Thursday, April 15, 2010

Moving home..

Okay guys! this is it. this is where it ends. I am shifting base to a newer, better and hopefully more regular blog space. This will effectively be my last blog here.

I will come back again to visit and maybe to write since your first home remains your first home. Have begun work on the new one, will share the address as soon as it hits some state of readiness and doesn't resemble an accident :)


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the whole picture

"'The only people who see the whole picture,' he murmured, 'are the ones who step out of the frame.'"
— Salman Rushdie in The Ground Beneath Her Feet

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A questioning truth - Does every country need a martyr?

Reading the editorial in yesterday's edition of The Times of India, I came across an interesting article that talked about the effects of a prolonged war with no end in sight on the minds and health of the soldiers of the US Army. The random train of thought on a Monday morning then led me to think what started the war (s) and how it was positioned as a war for truth, for the prevalence of democracy and righteousness. And how after almost a decade, it is nothing more than a string of locally won 'street fights' and a chain of lost battles! The very WAR is no where in discussion because it wasn't from the very start.

So what is it that started the war really? Was it just the greed of the US Capitalists as was positioned in the media across the world? Maybe. But I am certain that a lot more is being forcibly brushed under the carpet, unknowingly in full view of the world. The war (like most other wars) was started to give credence to the 'idea of war' and 'the notion of martyrdom', of a nation and its people.

How different is this war from the one waged by the "non state elements" against India? To be precise, how different is the idea of one from the other. One talks about giving the right to the Afghani people to decide and live in peace and yet after almost a decade, those very people are the ones who have suffered the most in the mindless bargain. The war on India has been positioned as all about giving the people of Kashmir their identity. And it is ironical that this battle at some level is being waged by a country that bears the albatross of a completely tattered social fabric around its neck!! Shouldn't the responsibility of that country be towards its citizens, those who toil on its very land?

This is what convinces me that it was never about the war itself but about the fanciful idea, an idea permeated with self created notions of power, responsibility and fame. Yet an idea riddled with the pain of continued failure and an indefinite loss of life. This is what convinces me that it was nothing but the notion of martyrdom that has become the governing rule of many modern day societies. The fancied idea of dying for a supreme cause.

And in this, how different is the institution of Army of any country? Taking India for example, the Army invites young fit people to join the honor of dying for their country! Really!! Any person with some decent sense of basic marketing principles will scoff at this approach which starts with the highest fear that any human faces, that of death. How is that you expect to find the best people when you are promising them death? Is it to say that a soldier who goes into the battle field but comes out alive is any less than the one who has perished to the enemy's bullet? Is it to say that the bravery of the one who has lived is not as much as the one who has laid his life? Shouldn't joining the army be all about serving the nation and not necessarily have to die for it? Shouldn't the premise of any recruiter be to promise the pride of service? How is the idea of a martyr greater than that of a loyal servant? But then maybe it is.

This is where the notion of martyrdom comes in. It is this notion of martyrdom that is causing an irreversible increase in the number of people taking to the gun. Maybe those on the right side of the fence need to reverse their tactics and hiring policies since the belief system of those on the other side seems far more superior and convincing than ours. The very notion of being a martyr for no body's cause (this is not really a battle for themselves, or for their people) is so heightened in each of them that this has come to form the very idea of a country's existence. Historians have argued over the years that Pakistan (politicians alone) will never want to find a solution to Kashmir because this very problem forms the basis of their existence. I will refrain from taking such an extreme view point but most certainly, am convinced that the one meeting ground for our neighbor and Uncle Sam is the urge to play policeman in absolutely unrelated circumstances from their daily life and to push millions from their country every year into a dark alley of war, nah martyrdom!

So finally, does every country need a martyr? Maybe. Afterall, isn't one man's martyr another man's terrorist? It is a questioning reality, repackaged as a believable truth!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Battle for Survival

A senior BJP leader after the election results was quoted as below in Outlook, June 1 issue,

" If there had been more terror attacks post 26/11, BJP would surely have benefited. But since the terrorists have gone to Pakistan to fight for their survival, BJP had to suffer in the results."

What the ****!!!!
Who needs terrorists when we have leaders like him walking free in our country? He should be the one booked under the NSA!!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Confused Identity...

To add to the woeful summer, the technology team in my office has gone ahead and changed my IDs. I now have three IDs on the mail system and half of those mails intended purely for purposes of my reading, have not been finding way to my Inbox at all!!!

It's frustrating as this has led to unknowingly pushing deadlines (which I hate) and most of the work not happening!!! Grrrrrr...

