Thursday, December 29, 2005

The New Year

Here we are, right at the door steps of 2006, knocking in zealous anticipation of what is in store! I feel hard pressed to end the year on a positive note at Clearway – it’s hardly been a couple of months or so since Clearway sprung up lazily in one corner of the vast expanse of cyberspace, evoking a lackadaisical response from some of the hordes of Netizens who are used to hard-core blogging– “Which Way? Clear What?” Getting back on track – of ending the year on a positive note!

So, this New Year, I define Clearway - if I haven’t done so yet! Clearway is the bus with seats that have no back rests, with windows that have no shutters. Clearway is the Machine gun that slays the scientist. Clearway is the currency that goes into their pockets, the questions they forget to ask; Clearway is the bill book that is never written, the taxes never paid. Clearway is the prison wall that is flattened, the border that is infiltrated, the Quarters that is overstayed in. Clearway is the society that muffles voices, the media that hypes up faces; the cricket that turns into politics, the politics that goes for a toss. Clearway is the blog that criticises persons, the person that reprimands the blog. Clearway is the pervert, the patriot and the perfectionist. Clearway is the rain, the flood and the famine. Clearway is fear, terror and the assassin. Clearway is the activity, the action, the activist. Clearway is India, Revolution and beyond!

I was never good enough to predict New Years; but Clearway thrives on element, energy and the ego! Wishing everyone, a Great Year ahead!

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Key is in the Mind!

“Very few of us imbibe Mahatma Gandhi's words: 'We must become the change we want to see in the world.’ Very few of us want to do more than criticise the state of affairs around us. Very few of us take up the initiative to change things. One Chennai neighbourhood is a glowing exception. Their little miracle holds the promise that if more of us think and do like they do, big changes are easy.”

I had read through these lines in the story before the thought struck me – ‘This is yet another Positive story! So, is it Shobha Warrier again?’ I looked up at the by-line and . . . Yes, it was her! This “Shobha Warrier – Rediff” combination has unleashed yet another account that tells us what ‘can’ be achieved, rather than lamenting on what is ‘not’ being done!

The story is good on more than one count; it’s about the way a bunch of lads decided to tackle a perennial problem – water! It’s about focus, commitment, and concerted effort. The way the SYMA people have decided to zero-in on one issue and the medium they chose for delivery of their message is worth mentioning. And it is, after all, about ‘being the change that one wants to see’!

"The moment we are back from office, we dedicate ourselves to social work. Similarly, mornings are also dedicated to community work." This comment by Mr Ramani, the SYMA President, makes it sound all too simple. The purpose that drive them towards their ‘way of life’ and the energy levels needed to sustain their actions over time are just what could mean the difference between our present and our future!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

"Expelbalm" - the Only solution for Chronic "Headaches"

Happy News! The Speaker of our Lok Sabha has fewer heads for aches now – the trouble-mongers have been packed off to a safe destination! And the Rajya Sabha is leaner by a digit as well. The media claims this an ‘unprecedented’ move! And Cobra Post is still alive, as of this minute. All this does augur well for our democracy!

However, our representatives are not unanimous about the issue. There have been protests against the way the members have been thrown out and the BJP has staged a ‘Walk-Out’. Mr L. K. Advani seems to have taken umbrage at this “Harsh” act! I fail to see much reason in his stand, however!

These folks have just earned a handsome amount and must no doubt be in a jubilant mood at having had their faces in the media. It would be "harsh" on them, only if we refuse to let them go on a holiday, touring around, spending their ‘hard earned’ money. And this is Christmas Eve and they have every right to make the most of a New Year bash! So, don’t spoil their moods through ‘Harsh’ protests. But, if you do want to express yourselves, please feel free to walk out of the House. It would definitely help the Speaker and give him a break, this festive season!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This Day, That Age: Meerut

“So, you want to force yourselves on to the spotlight, huh? Welcome, gentlemen, I mean, gentlewomen, please occupy centre stage.”

They blink, and stare at me.

I ask the Chief, “Why do they stare that way?”

“Use simple English man!”

I clear my throat.

“I mean, you want to see yourself in the media, is it not?”

They look confused.

“Okay, you want to be in photo, in TV?”

They beam. I sigh of relief.

“Good. Could you move a bit on to the right . . . No, no, not to my right, your right . . . yeah, that’s right.”

“Okay, this is an action scene. But, this is not the usual scene where you come after the fight is over. You come and start the fight here. Okay?”

They nod, suggesting they might have understood something.

“The name of this programme is “Uniformed Thugs” . . . I mean, “Uninformed Thugs” . . . or, “Lady Thugs”, or, “Rowdy Lady” – it’s your choice”

The Chief is not satisfied. I search for some action-packed code name and come up with a brilliant “Operation Laila”.

The Chief is delighted!

“Operation Laila!” The Chief repeats proudly.

By now, one of the lady thugs is about to doze off. Her buddy wakes her up.

“Oh, no, you can not sleep today. Yeah . . . I know it’s difficult. But, don’t you want to be in the media, I mean, in photo, in TV, in Paper tomorrow?”

They agree! They try to keep their eyes wide open . . . they try hard.

“Good. So, today, you can not sleep. You have to slap women.”

The intelligent Thief, oops, Chief, asks “Why?”

“What do you mean ‘why’? You are not P*****men, you are P*****women! You can only slap women. You can’t do anything else to them, I guess!”

(My Editor censored some obscene words that were recorded; can’t help it)

I question the Chief: “Further, how else can you make news? Taking bribe is old fashioned. If this is a male team, may be we can try a grape scene. But, you want to make this woman squad popular. I think this is the best way.”

The Chief agrees half-heartedly. “Whatever, just make us popular. All the time, the men are in news. We want to prove we are equal to them.”

I sigh, and continue with my direction.

“So, we will have the cameras ready. When I say “Action”, you must go and slap the first woman you see in the Park. When you see the second woman, you must pull her hair, and if you see a couple, I mean, a man and woman together, beat both of them. If you see a lady in saree, pull it off. Then, you drag them out of the park and shove them in front of the cameras. When I say “Cut”, you stop. Is it clear?”

The team looks dumb, with an odd expression. The Chief seems bored.

I decide to break the instructions into parts and I repeat them, sentence by sentence. I point out to and mark people in the park and give roles to each uninformed woman, allotting victims in pairs to the stouter ladies in the crew. I make sure that every Rowdy Lady is allocated with a victim or two.

I get back to my place; make sure that cameras are in position, and then, “Action”!

