neelwrites/neelism/08/02/2018

YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW – so says the Bible.

But I guess the biological father who raped his daughter believed in the dictum- YOU RAPE WHAT YOU SOW.
#NEELISM

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neelwrites/newspapers/essay/710words/26/01/2018

OH LORD! GIVE ME MY DAILY NEWS, OR 

WHY NEWSPAPERS WILL NEVER GO OUT OF FASHION  

Image result for NEWSPAPERS
By Neel Anil Panciker

A recent nationwide survey conducted among 25,000 students between the ages of 12 and 20 threw up certain revelatory statistics.

A staggering 82 percent of them were unable to answer all the 20 questions that were put to them. Only three percent of the interviewed received a centum; answered all the two score questions correctly. Worse, 48 per cent of the children failed to answer even one question correctly.

And pray, what were these questions like? Well, as simple as ‘Who is the President of India? What is our National Anthem? What is the full form of UIDAI?

A pithy aside to all this is that over 77 per cent of the interviewed had at least three social media accounts and logged on to one or the other of them for at least two hours every single day.

One would like to believe that the knowledge level of these tech savvy children, exposed as they were to such a dizzying array of mind boggling media platforms would be very high.

Alas! that is sadly not the case.

Which brings me to my contention, which is that despite living in this fast paced technologically advanced age when every single thing that we want and need is available at the click of a mouse, our children are intellectually stagnating and not growing. Their understanding and knowledge levels are at best rudimentary, superficial. They have become the unwitting victims of a huge business enterprise  that believes in serving low quality, half baked, at times absolutely untrue news and information__all served in the garb of ‘insta’ hot news, breaking news et al.

‘Breaking news’, I fear, is just that__broken.

Instead, what we need is wholesome, holistic, well researched information that is unbiased and doesn’t slip through our doorways as advertorials and self serving

Promotional material.

And who best to fulfill this other than the tried and tested, our centuries old daily intellectually cuppa__ the newspaper. It is the not the paper that is of relevance here but the news that comes embedded in it.

News, in a newspaper, doesn’t just break unlike in Twitter, Facebook and all other ubiquitous newsfeeds platforms that are dime a dozen in the worldwide internet space. The ‘news’ in the paper, is real, actual, and meaningful and is broken down into its identifiable parts, its every single component, analysed threadbare, the ramifications thoroughly researched and made intelligible sense of.

And to top it all, simply have a look at the kaleidoscopic array of options that are available in the hands of a discerning readers.

Open any reputable national newspaper and you will find there is everything of something for every single one of us cutting across age, gender, social, ideological  and intellectual spectrums __all systematically arranged and segregated into neat symmetrical columns that are easy on the eye as well as easily identifiable.

Block headed into standalone pages such as CITY, NATION, INTERNATIONAL, OPEN ED, BUSINESS, LEISURE, SPORTS et al_, none, not even the most hardcore online news junkie can undermine the quintessential supremacy of newspapers over all other Johnny come lately ‘news’ sources that pop out of tablets , mobile phones and laptops__ all high sensationalism but rock bottom when it comes to content doing nothing but merely feeding into our inner depravities and innate voyeurisms rather than satisfying our intellectual curiosities.

On the other hand a good newspaper functions as a mid-path, quite removed from the puerility of ‘insta’ news and a mere arms stretch away from the great books that lie awaiting us in bookshelves to be picked up and read in depth.

To all those naysayers who aver that newspapers are an endangered species soon to be as dead as the dodo, to them I say that’s time they woke up and smelled the coffee__ with the feel of crispy newspaper pages in their hands.

For, such is the paradoxical nature of life that the more the internet grows and serves us ‘breaking news’ the more we will gravitate towards newspapers because unlike the former the latter doesn’t take recourse to short cuts merely to capture more and more eyeballs at the cost of ‘news’ that questions, probes, analyses in complete depth, not just for the moment but for the days and weeks that follow.

©neelanilpanicker2018 #newspapers

neelwrites/x-mas/non-fiction/25/12/2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS 

BY NEEL ANIL PANICKER

The merry season is upon us. Yes, you guessed it right__ Today is Christmas.

Unfortunately the yuletide spirit has slightly soured, marred as it were by the loathsome activities of a few lumpen elements, at best grossly misguided, at worst mere thugs and criminals, masquerading as self appointed and self anointed torch bearers of Hinduism.

Image result for christmas violence in india?

How else could you justify the umpteen attacks on Minorities especially Christians in the past few weeks?

Here, chew on this:

A group of Catholic seminarians and priests were attacked, forced to abandon what they were doing, which is but singing carols in Satna, in Madhya Pradesh, the heartland of India.

