Bailouts

I’m not a big fan of these bailouts that are happening left right and centre across the world these days. This request from our very own King of Good Times takes it to the next level:

“Air India is government owned but it is the taxpayer’s money. In our case it is the shareholder’s money; the shareholders are citizens of our country. If Air India deserves help in opinion of the government, why not private airlines,” Mallya told CNN-IBN on Wednesday, the day his company announced its quarterly loss has increased and it may delay salaries.”

Some logic this is huh? First you start fare wars to capture market share and charge bizzarely low fares that are in no way sustainable, then you make losses and run to the government for a bailout. And you claim that shareholders are citizens of the country. I’m really impressed with your sense of humour Dr Mallya.

Fasten your seat belts

Yesterday was a very interesting day. A day on which two people in the family were on international flights – my uncle was leaving for a short holiday and KT’s brother came down for his break.

Nothing unusual or interesting there you say? Yeah for the regular family. In our parts while foreign travel has lost its charm (in the sense that we don’t have uncles and aunties and grandpas and grannies queuing up at airports with garlands and bouquets either to receive or send off people, but we’re not chilled out enough to just let the traveler be.

At this stage I will make two small disclosures, the uncle is hard of hearing, but he is incredibly smart and he has all his life demonstrated that he is very independent and can find his way around. He has travelled overseas once before but it for a conference when he was with a group of people from work. The brother in law is one of those genius types (yeah when he wins the Nobel Prize, you can all claim you know me!) and can be a little lost at times (you could be in the same room and shout out his name and not have him react – though I suspect he does this only when he is trying to avoid doing what you are asking him to do and worse he does math problems for fun), but then again he has done this trans altantic journey several times now with no problems whatsoever. And he is the baby of the family.

The Uncle Diaries

Now the travel date was fixed taking into account auspicious dates, avoiding the solar eclipse, the tsunami and a whole host of unfavourable events, this meant that there was just one day in the whole week that he could travel. I offered to book the ticket and I did so on the date I was told. Turns out that there was a miscommunication between my grandma and my uncle and while she meant that the “good day” was the night of 23rd of July, he ended up telling me that it was wee hours of the morning. So all that careful date deciding went out of the window. The second confusion presented itself when the airline decided to combine a few flights and change the flight timing. The new flight number was no where to be found online, so conspiracy theories came fast – it was a hoax call, there was overbooking so they’re trying to bump us off by giving misleading information, no one is travelling on the terrible day of the solar eclipse etc. It took a couple of calls to some incredibly stupid call centre agents (I even put on a mallu accent because I was pretty sure that I was routed to the same agent twice for me to convince the family that there was no conspiracy involved.

There was then plenty of lecturing on the process (by erm the much travelled me – veteran of three and a half trips abroad). First get boarding pass – clear customs – clear security – well you get the drift. Mild confusion ensued between Step 1 – get boarding pass and Step 4 – board the flight and intense worry broke out on whether he would miss the boarding call as he wouldn’t be able to hear the announcement. KT did helpfully point out that the way announcements are made, even people with normal hearing faculties can’t quite understand them, but no avail, so the decision was made that my mother would hang around till the airport till the boarding call was given and send him an sms asking him to board the flight. The Madras airport is hardly like a Heathrow and it’s a little difficult to get lost in the slightly larger than 10000 sq feet departure terminal! And then came the big question, hold your breath: To declare or not to declare his diamond ring at the Customs. By this time I had no patience left to answer anything and I just guffawed. My mother indignantly retorted saying she didn’t want him to go to jail like Sheetal Mafatlal! To which I just guffawed louder and she hung up on me.

The ending was largely anticlimactic and the airline staff offered to accompany him to through the processes and I know he could have managed just fine without help even.

To be continued: The Brother In Law Diaries

Queer. Or not.

Disclaimer 1:

Ever since Praveen left this link on one of my posts, I’ve been disturbed, itching to leave a comment or write a post. I have to admit I have been dithering; I’ve never really done this before – taking on an argument on the blog. I decided to write about it anyway because I do feel that I may make a difference, however small in removing misconceptions. I have absolutely nothing against the author of this post never having come across him before and there is nothing personal in here, I’ve tried to stick as far as possible to the facts and what I feel about them.

Disclaimer 2:

As will be obvious from my post, I’m far from being homophobic. However I may use language such as different / not normal – and these are in no way to be construed as being homophobic.

Disclosure

I am straight and I am married to the only boyfriend I ever had.

And now that that is done with, please do read the post for mine to make sense. Close on the heels Sec 377 being declared unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court, suddenly a lot more people are talking about homosexuals in India, there is a higher level of debate, more open bigotry, more morality and religion argument all over the place.

This post begins well enough, with no signs of judging anybody.

“Everyone in this world has the right to live the way he or she wants to. And there needs to be favourable public opinion and suitable laws to help them do so. Even though the mindset is beginning to change in India, a lot of us still consider members of the sexual minority as objects of either sympathy or ridicule. All they want is acceptance — that we accept them the way they are — but we are being tight-fisted about that.”

