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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Newsroom Humor: Whose Is That?


The newsroom of a television channel was very quiet midway to the next bulletin. The reporters and all of the staff were busy writing out or typesetting the final content. The editor on duty was having his desk computer corrected by the office engineer who was also intent on his work.
All of a sudden the young engineer’s mobile phone burst out ringing. The ring tone was very short and abrupt—like a whiff of passing air released unawares. You can say the sharp string music was like ‘Tttwwee…eee…eee…eee...eee…eet!’
Though seemingly focused on work the young reporters burst out laughing. The desk editor who was sitting next to the engineer tried to act stern trying to prevent an embarrassment for the hard-working fellow, but he failed to mask his guffaw. Taking the cue more joined in the fun. Only the engineer maintained a grave countenance, silenced his phone immediately and went on working never looking around even once. And why not! He was the proud owner and probably it was his most favorite ring tone!
One lady went further. Unable to make out from where exactly the sound came she sang out merrily, ‘Hey! Whose is that?’
‘It’s mine.’ the engineer muttered still not looking up.
‘Oh…yours! Hee…hee…hee...he…he…he!’

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bollywood Movie Glamor Queen of Yore Rekha Got Nominated Too!


So intense was the media rage about Sachin Tendulkar possibly becoming a politician that other aspects of the same story got sidelined. The Government of India on April 26, 2012 nominated two more personalities apart from Tendulkar to Rajya Sabha (RS)—the upper house of the Indian Parliament. Rekha, the superstar heroine of Hindi Cinema of yesteryear, and Anu Aga, a social worker-writer-businesswoman, got nominated too.
Rekha had been the unforgettable actress of the seventies-eighties with loads of glamor and she made waves portraying all kinds of lead roles ranging from sweet next-door girl to roles of tremendous depth and versatility. Tall and attractive, an expert dancer, enriched with a resonant voice and in-born acting skills, Rekha captivated the moviegoers of all age groups in those good old days. From the beginning of the nineties Rekha’s image of a heroine witnessed a declining trend thanks to her refusal to do character roles. Though she started doing select character roles from 2000 onwards her popularity did not pick up and her appearances got restricted to mostly award shows. But the Rekha of yore is still firmly embedded in the minds of Indian moviegoers. RS nomination gives Rekha one more responsible role.
Now, the buzz was not at all about Rekha possibly becoming a politician. The simple reason could be that she is no longer active in her profession while Tendulkar has been not only active but has been riding on the emotions of millions as the ultimate hero. Expectations are continuously being heaped on him and these relate to more and more of cricket heroics. Therefore, becoming a Member of Parliament (MP) was not at all in the celebrity agenda decided by his fans.
Does this mean that taking the profession of a politician is okay as retirement planning or benefit? I feel this is ‘mean’. We are in the largest democracy of the world and here everyone has the freedom of choosing his/her career/profession—let it be that of a police constable or a politician. Though basically nominations to RS ought to be viewed as honors conferred on worthy persons by the Government, questions are also being raised about how much justice such celebrities could do to the new roles of MP. This is simply a matter of expert time management and nobody has the right to interfere in this personal domain. Building a legendary cricket career over more than two decades Tendulkar must be well versed with the requirements of time management and even if he is not so sure he can easily do a crash course in time management to get ready for new responsibilities.
True, the political class has drawn a lot of public wrath since the Mumbai terror attack of 26/11 and the unending stream of scams after that. But there are good and efficient people in politics too and there is absolutely no harm in more joining. Besides, one’s opposition becomes subjective and relative, because the opposing groups or individuals or rival political parties might be biased or prejudiced against a certain political party. One must also remember that fight against corruption does not cover only the politicians; it covers all of society from the government, corporate, private to the individual sectors. Good and bad exist in every field of activity and every walk of life on our planet of imperfections.
Essentially, what has been happening since yesterday concerning Sachin Tendulkar’s nomination can in fact be called the politics of the worst kind!  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cricket Googly: Sachin Tendulkar Joining Politics?


