Of Diwali and a Diwalia (bankrupt) Mind


The corruption of a nation is complete when bribing becomes a part of culture and a corruption of mind is complete when we can not spot the difference between bribing and kindness.

This morning while I was speaking to a friend over the phone, she said in the most non-chalant manner, “I’m at the parking lot and my parking guy is giving me a good parking spot at the Khan Market.”

I paused while wiping the down the top of my refrigerator, “you have a parking guy?”

“Yes. He helps me get a good spot–”

“—in return of?”

Her tone went to a sing-song voice. “Obviously, I give him Diwali, na.”

“So you pay him extra for doing what he gets paid to do.”

“Yes, because he does a good job for me.”

I sat down on my low-profile dining table, “You realize that you’re bribing him.”


My fingers pinch the bridge of my nose, “Not non-sense. When you give someone extra money to do what they are supposed to do so that you get some preferential treatment; that is the definition of a bribe.”

“Yes, but I like my spots he–”

“—and what have you done in life to get ‘preferential treatment’? Are you paraplegic, in any way disabled, an army veteran?”

She stuttered “No, I’m … I’m–”


She gulped “Well, yes but–”

“–This term; ‘Preferential treatment’ over others has plagued our country for centuries. The only preference he has for you is that you have more money than him. You don’t give him Diwali, you bribe him. But guess what when you go to your CEO and expect a Diwali bonus- guess what you are doing?”


I shook my head, “you’re asking for a bribe to do what you are paid to do anyway. If you wouldn’t get that bonus it makes you feel shortchanged. Then you slack at work. In effect you only work for the bonus. That’s slacking, 101.”

She turned off her SUV, “that is true, Inder. It seems like we all seek our Diwali from WHOEVER has more money than us.”

That is our culture, bribing. Like most things we do wrong, we want to blame this on the British and colonialism but somewhere this tradition had infested our minds even before they got to the Indian peninsula.

When we walk into a 5-star hotel, the durban (gate-man) salutes us. To me nothing can be more shameless than that.

Who am I?

What have I ever done in my life to deserve a salute?

A salute: the most sacred of gestures to servicemen and women of a nation who dedicate their lives to its well-being. They deserve salutes. I deserve to salute each and every one of them. Any person who does his job with dedication and pride, I need to salute them. If the guard or watchman of the hotel took pride in the safety of its customers, it should be me saluting him.

The only reason he salutes me is because I have more money than him. But how much more. Is double what he have enough for him to make him salute me. Is ten times enough or 30 times? Where is that line in the sand?

The truth is that its in his mind. Servitude is so deeply ingrained in his tissues and his soul that he just accepts that he’s inferior. Isn’t that the worst form of oppression. To be oppressed to such a degree that one doesn’t even feel oppressed?


Somewhere during this long pause my friend has hung up the phone and my thoughts are disrupted by a knock on the door.

I open the door and the trash collectors are there. They point out to the floor outside the apartment door where I’d left some trash for them. The one with a 3 day stubble starts, “Your maid had left some dust outside the garbage bag after she wept–”

I hold up my hand, “Arre nahi, I don’t have a maid. I sweep the apartment myself. I’m sorry, will clean it up.”

Nahi-nahi, sahib, I’ve already cleaned it.” He flashes a broad grin, “You haven’t given me my Diwali yet, so I thought…” he extends his palm out.

My mind says 23 whatthefucks in 2 seconds. “Sorry dude, I don’t celebrate Diwali so I don’t pay anyone to do what they should take pride in doing.”

As I shut the door on their glazed over faces I can imagine the conversations they’ll be having about me behind my back.

I would sooner hug him and make him feel like an equal than give him a few rupees to cement the fact in his mind that he’s in any way inferior to me.

I flop into my low set couch and suddenly I can’t stop crying. A deep sigh that started from my soul has grown into a wail by the time it escapes my lips.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,” The nobel laureate Tagore had said in his epic Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo

“Where knowledge is free.

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let  my country awake.”





What do animals in pain need from us?

They need JUST ONE person too see them.


Amritsar Junction”, Cindy squinted her eyes to focus on the yellow board the train was approaching. She thumbed the well-worn ‘Lonely planet’, guide she had purchased from the Delhi airport 20 days ago. ‘The city of a pond full of divine syrup’ – the loosest translation of this North Indian City of Punjab. A holy city for the Sikhs which houses the magnificent golden temple, made of solid gold, surrounded by the pond of holy water. For centuries its been a city the most important site of pilgrimage to the Sikhs.