And like all things corporate, it will be a while before this is fixed!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Battle of Vices

Came across a very interesting reading on the choice between Luxury and Premium products on Seth's Blog.
I love " Luxury goods are organised waste". How true!
Click here to read more....

Spoilt for Choice...

That's the mode Congress seems to be in. After winning 206 seats in the Parliament elections and notching up their best performance in abut 25 years, the party is enjoying the spoils, the riches and everything that comes with the victory.

The not-so-long-ago-foe BSP goes ahead and declares unconditional 'outside' support to the UPA coalition and the good weather friends Amar Singh couldn't be left behind. All through this, another 'long time' ally and now 'hurt' ex Railway minister Laloo Yadav secretly wonders what to do with his 4 MPs!!! By the end of the day, he too goes ahead and announces support for the victor :)

Such is the landscape of Indian politics. What a difference 20 odd seats can make!!

But the one good thing that came of these elections is that the 'Dalit and the Maratha Express' have been halted in their tracks and prevented from reaching Delhi atleast for the next 5 years. (relieved sigh)...So while Mr Singh enjoys the chaos and Rahul Gandhi leaves the country guessing about his next move, the others (read BJP, Left) can cool their heels in the opposition tables of the Parliament Central Hall. After all 5 years is not that long a wait :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Move on Man!!

Sometimes I wish that someone would drill sensibility and sensitivity into our modern day ad wallahs!! They simply go overboard and have no clue as to what really clicks with their target audience. And when someone says that nowadays the purpose of an ad film is not to drive sales but to win awards, I couldn't agree more!! After all, how many of us knew the agencies responsible for the memorable Cadbury or Fevicol or Liril ads way back in the 1990s??

But the most recent ad for Fastrack watches beats the very purpose of its existence!! Again, what was it?? It is most certainly not a great draw as far as the brand is concerned. Nor does it make it to the gallery of classics!! It is downright...pathetic and tacky and sexist!! Now I have said on this platform several times that I am not a feminist but I do believe that everyone deserves some respect (even in anonymity). This ad breaks all such rules of decency. Broadly, it tells the story of this guy who gets close to a girl and then runs away when she begins to "get close"!! Closes with 'Move on Man'!! Really!! What are we saying here? Have we begun to propagate lack of commitment as a way of life? Is that what the brand actually stands for? It' just pathetic and sad that the makers of the ad and the bosses of the brand chose this line of communication. As someone who belongs to Gen Y and works on a daily basis with them, I know this is not what clicks with this generation. If the brand is looking at those 2% people who thrive on broken relationships and adopted cultures and who the brand managers perceive to be true representatives of their product or brand, I only have them to pity for their folly!! This generation is not easily smitten by the grandeur and false promises.They look for substance and move on if the promises you make are not met with.

The dialogue from Pay it Forward:

Trev: You don't care.
Eugene: Yes I do. I will always care about you.
Trev: Yeah. You are my teacher. They pay you to.

Poignant. Beautiful.

Kolkata Knight Riders won finally albeit without Mr Khan to cheer them on!! And on the way to the victory podium, made it just a little tougher for Chennai to reach the semis to where they were cruising. But all in all, a good match. Wonder what the Fake IPL Player has to say to that!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Let the finger talk...

It is almost the end of the week and what a week it has been!!!

Delhi went to polls and after days of endless messages and random calls from Vijay Goel and Ajay Maken (the BJP and the Congress candidates from New Delhi) my phone breathes easy today!! And yes, I voted..and let my finger do the talking. But (un)fortunately, the finger was not the same as the Bachchans!! Actually, I am now wondering if it had been, would I have done the finger show in front of my parents..nah!! I would have gotten a good kick smack in the middle. I guess good values don't come easy after all. Hope the Bachchans are listening!! Anyhow, back to the elections..Delhi saw a voter turnout of 50%, much higher than the city that reeks of political and social hypocrisy (atleast on this front)!

In other election related news, I happened to see a debate between Raninder Singh and Harsimrat Kaur (the Congress and Akali candidates from Bathinda). One, the son of Amarinder Singh and the other the daughter in law of Prakash Singh Badal. And the debate yielded much surprise. I atleast expected Raninder to be a good orator, if not a great politician. And he disappointed on just about every front, including this. The lady on the other hand might belong to one of the most corrupt families of Punjab but she surely came out unscathed in this battle of wits and words. She chose her words carefully (or not so much coz such is the politics of Punjab) and literally tore her opponent to pieces all the while in convent school English! Man, she was impressive. Maybe the man was just being a gentle-man (pun intended) and that wouldn't be surprising given his political lineage. But he soon needs to smell the coffee coz the lady for sure is in no mood for kindness. Anyhow, all we can do is wait till the 16th and see which of the political horses crossed the finishing line victorious.


