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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Impossible City!



I was caught unawares!

Today is the 11th day of the illuminated lunar fortnight and all immersion celebration of idols should have ended logically on the 10th day. But this time the devotees or more appropriately revelers somehow earned a bonus day and created havoc on the main arterial roads of Mumbai.

As I left office there was uninhibited celebration on the roads--crowds carrying their idols on tempos with loud dancing, louder bands playing non-stop and loudest fireworks right in the middle there. Traffic snarls and mass congregations at the bus stops. City buses started disappearing--maybe the staff need to celebrate too.

I managed to travel half the distance on a bus and afterward decided to walk the 3km home considering pondering wondering.

As usual, the homeless hordes lounged on even the most prominent pavements cooking eating sleeping defecating and suffering there while imported cars zoomed past in fond oblivion. Thousands carried on with their existential dilemma while thousands went on celebration without end and wasting money of immense proportions. And, the city admin machinery looked on. Maybe with election round the corner all voters are allowed to do whatever they want! Eat drink and be merry and 'vote for me'!

Where's this city going? What's going to happen next? How long would it take to burst out of seams? No solutions. I only managed to arrive at the title of my post!

ICC Champions Trophy-India Gets A Point!



India got a point today in the match against Australia which seemed to be slipping out fast from India's grasp and then the rains interrupted leading to sharing of points.

And, it was not due to Kirsten Vision, but rain intervention! Coach Kirsten's therapeutic vision document had Team India in trembles still recovering from the loss of Yuvraj Singh and the absence of Sehwag and Jaheer Khan. The 'vision' has raised a world wide controversy with conservative India scandalized. Kirsten, the most experienced opener for South Africa of yore, did the most inexperienced thing by his anatomic vision. Whenever India is concerned better talk of meditation and spirituality, dear Kirsten. It was obvious that he had to deny the vision under tremendous pressure from all quarters.

Anyway, India got a point and is still in the reckoning technically. They have to beat West Indies by a huge margin and Australia has to lose to Pakistan by a good margin so that the run rate comes in India's favor. If Australia win against Pakistan outright India is out. Pakistan is already in semi final from Group A.

No speculation please on why India eventually wins or loses!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Politics Industry!



An Indian newspaper today reported one politician saying that politics is no longer linked to people; it has become an industry where you make huge investments and try to recover it in quick time. This was in reference to forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly Elections which is poised to become the most expensive one of all times. One candidate would require from Rs. 30 to 50 million to campaign effectively for a win.

The 'industry' phenomenon explains why all are desperate for a ticket and dissidence is growing when tickets are not given. This is affecting parties across the board with stalwarts joining rival parties or standing as independents.

The problem is whenever industry is concerned performance and results are crucial for success. Now, in this politics industry what kind of performance or results are expected considering the fact that it's delinked from people or say voters. If voters have nothing to gain out of the investments where exactly do they stand? Politicians will have to sell something to earn revenues. Or do they have assured risk free returns? Dumbfounding questions!

Anyway, coming to performance a piece of breaking news: one more masala ingredient has just been added to already spicy juicy Indian Cricket! More on that later.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Politics Is Politics!

The dark fortnight ended, but politics went on rollicking.

As we had expected things got moving from September 19, the start of the illuminated and auspicious fortnight. The opposition coalition announced seat sharing first thing in the morning. And politics started afterward with candidates not getting tickets and their supporters raising hell. Where are their forefathers now?

The ruling coalition continued to search for an amicable seat sharing formula and politics went on into the third day of the auspicious fortnight. What their forefathers telling them now?

Respect or no respect, auspicious or non-auspicious, good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable--politics has a mind of its own. It goes on uninhibited and unchecked till it achieves its desired goals or its lack of any goals.

Just Politics!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Elections Yes! But with Due Respect to Forefathers...



Maharashtra Assembly elections are round the corner. Polling on 13th October and counting on 22nd October. And yet...

The ruling coalition has been discussing seat sharing for the last three days and in our news room we wait for the final decision every day and making our headline that 'discussions continuing...' Yesterday somebody got tired and asked me how long would you continue making the same headline! The opposition coalition will declare candidates on an auspicious day, that is, tomorrow, why you will know a little later.

Apart from the problem of delimitation of the constituencies which caused many stalwarts on all fronts lose their earlier ones, there is one basic issue for causing the delay.

It's Pitrupaksha, that is, the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadra (September-October) leading to the new moon when our ancestors descend on our earth and it becomes easier for all Hindus to give their respectful offerings directly to their forefathers. All 15 days offerings are made at homes, temples, beaches and river sides and shraddha (funeral ritual) ceremonies are held. Basically it's our deep respect and gratefulness to our ancestors. We seek to please them and get their blessings.

But the main problem here is that though this fortnight is immensely auspicious, no major decisions are taken, no major trading and deals are made and all wait for the illuminated fortnight that follows to make new beginnings. And tomorrow is the first day of this fortnight when Goddesses are worshiped throughout.

