Learn to Kiss Well
His Own Worst Enemy
The Time to Lie
Commuters in our Metros
Think it Through
Learn to Kiss Well
One should avoid doing unhygienic things. Indeed. But are there any exceptions? Yes, there’s one for certain. Kissing – even very passionate kissing of lips – is certainly one, even if it involves extended exchange of human saliva. You think I’m being adolescent? No, not at all!
Remember Sam singing on Ilsa’s request in Casablanca
You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.
And when two lovers woo,
They still say, “I love you”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings -
There is an all too respectable report in The New York Times of an Oxford University study that explored the function of kissing in human relationships. Some 308 men and 594 women were queried about their attitudes toward kissing along with their sexual history and, above all, current relationship status. They were also asked to rate their “mate value” by assessing their own attractiveness. The results showed that kissing was very helpful in keeping couples together. The women believed kissing was more important in a relationship than the men did.
You’ll recall in his famous study of transactional analysis, Eric Berne assigned a very significant role to touch in human relationships. And kissing is the warmest and – may I add – most voluptuous of touches.
His Own Worst Enemy
The sort of indiscretions he frequently indulges in, and without the least provocation, makes me think Rahul Gandhi doesn’t need any foes. He can indeed be his own worst enemy. You may wonder how?
Should the Prince Charming have invited himself over to a routine party press conference just to scupper the government’s ordinance to protect tainted politicians? Couldn’t all that be done on the quiet without hogging publicity?
Take his now-famous Indore speech. All of a sudden – and rather mysteriously – he revealed that an intelligence officer had told him that some 10-15 Muslim boys in Muzaffarnagar had been contacted by Pakistani intelligence who could indeed fall under its influence. This statement raised several concerns Rahul Gandhi would never have intended.
First, why on earth were intelligence officers briefing of all the people in the world, Prince Charming? Isn’t he a mere MP, who hasn’t taken an oath of secrecy necessary to be entitled to intelligence briefings? Nor does his status in Government entitle him to such briefings. Or, is it that the IB briefs all members of the Gandhi household?
Did he, moreover, want to convert Muslim victims of communal violence into potential perpetrators of Pakistani-inspired terror?
All perhaps what Rahul Baba intended was to express sympathy to Muslim community. He has, however, yet not learnt to say what he intends to. Isn’t it Mummyji’s fault not to have tutored him to stick to the written text supplied by official speech-writers? Look at her. She doesn’t in public speeches ever look away from the bold Roman script. Don’t grudge Roman. After all she was born as an Italian.
Rahul Baba perhaps wants to copy his great ancestor Jawaharlal who rambled along incoherently and the press-walas made sense of what he said. Times, unfortunately, have changed.
Rahul is right when he accuses the BJP and Modi of seeking political mileage from communal violence. But let him not forget that in 1984 his dear father was no different. In the elections after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Congress advertisements asked: ‘Do you want the border to move to your doorstep?’ and ‘Are you scared of the taxi driver at night?’ Both of these are – unless you’re politically purblind – a thinly-disguised allusion to the Sikhs. HKL Bhagat served in Rajiv Gandhi’s Cabinet despite his well-known role in the killing of Sikhs. And have you forgotten Rajiv Gandhi’s own bone-chilling explanation ‘When a big tree falls ...’.
Politicians need to be circumspect. They need to be careful with their references. Their analogies need to be thought through.
The image Rahul has created of himself is far from reassuring. Often unshaven, his sleeves roughly rolled-up, his hectoring mannerism, he comes across as an angry middle-aged man, not the reassuring politician one hopes could lead the country out of its present mess.
In the Constituent Assembly there was a full-fledged debate whether we should adopt the American-style presidential system of government in our Constitution. Of course our leaders, especially Jawaharlal and company were enamored of the British parliamentary model and that’s what we opted for. However, later too there was no dearth of advocates of the American model. Nani Palkivala and J R D Tata were among its vociferous champions.
