Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee


Real Baba and Fake Baba

Like fake news, fake baba seems to be the talk of the town. Of late there has been a spike in the number of fake babas. Their arrests and the drama surrounding their arrests made news. However, one point that intrigues me is why do so many people go to these babas? Is  there no real baba?

I got an answer from friend Nabaghana.

He says, see nobody likes real Baba. I’ll give you an example. My mother does not like her daughter in law- that’s my wife. She thinks the daughter in law has somehow, probably by weaving black magic has seduced me and therefore I do not listen to her anymore. So she goes to a real Baba. The real Baba advises her to have patience and accept the fact that if the daughter in law is keeping the son happy, let him be happy. My mother is not happy with the answer. So she goes to another Baba, who says, yes- the daughter in law is weaving black magic. And then this Baba offers to do a jagyna and give her a tabiz, of course for a price. Mother is mighty happy and wilfully pays a hefty sum to the Baba. Same thing happen with the daughter in law, who has a complaint against her mother in law that her husband listens to his mother. The real Baba advises her to respect her husband more who respects his mother and also her mother in law who has given his son this kind of sanskar. The fake baba advises her to wear a tabiz to magically reduce the mother-in-law’s influence on her son. The daughter in law willingly does that and pays the fake Baba for the advice and the tabiz.

The reality is we do not want sane, sensible and good advice. We want things by any which means, we want somebody to play along our fantasies and perceptions.

The real Saints will not do that. They will never tell you lies, will never offer instant solutions when there is none. But we want precisely that. Therefore there will always be fake Babas like the ones cooling their heel behind the bar. It is the simple tale of demand and supply.

The Street Vendors

Puja season is on. After Durga Puja and Dusserah, it is the time for Laxmi Puja and then Diwali.  Any social festivity is incomplete without the street food and street vendors selling knick knacks- from balloon to baubles gun, from bamboo flutes to plastic toys, from paper flowers to household items. They set the mood of the fair, add colour and sound to it. Imagine a mela without the street vendors and you miss the ambience.

I often wonder who are these people, moving from fair to fair selling the knickknacks!. How much do they earn? Where do they stay during this period? What do they do, when they do not sell these items? I often hear the sorry tale of the street vendors being harassed by the police and fleeced by the local huligans. Can’t something be done to provide them a safe space where they can do their business and earn their livelihood?
(Photo taken near Rasulgarh Durga Puja Pandal, Bhubaneswar by Ashok Panda)


More than one third of the total 881 TV channel presently operating in India is owned by just 22 companies.

Star India owns 47, while Sun TV Network and Zee Entertainment own 33 and 31 channels respectively.

What are the ramifications of this trend? Will it impact media plurality? Will it somehow impede healthy democracy? Will it tend to control the public mind space, and thus general perception? As general perception shapes democracy, will it accord too much power in the hands of the corporate houses owning/controlling/influencing media?

Uncomfortable questions keep surfacing.

Tailpiece1: GST

Lady: I want to order a soup.
Waiter: Madam, we have Clear soup & GST soup.
Lady: What is GST soup?
Waiter: It is not clear

Tailpiece2: Numbers stored in Mobile Phone

These days almost everybody carry a mobile phone, many carry multiple number of phones and multiple number of sim cards. As a result the  address box of an average person looks real scary. Here is a sample:

Mummy New

Papa 2

Wife Old

Wife 2

Mother in Law Jio

Brother in Law Jio

Husband India

Husband Dubai

Husband Europe

And the most scary…

Husband Temporary.

(Courtesy: Social Media Post)



A journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, a Central Odisha hilly town. He also writes fiction. [email protected]

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