Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Short Story

A man was found guilty and convicted to death by hanging, by a District Magistrate in a small town, in one of the fastest trials and judgments in the country. He was 24 years old at the time.

All names of places and people have been secreted to protect their privacy and honour.

The media was roused and screamed that such a thing could happen only because of pressure from 'political' or rich and powerful forces; one or the other, or both. In the hue and cry that followed, the lawyer of the felon filed an appeal in the higher court alleging unfair judgment by virtue of having been 'influenced'; probably for the same reason, the appeal was dismissed. So it was re-filed in the High Court of the state, with the same result. Then it went to the Supreme Court. At this time the age of the convict was 39 years. The Supreme Court could not take up the matter quickly enough because it was busy arbitering on whether a particular song in a film should contain the name of a particular city, which had just been altered, or deleted before its release to prevent a law and order situation. The case languished. The media took up hectoring of other issues.

By happenstance, the case was revived, and it was alleged that it was at the instance of 'powerful' interests. CBI and other investigative authorities were summoned for help, and many committees and inquiry commissions were appointed to look into it. The involved hospital, and the pathologists who performed the alleged post-mortem of the alleged victim were unearthed and summoned. A dispute arose about whether the vicitim’s remains were consigned to cremation or buried. Friendly countries made offers of help through ISI, FBI, CIA, Mossad, MI5, which were politely, in keeping with the protocol, declined. The electronic media was hoarse, screaming “Foul, foul.” So did the friends and family members of the alleged victim/s. The age of the convict was now 59, and he was in the 11th jail from his first incarceration, and not celebrating. "Hang him! Hang him!" "Politicians resign!" "Disband investigative agencies, as useless, corrupt and worthless!" The Supreme Court took up the matter of deciding whether narco, videography and other forms of investigation and evidence were legally admissible and could be applied to the case.

Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, the judgment from the Supreme Court was released, upholding the sentence. As is the custom, the defendant’s advocates filed a Mercy Petition to the President of India. At the time, the age of the Petitioner was 69.

At the age of 79, our hero or villain, as you will, was found hanging in his cell, having tied all the rags and clothing material that he had been collecting from various jails. The only thing on his body that was found which was his own and belonged to him only was a pair of socks, given to him by a sympathetic relative during very inclement weather.

Vicariously following this case at sporadic intervals, media, symbiotically related to the society, decided in their collective wisdom that since the sentence could not be carried out on the victim, but the primacy of law should be upheld, to "HANG THE SOCKS."

This is not a true story; the unrelenting tragedy is, that it could be.

To the Prime Minister's Office:

My short story "Hang the Hangers" ; I urge you to read it, and to use your office and the constitutional power it enjoys for redemption, if it is even remotely possible.

With best wishes for your health and peace of mind.
Ramesh Gandhi

cc: Mrs. Sonia Gandhi
To the Home Minister's Office:

We met several times before you joined the Government (mid-70's, in the company of C. Badrinath, Jayanthi Natarajan, P. Murari, Ojha, Abraham Eraly, etc.), and had very vocal and stimulating arguments.  I do not see any reason why you would remember me, but I am sending you the copy of my letter to the Prime Minister for what you can do; or, like so many of us all, just shrug. I do hope that you will personally read the missive to the PM, and, if you do, I further hope that when you are in Chennai next, and if you have time, it would be a great pleasure to meet with you and renew our acquaintance.

Best wishes in the many difficult challenges that overwhelm you.
Ramesh Gandhi

cc: The Law Minister
Also sent to:
Dilip Kumar
Javed Akhtar
Barkha Dutt
Arnab Goswami
Rajdeep Sardesai
Amitabh Bachchan
Ram Jethmalani
Harish Salve
Justice M.S. Liberhan (ret'd)


Anonymous said...
1. On perusing your website someone coined a name for you: Sir-realist.
You just went and proved him right again.

2. Did the socks come first or the story? (rhetorical q)

3. The goose pimples came instantly.
Anonymous said...

Should I cry or not!
Should I laugh or not!

Love Charu
Anonymous said...
such is the tragedy.

Mira via b
Anonymous said...

