Thursday, 30 June 2016

RNA Exotica: Nine ways buyers got screwed

Mumbai, 30 June 2016: Hundreds of savvy and well-educated flat buyers have purchased "luxurious" flats in RNA Exotica without noticing what their sale-purchase agreements clearly says: that RNA Exotica is actually a large and shabby slum rehabilitation scheme with a tiny island of rich flat-buyers. The rich people's housing project is married and tied to the rehab component in the same undivided compound -- a marriage made in hell! Not just RNA Exotica's sale-purchase agreement, but also project layouts and plans presented to MOEF, give a birds-eye-view of this nightmarish neighbourhood. With clever advertizing, a tight-lipped sales staff, and several clauses in the sale-purchase agreements that forbid investors from asking the right questions, RNA Corp has been consistently misleading its investors for many years. A prospective home-buyer never gets to read the true facts before he is inside the builder's trap!

So let us take a close look at all the ugly truths that the sale-purchase agreement reveals. As a specimen, take the sale-purchase agreement of actor Arif Zakaria (Flat no. 1903, D-Wing).

RNA Exotica is a Apartment and Slum Rehab Project in a single compound, so you can't object to general public and outsiders in your compound. Flat-buyers will have no right in future to object to the rehab building and car park constructed adjoining RNA Exotica, in the same compound. The public parking being constructed on the rehab building is not available for the cars of flat-owners in RNA Exotica. 

NINE WAYS THE BUILDER SCREWED YOU:
  1. RNA Exotica is a Apartment and Slum Rehab Project in a single compound, so you can't object to general public and outsiders in your compound. The agreement makes sure that flat-buyers will have no right in future to object to the rehab building and car park constructed adjoining RNA Exotica, in the same compound. This clause tells flat-buyers in no uncertain terms that the public parking being constructed on the rehab building is not available for their cars. Read this on page 13 and this on page 21 of the registered agreement. So, the proud flat purchasers should know from this clause that their building compound is only semi-private, unlike most of the apartment compounds that are completely private.

  2. RNA Corp can construct anything on top of your flats, so keep quiet and mind your business. The agreement gives the builder the unlimited right to build anything on top of the "top floor" flat, and the flat-purchaser must keep mum about it. In other words, the builder can continue to commercially exploit any increase in FSI or any changes in rules, even if it causes great delay, inconvenience and losses to the flat-buyers, and the only thing that they can do is smile and feel privileged about owning a luxury flat in RNA Exotica.

  3. RNA Corp can construct servants' toilets, septic tanks, electric sub-stations, closed garages, etc. etc. anywhere in the compound or in the building, so shut your nose, mouth and ears. The ground plans or floor plans shown in the agreement can and will be extensively changed to suit the builder's requirements, and this is plainly stated in the agreement itself. All kinds of noisy, smelly or intrusive structures can and will be constructed in various parts of the building and compound where you live, including the same floor where you live, but you cannot object on any grounds because you have signed on an agreement that ties your hands. Your rights as a flat-buyer are restricted to the premises that you have purchased, and not, as is the case in other building projects, the common amenities.

  4. RNA Corp can and will create third-party rights and entitlements to various parts of your building and compound, including clubhouse and various parts that you may mistakenly consider as your common amenities. Read this point carefully again, and you will see that this clause is not just a routinely-drafted formality, but is cleverly drafted to take away all your legal rights.

  5. RNA Corp can shrink the common areas and facilities in your building, and you have no right to raise any objections. People book luxury apartments not just because of spacious flats, but because of spacious and well-designed common amenities and facilities. These amenities and common spaces are factored into the price of the flat as "super-built-up area". But, after paying lakhs of rupees up-front to book a flat in RNA Exotica, buyers are informed by their registered agreement on page 37 that the promised common areas can be reduced and flat-owners have no right to object!

  6. You gave power-of-attorney to RNA Corp to sign legal undertakings on your behalf, without even informing you. According to this clause, the developer need not consult you or even inform before making big or small changes in the plans, because he can always sign an indemnity or undertaking on your behalf to tell the government that you are OK with anything that he does! 
     
  7. You cannot verify title and ownership of the plot of land on which RNA Exotica is built... because agreement says you have already verified it and satisfied yourself! Mr Flat-buyer, when you signed on every page of the agreement in the Stamp Duty Registrar's office, you definitely were not looking for tricky clauses like this one on page 17 and this one on page 25 that says that you have already verified the title and satisfied yourself, and now you have agreed not to investigate any further, or raise any objections. 
     
  8. Possession date is deliberately left blank. Therefore, you have no way of holding RNA Corp accountable for delay of several years, although there is technically a clause for compensation for delays. Read this clause on page 37 and its continuation on page 39
     
  9. RNA Corp can allot you car parking according to their own sweet pleasure, and you cannot object. The builder may allot you a really shitty parking in the basement, podium or stilt, and sell the favourably-positioned parkings to others. You have no right to object. Read this clause on page 41.

