|이 기사는 특히 기술이 없는 한, 일본 국내의 법령에 대해 해설하고 있습니다.또 최신의 법령 개정을 반영하고 있지 않는 경우가 있습니다.스스가 현실에 조우한 사건에 대해서는 법률 관련의 전문가에게 상담해 주십시오.면책 사항도 읽어 주세요.|
최고재판소 재판관 가운데, 최고재판소 장관은 내각의 지명에 근거해 천황이 임명한다.최고재판소 판사의 임명은 내각이 실시해, 천황이 인증한다.이른바 인증관의 하나이다.덧붙여서 최고재판소 재판관의 정원이 장관을 포함해 15명으로 되어 있는 것은, 1947년 최고재판소 발족시의 내각의 국무 대신의 정원이 내각총리대신을 포함해 15명 이내로 되어 있는 규정을 모방했다고 생각되고 있는.
식견이 높게 법률의 소양이 있는로 판단되면 법조 자격을 가지지 않는 사람으로부터도 등용할 수 있지만, 적어도 10명은 10년 이상의 재판관 경험 또는 20년 이상의 법률 전문가(검찰관, 변호사, 간이 재판소 판사, 대학 법학부 교수, 대학 법학부준교수) 경험을 가지는 사람으로부터 등용해야 한다(재판소법 제 41조).또, 재판관의 결격 사유인 「다른 법률이 정하는데보다 일반의 관리에게 임명될 수 없는 사람」 「금고이상의 형에 처해진 사람」 「탄핵 재판소의 파면의 재판을 받은 사람」에 해당하는 경우(재판소법 제 46조), 국민 심사로 파면되고 나서 5년이 경과하고 있지 않는 경우(국민 심사법 제 35조)는, 최고재판소 재판관에게 임명될 수 없다.
재판관이 퇴관 했다(퇴관 할 예정이 있다) 때는, 같은 출신 분야로부터 후임이 선택되는 것이 통례이다.적임자가 없는 경우등에는 인원수 배분이 일시적으로 바뀌기도 한다.
「후보자에 대해서는, (아) 주로 재판관, 변호사, 검찰관의 경우는, 최고재판소 장관으로부터 복수 후보자에 대하고 제시를 받아(이) 행정, 외교를 포함한 학식 경험자에 대해서는, 원칙 내각 관방에서 후보자를 전형해, 어느 경우도 내각총리대신의 판단을 바라본 위에 각의 결정한다.」라고 여겨지고 있다.덧붙여 후보자의 전형은 비공표로 여겨지는.
- 도쿄 고등 법원 장관을 필두로, 다른 지방의 고등 법원 장관등에서 취임하는 사례가 많은.
- 테두리는 이전에는 「5」였지만, 1961년 이후는 「6」이 되어 있는.
- 도쿄 변호사회, 제일 도쿄 변호사회, 제2 도쿄 변호사회, 오사카 방언호사회의 회장 경험자가 취임하는 사례가 많은.
- 테두리는 이전에는 「5」였지만, 1961년 이후는 「4」가 되어 있는.
- 국립대학의 법학부 교수가 취임하는 사례가 많은.재판관 출신자의 법학자의 경우도 있다.
- 테두리는 기본적으로 「1」으로 「2」가 되기도 했지만, 1984년 이후는 「1」(이)가 되고 있는.
최고재판소 재판관은, 최고재판소 장관을 포함해 합의체인 최고재판소의 각 법정을 구성해 있다.사법권의 행사에 있어서의 권한에 대해서는, 최고재판소 장관과 최고재판소 판사는 동등하지만, 최고재판소 장관이 합의에 참가하는 사건에 대해 최고재판소 장관은 반드시 재판장을 맡는다(최고재판소 재판사무처리 규칙 제3조).
일본국 헌법에 따라 재판관으로서의 신분이 보장된다.정년・사망을 따로 하면, 본인의 의사에 의해 파면되는 것은 아래와 같은 경우에 한정되어 임명자인 천황, 지명권을 가지는 내각, 최고재판소의 장인 최고재판소 장관이 파면할 수 없다.이것은, 공판을 운영해 나갈 뿐만 아니라, 행정부등이 파면권한을 가지고 있으면, 그것을 구실에 행정부가 상대가 되어 있는 재판의 공판에 불공평이 생길 우려가 있기 때문에(위해)이다.
또, 각자에게 1명의 최고재판소 재판관 비서관이 배치되어 기밀에 관한 사무를 손바닥등키라고 있다.
법조 자격을 가지지 않는 사람이 최고재판소 재판관으로 취임했을 경우, 변호사법 제6조에 의해 변호사가 되는 자격을 얻는다.이 변호사 자격은 국민 심사로 파면되어도 박탈되지 않는다.
현재의 최고재판소 재판관
2017년 4월 10일 현재의 최고재판소 재판관은 이하와 같다(디폴트로는 착임순서에 배열, 임명 연월일의 열의 소트 버튼으로 원래의 순서로 돌아온다).재판관의 퇴관 예정일은, 70세가 되는 생일의 전날의 일자(최고재판소 재판관의 정년은 70세로 되어 있기 위해, 임기는 최장으로 70세 생일의 전날까지된다).불신임율은, 최고재판소 재판관 국민 심사에 대하고, 유효 표수 중 「파면을 가능으로 하는 투표」(×표)의 비율.
|이름||임명 연월일||퇴관 예정일||수습기||학력||전직등||임명한 내각||담당 소법정||불신임율|
|오카베 기요코/||2010년04/12-4월 12일 |
|2019년03/19-3월 19일 |
|28기||케이오 기쥬쿠 대학 대학원 |
법학 연구과 석사과정 수료
|도쿄 가정재판소 판사, |
케이오 기쥬쿠 대학 대학원 법무 연구과 교수(민법)
|하토야마 유키오 내각||제3소법정||8.56% |
|데라다 이쓰로우 /|
|2010년12/27-12월 27일 |
|2018년01/08-1월 8일 |
|26기||도쿄대학 법학부졸||히로시마 고등재판소 장관||관내각(1개)||제2 소법정||7.95% |
|오누키 꽃소식/||2012년04/11-4월 11일 |
|2018년08/25-8월 25일 |
|27기||중앙 대학 대학원 |
법학 연구과 석사과정 수료
|도쿄 고등검찰청 검사장, |
아세아 대학 법학부 교수(형법)
|노다 내각(1개)||제2 소법정||7.79% |
|오니마루인가 있다/||2013년02/06-2월 6일 |
|2019년02/06-2월 6일 |
|27기||도쿄대학 법학부졸||도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사||제2차 아베 내각||제2 소법정||9.21% |
|키우치도상/||2013년04/25-4월 25일 |
|2018년01/01-1월 1일 |
|27기||도쿄대학 법학부졸||오사카 방언호사 회소속변호사||제2차 아베 내각||제3소법정||9.57% |
|야마모토용행/||2013년08/20-8월 20일 |
|2019년09/25-9월 25일 |
|-||교토 대학 법학부졸||내각 법제국 장관||제2차 아베 내각||제2 소법정||8.42% |
|야마자키 토시미쓰/||2014년04/01-4월 1일 |
|2019년08/30-8월 30일 |
|27기||도쿄대학 법학부졸||도쿄 고등재판소 장관||제2차 아베 내각||제3소법정||9.42% |
|이케가미 마사유키/||2014년10/02-10월 2일 |
|2021년08/28-8월 28일 |
|29기||토호쿠대학 법학부졸||오사카 고등검찰청 검사장||제2차 아베 내각(개)||제1소법정||9.56% |
|오오타니 나오토/||2015년02/17-2월 17일 |
|2022년06/22-6월 22일 |
|29기||도쿄대학 법학부졸||오사카 고등재판소 장관||제3차 아베 내각||제1소법정||미심사 |
|고이케 히로시/||2015년04/02-4월 2일 |
|2021년07/02-7월 2일 |
|29기||도쿄대학 법학부졸||도쿄 고등재판소 장관||제3차 아베 내각||제1소법정||미심사 |
|키자와 카츠유키/||2016년07/19-7월 19일 |
|2021년08/26-8월 26일 |
|29기||릿쿄 대학학 법학부졸||도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사||제3차 아베 내각(1개)||제1소법정||미심사 |
|칸노 히로유키/||2016년09/05-9월 5일 |
|2022년07/02-7월 2일 |
|32기||토호쿠대학 법학부졸||오사카 고등재판소 장관||제3차 아베 내각(2개)||제2 소법정||미심사 |
|야마구치 아츠시/||2017년02/06-2월 6일 |
|2023년11/05-11월 5일 |
|-||도쿄대학 법학부졸||도쿄대학 교수(형법) |
제일 도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사
|제3차 아베 내각(2개)||제1소법정||미심사 |
|도쿠라 사부로우/||2017년03/14-3월 14일 |
|2024년08/11-8월 11일 |
|34기||히토츠바시 대학 법학부졸||도쿄 고등재판소 장관||제3차 아베 내각(2개)||제3소법정||미심사 |
|림경일/||2017년04/10-4월 10일 |
|2021년02/07-2월 7일 |
|-||교토 대학 법학부졸||영국주차특명 전권대사||제3차 아베 내각(2개)||제3소법정||미심사 |
2013년 2월 6일에 스도우의 후임으로서 취임한 오니마루인가 있고는, 사상 5명째의 여성의 최고재판소 재판관이다.오니마루의 취임에 의해, 현직의 최고재판소 재판관 15 명중 3명이 여성이 되어, 사상최초째라고 최고재판소의 모든 소법정에 여성의 재판관이 각 1명씩 소속하는 체제가 되었다(제1소법정=사쿠라이 류자, 제2 소법정=오니마루인가 있는, 제3소법정=오카베 기요코).이 체제는, 사쿠라이가 정년 퇴관 하는 2017년 1월 15일까지 계속 되었다.
역대 최고재판소 재판관 일람
|이름||임명 연월일||퇴관 연월일||전직등||임명한 내각||비고|
|미부치 다다히코/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1950년03/02-3월 2일 |
|도쿄 공소법원 부장, 케이오 기쥬쿠 대학 강사||카타야마 내각|| 01대/초대 장관|
1947년(쇼와 22년) 8월 4일-
1950년(쇼와 25년) 3월 2일
|츠카사키 곧 도리/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1951년02/14-2월 14일 |
|변호사, 도쿄 변호사회 회장||카타야마 내각|
|하세가와 타이치로우||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1951년11/30-11월 30일 |
|도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사, 제일 도쿄 변호사회 회장||카타야마 내각|
|사와다 타케지로우/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1952년08/01-8월 1일 |
|행정 재판 소장관||카타야마 내각|
|시모야마 세이이치/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1954년10/14-10월 14일 |
|대심원장, 귀족원 의원, 변호사||카타야마 내각|
|이노우에 노보루/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1955년04/09-4월 9일 |
|대심원 부장||카타야마 내각|
|쿠리야마 시게루/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1956년10/05-10월 5일 |
|외교관(주벨기에 대사, 주스웨덴 대사), 외무성 조약 국장||카타야마 내각|
|마노 타케시/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1958년06/08-6월 8일 |
|제2 도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사, 동회 회장||카타야마 내각|
|쇼우노 사토시1/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1948년06/28-6월 28일 |
|도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사||카타야마 내각||재임 기간 11개월에 사상 최단|
|코타니 마사루중/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1960년12/23-12월 23일 |
|오사카 방언호사회 부회장, 동회 회장||카타야마 내각|
|시마 타모츠/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1961년08/24-8월 24일 |
|대심원 부장||카타야마 내각|
|사이토유보/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1962년05/20-5월 20일 |
|대심원 판사, 도쿄 공소법원 부장, 히로시마・오사카 각 항소원검사장||카타야마 내각|
|후지타 하치로/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1962년08/04-8월 4일 |
|오사카 공소법원장||카타야마 내각|
|이와마쓰 사부로/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1956년11/10-11월 10일 |
|후쿠오카 공소법원장||카타야마 내각|
|카와무라또 개/||1947년08/04-8월 4일 |
|1963년12/31-12월 31일 |
|큐슈 대학 교수||카타야마 내각||헌법 학자|
|호즈미 시게토오/||1949년02/26-2월 26일 |
|1951년07/29-7월 29일 |
|도쿄대학 교수, 특별 변호인, 귀족원 의원, 동궁 다이부, 토우구 시종장,||제3 츠기요시 타우치각||민법 학자.아버지는, 민법 기초자의 호즈미 노부시게.재임중에 사망.|
|다나카 고타로/||1950년03/03-3월 3일 |
|1960년10/24-10월 24일 |
|내무성 직원, 도쿄 제국대학 법학부장, 귀족원 의원, 문부대신, 참의원 의원, 가쿠슈인대학 교수||제3 츠기요시 타우치각||제02대 장관 |
1950년(쇼와 25년) 3월 3일-
1960년(쇼와 35년) 10월 24일
|타니무라 타다이치로우/||1951년04/12-4월 12일 |
|1956년11/10-11월 10일 |
|도쿄 변호사회 회장||제3 츠기요시 타우치각(1개)|
|코바야시 슌조/||1951년10/05-10월 5일 |
|1958년06/02-6월 2일 |
|제2 도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사, 도쿄 고등재판소 장관||제3 츠기요시 타우치각(2개)|
|혼손선타로/||1952년01/21-1월 21일 |
|1957년01/14-1월 14일 |
|제일 도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사||제3 츠기요시 타우치각(3개)|
|이리에 토시로우/||1952년08/30-8월 30일 |
|1971년01/09-1월 9일 |
|내무성 관료, 내각 법제국 장관, 귀족원 의원, 중의원 법제국장||제3 츠기요시 타우치각(3개)||취임시 연령 51세에 사상 최연소, 재임 기간 18년초로 사상 최장|
|이케다극/||1954년11/02-11월 2일 |
|1963년05/22-5월 22일 |
|사법성 대신관방 조사 과장, 사상범 담당 검사, 나고야 공소법원 검사장, 대심원 차장 검사, 도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사(공직 추방기 있어)||제5 츠기요시 타우치각|
|타루미 카츠미/||1955년05/26-5월 26일 |
|1963년11/14-11월 14일 |
|도쿄 고등재판소 장관||제2차 하토야마 이치로 내각|
|카와무라 오스케/||1956년11/22-11월 22일 |
|1963년06/01-6월 1일 |
|도쿄 변호사회 소속 변호사||제3차 하토야마 이치로 내각|
|시모이자카 쥰 남편/||1956년11/22-11월 22일 |
|1964년01/28-1월 28일 |
|오사카 고등재판소 장관||제3차 하토야마 이치로 내각|
|오쿠노 켄이치/||1956년11/22-11월 22일 |
|1968년11/17-11월 17일 |
|센다이 지방재판소장, 사법성 민사 국장, 참의원 법제국장||제3차 하토야마 이치로 내각|
|Trademarking "The Slants" | TWiT Bits||
Denise Howell, Mike Keyes and Matt Curtis talk with Simon Tam of The Slants on the recent Supreme Court ruling that the Trademark Office can not deny the registration of his band's name because it is disparaging, where the name came from and Mike Keyes explains why a trademark is important for a business.
For the full episode, visit twit.tv/twil/392
Guest: Simon Tam
Bandwidth for TWiT Bits is provided by CacheFly.
|Nokia – IP networks re-imagined|
Recently we have seen Cisco predict that busy hour global IP traffic will grow 4.6-fold (35% CAGR) from 2016 to 2021, reaching 4.3 Pb/s by 2021, compared to average Internet traffic that will grow 3.2-fold (26% CAGR) over the same period to reach 717 Tb/s by 2021. The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, released earlier this week, calculates that the total traffic in mobile networks increased by 70% between the end of Q1 2016 and the end of Q1 2017. And now, Nokia Bell Labs has just announced its own prediction: IP traffic will more than double in the next five years, reaching 330 exabytes per month by 2022 while growing at a 25% CAGR. The company anticipates that peak data rates will grow even faster at nearly 40% annually. Nokia Bell Labs also predicts that 3D/4K/UHD will experience a 4.79x growth from 2017 – 22, that wireless traffic will experience 7.5x growth from 2017 – 22, and that worldwide IoT devices to grow from 12bn in 2017 to 100bn in 2025.
Nokia unveils next gen networking processing engine
Nokia's processing engine sets the stage for perhaps the most significant announcement from the company since the merger of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks in 2015. In a press event entitled 'IP networks reimagined', Nokia unveiled its FP4 silicon, featuring the 'first' 2.4 Tbit/s network processor, up to 6x more powerful than processors currently available. The proprietary chipset is designed for a new class of petabit-class routers.
Core routers traditionally have been the 'big iron' that powers the heart of the Internet. It is a product category dominated by Cisco, Huawei, Juniper and Nokia, including via its existing 7950 XRS routing platform. However, the market has been in flux. Earlier this month, Dell’Oro Group reported a significant break in Q1 17 with Huawei taking the top spot from Cisco in the core router market for the first time. The report also found Huawei taking over second spot from Nokia in the SP edge router and CES market. The primary reason cited for this shift is that the SP core routing business is only growing at a low single-digit rate, while China Mobile is defying the trend with significant investments in their IP core backbone, for which Huawei is the lead supplier. Nevertheless, the overall predictions for rapid growth in IP traffic over the coming five years makes it more likely that service providers will need a significant refresh of their core backbones to handle hundreds of 100 or 400 Gbit/s connections at major nodes.
Nokia's previous generation FP3 chipset, unveiled by Alcatel-Lucent in June 2011 and launched in 2012, packed 288 RISC cores operating at 1 GHz and leveraged 40 nm process technology; the FP2 chipset offered 112 cores at 840 MHz and was built in 90 nm. This network processor lineage can be traced back to TiMetra Networks, a start-up based in Mountain View, California that launched its first carrier-class routing platforms in 2003.
TiMetra, which was headed by Basil Alwan, was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent later in 2003 for approximately $150 million in stock. The product line went on to become the highly successful 7450, 7750 and eventually 7950 carrier platforms - the basis for the IP division at Alcatel-Lucent. Not bad for an idea from a small start-up to grow into the star platform underpinning all of Alcatel-Lucent + Nokia Siemens Networks.