It being late afternoon, normally sleeping hours for them, they amble lethargically into the park. The ladies walk up to their designated victims and start acting out their roles, lazily. However, the unexpected happens. The crowd in the park seems larger than expected. While initially taken aback, shocked at the arrival of the thugs, the crowd decides to take on the assault. In a sudden turn of tables, the crowd get together and bundle the uninformed ladies into one lot and start beating them up!

I shout “Cut, Cut . . . Stop it!”

The crowd keeps beating the Lady Thugs up. In a while, they are badly beaten up! The Chief is shocked!

“Abort! Abort Laila!” The horrified Chief screams over the microphone.

Our cameraman, whose wife’s name is Laila and who is on her family way, is shocked and momentarily drops the camera before he realises that they are discussing “Operation Laila”.

However, the Lady Thugs are in a bad shape by now, in no position to hear the commands, least of all to obey the command.

The Chief calls for emergency rescue teams and ambulances to the spot. The Bloody Ladies are taken by stretchers into the ambulances. The whole episode is, however, shot in cameras, thanks to Mr Majnu, our cameraman.

Later, Operation Laila screened in the P***** Head Quarters, is analysed and the reasons for its failure are debated, discussed and found out!

“We should have chosen some other venue, not Meerut!”

However, this incident in Meerut in 1857, which was the very first spark in India’s Struggle for Freedom from the Thugs, never seems to have been reported in the media. And such a revolt is all but forgotten, ever since!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Clearway Focus: MSM

Let me bring to the attention of readers, a link on the sidebar of this blog: Clearway Focus. I have been expressing my views on issues relevant to India through Clearway. The issues chosen are random, in no specific order; the flow of this blog depends solely on events in the country.
However, I felt the need to focus on some elements that have beocme part of our social fabric. These are strong enough to rock the lives of people, yet receive scant or skewed attention in the media; instances that should have been isolated incidents but have become patterns, because of the lack of will by the Legislative. They reflect, in my view, fundamental flaws in the way we define and deal with crimes. I do not mind repeating what I have stated earlier: Laws are meant to make people balk before they take that first step towards crime; to let people indulge and then award them with sentences that make no difference to their attitudes is, childish.
In the spate of rape cases and crimes against women reported in the media, we have a brand new entry: Call Centre employee murdered in Bangalore. And we can be sure this is not going to be the last. The list will grow on and on unless we, as a society, learn how to react to acts by people who never deserved to be alive at all!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

All may not be in the game

I tried hard to see the rationale behind the selection committee's decision to drop Ganguly for the third test. Kiran More may have been at pains to talk of the future of Indian cricket. But what would a future hold when the past is humiliated and trashed?
The former captain could have been dropped for the entire series. Or, the selectors could have closed the doors on him, once and for all. To dump someone who has contributed significantly to Cricket, after a decent performance at a Test, right in the middle of a series and to go on and say thet he could be considered again for the forthcoming series might make sense to the wise men who get to have their say over issues that matter; it definitely leaves me wondering if I have to work on my logical reasoning abilities to get in line with their thought patterns!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This is NOT a Political Blog!

Heck, is this turning into a political blog? If three successive posts can be political, then a blog could well be termed one! And I hate my blog being classified under an abominable terminology. I author this blog and I decide what this is all going to be about.
So, if some mad men create havoc in the Parliament, I am not going to give a damn about them. If a mentally challenged psycho attempts suicide in the Assembly, I will dismiss the news with utmost contempt. And if some mean creatures, under the veil of MP's, can stoop so low to make it to the front pages of the News Papers, I refuse to post on that. I don't want to waste this space in talking of hardened criminals who are so much accustomed to 'under-the-table' dealings that they accuse the media of making a 'mountain of a mole hill'. Is this one remark not sufficient to hang them in public, right in front of the Parliament?
Unfortunately, it's not my job to do that; and even words about this breed of infected lumps of flesh may well spoil this space. No more of them here!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

He 'Speaks' but is Seldom Heard: The Parliament

The post of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is one of the most prominent positions in the Government of India. The Speaker is supposed to steer the sessions of the Parliament in a way that would give an aura of respectability to the proceedings; in effect, he conducts the debates and discussions that decide the fate of the Nation. When he observes that he is “ashamed” to be in the position, it means that he has, in reality, been reduced to being no more than a desperate constable trying to regulate traffic in an utterly chaotic, totally unregulated market place.

Parliament is no market place but; it is a representation of a nation that prides itself on its cultural values. However, the nation is quite diverse in its constitution indeed. Perhaps, it is this diversity that reflects in the chaos in the House. Possibly, the Speaker hasn’t been equipped with the relevant powers to deal with representations from the variegated backgrounds that the members have come to project.

So, dear Members of the Parliament, we do not blame you. The authors of our Constitution might have merely skipped the sections that were supposed to spell the powers of the Speaker out. We only request you to have some consideration towards the poor chap that keeps yelling at the top of his voice, who is never heard amidst the constant uproar that you create. After all, the people who elected you are under an illusion that you would, one day, make them emerge stronger, healthier. They may be heart broken to find that your Head Master has marked you all with red ink as being below average. And in this Information Age, your school is not a closed room as it was till a few years ago. Your behaviour and your teacher’s remarks are being aired live and your Progress Report is being made available electronically to the whole world. While we do appreciate your enthusiasm in expressing yourselves, please have some respect to the helpless man who has nothing but a chair and a microphone at his disposal. He is only trying to streamline your opinions, helping you grow in the process. Please do not make him feel guilty of doing no justice to his salary.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Assembly suspends suicide victim

Our laws are intended to punish criminals after crimes are committed. That is baffling, in a few cases. Consider, for instance, the laws that dictate that no one has the right to kill oneself. I don’t have a clue as to what the punishment is for those, who somehow do manage to kill themselves! Would the best possible punishment be to bring them back to life?

Let’s not get into the habit of ridiculing the laws of the land. But what of those who wish they were dead but never manage to enact their wish? The law has no problems with them. After all, they merely wish they were dead! Wishing is no offence, as long as nothing is done about it. Many people wish others were dead; and our laws have no business with them either! However, this is no universal truth. In Iraq, for instance, Mr Hussein might have merely wished he had Weapons of Mass Destruction – and that amounted to a war crime. But in the United States, Mr Clinton wished he had done some sensational stuff, and he almost did it too; well, almost! So, that doesn’t really get punished. The point here is that countries disagree when it comes to the ‘wish’ to do wrong.