So, Mr and Mrs Flat Purchaser, it is only in theory that you bought a luxury apartment in RNA Exotica. Your luxury apartment exists only in pretty advertisements. The fact is, you just bought a 2BHK or 3BHK in a shitty slum rehab neighbourhood overlooking the railway tracks, and you signed up on a document that says that you have no right to keep the people of your neighbourhood and sundry public from accessing your compound... and you have no right to object to this entire scheme of things. The only thing you can say now is, "It was nice getting screwed by you, Mr Anil Aggarwal. Rest In Peace."

You have no right to object to this entire scheme of things. The only thing you can say now is, "It was nice being screwed by you, Mr Anil Aggarwal. Rest In Peace." 


Sincere thanks to Sulaiman "Superman" Bhimani (9323642081) for his continuous detective work, which enabled and motivated me to write this article.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Clay Feet on Godmen: "First Believe that I'm Greater than All of You!"

My dad was watching Sanskar channel, and the voices from his television triggered a thought within me.  I recognized what it is about godmen or saints that irks me... that has always irked me, and prevented me from reverentially approaching a person.

What irritates is that one is required to believe that this person is a "great man", and that his thoughts are somehow a lot more profound than yours or mine... even before one listens to the substance of his talk, let alone know him by his actions!

Don't get me wrong... I have respectfully heard a few pravachans in my childhood and youth, and I have learned much from Swami Chinmayananda especially. Ever so often, a pravachan by someone like Bandhu Triputhi or Osho Rajneesh on television captivates me, and forces me to rethink my whole life.

But I hear these people as one person hears another. I regard their words with as much reverence as I might accord to, say, the words of a knowledgeable fellow blogger, or at most, the words of a college professor. I listen with all my critical faculties alert, taking nothing on faith.

If I like what they say, I accept the principle, and resolve to implement it in life. I may feel so enriched or awakened that tears of joy come to my eyes. But I refuse to inwardly or outwardly bow my head to the person who says it. I may silently thank him for giving me the gift of his words, I may bless him with my heart, but I refuse to put him on a pedestal.

Efforts by such people or their followers to induce faith and reverence through certain behaviours are odious to me. When followers go on a bowing or touching-the-feet spree, I take two steps back and refuse to be drawn into the ritual. People who can't resist peer-pressure feel compelled by sheer human decency to bow or touch the feet of the revered person, and not bowing seems like an actual act of disrespect... but that's exactly the sort of thinking that needs to be broken! Because all sort of unworthy people gain great power from ritual genuflecting!

I reserve my touching-the-feet for people I love, like my dad, mom, or wife... and even that has happened only a couple of times in my entire life, when I am feeling particularly humbled. I would rather bow my head to my children -- not as an acknowledgement of any superiority on their part, but simply as a recognition that they too represent an aspect the Supreme Being to whom my head is permanently bowed. And because they are people whom I know intimately. Unlike the guru, my family members have given me ample reason to love them beyond all limits! (But, except for the times when I'm overcome by love, reverence or tenderness, I do not as a rule bow to anybody.)

So I consider the bowing and touching of feet by followers, and their addressing the gurus by exaggerated honorifics (such as Dharma Dhurandhar Param Poojya, Bhagwan, or Sri Sri) as a negation of religion from the very outset. Followers do it habitually, but I regard it as the Guru's method (and his cronies' method) of inducing herd mentality in people who are not his followers.

No, I don't hold the guru or his followers in contempt for such behaviour, but I disregard it all in favour of their overall message... that is, if at all they have any. Because many of these guys don't have anything to say! They would have us believe, as that advertiser's saying goes, "The medium is the message!" So it's like this: "Do you believe in Sai Baba? I do... My whole family does... because we have experienced his miracles. One time, my child was diagnosed of an incurable disease, and my whole family prayed to Sai Baba... and a miracle happened that very same day! He was healed! Ever since then, I'm a believer!" That's it, no message except: Believe!

The way I see it, our lives are a miracle. The unfolding of each day is a miracle, and an answer to our prayers, said or unsaid. We should be bowing our heads every moment to the Omnipresent Spirit in reverence and thanksgiving.

As for the health or ill health and death, etc... it's all part of the same miracle that we call living. How can we give our faith and our heart to one human being, alive or dead, because it seems like he or she "healed" our child on one instance?

Can any of these godmen or saints, alive or dead, cure any one of us of the one incurable dread disease that all of us share -- the inevitability that we will eventully wither from old age and die within a few decades? Can any saint give protection to the millions of humans (not to mention countless millions of animals, plants and other creatures) who die agonizingly every year from disease and natural calamities? No matter how hard we pray -- or how nicely we promise to behave in accordance with the 'sacred rules' that they preach -- the answer is always going to be, NO.

So my thinking is, let's stop praying for any miracle other than the grand miracle of our daily lives together. Let us accept sorrow, misery, disease and death with love, because they are the many colours of that very same miracle. The miracle of birth-and-death. The miracle of health-and-disease. The miracle of joy-and-sorrow.

