November 21, 2010


This is just what I needed:).. Media has often been at the receiving end in this blog and today its at its best, probably:). Politicians, industrialists getting caught lobbying, etc., does not surprise me anymore. But its shocking to know that the half baked media in India are also as bad. Earlier, I only had a problem of the quality of reporting... But now, that they are no different from politicians and the rest, is a revelation! 

The media has always played a "Holier than Thou" attitude and has always pointed fingers at everyone while maintaining a self drawn halo around themselves... Well, this link will dissolve that halo in seconds:)

What is even more deplorable is the ganging up of all mainstream media and they have successfully blacked out this youtube video... The same media that would have jumped 10 feet if there was a probable scam in any part of India, has decided to go silent on this... This is good brotherhood, man! 

This same brotherhood among industrialists or political parties would be ripped and torn apart by these very media houses. Can there be a better example of double standard??

Well, I am actually glad this video clip has come to light... I couldn't stand these TV presenters wearing a "larger than life" virtuosic personality, anyway.

November 19, 2010

Reality Shows - what a misnomer

I guess we have been having reality shows on TV for some years now. Being a very rare TV watcher and a conservative one too, these shows have never caught my fancy. All I knew about them was what I read in the papers. It did surprise me that reality shows make headlines on the internet and the newspapers. And that was that.

But I happened to see the current Big Boss 4 on Colors Channel and and I must say that it is far from reality. I wonder whoever thought of calling these "Reality Shows". Its so cut off from "Reality", I wonder what will they call a programme on state of agriculture, or a programme that talks about urban - rural disparity, etc..

Its downright boring too!!! How can it interest anyone what some bunch of wannabe or failed actors do when they get holed up for 2 months in one house! The conversation was so boring and totally arbitrary. It was so bad that even the most boring film clip would be more entertaining. I wonder if people really enjoy these, it perplexes me. But judging by the number of advertisements, I guess I belong to a very small minority.

I was so glad when the government decided to pull this show up for adult content and move it to beyond 11 pm. But, my joy was shortlived. The advertisers moved court and obtained a stay on the government ruling! That brings up the other issue. If the Courts are so Supreme (pun intended), why don't they govern the country, why do we have politicians and bureaucracy? 

November 10, 2010

Naadha Vaibhavam: A grand Carnatic Magnum Opus

As part of 30th anniversary celebrations, The Art of Living is organising Naadha Vaibhavam, a grand musical symphony on 30th January 2011 in Chennai. The concert will have 5000 Carnatic musicians perform in unison, from the world over, on a single stage in the presence of H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The event will be the grand finale, signaling the end of the Music Season, in the city that prides itself as the Mecca for Carnatic Music. 

The event is particularly organized with the intent to offer a spiritual aura and desires to highlight the glory of Carnatic music to one and all. There is a buzz in the city with a number of musicians and budding artistes willing to participate and registering themselves. This event is likely to feature in the Guinness Book of World Records!! Its going to be on such a grand scale that I ask readers to just "Be there, be part of history, in the making:)".

Please stop by at for more details about the Event and The Art of Living.

November 3, 2010

A valid argument indeed!

Post the Commonwealth Games, there has been a lot of promise to clean up the cobwebs and bring in new blood into the Sports Associations/Bodies/Federations. Suddenly, it was discovered that all the office bearers of all Sport federations were above 70 years and that a retirement age must be put in place:). At the face of it, its a brilliant idea. But these shameless chiefs have turned the argument around and ask how come the same yardstick doesn't apply for political posts like the PM of the country, CMs of states, etc. I think this is a very valid point.

In a half hearted attempt to clean up the system, surely the politicians could have come up with a better idea, that will not boomerang on them and still keep these existing chiefs out of their posts?? How about proposing that the Chiefs can, at best have 2 terms at office? This can also boomerang on the politicians but atleast we will have a cap on the number of years these people can head Sports Bodies / country.

We need reforms in the political system very urgently.

State of Environment in India

We have the most concerned Minister of State for Environment in the country. He truly cares for the environment unlike most of his predecessors. He is so concerned for the Elephants that get killed by trains at night that he couldn't sleep for many nights subsequently. Soon, he came up with the bright idea that trains ought to be stopped at nights, so as to allow elephants freedom to walk around:-). Its another matter that its his very ministry, under his able guidance, that has been sitting on the file about the Elephant corridor in West Bengal!!

Today, our man is most furious with Harry Potter fans!! Incredulous, you say? Well, its true. He has got hold of a report of the dwindling population of owl species and some smart Alec has proposed that Harry Potter fans are buying the owls from illegal traders!! Now, how many people can buy and house owls at home? Can our Minister show some more concern to real issues that such news hogging stories?

What about alarming pesticide levels in vegetables, H'ble Minsiter? A recent TOI report says there is alarming level of pesticides in most vegetables. And what does he do about it? He promotes it further by stalling the release of Bt brinjal. Brinjal, incidentally attracts maximum pesticide use and farmers spray indiscriminately to reduce pest damage. Bt brinjal consumption is probably much more safe than the pesticide ridden non Bt brinjal:) 

And what about the environmental clearances, rather rejections our Minsiter so loves? He says no to something one day and after a few months reverses his stand. Or he says yes to something and years later, stops it because his party now has other plans for the tribals of Orissa.

I am not surprised by a report that he is apparently the most hated man in his own party and also outside. I wonder what the Environment thinks of him, though:)


I had an opportunity to visit a small town called Baramti near Pune in Maharashtra last week. Its Pawar land and there is no mistaking or forgetting this fact, even for a moment. He has a demi God status among the locals there, and anybody I spoke to, across different strata, worship him like God! I found it very amusing at first, having been in a city all the time. I, for one, don't know who the local MP is and I don't see this hero worship amongst any of my city folks even if they are more politically educated than me!

There was so much pride in the driver who drove me around and said, "Saheb ne kiya hai". I met a Scientist who heads an Institute there and I quote "He works beyond human capabilities and is on a different plane"

Great job indeed. Apparently, the town has always had some history but Pawar saheb seems to have brought it on the India radar. There is quite a number of industries, namely, steel, dairy apart from the number of sugar factories that dot the skyline.

Reminded me of another occasion when I went to Gwalior and whole place was owned by the Scindias. I was struck by the adulation at that time too but I attributed it to them being part of the Royal family.

So, if each MP can take care of his constituency like some of these people, I guess India will have a great future. 

Long Hiatus

Ahaa, I am back to my posting on the blog. I can't believe I haven't done a single post in two months! Seems ages since I even visited my blog.. I guess I have what is called the writer's block:-). There's been so much happening these past 8 weeks that I could have done two postings a day!

Anyway, I guess its time to write and enjoy the experience:). Well, these past two months have been hectic and enriching, both personally and professionally. And with regards to current affairs, there's been no dearth of interesting stories, right from CWG being a runaway success to being also most marred in scams and the plethora of other scams.

What is it with Indians? Why do we attract scams, as a country? Is there a deeper meaning? Is there a lack in our psyche or is the prevalent disparities too glaring?

Interesting to do some introspection, if not for anything, atleast for academic interest.

So, guys, do visit this blog often as I promise to post regularly:)

September 2, 2010

The Complete Man

Its a Hindu festival that is celebrated across India, in different ways. I am referring to Janmashtami, birth of Lord Krishna. Happened to read a blog about the description of the Lord yesterday and was inspired to do a post on it.

Lord Krishna is looked upon in so many different forms, as an adorable child, as a charming companion, as a trusted friend, as a darling son, as a perfect consort, as the Saviour, as a great Ruler, as an avatar to establish Good over Evil, as the most Wise Teacher who gave the Bhagwath Gita on a battlefield! He is celebrated and worshipped in all these forms... Its amazing!!

