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Troller Jugalbandhi
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Troller Jugalbandhi

Firstpost gives us ringside seats to a rare battle of wits and words. And proves that comment is never cheap.

By Anand Ranganathan

Published on :

For those like me who love Indian Classical but don’t understand the intricacies of a raag or can’t sing without embarrassing themselves and others around them, the concept of jugalbandhi provides untold joy and satisfaction. That’s when two musicians face up to each other and play or sing till they reach a state where it is impossible to tell who has an upper hand in the contest. For, ultimately, a jugalbandhi is a contest, and although a participant concludes his turn always with a flourish and a contented smile, he knows that the smile is for the audience – inside he’s itching for the other fellow to skip a beat or cough as he tries to duplicate the rendition.

A keen jugalbandhi enthusiast, I was, therefore, thrilled to have had the pleasure of witnessing one recently. The entry was free and as the spectators jostled for some toe-space, those of us lucky enough to have a ring-side view were left spellbound by the remarkable skill of the two participants. All well and good, except that it wasn’t a musical jugalbandhi at all! Allow me to elaborate.

While reading an article on Firstpost couple of weeks ago titled: “The UP option: Modi Bhai chale Lucknow?” (http://www.firstpost.com/politics/the-up-option-modi-bhai-chale-lucknow-674010.html) I realised something magnificent was happening in the comments section, in real-time.

A commenter by the name of Akash Mukherjee had entered the Colosseum and having speared the Asiatic lion and gored the one-horned rhino without much trouble, was busy acknowledging the generous applause of the crowd with his collection of suitable emoticons. That’s when entered the blood-splattered sand-pit, a commenter named Control.

Here, for the pleasure of the readers I’d like to replace the word commenter with troll. This may offend the aforementioned gladiators – for the troll is looked upon as a despicable venom-spewing creature of the netherworld – but the word suits a Colosseum-type situation perfectly.

Admit it: “The two trollers circled stealthily, their shoulders crouched inwards, waiting for the opportune moment to dig their fangs in the succulent flesh of the upper arms…” creates an imagery substantially more pleasing than when the cement-coloured fiend is swapped with the plain-Jane “commenter”.

Now this Akash Mukherjee is something of a comments section legend. So much so that when he strolled onto Newslaundry the other day and posted something under Why Modi deserved to be heard, a fellow commenter couldn’t help but gush: “Akash Mukherjee – the Uncrowned Lord Emperor of the Firstpost comments section? You, Sir, are a sensation :)”

Akash’s comments, I have since investigated, are indeed of the most liked and most valued variety. His writing is lucid and precise and he is hardly ever verbose, and many a time the editors at Firstpost have taken the unprecedented step of publishing his demolition jobs as stand-alone articles, much to the chagrin of the poor columnist under whose canopy Akash camped out in the first place. Yes, a nice gesture by Mr Jagannathan – first get your columnist flogged black ‘n blue with a Chinese nunchuck, only to gift the trespasser a sturdier Japanese replacement, asking him to drop in anytime for a cuppa.

One more thing: Akash is also an unabashed Modi-lover. Nothing wrong in that, except that when he comes face-to-face with a Modi-hater, desolate temple bells toll, spaghetti Western theme-tunes ring out, and giant cacti spring up from parched earth in anticipation of an epic show-down. The Gregor Samsas of the world wiggle their many legs in delight even as Akash the commenter turns into Akash the troller faster than CBI sleuths can raid an ex-coalition partner’s farmhouse. All through this metamorphosis Akash manages inexplicably to retain the bite in his language and the expert command he has over it. Don’t try this at home – I have and failed.

The poison-tipped arrows in any troller’s quiver, that help him target that amrit kalash underneath his adversary’s belly-button, are those trusted four and five-letter words. During battle those words change appearances magically so they may escape the moderator’s keen eye. It is breathtaking, the speed and skill with which this is achieved. Fuck becomes fcuk, asshole turns into a$sh0le, and Sonia Maino changes to S0nia Mano, even as the troller fires his salvos in quick succession. Incredible stuff – if you aren’t at the receiving end, I hasten to add.

And when Akash meets his match, when he knows someone as good as him has just walked in, that’s when you are honoured with a titanic duel. A long drawn-out and scholarly comment by him is a worthy read, no doubt, but what the paying public really wants is for him to engage in a jugalbandhi.