In a launch day webcast, Basil Alwan, now president of Nokia's IP/Optical Networks business group, said we are moving into a new phase of the Internet requiring 'cloud-scale routing'. First, he noted that there is market confusion between Internet-class routers and core data centre switches, which are being used to power the hyperscale infrastructure of the Internet content providers. High-end, data centre spine switches are capable of routing packets at high rates and can handle access control lists (ACLs). Likewise, conventional big iron core routers can switch data flows, and are sometimes deployed in data centres. However, there have been tradeoffs when this role reversal happens. Nokia's new FP4 chipset aims to fix that.
First multi-terabit NPU silicon
Six years have passed since the FP3, or roughly two cycles in the evolution of Moore's Law, so naturally one would expect the new silicon to be smaller, faster and more powerful and efficient. But Alwan said the company took its time to rethink how the packet processing works at the silicon level. To begin with, Nokia redesigned the onboard memory, employing 2.5D and 3D layouts on 16 nm Fin Field Effect Transistor (FinFET) technology. The single chip contains 22 dies, including memory stacks and control logic. It runs at 2.4 Tbit/s half-duplex, or 6x more capacity than the current generation 400 Gbit/s FP3 chipset. The FP4 will support full terabit IP flows. All conventional routing capabilities are included. Deep classification capabilities include enhanced packet intelligence and control, policy controls, telemetry and security.
The FP4 could be used to provide an in-service upgrade to Nokia's current line of core routers and carrier switches. It will also be used to power a new family of 7750 SR-s series routers designed for single-node, cloud scale density. In terms of specs, the SR-s boasts a 144 Tbit/s configuration supporting port densities of up to 144 future terabit links, 288 x 400 Gbit/s ports, or 1,440 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Absolute capacity could be doubled for a maximum of 288 Tbit/s configuration. It runs the same software as the company's widely-deployed systems. The first 7750 SR-s boxes are already running in Nokia labs and the first commercial shipments are expected in Q4.
Nokia is also introducing a chassis extension option to push its router into petabit territory. Without using the switching shelf concept employed in the multi-chassis designs of its competitors, Nokia is offering the means to integrate up to six of its 7750 SRS-s routers into a single system. This results in 576 Tbit/s of capacity, enough for densities of up to 2,880 x 100 GBE ports or 720 x 400 Gbit/s ports. Adding up the numbers, it is not truly petabit-class, but at 576 Tbit/s it is more than halfway there.
Network telemetry leads to security
Another interesting twist concerns security and petabit-class routing. In December 2016, Nokia agreed to acquire Deepfield, a start-up specialising in real-time analytics for IP network performance management and security. Deepfield, founded in 2011 and based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has developed an analytics platform that identifies over 30,000 popular cloud applications and services. Its Internet Genome tracks how traffic runs to and through networks to reach subscribers, in real time, and without the need for probes, taps and monitors in the network itself. At the time of the deal, Nokia said it would integrate Deepfield big data analytics with the dynamic control capabilities of open SDN platforms, such as the Nokia Network Services Platform (NSP) and Nuage Networks Virtualized Services Platform (VSP).
Expanding on this idea, Alwan said Deepfield can really leverage the routers rather than probes to understand what is happening to the traffic. Fewer probes mean lower investment. More importantly, Deepfield could be used to track DDoS attacks passing through the core of the network rather than at the edge destination target. The new FP4 silicon is said to be a very good match for this application.
|Thank you all ....||Your prayers and good wishes helped me greatly and I know they helped my sister in law, Betty, and her family. She is now in peace, out of pain and suffering, in heaven. |
You all are such a gift to me. Thank you for everything. chris
|It's the thought that counts: Illinois emits 'no location stalking' law|
No phone tracking without asking for permission that you probably already granted
The US state of Illinois is about to pass a law that makes it illegal to track a phone's location without the owner's consent.…
|New Victorian laws make it easier for child sex abuse victims to sue institutions||
It will be easier for victims of institutional child sex abuse to sue under new laws that come into effect in Victoria today which reverse the onus of proof to the organisations.
|What’s Happening in Sweden from Muslim Refugee Surge is Horrific|
By Andrew West and Jeff Dunetz In Sweden, the Muslim refugee crisis has been an absolute nightmare. Lawlessness and violence are the new norms in areas that are heavily populated with these middle eastern refugees, and the Swedish police are having difficulties maintaining law and order in the otherwise tranquil nation. Sweden’s recent population growth is without […]
The post What’s Happening in Sweden from Muslim Refugee Surge is Horrific appeared first on The Lid.
|Comment on Celgard: Important Challenge to the Federal Circuit’s Pervasive No-Opinion Judgments by Ned Heller||Guest, you are right that it ties in to the fundamental issue of whether the PTO has jurisdiction to reexamine the validity of an issued patent. But, one of the bases for the decision of the Supreme Court in McCormick Harvesting that the government could not cancel the claims in an issued patent was because the government did not even have standing in a court of law to seek cancellation for invalidity -- referring to cases involving land patents and not, for some reason, to US v. American Bell that it decided earlier in that same year. (And this is a puzzle.)
Chicken and the egg.|
|Comment on Does the PTO have a Right to Intervene in IPR Appeals? by Guest||Ned, you're defining this at one very narrow level. The level that I think the court would define this as is that the PTO is adverse to the patent owner in challenging the lawfulness of the agency's action, in an appeal where a victory would mandate the agency to perform certain actions. As Martin indicated, it would be stunning for the Court to hold that the agency does not have the right to defend the lawfulness/correctness of its own action. The government always has the right to do so.
American Bell is a case arising out of a very different procedural posture, and those procedural differences are key. That case talks about when and how the government can sue in a district court to invalidate a patent. That's not the situation we have here. Here, there is a statute that gives the government the agency to perform an action (in this case, invalidating patents). Assuming for the sake of argument that this is constitutional, the question then is whether, once that agency acts, does it have the right to defend its own actions in court (only in the most narrow sense is it about validity). You view this as a very narrow inquiry, but I don't think the standing inquiry is quite so narrow as you view it.|
|Sydney college found guilty of scamming students||
A private college in Sydney breached consumer law when it signed up thousands of students to loans without them knowing, a Federal Court rules.
|German lawmakers approve same-sex marriage in landmark vote||BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's parliament backed the legalization of same-sex marriage on Friday in a historic vote hailed by gay activists and leftist parties but criticized by some in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative bloc and by the Catholic Church.|
|Receptionist/Administrative Assistant - Hiring and Empowering - Olean, NY||Operate & own the firm CRM database with precision and excellence. All facets of position involve helping a growing Estate Planning Law firm design a path to...|
From Indeed - Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:26:19 GMT - View all Olean, NY jobs
|President Trump, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”|
President Trump, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” $GOOGL, $FB, $AMZN, $TWTR, $YHOO President Donald Trump withdrew from Obama’s anti-American Paris Climate Agreement saying, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” The Paris Accord was one of many anti-American agreements made by the most lawless anti-American President […]
The post President Trump, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” appeared first on Live Trading News.
|Shareholders revive class-action kickbacks suit against Cardiovascular Systems|
Shareholders revived a purported class-action kickbacks lawsuit against Cardiovascular Systems (NSDQ:CSII) that was dismissed without prejudice earlier this year, citing in the new complaint a $25 million judgment against the company in a related case. St. Paul, Minn.-based CSI paid $8 million to settle a federal False Claims Act suit in July 2016 that accused it of […]
The post Shareholders revive class-action kickbacks suit against Cardiovascular Systems appeared first on MassDevice.
|Indigenous representative body must be 'frank and fearless'||
As the Referendum Council prepares to deliver its major report today, the Law Council of Australia says any new Indigenous body giving advice to Federal Parliament must be set up to be "frank and fearless".
|Tick-tick... boom: Germany gives social media giants 24 hours to tear down hate speech|
Get used to hearing once again: 'We were only following orders'
The German parliament has today approved a law that would see social media titans fined up to €50m if they don't quickly remove hate speech from their sites.…
|Useful Ajit Pai's lawyer nominated for top US telco watchdog role|
Brendan Carr will be a reliable vote against net neutrality as an FCC commissioner
President Donald Trump has nominated Brendan Carr, the FCC's general counsel, to fill the last remaining Republican commissioner slot at America's telco watchdog.…
|Pa. Senate reveals budget spending bill, but no revenue plan in sight||Lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf appear to have come to an agreement on a $32 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that starts at midnight Friday.
That doesn’t mean the budget is done. A revenue package to balance it still isn’t ready, and there are significant disagreements standing in the way of passing it.
Still, politicians on both sides of the aisle lauded the spending plan, which passed a late-night Senate appropriations committee meeting with three dissenting votes.
The House and Senate…|
|Operator of Illegal Bitcoin Exchange Coin.mx Sentenced to Prison|| |
Anthony Murgio, 33, of Tampa, Florida, has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for running a Bitcoin exchange connected to hackers. The exchange was used to launder more than $10 million worth of funds, authorities reported.
Both Murgio and Yuri Lebedev, 39, of St. John’s, Florida, operated Coin.mx through a fraudulent company called “Collectables Club.” According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the illegal Bitcoin exchange used the firm’s misleading name to open financial accounts at banks pretending to be a “members-only association of individuals who discussed, bought, and sold collectible items and memorabilia.” Murgio and Lebedev, along with other co-conspirators, violated bank and credit card company rules and regulations by “deliberately misidentifying and miscoding Coin.mx customers’ credit and debit card transactions.”
“Lies conceived and deployed by Murgio permeated every aspect of Coin.mx’s operation, including its use of front companies, like Collectables Club and Currency Enthusiasts, to try to conceal the illicit nature of the operation,” the Department of Justice stated in its sentencing submission.
On January 9, Murgio pled guilty to three counts regarding operating Coin.mx, which processed over $10 million worth of illegal Bitcoin transactions. Murgio ran the Bitcoin exchange between October 2013 and July 2015 for Gery Shalon, 33, an Israeli citizen who was responsible for hacking at least nine companies, including JPMorgan Chase, E-Trade Financial Corporation and Dow Jones. Coin.mx sold bitcoins that came from illegal online transactions, such as victim payments to ransomware attackers who sought to launder the cryptocurrencies clean.
“I screwed up badly and made serious mistakes and misjudgments,” Murgio said, showing remorse, to U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan at his sentencing.
Shalon, along with Ziv Orenstein, 42, compromised data on approximately 76 million household customers and 7 million businesses by hacking the nine companies. U.S. officials described their operation as a “diversified criminal conglomerate” responsible for the largest theft of valuable information from a U.S. bank. The compromised data included the names of customers, along with email addresses and phone numbers. Authorities collected evidence stating that Murgio exchanged cash for the bitcoins of Shalon’s criminal gang. Israeli police arrested Shalon and Orenstein in July 2015, and they were extradited to the United States in June 2016. Both are facing serious charges, including aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and money laundering.
“Mr. Murgio led an effort based on ambition and greed,” and constructed on a “pyramid of lies,” Judge Nathan said during the sentencing hearing at the Manhattan federal court.
On March 17, a Manhattan jury found Lebedev and his co-conspirator Trevon Gross, 52, of New Jersey, guilty of charges connected to a bribery scheme in an attempt to hide the illegal activities of Coin.mx from financial institutes and regulators. Both of the defendants are facing a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Judge Nathan scheduled the sentencing hearing of Lebedev and Gross for July 20, 2017.
Murgio’s father, Michael Murgio, 66, was also involved in the Coin.mx case. In October, the father plead guilty to “making a false statement to the National Credit Union Administration on behalf of his son.” By making a plea deal, Michael Murgio managed to avoid additional charges in the case, including “conspiracy to make corrupt payments with intent to influence an officer of a financial institution and making corrupt payments.” Judge Nathan sentenced the elder Murgio to one year of probation along with a $12,000 fine.
The FBI arrested both Lebedev and Murgio on July 23, 2015, for “running an unlicensed bitcoin exchange with the goal of helping individuals launder money.”
Despite the prosecution’s request for 10 to 12 years and seven months behind bars, the Manhattan federal court sentenced Murgio to five and a half years in prison. According to Reuters, Judge Nathan considered Murgio’s “generosity to friends and support to his family” and imposed a prison sentence half as long as the prosecutor recommended.
Judge Nathan has scheduled a hearing on September 1 to decide on the amount of fines, forfeiture and restitution Murgio has to pay to the state. The operator of the illegal Bitcoin exchange remains free on bail.
The post Operator of Illegal Bitcoin Exchange Coin.mx Sentenced to Prison appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
|Millions of Americans will be driving for Independence Day. Police will be watching for drunk drivers.||Holiday travel, combined with holiday drinking, results in hundreds of deaths and injuries every Fourth of July weekend.Over the four-day-long weekend alone, the National Safety Council estimates that nearly 600 deaths and 66,900 injuries requiring medical attention may occur because of crashes. Experts and law enforcement officials say drunk drivers may be a big contributor.That's why law enforcement officials are [...]|
|How a Bitcoin Whitehat Hacker Helped the FBI Catch a Murderer|| |
An ethical hacker breached the database of a phony darknet website offering hitman services and leaked the data. The information from the data dump helped the FBI in their investigation of a man who murdered his wife.
In November 2016, Stephen Carl Allwine, 47, of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, killed his wife in “one of the most bizarre cases ever seen,” police officers reported. The husband tried to mask the murder as a suicide, including putting a 9 mm pistol next to Amy Allwine’s elbow. However, detectives arriving on the scene identified the case as murder and collected evidence — mostly electronic devices, such as computers — belonging to Mr. Allwine. Later on, in January, investigators arrested and charged Mr. Allwine with second-degree murder based on the forensic evaluation of the confiscated electronic equipment.
In May 2016, a hacker called “bRpsd” breached the database of a controversial hitman service offered on a darknet website. The service, “Besa Mafia,” offered a link between customers and hitmen, who could register on the site anonymously. The price for a murder ranged between $5,000 and $200,000, but clients seeking to avoid fatalities could also hire a contractor to beat up a victim for $500 or set somebody’s car on fire for $1,000.
The hacker uploaded the data dump to a public internet website. The leaked files contained user accounts, email addresses, personal messages between the Besa Mafia admin and its customers, “hit” orders and a folder named “victims,” providing additional information on the targets.
The breach highlighted the fake nature of the website, which operated only to collect money from the customers. Chris Monteiro, an independent researcher who also hacked into the site, stated the owner or owners of Besa Mafia had made at least 50 bitcoins ($127,500 based on the current value of the cryptocurrency) from the scam operation.
According to a message posted by a Besa Mafia administrator and uncovered in the dump, “[T]his website is to scam criminals of their money. We report them for 2 reasons: to stop murder, this is moral and right; to avoid being charged with conspiracy to murder or association to murder, if we get caught.”
The leak of the Besa Mafia database helped the police investigating the murder of Mrs. Allwine. As the officers analyzed her husband’s devices, they discovered the suspect had accessed the dark web as early as 2014. Furthermore, investigators identified the pseudonym Mr. Allwine used on the darknet, “dogdaygod,” which was also linked to his email, “firstname.lastname@example.org,” in some cases. Detectives found bitcoin addresses in the conversations between Besa Mafia and Mr. Allwine, which linked the husband directly to the “dogdaygod” pseudonym, providing authorities with necessary evidence for the case.
Eventually, law enforcement agents analyzed the data dump bRpsd leaked and discovered Mr. Allwine’s email in the list. In addition, investigators found messages between the suspect and the Besa Mafia admin. According to a criminal complaint, Mr. Allwine paid between $10,000 to $15,000 to the supposed hitman service to kill his wife. The complaint detailed how Mr. Allwine had decided to have the hitman shoot Mrs. Allwine at close range and burn down the house afterward.
However, once the funds were transferred, the Besa Mafia communicator told Mr. Allwine that “local police [have] stopped the hitman [from] driving a stolen vehicle and taken [him] to jail prior to the hit,” thus rendering him unable to complete his “service.” The complaint cited Sergeant McAlister who reported that during that time, “no one was apprehended in Minnesota and western Wisconsin in a stolen vehicle and possession of a gun.”
It is likely that the ethical hacker’s data breach had an impact on Mr. Allwine’s case; on March 24, 2017, the Washington County District Court charged him with first-degree murder. In addition, officers have gathered more evidence in the case — a drug called scopolamine was discovered at 45 times higher than the recommended level in Mrs. Allwine’s body. Investigators subsequently discovered that her husband had also ordered the substance on the dark web.
The post How a Bitcoin Whitehat Hacker Helped the FBI Catch a Murderer appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
|Venus Williams facing lawsuit over car crash that killed Florida man [video]||The attorney for the woman whose husband was killed in a fatal crash with Venus Williams announced Friday that the family will file a lawsuit against the tennis star. He is asking that police turn over evidence from the crash, which took place June 9 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and resulted in the death of Jerome Barson, a 78-year-old who was listed as a tennis professional on his death certificate."At this point, we are [...]|
|Finally, #UberMovesAlbany||Elected officials, law enforcement and local business leaders gathered today in downtown Albany to celebrate the launch of ride-hailing apps in the Capital Region, now legal across New York, ahead of the July 4th weekend.|
|EQUITY ALERT: Rosen Law Firm Announces Filing of Securities Class Action Lawsuit Against United States Steel Corporation - X|
|Rosen Law Firm Reminds Vince Holding Corp. Investors of Important July 5 Deadline in First Filed Class Action- VNCE|
|PCMI NOTICE: Rosen Law Firm Reminds PCM Inc. Investors of Important July 3 Deadline in First Filed Class Action - PCMI|
|Rosen Law Firm Reminds KBR, Inc. Investors of Important July 3 Deadline in Class Action - KBR|
|CETC NOTICE: Rosen Law Firm Reminds Hongli Clean Energy Technologies Corp. Investors of Important July 7 Deadline in First Filed Class Action - CETC|
|Rosen Law Firm Reminds Signet Jewelers Limited Investors of Important July 5 Deadline in Class Action - SIG|
NEW YORK, June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, reminds purchasers of the securities of Signet Jewelers Limited from August 29, 2013 through February 27, 2017 (the "Class Period") of the important July 5, 2017 lead plaintiff deadline in the class...
|LURAY W. BRANTHAM||
Jan. 8, 1931-June 28, 2017
Luray Watkins Brantham, 86, Rosewood community, Goldsboro, joined her loving husband of 55 years in heaven while surrounded by her family June 28, 2017.
Luray was born Jan. 8, 1931, to Ressie and Lucille Watkins.