The daily miracle of life ensures that no man or woman can stand permanently taller, or more holy, than his fellow men and women. One may speak words of wisdom for some days or weeks, only to be reduced to his essential humanness by an itch in the genitals when a female follower, in her unquestioning reverence, shows her willingness to consider his every wish as God's Wish. And then, when the rest of his followers come to know about this, they feel cheated by their god, their Bhagwan or whatever superlative name they address him by.

No, let us not judge their words in the false light of an imagined halo. Let us hear these saints and their words of wisdom, but let us not feel betrayed if we learn later on that they have erred, in big ways or small. Let us keep these two things separate; because even the best and wisest of us will err, given the circumstances.

Postscript: I wrote this in 2006, being triggered by a fellow blogger who wrote that a certain spiritual leader (I forget who exactly) had his balls massaged by followers. Maybe he did, and does, and maybe he doesn't. Maybe he does even worse things. I believe that it shouldn't matter. There is no need to feel betrayed, because he is only human, and is apt to do anything that humans will do. If he has spoken good words or performed good deeds, they stand unaffected by such pervert actions, which are of no consequence whatever! This spiritual leader, and all others, alive or dead -- whether they go by the name of saint, messiah or prophet -- are entitled to only as much reverence as any one of us -- no more and no less. Why feel betrayed when they show human weaknesses?

Poem: Amidst the Deepening Shadows, a Cry

Make haste
You're late.
The sun has set
And the darkness is deepening.
The cry that you hear,
That you keep hearing,
is more distant now
And you're beset with
Thickets and bushes that grasp
At your limbs and clothes,
Slowing your every step.

Break into a run now
If your aching limbs, your burning lungs,
Allow it.
Because each yard
Will seem like a mile
After nightfall
Each step
Will sap your courage.

The night is deepening.
Fields and forests and rocky outcrops
Are now shadows that menace
The mind.
What do you see? Beware, it is a lie.
Each step is a stumbling block.
What seems like soft grass
Will shred your feet like glass.

Yet make haste. You're late.
The cry that you heard, that you kept hearing,
is but a silence now.

Search now in panic. But where?
Grope in the dark bushes... but for what?

Ah, but you've walked too many miles,
Traveller,
To hold a cold, lifeless hand
And know what you've known all along:
You're late.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Rules, Conformity & Sexual Fantasies

We are, all of us, two people in one. Part of us deeply believes in social order, world peace, universal happiness, inner purity, karva chauth, 8% GDP growth, India Shining, no chuddies showing, awkward bulges concealed… you know, that sort of thing, which is so important for maintaining law-and-order in everyday life. Coincidentally, this is the part of us that we share with our parents and our children… especially our children.

Because there is an invisible yet immutable law that we all obey: In the eyes of the children, thou shalt be squeaky-clean, sexless beings. And this brings on us a great pressure to conform – even more than the pressures of parental expectations of decency, which we all feel free to violate at some time or the other. (The ultimate nightmare of the young couple is not that mother-in-law or father-in-law will open the bedroom door at the wrong moment; it is that little Chintu will wake up one morning and ask, “Mummy, what was papa doing with his susoo to your susoo lst night?”)

We think that as parents, we need to conceal our sexuality at all costs – and that’s acknowledgedly a very real concern – but it goes even deeper than that. A lot deeper.

Deep down inside, all of us like to break rules. (There’s something in us that does not love a fence; isn’t that what Robert Frost said?) We don’t love the existence of rules and laws because, I submit, they limit the spirit, which aspires to be free to touch the heavens. Rules tend to keep us down-to-earth.

We may LIKE rules, we may tolerate rules, we may abide by them as a necessary evil, but it is my belief that nobody really LOVES a rule. Or a law. Even if it’s been written on a stone tablet with letters of fire.

Deep down inside, we are Anarchists. (No, please don’t mix that up with being a terrorist!) We hate the rules that govern our lives, and if we could have things our way, there wouldn’t be any rules and laws.

At this point, somebody might jump up and ask triumphantly, “If that were so, how would you ensure everybody’s safety and well-being, hunh?” To which I would only reply, “Yeah, good point, dude!” and keep going with what I set out to say.

We do not share this anarchist self with our children because we are trying to raise little law-abiding citizens, not little criminals! After all, we make rules as parents, and we try to maintain law-and-order in our own homes, right? So we can’t just tell them that rules and laws are bad and chaos is just hunky-dory!

But I believe that we are even admitting to ourselves our deep, abiding love for anarchy. No, love is an understatement; worship is more like it.

Deep, deep down, in the dimly-lit sanctum-sanctorum of our souls, there is an idol that stands for total freedom, but strangely, NOT chaos. (For a Hindu, I think it’s easy to visualize this idol as the black, fierce-faced, demon-slaying, naked Kali or the dancing, naked Nataraja. )

However, the self-appointed guardians of society -- and there’s some of that also in us all – warn us that :

Total freedom for all = Total chaos all around = Freedom for nobody but the strongest and the most aggressive = Dissatisfaction all around.

While acknowledging that there is some amount of truth in this, here’s what I believe is really true:

Total freedom for everybody = Total internal peace within everybody = Total satisfaction.

That’s my definition of Utopia. That’s my version of heaven-on-earth.

