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Monday, December 27, 2010

Celebration Times: Let Good Win Over Evil!

Christmas on and the year 2010 about to come to a close it’s celebration times indeed! We all must celebrate, but in a most positive and inspiring way. Celebrate with a difference and inspire others to fall in line.

At the same time it’s reviewing times too. You must take stock of the year about to vanish into eternity. What good you achieved and what mistakes you made in the year. You have to build up on your achievements and learn from your mistakes to start the New Year.

Year 2010 constantly reminds you of scams and high level corruption if you are an Indian. Good that just at close the Scam Emperor of 2G Spectrum and the Kingpin of Commonwealth Games corruption have been finally nailed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI has huge task to perform in 2011 and it definitely needs your best wishes and support. The Adarsh Society Scam and others are just lurking in the corner to be tackled. Punishment must follow crimes.

Few terrorists have also reported entered Mumbai and other places of India to carry on their kind of celebration of destruction and killing of innocent citizens. They must be stopped and brought to justice. The central and state governments of India definitely need your best wishes and support.

Apart from scams, corruption and terror common people have been plagued by raging inflation throughout the year. We hope the Government of India’s promise of falling price rise by March end in the New Year comes true.

So, celebrate in such a way that the New Year 2011 fulfills all your hopes and aspirations. Celebrate in such a way that good prevails over evil and evil is crushed beyond recognition.

Happy New Year 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vijay Jadhav: Abrupt End To A Promising Career

December 13, 2010. We had been shooting for a program at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai. Around lunch break we got the shocker—Vijay Jadhav was no more. Too shocked to believe I phoned the Director of Pune Press Information Bureau (PIB), Prashant Pathrabe. Prashant hesitatingly confirmed the sad demise of the young Director of National Film Archives of India (NFAI), Pune. And I had to accept it.  

For the few times that I met Vijay Jadhav his hyperactivity and high energy was very hard to miss. He was always working on some new projects and one job at a time was never optimum for him. For NFAI he was traveling the whole of India with film packages. Once on a holiday at my native city Guwahati I was amazed to find his name in local Assamese newspapers. For the Goa International Film Festival he always had something new and exciting to offer. Vijayji also had additional charge of PIB and had been actively involved in all its Public Information Programs throughout the state of Maharashtra. He had been fond of media attention and deservedly so. On many occasions he instantly obliged us with information and bytes.

And more. He found time for his musical sessions too. He practiced tabla even on tours and in my wife Ragini’s musical circles his name was often mentioned.

I last met him at the Government of India’s two day Western Region Media Conference at Baramati. He had been constantly running around with errands ranging from organizing hassles to delivering speeches. On the first night he arranged a dinner for all media officers at a country house of one of his friends. In the dead still of night in a typical Maharashtra village surrounding that experience was unforgettable. But something happened that night which I just feel now to blurt out.

When we finally sat down on the ground in typical village style to have our main course I found to my consternation that there were exactly 13 people having dinner. Well, I take the risk of being called superstitious and I take it just to make a small observation. My father studied astrology scientifically and  combined with mathematical calculations plus intuition his forecasts always had hundred percent accuracy. He told me once that 13 people should never have dinner together because fatal forces are created in the process making one of the 13 people most likely to die within one year. I took it lightly and as is our pride never believed it, but it remained in my subconscious permanently. I tried to prevent such situations if there was a possibility without being noticed, but that night it was just not possible. In the presence of all responsible media officers such superstitious thoughts were just not the norm. That was April this year.

Vijayji died within one year and on the 13th .  Still it could be just superstition. Still I may or may not believe it. I am not asking you to believe me either. I am just crying out my pain aloud with just a small point. Why not avoid such situations from happening—if 13 people are there for dinner one can easily sit out for some time and join later without having anything to do with superstitions or some other avoidable situations created by some other rules. Why should we always associate our pride in such decisions?

We pray for the eternal bliss of his noble soul.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Test Cricket No 1: Team India ‘Zeros’ In!

It’s all the zeros that vindicate India’s No. 1 position in test cricket. It was 2-0 against Australia  and 1-0 against New Zealand in the test cricket circuit.  Then, a resounding 5-0 against NZ in the one day series. Such margins involving zeros were unheard of in the recent past for team India. This marks a departure from an entrenched mindset.

Earlier, India was known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory that underlined the team’s unwillingness to win or a lack of aggression or positive instinct. With Captain Dhoni and the ICC No.1 ranking the scene is fast changing. Now, Team India can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat like in the first test against Australia that proved to be an epic thriller. Now, Team India can depend on surprise packages from players like Harbhajan Singh who score back to back centuries and figure in match saving partnerships as against NZ in the test series. Now, Team India can depend on the reserve bench and even the second reserve bench of players.

Earlier, if India sealed a series leading 2-0 or 3-0 so much experimentation with unnecessary players used to take place that the final results always became 2-1 or 3-2. That meant ‘we can afford to lose now because we have already won the series’ mindset which was never noticed in the case of the earlier No.1 Australia. Experimentation tradition continues even now, but with an aggressive desire to win and a whole bunch of competitive cricketers. Now, if the top level fails to deliver the cause is still not lost.

Team India seems to be in a mood to take due charge from Australia as far as the No.1 spot is concerned. Over to South Africa now for more! Hopefully!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Now Showing: Democratic Circus!

