Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Even though end of "The wait" can be attributed to my long hibernation and my subsequent blog entry thereof , what I refer to as "The wait" is ending of The Great Indian Elections for the 15th Lok Sabha , an exercise that took more than a month involving huge logistics and security and an equally interesting run up throughout various phases (Thanks to the News Channels). They made this run up very interesting on par with IPL 2nd Edition if not greater. Unfortunately I was not able to see the finals of Great Indian Elections because I was kidnapped by known coterie of people to an undisclosed location near Mahabalipuram and made to do some sacrilegious acts :-) (I am planning to cover this as a separate blog)
Fortunately I had a Mobile with me on that day to get myself updated with the latest election results. I called my brother to ask about the election results only to be mocked at.
He asked me "Vote pannadhavannuku ellam ennathuku election results kekudhu…. " ."Why there is a need to know about the election results for people who haven’t cast his vote."
I know he is technically wrong but that was in no mood to tell him that why he was technically wrong. And the reason why he mocked at me is that I casted 49(O) . It means that I don’t want to vote for any candidate (Planning to cover this as a separate blog).
Ok. Congratulations to the UPA for coming out with a thumping majority. Not that I am a big fan of UPA or the Congress. U know that I voted for 49(O). At least we are now clear that there is a government at the centre that will stay in power for 5 full years without any hiccups. I am happy that the Left has been left out.
I am not going to post-mortem analysis the reasons for the victory (of UPA) and the loss(of NDA) nor I am an expert in that. It is easy to do an analysis in retrospect than to do an analysis looking at things in hindsight. I leave the difficult job for the experts and I will look things from a retrospective view. So here is my sense why NDA might have lost out.
Even though there were many "real issues", BJP once again carried on with their same rhetoric of Bofors, Anti Sikh Riots, Hindutva, illegal money stashed in Swiss Accounts… so on and so forth. My question is did these things really matter for the electorate.
May be bofors, illegal money stashed in Swiss Accounts appealed to the intelligentsia of journalists sitting in the Air-conditioned room doing a left, right and centre analysis. May be it would have appealed to the intelligentsia sitting in the high rise buildings of Bandra and Nariman point who can light virtual candles but cannot come to vote. But I don’t think I really mattered to the common man. Similarly is the case with dead Bofors. One should appreciate the wily Karunanidhi in this. Rice for Rs 2/kg does really makes sense than the Swiss accounts and the Bofors. For nearly 300 crore people in India are living under 2$ per day. And local issues did matter much than the nuclear deal or Bofors.
As far as Tamilnadu is concerned, Vijayakanth was a major factor in the verdict going for the UPA. He split the vote in most of the constituencies in spite of losing the deposit. Better luck Jayalalitha. I think he will eternally be splitting the votes unless he forms some sort of alliance.
Hmm... Ok thatz it for now… C you later in my next Blog :)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
It was a daring mission that America took after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Mission: To promote peace, progression and betterment of society and evolution of humanity.
The Means: War.
The means to the end may appear contradictory but one may acknowledge had one looked at the underlying reasons to adopt the means. It was because Iraq and Afghanistan were ruled by fascists and fanatics which required nothing short of a military means.
America raided Iraq with one mission. Before the raid on Iraq, they produced compelling evidence to the world and made the world believe that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that were never to be found. The means to bring down Saddam's government. Though successful, they failed to justify the means.
Also Americans have made that place one of the dangerous place to live in. They have made the country more fragile and susceptible to terrorist attacks. Iraq was not a terrorist haven but Americans have made it one.
But thanks to America, people Iraq is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They are on their trajectory to become a democracy which otherwise they would have never achieved . Had not for America, people of Iraq would have never stained their fingers as a proof to show to the world that they have voted in an election.
If one place where a majority would have approved of a war on terror is Afghanistan. It is one place that really needs the American drones. The combo of Osama & Taliban made this terrain simply unsafe. What might happen without American presence is simply out of imagination. But Americans are paying the price for creating their Frankenstein's monsters.
It is amusing, intriguing, perplexing (add other whole lot of Adjectives...) to observe how the human mind drives a person who can go the very end to create a political (read terror) revolution and achieve to what he has committed. LTTE's Prabakaran can be a fitting example to this. Even after considered down and out by everyone, he surprised everyone by dropping bombs on the Sri Lankan capital.