Indeed, for all I know, the concept of jugalbandhi – unknown in Western Classical – was developed by our musicians just to give something back to the lay audience that, while it arrived good-naturedly in droves to attend the concert, felt utterly lost the moment a complex raag commenced, their bewilderment not entirely lost on the thigh-patting musicians up on the dais. At some stage they must have looked at each other, nodded kindly as they always do, and broken into a jugalbandhi. “Yeah, what these muppets really want is a musical cock-fight.”

And cock-fight it certainly turned out to be, as I eye-balled the Firstpost article that suggested Modi might fight the 2014 election from Mr Vajpayee’s erstwhile constituency. My initial war-communiqués suggested an eerie calm, as, expectedly, Akash Mukherjee was first off the block, garnering an increasing number of likes every passing second:

Akash Mukherjee:

Excellent! He should contest from Vajpayee Ji’s seat and win! Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Just saying these words gives you an adrenaline rush of passion and hope! India might again see those golden days back! But the onus is now on us voters! Let’s pledge to see this man in 7, Race Course Road, by this time next year!

227 likes

4 dislikes

(Remember to keep an eye out for the likes and dislikes as they rise and fall like the rupee:dollar exchange rate)

Akash’s opening comment was followed by the incoming junta’s faint approvals as they settled in their seats. To keep their spirits up Akash engaged in friendly babble:

Anunknownindian to Akash Mukherjee:

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Just saying these words gives you an adrenaline rush of passion and hope!”

Well, I agree with your above statement. But what do you think Bengal thinks about Modi being PM??

84 likes

4 dislikes

Akash Mukherjee to Anunknownindian:

I’m not from Bengal, bro. My grandparents left Bengal and shifted to Delhi way back in the 60s. (And thank God for that!)

So, how would I know? 🙂

92 likes

2 dislikes

nn (B’lore) to Akash Mukherjee:

Well said dude, you rock. Always make it a point to check for your comments, keep them coming.

26 likes

3 dislikes

Akash Mukherjee to nn (B’lore):

Thanks, dude! 🙂

14 likes

4 dislikes

This continued for some time, with Akash responding graciously to innocent queries from members of the public, much like how Jimmy Connors used to partake in banter with the Wimbledon crowd in-between sets.

Seeing this – and there really is no way to tell – I suspected the public was starting to get restless: wives replacing thermoses and lunch-boxes back in hampers, tots tugging at their mothers’ saris wanting to leave for susu, that sort of thing.

Akash was pacing the arena, victory writ large on his face. With no adversary in sight, and the thumbs-up (likes) count shooting up, it was just a matter of time before the gladiator was handed a bye.

That’s when the dungeon gates swung open noisily and entered Control:

Control to Akash Mukherjee:

Lol. Like everyone, except you, says: If only you realised that you are the biggest advertisement for bobbitization of an entire race (of eccentrics) in order to contain proliferation of a species that has been irreparably damaged! I hope people don’t take this advertisement with as much seriousness as your effort is worth. 😉

Cheers.           

4 likes

16 dislikes

A hush descended. Akash turned his head round slowly. The crowd wasn’t too pleased either, as is evident by the thumbs-downs (dislikes) it flashed at the pretender.

Soon, however, the disgruntled fans let out a satisfied groan as their hero let fly the first javelin:

Akash Mukherjee to Control:

Ha ha ha! So, is this a new spam account? Cool! Now only if you could get off the spamming and could actually help your leader! Coz, last we checked, he’s having a tough time summoning a crowd of even 100! 🙂

But stop thinking of the continuity of us inferior species, Comrade! Think what punishment awaits you at the hands of your leader after he spills it all over the floor! Don’t think it will be “bobbitization”. More of spaying or neutering, really! 😉

15 likes

3 dislikes

It appears the gladiator knew of the pretender’s humble beginnings. In his eyes the pretender was a Kejriwal-lover. Meanwhile, a fan shouted his encouragement:

Freedune to Akash Mukherjee:

I think @control is your muse. Certain phraseology, or rather the ideas she employs.