An exemplary circus is running very successfully in India and today it has completed 15 days of unmitigated popularity. It’s exemplary because instead of the usual circus tent you behold the esteemed Parliament House. No problems, only humans are performing since animals are already banned from circus shows due to cruelty. Oh yes, India is the largest democracy of the world.

The backdrop is the 2G Spectrum scam that cost the country thousands of millions of rupees and gave unbelievable windfall profits to the telecom companies that were endowed with the 2G licenses.

Right, opposition is justified considering the level of corruption. But at what cost and whose cost? Opposition should be righteous, not politically motivated. For the 15th day today, the same absurd routine is followed in both houses of Indian Parliament. Speaker comes in at 11am sharp, opposition members stand with raised hands and shouting, Speaker beseeching them to sit and calm down so that work begins, house adjourned till 12 noon and later for the day.

The Government of India had initiated investigations and canceled a number of licenses which could make it possible to recover some of cost and anyway, investigations must be allowed to proceed to be effective. But the opposition leaders just want Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) for their enquiry and the government not giving it. They want JPC so that they can put the ruling party in a spot since even the Prime Minister was dragged into it and get unprecedented political mileage, strong political motives. The government is not giving JPC for equally strong countering political reasons. Nobody is willing to give a take on the cost the country is put to on a daily basis apart from the cost of the scam.

Let the circus bloom. This is everybody’s democratic right! But hey common man, do you have any kind of rights in the largest democracy?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wanted! A Training Course In Corruption?

Scam after scam! The marathon is not willing to stop. Adarsh Society, 2G Spectrum, Kickbacks for Loans, Land Grabbing. You name it!

What all these prove? One thing only. Everybody is bent upon making the extra buck—by hook or by crook as we have said earlier in this space. Corruption has taken deep roots in our hearts. It is fast becoming a culture. And why not! Jobs are being sold and bought in most of the places. If one buys a job or career for a hefty price s/he would first like to recover the cost very quickly. Salary recovery will be very slow. So, corruption gets ingrained into it.

Considering the widespread acceptability a foolproof training course in corruption is the need of the hour. This is bound to help one and all. Besides, this will also help prevent scams to surface.

The course should have two modules. One—How best to take Bribes. Here three basic factors would come into contention.

Greed: There will be again three varieties. Plain Greed, Greed with intelligence and Greed with power. The first one is the weakest, the second allows lot of negotiating discretion and the third can simply dictate. This one is from the point of view of the bribe taker. Example—Adarsh Society scam.

Exchange of Incentives: This involves both bribe givers and takers. Can be decided on a mutually beneficial basis. Example—2G Spectrum scam.

Level of Desperation: This involves the bribe giver only. The more the level of desperation the more the amount that can be ejected by the taker. Example—Kickbacks for Loans scam.

The second module should be How not to get Caught. This will be very complex. Most experienced corrupt experts would be needed to prepare this module. So, let us set the most essential qualifications for experts:

  • Must be suspended at least 10 times during his/her career.
  • Must be in jail for at least 50 days.
  • Must get at least 100 interrogations or summons.
  • Must have extensively intensive contacts and links.
  • Must be in position of authority for  some part of service career.

Give a thought to developing this training course that would help millions of needful souls!  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lucky Oye!

One day stopping my car at a busy traffic signal a lottery ticket seller came up to me. He was gesticulating displaying a whole bunch of tickets for my kind consent. Never a believer in my lottery luck I politely declined. Disappointed, the seller kept the bunch on my car bonnet and began rearranging them. Then he moved forward. But, moments later he rushed back pointing to a ticket lying on the car bonnet. He picked it up looking at me very meaningfully and waved the ticket towards me saying, ‘This ticket belongs to you, Sir! Don’t let this opportunity slip away!’  As the signal became green and I drove forward slowly furious thoughts invaded my mind. Was that a good omen? Should I have bought it? Damn it! Now it's gone and lost!

A few days later the same incident happened again and I seemed to recognize the seller boy too. This time I noticed one ticket left behind on my car bonnet and observed him closely. He took a few steps away and then suddenly stopped, sorted out the tickets and seemed to miss something. Same time I honked for him. He came back, picked up the ticket and asked me to slide down my window glass. He began pestering me to buy the ticket, because that belonged to me along with the millions written on it.

As I drove forward I was sure this time. No coincidence, no good omen! That was a marvelous piece of salesmanship. They act and enact to make you buy a ticket. The first incident was no longer a riddle. I could not help laugh out loud! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Adarsh, Action and the Corruption Exchange!

As expected, action was initiated moments after President Obama left India for Indonesia.

Prithviraj Chavan was appointed new Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Prithviraj Chavan who had been a central minister in Delhi has been enjoying a clean image over the years and there are exemplary stories about his efforts at his native town and constituency Karad. He was sworn in at a simple ceremony and he ordered all posters of him removed from all places of the state.

The central Environment Ministry had served notice on the Adarsh Society as to why it should not be demolished. Now the extreme step of demolition becomes extremely likely and why not; corruption must be rooted out.

But, at the same time, something else had also happened. A media channel showcased a veteran politician who made a sensational offer of exchanging most corrupt with less corrupt so that status quo is not disturbed.