The Guns of Bofors had thundered again yesterday with the former Swedish police chief, the whistle-blower in this huge scandal that hit India mid-eighties, disclosing sensational information that there was a huge Indian cover-up to protect the mysterious Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi. While the disclosure gave a clean chit to a relieved Amitabh Bachchan after long 25 years the story raged on media channels since yesterday and it created a storm in the Indian Parliament today as opposition parties got another ruse to attack the beleaguered ruling coalition. But by afternoon today everything about Bofors scam seemed to be forgotten as the news about cricket’s living legend Sachin Tendulkar came up.
It was a surprise for even the hardcore and wildly speculative news channels as the Government of India suddenly announced the nomination of Sachin Tendulkar for  a seat in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. Coincidentally, only this morning Sachin along with his wife Anjali met the Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi and spent about half an hour with her in New Delhi. This move is being considered more surprising as there has been consistent demand from all quarters for conferring Bharat Ratna—the highest honor of the nation—on Tendulkar, particularly after he achieved the feat of Century of Centuries.
Interesting and heated debate has picked up immediately on why Tendulkar ought to join politics. But does one become a politician just because of being nominated to the upper house? Under a provision of the Indian Constitution the President enjoys the discretion of nominating 12 eminent persons from different fields of activity to Rajya Sabha and such nominated members have the option of declaring his/her association with a particular political party of the house within six months. The legendary singer of Hindi Cinema, Lata Mangeshkar, was also a nominated member of Rajya Sabha, but she never became a politician. The same holds for many other eminent members. Further, participating in serious parliamentary debates and giving valuable suggestions or solid support for justified causes cannot be taken as politicking.
Tendulkar had reportedly accepted the honor and he would be the first ever active sportsman to get nominated. Now, it should be entirely left to him if he decides to join active politics or not. If he does join then his retirement from cricket should be round the corner. Why speculate and waste energy? Anyway, it is recognition for a legend. And, why to cry hoarse if some worthy people become part of a political system ruled by ruthless opportunists? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cricket T20: Chris Gayle Six Breaks A Nose in IPL-5!

Article first published as Cricket T20 IPL-5: When Gayle Broke A Nose! on Technorati.


Chris Gayle, the explosive West Indies batsman who surprisingly has not played for his national team since the 2011 World Cup, did something out of the way while sending the balls of his opponent teams out of the grounds during the Indian Premiere League-Season Five (IPL-5) T20 cricket extravaganza that started on April 4, 2012. He broke the nose of a little girl!...

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cricket T20: Vintage Ganguly in IPL-5!


We have maintained throughout here that the IPL (Indian Premiere League T20) is more of a cricket marketplace than cricket. With glamour and sleaze embellishing it at every step the IPL also has other unique attributes like cheerleaders, strategic timeouts that basically mean more commercial breaks than the customary breaks every over and the weirdest loyalties of ‘home’ team and ‘home’ grounds. For Chennai Super Kings the ‘home’ is Chennai in South India while the team is led by Indian skipper Dhoni who belongs to north India; for Royal Challengers ‘home’ is Bangalore but is led by Daniel Vettori (New Zealand); Sourav Ganguly is inseparable from Kolkata, but he leads Pune Warriors now, while Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is led by Delhi’s Gautam Gambhir the ‘home’ is still Kolkata. Very tough going indeed for the ‘supporters’!
Always turned off by the business and entertainment concept of IPL the best course I found for myself was to occasionally catch up with the action how the old warhorses had been faring and how exciting stroke makers like Chris Gayle, Steve Smith, Jesse Ryder, Kevin Pietersen, Jaywardene , Sangakkara and more had been doing apart from the Indian counterparts.
I had a gut feeling that one of the most successful cricket captains of India and arguably the most aggressive and controversial, Sourav Ganguly had to get going like he did in his prime time. In those days we used to pray Sourav settle down in any one-day or test innings, because after that the flurry of towering sixes off particularly spinners were a delight to watch and unforgettable. For IPL-5 he had been captaining Pune Warriors India (PWI) well, but doing precious nothing with the bat. Finally in yesterday’s match against Delhi Daredevils (DD) I had my rewards of persisting with Ganguly.
Few lofty shots he played in his innings of 41 off 35 balls reminded us of the glorious days of his career. His career being another wonder; debuting in one-day cricket against West Indies in 1992 and getting dropped immediately for ‘arrogance’, superlative test debut in England in 1996, becoming captain of India in 2000 and getting dropped in 2005 for indifferent form and the ‘fight’ with the then coach Greg Chappell, recalled to the national team in 2006 and finally retiring from international cricket in 2008, joining IPL as captain of KKR in 2008 and getting dropped there too in 2010 and captaining PWI from 2011.
Anyway, Ganguly’s innings and an explosive knock of 86 by Ryder helped PWI to post a challenging total of 192 in 20 overs. In DD’s chase for a target of 193 runs Virender Shewag and Kevin Pietersen started firing all cylinders looking to overhaul the total quite easily. At that tricky moment Ganguly brought himself on as a bowler—first time in IPL since 2010! And lo! His very first ball bowled a bewildered Pietersen. Sourav Ganguly looked then the charged-up skipper of India that he was! He went on to capture another wicket and his enthusiasm inspired the whole team. PWI finally won by 20 runs and Ganguly was the man of the match for his all-round performance.  
With Australian skipper Michael Clarke scheduled to join in later stages things are going to get all the more exciting for PWI and Ganguly. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mumbai Moans!


