Monday, July 31, 2006

Post 71 Music - 3 Omkara Beedi Lyrics

Naa ghilaaf
Naa lihaaf
Naa ghilaaf
Naa lihaaf
Thandi hawa bhi khilaaf Sasuri
Naa ghilaaf
Naa lihaaf
Thandi hawa bhi khilaaf Sasuri
Itni sardi hai kisi ka lihaaf lei lay
Jaa padosi ke chulhe se aag lei lay
Jaa padosi ke chulhe se aag lei lay

Beedi jalai lay
Jigar se piya
Jigar maa badi aag hai
Beedi jalai lay
Jigar se piya
Jigar maa badi aag hai

Tu aara nikaari o lab se piya
Ah haa
Tu aara nikaari o lab se piya
Je duniya badi jhaag hai

Beedi jalai lay
Jigar se piya
Jigar maa badi aag hai
Naa ghilaaf
Naa lihaaf
Thandi hawa bhi khilaaf Sasuri
Itni sardi hai kisi ka lihaaf lei lay
Jaa padosi ke chulhe se aag lei lay
Jaa padosi ke chulhe se aag lei lay

Naa kasoor
Naa fatoor
Naa kasoor
Naa fatoor
Bina juram ke hujoor
Marr gayi
Ho marr gayi

Aise ek din dupahari bulai liyo re
Baandh ghungru kacehri lagai liyo re
Bulai liyo re
Bulai liyo re
Lagai liyo re
Lagai liyo re
Angethi chadahi le
Jigar se piya
Jigar maa badi aag hai
Beedi jalai lay
Jigar se piya
Jigar maa badi aag hai
Na toh chakkua ki dhaar
Na daraati na kataar
Na toh chaa-kua ki dhaar
Na daraati na kataar
Aisa kaate ke daat ka nisaan chod de
Je kataai to koi bhi kisaan chod de
O aise… jaalim ka chod de makaan chod de
Re billo
jaalim ka chod de makaan chod de
aise jaalim ka
o aise jaalim ka
aise jaalim ka chod de makaan chod de

na bulaya
na bataya
na bulaya
na bataya
mhane neend se jagaya hai re
aisa chaukail haath mein naseeb aa gaya
woh elaichi khilai ke kareeb aa gaya

koyla jalai le
Jigar se piya
Jigar maa … aag hai
Itni sardi hai kisi ka lihaaf lei lay
O Jaa padosi
O Jaa padosi
Jaa Jaa Padosi
O Jaa padosi ke chulhe se aag lei lay

Friday, July 28, 2006

Post No. 70 - The cup of life

I sometimes get this heightened sense of tiredness, and no, when I say tiredness, I don't mean lethargy, I mean what I say....Today is one such day.

Just the physical and mental loss of energy. If I would cross my heart and swear, maybe this is what it is like to be feeling old......

On days like today......I feel like I need to take a break, a long break, a sabbatical of a few months, the stress is taking its toll on me, on my health, on my psyche.....

The sabbatical not from work, but from life.....maybe a sabbatical where I just work like a dog...("die like a dog" - Franz Kafka, Amerika)

Work.... I need to work to maintain my sanity. I am a workholic in that sense, I work to be alone, to be alive, to recharge for the rest of my one smart alec I know says, "you work for all the wrong reasons".....people work for money, or for careers.....for me those are incidental....they just happen..... For me work is my escape from life.

I wish, I discovered how to be a better human being, a formula.....that will help an austistic like me survive in this grossed out world around me....

Am I dark...don't know.....maybe, its just that the color around me is black....

Sounds crazy, well it is....its the cup of some cases, half full, in others.....;-) half my case, well, its neither....whoa, giving too much away.....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Post 69 Mid-Day Cartoons 10 - (Censorship and the monkey)

This one comes straight after the India government (or better known as (crack jack f***ing hunny bunnies) ) decided to ban quite a few blogs. Why? Because they supposedly were anti-national, spewed hatred and incited violence?
Whoa....are we in Russia cicra 1970, or are we in India 2006....well, its almost the same thing.
I really wish our crack jackers spent just the same amount of energy on the nation as much as they spend on these mindless crackers.

Source Mid-Day Artist : Hemant Morporia Date : 24th July 2006

Post 68 Music 2 - Omkara ( They don't make them like these anymore, until...)

If you have not seen Maqbool, you have missed something. This Vishal
Bharadwaj take on Macbeth is a rivetting movie of metaphors, yet its pacy
and quick.

Vishal is originally a music director, who took to directing a movie. He made
his music debut with Maachis for Gulzar, by when Gulzar's friend and music
director, R.D. Burman had died. After hearing Maachis, you felt the vibes of a
new polished talent on the scene of sensitive music. After watching Maqbool
you were glad, that Vishal took up directing as well. Maqbool did not really
make you think too much of its music, the music meshed well with the
movie, so much so, that you really did not realise its prescence.

Vishal's new movie is Omkara, a dark take on Othello. If the promos are to
be believed, its just as much a cracker as Maqbool.

But this post is not about that, its instead about Omkara's music. Listen to
'Beedi' and 'Omkara' from the song track, and quite suddenly you realize
why Gulzar is Gulzar and why Vishal is Vishal.......

They don't make music like this, neither don't they write lyrics like this.....of
course, neither does anyone sing like Sunidhi Chauhan & Sukhwinder. Lines

"Beedi Jalayle Jigar Se Piya,
Jigar mein badi aag hain"

"na kasur, na fatur, bina jurm ke huzoor, margayee...."

"Aisa chaunka lihaaf mein naseeb aa gaya
Woh ilaaichi khilaike qareeb aa gaya"

"na gilaaf, na lihaaf, thandi hawa bhi khilaf bhi sasuri,
itni sardi hai kisi ka lihaaf leyi le, ja padosi ke chulhe se aag leyi le."
(gilaaf is pillow cover, lihaaf is quilt)

I just have one advice, if you want to see what beauty can lie in music (and
you understand hindi), just grab the songs of Omkara. You might realise that
music means more than hooting from your nasal twangs.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Post 67 Insight - 3 You're a CEO, baby

I recently read a review which said that most readers of Fortune, usually read it in the reverse, and the sole reason is the last page, which is 'While you were out' by 'Stanley Bing', a pen-name for someone who claims to be an executive in a Fortune 500 company.