You are familiar with telephone exchanges, stock exchanges, traffic exchanges or foreign exchanges. It is bound to take time to realize the full potential of this path breaking offer of a corruption exchange. At the moment it is open only for politicians. Developers must work on it earnestly so that it becomes immediately available for tainted bureaucrats and army officers of the Adarsh Society Scam. ‘Adarsh’ means ‘ideal or model’. This is the time for making it the most ideal exchange for all time to come.

Of course, you can definitely have an exchange of thoughts on this Exchange.

Monday, November 8, 2010

President Obama: Mumbai Taken By Dance!

Mumbai waited with bated breath for the huge event. US President Barack Obama's Air Force One landing at the financial capital Mumbai to start the President's  maiden visit to India. Amidst unprecedented security arrangements and Diwali celebrations in full swing almost everybody in town was intensely focused on Obama.

Yes, the Chief Minister Ashok Chavan did indeed receive the biggest guest possible on earth at the airport and presented him an illustrated book on Maharashtra. Of course, the Chief Minister avoided attending the CEO Business Meet at Trident Hotel or other functions at Taj Palace Hotel for obvious reasons.  The Chief Minister along with some of his cabinet colleagues were invited earlier by the US Consulate for the Meet asking them to bring the invitation letters and identity proofs  for entry!  The Consulate did indeed finally apologize citing security concerns. The most powerful people within the state had enough reasons to be rightfully offended. Coincidentally, Internet servers were down in many localities of the city from just before Obama landed to just before he left!  Was that for security too? Well, many Mumbaikars, living particularity in areas surrounding Taj Palace Hotel, would rather agree; because they lived like prisoners for three days not able to move in or move out or not able to invite guests or not able to celebrate the festival of lights. 

The Media was following Obama like mad, concentrating on what he said and concentrating more on what he did not say. Most of the news channels started jumping to conclusions that President Obama spared Pakistan for strategic reasons and that he came to India only to take and not to give. They conveniently forgot that this part of his tour was not at all on the political platform; that he was yet to meet the Prime Minister or that he had yet to reach the political capital Delhi. Possibly all the foreign affairs experts available in India got a chance to chatter continuously on the channels. 

Mumbai was moved by the positive energy oozing out of the US President and the First Lady Michelle Obama. They won hearts wherever they went. The very first day the First Lady proved what a perfect dancer she was! While BaracK Obama talked hard business Michelle Obama danced away to a perfect tune with handicapped children.
And lo! The most powerful man of the world danced too, literally, giving in to the lively rhythm  of  Marathi fishermen folk songs along with his perfect dancer wife at a school that the couple visited to celebrate Diwali the second day. 

Meeting the future generation at a city college President Obama interacted healthily answering difficult and awkward questions with amiable sincerity.  

Moments...lively moments....Mumbai would remember and relish forever. Good Luck, Mr. President!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Scam, Diwali and Obama!

Yes. all the shades are there! The Adarsh Society Scam of Mumbai is raging with the Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan in the dock and many others in the ministerial cum ex-ministerial cum top bureaucratic hierarchy deeply involved.

A Society building  in a plot supposedly belonging to the Indian Army, a society building supposedly for the widows of martyrs of Kargil, a society building supposedly to be a six story affair soaring to 31 floors eventually and a society building decidedly in the richest and poshest locality of India. Even if widows would have been given the flats how on earth could they have maintained themselves in the costliest neighborhood!

And so, over the decade every famous and powerful managed themselves one or more flats. Today in the Times of India, a national newspaper that exposed the scam, one top retired bureaucrat belligerently justified his two flats, ' You see, my father was an army officer and so my mother deserved a flat, then my daughter being the granddaughter of my father deserved one too!'

Things are in a heap with Diwali, the festival of lights, starting on 5th of November and..dear me...US President Barack Obama arriving in Mumbai on 6th on his three day visit to India. Obama is looking forward to celebrating Diwali in this sparkling city and unprecedented security arrangements are being made. Maybe for this twin big reasons the Congress party high command is delaying the decision on Chavan's offer of resignation. While the State Chief should indeed receive the huge profile guest the opposition parties  are clamoring for disallowing a corrupt chief to do so! 

Anyway, Happy Diwali to all! Let the lights clear the doubts. And, let us all try to announce 'ALL IS WELL!'

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sardarji Jokes! Laugh At Yourself!

In India ethnic stereotype jokes have been common. The most popular and widespread among them are the Sardarji jokes. Sardarji is the male stereotype of the Sikh community--a religious community known for its bravery, chivalry and extreme hard work over the centuries. Their state Punjab is one of the most prosperous in India. 

There are many theories why jokes have been made at their expense; there have been many protests by the Sikh community on different occasions; but, it has been widely agreed upon that basically all these jokes are good nature humor and that many other ethnic stereotypes are also available for cutting jokes at in India including the south Indians, particular business communities  and particular professions.

The most positive attribute of Sardarji jokes is that stalwarts like Khuswant Singh  and other Sikh personalities themselves wrote so many lucid  Sardar jokes. This proves the sterling quality of the Sikhs 'to laugh at themselves'. For proper understanding and appreciation of humor everyone should definitely imbibe this capability. I have found many of my Sikh colleagues totally partaking in and enjoying such jokes.

Well, just thought about this issue and would like to have inputs from readers.

Let the humor flow on. Just not being able to  avoid mentioning one classic joke. One noted Sikh politician of yore was once to deliver a public speech which was to last for roughly ten minutes. But at the actual eventuality the leader's speech went on and on for more than thirty minutes. Top bureaucrats were confused. How did it happen? The slip was found by the personal assistant at last. By mistake three copies of the same speech were given to the leader!