WHERE DOES SEXUAL FREEDOM COME INTO ALL THIS? AND WHAT IS THE ROLE OF SEXUAL FANTASIES?

Now I’ll speak for myself alone. See if this holds true for you.

On some days or some nights, I feel thirsty. REALLY thirsty. It’s not a thirst I can fulfil with water. (If I were a drinking person – which I’m not – this would be my cue to uncork a bottle of vintage stuff and turn on the Pankaj Udhas ghazals.) It’s a euphoric sort of feeling… a high without drugs. Listening to good music helps a bit, but it doesn’t quench the thirst, it only heightens it. Going for a long drive on the highway in the cool night air helps, or munching Russian salad sandwiches at a multiplex helps to alleviate the feeling somewhat. At these times, I feel so alive that my life seems to overflow out of my pores!

If things are propitious for a good, lusty round of fantasizing and lovemaking, that REALLY quenches the thirst. Particularly if my wife also has a GREAT climax.

At such times – like when we’re out for a drive and this feeling hits – I tell my wife (who gives me a patient hearing, poor thing, but is tongue-tied for an adequate response) some of these things.

I tell her: “I’m wishing for SO many things tonight, right now – so many impossible things all at once – that I know I’ll have to reincarnate several times to fulfill all those desires. I can actually feel my desires crawling all over my body, and dancing in front of my eyes… a dozen fantasies going on all at the same time, and I can’t even begin to describe them in words! I want to embrace the world! I want to give myself to the world, as a woman gives herself to a man! How else can I describe it?”

Other times, I tell her, “I must have been a truck driver or something in my past life. Because you know what I’m achingly thirsty for right now, this very moment? I’m thirsty for cheap sex – prostitute sex, emotional, recreational, friendly sex or paid sex in a room with gaudy, colourful lights and gaudy sentimental music.” Of course I wouldn’t do anything like that and she knows it, but it’s the feeling of wanting it so bad!

And at still other times, I look at our bedroom and say, “You know why I fantasize so much? For the same reason that the bedroom has windows. You and I both know that we’re confined within these four walls, but these windows are there to give us the mental freedom to look outside at the greenery and open sky. In our heart, we desire to be out there, unconfined; but for practical reasons, we cannot. Being able to look outside at least makes it bearable for us to be in this room.

“I would like us to have an affair – you and I, or at least you. You know why? Because that would be like this room had doors to the garden outside, and not just windows with bars.”

But my wife is NOT the creature of my fantasies, and she is not an airhead like me. Her feet, like those of most women I know, are firmly planted on the earth. She’s practical. And so, when I talk like that, she indulgently hears me out, and says nothing in response. She probably figures it’s my testicles doing the talking.


Monday, 27 June 2016

Short Story: The Healing

Our greatest joy in life can leave the biggest hole in our hearts, she reflected, standing before the mirror, studying the way her saree now draped around her. It looked good. To an outsider, it would look perfect. It would look as though nothing had changed. But everything had changed. Oh God, how rapidly everything had changed! Two months? No, less! Far less. Tears welled up in her eyes. She wept for herself. And then she wept for her husband. Sobbing softly, she wept for them both.

Just a few weeks had elapsed since she had felt those lumps near her armpit, while soaping herself in the bathroom. Concerned, she had called her husband in. He had stepped into the wet bathroom, grinning. "So, you want me to help you soap yourself, huh? With pleasure, darling, with pleasure!"

Suppressing the anxiety that was already gnawing at the pit of her stomach, she had handed him the bar of soap, and allowed him to soap her breasts, closing her eyes.

It never ceased to amaze her how much pleasure he derived from her breasts during their lovemaking, and during those casual moments in the kitchen when he would come and caress her, pressing himself to her from behind. Fifteen years of marriage and two childbirths had done nothing to dim his lust for her body.

As he caressed and soaped, she guided his hand to that spot near her armpit, and whispered, "Feel there... does that feel normal?" He continued soaping and feeling. And suddenly, she realized that he was no longer fondling her. She sensed his fear. Turning, looking up at his face, she saw the answer clearly in his eyes.

The next few weeks were a blur of meetings with oncologists, mammograms, various tests, hospital admissions, surgeries, chemotherapy... And throughout it all, he was there, stewarding the process, fixing appointments, miraculously finding time for her despite his high-pressure corporate life. It went on and on. She thought it would never cease.

And then, one day, it was over. When she awoke on the hospital bed and looked down at herself, swathed in bandages, she lost every trace of hope that she had somehow entertained. It was over. They had removed her breast. Completely.

Ten days later, the bandages were removed. That afternoon, standing together in their bedroom, the temple of their lovemaking, they had held each other and wept desperately. He had undressed her, laid her down on the bed and kissed her all over, taking his time, lingering over the flesh on her chest that was halfway raw, yet to finish the process of scarring over. Her body was wet with his kisses, and his tears. She had repeatedly pulled him up and kissed away his tears, herself crying all the while. And he had kissed away her tears. It had seemed that the afternoon of wounded tenderness would never end.

But it had.