Back in India, our friend, Shiv Sena MLA from Akot, Mr Gulabrao Gawande tried to kill himself in the Assembly! It was not merely a wish (and we never would know what he really wished when he did what he did). Had he merely been wishing and did nothing, our laws would not have taken notice of him. But, he suddenly moved into the well (no, it’s not the well that has water in it – so, that was not the suicide attempt) with a bottle of poison and a bottle of kerosene! (Why didn’t anyone tell him that he needed only one of them, and not both?) Perhaps, he wanted to be doubly sure that he got the results. (On second thought, he might have wanted to spare the state of some expenses, by using the poison first and kerosene next.) But, as it turned out, his was an unsuccessful attempt that was merely a ‘wish’.

Since his wish was backed by some action (the Speaker Mr Babasaheb Kupekar might have even suspected his intentions as that of attempted murder rather than suicide and would have had his heart in his mouth for a moment – from his view, Mr Gawande would have sprinted with the poison and kerosene towards him!). Well, it didn’t matter if the idea was to use poison or kerosene – it was attempted suicide and many MLA’s who were alert and awake were eye witnesses to the attempt. Since this happened in India, Mr Gawande was just suspended.

He was unfortunate not to have been in the US. For, had he been there, he could have easily argued that he only wished to do that, he almost did it, but never quite managed to ‘complete the processes’. He could have just got away with the incident and not have been suspended! On the other hand, I’m glad for him that he was not in Iraq. Otherwise, the judgement would have been to “Jump on him, grab his poison and the (expensive) kerosene, put him behind the bars, try him in a special court, convict him of his offence and hang him!” The result would have been the same anyway.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Myth" has three Stripes and a Wheel

Schools take the onus of inscribing young souls with reverence towards the National Flag on themselves. Other social factors aid in developing a sense of pride in the minds of children, a feeling of ownership, of belongingness about the symbol that flies high.

But by no means does this fable get reflected along the dusty road in a village in rural India. The national flag stands just as tall as a couple of other flags with political colours, with one of those occupying the centre stage. Rested on the base of the pole is a metal bar that seems to have been forsaken from the remains of some ancient building. Right next to the Flag post is a tea stall where people gather to discuss local politics. Apparently, one of its customers has parked his bicycle right there, where in schools, students would witness their Physical Training instructor help their Principal hoist the flag. At the backdrop adorns an abandoned bus stop that has somehow managed to survive the vagaries of nature. At the other side of the flag pole is a broken bench, claiming its rightful place – the garbage collection point ranges for a few square feet around the flag pole.

Talking of students, hundreds of them pass along the road on their way to and from schools. Quite possibly, the folks in the schools do it right when it gets to the tradition about the tri-colour. But the myth is busted by the abundant evidence to the contrary, out of the school campuses in the ‘real world’. I can imagine a child scorn at the idea of the ritualistic assembly where he/she is made to toil for an indefinitely long period in the scorching heat, only to witness a weird, funny episode that culminates in saluting a dirty piece of cloth that the child gets to see everyday on top of the roadside dustbin.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Way Forward: Rediff tests "Positive"

We all . . . okay, most of us . . . at least, some of us . . . alright, I accuse the media of focussing on the negative most of the time. Money-minded, business in every breath, scant sense of social responsibility in any of its reporting aspects – and they do deserve a significant part of the blame, don’t they?

But Rediff has set out to redefine “Positive. It was an impressive take on the life of a woman who decided to remove the initials and live the Positive! Almost Everything about the article is positive: its focus, the way Kousalya is projected, Kousalya’s fight against the grave injustice meted out to her, her perceptions of the society she finds herself in and its attitude towards affected people like her, the influence of Ashok Pillai on her, her outlook and strategy towards life, her love for children and the joy that she extracts out of simple moments like riding a two-wheeler – it’s been a confluence of everything positive! The way she recounts the “advantages” of being HIV positive is amazing! If at all there is anything negative in the whole article, it’s Kousalya’s view of men - "Because I have not seen any man who is different. I find them still the same” is what she has got to say. And what else could one expect from someone who drowned to the depths before surfacing after all the strife in life!

Rediff and Shobha Warrier have done a great job in telling the world what being positive is all about in Rediff Specials on World AIDS Day!

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Bill Collector

I somehow fell into this strange habit of collecting bills; when I buy some stuff, I get the bills and file them – just as souvenirs, nothing else. So, when the photo studio guy said he was not issuing any bills for the Rs 215 that I had spent in his shop, I had to choose a different option.

In fact, I tried to cajole him into issuing a bill. In turn, he gave me a couple of choices – “You either go without a bill or you pay the ‘tax’ of 12% of the amount (Rs 25.80) in excess of the ‘billed’ amount and get the bill for Rs 215”. Since I couldn’t really see why I should pay Rs 240.80 to get a bill for Rs 215 and because we couldn’t reach an agreement in the course of our discussion, I decided, as a customer, to leave my vendor satisfied and chose Option Number 1 that he proffered: To go without bill. However, I was kind enough to tell him that it might not be a well accepted gesture to point fingers to his customers whom he spoke with. He said something in return which I thought would be wise to ignore – I was in no mood to try my hand at martial arts on a Sunday morning!

However, I did choose Option number 3, without informing him - I was, after all, addicted to collecting souvenirs! As I left the studio, I clicked my camera and saved the memories associated with the studio to my system. For interested readers who are always in search of context, all this happened at “Maria Colours Lab, 4-C, Balaji Mansion, Opp. Junction Bus Stand, Madurai Road, Tirunelveli Junction, Tamil Nadu, India. Tel: +91 462 2323230" (a nice number that!). The Photo of the studio can be found here.

Now, let me clarify: The whole post is just a recount of an incident that turned me from a “Bill Collector” to a “Photo Collector”. I do not expect any public servant or social enthusiast among readers to get carried away and report it to the concerned department or any of the Tax Authorities to conduct stealth or surprise inspections at the shop to check if they really behave this way – after all, I expect readers to believe what I say here and cross checking may not necessarily be necessary. This is merely a blog and will remain one for the foreseeable future. However, I must confess, I definitely intend to visit the shop again, some day.

PS. Readers who are in a similar habit of ‘snapping’ up ‘customer-centred’ shops that are not too keen on billing the customer are welcome to drop a note to me, here. I like collecting well taken pictures, you see!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Floods? Here? You must be kidding!

It took me a moment to come to terms with what the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was talking of, when briefing press people about the flood situations in the State, in DD News Channel (at 9:20 PM). Though I can’t recall the exact words used by her, it went something to this effect: The positive effect of the rains is that the lakes are full, the dams are full and ground water levels have risen. Within a few days, things will be back to normal.