Jai Ho!

Friday, October 22, 2010

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grand Suceess to Commonwealth Games, Now Tackling Shame!

Very healthy that the grand success of the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi has not been allowed to bypass the shame that plagued it till the last minute. The Government of India appointed an inquiry committee the very next morning after the closing night. The message is loud and clear. No wrongdoer would be spared. The committee is asked to submit the report in three months.

Thanks to tremendous performance of the Indian athletes and players leading to a recording breaking tally of 38 gold medals the Games would be remembered ever by Indian people. Thanks to the Government of India and the Government of Delhi pitching in at the eleventh hour the pride of India has been salvaged. The world media has been all praise for the Games including the spectacular inaugural ceremony and for all purpose India has arrived now thinking about hosting the Olympic Games.

One thing remains. The time all committees take or are given to submit the reports. Why three months? Such committees take ages and finally submit reports running into thousands of pages, be it in the field of Indian justice or in regard to disasters or in any other sectors. The public is hardly benefited. They expect justice to be delivered quickly and for them two pages highlighting the basic points are enough. It's a moot point if anybody ever goes through searching for the needle in a haystack.

Anyway, grand success or not, the guilty must be punished. Sooner the better.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

IPL Bashing!

Yesterday the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) scrapped two of the Indian Premier League franchises for irregularities. This mammoth task was possible only because of the irresistible urge to keep Lalit Modi out of cricket business.

There are many reactions--mostly from the investing business tycoons who cried most foul. Like Vijay Mallya, the liquor baron, who said investors should be respected. Well, why the investors want live human beings to put their money on nowadays!

Seeing the reactions I thought I would also react!

I am not at all happy with the decision! Why only two teams--namely Rajashtan Royals and Kings Eleven Punjab--have been scrapped? Why not scrap all of them? If all the teams were scrapped the IPL tournament itself would have been scrapped! And, that would have been a great service for the future of the beautiful game of cricket!

Save cricket!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Australia vs. India: The Giants Vote For Test Cricket!

What a nail biting finish! What a match! And, Team India won it too!

A suspense packed cricket test is not a rare phenomenon as myopic people think being constantly hammered by the propagators of the short or shortest forms of cricket. You see, cricket commentators or experts cannot be believed nowadays! Because they are hopelessly caught in the web of Boards, Brands and Bucks! What they say belongs to a particular moment and you forget it next. If they had written the obituary of Test Cricket on numerous occasions they had compulsions to do so!

Anyway, a classic game of cricket with ups and downs, unpredictable twists and turns, a collection of bad umpiring decisions and almost unbearable suspense on the last day today, October 5, 2010, Mohali . The first test of Ind-Aus Series in India.

Australia won the toss and naturally elected to bat because on Indian pitches the last day is always supposed to be heaven for spinners and nightmarish for batsmen. Aus went on smoothly, had a slump midway and then fought back to get 428, almost a winning total. India started in good earnest and looked to get a sizeable lead. But Aus cut it short and enjoyed a tiny lead of 23 runs. The match was set up tantalizingly with last two days to go.

Second innings, Aussies raced on looking good for a big target. But Indian bowlers fought gloriously to get them all-out for 192.  So, Team India needed 216 runs to win with ample time left.

But on the evening of the fourth day India lost four key wickets and…hoping against hope for Indian crowds.

On the last day today India at 124/8, the match was nearly gone. But an unlikely batting hero Ishant Sarma dug himself in with Very Very Special Laxman and added 81 runs. Then a bad decision again and the last Indian batsman was in with 11 runs to go! The ultimate climax set in and India finally won by 1 wicket!

Say Hurray for Test Cricket!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Ayodhya File!

The suspense was more unbearable than in an Ind-Pak one day international cricket match. The wait was agonizing fraught with apprehension. Some sources reported that millions of bucks exchanged hands on betting over the verdict!

Our newsroom, maybe many more all over India, was crowded with eager staff, and editors trying to get the details for the coming bulletin. There was din in the TV monitors and pin drop silence in the usually noisy newsroom. Nobody wanted to wait any longer. Out with it and end it all!

For over sixty years the Ayodhya Temple-Mosque issue continued unabated with the bloody riots in 1992-93--a languishing scar that anyone would ever be able to forget or forgive. Nobody wanted a repeat of that.

It started at the appointed 3.30pm and by 4.45pm bits and pieces were coming in. The announced websites refused to open all the time. At last, the three judge Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court delivered justice.

A verdict that could not afford to please or hurt any party too much.The three parties got three parts of the disputed site at Ayodhya. All the parties seemed to be accepting it, but two parties later announced decision to appeal in the Supreme Court.

The Indian Union and state governments' intense efforts to maintain peace paid off with no untoward incident reported from any quarters. The bubbly city of Mumbai wore a deserted look in the evening with empty streets, buses and railway stations. Only natural. Who could ever forget the killings, arson and bomb blasts in this very city, January-March, 1993.

Though litigation is bound to go on, let's hope that the Ayodhya File is finally closed.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Commonwealth Shame 2010!

Why the obvious was not perceived as the obvious? After the biggest scam to hit the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi the responsibility was still left to the pack of thieves! The chief of thieves carried on boasting, carried on the Baton from place to place wasting more and more of taxpayers' money! Corruption should also have some honesty! You make money okay, but do the work! At least!

