Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Confession, a Conviction and a Caution - TATA

This is not a neutral perspective. This post is skewed – heavily – against the Indian heavy weight that is getting stronger by the day, and from this biased view point, is getting dangerously, obnoxiously haughty! This column from Clearway states in plain, unambiguous terms, that the giant machinery called Tata needs to be stopped on its paths as it keeps trampling upon the lives of ordinary citizens.

We sometimes get nauseatingly nationalistic, pathetically patriotic that we get emotionally attached to a brand that has risen above all odds to take Brand India to the international arena; a larger-than-life image that hinges very much to the ground-breaking revolutionary visions of a pioneer who is no more, a halo effect that has been transmitted and carried over to his next of generations, to someone who is merely a business man who is worried about his own wealth and his own company!

That most of what Tata does to the consumer is to rape him/ her and plunder him of his hard-earned money is obvious from the cacophony that came out of the blog world, with hundreds of victims of rape filing their FIR’s online. (For more details, a blog search on Tata Indicom/ VSNL would help). It still remains a cacophony because the media is in no mood to raise an eyebrow against a money-studded juggernaut; all it can do is to interview the top man and ask for his opinion about the mess that a part of one of his many businesses is in! Consumers were mugged when they entered the VSNL post-paid internet shop. One wouldn’t expect to find so many unrelated people speaking the same thing unless they were all robbed off in separate circumstances by the organised crime gang of Tata - VSNL.

It was a few months back that one prominent politician expressed his anguish on TV over the way Mr Ratan Tata behaved in the corridors of power. “To ask for land is acceptable; but he demands one particular stretch of land from the Government, which is not right” he moaned, about Mr Ratan Tata. But the brand has become so powerful and integral to the way business is run in the country that no one really bothers to dig into these issues! conveyed to its audience, mildly, that the quantum of land that Tata demands at Singur is a lot more than what may be necessary, given the scope of the operations that Tata says it has planned. It even compared the area with what Maruti Udyog required for a much smaller operation. And there is no need to be surprised if Tata, in its greed for power and land, tries to buy some people to have its way.

“The government supports us – and to pull out in this situation would not be appropriate”. It was something on similar lines that Mr Tata said in his interview to a private Television Channel. If the government opposes the Tatas on any other business proposition, would Mr Ratan Tata use a similar logic to the issue? “I know this project makes so much economic sense and is integral to the business plans of my company. But since the government has slightly different views on my business, I have decided to scrap it!” Mr Tata, would you take this stand on some issue if the government went against you? Or, you would, perhaps, try to buy your way to muffle the voices before they emerge out, wouldn’t you?

'No, if I believed that we are doing something wrong, then I would be the first one to pull out. If I believe, that this is being manipulated and turned around to meet some specious cause, then I think, what I would do is to dig my heels in,' he contended in the interview.
The problem is, Mr Tata, you are not the sort of guy who would ever believe you did anything wrong. For you, everything is right as long as it brought you money.
'I'm the sort of person who if you put a gun to my head, you can pull the trigger or take the gun away, but I won't move my head,' he had quipped.

You would neither move your head nor would you move your heels, Mr Tata. But the fact remains that you suck blood and your skin has gotten real thick with it. Ms Banerjee’s gun might have had no bullets and the world knows it - there was just no need for you to be moving your head in a hurry! But it would not be too long before some small nail stuck to your roaring motors and punctured your tyres! If you are willing to read, there is so much of writing on the wall – reduce your speed and look into the rear view mirror to count the number of casualties you have caused. If you do not, there is no ivory tower and there may not be a bright future for your dynasty – nothing is built to last for ever!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Power Play: Rules of the Game

It was the transit of the International Airport at Colombo. She was waiting for her turn to be called for the flight to Cochin. It was a long and tedious day after hours of flying and waiting. She was in her early thirties, tall, dark and beautiful. She tried to focus on the Grisham novel at hand, having an eye on her baggage. It was then that she was drawn towards the sudden hustle.

The flight to Chennai had been announced some time back. Chennai being her home town, she was thinking about her plans to meet her friends and relatives there as the announcement was made. So, she turned to look at the scurrying Airport official as he whizzed past her, commenting to his colleague: “The flight to Chennai was supposed to have left half an hour back; what the heck are they still doing?”

Her eyes fell on a group of five people – three men and two women – at the far end of the lounge, towards whom the officer was rushing with his colleague. It wasn’t exactly clear as to what they were doing there, but she could make out that they were in a hurry – and that they weren’t very comfortable in doing whatever they were doing. She felt that it was not a normal scene in an airport. She put Grisham aside, got up, pulled her trolley bag and started strolling towards the commotion there.

The officer had reached the gang of five and he was telling something – and he was clearly tense, as he was pointing towards his watch. The bearded man in the group seemed apologetic of something and was handling the officer, while another man was rushing things up.

As she walked closer, pacing slightly, she could see cartons of a popular brand of cigarettes being opened by the rest of the gang. They were being taken off the carton and were repacked – in 8 or 9 suitcases that were with the gang. She could see that the packets were covered in cloth and were distributed equally in all the suitcases. It was a lot of cigarettes. What were they up to?

As she walked faster towards them, the colleague of the airport officer noted her attention towards the scene. He turned around immediately and started pacing towards her. She knew that he was walking towards her. She wondered if she should act as if she was casually browsing through the lounge, but couldn’t really make her mind up. By then, he had arrived.

“Yes, ma’am, what can I do for you?”

“Well, nothing, I was just killing time strolling around and . . .”

“Would you please be seated in the designated areas? It would be better if you could oblige!”

His voice bordered on intimidation. It was almost a stern order. She could see from his badge that he belonged to Airline X-Air that she used to fly frequently in. And he was standing in such a way that he blocked her view of the commotion at the other end. Still, she could see that the unpacking and repacking were all but done by then and one of the women was now carrying the empty cartons towards the rest room. They were smugglers!

The woman came back, joined the rest of the gang that was now heading towards the Gate. And they left to board the Chennai bound flight, which was actually delayed, as she could see now, to take these smugglers in!

“Would you get to your seat ma’am?”

Her thoughts were interrupted by the impatient voice of the officer. The other officer who was with the gang was accosting her now. And she wanted no trouble in foreign soil. She turned back and walked silently back to the lounge. She could hear the two officers discussing something behind her back.

As she got back to where she was seated, still in shock at the cold blooded smuggling of cigarettes, with two abettors of X-Air, she felt more disturbed as a scene ran through her mind now.

It was at her port of origin the day before, in the Middle East, that she saw a man pleading with an officer of X-Air at the baggage check-in counter. She was awaiting her turn then as the man, obviously from the working class, and apparently getting back to India on his holiday, was pleading to take a small pack along with his baggage.

The officers at the counter were ruthless.

“This weighs more than what you can carry, my friend. Rules are rules! You either pay for your excess baggage or drop the bag here and proceed!”

After almost a quarter of an hour of argument in vain, the man took the bag back, walked with dejection written all over his face, with drooping shoulders, towards the garbage bin near her. He dropped the bag in the bin and went to the baggage counter, got his boarding pass and proceeded without looking back.

Curiously, she peeped into the garbage bin to see what he had dropped. And in the bin, she could see a father’s love, a husband’s affection, a part of a poor man’s dream. There were sweets and savouries and snacks almost filling the garbage sack.

As she looked for the man again, he was ambling with his hand baggage towards the security checks. And she could almost hear him desperately trying to invent a consolation for his family and kids as to why he couldn’t care to buy a single sweet or chocolate for them, getting back home after years of sacrifice!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Call for Justice – and an unknownVoice!

