Monday, September 9, 2019

65. Warning of the brief kind

Brief encounter
Sultry weather made me realize that soaking dress in sweat alone should suffice, why either of the hapless inner wears  face the same ordeal. It occurred to me later that I was being water wise, letting one apparel less into the washing machine. Sharing my newfound wisdom with friends revealed that there were handful of others who were unknowingly been water wise for quite a while. Why didn't they share such an eco-friendly practice with others? Not worth publicity, they argue, yeh andar ki baat hai! 

Being optimistic about transforming our water future, I sat down to estimate its cumulative impact should a sizeable population were to join 'shun the inner wear movement'. I was warned against making suggestions on how must people treat themselves in their privacy. There are numerous other ways of being water wise, should people care to make a difference! Why would men take it serious when women haven't been kind to the burn-the-bra movement of the 1960s? But I suspect men are differently wired! 

In the comfort of my predilection, should I care what others may say about me being one apparel short on my daily wear? Come to think of it, how will anyone ever get to know this, and why should it matter to anyone at the end? In a country that has more have-nots than haves, life is surely more about getting two square meals a day than bother about those two pieces of inner wear which are anything but a reflection on peoples' discretionary spending.

I thought I had rested my case, little realizing that my inner wear preference has far reaching implications beyond the confines of my wardrobe. I might have shun a piece of inner wear out of choice but there are large number of fellow countrymen who are doing so out of compulsion, for not being able to spend on it. So what? The fact of the matter is that their inability to buy inner wears has pushed currently estimated Rs 27,931 crore Indian inner wear market on a downward spiral, casting a dark shadow on the overall state of the economy. 

How a slowdown of briefs can put brakes to an economy? All I have learnt is that back in 1970 US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan had conceived the so-called 'men's underwear index', its upswing reflected economic growth whereas a decline in the sale of men’s inner wear proved the opposite. The Greenspan's logic seems simple. If men hold back from making new purchases on essential items like inner wear, the disposable incomes must have shrunk significantly.   

That indeed has been the case as the sale of top inner wear brands has declined drastically, with a brief warning announced on falling stock prices. Shrinking disposable incomes as an aftermath of demonetization and economic slowdown is glaring. The men's inner wear market that is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 10 per cent over next decade is now in doldrums. What seemed andar ki baat is now out in the open!

With all this, should I not reconsider my decision to hold the economy from sliding any further? At one level, I feel proud to be making a personal contribution to the national economy but at another level I wonder why the onus of reviving the economy rest on what I may or may not wear.  Wonder, why was Greenspan gender-biased in developing such a curious index? Surely, there is some andar ki baat that needs men's serious attention! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

64. Thrill is worth a try, risk it

Avoiding danger is not safer in the long run
It is only recently, after he turned 70, that he sought to do away with the impulsive act he defined as 'thrill', something that seems to have eluded the forthright government official. Having known him from his pre-retirement days, I used to wonder why he would avoid using the 'red beacon' on his official car. It was a facility, he would suggest, that an already privileged officer can easily let go. Interestingly, his office gifted him the red beacon as a parting gift. 

Having found a new toy, he started floundering it on his private car to evade dispensing toll fee at the highways. Visibly elated but equally relieved, the feeling of deja vu lasted quite a few trips on the highway. Why would you do so when you were scared doing it? That is the fun of doing it, he would say. If one isn't scared, something is surely wrong, because the thrill is in itself scary. The day it isn't scary, there won't be any thrill in taking the risk.     

Howsoever thrilling, can such socially frivolous act be justified? Keep your moral prism aside, he stresses, any thrilling act has an intellectual side and is inherently creative. Without an iota of embarrassment, he tells me that hacking, the undesired act of breaking into the systems, was initiated by curious cyber kids who pursued it as an act of intellectual inquiry to draw thrill in the pursuit of knowledge. Little was realized then that one day hacking will be a big business.

Jumping toll comes naturally to us, as we are wired to breaking norms. Some do it, but most avoid risking it. Any act that helps stay clear of social norms or break institutional barriers evokes thrill, resultant adrenaline rush gives an unexpected kick. What is more, the sense of privilege that comes from being skillfully different heightens the right to enjoy oneself. You need to engage in the little things, within limits of civility, that would ordinarily bore you will suddenly thrill you.  