Just what's going on? With hardly ten days left we are still talking of preparation! India boasts of her hospitality, but athletes are withdrawing day after day, teams are delaying arrivals and countries are issuing advisories. Honorable Prime Minister has intervened now and the chief of thieves has been sidelined. But why now? That should have happened long long back.

Huge wastage of taxpayers' money in a country of poverty stricken illiterate millions and with inflation raging at 15%+ still. Okay, it was decided to waste the money in the spirit of sports and goodwill. But after deciding to waste it why no efforts were taken to ensure results! And on the top of it, suspense drama of the Ayodha Mandir-Masjid verdict to be delivered on September 24 is extended for  one more week giving ample opportunities to the media to hype it to Himalayan heights and  others to articulate speculate manipulate and gesticulate even more!

What a country! What a shame!

Time is running out, India! Make amends and restore at least some of the horribly lost pride!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Desperately Seeking Amitabh Bachchan !

The superstar of the millennium is shining bright, as ever. From hair oil to cricket to politics the name of Amitabh Bachchan has become synonymous with success. Anybody launching anything needs him to succeed. 

When he was growing a little old there was brief stopover in his success graph in the early nineties. But 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' made him roar back to mainstream.

Everybody understood how much Amitabh Bachchan was loved adored and respected by one and all and in all fields of activities. His growing age was a challenge accepted by the producers, the directors, the advertisers, the industrialists and the politicians 

Indian films began to be centered on him and his age, and special protagonist or even antagonistic roles were created to fit his age. The channel producers wanted him to launch their reality shows or events or even serial. The advertisers wanted him for every product to ensure its popularity. The superstar was a must for any launch of any service or business or event. Cricket organizers needed him to double the impact. The governments wanted him in all significant events and functions. The political parties craved for his favors and indulged in childish fights over him. One Indian state made him the brand ambassador to highlight its developmental initiative and other states cried in helpless frustration. And, the Indian crowds just loved wherever they saw him. 

Amitabh Bachchan was honored with his fourth National Award as the Best Actor by the government of India in 2010 for the film called ‘Paa’ (2009) where he played the role of an intelligent witty 12-year-old boy, Auro, with an extremely rare genetic defect called the progeria syndrome meaning prematurely old or with symptoms of aging making one look five times older than s/he actually is.

T20 cricket was supposed to be the most popular form of cricket after the success of Indian Premier League, but even then the cricket management wanted Amitabh Bachchan to promote the Champions League T20 in South Africa, 2010.

Amitabh Bachchan—the legend lives on.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Well Done Monsoon! And...Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

The South West Monsoon has been very generous this year. It has rained nearly 130% of normal rainfall in Mumbai and Maharashtra. That is to say, so far! The Monsoon is most likely to stay for the whole month of September. There is a  mood of celebration though in some areas excessive rainfall has threatened to cause damage to selected crops. Mumbai, suffering from 30% water cut since times immemorial, is now free of any cuts. The most enjoyable part of the Monsoon this time is that the rainfall had been spread uniformly. Nature did not finish its quota furiously in just one day or in few days and so Mumbai was free of major breakdowns.

Celebrations, of course! The festival season is just about to begin! The 11 day mega Ganesh Festival starts on Friday night with idols being installed and Ganesh Chaturthi Puja on Saturday morning. Ramzan month is culminating with Id on Friday too. Then comes the nine-day Navratri ushering in the fortnight of goddess worshipping-the shakti cult. Durga Puja follows for four days and then the festival of lights—Diwali or Kali Puja. With a brief breather it’s Christmas times and New Year! So, you are booked for a non-stop celebration this festive season!

You do have the cause and the spirit for celebrations. Of course, you must adhere to the dos and don’ts, in regard to the security concerns, the environmental perspective, causing disturbance to others and all that. It’s always healthy to add ‘share and care’ to all celebrations. Isn’t it?

Happy Festive Times!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pakistan Cricket Fixing: The Indian Link?

Finally Cricket has got a huge resounding SLAP right and square it had deserved for so long! Hats off to that epic sting! And kudos to Times Now for doing a brilliant expose relentlessly and continuously! Yeah, The Rot Is Out, but the sleaze is only oozing out! Tip of the iceberg!

Time and again Pakistan cricketers get on getting caught on cricket fixing innings galore. But this time it's big real and brazen. This will go a long long way before cricket or politics win!

It's Pakistan of course, but why only one Indian link? It's bound to link all the way to India! BECAUSE, India's got the numbers, India's got the craze, India's got the market, India's got the money, India's got the IPLs, India's got the money spinning flat mockery of pitches and India's got the fixing mixing politics!

And, to get the Indian links exposed would be kind of a Mission Impossible. You know why!

Only time or hopefully Times Now will tell!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Cricket Is Equal To Commerce!"

"India and Sri Lanka conveniently reached the final of Sri Lanka Cricket ODI Tri-series-2010 and that was all that mattered. Sri Lanka had to be in the finals for doing home marketing. India had to be in the finals for doing all the marketing put together. All the wanted money being earned and swallowed what finally happened in the final was hardly of any relevance.

That India lost in no way made the profit lesser. Just imagine a final without India! It's the worst nightmare possible for any commerce minded person.

