Sunday, December 26, 2010

Munni And Sheila Are Saviors Of India

Munni and Sheila have done an impossible task to take India to the future. One of the things that India suffers with is the hypocrisy that has become part of our culture and both these ladies of glam are here to shake it away.
I remember the times when I was a kid and the Television got switched off when 'Choli ke peeche' or 'Lotan kabutar' used to get aired (and I'm not even sure what was wrong with the second one). Compare that with today when people are openly discussing and debating on who has more oomph - S vs M. 'Beedi' from Omkara is a song that gets played in 'decent' marriages and small girls love to dance on it.
We, as a Nation, have the reputation of being excessively hypocrite! We talk about 'greenpeace' and always insist on taking a carry bag from the shopkeeper, we talk about the pride that we should take in our own language and culture and happen to get overtly impressed by the girl who manages to roll her tongue around her "R" like the British do (or is it the Americans - nah, we don't quite like the Americans actually!), we can talk endlessly about how corruption is choking India and in the end carry some 'change' with us to give to the traffic police because our insurance has expired last month!
India and sex has a massive connected history. There was a time when 'outsourcing' was not a word known to the west and they identified India with 'Kamsutra' and the 'culture' at Indian homes made sure that the newly married couple mated only when they wanted to have kids and that it was done miles away from home! For such a Nation I think Munni and Sheila are a boon. They are changing how we react to explicit content and are making sure that the average Indian male is more comfortable around women in general. Over the years many more 'item girls' will hit the screen and take the taboo topics into the dining areas of Indian middle classes. What is fantastic about these songs is not just the way explicit content is handled but who does them. It is easy to ignore a regular item girl doing a peppy number but when the woman who's poster dons your teenager's walls does a shake of the hip you cannot just keep things in the closet anymore. You have to acknowledge the fact that the society is moving forward and perhaps it is time for you to do the same.
If the naysayers happen to read this post they would attack it and they would bleed at the idea that I am endorsing 'cheap' content and heralding an era of cultural destruction. If I were a popular man and this blog was famous they would even go to the extent of burning my posters in public and burn the posters of the movies I mentioned for good measures. But, thankfully, I'm not all that famous and the fact is that most of them must have already danced on either of these songs themselves by now in some party.

Friday, October 01, 2010

What Can We Learn From The Day Of The Ayodhya Verdict

A day after the Ayodhya verdict, I'm happy to be in office just like any other normal day. I'm glad that the trouble makers were kept happy (or under control by force) and that all the state governments and the central government made sure that the deplorable Indian media was kept starved. The Ayodhya case will go to the Supreme Court as expected and it would  be another few years before the final, all abiding, verdict is given. I'm hoping that the effect of the verdict of the SC would be even lesser disruptive and there would not be any necessity to shut down school, colleges and offices on the day of the verdict.
The big question is, "Have the people of India moved on after 1992?"
How did such a religious debate create such unfortunate incidents in 1992 and had no visible effect after 18 years? We have moved on (and ahead) in these past years, a statement which is bolstered by hard facts and figures but has religion really lost its hold on people? Does the young generation have no stand on religion and religious matters? Or as a few might want to say, "Have we lost faith?"
I would be more than happy if a loss of faith leads to peace and tangible harmony. To a large extent this is in fact true. The young generation of India wants progress, they are more concerned about the flak that CWG is gathering from the world due to corrupt and inefficient bureaucrats, more concerned about their favorite cricket stars performing when required and worried about their own role in the future of the country's progress in science, technology and social behavior.
There is also another reason for the calm that prevailed across the Nation yesterday (and hopefully will continue to be so). Not many political parties saw it as a big issue that could be leveraged for their personal gains! All the state governments wanted peace above all and they made sure that the law enforcing agencies were doing their duty with full dedication! I don't think the security agencies conjured up a miracle, they just performed their duty! That is all it takes to keep India crime free - a dedicated effort from the police and other institutions of India with a political will to establish peace.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ayodhya Verdict Is Pro-India!

A 60 year old court case can only be settled with a verdict that supports peace and the Allahabad High Court's decision on Ayodhya has done just that!
I have always been proud of the judiciary of India - we are a corrective system of justice and not a punitive one! One of the principles on which Indian judiciary is built says that we should hate 'crime' and not the 'criminal'. In a case like Ayodhya what is a crime? The crime is not encroachment of one religious group or the other on a 'holy' land, it is the idea that religion is bigger than the Nation. And criminals are all those who fume this idea!
For most Hindus, Ayodhya is part of the biggest legend of all times - Sri Ram. An illiterate son of illiterate parents knows the story of Sri Ram and such is the strength of his faith that he would find it hard to believe that Ayodhya, the place of birth of Ram, can actually still exist in this present Nation of his where kids are dying of hunger! If Ayodhya is still here should we not be the best Nation of the world! If Sri Ram's Ayodhya is still on the map of India why are we so poor! If Ayodhya, the land which gave birth to Ram, is still a part of India then why do we rank so high in infant mortality rate!
I am a hindu. And like all Hindus, I believe in Ram. I don't find Ram some imaginary figure, I find him an ordinary human being who became extra-ordinary by his deeds and principles! I don't believe that Ram can do any miracles in the current world but yes I do believe that if a person has faith in his principles he can do miracles! And the most important principle of Sri Ram was to lead by example. Mariyada Purushottam Ram - was the best of men, not just by his birth but by his deeds. Ram's legend does not speak of any miracles - it speaks of a man who had courage to achieve what was right by means of sacrifice and perseverance. If we can learn anything from Ram it is to become the good that we want to see in people around us.
The verdict on Ram janmbhoomi is clearly designed to keep all the 'parties' happy! And I support this judgement for the simple reason that the most important concern for all should be peace and harmony. I'm happy because the trouble makers are (relatively) happy.
It is time for India to build better roads, bigger buildings, lengthier bridges, stronger bonds with the powerful countries of the world and fuller values and morals in her citizens - when there are so many important things to build why should you and I be concerned about building a temple or a mosque? It was time to move on towards a brighter future for India and the verdict is a step towards this direction. I am happy!
Jai Sri Ram.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unlike CWG, Aadhar Meets Deadlines And Delivers!

Too much of CWG and Ayodhya has clouded more important news like the implementation of the Aadhaar project (Unique Identification Project). I didn't want the readers of CnC to miss out on things that will impact the future of our Nation in a much more comprehensive and positive way like UID project hence this article!
29th September, 2010, the UID or Aadhaar (Aadhaar - आधार - literally translates to 'basis' of things) project will be kicked off in a small village of Maharashtra, Nandubar, with the distribution of these biometric identification cards by PM Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
While several deadlines have been missed by the CWG committees, the UID project has been right on track and it is much more complex and challenging a task than building resources for a games competition and conducting them smoothly. The Union Government may have done many mistakes but the UID command and assignments are one of the major achievements of the Congress government.
An India where each individual is identifiable and no 'fake' citizens exist would be a much more secure India and would become a Nation on the path of success and glory! Kudos to the chairman of the UID project Mr. Nandan Nilkani and we wish him all success in the National roll out of Aadhaar!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Punishment For Corruption Should Be Same As That For Treason Against The State!