Kindness and Compassion is the cornerstone of the 350-year old Sikh religion. Cindy is looking to expand her views about spirituality and diversity infused from her own sense of anti-speciesism. She is expecting to be enlightened.

As she steps out of the station she hears a low whine. A dog is lying on a mound of construction sand. His light brown fur is highlighted by spackles of blood. His black ears are curled backwards almost stuck to his big head. When she see’s his hind leg a sigh escapes her lips. All she can see is a stump. His leg is missing from halfway down with a wound bleeding, raw and infested with maggots.

She stops in her tracks and bends down to touch his head. He whines in pain. Cindy’s belief in humanity takes an instant hit. The lonely planet guide drops from her lifeless hand as she puts the hand to her trembling lips. “Who did this to you?” she forces back her tears.

In the next instant she gets up and shrieks, “Who did this to this dog? What has happened to him?” she looks around in a hysterical voice. “What the heck happened to this dog?” she shrieks till the station master comes running towards her.

After they’ve brought her a third glass of water the station master tells her of a story based on hearsay that a drunk person had come to the station one night and when the dog wouldn’t stop barking at him, he unsheathed a machete and hacked the dogs leg clear off his body.

Snot and tears dribble down Cindy’s face to her chin. The pain of an animal is not new to her – what is new is how people can just walk him by, oblivious to a dog in so much need. She wipes her tears and holds up her cell-phone…

77 animal lovers, 23 shares and 3 days later she finds an organization willing to help. Peedu’s People has the same beliefs Cindey has about veganism and kindness to animals. Inder sets off 300 miles away to check on the dog and gets the wound treated and maggots removed. 5 days of treatments later the wound starts to scab over and the dog starts to get up and eat copious amounts of food. He starts showing some of his quirky personality. He’s fun and wants to play, he has a girlfriend who has been sitting by his side and watching him heal everyday. He is pushy towards her and he starts being what we would later call- ‘ass-holey’. Once we save a dog- we name him.

An ass-hole dog, who loves to play and loves affection and has one leg hacked off- who else could he be but; Long John Silver.


3 syllabus names are funny for most people- but when a dog gets a name like such- he gets more of a swag to his weird gait. Soon we have a happy and healthy Long John Silver (LJS) who is prancing on the same sand-pile with his GF and since she is such a darling to him- she gets the name, Clementine.

So begins the search of finding a home for LJS. For months Peedu’s People gets no response. Then one day, 5 months later, out of the blue shows up the ultimate savior, Niz Khan. She agrees to rescue and place him in the UK but after 5 months we do not know if LJS is still alive.

Peedu’s People take off on the task of looking for him. Tina and Inder drive the 300 miles and search every nook and cranny of the Amritsar Railway station but LJS is nowhere to be found. Tired eyes and straining backs are about to give up when Tina points to a spot on the platform. Inder turns to her, Tina’s eyes are wide and she’s trying to mouth something but no words are coming out. Inder stares in the direction she’s pointing.

There he is, playing with a 3-year old kid, rolling on the ground. His now pink stump in the air as he flops on his back. Tina calls out to him and touches his face with the kindest of touches. LJS is now all hers. Inder picks him up and puts him in the car.

“We found him…we got him”, Tina keeps repeating to Niz over the phone. Tears of relief roll down her eyes and all Niz can think of is, “Where’s Clemetine?”

Tina gasps, “She’s right here.” She focuses on Clementine standing atop a hand drawn cart.

“Let’s get her too.” Niz says.



The two dogs have been snoring in the air-conditioned car. The harsh sun is beating down on the parched 45 degree celsius ground as the car races towards Chandigarh. The dogs are safe but a far way away from their ultimate foster-home in England.

6 months later, Clementine has been adopted. She is such a darling dog that she was sought after by several adopters. LJS, The ass-hole dog is still at the fosters.

But is he really an ass-hole dog?

The answer is NO.


He is pushy to other dogs but that’s because as a handicapped dog he had to compete with healthy dogs on the streets for months. His pushiness has made him survive but he never bites another dog.

He got a lot of sympathy from passengers at the railway station but he got no affection. He lives for human affection. He will walk up to you on the tube in London and sit in front of you till you pet his brown head with cute black ears. His tail will wag till he knocks of some beer-mugs off the tables at the local pub. He will engage with every kid in the park. He is a drama queen for affection.