And, if you look at his life, he had to face so many obstacles, even before he was born! He, however, celebrated every moment in his life and smiled through the hardships... This is is the message for his devotees. Life is not a bed of roses, but smile and dance through it and you will enjoy every moment of it!

Many times, people draw comparisons of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna as they are both avatars of Lord Narayana, yet lived seemingly opposite lives:). Lord Rama was the epitome of Righteousness and his message to the world at that time was to lead a Perfect Life. Lord Krishna in his avatar, did everything under the sun to establish Good over Evil. He broke the law if required and used a lot of skill to achieve his goal. I particularly liked one description of Lord Krishna: it said, even his form, is bent at many places, he stands on one foot and other is bent and rests on a toe, his knee is bent, his hip is at a slant, etc.. - in a dance, while Lord Rama was straight and upright. Lord Rama is a perfect man and Lord Krishna is a complete man, summed up my hubby!

I heard another nice story between Lord Krishna & Lord Rama... Apparently even their devotees, are very distinct.. a typical Ram bhakt will eat dal roti chawal and dress very plainly, whilst, a Krishna bhakth will like a sweet and a pickle alongwith the main course and more! and dress up colourfully, with ornaments and jewellery! I really enjoyed this one and wanted to share... Incidentally, in school yesterday, many kids in kindergarden dressed up as Krishna / Radha:). Here is my niece, as Radha.

Sri Sri RaviShankar has given a nice talk on the Contradictions in the Gita. He says, although there appears to be many contradictions in the Gita, it is not contradictory at all! In his inimitable style, he has given many insights and explains them in great humour and wisdom. A gist of His message is here

August 27, 2010

Good Jokes

There two jokes that I would like to share here...

1. The day the Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament) passed the Nuclear Liability Bill, news channels were abuzz with the news and busy getting bytes from those who mattered. At one point, Arnab Goswami from Times Now shared a good joke... He said, "The congress found it easier to amend the bill and take BJP's support to pass the bill in Lok Sabha, can't say same from their own Minister, Jairam Ramesh" :-)

2. This is joke of today... The Primer Minister, Shri Manmohan Singh, inaugurated a meeting with Heads of Missions from different countries and he said, "India, by and large, has good relations with her neighbours. We were engaging them without looking at reciprocity, in our own enlightened interest"

Isn't the second joke terribly funny?? Our record with Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China is at an all time low... What do you think he had in his mind when he said this?? Perhaps he lives in the past or future - 100 years ago or later:)

I am proud of Vada Pav:)

Having grown up in Aamchi Mumbai it is but natural to like Vada Pav. Strangely, no other city has caught on to this snack. I mean other snack items and chaats have now mushroomed in every big city in India but Vada Pav is quite confined to Mumbai.

I have since moved on to many other cities before settling down in Chennai and miss my Vada Pav dearly. So, I am quite thrilled to read about the latest avatar of Vada Pav. Please read more about it here.

Recently, I was at a wedding reception in Bangalore and they had Vada Pav and I gorged on it. I am sure there will be many takers for Vada Pav in Chennai. Chennai has now become more welcoming to different cuisines and many exclusive joints serving Thai /Mexican/Lebanese/Korean/Italian dot the skyline here.

Can't wait for Goli Vada Pav to set shop in Chennai... Is Venky Iyer listening?

We will be like this only!

I refer to the latest controversy surrounding bauxite mining by the Vedanta group in Orissa. Although I know very little of the technical aspects of the proposal, it is evident that the Environment Ministry's action has nothing to do with the technical specifications / guidelines, rather to do with vote bank politics.

Two days prior to the rejection by the ministry itself, there were reports that Rahul Gandhi would be visiting Orissa and the tribals at Niyamgiri hills and rejection of Vedanta's mining proposal was a foregone conclusion. So, Congress is already in election mode, they are trying to woo the tribals and get their votes... So, it pays the Congress to keep them in poverty and if possible keep them as tribals forever, else, their winning in Orissa is at jeopardy. How typical!

Although vote bank poilitics is not new to anybody in India, it however shocks me when its as blatant as this, and at the cost of development, in that region. Will we never grow up?? Is there no hope?? How hypocritical it is when our government makes speeches from Red Fort and where have you, on how serious they are about dealing with naxalism and maoists!! On the contrary, isn't this action nurturing and supporting the movement?

I am hugely disappointed with Rahul Gandhi. I really thought he was different, and was well meaning, and had the country's interests ahead of the party's... All my hopes are dashed, as Wooster would have said:)

I want reforms in our political system. This is one reform no current MP will support!

Azim Premji - one of my heroes

One of the leading business heads who I admire and idolize is Azim Premji. What particularly endears me is his simplicity, frugality, inspite of his accomplishments and contributions to nation building and job creation, and ofcourse, his personal wealth. He has been a silent statesman unlike many of his peers and never talks out of turn. But yesterday, he chose to speak out against the Commonwealth Games, in the Times of India. Those of you who didn't read it, please see the link to his article. There is a certain respect for him and when he decides to speak out, I am sure policy makers will sit up and listen. Its time, Indian policy makers take hard decisions, rather than playing to the gallery or succumbing to vote bank politics. These have cost India dear and we cannot afford to continue in this manner. I am really glad to see people like Azim Premji speak, loud and clear. We need to hear these people and take action.

In the article, he has very nicely brought out the burning issues plaguing our country and the need to prioritise. While he agrees its not black and white and not easy for the government to decide one project over the other, he very clearly mentions that lack of amenities for budding sportsmen, and lack of education in many districts of India, is a serious concern. Hosting a sporting extravaganza is not exactly in keeping with the reality India is in, currently.

I particularly admire Azim Premji for his vision to concentrate on primary education for the economically challenged. His foundation is really touching the lives of thousands of children and teachers in rural Karnataka, to make a difference to the quality of education. This, in my opinion is priceless contribution to nation building. Kudos to him and may he inspire many more to follow his path of silent transformation of rural India!

August 23, 2010

Opposite values are Complementary, indeed!

I had the most unique experience of getting ready and pack up to catch an early morning train, only to find out that my ticket was waitlisted and couldn't board!! I couldn't believe it, I have heard many people recount such experiences but I have never faced this before... Its just too disappointing, imagine not being able to do the work you set out out for the day, and that too on a monday morning!! And I woke up early, cooked and completed morning chores only to find that I have to go back home.. It was very difficult to be there on the platform and watch the train depart with you standing with your bag:(. And the agent who promised you the ticket refusing to take your call:(. I was thoroughly disappointed and despondent.

Realising I had to get on with the day, I got out of the station to hail an auto. But to my delight, there was a AC bus, part of local public transport that was waiting at the bus stop. This bus stops bang opposite my house! I jumped in like a child and chose my seat. It was empty, save for another gentleman. This is my first bus ride in more than 11 years in the city and its my first ever ride in an AC bus:). I was so thrilled with the experience that I almost forgot the disappointment of not getting on the train! 

As H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar often says, opposite values are complementary, two sides of the same coin.  

August 12, 2010

Thank God for Supreme Court in India!

I would rather have the Supreme Court govern the country than the politicians:-). Offlate, the Supreme Court seems to be pulling up the government and getting sense into their heads. This is a very good thing, only I wonder if they will then have very little time to hear the pending cases of undertrials languishing in various prisons across the country.

I refer to today's judgement by SC to distribute the food grains to the hungry, "free". I am so glad to see this news. Its such a stupid ironical twist to see rotting grains in godowns that no one will use and >250 million hungry mouths simultaneously co-existing in the country... Can we do anything more stupid?