I have been criss-crossing different places in the Southern States the past few days when a road-side banner caught my attention.

Banners and hoardings have become integral to the way of life of the Indian citizen. The day all posters and bills are banned by law would leave a feeling of vacuum in the minds of the commuter. Tough, it is, to imagine clean roads and white walls with no stickers whatsoever.

So, I wouldn’t really have expected to spend a post on a roadside scribbling. However, this one was different. It was not the regular “Long Live our Hero” kind of message, nor was it about the ‘call for rising’ by a political wannabe. It was not against MNC’s that affected the lives of the local manufacturers. It wasn’t even about India!

“Suspend the Death sentence to Saddam Hussein!” read the banner.

It occupied almost 10 feet in length and was bold, in colour, in block letters. It wasn’t attributed to any organisation in particular. There were no by-lines. It wasn’t addressed to anyone.

I was left wondering about the reasons that could have gone into the banner. Who was that supposed to be for? Was the International Court of Justice or the World Police, the United States of A, supposed to take note of it in a small town in southern India? Which organisations could have been moved by the sentence to the ousted Dictator? It didn’t seem to be from some Human Rights organisation – there weren’t obvious reasons for such an organisation to remain anonymous. The wordings were in local language – I have translated it in here.

If there were no motives behind the banner, was it merely a medium of expression of personal or organisational opinion? Was it being aimed at the casual commuter? What was it that was supposed to be achieved by that?

I could see no selfish intentions behind the voice. In fact, there just didn’t seem to be any intention at all! Is there something to be read in between the lines at all? Was it really writing on the wall?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Breaking News: The Great Indian Conspiracy!

India sits up and listens anxiously with eyes glued to the News Channels – the “Great Indian Tamasha” has begun! This festival has a speciality – no one knows when this would flare up, announcing its arrival on stage. One fine day, the average Indian wakes up to it and realises this is already underway!

This usually involves two main parties – and a lot of others jumping on to the bandwagon, cruising along in the spirit of the gala. One of the two parties is a permanent player and the other one is selected on a rotating basis. The permanent one: Board of Confusion and Controversy in India, the BCCI. The opponent that has decided to entertain the public this time around is the Parliament, also called the Body of MP’s, also known as the Body of the Mentally Perturbed. The two warring parties have joined hands to entertain the bored Indian citizen. In this gala, as per the rules, something needs to be held at stake. A “stake” is an object that is hit from one party to the other, very much like the Tennis ball hit vigorously between the courts. A very magnanimous Mr Greg Chappell has volunteered to take the role of the ‘Stake’.

The gala begins this way: The Indian cricket team (it is actually not a team but just a group of people working with totally incongruent goals aimed at maximising each one’s personal fortunes), which is basically composed of some boys picked from the side walks of different towns of India, fails miserably in the second One Day game. (The rain Gods of South Africa lent a badly needed helping hand to the yet-to-mature kids in the first game). As if to reconfirm the ‘team’s’ terrible state and to project an image of consistency, the kids buckled under absolutely no pressure to dig a trench all for themselves and settled comfortably in it, piling up one over the other.

That did it. The Mentally Perturbed hit the ‘stake’ and the stake gave a weird sound out on being hit, that let the billion dollar secret cat out of the Parliamentary bag into the open – that the MP’s were very good commentators and deserved to be travelling with the cricketing kids, rather than locking themselves up within the old, decaying walls in the Capital City of India. (What Harsha, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri would do then if the MP’s took positions at the commentary box is a totally different issue altogether – Clearway would look at the issue at a later date in a special episode). Now, the BCCI, very true to its name, protects the stake on one hand, appeases the MP’s on the other hand and is actually confused on its third hand. Thus began the Great Indian Tamasha in South Africa!

However, there is a conspiracy to the whole issue that Clearway has unearthed with its Secret Intelligence Bureau! As in most detective stories, the culprit happens to be someone who has not been suspected at all, but one who was brutally hit earlier and is on an avenging spree! The culprit comes on the scene, but only along the sides and shows the least involvement in the proceedings to create alibi. And the culprit is . . . the former Indian Captain, Sourav Ganguly!!!

Clearway has learnt from totally unreliable sources that Sourav had a series of telephonic conversations with Master batsman (and Super Model) Sachin Tendulkar. From the records, Clearway has found that the two conspired to throw two people – the Indian Captain Rahul Dravid and the coach (the ‘stake’ in this case) Greg Chappell - out of the Indian team. Sachin has made the necessary arrangements in the ‘team’ so that they perform really badly (a not-so-difficult proposition for the Indian kids anyway) to put Chappell and Rahul in a spot. And when Chappell is busy facing the Mentally Perturbed, Sachin, with the rest of the team, somehow managed to get Rahul’s finger fractured (and how they did it is still being investigated by Clearway). With a fractured finger and a beleaguered team, Rahul is out of the competition now. That was the plot in Phase 1 of Plan A.

With Chappell cornered and Rahul out, it is child’s play to guess what Phase 2 is all about: Sachin has conspired with Saurav in making a grand entry of Saurav into the Indian team possible, this Festive Season!

Whether the twosome succeeds in their ulterior intentions, remains to be seen in the days to come.

Whatever the outcome, the Indian public is always at the forefront of any festival and the average Indian citizen is bound to benefit immensely from the proceedings. And as for the Mentally Perturbed, they did need something to keep them busy this winter – the Speaker of the Parliament (who so very often develops a sour throat shouting at the unruly gang in front of him) was always chiding them for sleeping and snoring on the floors. At least now, they have an opportunity to give their opinion to Television Channels. And having an opinion on Cricket is a basic criterion to be an Indian, after all.

For the sake of the average Indian, Long Live the Great Indian Conspiracy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Why do blogs lack sting and bloggers, spine?

Coming to think of it, I feel people badly deserve strong doses of drugs that would induce them to think. The human mind is something that would go rusted and rotten if left unused for relatively long periods of time.

Blogs were discovered when inventors researched and found out that the creativity in the human brain would dry out completely and stereotype would become the world’s (inter)national anthem if there was not a medium of expression that was free of any inhibition. Web logs came to be man’s perfect means of speaking his mind. I could call people names, post porn, call for freedom, admonish the President, advocate homosexuality, condemn terrorism, preach free-trade, promote piracy . . . well, the choice is just endless, virtually.

So, why don’t people shoot it straight? Why the mask when the person himself is invisible? Why would someone want to fall in line with a stereotype so desperately, be absurdly ingratiating and make heroes out of molehills so timidly?

Some posts and their meek comments are plain ridiculous. Yes, this is a free world and you are free to do whatever you want to do. But then, why not do something that you really want to do? Whom are you trying to please? If you can’t talk straight virtually, what could be expected of you in reality?

Whatever you are, be just that. You don’t have to change the world – you can at least speak your mind. You will not be gunned down for stating your view; but there is no point walking around in your body if you are already dead.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Saving Lives: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. I was taking a walk when I chanced upon the board at a Day-care Centre for the elderly, which encouraged people to be “Life-savers”. The service is being run by Nightingales Medical Trust, Bangalore.

It was an exciting prospect to know what it would take to save lives. Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation – or CPR, as it is known – is about the first aid that is to be administered to people who suffer from sudden Cardiac and/ or respiratory arrests, when the victims’ hearts stop working or when victims are unable to breathe. This leads to cardiac arrest, which may eventually be fatal. The purpose of the workshop was to educate participants to resuscitate people who are sinking after heart attacks or heart failures.