Imagine the pain and the fear a dog would have of a human if a human had hacked a leg off with a machete.

But LJS HAS FORGIVEN HUMANs for the sake of humanity.

He is still up for adoption and he is an excellent spokes-dog for his brother and sister strays that languish on the streets in India and elsewhere in the world. He struts his stuff on 3 legs everywhere in London. He is most at home in trains and at railway stations.

So if you are on the tube in London or national rail to Streatham Commons and you see an brown asshole, tripod dog sitting in front of you and wagging his tail for affection; please give him some because he really really really deserves it.



Letter to Ane Baapu


Disclaimer- This letter is a work of fiction. It’s been written for comic purposes only.

Dear Shyamlo,                                                        .           02nd Jan, 1948

Anae Baapu Happie New Year 1948 hau.

Not so happy new year for me.

I’m burning up. Mane aag laawi gayi. I was with you when you lost your wife 4 years ago, when the Britishers arrested you. I’ve washed and worshipped you. I’ve cleaned your streaked langot – only to be dismantled by this sukki bombil, Abhaben?

What does he have that I don’t. She’s taller but I’m so much prettier and some would even say Hote- like Betti Paige. Ane bapu, not beti like maa-beti; Beti like Beti Boop. So hot she is with her red polka dot underwear.

I’m so much better than Abhaben. That chaudail was telling me that Bapu will soon replace her with me as the woman on his right hand and I’ll be relegated to the hand that Bapu uses to wash his paacha? How dare she talk so blasphemously!

I understand how important you are, the intricate problems you’re having with Jinnah and Nehru and Mountbatten and the Raja’s. You’re getting it from all sides. Everybody loves you but nobody is happy with you… except me of course. I love everything about you. From the shape of your melon like head, to your long elephantine ears, your funny glasses and the tape you use to hold them together. I love your toothless grin to your dirty nails, from your bow-legs to your zenith pocket-watch.

Tell Abhaben that I will always be the one for you. That I’ll be with you even on the day you die.

Tameri Radha,



When a little bit of LOVE saves life.


See a dog in distress?

Do a Tsch tsch tsch/ bechara/ this is god’s will/ I hope he survives ever?

Or just act… One small random act of kindness.

  1. Columbo-

-Found on the street in Punjab, India, with an impacted tumor on his eye.


-3 People couldn’t close their eyes on him. Picked up, fostered, tumor removed

-One person in Phoenix would give him love and care and a home.

-One person would agree to fly him to the US from India.


-After 2 surgeries on his eye, we find he is heart-worm +ve and advanced stage.

-He also has a tumor on his Penis that requires Chemotherapy.


Columbo might not make it, but this is not a call for prayers.

This is testament to the fact that he needed a little love and care… and he has given oodles of it back. Its basic human necessity to be loved and it extends to all sentient beings. That is the crux of Veganism; you give love and your receive love back.


2. Irina

-Found at a college campus with a softball size mammary tumor.


-Her tumor had burst and we were afraid of maggots in the wound.

-Fostered by a campus professor for days. Antibiotics and magrid.

-Tumor has been removed. She is recovering now.

– The students contributed towards her surgery. This 5 Rupee bill was amongst that cash. 5 Rs bills are rare and this worn out bill has stories to tell about what its been used for. This undoubtedly is the best purpose it tustve been used for- so here this bills journey ends. It’s purpose is now complete.


-Irina might not make it either. The tumor could come back, and she might never be adopted ( a 6 year old female stray has virtually zero chance of adoption) but she will know what love is. Love from students, fosters.

All we ask is to show these animals the love that we all seek and in doing so they will give us the love that we have sought forever.

Its a win-win-win situation.







Inertia is a funny thing.

A body in motion will continue to remain in motion unless an external force is acted upon it to make it stop.

But that is physics.

We at Peedu’s People deal with humans.

Humans defined by habits; most of them bad.

Countrymen oblivious of any sense of civic duty.

Males drowned in their own sense of fake ‘dick totting’ machismo.

We at Peedu’s People started our ‘Keep it (yep- its a double entendre) In’ campaign almost a year ago. Here’s the progress report.


We were just as shy as the next person who doesn’t stop a ‘piss’achar. We were afraid what they might say.

Worse, what they might do when we tap them on the shoulder midstream.

Would they actually turn around and spray us with urine? Would they argue?

They DON’T.

They mostly make excuses (lack of urinals/ everybody does it/ I am diabetic) but when reminded about the disease and filth their habit causes- they actually apologize.