In the light of the recent events concerning the Common Wealth Games, Delhi about the misappropriation of public money and rampant mismanagement, the punishment for corruption should be reconsidered. According to the current law of the state (IPC), the only punishment for corruption is dismissal from the services! This is true irrespective of the amount of money involved.
While this leveling of punishment has been adopted to make sure that cases where smaller amount of money is involved are not treated lightly, this law largely overlooks the cases where a lifetime of wealth is created and a dismissal of service is not only a weak punishment but it in fact encourages the crime!
Especially in cases like the CWG, where National pride has paid a price, the punishment should be similar to that given for cases of treason. The punishment for treason can be life imprisonment or more! And if a leveling is necessary then all cases of corruption should be treated the same.
The fact of the matter is that corruption is actually an act against the Nation and her pride. Corruption pushes India backwards and chains down her aspirations of becoming one of the greatest of lands. When the Nation is paying such a huge price for the acts of corruption then it is but natural and sensible to equate it to treason. The fact remains that almost all people in positions of power are corrupt to a certain degree and the framing and imposition of such a law would be a rather tough job. However, India still has a lot of people (mostly those who do not don any such position of power which can be corrupted) who are not corrupt and a mass opinion formation is the first thing towards this noble step.
Personally, I would like to see every corrupt official who brings shame to the Nation stripped down and flogged in full public view so that each and every power wielding citizen of India thinks a million times before taking a single rupee to which they do not have a right! Imagine what a sight it would be to see the house of Kalmadi flooded with common people with lathis and chappals in hand asking for an explanation and showing no mercy for the shame that India has to bear. Imagine the golden sight when the likes of Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Mulayam, Lalu, would be treated with similar dose of Indian anger. If we can get angry with our sport persons for failing in cricket or hockey why do we not close in on these corrupt officials and politicians with the most fierce attack and bring them down?

'Paan' - National Symbol Glorifying CWG!

'Paan' - the National symbol of India - got its real boost last week when the paan tainted wash basins and walls were posted all over the Internet!
Paan has long been ignored by the Indian media and people of the world at large though it is one of the most important elements of Indian framework. When you think of it a little, it is impossible to imagine any thing in India without that glamorous and magical bundle of colors. Right from its place in 'puja' where it is offered to the Gods while asking for their blessings to the offices where it becomes an essential tool to mellow down the ever so unyielding 'babus', paan has an authority to it which is far beyond any other chewable object of the world.
The CWG village's pictures depicting paan in all its glory is the treatment it should have got decades back! The pictures have offended a few 'foreigners' but the fact is that deep down every Indian is thinking that this matter has been blown out of proportions - what is wrong with a few paan stains here and there after all? We have come to live with them in perfect peace and harmony and they may look a little out of shape but they, in fact, are our favorite design patterns on walls and streets! I would be little surprised if most of those paan stains came from some minister or a senior authority inspecting the village for its cleanliness! After all, no official visit happens without the offering of a paan to the authority first! (My sources tell me that leaving a few festive days, Ms. Shila Dixit does not usually eat paan which is the reason why she has been chosen to do the final rounds of readiness checks!)
We have often paid heavy price for our these stains of paan but our love for the magical flavour and the laid back life that it advocates and instills has always won over those minor hiccups. Filthy trains, stations, roads, offices, homes, buildings, an occasional red color shower sprinkling on the road commuters from atop a bus or truck are but a few of the things we have been willing to accept in lieu of giving up paan. If you question the public of India in private (anonymously) they would tell you that they would rather give up CWG than chewing (and most importantly, spitting in most awkward of places) paan!
Long live the Indian culture, long live paan and the colors of joy it brings with it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mandir Aur Masjid Ki Kahani

What is the best possible solution to the Ayodhya case? While the judges fight it out tomorrow in Allahabad High Court, the solution quite clearly came from an unidentified school boy studying in Std. 7th in an unidentified school of Allahabad. The topic of discussion was not a 'Mandir vs Masjid' but whether the school would be open tomorrow so that the inter-house basketball match could happen for which they had been practicing for a long time!
The solution which everyone agreed to (without an exception) in the class was to construct a lush green park where the children could go for a picnic!
This was a low cost and effective suggestion for the resolution of a conflict which has taken many lives already. The apt thing to do with the land which has brought so many troubles in the name of religion was to make it 'religion-free'.
History is a potent inspiration for the man of action and at the same time can prove to be the mistress of the person incapable of action. Giving a judgement on the basis of history would be lame, what we should be concerned about is the present and the future or our country and her people!
The best possible solution for everyone in the country would be to forget and move on. While one sect needs to forget the 1500s 'history' the other sect needs to forget the 1992 'history'! Religion in modern India is not limited to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian - it has expanded into a host of glamorous religions like doctors, lawyers, engineers, actors, architects, craftsmen, educators, industrialists, scientists, and so many more vibrant other religions. These religions live in perfect harmony, allow 'inter-religious' marriages, live, eat, sleep, travel together and contribute to the land which gives them an opportunity to excel in life!
The structures that should be of any concern to us right now are the ones that fall for no reason on workers and passers-by in embarrassing situations - the flyovers that collapse, the railway tracks that give way to tragedy, the roads that get filled with potholes within days of being made and above all the bridges and false ceilings that collapse in the games village in Delhi right before the CWG!

Will Jugaad Work For CWG?

Will Jugaad work for CWG?
India is known to run on 'jugaad'. Never has a lack of perfection been glorified more than in the case of this classic Indian way of doing things - come up with an ad-hoc fix and complete the task!
Jugaad has been such a huge force for India that people have nothing against a movie which depicts a baby being delivered by a vacuum cleaner (3 Idiots?). A student who lazies around for the whole semester and happens to pass 'magically' by jugaad is not just never questioned but rather appreciated by friends, family and the teachers! Jugaad is never a word that people frown at, it is a wonder way of fixing almost any problem in the least of resources possible. And with such a huge population and so less resources (less because they have been jugaad'ed up the corrupt asses!) jugaad is often needed to make things run from day to day.
CWG is in a mess. Anyone who has visited the site or seen it on TV or newspapers will tell you that CWG 2010 needs God's blessings more than anything else now! Had it been any other country, the hope would have died long back but not in India. The hope for a successful CWG lives on because we have a massive belief in jugaad. Deep down inside each of us is a feeling that tells us that it would all be fine ("ज़िन्दगी में भी हमारी हिंदी फिल्मों की तरह last में सब ठीक हो जाता है"), CWG 2010 will be an event which will be remembered not for its folly and corruption but for its grandeur and excellent show of our athletes.
For the first time, I do not want things to work for India! I want CWG to be scrapped off!
I want all this to fail so that we start appending our beliefs and theories of jugaad. We know that many people have amassed huge proportions of money, destinies have been made, responsibilities insulted and a whole Nation let down by power and money hungry individuals who have teamed up against their own Nation! And even after this blatant insult of values, if the CWG show runs well, the belief of people in jugaad will forever live and haunt the generations that come after us. I don't want things to run in less than perfect way when the reputation of a Nation is at stake. I want things to fail so that the moles are routed out and taught a lesson which instills a fear in the minds and hearts of the corrupt and hungry!
The foot-bridge collapse, the report of the team from NZ, the terrorist attack, the rains, dengu, all are conspiring against CWG and rightly so. Indians need to understand that there is no substitute for hardwork and honesty. Jugaad can run a machine but it will never be able to run a Nation.
Corruption is an act of treason against the Nation and should be punished accordingly!
As far as the already built infrastructure is concerned, it should undergo a thorough testing and if found safe according to any standards it should be donated to the Nation in all good spirit so that it can become the breeding grounds for Golds and Silvers in International competitions!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What Are 5 Biggest Challenges For India?