Worse, their car was set on fire, cases slapped against them for “hurting religious sentiments”, FIRs lodged booking them under the stringent Anti-Conversion Law.

In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the Hindu Jagran Manch has let out a not so veiled warning to all Christian-run schools of Aligarh not to celebrate Christmas.

And the icing on the cake: A serving Chief Minister’s wife  is castigated and viciously trolled on social media. Her crime: she suported a Christmas-themed charity event.

 She should have known better. For wasn’t it our very own recently re-crowned ‘omnipotent’ PM Modi who had so grandly announced in 2014 that December 25 would henceforth be celebrated as ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE DAY.’

So friends, here I am, painting the town red celebrating Christmas  for who knows for all we know there could be no Christmas to celebrate next year onwards.

That’s what good governance is all about, right Mr Modi?

Merry Christmas to all, and especially to those who see singing carols as a precursor to forced conversions.

(c)neelanilpanicker2017 #X-mas #non-fiction

 

neelwrites/pest/thegreatindianbanparty/sundayphotofictioneer/20/11/2017

Hosted by  Sunday Fiction  at https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/sunday-photo-fiction-19-november-2017/

GREAT INDIAN BAN PARTY-

Playing at a theatre near you

17 Anonymous 19 November 2017

By Neel Anil Panicker

A ghoonghtaless brave Rajput princess bedecked in mesmerizing regal wear, prancing around in her own magnificent gold bedecked palace courtyard, dancing her heart out in gay abandon, her swirling lehanga swishing wildly in huge concentric circles while her dainty hennaed hands rise up to the skies above, her beautiful kohl-lined eyes sparkling with divine love, her lips a prayer, ever seeking blessings for the earthlings below.

Deepika-Padukone Ghoomar-song_1

Or, a near desperate woman forced to step out of her home in search of her ‘missing’ husband, overnight losing her moniker Goddess Durga; instead finding herself metamorphosed into a mere object of man’s lascivious predatory instincts.

Still another, bogged down by the vicissitudes of fate, compelled by the dire need to keep body and soul together, sheds her clothes under the harsh glare of arc lights, only to rejoin her starving family of five including a paralytic father and three mother-less younger siblings, their hollowed eyes hooked onto to the bread crumbs that she clutches in her hands, her paltry wages of the day.

Disturbing, uneasy, uncomfortable… is that what these images evoke in us?

Yes, and that’s because it’s we, the male of the human species, who decide the status of women in this world. It’s we who decide whether women are to be revered or reviled.

For us, especially, the men of India, women are a binary.

It’s easy slotting them. They are either good or bad, the compartmentalization arrived at from the periscope of our ever vigilant male eyes.

We decide who is to be worshipped and who is to be crucified; we decide who is to be hailed as a princess and a goddess, and who is to be hauled to be coals and branded a witch, a siren, or a slot. It is we and we alone that decides who is a good woman and who is a bad one.

And woe betide anyone who dares to defy us, challenge us, question our unquestionable hegemony over all such matters.

We vow to throttle all such voices; swear to ban, burn and bust them, crush them to pulp__all ye ‘uncultural voices’.

Such pests must best be put to rest.

Long live the Indian male, long live India, the India of our dreams, the India of our vision, the India of only our vision.

©NEELANILPANCIKER2017 #358WORDS #PADMAVATI #BAN #THEMOVIE #RAJPUTKARNISENA #SATIRE

 

 

Note: I have slightly deviated and written a longre non-fictional piece as i felt this is a story that needed to be told in the present context that is playing out in India. Hope you shall forgive me for this rather off beat, long piece.

neelwrites/fiction/shortstory/words/

 

Image result for STARVATION DEATHS, INDIA

BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS

By Neel Anil Panicker

Makhan Lal offers one last look at the arid expanse before him.

All his weary eyes can spot are acres upon acres of barren fields.

Sweat-lathered tears stream down his heavily lined visage and die slow deaths on his bare-chested, all boned torso.

This year’s been particularly harsh: no rainfall, no crop, no food, and two deaths_ his brother and his

his grandson, all of two weeks.

His weather beaten sixty-five year old self can take no longer.

The decision’s made: migration; to the city, to any place that will get his family of seven two meals a day.

©neelanilpanicker2017 # fiction # shortstory #99 words

February 23: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written for

February 23: Flash Fiction Challenge

February 23, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a migration story. It can imagine the dusty or arctic trails of the frontiers past or look to the travel across the galaxy. What issue about modern migration bans might influence an artistic expression in a flash? Migrate where the prompt leads you.

neelwrites/happynewyear/istpostof2017/01/01/2017

WHY I HATE ‘A HAPPY NEW YEAR’

By Neel Anil Panicker

I hate New Year greetings. I mean I REALLY HATE new year greetings. It has been a slow build up over the years but when I see people still going around wishing all and sundry A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR it gets my goat.