He had tried to make love to her. Night after night, he came to her, wishing to somehow heal her inner wounds. But night after night, she had gently pushed him away, because she needed to heal herself first. She needed time to heal and accept herself. She needed time to become whole. She saw the hurt in his eyes each time, but something held her back from satisfactorily addressing that pain.

Two months? No, not quite two months had passed since that day in the bathroom. She had learned to wear prosthetics in her bra, which made her look whole. There was no need for outsiders to know anything. As far as they were concerned, the couple had been on a tour of Europe. And she had learned to smile ourwardly... a prosthetic smile, she called it, because it made her soul look whole although it was not.

*********       **************        *****************

Two more months passed. And then again, two. Half a year had passed.

The days seemed to have slowed their progression. Each day seemed somehow empty, joyless. She wondered whether she could have done something to prevent all this. Maybe, if she had not taken all those oral contraceptives? Or maybe, if she hadn't taken those hormone pills to delay her periods, just so that they wouldn't coincide with a
pooja, a wedding or a family picnic? Maybe... maybe... there was no relief from doubt.

It didn't help that they had not made love in six months. A few times in between, she had tenderly put her hand on him and caressed him, with hands and lips, trying to arouse him. But there was no response from his body. Deep down within her, she knew the reason. Because although he deeply loved her, and tried to hid his true feelings to spare her pain, he had nursed a childhood horror of mutilation ever since his father had lost his arm in a farm threshing machine. The sight of scar tissue was far more than he could stomach.

Whenever he saw her chest, naked or otherwise, something within him shrank in revulsion. Try as he might to hide it with a shower of kisses, his eyes could not lie. And his body could not lie to her.

And something within her began to curl up and die a slow, lingering death.

There were no thoughts in her mind. Only a feeling of not being able to please him any longer. Of not being his woman any longer. And she wondered: if she was not his woman, who was she? What was she?
But their social life went on. Dinners with friends, poojas, picnics… They laughed, they exchanged witty comments on all the things in this world, except things that really mattered. They often held hands as an estranged couple might -- with a memory of their lost camaraderie, and a trace of pity for each other.

One such evening, at their club, she followed the direction of his eyes, and realized that he was gazing at her best friend's cleavage. At first, there was a flash of her old anger, for she had always been fiercely possessive of her husband. Then the feeling passed, and there was curiosity. Aha! So the man in him was still alive? Did he have an erection at this moment?

Hidden by the tablecloth, her hand caressed his thigh, and reached for his crotch. And she felt the warm, firm cylinder in her fingers that told her everything that she needed to know. He looked at her with guilt and bewilderment in his eyes. For the first time in several months, she gazed into his eyes, into his very soul...

He averted his eyes. But had he not, he would have seen a smile begin in her eyes, and end up as wicked smile on her beautiful lips.

Something changed at that moment. Everything changed. The conversation, which had been going nowhere, acquired a new energy. Before dessert was served, flirtation was in the air. Her feet accidentally rubbed against her friend's husband's feet. "Oh, sorry," she said. "It's all right," he said graciously. Before dessert was finished, she said, "Do you mind if I put my feet up on your chair? I've ridiculously overeaten, and I desperately need to stretch out and feel comfortable!"

"Oh, perfectly Ok," he said, giving her feet some room beside him. She met her friend's eyes with a slow, deliberate look, and found that they were dancing with amusement.

Over the next hour, the two women drove each other's husband slowly crazy, with a word here, a gentle touch there, an arched eyebrow, a laugh, an implied invitation. It was a game that they had never played, but a game that they instinctively knew... and they played it deftly, keeping the men off balance at every turn of the conversation. When they headed for their cars in the parking lot, she curled her arm around her friend's husband's arm, and went home with him in his car. His home.

*********       **************        *****************

The next morning, she came home in a taxi. Her friend was still asleep in their bedroom, but her hubby was awake, and opened the door to her.

"Hi." She gazed into his eyes. He was awkward. "She's still inside," he said lamely.

"OK, I'll go and wake her," she said cheerily, and started going in. He held her arm and gently restrained her. "No, I'll do it," he said in a low voice, anxious not to subject her gratuitously to the sights and smells of their night of passion.

As he began to go inside, it was now her turn to restrain him. "Let her sleep it off," she said, drawing him by his hand to the sofa. "Knowing you, you must have kept her awake through the night. So tell me, how was it?"

He gazed intently at his smiling wife, looking for traces of irony or anger in her face, and bewildered because there were none. "It was good," he whispered, anxious to understate his pleasure.

"Hmm? Just good?" she insisted, putting her hand to his cheek to keep him from averting his face. "Ok, it was very good... very, very good! Oh God, I missed you all through the night, but it was very, very good!" Tears welled up in his eyes, and his face twisted in grief, in regret, in gratitude... in a mixture of tender emotions that was impossible to describe.

"She has lovely breasts, doesn't she? Large, soft, white..." She knew that she was now turning the knife in the wound, and she got a howl of grief in response. He wept bitterly. Burying his face in his wife's lap, he wept like a child on his mothers lap. And she laughed, though the tears ran down her face, into his hair, which she was ruffling affectionately.