Chaos, confusion, anger, frustration and massive overcrowding all around the railway stations and railway tracks of Mumbai since the last three days leading to accidents, injuries and deaths. Over 20 million people crammed into an area of just around 600 sq kilometers exist and live with constant nightmares in this fourth most populous city of the world. The city of Greater Mumbai is bursting at the seams, and, no possible solutions in sight as ever. 

Local trains or simply called locals are the lifelines of Mumbai with nearly 8 million commuters traveling every day. People of the far-flung suburbs have no option but to take a local to work or for any purpose and the struggle for earning a livelihood combined with long traveling time required keep them in a tearing hurry, always. Even on a normal day accidents and deaths are common due to overcrowding or unauthorized crossing of railway tracks. So, it is a living nightmare when something abnormal happens to the lifelines.

Just after zero hour on Wednesday, the 18th of April, 2012, a sudden electrical fire gutted the main signal cabin at a station of the Central route of the Mumbai Suburban Railway system. The entire electric and signal cabling network came to a standstill stopping the locals on their tracks. Though the fire was brought under control very quickly and repair works taken up on war footing traffic hassles continued for next three days leading to seas of stranded passengers and unprecedented overcrowding in the restricted number of trains running. The city and state transport corporations pressed into service hundreds of extra buses, but nothing could replace the lifelines.

It was due to the after effects of the fire that led to a ghastly accident where three young men had lost their lives. Along the Central route a maintenance platform was dangling from a signal pole as its screws possible got loose. Passengers who were hanging out of a massively overcrowded local got hit by this and the three youths died being thrown away along with injuries to 25 other passengers. Central Railway staff had been blamed for their negligence, but they maintained that there was noting unusual about the pole with a dangling platform and that it was due only to extreme overcrowding. Compensation packages were announced for kin of the dead, but nothing was clear as to preventing such accidents in the future. And, how could one go about solving the problems of a city where population had more than doubled in a span of twenty years and it is still growing ominously.

Much of the population growth in Mumbai is due to migrants from other states of India, because Mumbai—the financial and film hub of the country—has continued with its tag of a ‘dream city’ where people come to fulfill theirs. In the process crime rate has also been going up since you do not know how many of the migrants have criminal minds or develop it after their dreams fail to materialize. There have been several horrific murders in recent days involving Mumbai’s posh residential areas and elite residents. Here and there in the city sophisticated and well-educated murderers seem to be moving around who can kill mercilessly just to usurp someone’s sprawling flats or imported cars. Women are being threatened increasingly and senior citizens living alone are extremely unsafe.

There is kind of a fear over the city at the moment as residents of many societies are expressing their apprehensions that maybe their next door neighbor is a hardcore criminal or a ruthless killer. The police force of the city is terribly understaffed and in many criminal cases involvement of policemen is another terrifying reality.

Isn’t it time to send out an SOS for Mumbai? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cricket Movies: Houseful-2 and IPL-5!


IPL-5 (Indian Premiere League—Season five) started on April 4, 2012 while Bollywood movie Houseful-2 was released all over on 6th of the same month. Both have been attracting sizable crowds since. This could be due to striking similarities between the two. 


High-Decibel Noise! It would not be entirely true to say that Indians love noise, but they are so much used to it that they do not really mind it. It is common knowledge how many times our courts have to pass orders to control noise in public celebrations. Someone from Mumbai once told me that when he went to a Goa resort he was very disturbed by the ‘quiet’. So, we tend to rejoice at the license to noise awarded by Houseful-2 and IPL-5. The movie Houseful-2 opens with its characters seemingly in a shouting spree. One loud quarrel leads to louder and loudest ones. It was such a bliss, maybe the director himself was caught unawares, when one character of the movie showed a tendency to get heart attacks with increasing volumes of noise! Noise was somewhat controlled afterwards! But you cannot imagine IPL without noise and its levels are set to increase to a shrieking pitch.
No Brain Usage! Stressed by congested streets and offices, claustrophobic home environs and mindless sense of competition, we tend to put our brains to sleep when it comes to entertainment. Houseful-2 and IPL-5 are the ideal outlets for not using your brains at all. While movie Houseful-2 makes you forget you have a head on your shoulders, IPL-5 makes your knowledge of the game of cricket delightfully irrelevant.
Old War Horses! Both offer you instant benefits here! You become nostalgic seeing the likes of Randhir Kapur who appears in films after decades, glorious past heroes occasionally appearing  in character roles now Rishi Kapur and Mithun Chakraborty and the eternal villain of Indian celluloid Ranjit in Houseful-2. In IPL-5 you get ecstatic watching Adam Gilchrist, Murlitharan,  Rahul Dravid the Wall, Sourav Ganguly and more still in action.
Young Blood! But you still need to have young blood around too. In Houseful-2 Bollywood action-comedy hero Akshay Kumar and the perfect-timer Ritesh Deshmukh enthrall you particularly in the domestic crocodile scene. In IPL-5 the unending procession of new talents never tires you.

