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