We're trying to collect responses from people of India to know what they feel are the '5 Biggest Challenges' that India is facing. Please complete the survey below and share it with others as well.
You can pass this link to your friends:
Or share it on Facebook with your network.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Why India Needs A Non-Crippling Policy On Religion!

People in India have religious freedom. So do people in USA. The ambiguities surrounding the interpretations of 'religion' have seeped into the rights and 'not-so-right' of religious freedom too. The debate over Park51 (the controversial area near ground zero where Muslims have been offering prayers for quite sometime now but a mosque has recently been proposed) is flaring the sentiments of the residents of US, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But, the debate and the exchange of heated arguments are well in place as they are avoiding conflicts and loss of life and property.
The situation in India is strikingly different though the issues are largely the same. The difference arises out of the intervention of law of the land and the priorities that law and religion have respectively. Park51 is not new to the local Muslims of New York, they have been offering prayers in that place for quite sometime. It is not a Mosque though, but a place where they gather to offer prayers. The furore is created on the proposal of building a mosque there - an official, designated place, approved by the municipal authorities of New York. If nothing else, it does bring out the planned approach that the law follows when it comes even to religion and its practice.
Consider a similar situation in India. Any controversy would revolve around the 'discovery' of such a controversial temple or mosque! The municipal corporation has little control over a temple or a mosque springing up in a locality. In fact, these places of worship are one of the finest ways to gobble up state land and encroach the area, even if it happens to be in the middle of the street! The Indian state machinery has often failed in handling religious outbursts and clashes - a fact that remains true since before independence during 'direct action day' or even much before that during the times of the Mughals, the formation of Khalsa, etc.
The big question is about prioritising these two important issues - religion and state! I have always believed that religion is a personal affair and the moment it clashes with the functioning of the state, a check should be imposed. But, this is not entirely true. There are many states which follow, largely, a common religion and it helps to unite their nation. But, again, the reality of the day is that countries like India, US, Malaysia and parts of Europe are multicultural, multiracial and multi-religion. And it is important that a common thread is found to unite the nation and a dividing theme like that of religion can never be it.
 In such cases, religion has to take a backseat. The state must come before the personal choices - that of religion, faith, caste and creed. Any instance of the state taking a hit due to religion will result in a potboiler created by a selfish few and that is what has been happening in India for quite sometime.
What we may need is a strict policy on religion and its practice. Why should loudspeakers be allowed on top of makeshift temples and mosques? Why should highways be blocked for religious processions? Why should the industry, education and lives be kept at stake due to the outbreak of religious hatred? The answer is simple. In India, religion votes and when every vote counts, religion is simply the most important factor for a win!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bajaj's Fast Customer Care Service - Unbelievable!


Here's something for the Internet enthusiasts.
I got the delivery for my new bike (it's a Avenger 220, black - a total beauty, trust me!) yesterday in the afternoon from Khivraj Motors, Bangalore. Went around the city comfortably (I mean as comfortable as it can get in the Bangalore traffic in the peak hours) and had absolutely no troubles with the bike. The I was going to meet a friend for a dinner at around 8:30 in the evening when I stopped at a signal for about 2 minutes and since then the bike just didn't start again. I tried everything that I knew but it just didn't budge at all. I had to push start it (it has no kick, just electric start!) and come back home. Not to mention that my dinner was ruined already. Then morning was the same, the bike just didn't start so I called up the showroom people at around 10:00 in the morning and asked them to come home and take a look and I was assured of a quick service.
I waited for an hour and there was no response so I called them again, same assurance and no results. Then in another hour I called them again and the same thing happened. Then I decided to log a complain at the bajaj customer care, which is an online service. I drafter a mail to them explaining the trouble I had with my new bike and the poor service I was getting at the hands of the dealers. Within an hour I got a call from the sales head at Khivraj Motors and I got the attention that I, as a customer, had all the rights to. As I still waited for the service men to come and attend to my bike I got another call from the Bajaj Sales team (seemed like some senior officer/manager from the authority he commanded) with humble assurance and a suggestion to hand over the bike for an overall servicing once again.
To tell you the truth, I did not expect the online complaint submission to be that effective and that fast! Bajaj is on its way folks! I think this was faster than the response time of the best customer centric companies with top of the class CRMs in place. Even Apple was slower in responding with 'Don't hold it that way!' remedy for its iPhone4.
PS: I'm still waiting for the service guy to come to my home though. Some things in India will remain 'cheap n chalu' for a long time I guess :P

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Place The Rupee At Your Fingertips!

indian rupee symbol
The Indian Government and the Department of IT (DIT) is conducting a survey to find out the most preferred location of the Indian Rupee symbol on the QWERTY keyboard.
Take this survey and voice your opinion!
Update: From the current stats of the survey it looks like "ALT + R" will be the winner! I voted for the same :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Say No To Auto On 12th Of August, 2010


The auto menace in Bangalore is not anything new. The auto drivers are rude, the meters (if functioning at all) are never working right and the fares increases for no particular reason. A night call and you pay double the meter, a distant area and you double, you're sick and there are not many autos around and you pay double, you are new to Bangalore and you pay double/triple, you are a foreigner and you pay whatever you can afford.
This has to stop! Participate in 'Meter Jam' on 12th of August and SAY NO TO AUTO this Thursday! Spread this to as many people as you can, as fast as you can and tell the unjust unions that in this country, in 'namma Bangaluru' people's opinion matters!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stop Child Labor In India

Could not resist but share these pictures with you. Child labor is a reality in India. We are creating a generation of malnutrition, uneducated and highly vulnerable Indians by promoting or ignoring this issue. If you see a child under the age of 14 working near you in households, dhabas, factories call 1098 and report the issue!
The labour ministry notification, banning employment of children under 14 in houses, dhabas, and other eateries, will come into force on Tuesday.
And employers found violating the ban can face imprisonment up to two years, a fine of Rs 20,000, or both.
Read more: Dial 1098 to report child labour - India - The Times of India

child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india
child labor in india

Why Is India So Poor?

Yes, it has been long since we posted anything. We were stuck with our lives to say the least. India, however, did not stop moving. So much happened over these months that it does not make sense to give you a recap (!) Mr. Kalmadi's CWG (I say that the games belong to him because that's how he has been treating it really!) would be the next big thing for India in the global front and we're all so excited about it :)
Here's what I have for you in this post: A blog post about a Malaysian student's experiences in India. While most of the post is a rather personal perspective on things, there's one comment which really touched me and inspired me to write this post.
Seeing the poverty around you changes your outlook. Dealing with such an alien community with such different values and tolerances teaches you to understand people.