Brilliant, as always! Brimming with wit and satire! You have not lost your touch to stir, provoke, and compel. Beautiful last line.

street se gyan said...
sir, you have portrayed in the best possible way , our inefficient judiciary system . the common man is going to live with the tragic system till the end.
Anonymous said...
have u got a reply from the Law and Home Ministers!!! would love to see their reply and do you really get any response from the other personalities or is it just their EA
Jineesha said...
Woww! This is REAL fiction. It's is so true. I'm wondering what must be going on in the convict's mind. I'm sure they must be dying bit- by- bit inside, just waiting!
Why does it take soooooo long to give justice in our country? I hope somebody reads this and does something about it. Its high time!
Great story. The ending is moving!
JP said...

I loved reading your short. Its sad to know such inefficiencies do exist in the legal system. Being that Mr. Akhtar was CC'd - I am guessing that there will be an upcoming film of his on the topic, starring Mr Bachchan as the hero. I will keep my eyes open for you on the red carpet.

Anonymous said...
As usual, broken the law of realism, with your very special intellectual wit. By the way, did you get a response from the ministry?

Sachin & Vivek
Ramesh Gandhi said...
Yes indeed, Sachin & Vivek: Their secretariats have assured me that the many issues raised by the Short Story need variegated investigation by equal number of Inquiry Committees and other Investigative Agencies. As soon as their report is received, the concerned Ministers and Officials will be very happy (read unhappy) to respond to my submissions, definitely no later than thirty years from now. So, I have to be overjoyed at the prospect of my not being alive to receive the news that the papers and files have somehow been found missing, and that new inquiries have been put in place to find out what happened, and how.

Monday, May 22, 2017


tucked in

after the bedtime story
happily ignorant
of print and electronic media
or a state of the art

Bhashwati wrote:
They look so simply funny wottotellonly.
i was thinking if the creators of Goldilocks and the papa bear mama bear people had seen this they could have done so many variations of their tale.

The blissful ignorance of the three is actually representative of the state of the largest number of human animals dont you think?
i wish awareness could be deemed blissful too.
Chalo jo bhi.
May the accursed bear their curse well.

Charu wrote: "And unaware of forks and knives to give them nightmares! It is a great picture."

Saturday, May 20, 2017


less lotus
less youth
less and less
moth-eaten life
cruel or beneficent

Friday, May 19, 2017

Post Mortem

post death 
a sleight removing
the mask of life
end of life

except lifeless complex atoms 
randomly creating or destroying 
other environmental lifeless matters
feelings cease 
knowledge anxiety fear hope desire 
disappointment hurt hunger rage 
laughter levity pleasure sensation
craving gratification

all but all cease
nothing but nothing
exists as non-existent

except that even the knowledge
 of its nicety 
relief succor
even craving for nicety
 also has ceased
because all feeling has ceased

because whatever remains 
dead and decayed 
and disintegrating 
ceases to feel and know

perchance life and then 

nothing into nothing

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Almost Like Earth

it's almost like Earth
just a little farther away

a few light years
but it's shiny
it's something new

what's so great anyway
about blue water
and green trees

Earth: it's a thing of the past

Monday, May 15, 2017


what does not
it will perish
what does not

even if it flourished once
it surely but surely fades away

history fades
every moment
into history
to be replaced by another
obliterating the previous
on and on

the flower
or me

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


windows open out
to other windows 
mostly a brand of voyeurism 
of the benign kind 
breathing in and out 
fresh stale 
breeze sunshine 
often rain

creating as much as fulfilling 
glances askance 
or familiarly straight 

often open 
often closed

Monday, May 08, 2017


You're tall and shapely
while I'm aging so fast
I'll soon be a raisin

I have lost my way
and I have a few questions
about metaphysics
and the universe
and fruit's place in it

I know you have the answers
just look deep within yourself
and read for me the patterns
of your tea leaves

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Crime Scene

a dying declaration
scrawled in blood
when at the last
you find that you have 
little wisdom to convey
except a scream
or perhaps a sigh


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Stream of Consciousness

The title of this picture is a lie, even if half in jest and half metaphor.

The truth of the matter is that consciousness, especially human, is extremely volatile and turbulent, only accidentally and transiently at peace, restful, harmonious by proxy or exhaustion, and not by its own nature. The picture is too gentle, almost soft, almost musical, and has a flow which is insanely unaware of the storms ahead.

The title is a dream, fantasy and wishful thinking. Given the awareness of the life in which we are all entrenched, perhaps this unrealistic, jarring note becomes forgivable.