6 likes

2 dislikes

But the pretender was ready and waiting:

Control to Freedune:

For every Jim Moriarty there is a Sherlock Holmes, for every Nero a Captain Kirk, for every Devil an Angel, for every electron a positron, for every universe a mirror universe (connected through a Rosen bridge), for every nonsense a full-stop, for every evil its nemesis,,, for every Akash Mukherjee, a control to ensure its decimation!

1 likes

2 dislikes

Yup. That was it. Preliminaries done & dusted, the two locked horns like puyaed bulls snorting billows of fire. The sun beat down hard and the sand singed their bare feet and the crowd cheered their every action. Before we knew, the jugalbandhi was on!

Akash Mukherjee to Control:

Again, delusions of grandeur! 😉 The only thing you “control” are your bowel movements, dear troll! And the only thing you ever “decimate” is your own agenda! 😉

And, you forgot to mention…….for every sad Kejri-troll like you (and your other identities), there is a dose of reality waiting for you! 😉

4 likes

2 dislikes

Control to Akash Mukherjee:

LOL! ‘The Lord of The Trolls’, as a matter of fact, you have been decimated effortlessly in the posts which are all over the place in this thread 🙂 However, I don’t expect a person with an infinitely negative IQ, who is incidentally also a nonsense-generator, to be able to even grasp that 😉 Worse still, you seem to be trapped in some Matrix where your brain is continuously fed the false feeling that you are ‘The Reference Frame’! So, when you encounter reality, you are resistant to it like the living cells are resistant to proteins that they have never been encountered before. Your condition, at best, can be labelled as ‘troll-stupor’ 🙂 Hurrah! You just learnt something. Cheers 😉 Happy Trolling!

2 likes

1 dislikes

Akash Mukherjee to Control:

Hahaha!

“you have been decimated effortlessly in the posts which are all over the place in this thread”

What was my point about delusions of grandeur again? 😉 But how does your Rajiv Gandhi Troll Ratna Award smell? Did you push the envelope far enough with the sponsors so that your paymaster isn’t kicked out this time around? C’mon! At least this much is expected! 😉

1 likes

2 dislikes

Control to Akash Mukherjee:

Come on, ‘Lord of The Trolls’. Not that rash 😉 Add to that the following (which you seem to have conveniently overlooked because of your distinctive troll characteristic! ;-)) :-

“However, I don’t expect a person with an infinitely negative IQ, who is incidentally also a nonsense-generator, to be able to even grasp that”

And that completes the story! Looks like your knee-jerk reactions indeed originate from your knee! Just some lesser use of the knee, and the master may start thinking of retaining you back in the coterie 😉 Happy Trolling!

1 likes

Er, no. The public hasn’t gone home. The silence simply indicates that they are riveted by this contest. The wind has stopped whispering, the air is so thick it can be sliced with a knife, the heat is unforgiving, but not a muscle twitches among us as we watch this incredible battle of wits and skills. Punch for punch, stare for stare…

Akash Mukherjee to Control:

Haha! 😉 You’re pretty funny for a Kejri-bot coz it seems apart from reading comprehension issues that’s normal for your kind, you also suffer from self delusions. Like being a troll yourself but thinking others in your own mirror image. Or confusing what awaits them with others. So yeah. Punishment still stands. For you. Just to be clear. Spayed, neutered.

Goodbye, sad troll!

12 likes

2 dislikes

Control to Akash Mukherjee:

This has to be the biggest Roflmao moment! The gentleman troll gives up! They say: “Even masters are mortals.” The inescapable conclusion is that even master trolls can get trolled! And here, our good old troll has deserted and quit his job for the master. 🙂

LOL! The poor troll gets confounded by the simple “iota”, and boasts of comprehending powers. Oh the irony! I am sorry to have chafed the wounds that have resulted in you because of intellectual paralysis and a stunted pituitary. I mean, this has to be a sad moment for the entire troll family and a moment of disgrace for the master (and his “precious”!) 😉

But wait, I can leave it as a puzzle for the troll to be resolved. Let see if all the trolls, with all the resources, can do it or not! 🙂 So, here it is: (punishment)**2 + 1 = 0.