Whether we like it or not, the present election campaign is slowly and imperceptibly turning into the presidential style contest, the main attribute of which is the personality-centered campaigns.
The months to come will see muscular and thundering Narendra Modi supporting a well-trimmed grey beard pitted against the clean cut, long suffering young Rahul Gandhi. Comparisons are odious, but whether you like it or not the American style campaigning is becoming characteristic of our campaigning too. Though the American system is very different from ours, the people are getting to know in great detail the views of the main candidates on all issues of public concern ranging from foreign policy to internal security.
Whether they like it or not in the months ahead voters will like to know all they want about the candidates, including why Modi left his wife and why Rahul Baba hasn’t taken one.
The Time to Lie
If you’re trying to get the truth out of someone, don’t do it in the afternoon. The Telegraph from London reports on a new Harvard University study that revealed people were far more likely to lie or cheat during the afternoon hours when their self-control was at its lowest ebb. Researchers showed volunteers patterns of dots on a computer screen and asked them to determine whether there were more dots on the left or right side. Participants were paid based on which side they chose and received 10 times as much for choosing the right side. The results: those subjects who were tested after midday were “significantly more likely” to select the right side, even in those instances when there were obviously more dots on the left.
Is that the reason, you may wonder, why all political meetings are organized in the late afternoons?
Commuters in our Metros
We’re a wonderful people when it comes to living with contradictions, and that too of the most glaring sort. In its very first verse of Isha-Upanishad there’s a wonderful insight into one of the greatest axiom of spiritual heights: “each thing that moves on earth, is permeated with the same spiritual being”, while there’s around us the most sordid indifference to human life on day-to-day basis.
Let us have a look at the plight of our daily commuters in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Kolkata. Daily rail traffic has increased many-folds in both in recent decades making daily travel a veritable free style wrestling exercise.
At the height of the Mumbai rush hour, getting on to a train is like trying to find somewhere to sit in a rugby scrum. You have indeed to see it to believe it.
Let me tell you what I’ve personally been through. On some days in the week I chose to get back home in the evening from Ishapore to Sealdah by the local as all suburban trains are called. Hopping into an already over-crowded compartment was – and am sure it is infinitely more difficult today than it was years ago – a much-dreaded exercise. You manage to get pushed in by the surging crowd behind you. You might land on the lap of a sitting commuter who showers the choicest expletive he knows of. Once the train starts moving a sudden sense of camaraderie descends on all the commuters huddled together.
The drama is repeated after a few minutes at the next stop. More and more commuters manage to get in, setting new records for the Guinness Book of Records.
Finally, after an ordeal of half an hour you reach Sealdah. At least two hundred commuters want to enter before the two hundred are allowed to disembark. The world rugby champions should visit Sealdah for refresher courses. If you emerge alive, utter a prayer or else someone else will for you.
May I share with you a precious tip as how to get out with all your limbs? It was given to me by a veteran whom I’ll always remember. He said: “Young man, keep sitting when you reach your destination at least for five minutes. It is likely that some of those sitting will get dislodged and some get pushed in. When the melee seems little manageable; try to make an effort to stand up to move out.”
I religiously followed the tip and survived. So will you. The Mumbai commuters should wait till next week.
Think it Through
“The vision of a world community based on justice, not power, is the necessity of our age.”
Can you guess who’s the author of this aphorism from high moral ground. Gandhi? No. Some other great pacifist? No.
Yes, a joint winner of Nobel Peace, but a thorough-bred practitioner of what Ludwig von Rochau named as realpolitik when he was in power. It was that famous crook-turned-saint. I’m referring to Henry Kissinger, who visited India in 1971 to defuse the brewing crisis and dodged everyone to land in Beijing to talk turkey with Chairman Mao and Premier Chou.
You’ve heard of the folklore of the cat that went on Haj pilgrimage after devouring nine hundred mice?