This is where the family during their Bali sojourn got it wrong, forced to unpack all that they had conveniently flicked from their hotel room, because it tantalized itself with hopes of possible fortune. Rest, as they say, has become history. That they had allowed the sense of obsession to get beyond what could have been the thrill of adventure dig them in. All said, the thrill of something new or weird is immensely alluring! One must not avoid getting one's thrill on. 

If there's even a slight chance of getting something that will make you happy, risk it. Author Helen Keller had remarked 'avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure'. With age no bar, life is either a daring adventure or nothing,  

Monday, August 19, 2019

63. Because chuddies are forever

It is a decade since unsuspecting women and men drinking at a bar in Mangalore were at the receiving end of unprovoked violence at the hands of the self-styled moral custodians, the-so-called valiant foot soldiers of the Sri Ram Sena, who had held the group responsible for violating Indian values. During the weeks that followed the outrageous incident, its leader Pramod Muthalik had something altogether different to confront with. Hundreds of pink chuddies (underwear) had literally poured on him from across the country by women protesting vandalism on the Valentine Day.  

As I recall this highly publicized incident of 2009, I wonder what might have the controversial recipient done with the colorful piece of underclothing? Not much is known though about how innumerable pieces of lingerie were finally managed and done with. Were these consigned to the neighborhood garbage dump or disposed at a throw way price with the local merchandiser? Burning the stockpile publicly would have meant adding fuel to the public ire! For once, the chuddy had come out in the open to attain a cult status, a new tool for peaceful protest.      

Thanks to the novel form of protest initiated by courageous bunch of women, Nisha Susan, Mihira Sood, Jasmeen Patheja and Isha Manchanda, the otherwise hidden piece of personal wardrobe was finally out in the public - a potent tool to garner public attention for a cause. A couple of years before the incident, Prince Charles had toasted the entry of the word chuddy into the English lexicon during a public dinner at the Windsor Castle in 2007. However, it took some twelve years before the poor chuddy passed several linguistic tests to find a pride of place in the dictionary.

Acknowledging that not one but several of these had virtually deluged the moral custodians from raising their heads again, chuddies and not chuddy has ceremoniously entered the Oxford dictionary early this year, along with other 650 new words. The popular catchphrase 'kiss my chuddies' by actor-comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar in his BBC sitcom 'Goodness Gracious Me' had come handy in letting the underpants slip through to make the final cut. It is now official, one can ask for chuddies without any hesitation during the next visit to the neighborhood store. 

The evolution of chuddies from a piece of private garment to a tool for public protest is undoubtedly inspiring. That a piece of personal wardrobe can spur a movement for equal rights for women has its place in the history. The women who had triggered the 'burn the bra' movement of the 1960s in the US had done so as a symbol that showed independence of men at that time. Many women thought that it meant freedom to be natural and not pushed up, the ubiquitous piece of underclothing was consigned to freedom trashcans. Marred in anti-feminist controversy, the symbolic act didn't live up to its promise though!  

The chuddies seemed to have arrived on the global scene, it has gained recognition that was long due to it. Come to think of it, chuddies are what underpants are not. It is a symbol of freedom. History is all about symbols, and the symbolic chuddies must be taken as a serious critique of the way women continue to get treated in a man's world. That 'history is but a fable agreed upon' must help the evolving story of chuddies be told and retold. Telling stories is what we humans are good at, and pink chuddies will surely make a good story now, and in future.  

Friday, August 2, 2019

62. The leftovers of cross-border hostility

Despite my wife’s trepidation, I couldn’t resist travelling to support local communities in their post-war rehabilitation, just about the time when the guns were falling silent during the Kargil War. The occasional thunder from the burning ammunition dump that had been targeted by the enemy didn't bother the locals who had been through the worst.    
Some 30,000 people were uprooted from their homes, had lost their animals, and more importantly, the productive three summer months. Having extended unconditional support to the armed forces during those testing months, the locals expected more than what came their way as relief. There were several, like the chaiwallah at Drass, overlooking the imposing battlefield of the infamous Tiger Hills, who had extended their undeterred services under gunfire. 

