Allow Me To Pass Away!

The most revered and veteran Hyderabadi journalist, the late Mr D Sitaram, always used to say, “Allow me to pass away”. This barb was directed at some of us junior editors who used to give the headline: ‘So and so “passes away”,’ instead of saying the person dies/died.

So he used to say, “I am passing away” while returning home. Mr Sitaram retired ages ago, but this indefatigable soul was never tired. In his days, he saw history being made; he was part of history. Edited a Hyderbadi newspaper, but was mostly with UNI (United News of India), a news agency which was destroyed more by egos within, rather than by media barons or politicians. (In my cub reporter days, some of my best journo friends and well-wishers were from UNI.)

In many professions, it so happens that you first work with the father and then with the son.

In my case, I first worked, in 1982-84, with the son, a genial D Balaji, the guy with a sharp wit and an equally sharp tongue, in Russy Karanjia’s bulldog of a tabloid, The Daily, in that wonderful city that was then known as Bombay.

From 1992, I worked with Balaji’s father in Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad. Jaisa beta, uska baap! In other words, beta to beta, bhaap re baap… The baap took a liking for me and was a great professional guide, and also regaling me with his past, naughty tidbits. If he would have been alive, he would have been a rock star on Twitter for his short, sharp witty sarcasm.

Coming back to Mr Sitaram’s saying, “allow me to pass away”: There were occasions when I almost “passed away”, most notably when doctors in a corporate super-speciality hospital gave their ‘judgement’ in July 2014.

Yet I survived—and now no doctor believes me I am indeed that patient even after seeing all the medical reports.

Recently, one doctor even refused to recognise that it was me who he treated once—even after showing a snap taken by my dear senior photographer colleague Leonard Aarons at that hospital, some weeks after recovery.

But then, every time I expected to meet my Maker, She disappointed me. First in 1994, then 1998, in 2014…

But now, I think the time has come to go back into Her loving bosom. Maybe She has other ideas… I have been receiving some indications.

My life, in general, was a mixed bag, a massive roller-coaster ride all the time, with more downs than ups.

Yet, I gained much more than I ever expected. Financially, I have remained a pauper, yet rich in many other ways.

In the closing days of 2015, I had a chance to meet several wonderful people, almost all in just a couple of hours, and on just one day! One couple, Ms Sucheta Dalal and Mr Debashis Basu, chanced upon me on Twitter in December 2014 when I was recovering. I had a credit card-related issue with a multinational bank. The editors encouraged me to write about my experiences. One thing led to another; now I am fortunate to be working for them.

I felt honoured to meet them in person for the first time on December 20th last year at a function organized by Moneylife Foundation to felicitate Mr Shailesh Gandhi, the former Chief Information Commissioner of India (CIC), known for his path-breaking decisions. Besides, a lot of Right to Information (RTI) activists were also present, who spoke out their minds without any hesitation. It was a surreal atmosphere and I thank the wonderful couple, who have unassumingly dedicated their lives for the common man.

Mr Sitaram took loving care of his wife who was disabled and bed-ridden for years together. As a typical Hyderabadi, he used to mutter the choicest abuses, yet I could see in his eyes unbridled love for her. His kids were married and away. For a time, he went to live in a village, far from the hustle-bustle of Hyderabad. Of course, she deserted him after succumbing to her illnesses.

A few years ago, I went to Hyderabad for a snap function organized for his 86th birthday. Mostly retired activists, writers, artists, lesser journos, small-time politicians (no big names, for he was no longer ‘useful’) were present. In his ‘useful’ days all these categories of people and others used to seek him out.

He “passed away” uncelebrated: I can see his mischievous eyes are glaring at me for using this terminology!

So now, it is my turn to tell him: “The time has come for me to pass away…”

Hope to meet you soon sir, in that particularly ‘hot’ corner of the other world. Wink, wink!

Will eternally enjoy your garrulous company for eternity; and neither of us will say: “Allow me to pass away”.

I can hear him say: “Arre saala…” and things unprintable in this world…

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So who is the hate-monger?

This morning, I saw a spiteful Facebook post from a colleague whom I worked with nearly 30 years ago, whose profile claims that he read history and politics at the last surviving left bastion, the JNU. The typically, permanently bearded and bespectacled gentleman also proudly claims to have read Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote and James Herriot. I don’t know who they are, nor am I interested in finding out. (Over the years I know claims by such people are there to only show to others that they possess ‘intellectual’ superiority over mere mortals.)

My long-lost colleague and current FB friend, wrote, apparently in an intoxicated state:

“To all the Nadelas, Pichads and the rest of you ma******ds who turned their backs on the motherland to make money and now want to return to make even more dollars for your American masters…. Come, Shit in India — we have no dearth of assholes….”

This post was along with a link from a website, reporting about one Nayantara Sahgal, who, I am sure, most Indians have never heard about or have rediscovered after ages.