She lived her life in the Rosewood community, where she was first and foremost a proud mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Luray was a former extension homemaker, former part-owner of Rosewood Florist and a member of Westwood United Methodist Church.
A graveside service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, with pastor Terry Hobbs officiating.
The family will greet friends in Westwood United Methodist Church fellowship hall following the service and other times at her home.
Luray is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Gail and Johnny Kearney, and her sons and daughters-in-law, Landis Jr. and Debbie Brantham, Alan and Kim Brantham and Tim and Tracy Brantham all of Rosewood.
She has 10 devoted grandchildren, John Kearney, Jennifer Collins and husband, Jason, Clint Brantham and wife, April, Kristy Holmes and husband, Reid, Stephanie Brantham, Melanie Short and husband, Robbie, Kayce Brantham and fiancé, Jon DeAntonio, Hayden Brantham, Hannah Brantham and Harley Brantham, and eight great-grandchildren.
She is also survived by one sister, Anne Wyman; one brother, Wayne Watkins and wife, Coneva; and a loving pet "Boots."
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Landis C. Brantham; a son, Mark Brantham; a brother, J.R. Watkins; and a brother-in-law, Bob Wyman.
Flowers are welcome or memorials may be made to Westwood United Methodist Church, 130 Short St., Goldsboro, N.C., 27530.
The family would like to thank the third floor staff of Wayne Memorial Hospital and Kitty Askins staff for their loving care.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome.com.
|New Zealand vs. British & Irish Lions: Start Time, Live Stream for 2017 1st Test|
The British and Irish Lions face their toughest examination of the 2017 tour of New Zealand so far on Saturday, as they take on the All Blacks in the first of three Test matches.
The Lions are coming off a win over Super Rugby side Chiefs but have already suffered losses against Blues and Highlanders, while the hosts are coming off a huge 78-0 win over Samoa.
Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Test:
Date: Saturday, June 24
Time: 8:35 a.m. BST/3:35 a.m. ET
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
TV Info: Sky Sports 1 (UK)
Live Stream: Sky Go
The Lions haven't faced New Zealand since 2005, when the All Blacks easily swept their opponents aside. After some great showings in 2016, the hosts are again the clear favourites entering this series.
With 14 wins in their last 15 Tests―only Ireland have knocked them off their perch―the All Blacks are in sensational form.
As reported by Patrick McKendry of the New Zealand Herald, Lions head coach Warren Gatland knows his team will have to play at a high level to have any chance of winning:
"To play the All Blacks you have to be bold, you have to take risks. We've been saying that to the players and encouraging them. ... We know we've got to be courageous coming here. We know we have to be bold and play some positive rugby."
With Billy Vunipola and Ben Youngs no longer in the squad, the Lions have taken some hits during the tour. The visitors still boast tremendous talent―replacing scrum-half Youngs with a star such as Greig Laidlaw is a unique luxury―but the same holds true for the All Blacks.
Ardie Savea will move to the bench to make way for the returning Kieran Read, who will captain the side. Rieko Ioane, the 20-year-old who faced the Lions for the Blues, will also start, per the team's official website.
Gatland, a native Kiwi, has hinted at a more adventurous tactical plan as opposed to the team's reliance on the breakdown and kicking game, but given the All Blacks' incredible ability on the counter and strength out wide, that may not be such a great idea.
New Zealand haven't lost a Test at Eden Park since 1994. The All Blacks have no real weaknesses and shouldn't be troubled too much by a good Lions squad that has been too inconsistent so far during their tour.
Read more International Rugby news on BleacherReport.com
|Massively improved changes to our quality control system!|
You might already know that in order to prevent mistakes, and halt shipping snafus in our doll orders, we use a long checklist, which has to be gone over step-by-step before a doll can ship. This checklist works well, but we still had the occasional ding that slipped through. It has no problems checking things like joints, movement and function, body and head types, and physical flaws, but some things could be missed. We didn’t like that – we know you deserve the very best for your hard-earned money, and we are determined to make sure that happens!
We’ve added a crucial final step to this checklist, which has proven over the last few weeks to catch every possible issue. Now each inch of your doll is photographed at the factory before she, or he, is shipped. We then review the photographs and confirm the colors and options, making sure the doll matches the order. We look for visual issues such as problems with fingernails, toenails, makeup, pubic hair, hair, eyes, eyebrows, areola, labia colors and sizes. Only when we are sure that everything is just perfect, do we allow a doll to ship to you.
Of course, this doesn’t stop the shipping company from making a mistake, or Customs being rude and snooping, leaving a mess. But we can handle that problem, if it happens. We always stand behind our product, and we’ll always support you, our customer. If you ever have any problem with a doll that arrives at your door, please contact us immediately and we’ll take care of you.
You’re not just our customer, you’re a part of a huge family of realistic love doll owners and admirers –just as we are. This isn’t just a business, but a passion for love dolls. We want to be sure that all of our dolls are just right and perfect for you, and this new quality control system is taking a huge step in the right direction.
|Epstein-Barr virus-encoded EBNA1 inhibits the canonical NF-κB pathway in carcinoma cells by inhibiting IKK phosphorylation|| Valentine, Robert, Dawson, Christopher W., Hu, Chunfang, Shah, Khilan M., Owen, Thomas J., Date, Kathryn L., Maia, Sonia P., Shao, Jianyong, Arrand, J. R. (John R.), Young, Lawrence S. and O'Neil, John D.. (2010) Epstein-Barr virus-encoded EBNA1 inhibits the canonical NF-κB pathway in carcinoma cells by inhibiting IKK phosphorylation. Molecular Cancer, Vol.9 (No.1). p. 1. ISSN 1476-4598 |
|Titans edge out Dragons at Robina|
Gold Coast Titans winger Anthony Don’s hat-trick of tries helped the Titans to a 20-10 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons at CBus Super Stadium to keep alive their
|TS290: Wonder Woman, Throwing Shade Tour Documentary and special guest Michael Blieden||This week Bryan is completely overwhelmed with emotion after seeing Wonder Woman, while Erin has second-degree burns from her curling iron. Also, a gay congregant leaving a service by the Word of Faith Fellowship was beaten to release his homosexual demons, and a man has filed a lawsuit against a movie theater chain due to women-only screenings of Wonder Woman. Plus, guest Michael Blieden is here to discuss divorcing Erin, working with Kanye, and how the Throwing Shade tour doc came to fruition. The Throwing Shade tour doc is out now! Get it at vimeo.com/ondemand/throwingshade|
|TS283: 420, Survivor, Dr. Robert Onder||This week Bryan gets taught about weed culture, while Erin shares her awkward interaction at a local vegan/Mexican restaurant. Also, a contestant on Survivor was recently outed as Transgender by another contestant during the Tribal Council, and a Missouri lawmaker and allergist was upset about protections for women being passed and claim McDonald's and the Zoo are subject to more regulations than abortion clinics.|
|Comment on Learn SEO Through Forums by Bill Slawski||Thanks, Dave. Cre8asiteforums was a lot of fun. :)|
|TS279: Beauty and the Beast, Class Action Lawsuits, Guest Joel Kim Booster||This week Bryan was blindsided by the appearance of the new season of Great British Bakeoff on Netflix, while Erin struggles with multiple splinters. Also, Beauty and the Beast finally revealed their exclusively gay moment this weekend and boy was it a disappointment, and women in the workplace may have a harder time filing class action lawsuits against their employer thanks to a new bill by congress. Plus Guest Joel Kim Booster is here to discuss being fired from a Dippin Dots stand, Palm Springs, and coming out to Evangelical parents. Follow Joel Kim Booster on Twitter and Instagram @ihatejoelkim Donate to the Max Fun drive today! http://maximumfun.org/donate|
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|Delaware Enhanced Global Dividend And Income Fund Announces Dividends||
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|Ameren Illinois Customers Will See Savings From New Energy Law||
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|Couple sues Detroit Police Department after officers killed three dogs during marijuana raid||
Detroiters Kenneth Savage and Ashley Franklin are suing the Detroit Police Department after a marijuana raid left their three dogs dead, Reason.com reports. |
The couple alleges Detroit police unlawfully shot their dogs after observing several potted marijuana plants in their backyard.…
|TS262: Thanksgiving, Konni Burton, Dr. Phil, Guest Orlando Soria|| This week Bryan whips up Oprah’s favorite turkey recipe while Erin shares her hatred for the holidays. Also Texas Senator Konni Burton proposed a law that would require schools to out LGBTQ students to their family, and Dr. Fraud (aka Dr. Phil) filmed an extremely exploitative interview with a very ill Shelley Duval, anything for the ratings! Plus, Guest Orlando Soria is here to discuss the true meaning of eau de toilette, his lifestyle blog Hommemaker, and being the Creative Director for Homepolish. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!|
|TS256: Drag Race, Ireland's Abortion Laws, Roy Moore||This week Erin watched RuPaul's Drag Race with gay-legend-icon-star Trixie Mattel and Bryan had to deal with his riff raff neighbors. Also Ireland, which is progressive on gay marriage, has a long way to go with abortion rights which can still be punishable by 14 years in prison! And Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama was found guilty of standing in the way of gay marriage and removed from office. Bye girl.|
|Harlem’s Dave East And Others Climbing Mountain Dew’s NBA 3x Tournament|
The #1 Soure For All things Harlem in the World,
The Dew NBA 3x tournament landed in Brooklyn, New York to take over Brooklyn Bridge Park this past weekend June 24-26, 2016.Mountain Dew flawlessly blended basketball, music, style, and art Continue Reading →
The post Harlem’s Dave East And Others Climbing Mountain Dew’s NBA 3x Tournament appeared first on Harlem World Magazine.
|TS250: Beyonce, Burkinis, Hate Crimes, Guest Alia Shawkat||This week Erin and Bryan revel in the musical stylings of Beyonce and Selena, one of whom just slayed at the VMAs. Also while Jean Valjean's homeland of France has outlawed the burkini to "protect women," hates crimes targeting the LGBTQ have spiked. BYOL, bring your own lube if you don't want bigots messing with your genitals! Also Alia Shawkat ("Arrested Development," the upcoming "Search Party" on TBS) is here to talk middle eastern conferences, her family business and getting recognized as Ilana Glazer. |
|TS245: Dog Baskets, Chris Richeson, SkillsUSA, Guest Sam Lansky||Bryan regales us with old family stories of his great aunt Annie and her basket, while Erin tells us a tale of her macgyver skills of creating dog baskets for adventuring, watch out REI! Also, a teacher named Chris Richeson was fired after helping his students create the school's first Gay/Straight Alliance. Because, you know, fisting and rimming runs rampant when people promote acceptance. Also class action lawsuits against girls who were robbed of awards have started popping up, Lady attorney, where you at girl? And Sam Lansky is here to talk about his book The Gilded Razor, K-POP drama, and Carly Rae Jepson.|
|TS243: Donut Parties, Medical Studies, Periods, Republican Bribery||This week Erin tells us how she was scammed by a donut party while Bryan shares his love of naming everything "jer-majesty." Also Medical research studies are not allowing women to participate because their periods and their emotions will taint the data. Also Republicans are getting bribed to vote against gun laws with such a low amount of money they couldn’t even buy an iced coffee, but remember..their prayers are with us.|
|MTA Derailment Lawsuit Seeks $5 Million For Harlem Woman|
The #1 Soure For All things Harlem in the World,
A Harlem woman who is suing the MTA after suffering a back injury from Tuesday’s A train derailment said she won’t be going back on a subway anytime soon. “I’m Continue Reading →
The post MTA Derailment Lawsuit Seeks $5 Million For Harlem Woman appeared first on Harlem World Magazine.
|Simone Veil, courageous fighter, passes||Andrew Coates writes: Simone Veil, the revered French politician who survived the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and defied institutional sexism to push through a law legalising abortion in France, has died on June 30th 2017. She was 89. France 24: A widely respected figure across the political divide, Veil was the first female leader […]|
|TS242:Fourth of July, Oak Lawn Texas, Summer Blockbusters||Bryan tells us all about his bestie CeCe Penningston, and doing stand up in front of a sea of gays while Erin shares her yearly 4th of July plans which just involve leaving the country. Also, Oak Lawn in Dallas Texas is getting no help from the police after an increasing amount of Gay Hate Crimes have been committed and summer blockbusters have just become a dickfest, where the women at?|
|TS241:BET Awards, The Pope, Texas TRAP Laws, Guest Jen Kirkman||This week Erin discusses her post Beyonce performance emotions, and Bryan shares the lies and songs he used to con his boyfriend into dating him. Also, the pope says the church should ask forgiveness for the way they treated women and gay people, but thats just a baby step, and Supreme Court justices say hell naw to Texas TRAP laws. Plus Guest Jen Kirkman is here to talk about temp work, bulk shopping at Top Shop, and her new book “I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself”|
|Indian-Americans and Spelling Bees: Adding some nuance|
It's that time of the year again. The only night of the year when desi people dominate ESPN primetime in the United States. The Scripps National Spelling Bee. Yet again, the winner...or rather co-winners..came from the families of Indian immigrants.
This has been happening for over a decade now, and every year, the aftermath of the Bee in Indian media and Indian and Indian-origin social media follows a similar pattern. There are a few think pieces about why Indian-Americans are so good at spelling bees. Some folks go all uber-patriotic extolling the superior virtues of our intellectual tradition and what not (cue...Bhaaaaarrrraat maaata kiiii.......). And some folks sneer, indulging in a mild form of communal self-loathing. I don't have kids but my close Indian-American friends who do are very emphatic about how they will not make...or even let their kids participate in something as nerdy and inherently uncool as a spelling bee.
Through Twitter I came across this post that quotes Varun Grover's interview in the excellent excellent documentary I Am Offended (do watch if you haven't) which references spelling bees. That blog, and Varun in that documentary, are making a larger point about how the Indian education system is centered around rote learning, stifling creativity and basically preparing "middle managers". And that the success in spelling bees is a symptom of that.
While I agree with Varun and Auctorly on the larger problem, I don't think it is correct to link spelling bees to that problem. I see where they are coming from, and the reason for that is a couple of myths about spelling bees in general which merit some attention.
Myth #1 Spelling Bees are all about memorizing thousands and thousands and thousands of words, and regurgitating them on stage.
I used to think the same way, but it's not really that way. A few years ago, I had a long chat with a student of mine (I am a college professor) who in her school days had participated in the spelling bee. She didn't win, but talked to me about how much fun it was, and ended up giving me a different perspective on this activity that I too once sneered at. Then I read some more about it, watched the documentary Spellbound, talked to some more students over the years, and I think it is necessary to add some nuance to how we view the "sport".
Spelling bee as a contest is more about pattern recognition than just rote memorization. Don't get me wrong. Of course it is important to know and remember many many words to participate in a spelling bee. But the same is true of scrabble. Or crosswords. Or trivia quizzing. Heck, memorization is key even in chess. A serious chess player will have thousands of moves and games memorized.
Just like all those activities/sports, spelling bee is about, yes, having a memory bank of relevant information, but at the top level, it is often about recognizing patterns, working out clues, and then formulating an answer by accessing the relevant information from your brain.
You know how the kids ask for meaning, language of origin, use it in a sentence etc etc? It is not for theater. It has important information, and many times, can even help you make an educated guess at the spelling of a word you've never heard of by using what is basically pattern recognition.
Let me give you an example about how I, without memorizing any words, was able to correctly guess one of the words in the final this year. The word was chremslach. When it was first uttered, I thought it would start with "Kr" and maybe end with "che" or "kh". Then I heard that the word was Yiddish. And the meaning was a kind of passover pastry. Instantly I thought of a pastry that a Jewish deli near my house excels at - rugelach. The end sounded the same. So it had to end in -lach. And the different pronunciations of the starting syllable suggested chr not Kr. The repeated usage by the moderator further confirmed what I had in my mind. A pattern emerged and voila. There the spelling was.
I felt thrilled at having worked it out before the contestant answered. It was a thrill similar to the one I get as a trivia quizzer when I crack a cleverly framed Final Jeopardy style "workout-able" question. Or the thrill I get when I crack a particularly cryptic clue in crosswords.
The aforementioned student kept stressing about how much fun the whole thing was for her. She said it was a form of solving puzzles. And I saw what she meant. I asked her, isn't it boring to memorize thousands and thousands of words. She said no, she LOVES words (sidenote - she always wrote the most well-crafted and thoughtful term papers in my class). And again, I see her point.
When you enjoy any activity built on pattern recognition so much that you want to seriously compete in it, you don't think of the underlying memorization as a drab chore. I like to play scrabble semi-competitively, and it is fun for me to have those cruel 2 letter words memorized so I can gain advantage on the board despite not having great tiles. And I'm sure poker players don't think of probability calculations as mundane.
Myth #2 These desi spelling be winners will most likely end up as middle managers, code coolies, cogs in the corporate machine....just total drones.
Although it seems like Indian-Americans have been winning the bee for ages, in reality, it's been less than two decades that it has been happening consistently. So the sample of winners is not statistically significant, but from whatever I read in "where are they now" type stories, I saw very few, if any, ending up in those drone type jobs.
A lot of them were in some form of research, which to me, as an academic researcher, makes sense. Research is like the rigorous grown-up impactful form of pattern recognition that is built upon a deep memory bank of knowledge about a subject. A bunch of them were doctors and lawyers. One was a professional poker player (again, pattern recognition and memory). And so on. I even googled a few names of winners and always found that the person was doing something really cool.
Maybe a systematic study will throw up more details.
Myth #3 We Indians are just awesome at English and we are such brainiacs and we have the bestest education-centric culture so we are awesome at Spelling Bees
While the first two myths were in the self-loathing category, this one is in the uber-patriotic category. I have no problem with Indians or Indian-origin feeling proud or elated or whatever at this dominance, although I am personally from the Bill Hicks school of thought when it comes to patriotism.
But let us dispel with this notion that there is something really inherently culturally genetically special about Indians that our kids just go to America, show up at spelling bees, and start winning them left and right. There is actually a pretty strong and well-organized training infrastructure that is making all this possible. Remember that these contestants train with the rigor and discipline of athletes. It is not done in isolation, but requires broader support like with any sport or activity.
