Chapter 1 - Fading Autumn

The sun was beating down an hour ago, but clearly it changed its mind, as it decided to beat a hasty retreat. Of course, there was not much to complain; it had decided to streak the skies with the colors of its flames that it was showering till then. Brilliant oranges, vivid violets and fiery reds just spread across the sky like a rash, complimenting in part the fading greens and deepening browns of the autumn hills. Right of a painting, one would say standing there, taken aback by the sheer brilliance of something as ordinary as a sunset. Of course, it is a matter of great deliberation as to whether a sunset is ever ordinary. However, what was certain was that this sunset was not ordinary at all. Nek Chand was standing outside the house, staring at the sun. He had come out to pick up those jars of pickles that he had kept out in the sun for preparation. Making these pickles was an old tradition in the family that his wife, like many other women before, had carried on till her last da

Punjab's State Elections - Bankruptcy of Ideas?

The Faces Lack Any Ideas (Courtesy Punjab News Express) It is a pity to see the level of discourse taking place in Punjab, a state still trying to emerge from the wreckage of militancy over three decades after 1984. While addressing the just concerns and the still pending problems of the Sikhs in Punjab while addressing reconciliation is a necessity, it is a pity that the agenda in Punjab of all parties either hinges around swapping corruption charges or boastful claims of dragging X and Y to jail by their ears. The drug addiction problem of Punjab is not a unique isolated phenomenon as is made out by certain sections of the press - one only look at the pubs of Delhi or the alleys of Shillong to realize the national epidemic it has become. However, all political parties are complicit in their behavior by commission and omission for letting this problem grow not just in the state but across the nation. In the midst of all the hoopla surrounding 2017 state elections, there are str


Overcast skies with a wet afternoon in store are the perfect foil to any good ideas it seems. As I kept waiting at the cafe, hoping for ____ to turn up, the depressing weather drew my attention towards it. Dark skies have this unique ability to draw your attention towards them more than anything else. Even in a market as busy as this, where the noise of the clanging metalware collides with the honking of vehicles packed like cattle on to a street, you cannot help but ignore it all, and continue staring into this bland emptiness. You see some odd people running around for cover, totally unhappy with all the water like a grumpy cat. And yet, they do not interest you more than a cup of steaming tea, while distancing yourself physically by a glass wall, and emotionally with a care-not attitude from the churning outside. "Can I join you?" I heard a voice, from behind me, and I turned around to see a somewhat young-ish girl staring at me earnestly. Nothing special

Why the GST Will Have Only A Marginal Effect On the Indian Economy - Yet It Is Important

Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha on an earlier occasion (Courtesy: The Hindu) The doors to this temple of the tax gods have been finally opened, and a new deity by the name of Goods and Service Tax (GST) is being prepared for installation with the Prana Pratishtha currently being undertaken in the Parliament's Upper House. While there are points being extolled in its favor, and state parties and regional leaders voicing concerns of revenue loss to their state administrative budgets, there is a near unanimous consensus on the bill being made a reality. The country is being unified into one market in terms of the indirect tax net. Even across the various cabals and lobbies the unanimous chants of 'this is a landmark reform' are gaining strength. Even as we scour the layers of discussions and platitudes piling up across various fora, the benefits are being overstated. Yes, there is a need for a simpler taxation structure, and yes, free movement of goods and services sho

Why Mayawati is Wrong and What the Latest Episode Tells us About Presstitutes of India

(Courtest: DNA) Dayashankar Singh's abhorrent comment on Mayawati, a self made woman leader and supremo of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Uttar Pradesh, is nothing but worth condemnation. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has rightfully suspended the leader for good , and it is good to learn that FIRs have been registered against him. That there is such sexism present in the politics is something that should be worrying to all of us. However, the way Mayawati tried to rake political mileage out of the issue through her show of strength in Uttar Pradesh and pockets of strength in North India was shameless to say the least. Sample some of the statements that have been stated in response: 1. 'I am like a goddess to them' - golden words of humility spoken by no less than Mayawati herself. 2. 'Dayashankar's family women are what they called Behenji - prostitutes' - an over eager (probably ticket seeking) loyalist Usha Chaudhary 3. 'Whoever gets Day