It is to him, and people of his inclination, I am addressing this article. (Also to some of the bumbling foot-soldiers from that category who now have hitched on to the bandwagon of that chronic liar from Delhi after find their own ideology has been thoroughly and emphatically rejected by we, the people of India.)

Yeah my FB friend, there is no dearth of such people, like, for example, this lady Sahgal. When her own community people, the Kashmiri Pandits, were murdered, burnt alive, and thrown out of their homes, and their women raped and raped over again, she did not speak. She also did not speak when Sikhs were similarly treated by her mentors, the morally evil Congress party. She did not speak when commie bastards killed thousands and thousands in West Bengal and Kerala and in other places—only because the victims were the poor, the downtrodden and helpless.

She did not speak out because she was fed and feted by the dynasty, which also feted themselves and all sundry elements who lived off their crumbs. This lady lived all her life ensconced in a comfortable cocoon in Lutyens Delhi, or wherever, and did not so much as shrug a shoulder when worse things happened. Like the Bhagalpur riots.

Like her, many of our so-called and self-styled gods and goddesses of the ‘intellectual world’ did not speak out then.

Now, you say the Pichais and the Nadelas must not return to India.

The Pichais and the Nadelas must not do anything for the poor in India. Because, according to these west-loving, India-hating, ‘liberal’ gods and goddesses like you, a common Indian does not deserve to live with dignity and want all Indians to remain poor.

What a contradiction—it would have been funny if it had not been so tragic—that these self-proclaimed intellectual gods and goddesses like describe themselves as ‘progressives’ when they are the very embodiment of opposition to progress itself!

Thanks to social media, these so-called self-styled intellectual gods and goddesses are being thoroughly exposed now. Earlier, these people used to rule the roost—including the editorial spaces of newspapers where dissent from readers were ruthlessly murdered and any mail which did not conform to their views, was mercilessly torn and thrown into the dustbin.

These gods and goddesses are now shouting out loud and hoarse, and it is not only because of one man or his religion they love to hate—but because they have now nowhere to run or hide. After decades of living on one dynasty’s crumbs and supported by the left ecosystem, praising their glories despite their utterly disastrous rule which any common man could see—‘see’ is a mild word; the aam admi had been all along been helplessly being run to the ground through it all along even when darkness loomed—today these self-styled intellectuals find themselves orphaned.

Now, these gods and goddesses are thinking of ways and means of how to fend themselves before all the pennies being thrown their way will finally come to a halt. They always thought it was their entitlement to live in the socialist mode, grateful at the crumbs being thrown their way without having even so much as to lift a little finger to earn a decent and honourable living like most of the common men and women of India. And they encouraged their masters to treat all fellow Indians in a similar fashion.

These self-styled intellectual godmen and godwomen are shit scared that the common man has come to expect better things in life; they are scared to see optimism writ large on the faces of the hopeful masses. They know that after all these years of darkness, the common man has seen light at the end of the tunnel, his expectations have been raised, and he too wants to raise his heads in dignity and not live off crumbs forever. They want themselves and their children to lead a better life than they lived before. And they are willing to slog their asses off for that.

And how very ‘gracious’ such self-styled intellectuals gods and goddesses have been while addressing the Pichais and the Nadellas, using, may I say, colourful language in Hindi, using asterisks to cover up. You are completely naked, dear friend, looking dirty and emitting the putrid stink from stuff that you had allowed to be shown down your throats or up your… you know where.

In a movie it was said: “Don’t underestimate the power of a common man”. You! You stinking commie pig, don’t underestimate the intellectual spirit of a common man. You have no longer the copyright to intellectualism. Today, even a common chaiwalla on a side-street is an intellectual—and an honest one at that!

You say the Pichais and the Nadellas turned their backs on their motherland: That is a blatant lie. They did not turn their backs on their motherland: the utterly third-rate socialist and left ecosystem that you built and supported did not allow them to do anything here, killed their urge to create, to innovate and to do something within the motherland that you and your ilk always wanted to keep under your regressive thoughts.

And when today they—and many others—want to do something for the motherland and try to help get the poor people out of the miserable lives they lead, you want to abuse them and keep them out.

All because you have hate built up in your insides over the years.

You realise that you have been used and thrown away by the powers-that-be over the years. They may have praised you on your faces, or in colorful parties thrown in your ‘honour’ or in functions to give you some ‘award’ or the other, but behind your back you always knew they have been calling you a dynasty slave, a sick, purchasable commodity.

You are an epitome of that saying: “Sab kuch bikta hai, inka zameer bhi!” (Everything is on sale, including your conscience).

Lie after lie after lie has not worked for you over the years. The common man has become more enlightened. Your anger is that you can no longer fool them, no longer control their minds, and no longer herd them into voting for one party or follow one ideology. That is the nub of the matter.

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