Work wise, it has been a greeeat great week. The much awaited good news finally came along, and I had my Miss India moment (literally) :)

And now, I am all geared up for the next innings..just wish I would get a month long holiday ;)


Made the most of the election day and finally watched The Kite Runner and it left me asking for more tissues. Ok, not really but it is a sensitive film made from the heart and it shows. In every frame and in every shot. Hassan is adorable (the child actor) and specially the scenes where he says "for you a thousand times over" and the one scene in which Amir throws tomatoes at Hassan (in a display of helplessness and anger against his inaction), his eyes say so much more than he could otherwise. I don't know if the kids are established actors but Hassan surely does a great job in the film!! He is adorable and your heart goes out to him everytime he appears on screen, whether as a faithful play mate for Amir or as his dutiful servant during Amir's birthday or as his "confidante" during the scene where he is accused of stealing Amir's watch.

Amazing film.I am sure you have watched it but just in case you haven't, go get it. It's not a dampener.


The one reason I can watch We are Marshall again and again is the Chak de like moment when he says that "The funerals end today". Everytime it leaves me wondering if all of us sometimes in our lives need those two minute speeches that can change the course of our lives and stay with us much after the moment has passed.

And then I think if I ever got mine. And then my mind veers towards those people who hold places of distinction in my life and a couple of incidents stand out. But none more than the recent session with Ankur where he gave me a very important lesson that I am sure will stay with me atleast for the entire duration of my professional life. Yes, I did have my eureka moment :)


And how could the week end without the staple dose of IPL!!! Many matches and many 'DLF Maximums'. And the dismal performance of Kolkata Knight Riders continues. It breaks my heart every time they let the ball fall from between their butter fingers!! Clearly not their tournament.

Anyhow, amidst the many matches what stood out was the match between CSK and KxiP last night. Well Hayden has never been a favorite but his sixes set the place on fire. And Dhoni with his cheeky smile enjoyed every minute he was out there. Not to say the Prince of Patiala (courtesy Fake IPL player) did not join the party but it just wasn't enough!! In the end CSK made their way to the top of the points table with a hard fought win. But the icing on the cake was the presentation ceremony. Rameez Raja called on "the loser" and while I was still wondering if it was a slip of tongue and about the standard of English among the new breed commentators, in walked Yuvraj Singh! Well it was my 'citi moment of success'.


A great week. All ready for the weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2009

On an aside...

I loved it that Shah Rukh voted and as did Aamir. The Bachchan khandaan was out in well coordinated clothes flaunting their middle finger :)

Strange choice of the finger. I would always prefer to have the election mark on my index finger!! The only choice actually :)

A no-show of hypocrites

It is a classic case of "Barking dogs seldom bite"...i could have euphenized it but it was deliberate not to!!
After all, didn't the whole country and specially Mumbai cry hoarse about the Government apathy in the aftermath of 26/11?? And just about 5 months later, given a chance to correct their past mistakes (we choose the government after all), the very same people chose the comfort of their homes. I guess it must have a pretty hard choice between the heat and future of the country. But a choice well made!!

Just 43% voting and that too when the temperatures hovered not above 37 degrees. What in God's name can be the excuse? Well atleast, the government's think tank got it right and the decision to post pone the elections to April-May seem to have paid off. The ploy to avoid the public anger was well thought out and will get them what they had wished for...the public didn't show up!

The next time there is a threat to the national security, those who didn't vote shall have no moral authority to raise a finger at teh government coz they didn't bother to get the stain on their finger on the day it mattered. I am beginning to convince myself that the government apathy is well deserved after all!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Meeting of Minds (or not)

Having worked in a Corporate setup for over 18 months, the one thing I have seen in abundance are meetings! They meet so that they can decide what to meet for!!
So, today when I read the following post, I couldn't suppress a smile. It's so true and seems straight from the heart of someone who's been made a victim of such calls of no-action time and again.
Read on, pure pleasure guaranteed.

Take Two!

The title of the post is a reflection of several thoughts, a follow up on a friends post, a late night chat about second chances in life and some such banter!! So the flow of the post might not be necessarily restrained. At this point, I don't even know what it is going to be about. Let's see.

