A revision of rolls can lead to a revision of roles!

This column is not Political. It’s Electoral. Some say it’s the same, others say it’s not. But basically, they are the two sides of a coin that often do not see eye to eye. Because no politician wants elections, and no elector wants politics! And that is a bane, rather than a boon! But like Electral, this column hopes to balance electorlytes!

Elections to two state assemblies and one Municipal Corporation are just over. And the exit polls are predicting what they always predict – someone will win, and someone will lose. But they don’t mention the citizens in either category! That’s quite natural because elections are not about the people, but power derived from the people. They call it the power to serve – like in tennis.

There is a first serve, a second serve and a double fault! And they do serve in the run-up to the election. Quite the cocktail – Money Muscle and Mania! May not be afterwards – Afterwards, it’s your turn to provide your money and muscle for their mania! And some do enjoy that turn, for it gives power to them too! If they bow and serve enough! Not Bow-Wow – that would be a disservice that could land you behind bars – the wrong un’s.

It’s interesting how politicians appear on TV and websites showing their fingers to us after voting. Not the finger on the hand with which they voted, but the other one. To befuddle us? Or to tell us, it’s over for us? Maybe it’s both? Or is it that the left-hand does not want to reveal what the right has done?

They also walk to the booth to vote, when otherwise, they would not even step from the house without a car or a convoy or stop on the road to say hello unless on a yatra – which again is for the elections. So, elections do transform human beings – and that’s a good thing because nothing transforms human beings for the better these days – it’s generally for the worse even though as part of our constitutional vows we say when we cast our vote – for better or for worse!

Elections as we know them,  are a device to provide power to the few over the rest, where the rest give that power to the few and then rest until their rest is disturbed. Then they wake up from their deep slumber and get agitated, and disturb the few, which the few don’t appreciate because they are the chosen few. They don’t realise, the power of the English Language – they WERE the chosen few! And they must be chosen anew!

Elections – both before and after – are a time for Conversion – Not religious, which is frowned upon for allurement, coercion, and intimidation, (ironically, it’s called the freedom of religion act, where your freedom is restricted when what is necessary is a Freedom From Religion Act! – but that’s another story) but all these are actively encouraged in Political conversions and even smiled upon! How else will you term raids, promises of freebies and inauguration of projects that are again inaugurated before the next election? Often in Political Conversion, there is the famous before and after challenge and they post these pics on Social Media – from nice photogenic spots in resorts. Not as a last resort, but it’s something they have to resort to if they have to last in Politics!

Elections are a time for gaiety, innovation, social media gymnastics, yatras and promises. And it’s called the festival of Democracy! Perhaps rightly so. Lights, camera, action – it’s all there. From the games, people play to the memes in the fray. Prayers too.  And revisions. History may be but electoral rolls certainly. Now you are there, now you aren’t kind of thing! Sometimes the Booth gets your name and it’s gone! vanished into thin air. And history is revised! Because it does affect history. Does it not? the revision of the electoral Roll? The question is do you care? Should you care? What if you care? Does it make a difference? Doesn’t history show that 30% per cent do not care? and 35% of the remaining 70% vote variedly, leaving 35% voting with singularity, which in effect is 25% of the whole permitted universe. And that’s the chosen few! Phew! Runoffs with compulsory voting linked to benefits would at least up the actual percentage to past the halfway mark and notional to around 40% which, whilst not enough would at least be a more fair reflection of the general view.

Oh, that would be my view! But do have your own – at least until next week, when you read my column again!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

Find the gaslight in this jigsaw puzzle!

I took a week off my weekly column because I was fully intent on solving a jigsaw puzzle! And there was no way I could because newer versions came on the market almost every couple of days in the last two weeks! So much progress in such a short while!

Each was bigger than the other and drew inspiration from the previous one (must be presumed). I wouldn’t use the word better, rather the word batter (not the one in Cricket or a dosa) than the other. Both the similarity and the innovation were evident in the later ones.

When we were younger, we all loved a Jigsaw puzzle. Didn’t we? The one where we tried to fit the irregularly cut pieces together to create the big picture? And if one was missing, we never got the picture. Literally!