What you see on ESPN is the culmination of a year of smaller contests, local spelling bees, practice bees, and other such events on the local circuits. And there's a kind of feedback loop that forms. Successive generations build on the success of previous generations. Legacies and even "dynasties" are created and inspire some to adhere to it. I could keep going, but I came across this article that explains the quasi-institutional reasons behind the dominance in more detail.
If some other community starts taking such a deep interest in the sport and organizes in such a serious grassroots way, other communities could start dominating too.
One thing to note is that the winners have all been kids of Indians who migrated to the United States. Recent Indian immigrants, much like recent immigrants of other communities, tend to socialize more with their compatriots and do so in a very community-based way, with associations and groups and mandals and so on. But second generation Indian-Americans are more assimilated in the American mainstream. So when they grow up and have kids of their own, they are not as plugged into the Indian-American groups and associations as their parents were.
So you don't see many (or even any?) third generation Indian-American children winning the spelling bee or even making it to the national finals, because they don't have automatic access to that community-based infrastructure.
The best way to end this post is to quote a now-grown-up Nupur Lala, the star of the Oscar winning documentary who arguably started this Indian-American phenomenon.
“Having watched Spellbound, I realized that several of my competitors weren’t any worse than me ability-wise, but they didn’t have the same advantages—economic privilege, educational background, family dynamics,” she says. “I know that played a big, big role in my success. As a 14-year-old, I really thought I was one of the best spellers out there. In hindsight, I think, yeah, I was a very good speller, but I also had some of the best preparation and resources out there. I had a mom who had a graduate degree in linguistics. Parents who have literally hundreds of books in the house, and who were very motivated to help me succeed.”
|On IIPM "Shutting Down"|
Recently a friend pointed out that next month would be 10 years since I made a post titled "The Fraud that is IIPM" on my little-read blog. He asked if I planned to make a 10 year anniversary post of sorts. I said I'd think about it. And now comes the news that IIPM is shutting down their campuses.
When I met Rashmi Bansal (who owned JAM whose post I linked to) in Manhattan earlier this year, she mentioned the possibility of something like this happening. She said the relentless bad press is taking its toll and some campuses were being closed even then.
It is difficult to put into words the full range of emotions I feel hearing this news. But the foremost is that this "victory", if you call it that, belongs primarily to people like Rashmi Bansal, Maheshwar Peri, and Anant Nath. They actually WERE sued by that odious company and they fought the legal battle without choosing to take the easy way out. They paid a lot, monetarily and emotionally, to expose the fraud.
I really didn't do too much. I wrote a post linking to a JAM story by Arjun Ravi on a blog that was read by maybe 2-300 people. When IIPM sent me a standard email they sent to threaten all bloggers who wrote against them, I ridiculed it on my blog. And when IIPM sleazily tried to drag my then employer IBM into it, I quit my job.
The "IIM dude quits IBM" factoid made for a catchy headline and the news went viral. Mainly because IIM and IBM are such huge brands. But the development didn't really "harm" me in the way a cursory reading of the headlines might suggest. Yeah, I quit that job, but within hours, I had two dozen interview calls and a few job offers, all of them unsolicited. Let's be honest. I was (am?) a privileged upper caste English speaking male in India with a prime resume painted as some sort of a hero by the media and the blogosphere. I was bound to land on my feet. And I did, really fast.
Eventually, as Arindam said last year to Shivam Vij on a news show, they chose NOT to follow through on their threat to sue me. If they had, I most certainly would've fought the case. Some reputed lawyers had offered their services pro bono if it came to that. And even if I had to do it on my own, I would've. As my mom and wife will tell you, I am very stubborn. smile emoticon
But it didn't happen. So other than the few hours of mild uncertainty after resigning from IBM, I came out of the experience unscathed and more or less smelling of roses. And with this "giant slayer" reputation that has continued since, and which has always made me very uncomfortable.
I took up a well-paying part-time job with IMS at an office 5 minutes from where I lived, making it clear to them that I'd be leaving for a PhD soon. The PhD plan is something I had made way back in my MBA days (in fact my IIML yearbook even mentions it). The IIPM threat just made me advance it to 2006 instead of 2008 when I had originally scheduled it for.
I got into a great PhD program at Penn State, and moved to the US, starting a new chapter of my life. IIPM became just a thing that I'd get emails and text messages about whenever they were in the news because of their latest PR disaster. Yes, I still got an occasional email threatening a lawsuit or an arrest (the last was in 2010 i think), but I just ignored them all and nothing really materialized.
Meanwhile, Rashmi, Maheshwar, Anant, and many wronged and cheated students fought on. They were made to navigate the complex and sometimes corrupt labyrinth of the Indian judicial system, responding to complaints from remote locations like Silchar! They kept the battle going.
So this news today of IIPM essentially shutting shop is their win. They deserve the credit, the kudos, the accolades, and everything else. In 2015, I'm as much of a bystander as the rest of you.
|"The Flight" Chapter 2 of Apurvai, a travelogue by P.L. "PuLa" Deshpande|
Many years ago, I translated chapter 1 from the 1960 book. You don't HAVE TO read it to follow this chapter, but it is recommended. Unlike my other translations which were done from audio files of PuLa narrating his work, this one has been done from the actual book. So even Marathis who've never read the book will find something new here.
To set the stage a little, in this chapter, PuLa describes the experience of his first ever international flight. Based on the references to the Suez Crisis, I'm guessing it happened in 1956 or 1957. So almost 60 years ago! I was surprised to learn of the sheer number of stopovers flights had to make in those days. It is indeed a different era. But so much of what he writes resonated with me in terms of my experiences with international flights. Which is why I chose to translate this although it isn't as ROFLMAO funny as the previous chapter.
Usual caveats - Much of PuLa's humor comes from how he played with the Marathi language, and it can get lost in translation. But his observations and descriptions stay relevant even 55 years later.
Our flight to London from Santa Cruz airport was scheduled for 11 PM on August 20th. It wasn't my first time flying, but it was the first time I was flying to another country, that too on a huge airplane. I had been told to reach the airport about an hour before the flight. Even if I hadn't been told this, I would've gone there two hours before. Because even when I am taking an M.S.M. train (or as you kids today call it, Southern Railway), I go to the station an hour early. Even if I have a reserved seat.
I find it convenient to allow that buffer for unforeseen but predictable events like getting on the wrong train, not being able to find my compartment, taxi to the station breaking down, heavy rain causing waterlogging, forgetting some important stuff at home and realizing it halfway to the station, forgetting to fill the water bottle, and of course, panicking every few minutes thinking that I have either forgotten the ticket at home or lost it.
And of course, Indian Railways regularly contributes with unforeseen but predictable events of its own. Just as you've spread out a sheet on your berth and laid down, a railways employee comes and says the compartment has some problems, so we need to shift to another one. It takes about 45 minutes to find a porter, find the replacement compartment, and move all the luggage. It turns out that if you turn the lights on, the fan stops working, and if you turn the fan on, the lights stop working. Finally both are fixed, and when you go to the bathroom, there is no water in the compartment. So you have to stay awake till Lonand to find a guard and complain about it. If you're lucky, it'll get fixed by the time the train reaches Nira. Or then wait till Miraj at 5 AM so you can use the bathroom on the station.
So even if you go very early to the station, there's no guarantee that your rail journey will be pleasant. I wonder if we are destined to ever get railways that take the responsibility of passenger comfort seriously. Until then, there are only two ways to travel without any problems - on foot like Vinoba Bhave or by air.
Or so I thought.
When I bought my tickets at the Air India office, the lady behind the counter had told me to reach the airport at 9 PM. And then, flashing me a disarming smile, suggested that I call the airline before leaving to make sure the plane wasn't delayed. So just as we were about to leave, I remembered that smile and mentioned this to the huge contingent of friends, family, and neighbors gathered at our house to bid us farewell.
"Haha, don't be an idiot! It's a plane, not an ST bus to be delayed. Airlines operate with second-by-second precision!"
A friend, who had never traveled an inch north of Malad or south of Kala Ghoda, said making me feel like an idiot in front of everyone. This guy has always had this publicly dismissive attitude towards me. I don't know why I am still friends with him. When I told him I was being sent to England by Doordarshan, his first reaction was,
"You??? Why??? Looks like the government has too much money to waste!"
When I first wore the suit mentioned in the previous chapter, he laughed and said I looked like a trumpeter from one of the Dhobi Talao wedding bands. Totally unnecessary snark. But he can't help it. So even though he had no first hand experience on the matter, he stayed true to his nature and ridiculed me for wondering if I should call the airline to check the flight status.
My wife called the airline office anyway. And we came to know that because the incoming plane from Tokyo hadn't reached yet, our flight was delayed by two hours.
I winced. The idea of sitting in Mumbai's humidity for two more hours wearing a three piece suit, that noose-like tie, those damned expensive Chinese shoes, the nylon socks bought after the Middle East cooled down, and a thick coat meant for England's cold weather, was unbearable. I was tempted to take off all my clothes (except for one) and cal the whole thing off.
"So....will the plane depart exactly two hours later than scheduled?"
Someone from the annoyingly large farewell contingent asked, and that question suddenly made our house explode into a pointless deliberation that made it resemble a legislative body debating a useless resolution.
"Will the plane leave two hours later or do you go to the airport two hours later?"
"But does two hours really mean two hours?"
"But what does a plane coming from Tokyo have to do with an Air India flight going to London?"
"Let's say the plane reaches earlier than estimated......will it still leave two hours late or earlier than that?"
"Let's say that Tokyo flight is delayed by four hours instead, will your flight leave two hours late or four hours late?"
"Someone told me that last week a flight scheduled for midnight eventually departed after dawn. Is that true?"
"Are you sure it's a plane from Tokyo? Maybe it's Kyoto."
"I just called a friend of mine who works in a restaurant at the airport. He says there is some mechanical problem in this plane, and the Tokyo plane thing is just an excuse."
"So the flight might get cancelled?"
"Do they have a replacement plane? How many planes does All India Radio have anyway?"
"It's Air India, not All India Radio."
"Yeah, same difference."
"Mechanical problems......that's scary!"
"You both have life insurance, right?"
"Remember the plane that crashed at Cairo five years ago? My boss' nephew was on it. His wife got two million as compensation!"
"I've heard you can buy life insurance at the airport."
All this nonsense from people who had nothing to do with our travel whatsoever. I prayed to god to rescue me from this plane chaos by sending the plane he sent for Sant Tukaram.
"I'm telling you guys. Instead of spending the two hours sitting at home, spend them sitting at the airport. Let's say they repair the plane early and it leaves before time. What are you going to do? It's not like you can catch it on the way. It's not the Barshi-Pandharpur passenger train. Hehehehe!"
So finally, following the over-cautious traditions of my train journeys, we reached the airport at 9:30 PM for a plane that was scheduled to depart at 1:30 AM. Some of my other friends and colleagues were at the airport already to see me off. They either didn't know that the plane was delayed, or even if they knew, they were aware of my over-cautious traditions.
All my friends at the airport made me feel very awkward and also emotional by showering me with so many garlands and bouquets, that the airport officials thought I was a politician. And I had an epiphany at that moment - the greatest wealth in my life is my friends. If wealth were to be measured in friendships, I am probably richer than Tata-Birla combined. I have so many dear friends in so many walks of life! And so many of them had come late at night and out of the way to the airport to see me off.
I felt touched but also embarrassed. Firstly, I still wasn't sure I could pull off the suit-boot look. Having such a huge audience for it felt weird. And then there were these garlands and bouquets. I was overwhelmed. I have gotten used to getting such attention at functions and award shows and suchlike. But on this occasion, I was feeling like I had an emotional debt to pay off. Just popping by to say goodbye is one thing, but these guys had come all the way to the airport!
My embarrassment was compounded by the fact that I hadn't really done or achieved anything to deserve all the attention that night. When I get such attention after a successful theater performance, it's okay. At least I gave them some happiness, and they are appreciating it. But that night, my wife and I were just flying to England like thousands of people do everyday. And yet my mob of friends at the airport had made me feel like I was doing something special. With a luggage full of such love and good wishes, I started feeling confident that even if all the engines of the plane failed, I could fly anywhere I wanted.
The crowd of friends and all the flowers being heaped on me made the press photographers hanging around think that I was some big deal. They suddenly started snapping our pictures like paparazzi. In all this chaos, one of my friends went to the airport officials and convinced them to open a "VIP Lounge" for me. A sturdy fellow in a crisp uniform politely asked us to follow him to the VIP lounge.
At that moment, my wife looked at me happily with an expression that said - "all these years that I have put up with you are finally paying off!"
As we were led into the imposingly plush VIP lounge, I started feeling even more awkward. Given our colonial history, I know that "England returned" has a certain halo attached to it. But I had no idea that the halo starts appearing even before you leave India. I started feeling worried about the possibility of a real VIP showing up and frowning at how our raucous farewell contingent had made the VIP lounge resemble Khandke's chawl.
Even in all that chaos, I overheard one of the uniformed guys whispering to the other,
"Nowadays, any random person can become a VIP."
His colleague responded,
"Hoga koi Minister ka baccha nahi toh jamai!"
and walked away.
So I tried to appear and act as VIP-ish as possible. I went around folding my hands and solemnly thanking all the people who had come to see me off. Then I started giving away the garlands and bouquets to kids and being unnecessarily nice to them. Basically, emulating every aspect of VIP behavior that I could remember.
A few of the professional photographers kept taking pictures of all this, and then offered to send them to me. They helpfully quoted a "professional" rate for it that was ten times what it would cost to get a photo taken in my neighborhood studio. But I was pretending to be a VIP and had to play the part. Once I parted with all the advance payments for the photos, the expression on my face finally came to resemble something that actually deserved to be photographs. I have no idea where those expensive photos are now, by the way.
Eventually there was an announcement that the customs check process had started, and we finally prepared to leave that VIP cell....I mean lounge. While leaving, I handed a generous tip to the uniformed guys standing at the door. The astounded expressions on their faces made me realize that real VIPs probably never hand out any tips. They hand out only two things - promises or threats.
We left the lounge and walked straight to the weighing scales near the customs area. I put our bags on it one by one and felt relieved when each of them were a pound or so less than the 44 pound limit. My wife on the other hand seemed a little disappointed and said,
"Hmpf, I guess we could have taken a few more papads then."
I ignored her and walked to the customs booth, standing in front of the officer with an appropriately guilty expression on my face.
This was the second time in my life that I had faced a customs officer. A few years ago, when returning from Goa (then a Portuguese territory) I stood in front of a customs officer for the first time. Everyone in front of me had been questioned extensively and had their bags checked thoroughly. So I was already terrified. Even though there was no reason to be terrified. In the entire crowd there, we were probably the only ones returning from Goa without as much as a tiny piece of chocolate. But customs booths are one of those weirdly imposing places where I feel nervous by default.
Some people are scared of a dentist's chair. Not me. I have been to dentists many times. One dentist actually turned my simple complaint of an aching tooth into an imperative to extract it with the glee of a professional sadist. It hurt so much, I think I actually saw a few angels waiting to welcome me into heaven. But even then, the next time I went to a (different, obviously) dentist, I went with the ease with which I go to Kulkarni's restaurant to eat bhajiyas. No fear or worries. But put me in front of a custom's officer and my heart starts racing.
There are many random entries in my list of "people I am irrationally scared of". For some reason, I am terrified of every liftman. Not afraid of the actual lift, mind you. It's not like I am scared that the lift will plummet to the basement or anything. I am just scared of the liftmen, at least in Mumbai, where almost all of them seem to have a cold blank expression on their face. I am also terrified of waiters in fancy restaurants. If one is standing next to me, I feel so nervous that I invariably spill something. I was never scared of male teachers, but female teachers always petrified me. And I can slap a doctor on his back and sing songs with him even when he is in the middle of surgery, but when it comes to nurses, my hands start trembling even if I am handing them a note. I have no idea why I carry these bizarre fears in my heart.
That customs officer I encountered when returning from Goa had insulted me rather painfully! I still shudder and shed a tear when I think about it.
When it was my turn, he asked me my name, address, and profession. Those days, I earned my living in a college fostering deep hatred for literature among the students. As soon as I told the officer that I was a Professor, and that too of Marathi, he just looked straight into my eyes, and with an expression conveying immense pity, said,
"You can go."
He didn't ask to search my luggage, didn't ask me if I was carrying any contraband, didn't even ask me if I had anything to declare. With utter conviction that I lacked the ability or the means to smuggle in alcohol, gold, cigarettes, or anything like that, he sent me on my way. I have never felt more humiliated. I would've preferred it if he had instead put me through a two hour long interrogation under a bright lamp.
So that day in Mumbai airport, I was wondering if the customs officer in charge of examining departing passengers would be more respectful. He looked at my bags, then glanced at my face, and then wordlessly made some chalk markings on the bags and waved me through. Rude, isn't it?
Next my wife and I went to Passport Control. Our passports had been issued two years ago and were valid for three more years. But one of my friends in the farewell party had authoritatively said,
"Ohhhh.....just three years validity left? That might create problems. Good luck!"
I nervously handed over the passports to the officer. He glanced at them for a nanosecond and returned them to me. I was less worried about the validity and more worried about the passport photo. But the officer had evidently discovered some similarity between my passport photo and the way I actually look. Once we were done with that, a health officer quickly made sure we had taken the necessary vaccinations and we were done.
Once we got the "worthy of traveling abroad" certification from Pandit Nehru's people, all we could do was wait for the plane to leave. It was past midnight. The departure area at Santa Cruz is decorated and furnished in a very modern way. There are lots of comfortable couches and chairs for passengers to relax in. But my wife and I were sitting there uncomfortably, feeling out of place.
There was a European couple sitting in front of us. They seemed confused by Indian currency. These were the days when paisa coins co-existed with anna coins and the poor visitors had no idea if the many coins they had were worth five rupees or five annas. Hoping to give them a happy memory of Indian hospitality, I jumped in to offer unsolicited advice and ended up compounding their confusion even more. Finally my better half stepped in, sorted the whole thing out, and informed them that Indian women have a much better understanding of money than Indian men.
The European couple left for their flight and I started looking around at other fellow-passengers. With a parochial mindset, I went around to see if there were other Marathi folk there, and soon met a man named Patil and a student named Joshi. I was there representing the Deshpande name. All we were missing was a Kulkarni. If we had found one, we would have had Patil-Joshi-Deshpande-Kulkarni, the four pillars of the ancient Marathi administrative set-up. Sadly there was no Kulkarni on that flight, but it did end up having a pilot named Nadkarni. Nadkarni is essentially the South Kannada version of Kulkarni, so I guess we ended up with the full set eventually.
