28 days in Asuraland

The month of February was a busy one in Asuraland.

3 days before Valentine’s day

Jilpasura was nervous. Choosing a valentine’s day’s gift for Hidimba Jr. was not an easy task. The musical greeting card he gave her last year didn’t go too well despite the fact that the music* was composed by none other than the Master of the Fender Veenacaster, Ravana, himself. She had asked him if he truly thought that the most profound way of expressing love was to buy a piece of paper made by a large company embedded with music composed by some one else. This year, he was not taking chances, but it was already 4-2-2**, with only 3 days to go for the big day.

He was going to consult his grandmother, Jalsa Rakshasi, who was busy watching TV while snacking on vada pav with extra hot bhut jholokia chilly.

“Why are you watching Human TV, paati?”

“Because it makes me laugh”

“So what nonsense are they up to now?”

“Some joker named Pramod Muthalik is threatening to sue those girls who sent him pink undergarments”

“Whaa? Who? Why?”

“It’s a long story, but tell me why you are here. Shouldn’t you be busy preparing for V-day. I heard Hidimba wasn’t too happy with your creative laziness last year”

Jilpasura’s resulting expression could be described as sheepish, but only if the sheep in question resembled a Tasmanian devil.

“Paati, tell me something. Why do we celebrate Valentine’s day? Isn’t it a Human festival?”

“Ah well. St Valentine, as they refer to him, was actually one of us – Valyasura, who had this crazy notion that Humans would become a better race if they could marry out of love instead of being bartered like goods as part of the arranged marriage system of those times. So he went on this crazy mission and ended up losing his life”

“I see. So what did the humans end up doing this time?”

“Oh. Some guys calling themselves the Army of Rama declared the good saint an evil agent who was out to convert innocent Easterners into Westerners by convincing them to send each other Hallmark greeting cards and flowers while chilling out at pubs wearing tank tops and jeans listening to abaswaram rock music with lyrics that (recursively) promoted the aforementioned.

“The Vedas proscribe greeting cards and flowers?”

No. But what is interesting is that these goons roamed around town armed with mangalsutras and rakhis threatening to conduct spot marriages for offenders of Indian culture. It was rather ironic because St Valentine used to go around town helping lovers get married and that was precisely the reason the authorities of his time felt that his continuing to breathe was not good for Roman society. I ran into Valyasura# at “Mohini’s Bar and Permit Room”## and he found it funny that the Ram Sene does exactly what he died for and yet calls him an evil agent of the west.”

“So what’s with the pink undergarments?”

“A bunch of brave girls decided that the best way to deal with these jokers is to trivialize their message, or lack of one, with a universal symbol of love and tolerance, a pink chaddi”

“Nice. Hey Paati. Give me some ideas on what V-day gift to buy Hidimba?”

“Make her an origami rose, write a poem, set it to song and make her a hand-drawn greeting card”


* The song he had chosen for the musical card was Galle along the Watchtower, part of his seminal “Electric Sitaland” album

** Asuraland uses a metric calendar, with 10 days to a week, 10 weeks to a month and 10 months to a year. So 4-2 was the fourth day of second week of the second month

# Asuras normally live up to 2000 years. After that quota is over, they transfer their image (in .iso format) to a supercomputer before they die. The Asura governing council once in a while resurrects famous asuras when their presence and knowledge is required in Asura land. When St Valentine was martyred in Human land, he was recreated from his image in Asura land.

## The name is an Asura attempt at dark humour. Mohini was the one who deprived the asuras of ambrosia at the Big Churning

Later in February

“Paati. I have an exam coming up. Any tips”

“Ah Tests. There are three kinds of questions in this world

  • Subjective questions like –
    • Is Slumdog an Indian movie?
    • Does Slumdog depict a stereotyped image of poverty in India?
    • Why Slumdog, and not Slumcat, Slumplatypus or Slumboa?
    • Why are dogs associated with slums?
    • Were they consulted?
    • Was this really Rahman’s greatest work?
  • Objective questions like –
    • How many journalists who called Slumdog an imperialist caricature of Indian poverty called it an “Indian victory” when Rahman and Resul picked up 3 “uncles”.
    • How many Twitter, GTalk and Facebook statuses read “Jai Ho” when the results were announced?
  • Tests of Time – In the immortal words of Puppy Manohar, a test of time is where one is given a fixed amount of marks in which to score a maximum amount of time.

Last day of February

“Paati. The school has given me an assignment to watch James Burke’s connections and come up with a similarly styled series of connections starting from Slumdog and ending with Slumdog.”

“Easy. Slumdog millionaire didn’t get very positive reactions from the Indian blogosphere. Blog – an online diary or journal, kinds include video blog, photo blog, microblog and mp3 blog. MP3 compression, that revolutionized music file sharing. File sharing, especially peer 2 peer, which gave the media industry such trouble, as files traversed the social network. Facebook, the social network that is often firewalled at work. The Great Firewall of China, which censors the internet, blocking free speech. The Free and open source software movement, that has produced Linux and Firefox. Browsers, of which Firefox prevents spam better than IE. Spam, that came from a Monty Python skit. Monty Python, who made “Holy Grail”, funded by among others, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd, whose seminal album was “The Wall”. The Hole in the Wall, a project by Dr Sugata Mitra that showed how slum children can learn to use the computer without any formal training. Vikas Swarup, who was inspired by the hole in the wall project wrote Q&A about a kid from a slum making it big on a TV contest show. Q&A which became Slumdog Millionaire.”

“Paati. The next time you do something like this, please hand me a telescope before you do so”


“You’ve gone where Janakaraaj has gone. Engyoooooo