We could pass hours at a time, either individually or in combination with siblings, cousins, and friends – just trying to make the picture we saw on the back of the box. We had to refer to that picture time and again, not because we were dumb, just numb from moving the pieces around! And the complexity of the puzzle came in the form of the number of pieces in the box. More the pieces, more the complexity! Most children don’t play the jigsaw puzzle these days because of their low attention spans. They prefer video games to puzzles. These too reflect our reality and there are 13 reasons why (pun intended).

Nothing much has changed though as far as Jigsaw puzzles are concerned. Only the pieces are now the real body parts of a real person. They don’t come in a box but in a fridge (not quite the ad for refrigerators though) and Fridge Size matters. Not its frigidity though; that’s because of the rigidity. And the pieces are scattered across a large geographical area, making piecing them together to get the big picture rather more difficult for the ordinary man. It’s a puzzle for the police who have to be extraordinary to get the whole picture. It’s a themed puzzle that is becoming common by the day. I’ve counted three in the last couple of weeks – not parts, but bodies. One had 35 pieces, one 22 and another 6!

The sizes of the puzzle pieces are inconsistent as they must be. And the tools used to create the jigsaw are as yet untraced. No patents on those though, they are common. Even the methodology is generic and popularized by the media. So, there is no value add to it. Just Value Bad. And it’s bad. Really. There is no Good Bad or Ugly. Only Bad and Ugly. The G is missing!

Incidentally, these fans of the jigsaw puzzle perhaps did not know that the jigsaw puzzle is as old as 2 and a half centuries. The first jigsaw puzzle was created by a map engraver called John Spilsbury, in 1762. He mounted one of his master maps onto wood and then cut around the countries. He gave it to children in the local school to help them with their geography education. And in that act jigsaw puzzles were invented. Now they have evolved to cutting up people not wood – the tools too. In 1946 Albert Kaufmann, an engineer of Scintilla AG company in Solothurn, Switzerland, replaced the needle on his wife’s sewing machine with a saw blade. In 1947, after the development of Kaufmann’s invention, Scintilla started producing jigsaws under the name “Lesto jigsaw”.

But sadly, all this gore came to light in the week after International Men’s day on Saturday 19 Nov 2022 and further dented the reputation of men in the week they were slated to receive the love and affection of their spouses, partners and children and family for being their bulwark against a rising tide of misogyny. A mirage if ever there was one. A dented reputation that was further fractured due to the Halo effect (not the shampoo the saintly taint)! Now everyone is more afraid of men! At home too they keep the knives away! Luckily, they don’t stay away! But who knows, the media may drive them to that too.

Indeed, in all the media coverage I could not find one report on a couple of issues, that arise from this jigsaw puzzle. Not just how to solve it – That’s easy, find all the pieces put them in a box and then try to fit them together according to the picture on the box. That’s what the police are trying to do, though they may not get all the pieces as they were scattered far and wide.

It was apparent though that all these human jigsaw puzzles were not created in a fit of rage, but possibly in a rage arranged to fit. They’ve seen the big picture before and want to create it! And throwing a fit is what fits this challenge! The couple of issues I was referring to are actually couple issues! Why abuse and why live with it?

Abuse goes one step ahead of use which is more subliminal in its offering! Whether it’s a live-in or a spousal arrangement, it’s clear it’s a can’t live without situation. And Why or why not is what I was trying to fathom through Psychology today!

It’s apparently a cycle. The cycle, other than when it is used as a political party’s symbol, is a symbol of continuity, circularity, and balance. So too the Cycle of Violence

Initial – Tension building; usually there is tension building within the batterer and there is usually an argument; Middle – Explosion; where the assault happens; and a return to equilibrium – the abuser apologizes for his behaviour by buying the victim gifts or flowers, which are accepted with grace and love!

The Tension building phase is the one in which the abuser abuses constantly, subtly sometimes, overtly sometimes – Emotionally – playing mind games, verbally through name-calling, technologically through GPS tracking, social media sabotage, Sexually – when no is converted to a yes, and physically – punching, choking, and even murder. It does not contain chopping – because that comes afterwards.