Around 1 AM, the plane's wings must have fluttered because suddenly, there was a lot of activity around us. The crowd started walking in one direction, and we went along. I looked at the glass barrier at the customs desk and saw our contingent was still patiently waiting. The elders had tears in their eyes and the younger lot looked like they were cracking stale jokes at our expense and passing them off as new.
When we eventually reached the gate, I confirmed three times that it was the right plane. Or else we'd wake up the next morning in Cochin instead of Cairo. I still carried emotional scars from the night at Pune station that I got on a train to go to Kolhapur and woke up the next morning to find I was in a compartment parked in the Pune railway yard. I have always had the kind of luck where I take a girlfriend to watch a movie on the sly and run into a nosy old relative who decided to come watch the same movie. And I couldn't afford to let that luck mess up international travel.
There was an air hostess standing at the door, welcoming us with an unnaturally wide smile. The rest of the crew, dressed in crisp dark trousers and skirts and blindingly white shirts, sporting wing shaped lapel pins and painstakingly groomed mustaches, was darting about doing their work. We reached our seats and stared out the tiny oblong window at the terminal, wondering if our friends and family were still there.
Once I was in the seat, I assured myself that despite all apparent obstacles, it now seemed like I would definitely go to England, and fastened the seat belt around my stomach. The engines started humming and the fans started rotating one by one. The plane got going. After zooming along the ground for a mile or so, it slowed down and stopped at the other end of the runway.
As soon as it stopped, I started fearing the worst. The plane had already been delayed by mechanical problems. I wasn't sure if they had fixed the problems completely or had postponed some repairs. Maybe now they'd discover more problems. I also carried emotional scars from bus drivers who'd make passengers board on a scorching hot day, bake them in that tin box for an hour while they waited, and then open the bonnet of the bus to examine what's wrong with the engine.
Luckily, nothing like that happened. In a couple of minutes, the plane started moving again, then sped up, and eventually left terra firma in a graceful glide. I watched the airport rapidly disappear from my view and before I knew it, Mumbai started resembling a gem-laden ornament below us. In that ornament, four million people were probably dreaming as they slept, while I sat with wide open eyes, realizing my childhood dream of foreign travel.
And next to me was my soul mate and my life partner accompanying me on this adventure. Over the previous twelve years, we had built many castles in the air together, while never feeling tempted to build a house on the ground. We never stayed in one place for more than 2-3 years anyway. We had in common a huge appetite for new challenges and new experiences. And the latest one was to be living in England for 5-6 months.
Our flight had been in the air for a while, and the plane was completely dark as was the sky outside, but I still couldn't sleep. The plane was completely packed and experienced travelers were already snoring. Our air-hostess was Japanese. She was promptly and efficiently offering candy and nuts to travelers with a studied smile straight out of the training syllabus. Her walk was brisk and her voice had the crispness of springtime.
I was feeling really hot. That damned suit on my body started feeling like clunky armor and I again cursed myself for wearing it on the plane. I looked around and was taken aback when I noticed at an Englishman sitting in front of me. Here I was, wearing a brand new three piece suit because I was going to his snooty country. And this dude was sitting there looking very relaxed in khaki shorts, a flannel shirt with some twenty five pockets, and a flimsy felt hat that did not match.
So I discreetly looked around at the other white people on the flight. Not a single one of them was dressed even as remotely formally as I was. Sitting there overdressed in that damned suit in the middle of the night, I started feeling like even more of a neophyte than I already was.
Suddenly the Japanese air-hostess appeared with a small wet towel on a plate. I eyed the towel suspiciously for a second. I had no idea what purpose a wet towel was supposed to serve at two in the morning. But I was brought up never to turn a plate away, so I picked up the towel and thanked her. I looked at my wife to see if she had any suggestions, but she was fast asleep. I slowly glanced across the aisle and saw that the guy there was gently rubbing the towel on his face. I did the same, and the cool cologne scented fabric gave me some relief from the intense heat I was experiencing.
Our massive jumbo jet was slicing through the darkness leaving cities and mountains behind. I was finally feeling a little drowsy. Almost everyone around me, including my wife, was already asleep. That Englishman with the khaki shorts was in fact trying to drown out the noise of the engine with his own booming multi-octave snores with his mouth open. The ex-subject of Her Majesty's realm inside me felt relieved to observe first-hand that even the English can snore with their mouths open. Because once our travel plans were made, I was a bit worried about that.
You see, I am one of "those" too. But over the course of my life, I have come across some impressively loud snorers. My grandma says that people with big hearts and minds snore the most. I don't know if there is any correlation between big bodies and big hearts and minds - I won't mind if there is. I started thinking a lot about snoring and hearts and minds. I do remember that I spent a lot of time thinking about it. But I don't know for how long, because the next thing I knew, I was waking up to the dawn's early light.
Our plane was flying over a huge desert. I noted how different this dawn was from any other dawn I had experienced in my life, thousands of miles over a limitless desert. This experience, coming right after I had experienced a darkness so different from any other darkness I had experienced in my life, spurred some philosophical and metaphorical thoughts. It felt like I was witness to the dawn of a new phase of my life. I thought about my recent years and realized that I hadn't really experienced real dawn in years. In Mumbai's fast-paced hectic life, by the time my day ended, it was usually well past midnight. So by the time I usually woke up, dawn would have given up on waiting for me and slid away, making way for harsh sunlight.
Our Japanese air-hostess, still looking as fresh as a dew-kissed flower, was making the rounds with hot fortifying beverages for the morning. I have never found those beverages particularly fortifying immediately after waking up, so I politely declined her offer of tea or coffee. Instead, I got up and headed to the bathroom. Taking care not to wake up or bump into any of the other passengers, I tiptoed my way to the front, and slowly opened the door to what I thought was the bathroom. Instead I found myself face-to-face with the fine gentlemen flying the plane. It was the cockpit door! I guess the expression on my face gave away what my need was because the co-pilot, without saying anything, pointed me to the correct door.
I finished my morning ablutions and returned to the seat to find the "fasten seatbelts" sign flashing. By the time I was able to find the belt and buckle it up, the plane had started its rapid descent. I looked out the window and saw that we were headed to a desert island surrounded by more desert. I assumed it was Cairo, our first stopover. I started looking around the landscape in the hopes of spotting some pyramids. By the time I spotted a bump that I thought was a pyramid and was about to point it out to my wife, the plane was touching down, and before I knew it, it was standing stationary in a foreign land.
I looked at the dinky terminal outside the window and was a little disappointed that a city as renowned as Cairo should have an airport that looks more like an ST bus stand. But once we got off the plane, I learned that we were not in Cairo, but in some place called "Bahrain" instead. I felt a bit like Columbus who reached land confident that he was in India but then discovered that he was instead in some strange land he did not know anything about. And I felt relieved that I had not pointed out those supposed pyramids to my wife.
I had never heard of Bahrain before and had no idea where the hell it exactly was or why we were there instead of Cairo. But we walked into the terminal and headed for the restaurant. I learned that there were oilfields nearby and that Bahrain is a small island nation that is known for its oilfields. That was pretty much all we learned about the place.
We sat in the restaurant, ordered tea, and waited while the plane was refueled. The tea arrived after a long time. One sip of that concoction and I was convinced that in Bahrain, they used dried date palm leaves in lieu of tea leaves and the milk probably came from a camel instead of a cow. Over the course of my life, I have tasted many different kinds of tea......except of course the spilled tea from Mongini's mentioned in the previous chapter. Tea served in small glass tumblers in Mumbai, tea served in mud bowls on the banks of the Narmada, tea served in metallic cups in Madras, masala milk tea, railway station tea flavored with charcoal, tea without milk, tea without sugar, and even Chinese tea made from jasmine flowers. But I will never EVER forget that horrible tea from Bahrain airport. I will happily drink the bitterest castor potion than drink that tea again.
Well, at least the tea was free, because it was paid for by the airline.
Pretty soon, the plane was ready and we all climbed back into its belly. The plane took off soon and headed for Cairo. The flight from Bahrain to Cairo was essentially just desert after desert after desert. Once in a while, just as a change of scenery, there would be a small strip of water. But otherwise, totally barren. Not a single glimpse of green.
And that's when I really understood why the green flag of Islam came was hoisted in these deserts first. The prophet was very clever in choosing the color green for his flag. It is obvious why millions of Arabs enthusiastically followed that rare pleasant colored flag. I'm sure that the green flag was as instrumental in the spread of Islam as the Koran was. Add to it the moon that the desert dwellers probably equated with the relief provided by night, and I felt I had to applaud the prophet for his grasp of semiotics.
It was about 8:30 in the morning. I was staring at the desert out the window hoping to spot a camel train. But in vain. I did spot a lot of dry river beds though. Soon the sun got really bright and the glare made it difficult to keep looking outside. Soon our plane moved from the sea of sand to a sea of water. Being geographically challenged, I first decided it was the Red Sea, then the Caspian Sea, then the Black Sea, and then the Dead Sea. I still have no idea which one it was.
A while later, there were murmurs all around that we were flying over the Suez Canal. All passengers looked out the windows, identified the first strip of water they could find, and assured themselves that it was the Suez Canal. Again, no idea if any of those were actually the Suez Canal. From the height we were flying at, every strip of water looked as tiny as the Fergusson College canal in Pune. But in one strip, I spied some dots that seemed like boats and I silently convinced myself that it was indeed the Suez Canal. It was hard to believe that this tiny strip of water was responsible for almost starting World War 3 and almost sinking my travel plans.
When your plane is flying so high that you can only see the sky and clouds above you as well as below you, you can't help but get philosophical. You forget any fears you have about the plane crashing. Looking at creation from a height that makes even seas look like saucers of water makes you realize how insignificant you are in the whole scheme of things. As our plane flew towards Cairo, I couldn't help but realize that I was looking at the cradle of civilization. These deserts were where the Babylonian, Sumerian, and Assyrian civilizations had once bloomed. Where the library of Alexandria was once home to millions of of books that were burned. I'm assuming some Big Four or Big Five must have had a summit even then and decided that burning books was in the best interests of the world.
As impressive as the sights of great oceans, great skies, and great lands is while flying, one look at the great space when flying above clouds make them all pale in comparison. And you start wondering what the whole point of creation is, and whether you make any difference to it whatsoever.
Our plane was about to reach Cairo soon and I started thinking about it. Egypt is an ancient civilization, much like India. Historians have discovered that trade and cultural links between Egypt and India date back millenia. This is the land that saw rich culture flourish for millenia even before Christ was born. And when Christ was born, the bright star that shone was above these lands too. This is the land where Jews, Christians, and Muslims found their faiths and then unfurled the blood-soaked flags of those faiths.
I was in the middle of these thoughts and didn't even realize when I dozed off. The next thing I knew, someone was yelling "KAHIRO!!!!", waking me up.
The first sight I saw at Cairo airport was of battle-ready fighter jets. Next to them were imposing anti-aircraft guns with their barrels pointed to the sky. The stage seemed to be set for the next big war. The only question seemed to be which actors would enter the stage first and who the director would be. Actors from dozens of countries seemed to be ready, with war-paint on, or make-up on. Who knew when the final act would start and when it would end.
When I read a big sign that said, "WE WELCOME YOU TO EGYPT", I felt like someone had sprayed a stream of cold water on my face on an oppressively hot day. Why shouldn't all human beings be welcomed heartily all over this little planet of ours? Although as long as there exist things like passports and visas, built on an assumption of distrust of fellow human beings, can we really expect true expressions of such humanity? The sign that said "WE WELCOME YOU TO EGYPT"....to any "you" who reached there, regardless of race, religion, gender, creed.....why shouldn't such signs and more importantly sentiments, be displayed everywhere?
The funny thing is, this "WE WELCOME YOU TO EGYPT" sign was right next to the massive anti-aircraft guns and the irony endemic to human existence tickled me and troubled me in equal amounts.
We headed to the restaurant inside the terminal. The waiters there were very friendly and polite, and served us some divine Egyptian coffee. Compared to Mumbai airport, I thought Cairo airport was small. There was a lot of new construction happening around us though. Egypt is currently in the midst of writing a new chapter in its history. Everybody is watching carefully to see which way their new statesman (Nasser) takes them.
It was in Cairo airport that I first encountered Egyptian people. And as I examined their appearance carefully, I wondered how many Egyptians there might be in Mumbai too. Because in terms of appearance, I didn't really see any major differences between Egyptians and Indians. Beyond the facts I had memorized in my childhood to score 2 marks in the history exam, such as pyramids, mummies, pharaohs, and the Nile river, my knowledge about Egypt was as barren as their desert. I had never even thought about anyone living in Egypt other than Cleopatra, General Najeeb, and now this Nasser fellow.
Suddenly, I was overcome by a profound sense of ignorance and curiosity as a foreigner in a foreign land. And sitting there in the Cairo airport, I started thinking about how day-to-day life in Egypt must be and how I knew nothing about it. How do school teachers, lawyers, and bureaucrats here dress? Is it similar to how those folks dress in India? What is the most popular item in a typical restaurant in Egypt? Do wives here refer to their husbands by name or is there some tactful pronoun that has been coined for the purpose like in India? With each passing second, the expanse of my ignorance about this fascinating culture seemed to exceed the expanse of the desert.
Then I started thinking about the people who worked at that airport. For them, a typical day consisted of interacting with travelers from dozens of different countries, for maybe an hour or two at a time, before they went on their way and were replaced by a different set of foreigners. Do they feel the same sense of curiosity and note their ignorance about other cultures? Or has it become just a mundane feature of their lives by now? Do they actively notice the multi-colored lattice of different races and nationalities or does it just pass by in the blink of an eye like a frame from a cinema reel?
I spent the rest of the time in Cairo thinking about all this before we were called back to the plane. The next stopover was Geneva in Switzerland. As our plane surged through the clouds, we gradually left the desert behind and were soon traveling over Europe. Specifically, Italy, as the pilot informed us.
While I was almost entirely ignorant about Egypt except for its ancient history and contemporary politics, I at least knew more about Italy thanks to all the books I had read. Names like Rome, Venice, and Naples started swimming around in my head. I decided that if the plane had to crash right now, I would want it to do so near Naples. I had read that Naples was home to some of the most awe-inspiring sculptures in the world. So if my plane crashed in Naples, I could drag myself to those sculptures, see them first hand, and then die happy.
Yes, I know it is morbid to keep pondering the possibility of the plane crashing but that's how I am and be honest, aren't you too?
But the plane kept going. I kept looking at the Italian landscape underneath and we didn't see Naples or Venice. But we did fly over Rome. It was hard to miss. As I looked at the distant but clear images of various buildings and cathedrals in Rome, I first felt a great sense of satisfaction at seeing them first hand. Then I compensated for the unfamiliar bliss by berating myself for still not having read Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" even after buying it years ago. I made a mental note to read it as soon as I returned home.
When you're flying over different countries of the world, you think more about what you haven't read about those lands than what you have read. In another hour or so, our plane was flying over the gorgeous alps and I realized we were in Europe's Eden.
Soon the plane touched down in Geneva. I had heard a lot of cautionary tales about how the cold in Europe is way worse than anything I might have experienced in India. I experienced it first hand as I walked into the Geneva airport and felt like I had walked into a massive refrigerator. And this was just August! So I shivered a little and prepared for six more months of this inhumanly cold weather. No wonder these white folks ran away and captured our warmer lands.
As soon as I stepped into the chilly Geneva airport, my brain initiated a flashback from 20 years ago from my college days in Pune. I had grown up in Mumbai, where it never gets even remotely chilly. Then in Pune in the winters, every so often, I would wake up to such a chilly morning. It felt more bracing than oppressive, making me feel like running all the way across the world. I had always thought cold weather would make me feel like a shriveled old man, but instead, it made me feel like a daring young man, ready to achieve anything!
Anyway, we walked into the restaurant at the Geneva airport and it looked more like a flower shop than a restaurant. The faces of all the staff members were fresh and enthusiastic like recently bloomed lilies. There was a spring in their step. It didn't look like anyone could ever age, and everyone looked like they were in their 20s even though they probably weren't. We were served coffee in a very elegantly crafted glass cup. And it tasted divine and almost intoxicating. I wondered that if even the coffee here gets my pulse racing so much, what will stronger beverages do? I had heard that Switzerland is a place where extreme beauty and extreme pleasure is the default and my experiences at their airport confirmed it.
I didn't even realize when that stopover at Geneva ended. It was cold, but I was surrounded by beauty, human and non-human, and I felt more alive than I ever had. Before I got back on the plane, I turned around and took a 360 degree mental picture of all I could see of Switzerland from that terminal. The tall trees sheltering cute little houses, the snow-covered peaks of the Alps kissing the deep blue sky. I promised myself to return for a more leisurely visit. When the plane took off, I was looking at a meandering little river as it flowed through the verdant Swiss countryside, when suddenly, our plane ascended above the clouds. And those fluffy white things that a few hours earlier had seemed gorgeous, now seemed like villains for blocking my view of the Swiss landscape. Our journey continued.
The next stop was to be at Dusseldorf in Germany, It had been over 20 hours since we took off from Mumbai. The hands of my watch had already been rotated many times by then. Every hour, the pilot made announcements about how high we were flying, what the temperature outside was, what the local time was, and so on. Passengers around us were saying random things in response to those announcements like, "Oh! 18,000 feet? That's nice! Very high!"
We were flying through clouds at that moment, so I personally couldn't tell the difference between 18,000 feet and 18 million feet. Honestly, this whole thing of estimating distances has been a challenge for me, whether I am in the air or on the ground. Whenever I read about some witness in court say stuff like "the accused was 19 feet away from me", I feel jealous of his ability to express distance so precisely. Because I absolutely suck at it. I can't even remember the inches in my own measurements for shoes, hats, collars, socks, and so on. When a shoe salesman asks what size I want, I just give him the chappals I am wearing then and ask him to figure it out. I have immense respect for people who go shoe shopping and say stuff like "Bring me Number 8 pairs".