So, we expect everything to happen from tomorrow. Though today was the first day of filing nominations, only one candidate filed his in whole of Maharashtra which has 288 constituencies!

More on Pitrupaksha!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Celebrating 50 Years of Doordarshan!



Door-darshan means tele-vision literally. Doordarshan is the national public broadcaster of India, nominated by the Government of India as Prasar Bharati.

On this day of 15th September in the year 1959 Doordarshan started its telecasts with a makeshift studio and a small transmitter. Its regular daily telecasts started in 1965 and by 1972 some of Indian major cities were covered.

In 1982 Doordarshan began its national network and it penetrated every home in nook and corner of India. That same year color television was also introduced.

Doordarshan--the first to introduce soap opera, the first to start film based programs, the first take games like football and cricket to every home of India, the first to continue committed entertainment. The only television channel to give truth and only truth to the people.

We are celebrating 50 years today. With the colors and vibrancy of the country. A very colorful musical program was organized and recorded today in Mumbai which will be telecast soon.

Doordarshan

Friday, September 11, 2009

Credit Card Use Costlier



No doubt you need credit cards in lots nowadays. One for one particular use, one for some other consideration and some for general use. You go on multiplying your accounts on account of no annual fee, less interest rates, freebies and all that. From the grocery stores to the online reservations you do it on ease without having to carry cash. To say more of such benefits is cliched.

But, particularly in India, costs of card use are increasing. Cash advance facility is almost passe due to prohibitive costs, minimum fee of Rs 300/ whatever amount you withdraw plus interest from the very date. Lifetime free cards are accepted norms, but use is the basic need.

Revolving credit is also proving too costly. Now almost every bank has increased the monthly interest rate to 3.1% or above instead of customary 2.95% with special reduced rate offers. Even in high profile co-branded cards the rate is upwards of 3%. And, some special APR cards have gone to 3%+ interest without notice.

On many purchases like fuel, railway reservations and all you need to pay an extra transaction charge.

So, now you must have a sizable savings account balance to use credit cards and to settle full dues in one go so as to avoid cumulative interest charges.

Isn't this against the trends of consumerism and the market economy?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nostalgia Deep Rooted?



Sometimes our nostalgia is so strong and overpowering that we feel at a loss how to justify it.

It has happened to me many times; maybe it happened to you too.

Sometimes when you pass through a particular stretch of road or locality or residential clove or landscapes a sense of belonging seizes absolute control of you. You feel you belong there, know everybody there. Your heart fills with tenderness and eyes become moist. But your sense of reasoning tells you that this is the first time you have visited or passed through that.

There can be two justifications or possible explanations of such an experience.

First, it may be your intuition or telepathy trying to remind you of some connection that may have happened or is going to happen.

Second, it can be our deep rooted nostalgia which can extend to our past lives. Come on, we cannot arrive on this planet just by chance and do all the natural things naturally. There is an in-built sense of belonging in all of us which makes us to accept all earthly things naturally. This cannot happen by chance only.

Anyway, this is not a debate for believing or not believing. This is just an argument to explain things that cannot be explained otherwise.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Does Humor Has To Be Loud To Be Understood?



Filmmakers are the cleverest lot. They make their comedy scenes so bellowing loud that nobody dares misunderstand. One hint of humor is carried out in continuously heaped up dialogues so that the viewers don't dare stop laughing.

They are dead right. Fine or refined or defined or subtle or quiet or subdued humor is utterly helpless before the connoisseur humor eaters. Anybody trying to do that is rejected dejected and ejected. Herr Humor!

But I was also wrong. I thought this 'understanding' is only rampant in India. Now I'm afraid it's a global phenomenon.

Dare prove me wrong!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

YSR--Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy 1949--2009



Around 9 o'clock in the morning of September2,2009 Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India, set out on a helicopter for an important engagement. He ignored the pouring rain and a very bad forecast. Even the usual helicopter was not available and he took another which later proved to be air unworthy--not serviced for last two years. But, his commitment to his people was the priority.

The chopper vanished after about an hour and the Chief Minister with his two topmost officers and two pilots went missing. As the hours passed by without any success in finding the chopper the worst fears were in the minds of every countrymen.

After twenty four hours, today the 3rd September, the missing chopper was spotted on a hilltop and soon after all five persons were confirmed dead. It was a crash caused most probably by bad weather and the doubtful chopper.

Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, was a dashing leader who brought back the Congress into power in his state after ten years in 2004 and bettered it in the last elections. Being the first congress leader to form government for two consecutive term he also contributed significantly to the congress tally in the parliament both in 2004 and 2009 general elections. A Chief Minister by the people, for the people and of the people.

India and the Congress party lost a great leader who had tremendous potential for the future.

We express our heartfelt condolences on the tragic demise of Rajasekhara Reddy and his team of four. We are with the bereaved families in this hour of inconsolable sorrow.
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