And there are signs, without the neon sign boards. Generally, an abuser is first a user, and then he becomes jealous, controlling, isolating, rigid about role identities and very patriarchal. If they are not arrested, these personality contours increase in intensity with time and space,  – both literally and figuratively speaking.

Given that we are still in the eco-space of International Men’s Day, it is heartening to note that only a small percentage of men suffer from anti-social Personality Disorder ( deceitfulness, repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure), Borderline Personality Disorder (a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships by alternating between extreme idealizations and devaluation narcissistic Personality Disorder (a grandiose sense of self-importance) that generate this kind of personality mind maps that conclude in mishaps.

But why don’t the victims of this abuse just leave when they can? Because they don’t realise until the very end that they are being gaslighted very skilfully! Much like the voter in India. They stick on until the end comes!

Gaslighting is a technique that undermines a person’s perception of reality. When someone is gaslighting you, you may second-guess yourself, your memories, recent events, and your perceptions and you conclude it’s just not true! Indeed! The term “gaslighting” comes from the name of a 1938 play and 1944 film, Gaslight, in which a husband manipulates his wife into thinking she has a mental illness (When he has one apparently!)

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, gaslighting can happen in a variety of ways. Some examples!

  • Countering: This is when someone questions a person’s memory. They may say things such as, “Are you sure about that? You have a bad memory,” or “I think you are forgetting what really happened.”
  • Withholding: This involves someone pretending they do not understand the conversation, or refusing to listen, to make a person doubt themselves. For example, they might say, “Now you are just confusing me,” or “I do not know what you are talking about.”
  • Trivializing: This occurs when a person belittles or disregards how someone else feels. They may accuse them of being “too sensitive” or overreacting in response to valid and reasonable concerns.
  • Denial: Denial involves a person refusing to take responsibility for their actions. They may do this by pretending to forget what happened, saying they did not do it, or blaming their behaviour on someone else.
  • Diverting: With this technique, a person changes the focus of a discussion by questioning the other person’s credibility. For example, they might say, “That is just nonsense you read on the internet. It is not real.”
  • Stereotyping: A person may intentionally use negative stereotypes about someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, or age to gaslight them. For example, they may say that no one will believe a woman if she reports abuse.”

Gaslighting gradually, very gradually in most cases, breaks down a person’s trust in themselves and increases in proportion, how much they trust or depend on the abusive person.  They question their own reality, competence, and ability to manage independently. The more this happens, the more power and influence the abusive person has. And he (or she – it does work in reverse too!) does not have to have personality disorders to gaslight – All he needs to do is be near the gas stove!

Ah, there you have it. Why they cannot apply for, or actually leave. It’s just a theory. Don’t test it! Gaslighting also operates on a larger scale as a feature of systematic oppression! But that’s another story for another day. It would be too much Gas for a day!

But I don’t mean to Gaslight you when I leave you with a meaningful tweet by Michelle Obama (not Donald Trump though he is back on Twitter I understand!) Just to give you an alternate reality that we should all pursue, despite the gas lighter in hand!

As an adult, I’ve lived in a number of places, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve only ever had one real home. My home is my family. My home is Barack. #TheLightWeCarry pic.twitter.com/dNlrlEddBY

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) November 25, 2022

Photo by Tolga Ulkan on Unsplash


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

It’s Children’s Day again, and we are back to the future!

This is strictly between us. Though the whole world might know!

The World is doubling its population (since 1974) today! We will now be 8 billion despite all the genocide, Murders, Wars, ill health, and natural and unnatural calamities. This means that the candle is burning at both ends and one end has a taller flame. Right? But is it also a coincidence that this news follows Indian Children’s Day celebrated every year on Nehruji’s Birthday on Nov 14? Might have forgotten recently though.

Nehruji’s Great Grand Children do not enjoy his legacy (his children and Grand Children did!), and in fact, are castigated for it, but the Children who celebrated his birthday – they no longer do because they have grown up and it is out of fashion perhaps – certainly did, rising through society’s strict social barriers because of employment in the government and public sector, making a livelihood through it, and in some cases beyond it! This is a natural phenomenon, because like Current Affairs are far more important than History, contemporary heroes outshine those of the past. If this is now, then what will our children do to our legacy – if we leave one – good or bad?