Dialogues!  Amidst the thunder of stupidity some witty dialogues make the Houseful-2 experience all the more worthy meriting righteous chuckles all around. In IPL-5 the worthy commentators who are paid huge amounts to comment excite you to a fever pitch. 
Item Numbers! Movie Houseful-2 makes a path-breaking innovation by using all its three heroines as item girls with their sartorial covers never daring to cross the knees! True to the traditions of Bollywood cinema item numbers come suddenly and totally unannounced—not even linked intelligently enough to the overall stupidity going on. Cheerleaders continue to seduce you in IPL-5 too dancing to the tune of everything earthly possible. Even the anchors of the discussion panel join them for a quick warm-up before starting their job! 
 

So, it is hardly surprising why people are flocking on to movie Houseful-2 and IPL-5 cricket movies. You can come along too if you have nothing ‘meaningful’ or ‘quieter’ to do!



Monday, April 16, 2012

The Cartoon Conspiracy And Merciless Mamata!


Mamata Bannerji threw the Left government in West Bengal—an eastern state of India—out of power in 2011 after its marathon rule of 34 years. She got an overwhelming majority for her party Trinamool Congress (TMC). Trinamool means grass-root and Mamata Bannerji—the Chief Minister of West Bengal—has been firing all guns to uproot what she calls Leftist ‘conspiracies’.

First, the new Chief Minister got unnerved by an unceasing stream of baby deaths in many hospitals across the state. Instead of going into the root of the problem she conveniently decided to identify the Left as the root-cause. Not only that, she dismissed cases of dastardly crimes against women in her capital Kolkata as made-up ones thanks again to some leftist roots of the victims.

Second, Mamata wanted to initiate an era of change in the state by dictating to public libraries to stop subscribing to newspapers linked to political parties other than hers. Disturbed by the specter of deep-rooted communism in the state she also decided to erase Marx and Engels from all school textbooks. ‘This is arrogance…intolerance…suppression of freedom of speech…dictatorship! Democratic traditions are being rooted out!’ cried the citizens and intellectuals of West Bengal who were the first in India to bask in the renaissance.

Third, so rooted to reality the new Chief Minister was she objected to everything done by India’s coalition government at the centre of which TMC is a dictating partner, be it in the social or economic or internal security or technology and science sector. She even sacked her own party’s Railway Minister at the centre for the crime of presenting a good and sensible railway budget.

And the latest, Mamata Bannerji got one professor of a reputed university of Kolkata beaten and arrested for taking part in presenting and forwarding a cartoon in the internet. The cartoon depicted a narrative regarding her sacking of the Railway Minister and putting in one of her faithful party men as a replacement.

Cartoons are very common in the lives of Indian politicians. They may hate to see themselves in those satirical cartoons on a daily basis, but they also realize the publicity generated by such works. They also believe candidly that in a democracy you must learn to laugh at yourself. So practical indeed!

But Mamata Bannerji only saw a ‘conspiracy’ in the act and a supposed attack on the modesty of a woman. A cyber crime against women! In fact, the cartoon was a creative work based on famous characters of a Satyajit Ray film which could hardly even be understood by the so-called ‘conspirators’. Public outrage broke out across the country with huge cries of protest by the netizens in particular, but Mamata continued to defy. As public opinion in her own state became too strong for her to ignore she tried some damage control by allowing four of the gang who assaulted the professor to be arrested. But they were released on bail immediately while the professor was kept in lockup for a full night. And, the professor feared for his life with an incredibly large number of charges lodged that could put him in jail for at least one year. Mamata’s antics have attracted international reactions too. Not only this professor, but Mamata Bannerji also arrested an eminent molecular biologist Partho Sarothy Ray and kept him in custody for over two weeks now for a protest rally he did not attend. Apart from scientists all over even ‘arguably the most controversial intellectual alive’, Noam Chomsky had written to the Prime Minister of India to intervene in this growing intolerance against academicians in West Bengal. 

Mamata in many Indian languages means ‘love or kindness’. Driven, of course, by the urge to ‘change’, if Mamata becomes merciless our democratic roots will definitely get jolted at the very grass roots, you wonder! And, this ‘change’ has been attempted by someone who claims to belong to the ‘grass-root’. Such a confounded confusion of roots!

Even if you admit Left conspiracies are there, the very thought about the possibility of  ‘right’ conspiracies taking  deep roots would send shivers down your spine.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

HAPPY RONGALI Or BOHAG BIHU!