If only the response to devastating floods from the Chief of a State can be as simple as that! The damage to crop, the property losses, the roads torn apart, the cancelled trains and the resultant hardships faced by passengers, the rail tracks that remain twisted, the eroded bridges, the buses washed off the roads, the travelers injured, the scores of them carried along the rivers, the bodies recovered and lost – they all seem to have been discounted to arrive at a net profit scenario! Yes, things will be back to normal in a matter of days. The short to medium term reality might be a better ground water situation in the state. But, is this all that a Chief has got to say about, when it’s still misery all around? It is either a dismal effort to project the Government as one which is so optimistic even in the face of such wide spread damage, a ploy to play down the severity of the situation, or it is a blatant display of utter ignorance (if not arrogance) about the scenario on the ground. In any case, it underscores the scant regard that people in power have towards the sufferings and sentiments of the affected people.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Rains wreak havoc: Tamil Nadu

Unprecedented rains continue to flood Tamil Nadu and cost lives. Cuddalore seems to be the worst hit, with many more districts suffering heavily from the deluge.

Roads have been eroded and rail tracks have been mangled. Landslides have added to the damage to train traffic, with most train services to Southern Tamil Nadu suspended. Lakes threaten to give way to mounting pressures. Villages are submerged; a couple of buses are reported to have been washed away. Amidst heavy damage to property, more rains are forecast for at least two more days to come.

Water hasn’t been the source of misery on such a large scale in India in the recent past. No amount of planning could possibly have prepared the country for this fury of nature.

Drop Sachin!

Sachin has to be dropped. Yes, that’s right. He needs to be told in plain terms that he is being dropped because he doesn’t perform these days.

I am among the ardent fans of the Master and I joined the country in welcoming him back to the side, after a six-month holiday. He announced his return in style. And that’s all that I could remember of his batting in this series and the one past. For those who think a series or two may not be good enough to judge a player, that argument doesn’t hold good for Sachin. He is not among those who would take their time to find their nick. He is the most gifted of the lot in the present age and it is criminal on his part not to apply his skills. And for someone who has become larger than life, the team should be able to bank on him as a rock. Sachin has failed to deliver the goods.

Blame it on his stardom and the resultant high expectations on him, if you please – but that’s the way it is. Because even stars are human beings, and it may sometimes take a rap or even a slap to shake things up for them. Drop him now; or, if you feel he would bounce back at Mumbai, wait for one more encounter and then, drop him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Die for it!

Time and again, this has happened. The thugs find it all too easy to eliminate the honest rather than mend their ways. Manju Nathan is the latest victim.

But, we announce that his end is not a victory for the vile. Muffling a few voices will not buy the criminals, the license to commit atrocities and get away with them. People are no longer wary of being victimized by chance – they are willing to die for their cause; and their numbers will only rise in giant waves, till the rotting filth gets drowned and is washed away!

So, to every Disciple of Truth: You are born and are destined to die one day - Die for your cause!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Forgotten 'Cause': IIPM Revisited

To the best of my knowledge, nothing has happened when it comes to the Bloggers Vs IIPM tussle. At worst, it has been negative publicity for IIPM, limited only to the few pairs of eyes that browse through web logs.

Let’s deduct from those, the ones who happened to nonchalantly read through the posts featuring the institute, very much passively. Then, there must have been among the readers, those who are in no way related to management education, belonging to a different academic field, perhaps. Of those who joined in the protests, some seemed to have already completed their Masters in Business from other Institutes; of course, they wouldn’t consider pursuing another degree at IIPM. The Mainstream Media displayed a lukewarm response, reporting the news lethargically as if forced into action by some long-suppressed voice of conscience, to do some justice to what they owe to the society they belong to. So, the antagonist of IIPM virtually bank on “Word-of-mouth” and hope better sense would prevail among the hordes of graduates who are in a frenzy to get an MBA after their names.

I must confess I haven’t been able to spend much time of late on the blogs that were involved deep in the IIPM controversy. So, correct me if I’m wrong: Now that it well seems nothing has really been effected after all the hue and cry raised about the full page advertisements by the Institute, the whole episode merely seems to have been the result of reactions from a few IIM graduates who were obviously irked when their Institute’s name was drawn in the Ads by IIPM; and it definitely doesn’t seem a crusade, as it has come to be portrayed as, against some unscrupulous propaganda unleashed by a vicious organization, to rope in aspiring kids to pay for its courses. For, if it had really been in the cause of public good, the defenders of morality wouldn’t have stopped in their tracks of hunting the villain down, but would have walked the full lengths in bringing him to his knees.

IIPM may claim the credits for taking the sting out of the attack from blogs, initially by deploying its troops to malign the crusaders, then putting bloggers on the defensive by serving them ‘legal’ notices, and carrying on with its way of life, bothering the least about the noise around. And, it counters blogs, continuing to wield its Advertising might. All the wrong news that a prospective student would find through search engines about IIPM would be a few distorted sounds through a bunch of posts from a weird new-economy syndrome called blogs!

Did we ever have a match at all?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sania + Sex = Sensation

"Sania, Karthikeyan talk about sex!"

He: Jeez! Really? But how did you know they did?
Me: Well, they talked about it in public.
He: In public? That's dare devil. But they merely talked about sex, isn't it?
Me: How can they merely talk and do nothing about it?
He: You mean to say they talked and they did too?
Me: Of course yes. That was what the summit was for!
He: A summit? I never knew they hold summits about these stuff!
Me: Why? What's wrong with it?
He: I mean, did they just talk or do it in the summit as well?
Me: Well, they talked and asked people to practise.
He: You mean to say they preached what they practised?
Me: No, I said they preached because they are good at practising what they do.
He: Just the same. So, they have made it all official?
Me: Yes. How then would the world know of it?
He: But why should the world know that they do it?
Me: Why? The whole world already knows that they are fantastic in their stuff!
He: The world already knew that, even before the summit?
Me: Of course! They are the best and they relish what they do!
He: But that's debatable! How can you say they are the best in it?
Me: I didn't say that. The whole Nation says so!
He: Good God! But how can you compare it with the performance of the others?
Me: Simple! They rank higher than anyone else in the country!
He: WHAT? Is this being ranked as well?
Me: Of course it is! And they both top the rankings. Hey, are you leaving?
He: Yes. Let me check my ranks. I can beat them in it!

Morals of the story:
1. Anyone can wield words and leave people imagining things.
2. Never choose a heading that is misleading!

