December 23, 2011

Profound Truth

Amazing, how casual conversations between 2 kids can turn out completely philosophical and profound. I will share this conversation my niece (6 years) and nephew (9 years) had the other day. The discussion was whether time or money was important.

Boy: Time
Girl: Why?
Boy: Because if you lose or spend money, you can always earn it. On the other hand, if you spend time, you can't earn it!

(if you thought this was a gem of an answer, hold on, there's more!!)

Girl: One can't spend time, times spends itself. You can choose to spend it or not!

Whew!! Such understanding and experiences kids of today have. Wonder if they realised the depth their conversation had.

December 14, 2011

Dangerous Trends & Kolaveri

There seems to be alarming trends witnessed across the world - a kind of activism with not much purpose and intent. And in India, I can think of 2 big trends - one, its fashionable to be negative and oppose everything. The second big trend is that anyone and everyone thinks he or she is an expert on everything - from nuclear energy to FDI in retail to Mullaiperiyar dam to genetically modified crops to rupee value against the dollar and the list is really endless.

While it maybe good timepass to have such pseudo experts discuss these grave issues over a cup of tea or cocktails, the sad part is that its taken to the streets and such unconstructive activism is at an alltime high. If the concerns were genuine, there is scope for improvement, but if its to agitate for the sake of agitation, growth and development suffer. I mean, there are more Karan Thapars playing the Devil's Advocate today and setting up imaginary arguments.

I am alarmed at this trend, just this past year has seen many such cases  in the country. We had this absolutely ridiculous controversy over Bt brinjal from those who didn't know the abc of the technology. The ongoing agitation at Kudankulam is a perfect example of people on the street pretending to be nuclear experts. Two days back Shashi Tharoor wrote a column on rediff where he has categorically stated that the Mullaperiyar dam is unsafe!! When did he become an expert to comment on structural safety of dams? His only claim to being an expert is that he hails from Kerala. Then, there have been endless fasts and agitations for Telangana, corruption, Lokpal, etc.

My theory is that intolerance has peaked and all of us have streaks of these, in varying degrees! So many incidents of shootouts at toll plazas, tea shops, murders over petty issues, road rage have become common place, across the country.

So, there appears to be a Kolaveri in all of us, probably why the song went viral and every Indian could relate to it!!

December 11, 2011

Mullaiperiyar or Mullaperiyar??

As the debate rages between Tamil Nadu & Kerala, I wonder why so much hue and cry is being made when there is no case, apparently. From what I read in the papers (I am not an expert / pseudo expert in this matter:-)), there seem to be a couple of issues for which there are ready answers.

Kerala says "the dam is unsafe as its very old" - Fair enough, they have also said they plan to build a new one.. So, let them build.

Kerala says "it will build a new one but with reduced height..." - Totally unfair and against the SC ruling.

Tamil Nadu says "if Kerala will build a new dam but with reduced height, we will rather have status quo" - Fair enough. Point noted..

So, the simple solution is for a new dam with the height as dictated by SC... a win win for all.. Where is the need to fight and build tensions?

But Kerala is flexing their muscles through few Central Ministers from their state, not to mention a number of key Babus who occupy prime positions in North & South Block.

Poor poor Tamil Nadu:-( we have none to represent our case at the Centre, we have only those who are concerned about their personal cases.

So, its Mullaiperiyar or Mullaperiyar, depending on which side you are on!

November 29, 2011

Sustainability at the individual level

It was a nice interaction with the DG (Dr. Julia Maton-Lefevre) of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and she shared some wonderful insights on the workings in IUCN. Personally, I left the auditorium very happy and satisfied. Although there were many things I had heard before but perhaps, I was in a receptive phase or perhaps she put it so well. Off the many things she shared, she said each of us, in our own ways, can modify our lifestyles and cut down on spending, irrespective of affordability. Right from taking public transport and going vegetarian, she spoke from the heart.

She apparently rides a bicycle to work in Geneva (unheard of, for a DG) and swims across the lake to France occasionally! At first, her colleagues were a little sceptical and even thought she had brought down the distinguished office of a DG! Soon, however, many consider it cool and have followed suit. She said it also keeps her fit and healthy. Something clicked inside me and I have since resolved to cut down on frivolous expenditure that we sometimes indulge in, to start with:-)

I think its the only way - to sustainable development.

November 16, 2011

24/7 media channels share a common art, in India

It has just struck me how the media houses share one thing in common between them.. they successfully make everybody else so likeable and acceptable!!

Let me elaborate. I was never a fan of Vijay Mallya and always thought he was too flamboyant and flashy for my taste. While I agree it takes all kinds to make this world, he was not somebody I was inspired or motivated by. But the recent crises that Kingfisher has landed in, and the media frenzy and reporting has improved my opinion of Mallya. Yes, he continues to be the flashy guy but there was something more to him than just that - this came through during his answers to News channels yesterday. The news channels were shown their place!

Another person who I didn't think much of, but has risen in my eyes is Omar Abdullah, CM of J & K. I really enjoyed the way he gave it to Arnab Goswami a month ago over a custodial death. The interview was so good that it had me jumping for joy!