Prabakaran is only an example in the never ending list of Osamas, Mulla Omars, Saddam Husseins . Actually even what they really want is Peace & Happiness (If one looks Even beyond the greed for Power) whether it is Srilanka or Iraq or Afghanistan or America. And there were (and are) other people who also wanted Peace and Happiness for fellow beings and achieved what they wanted. They are the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. They traversed the Road Not Taken and that made all the difference. Made the difference between evolution and devolution. Progression and Regression.
Monday, March 9, 2009
It was one of those days i would like to forget (Apart from the days I took CAT..no pun intended) i thought i did a terrible mistake(No 1) by taking a bus to my home....While i was trying to recover my brain after a long day's work at the office through a nice pint of music with my iPOD ear buds on, first monster came in the form of Dr Karunanidhi..
Why would this man rather not meet his wellwishers in private in his house than disrupt public?? Mr Karunanidhi had come to his party headquarters after a month long vacation at the Apollo. And the whole gang of sychophant(not all) welwishers ganged in front of Anna arivalayam.... He costed 20-25 minutes of public time.. Though not a bigger duration.. its enough to make the people feel the pain in the knee...
It was as if the previous delay was not enough... Another monster in the name of Dr Ramadoss took to the streets close to my neighbourhood and its repurcussions were heard and seen much beyond 15 km radius of his meeting... There was a huge pile up of traffic for over several km... The pile up resembled this very woodcutter chopping of trees near Thindivanam and crippling public services.... Thanks to this man.. a distance of 2 km to be covered in 5-10 mins took full 2 hours... This was more than enough to make the people feel the pain in the ***. How about a nice punch like above for them ??? :-)
Thankfully i took an intelligent decision of walking to the nearest railway station even if it was a bit long... One of my cousin was also an unfortunate victim of this public crippling exercise... and reached his home 1 am next day...
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I am sure this post will rekindle a lot of cherished memories of your train travel. After all, who wouldn’t like the romance of the rails. Think about the excitement had you got a window seat. What a bonus!!!. I am sure they will kindle the kid in you :-) . Personally, I would not approve the same with flight journeys. Even though I was pretty much excited during my first flight journey to UK, when I boarded back to India, it was more of a nightmarish feeling. The reason for the nightmare: A flight accident that occured a week back before my start.
Train journeys are a great experience in themselves and a great leveller .You get to interact with a lot of people. This is especially true in India when you travel either horizontally or vertically across India. Except for the train and some of your fellow passengers, almost everything right from the food to language, dress to appearance et al.. is bound to change. Although I have the privilege of travelling by suburban train daily, I do more so to avoid the routine morning traffic rather than to enjoy it. But long train journeys are a real class act.
My travel started more as a whim. My father was supposed to travel. As he opted out in the last minute, I had to replace him. Thank my stars. As I look through the kaleidoscope , the other end of it shows a picturesque Ernakulum in Kerala. I reached the Chennai Railway station with two hours to spare . There was a huge amount of luggage to be carried over to the platform. So we engaged a trolleywala. You would be shocked if you hear the ridiculous and atrocious price he charged to carry the luggage from the entrance to the platform. The price was almost equivalent to a two way second class train ticket between Chennai & Ernakulum. But I must admit that my uncle is a master haggler. He made that trolleywala reduce his price by almost 70%.
As we parked all our luggage in the platform, it was time to take an idle stroll around the Railway station. Me and my cousin Girish took the idle walk along the platform. First, I excused myself and went in search of a loo to relieve myself of the pressure around my abdominal area :). Then we marched towards a VLR. I ordered myself a masal dosai and a masal vadai. With a burp, we walked out of the stall.
You see I have this bad habit of reading (Or you can very well say Pretend to be reading :-) ) while travelling. Whether or not I read, I buy something to fill the time and my brain with useless stuffs. So my next stop was Higgin-Bothoms. I scanned through a host of magazines and books and novels and zeroed in on THREE MISTAKES OF MY LIFE BY Chetan Bhagat( I wondered whether I had made my first mistake by buying this book :) ). I little realized that this would be one of my most enjoyable read. It was a really good read and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
The time was 8 pm and the train slowly started and so do my excitement. After all, it was a long time since I had my last train journey. We were 72 people travelling . So we booked an entire coach and half of another. As the train smoothly glided through various stations, I sank to my seat watching the wonder outside the window grill. I think there is a unfound happiness of watching the drama unfolding outside the window. As a child, I had the looked with amazement the bogies, engines, track changes, lush green fields . I must admit still I look at these things in awe n wonder .