From the treacherous heights of Batalik to the undulating dry slopes of Mushko valley, I gathered stories of trauma and courage from hundreds of villagers in Chanigund, Drass, Holiyal, Kharboo and Trespone. Village residents dreaded going to their fields as unexploded bombs were suspected to be still scattered around. That such bombs had claimed the lives of two young boys was still fresh in their minds. I spotted a half-buried mortar in an abandoned field in Kharboo. For humans and cattle, the agricultural farms had become the new killing fields.   

In all, some 4,000 families were evacuated from as many as 52 villages, not a small number in a sparsely populated cold-desert region. Noticeable was the resilience of the communities, and their hand-holding. Trespone, a village with 370 households located about 20 km from Kargil, had played host to all families from the border village of Kaksar — the first village to be evacuated. I had made a failed attempt to seek benevolence of the resource-stretched district administration for the households. One from the village, Tahir Hussain, had questioned if seeking compensation for the goodwill extended to their brethren wasn’t unethical! 

It wasn’t easy to convince the administration that as much as the displaced, the hosts too needed to be counted in the relief and rehabilitation package. Much to my surprise, affected households demanded fuelwood and not food as relief. Survival during harsh winter, which was already knocking at their door, could be possible without food, but not without fuelwood to keep the homes warm and liveable.  

War had traumatised a large number of children. Eleven-year-old Mohammad Abuzor was one of the several children who witnessed the unfolding war. Alone at home when the war erupted, he was the first to see bullets hit his grandmother. He had sought help from an Army picket before the entire village of Kaksar was evacuated. Like others, his blank eyes were reflective of a gloomy future. 

As I recall those days, I wonder how might have Abuzor grown as one of those directly affected by the war.

First published in The Tribune, issue dated Aug 3, 2019

Monday, July 22, 2019

61. Jhumka by another name

It is the stuff of legend that products and places pride their identity from. Think of it, the ash gourd sweet candy called petha has given Agra its distinct geographical indication label. Far from discounting the Mughal legacy, I am only accentuating it by bringing the petha in as this sweet originated in the kitchens of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, Synonym to each other, the product extends emotional and cultural bonding to the place. Such intricate is their interrelation that neither can be stripped of the other.  

Come to think of it, not every place may be as popular but rarely is any place without a distinct cultural output of some kind though. We only need to look around. Aamir Khan starrer Piku revived memories of my train travel beyond Lucknow wherein I had first tasted ladoos of a different kind. Named after the non-descript town Sandila, the soft and paler country cousin of the glamorous boondi ladoo has lent an identity to this small town in Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh. But for these ladoos, Sandila would have remained a dot on the map. 

Not much is being done to either identify and establish, or revive and restore such distinct cultural identities of small towns and cities. Either crass commercialization has uprooted geographical indicators from their place of origin or overt homogenization of cities has erased such cultural identities. Take the case of Pratapgarh in Rajasthan. This small town is the birth place of that intricate gold-glass fused jewelry called thewa. Ironically, thewa has gone places but its birth place does not register in popular imagination any bit.  

I am convinced that a little spark of madness on the part of the city administrators can turn things around. There is little doubt that tossing a cultural identity will only do good to the existence of a city. The myth of the dangling earring, the ubiquitous jhumka, lost in the street of Bareilly has remained in popular imagination for over half a century. Thanks to well-known lyricist Raja Mehndi Ali Khan who rhymed Bareilly into his melodious composition jhumka gira re bareilly ke bazaar me for the immensely popular film Mera Saya.

Stories about how bareilly was rhymed into the song abound on the internet, but noticeable is the fact that jhumka has finally caught the imagination of the Bareilly Development Authority in drawing plans to give shape to the city's mythical jhumka identity at its entrance by installing a replica of this piece of jewelry, 12-14 feet in height and 2.43 meter in diameter. Only by preserving the uniqueness of a place, real or imaginary, can the distinct character of cities be restored from overt homogenization.

More than being just 'smart', cities need cultural icons and not concrete structures to bond with its residents. For those bent upon renaming cities/places, there are secular ideas up for grabs! 

Monday, June 10, 2019

60. When being dumb is smart !

Like others of my generation, I offered unsolicited advice to my young niece to be smart enough to shun modern gadgets, as obsession for mobile handset makes one dumber. Far from taking it kindly, she chided me for my naivety and suggested that I better read the Dunning-Kruger effect to stand corrected. Even before I could make any sense of it she quipped nonchalantly ‘why acquire new knowledge when less of it can do the trick’, and moved on with her unfinished task on the mobile.  

