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AIB Roast Controversy

The recent controversy regarding the AIB roast is baffling. The issue is one about freedom of speech and expression and the hypocrisy and double standards of moral policing. The show was dragged to court alleging an attack on India’s cultural and traditional values.

Yes, the jokes at the AIB Roast were filthy and excessively obscene. But the organisers and the people who willingly choose to buy tickets should be entitled to express their sense of humour in the way they creatively choose to, which in this case was roasting. The show was closed and limited to public. Not to forget the intention behind was charity. Those who wanted to watch it had to buy passes. So no one was forced to go and watch it. Viewers’ discretion was advised by AIB through a disclaimer at the start of the video. It was made for a niche audience and the participants were warned about the content already! We did have the option to either watch or entirely ignore the content.

The show was not violent as the people who were insulted were willing to let that happen to them! Further, viewers discretion was advised for the video and the people present their willingly bought ticket to have some fun. So what is the harm if few celebrities decided to be a participant of a stand up comedy show in a closed audience and that too they themselves being roasted in the show?The futility of objection by some people also known as ‘samaj ke thekedar’(in my view) can be understood by the famous Urdu adage, “Jab miyan biwi razi, to kya karega kazi“.

In a country where rapes are rampant, people are murdered on caste and religious issues and politicians bicker(in real they ‘bakar’) all the time, it is ironical that a harmless comedy show gets in trouble for being offensive. Violent vows of organisations like Hindu Mahasabha which announces publicly to marry couples on valentine days are allowed to propagate their agendas. Regressive ‘saas bahu’ serials and offensive Honey singh songs which objectify women are enjoyed on every entertainment medium. India is a land of dualities. On one hand, we are so volatile we take offence at the slightest of insults. On the other hand, we remain silent where offence should actually be taken like rapes and social issues.

I think all such vulgar stuff is already flourishing in our society much before AIB came out with it. It is just that now it is more of public then private. Movies like ‘Grand Masti’, ‘Delhi Belly’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ etc are few examples which are part of our life and we readily have accepted it. We are used to hearing such languages on every nook and corner. We are used to spilling Ma#@#!, B@!#@!#!@, and similar phonetic words in the company of friends. We barely spare a second to shout ‘beep’ words in a roadside rages. Then why is this AIB knockout show issue overblown?

I think that ‘at most’, this public portrayal of the everyday ‘way of life’ by celebrities and eminent media personalities can be seen as irresponsible on their part as they ‘inspire’ a complete generation of people. But that does not mean that lunatic elements should spring into action demanding actions like ban on books, articles, comedy shows; filing an FIR; sending a legal notice; targeting individuals by physical attacks and vandalising their homes, etc. when they don’t agree with something. These typical reactions of moral policing that endangers creative expression.

It’s done. And nothing can be done about it now! So stop fussing and fretting about it and just sit back and enjoy it, even if you do so behind closed doors! I am yet to meet a person who does not cuss or has not even once used a cuss word in his entire life. So stop being prejudiced about it.

The mindless provocation about Indian tradition and values to censure creative content and suppress freedom, erodes the same Indian values which preaches, tolerance, acceptance, diversity and promotes various art forms. Even Indian customs has practices which allows for letting the steam out, like through folk songs e.g.’Saas gali deve‘!

I have great faith in the judiciary and the Constitution of my land. I do not endorse AIB Roast, but I do endorse freedom of speech that must be safeguarded and upheld at all times. I don’t feel that this AIB show has spread any harm to our society. Well, there are so many other important issues which need immediate attention instead of making a mountain out of a molehill.

PS – Lets take offence for the right things!

Book Review – Shantaram

Author – Gregory David Roberts. It is essentially an autobiographical piece of work, but parts of it are reportedly fiction as well.

One word summary for this extraordinary read would be ‘vivid’! Shantaram is by no means ordinary. Its an epic. Its full of excessive details. The gorgeous language, undoubtedly, is the biggest strength of the book. Potent, lyrical, richly philosophical, the prose resonates with one and all the highs and lows of the multi-faceted plot.

Never have I even visualised to the extent the details and description of people, places and daily experiences that this book gives so much space to. The metaphorical comparisons, rich details and enriching experiences, encaptures and enforces mind to visualise and live the moment in the narration. The plot is powerful enough to make you grasp for breath and complex enough to twist your mind.