Monday, November 14, 2005

You do have a choice: Naxal Attacks

The armed forces paint a pathetic picture, of being meek and weak and of no match to the Naxalites who have pulled off a stunning success in their operation in Jehanabad!
A thousand people, committed to their causes, working in tandem in a well planned and effective attack to release their leaders is, sorry to say, amazing! It was a top-notch mission that has caught the police forces with all their pants down - the reinforcement forces seem to have got to the place of action to collect all the evidences, so that they could put together the pieces to make out what hit them! The extent to which the naxals have gone to save their leaders deserves mention!
The official machinery has always been good at condemning acts of crime and terrorism - and beating up the press! The fact is that the bad guys have just been better in their planning and execution. And there are a good number of those bad guys willing to die for their causes. So, here is your choice: Take an injection of conscience, conviction and commitment and act before it's late; or, go home, close your doors and take a nap - the naxals may eliminate you if they find you on the streets!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tributes to Mr K. R. Narayanan

Former President K. R. Narayanan passed away on 9 November 2005. The soft spoken Diplomat's career description at the Indian Embassy website is a statement of his achievements, of how active he has been in social life.
The Hindu has paid tribute to the great man in its article, "President who defied stereotype". It was good to read of a President who assumed an active role in what is normally seen as having a limited scope for action in the political arena of the country. The most striking feature of his life was his having risen to such great heights from the humblest of backgrounds - that of a rural kid, born in a class that is socially perceived as backward, and grown up in poverty and subjected to injustices. It is typical of most places of rural India even today, that which is the untapped strength of the nation. It was only natural that such a person has come to be called a President who defied stereotype!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A personal note to my readers

I'm having to go slow on my posts; blame the circumstances. When I started this blog, I intended to keep pouring my thoughts into this space on a regular basis. And, to be honest, I did not expect this many comments from readers. The comments have been positive feedbacks, the ones that would keep bloggers going - they supported my views, questioned them, countered them and corrected me. Thank you readers, for your explicit and silent support!
On the other hand, comments have made me realise that my posts were indeed being read - and scrutinised. In effect, I was being held accountable for what I said, contrary to what I believed initially - that bloggers were accountable to none, unlike the mainstream media. And posts do create expectations - of contents, style and their frequency of being published.
So, having been enlightened with this realisation, I inform my readers that my posts might not be coming at the same intervals that they used to be - for a few days (Of late, I haven't even been reading my favourite blogs regularly). I definitely wouldn't be able to keep up with the average of more than a post a day (for those who are statistically inclined). However, I would earnestly try to being back to my original self, in as short a span as possible.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Party first, Country next!

The Congress seems to be in a hurry in packing Mr Natwar Singh off, temporarily. The ploy is simple: If it turns out that Mr Singh was indeed guilty, the party would have saved face by having acted responsibly. If Mr singh emerges innocent, no love lost, and it would take credits for having acted "due to the larger morality issue involved", to quote Ambika Soni!
Had it waited for the reports to be made available by the UN and then saw Mr Singh off on the basis of some prima facie evidence, the party might have been able to boast of having what it takes. The government appointed fact-finding team is yet to start "collecting relevant material", according to NDTV. The party's rushing into the act smacks of opportunism.
"Conviction" may be starting with "C"; not every word that starts with "C" means the same!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

External Affairs Sinister?

Paul Volcker has stolen the lime light this week. He’s been at the centre stage at the expense of big shots the world over. The most prominent of Indians among those feeling the heat is the External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, and with him in the grill is the Congress Party!

The opposition is at its best, enjoying the warmth radiating from the heat. One wonders if the Constitution has framed standard responses to any such situation by whoever is in the opposition – an unequivocal call for resignation of those facing probes. Why else would we hear those voices that we can almost certainly expect whenever someone is being named in any report! For its part, the Congress has been busy with its blunders: announcing of its impending legal notices to the UN! Legal Notices? Are they planning to fight it out in Court? That was a knee jerk reaction, fodder for the opposition to keep chewing.

The UN ordered enquiry into allegations of foul play in Iraq whose latest in a series of reports has just arrived. Is the report conclusive? Does it indict those named? Volcker says he wasn’t aware who Mr Natwar Singh was, till a couple of days back! How then, does he claim to have communicated with all those involved, seeking clarifications on their roles? Does the UN back the report yet and give it its stamp of authenticity? At a bigger level, the UNO itself is under fire for its conception and execution of the Oil-for-Food Programme!

Questions abound; Rediff says Government is considering a probe. Issues need to be clarified from the UN before fresh probes are ordered; after all, that’s what Paul Volcker has been doing all these days!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Watch your step: Virtual Philandering

It was good to read (through Desipundit) the blow dealt to a blogger by Sonia Faleiro. It was a seemingly harmless and innocent query by a reader about Sonia’s looks; well, seemingly so! But the e-mail has offended the lady and she has hit back - in an admirably nice language.

The post has inspired a few comments (and this post) – some have backed Sonia, some have damned her. The “Damn You” group says the post was unwarranted! After all, the e-mail just asks: “. . . What do you look like?” What’s the fuss about it? It’s just curiosity and a compliment of her works! Someone cites the blogger’s works about call girls (and leaves me wondering what the context was!); someone else says the post is just the result of her blog’s success having gone to her head! Is it really just that? Is it mere curiosity and nothing else at all? Does the entire fault lie with the girl’s perception?

Yes, if I were hare-brained, I would believe so. No harassment starts with rape. Does any adult in his/ her right senses expect a courtship to begin with questions of a girl’s statistics? Of course, it has to be in polished forms such as comparisons between writings and looks – “You words are good – so has to be your looks!” That’s just what the pursuer has done. And that could just be the beginning. It looks like people would like to see offenses develop to the full proportions before they raise their voices. Harassments are never apparent but for the parties involved. The real world is a mess with perverts and voyeurs. The blog space seems lot more peaceful, with women being able to be what they want to be. Sonia has sent a strong message to everyone out here waiting for philandering opportunities – in style!
PS. I loved Sonia's photograph and tried to upload it here; wasn't successful due to some technical error. I urge readers to enjoy the photograph!
Disclaimer: Please refer to the 'Comments' section.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

India brushes Lanka aside!

India has prevailed over Sri Lanka, winning the series 4 - 0. But this win is different - it is more than a mere series win; the victory show cases the multi-dimensional performance of the team!

The four matches have seen excellence from different quarters, the rise of new stars and advances in co-ordination among the parts of the whole. In a long time, the series has not revolved around a few super stars. It’s been a dash of all colours with the flavours of a piece of art! The series marks the come back of Sachin, triumph of the new captain Dravid, the arrival at the arena of the super-charged Dhoni, the value of the patient Raina and Agarkar, commitment in the field, a lot of maturity in the batting order and the elusive key word in Indian Cricket – Consistency! If these are to be built on the existing strengths of the team, we have the ingredients of a perfect winning machine!