As I was about to go to my dream world, someone knocked me and gave me three packages. The time was 9 pm and it was time for dinner. Girish's mom had prepared dinner for all of us. As I opened the first packet containing Idli and Molaga Podi (Chilli Powder mixed with oil ), a tinge of small flashed across my face. Allow me to ramble a few years back to my last Train journey . A trip down the memory lane.
Travel from Chennai to Mangalore. A trip to the lush & exquisite Western Ghats. Deepak, Kaushik , Ramani , Girish and Myself were travelling. Girish is a diligent fellow. As always he took the initiative of preparing food for the night. Most of us had directly come from office to the station. So we were damm hungry. Even as the train started each of us grabbed one food pack and starting satisfying our appetite. Deepak was late to join in the food grabbing incident. So that left with only one food packet. By the time he came, we had almost finished our dinner except for the customary finger licking. As Deepak opened his packet, a gruesome shock awaited him. Instead of idlis, it contained Girish's undergarments neatly packed with a plantain leaf and a Hindu news paper :) ROFL…… For almost the entire night we were laughing and laughing. We wondered whether we should have called it jetli instead of idli (The former closely resembles to undergarments in Tamil ).That was a real fun. :)
Even as pleasant memories flashed past my mind, I finished my dinner adding Fried rice and Curd rice to the already list of Idli. As the average age of the contingent was above 55, young people like me were asked to take the upper berth. And with a heavy heart I departed my window seat and slowly climbed up. It was time for me to open the book I bought at the station. As I flipped through a few pages, I heard a sounds of coffeewala. My uncle stopped him to get a coffee… Soon others followed him. I am sure that guy would have made a good business. Slowly comments started coming in. My uncle accused the fellow of serving as hot water with 2-3 teaspoons of milk and little sugar. Others agreed. To be frank it was only like that.
Even as those accusations were happening, something suddenly struck me. I felt I was in an urgent need to purchase a few bananas. Most of you would be familiar with reason behind it. I have had a pretty bad experience of not having one during one of my previous travels which had created a ruckus in my stomach.
Time 11 pm. Station: Katpadi. I fervently searched for any shops with banana. Couldn't find one.
Then I retreated to my couch in the upper berth. Even as I continued with my reading, suddenly the lights went off. It was time for others to sleep. Slowly I closed the book as well as my eyes. Sleep was hard to come by especially in the cramped narrow space and with me measuring more than 6 feet , it was very difficult to fit in. Finally managed to get some sleep. Dunno at what time I fell asleep. The next time I woke up, it was Salem.
Time: 12.45 am Station: Salem. As before , I checked shops with Banana. Couldn’t find one.
Time 4.00 am Station : Palakkad. As the train entered the platform, there was a tinge of smile in my face and a nostalgic feeling in my heart . It was my native place :)
Still no sight of a banana vendor
Time 6.45 am Station : Ernakulum. Atlast I reached the other end of the kaleidoscope. The magical journey atlast came to an end.The entire contingent made their way to the marriage hall while i made my way to a relative's house near by.
Oh... forgot to metion... I relieved myself of the pressure in my stomach even without the help of banana.... :)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Hmm... Okkey... so what are the facts.
What do Rajus have for their breakfast?
What do they have for their lunch & dinner?
which book is he currently reading and which God they are seeking refuge?
Who are the other accomplices along with Rajus ?
If you think that I am kidding better be serious and watchout... coz all of the above questions have answers.
Answers are as follows.
100 grams of `pulihora' (tamarind rice) and tea for breakfast.
250 gram of rice, 250 gram of beans and radish curry, rasam and curd for Lunch. Chicken curry, rice and rasam for dinner.
Raju is seeking solace in Buddha.
His inmates are two bootleggers or dowry offenders..
If you think I have taken all these things with help of a hidden camera in the jail... Just don't fool yourselves. Check here
What is going to follow is a pep conversation between the inmates and Rajus.