So at Peedu’s People our theory is – They do this because NOBODY TOLD THEM NOT TO;

Not their mother’s who pulled off their elastic drawstring pants on the side of roads.

Not their fathers who stopped often on road-trips to lead by example.

Not their teachers who are just concerned with covering the syllabi.

Not their friends who held pissing matches after guzzling beer.

Not bollywood for sure who has ample heroes urinating on screen.

They’ve never been stopped.


We as Vegans believe that all humans are basically good people- they just end up becoming habitual adults as a consequence of their circumstances.

Most people are just looking for us to stop them.

They want to be stopped. They might want to change a bad habit once it’s pointed out to them.

It’s unto us to point it out and say- Hey, Keep it in. Nobody want’s to see your junk or smell your pee.






Gender (In)Equality for All

Our constitution gives us the right to equality amongst all genders.

But we thumb our nose at the constitution.


Nothing gives the right to gender equality amongst animals.

So we exploit it- It’s a free for all.


We humans will use any gender (and I include transgender in it) as long as it ‘serves our needs’.

Humans – we seek the male child.

Cows- We seek the female calf.

Dogs- We seek the male puppy.

Horses- We seek the female foal.


Someone in Chandigarh recently stole puppies from a mother and decided to drop them outside the Gurudwars in sector 23. (For the love of Bollywood- when will we get over this Hindi movie crap about being abandoned outside a temple so as to seek a compassionate, pious adopter-or if it in some way assuages our guilt a little for the dastardly crime we are committing). The eight puppies were less than 4 weeks old and had barely opened their eyes.

-Not only does a puppy need its mothers milk to give it some immunity from disease the mother is the only protection it has.

-The mother teaches a puppy not to fight with other pups or dogs.

-The mother teaches them how to not bite to hard.

-The mother teaches them the street smarts from not running onto the street.

In-effect they can’t survive without the mother.

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Within a day someone took the 2 male puppies away and left the 6 females to fend for themselves. Now we humans took away their chances of survival further as they huddled to spread warmth into each other in the biting cold.

One of the girl puppy caught a cold and subsequently Pneumonia within a day. She was picked up by a compassionate student and fostered back to health.

The other puppies continued to run into the street and 4 of them were killed within the first 5 days. The runt of the litter survived because she was too weak to run onto the street.

Now we have 2 girls who have survived.

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But hundreds of puppies are going to be born this winter in Chandigarh. Most will freeze over in the cold nights, to be swept away by janitors hired to clean the streets by the government each morning. Others will be run over by cars or two-wheelers.

But we will continue to dislocate them.

We will continue to steal the male puppy (specially a black one- per superstition perpetuated by pseudo-religious belief).

The girls will continue to die.

While the girl calves are saved because we can milk them dry and then slaughter them. Male calves will continue to be starved and disposed or sold for veal to the European nations or companies like Gucci for their soft baby leather.

The girl child will continue to face foeticide.

The transgendered will continue to be used as props for wedding celebrations or some form of a novelty sexual pleasure in the dark underbelly of most cities.

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Most women/girls can relate to this form of inequality. That is the reason why most people in animal rescue are women. They can understand this pain that others inflict.

We live inequality in this country.

The constitution protects the humans but the animals are clear out of luck.




A human’s sense of owning never ceases to amaze me.

Growing up in Chandigarh, I always knew where the leisure valley was but thought I’d go visit it on a future date. This past week I was in a situation where I was on my morning run right by the valley.


This is as good a time as any to visit the valley, I told myself as I stepped on the gravely trails those circumscribe the concrete paths crisscrossing the 10 acre jogging park.


As scores of early morning joggers and walkers passed me, I noticed how clean the trails and the gardens were. “This is highly unlike my country”, I thought to myself as people wrapped up in woolen scarves, burning smoke with their breath into the cold December morning huffed by me.


That’s when the decision of exploring the periphery was taken; mid run.

Aha, true to our countries nature, there it was in all in undignified glory; plastic cups, paper plates, plastic bags, leftover food, un-usable shoes- you name it, we had it.


The main paths were being cleaned by the janitors and sweepers appointed by the city (some swatch bharat, this) and the garbage was pushed to the periphery. And true to script, there was a sweeper burning the trash and letting the noxious fumes and dark smoke pollute our ‘city beautiful’- without any check or bounds.


We are a filthy country and we are irresponsible citizens.

But we are obsessed with owning land.