The workshop lasted for a couple of hours and cost two hundred rupees. Given the potential benefit to people through the programme, the cost in terms of time and money was virtually negligible. Apart from the theoretical part of it (which was administered by practising doctors and was extremely informative), there were practical sessions where the resuscitation process was practised on mannequins that made participants get a feel of the nuances involved in the simple yet critical procedure. And the interesting aspect of the session was that practising physicians and medical students were part of the participants! That was not something one would expect to find in a session on first aid.

Given that anyone could fall prey to sudden cardiac attacks under any circumstance, I found it was absolutely essential that we need to be armed with these vital skills that may save lives in the precious moments immediately following heart failures. After all, two hours over a weekend could make a world of difference to someone.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Marriage Portals: Mere Money Machines? In Focus -

What’s your idea of a marriage portal? Cool? Friendly? Pleasant? Have you ever wondered about these adjectives, rather? Marriage portals can be obnoxious, irresponsible and dangerous! The portal in focus:

The profile of Mr X in, a unit of was copied word-to-word by another member, Mr. Spurious. Clearway has evidence to this in the form of e-mail interactions with where Mr X represented the issue to the portal and expected a response and some action. The first of such interactions occurred in the first half of October 2006. As of today, no action has been taken to bar Mr Spurious or to cancel his account.

Well, what’s the big deal about copying a profile? To put things in perspective, Mr X says he loves taking risks and he conveys the implicit message that he is honest in what he says about himself. And Mr Spurious says the same, using the same set of words. Mr X loses nothing when some stupid copy-pastes his profile. The loser would be the girl who trusts the profile of Mr Spurious as true and her family who arrange for her marriage with a fraud who steals words to project himself as a candid enterprising individual. If you were a parent or a guardian of a loving daughter, would you want to see her married to a rogue?

Clearway’s charge-sheet: Parents trust with the lives of their kids when they post and browse for profiles of prospective brides and grooms. It is Bharatmatrimony’s responsibility to screen through profiles and prevent the cheats from luring women into the vicious webs they weave. Now that they claim to have entered some record books for the number of marriages that they have arranged for, it is a question worth asking if they really are worried about the Quality of marriages that they facilitate, as much as they do about the quantity. Perhaps, they believe in revenue rather than in sincere service?

If Bharatmatrimony doesn’t wake up from its coma and realise what’s at stake, Clearway will take every step to make sure the portal sits up and listens. And this is a message to every other irresponsible website that wouldn’t care any less for its patrons. A link to this post will be sent to for its reference. Clearway awaits a response.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blame the System: Law Makers Vs Law Breakers

Blame the systems. Yes. Blame them square.

It is human tendency to jump the queue. And where else would this be more prominent than in the roads, where commuters are not ordinary people but racers carrying the nation’s pride on their shoulders. Even those bikers and riders who somehow had all the patience to wait for the count-down of the traffic signal feel restless and totally out of place waiting idly as the numbers keep falling alarmingly in the single digits. 10: Engine on (those who had switched their engines off, that is). 9. Raise throttle. 8. Clutch and first gear (at one go). 7. Raise throttle and release clutch partially and close again so that the front suspension rises up vigorously and falls, all set to smash world records. 6. Move an inch. 5. Move a foot. 4. Move a couple of feet more. 3. Feet on the foot rest, vehicle in motion. 2. Gone! Hey folks, don’t we have 1, zero, then amber for a couple of seconds and then comes green when the throttle is sup…. Ssshhhh…which world are you in? The stone ages?

Well, that was a played-down version – normally, no one waits till 2. The sequence starts from 20 and is over by the time it’s 10 more seconds for amber.

But who is the culprit here? The bikers? The racers? The drivers? I blame the system!

In this same scenario, in the presence of a traffic constable/ police man, the outcome is not any different. The police play the abettor here. In most traffic signals, traffic policemen are visibly lazy. Can’t blame them anyway – would you want to keep standing at a place all day amidst a flurry of dust and smoke, watching floods of people go past with blaring horns? I certainly wouldn’t fancy that. Why should there be a traffic constable at all, when traffic signals are working just fine, in the first place?

Never mind the white shirts and the khakis. Then what’s the problem? The problem is that, becoming so bored at having been stationed motionlessly at one place, they start waving to the already impatient commuters to move on – even when the signal is still red – when they find a reduced stream of vehicles from the other side! They abet this behaviour of skipping the red signal! And they are the faces of law. In effect, the law says, “If you find a stupid red signal when there’s not a soul on the other side of the signal, treat the red signal as green”.

So, having been “conditioned” to keep moving in red, and because of a poor memory, our riders treat red as green even when some pathetic souls find themselves on the other side of the signal, forgetting the clause in the “law of red turns green”. The signal turns obsolete, cultured human beings become dogs scrambling for the piece of bone.

Uniformed men at traffic beats do this at every signal. One would suppose the system would have put them through an induction course and a training period of considerable duration for them to be familiar with Traffic signals and what a red coloured traffic light meant. Whether the system failed to tell the guardians of law that “Traffic rules need to be obeyed – period.” or whether the policemen failed to learn the lessons right or they forgot what they learnt, it ultimately becomes the responsibility of the system for letting traffic signals fail miserably.

How to blame poor citizens for a faulty system?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

General Musharraf - The "Crusader" who was 'Humiliated'

Our “Friendly Neighbourhood” – No, not Spiderman – General Musharraf has apparently expressed “Shock and Disbelief” (or something on similar lines) at something that our ex-Primo Vajpayee had said.

For one, according to the General, there is “Freedom Movement” in Kashmir, which is no where near the definitions of “Terrorism”. So, he would appreciate it if the world looked upon Pakistan as a country that actively encourages and supports a “Freedom Movement” in its neighbour’s territory, perhaps? If the International Community chose to call the slaughtering of people a Freedom Movement, Musharraf wouldn’t shy away from owning responsibility for all the “Martyr Camps” that operate from inside Pakistan. Musharraf only supports Freedom.

Talk of Freedom in Pakistan. When was the last time that there was any talk of elected Government in there? For someone who crept his way to the throne, who is a self-anointed “President”, and who keeps talking of “Free and Fair Elections” in Pakistan while clinging desperately to the chairs of Dictatorship, statements about “Freedom” are Blasphemy to the very concept!

But one has to admit – the General does have a weird sense of humour. “Musharraf in his book ‘In The Line Of Fire’ has also said that both he and Vajpayee had been "humiliated" at the Agra summit in 2001 "by someone above".” For someone who is such a hot seat, his sense of humour does deserve a huge round of applause. But it leaves one wondering, as to who could be “above” the “President” of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India! We were taught at school that these are the top most positions in a Nation. So, who could possibly be “above” the Chiefs of two countries? Could it be the Secretary General of the United Nations? Was he referring, by any chance, to the “Ultimate President” George Bush? Or, was he talking of “Lord Almighty” Himself?

Well, one possibility could be this: Musharraf and Vajpayee must have completed their talks at Agra and must have been waiting for their private aircraft to arrive. The Pilot of the plane, while about to land to pick them up, must have had problems landing and must have taken off and done a sortie just when Musharraf expected the plane to land. And the pilot must have landed a few minutes later, perhaps. Quite justifiably, the General must have seen this as an act of defiance and humiliation by the Pilot (and this could also have brought him some old memories flooding in). So, that’s it - both he and Vajpayee were humiliated at the Agra summit in 2001 “by someone above”, the Pilot! Yeah, this sounds plausible.

