Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Indian Rupee, the Novel, and the pastimes.

So well the Indian rupee has become only the fifth currency to get its own symbol, or that is what is being reported. However, if you go through the list of "Insert Symbols" in Microsoft Word, you will find 23 currency symbols, and that excludes the dollar, yen, pound, euro and the Chinese RMB signs, which are part of Latin signs. And we Indians, as we do for everything ranging from Sunil Laxmi Mittal and Indra Nooyi to Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawla, are gloating over the "achievement". Just like in the case of the four people above, I do not know why should every Indian be proud of it. How does this indicate that the Indian currency has landed on the international stage? Are countries like Iran willing to take payment in Indian rupees (an exemption they are making for the Chinese RMB) - no, they are not, and I am not sure even Bhutan would agree to payment in the new Devanagari symbol. This is just another symbol, and it is a decision taken by a cabinet. It is not that the Rupee has suddenly become stronger, and can buy you 0.03 USD instead of 0.025 USD. The decision could have been taken ages ago, and it would not have mattered. It doesn't matter now anyway.
And the symbol was something only an IITian could have come up with. Mr. Udaya Kumar apparently studied "typography, scripts and ancient printing methods" but for those who know how IITians work, it was innovation at its most obvious. He just decided that all currency symbols have a horizontal or vertical dash running through an alphabet, and voila, he improvised with the devanagari र. And now, it has come to represent Indian tradition and also the half- letter of the Roman R. And Mr. Kumar is part of Indian history, and an answer to another useless question that children have to answer in their GK tests.

So well, it is day 11 of my break, and I haven't done much writing yet. Except for some write-up on Indian politics. The good news, however, is that I have the broad storyline ready, and I will let the characters develop as they come. Moreover, I have the opening paragraph ready. And I am looking forward to your feedback on the same. Here are the opening lines:
"I am no good at opening lines. Because of which, in order to start this conversation, I will just assume I have been introduced to you by a Barney Stinson- like wingman, who has darted off saying “Hi! Have you met Karan?” leaving me face to face with you.
As you might have guessed, I am Karan, a big fan of “How I met your mother”. I am also a big fan of Friends, Scrubs, Seinfeld, the Big Bang Theory and South Park.
I love REM, the band. I also like Dire Straits, U2, Coldplay, Third Eye Blind, Doors, the Beatles, and Bruce Springsteen among others – well there are too many of them to mention. I like good music, period – and that does include some Hindi music as well, though not too much. "

It will be a tale of rivalry and revenge based on the Mahabharat, and Karan and Arjun will be the two central characters. I have twisted the plot a bit though - Karan will be the upper caste super achiever, while Arjun will be his lower caste peer entrusted with the responsibility of his four brothers and widowed mother. The story will take us through the struggles between the two, and there will be number of other characters like Duryodhana, Draupadi and Krishna.
The narrative will be in first person, and all characters will introduce themselves and lead towards the plot. So there will be chapters dedicated to a single character, and the entire story will play out according to his point of view. For we often forget, there is no absolute truth, and that truth only depends on how we see it.

Apart from this though, there is nothing much else going on. I haven't introspected much about what I wanna do, but on the flip side, I am finally learning driving and loving it, and there are plenty of good movies and sports events to fall upon to - on TV and on the big screen. And I have discovered the joy of Age of Empires again, and am actually playing better than I remember myself playing. The parties continue though, and I am looking forward to play tennis again. Soon. On the cards is also a trip to Chandigarh for the reissue of my expired passport, and a week-long trip home. And then back and getting done with some real work. Life goes easy on me, most of the time, as the song goes. Looking forward to the next three months, and life in general. For a change.


Suryadeep said...

Absolutely agree with your view on the currency thing. Having worked with media at a few instances, I can say that they just look for a headline. Nothing else matters. We may not give a shit about the importance of new symbol but hey it's a great story.

Atish said...

what bull shit. the symbol IS about the new india. the india which does not need the vertical line of "R" aka, a foreign pillar of strength to stand on.
there's more symbolism. if you flip it 180 degrees on the z axis, it resembles the 'Euro' sitting with a rod on its head and its horizontal bars further down - symbolic yet again of the declining prominence of the euro and the increasing significance of the rupee.
and of course it could only have been done by an IITian. and a PhD at that.

comments on the story later :D

zubin said...

@Surya: Yeah, right, the Media. Complete assholes them :D. And thanks.
@Atish: Surely you are joking, Mr. Dipankar. Coz if you are not, you just dropped a notch in my estimation :). What is the increasing significance of the rupee? India has a 1.3% share in World Trade, China has 13%. I am not sure even Bhutan keeps the Indian currency as its foreign reserve. So well, I wont share the enthusiasm.Its just a media hype. And the best part is seeing people who stay away from India get so gung-ho about all things Indian. Such fucking hypocrites. Hate them :).

Witness said...

Thumbs up to this post!!!!!!

Atish said...

Of course I was joking. Did the absence of :P/:D confuse you? and they do take Indian currency in Bhutan. My grandparents lived 50 Kms from the Bhutan border and we could go across the border and buy stuff in INR, the same way you could buy stuff on the Indian side using Ngultrum (or whatever the Bhutanese currency is called)
and agree its a Media hype and absolutely hate the tendency to find an Indian connection in anything. But disagree about the point that if you do not stay in India and are gung ho about Indian stuff (genuine stuff at that, though) then you become a hypocrite.

zubin said...

@Shweta: Thanks :D.
@Atish: Thanks mate, but call it sour grapes or whatever,for most people, the saying "I will also love India if I did not have to live in it" will always hold true :D. I LOVE India, nonetheless, leaving aside the cricket team and tbe unworth admiration to Sachin Tendulkar :D. Rahul Dravid is a much better batsman.

Atish said...

and Dada made watching and following cricket - both on and off the field so much fun :D

arts said...

Firstly, wow! you have answered the quintessential question you proudly write in "About Me" in your book.

Secondly, dude let me know when the tennis is happening, I am also looking forward to some.

Thirdly, after Ved Vyas and Prakash Jha, does Zubin Saini also expect to catch attention over Karan Arjun's story?

Rachit said...

I love South Park :P

zubin said...

@Atish: Bloody Bong :). Cricket means Dada for you guys :D.
@Aarti: I am afraid you again got it all wrong. This is not the about me section. This is how the story starts. About me will be much funnier. Tennis is happening sometime soon when I return from home. And I am a self proclaimed Mahabharat knowall. If anyone can write about it, its me :).
@Rachit: Well, everyone at Joka by now knows you do. Its a part of legend. Your statement, that is :).

D said...

Hope you're able to write more and also earn more of the symbol you wrote about...am not doing any of the two...

Robert Frust said...

I like the opening paragraph. And today you finished Chapter 2 of this - good luck with the rest, hope to see you in print soon :-).

zubin said...

@D: Thanks. And you can too. U write wonderfully well.
@Shalabh: Thanks a lot :D