Read title. I’m going to try and make the infinite number of segues here sort of blend in. Bear with me.
First, I just finished reading Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”. I can’t really say I’m a staunch atheist in the way most people say it. Let me put it this way – I don’t think it is at all true that God exists, but I like to think about one as if it exists. But that aside, the book surpasses the high expectations I had of it. The sheer logic with which the guy takes away any and all of our assumptions about the guy in the sky is pretty awesome. It would take a special kind of pig-headedness for someone to read it and not have to think about some of the stuff they’ve believed. I’m not saying lose faith, but at least have doubts.
Belief is crap, but thinking is good. ‘Dogma’ (underrated Affleck-Damon flick) got that one right, (although there was some unbelievable stuff about the Christian god being fair) – Don’t believe, just have a good idea about stuff. Then you won’t feel the need to take lives, cut off clitorises, stone people, ‘convert’ homosexuals, set fire to widows….
And speaking of books (anyone noticing the smooth segue? And yes, I did just find out how to spell that word), I went to Daryaganj this Sunday. Found “The World According To Garp” for TWENTY BUCKS. That’s right. Twenty bucks. And its turning out to be really good. Also, one of the reasons I love it when people appreciate the places in Delhi I take them to – I get to see how awesome the city can be all over again. I know, you can wax eloquent about how a lot of delhiites are dumb, blah blah; but speaking as someone who just spent a night out with a group of Punjabi and Assamese people (yes, together), I defy you to find people elsewhere who are so accepting of fun at such gargantuan proportions, while still being smart. And despite such fun, this city has history coming out of its buttocks (Word refused to accept ‘butt’ – but here, weirdly, it does…) if you look for it, and places to hang out other than South Delhi, like Hauz Khas Fort. I have been telling people about that place since 1st year, but it is only now, at the behest of others, that its awesomeness has been acknowledged. In the spirit of Khushwant Singh, this city isn’t appealing at first, but the moment it spots your weakness, it makes you its bitch and never lets you go.
So I’m reading Irving now, but before that I finished Thud! By Terry Pratchett who is an unsung genius. I know, people know him enough, but I really think he’s underrated. And I bring up Thud! because it’s a City Watch book and there was a very interesting scene where they stop a riot from happening between two cultural groups by getting them both drunk. It’s weird how there’s always a cycle going on from things you read or saw in TV to things that actually happened and back on to things you read or watch. I’ve seen a lot of the coverage on the Occupy Wall Street Movement and also have been reading about the Ramdev incident from last summer – the latter for the internship (BTW – yeah, that case is fuck interesting – I like going to the Supreme Court for the first time). Got me thinking about Gandhi.
I personally have mixed feelings about the guy. I don’t like most of the personal morals he espoused. They’re too interfering. And basing any movement even a tiny bit on a religion, even if it started out with good intentions, is bound to go off track at some point. But what a lot of people forget was that he was a lawyer, and just to look at the whole idea of non-violent protest from a lawyers perspective, and even a political perspective – it is genius. And I don’t mean that in the fighting-is-bad-passivism-is-based-on-strength way.
Think about it, non-violent protest of the kind Gandhi organized got so much attention because of the fact that when two sides fight, eventually both of them will do something they will regret later. In a political/public arena as well as a Court of law, there would be too many doubts raised from both sides. And while you can win in Court, it will be by a margin, with criticisms; and you can definitely never win in the media circus. But if you appear to be as innocent as the pure driven snow, if you don’t raise a finger while people beat on you in a public arena, politically and legally, you have it made as soon as its on record. I mean, I’m supposed to be thinking from one perspective as far as the whole Ramdev thing is concerned, but because the guy decided to do weird stuff like get women to create a barricade around him instead of just being zen, you can’t defend him without taking valid considerations from the other side.
On the other hand, with footage of protests I’ve seen of the Occupy movement in the U.S., especially one where students are just sitting in rows and not making a move other than screaming with pain, while policemen bathe them in pepper spray, is it possible for you to take the police’s side without reasonably being accused of also eating babies? Which is why, I recommend passivism in social movements. Not because it’s the right thing to do and not because it’s the cowards way out, but because it is logically and legally, the best thing you can do towards garnering support, getting attention, and screwing over whatever authority you’re defying.
On another note, the reason I am finding the news interesting again is all thanks to Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. I discovered them in the middle of last semester, and I kept quiet about them because I had thought that like all of my fads, they would wither away, or disappoint me. Not yet. I remember the first time I watched the White House Correspondents Dinner with Colbert. I swear to god, I did not know what to think for a while. I have never seen anybody be so obviously rude to the leader of a nation, and I have never loved such blatant honesty before. This whole experience has given me a new appreciation for comedy – Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Russel Peters, the endless number of sitcoms I watch. How genius is it to be able to bring something to the table that would make people laugh. I agree with Colbert (the real one) on that – it is physiologically impossible to really laugh and be afraid at the same time. It’s not possible to be negative while you’re laughing.
And now that I have declared my love for Jon and Stephen in a forum where technically, anyone can read it, I will also say that if and when the dirt comes out on either of these people, I would be even more lost than I was when I finally found out that Muhammad Ali and John Lennon were not perfect people, and I was 13 and a lot more wet behind the ears when that happened. Although, with an optimistic bent of mind, I will say that comedians almost never have shit about them. If they did, they’d use it for jokes. Or survive it either way because they’re able to live unconventionally to the point of public discomfort. Like Woody Allen.
And last, but far from least, Nikkie died. I missed her a lot, especially when I got in the car after work every day and thought about getting through the door. I always started to think about her jumping all over me before remembering that she died. But now, we have Jane Doe, JD for short [And again, please nobody mention namesakes other than those played by Zach Braff] whom I adore utterly. Yes, I still miss Nikkie. Dogs are irreplaceable, but at the same time, the amazing thing about them is that almost every single one of them can inspire so much fuzziness of the heart.
So, that’s all the stuff.
Who’s still reading?