Five minutes later, he had cried himself dry. His face looked wan as he raised his face from her lap. His voice was slightly hollow, with traces of sadness that still lingered, as he said, "Yes, her breasts are lovely. White, and soft, and pleasurable. God, yes. Yes her breasts are lovely."

And then he gazed into her eyes, as he used to gaze in the old days, and both their hearts leaped as he whispered, "But not as lovely as yours. No, definitely not as lovely as yours. Yours are the best, the loveliest, the most wonderful smelling breasts that I've ever kissed. And today, after we drop off your friend to her house, I want you to give me the whole afternoon to let me show you how much I love them."

He buried his face in her chest and inhaled her fragrance. Nothing, nothing, nothing had changed. Nothing ever could change. Her fragrance was uniquely hers.  She was unique, special.

He was hers, forever.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Poem: The Sacredness of Fucking

1.15 PM. February 8, 1965.
A boy and a girl, unmindful of the sun,
Sought some private moments on
A lonely pier stretching into the Arabian Sea.
An entwining of limbs, heavy breathing, a cry
And millions of enterprising sperms were swimming
Upstream in a mixture of viscous fluids.

Some minutes or hours later,
A hard-working little fellow
Impregnated a singularly fortunate egg
And I came into existence.
From being a nothing, a nobody,
I became a somebody.


The rest of those millions of sperms…
Each of whom could equally have become
A little boy or a girl
Were doomed at this exalted moment
To be flushed down the drains
With so much urine.

So were these sacred moments or profane ones?
Moments of creation or destruction?
Were they beautiful or ugly?
Were they sublime or smelly?

Did my dad talk dirty?
Did mom's cries of pleasure
Disturb the sea gulls
Or cause an unseen fisherman to hurry
To meet his own beloved?

To those moments on that February afternoon --
That the two people I respect the most
Celebrated with love,
With lust, with vulgarity –
I owe my current existence.

Then how can I not regard
Two people fucking
As utterly beautiful and sacred?
How can I not believe that
Profanity is sacredness
In a worldly mask?

How can I not believe that
Our lustful fantasies are
Prayers that arouse the senses
And celebrate creation?

Erotic & Spiritual Poem: Heaven can wait

Pressing my need into yours
I gaze into your eyes
Searching in their depths for an answer: a look that says,
"Yes... you are deeply mine. We are One."

But your eyes smile, and say instead,
"This moment is ours. Journey on."
And our limbs and our fingers intertwine comfortingly.

Heaven is within us, palpable
within the rhythm of our fluid molten flesh
poised like an ocean wave about to break,
waiting to descend like
a thunderclap,
a cry of migratory birds,
a foretaste of eternal sleep.

I have but to close my eyes,
match my rhythm,
submit to its oceanic will,
let it take me,
crush me
into myself
into itself
into nothingness
into allness.

It is a breath waiting to be drawn.
But I...
I will not
draw
that
breath.

I gaze into your open eyes
waiting for a fleeting affirmation
of Oneness.

I sense the moment
slipping away
from us.
Your lids grow heavy,
breathing quickens.
A sigh, gasp, shudder.
Molten flesh releases its heat.
You ascend
to your own
private heaven.

I gaze upon your ecstacy-creased brow,
as it slowly relaxes, grows placid,
And I release the rhythm
that could have given me
my own release.

Companion,
the answer that I sought
is no longer there now.

Heaven can wait for me.
Heaven must wait.
There are worthier things on earth than in heaven.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Erotic poem: The Song of the Night

It is like a song that is sung in the dark.
Her voice, rising, falling, rising higher
Like waves, like the sea
And his low voice as he urges her on.

He delights in her cries,
And she...
She delights in herself, in free-falling
Away from herself
Into herself
Hurtling backwards in the soft darkness
Towards herself, arms and legs outspread.

And she cries out in longing and the
Joy of meeting
And he responds to her song
With his rhythm,
Causing the waves in her belly,
In her entire being.

Waves that collapse upon themselves
In a froth of pleasure
And a high note through clenched teeth that trails
Into silence
And makes itself one with the night.

Naked limbs softly twine and intertwine all night
Warm brown flesh caressing luxurious cool white flesh
Now in sleep, now in wakefulness...
Silken smoothness pressed against creamy softness
Dripping pleasure slowly like a burning candle all night
Melting down but not quite going out before dawn.

The song continues to play in the silence
And never quite becomes silence
Even as their eyes meet
And the morning's first words are spoken.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

How RNA Corp taught ExoticArithmetic to Axis Bank

22nd June, 2016, Mumbai: When builder Anil Aggarwal's Skyline Construction Co approached Axis Bank for a project loan for RNA Exotica in 2011, the bankers forgot simple arithmetic. On two separate instances -- in 2011 and in 2013 -- Axis Bank's SME loans division gave loans of Rs 75 crore and Rs 100 crore against hugely inflated mortgages of floor space in RNA Exotica. The flat size was inflated by 500 to 700 square feet per flat, and the number of unsold flats mortgaged was inflated by a couple of hundred flats in 2013. Anil Aggarwal, like Anil Kapoor (you know, the chap who sang, "One-two-ka-four, four-two-ka-one, my name is Lakhan") sang a seductive song to Axis Bank executives, who were more than willing to be seduced.