What we haven’t realized so far is that we are all renters. We all rent a piece of land from mother earth- even if it is for 75 years. If we are bad renters then we leave dilapidated houses, abandoned factories, vacant plots with weeds and trash. If we are decent renters, we pass that land on to our children; who in-turn rent it from mother earth.


If, however we are good renters. Then we care for that piece of land well and other pieces of land well to; be it the land being swallowed by the landfill by the outskirts of sector 38 or our own Leisure valley.

We have the wrong idea about ownership. Ownership brings responsibility and not a right to abuse.


The Leisure valley is all of ours. Lets not leave trash there for someone else to pick up. Lets not use it for events with small plastic bottles being handed out which kill our environment. Let’s stop people when we see them burning trash or urinating on the streets.

Either we will all swim in these turbulent waters or we will all sink.

Ownership will bring pleasure to the leisure.


Close Your Eyes- Occlude the World.


My Bauji (Grand-father) used to say, “This is your country, these are your people, your animals, your environment. You can either open your arms and take it in or close your eyes and be occluded.”
In a period spanning 7 days I’ve had the following things happen;
1) I was told by my best friends wife that I take way too many liberties with my friend (to the point of being obnoxious). As I reflected on it- I realized it to be true. Because my friend is my ‘comfort zone’ I keep on pushing the envelope. It didn’t hurt my ego to hear it. It was more of an ‘eye opener’- sometimes we need to hear the facts to try to start changing.



2) Then I was told by a friend that I was a cause of so much hurt to them so many years ago. And that they haven’t been able to forgive me. My Bauji used to say- “All we can do is beg for somebody’s pardon. If they forgive us or not is their prerogative.” So despite the amends I think I’ve made- whats more imp is that my friend still feels hurt.

3) My brother told me that one of his 12 steps to quitting Alcohol thru AA involved making amends to loved ones.


He told me how he lied to me while I was making efforts to help him quit alcohol.

At the end of the conversation he was relieved because he had admitted to his lying. The 12 step program determines his journey.

Me, on the other hand, haven’t determined my journey yet. Being Vegan has helped me in a huge way in being non judgmental, but the last incident involves a reality check for me.

4) Halfway through conversing with a female friend about a part of a womans anatomy, I shut down and said, “I am vegan so I’m not going to utter the funny comments swimming in my head about the anatomy.”

To which she added, “Yes, but you thought it. However funny it sounds in your head. The fact that the thought exists is your judgement.

So the answer is – Yes, Im not there yet. I do judge and till such time that not thinking and being nonjudgmental becomes second nature to me. I am just as guilty as anyone else.





As I started my drive back to Chandigarh from Delhi last week I saw a person urinating by the side of street within 2 minutes. Before I realized what was happening I found myself tapping on his shoulder before he had a chance to zip it up.

Some excuses and minor preaching later, I realized that there are just two types of people in India.

  1. Those who urinate in public.
  2. Those who stop them.

If you aren’t one- then you must be the other.

I’ve been the other for way too long. So I decided to stop and interrupt every man’s urinary bliss for the rest of the drive.

They kept coming.

…And kept coming.


…And coming.


And I kept stopping them.

73 of them in 4 hours and 250 Kms.


Seventy three !!!


This is us claiming that dahrti hamari maa hai (our land is our mother)… Or is it really our whore, our mistress (as a vegan I DETEST even typing such words….or worse).

At what point do we think it’s okay to urinate in public.


But the truth is since I never stopped anyone before today. I am just as guilty of allowing someone to urinate on my mother—unless my country is my whore too.

So let us decide if it really is our mother.

Then we will be the people who will stop others.

Because I know when stopped, they all either say ‘You are right. I am sorry.” Or they say the one thing that justifies all bad habits in the world.

“Everybody does it.”

Well I don’t.

And I won’t let you.


Where Have ALL the Old Strays Gone ?


The Indie dog is everywhere.

But you should challenge yourself to find an old indian stray dog.

They are young, they are omnipresent– and then they are gone.


Never have I seen an old indian stray dog.

The Indie dog is sharp as a tack, wily as a fox, confident as a politician, nimble as a trapeze artist, loyal to a fault, territorial as a landlord but always young.



Check their teeth; they are all under 2-3 years of age. If your city runs an ABC program or has an SPCA, take some statistics of their age and draw a bell curve.

Do they die young? Do they get shipped off for the Yulin festival? Its still a mystery to me.

The only sure thing is–

— POOF…they are gone.