All these years, the political class and officials hid behind the term, "buffer stocks" and justified the rotting grains in godowns. Today, with a hyper active media watching and having free access, the pitiable state of our godowns and warehouses and the inefficiencies of the Food Corporation of India have been completely exposed. I wonder why we cannot have privatisation in these sectors. Why can't business houses get into storage and distribution of food grains in the country. PDS can work closely with private firms and ensure optimum distribution than it exists now.

In my opinion, reform in post harvest technologies and logistics is going to be critical for India in the coming years. Else, all the toil by farmers and contributions from agricultural institutions will come to naught and we will only see rising food prices and more shortages. 

August 11, 2010

The month that went by

I have been quite irregular in posts lately... Not that there is any dearth of topics to write about, just didn't find enough time to collect my thoughts.. So, here goes... wrap up of the month that went by..

I was terribly aghast and horrified to note that the Census has decided to club beggars, housewives and prostitutes under the "economically non-productive" category!! The Supreme Court, rightly, has not taken this well and has questioned the authorities responsible for this. Believe me, I am no feminist, woman activist, nor the housewife, in any sense of the term, but this is the most derogatory, offensive abuse a woman in India can be subjected to... But what beats me is the complete lack of attention in the media, who otherwise are quite adept at making mountains out of molehills. And where have all the women activists, women rights' forum, etc doing?

As expected, the scams surroundings various contracts awarded in the Commonwealth Games hogs the news channels these days. We just don't get to hear about the Indian contingent and their preparations and chances at medals etc.. Isn't this funny? But then I guess its going the IPL-way... Media and public are more interested in Lalit Modi and Sharad Pawar's wheeler dealings and court room action, than on players and teams... And after a point, they forget and corrupt officials get away with this "short term public memory", just like politicians do.

There are a number of movies I want to watch, Inception, Peepli Live, are top in the list..

August 1, 2010

(Un)Commonwealth Games - The Indian Version

Here's a welcome to all athletes who have bravely accepted to participate in the Games in New Delhi. Its going to be an experience for everyone, from organizers to participants to citizens of the city. Indians always take things in their stride, I mean very lightly. I wonder what the fuss is about?? We Indians travel in filthy trains and buses everyday to work, ditto for our roads that are littered, not to mention the overflowing garbage! And all our roads will put any obstacle race to shame anyway. Where is the security for the aam aadmi as he/she gets to work/school and back?? Where is the quality in terms of stay, transport, amenities etc for any Indian? But then, I am told, all the fuss is for our foreign delegates!!

Ah, how we love to fawn at the sight of white skin, makes me squirm..... I wonder how much longer it would take us to shake this legacy since British rule.. Getting back to the games, there are critics other than Mani Shankar Aiyer deriding the amount we are spending on hosting the event, instead, it could have been spent on developing world class infrastructure for the sporting fraternity across the country, they argue.. Well come on, such things can be debated forever. What about our many fancy missions? We spends crores on a mission to send man to the moon? Is this really required?? Critics can say we can first invest in developing decent aircrafts and not have to lease from Airbus & Boeing:-). Socialists will say, remove poverty and hunger first and then send people to the Moon!

Getting back to the CWG in India, what is unfortunate is the rampant corruption in awarding contracts and misuse of money. To start with, we can have office bearers with fixed tenure with no more than one or terms, in office. Since I can remember, its always been Suresh Kalmadi at the helm of the Sports affairs in the country. Surely there are many more people who are as qualified or more to take over! If we can overhaul our bureaucracy in appointments, and have transparency and professionalism of Sports Organizers and Coaches in our country, we will see more medals. There is certainly no dearth of talent in our country.

We are barely weeks to the event now, cancelling it will be as much an embarassment as holding it!! In my opinion, things have to happen simultaneously, we need to invest in the Moon mission and address the pressing problems of poverty and unemployment and rising prices!! And if possible, host the Olympics too:-)

July 14, 2010


I have shared some of my favourite columnists, who write well, on my blog before. I have to say that I find Santosh Desai's column, City City Bang Bang in the Times of India, really good. Apart from agreeing with his views on most topics, I really enjoy his writing style. Its ages since I came across such good journalism, people who write on serious stuff and, with flair. His latest article on the Bandh that the opposition called for, is simply brilliant!

I am really envious of people who have great command over language, be it as an orator or a writer. I aspire to reach decent levels by posting regularly on this blog and improve my writing skills. Do keep encouraging me by leaving your comments:-)

July 13, 2010

And the Grand Finale!

To complete the story, the finals was anything to write home... both teams were quite listless in the first half and the Spanish team particularly only had possession of the ball. There was no beauty in their game. The only saving grace for the Spanish was their captain - goalkeper who simply excelled in his game. He undoubtedly deserves to be called one of the best keepers of the game, today. He was a delight to watch.

I maybe be biased in my comments but I liked the Dutch play the game, particularly Arjen Robben. He moved with the ball at lightening pace and it was a treat to watch him. While the Dutch had less possession of the ball, they did more than possess and pass the ball to their mates... I do think Robben had some amazing shots at the goal, however, they were off the post by few inches. Had the Dutch won, it would have been a fitting and perfect tribute to the Dutch stalwarts who shaped the game for their country these past 30 years. There were moments in the game when I thought the Dutch played the game so well, almost as if telling Spain, "Tirupathikke laddu va?" For those who didn't follow, it means that just as the laddu is so closely associated with the temple at Thirupathi, so is the beautiful, "total football (totaalvoetbal)", closely associated with the Dutch.

I happenned to watch the game with a group of diehard Dutch friends as part of the Netherlands Council group. It was a perfect ambience in farout Chennai, all of us dressed in their national colour, Orange, with the country flag painted on us and a few Vuvuzela horns thrown in, not to mention a lavish buffet spread with plenty of spirited options for the fans too!

We were all resigned to the fate of the game getting into penalty shootouts when Spain managed a goal in the final moments of the extra time. I couldn't believe it!

So, Spain won the Cup with ample help from the English referee and we all trooped out, mighty disappointed:-)

July 7, 2010

Happiness anyone??

There is an article in the Times of India edit by Sanjiv Kaura today, that has set off this post. While I agree partly with his viewpoints, I differ from him on who needs to pursue 'happiness'? Yes, I agree that having post graduate courses on Happiness does border on being weird; at the same time, I earnestly also think that youth today need to be guided with values and taught the importance of adopting a fine balance between 'being prosperous' and 'happy'.

'Happiness' and 'Prosperity' need not be looked at antagonistically and they actually need to complement each other, and its completely pointless having only one of them in our lives!! So, if my ten year old picks up the Bhagvad Gita, I wouldn't stop him/her. On the contrary, I would encourage them to read the Gita. As far as my understanding goes, the Gita is a simply brilliant treatise and it actually talks of the fine balance that each of us need to imbibe in our lives.

But I do understand Mr. Sanjiv Kaura's concern about children getting misled and confused with questions on happiness and end up like zombies and misfits in society. They also end up causing immense heartburn or headache to their parents, so much so that parents get put off by spirituality and happiness!!

But, if we were to actually read the Gita and understand it right, we wouldn't need to attend a Masters Course in Happiness:-). We would be leading very prosperous lives and enjoying every moment of it too!!