I have always read Fortune from the backwards, not necessarily because of the reason above, more so, because I read most magazines from the back to the front.

However the review of Bing's latest book '100 most bullshit jobs', reminded me of an article of his, which had me in splits, not only for its humor but also for its insight.

Here it goes................


You're a CEO, baby - Stanley Bing - Fortune Feb 05

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I was having some crispy duck and cold sesame noodles the other night when my eye fell on the adjacent table, where a couple was attending to one of those cute babies that appear on cue to harsh my mellow in airplanes, restaurants, and movie theaters. This baby was doing all the things that babies do, very sweetly, its itsy-bitsy clothing in apple-pie order down to micro-mini work boots. Its parents attended it much as the baby Jesus must have been celebrated by the three wise men from the East.

As I watched the baby do its baby thing, I got one of those electric shocks of recognition that accompany great epiphanies. This baby, fresh, incoherent, and flush with protean narcissism, was exactly like a CEO. The way it was acting, the way its nervous, doting caretakers related to it and it to them--this was pure CEO in its most fundamental, primal form. The exercise of power by a fully grown adult, I now believe, causes the individual to regress to an infantile state previously enjoyed only in the blessed days before coherent speech, mobility, and toilet training.

Crazy, you say? A comic conceit? I think not. Here are ten ways that a baby is like a chief executive officer. Tell me where I've got it wrong.

1. The baby is the center of its universe. All eyes are on Baby as it babbles and burbles and produces bubbles from various orifices. When the baby turns to the left, there's Mommy, cooing and smiling and sucking up! When the baby turns to the right, there's Daddy, mussing up its tiny head! This attention convinces the baby that it is the sun around which the cosmos revolves--a feeling shared by all chief executives, particularly those successful enough to be called moguls.

2. The baby speaks nonsense, but nobody seems to notice. The baby in the Chinese restaurant delivered goos, gahs, and bleh-bleh-blehs, and each was greeted with cries of delight. Anyone who has attended a staff meeting has witnessed this reaction to an executive utterance.

3. The baby has a short attention span and must be entertained constantly. The baby in the Chinese restaurant was handed six different toys before the egg rolls came. Each was played with for a scant wafer of time, then discarded. Have you noticed how nobody goes into the CEO's office without a list, a display, a bar chart, a cruller?

4. Those who serve the baby must be attentive to its moods, which change radically from moment to moment. The rattle or the free digital gizmo wears thin, and dark clouds descend on Baby's brow. Baby is going to cry. Uh-oh. Angry Baby is noisy. Angry Baby is mean. Most corporate wazirs exist not to perform a specific function but to avoid Angry Baby.

5. Everything is planned around the comfort and schedule of the baby. The problem is, Baby doesn't sleep a lot. It's up at 3 A.M. and in gear by 6, and expects you to do the same. Sure, it occasionally crashes at odd hours, disappearing into its crib like a crab into its shell, and during that hallowed time, you're washing dishes, reconnecting with the adult world. Then, bam, just at the hour you're ready for a cocktail and a DVD, here comes Baby with the phone calls and the BlackBerry messages.

6. The baby is conveyed everywhere. Chinese Restaurant Baby was picked up from a plush Prego and lovingly placed in a chair. After dinner it was returned to its limo. Shoe-to-floor time: zero. I've known CEOs with footwear whose soles had never trod on pavement or turf--nothing but carpeting--ten-year-old shoes that gleamed like a newly oiled baseball glove.

7. The baby has special food made for it because it can't really digest the stuff that other people eat. It isn't so much what Baby likes that's important, it's the idea that when Baby needs to eat, the right food must be present. And at the end of the day, a bottle to suck on.

8. The baby is bored by grownups, but if there is another baby in the room it perks up. After dinner that night the baby was put in its wee limo and rolled in state toward the door. On the way it came face to face with another tiny nabob, and for the first time it ceased to be just a little baby. Suddenly it was a proto-human trying to suss out a peer, just like the real ones do at Davos and Sun Valley.

9. When the baby makes a mess, other people have to clean it up. Do I have to spell this one out?

10. Babies have weird hair. It can be tamed with gel and loving care if the baby has to go on Wall Street Week, but otherwise you don't want to know about it.

Obviously we're just at the beginning of this inquiry, which will bear further study. I wish I had more time for you right now, but I just heard a rustle down the hall. I know what that means.

It's ... Baby!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Post 66 Book 1 - Da Vinci Code (Illustrated)

Heard enough of this book, never actually came across to reading it.
Finally lay my hands on the illustrated version of the book, and must admit, I liked quite a bit....though only 'a bit'.

Very honestly, I am quite old for these whodunits. As for, it being a book which lends historical perspective, my response to it is.....bucket full of bullshit.

Okay fair, this book tries to resurrect the power of feminity (divine or otherwise), which is infact quite a cool premise, because I myself am not too okay with this patriachal society we live in......but come on, folks, having a whole book about 'The Grail', which further is about Mary Madgelene's grave, and Miss Madgelene is supposed to be Jesus' wife, who got branded as a whore, due to reasons of power equity within the church, nauseam...humdrum.

Get a life, lets recognize that all major religions are outcomes of political battles within the realms of 'spirituality' one, including Buddhism, which has escaped the claw of power and politics.

Makes you wonder, does it not, that finally at the root of humanity is the baser instinct, whether it be an institution owning allegiance to Christ of Buddha.

As for the book, I would rate is 7/10, only for its racy pace, and detail to research. I would not be proud, if I wrote this book, unlike if I wrote Rushdie's Midnight Children (or for that matter, any book by Rushdie).