With the coming of one day cricket big money really came into the game. But more the money more greedy one becomes. So, they created a short cut to money by introducing IPL or short cut cricket called T20. Now they have best of both the worlds provided India oblige. To balance the limited with short cut they even introduced ground-diggers in recent times by having ads crushing and hammering the live field. For this they wanted only a long shot in between balls.How does it matter if some replays, wicket falls, runs or even fours are robbed away to welcome more commerce?

But, die hard fools that we are, we still think about cricket! What short cuts have done to Team India are forced upon our hapless minds as follows:

  • Team India needs more and more rest. So much rest that they would rather fight it out. 
  • Indian cricketers can hardly last for fifty overs. Why the hell? In Tests, OK, the seniors are there to play cricket.
  • In short cuts, Team India cannot afford to have the seniors around, because cricket could be imposed on them.
  • That IPL was meant to groom young talents became a myth. The so called young talents are just pawns in the hands of marketers. 
  • Tests and one-dayers must be abolished to pave the way for a most powerful cricket commerce and to help Indian cricketers to have all the money and all the rest.
In near future we can hopefully expect cricket to blissfully merge into commerce and then we can have only cricketing breaks for all TV programs.  All is well?"

Who said it? Anybody?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cricket: Say NO To Century!

Suraj Randiv made a new beginning in modern aggressive cricketing history.

Many of us hardly knew about this rule of counting just one run for the no ball when scores are level and not bothering about how the ball was played or what happened to it.

When you cannot win, at least you try to make it hard for the opposition to achieve it or when someone is nearing a century try to prevent it with attacking field positions and bouncers and like that--was so far the mantra for aggressive cricket. Now a new kind of aggression had been added thanks to Randiv or Dilshan or Sangakkara.

Doing it for the first time the deliberation could not be hidden and it was too obvious which started the huge controversy. And so, action had to be taken in the name of 'spirit of cricket'.

But from now onwards bowlers will concentrate on hiding the deliberate act and will try the no-ball method as and when the opportunity is given.

Poor Sehwag missed a most well  deserved match winning century. But, more are likely to join him in the near future without having even the opportunity to doubt it or speculate or debate or comment or tweet or ridicule the act.

Beware!        .

Friday, August 13, 2010

India's Got Idiots!

Your cursing someone as 'idiot!' has of late lost all sting thanks to the super movie called '3 Idiots'. Now, 'idiot' has assumed new meaning, prestige and heritage.

Being 'idiotic' will now mean being genius or planning something superb. This up-gradation is all set to revamp our society, values, perceptions, inceptions and conceptions. If someone growls at you calling you an 'idiot', you will cry out in ecstasy!  The growling party will be at the receiving end.

Private TV channels must capitalize on this! What are they waiting for? They must launch nation wide events like 'Idiot No1 Contest', 'India's Got Idiots', 'Who Will Become the Biggest Idiot', 'The Idiot of Idiots', 'The Idiot Champ!' and soooooooo on! There must also be huge cash awards for the best idiots. This would ensure economic up-gradation of the idiots too!

Well, pay heed to this advice! Your reality shows have already created a whole generation of idiots. Now, pick on them and recycle!

And, if you finally do so, don't forget me! You see, I have copyrighted this idea!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Go Grab 'Common' Wealth!

They got it all wrong! They should have been proud of getting the opportunity to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, but instead they concentrated only on making the extra buck from what they thought 'the common pool of wealth'! They not only helped themselves but also generouly filled the pockets of their near and dear ones!

It became so loud that one of them had to resign. But this has to be only the beginning of the end. These unpatriotic corrupt crooks must go, else give the Games to any other willing country.

Like many others of the world the Indians have in them the hungry urge to make the extra buck, by hook or by crook! They are hardly interested in getting money that is legitimately due for their services. They want to forget about that part of money and start joining all kinds of rackets, sydicates, dens. and the pest!

But at least for a change when the country's pride is involved they should concentrate only on playing the perfect host and not on the loot from the common wealth! They can make their money at will later, because in a country of corrupt beings scope for looting is rampantly available at every step!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Out On A Drive In A Rainy Day!

For two days incessant rains lashed Mumbai--starting from the night of 30th July.

Yesterday, the 1st of August, it was continuously raining since early morning. The sky was heavy with black clouds. But we had to set out to Akurdi, a town near Pune, for a musical function where Ragini was to perform. We left around 8am, myself, Ragini and a tabla player. I was in the driving seat. 

And, it was a drive to remember on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. 

We encountered beautiful nature at every step of the way. The black clouds pouring drizzling and scattering rains all the time. The tireless wipers succeeded in giving us an uninterrupted wet view of the surroundings. The heavy dark sky silhouetted the lush greenery and the darker green hills in  riveting contrast. Passing cars raised white foamy bursts every time.

When ascending near Lonavla the clouds came down and touched the hills.  We were driving through the clouds and it was exhilarating! The occasional tunnels provided temporary breaks from the panoramic expanse making it more exciting. 

We enjoyed bountiful nature all the way to our destination. From our hearts we thanked mother nature and also the tremendous engineering efforts that made this super expressway possible.

When we reached it was still wet heavy and dark. But what a contrast that provided to our car ride! A drive to cherish for a long time! 

Friday, July 23, 2010


As I hoped Spain indeed won! Then why the break? Well, celebrations took place before the match began! Spain deserved to win, they won! But...