One wonders why this story was not reported in the media. Perhaps, the General, so used to suppressing the media in his home town, must have done something to prevent this piece from getting into the media glare. After all, he had every right to reserve some surprises for his “Line of Fire”. Who would buy a book, otherwise?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Justice delayed has, after all, not been justice denied. For once, the culprit has been brought to book and will be meted out what what was to have been done earlier. However, punishments to such crimes need to be prohibitive. Human Rights activists may be up in arms against supposedly “Draconian” laws, but then, as I would like to remind to anyone willing to listen, Human Rights are meant only for humans!

In other news, Dengue and Chikungunya are the talk of the town, with the authorities struggling to contain the outbreak. So much so, that anyone and everyone down with fever claims to have been affected with Chikungunya. It has come to be seen as a Fashion Statement of sorts. “Hey, I had Dengue last week, what about you?” “Dengue? You out-dated freak! It’s CKG these days man, I’m just walking out of it”. CKG has become synonymous with any fever, any mild rise in temperature or any pain that deserves a balm. It’s become the “Since I am suffering from CKG for the past two days, please grant me . . .“ kind of frenzy. I met an acquaintance who was making a public announcement - “I couldn’t make it to the party folks, I was down with CKG yesterday!” – bubbling with pride. I walked up to him. “So, which type of CKG have you been treated for?” He gave me a “Look at this silly chilly” look and said, “What are the different types?” I said, “There is the Chikun65 gunya, then the Tandoori Chikun gunya, the Chikun Biryanya and a few others still evolving. Which strain of virus is yours?” I left him with a dumb look in his face.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Falter, Fumble, Fernandes.

President Kalam is the most popular youngster in India. There has not been, as much as one could immediately recall, a leader who has moved the youth as much as this simple man has; at least, in Free India. A man who could walk up to the child and smile, a President who would fill the garbage bin with protocols, a down-to-earth intellectual, a kind teacher, an inspiring father-figure . . . to this generation, he is just “Cool”.

Why did George Fernandes have to drag him into the mess that politics is? Why should someone try to taint an honest man? Why could the politicians not keep to themselves? That the entire art and science of politics has been filled with ranks and files of manipulators, egoists, and downright self-serving egomaniacs is no secret. The few Institutions of Supreme Court and the President’s Office that stand tall amidst the rubble are nothing less than sacrosanct. If the bigwigs of politics, in their enthusiasm to pass the buck as they are so used to, try to paint a dirty picture with their filthy brushes, would a Nation sit and watch the show?

If Contempt of Court is an offence, what should an attempt to taint the President himself be termed? Should someone be allowed to get away with such a deed that was nothing short of a blatant lie for the world to see? George Fernandes should be remembered for setting a new low in public service.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Independence Day 2006

Things have been happening fast – in India, abroad and in a few other aspects as well that would keep me occupied for the near future. That is the reason posts in Clearway have become fewer and far between.

Blogs are beginning to be heard and are becoming louder in the media these days. As is said, the success of an individual is measured in the changes that he manages to bring about in the lives of others. The billionaire or the baron is as good as the particle of dust floating around with the wind if all that he has thought about is his own self and his kin. So can be said of Blogs – what change this Compulsive Expressive Disorder brings about in the lives of people and how powerful it is in enhancing living standards of those in dire straits would determine the success of this medium.

Independence Day Celebrations and the accompanying inevitable terror threats have given fodder for channels to conduct Talk Shows and surveys – “How vulnerable do you feel this Independence Day?” Heck, if we really had Independence, why would we feel vulnerable at all? It’s only when you think your fate depends on some other mortal that you feel vulnerable! Well, you have as much chance of having your head blown off by the Human Bomb as you have of tripping on a stone and suffering a fatal head injury or slipping off the exit while you emerge out of the plane that has just safely landed! You were born, you are bound to die.

Wishing fellow Indians a Great India soon on this Independence Day, Clearway takes a few days off Blogging. But then, as you know, the dusk always has its dawn. Let’s all live to see India flourish – and Humanity wake up to the reality of Peaceful Co-existence. Clearway will be back.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Have's and the Have Not's: Protect your Head - Use the Helmet!

Issued in the interest of the general public by Clearway!

Traffic Constable: Hey, Stop . . Stop!
Bike Rider pulls up - looks at the TC.
Bike Rider: Yeah dude, what's up? Why did you want me to stop?
TC: Where's your helmet?
BR: Why? I lost it a few years back while I was on a picnic. Don't know where it is now.
TC: A few years back? So, you never bought a helmet after that?
BR: No. My daddy bought one for me but strictly instructed me never to take it out. It was a very expensive helmet and he was afraid I might break it if I fell from my bike!
TC: Do you know the new helmet rule that's on from today?
BR: There's no helmet rule, I have withdrawn my order.
TC: Huh? Your order? What do you mean your order?
BR: My name is the same as that of the Chief Minister of the state. And all is in the name. So, Im the Chief Minister of the State.
TC: Hmm, okay. But even in that case, we have not got any papers revoking the order from you, Mr Chief Minister. We go by the original order. You need to cough up a fine.
BR: Heh? You wanna have a showdown with me, the Chief Minister?
TC: See young man, the helmet is meant only to protect your head.
BR: Big Deal! Don't you see that it's my own individual prerogative to decide when and where to break my head? What's your problem?
TC: I think you dont watch movies. John Abraham always wears a helmet and he asks others to wear one as well.
BR: Mr TC, I have two reasons not to use a helmet. One, I did not have sufficient time to purchase a helmet.
TC: No Time? But in your own words, you were the one who gave the orders in the first place! And it has been more than a couple of months since your order came. Are two months not enough to buy one helmet?
BR: Buying a helmet is a long procedure. We need to advertise in the news papers and call for tenders, the tenders would have to be opened in a transparent manner and a source decided and the order awarded. And the most important factor is that the helmet must suit the shape of my head.
TC: Okay, so what's the other reason that you did not buy a helmet for, Mr Chief Minister?
BR: Well, the other reason is that I don't have anything in my head that I may have to protect. So, I have nothing to lose. It's like, if you don't have anything in your house, would you lock it at all?
TC: Yeah, that was obvious, the moment you said you were the Chief Minister merely because your name is the same as his name.
BR: Yeah, you are right. So, why should I pay the fine?
TC: I concede. You do not have anything to protect and hence you don't have to wear a helmet. But those who have something in their heads, should they not be wearing their helmets? Is it not your responsibility, as a Chief Minister, to show the way by example? After all, medical bodies have come to this conclusion after studying so many fatal head injuries. Why all this debate at all?
BR: That's because, we are conducting a survey as to how many people have stuff in their heads and how many people of the state have empty heads. We could not design a perfect test for that. So, the best way is to let people decide by themselves whether their heads are filled or empty. Now we know - those who wear a helmet are the "Have's", and those who do not wear one are the "Have Not's".
TC: That's great. So, you are a proud "Have Not". Congratulations Mr..