Rongali or Bohag Bihu marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year from the first month of the Assamese calendar called Bohag normally falling on April 14 and 15—the first day belonging to the cattle and the second being the New Year Day for the Assamese people. Rarely, but this year the dates are 13 and 14 April, 2012. Since this Bihu also welcomes the advent of the Spring season it is called Rongali which means fun and frolic. Therefore this Bihu is also known as the Spring Festival of Assam. As nature takes on a lush green look people too go for new cloths and celebrate in unison with nature. This is the biggest of the three Bihus and one of the biggest festivals of Assam.
Bohag Bihu is mainly observed for three days, but celebrations go on for one full week. First day is called ‘Goru Bihu’ meaning a day dedicated for the cattle. Villagers acknowledge the great service of their prized cows and buffaloes by taking them to ponds or rivers for ceremonial bath. They are showered with garlands of select vegetables that are also fed to them. The animals are tethered with new ropes and are wished long lives of service as ever.

Second day is called ‘manuh bihu’ meaning Bihu for humans. This being the first day of the New Year people take ritualistic baths and wear new colorful dresses. They visit neighbors and relatives and also welcome them home with special Bihu delicacies. 
Young boys and girls break into Bihu songs and dances wearing traditional costumes. With the rhythm instrument called dhol and the music of the buffalo-horn pipe called pepa the environs resound and resonate. Cultural festivals consisting of song and dance competitions are organized for seven days and celebrity artistes are invited to enthrall the joyful Bihu revelers in the late evenings. All such festivals are held in open grounds. In major towns cultural events attain great professional standards and lucrative awards are given to the competition winners. Groups of boys and girls also go from house to house performing husori meaning a special Bihu group song and dance. Husori is also presented professionally on stages and competitions are also held all over Assam and even outside by resident Assamese communities.

The third day is dedicated to the deities.
People of Assam look forward to these seven days of fun and frolic and celebrate with Great Spirit. All communities irrespective of caste and religion participate with hearts set free and unbound. The month of Bohag also marks an auspicious time for avid lover couples to get married!
Even after seven days the celebrations do not stop! The people of Assam also have more unique celebrations lined up for bidding a fond farewell to Bohag too! The hub of all funfair is naturally Guwahati—the capital of Assam—and also all other cities and rural areas.  
 



Happy Rongali or Bohag Bihu and 
Happy New Year to All of You! 



Friday, April 13, 2012

Brave Bus Driver Delays Death To Save Lives!


He was on night duty on Kutarpada-Chahada road stretch of western Maharashtra that Tuesday night—the 10th of April, 2012. He spent most of the night inside a bus and was assigned to drive a bus for the Kutarpada-Palghar route on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway early next morning. There was nothing special about the trip for a senior bus driver and he was ready like on any other day.

Naushad Mohammed Hanif Shaikh had been working in the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) since the last 18 years as a driver. He had no record of even a single accident in those years of service and there was not a single passenger-complaint against him. Around sixty passengers boarded his bus for Palghar on that morning and the journey began on a bright note.

It was smooth going and Naushad was handling the dangerous twists and turns in the hilly road track quite easily with the skill of an experienced bus driver. The destination was just over five kilometers away when the pain hit him.

Naushad felt an excruciating pain in his chest suddenly and it was getting severe by the seconds. He was gasping for breath at the wheel of a running bus with 60 passengers on a tricky road track. He did not panic or call anybody for help. His priority was to keep the bus in full control and ensure safety of his passengers. He defied his pain and concentrated on his immediate duty.

With that crushing pain, dizziness and breathlessness Naushad Shaikh drove on for nearly three kilometers more and finally parked the bus safely on a roadside. Only then he cried out in agony and called the bus conductor for help.

The bus conductor and all of the passengers rushed to him. Naushad just managed to mumble about his chest pain and just died on the wheel. The frantic conductor messaged the MSRTC office at Palghar and a vehicle was sent immediately. Naushad was rushed to a hospital, but was declared brought dead.

In his situation anyone could have panicked putting the lives of all the passengers in grave danger. But the brave, dutiful and dedicated driver fought heroically to delay his own death to save other lives. The contrast comes to our mind about a rogue driver who recently went berserk with his bus in busy Pune city streets hitting, killing and maiming helpless pedestrians and passengers in other vehicles. But the matter of serious concern remains—the ever growing stress levels in professions like bus drivers and police constables making heart disease, behavioral changes and suicides commonplace occurrences.

Hats off to a courageous person and let us pray for the eternal bliss of his noble soul. He would be dearly missed by his family of five daughters and two sons, the transport organization and the passengers. Two of his daughters were to get married next month. MSRTC officials assured of adequate compensation for the brave driver’s family and employment opportunity for at least one member of kin.