July 5, 2010

Perfect Indian

I chanced upon reading a humorous post on genetically modified humans by Anand Ramachandran. Its hilarious and written in good style. Ofcourse its sci-fi but our own apna stuff, not borrowed from West. I just realised that we have a dearth of sci fiction writers and if you notice, all good fiction that we read or watch as movies are from the West. Wonder why a Mani Ratnam or Karan Johar can't make a good science fiction movie? Surely, audiences will love them. If people can go and watch a theme that's as beaten and boring as Raavan, any averagely made science fiction will be a hit.

I loved "Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars" series, and stand alone flicks like "The Time Machine", "2001, a Space Odyssey", "Extra Terrestrial", "The Fly", "Contact", "Men in Black", "The Matrix" etc. This is not an exhaustive list, just a few that I remember. 

Here's to many more Anand Ramachandrans in India, maybe, we need to clone a humour /sci fi gene into Indians:-)

July 3, 2010

The Chevrolet Beat Review

Its now five months since driving the Beat and I am now ready to give a full fledged review. For any standard, professional auto review, check out sites like zigwheels, carwale, bsmotoring, etc. Here, I am going to share my experience of driving the car, as a layman. I've done ~3700 kms now and am fairly conversant with the car.

What I love about the Beat:
I own a cocktail green LS version. Initially, I had booked a LT version but didn't get the colour and settled for the LS version. Believe me, I am glad I did that, on hindsight! The VFM is in this model. I get to fit the jazziest music system I like and not settle for a factory fitted version which I believe is pits. Secondly, I was enamoured by the roof rails and rear spoiler and was disappointed to not have it. I am quite happy without these frills, although I may still go for the spoiler soon. The best part of the car are the door handles for the rear seats. They are very stylish and masked which gives the car a two door sporty look. And lastly, the LS version looks better with a black contrast in side view mirrors rather than a full body colour outfit that LT has.

The interiors are much nicer than any Maruti and Tata car we are are exposed to at this price. They have a rich feel as compared to the Marutis of the world. Also, the spaces for water, mobiles, perfume, shades, etc are all quite thoughtful and tastefully done. The seat upholstery is also a welcome change after driving the Zen for ten plus years. The boot is pretty decent, enough for a small family to make overnight trips. The fuel efficiency on expressways is a pleasant 19 km/l whilst its 13 km/l within the city. So, its moreorless what the company claims, so that's a first too, most car companies make tall claims that users find hard to emulate:-) The Beat scores on height as well, over the Zen, almost all cars today have this advantage.

What I don't like about the Beat:
I like its rear side but the frontal view borders on 'ugly'. I wonder why they have gone for such a rounded buxom look. Could have looked leaner. Also, there are some blind spots in the car and the driver is caught unawares, probably due to the closed, side view on the rear window. I guess, one gets used to using the side rear view mirrors more often, to overcome these blind spots.

I did like my Zen but the Beat is definitely very sporty and a tad more powerful.

July 2, 2010

Sidelights of World Cup

One of the upsides of having the World Cup is that there is never a dull moment on TV. Every channel has got into the act and has some interesting shows. For two days we didn't have any match but the TV channels have realised that Soccer fever can be capitalised. 'Happened to watch some bits of the show with people from different cities in India share their thoughts on how Soccer is a Religion - some diehard fans alright

Somebody very nicely quipped, and I quote, "Everybody is watching the game closely, people from every strata... I got into the car today and the driver tells me that Brazil is having some problem with midfielders". He went to his office and the office colleague said "Germany has an edge over Argentina". The joke doing the rounds is, children when asked, who won World War II are saying, "Germany 4 - 1":-). Right or wrong, these people will put any expert to shame in terms of the conviction with which they spoke.

There was another chap who brought the point of how Wimbledon is currently on and India won the Asia Cup a week ago but all these have been buried in the din of Vuvuzelas and Samba dance. Earlier, it was only Kerala and West Bengal that went crazy over the sport but clearly the times have changed and people from many more states are hooked to the game now. This is very good for India as we are broadening our interests and looking beyond cricket! Wonder if BCCI will ban the telecast, for survival!!

We also had a spot on how citizens of Ghana are resorting to some voodoo to get their team to the semifinals. And a very interesting story on an octopus that's playing oracle for Germany. Apparently, its picking out the winners accurately thus far... but what's hilarious is that the story goes on to add that Germany will prevail over Argentina on Saturday but it will be a close match that may well go to penalties as the octopus took more than 45 minutes to pick the winner!!! Meanwhile, North Korea has sent their national team to some farout mine and has asked them to start digging!! Wonder what punishment they give prsoners for rigorous imprisonment, in North Korea:-).

The last word was one chap clarifying that "The match between Germany and Argentina is not just a matter of Life & Death. Its more than that" :-)

June 30, 2010

Interesting Insights

I attended an interesting lecture by Prof. M.S.Swaminathan tracing the transformational change that Sir Charles Darwin's theory brought about in Biology, to the current scenario of Modern Biology and the tools to address Climate Change. While the presentation was brilliant and lucid, there were two messages in the lecture that stood out - apart from the theories and advances in Biology that was highlighted.

One, is the fact that Darwin set out on the voyage on the HMS Beagle and spent five years observing and recording his findings on that eventful trip. But he apparently took >22 years to analyse and decode his observations that he documented in his now famous book, "The Origin of Species". This goes to show what patience can bring to a research publication.

The other interesting insight was the relationship Charles Darwin shared with his wife. Apparently, she was a staunch Catholic and believed in the Creationist theory and didn't believe a word of what Charles Darwin wrote!!! But she very painstakingly edited his manuscript, as she had a good command over the English language and the couple agreed to disagree on the theory of Evolution. She maintained that she went by belief which was based on faith and, not logic and reasoning, that Darwin believed in.

Both these insights, rather these are very important lessons many of us need to adopt in our lives:-)

June 29, 2010

More Soccer

We have entered an interesting phase of the tournament, we are well into 20 days of action!! I have watched very few matches fully but I get educated round the clock. But what really shocks me is the lack of modernisation in this huge immensely popular sport.... watched the world over. Every other sport has used technology to minimise human errors but I heard a FIFA official say that referee errors are part of the game and it should continue!! I find this highly unintelligent and out of place in this technology era.

Another jarring fault seems to be with the Jabulani ball itself. Wouldn't one think that any new ball needs to be tested in a smaller tournament before being accepted as the official ball in a World Cup Soccer? I know this to be the case in cricket. Its but the most logical thing to do. But, FIFA seems to think otherwise and we have these FIFA jokers playing with the teams and causing extreme heartburn to many teams. This ball behaves completely different at higher altitudes, the aerodynamic properties change and goal keepers and strikers are having a tough time controlling it.

Very rightly, the headline in the Times of India read, "Red card to Technology". That seems to be so appropriate in this World Cup. I would like to add that all the FIFA officials need to be given a red card now:)

June 27, 2010

Big Fat Wedding

We went as a big group to Bangalore for a marwari wedding, recently. Its been a long time since I did such a thing.... its usually a courtesy attendance for ~2 hours max and I get back to my routine... But this was different... We travelled, a motley group of 15 people by road, stayed in a lovely cottage all together, ate and hogged at lovely, yummy Bengali sandesh, rasagolla etc.. at lunch, breakfast, dinner, for all of two days.. My God, I ate so much in those two days!! I must mention here that Bengali sweets are my all time favourite and these were heavenly - the best I have had, out of Calcutta:-). 

After the formal wedding sangeet the previous day, we had our own sangeet at the cottage:-). Our noise levels were amazing, reminded me of college days.. 

And the best part was my first experience of highway driving... it felt great... And I was not tired and didn't feel any strain of driving... Its was a 350 km drive each way and I did ~550 km by myself, in two days. Uploaded some snaps that a friend sent me. I think the handsome green Chevy is also there in one of the snaps in the background.