Narrated by an escaped convict, who flees from a maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear. He finds comfort in the society some of which is ‘hidden in plain sight’ i.e. the society and life of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries. He seek in this remarkable place what he cannot find elsewhere i.e love and identity. The neglect of this society by the ‘larger world’ allows him to find his space and place. It starts as the life story of a fugitive from Australian prison who goes on to become a mumbaikar, a slum dweller, a doctor, a prisoner, a missionary soldier and a mafia don!!

First hand life experience from the point of view of a fugitive and his life in the criminal under belly of Mumbai Mafia, gives immense insights about the ‘principled’ approach to crime! Against the regular, lawful and righteousness of the ways and means, Shantaram is about survival. Its about crime, its about friends, its about love, its about revenge. It’s about needs, livelihood, shelter, struggle, challenges, about existence and lastly its about everything, everything in the world! Shantaram is about love of mankind, love of friends, love of a woman, love of a country, love of a city, love of an adversary, love of a way of life, love of a people, love of adventures, love of a father and love for ourself.

Deep insights, philosophical musings and titbits of wisdom are the best part of the book. Some of it explain about the very far fetched and scientific idea about the universe and idea of God in it, emphasising on humanity as a whole rather than religious interpretation of the idea of God.

The interpretation, involvement and insides from the viewpoint of a foreigner about Indian ways, customs, methods and ways, provides not only an objective standpoint but is also an eye opener in many ways! It portrays India that very few Indians know about. This huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart.

The biggest flaw if any in this book is: its huge length(940 pages)! After such a long read we expect a sort of ending that would conclude things, but I found that missing.

Why should you read it? Because it provides a life changing experience, rather its about life itself!

Why should you not read it? Its too huge my friend and not a page turner!

PS – Don’t let the 900 pages scare you!

DDesyners – Blending Beauty With Function!


This new endeavour is the efforts of my brother Vinay Gupta, who as a civil engineer has ample experience in wide arrays of Residential and Commercial construction projects and known for his unique, sturdy and innovative building concepts and designing process.  His creative instincts has driven him to venture into the world of interior designing along with his construction projects. I wish him success in his efforts and hope that he innovates to create design masterpieces!

My first Poem… “Karm Path”

हर दिन निडर हो,
चल कर्म पथ पर,

सवेरा सोच कर ये हो,
अंत हो आज तो, रहे ना कुछ मंच पर,

डार हैं समाज से,
डर हैं अपने अंदर,

छोड़ मत समाज को
कर उसकि भी कदर,

कदर् हैं समाज से,
उससे ही पहचान अगर,

झांक अपनी सोच में,
परिवर्तन उस पर ही कर,

साथ अपनों का हो,
उससे हैं आसान सफर,

रोक मत समाज को,
उसके बहुत मुख मगर,

आईना समाज का हो,
उसपर सोच हो निरंतर,

तुझे अगर बैर हो,
बात कर, खुल कर, मिल कर,

विचार अगर ना मील,
उनहे मिला बैठ कर,

मिल जाते विचार तो,
समाज होता केसै पर्रसपर,

रासते कठिन हैं ये,
अकेले हैं मुश्किल डागर,

साथ अगर सब चले,
कट जाये ये मुसकुराकर,

और मुसकान ही तो ये,
निरभर सिर्फ आज पर,

तो उठ खढा और जान ये,
कि आज मे और अभी मे हैं,
जिंदगी का ये लांबा सफर…..

dedicated to the ‘one’ who is the most indispensable person in my life, most near to my heart and dearest to me….

**Story of Appreciation**

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.

The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research,

Never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked,

“Did you obtain any scholarships in school?”

The youth answered “none”.

The director asked,

” Was it your father who paid for your school fees?”
The youth answered,

“My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.

The director asked,

” Where did your mother work?”
The youth answered,
“My mother worked as clothes cleaner.
The director requested the youth to show his hands.

The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked,

” Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?”
The youth answered,
“Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books.

Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said,

“I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.*The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother’s hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked:

” Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered,
” I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes’

The Director asked,
” please tell me your feelings.”

The youth said,
Number 1,
I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today.
Number 2,
By working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done.
Number 3,

I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.The director said,

” This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously.
A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop “entitlement mentality”and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts.

When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others.
For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement.

He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?*

You can let your kid live in a big house, give him a Driver & Car for going around, Eat a Good Meal, learn Piano, Watch a Big Screen TV. But when you are Cutting Grass, please let them experience it. After a Meal, let them Wash their Plates and Bowls together with their Brothers and Sisters. Tell them to Travel in Public Bus, It is not because you do not have Money for Car or to Hire a Maid, but it is because you want to Love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will Grow Grey, same as the Mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.