The Indians have just begun to taste success and relish in its fervor – the rest of the world needs to take note and brace itself for some vehement onslaught!

The Potential of Journalism

NDTV has done a good job in exposing the police. That those who are supposed to protect the vulnerable and fight for their cause can stoop so low to do something as despicable as this, needs to be carried in the front pages of news sites.

Investigations are high-risk operations in journalism here. Organizations that made sensations out of peeling the masks off people had to pay heavily later. This is a land that sees Members of Legislative Assemblies roam proudly in vehicles filled with thugs and ammunitions, in curfew-imposed territories. The powerful deem themselves accountable to none and politics is being looked upon as dirty business, with more and more of the good and the capable choosing to remain out of it.

This is just the perfect ground for journalism to rise up from run-of-the-mill operations and take on more social responsibility within its ambit. Villains of democracy must be made to feel the heat of their own deeds. Journalism is not just business – it is accountability for the corrupt, hope for the weak and a beacon for the country.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Indians, Diwali and the Messageboard Mystery


How should Delhi tackle terrorism?28 message(s)

Will Sachin's return lift the Indian team's performance?128 message(s)

That Messageboard was from NDTV at around 5:40 PM, today! The stark contrast in the number of messages that the two topics have evoked should come as no surprise; but it definitely reflects the state of affairs in India. Or, does it?
Sachin's return is definitely great news in India. But terrorism doesn't seem to have moved people much. Would Indians care more about cricket than what they care about the lives of Indians themselves? Or is it just that there is too much of terrorism and violence these days that they have failed to evoke the response that they should? But then, there are too many matches being played these days, as well! Or, perhaps, I'm reading too much into a mere coincidence! What if it had to do about the scale to which people are affected personally by the two issues? Could it be a statement of the priorities of the needs of mankind in general, or of Indians in particular?
I wish I knew what this snapshot says of India! Whatever it means, Im sure we are capable of condemning terrorism, adoring cricketers and enjoying Diwali crackers, all at once! Wishing every Indian a great Diwali!!!
In Picture: A Diwali Rangoli

Sunday, October 30, 2005

To the Terrorist

The bereaved are moaning the dead and governments are condemning you. Forces are in full swing to get you to books. I pity that you have achieved nothing, bombing places and shooting civilians all these years!
People did want a respite from the flurry of natural disasters - but no one wanted it in the form of the bombs you blasted. Initial reports of the blasts in Delhi hinted at a toll of 20, and it has risen to 65 now.

Forget the numbers; the loss of a single life would mean the end of the world to a lot of people. What confounds me is the absolute lack of logic behind your brutal deeds. What ends could be achieved by killing people who are in no way related to the issues that drive you towards such attacks? If you are from any religious group, the dead could be of your own religion. If you are part of any organisation that supports our rival nation, the dead could very well have meant the world to someone in the very country you support - the two countries are still related by blood.

If, at this moment, you feel proud that you have succeeded in your mission, take heed of this - any school-going kid could have done what you have. No police force can guarantee absolute law and order. If you want to plant a bomb somewhere, in some damned place in this vast country, you definitely can. No big deal about that! But the fact is that violence is only counter-productive. And the truth is that you have wasted your ability to conceive of and execute plans in carrying out such attacks, which you could otherwise have spent in working out solutions to your problems.
True, you have your own reasons to justify your actions. In a crowded world filled with black hearts, any innocent passer by could be victimised by circumstances - as you might have been. Your cry for justice was never strong enough to be heard, let alone be responded to - and you decided to have your voice heard. But hitting back with violence only proliferates crimes in a vicious circle, never solves the issues at hand. What you have done this day is to add to the enormous amount of grievances that people hold. The victim of today's attack will be the militant of tomorrow. And when he decides to plant those bombs in a market place where he himself would never know who would walk into, you might realise that among the dead lie someone whom you hold close to your heart.
If you have a reason, come out in the open and fight for it! If you have convictions in your cause, you will have the world backing you. Hitting from behind the veils makes you a weakling and a loser, who has no idea how to reach his destination.
If violence is the solution, the world would be free of problems now!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Earthquake: The Aftermath

Slowly but surely, the Earthquake is being relegated further down the News. Events keep happening around the globe and people get on with their lives - people who have not been directely affected by the tragedy, that is.
For those whose lives have been touched by the tremors, their journey into hell has just begun. One report identifies them as prospective suppliers of body parts. The UN has appealed for funds and a more sensitive response to the disaster; the difference between "Pledges" and "Commitment" is the same as that between life and death, it says. In a separate report, India and Pakistan are yet to work out the modalities of opening up of the LoC to facilitate easier movement across the borders. And, General Musharraf is concerned of exposure of his "Troops and facilities" (possibly translated into some other term) in PoK. Put all these together, it's a perfect mess out there.
As the victims blame their Government for lack of will in the rehabilitation efforts, the General seems to have rated his own Government's performance as ranging between "Good and very good"!

Friday, October 28, 2005

The show goes on: Kashmir

My first post on this issue tried to choose the right perspective. The second post had almost lost the hope on its probability. I tried to elaborate on the reasoning behind my stand in a post in my other blog. Then, there was a ray of hope when I found a few others who shared a similar concern.
The issue is laid to rest here, with all due respects to our ruling class. After spending so many valuable hours deliberating whether to turn into saints or to remain mere mortals, the Congress High Command has given in to earthly desires. Or perhaps, it is the mature realisation of the fact that people die when their fates dictate so, and not much can be done about it. Or it could even be the ultimate enlightenment that it's not just politics but is the very definition of mankind to act its roles out and be an integral part of the divine scheme, rather than try to act God, saving lives! Mortals remain mortals, saints remain saints and . . . the show goes on . . .