It was not worth the World Cup final! It was real pain! Each team was so desperate not to lose that they forgot to play soccer! Foul...most foul! It was a competition for committing the largest number of fouls!

Meantime Team India lost the first test against Sri Lanka very convincingly. Everybody worried about Indian bowling, but the it was the star batsmen who let the team down. And of course, Murlaitharan got exactly what he wanted to retire with. 800 wickets! A feat very tough to beat. Congratulations to Murali and his team!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

FIFA 2010: A New World Champion!



All set for a New World Football Champion to emerge tonight!

Netherlands, two time runners up in 1974 and 1978, never became the Champion.

Spain never made it to the final before.

I am going to support Spain all the way, not because Octopus Paul made the prediction for a Spain win; but because Spain has been playing tremendous attacking soccer after the starting loss to Switzerland. Their passes and coordination are beauty to watch. Netherlands too have their highs in terms of marauding moves. Some rate it to be the best ever final of all World Cups!

But I am for Spain to be the New Champions!

See you later!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Football 2010: World Cup of Upsets?

France and Italy never made it to the last sixteen. England and Portugal failed to qualify for the quarter finals. Brazil crashed out at the quarter final stage. Argentina suffered a crushing defeat to bade adieu to FIFA World Cup 2010. They were all strong contenders for the title. And yet!

For many the biggest upset would be Brazil losing to Netherlands. While credit must be given to the winning team, one cannot stop wondering about Brazil's inability  even to equalize. In fact, Brazil never played the kind of football they are known for in this World Cup. Yes, they kept winning till the quarter final stage, but those wins were against mostly weaker sides and not convincing by any means. North Korea, a rank outsider, nearly cornered them. Then, that hand ball goal for Brazil with the referee joining in the circus still stinks.

Demanding Dunga's head would hardly be a solution. Brazil must find an answer for their football.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

FIFA Technology Averse? Why?

Football is very physical, very tough, involves lots of tearing, pushing and legging and a part and parcel of the human body. Is this the reason for FIFA's puzzling unwillingness to welcome technology in? They want it to remain a dangerous primeval sport that it was? They say human errors add charms to the game! But human errors at whose cost?

That Super Sunday Soccer was mouth watering and incredible. England and Germany racing full swing up and down the field promised what was expected. But, that goal that wasn't given in spite of clear replays robbed the jest out of England. Well, you only say this game is totally body oriented and so your horrible decisions would definitely affect the bodies. Of course, England could have bounded back and altered the course of the game, but that goal that wasn't given still stank.

Mexico matched Argentina in pace and fury. It was a game to relish. But, your decisions again marred it. Bravo, Mexico still fought like lions even after conceding a tragic suicidal second goal. You see, it affects. Now, your so-called charms had harmed England and Mexico beyond repair. And yet, you say no to technology that's readily available and that had transformed the game of cricket already.

Technology or no technology, the question remains. How can you allow such decisions in a championship of this level? Not to mention the other affected matches or those in the offing.

Anybody listening or rather watching?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Matters of the Heart!

True. Incidence of heart disease has been increasing world over, particularly in India. Most common risk factors are: high cholesterol with high triglycerides,  high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, junk food habits and of course, smoking and alcoholism.

It's okay to warn people about risk factors. So that they become careful and apply moderation in everything they do or eat.

But, studies based on selected samples and on a selected time period are increasing by leaps and bounds. They are mostly hypothetical and speculative. Some random samples cannot be binding for all. So, they mislead and confuse people. And, above all, they intend to terrorize people without realizing the simple fact that a negative bend of mind could also be harmful for the heart health.

Recently I read about such a study in a newspaper. The study says that four hours of TV watching a day could increase the risk of heart disease by more than ten percent over the normal risk. Reduce the hours and reduce the risk. The study says that human body is not suitable for continued TV watching posture.

Now, if one more such study says that sitting and working in offices increases heart disease risk considerably then what would happen! Of course, you take breaks or even walks in between office hours; but then, you may do it during TV watching too or in any kind of sedentary activity.

Heart! Don't terrorize!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Indo-Pak Thriller After a Long Time!

Along with FIFA World Cup football matches every evening in India, today we had a bonus of an India-Pakistan Onedayer in the ongoing Asia Cup cricket championship in Sri Lanka.

Like always, the match was tense intense fluctuating and edge of the seat suspense. Finally India won thanks to Harbhajan hitting a six in the penultimate ball of the final over. A reminder of the Javed Miandad last ball six winner at that historic Sharjah match against India in 1986.

Watching football at the same time one is reminded of a basic difference between the two games. No, not those that of rules or fan following.

It's the commercial breaks! Once a soccer match starts you are blissfully free of commercial breaks for 45 minutes. No breaks can afford to break in--not during goal kicks, free kicks, throw ins, corners, penalties or after scoring goals. Not even during injury intervals. Only at half time breaks come when you can also take a break!

But oh cricket! After every over, after every wicket falls, after players get injured or during mid-field discussions about game plan--breaks come flooding in. At the peak of your excitement as to what will happen next, the breaks make you feel like a fool! If Lalit Modi comes back he will definitely try introducing breaks after every ball which will ensure at least 500 extra commercials in every match multiplied by......only Modi can tell you that! In fact, he tried this in IPL-3 T20 format to some extent!

But at the moment, it's best of both the worlds! Better enjoy and not think too much!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rains Hit Mumbai!

