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Archive for November 10th, 2008

Gift-wrapping

gifts1Gift-wrapping is something that I love doing. My earliest memories are gift-wrapping empty boxes to be kept as decoration underneath our plastic Christmas tree.

The gayily-wrapped gift boxes of course didn’t have anything in them. But one of my little cousins, unaware of the illusion, proceeded to tear open the gifts under the tree the minute his mother’s back was turned on him. Soon he had the entire drawing room strewn with string, ribbons and wrapping paper. I arrived on the scene to find him opening a box.

Then all hell broke loose! I was furious with him and screamed (being 12, and apt to take them things very personal). He was furious with the box (he was four and vociferous), for proving empty and screamed. And all the parents were furious when they saw the mess created and they also screamed. gift2

Since, he had string, ribbons, cellotape and glue all over him, he was taken off for a bath and I was ordered to sweep up the mess. After which, I was ordered to hang up the presents on the tree (leaving less place for my other Christmas ornaments).

My attempts at Christmas decorations have always proved dangerous. Once I hung up a glittery “Happy Christmas” handmade sign atop the doorway, only to have it crashing down on the visiting pastor’s head.

And then the other time when I hung up, fake icicles and gold-painted fir cones on the hallway, the entire chain came down on my grandmother who was carrying the pal-payasam to the dining room. The pal payasam, needless to say, was uneatable and my grandma sore. After gift3which, there were new orders that I was to restrict my decorations to the drawing room.

But I was not the only one with the butterfingers; my dad and my granddad were equally inept at putting up the Christmas star. And then again, I had a few superstitious relatives, who always commented on the fact that we were hanging our star the wrong side up, so that instead of being David’s star, it became the star used for black magic.

And then there was the time, when I decided I’d hang up strings of pop-corn instead of the usual electric lights and didn’t bother to tell my parents about my decision. The next morning, we woke up to an army of gift4ants feasting on our tree. And no one was able to get within an inch of it. I had also hung up some real apples on the tree with the result that some of the branches had snapped with the strain and broke a crystal vase, filled with flowers, which ruined the carpet especially put out for Christmas. After which, I was issued a big list of “Do’s and Don’ts for Christmas.”

P.S. I’ve put up a few pictures of the gifts I had wrapped for Diwali for my office people.

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hindutvasword-poster1Fanaticism is something, I abore! And religious fanaticism is something unpalatable.

Events like Godhra, Ayodhya, the Gujarat riots or the atrocities against Christians in Orissa are something I find hard to digest.

Violence against minorities has become a trump card for many right-wing politicians. Since, no politician can deliver things like good roads, quality education and health care, regular supply of electricity or drinking water, they use diversionary tactics. One of the most successful diversionary tactic is to blame it all on the minorities.

So you can hear politicians say things like: “Hum panch, hamara panch,” “Muslims breed too much,” “Christians get funding from the US, they are George Bush’s stooges,” “India is for Hindus; out with the minorities,” “If you become a Hindu you can stay in India or else leave for Pakistan,” “Christian women are immoral and ape the West,” and “Valentine’s Day is against India’s culture.”

An extension of this is the regional separatist movements, in which to hide their inefficiency, politicians come up with slogans like, “Cauvery water is only for Karnataka,” or “Cauvery is only for Tamil Nadu,” “Mumbai is only for Marathis,” “Punjab must be a separate state,” rik-poster-back-cover1“Be proud to be a Tamilan,” “Ban Tamil films, only Kannada films in Karnataka,” “Kashmir is part of India,” & “Only Biharis should get jobs in Bihar.”

Some Indian politicians take diversionary tactics to international levels, they say, “Kill every Pakistani,” or “Support the LTTE,” “Ban the LTTE,” “No more refugees from Bangladesh, let them go to Pakistan,” “Every Muslim is a terrorist, destroy the Taliban,” “Support Israel’s war against Muslim terrorism,” or “Support the Palestinian war against Christian, Jewish terrorism.”

I’m going to come up with my own slogans, “Ban the Left in Nandigram, Singur,” “Ban the right in Orissa, Gujarat,” “Stop the Indo-US nuke deal,” “Third World countries don’t need second-hand goods, outdated technology and scrap material from the West,” “Stop religious competitiveness,” & “Stop hate-mail on the net.”

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