Friday, July 21, 2006

Meet the Fockers: Ban on Blogs

Mr Home Minister,
As far as this Blog is concerned, you don't exist. Nor does your Government which has had the guts to put a lock on my home, seal it without notice and then open the doors sheepishly as if nothing ever happened.
Where were you when the bombs were placed in Mumbai rails? Were you cuddled in the comfort of your Air conditioned rooms when hundreds lost their lives and loved ones? What do you plan to do to stop the next attack in the city? Or perhaps, was it the divine intervention that prompted you to block blogs so that no further attacks were effected? Do you have to guts to come over to my place and look at me in the face at this very moment?
You better not! I would make you feel sorry if you did that! Browse the net and see if you can get some tips on National Security. Take a crash course if you please. But never ever think of laying hands on my Blog! India prides itself on its Democratic credentials and on being Super Power material, whether they are facts or myths. Don't blow the cover exposing your weak underbelly. If you can't do your job, resign!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Post for Victims of the Tata-VSNL Conspiracy

They are the latest swindlers in town - and they have made a fortune out of others' money. Tata and VSNL are the twin names that stand for anything evil. They swindle, they rob, they rape - they do anything for money.
As the growing list of victims supports a case for the Government's Black-listing the Tata group, Clearway lists the contact details of Tata group obtained from the web in this post. For those who missed the action, details of the modus operandi of Tata Indicom Broadband Dons can be found in some of the previous posts:
Contact details of some commanders of the 'yet-to-be-banned' organisation are available here:

CMCS. V. Ramanan, head (corporate communications)
Indian Hotels, Raghunath Kale, director (internal communications)
Rallis, Annahita Kapadia, manager (MD’s office)
Tata Chemicals, Sujit Patil, manager (corporate communications)
Tata Coffee, C Jawahar
Tata Consultancy Services, Pradipta Bagchi, general manager (corporate communications)Email:
Tata Elxsi,
Tata International, Shernavaz Colah, corporate communicator
Tata Motors, Debasis Ray, head (corporate communications)
Tata Power, Shalini Singh, assistant general manager
Tata Steel, Sanjay Choudhry, chief (corporate communications)
Tata Tea, Rashmi Mehta
Tata Teleservices, Suroor Hussain, manager (direct marketing)
Titan, Manoj Chakravarti, general manager (corporate communications)
Trent, Neeti Chopra, head (marketing)
Voltas, B. N. Garudachar, general manager (corporate communications)
VSNL, G. C. Banik, chief general manager (public relations)
As you would have noticed, the only e-mail id relevant to VSNL is that of G. C. Banik, Chief General Damager (Public Relations). However, efforts to mail him have been futile - his mail box is already full!
So, dear victims of the Tata-VSNL conspiracy, do not hesitate; just shoot mails to any of the e-mail id's (preferably, each one of them) available. They are all from the same gang anyway!
PS. If any of you could get some more e-mail id's of the gang, please leave comments here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Militants pack up as Government Deregulates Terrorism

Mumbai is in the news again - and for the wrong reasons! Repercussions of the blast have made the US tighten up its security. That is vigilance, perhaps. Our Intelligence has been caught napping - snoring, in fact.
To be able to blast eight spots in a row, one after the other with the precision of a scientist in experimental conditions is no mean task. Whoever did that seem to have had all the time and freedom to plan, move and act at their leisure. I never knew planting bombs was child's play!
What followed was the lethargic act of convening of a high profile meeting by the Prime Minister, statements by DGP's confirming that the blasts were planned indeed and no act of accident, bodies piling up, relatives grieving, and Intelligence waking up trying to understand what hit them. Heck, I feel so bored to be typing this stuff that happens as if it were some dragging episode in a soap that has been running for years! To be precise, bomb blasts have lost their charm! I mean, they are not exciting anymore, are they?
I really feel anyone could walk up to our President with a bag of explosives and gift him the bag after a warm hug. And I dont think our President would object to that anyway; and our Intelligence folks would promptly put the pieces together as would our Government in declaring a mandatory mourning period. I mean, bombs are plain boring these days!
I would suggest terrorists wind up their business and try some other more profitable and glamorous avenues. And I personally would like to apply for a job where I would have no pressure whatsoever, relax at my will, read the news paper and speak to the media once in a while when some loud noises erupt in buses or trains or market places in the metros. Any idea where I could try my luck?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mumbai, Delhi, Democracy and Dr Venugopal

Rains wreak havoc in Mumbai! Is that news? Well, definitely not! That's an annual event, much like the Summer Festival; just that this doesn't have much to do with anything Summer. One would be surprised if work doesn't grind to a halt once or more than once a year in India's commercial capital. And what can the administration and authorities do when Rain Gods work overtime? You don't expect the Government to sack the Rain Gods, do you?

Talk of 'Sacking'! If one were to believe media reports, that's something out government seems to be good at - along with ransacking. What would you do when you want to be constantly in the news and you run out of ideas? You sack someone of the stature of Dr Venugopal a day before his Birth Day and insist that he got what he deserved for not having performed his task.

Sack a Chief, will you? Nah, I did not mean a Chef at your home - a Chief. You conceive a meeting for a couple of hours, lodge your complaints, read them out, be your own justice and spell the verdict out - well, that's no Democratic stuff. So, there’s no way it could have happened in the biggest democracy; definitely not when Mumbai is let to go into hibernation every year as if it's nobody's business to do something about the infrastructure at all. Our governing authorities never budge even in the worst hours of crisis - they just let the system take its course. Don't tell me the AIIMS Director was sacked by some hooligans - not in India!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nightmare Kills Aussie Dream!

None but the diehard Italian optimist would have hoped for Italy to join the elite club into the next stage of the World Cup knock out. And for the sarcastic pessimist of all the hype blown out of proportion surrounding the football gala, there must have been some reason to think twice in his next line of attacks on the millions of maniacs.
Beckam did the trick yesterday to justify the Indian 'International' movie's name; and what a slice it was indeed with the artistic touch of a master craftsman, sliding right past the goal post, squeezing through the gloves of the desperate goal keeper! The one free kick made all the difference yesterday. And today, it was a twist of fate from the Aussie stand point! And it was indeed ironical that the Yellow shirts, who went into this game as underdogs were actually quite aggressive and dominated over the favourites for most part of the game. Frustration was written all over the face of the Italian coach who had nothing to do but to gesture wildly in the air, wondering if he really deserved to be in his seat at all with such a meak show by the Italians. A ball possession ratio of 61 - 39 against the Blue men did not quite tell the whole story. The Italians looked dead on the field; they stood as if they were just out of a deep depression, struggling to find their true selves, doubting every cell of theirs before making a move. Most of the game was played in the Italian half. Well, the Aussies surely deserved a win today!
Just as the Italians struggled to avert conceding a goal and getting the game extended into the extra time came the horriffying act that stabbed, killed and burried their opponent for the next four long years. For a team that thoroughly dominated the opponents, conceding a penalty in the last 10 seconds of the game would be a nightmare that would haunt the Aussies for the rest of their lives. "Cruel" was the word the commentator used to describe the situation - and there couldnt have been a better adjective! The Aussies were aggressive, confident, dominant, valiant - and the most unfortunate!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

"Clearway against Football": Critics Grill Clearway!