Here's one question which has bugged me enough. I have tried to escape from it, tried my best to answer it, tried to avoid it, tried to change it but it keeps hitting me right in the face all the time: Why is my country so poor? I wish I had the answer, but I don't! I wish I at least had a clue or a theory, but even that is something that I can't offer to you, my readers!
Most of us reading this post are not poor. We are well provided, well taken care of. We have families to support us and we have families that we support. But, the moment we step out of our homes, the moment we step into public transports, trains, buses, the moment we get on the roads and the footpaths we know it - India's poverty glares at us. The poorly kept infrastructure demands an explanation, the struggling lot on the streets, though keep fighting with a resilient and rude attitude towards life, have a question written right across their faces. Why are we so poor?
We know we are a unique nation. We know that we're a huge economy and we know India still has a lot of wealth but why does it not reflect in our lives?
If corruption is the answer then there has to be someone who is rich right? The corrupt are the poorest of all, they're afraid of their own money and often live in conditions so miserable and minds so drenched with thoughts and fears of poverty that even the beggars laugh at them!
When I read about the Lords from England who ruled us for so many years, their rich way of life which was supported by the suppressed Indian people I can't help think about the situation that is prevalent even today. The ruling faces have changed color but the rule has remained the same. The suppressed Indian class is still present, the suppressors are still living in the mansions and palaces constructed by the British! How do we put the common man in a position of power and how do we keep them 'common' even after giving them power over a billion+ people?
Is it about an absence of National pride? Is it about an absence of good education system which should urge one to destroy all the anti-nationalist systems in India?
I don't know!
Take a look at this picture, does it look very different from the days of the British? We need to act right now!
why is india so poor

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Will Mayawati Never Be Questioned About Her Currency Garland?


Why is Ms. Mayawati focusing on showcasing her wealth and power amidst the poor, needy people of her state instead of even trying to pretend that she is doing them any good? The logic is a golden old rule followed universally - people are always happier to see 'their own people' getting the success that they think is beyond their scope!
Let me substantiate what I say by a few examples:

  1. Ambedkar v/s Gandhi:
    Gandhi dedicated a major part of his life towards the upliftment of the 'harijans' and other people who were being shoved into the darkness through generations of casticized underdevelopment. Ambedkar, on the other hand, was one among the oppressed who was able to break free and emerge as the brightest 'harijan' of India (of perhaps all times!). His contribution toward the upliftment of his own people while notable is nothing compared to the efforts of Gandhi. It is not uncommon to find the reference of Gandhi missing in 'Dalit rallies', etc. but Ambedkar's garlended picture gone missing would cost the leader his position and respect.

  2. Amitabh v/s development of Allahabad:
    Amitabh contested elections in Allahabad way back in the times of Rajiv Gandhi. Won by a tremendous margin of votes and all that he did after that was to disappear from his constituency altogether! While no development was done by this Superstar, 'ganga kinare ka chora', in his own City, people of Allahabad never miss a chance to mention the origins of the Big Boss of Bollywood and have easily forgotten the wasted 5 years of the city's history. The pride of someone growing up in those same dusty roads and reaching such great heights lets people ignore the dusty roads forever!

  3. The Mittals and the other genius Indians settled out of India:
    There is immense intellectual and material wealth resting with people of Indian origin who have settled outside India. We are content with the regocnition that India gets with the reference provided by their origins. Not many people question thier intent of coming back and contributing in the development of the nation.

The fact is that when the Sahara becomes big the Bengali community rejoices, when a Mayawati wears a 15 cr garland the 'Dalit' community congratulates each other, when Dhoni drives his bike beauties on the dusty roads of Jharkhand or when Sachin asks for a tax relaxation to bring his expensive gifts home the fans look at them with awe, the pride in 'owning' these celebrities is just too big to be drowned away by the want to question any motive which is hindering in their own development.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Education Franchise - Foreign Educational Institution Bill


What did McDonald, KFC, Subway and the like bring to India? Well, a lot of good food, business for the local businessmen, work for the local lads, money for the Indian economy. The franchise model of business has worked wonders in the food sector in India. Relatively easy to set up, an instant brand recognition and invaluable assistance in terms of knowledge makes it an instant hit in booming economies like ours. Many other sectors have tried the franchise model as well - the hospitality industry for example.
If everything goes right in the next few months in the Parliament we may see the same franchise business model in the education sector as well. "The Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of entry and operation) Bill" is all set to be tabled in the parliament for discussion soon. The cabinet has cleared it and Kapil Sibal is confident that though parties like BSP, RJD and SP would oppose it, the bill would get acceptance in BJP and other sorted out parties and should get cleared without much ado. The Left is expected to rattle a little but they have been disarmed in the recent times by the UPA government's massive numbers.
The bill, when passed, would be a big boost to the education system in India. If Universities like the Harward, Oxford, Stanford and the like start to show interest in Indian education market we may soon move towards a standardization in the education sector which is the need of the hour. The education system in India in present times is raked by malpractices across all fields of study. Unification of education metrics has been echoed a number of times by the education minister and few other government bodies and this bill can do just that in an indirect fashion. A number of universities have had similar successful experiments in countries like Singapore specially in fields of technology, fashion and other contemporary fast paced cources.
Education franchising would bring better education to the people of India, more robust education system may evolve and more than anything else it would create a respect for Indian education scenario in the rest of the world. According to the current trends the Indian student is in high demand in the global market but the Indian education is looked down upon, this Bill may change the attitude of the world.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is India Indeed a Civil Society?

vandalising historical monuments
vandalising historical monuments
As Indians we are known to be very sentimental about our culture and everything that reminds us of our past. Be it visiting religious cities, engaging in massive public baths in river banks or voting fanatically for Taj Mahal to make it one of the wonders of the world, we often go out of our ways to make sure our love for our cultural heritage is known to all.
Having said this, we are also a country which can shamelessly bring down an old monument in Ayodhya and start a politico-religious war which has been on for more than a decade now. It is no surprise then that almost all monuments or places of historic relevance often are at the mercy of people who ill-treat them. People scratching centuries old monuments’ walls and putting down a message for their sweetheart who is going be with someone else the next year is a very common sight.
I happened to visit one of India’s oldest temples in the heart of Tamil Nadu, Brihadeshwar Temple (also known as Big Temple) last week and as much as I awed at the huge embodiment of the faith of people in Lord Shiva, I was irked by the way the visitors have used the walls for their choicest graffiti display. This lame idea of writing on walls of important monuments was perhaps started by the early Bollywood movies but we have come a long way from the old black and white flicks and a neat civil thought needs to be instilled in the minds of these losers.
The same goes with public spitters, urinators, people who ride a polluting vehicle, people who destroy gardens each morning in the name of offering the flowers to their God, etc. There is a need to make people aware that we are a civil society and it’s high time we started behaving like one!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Indian genius promises best green energy fuel cell - BloomBox

It would be too early to call it the next big thing yet but if the top Venture Capitalist, John Doer (the man whose money is behind names like Google, Netscape, Amazon, etc.) is to be believed, the Bloom Box will change the way we light up our houses and industries in the near future.
A bloombox is essentially a fuel cell which can be powered by a variety of fuels ranging from Bio fuel to natural gas. What makes it phenomenal is its efficiency in terms of the power output. A small BloomBox can typically power 4 Indian homes or their equivalent a house hold in the United States.
The man behind it, Mr. Sridhar, is actually a rocket scientist who has worked on a similar project for NASA in the past which was aimed at generating Oxygen in Mars. When that project was scrapped by NASA, Sridhar modified (reversed) the mechanism which now is utilized in these BloomBoxes.
John Doer has invested a whooping 400 million dollars into this secretive startup which already has Google, FedEx and EBay as its clients as of now. Installation cost of the Bloombox is a major concern for most but it levels out for these giant companies once the operating cost (which is amazingly cheap) and the tax benefits for using a green technology are considered.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
When would this technology be installed in our households is still a million dollar question but things are certainly looking bright (and Green) at the moment with the claims that it would be a perfect replacement for the power grids that are used world-wide right now. Bloom boxes would officially be announced on Wednesday but most details are already out. It would be interesting to see the reaction of the governments, the world over, on Bloom box, the invention by this Indian genius, Sridhar.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Political influence behind poor connectivity of IT corridors of India