I realised that's what weddings are all about - party time... dunno if its as enjoyable for the couple, but as friends we had a great time. And its a big fat wedding for me, personally, I dread to think how many weeks its going to take to undo and burn the calories consumed.

June 18, 2010

This is Life!!

Taking off from my previous post on Raajneeti, I am quite allergic to politics. I watch a lot of it happening around me, at work and elsewhere, and I always tell myself I am  not cut out for politics and steer clear from these goings-on around me! In other words, I attempt at being a 'witness' to these events and be amused by human tendencies:-)... But I guess, it sometimes gets into you and you get dragged unconsciously and before you know it, you gotta learn the rules of the game, like it or not!!

Well, yes, your truly, is currently caught up in one such storm! Believe me, its not pleasant but I am unable to wish it away:). Obviously I am not learning fast! Any ideas and suggetions are welcome. I know I have given no details but for obvious reasons, I can't. I really envy all those who enjoy politics. They are so well equipped to face the world.

I think I shall pick up a book and get some clarity soon. Meanwhile, I just wish the monsoon will arrive and the storm will pass.

June 17, 2010

Hindi Cinema is growing up!

I happened to watch Raajneeti couple of days back, yes, "happened" because there was a hidden agenda to remain awake for the Brazil match:-). But I am not complaining, its a well made film. Completely mainstream cimema but without the trappings of a song and dance sequence, and very unlike hindi films of yore.. Its hugely inspired from the epic, Mahabharata. And that's the beauty of the epic - it has managed to stay evergreen and is so relevant for every generation, and has remained so, for centuries.. It speaks of the very basic nature of a human mind, that has not surprisingly changed much, since the time of the Epic. Amazing, isn't it?

Raajneeti is well done, a trifle long, but I managed to stay awake all of 3 hours, that too a night show, that speaks for itself!! Also, I am not a person who is fascinated by politics and their manipulative, vengeful ways, but the movie manages to hold the audience with a good screenplay and cast. Although some of them are not upto the mark, Nikhila Trikha who plays Samar's mom was quite comical in her most important scene. Quite a number of stars had a role in the movie and its my first Kat Kaif movie. She looks pretty but I think she looks dolled up and doesn't come out as intelligent.

Apparently, its doing well in the box office too, usually good movies that I end up liking are often in the category of 'flops':-). So, here's to more such movies that don't insult our intelligence...

June 16, 2010

The Speaking Tree

This column in the Times of India has some very insightful knowledge and its quite popular among readers. The Times has also published books of the collected contributions and goes by the same name. Today's column is lovely. I really enjoyed reading it. Its so practical and experiential, such wisdom. Its amazing what transformation a Master can bring in us and its very important to understand the nature of Sangha, our community and the importance of our Dharma, our nature, to keep us centered. Awesome!

Very often media is at the receiving end from public, and also on this blog:-) but I must appreciate The Times of India to have this column on their middle page.

June 15, 2010

The bug has got to me too!!!

Yes, I have also come under the spell of the ongoing world cup in South Africa. Its only natural, I guess, unless one wants to rebel and deliberately shut out the din (pun intended!) around the World Cup! In my case I have an added reason, I live with a human being who definitely goes beserk and mad, unfailingly, once every four years.. All our conversations and schedules and lifestyle for the next month revolves around the matches!! He wants a holiday but it has to be after July 11, can't possibly holiday during World Cup, what blasphemy:)

Home apart, the newspapers are full of them... so are other media. I really am happy that media have some pleasant things to report rather than their half baked scoops that they resort to... I am also following some players and teams... doing my bit, to get educated, to have a decent conversation at home, for the next one month.

I was travelling in Kerala 3 weeks ago and they already had banners and posters of their favourite teams and players, not to mention the jerseys... Kerala is quite unique among other Indian States .... each town / district has their favourite teams and players.. I mean they have official teams... these are prominently displayed along main thoroughfares and the locals apparently fight over the teams the town must support:). I was passing through north Kerala and saw only Argentina and Maradona then. Messi has not reached Indian shores yet!!

The Vuvuzela horn, native to Africa is probably nice to hear at the start and end of the game, maybe it can be used instead of the whistle, but having them right through the game may actually cause damage to our ear drums... Its at a frequency that borders on being unpleasant, much like the ultrasonic sound of the bat, the chalkpiece screeching on the black board at some angles.. I do hope they shut that drone out soon, its apparently louder for us poor mortals watching on TV, than for those who are watching it live!

Its too early to have my favorite team, will hopefully pick a team soon!

June 9, 2010

Time for media to grow up!

I seem to be a pathetic minority in the current issue of the Bhopal gas verdict. I think all of us (actually the media) are having a misplaced priority on the issue. I don't understand why or how important it is to track down Warren Anderson and get him behind bars!!! How will it help the victims in the tragedy?? And secondly, do we take the same stand when it comes to all other accidents?? If yes, then why isn't the CEO of Air India put behind bars for the Mangalore Air crash or the Rail board chairman be put in prison for the rail accidents??

My question to the media houses is to please sift the issue thread bare and then report, and not take stands like half baked interns on their first training assignment!! Here, its not important to get Warren Anderson in prison but its far more important to get fair compensation to the victims. That's more imperative and proactive action to take. Somewhere, the media seems to have lost it and are getting more decadent in their reporting and high on the sensationalism quotient. Arnab from Times Now was screaming hoarse last night on how Times Now located Warren Anderson's home in NYC (I was telling people at home that Times Now should join the Police force:))... till the reporter in NYC said that a simple google search was all that was required to track his home:).

Can we get more pathetic than this!! What happened to the Lt. Colonel who was allegedly involved in a sex scandal? Media hanged him guilty before even before hearing his case and from the second day, there is absolutely no news on the issue, but the damage to the individual is done!! Jumping to conclusions and handing the verdict and surmising and conjectures seem to rule the day and very sadly so!

June 7, 2010

Casablanca - a classic indeed!

All of you may have watched it once atleast. But this movie can be watched again and again, I guess that's why it figures as a classic... in the All Time top 10. We were watching it last night and I must say its a movie that oozes style in every way... from the cast to the dialogues to the dialogue delivery to the visuals.. Its definitely high on the style quotient across generations of movies and I guess there was magic in the air when the movie was made... Its got the perfect cast, setting, dialogues, stunning visuals, great background on WW II..

Go, watch the movie again even if you have seen it many times and a definite must-see if you haven't yet watched this great classic of all times. Its the best stylish and romantic movie, with a brilliant cast that I have seen so far.

June 5, 2010

The month of May

It was a busy month for me with lot of touring and mentoring std X kids!! The upside was I got to see some breathtaking scenery and stayed in exotic locales but it was draining, end of day. What with the heat, a bunch of kids (27) to boot, who are at an odd age where they dress and talk like adults but are kids in every other sense!! So, it was difficult to make the connection with them, (didn't know whether to talk to them as kids or young adults!) particularly as they had a uncanny knack of ganging up:-). But I must say, nett nett, it was fun, a great learning for them and for me but I am certainly glad its over:-). I leave you all with some snaps about the month of May, for me. These were taken in Pitchavaram mangrove forest, Kolli hills and the amazing water falls in Kolli hills..

Actually, there's more pics of field trips, parties, talks and long walks and lab work but I am yet to transfer them to the PC. And I must say, I was touched by their grand tea party on the penultimate day and they organized games and food for all of us, staff, and they did an amazing job of it. Kudos to the entire batch!

June 4, 2010

Disasters galore!!