Something that my parents did to me, and I always thought that why me? But I realized it lately when one day my father told me that “Dhoop me tapega, tabhi sona banega”…. Which I too realized along with its meaning and importance of what he wanted to teach us, he wanted us to experience the world from our own view, he wanted for me to learn from people, learn from situations and circumstances, and lastly to develop the attitude of can-do, to which I myself acknowledged that “The answer is within”. I also realized that  “abhav ke prabhav se vyakti bahut kucch kar sakta hain…”. I wanted to share this experience earlier but couldn’t still find words for such enlightened process, the above story helped in it…..

Book Review: Turning Point

What an Inspiring, and fitting sequel to the ‘Wings of Fire’- An autobiography of Kalam which covered his life up to 1992. The turning points is all about his ‘missions’ thereafter ‘to connect the billion hearts and minds of the people of diverse India, with its glorious past and challenging present, through development’.

It’s covers his experiences before and as the President of India, unanimously elected and the most ‘interactive’, ‘humble’, ‘reformative’, ‘visioned’, ‘accessible’ and ‘active’ president India has ever known, from ‘one among us’ he went on to hold the highest constitutional position transforming the office of president itself. Rather than performing the role merely as a titular head defined by constitution, tradition and precedence, he enliven his office, making it more accessible and efficient by introducing e-governance(his tool to a borderless world) initiative in Rashtrpati Bhawan, he reached out to people and made them to feel a part of the growth and prosperity of the nation and give them a stake in government. Not only figuring out enormous and huge activities, contributions and principles that he could perform from this position, and he didn’t merely ‘suggest’, he outshone as always and acted and implemented every goal or activity as a project with well-defined timelines, funding and responsibility, in a ‘mission-mode’ with his vision to make India a developed country by 2020 (there is a heavy dose of ‘India 2020 vision’) and to see 21st century as a knowledge society where science, technology and environment will work together to unleash exciting possibilities.

He truly worked for the ‘public purpose’ and deciding on the basis of what people needed, rather than what a few wanted. This book more than just ‘inspires’! It shows the India from the eyes of its ‘people’s president’, once again not forgetting to mention small accounts and events in his journey from which he never forgets to learn, these includes many ‘noble lessons’ that he learned from many around us, all of these are ‘must-read’ and if possible to practice in life.

Turning Points is a blueprint for making India a developed country. It is about how he used his position to inculcate in president’s office and the governance of the country, highest level of reforms, optimizations and efficient mechanisms, be it legislature, judiciary of executive, he touched them all discussing, analyzing and proposing highest standards to achieve for them. Not restricting himself to the ‘routine operations’, he worked effortlessly with all the MP’s and CM’s of the country to make plans for their constituency and states, doing extensive research to come out with core competencies of the states and goals to be achieved for them. He innovated the idea of PURA(providing urban amenities in rural areas) to make villages self-sufficient, developed and part of knowledge society of 21st century.

As a icon for the ‘Youth of India’, he devoted his life, working on a vision, to see India developed with the help of its youth and it’s with this mission that he lived the life at Rashtrapati Bhavan focussing specially on education, health and economic development which is percolated throughout the country in an equitable manner.

In due course, he mentions some controversies which he faced during his office, one among them the retuning of ‘Office of profit bill’ to the parliament, this was the first time that a bill was retuned back to parliament for reconsideration. He explained and justified all these issues from his own perspectives with the events that led to them. He is also concerned about the declining standards of our parliament.He feels that parliament is not at all serious about the problems of the common people.

He has given special emphasis on giving directives, suggestions, cautions to our political parties and legislature along with necessary and righteous critic, to advice them to rise above the ‘petty themes’ and what is needed for the country to make it move ahead i.e. indulge and perform in an environment of developmental politics keeping nation always above personal interests as he himself did as clear from ‘the experiences’ he had during his tenure. Taking note of some contemporary development in the Indian politics he cautions against such behavior by saying that ‘when politics degrades itself to political adventurism the nation would be on the calamitous road to inevitable disaster and ruination.

This isn’t just one of the must-buy, must-have and must-read book, rather its one of those rarest pearl that is to be cherished and preserved. The book is full of his one liners, poems, and inspirational quotes. Though I liked them all, I am mentioning one that touched me at this moment : “Conscience is the light of the soul that burns within the chambers of our heart.”