few trains from bangalore to south india
Ever wondered why the IT corridors of India is so poorly connected by trains, which otherwise is the major transportation medium for the rest of India? But then on second thoughts, did you ever wonder why there are so many private travels in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad? Even a child can put two and two together to come to a conclusion that something fishy is going on!
Bangalore, the silicon valley of India, has very less native population percentage. The majority of people working in Bangalore come from other southern regions like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andra Pradesh/Telangana. Now imagine this: there are just a few trains which connect Bangalore to Chennai and just one train which connects Bangalore to Hyderabad! This is the fact that contributes to the flourishing transport businesses (most of them, allegedly, run by people with political influences!) and the plight of the people who have to pay through their noses for the petty services offered by most of these travel companies.
On any weekend, chances of getting a ticket to/from Bangalore-Chennai – Hyderabad are negligible if you are not ready to pay an ‘additional fee’. These tickets are often sold in black right from the travel companies offices itself! Even the BMTC busses charge excess for tickets bought on the same day of travel.
This miserable situation is creating a number of employment opportunities for the local businesses but at the expense of passengers who are being looted and charged illegally high prices for the tickets! This loot from the IT employees is nothing new, similar trends can be observed in any other service in the IT corridors be it food (overpriced), security (police/traffic police charging illegal money in cities like Bangalore) or simple things like an auto-rickshaw ride. Unlike other industries the IT industry lacks a good union which can fight such atrocities and bring fair-play to the whole IT scene in India. The rest of India just knows one thing – IT is the money minting industry and the people there know how to spend money!
The whole private travel scene of the South India seems to be backed by heavy weight political powers as it makes no sense for the Indian Railways to ignore a lucrative leg of operations like the IT corridors of South India!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Rahul Gandhi can do wonders if he wants!


Rahul the new scion of the gandhi family has always got publicity with what he did. And why would he not when he is the only son of the most powerful political dynasty of India and the heir to one of the most admired Prime Ministers that we have ever had.
The qualities of leadership come naturally to this charming young gentleman of Indian politics which make him a favorite even for the upitty media. And he makes sure that he is never taken as a politician who's reach ends on the dinner table of the upper middle class of the Indian society. Like the old mahatma, this gandhi too likes to travel the vastness of the country including homes and dwellings of the poorest of the poor (remember Madam Kalavati of the nuclear deal fame?) and when Rahul Gandhi takes the Mumbai Local the critics go dead in their tracks, the common Mumbaikar stops and smiles at his co-passenger and the media goes in a frenzy!
The 'Plan-B' was perfectly executed and brought out a message which sent shivers down the shiv-sena, thakere's spine. The message was quite clear - Mumbai should be safe for all Indians, everywhere! The Congress (the ever so mushy-soft appeasing political party) is starting to take a stern stance against this division politics in Mumbai and the biggest youth leader, the Gandhi himself, coming to Mumbai takes the battle almost away from the Thakres.
This also establishes Rahul as the most important youth leader of India and a probable Prime Ministerial candidate in the near future. Would this be good for India can be said in certainty only when the time comes but given the current political scenario and the quality and intent of the leaders we have in our country, someone like Rahul Gandhi can really be hoped to lead India to a much brighter future!

Bangalore's police are worse than the goons!

Imagine this: you step out of your home late at night for some work expecting that you live in a secure area with cops patrolling all through the night and end up getting robbed by the cops itself! If this is tough to imagine, just come down to Bangalore and find it out for yourself.
This is nothing new, even in CnC we've reported similar issues sometime back but everytime such an incident happens it brings a new shame for the face of Bangalore police.
How can the citizens feel safe when the people responsible for providing safety turn robbers themselves? My friends were sitting inside an auto close to our home in old airport road waiting for another friend to arrive when two cops stopped by and started insulting and abusing them. My friends were not drunk, were decently dressed and behaving appropriately in their own neighbourhood when they became victims of this uniformed hooliganism. A few localites who know them quite well since almost an year now refused to help, this could be due to the general fear that almost all of India has when it comes to police or could be a contempt against anyone who doesn't speak their language! It was all settled as usual by a 'donation' of Rs. 200 only!
This is the same exact location where one of my friend was robbed of his mobile phone and wallet just a few months back by some goons. It is but a shame if incidents like these keep happening in prime Indian cities.
The question is simple - who would you call when the people who come on dialing 100 are themselves turning into monsters?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Take the bus today!

bangalore bus day
Today is Bus Day in Bangalore city. A smart move by, arguably, the smartest bus services providers in India, BMTC. The slogan is simple - Take The Bus! The roads are expected to be free of the clutter due to the lakhs of privately owned vehicles (private cars and bikes) that trod the over 5000 Kilometres of Bangalore's tarred surface everyday! Starting off on the 4th of February, 2010, the BMTC plans to organize such 'Bus Days' on the 4th of every month from now on if the initiative gets a good response from the people of Bangalore and the roads remain relatively trouble free. Additional busses are operating across the city with a high frequency in key areas like Electronic City, etc.
The Bus Day has been hailed by many and everyone is trying to contribute to this initiative by spreading the news. There are thousands of Bangalore's bloggers, Tweeps, Journos who are making people aware of this initiative in their networks. Radio Stations are doing special shows and local news channels are keeping a track of things as well.
BMTC is India's only public road transport service to actually run in profit (The fine collection alone runs in more than Rs. 20 Crore! a year) The revenues collected from the busses plying in Bangalore city alone are higher than that of the busses run in the rest of Karnataka! Some smart thinking and good execution takes the credit and with initiatives like the 'Bus Days' it is sure to attract some attention from other city transport services which can learn a thing a two to give better service for both the people and the environment of the city!
For more information log on to the BMTC website - unlike other Government websites this one is updated regularily and is functional and useful!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Indian hockey in total mess - bad timing!

The Indian national sport, Hockey, has been hogging the limelight for all the bad reasons recently! Starting with the revolt by the men's hockey team then the media attention on the pathetic state of administration and now the plight of the women's hockey team. It seems like the worst time for Indian hockey even when the world cup is around the corner.
Hockey has lost the favor from the Indian fans in a major way and the organizers are well aware of this. The turnout is a big big concern and with all these controversies lined up there does not seem to be much good happening to Indian hockey at all.
The media attention is there on hockey in a big way but for all wrong reasons. Each day every other newspaper is doing stories about the pathetic state of Indian hockey and the players. A bleeding father supporting his daughter who represents her country in the national sport is something beyond imagination and yet is the stark reality!!!
To top it all up we have the irony of the highest order - borrowing cricket stars to pitch for hockey! The Virendra Sehwag ads shouting for hockey are all over television. A good intent but the way he begs for everyone to cheer for our national team and get involved in the event on the whole, is a little miserable and shows how desperate the whole Indian hockey situation is! Good luck to Indian hockey!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Real horror stories of marriages