I haven’t got the academic credentials to challenge the researcher duo of David Dunning and Justin Kruger at the Cornell University who created such an ‘effect’, but have been intrigued by their conclusion that ‘the dumber you are, the more confident you are that you're not actually dumb'. What’s more, they have identified a human trait that prevents a person from acquiring new knowledge to become smart..   

Although it will take time for the DK effect to sink in, I find living evidences in gadget-zombies roaming all around that being 'smart' may not be the in-thing it used to be in not too distant past! I may not be the only one who seem to have sensed it. Wear your thinking cap or glasses or shirt or whatever, and you will get to feel it - 'smart’ has ceased to be what most of us have grown working towards in our younger days! 'Smart' is no longer a virtue, being 'dumb' adds value to your profile. 

Whether you doubt it or accept it, this change is right upon us. While most parents remain somewhat circumspect, youngsters are undoubtedly in awe of themselves. Loaded with self-belief, and lots of selfie, they go beyond the natural brashness of being young. They are no longer windbags that many had thought of them in the past, they are smart err dumb enough not to carry any baggage of knowledge as much of it is only a click away. 

No wonder, my telling the young lady to be smart was not taken kindly by her. Youngsters like her seem to be telling in no certain terms that smart as a goal of life is anything but passé. They would appreciate parents to be less persuasive on their children to be 'smart'. "If with an average IQ George Bush Jr. could rule the USA and the World for almost a decade, what the fuss about being smart is all about', she questions.  

And, the catch is that letting people think a little less of you is always helpful to get away with some silly stuff without it being counted against you. Smart people are known to make stupid mistakes while the stupid escape getting caught for the same. There are any number of examples to prove the point, perhaps the reason for my niece to press home the idea. She even went to the extent of telling me that humans have lost the evolutionary pressure to be 'smart'.

Having used our intelligence to create artificial intelligence, I doubt if there is much left for humans to get any further. Rightly so, as it is better to be dumb when things around are becoming 'smart' - from smart phones to smart kitchens and from smarts cars to smart cities. Let everything else be 'smart' but for us. Amen!  

First published in The Tribune, issue dated July 2, 2019

Friday, May 10, 2019

59. Paradox is in plenty

Paradox: You see what you don't
Many strange situations have confirmed that life is indeed a paradox, rather a bundle of paradoxes. Like most of you, there was often little on offer when I pushed myself hard but was stunned with the unexpected when I didn't, all through my life. For me, it isn't providence but in-built contradictions within a given case or a situation. Else, who would have thought that we would feel increasing isolation despite being best connected than ever before. 

I have come to the conclusion that the more we seem to understand the more we are left to comprehend, as life foxes us with more questions. Paradox reigns supreme! Therefore, it is said that people make decisions based not on what they actually want to do but on what they think that other people want to do, with the result that everybody decides to do something that nobody really wants to do, but only what they thought that everybody else wanted to do. I am reminded of Oscar Wilde who while saying 'I can resist anything except temptation' actually defined paradox as something that triggers us to give in to tempting things while imagining that we can hold firm and resist them.

I am quite convinced that 'paradox' peps up life by teasing us to think differently. How else will anybody understand such a trivia - 'truth is honey, which is bitter'. Does it not convey the virtues of bitter truth better? Whether one likes it or not, paradoxical statements or situations turn ambiguous stuff upside down, generating interest in what might seem silly or self-contradictory. Don't just stop there, it also assists in justifying many of our daily actions about which we are often cool. He turned it into a logical puzzle!

Come elections, and such puzzle becomes glaringly evident. We abhor lies, but support compulsive lair(s); we loathe corruption, but vote dishonest candidate(s); we despise empty promises, but end-up being lured into them; and, we detest deceit but not without getting trapped into it. We seem to consume that we don't normally digest! Surprisingly, all that which earns our disdain in daily dealings gets preference under certain circumstances. Why such are the ways of life? I am as baffled as you might be on such an attitude or approach under crunch situations.    