It is mainly because of jewels like Naushad Shaikh that our planet is still a wonderful place to live and breathe in.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

After Baby Falak Now It Is Baby Afreen: Shame on India!


What a country we have! A country that has been worshiping the Shakti cult in the forms of Goddesses torture, brutalize and go on killing the human forms of the same cult. A country where no female is safe on the streets, on the trains, on the buses and even within the four walls of  their homes. Time to replace ‘India’ for ‘SHAME’! A country called SHAME and where people seem to be SHAMEless forever!

What a society we have! A society controlled by hordes of cowardly males (like a malignant tumor) who lust for females in every field of activity and never loses an opportunity to exploit them in every field of activity, but also want lots and lots of money to marry them! They do the malignant favor of marrying a girl for a huge bargain, start torturing her for more money, burn her or kill her if insistent demands are not met and then, if a girl child happens to get born to them they brutalize, maim and even kill the babies. Why don’t the males do one more big favor—get their rate cards written large and labeled in their foreheads along with detailed guidelines of what to follow after the so-called marriage so that millions of girls get forewarned and avoid the traps. As for the parents one of them has to be a male and so nothing positive can be expected. Time has come for the female force to get armed to the teeth and fight and fight with all their might to get rid of the malignant tumor of our society. Once for all. For good.

We know the story of the two-year-old Baby Falak who died in her third cardiac arrest after a nearly two-month struggle for survival. Now, three-month old Baby Afreen died of a cardiac arrest in a Bangalore hospital today.

What was Afreen’s fault? She was born a girl child to a male parent. That cowardly male could not accept the fact, started battering his wife for the 'crime' and then brutalized and bruised his own baby with indescribable cruelty. Afreen was hospitalized, but the little baby could not take it any longer and bid her goodbye to a country called SHAME.

Afreen’s mother cried out in anguish cursing her husband for the ghastly act and said in public that he did not deserve to live after this. The demonic male was arrested, put in police custody and a murder charge is being initiated. But what will follow? The case will drag on for years in usual way of our overburdened courts with hardly anything happening finally. And what about the preventive laws or bodies? What can we expect in a country where politicians do their best to oppose any law in favor of women; show more interest in political games, in making fortunes, in enjoying porno in public and in demanding free tickets for IPL and all glamor shows? What right do they have to celebrate events like International Day of the Girl Child or Child Abuse Prevention Day? First let 'day' dawn in your goddamned country.

An absolute shame that our country is this case is likely to be forgotten in matter of days. But in the true tradition of Shakti the female force ought not to take it passively any longer. They must rise in revolution, must demand separate stringent laws for instant justice and punishment and must unite to destroy the Evil. Now is the time!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Jocular Interlude!


Okay, irrespective of whether you are a salesman or anybody you must be aware of the fact that God and Doctors have something very important in common. You just cannot afford to displease either. If you are foolhardy enough to make God unhappy you are likely to land up with a doctor! And, if you happen to offend a doctor you are likely to end up with God!

*****

A man dreams of having…

7 Figure Salary!
6 Figure Savings Deposit!
5 Bedroom Ownership Flat!
4 Wheeler Vehicle!
3 Weeks’ Holidays!
2 Lovely Children!
1 Dumb Wife!

                                                                                                Courtesy! Yazdi N Engineer.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mumbai: The BEST Signal Breaker!


You have to drive around in this city of Mumbai, particularly after nine in the evening, to witness rampant breaking of traffic signals. And the unabashed leader in this would be the Brihan Mumbai (Greater Mumbai) Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking or Corporation—the state-run city bus monopoly service since 1947.

If you are a strictly law-abiding citizen driving your car you will wait patiently till the red signal turns into green, But you are likely to be stunned by BEST buses zooming past you in gay disregard of rules. Once that happens there will be instant followers and if you still insist on observing rules you will be rudely honked out the way making you break signals howsoever loath it is to you! Not only that, the bus drivers often tend to forget the actual size of their vehicle in trying to squeeze through giving you the shivers. To make matter worse for you, they also give you the left indicator light if they want to turn right! As is their habit, if they come out in herds and put your car in hopelessly desperate corners you can only call out to God for help! The real problem this leader in traffic rule breaking is creating is that they are beginning to command  a huge and growing following!

A sense of tremendous impatience is growing over the years making the vehicle drivers obsessed just to surge ahead of others and not caring a dime at the possible consequences. Given   the level of intolerable stress and frayed nerves due to increasing congestion and huge traffic snarls it is still logical to say that adherence to traffic rules would only ease it up. But no takers for that and that is why cases of accidents, heated arguments and road rages have been on the increase in Mumbai and elsewhere too.