But then that’s because I can see through the elaborate façade, the eye popping charade, the sheer falsity and thereby, futility of the whole damn exercise.

And I can spot these new age peddlers of New Year greetings from beyond a mile. There they come, their arms flapping and eyes popping and teeth flashing, having zeroed in on a poor hapless soul (read victim) from afar. Like a beautifully choreographed Shiamak Davar dance sequence, they make their slow, sinuous and dare I say, sensuous move across to you, waving an arm here and a leg there, their every single nerve and muscle and sinew stretched to a taught as they waltz upto to you and sing and ring in  A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR deep down into your stupefied ears.

OMG! If there was a law against such gross ramming down of impermissible decibel levels down one’s orifices, I am pretty sure half of humanity would be behind bars.

Take me for instance. The new year has happened and it’s a good 36 hours since the fortuitous event  made its foray into the world but all through the day and night all manner of people, a few known and a zillion unknown, are still handing out New Year greetings to me in a single monotonous scream and quite a few even live streaming their New Year pleasantries. And mind you, all of this comes in a tearing hurry that makes me suspect if the world is suddenly running out of stock of such stock phrases or in the alternative, they are soon going to get as extinct as the dodo.

So, all my dear friends and relatives, near and far, as well as people who I may know or not, I heard you once and I heard you twice but trust me it takes my goat if you sing it thrice__guess what!  A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

©neelanilpanicker2017

neelwrites/fiction/examinatiions/CAT/08/12/2016

When someone let the CAT out of the bag
By Neel Anil Panicker
Examinations are a load or a breeze. That’s depending on which side of the academic scale you tilt.
For a serious student of life such as yours truly, it means a welcome release after months of burning the proverbial midnight oil, lying awake through days and nights coding, uncoding, and then decoding a near endless array of bewildering permutations and combinations, hoping to get bat through as many of the trickier than tricky bouncers (read questions!) that the head honchos that govern the test aim to throw at you at speeds that would put to shame the fastest of bowlers of world cricket.
And so it was the other day when I found myself inching into a rather expansive second floor examination hall located quite ironically in a mid-sized mall in a godforsaken back of beyond location some 50 kilometres away from sweet home.
The jostling continued but this time the shoulders gave way for cubicles as I found myself staring at a computer screen that steadfastly refused to wink back at me.
Humour was not its forte, I guessed.
I craned my neck left and right and saw only eyes, all eager and expectant. The future of the country, smilingly ready to put their collective heads on the chopping block.
And then the screen sprang to life, whispering start.
The race had begun and the Usain Bolts of the world began to run.
Thereafter, it was non-stop bombardment as question after question popped out of the funny looking screen made even smaller by the enclosed lines within which played out the jumbled, contorted and even twisted world of sweat inducing near unsolvable questions.
Finally, after a tortuous (and might I add torturous) three hour ordeal that I would wish the best of my enemies), the ordeal ended as I bid goodbye to the last of the questions.
The reverse troop down started and I joined the teeming mass of IIM aspirants on the outside, their facial expressions and bodily contractions and contortions conveying the entire gamut of human emotions ranging from the downright crestfallen to the supremely elated.
I looked around just in time to find my friend Harish, ambling towards me, his face squeezed in like a three-day-old mashed potato.
“Guess what, the paper has been leaked”
The words hit me like a ten tonne brick.
I blinked and stared into his face__ a sorry mash of fallen hopes. The mock test all India topper was understandably crestfallen.
A whirlpool of myriad images began to badger my mind.
Sheer darkness enveloped all over me.
The collateral damage to my CAT preparations over the past eight months had been immense.
A quick mental calculation brought out the losses:
Total man hours spent studying: 1800 (averaged over the past one year)
Girl friends left: Fifteen (Eight at the preparatory stages, two at base camp, seven at second stage, and three at the summit__well, almost)
Parties missed: twelve (including five outstation trips, with one to that land of utopia, Goa)
A flurry of noises brought me back to terra firma.
“Aree, bach gaye yaar”, shouted out a bunch of students.
They seem to have just managed to survive . Tomorrow is just another day.
I let out a smile.
Hopefully, next time around, they will be better prepared.
And, hopefully, there will be no more leaks.
As for me, I am going for a leak, right now.

(A first person account of an IIM aspirant)
(c)neelanilpanicker2016#fiction