Post 65 Ambani's vs. Azim (May their twain never meet)

As Gates, Buffet and Azim Premji (as he has already promised) moved in with their plan to give back to society what they earned during their business tenure (a.k.a Rockefeller), the irony was not lost on me. Gates, Azim and Buffet are all self-made billionaries, unlike Mukesh and Anil who have been born in silver cradles with very little to do that to keep a legacy going (admittedly, if profit maximization is the only goal - they have done a stellar job).

Anil and Mukesh have very little time, to get above the personal power tussles and the stupidness of their family tiff played on a national stage to even contemplate philanthropy or even to contribute meaningful to social causes.

I often wonder, cannot Relaince which now combined controls 3.5% of India's GDP output, take stances where it matters like infrastructure, or even meritocracy (aka quotas), or adopt villages and cities in a bid to improve life in general. You dont have to be politically correct when you are a Goliath (or maybe you do.....if not, WE squash you to size, back to 'David' days).

While on this irony, I am reminded of Einstein's famous quote, that 'Wisdom and knowledge are two different things, so much so that you need wisdom to handle knowledge'.....on the same lines, wisdom is not a pre or a post cursor to wealth....Infact in the growing anarchy of the microcosm around me, maybe they are antagonistic.......

In my schmeme of things, Azim Premji is a bigger hero, a much more alive person that Ambanis who might have all the wealth in the world, but very little wisdom, and much lesser of my respect.

Post 64 Mid-Day Cartoons - 9 (Pseudo Intellectual President)

A timely spoof on the idiotic ramblings of a intellectual who because of his position of impotence is rendered pseudo. His ideas and answers are way out of sync with a generation plagued with qoutas, rising un-employment, fiscal inequities within the society and the ilk....

Source : Mid-Day Artist : Hemant Morporia

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Post 63 Mid-Day Cartoons - 8 (Silence of the bunnies)

Source : Mid-day Artist : Hemant Morporia Dt : 21st July 2006

Post 62 Stroke from the meat of life

Was speaking to a colleague of mine, whose mom recently suffered a 'minor' stroke, affecting one of her lateral sides (am not sure whether it was left or right). She had just been discharged from the hospital and had been brought back home.I seem to have a keen fascination to understand the travesties of life, (and I hope its not in a voyueristic sense).....I spoke to him at length about the issues of how a stroke impacts a normal person's life.Something he told me seemed very spooky, very unpredictable....He was telling me that one of the most adverse impacts of this stroke was his mom's loss of voluntary control of it was incontinence (which after hearing his story seemed a better choice), but instead it was just that the bladder refused to get empty on its own (which is constrast seemed so much more worse than incontinence, which can be easily resolved using diaperS).
The solution.....cathedrals which were inserted into the urinary tract used for extract all bodily excretion. The flip side.....the pain, the ignominy of being reliant on a machine and few other people, the risk of infection, the sadness associated with a disolution of notions of 'cleanliness', of a new found 'smuttiness'.....
Why did I write this, because I felt strongly about it? Could not but wonder, at how amazing an indepenent machine our body is, most of it works without our intervention, and yet works fine most of the time.
Also, that body is essential a million variables all working in sync, a few go out of sync and then its amok and mayhem.....
Once again, this also illustrates my favorite fable that life intrinsically fragile. One evening you have a lady play with her grand-daughters. Next morning, she suffers a strokes which delibates her life support systems.....
........The King is Dead. Long Live the King........

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Post 61 Mid-Day Cartoons - 7 (The 'shitty' of Mumbai politics)

Source : Mid-Day Artist : Hemant Morporia Dt : 18th Jul 06

Post no. 60 - Some more spirits (and the High that follows)

Life back on track: Ask that of the son who lost both his parents; the young wife who lost her husband; the old man who lost his child; the young man who lost his limbs... Will their lives ever get back on track?

It is a cruel joke, to talk about the resilience of the city. What else, for heaven's sake, is it supposed to do? But isn't it more an extension of our 'chalta hai, hota hai' attitude?

And to top it, our unreasonable optimism — perhaps it won't happen again, at least not to our near and dear ones. There will be a round of editorials — some blaming the government for its softness, some blaming the neighbouring country, some praising the 'rudest' city for rising to the occasion and yet others offering platitudes.

And so it will go on till catastrophe strikes again. And the whole bloody circus begins again. The idea is not to undermine the sterling qualities the city has shown in every crisis but to try and shake the city awake from its rat race-induced stupor.

The idea is not to let these people get away with this — neither the beasts responsible for this outrage nor the people who will try to get away with compensations and 'heartfelt sympathies'.
The idea is not to get on, to let them know that some things just won't be tolerated. It is to demand something be done and fast; to make zero-tolerance more than a catchy phrase.

If a billion-strong nation digs its heels and refuses to move even for a day — a lot can be achieved. For a start we can demand proper surveillance and counter-terrorism deployment at least for the lifelines of our metros and other soft targets like the railways.

We need much more than the eyewash security provided by the drowsy policeman at the metal detector at the station entrance who has long learnt to disregard the ineffectual beeps and go on snoring.

We pride ourselves on taking everything in our easy-going stride; when will it occur to us that perhaps that is why we are taken so often for granted? If we can rise together after a crisis, what stops us from doing that before one?

Source : Times of India Writer : Madhumita Gupta Dt : 18 Jul 06

Monday, July 17, 2006

Post 59 - The ghost of Mumbai (and Spirits too)

Nilanjana makes the point much better than I can ever make, from TOI on the 16th Jul. I essentially made a posint in a previous post that its our (as in Mumbai's) numbness and denial that gets flagged as the 'spirit of Mumbai'....and yes the phrase gets used, abused, ad nauseam...... here goes, the original article.


When people who usually don't take the trains have nothing meaningful to say about the blasts, they use an all-weather expression — the Spirit of Mumbai. So what if Mumbai has been bombed once again? Long live the spirit of Mumbai.

This undefined entity has been sharing equal media space with numbers of dead and the injured since Tuesday's serial blasts. One news channel even lined up playback and Indipop singers who sang one patriotic song after another, hailing the indomitable spirit of the city.