Critic: Is it true that Clearway is a headstrong blog?
Clearway: No idea what you mean by that. But if you are hinting at Head and Shoulders, Clearway doesn't advertise in its space.
Critic: I concede that might not have been the best way to start an interview.
Clearway: There are no defined paths to go about doing things. I never accused you; so you dont have to concede anything.
Critic: Well, the main purpose of this chat is to draw your attention to the way you are being perceived.
Clearway: I dont see what is to be achieved by that and how that would affect me.
Critic: Alright, let me get to the point. Why have you not reported the World Cup?
Clearway: I would have reported it if there was no other way people could have known that the World Cup had started. I did not report it because people already knew that the event was underway.
Critic: Is that a valid reason? I find it as more of an excuse.
Clearway: Well, that was a response; you may categorise it as you wish.
Critic: The point is, what do you plan to achieve by choosing not to report an event as big as the World Cup!
Clearway: Well, there is no point in reporting it. I told you that.
Critic: An event that draws all eyes to it, that has so much of History about it, the biggest entertainment of the world, a feast for every football lover, and you see no point in talking a word about that?
Clearway: So, what do you expect me to say? That the World Cup has started off in Germany? That is a mere news and makes no sense. I might report the event if the football got lost when the game was all set to begin and all the stores in Germany ran out of stock just then.
Critic: That's being cynical about something Historical.
Clearway: Im being neither cynical nor historical; Im just being practical.
Critic: Okay, what's your opinion about Brazil being the most favoured team?
Clearway: Everyone talks about Brazil because they do not know much about the other teams; and they can't imagine not talking about football in a World Cup season!
Critic: Does it mean that you discount Brazil and dismiss it's world renowned skills?
Clearway: Im not a Discounter nor am I an employer of the Brazilian team to dismiss them. I was talking about the froth in all the talk about Football.
Critic: The discussion is not about people; it's about football.
Clearway: Perhaps, that might have been a reason why I did not report the event?
Critic: Okay. Which country do you think would run away with the World Cup?
Clearway: It would definitely not be India. As for running away with the World Cup, anyone could do that. But winning it is different.
Critic: Ahemm . . . so who do you think would WIN the World Cup?
Clearway: I can easily predict that. But suppose my prediction turns right, the winning Team will have to give me the World Cup and walk back home.
Critic: Whatt???
Clearway: Don't worry; I have some other cups with me. I shall give one of those to them.
Critic: The whole discussion leads me to infer that you are not interested in the World Cup, or you are not a Football follower or you want to stand out from the crowd desperately.
Clearway: Whom do you refer to as the Crowd?
Critic: The Bloggers of course. You do not want to be associated with every other blog and you consider yourself superior.
Clearway: How sure are you about that?
Critic: Otherwise, a blog the reports News and Views from India should definitely have talked about Football in its space. And you have chosen not to do so.
Clearway: Getting back to your point about your inferences, Number 1. Yes, Im not interested in the World Cup. If I were, I would have played in it and tried to win the Cup all for myself. Number 2. Yes, Im not a follower of Football. The football gets kicked all around the ground and I can't keep following it to every corner and into the goal posts. Number 3. You yourself have termed the Bloggers, a "Crowd", a strongly objectionable term, considering the individuality of every Blog. I take strong exception to your usage of a term that was totally unwarranted.
Clearway: And what I want to achieve by not reporting about the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany, and why I'm hell bent on writing not a single word about the colourful event followed by mad people all around globe is entirely up to me. You never deserved an explanation about that.
Critic: So, finally, are you going to write about it or not . . . ?
Clearway: That's a Straight "NO"! And no reasons would be furnished, whatsoever. I have other important things to do than write something silly about Football!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Let there be some Space for News: Media

Alright, it was a tragedy! That Pramod Mahajan was fatally shot by his own brother, that he was such a young and promising leader, that the family had to go through the ordeal in the days that followed the incident till his demise and to cap it all, that his son kissed the doors of death and returned to life while his aide was not all that fortunate, all of these couldn't have been any worse for the family.
But why waste all the front page space on a family affair? And this seems to go on and on in the media that seems not to be getting enough news to fill its pages. The BJP leaders have visited Rahul Mahajan who is now in police custody - that is only to be expected of them and is an act of basic courtesy that they do so; the party ought to stand by the family of its senior member when the family has been torn apart. But again, that's a Party affair!
The sorry story of Rahul Mahajan is more of a human interest one than anything of National interest. There could be other important events happening around that may have a deeper impact on the lives of a typical reader. Let the media have its heart in place and think with its head.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dr Wrong, think again!

Its Reservation Reservation everywhere! And no there's no reason why it shouldn't be. I winder if this protest against this R word would go down in history and into the History Books as one of the most vociferous expressions of disapproval of a Government Sponsored move by the public. So much so that even a casual talk of Railway "Reservation" or an airline "Seat Allocation" is making heads turn!
Whether this is justified or if the revolting voices would be pacified upon assurances of their own "Safety" remains to be seen. What is unsettling, however, is the way ordinary citizens are made to suffer for no faults of theirs, caught in the cross-fire. Why would an ailing woman or an old man remain unattended on the pavements of hospitals, while physicians are busy shouting slogans and holding placards? Does a senior Doctor have the same responsibility as that of a striking student? Would the same Life-saving magician ignore his patient and go along with the mob, if the patient were his own mother or father or sister?
Dear Doctors, whether you are right or wrong is decided not by your guts in shouting in the crowd - it has to be announced to the world by your actions backed by convictions. You have been brilliant enough to gain entry into the medical colleges beating every odd; you definitely shouldn't have problems conceiving novel ways of protests while protecting those who have surrendered their lives to you!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Don't even THINK of buying VSNL!: Escape from Tata Indicom Part 3

The woes from Tata Indicom continue, prompting a third post on the same issue at Clearway! Here goes the script of the next e-mail to Tata Indicom from out Tata victim!
Im tired of lodging complaints with you folks!

Tell me something, is this an ISP or a bunch of Jokers sitting out there, talking merrily to whoever speaks on phone and sending the same set of e-mails in response to every complaint, irrespective of what the matter is or who the sender is?

It's the same routinie these days:

I lodge complaint
You give me a complaint number
I wait for your call
I call you again
You assure me of the best of services and advertise about your dial up connections
I mail you and blast you
You reply coolly as if you have got an award from me
The service is up for a couple of hours
The service goes dead
Time for another complaint!

I need a solution. Or at least, give me an answer: Do you provide internet services at all? Or did you get the money from me to call me up and mail me? How many times do I have to complain in a day? Dont you get sick of giving the same dumb responses everytime I complain? Well, I certainly am getting sick at the way your company, or the bunch of folks that call themselves a company, works!

Your Service Enginieer poses as if he is the busiest person on the planet and asks me over phone if the net is on! And there is absolutely no use shooting mails to you folks! Because, I know that even if the net functions for a couple of hours, it's going to go dead again and I would have to "Complain" to you yet another time!

I understand you do not have any other job than sitting in front of PC's in Whitefield, and typing some stuff and dispatching them to inboxes. Lucky you! Unfortunately, we poor subscribers have other works and some of them happen to depend on something called the "Internet", a term which Im not sure if you are aware of!

The so-called Broadband connection that you advertise of is something more than a couple of green lights constantly blinking atop the modem!

The link that I have provided here is a free service for you:

As I told you in my last mail, I have already put the issue on-line and your High Level Service is getting popular on the same Internet that is your bread and butter. And this mail goes on-line as well, for prospective victims to Escape from Tata Indicom! This would continue till my Internet gets working continuously for at least a week, without going dead. Or, get me Mr Ratan Tata on phone - it's high time he knew of what he heads!

PS. I would definitely see if I could get this on Main Stream Media!

Monday, May 15, 2006

All that Glitters . . . Escape from Tata Indicom - Part 2

After all the struggle, the connection finally seems to have become alright at our customer's. He seems to have received calls in double digits from Tata Indicom on Monday morning (from different executives but) before someone ventured in to solve the issue.