The late Anil Aggarwal's version of one-two-ka-four sounds like this: "770 square feet flat ka 1299 and 979 sq. ft. ka 1650... My name is RNA Corp! Jadoogar Anil Aggarwal said 168 sold flats in 2011, but 66 sold flats in 2013. Numbers mein kya rakha hai? Now gimme your money, sweetheart." The sweethearts at Axis Bank gave the builder a Rs 75 cr line of credit in March 2011, and beefed it up to Rs 100 crore in March 2013, even as the value of the collateral fell sharply!

RNA Exotica's Flat Sizes are on Steroids
  • Skyline Construction Co's registered mortgage deeds in 2011 (and 2013) based on inflated and unverifiable figures, viz. 1299, 1650 and 1699 sq. ft. The correct sizes i.e. carpet areas, viz 770 and 979 sq. ft. are readily available through the flats' sale agreements.
  • The sale deed of flat no. D-1903 booked by actor Arif Zakaria shows 979 sq. ft. whereas the mortgage deed shows 1650 sq. ft. So, RNA Corp has represented to Axis Bank that this flat is 671 sq. ft. larger than its actual carpet area! And Axis Bank has unquestioningly accepted this figure as a basis for its mortgage!
This raises the question whether Axis Bank has double-standards – one for people like you and me, and another for people like Anil Aggarwal. Would Axis Bank have sanctioned a loan against our flats if you and I cited Super Built Up area instead of the carpet area?

Axis Bank loan was Supersized while RNA Exotica was Downsized
  • RNA's Skyline Construction Co.'s March 2011 loan was of Rs 75 crore. In March 2013, Skyline prepaid the RNA Exotica project loan and got the mortgage released, and immediately took a fresh loan of Rs 100 crore. Unsold flats of RNA Exotica were mortgaged to Axis Bank. The 2011 mortgage deed shows the number of sold flats as 168 (2,41,350 sq. ft.), with a table of flat-buyers' names and flat numbers. The 2013 mortgage deed claims that the number of sold flats supposedly dropped down to 66 (i.e. 94,951 sq. ft.). How? Did Skyline sales staff spend two years buying back over 100 flats from investors, instead of selling additional flats? There is no table of sold and unsold flats in the March 2013 mortgage deed, and that omission reveals the truth.
  • Why this reduction in the number of sold flats? Because RNA Corp, which had gone to town in 2010 claiming that RNA Exotica would be a 48-storey tower, (i.e. 10 floors podium parking, one floor E-deck, plus 37 upper floors) was not getting MMRDA's permission for building that many floors.
  • The March 2011 mortgage deed is based on calcuations of 30 upper floors (i.e. 459 flats, 16 flats per floor). In March 2013, there is reduction of 35 flats. That means roughly two floors less, bringing the total to about 28 upper floors. But is that final? NO!
  • According to a source at MMRDA, RNA Corp in June 2016 has permission to build only 21 upper floors. Frantic efforts are being made by the builder to get this raised to 25 upper floors. Even if such efforts succeed, further reduction of 48 flats will happen – i.e. a total reduction of about 80 flats. The top floor will be 36th floor (i.e. 10+1+25).
  • The falling expectations show in the sale agreements. Whereas Kushan Pritish Nandy's sale agreement registered in October 2014 said 30 upper floors, Arif Zakaria's sale agreement in August 2015 mentioned 25 upper floors
     


Why Financial Jugglery was done

In 2013, Anil Aggarwal's big problem was: How to get a higher loan amount sanctioned from Axis Bank against a much smaller mortgage? The solution was: by reducing the number of sold flats, the "stock" of mortgagable unsold flats would appear higher. (So, what is the real number of sold flats? My guesstimate is: if 168 flats were already sold in March 2011, then 100 more flats in the next 24 months @ four flats per month. So, 268 sold flats were falsely declared as 66 flats. If each flat is valued at Rs 1.5 cr on average, the property mortgaged to Axis Bank was worth Rs 300 cr less than claimed!)

If the building is of only 36 floors including podium, what will happen where sale agreements have been registered for flats on the 40th floor etc? Will the investors be compensated by RNA Corp for not delivering of the promised flats after paying money and waiting for several years?

All this financial jugglery for downplaying the risk of RNA Exotica becoming a Stressed Asset! RNA Corp has defaulted on smaller loans from Bank of India and State Bank of India. This auction notice says that RNA Corporate Park defaulted on SBI for Rs 61.50 crore, for which mortgaged land parcels in Palghar district will be auctioned. And this letter from Bank Of India to the secretary of RNA Royal Park, Kandivali, tells a similar story of default and bank recovery proceedings.

SBI is struggling to recover Rs 61.5 cr by auctioning land plots that turned out to be under CRZ, and therefore worth only a fraction of the original projected values. Will the one-two-ka-four loan transaction of RNA Exotica and Axis Bank have a similar ending? Wait and watch.

