in shouts. Was very dense forest. Finding it was once again formed. We both began to move forward avoiding bushes and thorns. Approximately 25 meters will be left in an intense smell started coming. Now we seemed to rate. My friend said, “Man will give you the new ball, running back now.” We began running back. As we arrive to the smell and increasing added Peghadndi. The scenes we saw at Peghadndi access, my friend was so faint Toah. Nekara I got too wet. Reza was sitting in front of Jngle our ball between his teeth taken. Toah became such an effigy of the Mite. For Tiger, the ball was moving slowly towards me. Hanuman Chalisa in the word was missing. She brought me some off the ground at the ball as he put it. Gave a leg kick Chtju. “Brother-up.” Chtju up says, “What we’re dead? What is this heaven? “That belief is probably completed at this thing has died of Tha. That tiger went Ahat letting his head was at.

That day was the beginning of our friendship, in Chtju and Sher Khan. We are Khhelte forest woods like 3 years. Then one day, Sher Khan died. Chtju her mother’s hand made him Tekua fed it. Sher Khan stuck Tekua poor neck and her expired. 10 years after Sher Khan’s teeth in the locket will Pahent. Sheru you Wherever you left to play ball and keep meeting. “

Delhi Noir

So this week the chasingframes thing has changed a little. Earlier we used to pick a creative commons picture from flickr and wrote a short story based on it. This time however we write a story and then either shoot or pick a picture which suits it. And the theme of the story was “Your city”. And if you have been following the delhi newspapers I am very much influenced by the recent ongoings.

Delhi Noir

I was listening to the phone. For the past few months this was my pass time. The way I spend my lonely evening hours. The phone I was hearing was a MTNL phone, which I had taken so that I could get a good internet connection. And why do i keep saying “hearing the phone” as it was the radio. Coz it acted like a radio for me. A radio which had romance, soap operas, thrillers as well.

I discovered this when the phone rang. Around 2 months ago. I was surprised because I had not given this number to anybody, thought it must be a wrong number. I picked it up and heard,
“..jee aaj mohan ne bhindi banaai hai. mainey usey hazaar baar mana kiya hai bhindi kisi ko nahi bhati ghar pe. Idiot hamesha bhool jata hai.”

Before I could speak anything or show any semblance of understanding what this lady meant and why was she telling all this to me. I heard another lady’s voice,

“jee ye naukar toh sare gadhe hote hain. ek hamara kisan. kal hi hum uske kamre mein gandi magazine dekhe. humne toh inko bata diya. chhat pe le jake inhone apni belt se khoob maara. Ab batayiye ji ghar mein baby bhi toh hai. Bus ek mauka diye hain usey agar fir kuch harkat kari usne toh bhej denge vaapas chhapra.”
“baap re bade dil vale hain aap log toh. agar hamara mohan aisa kuch karta toh usi vaqt nikaal dete. chaliye jee fir baat karte hain”

Man my phone had a misconnection. It was fabulous. Every half an hour the phone rang at least once. And I found myself going towards it away from the numerous chatrooms I trolled. Here are a couple of more interesting calls,
“yo girl…wasssup? you been to college lately?”
“not for the past 4 days… hey listen ..that bitch karuna mam is doing sharma sir…”
“could you even expect…and that Sharma the old bastard 🙂 ..he must really be a playboy getting that cold and frosty karuna”
“ya i know..and watsup with you and Shanky, no hanky panky hunh …giggles…
“he’s a really nice guy ya…not like we thought…he’s helping me with the computer project. I think one of these days when mom and dad go out for a party or something I’ll invite him…mohan ek cold coffee le aao jaldi
“hey naughty naughty….don’t have that cold coffee, keep up the heat LOL….”

So here I was listening to these conversations, just being a voyeur made all of them interesting. Of the old lady’s menopause problems and the young girls love problems. And often I could hear as a subscript these people ordering mohan or kisan around. It was more of a “noise” for me, which broke the flow of the conversations. So it came as a surprise when mohan took a more central stage in one of the calls.

“hey listen … something bad happened today. ..”
“kyon kya hua?…nothing with shanky right?”
“no ya..I thought I was alone in the house, and I came out of the bathroom after a shower. Thank god I had wrapped a towel.”
“what happened..? you were obviously in your room only right?”
“ya,.. but my room door was open and out there stood mohan gawking. I gave him a good thrashing. what the hell he was doing standing there in front of my room. Have told him I will complain to dad. He was crying and all..saying he would do anything if I kept quiet. Maybe I won’t tell only..i could use him on my side .. i could invite shanky more often”

Man this was getting hotter by the day. Hotter than I could handle.
So when I picked up the phone today I was surprised when I heard,
“police is that police…i need help fast…is somebody there…”
i waited for the police to respond, but no one seem to be there.
“god damn …koi hai …mujhe madad chahiye…vo mujhe maarna chahta hai…WTF koi kuch toh bolo”

I banged the phone down. If I kept quiet I wasn’t there. That’s how a voyeur works. I couldn’t watch the telephone. I put a newspaper over it. It began ringing again. I took it off the handle. And ran outside. Climbed up the iron stairs to the roof.

I have been standing here on the roof for the past half an hour. I know what happened must be somewhere near. Should I be ashamed of myself? Should I be afraid that the police will track me? but what wrong did I do? What are people upto under all these roofs?

