Friday, 13 June 2008

India has politicians not leaders

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Be it in the ruling or the opposition party; be it the media savvy or rustic, India Today lacks constructive leadership. All that our leaders are busy is in saving their seats, scoring brownie points against each and worrying about the next elections. Irrespective how much they pretend, nobody has an iota of national interest in their hearts. If our leaders were even 50% committed to the country, Bapuji’s dream of “Purana Swaraj” would have long been achieved.

Let’s take petrol prices. Does the Government not know that the prices are going up and this is the time to lower duties so that the impact of increase is minimal? Are they unaware of the fact that India is one of the countries where petrol is costly? Why does not the Government raise petrol prices ahead of state elections? Are the opposition parties not aware that organizing a bandh for petrol price rise is of no use and only that the common suffers most? Don’t they know that a strike causes a lot of economic damage to the country? Don’t they know that replacing a public property damaged during a bandh means additional taxes for the common man?

Let’s take price rise. Doesn’t the Government know that food prices are being pushed up because of futures trading in commodities? South Korea is using 2 billion dollars of its FE reserves to contain the impact on its citizens of increasing food prices, why is our Government which has overflowing foreign exchange reserves, waiting for the egg to hatch? Do the opposition parties not know that food prices are going up globally and an upward moving inflation cannot be stopped? Don’t they know that for the last 3 years, we have been experiencing unseasonal rains and consequently most of our crops have got damaged? Would they have done any better in the present situation?

Let’s take the terrorism problem. Does the Government not know that across the globe, there is a close link between gangsters and terrorist? Why no action is taken to eliminate the gangsters, how is that some of them find their way to political leaderships? Why does not the Government treat all sections of people equally? Does the opposition not know that creating divides amongst people on basis of religion, language and caste, fosters terrorism? Why do certain opposition leaders target particular section of people?

The list is endless. Votes are all that matter, by hook or crook, by dividing or disintegrating the country, by appeasing or appalling the people, the seat of power has to be captured. At the end of the day, there are no innovative rulers or concerned opposition leaders. They are all politicians and don’t mind swapping tags when elections compel them to do so. The poor man has to suffer at the end of the day, whilst the men in khadi are possibly saying to each other “Cheers”.

Is this a part of our mindset

I have been a victim many a times of reaching to a marriage reception on time and finding only marriage decorators for company. With passage of time, I have become wise and usually reach a marriage reception, a couple of hours late from the printed commencement time.

I have never been able to find a reason why a marriage reception never starts on time. If the hosts can’t start a marriage reception on time, why don’t they print it in the wedding card, like, say “Anytime after 8 pm on 20/06/2008”?

Why put a specific time and not follow it? How can a host be so insensitive to their guests? Do the hosts find it funny or stupid, if somebody turns up on time for a marriage reception? It is ridiculous to note that the hosts, who were busy with the reception till 12 am, get up at 4am to get ready for the muhurat.

I have never seen a muhurat which got delayed by a few hours. I think it is a part of our mindset wherein we fear unseen stars but don’t respect the time and commitments of our well known guests.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Not everybody needs to be a software engineer

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A malicious campaign has been started by a few regional leaders across the country that local jobs are being taken away by outsiders. A more absurd demand is that jobs in software companies and international airports should be reserved for locals. I had written in a previous blog of mine that not everybody needs to become a software engineer to earn a living and that the software industry itself throws up so many ancillary jobs and that it only requires an industrious mind to grab the opportunities.

It is to highlight this point, I am writing this blog with a real life example. Nearby Ulsoor Lake in Bangalore, there is a huge commercial complex housing many BPO companies and other offices. It is popularly known as “The Philips” campus, though the said company has shifted out of the place a year ago. This campus does have its own eateries but they are beyond the reach of a lot of people who work in this place. The nearest affordable restaurants are a cool 1 to 1.5 kms away. A few months ago, a couple started selling breakfast in a small shop opposite this campus. To begin with the customers were security guards and drivers. Now the same eatery has shifted to a bigger shop, a few tables have been put and the shop caters to a wider range of customers. I don’t know who the owners are but one thing is certain that they are making sure and steady progress. If they continue at this rate, in matter of a few years they will have a full fledged eatery and surely have an income which is matching a software engineer or a BPO employee.

Now let’s get back to the issues highlighted at the beginning. What wrong is there if these eatery owners are not locals? Who prevents a local from putting up a similar eatery? Are these eatery owners not making money without having a software job? Is there not big time money to be made out of the opportunities thrown up by the booming BPO/ software sector?