Yes! Monsoon is in Mumbai! Maybe the exact date was not met! But it had been lashing the city since June 11. And, major downpours happened on June 14 and June 16.

The moment you started enjoying the black sky, the rain drops, the drenched street and alleys, the dramatic change in climate, the windy wavy beaches and seasides...well, the related problems also surfaced. Water logging, traffic jams, local train delays, chaos in airports and so on. Yesterday, it was all in one day. Heavy rains since dawn and the high tides later on. And, the forecasts of more rains and high tides for next twenty four hours. But as always, monsoon does not need forecasts to unfold its being a day of clearing sky and interludes of sunshine.

At the moment lets look at the positive side. Rains are needed for all the good reasons. So enjoy! Monsoon is here to stay for next four months.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Good News Monsoon Rains!

The moment I completed my last post it did rain in Mumbai! Maybe light, but it did hit several parts of the city.

And today it rained more! Just now, about to be midnight, it was good rains for few minutes! The clouds look real today--the monsoon type, you know, call it pre-monsoon.

And the good news! The South West Monsoon finally moved out of Kerala and reached Goa. Now, it's set to hit Maharashtra in two days. Means Mumbai is about to welcome the monsoon.

The forecast is good too. The monsoon is expected to deliver 97% rains this season.

Lets hope for the best and celebrate!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

O' Monsoon! Thy Phet?

South West Monsoon seems to have developed a fatal attraction for Keralian hospitality. It arrived there in May 30 and stayed put there. This time thanks to Phet--a cyclonic upheaval in the Arabian sea. Or has it been Indian Monsoon's 'fate' as usual?

Same old story like in 2009. Last it was aila cyclone in the Bay of Bengal plus a suspected El Nino conspiracy.

This year the heat is more persistent with mercury hovering over 45 in the state of Maharashtra and other parts of the country. Water scarcity and even drought like situations developing in many parts. Remaining water levels are at the lowest--be it the city of Mumbai or the villages. If the monsoon is delayed further...well, let's not think about it.

Phet had come and spent itself, but the South West Monsoon is yet to be active and moving. The expected date of 5th June in Mumbai is gone. Now it is expected by 10th, but before that the monsoon has to reach Goa.

O' Monsoon please pour soon! Maybe independent India's dependence on you has made you precious and slippery. But at least have mercy on the Indian hapless farmers looking at the sky and praying continuously.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why We Always Wait For A Tragedy!

The Mangalore runway, called as table top one, was always fraught with danger. But nowhere nobody was concerned about that.

One hundred fifty eight people had to die horribly to draw attention to this fact. On 22nd May at 6.30 am the Dubai-Mangalore Air India Express Flight overshot the runway by 2000 feet and crashed into the gorges that surround the airstrip.

Now only we know about. So many people including experts and air crew talked about the dangers of this table top runway. 'If offered no margin for error, the slightest mistake by pilots and hundreds of lives were always in danger.' Why no precautions were taken earlier to prevent this? Why do we wake up only after a tragedy of immense proportions happens?

And after knowing it what is going to be done? Flights are still landing at and taking off from Mangalore airstrip. Do we need some more disasters?

And, within three days of the accident, the Air India staff has gone on strike demanding more pay. SHAME!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Look! Team India!

Look at the jubilation and ecstasy of the new T20 World Champions!

What a moment! Of pride, extreme happiness and satisfaction.

A moment shared by all their countrymen! You feel one, you feel a nation, you feel a national mission accomplished!

How they fought for such a moment! They played like one fully integrated unit. They had the determination to excel in everything--batting, bowling and fielding. If you noticed them from the beginning of the tournament you must have made them your world champions already as I did so and got proud of my decision.

England fully deserved the moment! Heartiest congratulations!

Your IPL money cannot buy you such moments, Team India! Play for your country and reap the rewards of your countryman's love pride and support. Your dirty millions can only make you corrupt sick wasted and  most unwanted!

Learn your lessions! Time is not on your side!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's Wrong With Team India's Tactics?

West Indies--the land of fast bowling and bouncy pitches. The International Cricket Council T20 World Cup is being played here from April 30.

And, at the Super Eight level Team India seems to have lost all reason and sanity. They put the focus on spinners--that too part time--and opted for just two pacers on such bouncy wickets. They had taken an extra batsman to increase batting strength.

And yet, they had opted to field first winning the toss against Australia and helped them generously to get to a big total. They lost that first Super Eight match.

Faced with a do or die situation today, the 9th of May, they did exactly the same against the West Indies--winning the toss again and deciding to field again. It's common logic that if you have a strong batting side you bat first and build a huge total. In crunch games the chasing side is always under pressure even with low totals like Pakistan failed against New Zealand by one run. Then again, if you want to play spinners you should field second as wickets are supposed to slow down in the second innings. But no, Mahendra Singh Dhoni never cared and managed to lose the match again taking his team virtually out of the World Cup.

You know it's the IPL trick. In those grueling 45 days Team India stars made all the money they wanted, satisfied their bosses and entertained the cricket revelers. Enough was enough. Now they want rest. Why should they bother about so called national pride and loyalties? Their understanding Board did the right thing by resting most stars in the next   tri-series in Zimbabwe.

With Lalit Modi finally out, better scrap IPL too and ban the form of T20 cricket itself. Else, a luxurious bed is likely to be the next best alternative for Team India. When not playing IPL, you see!
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