Disclaimer : This will never be funny if you are a Satyam employee. I pity for them. They suffer for no mistake of theirs. So please refrain from reading below if you don't feel like reading a satire on satyam.
The following is strictly NOT for Tamil Challenged Readers.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Sometimes the very resolutions act as counterproductive. It increases those activities which we had initially wanted to quit. But isn't it a silly thing to wait till December to fix your resolutions? If you want fix them in March or July ? Hmm... I really don't understand why one needs to tie it to a specific date to pursue what one needs to do.
Ok. Now coming on how to effectively keep a resolution. Something that has worked wonders for me. Ahem,Ahem, with the word "worked" by now u might have guessed that i am lying. Indeed you are right. I have never been successful in keeping resolutions, New year or otherwise. So taking my advice is a sure recipe for disaster :). I am going to present you what researchers have concluded on how to go about a resolution. I read a lot of articles about resolutions and invariably everyone has the same thing to say. This is what University of Washington has to suggest.
• Have a strong initial commitment to make a change.
• Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up.
• Keep track of your progress. The more monitoring you do and feedback you get, the better you will do.
And a sure shot recipe for Failure includes
• Not thinking about making resolutions until the last minute.
• Reacting on a specific day and making your resolutions based on what's bothering you or is on your mind at that time.
• Framing your resolutions as absolutes by saying, "I will never do X again."
Stephen Covey, the famous author says those things which we want to change must align with the deepest values , motivations and with what is important to us. Otherwise there will not be any passion to stay committed when the going gets tough. This is especially true because we get distracted easily by a lot of things which acts against us in achieving what we want.
Some other points that is mentioned is
Don't set yourself up for failure with unrealistic goals
Make sure each goal includes clear measurement and specific deadlines
Write down the goals and review them. This increases the chances of achieving them.
Track your progress and reward yourself.
If you slip up, Recommit
Ohh...writing this seemed to be an herculean task for me. Following this would be next to impossible :) Remember what ever given above , I bet next time you will be scared & think twice before making one . :) Let me go out and get myself some fresh air while you start preparing your next list of resolutions :)
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Well, I had plans of blogging something else. But as Oscar Wilde put it "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it" ,I yielded to my temptations writing about the Satyam sham (I use the word sham because "Breaking news", "scandal", "Fraud" had already been used by most of TV channels , newspapers and the India Inc) . By now everyone would be overdose with news about Satyam . But I am sorry I can’t help but write about it and its your fate to read this :-)
At the outset it was a really sad day for India Inc. The entire episode took everyone by surprise. It is being compared to the likes of Enron and WorldCom. And rightly so. The entire Satyam episode had been like a jigsaw puzzle. As the story unfolded following the confessions of Mr. Ramalinga Raju, everything seemed to fall in its right place (as of now). Dunno if we can still believe Mr. Raju (Check Here)
Going by the facts put by Mr. Raju,
5040 crores of non-existent cash
376 crores of non-existent interest accrued
1230 crores of liability arranged by Mr. Raju in his own capacity
490 crores of overstated debtors position
This adds up to 7136 crores. Now come to the Maytas deal. The whole company was valued at $1.6 Billion . When we convert 7136 crores in terms of dollars, it comes around $1.6 Billion. This is the exact amount missing from Satyam's accounts. Since this cash did not exist in Satyam's books and since the acquisition of Maytas could be done for nothing , it all made perfect sense. It was a tragic end to a thrilling story which otherwise would have ended on a happy note if it wasn’t for the villains (In the form of Investors and shareholders in Mr. Raju's opinion).
What would have happened had Satyam went ahead with Maytas Deal? I can’t imagine what would have happened but I guess the catastrophe would have been of a lesser degree. Thank God it didn’t happen. Else we wouldn’t have known the real truth (Satyam) behind it.
One good thing is he came out in the public and admitted his guilt rather than waiting for someone to find it. All these days he had been dancing with the skeletons in his closet. I am sure he would be a relieved man and would have had a better sleep last night. Unfortunately robbed sleep of many others.