When I look around I find lots of stuff that paradox is made of, indeed a daily reality! We may not realize it but we all are party to perpetuating it. Else, how could poorly paid watchmen protect millions stacked in bank lockers; how best of cars be driven by lowly paid drivers with dubious licenses; how could middle-class households accommodate under-nourished maids to cooks nutritious food for them; and how could frail-looking chowkidars, who are rarely in the best of their health guard residential apartments. The list doesn't end here!

I can only say that when it comes to paradox, less is more! 

First published in Deccan Herald, issue dated May 23, 2019. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

58. All in a fool's paradise

Biswajeet fools Saira in 1964 film 'April Fool' 
Gone are the days when youngsters would scheme to send gullible on a 'fool's errand' to mark April 1, the most light-hearted day of the year when playing pranks and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things is universally accepted. From simple jokes to elaborate hoaxes, friends and relatives who consider themselves to be wise guard themselves from falling into the trap laid for them to be publicly declared 'fool'. Whatever the prank, the trickster would usually end up yelling to his victim - April Fool. 

It is one day when the fools gain some social recognition, but not without letting the so-called wise be under the illusion of having all the fun. Curiously, it has something about the time of the year that there is lightheartedness all around. The switch from winter to spring has been a time for celebrations across diverse cultures - the Romans had a festival named Hilaria, the Jewish calendar has Purim, and the Hindu clown themselves with colors on Holi. So much for staying foolish once a while!

I am reminded how it had played differently on Iraq's erstwhile President Saddam Hussein though, who was at the receiving end of a rather cruel joke. April Fool was the code name of the double agent who had the last laugh in getting the dictator caught from his hiding. Come to think of it, it is one day in a year that reduces the contrast between the wise and the foolish - and let's the wise person know that s/he could easily be a fool at a given time.   

The fool's day, April 1, is an old age tradition which caught popular imagination since calendar was reformed in France in 1564. Those who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system had jokes played on them. It caught on, and became a global ritual ever since. Such has been its popularity that even films were themed on the subject: the 1964 Saira Banu-Biswajeet starrer 'April Fool' had a song which continues to be played till this day, to mark the only day in the year for the fools. 

But there is something seriously amiss in our lives in recent times though. Playing pranks on April Fool's Day has become passé. Is it because our digitally obsessed world has saturated us with all kinds of silliness, more than what we can possibly process? Far from being a medicine, it has reduced laughter into a laughable hoax. Aren't we been bombarded by unscrupulous videos of people doing and advocating stuff that only makes you feel sick? The ultimate challenge lies in how not to see! 

I hope you will agree with me that making fool of each other has become a national pass time instead! Everybody is fooling everybody else. Look around, and you will find the government fooling its citizens; elected fooling the electorates; judges fooling the law; teachers fooling the students; market fooling the consumers; actors fooling the medium; and the newsmen fooling its readers. Closer home, the shopkeeper fools the housewife; policeman fools the hawker; the employer fools the employee; the doctor fools the patient and so on, and vice versa. The list goes on...!

With all of us living in a fool's paradise why worry if there is just a day for being fooled!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

57. I have switched to watching women cricket!

After almost a lifetime of following cricket, first on radio and later on television, I have switched on to watching women cricket in the last couple of years. While I have started skipping few of the men's matches, I try not to miss any international match that feature our young girls. While my friends and family wonder at my new-found obsession, I have compelling reason for shifting my alliance from the men's world of cricket. The turning point of my cricket-watching career must not remain unsaid.   

When asked by a reporter 'who her favourite men’s cricketer was', the world's leading run scorer and India's captain Mithali Raj had responded, 'do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?' Emphatic! Confident! Bravo! It not only signaled the coming of age of women cricket in India, but the sheer confidence with these words were hurled had left the scribe speechless. Nothing more was needed for me to back our own girls in the game.      

Mithali, Harmanpreet, Smrithi and Jhoolan are some of the household names, their batting and bowling is doing most of the talking though! Mithali has the world's highest 6,700 runs on one-day games; Jhulan's 271 wickets are the most in the same format; Harmanpreet is the first woman to score a century in T20 cricket; and Smrithi has been the ICC Cricketer of the Year for 2018. Given their grit and determination, more records will be theirs in the years ahead. Mark my words, these girls are making themselves count on world cricket circuit.