This story is based on inputs from RTI activist Sulaiman Bhimani (9323642081, sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com).

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
98215 88114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Poem -- Nostalgia

I have passed this way before
And nostalgia grips me now
Asks me to seek out old haunts
Revisit old friends
Peer into unknown faces
Gaze into their eyes for a mark of familiarity
Perchance to say, or to hear,
I know you, although you
Have forgotten me.
We have met before
And loved
When you were someone else
And I had a different face…

And this, my long-lost friend…
This is where you sorrowed
For your many losses
And we shed our tears with you, for you.

See these trees that have grown so tall
Indifferent to your existence or mine…
We watered them together
In a bygone age
When they were saplings.
By giving them our tears
We gave them life.

And these stone walls still echo
Our whispers, our laughter
Yours and mine.
The dusty silences still hold
Our memories frozen in time
Although you have forgotten.”

Nostalgia…
Memories that are not quite memories
But only a place in the mind where memories used to live…
Deserted, yet not quite deserted
Empty, yet not quite empty
Silent, yet not quite so…

Yes, I know that the past has
No more meaning left in it
Than an empty husk.

And the future is but a promise
That each day, each moment, makes
As it goes by.

Yes, I know that the present moment
Is all there is to life.

But how shall I tell that to my mind
Which searches for meaning in the past and the future
So much that it lets the present moment
Slip through unnoticed
As though it barely exists?

Poem -- Maya, The Illusion

It is half filled
And it remains only half filled
No matter what I achieve
Or acquire.

It is half empty
And it remains only half empty
No matter what I fail at doing
Or what I lose.

(Ah! But this cup feels fuller when I give
And when I’m given.
And it feels a little more empty
When I withhold
Or when someone withholds from me!)

I keep running everyday
Like a rat on a treadmill
Hoping that somehow
I shall fill my cup to the brim
And dance in ecstasy with the gods.

I live in the fear that
Some act or failure to act
Will spill my cup
And leave me dying of thirst –
A meaningless creature in the desert of existence.

Truth is,
The cup of this mind that I inhabit
Can never be fuller than it is now
Nor can it ever be drained.

I know this.
I’ve known all along...

But what to do?
The itch of desire
The ache of anxiety
Demands a response, demands action,
Not thoughtfulness,
Not wisdom.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Poem -- Feeling Lonely in a Carnival

I write this
tinged with sadness.
I feel sorry for us...
For the tragic comedy
that is the essential human condition.

In the midst of a carnival of plenty,
Some of us are dying of thirst.
In the midst of a deluge of love,
Some of us feel left out and lonely.

There is no dearth of emotional give-and-take
in the crowd of relations that we stand amidst...
Father, mother, brother, sister, son daughter, spouse, lover...
And yet we suffer bouts of feeling heartsick and unloved.
Yes, I feel sorry for all of us.

Poor forked animal, whose overdeveloped mind afflicts him,
Ambushes him with emotions that have little to do with the present.
Poor forked animal, who carries a baggage of emotions from the past,
And borrows some more from an imagined future.
Poor forked animal, who cannot be simply happy
With things as they are.

We live our lives with the sour aftertaste of
Yesterdays and yesteryears.
We live with the bittersweet foretaste
Of what the morrow will bring.
We live in a world that has plenty,
But we live in a mind that has nothing but
Wants and needs.

We don't live our lives.
Our itches and anxieties live our lives.
Like ghosts, they possess and haunt us.
They crowd our minds so completely that there is no space for the
Present moment.
There is barely enough room to squeeze in a
Thin slice of joyfulness.

I grieve for this,
Our human condition.

From this, can there be no freedom?
Of course there is...
Freedom has several doorways:
Enlightenment, Self-knowledge,
Renunciation, Spirituality,
Selfless Love, Giving, Forgiving,
Letting Go,
Self-control...

However,
The curtains of these portals to Freedom are like
A beggar's rags.
The music that wafts out from within these doors is not
The latest Pop hits.

I stood at one of these portals
And peeped in...
(When? It seems like a previous lifetime now.)
I breathed the cool fragrant air within...
And then, perhaps unconvinced that Freedom was worth it,
I walked away,
Promising to return,
Telling myself that it would be
Easy to return.

Now, standing here, far from my Freedom, I feel a sense of loss...
And yet I feel enriched.

What a bittersweet drink it is that we imbibe here,
In this carnival!
No, not fine wine,
But a heady hooch!
One sip, and
Your senses explode.
One gulp and
Your brain melts
And flows like wax
Down to your loins.
One glass and
You split into two personalities --
One that lies face up on the ground, gazing at the stars,
Another that levitates face down among the treetops,
Looking down in contempt at those who are still earthbound,
Those who have not drunk deeply enough.

No, I shall not return to Freedom
I shall not walk through those serene portals,
Not in this lifetime.

I shall drink and dance here in this
Carnival
And feel alone in a crowd
Feel lonely in a web or relationships
And gaze across the crowd
Into the eyes of those who,
Amidst all the singing and dancing,
The laughing and celebration,
Experience loneliness.