Life isn't always fair. We always wish for a retake, some way that we could go back and make it better. "I wish..." The omnipresent need for a "Take Two".
So, here it is.

Over the last few days, much has gripped our attention and the national media. Much has slipped away and much that we have let slip. Intentionally. In my previous post, I said that the nation is suffering from a cricket-elections fever. It's only got worse over the last few days. But what I find strangely amusing is how as a society we have a knack of closing doors (literally and metaphorically) at just the right time (or not so..). So, the IPL is happening is South Africa and while the stake holders slug it out, we are only concerned with our morning cuppa and a reassurance that we will get the staple 1600 and 2000 hrs telecast for around 50 days staring April 18. Second life actually. Not too bad, huh!!

And then we have the Laloos (with the funniest version of I-am-not-concerned-what-you-think-of-me English) and the Mulayams (of the many criminal cases) and the Paswans (mmm...not too sure what he is about though except a failed ex Railway Minister) coming together and forming an alliance or as they say, a 'front within a front'!! Really?? I don't get it. Wonder if you do. But this long ceased to be the hot favorite in gossip circles in the political capital of the country and we are back to "Singh is King" talks. So let's move on. We can wait till after the polls to see whether they stick with the UPA. What's for lunch by the way??

And the there is the world of make believe, of new aspirations and broken dreams. Bollywood (someone please help with a new name). This week Neil Nitin Mukesh is back as a wildlife photographer in Aa Dekhen Zaraa after making a rather promising debut in Johnny Gaddar as a conman. In this movie, too, his role is not very different. He graduates from being just a photographer to something like a conman with his 'magical futuristic' camera. It is really about how the camera changes his life by predicting the future not so subtly. And then it all goes wrong. Life gives him a second chance but then takes it away. It is, after all, the master's call! Don't know how the movie will fare but maybe it's worth the wait. Damn!! I need coffee!

And then there is the "poet politician" with the loose tongue and an inactive mind. He apparently went to London School of Economics. Inactive mind still. He seems hypnotised either by the legacy he has not been able to fathom and his supposed derived yet non existent burden of expectations or by the political line of the party he endorses which he doesn't really believe in but has no other choice but to moot. In either case, he went overboard. And I am sure he realises it. Else, he wouldn't go about denying the speech as his. He is still taking baby steps in the bad bad world (he is all of 29 after all) and am sure has seen that he can't get away with murder (or even the talk of it) on the political front. His own party, whose blue eyed poster boy he was till a few days back and a perfect answer to the other Gandhi scion, has as much as distanced itself from his comments and in principle from him. The poor little lamb seems lost without knowing the way out. "They told me, it's a jungle out there but I chose not to believe them." I just hope that the perceived butcher is not the one whose beheading we watch as a spectacle.

It actually gets better. According to our man, he was only trying to "safeguard the interests of and instill confidence in the community which feels it is under seige in its own country" and then in the following statement goes on to say that "There is no question of saying anything against any community. India is the home to all faiths and beliefs and I respect this,"...ahem!! Little contradictory, don't you think. Is this a country of Hindus or is this a country where Hindus live just like Muslims and the Sikhs and the Jains and the Buddhists. Whose interests is he trying to safeguard. The Sikhs who were relentlessly killed in 1984 because of some 'environmental' issues or the Muslims who have lived in this country in doubt since 1947 or the Christians who were raped and their places of worship destroyed? Or just the Hindus who have apparently faced wrath time and again!! It just reinforces my belief that he went out in a state of daze and blurted some nonsense which he is now regretting!! (Atleast I hope he is..)

And all talk of legacy is better in the closet. I really do think that he secretly wishes he could be where Rahul and Priyanka are today. Whether or not he is the rightful heir to the family name and political legacy or not is not a discussion we should even start right now. Rahul hasn't done much to prove himself and Varun just started on the wrong foot. And I am certain he thinks that he'd be better off with the Congress. But he has no choice but to live with the choices his mother made some time back since he can never really go back to 'the seat of secularism' atleast till she is around. I don't know if this is his second chance that he has blown away or will he still get another one. For his sake, I hope this is not and that he swings to the music of 'Take Two' in the years ahead! An early dinner would be great. Salad maybe!