The eatery owners had the ingenuity to realize that a lot of employees working in the complex cannot afford the food that is supplied inside the campus and there were no affordable eateries nearby. The moral of the story is “Don’t demand a living, find one”. Leadership is not organizing people to agitate but leading them to a better way of life. Let us rise above petty vote bank regional politics; there is a big world out there and enough opportunities for everybody to succeed.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Please speak out for the families of 25 Indian Sailors who went missing on board "MV Rezzak"

February 18, 2008, a cargo ship “MV Rezzak” left the coast of Turkey towards Russia. 25 Indian sailors recruited by Pelican Marine Pvt. Ltd, the Mumbai-based firm were on board. The ship went missing of the Turkish coast. It has been nearly 4 months since but there is nothing concrete on the fate of the sailors or the ship.

Speculating about some of the reasons why the ship has not been located yet, Neeraj Tyagi - brother of one of the crew members said, "My personal belief is that the ship has been either hijacked or the company itself has kept the ship in hiding to claim insurance money."

Recovery Overseas, a legal firm based on Chincholi Bunder Road in Mumbai’s Malad area, on 3 June, has written to the families of the missing crew, saying that they had died “due to marine hazards in ship MV Rezzak”. To add fuel to the fire, M/s. Pelican Marine, has started contacting them for no-objection certificates, or NOCs, that state the ship has sunk and the crew is dead, so that it can pursue the case with the ship’s insurer, said Uma Mohan, sister of the missing ship’s chief engineer, Mahendra Gopal Krishna Menon. “We are not willing to give such an NOC. How can Pelican Marine decide that the ship has sunk and the crew are dead?” Mohan asked. Mohan alleged Recovery Overseas was acting on behalf of Pelican Marine.

The Indian is at its docile best and merely writing to the Panama authorities to locate the ship. Maybe if some VIPs were on board the ship, a special team would have been sent to locate the ship. Even some foreign agencies would have been hired but these were ordinary men on board, so who cares.

Unfortunately, time is running out for the government as the families of the crew members plan to step up the agitation so that the Indian government does not "forget" the incident. The family of the 25 sailors do require an answer. If the Government is not willing to act, we should make it act. It is our duty as citizens of this free country, to compel the Government to act. On my behalf, I am sending an email to the Hon. President, Prime Minister and the Cabinet Committee of Grievances. I request you also to do so. Kindly ask all your friends to do so. Today it is the families of the 25 sailors of MV Rezzak who have to suffer because of inaction on the part of the Government, tomorrow, it may be us.

Such an eyesore that SIZE ZERO

Size Zero is the in-thing today for today’s women. A size zero is an eye sore for most men. The sight of a hitherto well endowed wearing a bikini and her skull bones exposed was a nauseating sight for me. A shrunk-in top is such a deflating proposition for me. The only emotion such a female would evoke is compassion and not passion.

An average man can be attracted only to a healthy looking female Size zero females look pathetically sick. A healthy looking female does not mean a corridor filling hip. Most size zeros are achieved by artificial means and from the health point of view is fatal in the long run. There is a sea of difference between a slim female and a size zero. Some of us are born genetically slim, that’s ok, as long as we are healthy. Punishing our body and natural systems to attain a size zero seems to be far fetched. Then again, everybody is the queen of their own destiny.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The smiling beauties of Indian films

A good smile can make an heroine a super star for ages. To me and most Indians, Madhuri Dixit has the ultimate all round smile. Her smile looks very natural in all situations, be it as a teasing lover in HAHK or seductive wife in Beta. The magic of a Madhuri smile will continue to excite me even if she turns 60. Down south, only Simran has that all round smile.

There have been other heroines whose smile is bewitching in its own right. Urmilla innocent yet seductive smile in the song “Yeh Ram Kya huan” from Rangeela gave me (many men, I suppose) many a sleepless nights. So did Juhi Chawala in “Bol Radha Bol”

Kajol has a very girlish smile so does Sonali Bendre. Down south, Jothika has a very girlish and captivating smile. Rakishta beats all the heroines down south when it comes to a girlish smile.

The most voluptuous smile I have seen is that of the Malayalli film actress “Vani Vishwanath”. Those twinkling of eyes on that broad frame still sends current across my body. Of today’s heroines the same can be said of the southie Namitha and in bollywood, Lara Datta. In Kannada, Radhika has that type of voluptuous smile.