The sense of impatience and unwarranted competition led to an accident yesterday in this city in which a double-decker BEST bus toppled almost turning turtle crushing a biker to death and injuring many others. This is the first accident ever involving a double-decker in the city. The reason was the obvious one—the bus trying to race through a signal. Now, what was the fault of the biker who was just moving along the road and the passengers for whom the driver did not show even a minimum consideration?

This mindset of ‘not caring a dime’ must be changed if we want a safe future on the roads. How much time actually we save by trying to surge past others putting our lives as well as that of others in grave danger? Well, for an half hour drive in the city our acts of desperation save us just two minutes.

Where are we going, damn it! What is our destination? Where are we going to spend the extra time saved in the process?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bizarre Happenings: Scoop, Spook and Coup?


Coup in the largest democracy of the world? India going the Pakistan way? 'Impossible', 'Operationally not viable', 'Absolutely stupid', 'Alarmist', 'Absolutely baseless'— cried dignitaries at the topmost level, military experts and journalists belonging to various groups and channels all over the country.  We said a few days back bizarre happenings in a country ruled by a weak coalition are bound to continue...it has continued. 

The morning cup of tea yesterday was definitely not at all a pleasant experience for the high and low of the country as they looked disbelievingly at a national daily newspaper. The story covered the full front page of the newspaper. The story was supposed to be a scoop that supposedly spooked the Raisina Hill for a monstrously possible coup. The story, kept under wraps for more than two months for the sheer implausibility of it, reported happenings on the night of January 16-17, 2012 concerning troop movements towards the national capital Delhi. Two units of the Indian Army—mechanized infantry battalion from Hisar (Haryana) and elite Parachute Brigade from Agra—started marching towards Delhi on the night of January 16, 2012 without notifying the Defense Ministry or the Government. Morning on that fateful day General V K Singh—Chief of Indian Army—filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the Government on his date-of-birth dispute.

The story went on saying that the troop movements sent the power corridors into a tizzy and frantic efforts were made to halt the movements. The story cited shockingly poor Government-Army relationship and high-level corruption lobbies as the main reasons for such unfortunate situation of a near-coup in the country. The newspaper stood by it story despite all the negative reactions to it mentioning highly credible sources.

Bizarre! But why—the common people may ask. Well, in our country nobody starves for reasons or justifications as if democracy has endowed it all on them. Opportunities are bountiful for the interested, particularly at this juncture.

And who? Guesses are not that difficult to make. India has been a country of vested interests and lobbies. They resent any attempt to change the system, they resist any righteous movements, they make it a policy to malign right-minded honest individuals and they oppose or try derailing any attempt to prosecute the corrupt. Like the middle agents rob the farmers of their rightful dues every season, brokers move around in power circles to grab the lucrative supply contracts in various departments and institutions. One may very well imagine the immense possibilities in such a huge and strategically important institution like the Indian Army. The Army Chief having a clean image and trying hard to free the system of corruption is bound to face the most horrendous resistance. Therefore, such lobbies can go to any extent to discredit the patriotic Indian Army and malign the Government-Army relationship.

Only one thing is becoming very difficult to accept. How could a group or a lobby—whatever the power or clout it enjoys—take the most prestigious national newspaper on such a monstrous ride?

What’s next? 

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Eating Under Threat!


If you have already given up the smoking and drinking habits you have hardly done enough. You find yourself in a greater and debilitating dilemma about what to eat or drink or what not to from the fast diminishing options. If you thought only plain simple fats had been making you fatter all the years, now you had to worry about trans fat too.

If you have loved the fast foods now is the time to go slow. Fast foods are also called junk food. You must be aware what junk food is. Well, it means foods without having enough nutritional value, but scoring high on fats, salt, sugar and calories. You must never fall prey to the mouth-watering smell and taste these foods have.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a public interest organization of India, had only the other day come out with its devastating report on junk or fast foods. All of such foods or soft drinks marketed in India by the multinational companies contain much more trans fat, the worst kind of fat, than is advisable as per the international standards of around 2 per cent per person per day, the report says. Just one serving of any such foods like a burger or a plate of noodles or a packet of chips finishes off your quota of fats for the day and as far as sugar intake is concerned it robs you of your sugar quota for two days. Your dream of doodling with your noodles has just about turned into a nightmare. Now, you must look to other options.

Switch over to the traditional foods? Well, what are they? Maybe your glass of steaming hot milk! No! It contains or may contain pesticides thanks to the CSE again and to make matters worse other studies had reported that more than seventy percent of total milk supply in India was adulterated too. You come up with the next viable option—fruits and vegetables. No again! The CSE says all these contain untenable proportions of pesticides due to the increasing use of fertilizers by the farmers. You have to undertake a fresh start to find fresh fruits and vegetables.