Since April / May of this year, we have been having natural  and manmade disasters one after the other every other week.. Air safety seems to be at an all time low... Reasons attributed are crew fatigue, stress and such... While we had only one plane crash, the near misses and losing altitude planes scare the wits out of most of us... But what really beats me is the complete government apathy and callous attitude. There is no official who is pulled up and there is no owning up of moral responsibility among politicians either.

Meanwhile, India is going through a very tough time with Maoists causing havoc to trains. Natural disasters like cyclone Laila and now cyclone Phet ( to hit in the next 24 hours) have added to our woes.. Not to mention about road accidents, a recent one involving a bus that went up in flames and killed all 30 in Karnataka.  

We have a Home Minister who flip flops at the drop of the hat... "The Maoists did, the Maoists didn't do it, they did it, etc.." How sickening to read the papers everyday

But talk of Genetically modified crops, and you have all and sundry raise hell, and cry hoarse on safety issues and how dangerous it would be to commercialize it. While Bt brinjal will nowhere cause any death and destruction, its release is on hold, but flights continue to be operated with or without any care on passenger safety!! Apparently India stands only next to Africa in air safety records, which means we are pits:-)

But our fate rests on few elected and non elected members (RS nominations:-) who think they have the licence to kill or not kill innovation in India. I say its a case of fear psychosis when it comes to releasing Bt brinjal and the decision is not based on science but non science!

Blood is thicker than water after all!!

I knew it all along, only didn't know it would happen in 2010... The Ambani brothers have agreed to bury the hatchet and call a truce... This was something they should have done long ago... but its better now than never, I guess...

The only losers in this truce are those who took sides during their war:-).. As it is with a husband and wife relationship, its best to not to take sides between warring brothers or between any family member for that matter, they are bound to patch up, particularly when there is so much at stake, and you will be left alone with egg on your face, literally!!

Another big loser is the media!! They don't have a story to cry hoarse, from rooftops anymore! They have to look elsewhere.. It was such a favourite with media that if they didn't have any story for the day, they would do a story on these warring brothers and fill up their news spaces!!

The second big loser are the courts and lawyers who must have had a field day fleecing these brothers:-)

I had a gut feeling that they will patch up! I think its really kudos to their mother, Kokilaben who may have really been the peacemaker and played an important role... Personally for me, while the elder brother appears to be the more intelligent, the younger one seemed to be the Wronged:-). But I am very glad to see the two get together and I wish them well.

June 2, 2010

Are there Sinkholes in India?

Many of us are aware of sinkholes and their formation. The wiki says, they are fairly common and cause damage in parts of Florida, Kentucky, Missourie, Pennysylvania in USA. Apparently Michigan area has quite a number of them These have caught my imagination since the flooding in Guatemala city couple of days back. Apparently these are caused in places where the rock below the land surface is limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks that can naturally be dissolved by circulating ground water. Also happens when water table falls dramatically etc..

These sinkholes can be huge and vary in size, from less than 1 to 300 metres (3.3 to 980 ft) both in diameter and depth!! Must be quite awesome sight to suddenly have sinkhole formed overnight, like its happenned in Guatemala city. But for Indians, we will be probably not so much in awe:-). We are so used to caving in happening in main arterial roads in cities (there is one near our house where the road always caves in even after they relay the road - its happenned so often, in the same place) and pathetic conditions in rural areas that natures' ways sometimes don't cause the wonder and amazement that it should:-).

May 18, 2010

Back to some kinda routine

Have been mighty busy at work and home... working and socializing these past two weeks. I am off again for a tour end of week... I've been wanting to blog about so many things, just didn't have time to collect my thoughts..
Been with a bunch of kids these few weeks and they do drive me nuts!! Oh yes, there's 30 of them and they are from a neighbouring state... These kids behave like adults and seem to know many things and talk like adults but they don't know simple things like they need to wear comfortable shoes for a field trip and carry their bottle of water!!

So, you guys know what I am up against and why there are no updates on my blog:-). But kids are kids and they are endearing in their own way.... I have been touring Tamil Nadu and have lots of interesting stuff to share and hope to post quite a few in the next 24 hours.

April 28, 2010

Interesting insights

I happened to have very interesting conversation with a person from pharma R&D and we got chatting. I casually asked him his views on trials and placebo effect and then on the recent GM technology debate in the country. I asked him what the reasons could be for people to easily accept GM technology derived drugs but not GM crops. He said the difference is with drugs, its the doctors who decide for the patients whereas when it comes to food, the consumers decide. When I asked him about doing chronic toxicity testing over 30 year period as demanded by activists, he said, its not done for any drug and that there would be no new drugs in the market if that had to be done!!!

I knew this all along, just a re-affirmation from a person with 30+ years of experience in the field was reassuring. He also added that MNCs are all the more careful and stringent in their testing because they don't want to close down their operations with a wrong product. Obviously.. makes so much sense to me. I wonder what the problem is, with people:-). He then shared with me how an activist once began her lecture. She apparently said, "Drugs have killed more people than it has saved" !!! Can you make a more untrue statement? When she was asked in private if she really believed her statement, pat came the reply, "a little exaggeration is required to get attention". What is "little" pray??

April 24, 2010

Can we make Common Sense a Priority in New Delhi??

I wonder when our government will wake up to real issues and begin addressing them. These past two weeks, any tourist to India will think we have no real problem in the country and that's the reason we have news channels covering Sania's wedding, Lalit Modi's and Shashi Tharoor's lifestyles and now some phone tapping of leaders from the Opposition.

Well, lets wake up to real issues...I mean every year around April - May, we begin to hear forecasts from IMD on the monsoons in the country and the consequent agriculture scenario. We are all then educated on how we are an agricultural economy and more than 70% Indians do farming and ours is rain fed farming country, bla bla... We are also subjected to many articles on how its not the government's fault for rising food prices or increasing food shortages but its the weather Gods to blame and we then get to hear a series of Climate Change theories... Come on, we are not fools, you know...

Its common knowledge that one of the main problems plaguing India, in food insecurity, is lack of adequate storage of grains. We live in a paradox... our farmers toil, produce grains, these are bought at pathetic rates by the GOI and stored in apalling conditions - to rot. We have overflowing godowns and at the same time ~300 million people go to bed hungry, due to lack of purchasing power and inefficient PDS. Such is the paradox we live in... Little effort is spent on improving the conditions of FCI godowns.

Every year, fresh harvest of grains are stored over the unused, rotten / rotting grains... And when the grains need to be distributed, the ones on top (fresh harvest) is taken out!! What beautiful planning I must say! An average Indian blood will boil at the inefficient / indifferent / callous manner in which the grains are stored and distributed across the country. Being an eternal optimist, each year, I hope for the best and for good sense to prevail. So far, I have only been disappointed. This year seems no different - I just read the news that some godowns in Ludhiama are being used to store cartons of liquor and the open spaces in the godown houses the grains!! You ask why?? Well, its because they have let out the space on rent to the private parties:). Fantastic set of priorities, don't you think?

Our wheat crop has just been harvested and we are told its a bumper crop this year. Unfortunately, we still need to feel sad, rather than cheer our farmers and scientists.

April 22, 2010

Unintended Spinoffs from IPL

Like many Indians, the number of hours I spend watching the IPL matches this past month is more than what I would do in two years put together!!! So, naturally, there are some unexpected upsides for me... some of the advertisements are very creative and brilliant. I am not sure if they will make me buy the product but they do make me laugh and entertain while they last:-). The recent series of DOCOMO campaigns are lovely... my particular favourite is the interview... the interviewee is made to look like a total timepass youth and has typical answers of this generation. To as many as five important questions, his answers are in the negative... but he is hired!! Check this out

The Zoozoos from Vodafone are simply brilliant! My favourites are the ones on 'call filter', 'job alerts', 'train schedules'.. Those  of you who are not in India can catch them on the links here.