Banking on the river

Of late, the news has literally be flooded with rains - both in India and in the other parts of the world. Mumbai was afloat for a while (wonder what happened to all those war cries about banning plastics once and for all); now, its the turn of the Southern States. Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been experiencing incessant rains for the past few hours.
However, nature seems to be driving a key note home this year. The Cauvery water sharing issue has been haunting the two states for years, featuring occassional suicides and riots. Farmers are the most affected; commentators used to be in full flow, the movie industry jumped into the fray and the politicians enjoyed the show - this was one issue they could rely on, one that would take the public eye off them, while helping them fill their ballot boxes with water. But this year, its the floods! I'm sure people on both sides of the border would be busy searching for someone to blame for the deluge!
What the situation would be next year, is anyone's guess. And the fact remains that Indians have been ruling the country for all these years and have proved themselves incapable of solving one issue that has cost lives, year after year!
In Picture: Political Fodder.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blog Quake Day - 26 October

Desi Pundit has announced Blog Quake Day on Wednesday, 26 October 2005!
Folks at Desipundit have taken the effort to do more out of Blogs - one that could go a long way in saving that life, in wiping that tear, of those devastated by the Earthquakes of 8 October 2005. They have posted this list of organisations which are involved in the relief efforts on the ground. The effort also features calls for all blogs to post a message about Blog Quake Day, creating an awareness of the relief efforts and directing readers to websites of organisations that are involved in the rehabilitation works.
Hope to see more of such activities that realise the power of blogs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

History in the making: Bihar

Lalu has made history! He has decided to take the age-old political culture by storm. This is an eye-opener for every critic of politics; and a pay-back for every cynic! In one move, Lalu has set to silence all his detractors!
Yes, of all the promises ever made, of all the assurances ever given out, this is one election promise that we can be sure of. Lalu will stand by his word. "Some officials are conspiring against the RJD. Let the government be formed .I will take all of them to task", Laluji has promised. Well, you can take my word for it - because, not satisfied at being an indelible part of Indian history, Lalu has decided to write history himself. The first ever election promise that would be delivered to every letter and every spirit of it, deep down to the minute detail, explicit or implicit.
The Election Commission and the rest of India has been lucky enough to witness History in the making!

The Master is Back

Would a blog that says "India" and "News" on its head not be incomplete if it doesn't have the word "Sachin" in it! Of course, it would be pathetically so! Welcome back, Sachin!!!
And the master has made a statement of sorts. His strokes had the stamp of a genius. It does make one wonder how often has he missed out on the three digit figure, but does that really matter? Be it the sizzling Sehwag or the Mr Perfect Dravid, none of those would give the relish of the thumping straight drive and the elegance in the covers! The Indian team does have a better look with his name at the top. Welcome Sachin, and keep going!!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Your order, please?

The Mettur dam has been receiving record inflows - 200,000 cusecs - which seems the maximum in more than four decades! Rivers have already been flooded and people have been advised to move to safety. Alerts have been issued.
Surprisingly (or rather, not surprisingly), I hear that a Television Channel has been repeatedly announcing that the Chief Minister 'ordered' the rescue operations, the Chief Minister 'ordered' the helicopters to fly in , the Chief Minister has 'ordered' to issue flood alerts . . . and the 'order menu' goes on and on and on! This is surprising because these are things to be done as a matter of course and not to be ordered as if it's some order to bomb an enemy at war (unless the authorities in question are totally dumb that they have no clue what to do in, well, any event). This is not surprising however, because there is nothing new about it; any reasonably good activity by Government bodies in the State is, normally, 'ordered' by the Chief Minister. I wonder why the Chief Minister has not yet 'ordered' the waters to stop in its flow and take a 'U' turn in its course; it's just a matter of time, perhaps.

Analyse this!

The interview at Rediff with Mr Hafiz Saeed has shown the Earthquakes and the relief efforts in a different light from what is normally being projected in the media. The discussion focuses on the issue from the point of view of the jihadis.
The interview clearly identifies the 'real' causes behind the earthquake and how future catastrophies could be precipitated by further irresponsible behaviour by the rulers and women. It shows the subtle distinction between approaching for aid and accepting aid that comes their way and also how certain countries should never be approached for aid even in times of disaster, as instructed by the Almighty. Further, it rules out the presence of any militant in Kashmir, as it categorically shows that all who are present in the region are just social workers. The interview even undermines the intentions of India in offering assistance. It demonstrates how the opening up of the LoC could devastate Pakistan worse than the devastations from the tremors themselves. Finally, it puts forth a solid argument as to why Kashmir and the whole of Kashmir must belong to the country which suits it 'geographically'.

Throw Him Out!!!

If you expected this news to be of a tenant who has not paid his rents over a period, you're off the mark. The Supreme Court has just asked the concerned officials to throw Mr Buta Singh out - yes, that Buta Singh whom we all know for his objective decision making - of the Government Quarters in New Delhi.
In one of the strongly worded remarks, the SC has also listed the names of a few other prominent people who have misused their positions in power when it came to (over)staying in Government Residences. The SC is one of the few institutions that has not got infected with politics and is capable of shaking things up, reminding people of their respective rightful positions. It definitely is one of the 'Wonders of India'!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Citizens Appeal in National Interest

It left the feel of a fresh breeze - the fact that there is some concern among the citizens about the rehabilitation works still pending to be done in Kashmir was refreshing indeed. And the concern has translated into action, when societies and public personalities have got together to appeal to the Congress Leadership to let the PDP continue in power in Kashmir.

I have tried to elaborate, in my other blog, on why it is important to think beyond politics at this hour. While all signs point towards the 'Power sharing agreement' being honoured, it remains to be seen if better sense would prevail and the Parties would act in the National Interest.

Credits to a passionate film-maker

I wanted to know more about Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who has been awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2004; Rediff had his interview handy. One could easily see his class from his responses to the questions posed. Here is someone who lives just for the sake of life, when commercialism haunts the overwhelming majority of the world. He seems to be relishing every part of what he does.
"I don't think of it as 'only' nine films. Anyway, I don't have to satisfy anyone with numbers; I prefer to work this way." he remarks, of his 9 films over a span of 31 years. And he doesn't seek to belittle the others in the trade. He is optimistic of the future of film-making and is realistic on his prescriptions towards improving the scopes for good movies. Above all, he has a purpose behind his actions. If someone deserved recognition, this man did!

Don't mess with them!

Some people have a knack of creating a mess of their own situations. And I expected this to happen to Mani Shankar Iyer, our Union Petroleum Minister, when he suggested that women offset the hike in petrol prices by cutting down on their saree purchases and movie trips - this remark, when the festive season is just round the corner!
Oh yeah, he did lash out later at the Television channel for beaming an 'abridged' version of his interview - but the fact remains that he did utter those words. Earlier, it was an actress who pushed the women of Tamil Nadu over the brinks with her off-hand remark about virgins - or rather, the lack of them. These days, when someone who's been watching regional channels visualises the women of a particular state, he would dream up of not one but a whole group of them, on the streets, in broad day light, with slippers and broom sticks held high in the air, shouting slogans against some well-known personalities. No, I do not want to be specific as to which state I'm talking of - I wouldn't enjoy watching scenes of my effigy being burnt, in Regional News Channels.

