The Seventh Continent:
What a breathtaking bird’s eye view!
Lesser known fact: You can even climb mountains in Antartica. Its tallest peak, Mount Vinson, is quite popular among mountaineers.
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The Supreme Court declined to review its (frankly, despicable) judgement upholding section 377 of the IPC that bans unnatural sexual acts, and thereby criminalizes homosexuals who have sex.
Vikram Seth wrote this heartbreaking poem in response:
Through Love’s Great Power
Through love’s great power to be made whole
In mind and body, heart and soul -
Through freedom to find joy, or be
By dint of joy itself set free
In love and in companionhood:
This is the true and natural good.
To undo justice, and to seek
To quash the rights that guard the weak -
To sneer at love, and wrench apart
The bonds of body, mind and heart
With specious reason and no rhyme:
This is the true unnatural crime.
The people who believe homosexuality needs to be brushed under the carpet, how long until they realize they are on the wrong side of history? They’ve gotten it badly wrong. Likewise for cultural and linguistic xenophobes, and those holding on to male chauvinism, religion, caste, and other outdated concepts that have astonishingly made it to the 21st century. There’s only so much time for which one can delay what’s obviously going to happen. All of these will change over years and decades, whether someone likes it or not. But a decade is a long time in our flicker of an existence on this planet. It would be nice if our fellow human beings were treated equally sooner so they could pursue life and happiness like we all do.
Meanwhile the opponents are hoping to hold the fort for a few decades, so they wouldn’t have to live to see around them the things they dislike. In all likelihood, they’re going to have to figure out a way to deal with it.
Here’s something to start (or end) your day with:
Where have I been?
Travelling, mountaineering, paragliding, backpacking, hiking; rescuing people, being rescued, but still safe, in one piece and living through some great experiences. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Let’s see if I can restart this blog around some theme that suits me right now. News You Can’t Use was apt when I was invested in current affairs and cared enough to comment. Now, I can’t give less of a fuck. But there are countless other interesting topics in the world.
Let’s talk about those.
Rakesh Kumar, the new censor board CEO, gave an interview today that ranged from What is he smoking? to Is this guy for real? Real he is and he’ll soon be hard at work protecting us from perverted filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bharadwaj.
First day on the job. This feels great! After being transferred around endlessly for rail accidents that were not my fault, this job will be a definite change of pace. I get paid to kick back and relax and watch movies all day long. Plus I get to judge them. Whatay win!
There’s much to accomplish in the coming months. I have a feeling people will appreciate my legacy. Some people will be pissed off but hey, even Gandhi had haters.
Oh, new e-mail from subordinate. It just says, “I Found this on YouTube!”. Must be some lewd filmmaker trying to get around the censor board by releasing his film on YouTube. What he doesn’t know is that the censor applies to all videos made or released in India. Note to self: Send notice to YouTube to get all their videos reviewed by us.
Time to do some censoring!
*cracks fingers, hits play.*
Alright, this is starting with an old guy. So far, so good. Note to self: Too many movies about old guys falling in love with teen girls and vice versa. Gotta crack down on those.
Water suggestively splashing on his face. Why is the water white? Ah, I get it! This has to be a money shot! THERE’S C-U-M SPLASHING ON HIS FACE! THAT TOO IN THE FIRST SCENE! In our times, even pornos had better story lines. Ah, Sholay! Good porno, great acting. Anyway, this scene definitely needs to be cut.
Old man keeps fondling something in the air. It’s gotta be a suggestive gesture for fingering someone! Note to self: Showing the middle finger in movies needs to be illegal. It’s basically a fingering technique! I know it because my wife used it on me once. Must admit it felt good.
Is he groping someone or something? We’ll never know. What we do know is this scene is definitely being cut.
He’s definitely grabbing imaginary boobs. I saw both his hands grab imaginary boobs. You can’t fool me! CUT!
This movie which I can only imagine is a porno has *horrible* music. Also, why are they using music that clearly sounds Indian? Are they trying to overlay Indian music on this to make our culture look bad? Note to self: Crack down on explicit representations of our culture. That reminds me, buy a hammer and nail before the next trip to Ajanta. Gotta fix those caves.
Back to the video, this guy is also doing some very explicit gestures with his mouth. Is this how they’re getting around not being able to show oral sex on screen these days?!?! Disgusting! CUT!
Alright now we’re outdoors with a group of men. If you show an orgy, I’m shutting this film studio down. If you show a gay orgy, I’m shutting the whole internet down!