I have some horror stories for you in this post. Not stories that will have just ghosts and non-existent entities but these stories have real life monsters. Lets start with the first one:
A pretty girl gets married to a guy she barely knew before, a typical arranged marriage where the innocent girl probably makes huge sacrifices to make sure her parents (who are living in the present with a soul of the past!) are happy. The man who is going to be the most important person of her life now is well educated, the family is good and everyone is happy for her. The first night, which I suppose is the most anticipated moment in a girl's life, is a horror. She is asked to sleep on the floor of the room while the man comfortably sleeps on the bed. She sobs quietly but gets up in the morning with a smile on her face and hopes of things getting better. On nights that follow she is asked not to close the door of the room as his mother will not feel good about it! Few more weeks pass and she musters the courage to ask him the problem.
He replies, "You are ugly!"
The girl (believe me!) is one of the most beautiful girls he could've ever found. She joins a gym, gets in good shape and becomes a diva literally.
He tells her, "You have become fat!"
As bizarre as it may sound, this continues for a few months before she finally decides to come back to her home. The family is devastated, hopes crashed, tears flooding the emotions. This is when they decide to consult a lawyer to file a divorce. Their deductions are that the guy is gay and the marriage was forced on him. The proofs she has include his total disinterest in any sexual act with her, a number of hunk magazines in his cupboard, few mysterious male visitors, etc.
The lawyer tells them something which very few people are aware of and can be a real hope for people in such situations. She suggests the family not to file for a divorce rather ask the court to 'nullify the marriage'as there has been no physical relationship between the two!
There are a number of such cases where due to various reasons like the husband being gay or involved with another woman or due to some other typically bizarre reasons, the wife suffers a lot and at the same time there is no physical relationship between the two. In such cases the marriage can be nullified and there is no need to file a separation.
Through legally this is handled very smoothly, we do need to improve things socially and make people understand so that the lives of such innocent beautiful girls are not ruined for ever! Moreover, parents should understand that forcing a gay guy into marriage in hopes of turning him into straight would ruin many lives and may bring more shame to the family!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Copenhagen summit helps to clean Ganga

kumbh mela magh mela allahabad ganga
The Copenhagen talks may have failed largely but they certainly have had an impact in some really far off places. Allahabad, a sleepy old town of Uttar Pradesh which becomes alive with swarms of people each year by this time who come to take holy ablutions to wash away their sins, has taken some major measures to ensure that the Ganga river remains the river of the Gods. A very affirmative, no pollution policy is enforced in the 'Magh Mela' region of the city this year.
The rules laid down by the 'Mela administration' (this religious event attractes millions of people and covers an area of many squared kilometers which requires a separate administrative department!) include

  • Zero tolerance to plastic inside the Mela region.

  • All shops are instructed to use only environment friendly bags and material.

  • The thin polly bags are strictly prohibited.

  • The sewage water flowing into the river is being looked at (after years of agitation by the localites!)

  • Daily water samples of the Ganges are to be taken and analysed for pollution monitoring.

Apart from laying down 'rules' the administration is also trying to create awareness, which is something these pilgrims can take back home and spread to their people as a 'message from the land of the holy Ganges'.
The faith of the people is commendable though. Filth or no filth these people take the holy dip in the Ganga each day with full devotion and sincerity. It is notable that the northern part of India is hit by a severe cold wave with temperatures freezing the mercury and deaths being reported by hundreds, but this does not discourage these devotes to come out in large numbers and take a dip in the freezing waters of the Ganges each morning and evening.s

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fight against sex slavery - Please support by changing your mindset

We at CnC keep saying that a change in the mindset of people in needed, be it education, political awareness or something as taboo as sex. I came across this video which talks about sex slavery and human trafficking. Kids as young as 3 and 4 years are plunged into sex trade and go through multiple rapes and physical and mental torture! These victims are never welcome into the 'civil' society and are forced to accept a life like hell as fate. Please watch this video, its a personal request. Sunitha Krishnan fights sex slavery | Video on

Sunday, January 10, 2010

3 Idiots review

Is it over rated? My answer: Yes!
Is it the greatest movies of all times? My answer: No!
Is Amir the greatest actors we've ever seen? My answer: No!
Did I like the movie? My answer: Oh Yeah!!!
I started off with a few 'negative' questions because there's very less negative to report about the movie, 3 Idiots! It is a movie which gives you more than just entertainment. 3 Idiots would give you jokes that will always brighten up a dull moment in office with your colleagues, it would give you moments that you can think of way after you've seen the movie, it would give you a little jump in your walk everytime you listen to the songs playing on the radio, it would give you a smile everytime you look at the posters of the movie (which, by the way, are plastered all over your city I'm sure), it would give you 'fundas' that would stay with you for a long time. Above all, it would give you an experience to remember in just under 3 hours (if you see it only once).
Like all VVC's movies, 3 idiots also tries to drive a point, gives a message through light hearted humour. However, I felt that at times the movie got a little preachy. There are not many dull moments in the movie, hardly any actually; a bit of emotions towards the end could have been mocked at (especially by people who didn't like movies like Delhi 6) but the awe that surrounds everything that Amir does stops one from doing that!
Students suicide are the turning points in the movie on at least 3 occasions which may give some credit to the blame hurled by a few state governments. Suicide is shown as an option that students take 'often' to avoid problems in life.
3 idiot does give you a lot of things to take home with you. "Aal izz well" is certainly one of them (just like the 'Jaadu ki jhappi' in Munnabhai). But reviving a baby delivered by vacuum cleaner by saying 'aal izz well' to him is a little over-do. There are many such over-dos in the movie but you wont really mind them as they blend really well with the whole mood that the movie sets for you. Many, many phrases, thoughts and ideas used in the movie are 'tweetable' which has also helped in spreading the '3 idiots cult' and giving it the popularity and success which is a dream of every film maker. It is a perfect entertainer and though it may have already grossed 250+ crore business in just under 3 weeks, 3 idiots is here to stay for a little longer time.
The cast is perfect (yes even Kareena Kapoor has done a brilliant job!). Sherman Joshi and Madhavan have supported Amir splendidly (like they always do) and Boman Irani is absolutely carved out for roles which require a humourous negative character. Amir is outright the central character and in fact the theme of the movie and the whole story revolves around.
The scorn created around the 'regular' education paths followed by Indian youth (read: Engineering and Medicine) is well deserved if anything else! Most Indian parents do pressurize their children, even at tender ages, and ruin their careers to a certain extent. But, in a land where 'arranged marriage' is still a norm for most Indian families it is hard to bring about a change overnight and think of alternative ways to earn a living. India does need a lot of Engineers and Doctors at the moment but for quality to emerge, we need major reforms in the education system which should be slowly placed and implemented. Changing the mindset of people is important and it would happen overtime. We need more students giving back to the education community by becoming teachers, we need more students who are willing to study!
Oh yes, before I forget and you click the link for some other post (or click those ad links that almost all my visitors seem to miss as if they are color blind to them) let me tell you a little something about Chetan Bhagat also. The story is inspired by his novel, both stories are set in an engineering college which give them a lot of similarities. A lot of characters are exactly similar and a lot of story is too. But, 3 idiots is only based on FPS it is not FPS by any standards. The whole thing about not giving credit to Mr. Bhagat could be right though 'cuz most theatres (not Multiplexes) screening the movie usually chip off the rolling credits to get the hall ready for the next show fast (especially for a blockbuster like this), the theatre where I saw the movie did the same! A lesson for future writers lending their scripts to movie makers - please make sure you understand that 'rolling credits' are good for nothing, they either get chipped off or (if watching on TV) become a victim of the 'switching channels is my birth right' syndrome that all television subscribers suffer from!
My verdict for 3 idiots: Don't miss it, else you will be left out in a lot of conversations that will happen around you ('cuz almost everyone you know has already seen it). An amazing entertainer and a movie which will remain close to a lot of hearts!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Government making efforts to quash sex crimes in India