Power Play in Kashmir - Part 2

"Reality sucks" said someone. I'm sure he would not have been in politics, but a mere onlooker of the game. The stage is set for the Transfer of Power in Kashmir next month. "The agreement on sharing of power between the two coalition partners is a gentleman's agreement and it would be kept" says Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief Minister of J&K.
I had some hope in my previous post on this issue that the folks in power might ultimately see sense, considering the list of 'Things to do' in Kashmir, on the wake of the tremors. They have proved yet again that wise people never have high hopes on politicians. The Chief Minister is on his way to Delhi to hold meetings on the modalities on power transfer. Yes, he will definitely be strutting on a few corpses on his way out.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Casualties of Politics

In one of my previous posts, I had exulted at the welcome decision to throw the LoC open. However, the decision seems to be well on its way towards outliving its purpose - and action is yet to be taken. And action, here, refers to the numerous discussions that are still to be held regarding the modalities of making it happen. It's already two weeks now, since the deadly earthquake struck.
This is a solid example of what a really bad relationship between nations can do, in the hour of desperation and emergency. As days pass by, it's distinctly possible that a decision on the LoC would be taken too late and the only implication of the move then would mean a more porous border, more complaints of infiltration and a further degrade in relationships between the two neighbours. The announcements regarding LoC may prove to be merely sensational; it might mean nothing at all to the dead and the dying.

Power Play in Kashmir

Speculation is in the air regarding the scheduled transfer of power in Kashmir. Coalition politics is a funny game that has scant regard for public opinion. Afterall, no one really bothers to get a vote on whether people would want a coalition government or not; that degree of sophistication is still beyond the affordability of the Nation.
The purpose of elected bodies is to serve the population using all possible means - at least, that is the theory. So, the importance of 2nd November, 2005, should be seen in the light of the very idea behind elections. Would a change of power at this critical moment be benificial to the public or would it aggravate the present situation? Should an agreement between two political parties be given any importance at all, when thousands lie out there in the cold, in misery, in pain? Politics is what the parties are always indulged in - why not think of something different, this time?

Yechury issues 'Seshanitis' Warning!

CPI-M Politburo member, Mr Sitaram Yechuri, takes away the laurels for coining a new word - 'Seshanitis'. '-itis' goes with many words and means 'inflammation'. Wikipedia has a list of terms that contain '-itis' and may denote inflammation. However, do not expect 'Seshanitis' to be included under the category of 'inflammation' if and when Mr Yechuri contributes to Wikipedia. He doesn't talk of 'The Inflammation of Seshan' in this case. He merely expresses concern that the Election Commission may be infected with 'Seshanitis'.
With so much clarification going into his new 'term', a lot more would be required to explain how "a large deployment of force" would result in a "very low voter turnout"! He probably means that with so many men in uniforms at the polling stations, voters may be reluctant to go repeatedly to the booths to 'cast and recast' their votes, or they may not be able to send in their 'substitutes' to vote on their behalf, in case they feel too lazy to go to vote. But I'm sure he definitely would have a valid reason/ reasons behind his statement.

Friday, October 21, 2005

India needs you, Mr Murthy!

Narayana murthy is angry - and that's no good news for India. The problem with politicians is they don't restrict their perceived realms of power to politics alone. One doesn't need to be a genius or an IT professional (not that the two always go together) to know of the credentials of the persons involved. India has long stopped expecting contributions of any value from public servants; the least that is expected of them is to let such genuine citizens as Narayana murthy work for development and not prove to be stumbling blocks in their way.
Note: In my personal dictionary, a human being has to earn the title of a 'citizen'; offsprings of the species do not qualify to be one by default.
PS. Infosys has responded to the allegations.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bihar challenges Bollywood

Bihar is capable of inspiring quite a few directors in Indian Cinema with grand ideas. Scores of vehicles spewing dust all around, rushing in for nomination of papers; a minister moving from a helipad in a car without Registration and an unauthorised Rath in an election campaign - not to mention FIR's filed against (the wife of) a former Chief Minister. It definitely has all the ingredients of a high-voltage plot! And this Drama has been successfully on stage for the last few years and will be on for years to come, breaking all records! I bet no amount of filmy imagination can beat the splendour of the electric scenario out there.

'Show' of Strength

Right to protest is legitimate. But how one protests normally goes to portray the protestor's profile. The show by Ms. Banerjee must have been funny to watch - sneaking into the Hotel premises and raising slogans! Of course, one can not blame the organisers of the protest for its failure; the Rain Gods were just not co-operative. So, it seems like the next protest has already been finalised - against Varun Bhagwan for foiling the plans.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Great and the Interesting

Not many pieces of news have made me wow! But, this one did. Musharaf's offer to let the LoC open for help to pour in. That's the most sensible thing he ever did that would come to my mind when I think of the General (wonder why people call him 'President'). Whatever he is, what he has done now makes perfect sense.

Interesting: This one. The Election Commission does seem to have taken things seriously in Bihar. Normally, one would think this deserves to be classified under the 'Great' section rather than the 'Interesting'. But, it would definitely be interesting to see how many people have taken the Election Commission seriously. After all, no one would expect the Election Commissioners to handle the rifles themselves. They do have to depend on their chain of command - right, that chain of command that's made of an easy-to-corrupt machinery called humans. And this machinery operates in a high-pollution environment. Well, it's definitely interesting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Elections, Fidayeen and Earthquakes

A day of high drama unfolds as elections get underway in Bihar. I haven't seen militants being interviewed at the eve of elections on any prior occassion, when they exude confidence that they would positively capture polling booths and no one can really do anything about it. (The rampage seems to have started already) Wish this confidence were found in statements by the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.
Fidayeen attack on the J&K Education Minister, Ghulam Nabi Lone, that cost him his life. Looks like the people would soon develop the maturity to view things in perspective - 50,000 plus have perished in the earth Quakes in Kashmir; now, we have one more! That sounds a lot simpler and makes matters a lot easier, doesn't it? Earth Quakes find no differences among high-security and low-security regions - and so do militants. Suicide bombing has become too common place; lets try out with this Fidayeen for some time.
Rediff reports that human beings are getting smarter by the day, in that they have developed ways to predict earth quakes. Great! Is it an invention that has been out this morning? Is that news for the public? Too bad if it's for the public; it would create doubts at best, panic and chaos at worst. What would I make out if today's particularly hot? Or if the flow in the rivers have changed today? Or if my radio or cell phone works smarter/ becomes more dumb that it normally is? If the scientific community finds something amazing and can predict things to come, let it put the information together and give out directions to the public in the form of Earth Quake Warnings - not loads of data and conflicting symptoms that would drive people crazy!