And when someone remembers the precise date on which something happened, I feel overcome enough with admiration to go hug them. When I hear someone say stuff like, "I remember it was July 17th...", I am amazed. I suck at dates too. Which is why I always sucked at history in school. Even now, I remember only three dates - Shivaji Maharaj died in 1680, the 1857 uprising happened in 1857, and using multiple reminder mnemonics, my wife's birthday. Other than these three, I have no idea of any other dates. You can ask me when India gained independence and I will try to hedge between 1947 and 1950.
Anyway, the point is, I am horrible with anything that is expressed numerically. So even before I could figure out how high 18,000 feet exactly is, our plane was touching down in Dusseldorf. Before I knew it, we were surrounded by cries of "Achtung! Achtung!" and "Gut! Gut!". My wife and I walked to the terminal, now sick of this sequence of stopovers. Yes. I was in Germany with its rich history and culture and intriguing contemporary split between East and West, but I didn't give a damn. The aforementioned Joshi and Patil left us here and we sat there hoping that we'd reach London before we died of boredom.
Why does the final stretch of the journey always seem to last the longest? Even when I am traveling from Pune to Mumbai by train, it is the same. The time from Pune to Thane or Kalyan seems to breeze by in a happy procession of vada, omelets, chikki, etc. But from there, Mulund, Bhandup, Vikroli, Dadar, etc seem to take an eternity to pass by. Very annoying! It's the same with other trips too. When you're taking a train from Mumbai to Delhi, everything seems great until you reach Mathura, and then after that, things seem to slow down. If you're going from Mumbai to Nagpur. it is Wardha that is the tipping point after which it is all yawns and polite curses.
The flight from Dusseldorf to London seemed similarly annoying and yawn-inducing. Finally, after about the hundredth yawn, the plane started barreling downwards. All the passengers around us seemed to have perked up as the plane continued descending. Finally there was a bump and the plane started slowing down. And a few passengers around me echoed my thoughts,
|FPGA High Level Design Developer - Intel - Toronto, ON||Job Description As part of Intel, we will continue to apply Moore's Law to drive the future of field-programmable gate array FPGA technology. The|
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|TS229: Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Vegas Sex||Yee-haw y'all! This week, Erin and Bryan really stick it to the South and not in the genital way. Erin discusses Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas who strongly and ridiculously opposed a bill for women scientists. Then Bryan looks at the tent revival discrimination in the Bible belt as bigoted laws pass in Mississippi and North Carolina. It's been a week, y'all.|
|Antu Barva by P. L. "PuLa" Deshpande|
Fourteen years ago today, Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, arguably the most influential and beloved person from Maharashtra, died at the age of 81. He left behind a gargantuan legacy in the form of his books, plays, songs, movies, essays, social work, but more than that, the lasting impact he has had on Maharashtra. Every couple of years, I translate one of his essays or short stories on this blog. This time, I have chosen Antu Barva, a fictionalized life sketch that he created as an amalgam of several people he knew in Konkan. It is not exactly LOL funny, but is light-hearted while still tugging at your heart-strings. It is meant as a depiction of the tough life in Konkan in the middle of the 20th century, and the sort of complex and poignant characters such a life spawns.
But as somber as the basic subject matter is, PuLa manages to inject humor into it, even if the humor is dark. When I first read Antu Barva, I just read it as a slightly humorous life sketch. As I have re-read it and re-heard its narration over the years, I have come to recognize it as something beyond just that. It is one of PuLa's best allegorical social commentaries in my opinion. He was duly recognized for Vyakti Aani Valli, the book that this sketch appears in, with a Sahitya Akademi Puraskaar. In that book, I think this is THE most impressive and multi-layered sketch.
For years, I considered translating Antu Barva here but was too intimidated given how nuanced it is. PuLa gave Antu a specific Konkani "voice" (in text form as well as when he narrated the sketch for TV) that is impossible to translate. No matter how well I tried, I thought I would end up doing injustice to the original work. This is in addition to the usual difficulties in translating PuLa's wordplay and nuanced observations. So it is with a great sense of trepidation that I am even attempting this today. A LOT will get lost in translation. But I hope PuLa's fans will forgive me any errors. Because I think this particular piece is one of the greatest literary achievements from an Indian and it deserves a wider audience.
Miss you, PuLa. Bhool-chook maaf kara.
Ratnagiri's middle lane has been home to some towering personalities over the years. God used a unique formula when creating these people. These people tend to be a metaphorical amalgam of Ratnagiri's most famous products - sweet mango, rough jackfruit, hard coconut, irritating colocasia leaves, and intense betel nuts whose one bite will make your heart jump up your throat.
It is in this unique Ratnagiri soil that Antu Barva grew and ripened. Actually, Antu's age doesn't really justify people casually calling him just "Antu". When I first met him 12-14 years ago, not just his stubble, but even the hair on his ears and chest had turned white. His teeth had mostly gone "Annu Gogtya".
Going Annu Gogtya = falling.
This is an idomatic phrase that Antu Barva coined. A lawyer from Ratnagiri named Annu Gogte has been standing in the local elections for many years. Standing and then falling. Repeatedly, without even coming close to winning. So even if a bucket falls in a well, Antu asks "has the bucket gone Annu?"
When someone is talking about old Antu, they just refer to him in the singular casual "Antu". As it is, characters from Konkan are quite singular. But no one calls Antu just "Antu" to his face. They call him Antu sheth!
True blue Brahmin Antu got this trader caste suffix "sheth" decades ago. After all Antu himself had committed a sin justifying this demotion. During the first world war, Antu started a shop near the docks. It failed spectacularly even before the Treaty of Versailles. But that short-lived stint as a shopkeeper was enough to turn Antu into Antu sheth.
After that, no one remembers Antu doing anything specific to make a living. He manages to somehow score at least two square meals a day from somewhere. He has a little plot of land with a garden that has a couple of dozen coconut and Alphonso mango trees, sprinkled with the odd jackfruit and tamarind tree. He has a little single-room shack on that land. He has the right to draw water from the nearby well. Antu sheth manages to get by on all this.
I first met Antu at Bapu Hegishte's store. I had gone there to buy some cigarettes when Antu's face peered out from behind a newspaper. He slid his reading glasses up his forehead and said,
"You're Lawyer saheb's son-in-law, right?"
"Yes" I replied.
"Ahha! I recognized you right away! Please, have a seat, please. Bapu, some tea for our jawaibapu (a respectful term for son-in-law)!"
I had no idea who this guy was, suddenly acting so familiar. Antu sheth himself explained,
"Your father-in-law is a good friend of mine. Tell him Antu Barva said hello."
"Hmmm....when did you come from Pune?"
"Two days ago."
"Of course....the first Diwali after you got married....haha...ask him for a Ford car!"
"He is your friend. Why don't you tell him?"
"Haha, you're from Pune after all. Can't get the last word with you." he laughed. "So...staying long or just a flying visit?"
"Just a short trip. I'm leaving in a couple of days."
"Excellent! It's always good to keep such visits short. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that. Don't end up like that Kasopkar's son-in-law. He set up camp for six months. Finally Kasopkar lost his patience and made him plow his land! When a son-in-law stays with you for too long, he starts feeling like a pain in the neck, right?"
"You're right." I nodded.
"Bapusheth, I hope you recognized our lawyer's son-in-law. We are both your father-in-law's clients, jawaibapu."
Bapu Hegishte smiled and folded his hands in greeting.
"Welcome. Would you like to have some tea?" he asked.
"No, it's okay. It's really hot right now."
"Of course, it's always going to be hot in Ratnagiri!" Antu jumped in. "You can't sleep in a cowshed and then complain about the stink of cow piss! If Ratnagiri had cool weather, they'd have called it Shimla, not Ratnagiri!"
Before I could say anything, Antu continued,
"But the heat is way worse in your neighborhood with all those houses next to each other. Come to my garden near the beach. My garden is...how do you say...."aircondition"!"
Antu sheth said the last words in English and laughed, and then added,
"That's our country joke, jawaibapu!"
Then he addressed Hegishte again.
"Bapusheth, did you know our jawaibapu here is a writer? Writes plays and movies and what not. Behave properly when he is around or he'll write a hilarious farce about you."
The pride I felt on my fame having spread even to someone like Antu Barva was dashed by Bapu Hegishte's next question. Bapusheth looked me up and down carefully for a few seconds and said,
"What do you do?"
"What the hell do you mean what does he do?" Antu thundered. "Are you insane, Hegishte? Take out that pile of raddi old newspapers and open them. You'll see his name and picture in dozens of places! He makes movies!"
"Movies!!?? Really??" Hegishte's expression changed to one of wonderment and he looked at me as if I was God.
"Jawaibapu, speaking of movies, can I ask you a question if you don't mind?"
I could see the naughty expression on Antusheth's face as he asked me this.
"Sure, go ahead."
"How much money do you make from one movie?"
This wasn't my first trip to Konkan. So by now, I had gotten used to dealing with such intensely personal questions.
"That really varies from movie to movie." I deflected.
"But still....I mean I have read that you get like a million or a million and a half."
"No way! There isn't nearly that kind of money in Marathi films."
"Yeah, but still. Even if you don't get fistfuls, you must be getting at least 2-3 pinchfulls?"
"You get it sometimes, and also lose it sometimes." I stuck to being vague.
"Well of course, it's a business after all. When it comes to business, you win some, you lose some. It's all part of the game."
Antu sheth got philosophical. But only for a moment.
"Can I ask you one more question? Only if you don't get angry."
"What's there to get angry about? Go ahead."
"Well..you know....whatever we read about these film actresses in magazines and all....is that real or is it fake like Gangadhar Basthe's "real" Belgaum butter?"
"What do you mean all this about film actresses?" I kept a straight face and pretended to not get what he was saying.
"Quite a skillful guy you are, jawaibapu. Skillful! You'll make a great witness in court!" Antu sheth was having none of it. "All this about film actresses as in...the whole index finger nostril thing."
I didn't immediately get what he meant by the whole index finger nostril thing. So Antu sheth gently tapped his index finger against his nostril and winked. Fortunately, before I had to say anything, a waiter arrived with the tea Hegishte had ordered.
"Looks like all the cows in Ratnagiri are still pregnant, Jhampya!" Antu made a sarcastic remark to the waiter on the color of the tea. And then he poured the tea in the saucer and started slurping it.
Actually, Antu sheth could have just said to the waiter in plain words that the tea was low on milk. But he preferred the "all the cows are still pregnant" phrasing. Why just Antu sheth? Almost everyone from that middle lane in Ratnagiri spoke in that sarcastic obtuse way.
By now, Antu sheth and I have become good friends. In the last decade or so, whenever I have gone to Ratnagiri, I have spent time with him. He always included me in his group of friends, taught me the ganjifa card games they played. And over the years, I heard a lot monologues on the odd philosophy of life that those men in their 60s had developed.
I even learned all the idiomatic phrases the group had come up with. They all dressed similar. A cotton loincloth from the waist below, a small cotton scarf on the shoulder, worn-out sandals, one hand holding a walking stick, and the other holding a jackfruit. Dressed like that, Antu sheth would roam around in the neighborhood calling his friends to join him every afternoon.
"Govindbhat! Wanna play a couple of hands?"
"Paranjape? Are you awake or have you turned into a python?"
I too became a part of their card game gang. If once in a while, the card game wasn't really panning out well, Antu would put the cards down and say to me,
"Jawaibapu, why don't you sing a Malkauns or something? Godbolya, bash a little tabla with our guest. Khaju sheth, open your decrepit harmonium."
And then we'd have an impromptu jam session for a bit at Antu sheth's orders.
"Jawaibapu, your pipes are kick-ass!" he'd compliment my singing in his unique way.
Every other year or so, I'd visit Ratnagiri and attend Antu sheth's court. But with each visit, the court seemed to be getting smaller.
"Antu sheth, haven't seen Damu kaka around." I asked once.
"Who? Damu Nene? He is living it up! I am told Rambha is rubbing oil on his bald head, and Urvashi is airing him with a fan!"
"What do you mean what? Damu Nene got transferred from Ratnagiri!" and Antu Sheth pointed to the sky.
"Oh!" I finally understood what he meant. "I am so sorry. I had no idea."
"Why would you have any idea about it? Do you think that they're going to announce on the radio that Damu Nene has croaked? His family did pay for an obituary in the newspaper though. Heh, they wrote he was loving, caring, friendly, pious, and what not. What do the newspaper folks care? As long as you are paying, they will publish any nonsense."
Antu continued in his characteristic manner.
"Damu Nene and loving? Hmpf! Even when he was lying dead on the pyre, the furrow on his brow was intact! One day he decided to sleep outdoors because it was too hot. They found him dead the next morning. Lucky bugger. Died on Ashadhi Ekadashi too! So there were two processions from Ratnagiri that day. One for Lord Vithoba and another for Damu Nene. Damu died on Ashadhi. And then on Dussehra, Dattu Paranjape crossed the border and did seemolanghan. The first guy croaked, the second guy croaked.....now waiting for the third. They say things happen in three."
Antu looked at me mischievously and shrugged.
And that's the essence of Antu Barva for you. Standing at less than 5 feet, bronze-fair complexion, small pockmarks on his face, small gray eyes, creased skin belying his advanced age, half his teeth fallen....or "gone Annu"...leading to a new habit of poking his tongue through the gaps while talking.... and with all this, weighing in at barely 100 lbs.
Every aspect of Antu Barva's earthly existence was getting worn out with each passing year except for two - the nasal booming voice and the slick intelligence fed by decades of rubbing coconut oil on his head.
It wasn't just Antu sheth. Almost all the men his age from that part of Ratnagiri were of a similar bent....which was a crooked bent. Their language was unnecessarily complex and their attitude exceedingly cynical. They didn't feel happy if someone did well, and didn't feel sad if a tragedy befell someone. There was no joy for births, no mourning for deaths. Most of them apart from Antu didn't really like music, but didn't dislike it either. And when it came to food, the taste and flavors didn't matter, as long as their belly got filled. The engine of their life never really faltered when it ran out of steam, nor did it go fast when it did have some steam. But the road their lives took was like every road in Konkan- serpentine.
That's the hand life had dealt them. Even though their lives were full of the wholesome coconut tree, their fates and thus their tastes leaned less towards the sweet creamy inside of the coconut, and more towards its tough shell.
One summer, a second-rate theater company from Mumbai was touring Ratnagiri staging Ram Ganesh Gadkari's famous play Ekach Pyala. I went to watch it. The production was barely competent in the first act. At intermission, I walked outside to the hissing clinks of soda bottles being opened. Under a Kitson lamp, I saw Antu sheth's diminutive form. He was talking to the fur-cap clad manager of the theater company.
"So....how's the attendance?" Antu sheth asked.
"Not bad." the manager gruffly replied.
"Not bad? Most of the chairs seem empty. Why don't you let me in for half price?"
"No way!" the manager shook his head rudely.
"Why are you brushing me away like a lizard? I heard the first act from out here anyway. The guy playing Sindhu doesn't seem to be very good."
[aside - in the early-to-mid 20th century in orthodox Maharashtra, it was taboo for women to perform on stage. So much like in Shakespeare's days, female parts were usually played by men. The legendary Bal Gandharva excelled at this and one of his most famous roles was playing Sindhu in the first staging of Ekach Pyala.]
"The guy playing Sindhu doesn't seem to be very good." Antu sheth said. "He sang 'lage hridayi hurhur' like a squeaking mouse. Did you ever hear how Bal Gandharva sang it?"
The manager got pissed off.
"I'm not begging you to come watch it!" he thundered.
"But the town is full of your advertising boards begging us to come watch it." Antu sheth instantly replied. "And yesterday your people were going door to door with fliers. As it is, it's mainly empty chairs you are showing this play to. How about four annas?"
"Four annas? What is this? A monkey performing on the street?"
"That's better than this! They perform first and then circulate a plate for money. Why don't you try that? If the next act is better than the first one, I'll pay you an extra four annas!"
The people standing around them started laughing and the manager got even more upset. That's when Antu sheth noticed me.
"Namaskar, jawaibapu! How's it going? How's Ekach Pyala?"
"It's okay." I said.
"I'm sure you got a complimentary pass. You're from the same community. I have heard that barbers don't charge each other for shaves."
"No, nothing like that. See, I bought a ticket."
"Then why a wishy-washy response like "it's okay"? You've paid hard-earned money for this, haven't you? Assert your rights as a paying customer. Call it what it is. Utter crap. Especially that guy playing Sindhu is totally useless!"
"What do you mean the guy playing Sindhu? It's a woman playing the role." I told him.
"WHAT??" Antu sheth looked genuinely shocked. "You're kidding me! That voice and that built! If she decides, she can lift Sudhakar up like a baby! Sindhu indeed.......more like Sindhudurg!"
"So you watched the play after all?"
"For a few minutes. Moved the curtains from the window and had a peek. Hmpf! Even gypsy performers are better than these idiots."
Antu sheth spat out another unsolicited opinion and walked away.
But that's pretty much what his life was - spitting out unsolicited opinions. I knew Antu for so many years, but I never found out much about his family situation. Once Anna Sane from Antu's court had let slip a mention of his son.
"What? Antu sheth has a son?" I asked.
"Of course he has a son. Not only that, his son is a Collector!" Anna Sane nonchalantly said.
"Yup. He's in charge of collecting tickets on Byculla station." he deadpanned without letting a single muscle move.
"Doesn't look like he helps out his father financially."
"He does sometimes. When he can. He has his own family. Besides, a Western Railway compartment has been attached to a Central Railway train."
A PhD student could do a dissertation on those guys' peculiar idioms and phrases. I was well-versed in the language by now but it took me a few moments to realize that this was code for an inter-religion marriage.
"So you see, Antu sheth has trouble with his post-bath rituals at his son's place. Plus apparently his son is also into some other Anglicized habits if you know what I mean. So how can Antu sheth spend too much time there? Still, once Antu sheth swallowed all the insults and went to Mumbai to see his grandson. Came back looking like he had messed up a math problem."
"Every Dussehra and Diwali, Antu gets his son's love in the form of a money order. Not much, maybe 5-10 rupees. For a few days after that, Antu acts like he's won the lottery and splurges as much as he can. Which isn't much."
"Understandable." I said. "After all, how much can a ticket collector's pay be?"
