Sad this Thursday morning started just like we don’t want our mornings to start.
At around 7 am, 40 people were injured as eight coaches of Mumbai-Bhubaneswar Lokmanya Tilak Express derailed near Odisha’s Cuttack. Thankfully, nobody died in the mishap, but of those injured, four are reported critical.
We might forget all about the accident by the time they figure out exactly what happened, but looks like dense fog was the culprit. Whatever the reason, we hope the injured recover super soon. (You can follow this space for more information on the accident.)
You know for some strange reason, today’s train accident took us back to a death that happened in 1975. Maybe it is the fog connection. It was the same month that year, when, that January 3, India lost its then railways minister Lalit Narayan Mishra. It was a bit of a sad irony that Mishra, the railways minister, was killed at a railway station. The Samastipur Railway Station in Bihar. Someone threw a grenade at Mishra on January 2, and ended up killing two others too.
That day too was foggy.
In fact, it was so foggy that Mishra’s plane took off from Delhi for Patna, but then the pilot kept the plane hovering in the air because it was too dangerous to land. The supersitious part in us might say that Mishra should have returned, that the weather gods were sending him a message, etc. But well. Mishra was worried that people in Samastipur would be waiting for him. And Lalit Narayan Mishra did not like to keep people waiting. So the minister made sure he got the pilot to land the plane. He then took a train to Samastipur to inaugurate a railway line to Muzzafarpur.
Have you read this book written by journalist Coomi Kapoor, The Emergency: A Personal History? Kapoor says in the book that a night before leaving for Samastipur, Mishra told his journalist friend Kuldip Nayar that he had a feeling he would never return alive from Samastipur. Uncanny, right? We sure got gooseflesh on reading this. You can read the book if you like reading. If you don’t, don’t worry. We have read it and would keep bringing to you all such stories from there and elsewhere.
But coming back to the present, did you hear of how BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy thinks the economy could be saved? Hilarious! Swamy thinks inscribing the image of Lakshmi on banknotes could improve the condition of the Indian currency.
At first look, we thought he was joking. But no. We were wrong.
He was actually asked what he thought about the picture of Lord Ganesha being printed on the Indonesian currency, when he suggested Lakshmi for the Indian currency. And before you deride him, do remember how so many of us turn to gods when we see situations slipping out of our control. Indian economy is in a state of free fall, so probably, Swamy thought “isko dawa ki nahi, dua ki zaroorat hai”. (Maybe he is watching too many Bollywood films?)
So, Twitter, which is split down the middle on most issues on most days, was in splits over Swamy’s remarks on Thursday. Somehow, we can never mention any Swamy without thinking of the Swami in Malgudi Days.
One of these days, we will get you more on him.
But for now, let us tell you how a demon’s face made its way to the Canadian dollar bill. Sometime in the 1950s, the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was used for Canadian banknotes. The image had a tiara on the Queen’s head. When artists realised that Canadians like their queen informal, they did some retouching. Then the notes went out. Soon, people saw that a demon was hovering around the Queen’s ears! (that's some informal-ness!) So, what happened then? Well, nothing. They removed the demon; it was a portrait after all, and reissued the series.
While that demon was removed, a photo of a beef dish (slow roast, to be precise) put up by Kerala Tourism on Twitter wasn’t. Now, since this photo was posted on Makar Sankranti, many were hurt where they get hurt the most these days — their religious sentiments. Don’t ask us for proof. Sentimental hurt has no proof. It just exists like gods and demons exist without proof amid us, and as some say, even within us.
Okay so, the beef slow roast led to a nasty roast of Kerala Tourism. Some demanded photos of pork on Eid too from them. Funny world we live in. The hurt party, which took objection to this beef party, said it was disgusting of the Kerala government to put up such a photo on a Hindu religious festival.
Tender chunks of beef, slow-roasted with aromatic spices, coconut pieces, and curry leaves. A recipe for the most classic dish, Beef Ularthiyathu, the stuff of legends, from the land of spices, Kerala: https://t.co/d7dbgWmlBw pic.twitter.com/aI1Y9vEXJm— Kerala Tourism (@KeralaTourism) January 15, 2020
Now, disgust is one of the six fundamental human emotions. Anger, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise are the other five. But we are only concerned with disgust here.
While the emotion is universal, the foods we find disgusting differ. If one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, one man’s disgusting food is another man’s delicacy.
So if you think this photo was not disgusting, and even if you think it was, let’s take you to a real world of disgusting food. It exists in Sweden. No, we ain’t giving you tickets. Lols!
We are talking about the Disgusting Food Museum, which has 80 of the world’s most ‘disgusting’ foods. Visitors are invited to have a raw bull’s penis and sip alcohol with dead mice in it. At this point, kiwi pizza sounds like that amrit our sagarmanthan threw up. Not heard of a kiwi pizza ever? Oh, we mentioned it just yesterday. Read, read!
Now, if someone says they don’t know about it, just don’t act all cool and blurt out, “Ok, Boomer”. That word which you see at every turn and in every meme now, has reached the US Supreme Court. Thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts.
Context? Read here!
Now, let us tell you why Boomer is our Word of the Day. You must have seen that the word suddenly dropped in your life around the end of 2019 (at least for us Indians). During the recent protests, which are still going on, you may have spotted posters that read ‘Ok ̶B̶o̶o̶m̶e̶r̶ Sanghi’. Here, one of them:
Other places in the world have been dealing with this boom-boom-Boomer a little longer than us.
Ok, Boomer is used to dismiss or mock perceived narrow-minded, outdated, judgemental, or condescending attitudes of older people. The word is all about showing your frustration with the world you have inherited from the baby boomer generation. But who are baby boomers? Someone born between 1946 and 1964 (they are between 56 and 74 years old now).
The word - Boomer - is sort of disrespectful, AND prejudiced, because it is, well, ageist. It is to show a certain amount of prejudice towards a person because of their age (and that's why it's in court).
Did someone use it for you? Did you (mistakenly, we hope) use it for someone? Try and not, ok?
You think about it as we take your leave.
Will be back tomorrow.