So, in what has now become a daily fare so much so that it doesn't escape the clutches of mundane, I was slightly amused but more surprised at the fast veering conversation with my friend. He was deeply upset about some mention of "hero worship" one of our friends had made in the regard of the person (poet politician after all) above. He couldn't understand how someone who we have known for over 10 years could be so insensitive or simply speaking, alienated from sane thinking. And all my efforts of convincing him that this talk should hardly matter to him was obviously not paid heed to :). And just as I was talking to him, it occured to me that I had become so passive to what happens around me. Some years ago, I would have been a crusader of change after reading the absolutely irresponsible comments from Mr Gandhi but not any more. I have convinced myself that this is all talk and nothing beyond and that this talk doesn't meet the sensibilities of an educated yound man (Gandhi or not) who espouses to be an Indian. I have convinced myself that this is a gimmick to gain those elusive votes from the people who still believe that religion can get them three meals a day. I have given in to apathy and that is my doom. Or it could very soon be. And just then, I realised that this, maybe, is my second chance - my Take Two- and maybe I should wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe I shouldn't wait till my 'saviours" turn up against me. Maybe it's time I did something.

...but just then... a lemon cheese cake with whipped cream!
It's delicious.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel

She heard a faint voice. She looked around. In the dark that surrounded her, she couldn't see anything. She couldn't figure out what it was. But she was sure that something was there. Something that kept watch, noticed her every move and heard her every breath. Thinking of this, she shuddered. And then, she thought of the day she had seen him for the first time. The droopy eyes that longed to smile called out to her. She didn't know him but he seemed like someone she would like to know.
And then just like that, they became friends. She saw in him a reliable friend, someone who would listen to her endlessly. But inside she had this lurking fear that there was a side she hadn't seen. A side which with every passing day she grew desperate to see. A side which she needed to see. A side which scared her for a reason unknown to her.
And today, in the dark that surrounded her, it all came rushing back to her. All she could see was that side. With every passing moment.
And then she wondered why she hadn't seen it before.

The rising fever

..and while we are at it, the two main events coming up in the days ahead have gripped the nation (they have literally) even if the main reason is that the existence of one is spelling doom for the other (and when the other happens to be the IPL, what really do you expect)!!

Anyhow, with the elections poised for the month of April (Well into May) and the IPL (which now, as is common knowledge, will not be held in India but on the foreign shores of England or South Africa), prepare yourself for an insightful discussion on your next dinner (or drinks) out with friends, unless of course you are fine with being labelled as ignorant!! So, gone is the hype around Obama (and from what I read even the "US Americans" are getting enough of him..they are tired of the continuous lecturing apparently, am I surprised) and even the supposed recession or slow down seems like staple fare now. What is being served hot is the new version of the spicy IPL and the Great Indian tamasha (that is obviously an NDTV pick up) with a perfect garnishing of Indian politics.

Now, while I am not much of a patriot, I am sad that the IPL is not happening in India (not that I understand my silly point from the off drive, but still). I do have a lurking fear that the fizz just seems to have died out of the pot boiler. Let's just accept it, it will never be so much fun again. So no matter how much Mr Lalit Modi tries to fake a smile putting up a picture of all's well, we do know that the public thinks it's not. Well largely atleast. And just like that, we have the other Mr Modi shouting from his rooftop of how this is a national shame. Ahem. Now if my memory serves me right, that is not really an area the latter should pride himself in. After all, Godhra happened right under his nose (and anyone who knows me, knows that this has a fair degree of euphemism).

And what completely breaks my heart is that Mr Khan (who else) will most likely not travel to South Africa or England as much as he would have had to Delhi or Mohali or Chennai to cheer his team. Now, that is something I will dearly miss. Now from all of this, what we can't even pretend to ignore is the 'high possibility' of a political angle to this. Now is there one? I would be very surprised if there wasn't!!

And lastly the elections. The much debated candidate lists are out. I am not too sure who is contesting from my area but whoever it is, it fails to excite me to cast my second vote (the first was during the last Assembly elections). And I really want to ask, what is it that they were thinking while they announced the candidature. Why in God's name can't we be involved in the election process from the stage of selecting the candidates!! It is so frustrating having to choose between one devil and another.

And the politics (what else) of it all is blinding. The allies being broken. New ones being made. And then broken again only to be remade. It's a crazy world out there. And in the midst of it all, I break into a cold sweat thinking that Mayawaiti could be my next Prime Minister. Oh God!!

This is not the world I lived for. Even if this is a dream, this is not what I dreamt of.

(On an aside, read this amazing piece of writing on Faraz' blog's beautiful. And while I don't follow Urdu, it's been a language I have always wanted to learn and while I am nowhere close to it yet, writings like these do serve to strengthen my resolve :))