"Yeah, the pay is pretty meager. But one hears that a ticket collector can also make a little more on the side, especially in holiday season if you know what I mean." Anna said. "Nothing wrong with it of course. If he has an opportunity to make some money, why shouldn't he? You know how it is in this country. If you get caught taking a ten rupee bribe, they put a striped cap on your head and send you to prison. But if you get caught taking a million rupee bribe, they put a Gandhi cap on your head and send you to Parliament! Democraticaly elected people's representative!"
Politics was the most favorite topic for Antu sheth and his buddies to express their unique opinions on. They had profound thoughts on every politician and party. One year, there was a famine in Konkan. Konkan is always facing a famine as it is. But this particular one was so bad that in Antu sheth's words it had "been approved under the Famine Act".
Nehru was touring the famine-hit parts of Konkan. He visited Ratnagiri for a speech and the whole town was caught up in Nehru-mania. One evening, someone asked Antu sheth,
"Antu sheth, I didn't see you at the speech?"
"Whose speech? Nehru's? Hmpf!" Antu sheth's disdain was obvious. "What nonsense. There's a famine here. Stop giving speeches. Give us food! This is like seeing a man drowning and instead of saving him, reading from the Quran to ensure that he doesn't end up in hell. Utterly useless. But everyone else is stupid. Oh, Nehru is here? He is giving a speech? He gives great speeches! Let's go! Bloody lemmings!"
"And now that Nehru is in Ratnagiri, what did they do? Idiots took him to show the house, room, and bed where Lokmanya Tilak was born! Morons. Tell me, did god appear in Gangadhar Tilak's dreams and tell him that your wife is going to give birth to a great leader? How would anyone even remember what bed Tilak was born on? But who cares? They just showed Nehru some random room and bed and bluffed - this is where Tilak first went WAAAAAAAAAA."
"Morons! Where's the proof? Where's the proof? Did they get the midwife from Tilak's birth to certify the bed? Hmpf! Forget Tilak. It's been a 100 years since he was born. You tell me. Can your own mother confidently identify the room and the bed where she gave birth to you? Go ask her and then tell me about Nehru and Tilak."
And so ended the rant.
I always wondered if there was anything or anyone in the world that Antu sheth and his friends had respect for. If they ever had a polite dignified response for anything at all.
Somebody's son became a Professor. And Antu's response,
"Professor? In a circus?There used to be this Professor Chhatre in circuses performing magic tricks."
Someone opened a new store. And Antu's response,
"Tell him to have a bankruptcy form ready. It'll save time when the inevitable happens."
Who knows what school of philosophy these guys followed. More than half of them survived on money orders from children and relatives. They saved money from that and file lawsuits for the strangest reasons. Every lawsuit is stuck in delayed hearing dates. These guys have a big beautiful sea coast, coconut trees, gardens, everything you could reasonably hope for to be happy. But that apparent prosperity gets punctured by an occasional bout of misfortune and all that remains is an impenetrable shield of gallows humor.
Somehow the topic of Gandhi came up. And Antu sheth got on his soap box.
"Gandhi? What Gandhi? Traveled all over the world, but never came to Ratnagiri! Because he was smart. He knew that here, no one gives a damn about his loincloth or his walking stick. We are all just as naked and just as skinny. And his obsession with spinning khadi. It's all useless. Our own Shambhu sheth. All his life, he followed Gandhi's teachings and spun khadi for his clothes. Forget the British government, even Ratnagiri's Collector Gilligan didn't fear his "civil disobedience". And you're talking about Gandhi."
"Then there are all his hunger strikes and fasts. Half of Konkan is hungry and fasting, and not by choice. Someone who is well-fed will find something remarkable about hunger strikes. What do we care? Don't get me wrong. I am not saying Gandhi wasn't a great man. He was. But in our books, under what column should we make an entry for his greatness? And if you are talking about independence, then that had nothing to do with Gandhi, or Tilak or Savarkar."
"So did independence just fall out of the sky?" I asked him.
"It's up to you to find out where it fell out of." Antu replied. "One thing I am sure of is that the Brits left because they got bored. What more was left for them to loot? Their Raj business started making a loss, so they effectively declared bankruptcy and went home. The potter left with his pottery, and we sit here cradling his leftover broken pieces. This is all just a cycle of life and bigger than anything we can comprehend. It's not British rule, nor is it Nehru's rule, nor people's rule, nor anyone's rule. It's the creator's rule."
"So how did your creator end up siding with the British?" I asked.
"Don't be silly. The creator is sitting pretty on his throne. He just played a small game."
"A game that translated into 150 years of slavery?"
"It's 150 years for you and me." Antu sheth was steadfast. "The almighty's wrist watch doesn't move forward by even one second unless a thousand years go by for us. In his eyes and on his scale, all this is just a minor game that lasted barely a millisecond."
When these emaciated old men started spouting this philosophy on the front yards of that impoverished middle lane in Ratnagiri, with dark shadows formed by the dim light of their age-worn oil lamps dancing on their wrinkled faces, my heart couldn't help but shudder.
"Socialism? What socialism? All nonsense, I tell you. Not even two mango leaves are alike. And these guys want to pretend all men are equal. In the creator's eyes, each individual is unique. How are they going to have equal opportunities or equal outcomes? But everyone is just blabbering....socialism is coming. Just like that Ratnagiri's legislator is saying...Konkan Railway is coming, Konkan Railway is coming. Sure, Konkan Railway is coming. And it's tracks are going through where one-armed Pandu Gurav's toilet used to be. Even if it does, is it going to make Pandu's shoulder stump sprout an arm? What difference will it make?"
"And without an arm to plow his field or pick his crops, no matter what you do with that damn railway, what good is it going to do him? He is still the same. Just because India became independent, does not mean that Hari Sathe's lazy eye got fixed. Nor did Mahadev Godbole's paunch disappear. Nothing really changed. Even in the fabled Ram Rajya, Ram didn't uproot Hanuman's tail and attach it to his own ass. No. Ram stayed a man, and Hanuman stayed a monkey."
At such times, it almost seem like the Goddess of Wisdom Saraswati is sitting on Antu sheth's tongue.
"You're right." I said.
"Don't just say I am right for the heck of it to be polite. If I am wrong, say that and correct me. You might be younger than me when it comes to age, but when it comes to education, you are my elder, jawaibapu!"
Once in a while, Antu sheth will say something genuinely from his heart, without any sarcasm. But there is always some burning issue close to his heart underlying what he says.
The last few years, I could not go to Ratnagiri as often as I used to. In the meanwhile, Ratnagiri finally got electricity, its own college, tar roads, and all other features of 20th century life. When I met him after that, I said,
"Antu sheth, your Ratnagiri has now become posh! Electric lights and everything. Did your house get an electric connection?"
"No, not yet. But it's good that it's dark. Tomorrow even if I do get electricity, what is there to look at in that bright light? A penniless life? Who needs electricity to look at chipped walls and leaking shingles? It's better that my poverty stays hidden in darkness."
And then he laughed loudly for a full minute like it was a joke.
This time I saw that his teeth had gone almost completely Annu Gogte. I also learned that a couple of more friends of his had passed on and that the card game court was emptier than ever. For a change, I spotted a sense of love, longing, and kindness in the way Antu sheth spoke. I guess the empty seats at his card games were starting to make a place in his heart.
"Joglekar's son got a big promotion and moved to Delhi!" Antu sheth voluntarily shared some pleasant news without his customary sarcastic rejoinder. "Took his old man to Kashi, Haridwar, Vishweshwar, Hrishikesh and all. Fed a 100 brahmins there. Old man Joglekar was thoughtful enough to get me a small sealed pot with water from the Ganga. When you come visit next time, jawaibapu, you'll probably see that the seal has been broken and the water was poured down my throat if you know what I mean."
The next time I visited Ratnagiri, fortunately Antu sheth's Ganga water pot was still sealed.
"Wow, jawaibapu, wow! Congratulations! I heard you're going to England! Congratulations! Have a great trip. Just one "request" for you. Now I have to speak with you in English. So a "request"."
"Go see the Kohinoor diamond once. For some reason, it's an obsession I have always had, the Kohinoor diamond. I can't go see it, but you do it on my behalf. And then come back and tell me how it looks. See all the sights in London and Paris and everything!"
For some reason, I was overcome with a desire to touch his feet, something I had never done before. Right there on the street, I bent down and touched his feet.
"Live a long life!" Antu sheth touched my head gently. "You are a good person, which is why you are so successful."
I said goodbye and started to leave. I had barely gone four steps when I suddenly heard the familiar
"Yes, Antu sheth?" I turned around.
"Forgot to ask you one thing. Are you going alone or with your wife?"
"Both of us are going."
"That's good. Don't mind me, I just had a nagging doubt, so I asked. You are going far away to learn something new. So I was reminded of Devayani's tale from mythology. Hahaha. Convey my blessings to your wife too. I am telling you, your good fortune is all because of her. That's all life is eventually about - the right woman."
Antu sheth paused and continued.
"Let me tell you something. Just between us. My wife passed away 40 years ago. Since then, the alphonso mango tree near my door has stopped flowering. When she was around, the tree yielded hundreds of mangoes every year. But since she left.....you know....fate can take really strange turns. Sorry, I am rambling. Anyway, safe travels. So when are you leaving from Ratnagiri?"
"Tomorrow morning by bus."
"Direct Ratnagiri to Mumbai?"
"Good call. Once someone completes that journey, then even traveling around the world seems easy in comparison. The other day Tatya Jog made the trip. He is still trying to locate all his bones. Told me some 7-8 bones are missing!"
And he started laughing hard with his mouth wide open. I noticed that there was only one tooth remaining that hadn't gone Annu Gogte.
The next morning at 5 AM at the bus stand, I again heard the familiar cry,
Antu sheth approached me and gave me a small paper pouch.
"I know you don't believe in god, jawaibapu, but do me a favor and keep this in your pocket. It is holy ash. It will keep you safe. You are going to London by air, so this small pouch shouldn't add too much weight to your luggage."
I put the pouch in my pocket. As the bus got going, I saw Antu sheth lift his shirt and gently wipe tears from his small blinking gray eyes. In that dim dawn light, seeing his bony chest and his concave stomach which had all but touched his back suddenly tugged at my heart.
Just like Konkan's jackfruit, it's people taste sweet only when they ripen for a long time.
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|TS225:Talent Show,HB2,Walking Styles,Guest Trixie Mattel||This week Bryan stays up until 2AM and talks exclusively about how talented he is while Erin becomes a screenwriter/Champagne entrepreneur, watch out Sophia Coppola! Also being gay or a witch is the same as being a serial killer when it comes to laws in China and Indonesia, and gay-legend-icon-star Trixie Mattel is here to share her dreams of touring Scottsdale, Arizona. |
|Translating a Raj Thackeray Speech|
I don't agree with Raj Thackeray's stance against immigrants from UP and Bihar. I can sort of, kind of, see where he is coming from, but I don't agree with the conclusion. And I find his forcible and occasionally violent methods to have his way (especially against powerless shopkeepers and job applicants) abhorrent.
However, as a Marathi person, I find the gap between what he says in Marathi and what is reported in the national media to be suspiciously wide. There are two problems. First, they wrongly translate a lot of what he says. Second, they seem to pick and choose the most provocative bits that can be spun into an attention-grabbing soundbite. I have written about the dangers of this phenomenon before.
Today Raj Thackeray led a rally to Azad Maidan (without permission from the police top brass) as a protest against the August 11 incident. He gave a speech there. Again, I marveled at the difference between what he was saying and what the national media was reporting he was saying.
So I had an idea. I have translated PuLa Deshpande's work before. Surely I can translate a speech. So here it is, the speech in Marathi, and then, what I think is an objective, unbiased, and direct translation in English. This is not an endorsement of what he said. Just a translation for illustrative purposes. I agree with some parts, and disagree with some. I'll leave you to judge it for yourself.
Note - I am translating it in a bit of a hurry. So please forgive any typos or inadvertent grammatical errors.
When it's an institution from Maharashtra, be it a police department, a media company, or anything else.... even just a person from Maharashtra....we should demonstrate the strength to ensure that no one ever looks askance at them again with the intention of harming them.
For the last two days, this has been going on... police officials come to me and ask, how will you take the rally from Girgaum chaupatty? I told them we'll walk.
Then they're like, you can't go from here, you can't go from there...all these efforts at putting obstacles in our way have been spearheaded by Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik. I found out the other day..... in fact a few police officials told me this...that they'll try to stop our cars, and try other things to stop us. I called the Chief Minister right away, and asked him, what is this? What happens or doesn't happen (at the rally) is something we can deal with later. But can't we express our protest in a democratic way with a rally?
Why stop us at every point? I assured them at our rally will be a peaceful one, and they still refused us permission for it? And they had no problems giving permission for that Raza Academy rally? But here we are, with a rally to protest what happened the other day right here, and they refuse us permission?
Then there's (Home Minister) R.R. Patil who says - we won't spare anyone who threatens the law and order of the city. Really? So what happened that day? Was his tail between his legs?
The other day he calls up (MNS MLA from Mumbai) Bala Nandgaonkar and says, "What could I do? What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to take a big stick and stand there?"
There is this one boundary line....one border....one line that cannot be crossed. I have never crossed that line, and will never cross that line. Never raise your hands against the police.
(crowd applauds and cheers)
If you demoralize the police to such an extent, then where will the common man go with his problems? Where will he go? If this keeps happening, tomorrow even the police will say "we don't want to get involved here, do whatever you want".
Is this how a state is run? And this Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik. The cops caught the guilty people. And what does he say to the DCP who arrested the guilty people? He says, "You bastard, let them go!" He tells him to let the criminals go!
Our policewomen sisters were tormented here... they were pulled aside and beaten up and molested......all these guys, our Marathi police constables, were getting beaten up... and they weren't getting any orders?
Oh, and these (police head honchos) knew everything from the beginning. They knew that there were trains full of these goons coming for the rally. And they had choppers, and rods and everything else... tell me, are there ever any rocks lying around here (in Azad Maidan)? Where did the rocks come from?
These people had advance warning of all these facts, and they still ignored them. And they refuse permission for my peaceful rally? The other day, when some police officials came to meet me, I told them. I told them that the 11th August rally at least had targets. That mob knew that it was supposed to target the police and the media.
Who do we want to target (in this rally)? I have already declared our targets. Arup Patnaik, resign! R.R. Patil, resign! I declared this in the beginning itself.
We have not come here to destroy cars or set something on fire. We don't even wish to do all that. Even if we were to, whose cars would we destroy and whose property would we set on fire? Our own? Those belonging to our citizens from Mumbai and Maharashtra? This rally isn't for such purposes.
But how else are we supposed to express our anger? They won't let us express our anger at whatever happened. And they say, please respect democracy. This is democracy?
Go and look at the track record of Raza Academy and its rallies. A few years ago, this same Raza Academy had a rally in Bhiwandi. This bhadva (translates to 'pimp' but pimp doesn't have the same punch :)) Abu Asim Azmi went to that rally. He gave a speech there, that too an inflammatory speech. And they're sending me notices - "don't make inflammatory speeches". That Abu Azmi went there, made an inflammatory speech in Bhiwandi. You know what happened next?
The mob killed two police constables by bashing their heads in with big rocks. Then they cut off their private parts and threw their corpses into burning buses..... the government had no problems with that. And they refuse me permission for a rally?
Whoever came here (on 11t August) had no connection with Maharashtra. They all came from outside Maharashtra.
(crowd applauds and cheers)
After everything that went down here that day, this passport was found, a Bangladeshi passport...
(shows a Bangladeshi passport to the crowd)
This was found right here. Single entry passport (I assume he meant visa). Needed only to come into India. No intentions of going back, so it was thrown away here...
(throws it away)
There are countless such people coming into Maharashtra... they are all setting up their bases in Maharashtra. Tell me something....they say 'coincidence'....what coincidence?
In 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, where was its retaliation felt instantly? In Mumbai! There was no violence anywhere else in the country (GS: this isn't true...there were riots in many other cities)...only in Mumbai! And when this incident happened during the rally on 11th August, its reaction happened in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. So something happens in Uttar Pradesh, there's a reaction in Mumbai, and something happens in Mumbai, there's a reaction in Uttar Pradesh. Doesn't India have any other states???
The reason is, all these people are coming here from there. All these Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who have infiltrated and set up bases in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and Jharkhand, they're all coming here by the trainfuls. And the bases that they are setting up here in Mumbai, those are going to create trouble for us in the future.
Otherwise tell me, this Abu Azmi is elected from two different constituencies in Maharashtra. Two different constituencies? Should any politician from Maharashtra get elected from two different constituencies? He gets elected from two constituencies because all the people in those two constituencies have all come from outside, and they vote for him.
That day, it finally came to the police (couldn't understand the word he said here despite re-playing it many times, at 12:20)...then they had to do it. While doing that, the guy who died, Abu Azmi announced 1.5 lakh rupees for him. So why not for our policemen?
(crowd applauds and cheers)
Even the state government hasn't announced anything yet. No announcements from the state government that they are going to provide compensation for those who were hurt or troubled in those events. Nothing. Nope, just get beaten up.
Why didn't R.R. Patil speak up then? He threatens us.... anyway, what's the point in threatening us? It's almost time for us (and him...a pun) to leave now.
They don't think about anything that has already happened or what may happen. They don't do anything useful. Just get the cops beaten up. Anyone will come, drag our cops away, and beat them up?
The other day when they had that rally in Uttar Pradesh, rioted, destroyed property and all. The ones who did that were also all from outside - Pakistani Muslims and Bangladeshi Muslims. They all poured out into the streets. And what did they do? They defaced a statue of Gautam Buddha. Everyone saw it. Everyone saw pictures, saw it on TV.
Where is Mayawati? Where is that Ramdas Athavale? Where is R.S. Gavai? Where is Prakash Ambedkar? Why are they all silent? All they're obsessed with, as if possessed by a ghost, is Indu Mills Indu Mills Indu Mills Indu Mills. Don't they have anything else to do? What do they want to build in Indu Mills - a bungalow?
Why aren't they talking now? But no one will talk about these things now. They're not ready to utter a word. It's been so many days since the (11th August) incident. But there has been no statement about it from Ramdas Athavale. No statements from R.S. Gavai or Prakash Ambedkar or Mayawati, or anyone else. Nothing. Cat's got everyone's tongues.
This Mumbai Police Comissioner.....he has a "favorite" (that's the word he used) officer Dhoble. The other day, he takes a hockey stick and goes to that...what was that..juice center bar... juice center something...where did he go?
Yes, Amar Juice Center. Is that a place to take a hockey stick to? Take your wife, your kids, I can understand, but a hockey stick? He takes a hockey stick there and beats up innocent people with that hockey stick? And what's his defense? He found drugs there....then why didn't he shut it down?
And this idiot...Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik....what's his explanation? He says Dhoble was on his way to play hockey and stopped over at the juice center. Tomorrow, if someone has gone for his honeymoon. So will he just turn up there naked?
(crowd laughs and cheers)
So Patnaik will go out of his way to protect Dhoble! Because Dhoble is his "favorite". And here (in Azad Maidan) when cops were waiting for orders to tackle the mob.....if not firing, at least give us orders for a lathi charge.... at that time Patnaik had nothing to say. And when our police officers were catching the guilty culprits, Patnaik abuses the officers, calling them "bastards"? He is demoralizing cops to such an extent?
This won't be allowed to happen in Maharashtra anymore. I only want to say one thing to R.R. Patil and Arup Patnaik. Even if you have a little bit of shame left...even a minuscule amount of shame left.... then resign. If you have even the slightest bit of shame left.
For the last two days, some newspapers have been saying - "Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is now moving towards Hindutva". Whoever raises his hands against a cop, whatever his religion, he should be bashed up wherever he is.
When my own party's MLA was bashed up....Harshavaradhan Jadhav.....is he here? When Harshavardhan was bashed up.... I gave the orders for him to be bashed up... would he have been bashed up otherwise? When I gave a speech at that time, I said the same thing. Harshavaradhan, no matter what happens, you DO NOT raise your hands against a policeman. Never raise your hands against a cop.
This has nothing to do with religion. All the constables who were here, all my policewomen sisters...the female cops... I consider them all my Marathi brothers and Marathi sisters. I have come out on the streets here for them.
The rally that day (11th August) was organized by Muslims and today I have organized a protest rally against it.... so immediately they're jumping to the conclusion that I am "moving towards Hindutva"? I only understand...this Raj Thackeray only understands one religion...and that is Maharashtra religion. I don't understand any religion except that one. No one dare cross this Maharashtra religion. No one dare think of harming it.
And today's rally is only to boost the morale of the police and to provide wholehearted support to the police. Along with them, we have people from the media here. Media vans were attacked, burnt, photographers were beaten up.... this rally is to express support for all of them too.
I thank you all for the tremendous response to this rally. If ever such events reoccur, we must stand together in strength like this.
When you're going back...all of you, when you're going back...keep in mind and make absolutely sure that you don't indulge in any sort of untoward activities. Go back in an orderly and peaceful manner to wherever you came from.
I hope that in the future whenever I call upon you, you will return with the same enthusiasm. And now I take your leave.
Jai Hind! Jai Maharashtra!
|Hari Tatya by P. L. "PuLa" Deshpande|
It's been a couple of years since I translated anything by PuLa. While considering different options about what to translate next, Hari Tatya stood out as a particular appealing candidate. He is so universally identifiable. Hari Tatya - the eccentric but genial family friend with one foot firmly in the distant past that all kids have encountered growing up. Your Hari Tatya might not have been interested in history. Maybe he was into politics, or science, or even astrology. But that does not take away from the HariTatyaness of all Hari Tatyas.
Usual caveats apply - I cannot even pretend to be a good enough translator to keep most of PuLa's magic intact. But even a fraction of the essence of the character sketch should make it readable. And I have changed or omitted some references to make the essay accessible. And used contemporary phrases and expressions.
A couple of days ago, I heard someone use the phrase "irrefutable proof", and I was suddenly reminded of Hari Tatya. I had heard him say "I have irrefutable proof of this!!" hundreds of times during the course of my childhood in Mumbai. So had everyone else who knew him. So much so, that my grandma's nickname for Hari Tatya was "Mr. Irrefutable Proof".
There was nothing surprising about his penchant for that phrase, because he is always making claims that can't be justified without irrefutable proof. The guy refuses to inhabit the present. And describes the past as if he can see it unfolding in front of his eyes. He's been like that for as long as I can remember. Obviously, I can't remember the first time I saw him. But I am sure he remembers it vividly.
"Purushottam! Come on, son! How can you not remember? It was a Saturday. Late in the afternoon. How can you not remember?"
That's how he's sure to chide me for forgetting the details of my birth.
The remarkable thing about Hari Tatya was how informally he addressed everyone, be they younger or older than him. He is the only person I ever knew who spoke to my generally feared and respected grandpa like an old chum. Of course, we knew him as grandpa's friend. But he was obviously several years younger. Because he generally treated grandpa with respect and veneration. In his own way. He never used the respectful pronoun as is the norm when speaking to elders in India. But whenever grandpa entered the room, Hari Tatya would sit up straight. Maybe because grandpa gave him some pocket money to tide him over every month. And often provided him with seed funding for his latest entrepreneurial venture.
No one in the family can remember exactly when this creature named Hari Tatya became a part of our extended household. My grandfather was a very generous man, and a friend to anyone who tried to be his friend. So it was difficult to predict exactly how many people he'd bring home any given evening to have dinner with the family. Of course, in those days of the big joint family, the occasional dinner guest or two didn't really bother those minding the kitchen. In those days, rice, dal, and flour for a meal were measured not by cupfuls, but by fistfuls. The dinner table was populated by not just immediate family, but also uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and cousins once, twice, several times removed. There was also the occasional son or daughter of a family friend studying in the city, in addition to ABC's brother-in-law and XYZ's neighbor's son-in-law. So at pretty much any meal, there were always a few unexpected guests present. I don't recall many evenings when our joint family of 12 had less than 25 plates laid out for dinner.
My grandma seemed to me like Annapoorna (the goddess of nourishment) reincarnated. Her hands were blessed with some magical touch that imparted rich flavor even on a glass of water she served. So you can imagine how tasty and welcoming any dinner table she laid out was. Hari Tatya joined our family by turning up at one such dinner table. After that, he kept turning up. He was there with us at joyous occasions. He was with us at sad moments.
But all those years, even as I grew up and looked different every year, Hari Tatya always looked the same. A simple cotton shirt, modest dhoti, and a rarely-washed Gandhi cap. We kids referred to his style of wearing the cap as "Compass Fashion". If his nose pointed east, then the two ends of his cap seemed to align with the North-South axis, like a compass needle.
I never had any idea what Hari Tatya did for a living. I only knew that grandpa kept helping him start some "promising new business" every few months. Grandpa had always had a dream of owning and running his own business. But his stable and respected position in society, the steady income his job brought him, and the large family depending on that income, made taking any big risks all but impossible. So he lived his entrepreneurial dream vicariously through Hari Tatya by funding Hari Tatya's ambitious albeit modestly scaled business ideas.
I remember one monsoon season when grandpa gave Hari Tatya money to start a business selling umbrellas. For the next couple of years, everyone in the family got a new umbrella for free in the first week of June. But I doubt Hari Tatya's umbrella business was profitable any longer than an umbrella mushroom's lifespan. It seemed like grandpa was more devoted to making the umbrella business succeed. I remember he would come home from work in the evening every day and hand Hari Tatya a sheet of paper,
"Here are orders for some umbrellas. Be sure to deliver them to these addresses right away."
Then we kids would accompany Hari Tatya, brand new umbrellas stacked on our heads, making deliveries to customers that grandpa has managed to canvas during his day job. We kids usually didn't move a muscle for anyone else. We'd disappear if anyone else tried to give us a chore. But for Hari Tatya, we didn't mind looking ridiculous walking the streets with those umbrellas on our heads. We loved his company so much, we'd have walked on coals with umbrellas on our heads if he had asked us to.
Hari Tatya told us absorbing stories and taught us fascinating poems and shlokas as we accompanied him. That too at the top of his voice while walking on the street without any regard to passers by. I remember an anecdote from one of our umbrella sorties. We were all walking with those umbrellas stacked on our heads. Hari Tatya told us to put the umbrellas down, and join him on a stone bench on a street square, and regaled us with the story of Sant Ramdas.
He had a truly unique narrative style. As a result of that narrative style, for many years, we kids were under the impression that Hari Tatya, Sant Ramdas, Moropant, Sant Tukaram, Vaman Pandit, Shivaji Maharaj etc. all once lived together in the same neighborhood. Because no matter how far back in the past the event he was narrating had occurred, he effortlessly injected himself into the proceedings. The way he recounted those stories convinced us that he had seen it all unfold in front of his eyes.
"Kids, I tell you, this Ramdas, even as a kid, was quite the character! He would run away and hide somewhere. We'd keep searching, keep seeking, but couldn't find him! His mother would ask us - have you seen my little Narayan anywhere? We'd say, sorry ma'am, we have no idea. Poor woman, she'd keep looking for him all over the village."
"Once she asked the village chief - have you seen my Narayan anywhere? The village chief had the habit of pouncing on any opportunity to be arrogant. He said - Narayan? Which Narayan? There are hundreds of Narayans in this village! Mother said - Please help me, sir. My Narayan. Narayan Thosar. Have you seen him?"
"Poor lady. There were tears in her eyes. And with good reason. Tell me Purushottam, if you go missing some day. And your mother is looking for you everywhere. Won't she tear up? Tell me, Purushottam! Won't she??"
Hari Tatya would narrate this story with so much pathos, that all our eyes would moisten up as well. Then we'd start walking again to make sure the umbrellas were delivered on time. But as our hands held the umbrellas on our heads, our shirt sleeves would be busy wiping our tearful eyes as Hari Tatya continued with Sant Ramdas a.k.a Narayan Thosar's story.
"Narayan's mother was terrified! Fair good-looking little boy. I tell you guys, this Narayan looked so beautiful as a child. Positively radiant. Plus he'd just had his threading ceremony, and wore a pearl earring. She was aghast - did those Muslim invaders kidnap him to convert him to Islam??? Oh my god!!!"
"And kids, I tell you....those damned Muslim invaders in those days....they weren't decent like Muslims we know today. No! They were just so damn #$%%*&^$#......"
And he'd unleash a barrage of expletives that any other adult would've deemed inappropriate for our supposedly innocent young ears. Maybe it's because of these expletives he let loose so readily, but to our pre-pubescent minds, Hari Tatya seemed like the epitome of valor and courage.
"So then, hours ticked by. And soon it was afternoon. Still no sign of Narayan! Mother ran home and spread her arms in front of Lord Ram's idol. Ah, how beautiful that idol was, kids, believe me! So divine...."
And Hari Tatya folded his hands to pay respects to that imaginary idol of Lord Ram floating in the air in front of him. We all were still carrying umbrellas. But still, we did our best to twist our arms and pay our respects to the imaginary idol too.
"She said - Goddess Sita, please find me my Narayan, and I will give you an offering of my best clothes and a coconut! Mother said that, and opened the closet to take out her best clothes to offer to the goddess. And lo! Narayan was sitting in the closet!"
"Mother wailed in delight - NAAARAAYANAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!"
And Hari Tatya yelled so loudly, that everyone around us on the street stopped whatever they were doing and started staring at us.
"Mother took Narayan in her arms and said - My son, I have been looking for you all over the village. What are you doing here? .... Do you know Purushottam, what Narayan's response was?"
I shook my head.
"Yeah, well, it's difficult for you to know. How would you know? An innocent little child like you can't even imagine what the future Sant Ramdas said. Narayan said...get this, kids.... Narayan said - Mother, I was pondering the fate of the world"
"That's what he said - I was pondering the fate of the world."
Hari Tatya finished the story. He blew his nose. Then he wiped his eyes with his shirt sleeves. All us little umbrella carriers, or chhatrapatis, had no idea what to do next. Hari Tatya regained control of his demeanor and said,
"Just think Purushottam.... he was about your age. And what did he say? I was pondering the fate of the world! Unbelievable! Simply divine! Tell me Purushottam, do you have such a boy in your class? A boy who will hide in the closet? And say - I was pondering the fate of the world?? Is there? Tell me!"
I meekly shook my head.
"Yeah! So that was Ramdas! Saintly right from his childhood. I have irrefutable proof of this. He went on to become Ramdas Swami.... Sant Ramdas. But just because he was a Sant, don't think he was a softie. You should've seen him flex his muscles. The way his biceps sprang up, almost jumping out of his skin, I tell you! All he had to do was bend his arm ever so slightly, and his bicep would spring up. If you struck his bicep with an iron bar, the iron bar would bend! But Sant Ramdas would barely notice the blow. Barely...."
Hari Tatya kept staring into nothingness for a couple of minutes as if he had just seen Sant Ramdas in the flesh. He smiled a little and gradually shook his head in admiration.
Then suddenly, as if waking up from a dream, he shook his shoulders. And in a voice completely devoid of the narration-specific baritone, he said,
"Umm....Purushottam....tell me...Nerulkar...Nerulkar is the guy who lives around the corner from the grocery store, right? How many umbrellas has he ordered? Three, right? Let me check..."
Hari Tatya fished out the sheet from his pocket, verified the order, and led our umbrella-bearing procession to the Nerulkar residence.
No one in that procession had yet truly returned to the present, to the real world. One kid was visualizing the full scale and strength of Sant Ramdas' legendary biceps. Another was wondering how a well-built 10 year could fit inside a 17th century closet in a poor Brahmin family's house. Yet another was promising himself that when he grew up, he'd work out so intensely that an iron bar would bend when struck on his biceps. With all these anachronistic thoughts in our minds, dreamy expressions on our faces, and umbrellas on our heads, we were helping Hari Tatya run his business.
It goes without saying that the umbrella business didn't last long. None of Hari Tatya's businesses did. The reason was obvious to me. Hari Tatya aspired to run those businesses. But his passion and dedication towards running them was nothing compared to the passion and dedication grandpa had for those businesses. But grandpa's passion and dedication was moot, since he couldn't practically quit his job. And Hari Tatya, who was supposed to run the business, usually inhabited a completely different reality.
Later, grandpa gave Hari Tatya money to start a business selling agarbattis (incense sticks). So Hari Tatya started walking around with a big bag of agarbattis hanging from his neck. Grandpa and Hari Tatya would discuss the sales of the day every evening. Often, it'd turn out that Hari Tatya had taken 1 rupee from a customer for an agarbatti pack worth 75 paise, and returned 50 paise instead of 25 paise. And on most days, the bag hanging from his neck was as full in the evening as it had been in the morning.
But still, after all these discussions, on his way out, Hari Tatya would open the door and happily yell at us kids,
"Jai Jai Raghuveer Samartha!"
That's a line from the Dasbodh - Sant Ramdas' treatise on spiritual and practical matters. It is particularly known among Marathi people for its guidance on practical matters, a ready reckoner for success, if you will. Hari Tatya was a man who kept quoting that practical treatise at every possible opportunity, but remained utterly and truly impractical. He never reached an appointment on time, never left an appointment on time.
Grandpa and Hari Tatya clearly loved each other, cared for each other. But they also spent several nights arguing with each other. Random corners of various rooms in our house were stacked with unsold inventory from Hari Tatya's failed ventures - from umbrellas to agarbattis to books to backpacks. Once in a while, when we eavesdropped on the arguments, what Hari Tatya said was oddly but somehow appropriately unrelated to the business at hand and more relevant to arcane Maratha history,
"Dude, I have irrefutable proof of this! Come with me to Maval right now! I can literally see where that horse Krishna's hooves landed!"
And truly, Hari Tatya could probably see where those hooves has landed centuries ago. I often wonder if Hari Tatya's default existence was in the distant past, in the golden age of the Maratha empire. The odd occasion when he acknowledged the 20th century was probably like a dream to him.
"So there we all were. Standing in the royal court with Shivaji Maharaj on the throne. And they brought in the daughter-in-law of Kalyan's vanquished governor. Oh wow! She was absolutely gorgeous! A true beauty if I ever saw one! And as the victorious king, Shivaji Maharaj had the right to have his way with her. She was his for the taking. She was so damn beautiful, I tell you guys! And her flawless milky white complexion! She was at least 6 times as fair as this girl Yami everyone thinks is so fair. And I'm not making this up, boys. I have irrefutable proof of this!"
When I was a kid, our neighbor Yami Gokhale was the benchmark of fair complexion. She had the whitest skin we ever saw. The Gokhales were the only Konknastha Brahmin family in our neighborhood, and Konknastha Brahmins are reputed to have fair/white skins. The rest of us were mainly Deshpande-Kulkarni types with wheatish-to-dark skins. Hari Tatya himself was as dark as the iron pillar in Delhi. So when he said "6 times as fair as this girl Yami", we had genuine trouble imagining how fair the daughter-in-law of Kalyan's vanquished governor must have been. But Hari Tatya had no trouble embellishing his story.
"We were all standing there, staring, admiring her beauty. Maharaj himself was stunned by her beauty..... tell me kids.... Maharaj who???"
We had all memorized the answer to this question thanks to several prior lessons from Hari Tatya,
We kids yelled out the official complete title for Shivaji as if we were orderlies in the Maratha court of the 1600s. When we said this correctly, Hari Tatya regally looked at us with an expression of pride and humility, as if he were Shivaji himself!
"Well done, boys! So anyway....where was I?"
"6 times as fair as Yami" one of us piped up.
"Okay, you idiot. Who was 6 times as fair as Yami?"
"The wife of Kalyan's vanquished governor."
"WIFE????????" Hari Tatya screeched.
We all took a step back.
"You idiot! Where did his wife come from? There in Kalyan, the vanquished governor is splayed out dying, yelling YA ALLAH! YA ALLAH!"
And Hari Tatya laid down on the ground with his limbs flailing in the air, invoking the Koranic almighty.
"He is dying! His wife is next to him, crying! The one they brought to Shivaji Maharaj's court was his beautiful daughter-in-law!"
"6 times as fair as..."
"YES!" Hari Tatya thundered, "Will you stop obsessing over Yami, for crying out loud?"
The boy looked away and Hari Tatya continued,
"So we were all staring at this exquisite beauty that was the daughter-in-law of Kalyan's vanquished governor. And Maharaj was looking at her too. Oh, and how handsome Maharaj himself looked, I tell you, boys! Eyes like an eagle. Sharp straight nose. Thick flowing beard. Rich well-defined sideburns....."
Whenever Hari Tatya narrated a story