For those who still imagine that women cricket isn't as exciting should get that impression corrected at the earliest. Harmanpreet's 171 not out against Australia in the ICC Women's World Cup in 2017 will remain etched in cricket history like Kapil Dev's 175 not out against Zimbabwe during 1983 Men's World Cup. Kapil Dev had hit 16 fours and 6 sixes in his 138-balls innings. In comparison, Harmanpreet's 171 runs in just 115 balls were studded with 20 fours and 7 huge sixes. No comparison, but it was power hitting at its best!

Women's cricket is a sport in itself, and I agree with Mithali when she says that 'it should not be compared to men's cricket'. It is evolving as a game, and is building its own fan following. Although most of the current players learnt the basics of the game while playing with boys and have even been coached by men, the likes of bowler Ekta Bisht and batter Poonam Raut have edged themselves to establish their distinct identity in the game. The inspiring stories of current women players is fast attracting young talent.

Hailing from humble non-cricketing backgrounds, the girls are doing well to breach the male bastion. In fact, they have already done it to some extent. With live telecasts of most women matches now available, they are not only being watched but are attracting revenue from sponsors to keep them in the hunt. With women cricket league on IPL format in the offing in the country, the game of cricket will open a new avenue for talented girls to make it as their career option. 

Women may have been cheer-leaders for men's cricket, it is now time for men to cheer women cricketers. The sooner it is done, the better for the game. The scream for a leg-before; the call for a quick single, the holler for a catch, and the boisterous victory hugs add the missing glamour quotient to cricket. There are any number of reasons for avid cricket fans to switch to the feminine version of the game. Don't miss out!

First published in The Tribune, issue dated March 8, 2019.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

56. Social beverage of our times

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's 19th century remarks 'people never lie as much during a war or before an election' have come to life in recent times. Perhaps, it is the most convenient thing to do, and more so in a situation wherein a war (or a warlike situation) precedes elections! How does one fake the facts holds the key? With 'lie' having outlived its relevance, both as a noun and a verb, its less offensive and universally acceptable avatar - fake - has replaced it. In fact, fake is a potent currency in the market which earns rich dividends in a short time as it travels faster than the speed of light.

A lie may need to be told often enough times to become the truth, but fake has become a one-time wonder. You release it once, and what returns to your inbox is nothing but fake coated in the guise of the truth. It will earn you mass following on Twitter, help you receive unprecedented number of likes on Facebook, and inundate you with innumerable compliments on WhatsApp. You begin to wonder if the world was waiting out their to lap it up, and give it a cooperative legitimacy. I am beginning to learn that fake is fast becoming euphemism for instant fame! Is it the new normal lurking around?            

Had Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn been alive he would have rephrased his remarks by replacing lie with fake to read: 'fake has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the state'. To rally along fake is considered an act of cooperation, that politicians use for projecting so-called public good in the guise of justifying vested interests/entrenched violence. Far from being challenged, the enduring qualities of fake engage the social media and the public like never before. Like milk, the more you churn it the better it is. Utterly butterly fake-cious!

I don't know if it worries you that fake is fast gaining public recognition, as an essential aspect of our collective existence. George Bush Jr. must be credited for setting up the stage for it. By virtue of having stayed in the White House for almost a decade, the former US President had inadvertently become fond of telling white lies. Else, he could not have convinced the world that there were 'weapons of mass destruction' hidden in Iraq? The fact remains that no such weapons were ever found. The shocking truth is that it led to writing a new history, rather a bloody history, in the middle-east on a rather fake edifice.  

One problem with fake news is that it works, and the message that 'fake it till you make it' is loud and clear. I checked with my intellectual buddies who are as much awe-struck as anybody else is. On the other hand, psycho-analysts are still juggling on their diagnosis, almost close to arguing that fake is but an evolved form of lie which has got a short-time therapeutic value too. Nor surprise, for every thing real there is an equivalent fake too! Not only are goods fake, but fake facts are being produced too. 

My conclusion on the subject is that we have come a along way - it could easily be called a 'fake yug'. While truth could be 'half-truth' or even a 'quarter', fake is the new truth that we may have to live with for the rest of our lives. I hope I am not too early with my judgement, but as of now fake seems essential to humanity but not truth. While truth is desirable, fake is inevitable! 

Isn't it a social beverage that most of us are getting addicted to?

First published in Deccan Herald, issue dated July 25, 2019