Strangely enough, there wasnt any written commnication from Tata, responding to the strongly worded mails from our consumer. And the consumer himself had to make a few calls in the morning before the soldiers from Tata Indicom realised the problem.
It is disappointing that a premier business house of the country, which has been pioneering stuff for years, has not bothered to be moved till the consumer went all out for the services that he rightfully deserved! And it certainly is baffling that in this era when "Customer Service" is a basic tool, well established organisations that are supposed to be all ears to sense what the customer feels, have ignored him totally, merely minutes after the sale had been effected!
It definitely gets irritating when one has to brief scores of executives of the same problem over and over again! Where has organisational structure gone? Could someone imagine 20+ sales people visiting a corporate customer for a sale and convince the Purchase Manager of the quality of their company?
This tale sadly proves that all that is a "Brand" may not "Solid" - they may merely be "Myths"! Tata would definitely have to get back to its basics. Or, it would have to face such posts as these growing in numbers and echoing loudly in the market.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Red Alert: Escape from Tata Indicom!

The following is the communication between a consumer and a company, over e-mail. Clearway got access to this chain of e-mails, that shows the shabby work that ISP's do in this country.
9 May 2006, Tuesday
From: Consumer
Subject: Internet Connection not working

My Log in Id is ******. My Application Number is ******.

My account was activated today by your service personnel. However, Im not able to access the net now. I logged off once after my account was activated. When I try to log on, I can see that the net is on (100 Mbps) but web pages are not opening up.

I spoke with one of your Customer Service Executives - she said there was some problem with the connection, though the net was on. However, the call got disconnected. Please check the problem and rectify it at the earliest.

11 May 2006, Thursday
From: Tata Indicom
Dear Mr ******,
We regret for delay in responding to your mail. Thank you for writing your concern regarding unable to login to our notice.

We understand and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.

With reference to your email, we would like to inform you that your concern has already been noticed to the network team and they are working on high priority basis. Our team will call you with the feedback at the earliest.

We need your valuable time and patience during this period which helps us to serve you better.

For any further assistance, please feel free to contact Customer Service (the link contains the location wise contact numbers) or mail us on We will be delighted to assist you.

Warm Regards,

Customer Service,
TATA Indicom Broadband.
11 May 2006, Thursday
From: Consumer
Thanks for the mail.

But the problem is that there have been only problems since I registered with you. Initially, the connection was promised in 8 - 10 days after I paid through cheque - it took more than 3 weeks since then.

And in these 3 days since the connection is up, I have complained thrice - and the problem is still very much there, intact. I dont think I can stand this poor service from you any longer if you do not rectify the situation immediately.

This is a prepaid service and no life membership. I would opt to cancel my membership if I do not get my connections from tomorrow, Friday, 12 May. If you state that may not be possible, I can assure you I would never renew any of my services with anything associated with Tata. And be sure I would spread the word about your shabby services as much as I can.

I was promised that you would call me in 24 hours and it's been more than that now. I do not want any more calls. The problem gets rectified tomorrow or I walk out. Period! Customer servise is no lip service. Tata should have known better.

12 May 2006, Friday.
From: Consumer
Im disappointed that you have not cared to respond to a mail where I had virtually set a deadline for you to act. You have touched new low in Customer Service.

I cancel my subscription to your services. You may please send your personnel to pack the rolls of cables back into their bags from my residence. My association with you has been nothing more than complaints and headaches, not to mention the amount that I spent calling your Customer Support Executives.

I hope you wouldn't create problems at least when Im winding up my association with your esteemed organisation. Be sure, this is no way to do business.

13 May 2006, Saturday
From: Tata Indicom
Thank you for bringing your Broad band connection issue to our notice. With reference to your email, we trust the needful has been done and your concern regarding No Browsing of your Broadband connection has been resolved after the assistance provided by our Customer Service Executive. We hope everything is working fine. Should you require any further assistance, please feel free to write to us to serve you better. Thank you for your time and patience. For any further assistance, please feel free to contact Customer Service at (the link contains the location wise contact numbers ) or mail us on We will be delighted to assist you.
Warm Regards,
Customer Service,
TATA Indicom Broadband.
13 May 2006, Saturday
From: Consumer
You are unbelievable!

I wonder how you could "trust the needful has been done", when I, who lodged the complaint, havent expressed my satisfaction yet that the problem has been rectified!

And you have mailed me in such a cool tone as if everything has been working perfectly fine, not a word of apology, not a sign of efforts towards pacification!

I understand that your systems are not in line with the advances in Information Technology. I guess that's the reason you have not been able to rectify a problem that has been pestering me right from the day of inception of your services - if at all I could use the word "Services" to describe what you have been doing!

Be sure - I am not able to connect to the net still. Please do not sit in an ivory tower and dream that all your connections are working perfectly alright. Tata Indicom Broadband connections are a mess, as I have recently discovered.

I do not need a stereotypic mail from one of your customer services personnel; I need to know that the problems in the field have reached those at the top. And Im going public about all the sloppy "Services" that you have been providing. At this moment, this issue could have been published in any of the media or discussion forums, so that the world knows what you are and the consumers escape from the nightmare that your company has come to be!
That was the latest news about "Customer Service" in India. Stay tuned for more news about fresh action.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Breaking News - "Bribes are Perfectly Legal" and "Spineless Worms cast their Votes"

This election was different; they legalised Bribes. And the election commission condoned it; and the people watched it, actively participated in it and accepted it merrily.
Alright, this is a Democracy - but aren't these folks taking Democracy too far? Or, they are taking it too lightly, perhaps? Whichever way it is, Elections are no longer the results of a 5 year performance; they are a sham; they are a Shame! Just as a Food marketeer would sell a sack of rice and announce a pack of pickles "Free", just as an FMCG company would bundle a soap with a bottle of shampoo, so have the parties been announcing freebies - Colour Televisions, Gas stoves, Gold, Cows . . . the list seems endless and is ridiculous.
This election season brought to light, what was one of the dark realities of our society - that Bribe is in the texture of a Democracy. That the Vigilance Department, or whatever it is known as, is a farce. That the election commission is nothing but an "Event Management" organisation. That democracy is a system designed to make people crazy. That political parties are liars and rogues and would sell anything and anyone to get to power. That we, the people, are worms squirming haplessly in the filthy ditch that our society is!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sad End of an Innocent Victim

It couldn't have been worse for the family of the Engineer who was abducted and beheaded by some brutal elements called the Taliban. What they achieved through this cowardly act is not clear. If the Taliban call themselves a force, they should have fought their enemies; to kidnap an unarmed civilian and murder him mercilessly and keep hiding like eunuchs makes them look the meanest of creatures on the planet.
Hope the bereaved family musters the strength to face the hell that its life has turned into!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What will you do?

I got a lot of brick bats for my last post. Some threatened to walk out of my blog; some said they had never seen anything sillier than that; some said they were so upset with my post that they didnt eat for a couple of days!
Actually, it was all serious business around that I thought I had to make some sense out of it. In any case, there is some food for thought this time.
When an ambulance gets stuck in traffic, what is the public supposed to do? When there's no where to move, what will the public do? When the arrogant thick skinned wooden heads dont know they have to give way, what can one do? When some one is fighting for life amidst the traffic, can anything be done at all?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Moral of the Story: Nothing is Impossible!