But my heart goes out for all the 53000+ employees of Satyam who have toiled for years and now face this for no fault of theirs. I wish the Satyam Employees all the strength to bear all these shocks.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
As the curtains for the year 2008 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect at the events and happenings that has shaped India and the rest of the world. The mental baggage that one carries in the year 2008 is certainly a forgettable one. The problem with the forgettable ones is you just can't do that - forget, that is :-). Just try and see whether you can forget the terrorist attacks of WTC, London bombings, Mumbai train blasts, Taj Mahal hotel up in flames, Tsunami or for that matter the film Azhagiya Tamil Magan (No pun intended). There have been a few positives in the year 2008 but a lot of other events have over shadowed the positives and have cast a gloomy shadow and threatening to grow at fiendish levels. No prizes for guessing the negatives. It’s the financial crisis and terrorism.
The problem is that these negatives have left a deep scar in our face and we need to probably nurse these wounds for years to come. And mind you the year is not over yet. There are few hours left :-)
Certainly, the year 2008 was a watershed (for wrong reasons ofcourse) in the history of World financial markets in general and Indian markets in particular.
A crisis much talked about after the Great Depression. The old saying that "It’s difficult to go up the ladder but it’s easy to fall down." seems to be applicable to stock market as well. At the end of the year 2007, markets were at their phenomenal best and sensex was giving nearly 40% returns in a no time. Come year 2008, we started hearing a few words repeatedly - Words like slump, recession, slowdown, bubble. It was a Boom to Gloom story. And still we have not recovered from it yet. The fundamental reason- Greed. Greed has over powered everything. Robbed us of our sanity to think. Clouded our judgment. The greed of a few people has resulted in the entire financial fiasco the entire world is reeling over. India has not been spared either. Despite all the talk of India decoupling from the American Economy, the fact remains that India, like the rest of European and Asian countries is linked to the American Economy. And bore the brunt of the financial onslaught as well. FII withdrew most of the money which they had invested. (Close to $12billion)
However closer to home, our banks did not face a big impact thanks to the strict banking regulations and lesser exposure to American & European Markets. A big thank you must be said to Mr. Y.V.Reddy for saving us from otherwise what would have been a fall into a deep abyss. (Click Here) When the whole world was made accessible to easy money, Mr. Reddy took care to check on the unregulated money with his stringent regulations. Private sector banks which were criticizing the actions later had to agree with these decisions. Hats off to you sir.
Pink slips, something unheard of in our country became a reality. Consolidation started taking place in various sectors on the face of slowdown in the economy. Adding to all these woes were oil price and inflation although both of them have cooled down a bit now. Overall this was a forgettable for the financial markets.
Even though Financial crisis continued to take the limelight, towards the end of the year Terrorism took center-stage thanks to the attacks in Mumbai (India's 9/11). This year has been one of the bloodiest years in the Indian History. Unprecedented levels of terrorist attacks have taken place in a single year. With an inept people at the helm handling the affairs, things like security for common men was too much in the asking. America and Britain needed only one instance to introduce draconian laws and intense surveillance systems. India had done away with the POTA but did not consider having an adequate substitute in place of that. Much has been said about the terrorist attacks and what is now needed is only action in the form of stringent laws and more sustained and organized effort to tackle terrorism.
Even though India remains a secular democracy, our secularism has come under some strain. These have been indicated by the violence in Orissa and the emergence of so called “Hindu Terrorism”. These people are trying to divide the nation on communal lines. India needs to overcome the ramifications to focus on development on the social as well as economic front.
On the Sporting Front:
It was a good year for the Sports. Starting from Euro 2008 till the SA-AUSTRALIA Test series, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Spain the perennial under achievers finally achieved something. Not to mention the Epic Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer was a treat to watch. But the biggest sporting extravaganza on earth happened this year. The Olympics And China showed the world how grand and extravagant an Olympics can be conducted (With all the Human Rights Violation). After a long time India got a gold medal in Olympics and we have waited 108 years to achieve an individual medal. Kudos to Abhinav Bindra. Phelps achieved something unimaginable. One can only look in awe at the swimming genius. India is at their arguably best peak in cricket under the thoughtful and aggressive leadership of M S Dhoni. Elsewhere Australia is losing their grip on the world cricket.
As the year is drawing to a close, One hopes that this New Year brings cheers to everyone and hope. Wish every one a Very Happy New Year.