I have not forgotten, and must remind those who chance upon this picture, that as much as 90% of our conscious activity is motivated and activated by the limbic part of the cerebellum, or the small brain, and is therefore in the clutches of our subconscious. Very little that we humans do is from our conscious knowledge, but is guided or most frequently, misguided by our subconscious. My picture above may be one such escape.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Carpenter (1973)

He was an angry man. I hired him to make some tables for my house. He did the work in my garden, and I saw him several times shouting at my maid, and felt intimidated by his strong presence. I went timidly inside to took this picture through the bathroom window. Later I asked my maid, "What is wrong with him? Why is he so angry?"  and she laughed and said that he was "Oru maathiri" -- a real character.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sheltering Sky

...or should it be, Vanishing Sky?

Temperatures all over the world are completely going awry (in so many parts of India, already touching 48-50' C), inevitably to be followed by other inclemencies: showers which would make rivers out of villages and cities; storms and snow, floods and drought, anywhere in the world in unprecedented quantities.  

I would like to draw the attention of anyone who is interested in this picture and what I write, to my comprehensive dissertation on the impossibility of man's ability to control or be in charge of Climate Change. (Please refer to my blog, which has remained unsupported, perhaps even not read, but definitely not taken seriously, apparently, by anyone, anywhere: )  

I urge people not only to peruse, but either to support or put their argument/s against my hypothesis and prognostication about the inevitable perdition of mankind.

I thank those who would respond to this appeal by dropping in a line in support, in opposition, or to question the validity of my arguments. Thank you for your patience, if you have come this far.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Colliery Workers, Bihar, 1940s

I took this picture sometime in the nineteen-forties. A number of my classmates in Calcutta came from families which owned coal mines in Bihar, and they often took me to their villages during vacations. I think that this picture was taken somewhere between Jharia and Ondal. The camera, which might have been a box camera, was lent to me by one of my friends.

The coal was cut by maalkatas, pulled up on a crane lift, washed, sized, then piled on small cars, to be taken to the railroad yard. The colliery would have its own private track, which would join the regular railroad system for shipment out of the mine area.

When I was 14, the Calcutta newspaper Navbharat Times (a Times of India experiment to test whether they could start an edition in Calcutta, where severe competition was offered by Amrit Bazar Patrika and The Statesman), published a on the entire last page a piece written by me with a step-by-step description about how a colliery works, illustrated with about 20 photographs. The photographs and words were written in a boy's simple language. Sadly, I cannot locate that first effort; perhaps this is the only surviving photograph.

The coal mines were nationalised by Indira Gandhi in 1973, and my mine-owning friends are scattered around India in other pursuits, if they have not left this world.

I am posting this picture in the days leading up to May Day, the international Labor Day, in part because of the unprecedented revolution through which the polity of this country is passing. Some people feel good about it, some dangerously, perilously destructively, some cannot afford to care. One can wonder, do the people who work in the coal mines today have aadhaar cards, and bank accounts, and a cashless economy? And more importantly, have their lots improved since this picture was taken? Judging by the recurrent reports of mine accidents, one fears that they have not; or not enough.

Bhashwati wrote:
What an impossibly sharp image you have posted and what acutely significant questions you have planted in the text.

From what we have found in recent years many many more have joined the ranks of those whose lots cannot improve.


There is a limit to the numbers that can get into the Forbes list but there can never be a limit to the numbers that get disenfranchised not only in mine fields and tea gardens but within every nook and cranny of civilised society that lies along the fault lines of progress.

Nancy wrote:
This reminds me of a long tracking shot in Louis Malle's Phantom India, in which a man pushes a foot-pedal sewing maching on a wheeled platform down the railroad tracks from nowhere to nowhere. Heart-breaking.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nowhere Path

I am a traveler on the nowhere path
there are no signs of the beginning
nor directions for moving forward
towards the destination
if there is one

I have seen countless travelers
worn out by ecstasy and emptiness
rushing toward mirages
in which to drown

thorns prick me
as I try to pluck some joy
in and out of the journey

both illumination and darkness
have traversed the path with me
and taken turns to confound me

they have not kept me company for long
on the nowhere path

Anonymous wrote:
Wanted, one patch of life
Devoid of dilemma

The light beckons
The dark seems safer
Craving oblivion
I stumbled
And fell

Charu wrote:
 I see an Indecision nicely elicited in the placement of chappals; oriented to opposite direction.