I have been an ardent proponent of the school of thought that there is something about the way Indians do whatever they do, that can not be matched all that easily by rivals. They have their own patented ways of going about things - just the way the Japanese are known for their technological inventions, Germans for their Engineering prowess or Americans for their unused brains when it comes to External Affairs.
I was travelling by bike the other day in a blend of Urban and the Rural, at normal speed. I could hear the sound of a weird engine approaching me. Since I had to concentrate on the road to avoid any damage to the shock absorbers, I didnt take much strain in turning back to look at the source of the sound - though I kept wondering what it might be. I could hear it nearing me, gradually. It must have been travelling slightly faster than me; in a while, I could see its shadow overtake my bike and then, I could see the wheel. Strangely enough, it was another bike. But the noise was something that I wasn't used to. As I turned to have look at who was riding it, I was shocked!
Not because of the person who was there - but because of the place where he was! He was sitting on the Petrol Tank of the bike and was leaning on the handle bar. And Im sure even if he wanted to move a couple of centimeters forward, it would be an agonising experience for him. His feet were on the crash guard and his folded knees were in front of the bike, right above the wheel. Well, in a nut shell, it was an awkward position - you wouldnt want to give it a try; that's for sure!
Even as I was wondering why he chose to ride a bike that way, the vehicle kept overtaking me. I didnt want to risk losing my balance while trying to grasp the gravity of the situation - still, kept glancing at it. Then, I came to know why he had placed himself that way - there was one more guy sitting , well, not on the seat, but on the petrol tank, again! He was leaning against the back of the first joker; he held his head atop the first one's shoulders, and he had his hands on the bike's head light. I didnt have the time nor the courage to see where he had placed his feet - because, by then, I could see that there was one more man behind the second person.
I almost lost balance then and decided enough was enough. I managed to pull up at the road side, and stopped safely, letting the threesome move ahead! To my horror, it was not a threesome at all! The three were followed by two more gentlemen! The third one was on the seat, the fourth one fully on the seat and the last guy, half on the seat and half aerial! There was a sack tied at the end of the bike, just beneath the last man!
I was lost! Here I was, trying to focus on the road, avoiding pot holes and riding so carefully, all alone - and here was a five man army, that kept overtaking me slowly and steadily, and kept going even as I called it quits!
I was trying to figure out something - I had to find the answers to some questions! "Of the five, who was actually Riding? How many of them knew how to ride a bike? How did they get into their positions? How would they fill petrol? Okay, if a police constable wanted to check their licenses, who is to be held responsible? How many licneses are necessary to ride a bike in such a way? Should all of them be above the age of 18? Can there be more than two "Riders" for one bike? Who would change gears? Who would apply brakes? Or was there only one driver and were the rest, navigators? Or were they passengers? Well, were there just two wheels???"
I was confused! And I decided that I had to find the answer to the puzzle that would make the Chief Justice resign!
I re-started my bike. I over took the train. I wanted to see how they stopped the bike. I blocked their way as I reduced the speed gradually, in such a way that the train had no other option but to stop on its way. The ten eyes were frowning and the five faces were annoyed, even as they came to a complete halt! I blocked them completely and got off the bike.
I could see ten feet on the ground - still couldn't make out who the driver was! I approached them.
"What?" asked one of them - I wasn't sure whose voice it was, of the five.
"I have a problem with my bike and have a long way to go" I said.
The gang looked puzzled. Five voices followed. "So?"
"Can you give me a lift please???"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Shame on you, Bangalore!

There was absolute anarchy right in the heart of the famed Silicon City! With shops plundered, every visible glass broken, petrol stations damaged, showrooms rampaged, the scene in Bangalore by the evening of 13th April 2006 was that of a war zone. Worse, despite all the pillage, not much security was visible on the roads that evening; in other words, anyone could easily have taken advantage of the absolute lawlessness and the prevailing commotions. Whether such incidents have been reported remains to be seen.
What follows is a sample of the havoc that a mindless mob wreaked on the Capital City of Karnataka, following the demise of Film Icon Dr Raj Kumar. The snaps are not exhaustive - they are all from the vicinity of the residence of the departed Hero. Worse incidents have been reported from the other parts of the City - including that of a Police man on Duty having been beaten to death!
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Karnataka has interestingly remarked that a major reason for the commotion was the dispatch of police forces in huge numbers to the neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu on election duty! That does raise some speculation as to the logical abilities of a state that sent so much of its force out as to not provide security to the path along an 11 km long procession.
On the other hand, it makes on wonder if the solution for a perennial menace has been dug out by the new Government - if Karnataka has been benevolent enough to pack all of its force out to its neighbours on their election duty, the Government would certainly let all of River Cauvery run down to Tamil Nadu this summer. So, do we rejoice at the prospect of a dramatic solution to the River Water issue?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

She was not meant to be mortal: Medha Patkar

What would you make of the arrest of Medha Patkar? Is it an alleged instance of the "Government machinery having been let loose on peaceful democratic demonstrations?" Does it illustrate the chicanery of politics in having found an escape route from a deep rooted problem? Is it proof of how thick-skinned rulers have become when it comes to the salvation of the weak and the vulnerable? Does it show the autocratic ways of power in a democratic country, which is adamant on raising the dam at the cost of the public, irrespective of public moods?

The move to arrest Ms Medha Patkar could involve all of those aspects. To me, it is an unintentional noble deed that resulted from ulterior intentions. It's sad that Medha Patkar hasn't received even a fraction of the attention that has been showered on Ms Sonia's (Gandhi) "renunciation" of power. To have people who are ready to die for the lives of others, in this age, is a miracle! To dedicate one's life for a selfless cause propels Medha Patkar to the echelons of the likes of Mother Teresa. Ironically, even the Mother's beatification was done after much debate, posthumously.

The Government's intentions could well have been to avoid a huge public uproar and the prospects of the situiation veering off control if her indefinite fast proved to be fatal. But it might well result in the noble deed of saving the life of a great person whom India has to be proud of. People like her are not supposed to be victims of their own strengths. They have to live on - as they have the power to change the lives of many more. Medha Patkar would be able to make a difference to the state of affairs not by dying for one cause - but by fighting for many more, still greater causes.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Media, are you Listening?

Things are not supposed to be bad. But reality is never the ideal. Having said that, to accept reality as it is and call it "being practical" is a farce! "Escapism" or "Opportunism" - both of these terms would fit in to describe the scenario then.
It is good to note that some people in power realise they have a responsibility as well and take the initiative in voicing their thoughts, when they sense things turning from bad to worse! Aamir Khan is sensitive to the trends in today's media and has chosen to speak out - precisely, to the point. His interview to Tehelka slams the media for what it is - and what it has become over the years, faced with hectic competition, well on its way towards saturation in the industry. Some cheap stuff on the stack have decided to set the rules rather than living within the boundaries - and have set the ugly ball in motion, that could very well pick up momentum and spread filth all around.
My observations upon personal interaction with youngsters - teenagers in particular -has been mixed; it has reaffirmed my belief in their willingness to change things; it has hinted of their feeling of desperation at the way things are in this country. Pessimism has already found its way into some of the young souls. In a nut shell, they all realise that where they find themselves is not the best of situations.
It becomes a very important responsibility of the media, then, to support the youngsters in their quest for the ideal. But what happens in reality - as is mostly the case, against the ideal - is evidence of the media pandering to the sensuous yearnings of the rotten mind, oblivious of its powers in shaping the future of the society - and the effect that its behaviour has on the present generation.
Aamir Khan may be having his personal reasons for the opinions that he has - but there is a greater end that is being served in what he has said; and he has realised the importance of his words and has uttered them with a purpose. We need a lot more of such voices that remind the media of the purpose behind its existance. Voices can be more powerful that legislations - and a proactive attitude by the intelligentia could even make laws redundant!
Wake up - before it's too late!