Great, same page so far.

“But I have a problem. Which is sort of technical, or perhaps ethical, in nature. I can understand lesbians and gays and transgenders being classified as sexual minorities. But bisexuals? From what I understand, a bisexual is someone who is sexually attracted to and can have sex with a male as well as a female. In other words, a bisexual is someone who can have the best of both worlds. Does that make him a minority? If anything, he is a majority-majority. He is like the native of a feudal village where he enjoys the status and privileges of being a member of the upper caste and then comes to the city to get a job under the quota meant for scheduled and backward castes.”

Ok here’s where I have a problem too. Firstly when we talk about rights to sexual minorities (let’s come to the definition later), here’s what comes to my mind:

– The right to have a same-sex relationship

– The right to marry someone of the same sex

– The right to have a child – biologically or otherwise

– The right to not be discriminated against by society / by law enforcement authorities

No one is asking for 99% reservation for homosexuals in the IITs of 59% reservation in Parliament or any kind of benefits that might put another section of society to a disadvantage. Giving a homosexual any of the rights I have mentioned does not hurt another in any way.

I suppose the author of the post has no issues with a gay or lesbian person, but with a bisexual – saying they have best of both worlds and calling them “majority-majority”. Alright here’s the thing, here’s why they’re still a minority. Let’s take an example of a bisexual girl A. So she has the entire male population to choose from and a minority of the female population. If it so happens that she falls in love with a man and chooses to spend the rest of her life with him, it is convenient and happy for all. However if she does make the disclosure that she’s bisexual to the man concerned is he going to be comfortable with that. So here’s roadblock number 1 being faced. Then the more obvious issue, what if she falls in love with a woman? Roadblock number 2 is that that woman is straight and hence there is no future. Roadblock number 3 is where she does fall in love with a lesbian, it takes us back to square 1 that there are so many legal hassles and discrimination.

The thing is that being bisexual does not mean being promiscuous (which is not illegal in any case). And it does not mean having a different partner each night, conveniently swapping sexes each day.

“This is not to say one cannot be a bisexual. I am not even making a judgment if it is wrong to be one. If nature has made them that way, who are we to sit on judgment. All I am saying is, why accord a special status to them, as if they are victimised? If at all, it is people who often fall victims to them — directly or indirectly.”

Yeah we have no right to judge anyone, point taken. However what is this “special status”? I don’t see any special status being awarded to anyone! And why are we talking of being victimized. There can be no victims where consensual sex is involved. And any thing other than consensual sex is a crime, whether we’re talking of man raping woman, man raping man, woman raping man, woman raping woman, whatever is the permutation it’s a crime and cannot be condoned. So its black or white as regards victims, no shades of grey whatsoever.

“A woman would rather discover that her husband slept with her woman friend than find out that he is also sleeping with his male colleague.”

Ok I haven’t conducted research on this subject – but I personally do not agree with this statement. Infidelity is infidelity, and dealing with it is a very personal thing and can hardly be generalized.

“Our history as well as contemporary society is also replete with cases when men, drunk on their sexual prowess, have not only raped their wives but also sodomised young, soft-looking males at the first given chance. Would you plead for the sexual rights of such men? And if yes, then plead for what — that they continue having the best of both worlds?”

As I have said, rape and sodomy are entirely separate issues with crime written all over them. No one is talking of rights to them at all. Even the recent ruling has exempted sodomy and having sex with children. So that is not a problem at all.

“I know this is the age of political correctness and consensus, but there should be a limit. I mean, if you are having sex with your wife or girlfriend and at the same time getting a blowjob from your male servant, be my guest. I have no issues. But please don’t claim to be a sexual minority and join the gay pride march. Stay home and have your fun.”

Again please let us not confuse legal rights with morality. The fact is a straight person has the right to screw around with a hundred people if he / she chooses to do so. Not so for a gay person. That is the distinction we need to make and not get into whether it is morally correct or not.

“Wait a minute, let me throw the garb of political correctness into the bin. It is too painful and constricting to write under its weight. Ok, the thing is, nature is supreme. You can afford to fuck around with it, but not too much. Nature made Adam and Eve, and not Adam and Steve. But doesn’t matter if Adam and Steve get cosy and do a few things which, according to nature, only Adam and Eve are supposed to do. It begins to matter only when Adam and Steve start bearing and raising kids.

It is Eve’s job to bear kids, and when Steve seeks to replace her, catastrophe is not too far away. I have no issues Steve getting pregnant, but that amounts to screwing Mother Nature. You will have hell to pay for, just as we are paying for Global Warming. In a few decades from now, a paradise like Maldives won’t even exist — just because we took Mother Nature for granted.”

Isnt this kind of contradictory with the let’s not judge stance taken earlier? And as far as my knowledge goes, medical science has not advanced to the extent of Steve becoming pregnant. And even if that day comes, how many Steves are we talking about anyway, for it to become the cause for the extinction of the human race or other catastrophic event? Not particularly comparable with global warming.

