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Assam: The Inverted Homes!

After the unprecedented power crisis in Assam in May, 2012 things have limped back to normal by now. But that 'normal' is not quite normal thanks to the most frequent and prolonged power cuts still plaguing most small towns and rural areas. If you ask someone how many times the power goes in his/her locality/town you are likely to get the answer 'Power comes sometimes!' The gap between demand and supply is still huge due to some obscure reasons. In the conditions of heat most humid almost all from the top to the lowest bracket or almost all who can afford or ill-afford have gone for the inverters. In the concrete mess of houses it is humanly impossible to survive in the roasting heat inside. But even in the 'inverted' homes there is a problem. The inverter battery needs to be recharged for continuous electricity supply and with expansive power cuts that does not happen most often. Therefore, even the inverted home syndrome remains a 'heated'

Cashless Monday!

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Whenever I use my bank's ATM card on other-bank ATMs I get a message from my bank starting 'It would be a pleasure to serve you at (so many of) our ATMs...' and then confirming the transaction. So today, while heading for the vegetable market in the evening, I decided to try only my-bank ATMs as I needed to withdraw cash first. Inside one I completed the procedure and waited for the cash. But the usual shuffling sound was not there and no cash ejected. I tried again with the same result. I now wanted to check my balance, but the machine failed to do even that. Other 'knowing' customers told me 'no cash'! True to my vow I found another my-bank ATM, and the same frustration there too. The attendant was also missing. Angry now, I asked the nearby shop about the attendant and eventually found him playing carom! I demanded, 'Why don't you at least put up a notice for the customers?' Refusing to look up from his striker he replied indifferently

Anna Hazare And Baba Ramdev Partner Joint Fast Company!

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The anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has finally decided to sit together with Baba Ramdev on a one-day fast in Delhi today. There had been a lot speculation and anticipation on this for quite some time. Why Anna had to do this? After taking India by a hurricane wave with his two huge bouts of fasting in April and in August of 2011 Anna Hazare started facing the music from within his Team Anna as his members became too powerful and ambitious. The cascading trouble ranged from corruption charges against the members themselves and election politics to basic differences of views and opinions. To make matters worse Anna fell sick quite frequently and his 'strong' Lokpal Bill (anti-corruption Ombudsman Bill ) failed to make any headway in Parliament. Anna had to do something to carry on the anti-corruption movement. So he launched a fast in Mumbai in December, 2011 purportedly to pressurise the upcoming Parliamentary debate on the Lokpal Bill. The masses did not t

Earthy Rumours Quake Assam!

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Countrywide Bandh today with one more Assam Bandh within the larger Bandh for the cause of protesting petrol price hike. But yesterday in Assam was no less than a Bandh thanks to strong widespread rumours of an impending earthquake! The magnitude and time of disaster very well rumour-graphed too! Who started the  rumour was an important question, but more important how it was propagated across the state. An earthquake of 5.6 magnitude hit Assam on May 11,2012 and Assam being a quake-prone zone maybe some 'concerned' astrology-oriented soul decided to warn his people (customers?) in advance. He was so philanthropically magnanimous that he gave all technical info--the earthquake would be of 9.2 magnitude in Richter scale and it would hit Assam between 4 to 6pm on May 30! Doomsday just stalked Assam yesterday! The prominent news channels, most of which were run by 'responsible' state ministers, sensationalised the d-day story and terrorized the hapless citize

Shahrukh Khan Had The Last Big Laugh!

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Shahrukh Khan, the Bollywood superstar, who was recently banned for five years from entering Mumbai's Wankhede stadium during an IPL match then enjoyed the support of Mamata Bannerji, the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Because, Mamata considered KKR, co-owned by Shahrukh, as a matter of pride for her state. And today, Mamata 'right'fully sought to overpower what is left of the 'left' by dancing with the stars and, of course, with Shahrukh amidst pomp and plenty. KKR became the deserving Champions of IPL-5 preventing CSK from running with the title for the third time in succession. The nail biting IPL-5 final was played in Chennai and King Khan was very much there tense most of the time. Finally, when the great moment of victory came he was so overwhelmed with joy that he apologised for his 'misbehaviour' in Mumbai! His 'stakes' with the Indian cricket Board now combined with his 'apology' would virtually force Mumbai Cricket Associat

Assam: The Bandh Culture A Way Of Life!

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The people of Assam and also of the North East have practically decided that Bandhs (signifies a protest strike that forcibly closes down offices & services, shops & markets and communication--mainly road & rail) are the only solution to their endless problems--standing or long-standing or outstanding or whatever. Duration of Bandhs range from minimum 12 hours to a recorded maximum of 1000 hours! The Bandh culture got boosted tremendously during the successful Assam Agitation against foreigners (1979-1985) and the culture only spread further since then. Groups, organisations, associations and even the extremists appeal for or impose Bandhs on the common people of the region. Though most major cities remain unaffected largely a few known strife-prone and crucial areas or pockets prevent people coming out of their homes or their cities. Disturbing logistics of consequent economic loss and huge livelihood issues for daily wage earners and retailers never seem to dist

The Rods Of Optimism!

On my annual home trip to Guwahati in Assam--a north eastern state of India, the humid heat was almost unbearable in the first 2-3 days, but today the skies have opened up with a heavy shower. So, while cooling off contentedly I thought of sharing an intresting observation made by a visiting friend. Our home is in a suburb of the city where vacant plots of land are still available and therefore, construction activities continue to be hectic. As you look around you see many half-constructed private houses apart from newly completed ones. The friend taking in the scenario one more time made this observation. If iron rods or bars keep jutting out of the completed cemented roof of a concrete block (we call it RCC block), this means the owner is positively optimistic! S/he is sure of adding at least one more floor. If the rods continue to jut out even after the completion of 2-3 floors the owner can be considered as highly optimistic, because in our earthquake-prone zone s/he c