It is easy to avoid nonsensical expression if one understands Mumbai. Nearly 17 million people live here, 29,000 in every square kilometer. It is hard for this city to look deserted.
To zoom in on scattered images of the city as examples of a brave Mumbai fighting back only requires a camera and a mike, and not much work.

For instance, hours after the blast on Tuesday, a news anchor in a Delhi studio pointed to shots of Mumbai's commuters travelling by Central Railways locals. It was portrayed as, yes, "the spirit of Mumbai".

But the truth is, it is shocking that the Central line plied even as the victims of the attack on the Western line lay on the tracks and around. Simple security measures required the service to be halted until all trains were screened. It was inefficiency. Not spirit.

A day after the blasts, offices with 100% attendance were saluted for their fighting spirit. Prime-time discussions on television went one step further and attributed the rise of the Sensex to the spirit of Mumbai, and on Thursday evening, film and television stars took to the streets and lit candles for those who succumbed to the blasts and to salute Mumbai's ... (it's too tiring to repeat).

Needless to say, it is not the regular people — families of the victims, and those who rushed towards the mangled compartments to help — who are talking about this floating spirit.
They are busy coping with grief, praying for safe recovery of the injured, and getting back to work with the resigned knowledge that if anything has to happen, it will.

That is the sentiment that brought a human resources officer back to work on Thursday after she suffered the trauma of being in the same train where the first blast occured in Bandra.

"I was scared to take the train on Wednesday. But on Thursday, I travelled knowing that anything can go wrong anywhere. Staying at home will not save me," she says.

Santilal Mourya, a bhelpuriwala, who was injured on March 12, 1993, experienced the terror of being unfairly targeted once again. But he exorcised his fears and is back at his stall near the Stock Exchange. "I have to survive. What else can I do," he asks.

Every city finds a way to regenerate after a trauma. When people have no choice but to get back with their lives, the earnest attempt to attach an expression to them is like overstating the obvious.

"I don't understand why there is so much talk about spirit. It is almost as if we are not expected to move on with our lives. I fear the authorities will soon start taking this 'spirit' for granted and not do even the little that they are doing at the moment," says Akshay Desai, a college student.
The fact that commuters and others had rushed to help victims is added as another ingredient in the exotic spirit of Mumbai. But isn't it obvious that in any Indian city, on lookers will behave in this manner?

Unlike in the West, social crises in India have always had people rushing towards the scene of action to either help or just gape.

In 1993, moments after the serial blasts in Mumbai, B Raman, who was then a top official with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), visited the sites. He remembers seeing boys playing cricket nearby as though nothing had happened.

It was exactly the kind of image that would be called the spirit of Mumbai today. But the truth is that a more responsible country would have cordoned off the area fearing unexploded bombs. Time and again, images of callousness are portrayed foolishly as spirit.

While Mumbai is without doubt a great city, every single compliment thrown at it could so evidently be applied to other parts of the country too. In 1998, Coimbatore was back on its feet a few hours after a series of 12 blasts rocked the city killing 33 and injuring 153 people.

In 1992, when Sukhdev Singh Khalsa, the chief of militant outfit Babbar Khalsa, was killed in an ambush by the Punjab police, members of his outfit ran amok murdering several policemen and their families.

"The next day we thought the other policemen will be demoralised and keep away from their duties out of fear. But each one of them turned up," says Raman.

Though the term 'spirit of Mumbai' has helped spawn many discussions and debates surrounding the crises, it has also irked the common man. He does not identify with it.

"If I hear the word 'spirit' anymore, I am going to puke," said one text message that made the rounds on Thursday. And this TOI reader posted a message that said, "Oh god, do something before we Mumbaiites become an endangered species... and only our spirits remain."

Maybe it's time to use another expression — one that will take the focus off the people and put it on politicians. If anybody's spirit is really high now, it must be that of Johny Joseph. After days of relentless media attention on the BMC commissioner, the city has finally shifted its attention elsewhere.

Source : Times of India Author : Nilanjana Sengupta

Friday, July 14, 2006

Post 58 - Music 1 - On a song and a prayer

"Naam Ghum Jayega, Chehra yeh badal jayega, Meri Awaaz hi pehchaan hain, agar yaad rehe"....
Which roughly translated means "My name might fade into obscurity, my face might get transfigured with time, its my voice which lends me my real identity, only if you can try and recall it"

The point is, I was listening to 'Mitwa' from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna on the car radio yesterday, possibly for the first time in full. The voice of the singer sounded unique, I scratched a bit, and then suddenly VOILA, Nirvana strikes and I realise this is the lead singer of Fuzon, a pakistani rock band.

Hurried to office, searched on google, and lo, it was right, and the name of the singer is Shafqat Amanat Khan, son of legendary classical singer Amanant Khan.

About the song itself, I suggest you hear it....Its such a bloody difficult song to sing...Its has crescendos which amatuer singers would have to shit on before they could even attempt.
Our man, Shafqat does it with panache....lending it a 'beauty' which has not been heard in Hindi film music for a long time....'beauty' the way we should have actually known it all along.

A difficult composition. A brilliant performance. A great song. Suddenly I want to be alive.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Post 57 - The statistics of living (and dying) in a city of dreams

As the trains of Bombay rocked with bombs, I could not help notice how a large part of Mumbai was actually numb to the whole tragedy. What most people call as the 'spirit of Mumbai', the fact that today most offices (including mine) have 100% attendance - these are not actually odes to our my opinion they arise out of a city with deceased senstivity...a tendency to be unfeeling, to reduce everything around us to a statistic.

Someone I know, who was in NY during 9/11 rightly pointed out, that when the terror attacks happened in NY, the conversations amongst people in the city were about 'lives', about 'stories', about 'terror'.....(and on the flip side about 'paranoia'.).

Compare this with the average Bombayites response, which is primaryily, 'how many dead?', 'how many bombs?', 'how many sites?'.....

It almost appears to me that lives in Mumbai are no more than mere statistics.