“Also, why are those who are into animals been excluded from the group of sexual minorities? After all, walls of Khajuraho temple depict bestiality as well and it is not uncommon to hear funny anecdotes about a man mounting a cow or a donkey or a horse. There are porn films that show animals returning the favour to women.

I think I know why no one is fighting for the rights of those who have sex with animals. Since this is the age of political correctness, consensus is very very important when it comes to sexual intercourse. And there is no way of telling if the donkey or the horse had been consenting.”

Frankly I’ve never really given bestiality a thought, and as the author points out, there is no consensus involved really. And to put matters in perspective, fact is we have the right to kill and eat animals….

Maybe we should stop and think about what does go through a homosexual’s mind. The process of self discovery, of coming out to family, of having limited choice of partners (finding love is tough enough!), facing discrimination from self righteous people. If homosexuality was a state of mind or a whim, no one in their right minds will put themselves through all the trouble.

The bottom line is this: We live in a secular country, supposedly free from the dictats of religion. Our laws are not designed to protect the moral fibre of the society and who is to say what level of morality the country is to operate at? My mother’s morality looks down upon having more than one relationship itself. Clearly that sense of morality cannot be allowed to dictate the average Joe on the street? So when the average Joe on the street feels that homosexuality is immoral, that cannot be the law for the erm average Steve. The argument as to whether homosexuality is a matter of choice or whether it’s in a person’s genes is also irrelevant. So what if it’s a matter of choice?

Years ago women had very few rights, Dalits were deemed “untouchable”…time has brought about change. How much longer do homosexuals have to wait?

Dear random person on Linked In

There is a good reason why my Orkut account is dead and inactive.

There is a good reason why I did not create a Facebook account.

There is a good reason I only have a Linked In account.

Linked In is not a place to send friendship (even if it’s spelt the right way) requests. At least say you want to network professionally (though going through your profile, there’s absolutely nothing in common between us. I do not want any “friendships to bring us together”. Thank you and bye

Conversations around the house

KT is off on a work related trip and I have promptly parked myself at my parents’ place, looking forward to a nice lazy time.

I wake up at 6 45 am to find the lunch cooked, boxes packed and the breakfast being readied. A cup of steaming hot coffee finds its way to me and I read the paper peacefully.

(Things I’d have been doing at my place, same time simultaneously:  Keeping an eye on the boiling milk, chopping veggies, screaming at KT to wake up, eyeing the ticking clock and thanking my stars that we don’t have a kid)

I tell amma that I have a headache and a second cup of coffee finds its way to me. She gives me a couple of things to do, drying a shirt, hunting for her watch, putting the packed lunch boxes into the bags, turning out a light in the bathroom..

As she leaves I ask her if she’s had her calcium supplement and of course she hasnt..because there’s no time and she’s running late as she has to reach the work place by 7 45 am. So I fetch the tablet and a glass of water and hand it to her as she runs out of the door.

I wave out to her as she suddenly stops in her tracks. She smiles and says “I feel like a princess”

I watch her face for the sarcasm. There was none.

And some more great news!

Guess who is coming out of his hibernation. Vikram Seth is writing a sequel to A Suitable Boy. And guess what its called, A Suitable Girl. Even for a die hard fan like him I have to confess that I’m a little ambivalent on whether a sequel would work. He’s said that Lata the protagonist of the epic novel, is looking out for a suitable girl for her grandson. I’d much rather have seen a brand new subject but well, I’m not complaining too much! And in true Seth style this one comes out in 2013! I’d be 30 then!! Dammit! Now I’m not so sure I want 2013 to hurry up!

 The good news however is this: ” In the intervening years, Penguin will also publish a new volume of Vikram Seth’s poems and a new book of essays.” So there is some Seth fodder for the remaining years of my twenties!

Baby steps?

This was some great news that filtered in today. Finally there is sign that we are moving away from ages old regressive and unequal laws.

But here’s my doubt. Any lawyers or people on the know reading, please do throw some light.

Isnt a ruling in a High Court binding only in the state? Isnt it incorrect to say gay sex is legal in India just yet? Isnt there some way to go before this is made applicable all over India? And one more thing is how do you get it to apply all over India, file the same case (Was it a PIL?) in the Supreme Court? Or if the government goes on appeal in the Supreme Court and loses, then will it automatically apply?

Whatever it is, brilliant stuff Delhi High Court!

Edited to add:

Here’s an explanation to my question I posted on Gaysifamily from Jane Doe:

“Generally, the judgement of a HC is binding in absence of a SC judgement on the same topic or the judgement of another HC. A SC judgement is law while in the presence of conflicting lower court judgement, it would depend on the merits of the individual case. The judgement of the Delhi HC stands good for the entire country, unless and until the matter is raised before a different HC, wherein it is of immense pursuasive value. Currently being the only case on the issue, it stands.

Also the judgement stands, until the legislature amends the law. Also, the matter was referred back to the Delhi HC by the SC which disapproved of the HC’s dealing of the case on grounds that the petitioner was not an affected party & such matters on ‘academic grounds’ cannot be entertained. An appeal must lie to the SC, and the result of such judgement shall be binding on all courts in the country.”