The most artificial smile award should go to Mrs. Aishwarya Rai Bachan and Deepika Padukone. There is nothing in the eyes to make it look genuine.

Monday, 9 June 2008

A midnight call from my friend

It was late in the evening when I shut down my system and began to find my way to the lobby for the cab and reached home. The day as such was tough. In the morning, I had missed my office bus and had to travel by the public bus, which was suffocating to say the least. Over that, my boss, as usual, was demanding and courteous.

After reaching home, I grabbed a quick dinner and hit the TV remote. The channels had nothing to offer but the same breaking news, sobbing families, unfaithful spouses, dangling sensex, etc. I just decided to put myself and the TV to sleep mode.

Never realized when I went into a deep sleep mode until I was awoken by a ring tone. First I thought it was the backup music of a BPO vehicle, later realized that it was too close to me and right in my ear. I woke up and noticed that time was 12:05 am and there were 3 missed calls.

Before I could unlock the keypad, the phone rang again. It was from my friend, I was wondering, why would he call me up in the middle of the night and answered “Hi, how are you” He replied “Bala, there is something which only I want you do it for me, will you, please promise?’”. I was unaware of what was to come and said “C’mon yaar, aisa bhi kya? In most cases you know I will do what best I can”

He replied “Today is my birthday, I want you to be the first person to wish me” and burst out laughing. Leave alone wishes, I gave him back all the expletives I could recollect. He was just following the tradition we had of calling each other requesting for a birthday wish. It was just that he had pre-poned the timings by a cool six to seven hours. I did give him my heartiest wishes. It was nice to know that the fun and mischievousness in our friendship had not gone even after 2 decades of friendship. I lost my sleep for the night and was left wondering why I did not put my mobile on silent mode that night alone.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

IPL's new lingua franca

IPL has created its own lingua franca. Here are some of them:-

Duration (n) - marginally longer than an Indian movie.

Spectators (n) - Not all have come to the stadium to see the match and most importantly everyone does not know cricket.

Viewers (n) - Advertisers spend crazy amounts to catch their eyeball attention for 10 seconds but they prefer to surf channels during ad break.

Pitch (n) - A rectangular piece made of soil but expected to be more flat than a table top.

Batsman (n) - A gladiator whose purpose of existence is to send the ball across or over the boundary as many times as possible.

Bowler (n) - A gladiator who is paid handsomely to get beaten like a henchman in Indian films.

Shot (v) – A verb whose ends justify the means. Simply read as long as you get a boundary does not matter if you executed a late cut over the middle stump.

Umpire (n) - An individual on field whose popularity goes up every time he lifts both the hands vertically upwards.

Score (n) – In India like sensex preferred only when it progresses in geometric progression.

Run rate (n) – A Jurassic age concept which should be replaced with runs per ball which again is respectable only if it is 1.5 runs per ball.

Economy rate (n) – Anything which is less than our inflation figures is preferable.

Boundary (n) – The batsman’s capability to frequently strike it, directly increases his endorsements.

Dot ball (n) – One of the few on-field perks for a bowler.

Maiden (adj) – An on-field event whose occurrence is as rare as a total solar eclipse.

Dull Moments (adv) – Time taken between overs

Average (n) – considered respectable if it is in double digits for batsmen and single digits for bowlers.

Team Loyalty (n): - The match itself is a blind date, so who cares.

Spirit of the game (adj/adv?) – displayed at the end of a game in form of a handshake sometimes through a slapface.

Cheerleaders (n) – what did the poor bar girls do differently to be banned?

Dugout (n) – A bus-stop type shelter where grown-ups wait anxiously like school children in front of an exam hall.

Commentators (n) – rehabilitated cricketers who are paid to dub as talented every guy who can with result swipe the bat/ hurl the ball powerfully.

Sponsors (n) – A set of guys who are desperate to ensure that their name appears on every cricketing gear. Wonders whose logo appears on the most important but least displayed cricket (no prizes for guessing it) . A steel or cement company would be an ideal choice with words “keeping family/ friends (either girl or boy) happy” or “protecting the future” or “ensuring continued home entertainment”.

Owners (n) – Individuals who have invested heavily but not allowed to grunt or grumble when their team performs badly.

Last, but not the least, Lalit Modi (Proper Noun) – Magician. C’mon guys, he should be the Prime Minister of this country. Definitely would come up with an idea how to market petroleum products so that we don’t have to pay every time the rate goes up.

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Banglaore, Karnataka, India