Okay a fisherman with a really large dildo. Oh wait, that might be an oar. Or is it an oar that’s a metaphor for a dildo? This is getting weird. CUT!
Okay next scene. 3 women and 10 men! On a vehicle. Their vehicle is shaking. This can only mean they’re having S-E-X! ON THE ROAD! IN PUBLIC! CUT!
Now they’re showing the Taj Mahal. Man’s greatest erection for a woman. Haha that joke always cracks me up. Note to self: Do Google search on whether Muslims really have larger penises then Hindus.
The scene, CUT!
A woman in white is now making lewd and suggestive expressions. WHY IS EVERYONE TRYING TO TURN ME ON?!?! She’s definitely wearing red lipstick. Slut. CUT! Hehe that rhymes.
Now there are camels. What do camels have? Humps. What does humping mean?! THAT’S RIGHT! YOU THINK I WOULDN’T GET THAT REFERENCE?! CUT!
Two guys doing something very strange while rocking on a rope behind the camels. This is beyond XXX. This is NSFL material. CUT!
Is that a young Ron Jeremy walking on the beach? But the scene looks okay. It can stay.
Another suggestive old people orgy scene. Cut! WHY WOULD THESE MONSTERS DO SUCH SUGGESTIVE THINGS WITH OUR OLD PEOPLE?!?!
Guy on elephant. Looks alright. Nope, he’s topless. OH NO! CLOSE UP OF TOPESS GUY! That’s illegal. Cut. First time I’ve seeing the closeup of a guy topless. Not as gross as I feared.
Now some guy very slowly rowing his boat. No, wait! Another sex toy reference. CUT! CUT! CUT! Why do people put all sorts of weird things in their bodies these days? Note to self: Ban hot dogs in India.
Some people getting off a train with a really satisfied expression on their faces. I’ve sees horrible things in trains but even I don’t want to see what they did inside this train. Cut!
Finally some fully and colorfully clothed people. Whoa! Whoa! CHILDREN! This is definitely illegal in like 100 countries! I SHOULD CLOSE THIS WINDOW BEFORE COPS COME AFTER ME! ABOBT! ABORT! ABORT!
A few minutes later, a YouTube employee gets an e-mail.
“This is the CEO of the Censor Board of India. Please do the needful to remove this video from your site asap: Mile Sur Mera Tumhara.”
I have often mentioned Into The Wild here as one of the books (and movies) that influenced me the most. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, stop right here. There are spoilers ahead.
Into The Wild was written by Jon Krakauer, first as a long-form piece for Outside magazine, and later expanded into the book. A fair bit of Chris McCandless’ journey after he left home is unknown. Jon did his best to trace Chris’ path using people’s accounts of brief interactions with Chris—people who’d written to him after reading the Outside piece. But one mystery was never adequately solved: What caused Chris’ death. It was some sort of food poisoning from a plant, Jon surmised, and wrote as much in the Outside piece. He corrected it to a different plant in the book but that too was never proven.
In a piece published yesterday at the New Yorker, Jon with the help of one Ronald Hamilton’s research paper solves the mystery as well as it could be based on the meagre evidence.
The Guardian has an excellent long-form piece on the gang-rape in Delhi that shook us all. Please read it.
I’ll even go so far as to say it captures contemporary India very well. The piece made me realize that it wasn’t so much a perfect storm of things being wrong that led to the crime occurring. It is that they all were wrong and will continue to be wrong for the foreseeable future. And women in India are walking in this minefield every single day.
That thought almost makes me despair.
Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks about Trayvon Martin and why such incidents will continue to occur.
Speaking of Outside, I somehow missed this news about a massacre perpetrated by the Taliban at the base camp of Nanga Parbat in Pakistan on June 22nd. Outside reports about it here. Chilling.
“I’m worried that climbers are the new easy target,” he says. “We’re unarmed, we have lots of money, and we’re high-profile.”
Until now, terrorism has never been a major problem in mountaineering. This might drastically reduce mountaineering in northern Pakistan. This is bad for a couple of reasons. K2, considered one of the toughest climbs, is located there and attracts the best climbers in the world. On the other hand, the region is also home to Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II—peaks that are attempted by many climbers as a precursor to Everest.
Nanga Parbat is in what Indians call PoK, and the rest of the world calls Pakistan. If there is still any doubt, well, you need a Pakistani visa to climb K2 and Nanga Parbat. So that settles that.