I am not sure if I will miss the cricket after 25th April, but will surely miss the commercial breaks and strategic time outs:-). Hey, I ain't part of betting mafia, just plain cricket buff;-)... (heard that commercial breaks these days have an all together new dimension:-))

April 21, 2010

To Ban or To not Ban!

In the background of the recent IPL scam, I think certain things are part of our social culture, for good or bad. One of them is gambling. I think, Indians, by nature, get a kick out of gambling. Knowing this, our government banned this and Casinos are not allowed to operate in Indian territory. One of the reasons for Nepal's popularity for Indian tourists is to head out to the Casino there:-)

In our attempt to play the moral police and ban gambling, our countrymen have devised ingenious ways to beat the ban. Gambling or placing bets in cricket, any sport, elections etc. continues to flourish - all under cover, though. When we get wind of it, like in IPL now, all hell breaks loose, the self righteous indignations apart, the whole country is shocked and in this case, cricket affectionados are terribly upset.

I wonder if we do allow Casinos to run in our country, would it bring down scams? Since there will be an outlet for those with gambling instincts, I think its possible that such unsavoury elements may not exist. I think by curbing or banning Casinos, we have not reformed society in any way, rather, we have suppressed certain qualities that get expressed in some other way.

This is all hypothetical, one can argue and I agree with them. This will open up the discussion on other issues that are banned, for eg., indulging  / trading in narcotics. Will lifting the ban be a boon or bane to India? I am not so sure:-). Its a tough call for policy makers I guess...

April 19, 2010

A void

Most of us may have heard of the Management Guru, C K Prahalad. He was one of my only favourites in the area of Management. With due respect to the rest, most played within their crease, in cricketing parlance (I sure am watching too much cricket:)), CKP always came up with theories that related to all spheres and sectors and was very fundamental and yet very original, in nature.

After he came up with his theories on Core Competence and Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, these past months he had been dwelling on sustainability that overrides all theories. I remember reading up his interview a few months ago in the Economic Times and doing a post.. Ah, here it is for those who missed it...

I wish he had given this theory more shape and direction. We are certainly poorer today as we don't have him around, to give us the vision that he had. I really think India has lost a mentor in him and it will be hard to fill the void. Hopefully, we live his ideas and vision and do justice to his contributions.

April 17, 2010

Popcorn Magic

There are always some movies that we missed watching for various reasons and one of them for me was the Gods must be Crazy. I had heard a lot about the movie and I had high expectations and I managed to finally get the DVD home (one of the rare times, I got to accompany hubby to the library) and settle down with some popcorn and peanuts. The IPL match yesterday was not to my interest and decided to skip it.

Its a nice movie taken from the perspective of the Bushmen of Africa. So, its quite entertaining mostly, except in some parts where it becomes a little too tacky. Its quite a short movie and easily gives us a lot of insights about the way we live from a bushman perspective... Made me realise how innocent their lives are and ours is so complicated... Quite cute and endearing the bushman becomes by the end of the movie..

And yes, ActII popcorn is delicious, don't ask me if its GM or not, I don't mind it.

April 16, 2010

Whose IPL is it anyway...

There is so much action 'off the pitch' with regards to the IPL this season, viewers have the luxury to opt for the most entertaining:).. This is actually a good thing - having so much choice. Personally, I am quite bored of the sub standard reporting in news channels and none of the other channels showing movies or soaps interest me. So, offlate I am glued to Sony Set Max every evening and this past week, have been switching back and forth, with news channels covering the Modi -Tharoor - Modi - Sunanda Pushkar drama.

Its really amazing how much muck there is for each one of them to hide!! Actually IPL has gone beyond a game of cricket, to an entertainment extravaganza, more on the lines of WWF shows that used to be a rage among boys few years back. It appears so stage managed, there is glitz and glamour and bollywood and now underworld nexus, not to mention the ubiquitous politicians... What more can one ask for!!

I happened to be chatting with somebody who very casually mentioned that everything is fixed and is done very discreetly. When I suggested that viewers may wane after a point, he said nonchalantly that viewers come to watch the game much like they go out for a movie.. they get their money's worth!! He may well have a point there but there is a big difference. Movies don't have any pretensions of doing anything for the sake and honour of any region /country etc.. they simply attempt at entertainment. But in cricket, IPL etc., there is this added 'playing for honour' that gives it another dimension and kindles some patriotic fervour... this may take some beating as people don't take kindly to being cheated..

My take of IPL 3 so far, has been pretty entertaining although some matches do seem to have very strange happenings and endings.. Be that as it may, IPL 3 can be hailed as quite successful. But the last week of the season is  marred with controversies and scams that may see some dipping in TRP ratings as we approach the grand finale of the IPL season.

April 12, 2010

Interesting fight

Its very curious to read about two regulators that under the same finance ministry, slug it out in the open! It must be most embarassing for the Minister or am I being very naive? Embarassments apart, the issue itself is very interesting. I think ULIPs appears to step on the SEBI's domain whilst being under the IRDA purview. So, the friction.. But the news reporting is very funny. They end by saying the government must intervene! But the two regulators are under the same Ministry and are part of the Government machinary already. Imagine the plight of confused investors!

If this is the case when its confined to the same ministry, imagine the ego trip when two or more ministries involved! Very often the issue takes a backseat and it becomes a ego issue of who is more powerful and whose muscles are stronger, be it among the Babus in the respective Ministries or the Ministers themselves. Sometimes, I wonder how any decision ever sees the light the day even if it does have the blessings of either the bureaucrats or the minsiters. I do think this British legacy we seem to have inherited has more minuses than pluses.

April 7, 2010

Awesome food joints in Chennai

'Been in this city for ten odd years now!! Seems a very long time, indeed:-). Being a strict vegetarian I will give my two bit on some vegetarian restaurants in town that I've been to. For the best South Indian food, one can safely head to Saravana Bhavan or Dakshin at Park Sheraton, depending on budget:-). Really delicious stuff there. For good North Indian /South Indian combo options, Copper Point at GRT Grand Days, T. Nagar is lovely. For an amazing dining experience with outstanding food, head to Annalakshmi, Mount Road. They have some of the most common dishes cooked and served exquisitely. For some good tasty North Indian food, my favourite is Copper Chimney.

For a healthy, yet tasty food, head to Sanjeevani in Adyar or Anna Nagar. I enjoy their Rajakeeyam thali at lunch - so elaborate and grand but so easy on the stomach.

For some nice Chinese food, Wang's kitchen will not disappoint. I particularly like their dessert - fried ice cream:-). And a fine vegetarian restaurant very near home is Cream Centre. Its got quite a huge spread from Indian to Continental to Mexican and Lebanese... and their thali is elaborate too!! Available only on weekdays one should ideally skip breakfast to do justice to the food. For a regular, standard buffet spread, I find the spread at The Park & the Raintree very good and yummy.

For great sandwiches, Coffee World and Subway are good. And the best pizzas are from Smokin' Joes. For chaats, its Shree Mithai or Gangotree.

For the best desserts, head to Mocha and chocoholics have plenty to choose from. I guess I have covered most categories of veggie food. Go ahead and indulge and do add to the list!

April 6, 2010

Bollywood shows the way for Hollywood?