India is (slowly) awaking to a reality - sexual abuse exists everywhere in India and we need stronger laws to punish the criminals and to protect innocent victims! The Ruchika Girhotra's case has brought a lot of attention to the IPC treatment of crimes like rape, abuse, etc. Thanks to the frenzy created by the media (some news channels did 24 hours exclusives on the issue!) the government is talking about making stricter rules and promising to implement them with conviction.
A new law has been proposed (awaiting the cabinet nod) which makes the following changes:

  • Physical and mental harassment would be considered sexual abuse and would be treated on par with rape

  • The accused has to prove his/her innocence in case he/she is blamed for a suicide resulting out of a case of sexual harrassment

  • The cases of sexual harrassment are to be dealt by special courts, expected to be cleared within 6 months

This law, if implemented in full measure, would certainly discourage such shameful acts and empower the fairer sex. The government's stance on such crimes before has not been very comforting - the maximum punishment for a case of abuse is 1 year! But, in the light of new cases coming up which involve decorated officers and senior officials like Rathore, the government is quick to react assertively.
A change in the mentality of people also needs to be advocated vehemently. The Indian society (specially in the rural areas) has been ridiculed for treating the victims of abuse like criminals which leads to acts like suicides and honour killings! Acceptance of victims of all types of abuse in the main stream and more importantly within their families is the need of the hour. A progressive government which has advocated even homosexual relationships can bring about a change in the mindset of people but above all the support from the people is required.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Social Media kill a veteran politician - Jyoti Basu

jyoti basu dead trending topic twitter
At around 1:30PM yesterday the Twitter vine was abuzz with news of Veteran Communist and ex-CM of West Bengal (the Godfather of Indian Red Brigade), Jyoti Basu's death! Apparently, there was one article in some (freak) blog which claimed that Jyoti Basu was indeed dead and the government was to announce the news in anytime soon. The article also said that the hospital officials were delaying the news just to make sure there were no hiccups later on but the 'Red man on India' was dead for certain.
The Twitter enthusiasts spread this news with such rapacious pace that 'Jyoti Basu' in fact became a 'Trending topic' on Twitter with people not just querying about his death but also making sure that their communist jokes were shared with everyone on Twitter (and then there were counter attacks too!) - all triggered by the fake news of his death.
This incident raises a lot of questions for people (like me) who have been champions of New Media freedom and how the social/collaborative media can also become a responsible news making machine - news from the masses to the masses! The major problem for New Media proponents has always been one of accountability. A blog with a good following may not always mean that the people behind it are responsible reporters, the fact that they have followed good SEO practices and have influential Klout scores could push them up the influencers stack without verifying the accountability quotent and the validity of the content posted.
For most people surfing the Internet, Google and other search engines serve as not just a mechanism to 'find' news but also a yardstick to measure the quality of the content, a listing in the top 10 would make the article authentic beyond doubt for most of us!
As soon as this news broke out yesterday there were people scrambling all over the Internet to 'report' the incident. Even Wikipedia (which is considered an authority in most cases) saw rampant activity on the Jyoti Basu's page with people trying to edit the information to put a death date for a still living man!
If Social Media wishes to be taken seriously by the critics and people at large the occurrence of such incidents should be brought down to zero and people doing this irresponsible reporting should be penalized (even if that means taking them off the search engine's listings!)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Man rapes a bitch

man rapes a dog bitch
Perhaps an attempt to make a 7xxx porn movie which leaked out in the news! According to this newspaper, a drunken man molested a bitch (no I'm not using derogatory language, I'm actually talking about a female dog!). While the bitch in the 'spotlight' has become a star for the newspapers in the region, reports say that this shocked animal is refusing food and water since this incident. Not sure if it is because of the man's assault on it or the camera flashes that followed (our media is having a great reach these days!)
On second thoughts, the Indian society is really sex starved. There was an incident a few years back when a 'doodhwala' (milkman) was kept in captivity and raped multiple times by few college going girls in their hostel (a snack wrapper was used as a condom!)

A bank run by kids, for kids in Bihar - Should we be happy?

As an employed Indian, sitting in an air conditioned office in the IT hub of India, I don't know how to react to this news I read on IBN LIVE just now - Few kids in Muzzafarpur, Bihar, have launched a Cooperative bank which aims to help small children who are employed/self-employed in 'professions' like 'rag picking', 'domestic help', etc. to save and even gives out soft loans to those in need!
A brave move, innovative and something that should be touted as an incident which speaks volumes about the way the children in India are evolving to face the challenges in their lives. I mean, a story about a girl who takes a loan from a bank run by children like her to revive her father's shop is inspirational, if anything! The reason behind my confusion is simple, I don't know if I should be happy about this news. I'm proud of these small kids beyond doubt (they are responsible not just for their lives but the lives and the livelihood of their families!) But, I'm not happy with the state of affairs in my country!
The question I want to ask everyone is,
Why are these kids working in the first place?
Are we going to marvel at such initiatives or are we going to take steps to provide these kids with education and a plethora of other things that a child requires to develop into a worthy citizen of a country that promises to be the future of the world!
The centre is yet to decide on the Right To Education act as of today, reason - lack of funds! The fundamental right to education is yet to bless millions of kids of India. Now, more than ever, we are raising questions about the education scenario in India after the release of Three Idiots (based on Chetan Bhagat's best selling book, Five Point Someone) but these 'discussions' are mostly confined to the higher echelons of the society - most emphasis being on the way we provide higher education in India and how we measure its worth! Very less is being done as far as providing basic education is concerned.
We need to act fast, before these small, enthusiastic and brilliant kids grow up and become the ignorant mass that we largly are!

Indian Celebs on Twitter - great start but a long way off!


SRK reached more than 10,000 followers in a single day on Twitter (he has more than 40K followers at the time of writing this article). @iamsrk quickly climbed up the twitter vine and perched right at the top just in a day. His first few tweets talked about how he was reluctant to jump on to the twitter world but looked forward to a good time on the site. Twitter, one of the buzz words of 2009, which allows its users to share with the world what they were doing, thinking about, etc. in 140 characters long status message has taken the Indian celebrity world by a storm.
Notably Shashi Tharoor, Gul Panag, Chetan Bhagat, Barkha Dutta, Rajdeep Sardesai have kept the Twitter world abuzz with their 'tweets'. There have been controversies as well, be it Tharoor's remarks about the 'cattle class' or the recent one involving Chetan Bhagat and the makers of the movie 3idiots. What is surprisingly good for the celeb world is the fact that many controversies and news making stories are doing a reverse flip and jumping from the Twitter world to main stream media and not the other way around.
This new media, though very new to India at large, is making inroads into the lives of people in a big way. Twitter addiction is already being talked about in families' dinner tables and many people are using it in a professional way as well (more on this in another article soon!)
There are talks that SRK has jumped into the Twitter world with hopes of promoting his latest flick, "My name is Khan". Though these could just be speculations but there's no denying the fact that no one would want to miss out on this (free) medium of publicity which is promising to be quite powerful as well.
The Indian celebrities are still far behind the rest of the world when it comes to the Twitter-etiquettes though! Very few participate in a 2 way conversation, which makes it look like a tool of one-way-promotion for them. The fans are nevertheless in all frenzy each time they welcome a new Bollywood star to the Twitter vine. But, anyways, as long as these big movie stars appear in my Twitter timeline, who's complaining!

Monday, January 04, 2010

God bless India!