Come on, fella, lets play it. For once. A toast to your master, who has employed umptillions of trolls, right here! ……

But the last troll word couldn’t be heard in the saner lands,,, the words reverberated in the valley of trolls,,, slowly decreasing in intensity, till they were obliterated out of existence, by nature herself! So I bid farewell to you – the saddest troll ever known in the history of mankind! 😉

Cheers. Happy trolling. 😉

4 likes

16 dislikes

Akash Mukherjee to Control:

Hahaha! 😉

If only this wonderful trolling prowess and sad little imaginary victories could help YOUR massa put together a crowd of 100 to witness his fasting manoeuvres! But looks like his “precious” will elude him forever and he’ll just wither away from Smeagol to Gollum, and some day fall into the Cracks Of Doom, falling victim to misplaced ambitions and too clever by a half webs he set himself up in, that would put Lady Shelob to shame!

But worry not! You just qualified yourself for the Rajiv Gandhi Troll Ratna Award! Sponsored by NAC. Yep, same one where your massa’s application was rejected! 😉

Yes. You’re welcome!

18 likes

2 dislikes

Control to Akash Mukherjee:

Ouch! That must have HURT! And the reality of stunted pituitary must have stung. I literally brought you back from the land of the dead 😉 Aye captain!

LOL! The “good-bye” is way too non-standard (probably has a different meaning altogether in troll-land! ) – exactly like the promises of the master! Or worse? 🙂 Wonder how many more words are contranyms, or precisely the antonyms of what they mean in the saner lands! LMAO!

Looks like the conundrum couldn’t be resolved by the troll community! That’s why, where trolls abound, logic takes a back-seat and what is left is empty rhetoric! Worry not about my i*(award), when you have a very real one already from the master 😉 You can exult in the luxury of it, while the “precious” remains a pipe-dream!

Again. Appreciate that on your part – accepting your own troll nature is mighty generous of you! It gets overshadowed by the dismal show you put here on Disqus though. My sincere condolences for your pathetic troll performance 🙂 Cheers. Happy trolling! 😉

5 likes

9 dislikes

No interval, nothing. Not even enough time to slip out for a smoke. A jugalbandhi worthy of ustads – and this is just the abridged version.

I’m being honest here: it takes exceptional handling skills to engage like how Akash and Control did, in real-time, on the go. Wordsmiths extraordinaire! The quips, the swipes, the wit, the sarcasm – it amazes me why no one has made this into a sport. Perhaps because only very few are capable of such quick responses with such good control over language. This is Miller, this is Céline – this here is literature!

Akash Mukherjee to Control:

Ha ha ha! 🙂 And yet…..with all the literary flourish you couldn’t help the cause of those who helped you put food in your stomach! But still you can keep trying! If only your massa could spare the whip and throw at you a crumb! And may be unlock that cage you were locked up in since your ignominious birth! And forget the forces of nature! One wonders who or what were those two roaches who mated in a gutter to bring about that ignominy, that even they did not want to claim and sold off to your massa the terrible! 😉

Cheers from here, as well! 😉

4 likes

2 dislikes

Then, just like that, in the click of a finger, Control vanished into thin air. Maybe he teleported himself onto a different comments section, I don’t know, but he was gone alright. And like a true gladiator, worthy of his name and the respect he has earned over years, Akash, too, decided to take leave.

Someone from the crowd shouted:

Aparna to Akash Mukherjee:

See Akash, you have plenty of fans here, so dont leave us. Pogadheenga (same thing in Tamil). Dump this talk about leaving FP dude.

4 likes

2 dislikes

Sadly, Akash had made up his mind:

Akash Mukherjee to Aparna:

You’re very kind, Aparna! 🙂 But as I told you, there is always an end to everything…….

Transience is the only permanent virtue of life. Everything else, just temporary 🙂

3 likes

2 dislikes

There it ended, and like all great jugalbandhis, this one, too, ended with honours even. I was reminded of the unbelievable concluding scene in the film Baiju Bawra, a jugalbandhi between Baiju and Tansen.

The sitar strings have gone kaput with a horrible twang and the musicians are swaying with exhaustion and the emperor is sweating and the audience is baying and the lantern is slowly but surely developing cracks, and you realise suddenly that you’ve become a jugalbandhi fanatic.

Indians should be proud not of Chandrayan but of the jugalbandhi. What an invention!

Troller Jugalbandhi