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24 hours in a Democracy: A Comedy of Errors

A Ten Act Play Spanning ~24 hours


Anna Hazare announces an indefinite fast to begin on August 16, 2011 in order to convince the Government to strengthen their weak Lokpal bill and really fight rampant corruption in this country.

Act I

August 16, 7:30 am – The Government of India, in the guise of Delhi Police, swoop in and arrest Anna before he ventures out for the fast. Anna’s message to the people: Jail is not going to stop this movement. You should protest, but do it peacefully, always.

Act II

August 16, mid-morning – Word spreads like wildfire about Anna’s arrest. 24×7 news channels, facebook, twitter are all super-active. People are enraged. People are engaged.


Early Afternoon: Meanwhile, Anna is moved from one secure location to another in the capital city of New Delhi. The impotent PM denies any involvement in what has transpired. Government leaders meet and strategize. They come up with a brilliant plan: Send Anna to Tihar Jail (where the most corrupt of corrupt politicians currently are held). Stupidity appears to prevail.

Act IV

India erupts!

Act V

7 p.m.:  The queen is currently ill and out of the country. But she has left the Prince in charge. The Prince meets with the PM and other Congress leaders. Virtuoso that he is, he says to them: This was a strategic mistake. Look at the support for Anna. Let’s release him from jail. (small print: with some conditions).

Act VI

Later that night: The benevolent government (in the guise of Delhi Police again) tells Anna in Tihar Jail that he is free to go (small print: with conditions on what, where and how he fasts).


Anna listens patiently.  Then, he says: No, I am not leaving jail until I can leave unconditionally. When I leave jail, I am going straight to JP Park to continue my fast (which he started in jail).  Checkmate.


11 pm: Meanwhile, not just the country, but Indians around the world are chanting “Anna Hazare Zindabad”. The news channels are flashing headlines that say “Victory for Anna” and “Poeple for Anna”.  There are interviews upon interviews with “experts” representing various opinions. They include the ruling party; these people, caught with their pants down, sound like bumbling, clueless idiots. One expert gives some good advice: I think you people in Congress should stay out of public view until you have figured out what your message is.

Act IX

24 hours after Anna was arrested, he continues to be in jail, refusing to move or budge until he is freed unconditionally. Meanwhile, crowds outside Tihar Jail, across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and even the smaller towns, in New York, New Jersey, London, Dubai…everywhere that Indians live, their voices are getting louder against the government and against corruption.

Act X

August 17, 12 noon: The Prime Minister of India announces the facts and justification of why arresting Anna was the right thing to do for the nation. Match this with the high emotion of people on the streets. Idiocy continues to prevail…


The End  To Be Continued



Savoring Four Almonds Daily

Indian food is dangerous, at least for me. A firm believer in Atkins and all things low carb, I continue to be apprehensive about what the food in India could do to my size. Why? Because it’s too tasty for my own good!  Put some Bengali sweets in front of me and watch me sweat. And it’s simple enough then to talk myself into having just one rasmalai. Western desserts I can ignore with equanimity. Why, oh why, can’t I do that with traditional Indian too-sweet desserts?

And that’s not even considering all the other delicious dishes from various parts of India (see Hyderabadi biryani and other yummy food in the picture here)…

With this fear in mind, I started taking precautionary measures once I moved here. So, it’s yoga on 3 days every week and weight training under the guidance of a personal trainer at the gym on the alternate 3 days. Mentally, all of this is helping greatly. 🙂

My body too is ‘appearing’ to become more flexible and I feel more energetic due to the yoga. Is it my imagination or are my muscles getting visibly toned due to the weight training?  I think I just feel all-over good because I’m actually doing something.

My personal trainer is very determined that I meet my goals to lose weight. I don’t particularly care about the weight (muscle weighs more than fat after all), but I sure would like to lose inches off certain strategic parts of my body. 🙂

He explained to me that when it comes to weight/inches loss, 75% is a result of your diet and only 25% to exercise. He also recommended a nutritionist who has worked magic with his clients.

So, of course I went to see her. I asked her why Atkins was not helping me lose inches like it had before, and she advised me that my body had “adjusted” itself to that diet and probably needed to be shaken up. Made sense to me. So, I just began my new diet. It’s both low carb and low fat and involves small meals and snacks every 2-3 hours.  Lots of veggies, eggs or fish are allowed, but no chicken yet. Every week she will check me out and start adding other foods based on how much I have lost so far.  Can’t wait!

So, that brings me to the almonds. One of my prescribed daily snacks – the 10 am snack to be precise – is 3 to 4 raw almonds.  Yes, you saw that correctly!  Not 34 almonds or even 23; I would settle happily for a mere 12, but no, it’s 3 to 4 almonds a day. Well, to me that means FOUR, dammit!  So, you should see me at 10 am, pitifully counting out my four almonds. Then, I take a few bites of each because I need the rations to last awhile. Finally, I relish each bite like I’m in heaven. Did you hear me say pitiful?

So, there you have it.   Now you know why I savor my four precious almonds every day!


P.S. I still think Atkins (or some other low-carb lifestyle) is the way to go for good health and happiness; will return to it once a few inches disappear…soon, I hope!

P.S. #2 – This post was written in late May but only published a few weeks later. Sad to say, the new diet lasted exactly two weeks with no discernible change, except for hunger and dissatisfaction. 😦  Not surprising! Now, I am happily back on my Atkins for life, where I can enjoy cheese, heavy cream in my cuppa coffee, peanuts and an occasional glass of red wine without breaking any rules. In fact, one positive aspect of this trial was to gain a finer appreciation of all things low carb! Bye-bye silly diet, and bye-bye hunger…


Biryani Photo By Karan Verma (originally posted to Flickr as Hyderabadi biryani) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Almonds Photo: By Sanjay Acharya (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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