On the positive side though, the response of the average Mumbaikar to help another person in distress was commendable. Strangers distributing food and water to help others stranded was heartening. Even more unpreceedented were people picking up bodies (both alive and dead) and giving them the sanity and respect they deserve.

Spirit. Statistics. Soul?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Post 56 - Myth of India (Pankaj Mishra)

Another author I like is Pankaj Mishra, who writes very well - Butter Chicken inLudhiana, End of suffering - Buddha in the world.....

It also seems that all my favorite authors seem to be converging onto Hindustan Times to write guest columns. Heres one by Pankaj Mishra which appeared on 9th Jul 2006.

Read it, it meets my measure, which for any journalistic piece is " does it force me to think?", well this one, definitely does.

"INDIA IS a roaring capitalist success story.” So says the latest issue of Foreign Affairs; and last week many leading business executives and politicians in India celebrated as Lakshmi Mittal finally succeeded in his hostile takeover of the Luxembourgian steel company Arcelor. India’s leading business newspaper, The Economic Times, summed up the general euphoria over the event in its regular feature, ‘The Global Indian Takeover’: “For India, it is a harbinger of things to come—economic superstardom.” This sounds persuasive as long as you don’t know that Mr Mittal, who lives in Britain, announced his first investment in India only last year. He is as much an Indian success story as Sergey Brin, the Russian-born co-founder of Google, is proof of Russia’s imminent economic superstardom.
In recent weeks, India seemed an unlikely capitalist success story as communist parties decisively won elections to state legislatures, and the stock market, which had enjoyed record growth in the last two years, fell nearly 20%in two weeks, wiping out $2.4 billion in investor wealth in four days. This week India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, made it clear that only a small minority of Indians will enjoy “Western standards of living and high consumption.” There is, however, no denying many Indians their conviction that the 21st century will be the Indian Century just as the 20th was American. The exuberant self-confidence of a tiny Indian elite now increasingly infects the news media and foreign policy establishment in the US.
Encouraged by a powerful lob by of rich Indian-Americans who seek to expand their political influence within both their home and adopted countries, President Bush recently agreed to assist India’s nuclear programme, even at the risk of undermining his efforts to check the nuclear ambitions of Iran. As if on cue, special reports and covers hailing the rise of India in Time, Foreign Affairs and The Economist have appeared in the last month.
It was not so long ago that India appeared in the American press as a poor, backward nation, saddled with an inefficient bureaucracy and, though officially nonaligned, friendly to the Soviet Union. Suddenly the country seems to be not only a “roaring capitalist success story” but also, according to Foreign Affairs, an “emerging strategic partner” of the US. To what extent is this wishful thinking rather than an accurate estimate of India’s strengths?
Looking for new friends and partners in a rapidly changing world, the Bush administration clearly hopes that India, a fellow democracy, will be a reliable counterweight against China as well as Iran. But trade and cooperation between India and China is growing; and, though grateful for American generosity on the nuclear issue, India is too dependent on Iran for oil to wholeheartedly support the United States in its efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The world, more interdependent now than during the cold war, may no longer be divided up into strategic blocs and alliances.
Since the early 1990s, when the Indian economy was liberalised, India has emerged as the world leader in information technology and business outsourcing, with an average growth of about 6 per cent a year. Growing foreign investment and easy credit have fuelled a consumer revolution in urban areas. With their Starbucks-style coffee bars, Blackberry-wielding young professionals, and shopping malls selling luxury brand names, large parts of Indian cities strive to resemble Manhattan.
But the increasingly common, business-centric view of India suppresses more facts than it reveals. Recent accounts of the alleged rise of India barely mention the fact that the country’s $728 per capita gross domestic product is just slightly higher than that of sub-Saharan Africa and that, as the 2005 United Nations Human Development Report puts it, even if it sustains its current high growth rates, India will not catch up with high-income countries until 2106.
Nor is India rising very fast on the report’s Human Development index, where it ranks 127, just two rungs above Myanmar and more than 70 below Cuba and Mexico. Despite a recent reduction in poverty levels, nearly 380 million Indians still live on less than a dollar a day.
Malnutrition affects half of all children in India, and there is little sign that they are being helped by the country’s market reforms, which have focused on creating private wealth rather than expanding access to health care and education. Despite the country’s growing economy, 2.5 million Indian children die annually, accounting for one out of every five child deaths worldwide; and facilities for primary education have collapsed in large parts of the country (the official literacy rate of 61 percent includes many who can barely write their names). In the countryside, where 70 percent of India’s population lives, the government has reported that about 100,000 farmers committed suicide between 1993 and 2003.
Feeding on the resentment of those left behind by the urbanoriented economic growth, communist insurgencies have erupted in some of the most populous and poorest parts of north and central India. The Indian government no longer effectively controls many of the districts where communists battle landlords and police, imposing a harsh form of justice on a largely hapless rural population.
The potential for conflict — among castes as well as classes — also grows in urban areas, where India’s cruel social and economic disparities are as evident as its new prosperity. The main reason for this is that India’s economic growth has been largely jobless. Only 1.3 million out of a working population of 400 million are employed in the information technology and business processing industries that make up the socalled new economy.
No labour-intensive manufacturing boom of the kind that powered the economic growth of almost every developed and developing country in the world has yet occurred in India. Unlike China, India still imports more than it exports. This means that as 70 million more people enter the work force in the next five years, most of them without the skills required for the new economy, unemployment and inequality could provoke even more social instability than they have already.
For decades now, India’s underprivileged have used elections to register their protests against joblessness, inequality and corruption. In the 2004 general elections, they voted out a central government that claimed that India was “shining,” bewildering not only most foreign journalists but also those in India who had predicted an easy victory for the ruling coalition.
Many serious problems confront India. They are unlikely to be solved as long as the wealthy, both inside and outside the country, choose to believe their own complacent myths.
(The writer is the author of Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Post 55 - Making 'piece' with death

My wife thinks I have a 'death' fetish, which means I am unusually obssessed with anything related to 'death' and the process of dying.

In some sense that is true, in some other senses, she is trivializing this pursuit of mine.

Death to me is magical. It has a strange esoteric feel to it. Imagine a machine which keeps working year in, year out, and then suddenly in a moment goes kaput. Why?

Lets take the moment of brain death (when the electrical impulses stop), which is about 20 mins after clinical death (when the heart stops) to be 't'. What distinguishes the body-machine between t and 't-1'. What is the big change that happens between these two moments. Doctors would say that the brain dies because the heart is no longer pumping oxygen. Fine, does that mean, a brain can be kepy alive even after the stoppage of the heart, by pumping blood and oxygen artificially?

Vice versa, if the heart does not need the brain to control itself, then why (and when) does it decide to stop? Does it have a mind of its own?

On the other hand, if we say both the heart-brain are interconnected vital organs to survive, then pray, why in the case of a reasonable healthy person (whose brain and intellect is full of life and the desire to live), does the heart stop.

This is akin to a car whose motor keeps doing 4500 rpm, then quite abruptly in the middle of a rpm, say between 3987 and 3988 'rotation' it stops we ever see anything like this.....(BTW, in the case of most electronic and mechnical items, they fail in such a way, that they refuse to start the next time...for example a flour mill will continue working till the time it is 'on'. Once it is switched 'off' and then we try to switch it 'on', it might not turn on. This is a common observation in the machine world .......why does not this same happen in the human 'machine'.

If the heart is such a critical organ of the body, and we indeed did evolve (as Darwin said), then pray (again), why have we not developed 2 hearts, just like a jet has two redundant engines......

What actually does happen at the point of death? Do we experience any abrupt transition, or is it a smooth point? Is there pain(and conflict to stay alive) in the brain?

Between the point of clinical and brain death, do the 'senses' still work. Can we abuse a clinically dead person and can he hear it?

Too many questions, absolutely no answers from medicine or science or spirituality?

Do I need to explain more why I am fascinated with such a abrupt full stop, a point of end....

Post 54 - Lawrence of Suburbia - Fundamental Interconnectedness of things

When I was in school ( I studied at St. Johns, Thane), we used have a subject called book keeping (part of accounting) as part of our curriculum in 7-8-9th standards.

We also used to have carpentry, and this was in addition to our usual subjects. Both these subjects were taught by a Mallu prof call Lawrence...we used to call him Lawrence Sir.

Lawrence Sir, used to also teach us UN subjects - which was a GK exam on United Nations, which we could optionally give. We had to sit after school and he used to give us a dose of UN history, it challenges.

I often reminscene that he did bring quite a passion to the dry subjects ( from most student's perspectives, since these did not contribute to our academic grades in any way).

In one of his post school UN classes, I remember LS (for Lawrence Sir), going on a tirade of how plants are not just alive (as we had learnt from Mr.Bose), but they are also very intelligent. He gave us examples of some study where they found - that when a person slashed a cactus tree in a violent way, the next time he approached any plant any where in the world - the radio pulses emitted by the plants were that of fear and hostility. It must be noted, that this idea was not only revolutionary, it was also well accepted with sound arguements.

I found this a little juvinielle in those days, but when I progressed in my own little way in terms of understanding the world around me, I must admit that I found his views very akin to what I was reading from Deepak Chopra and Fritjof Capra. (its funny how we find sensible things juvinielle when we are young, and juvinielle things sensible when we grow older...i thinks it plain ironic)

Looking back, I often think that possibly LS was the only one who was trying to 'teach' us.

We used to go to a top floor attic for LS' classes, this was just above the main hall on the third floor of the main school building.

LS, wherever you are, a silent thanks for at least trying - at least one student of yours benefitted from your ideas.

Post 53 - Mid-Day Cartoons - 6 (Mumbai Rains

Source : Mid-Day Artist : Hemant Morporia

This one comes bang right after media (TV and press) went beserk exaggerating Mumbai Rains.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Post 52 - Ruchir Joshi on Narendra Modi

I have been a big fan of Ruchir Joshi, ever since I read the "Last Jet Engine Laugh".

I found this artcile by him in the 6th Jul 2006 edition of HindustanTimes very interesting. Hence it appears here.

Published on July 06 2006,Page 11

OUT OF LINE - Protection is not really Narendra Modi’s forte

ruchir joshi

R ARELY COULD there have been such a sharp goad from absurdity. You happen to be living in Gujarat, in Ahmedabad, and you go to the local shop to buy biscuits and chips. There is no more salacious thought in your head than settling down with a good cup of tea in front of the TV and watching sport or soap or news. As the shopkeeper hands you your change he also thrusts forward a small trunk that’s been sitting on the counter. “Here,” he says, “please do take a few. They are free.” You look inside the box, expecting some promotional mint, with or without a hole, but what you see there leaves no breath in your lungs for any lozenge to freshen.

Having not yet seen the goods myself, I don’t know if Narendra Modi’s face is printed only on the cartons, whether it’s resplendent on each individual packet or, indeed, also embossed like a royal profile on the business end of each condom itself. What I do know is that Modi and Ashok Bhatt, the Health Minister, both seem eager to try and get ever deeper into the lives of the citizens of Gujarat.

On the surface, it looks like a radical gambit: the Chief Minister and highest elected official in charge of the state’s health putting not only their names but their mugs on the line in order to encourage ordinary citizens to use the most effective instruments of sexual protection. “Here,” the likelinesses of the leaders might seem to be saying, “if someone objects to the use of these, just show them our pictures — the best, most God-fearing leaders of your state are exhorting you to please protect yourselves, and to try and bring down the population.” Or, even, “Please use this prophylactic without shame or fear. Both of us do.” Seen in the context of the global politics of health, again, this could be a really cool and funky move. Confronted by the unholy alliance of a geriatrically intransigent Catholic Church and a lunatically criminal ‘Christian’ fundamentalist Bush administration, which, together, are doing their best to destroy decades of work around family planning and the containment of Aids, what could be more insouciantly courageous than two democratically elected leaders of an Indian state legislature saying, “Hey, we know the human urge for sexual gratification is one of the main turbines that drives our lives! We know you are going to need recreational fornication! It’s okay! Ignore the repressed nay-sayers!” This signifier can also be unrolled a third way: this is a canny first move on the part of the Gujarat Gaurav Commando towards turning the state into a major international tourist-magnet. Rajasthan offers camels, castles and, now, designer bottles of local liqueurs. Goa offers beaches, great food and a long tradition of foreigners wearing very few clothes.

Dharamsala has the mountains and the whole Tibetan thing going on. So what can Gujarat offer in competition? Well, for starters, come visit and we won’t object to you enjoying yourselves in your hotel rooms. In fact, now that our Cabinet has taken sex out of the closet, the doing away of alcohol prohibition will follow shortly — in a year or two you will be able to relax in beer bars before or after your use of Modi-Tex, Bhatt-Traveller or Patel X-tra Anand.

There is a commonly used phrase in Gujarati: “E manas to naago thayi gayo” — literally ‘that man became naked’, meaning he became completely and brazenly shameless. There is no more apt sentence to describe what Narendra Modi and his government have been doing since he took over as Chief Minister five years ago.

In 2001, Modi was made Chief Minister with a one-line brief from his party: Turn around the BJP’s failing fortunes before the coming state elections. “I am not here to play a Test match,” Modi is reported to have said to his ministers, “I am here to play oneday cricket.” For those who’ve just joined us, or whose memories may have wandered, here, in chronological sequence, is one brief description of that ‘game’.

First, lists are compiled of ar eas where Muslims are concentrated, of where they live among non-Muslims, of businesses partly or wholly owned by Muslims, of where Muslims are employed; next, the plans for a ‘spontaneous reaction’ are meticulously put in place. Next an ‘action’ is created, in which a Muslim crowd can be blamed for the deaths of Hindus. In the early morning of February 27, 2002, something with enough incendiary power to burn from up downwards through the concrete slab of a bogey passageway finds its way into a train carriage that is sealed from inside; 59 people die in the carriage, all Hindu, mostly women and children who, it seems, have been herded into the middle of the carriage, away from the exits.

The trigger-tragedy takes place at around 7.30 a.m. in the small town of Godhra, which is not too close to Ahmedabad. But by 12.30 p.m. police control rooms are receiving (and, it seems, mostly ignoring) reports of attacks on Muslim neighbourhoods and businesses. The ‘spontaneous’ mobs are amazingly well organised, with lists of addresses, with gas cylinders and explosives, with trucks in which to transport them, with mobiles on which they get instructions from some coordinating entity.

Over the next two months, central and state governments, the army, the civil administration and police, all notwithstanding, over 2,000 Gujaratis are killed and well over 100,000 ripped out of their homes and livelihoods. In the land that supposedly worships the sacredly erotic ras lila between Radha and Krishna, several hundred little girls and women are raped and then many killed in the most obscene ways.

Surrounded by the cacophonous defence mounted by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K Advani, Arun Jaitley, the party’s ‘master strategist’ Pramod Mahajan, among others, supported by a callous middle-class, Narendra Modi-shri is elected to continue in power. This gives the man and his cohorts the licence to further tighten their grip on Gujarat. FIRs of murder and rape during the carnage are torn up and trial witnesses to arson and butchery are terrorised. The initial lists continue to have a role, as owners of factories and businesses are instructed to get rid of their Muslim workers, an instruction backed by threats of arson and mayhem, the compliance of it overseen by detailed surveillance of workplaces.

Modi’s bloody One-Day win mutated into a macabre Test match that’s still continuing. Instead of standing trial and going to jail, the man continues, without pause or prophylactic, to do to various other sections of the Gujarati populace more or less what he did to Gujarati Muslims in 2002. Despite the orders of the Supreme Court, buried cases against the perpetrators of 2002 have not been re-opened. Policemen and administrators who oversaw the carnage have been rewarded with promotions. In a parallel pornography, the twoyear-old UPA government stands frozen, caught in a Mexican stand-off in which the BJP holds the rusty but loaded hand-musket of the 1984 Sikh killings.

It won’t forever be like this, though. Even today, the documentation and the search for justice continues around the only subcontinental event that surpasses Gujarat for organised genocide and mass rape — the brutal and cold-blooded campaign of the Pakistani army in 1971 against their own Bengali population. In other parts of the world, people who have planned large-scale murder and rape have even found themselves pursued and prosecuted and, sometimes, ending their ignominous lives behind prison bars.

So, if you happen to be going to Gujarat in the next few days, do grab a handful of the Modi-faced condoms and preserve them carefully — in the coming years they will serve to remind you of how far humans can take themselves from Dwarka and Vrindavan, from love and humanity.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Post 51 - Winner takes it all

In the wake of the recent football world cup, quite a few people have told me that life is unfair. a friend of mine posted on this topic

(Yes, if you see my own post around this, even I had suggested the same. On second thoughts, I would like to correct it and say, life is more unjust than unfair, and there is a stark difference between the same).

My response to this 'winner takes all' point is a simple theory. In my opinion, winners always command a premium. This is true in all industries/spheres of life as well. Till recent times, Coke commanded a huge premium over Pepsi, Nike over Reebok (now RBK).....does anyone even know which is the second most popular brand in breakfast cereals....I don't, and I assume neither do you. We all remember Bjorn Borg and Billie Jean King, do we even remember others from that era. I am sure 50 years down, we shall all remember Sir Garfield Sobers, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, but will we remember a Yuvraj Singh or an Andy Flintoff....I am not sure.

As a no-fear t-shirt says, "Second is the first loser", its true.

Also, in my opinion 9/10 times the difference in effort/talent/skill between no.1 and no.2 is miniscule, and thats all the more reason, I believe we must strive to win (be 1st), because you still expend 98% of the same energies - why come second and take only 40% of the loot. In my friend's example (Argentina vs. Germany Quarterfinal), ironically, I think Argentia expended 120%, took 0% of the loot, Germany possible expended 80% and took 100%.

Life is unfair, if we fail to understand and imbibe the simple rule that life always rewards winners exponentially unjustly.....If we do, then we must play to its rules and then suddenly life is fair.