The world’s most simple language

This is part of chasing frames.
Hi, I am Michael Souza, a linguist researching on languages which do not use recursion. It has long been held by Chomsky and his followers that the human child has an inherent instinct for languages. Teach him a few rules and he will use recursion to make more sentences and phrases. But since Everett discovered the Piraha, I have been fascinated by the other paradigm. That language is cultural. Piraha language has the lowest number of phonemes in the world. Just 3 vowels and 9 consonants. I think I have discovered the Misaka tribe has even lesser, 2 vowels and 6 cosnonants.

I was there in the middle of the amazon, for two months. Was dropped here by canoes, this area being so far out not even float planes come this way. And the worst part is we don’t have a common language we both understand. So the going is really tough. I used to grab hold of a object, say a root of tapioca and then try to find out what it is called. Just before I came back to UK I had a vocabulary of 12 words.

Now when I came back the Misaka had become famous. Printed throughout the world, and shown in news channels. I remember the episode. I plane had passed at quite a low altitude over the settlement.
I really laughed my head off when I saw the accompanying article. The entire article was based on guesswork but written like a science paper. It was absurd. For me even though I was there, I could hardly make sense of what went. I’ll try to describe the event in detail.

It was morning and I had just had my breakfast of pig liver roasted over fire. Chingwa was cleaning the lama wool he had just shorn off. He had just rubbed in the red blood of the lama they had hunted. Whenever they killed the animal they would rub their blood all over their body to get their spirit’s power. A while later the village witch would come to bless them so that the animals spirit really gets one with him.

When the plane came in the witch was blessing them. I’ll try to note down whatever I heard with what I understood inside brackets.
“ooe te pee koou. pee tuu GRRRRRR ooooo maaaa keeee” Then she went silent.
From their expression they seemed to know what to do. It was really rehearsed. I later realized that the 2 propeller plane lying across the marsh was their “hunt”.

Other than big flying objects they were quiet friendly towards others. I will go back to the Misakas in a week.

More stories – by dipankar, amit, forced ambitions

updated on jun 27 2008 – read this report on NGC on which an anthropologist Robert L. Carneiro says:

“The point is that, because we’ve never contacted them, we just don’t know anything about them,” he said. “So anything anyone says about them has to be treated as speculation.”

read the full report here:

Yellow journalism

Do you read newspapers or watch news channels? Do you get entertained or informed?
Since last few years I have lost all faith in media ..about all. The way they unleash their creativity they should change careers and become fiction writers. And the news channel guys should make soap operas. You could read vir sanghvi’s take on this phenomenon.

I still had faith in some agencies. BBC for instance. But after I read the article about the lost tribes of Brazil, even that has faded. Below is the image and a part of the article.

The white blob in the photograph could well be cotton, and the beige area next to it is probably a basket. The cotton would either be cultivated by the tribe, or gathered in the wild. It would be woven by the women, into the kind of short skirt worn by the black figure. Cotton would also be used to make hammocks….read more here

Now what on hell does this statement ‘The cotton would either be cultivated by the tribe, or gathered in the wild.’ convey. Is there any other way the cotton could be there. Maybe the cotton in that forest self detaches from the tree and comes floating to the basket. I am not sure what IQ level this article is aimed at.

So I and Forced Ambition have decided to use this image for the weekly photo story. We also invite anyone interested to write a story based on this picture. If you write about it kindly put a link in the comment. We plan to publish the story on 6th jun (friday). I would suggest you do the same so that nobody gets influenced by the other stories. So happy writing or shall I say happy journalism.

updated on jun 27 2008 – read this report on NGC on which an anthropologist Robert L. Carneiro says:

“The point is that, because we’ve never contacted them, we just don’t know anything about them,” he said. “So anything anyone says about them has to be treated as speculation.”

read the full report here:

The SuperGroup

People saw black clouds rushing, as if god had pressed the sky’s fast forward button. Nobody noticed the 4 guys silently entering their lane, as they were too busy grabbing clothes from the hanging lines and covering their vegetable carts with plastic. They ran inside their homes and birds tried to find space between shutters of old buildings. No one could have guessed what would happen in the next few hours.

Their was an old Shiva temple at the end of the lane. Some said the shivlinga their was from the time of Raja Bhrukuteshwar. Seeing no other place the 4 guys ran towards the temple for shelter. Getting wet was not such an issue, but they had to protect their cache of grass. Their was nobody at the temple. They made themselves comfortable and without much ado lighted a joint. Soon the smoke covered the room. Munching on the leftover coconut and peda, they sat their hallucinating. Their thoughts were broken when with a loud crash the door of the inner sanctum opened.

The bright light due to a lightning outside stole the darkness from the room. And as the boom crash sound of lightning followed the light there came out of the door a man, dancing wildly. His hair was very long and matted and his body covered with ashes. His eyes were so red, they seemed to spew fire. Each time his feet hit the ground it felt like the earth had been shaken. The fat one, so entranched was he, by the man’s dancing took a drum kept nearby, and started playing. Meanwhile another one took a pooja thali.

Gradually the man who was oblivious of everything initially, absorbed in the surroundings, including the four guys who were playing like rockstars. The redness of his eyes seemed to vanish with his fury.

Raising one hand, he motioned the 4 to stop playing.

Then he said, “The world had gotten so evil, I was here to do my duty by finishing off this kaliyuga. But your “wild rocking” music made me loose my anger. And it will take me about 1000 years to get fully angered again.
You better keep rocking, or I’ll be back (with a wink).