By 2100, the world’s population will rise by 50% to 10 Billion, if the world does not end by then – and there are both pessimists and optimists in this regard. But both agree, that if it does end and we end with it – kind of like winner takes all – then why should it matter to us?

So why not drop the bomb? The only thing missing in the trail of human destruction is a nuclear conflagration, which is quite likely given the mental health of our political leaders worldwide and their administrative assistants! But that is unlikely to tilt the balance in favour of a smaller population. Remember Covid? Why? Who wants to remember that? Maybe only WHO does! We all want to forget it until we get a new mutant ninja coming our way.

So it must be that there are many more children coming in than we think.  They have dried up in some parts of the world and in some communities for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is stress. Really, all kinds, but mainly the stress of bringing up children in an asocial, highly competitive, material world where the only education possible is about money – Money for Nothing and Money for everything! That’s deep. Reflect on it till your money dries up!

So plenty coming in. Children. Some welcome it; they say it’s our future – Not the child’s! Some are concerned about this influx: if it’s not one of theirs. They are concerned about where they are coming from and how it will affect them. Is it about another mouth to feed and another competitor for scant resources? Or is it because it might alter demographics, metamorphose society, and take them out of their comfort zone? Well, that’s what they have been doing themselves so far right? Why restrict another? Ah, that’s because it’s not theirs. But what is stopping them from doing the same? That is the question to be asked. Concern for the world or for themselves or is it something else? If they can, then why…

That brings us to the question, does the current generation need to hand over a better world to their children – the next generation – than the one they live in? That’s the study of Inter-generational ethics. It differs from ethics among contemporaries because of the asymmetrical influence the present generation has over future generations. You do something now, and your great-grandchildren may benefit and there is no connection between you and them but a thin DNA thread, like in a cobweb. It’s the same dilemma all Indian Parents face, not so much the Parents in the Western World. How much of their happiness, and material comfort should they sacrifice so that their children may have theirs, not of the child’s own making, but of the parents? It kills two birds with one stone – It gives the parent job satisfaction, and makes the child happy, often unaware of how that happiness (or rather pleasure; happiness goes beyond) was brought about!

Will we give up our cars so they may be able to use one? Or our Acs’ so they may be able to use one? And what will they give up? An iPhone? Some doubt whether intergenerational relations can be evaluated in moral terms at all. That fundamental doubt pertains particularly to actions that affect persons in the far future, such as the disposal of radioactive waste that remains hazardous for millennia…But we still have to dispose of it, because we use it. And we can’t give up its use because it makes our lives comfortable.

You have heard of a round table conference, right? – it’s ideal for this subject because in a circle there is no end – only a beginning! So we must do what we do, to broaden our comfort zone, in the hope that it will broaden theirs! And if it does not, well they will find a way, for they are far more intelligent than us. Even an infant can operate an iPhone these days! In future….

So, all in all, the lesson unlearnt is that whether it’s 4 Billion, 8 Billion or 10 Billion, it does not matter. If we can’t fit in here, we will go and settle on the moon or even Mars. That’s what we are preparing for. Space will never be a constraint Just like when a town couldn’t expand horizontally because it was surrounded by water, it learnt to build skyscrapers!

Every generation finds a way to solve problems for its contemporaries. This might create problems for future generations, but they will be resourceful enough to find solutions to those problems in ways we cannot imagine today – because we don’t have their problem. We have our own. It is exactly why the mobile phone was created and see the problems it is creating for the current generation! But they will find a way. They may have already found one in fact – the smartwatch! and coming soon is the smart ring. Not the wedding ring though. That may take another 10 generations, by which time it will become redundant, I guess!

So don’t worry, be happy Bobby McFerrin says!

“Here’s a little song I wrote

You might want to sing it note for note

Don’t worry, be happy

In every life, we have some trouble

But when you worry you make it double

Don’t worry, be happy

Don’t worry, be happy now

don’t worry

(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) be happy

(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy”

Until next week!


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash