Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Mosquito Effect


If you are wondering what the content of the post would be by reading this title, then my sincere suggestion would be; please stop guessing could sometimes on CnC we too talk about incredible things (may be someday even we might write on fairly tales and Harry Potter on our blog).

Well this post is coming from a frustrated soul, who is clueless about ways to settle a dispute. Every night me and my enemies drawn our boundaries, sign peace treaties and cease fire; but all these unwritten laws fail in few minutes and we are back at war. I stand tall like a brave Spartan warrior up against a fleet of over 300 enemy soldiers (a lil exaggeration though); I wait and kill them when they are within one yard radius from my body. Fierce battle lasts for hours, neither can I stop and donate blood to my enemy nor do the mosquitoes quit the battle field; they breath through my smoke bombs (don't think otherwise I am talking about mosquito repellents here) and keep trying to enter my territory. It's a complete bloodshed, either mine or others.

The results of this wars are, either they lose their life by getting smacked by me (high success rate of .1%), or leave me with a small protrusion (as if they have filled something in my veins rather than sucking it out; happens 10% of the cases I guess) or the most common, I try to zero them, but then end up hurting myself and they fly away.

It is a never ending war, though I wish to win, I am clueless of the how?? Can anyone suggest a first hand tested strategy which can be of my help??

I tried to get a few solutions from various philosophies from noted thinkers, writers and religions that "love" is the greatest weapon and one can win anything with love. Some went on to say that we can even win over my enemies with love. Even our own Munnabhai quite promotes this concept (remember the incident where a person benevolently cleans the paan strains created by a crook without shouting at him). So does that mean I need to love mosquitoes as well? Will a mosquito stop biting me if I voluntary allow it to bite for more and more times??

This is where I feel all these concepts are not always practical. Just take a simple case of a ring master in a circus; the tigers and other animals perform the necessary tricks only because they are afraid of him, not because of the piece of meat that he offers them at the end of the stunt. If we realise it's the same with most other trainers as well. We learn more when they are strict and we work under pressure. Remember this is the image of boarding schools which most people have - that the teachers are strict and students get punished for all in-disciplinary acts. It's this fear that helps most students do better. I am not sure if others feel the same, but I think I miss my teachers whom I was more afraid of than those who were nice to me. Or may be its just that I learnt it the hard way.

It applies to my mom as well.. She is all nice and loving when I do well but at the same time, will scold me if I ever do something wrong – and I believe it was this fear that still keeps me conscious before I could ever dare do things wrong. So it is this balance between love and fear that helped me grow the way I am and I believe its and in-build art which most mothers possess.

Now when I say all this, I am remembered of the buzz around the country. What should be our next step to counter terrorism?? Is war the solution?? How to resolve Kashmir?? Are we prepared for the War?? What would be extent of damage?? What could be the outcome?? So many questions but very few concrete answers…

But then here also mosquito effect stands to explain the international relations..

Why is Pakistani government under greater treat when the United States of America pressures it and comes up with statements against them?? At the same time India, which has been highlighting the epic centre of all the terrorist activities, it was not at all catered to?? And now look even Pakistan is trying to take a few steps by capturing some key members of the militant groups??

Now all this is definitely not because of love..

It's not that I am trying to prove that love is not powerful and only fear rules the world. There are instances where problems which otherwise failed, were solved by love. Take for instance the relation between Indians and Pakistanis; keep aside all the terrorist and political activities, I think the increased communication between common people is serving as a big step to bridge some of the differences between "aam admi" of both the nations. The apple traders were the happiest when the trade was restored this year.

So the mosquito effect tells us that love and fear are both equally powerful tools and should be used according to the situation. And just as the war between me and mosquitoes seems never ending, where sometimes I win and sometimes they, similarly the success of love and fear will be never ending sometimes the problems get resolved by love while at other we need to use fear.

And regarding Terrorism and countering it, its an issue with so many complexities attached to it. I am dying to see what step our politicians take and bring long – term peace and tranquility back to one of the most beautiful part of the planet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 - The year India got divided again and trying to reunite after being shaken


Last night I was watching the above documentary from BBC, talking about one of the most memorable moment in the history of South-East Asia - The Partition of India. A move that then affected more than 10 million lives and now it’s still counting. And the only reason behind it was of course, Religion and politics attached to it.
After watching this video, I could not stop wondering for long, “what if both nations were not divided”?? We talk of growth stories of India in the last few years and its future prospect of being the next superpower of the world, but, what if we had our neighboring country along with us??
After spending hours I realized that, Religion has had always been used as a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” and if I were to summarize all the events of this year, religion played a major role, or rather a devastating role.

The year 2009 started on a very positive note with the sensex booming, most Indian companies performing well, our international ties getting strengthened, our sportsmen doing well and so on. But slowly things faded, we were almost at war with terrorists who went on a spree and created havoc in all parts of the country. And now before we could control them, we have few more issues to address – the anti north Indian drive launched by MNS, the attack on Churches in Karnataka, rape of a nun in Orissa, formation of Hindu terrorist group and then came the biggest blow – the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Let me not talk much about the terrorist attacks as it been talked and written about all over, including CnC, so my focus would be more on the other incidents.

This year had attacks on Churches and Christian community in some parts of the country, viz. Karnataka and Orissa. But then I read an article by Mr. Francois Gautier.
The article coming from a Catholic Indian seems really convincing and it explains to a certain extent why and how the so-called secular India is turning violent and more shockingly the Hindu community.

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka?

Well I am sure many of you would have come across forceful conversions being promoted by some of the Christian missionaries in India. Even I myself had a firsthand experience, exactly five years back when I was travelling by a bus from Trichy to Thanjavur. We were heading for general elections that time and I felt that NDA did well and would be re-elected, but a man tried to explain me why he wanted me not to go by the financial growth and vote for party which is secular and unbiased. And slowly as the discussion progressed the man started narrating his own story. How he was in trouble, not able to meet his medical expenses, before a Christian missionary lent a helping hand by funding his treatment and now he is a convert and is promoting other to follow his steps by talking about his own emotional example and the benefits he derived out of it.
From my friends from different parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, I did hear about many more mass conversion campaigns and promotions, and I agree with the author on all figures he is quoting. Conversion campaigns were conducted even in places like Tirupati which is one of the most holy temples especially for South Indians.
But I never heard of the situation in North-East. Just now I googled it out and was shock to see some of the news items.
Assault on a Dalit couple for not converting to Christianity (Jalaun, UP, Oct 17 2007, Dainik Jagran)

Tripura tribal leader killed

Separatist group bans Hindu festivities

Hindu preacher killed by Tripura rebels

All this created a divide and brought in lot of disturbances between these two communities. No one was taking any action against such unlawful propagations, and it reached a level were none could act sensibly and come up with a non-violent and sensible solution.

For me, as much as terror attacks, it was shocking to see an Indian army personal being questioned for promoting communal violence. We have seen movies like Shaurya and even the blockbuster Main Hu Na where men in uniform were into malpractices based on personal grievances against a particular community but then I was always proud of our army personnel, who not only lay down their lives for the nation but also respect their enemies and treat them humanitarianly (independent of how they treat us). So I never expected as issues like Lt. Col. Prasad Porohit to come up. Sandhvi involved tried to justify her involvement by quoting the mishaps in her personal life, but then as far as I am aware, a Sandhvi one is supposed to leave all emotional ties and act in the best interest of righteousness. Now after the unfortunate demise of ATC Chief, Hemant Karkare I really wonder how the case would move forward and when it would reach the final verdict.

Now rather than talking about Terrorism and how the jihadi groups misinterpret religion and deceive people, I would rather like to talk about some moves made by Indian government to attack votes from the Muslim community in India.I remember that after Dewali I was coming back from Hyderabad and I note a building very brightly lit and well crowded, I wondered what it was and felt it must be some studio or building which is having an extended Dewali party, but then it turned out to be Hyderabad’s Haj House.
This year, we know how the airline industry is faring, but the Cabinet as usual has decided to increase the number of pilgrims availing the Haj subsidy and flying by the national carrier. For an airlines already reeling under Rs 2,000-crore loss and burdened with severe employee-related issues, a welfare measure like this puts undue duress on it.
Aircraft engaged in Haj duty have to first pick up pilgrims from the smaller towns which have been approved as part of the hub and spoke arrangement, and then after they drop the pilgrims to the final destination, they come back empty. Similarly, in order to pick up the pilgrims, the aircraft have to go to Jeddah empty, which results in an increase in expenditure. Any commercial airliner does not view huge aircraft flying empty favourably as it implies a loss in revenue.
The Cabinet kept the amount paid by the pilgrims for the round trip to Jeddah and Medina at Rs 12,000, as it has remained since 1994. In 1991, the amount paid by the pilgrims was Rs 10,000 as against Rs 14,056 per passenger paid to Air India by the government. This amount was then gradually raised to Rs 12,000 by 1994 against Rs 17,000 paid to the carrier. Last year, while 1,10,000 pilgrims availed the subsidy paying only Rs 12,000 each, the amount paid by the government to the carrier was Rs 47,454 per passenger. The total cost for Haj operations last year (for 1,10,000 pilgrims) was Rs 727 crore of which the subsidy requirement was Rs 595 crore. This year, in order for the pilgrimage of 1,23,211 pilgrims, the total cost estimated by the government is Rs 847 crore, of which the subsidy requirement will be approximately Rs 700 crore.
Now, even the learned Muslims are supporting the appeal scrap such funds, as Haj is a pilgrimage which one is supposed to complete under his/her own expenses and by not taking any financial help from others. Thus, providing subsidies and other moves taken by our politicians are just for vote banks and not for the best interest of the minority communities. For further reading go through :

‘Haj subsidy unIslamic, use that money on our education, health’

Then we had a heinous move by MNS under the leadership of Mr. Raj Thackeray, to kill the harmony in the commercial capital of India. Again to create a niche vote bank, problems due to immigration of North Indians into Maharashtra were blown out of proportions and created a sense of hatred among the Mumbaikars, who otherwise never associate themselves with their place of origin. Riots, strikes, murders, created tension all over and the politicians of all regions were also quick to react and fueled the case. But Mr. Thackeray who was proud to be arrested for this cause went underground ever since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, when the entire nation came together to fight against two major problems in India – Terrorism and Politics.

The horrendous ghost of terrorism to a certain extent helped in keeping aside all minor issues misused by politicians for election campaigns. Now the citizens of India would no longer listen to all the fake propagandas of political parties ahead of coming elections. One incident has brought people on streets, openly raise voices and revolt against the politicians.
Till now Ego, Revenge, Power, and Money are driving most thoughts and all good qualities and morals were on a standby. But now on I believe people would maintain high awareness level and would act with maturity, analyze, understand and then decide whats right and whats wrong. Until couple of months back everyone wondered who the other person is??
If it’s Mumbai, whether you are a Maharashtrian or a “Bhaiyya” ??
In Orissa, whether you are a Hindu or a Christian ??
In Tamil Nadu, if you are Tamil or Hindi speaking ??
Now people have stopped giving a damn about these religious, linguistic or regional divides. The meanings of love, brotherhood, unity, patriotism will now have a big difference from what’s being practiced over the years.
Enough is enough.. it’s high time that we overcome this situation and move ahead to form a truly UNITED INDIA.

IT labour Union in India


A friend of mine works in a famous automobile company of India in the capacity of production manager. His plant is a high capacity plant and produces a big percentage of the total number of heavy automobiles produced in India every year. Reputation wise his company is one of the most respected and trusted companies of India with high standards of quality which is accepted as a hallmark. However, in the various discussions that I’ve had with him about the work culture in his factory, I have been made aware of the irrevocable presence of the labour union and its effect on the production capability of the companies like his.
For instance, the company can incur a big loss at the end of an assembly line just because the labourer working at some point in the line got his evening tea with a 5 minute delay! The middle managers live under a constant threat from the unions and with the not so old incident of the CEO of a company in Gurgaon being killed by the labourers even the top level managers and owners of such a factory feel a chill down their spine when facing the union or sorting out a genuine problem. The recent economic crunch has lead to layoffs across all sectors but the labour union in almost all factories has made sure that the working class is untouched by the situation. The bully unions have fought for the rights of its members tooth and nail on all occasions, at all times. The working class in India is not paid much so this structure may be necessary to safeguard the lives of those who work each day at low wages and deplorable conditions so that our nation can march forward.
One of the fastest growing sectors of Indian economy, the IT and ITES sector is also one of the chief employment providers now and like any other sector the disparity in the remuneration, facilities, etc. is evident along the hierarchy of any IT company. While the CEOs and top management get a heavy share of the profits the payments made to the entry level engineers, lower order management and the like is very less. In the present scenario the situation has become even worse with layoffs and salary cut across the board. While the rights of lowest level workers in a manufacturing unit are well protected by the strong unions (who can even threaten to bring down the whole unit if wronged), the lowest level workers in an IT company have none. The over staffed IT giants have slashed their work force drastically in the past few months with their plans of expansion going awry and the employees had to bear the brunt. This economic crisis presses for a need for an IT labour union more than ever. There are a number of start-ups which have no employee policy to safeguard the rights of the people who work with them and since the future of a startup is itself not secure the government needs to step in to make sure that the employees’ lives and families are taken care of.
One major problem in the establishment of such an IT labour union is the scattered presence of the employees in various companies. A union within an IT giant is very feasible but one that covers every person employed in any IT company is a little difficult due to the physical absence of everyone in one working facility. However, there are ways to bring this notion to effect. Internet is a great medium for people of the IT sector to form a union and if the idea catches up with more and more people a little government intervention can turn this ‘virtual union’ into a physical force safeguarding the rights of millions.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

JAAGO aur sabko JAGAO

Hey I'm Raj, so finally you decided to wake up!!
For people getting confused what this is all about, visit
While I was watching the Dada play his last Test match, I happened to watch a commercial which was trying to pass a social message and provoking people to vote without fail. Then out of my curiosity I checked the above website and noted that Jaago re! One Billion Votes is a nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign to educate people on using their voting rights better, coupled with a nationwide voter registration drive covering 35 cities.
All veterans in our country simply say that they are optimistic above the youngistan and expect the next generation to bring the change and we the youngsters who are amid various social and cultural divides are looking forward to an indigenous Obama.
Now we are months away from another general election and elect a person who can change things on our country. Thanks to our regulators our financial sector is not as badly effected as most other countries but then we are facing bigger problems due to the growing communal divide, terrorism, corruption, poverty, illiteracy, infra-structure and many more and we also need a person to lead such positive changes.
So before we hit the polling booth here, did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section '49-O' that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote anyone! Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called '49-O'. Why should you go and say 'I VOTE NOBODY'... because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received '49-O' votes more than 123, then that polling will be canceled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them.
This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system, it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public ??
Anyways this seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India. So now on let's show our power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting, so don't miss this chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and spread this information, so that we can really use this power to save our nation'. Use your voting right for a better INDIA.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why is UP and Bihar always clubbed together ?


In all discussions across India why does UP and Bihar come up together ? Sure both share a certain set of similarities but so do many other states ... parts of MP are a lot similar to parts of UP, parts of UP are included in NCR, parts of Bihar are similar to WB, culturally UP, Bihar, MP and many other parts on North India are strikingly similar. Economically both are distinct. The only thing that does appear same is perhaps the kind of politics that is prevalent in both the states, but 'cast politics' is becoming more of a norm in India now.
Even the way the native people of UP and Bihar speak is different. The poor people of both these states who migrate to other places may look alike but that is how each and every poor of India looks like !!!
And just like any other state of India UP too have hoards of settlers from Bihar. Perhaps the reason both are clubbed together is that no one in UP has ever closed the doors to the Bihari, be it a student fighting the odds to become an IAS officer or the laborer who struggles hard to earn the daily bread.

PS: Please don't smudge this post with 'hate' comments and take the topic to some place else. I'm aware that both these states are scorned at and they don't deserve it (but even people like Mr. Amitabh Bachan like to make it a matter of joke with his funny accent of a 'chora ganga kinare wala' when he's shown walking down d polio booths, while he chooses to speak in sparkling english when he's speaking about the surge that India has made in various walks of life and this 'chora of ganga' is then walking along the lovely cost line of mumbai; more than being a case of what we want, its a case of what we expect that the media decides to show).

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Behenji's Lucknow


Lucknow and Kanpur recently appeared among the top 10 cities in India for business/industry in of the leading business magazines. There are a lot of things working in favor of these UP cities like a very enthusiastic and young population, low infrastructural costs, a 'supportive' state government. I had the opportunity to visit Lucknow a couple of days back. It was a short journalistic stint which lasted a single night. I reached Lucknow at 8:00pm and spent the night roaming in different areas of the city finally leaving in the morning at 6:00am!
Most areas of the city are in fact very safe even at night, I could find police forces almost everywhere in the city (though none of them were alert and paid attention to people like me roaming at night, taking pictures. I could have easily been some terror element). The roads are nicely lit, which is a pleasant surprise in any UP city. One of my friends in Lucknow told me that there were no power cut in the city since the last few years. For a state in which most other (important) cities like Allahabad, Varanasi, etc. are facing a heavy power shortage with just under 20 hours of electricity provided on most days, this is quite a feat. The financial capital of India, the resurgent IT capital (Hyderabad) all are facing regular power cuts. The only street which was poorly lit was the one dedicated to the citizens by the former chief minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav. The street lamps were either broken or missing and along the stretch of a few kilometers I could not locate even a single police post, the only mistake of this forsaken road being its apparent loyalty to the Mulayam government.
There has been a recent development in the city politics with Mr. Akhilesh Das (the former Congress and SP supporter) joining Behenji's brigade. Huge banners and hoarding plastered the city streets pledging support of a few sections (read casts) of the city to the potent Behenji. This power show was atleast worth a few million rupees which could easily be utilized in much more thoughtful ways.
The whole city seems to have been engulfed in a 'blue' light. The color of the lights to light up major city statues, the lights around the road crossing, all other major structures were flooded with blue light signifying the illuminance of BSP waiting to spread on to Delhi with Behenji dabbing Delhi in blue hue.
The area near the railway station (central) and Hazaratganj is donned by many statues, some old and forgotten like that of Mahatma Gandhi and some immersed in heavenly blue light surrounded by scores of Policemen. While the blue statues (thus heavily guarded) fail to be more than a landmark for the city, the Mahatma's statue was still providing shelter to the homeless at night (see picture below).

With such disparity between the capital of UP and its other cities in almost all areas of development, it is a tormenting thought to think of Mayawati as the PM of India. If such a thing does happen I hope that BSP rises from its 'power-show-politics' and beings to think of the greater good of the underprivileged sections of the society which it claims to represent.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Chrome. Google's browser or something else ?


Chrome, the 'browser' from google is available for downloads. I would not like to call it a browser though. Web browsers, historically, have been used to 'browse' the web since the ancient days but things have changed drastically since the late 90s. In the old times all we had were 'web-pages' and now the cyberspace provides more than just static information, this is the time of 'web-services'. Chrome is a browser to make the best out of these services available online today. This would be the perfect solution for those of you who like to play online games, listen to music, chat, etc. THIS IS THE NEXT EVOLUTION IN BROWSER HISTORY.

One of the major architectural changes in chrome is the multi-process approach. Most of us have experienced browser crashes and long 'hold-ups' for which some obstinate javascript applications may be responsible. Chrome changes this experience by refining the old 'single-execution-thread' approach and adopting the new multiple processes. A sneak peek at the 'processes window' (try pressing alt+ctrl+del)will give you an idea of what I mean by multiple-processes. Web apps like gmail would work the best with Chrome.
Another major feature of Chrome is the elegant use of Gears (the amazing research project of google labs which is already surfacing in some of the most wonderful projects). Gears, in a nutshell, is an 'thing' which will enable online applications to run offline (with a few constraints). For example, if I happen to go offline which I'm in the process of publishing this post Gears would make sure that I don't lose any of my work and I will continue to 'work' as if I was still online.
The design, look and feel is very refreshing and revolutionary. The tab placement is well thought of.
An amazing feature is the 'incognito' window. If you want to browse without leaving a track of all you did online the options that most popular browsers (Firefox and IE) give you is a complete deletion of browsing history this could be a little disturbing if you don't wish to lose all your 'history' but rather want a selective deletion. The 'incognito window' gives you an option to choose which records should be preserved and which should not.
A clever move to fight malware and other attacks is to allow each of the processes to run in a sandbox without harming your system (the user, however, has to be alert about the add-ons that she installs).
There is an interesting 'comic' that you can read about Chrome here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rock On!


Two movie reviews in a day! They should start paying me for watching movies ;)
Rock On! The movie on the whole rocks!
It may not be able to stand as a milestone or a movie defining a phase in bollywood (like a DCH or RDB) but it will touch many hearts.
The story is very predictable and even before entering the theatre its easy to figure out the whole plot just by looking at the posters outside. BUT, the way it is presented is almost flawless. The rock band called Magik is a winner of Channel V contest and gets a chance to make a music album but differences, ego and compromises forced by the pedantic views of the record company plays a spoil sport. They meet after 10 years and fight out their circumstances and egos and participate in the challenge once again. The movie really talks about how empty our lives can be without dreams and their realization. And music is blended with the movie in a fantastic way; you don't just have secluded songs trying to emerge from situations, they rather complete and supplement each and every motive of the direction. Each song is a unique story in itself and taking away any line of the song would dent the completeness of the movie as a whole.
There may be a little flaws like ... well, there are none that come to my mind instantly! Perhaps the only flaw in the movie may be its predictability but its taken care of by the treatment. A few of you (particularly people who expect the movie not to be a movie-based-on-rock-music but a rock concert itself) may get a little bored a few times when a couple of (necessary) emotional scenes are shown but the fantastic music more than makes for each such moment. The cast is just perfect, with some performances that would certainly be remembered. Rock On announces the rise of Farhan-the actor! Arjun Rampall plays a man who's only talent is music and the way he plays the part can get him a 'role' at the opening ceremony of the next olympics. He has given one of the best performances of his career and even in the 'side-role' (though I can hardly call it that) he is the real rock star attraction of the movie. Farhan is surprisingly good. This acting debut of Farhan can be compared to the direction debut of Amir in TZP. One of the surprise packages is Prachi (she plays Farhan's wife), she looked as gorgeous as any housewife can ever look and acted well. Purab did well (though I expected him to be much better), he's a very promising actor and we all know that. The things that touch your heart are the intensity of each person involved in the band. The passion, not just for music but for each one of them is phenomenal and you can see and feel it in each moment of the scene. Its not a thriller so it doesn't rivet you to your seat but if you get involved in the movie it grows into you (and would hopefully last for a very long time).
The shadow of DCH was evident in quite a lot of places but you soon realize that its got to be because of the youth appeal that it has (which it shares with DCH). Rock On is a movie thats certainly not meant for the masses. I happened to talk with a few people that might constitute what we call as 'the masses' and they were not very satisfied with the movie. Its either for those who understand human emotions or those who know that 'hindi-rock' has started making waves in the music world. Its inspiring in its own way and is a movie well made (I'm not very confident about its performance at the box office though).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Phoonk, RGV's last horror flick (hopefully)


Its been sometime since I did any movie reviews here at CnC and I'm going to watch 'Rock On!' today and it looks like a movie worth a review. But before that there's another movie which deserves a review for the benefit of the people who may want to venture to see it on the big screen. PHOONK, the RGV horror (or thriller, or whatever) is certainly not meant for the small screen. The best thing to do would be to find a couple of friends who know how to enjoy the lowliest things in life and are prepared for a good laugh which may not be provoked by the high bass background scores but inevitable nonetheless.
The movie revolves around black magic that an 'innocent' family finds itself gripped in. The young and resurgent builder finds his atheistic beliefs on lose grounds when one of his close aides turn against him and decides to punish his little girl. The movie, sadly, has no twist in the story. The victory of good over evil is the moral.
My orkut caption says these days, "Phoonk misses the 'Best comic movie award of the year' by a whisker", this review is not going to be an exaggeration by any means. There are a couple of good things about the movie though. The camera work can be called captivating if you happen to like the seeing things from a close angle. The background score is good and perhaps the only scary part of the movie (though you will find it hard to hear most of it if you are sitting with a lively audience who find it hard to control their laughter). As against the common notion, RGV has tried to include a song in the movie. I personally found it good but not many people seem to remember it and the Planet M at Allahabad was unable to find a Phoonk audio CD in its stores. The story, though very predictable, is racy and the camera work keeps you guessing. Most of the cast is good, the usual people from the 'RGV factory'. The acting of the possessed girl is good, considering the fact that its always hard to act in a horror flick where the 'music' is added while editing the movie.

The things to watch out for are:
1. The dead crow (with a stone eye) perched at almost all the trees around d set.
2. An old lady with a 'spring fitted' head.
3. A Javed Jaferry look alike.
4. The latest technology in levitation- 'phoonk effects'.
5. The 'phoonk healer' who (strangely) can set things right with a couple of chopsticks fitted between his knuckles.
6. An underpaid driver who's unsatiated 'hawas' (even to the disappointment of the audience craving for a bit of flesh-flashing) leads to a lot of harm to the family (or is it because he was given no dialogues by RGV, cant say!).
7. The pathetic 'replication' of the common 'fights' between ghosts and the ordinary man towards the end is a total let down.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Indian olympics dream ..


Congratulation! We won the first ever gold for an individual event in olympics!
This great feat accomplished by Abinav Bindra comes as a huge motivating factor for all the Indians. It is not just a victory for the Indian sports but a moment of pride for the middle class dreamer as well. We have always blamed our bad performance in sports on the 'insecurity' associated with a career in sports and games. It is always said that in order to become a sports person in India you have to take insurmountable risk and put your career at stake. For Bindra it was never the case. He has got a gold, which is surely the best moment in his life, but even before this victory he has been an achiever in his life. An MBA holder, this 'little man' is in fact the CEO of a company as well.
So, if you dream of making it big and doing your country proud, this is the moment. Rise up to the challenge. And there is hope that even if you do not perform too well, your career could be great even without the incentives from government that always just become a promise.
Dream big and go for the kill.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Why are the names changing?


The world seems to have waged a war against names that sound simple and are easy to spell. Take for example 'Bangalore', an easy to spell familiar name, changed to 'Bengaluru'. Not just cities, you will in fact find many people adding a few letters to their names to make their names compatible with the 'rules' defined by the 'new age' (but otherwise very old) sciences like feng shui, numerology and what not. But, believe it or not there is much more to this story than meets the eye. Do you remember when this 'fashion' of changing names started catching much pace ? It was somewhere in the late 90s and beyond and if you can recall, this is the time when had started becoming the first choice for searches being performed on the web. Most of us may not be able to make a conspicuous connection between the two but its rather obvious. Adding that extra letter, or keeping a tough to pronounce name (which is spelt in a unique way) may in fact give better search results on!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Curious incident ... in the night time !


This has to go down as one of the most amazing 'Friendship day' ever for me. So much has already happened and the day has just begun!
Me and a friend, Vinay, decided to spend the 'Friendship day's eve' in a unique way. At 11PM we decided to take our bicycles and step into the 'sleepy town' that Allahabad is known to be. Me on my Mach1 and Vinay on some 'Y' Gen bike! The streets leading to the 'Shastri Bridge' (over the river Ganga) was in fact not dead at all, the 'Kavariyas' (devotees of Lord Shiva, who take the holy water from the Ganga and make a journey bare foot to 'Kashi') were swiftly covering the distance at night when the sun is not cracking down on them. But as we moved out of that area we could almost hear the crickets in the trees and bushes (the scenario for a city like Delhi, Bangalore is so different). It was around 11:30 at night and the streets were empty!
We thought of moving on to the 'new' bridge that has come up in the city in the last year, a true structural 'wonder' for the city of Allahabad. It has always looked beautiful at night, and it was exceptionally beautiful this time, Yamuna flowing below, a nice breeze, reflection of the street lights on the waves, it was amazing. Thats the kind of places where I would like to propose to my girl some day ;)
Sitting, talking, consuming the ambience it was 12:00, friendship day!
All this while when we were on our cycles or sitting on the bridge we found many curious eyes trying to figure out what we were up to, most of them police/security people. I must confess, it is not natural for any one to walk around so late in Allahabad. The curious eyes somehow didn't come to us and ask us anything (and remember that we were on cycles, the terror mechanism of the recent bombings in certain parts of the country).
Next we decided to venture into the 'heart of the city', Civil Lines. Again, all empty streets with an occasional passer by. People who pull rickshaws by the day, sleeping on the footpaths, police/traffic police dozing off in their patrol vehicles. Moving slowly across the sleepy town, sharing stories of ghosts and plans of the future, we were now feeling the effect of our expedition in our legs. We decided to head back home, a CD of 'The pursuit of happiness' waiting for us. When we finally returned and I did a rough calculation, I was amazed to find out that we had covered nearly 35 Km, returning back at 2PM. Legs were paining (now that the effect of the little beer we had before we set out had faded), the buttocks (I'm sure) had an impression of the cycle seats, we were tired. Some fresh apple juice made us ready for the movie. What a movie!
We had plans to go for a run in the morning (you would have guessed by now, that didn't happen). By the time we did get up at about 7:30 in the morning we were in for a big surprise. When we were watching the movie in the night someone had jumped inside the house boundary and taken his cycle along! Don't know what to say now!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pyar ke Side Effect


Whenever celebrities are asked about love, I wonder how each one of them come up with different definitions. And when I ask the same question to my friends pat comes the reply – “It’s something that can’t be explained, you need to experience it”.
Anyways let me not try to frame my own definition here, instead I will put forward a few experiences and observations. I notice couples who initially used to hate each other now leading a good life together. There are couples who used to call each other “just friends” and are now looking forward for ways to convince they parents for marriage. There are couples who supposedly have falling in love at first sight, and I really wonder how?? Coz I have been sighting for 23 years and I am yet to find an apt girl for myself.
Another interesting thing is the mushy things that most people are upto. I needn’t explain it here; people are getting more and more innovative and coming up with new things to impress their beloved. Even sometimes you can have a good laugh to note some unnecessary or build up reasons they use to meet each other and spend time together.
But something that pains me the most as a young Indian is not that I don’t have a girlfriend like most other guys of my age, it’s rather the feeling and depression that some people get into post “betrayals” or breakups”. A few hours back I got a call from my sister that a student from her college committed suicide because of extreme disappointment and despair.
I understand that’s it’s a tough situation for any person and it takes time to forget moments which you would otherwise cherish. To neglect or ignore a person who means more than anyone else in your life is a real test. Some of them tend to understand the difficulties to carry forward the relation and tend to cope up with the challenges; taking help of parents, friends or relatives. But sadly few people take the extreme step and end up in taking their own life or their beloved’s life.
Of late the cases of suicide and murders because of the same are on the rise and we are not doing much to protect these dishearten. We can take a leaf out of Bangladesh’s efforts to combat similar problems in their country. Bangladesh’s biggest University, the Dhaka University has appointed psychiatrists for all its 17 dormitories, to counsel students who are frustrated or betrayed in their relationships. Even Bangladesh is facing an increasing tread of suicides and attempts to take lives by jilted lovers.
We must realise the fact that, we Indian are yet to recognise counselling as an effective tool for help and reap benefits out of it. Psychiatrists are still considered as someone for the mentally retarded. This could be one of the few things we can learn from the Americans, they are the ones to take maximum helps from psychiatrists and make the best of it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Singh is Kinng or Sin is Kinng

I remember the moment the trust vote results were declared exactly a week back. I was exhilarated for the fact that we could avoid a premature general election and all the costs and politics associated with it.
My gtalk status message read “Singh (Manmohan) is Kinng; Ayes – 275 Nays – 256”
Now look at the situation 7 days hence, all our cities are under threat. Red alert everywhere. Around 25 bomb blasts in two different cities on two consecutive days. Killing around 50 people and injuring over hundred. A score of live bombs detected and defused at Surat.
And finally our news channels got something to sell, flashing breaking news – counting the number of blasts, the number of casualties, views from various political parties and then a prediction poll - which city could be the next target and what not. They try out different logics and act as detectives and come out items which can scare the public even more.
But if you focus on the real life situation of the public at large, it’s almost a state of panic. The situation is so bad that we can’t even trust a person; every one is looking at each other with suspicion. Fear and distrust is filled in the eyes of all. Can’t move out freely, there is no place where you can bet that you are safe. Every time a member of the family goes out on work, all the others pray for his safe return. My mother and grandmother refuse to trust anyone other than the Almighty.
So at this moment I can tolerate the usual complains I have had like bad roads, delayed monsoon, corruption, pollution, population and what not, but what I believe more important that this stage is a little confidence that we have a system in place which can fight out such inhuman acts and ensure a peaceful life to all..

Flooded with Shahid ...


So, whats the hottest thing these days ?

It's got to be Shahid Kapoor. Things may not be working great for him on the personal front or in the matters of love but sure he remains the sweetheart of all the gals. The desperate guys are all trying to modify their looks to flatter the 'Shahid seeking' gals (or even boys ... psss). This above picture for instance has a beautiful (and potentially the owner of a gold-mine-profile) gal's scrapbook flooded with scraps from 'Shahid'. Ah ... poor females, they don't have much choice I guess. ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What’s this symbol?


Can you explain what the picture depicts?

1. A guy trying to woo a gal by falling on her feet ?? (I wonder what sort of gal would like this)
2. A guy trying to help a gal pickup a dropped credit card ?? (I don’t think he needs to be in that posture for the same)
3. A guy caught stealing credit card ?? (Possible, the lady seems to have canned him till the let it out)
4. A kid showing his financial success to his mother ?? (Here the guy doesn’t look too happy which he otherwise should have been..)
5. A guy trying to bribe ?? (These days one needn’t bow so low to do offer money)
6. A student paying fines to his teacher for all his wrong doings ?? (Its paying fine by credit cards too modern a concept)
7. A person devoting all his materialistic gains to the goddess ?? (I guess temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches are yet to introduce swipe donations)

To find the correct answer just type “international symbol for marriage” in google and search for images.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bangalore blasts, inhuman act


Men become great not just by carefully avoiding disastrous situations but by reacting in the right spirit when faced by one. The same is true for the greatest manifestation of a group of people --- a nation.
When terror strikes, when buildings are burnt down, people killed, children orphaned, the surviver of the attack have a much bigger responsibility than hurling blames on one another. A person who commits a crime is a criminal, and only that. It is a shame to qualify a criminal as a muslim/hindu/christian/sikh/etc. It is wrong to glorify the life and acts of such individuals by associating them with such great religions.
When bombs are hurled at places of worship or when people are massacred in cold blood on the streets filled with cries of babies dying and women being raped or when innocent commuters become victims of death traps in railway stations, the person behind these acts has already steered away from being human and hence unworthy of belonging to any religion of the world. The muslim who joins the forces of terror in no longer a muslim, the hindu who brings down national heritages in no longer a hindu, the sikh who loses his patience and commits a crime has lost confidence in Guru Granth Saheb.
Criminals should never be identified with religious leaders/followers. A worshiper of arms/murder/impatience knows only pagan worship and is a criminal of humanity.

PS: The incidents like the Bangalore blasts that took place today are heinous acts done by individuals and groups living on the brinks of the civilized world. The people involved in such crimes are a disgrace to humanity. Such individuals/groups do not belong to any religion of the world.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

This is not Niagara Falls..


We all complain about our roads especially in rainy season they go from bad to worse. We have created new express ways, flyovers, but then the problems like water logging and drainage remains.

We are now weeks away from the beginning of yet another celebration of sportsmanship, the Olympics. Hosted by our dear neighbours, China, the games this year promise to be bigger and better than the previous one.

But hold on, the construction work related to the Olympic stadium is acting as a severe loss for BMC, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
BMC is in charge of the city's civic maintenance - responsible mainly for the building and maintenance of roads, streets and flyovers, water purification and supply, hospitals, street lighting, maintenance of parks and open spaces, sewage treatment and disposal etc. Every year Mumbai comes to a standstill during the monsoon and all the Mumbaikars blame the BMC for not taking necessary action to combact water logging.

But this year BMC came up with an excuse which struck me the most.They claim that organised gangs are now operating in areas like Kurla, Bandra, Mankhurd, and parts of Byculla to systematically steal the manhole covers. Over 1,500 covers seem to be stolen in the past few months- each costing around Rs 5500 (USD 128) in the grey market.
The demand for iron ore is at its all time high and the grey markets are operating at their best. The Chinese demand is not only resulting in thefts in Mumbai but also in parts of Europe and America.

BMC reports that earlier they used to buy these cover for Rs 3500 (USD 82) but now the prices have touched as the Rs 5500 mark. So as an immediate step to tackle the open threat to all passers who accidently walk or drive into them, the civic authorities are now looking to buy ductile-iron covers, which have a lower scrap value than the current the cast iron covers.

So while China is building up huge infrastructure, its not just leaving a competition for us but also a negative impact on the existing systems in place.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Your vote counts


The recent political drama is just over. Nuclear deal or no deal, we wont at least have to share the burden of another premature general elections. And I'm personally happy to see that India is not going to have 'Behenji' as a PM, at least not now. I've written on a few posts on CnC sometime back that she is a 'good CM' for Uttar Pradesh and when I say this I also keep in mind that the choices that UP has other that Ms. Mayawati are people like Mulayam Singh. But as a PM, I don't think she has the charisma, charm or that-strong-an-opinion to represent our great nation, especially in the current world political scenario when the whole world is looking up to us.
We need dynamic people who are well-read, educated, honest and are capable to do good to India and her people. Many of us cannot be such people because we are too involved in our own lives, we're too busy making money, too busy fighting for our own niche in the society (trying to get a good salary, a good wife, a good house, a good locality (city) to live in, a good car on a good road). What we tend to forget so often is the fact that these 'goods' will never exist in a bad country. Surprisingly, to change the state of affairs we don't have to be superhuman, we don't have to act against the will of our parents or change our lives in a drastic way, we just have to do a simple thing, VOTE FOR A SENSIBLE PERSON. The least that we can do to save this nation is to cast a vote for a person who is politically upright and morally correct. Before casting a vote (which each one of us should cast) we just have to do a simple check on the candidate and vote for a person with a good will. And if we can make the people around us do the same, we've done a great deal of good for the nation.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Keep the roads clean please


Civil laws should be same country wide. How does it make any sense when you would be fined in one city for spitting on the streets while in another you’re free to spray the ‘pan’, you were chewing on the bus, on the people moving on bikes and bicycles.
Spitting on the roads is a sign of disrespect towards everything that one can hold dear in life. Roads are not just streaks of land that take you from one place to another, they are connections that lead into our lives as we live it. Road and the transport system of any land is an indication of the prosperity and technological advancements. The first thing that anyone entering a new city looks at is how comfortably the city is connected to its neighbors. Keeping the roads clean is a necessity. I know it sounds lame to say such an obvious thing but the fact is that there are people who don't quite understand even this basic idea.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Killer hookah


Hookah is fast becoming the 'in' thing in the metro cities of the subcontinent. Most of the 'happening' places have a 'hookah joint'. Gloomy interiors and an ambience which the people of the fast metro lanes crave for so much. And a 'friendly smoke' which many believe does not harm like its kin, the regular cigarette.

Well, the reality is far more shocking than this innocent video. The fact that a 'hookah smoke' can kill you 100times faster than a cigarette is a fact not known by many girls and boys who frequent these places and consider it a 'cool' place to hang out. The pain of diseases like cancer is so subtly hidden behind those refreshing fruity flavors that many joints even allow minors an entry inside the dark doors. The extent to which hookah smoke can harm you is still being researched but for now it is clear that it is dangerous to smoke hookah.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bravo Rahul


The above picture, as is seen, is the first advertisement to attract young talent to join Infosys. Over 1000 young minds got attracted to this fledgling company’s ad and some 16 were short-listed and joined Infosys. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now back to something that hit the news very recently. Rahul Gandhi, the future command of the Congress flagship, was quoted in the newspapers saying that he’s scouting the student communities for talented, young politicians. It was also stated that he’s taking personal interviews himself in order to find out future politicians with a flair for the trade. This is a positive thing for Indian politics which has long been plagued by the so called ‘experienced leaders’ who are too lazy to move out of their offices (and office chairs) to step into their constituencies. When the young guns of India are fast replacing the older generation in other affairs like business, science, etc. then why should the most important department of the nation still stall behind? It is very rare that a politician gets noticed before he or she reaches a ripe age (about 50 years). And this when 58% of India is younger than 25 years!
The notion that most ‘oldies’ have is that the new generation, as they call us, is intolerant, rude, uncultured, and is taking the country towards a dark future. Well, let me remind them that what we see today is the result of the things done in the past. The command of the nation, the people sitting behind the desks in government offices, the fame hungry coaches in the field of sports, the judiciary, the police, the man spitting on the streets, the people raping and killing minors, the dowry seekers (who even now are killing their daughter-in-laws), the ‘every second person you see on the streets’ is not the youth of this nation. The youth of this nation is yet to come. The youth of this nation is busy carving a future for themselves and their country. And the fact is that the things that we would do would start to blossom when it is our time to blame our next generation.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


It was a little tough for me to decide a topic which could continue the CnC style and at the same time do justice to the strong message conveyed by PJ in his previous post.
A few ideas came in but then I decided to wait a little longer until I found this one, and now I leave it for you to decide if this serves as an apt succession.
Even I am one of those who proudly call themselves as modern Indians and some of my friends go a step further and call themselves global citizens. The important thing for us to understand here is that we should realise that whenever we call ourselves by such titles we are also acting as a representative of union of a highly diversified society consisting of people from different castes, creeds, gender, religions, and colours.
But unfortunately, to create niche vote banks our political parties always promote divides, especially before elections. I needn’t start talking about Gujjar issue (caste based reservation) which just concluded, nor do I need to say much about Raj Thakre (promoting regionalism at the heart of Indian’s Commercial capital), Chandrasekhar Rao demanding formation of Telengana, Ghisingh seeking Gurkhaland and now Mr. Bal Thakre calling for the formation of Hindu suicide squads (religious divide) to protect themselves from minority aggressions. This is not all; every party selects a theme, even the bigger ones; remember last year Congress won many hearts with their Aam Admi slogan while BJP failed to impress everyone with their Indian Shinning Campaign.
Now its time for elections once again and I am worried that these powerful entities of Indian society might come up with more baseless promises and might divide the country even more on different grounds just for getting greater votes. And the most important aspect of national integration takes a set back.
But at the same time I think a good solution to this is also catching on our TV screens. Generally I am one of those to make sure that they surf through different channels whenever the TV programs are on commercials breaks. I don’t know how but yesterday I happened to notice an ad from IDEA mobile network where Abhishek Bachchan solves a feud by asking villages not to identify themselves by their surnames and instead use their 10 digit mobile numbers. All the villagers follow the words of their Sarpanch and live peacefully, even the names of roads get replaced by mobile numbers. To conclude a fellow villager comes to Junior B and acclaims “What an Idea Sirji”. And I could quite agree with it.

At a time when the country is heading to unnecessary discrimination, I found this ad very interesting. I was so very impressed that now I found the creative brain behind it. This ad is from an Ad Agency called Lowe India. This agency has had always tried to promote nation building messages through their ads. You might be able to recollect a few – Lifebouy (small kids cleaning their colony); Surf Excel (people saving 2 buckets of water and donating it) and the most recent Tata Tea (anti corruption campaign called Jaago Re!!)..
So if required once day this Ad might turnout to be a solution to most of frictions we face within our country. So it up to us to act matured and not getting carried away by the political gimmicks or else we might end up addressing each other by 10-digit codes. No Patels, No Khans, No Kapoors, No Singhs, only numbers will be the Kin(n)g.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Charity begins at home Mr Thakre


This is definitely the most depressing news I have ever come across. And I’m not just depressed, I’m actually rather furious. Mr. Bal Thakre announces in the Shiv Sena mouth piece, Saamna, that “Hindus should form a terror squad and suicide bombing squads to protect themselves …” (or to kill the non-Hindu citizens of India, or perhaps non-Maratha? Who knows?)
This comes at a time when there in unrest in the nation with respect to the rising oil prices, soaring inflation and the ever lurking terror attacks from ‘outside’ the country. Also, this comes at the time of yet another general election round the corner, but this fact would mostly be ignored by the ‘innocent’ people who would want to spice up their life by forming a terror group to attack the unarmed at various places of worship, markets, etc. or ransack, not the rich, politically influential members of the society, but those poor shopkeepers who would dare to open their shops on the day of some ‘bandh’ so that they can feed their children at home (impoverished, even after the government has announced so many ‘mid-day meal’ programs around the country).
What is more surprising is the fact that while the workmen of these monuments of hate would either die, be put in the jail or would be forced to live a life of misery after thus throwing away their youth towards the call of power hungry politicians, the real architects would be invited to talk shows on popular TV programs during prime time and would be honored on every occasion of ‘national integration’. The CBI tries to spy on emails sent by individuals sitting in desolate corners of the country’s towns and villages for a hint of terror, but such ‘grand announcements’ pass away unnoticed (no wonder the CBI and other agencies are busy solving the ‘biggest murder mystery of India’ since so many weeks now). The government has taken to a voluntary sleep considering the nearing general elections and the pulse of Maharashtra. BJP, the mighty opposition party, is sadly an ally of Shiv Sena, so they could only manage a half-mute press release from Mr. Vankaaiya Naidu, trying to keep a safe distance from the controversy (I wish it does raise some eyebrows and becomes a huge controversy).
I’m a Hindu. I’ve been proud of the calm and non-violent character of my race. With the changing times some ‘revolutionaries’ think that this centuries of patience should be ripped off from the culture we are so proud of. I would say, ‘charity begins at home’.
Please suggest, comment and support this notion. Don’t let democracy pass away so silently while we’re busy watching ‘pappu can’t dance saala’.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cheap n Chalu ;)


I remember months back most blogs and newspaper editorial spoke about Rupee appreciation. Though most exporters were cursing the heavy impact it had on their bottom lines, common people like me were feeling proud about it. There were a few economists who even predicted that the trend would continue and rupee will go very strong. In term of figures, the predictions were that the dollar would soon come down to 30 rupees. But now again dollar stands high and is over 42 rupees.
Now, coming to the actual reason behind this entire introduction. This is from a conversation I had with my sister last night. While watching SRK’s Kya Aap Paachvi Paas Se Tez Hain, my sister asked me is the currency of Britain. I replied though all European nationals have come up with a common currency called Euro, pounds are still very prevalent in UK. Then she asked me about the exchange rate, I told her that a pound is almost 83 Indian rupees.
After sometime a weird idea struck my mind. We know that a pound can be further classified as 100 penny, so penny is the basic unit the basic unit of monetary exchange in UK and similar we know that 100 cents make a dollar. But as I see these days, the basic currency exchange in India is a rupee. In most parts of the country I learnt that all denominations smaller than 1 Re have become extinct now. (I can never forget the day at Hyderabad when a beggar at one of the traffic junctions refused to accept smaller denominations of Rupee, though she readily accept the same a one rupee coin but not two 50 paise coins)
So now scaling down the exchange factor, a rupee is eqivalent to 2.4 cents or 1.2 penny. Now, what should we conclude from this?? Our basic monetary unit is pretty stronger than that in developed nations like US and UK. Interesting isn’t it??

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just as in dictionary, Should new and old always be antonyms


Chennai is a place known for its culture and people here are very proud of its rich culture and tend to continue a lot of traditional practises beating the change in times and pace of modernisation.
Last Thursday, the CM of Tamil Nadu laid the foundation stone of a new assembly building at Chennai. The design for the same is by a German firm, GMP. The entire complex will have two sections- assembly and secretariat. The new secretariat, a towering 20 –storeyed structure, will house government departments and will be one of Chennai’s tallest buildings.
All the newspapers in the city echoed the words on the ministers, calling it an iconic monument and the new symbol of democracy. A budget of over 200 crores has been allotted for the same.
Hats to these foreign designers, (though they are making rapid strides in all upcoming real estates all over the country) who tried to combine both modern and traditional elements. Mr. Hubert Neinhoff, CEO architect-partner, GMP, said that they had to redesign their model on the CMs suggestion and incorporated elements from the structural architecture of the “Five Rathas” at Mamallapuram. A spacious “Citizens’ Forum” has been designed based on the courtyard of traditional Tamil home. The assembly hall will have glass dome. “Sunlight will seep through and provide a soothing effect The legislators will know the weather of the city sitting inside the hall”. (Though I really didn’t quite understand the advantage of this, cause neither does Chennai weather change much all through the year, and even if it changes a little with time, I wonder that the people sitting inside could do about it, apart from getting an umbrella ready before that actually walk out of the building or applying an extra coating of sun screen).
Without taking any credit from the architects, the design on paper looked good and even I am eager to see a new landmark in Chennai by 2010 (“expected” completion time).
But then the thing that struck me the most was the fact that this structure is coming at the cost of death of a colonial-era monument. Admiralty House, one of Chennai’s heritage monuments is being dismantled to make a way for these futuristic buildings. The only thing common between the one structures is that, earlier this monument was famous for it blend of south Indian architectural features and now the modern structure will also implement some native designs.
This leads to number of questions in my mind. Should a new, always replace an old? Do you think that an existing monument should be dismantled out for the new structure? Is it not possible for a place to retain its historic beauty and still progress with its future plans? Cant places promote modernism, and even restore is history and heritage?

Friday, June 13, 2008



Yesterday I happened to discover a part of Chennai, which changed (not completely thou ;) ) my perception about the city. I happened to meet a college friend who is now working in one of the top Indian IT companies based at Chennai. Soon after we met, I started listing all complaints that I had against the city. He promised me that we would make sure that he would change this sad image of the city to a certain extent.
It was around 5 o clock in the evening, and we hit the roads of Chennai on a Royal Enfield Thunderbird. A cloudy sky, a cool breeze, cleaner roads… Chennai changed itself completely in no time. We were on Old Mahabalipuram Road, a lane with all glassy buildings and posh high rise complexes, which are home to most IT companies.
The next destination for us was Besant Nagar Beach. I found it to be better than Marina both in terms of cleanliness and crowd. This place draws a lot of young and happening crowd and I could finally found people to "check-out".
Though it was real nice to be there, we planned not to spend much time at one place. We went to a nearby "Fruit Shop" (popular juice shops, at most parts of Chennai) picked up good healthy drinks and then went to Kalaskhetra, a place for Dance,craft and other Art forms; something which I could compare with Shantiniketan.
The next part of the journey was something I didn't expect, it took barely half an hour and we found ourselves detached from the city traffic. A nice winding road, with a left turn every half a kilometer leading to some beach or the other, like Pebble Beach, Juhu Beach and many more. Popular as ECR – East Coast Road connects Chennai to Mammalapuram (Mahabalipuram) and Pondicherry. It's lined with number of beach resorts and restaurants for people to relax during weekends after a hectic run through the week.
Then we went to a beautiful village called Kovallam, right when it was beating the dusk. It was again a scenic beauty to cherish. View of sun set, never ending sea, sand, breeze and the cruise bike (reaching 3-digit speeds every other second) really made my day.
Then we drove a little further ahead till we realised that the fuel is reaching the reserve mark, we decided to get back to the usual crowd but with a fresh mind and a more positive opinion about the city. We just made one stop in between to pick up some snacks at an F1 based eatery called Pit-Stop. Even that wasn't too bad either ;)
No matter how much the city sweats, smells and eats curd rice, it also host places with such scenic beauties that one can literally unwind.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Google aint rich guys ...

This may come as a surprise to most of you but this is true. When signing up for a Blogger account, you check a box saying that "I agree to all the terms and conditions", what we forget to read in the fine print is that whatever our blogs carry in it becomes the property of and we cant sell it without a prior permission from the company. This means that if your blog starts to make money and you find a suitable buyer who wants to own it along with all the content, google prohibits you from making such a deal (without its share in the profits perhaps).

Spellings that don't matter ...


This is quite an old mail, one that I found in my inbox. And the study outlined here is quite interesting.

O lny srmat poelpe can raed this.

Cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was

Rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch

At Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,

It deosn't mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a word are, the

Olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the first and last ltteer be in

The rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still

Raed it wouthit a porbelm.

This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by

Istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas

Tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Politics of convenience ...

Watching Television is perhaps the best way to learn the ‘law of contradictory conveniences’. To explain what that means consider this. Imagine Lata Mangeshkarji singing the all famous song of the century, ‘Aie mere watan ke logon’ in a concert. Also sharing the stage is Mr. Bal Thakre, yes the man of the ‘kill the UP and Biharis in Maharashtra’ fame, and he stands up to honor the line which says, “kya sikh, kya jaat, maratha … sarhad pe marne wala har veer tha bharat wasi” (all the brave souls who died on the borders protecting the sanctity of Mother India and the lives of those living here may have come from different parts of India but were all sons of a united nation, all were one at heart). For such politicians, convenience is all that matter. Their own word, their own loyalty towards anything is just an illusion, so carefully woven around their ‘conveniences’. The all important real ‘issue’ is always just the welfare of their ‘conveniences’, in India there are no other issues. We are a peaceful set of people, rich with resources and talents, there are no ‘issues’ here, just political drama fuelled by the hype created by the disillusioned media.


June 5th is celebrated as World Environmental Day, where every citizen on the globe takes a pledge to conserve energy, protect plants and animals and act more responsibly to save Mother Earth from deteriorating. Popular as 3 ‘R’s – Reduce, Recycle and Reuse is the slogan for everyone. This year I was waiting to watch if we do something new, something better, and something more efficient to create a greater impact in an effort to do some good for our planet.
Today on the front page of newspaper I read an article; a notice from the BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) making it mandatory for fluorescent tubelights, air conditioners, refrigerators and motors (which are currently under a voluntary program) and voluntary for the products like color Televisions, computer monitors, washing machines, CFL bulbs, LPG stoves, set top boxes, water heaters, water pumps, uninterrupted power supply systems and battery chargers to have “ENERGY LABELS”.
This means that manufacturer will have to disclose the power consumption of each appliance, and based on the product category and the power consumption, BEE will provide a “star rating” varying between 1 to 5 (5 being the best). And the companies need to put this star rating on the product for customers to check and make a wise decision.
Not just this, BEE is also starting the "star rating labels" for all motors vehicles based on their fuel effeciency. Especially with the fuel prices rising every now and then, this would be of greater help to the customers than the glossy brochures at all showrooms.
Now coming to the advantages of this:
1. The customer will have huge benefits, as this will give them one more parameter to judge a product and make a better investment. Buying a product is a one time investment, but then these electrical appliances do have an impact on our monthly electricity bills, so customer would prefer buying a product which could help him tone down his electricity expenses along with other necessary features.
2. It would be an open competition for all the manufactures, who generally try to beat each other on the basis of features, to concentrate on power consumption as well. It will also bring in new technology and innovation in energy conservation techniques.
3. BEE estimates that the collective impact of this would result in national energy saving upto 976 MW by 2011. It plans to raise the bar for securing the same rating over time, pushing the manufacturers to improve technology and edge out bad performers.

So this indeed looks like one to the best energy conservation plans that I have come across of late and is promising too. Hope we, both as individual and as a nation, reap maximum benefits out of this scheme and make our planet a better place to live.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Tracking the newspapers these days, I believe the major share of it goes to articles related to Aarushi murder case, IPL( still articles on front pages, thanks to Mohammed Asif, the editorials, and obviously the sport section; and I believe it will have its presence till the fad dies off), the oil prices, and loads of blah..
But there were two articles which I made me think a little. First was an appeal to all youngsters to "focus on their studies as well, particularly on spoken English as it would help them getting better jobs if they do not turn into good cricketers. Sehwag in his initial days faced a lot of difficulty in speaking English while he interacted with the anchor person after winning Man-of-the-Match awards. But later he practised quite a bit and now able to speak fluent English though making some grave grammatical mistakes here and there."
Think about it, I realised how relevant and important this statement is. Come to think of it, imagine so many children venture out in an effort to become Sachin Tendulkar, and be tagged "Men in blue", but how many of them finally make into Team India, a handful of them; so what happens others? Some manage to make it to the State teams and play Ranji and continue their effort to impress the selectors, but other who lose this battle fall apart. People who have a decent educational background manage to find jobs and come to the main stream but people who have even sacrificed their education for the sake of a career in cricket, are left no where.
An extreme case, I remember a year back, Subhas Dixit (former under-19 captain) committed suicide by jumping over a high rise near the Green Park Cricket stadium (the place where he might have dreamt of playing wearing the national jersey) in Kanpur.
Hope all young aspirants lend there ears to this message from Sehwag and understand the serious implications behind it.
Second thing that struck me was an initiative taken by an NGO at Villupuram, Tamil Nadu. Looking at the alarming rate of dropouts and very low literacy levels among the Muslims, the NGO has started paying Re one every day to students attending state run elementary school at a village called Sankarapuram. The area supposedly a Muslim dominated region with Tamil or Urdu as their mother tongue. So the scheme was launched at Urdu medium Panchayat Union elementary School.
At a time when the cost of education is increasing day by day, if NGOs and other organisations don't take up steps like these; poor people especially in economically backward areas would back-out from even primary education. So let's try to encourage such initiatives and help in increasing the literacy level which will give a big boost to all our national development plans.



In mid April, the MBA students of National Insurance Academy headed to Bangkok for an education tour. The technical learning was focused on the differences in practises in the India and other matured insurance markets. Thailand a country with a population of 650 million has over 75 gerenal insurance and 25 life insurance companies. Though a series of lecturers from representatives from noted insurance companies, brokers and re-insurers we got a glimpse of operations and spread of Thai insurance market.
But alongside all these we learnt a little about Thai culture as well. The hallmark for us, of course, has been the Thai tradition of water throwing as a part of their New Year "Song kran" celebration and no one could stop comparing it with our Holi celebrations. Thai new year celebrations last for three days and the entire population either visits their native homes in the countryside or hit the streets with buckets, mugs, or plastic water shotguns and what not. Few areas are popular sites for water fight, hundreds of people gather out and celebrate this festival is true spirit. Some people carry drums filled with ice cold water and go all round the city.
The only thing missing were the colour, wish I could have explained it to them and added another dimension to gala celebrations.

Thursday, June 05, 2008



I remember when I was young, I read that the vehicle which we normally use and term as "bus" derives its name from Omnibus (English plural omnibuses), a Latin word meaning "for all, for everyone", And now you know why we need to appreciate the person who named the vehicle so.

Well most of us have had loads of experiences while traveling in buses.A few to laugh at, few disappointing, few to remember and cherish, and a few to forget. We find people of all ages groups; the kids crying, youngsters joking and kidding around, the middle and old have discussions, seroious or otherwise over topics like sports, health and politics, and yea auties busy in gossips, in just one meet they exchange numbers and even teach each other a recipe or two.

When I was young I used to wonder why the bus conductors in Kolkata would shout all the localities the bus plies to, every time the bus stops. But now when I am at Chennai where language is such a huge barrier, I wish the Chennai conductors were like them. It's a tough job now for me to explain the place where I need to go and then understand the bus numbers that a person comes up with.

I also remember reading/hearing stories from by friends in school and college about a few "naughty" things that keep happening in buses, where people lose things other than cell phones, money and wallets, but never believed them.

But then my recent experiences are hinting that there might be an element of truth to some of the stories. Some of us, who travel frequently by buses would have come across some mushy things that keep happening here and there, but then I couldn't believe my eyes when things went few steps further.
The next experience is more embarassing to describe. It was around 8:15 AM and i boarded my usual bus for office. The bus was a little more crowded than normal and i was having a tough time to get stable, an uncle pushing from left, a school guy on my foot, and the aunty to my right howling at the uncle, to stop getting touchy. While i was still trying to figure out the Tamil gaalis that were flowing, i felt a hand moving over mine. At first i thought may be its coz of the rush, and tried to find some gap; but then the hand followed.. So the situation i believe is now easy for you to guess, so i had to make good efforts to shift my position and find a more comfortable place to stand...

Well now i believe that bus are really for ALL!!!!

Chennai ka CHATaaa


Don't Always Dare to be different..
Welcome to Chennai. Land of Idly,Chutney, Sambar, Vada, dosa, and Filter coffee, and yea how can I forget the long list of rice items which run into pages on each Menu card be it a road side hotel or the star restaurants.
Well I remember reading and forwarding a number of funny mails regarding some of the funny facets of the food habits of Chennaites, like
- Even dogs in Chennai feed on curd rice;
- Paani Puri or the Gol gappas are dipped in Sambar ;) and what not.
but then I was surprised to note that they are actually not just over dose of exaggeration as I excepted them to be, but then now I believe that there does exist a certain element of truth in this.
Daily at work I find my colleagues, having either curd rice or other colourful rice items or as a change dosas for lunch. The only thing that varies everyday is the colour of the chutneys and pickles that they carry alongside.

But the most memorable moment was when I and a colleague tried to be different and ended up paying the price for it. On the streets of T Nagar, we found of a number of eateries. I couldn't control my laughter when I noticed a stall named "kolkatta chats" selling items like "bhav pagii"(pav bhaji ..i suppose), "channa masala", "channa samosa","beel puri" and I couldn't scroll down....and the hotels who had got the spellings right always claimed that the junk that i prefer were over and hence not available
Looking at the list my colleague insisted on having Pav Bhaji, I promised her that I would try it out only under one condition provided we find a place which atleast spells the items right. Then we ended at a pretty posh looking sweet shop, with a decent sized snacks corner. It was here that I had my first Pav Bhaji at Chennai. My colleague was very happy to note that a plate of Pav Bhaji at Rs 25, almost half the price at Mumbai. So we ordered a Pav Bhaji each and had it full. Then we wished to try something more, we ordered a plate of Bhel Puri and Cutlet Channa. This is where we went a little overboard and expected them to good. It proved to be a costly mistake; the Cutlet Channa hardly had any piece of cutlet and the Channa was barely boiled. We felt like eating a half cooked dish and put it aside. Then we looked on to the other delicacy waiting for us, Bhel puri. Filled with a thick layer of Sev we expected the Bhel to be really tasty put it required just one spoon to get the real taste of it. Then we required was a stare and we silently walked off.

It didn't end there, after a bus journey to home here am I shuttling between my bedroom and bathroom; and i also recieved a call from the same colleague who accompanied in this endeavour, that she is down with fever.

So the lesson learnt: When at Chennai, be a Chennaite;eat Idly, Dosa and rice and drink filter Kaapi(coffee).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

CnC, the 'hatke' news from India!

Cheap-n-Chalu aka CnC is an effort to bring to its readers articles that concern India. CnC has been live from 2006 when it was started by Prasoon Joshi and later was joined by Harsha. This is supposed to be a mix of all the taste of the society.
We appreciate advice, suggestions and appreciations from our readers. Though comments are, according to us, the most appropriate way to communicate your sentiments to us, we would not mind a private mail in our mailbox either.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Money ... and more money ...


IPL is finally over. What entertainment. What surprises. What money! So, what’s on TV now? For starters, ‘DUS KA DUM’! Sallu bhai doing the small screen debut in this ‘biggest game show ever’! The ‘biggest’ thing about this ‘big’ show is the prize money, a staggering 10 crore INR. Here are some comparisons now. The winning check of the IPL trophy was 4.8 crore INR, the runners up got 2.4 crore. And we are talking about hard work and a lot of sweat, years of dedicated perseverance while on the other hand we have a housewife who’s most outrageous efforts ever has been the sms that she perhaps sent to some lousy number to win a trip to the show that promises to showcase questions that would be challenging and winning will not be easy. It is in fact very difficult to predict the percentage of Indians who slept during their first night, or the percentage of some other crazy set of people doing or not doing something which was till now kept inside the Indian closet.
The expectations are huge from this show. Money would naturally flow, at least in the first few weeks. Will Salman be able to bring in the kind of magic that AB did into the small screen is yet to be seen but excitement is high. We’re all ready to embrace the ‘dum’ of money. Who would not, especially when its to the tune of 100,000,000.

IPL Mania


This was the telecom I had last night seconds after the last ball of DLF IPL finals was bowled and Sohail Tanvir hit Balaji for a four and Rajasthan Royals went on to win the series.

S: "Hey!! Yipee. My team has defeated yours, I'm so happy.. hurray"

Me: "yea.. congratulations."

S: "cheer up don't be so disappointed"

Me: "hmm.. its ok. But I would have preferred an Indian captain to take the trophy."

S: "chal chal.. its not patriotism; your idea reflects a very shitty mentality with zero sportsman spirit. Warne deserves every bit of it.. la la la"

Me: "true.. but its not that im against good cricket, its just had dil hi dil main, I get a little patriotic and cheer from Indians, be it Sania up against the William sisters or Naren battling out with Ferraris and McLarens"

S: "haan. Theek theek. Raat ko bhaashan math de. Rajasthan has won, I m happy"

Me: "hmm.. congratulations once again. It was really a good match"

S: "yea.. true"

Me: "so have a nice time tomorrow.. Another treat from u then ;) "

S: "hehe.. sure.. bye. Good night"

Me: "good night"

It was a little tough to me to think for a topic to restart blogging. After being in a state of hibernation for over 9 month (because of numerous reasons), now I am all set to get back to my old passion of posting my views on various issues.

Of late blogging has become a glamorous art in India, with lot of Bollywood (though Indian film industry deserves its own identity; but now we can't do much after being tagged by this name) stars like Big B, Aamir Khan and a few others, are using this as a medium to get associated with public (fans or otherwise) and even criticising their colleagues in such open forums.

And talking about film stars the next thing that comes to my mind is the Indian Premier League. I remember telling my Economics professor that cricket and movies are indeed two very big unifying factors in our country and it would be really great if we had something which would bring them together. There were a number on movies based on cricket like Chamatkaar, Lagaan, Iqbal etc but then unarguably nothing comes close to the success of IPL. Thanks to the BCCI and its marketing techniques, almost all teams were even, all facilities were spot on and the entertainment associated with game was just mind blowing.

The format was simple and easy for people to understand. Eight city-based franchises owned by different genre of people ranging from liquor barons to media houses, infra structure developers to our very own Film stars. Slowly formed the team, under eight internationally renowned coaches and national and international players auctioned for huge amounts. All the players were very professional to patch up as a team and perform towards a common motive – VICTORY.

It took a little time for the audience to form loyalties with these teams and supporting a player of otherwise a rival nation to knock down the wickets of most your national players. Indian audience did their role, they came in numbers and supported good cricket. They cheered for both the sides, but silently prayed for their city team to win the match. This is best reflected in the telecon I quoted above: "my" team, "your" team. I believe the ownership of the teams are no longer restricted to the people like Mukesh Ambanis or Shah Rukh Khans but number of cricket enthusiasts who formed loyalties with their respective sides.

It was also a good occasion for all young Indian players to showcase their talents, who otherwise need to strive hard for selectors to notice them. They got an opportunity to learn from all top players and coaches in the world.

And yeah how can I forget the cheer leaders, and as always we Indians like import items more than the local ones ;) Also the format especially because of the shortened length, increased excitement, loud music, drew huge crowds, all popular movie stars, industrialists all over, even in the players' den ;)

Its popularity was not only restricted to India; but it had good viewership in all cricket playing nations and also nations which otherwise not even aware of all cricketing rules.

As a management student it is also a lesson for us; how well the IPL with such huge investments managed not only to break even but also reap good profit in its very first session. Some franchises like Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals earned double their investment.

So now it definitely looks to grow bigger with coming years and we would surely see more skilful players, better infrastructure , fierce competition and an ultimate entertainment for all. People have already calling this as the cricket equivalent of the Barclays Premier League, so may be some day this would become the most popular and challenging format of cricket.