I happened to watch a movie, The Proposal, last night. It was billed as a romantic comedy and I thought it might be good fun. It was alright, but I got the feeling that I was watching a typical Hindi masala film! While its good timepass, I was clearly expecting more from a romantic comedy. I realised I was under the wrong impression - that many Hindi movies are Hollywood remakes, or, atleast inspired by Hollywood hits!! Clearly, I am mistaken.. Reminds me of a discussion I had with friends some time back, who are ardent movie buffs of film festivals of Korea, France etc.. They enlightened me about how Hollywood copies movies made by French /Korean cinema and how awesome the original movies were!!

The bottomline is what we've known all along... that USA is very good in marketing whatever they do, originals or otherwise.. movies or machines or printers (recently I was exposed to a funda that Canon printers are 'value for money' but HP is the market leader and they don't even make them - they buy the Canon printers and simply market them:-)) All of us have a lot to learn from US.

The Great Indian (?) Summer Wedding

I wonder what interests us when we watch news or read the morning papers - do our politicians interest us?? I can hear a big No inside my head. Well, the Sports Page is probably the best part of the morning paper. Its definitely more pleasant to read about which team won and how and stellar performances from sportspersons - in any sport. I would rather read this than about politicians attempting reform, or road accidents, burglaries, and other city blues... The other entertaining page is the TOI page called "Times Trends". They have the funniest and vaguest research findings that will put the authors of Freakonomics to shame:-). If you haven't read this book yet, please do.

This week has been weird, though.. The front page, middle page and sports pages all have the same topic. Sania to wed Shoaib. So, what's the big deal? Sania has had a very indifferent Sports career for more than a year now, she is more famous for her off court appearances than on court. Infact if you have been reading the Sports pages, its always - "Sania crashes out of this -------- tournament" !! So much so, my friend remarked if she is doing some crash course:-). And Shoaib is a tainted cricketer from Pakistan and faces a one year ban from playing cricket for his country. So, he probably thinks he has some free time to start a family! So be it.

But here comes the spoiler... Ayesha Siddiqui claims to be Shoaib's wife and wants a official / formal divorce before he marries Sania. That's how it has found its way in every page of the paper... there is Crime, Cheating, Dowry harrassment, Police, Pakistan, Cricket and Tennis - oh what a heady mix!! I don't see what the issue is - I mean its something that happens in many families and its a personal affair.

Alright they are some kind of wannabe celebrities but big deal!! I think the media ought to leave them alone to sort out their family mess and do what's best for them. We can get back to watching IPL and Formula One and Soccer and Twenty20 World Cup please.

But while I am blogging about them, I feel sorry for Sania - she comes out as the dumbest in this issue!

April 5, 2010

Who doesn't love Limelight?

Our Central Ministers not only love the limelight but want overdoses of it each day:-). Particularly a couple of them... Every day, they come out with bombastic ideas that are anything from practical and implementable. I mean, if all it took was ideas, to rate a Minisiter, and not its implementation, >50% of the population are eligible and competent to become Minsiters!! See what I mean??

One of them goes into a function that doesn't have an Aircon and suddenly discovers India had archaic, barbaric laws!! Wonder if the thought would have occurred to him in a room with Aircon:-). He goes on to make headlines each day with the amazing assumption that he knows everything about everything!! He even makes a unwarranted statement that we must measure his Ministry's performance based on the number of Rejections!! I find him comical.. Political satirists and cartoonists are having a field day:-). How would we like it if the Visa Officer from US Consulate asks us to judge him on the number of applicants rejected!! Will we like to hear that??

And we have another who wants to transform education and the social fabric of India overnight. I was watching a debate or was it a discussion (how does one describe The Big Fight on NDTV?)... He was summarily dismissive of every question posed... If he has answered all questions and taken care of all challenges with the RTE Act, then why do academicians and education professionals have issues with the Act? Has he ever wondered?? Some weeks ago, he announced that Deemed Univs will be closed and  then he had to go slow and has almost retracted..

What's with these people?? Are they competing amongst themselves to see who is the more comical in the cabinet

April 1, 2010

Bollywood to CSK's rescue:-)

This IPL, as always, I am rooting for the home team - CSK. Its a great team and capable of coming out as a winner in IPL-3:-):-). Diehard optimist, ain't I? Having said that, we need an ample dose of self-confidence and discipline, particularly in fielding and bowling. Most of the matches we lost so far have been, by frittering away our chances, after being in commanding postions. We don't seem to be able to close out a match inspite of having great starts.

And I heard this conversation at Chepauk Pavilion yesterday....

Mr.X: All is not lost yet, the team needs to watch "My name is Khan" together, and sing Hum Honge Kaamyaab as a chorus, to reach the semis..
Mr Y: And then watch "The 3 idiots" as a team and say "Aal eez well!"

And who knows, we may become the IPL 3.0 champions!! Only, due credit will be the order of the day, to SRK, Aamir and team:-)

March 31, 2010

Nice trends

Very often we get into the mode of how things were great in the past and not so anymore etc etc.. you know what I mean.. But I wanted to share some good services that I am now seeing that was non-existent before. There is a very convenient service that I availed of recently - a house cleaning company. They do a thorough job of cleaning the place inside out. Had a place locked up for years and I was dreading the cleaning operation!! I plan to do it for our current home too, once a quarter... Saves us the hassle of buying different cleaning solutions and implements, not to mention the time and energy!!

I also have signed up for an AMC for the car! There are these professional cleaners who come and do a thorough job on the car - interiors and exteriors. I have long wanted to use rubbing / wax polish on the car as my dad used to do decades ago... but I never had the time! Now, these guys spend ~ 2 hours on the car every month, vaccuming, shampooing and polishing and finally silicon and uv coat the car!! (whatever that means). They did that today on the car and I feel really good:-). Here's to these new convenient services that makes our life so easy - or lazy??

March 30, 2010


I have this rather Utopian idea that I think can be made realistic and practical with some fine tuning:-). In the light of growing food shortage that may assume a crisis-like situation in our country, and increasing change from turning agricultural land to SEZ etc., I propose this rather simple idea ( not as simple to implement though:-)

Nationalized banks to a large extent buffered India from the global meltdown, similarly, each state must, rather, earmark some percentage of their farming land to be brought under Government Management. We can use the NREGS for farm labour and practice agriculture. With all due credit, NREGS is a rather inflationary measure and the output is practically zero. Instead, the government can buy the land from willing farmers for agriculture, for starters. Ah yes, there is a huge danger of complacency and lack of accountability, in this proposal!! This has to be plugged:-).

This move may stem the move to convert arable land from getting into SEZ mode to SAZ (Special Agricultural Zones). This will allow the government to decide appropriate crops for the region with land suitability mapping data.

Would love comments /ideas from readers of the post:-)

March 29, 2010


I recently was exposed to detailed information on the fertlilizer tree, Faidherbia albida. This tree, a native of Africa, seems to have attractive properties that can be a boost to agro forestry. One, its a tree, so it does not need to be grown and cut like we need to for Sesbania. Two, it sheds its leaves that serves as mulch for the crops, at the onset of monsoon. Three, its a nitrogen fixer and so replenishes nitrogen and the leaves threfore serve as fertlizers. Four, by shedding leaves for 3 /4 months in a year, the tree is in semi hibernation mode and therefore does not compete with the crops, for nutrition, light etc. So, it seems to have all the requisite qualities for agroforestry.

Amazing, isn't it? Apparently, its a tree that was used traditionally, but had over period of time, lost out to trends. There is  now a reversal of trend as with every sphere and people are now going back to using this tree in their farms. Apparently, considerable data is now available with us to validate this traditonal conservation agriculture, in terms of increased yields in maize /millet / cotton crop that had these trees in their farms.

I am truly fascinated by this tree and is further confirmation of the Beauty in this Creation