Take a Deepika Padukone, add a lot of new technology, gadgets, what would you expect to get? Something very attractive right? Wrong! If it's BSNL/MTNL, all you get is an bland advertisement with not-so-good music in the background; a totally ineffective advertisement, a waste of money (BSNL 3G add)!
This is just one example, you have a series of such boring, ineffective advertisements on air which appear like a total waste of money. Most of them connected with some government agency/firm!
The days of Doordarshan are long over when most of the government ads were produced 'in-house'. These days every government agency outsources its ad campaigns (even the AIDS and Polio Drops ones) so how do they end up making such murky ads?
On the other hand, during elections, when the political parties float around their advertisements on TV, newspapers and online, we see the best of what could be got in terms of grabbing attention of the target group. How do things fail so miserably when things are done the 'government way'?
Perhaps, we all know the answer but we will never know it! God bless India!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A foodie - Indian Styled.

I'm one of those lucky people who can eat a lot and not show a bit of it on their body (smiles)! Food for me has just 2 categories: tasty, not-tasty. The other categories like fattening, fried, unhygienic, calorie rich, etc. is not in my dictionary. On top of that I come from the Northern part of India where even political campaigns have to accommodate popular fast food items in their election slogans (remember the catchy line: "Jab tak rahega samose me aalu ..." sadly, Lalu is almost extinct now and so are the samosa slogans in Bihar). For the past 1 year I have been living in Bangalore. The chip city of India has been good to me (its also the Pub capital of India by the way) but I miss the fast food of North here. You can almost always spot a 'chat' shop here but the taste does not compare in any way to the 'Shiv Chat Bhandaar' or 'Pappu Chat Wale' or the million other famous chat shops of any city in Northern India. Add to these chat shops (though you can't call them that because they don't serve 'sakaude' or 'kachaudi') a host of Dosa outlets and that's about it! There's nothing more desi stuff that you can eat! I dare say that even the dosa, though much more healthier here, is totally different in taste (we can have a discussion on which one tastes better sometime!) I remember back in Allahabad (a very small town in Uttar Pradesh!) we used to stop at least in one shop for a samosa, kachodi, jalebi, anarsa, lassi, even if we were going for a morning walk. Running in the Company Garden in a winter morning and then waiting for the 'Heera halwai' to open for its famous 'dahi-jalebi'. I see people are much more health conscious here (only low calorie, fat free soy milk after a workout), sadly, they are health conscious but not all that healthy! It was never an issue there to eat in a road side shop if the things sold were tasty, here's its very difficult to find one! It is possible in a city like Delhi to live on a fast food diet for a month (even more if your digestion permits!) without having to eat the same thing twice (I may be wrong about the 'month', it could be much higher than that!), compare that with Bangalore - if you decide not to eat dosa, idly, rice and the western snacks/fast food items, you would find it hard to live for a day!

Savita Bhabhi is back only on JayHind [dot] tv

The buzz in town is Jay Hind. Taking internet entertain to the next level in India and beating Movers and Shakers hands down (mostly because there are no censors in the Internet world!) makes it a must watch.

Like any other late night comedy show, the favourite topics include - Manmohan Singh, SRK, KRK, Gandhis (even the Mahatma!), all the girls with 'loaded' humour, and many politicians having trouble with a 'stand' in life.

There's a special appearance by 'Savita Bhabhi'(in flesh and blood) with a segment - 'Savita bhabhi ke sexy solutions' where she offers her special off the hook solutions to every problem of the world.

And by now if you are thinking that this show is all about then let me tell you that the humour is in fact both refreshing and fresh (just ignore the 'Sections' *like 377* of the show that may not quite suite your style!).

Sumeet Raghavan, the host, is the king of sarcasm (with due respect to the script writers) and his style is worth appreciating.

The spoof interviews with personalities is unlike most that the idiot box has to offer. There is a lot in the show which is unique but the best part of it all is the Disclaimer in the beginning of each episode.

Catch it on or

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Chetan Bhagat - The fourth Idiot!


There are 2 things I want to say upfront before you start reading further:
  1. I have not read FPS (yes, I'm one of the few!)
  2. I have not seen 3idiots (not as yet, may go tonight!)

The whole controversy created around the similarities and differences between Five Point Someone and 3 Idiots has certainly been blown out of proportion (one of my followers in Twitter even suggested I write a book about the controversy, its sure to be a big hit!) Like all fights of this world, this one also was started by a lady's tears (Chetan Bhagat's mother's precious tears that fell on the red carpet taking her out of the movie's premier). The few days that followed saw praises for the movie, the twitter world saw a rather happy Chetan Bhagat sharing the pics of his wife and family with 3 Khans, etc. And then some emotional fan of his (highest selling Indian novelist!) set the cat amongst the pigeons - "Why did your credit zoom out so fast in the movie?", he asked the big Indian author and that was the start of a big Twitter battle, followed by an embarrassingly lengthy blog post, press conferences and what not!
Amazingly, these can not much of a legal battle in this whole controversy. Remember that Chetan Bhagat is not some meek and petty commoner who has been wronged by the big sharks of the Bollywood world, he is after all the biggest selling Indian author till date! He knows that his blog posts can create a flutter, his tweets are going to be re-tweeted thousands of times and influential people from all quarters would be ready to reply to his comments. The media, like always, has harnessed the whole situation beautifully (its not everyday that you can get Vidhu Vinod Chopra to speak that way in a press conference!)
Chetan Bhagat's intention are something that only he can know but he sure has got a tremendous publicity from this whole issue. He may be the No.1 selling author in India but Amir Khan is after all one of the mighty Khans and no one goes unnoticed after pointing a finger to him. And how did he point a finger to him? Simple, by saying that he does not want to point a finger to him as Amir is yet to read the book! (that is pretty smart - Chetan Bhagat is a former IITian, IIMian and banker!) Apparently, he does not want a legal action either. Reason - he is content with the love his fans have given him! My question is, why did he start it all in the first place then? Just to check if his fans really love him or are they just following his tweets in vain?
The people behind 3idiots are smart people. One thing that a smart person does is gets his papers right, and they did! VVC has even published the agreement papers online (if I were him I would put it all in a blog and put some adsense code there, I'm sure it would make a decent money!) What was not so smart is the fact that they reacted to the blog post and the remarks of Chetan Bhagat in a naive way. Making Amir a spokesperson (when he, allegedly, has not even read the book) was stupid. The best (and only) people to talk about the whole issue were the Script writer Joshi, VVC and Hirani. But, from the movies perspective, it is just a lot of free publicity (I'm sure they wish all this happened after the initial craze for the movie mellowed down!) Nevertheless, 3idiots is going to be the biggest hit ever! More than 125 Crores in the opening week is proof for that!
Twitter, Blog and justice. This is a great episode for New Media and Twitter. Twitter's popularity in India is touching the skies, even more now. The people to be thanked for that include Mr. Shashi Tharoor and now Mr. Chetan Bhagat! We know that justice can not be delivered on Twitter or through some Blog post comments but one thing is for sure, the online world is with Mr. Chetan Bhagat, not just because they feel he is the right party but for his sheer presence in the online world! Very few movie stars are present in Twitter and most have decided to be mum (in most of the replies I've got from people from the movie world I can see a will to distant themselves from the controversy!)
This whole episode in the end is just a controversy. I won't say media hungry but ego could be the right word to describe both sides of the story! You read the book, see the movie, you decide. And no matter who's side you take, it is always fun to Tweet :P