As a child, I grew up listening to Abba, and I remember this lovely song of theirs called "The winner takes it all." No one remembers other groups from that era, we all remember ABBA for being a front runner. Of course, this song is not about sports but instead about lovey-dovey sentimental losses, but yeah, you could forgive that part of the song...anyways life, love, togetherness.....all have an element of chance, dice and gamesmanship to them.

"The Winner Takes It All"
I don't wanna talk
About the things we've gone through
Though it's hurting me
Now it's historyI've played all my cards
And that's what you've done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That's her destiny

I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I'd be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules
The gods may throw a dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear

The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It's simple and it's plain
Why should I complain.
But tell me does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name?
Somewhere deep inside
You must know I miss you
But what can I say
Rules must be obeyed
The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always staying low
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all
I don't wanna talk
If it makes you feel sad
And I understand
You've come to shake my hand
I apologize
If it makes you feel bad
Seeing me so tense
No self-confidence
But you see
The winner takes it all
The winner takes it all...

Post No. 50 - Waisa bhi hota hain

Caught a few scenes of Waisa bhi hota hain-Part II.

Was left wondering on how sauve (and crisp) an actor Prashant Narayan is. Why does he not come in more movies.

This movie is worth a watch, much better than standard (or is that sub-standard) fare we actually watch.

Songs are great, especially Kailash Kher's Allah ke Bande. Watch this movie, if for nothing, but to save alternative cinema, to give our children a better sense of what 'art' used to be.

Inset : Prashant Narayanan

Post No. 49 - Mid-Day Cartoons - 5 (Ronaldo)

Courtesy : Mid-Day Artist : Hemant Morporia

After a lack-lustre performers by 'stars' Brazil against the under-rated 'old' France of Zidane.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Post No. 48 - Mid-day Cartoons - 4 (Aishwarya)

Source : Mid-day Artist : Hemant Morporia

This one lampoons the growing artificiality of Aishwarya Rai, India's most famous young face. She is extremely infamous across the literati for her behaving like a complete fake (whether she is or not is a matter of debate).

Post No. 47 - A city that never sleeps, a city of dreams - DROWNING....

Mumbai, is drowning. The insomanic city of dreams is under water. Just like last year.

Who is to blame? My favorite hunny bunnies - who refuse to play their part....the shitty a***holes who live in the comfort of a govt. bunglow, lounging in their cocaine snorts and chaddi shorts.

Should I continue paying my taxes? I think, I should to avoid prosecution.

Should I continue loving Mumbai? No. Cut the emotional crap, its a crap city to live in.

People are great, the city has great spirit.....but then its akin to a Monalisa, on whom our hunny bunnies are defeacing all the time.....soon, Monalisa will be putrid, the paint will wear on, the canvas will rot, and what shall remain - just another fracas.

I think I should plan to move out of the city soon, if not today, in another 5 years. Move to where? Singapore, maybe.....London, maybe......New York, maybe.......but yes, move I will.

Maximum City. Maximum Water. Maximum Rape. Oh hell, shit happens.

Post No. 46 - Surreal legacy...death and its charms

I recently came across this blog of a girl called Sowmya, from banglore, a tamilian.

I also realised from some other blogs that she just died, that she suffered from some fatal disease like cancer ( I am just guessing).

How do I know her? Hell, I don't. I only know her through this blog of hers.

I come back to my favorite question, will anyone visit this blog after 25 years, say in 2031....

I come to the same conclusion, we really understand neither LIFE nor DEATH.

Post No. 45 - Who is this sass ?

She is Kashish Chopra. She was awarded Miss India (USA) congentiality in Aug 2003.

Okay? So what? Why is she famous?

Well, she is going against the wind (and the tide and the 'force'). She is the most famous Indian lesbian, by a long mile....She is also possibly the only Miss India who is a confessed lesbian.

As soon he got to know this, someone I know sighed and said, "What a waste" ;-)

I have a different take. Does it even really matter?

Post No. 44 - Another Great T-Shirt Grafitti...very snazzy


Post No. 43 - Jaimala - The one who 'defiled' the Ayappa temple

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Post No. 42 - Swami Sharnam....defiled by a woman

Yes, its official, the Ayyappa idol at Sabarimala is defiled. 'Defiled' by whom?

By an actress called Jaimala, who visited the Lord when she was all of 27, which is around 20 years ago from now.

How did she defile him? By visiting him. The Lord is supposed to be a bachelor, and women who are capable of mensturating are not supposed to visit him, because it might TEMPT the lord out of his celibacy....yes you heard me right, 'tempt'.

If Lords can be tempted by the likes of Jaimala, its only human for us to salivate for a Madhuri or an aishwarya....but thats another point.....

How did Jaimala's contempt become public? Well, she confessed to it 20 years later?

Pray, why? Because some bunny astrologer (yes they can be bunnies too) who worked with the temple, said the spirit of the temple is no longer the same, because a woman now had infiltrated into it. This was in all newspapers. As soon as she read it, Miss 'Honest' Jaimala, wrote in to the temple, claiming it was she who had done it 20 years ago.

Why did it take the astrologer 20 years to percieve this? Well, thats another story....actually irrelevant to this story.

This has now become an issue of public outrage. The temple will now have to be 'purified' by creating a pond, doing some kind of havan (offerings in fire), new clothes of the idol, and doing away with the commerical establishments within the temple.

I say it with all sincerity that such a thing can happen only in India - A temple that treats 'mensturation' as bad. A lusty lord who still wants to be a bachelor. An actress who goes out and breaks these knuckle headed rules. An astrolger who 'farts' twenty years too early. An actress who comes out clean twenty years too late. A lord who needs refurbishment, because he was defiled. A country that can be retrograde and treat women as sex bjects who have the power to tempt men(and my my, even the Gods) out of celibacy. (Oh, and BTW, just so that you know, I fucked you, because you looked so yummy and tempting). Newspapers full of hare-brained reports surrounding this story.

Ah! I believe we never really became independent, only the 'masters' changed.