Inevitably you turn now to the meaty options. While the red meat has always been a red signal for you in recent years the options of fish and chicken appeal more to you now. But the problem here is that you cannot devour them raw. That is to say, you need some amounts of oil to make it cooked fit for you. The CSE had already made it difficult for you by pointing out high amounts of trans fat or unsaturated fat in all brands of edible oil. Now you must launch yourself on an exhaustively original and creative search for your food options.

There are many pointing fingers towards a utter lack of regulatory laws or enactment of only weak and ineffectual laws in India regarding showing and labeling of fat ingredients on branded foods. Due to this lacuna the multinational brands allegedly put up labels showing zero trans fat content in their products just to derive the marketing advantage. To make things more complicated no one is asking the street vendors and country eating joints as to what are being used and in what quantities in their hot selling dishes.

And what about the Indian society standards with a high hospitality quotient and a seemingly unending stream of parties, get-together and congregations. You can control your own kitchen to some extent no doubt, but you just cannot walk up to the hosts or organizers and demand to know the trans fat content in the food served—that too free.

Cynics would tell you to choose or reject as per your judgment hardly knowing the fact that you are fast running out of options. For the time being it seems a free mind, a daily routine of strenuous physical activity and moderation is the ideal menu for you. Maybe your favorite or compulsive rice-plate at your favorite canteen is also okay!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Movie ‘Agent Vinod’: Gripping Espionage Thriller!


Saif Ali Khan’s most ambitious movie ‘Agent Vinod’—the title borrowed from the spy flick made in 1977--got released all over on March 23, 2012. The movie in its second week has not yet been declared a hit and its business is not overwhelming. It has earned quite a few bad reviews and caustic comments from Indian movie goers. The mood for the film seems to be biased, per-conceived and downright unworthy.

In fact I too was misled by a prominent review and was happy not to have already booked for it. But a few others made me confused and I finally decided to watch the movie to judge for myself. I took the risk on April 1st itself, but was pleasantly surprised at not being made an April fool in the slightest.My wife also confirmed the same sentiment. 

Agent Vinodis a hardcore spy flick which is also a rare genre in India. Though the title is borrowed from the Agent Vinod movie made in 1977 this not a remake and there is no resemblance in the storyline or its dress and style codes. While Mahendra Sandhu became a household name in the key role of spy Agent Vinod that became a surprise hit, Saif Ali Khan in the same role in a more stylized, intelligent, well-structured and complicated version is still struggling to establish his new found identity. 

The basic plot of the movie is a nuclear bomb being taken to its destination and its detonator transferred in the innocuous garb of Omar Khayyam’s Rubbaiyat through an extraordinary auction.  Murder of a colleague takes Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan)—a secret agent from an Indian intelligence agency—to Moscow with the only clue of code ‘242’ and after shootouts with the suspect Abu Nazer ( Ram Kapoor) gang Vinod follows leads to arrive in Morocco. There he confronts David Kazan (Prem Chopra—the baddie of the classic era of Hindi cinema) and his mysterious beautiful assistant Dr. Ruby (Kareen Kapur). After a series of intrigued conflicts laced with wry humor Vinod discovers the enormity of the auction and finds himself in hot pursuit of the elusive Colonel (Adil Hussain). 

Through high-paced action, twists and turn the movie takes you on a global tour starting from Afghanistan, Moscow, Russia, and Morocco and through Riga, even Somalia, Cape Town, Karachi to finally climax in New Delhi and London with shootouts, Hitchcock-type suspense at times, breathtaking car and auto-rickshaw chases and extraordinary locales. Apart from keeping you engrossed it never even allows you to think where it is leading you to. Seemingly unconnected scenes will remain so for you if you do not follow the well-knit and intelligent script. Brilliant cinematography and razor-sharp editing add to the pleasure of watching. When you finally feel it is all over in New Delhi you are taken to London for another shattering climax. Mystery concerning the characters of Dr. Ruby, the Colonel and Mr. Metla gives you the suspense treat and surprises. At one or two points you feel there are link breaks, but you can think it over only after the thrilling fare is over! 

Agent Vinod in no James Bond, no Bourne and not even Mahendra Sandhu. It is a most positive addition to the Indian spy film genre. It is not a typical Bollywood fare and maybe that is the reason why it is going over the heads of many movie goers. Maybe the marketing and publicity strategy for the movie was wrongly conceived projecting Saif as a funny and joker spy forgetting his path-breaking performance in Omkara. His punching-the nose-of-an NRI that was seen as a publicity stunt definitely did not help his movie. But eventually Agent Vinod is set to score high.

Kudos to director Sriram Raghavan who gave us slick flicks like Ek Haseena Thi and Johnny Gaddar earlier. We hope he will go on making sequels to Agent Vinod.  We fail to understand why people of Pakistan should miss out on this tremendous thriller that talks of better relations between our two countries rather than defaming Pakistan's intelligence agencies.

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