Media houses do one thing well - they make the rest of us very greatJ

November 14, 2011

LPG subsidy and graft

Couple of months back, I was shocked at a Cabinet proposal to limit subsidy to LPG consumers, to 4 per year and charge Rs 800/cylinder for anything beyond that! While, my consumption is exactly 4 cylinders/year (so, I would remain unaffected), I was aghast at the steep hike. I was very glad the plan was shelved and the government didn't want to beome more unpopular than it is already.

But I am now convinced such a proposal be implemented with immediate effect!! Let me explain my change of mind: a very casual conversation with my cook and maid revealed that both of them booked a cylinder every 21 days and sold it at double their cost! Their consumption was 8 per year. Their argument was that if they didn't do it, the gas agency would pocket the cash anyway, by booking through their accounts! I guess I am doubly shocked that my helpers are indulging in unethical practices and also because it has become so widespread..

While I know that corruption and black market in LPG thrives due to subsidy, I am really shocked at how rampant and widespread the problem is!! I guess knowing it at a theoretical level and coming across it personally has freaked me out completely. I am now convinced that such a move to limit refills to consumers will check this rampant corrupt practice. Those who ought to be buying LPG at commercial rates, but buy in black, better start paying for their business.

November 10, 2011

Hats off to Dr. Kalam

I have always been an admirer of Dr. Abdul J Kalam, former President of India. He set the standards for living life king-size in Rashtrapathi Bhavan, with simplicity. He had only few of the rooms functional and kept the remaining rooms shut, thereby cutting costs on maintenance of the sprawling campus. He did away with many symbolic protocols and moved around in a simple manner.

He also organized and attended several meetings, on drawing a scientific roadmap for the country. Such things were unheard of, as the President was a decorative position and the people who occupied the post conformed to the 'decorative post', to the hilt.

But Dr. Kalam did none of that and he made the Office of the President, very approachable and accessible. He probably gave many security officers and agencies a nightmare, but as citizens, we loved him. There is something very endearing about him that helps Indians connect with him, easily.

And his recent attempt to assuage the apprehensions of the protesters in Kudankulam is nothing short of inspiring. There are very few people who are brave enough to stick their neck out in such situations. One ought to raise a toast to him for accepting the role of studying the safety precautions at the Kudankulam plant and also considering the development of the local community. Within a few days of his visit and report, the situation has improved and Nuclear Science has been de-mystified, to a large extent. While sharing this with my colleagues at lunch, one of them remarked, "It is certainly 'good of him' to have done this for the country, don't know if its 'good for him', thoughJ

India could do well with more such people!

October 21, 2011

Where's the halo around Team Anna?

I was expecting this to happen! Very often, people who lead normal lives and don't brandish a 'holier than thou' image are much more principled in life with greater self discipline. The context here is Ms. Kiran Bedi. I had great respect and regard for her while she was in service. She was an inspiration to many of us.

Her conduct since the beginning of the year as part of Team Anna's spokesperson however leaves a lot to be desired. This terrible urge to be on TV everyday and also in print media, is a virus that afflicts and leaves people addicted, I guess. Very often, I would note with amusement, how she would elbow her way to the mic and say something that either Anna or another Anna aide would have just expressed!

But the news item since two days about her charging business class fares to organizers and her defence really takes the cake! I am aghast at the standards employed by Team Anna to fight corruption. Just as Kiran Bedi justifies the inflated bills to donate to her NGO, every other crook from Raja to Kalmadi can claim to have worked on behalf of their party! Why should they be in jail? And with regards to corruption in smaller offices by junior officials, they can say their salary is not enough to pay for their family's needs!! And why not? What a bizarre explanation from Ms. Bedi. What is her new name - Ms. Robinhood??

I think Anna Hazare will do well to be in Silence for a longer time and more importantly, teach his closest aides Arvind Kejrival and Kiran Bedi the joy of being in Silence too!! Maybe with time, these aides can imbibe some of the spirit and values from Anna Hazare, apart from wearing Khadi kurtas and Gandhi topis.

October 18, 2011

Model Villages and Maharashtra

While India has about 6 lakh villages, with different degrees of development and prosperity, I am very intrigued by the fact that Maharashtra boasts of a number of model villages. While Anna Hazare may have made Ralegan Siddhi very popular, reality is that there are many more examples of model villages in the state although they don't have any iconic leader amongst them.

Its fascinating to read about the development made in these villages; to name just a few I know, check out Hiware bazar, Kathewadi, Kapsi. All of them have a common thread, the villagers took it it upon themselves to better their lot and the results are for all to see. Many neighbouring villagers are now being inspired to replicate the model and the state government has come forward to replicate it many more villages too! (don't know how successful that will be)

Makes me wonder why there are so model villages in Maharashtra? Is it the resourceful, community spirit amongst the villagers here? Is the state government promoting rural development? Are there more NGOs in this state with focus on rural prosperity?? I have no answers.. would love to hear views and comments.

October 15, 2011

Arvind Kejrival & Diggy Singh

Much as Arvind Kejrival will like to deny it, his recent sound bytes indicate that he ought to be in politics. Or rather, he is already a politician! One of the main qualifications of a standard politician is to contradict oneself and excel in doublespeak. Diggy Singh is a role model for many of his ilk, I am sureJ
Lets see what Arvind Kejrival has been saying in 2011
"Anna is above Parliament"; on hindsight, added, "every citizen is above Parliament".

On Lokpal being part of the constitutional structure; he rubbished it as "reducing Lokpal to a Jokpal".
 "Civil Society has the right to question Parliament".
But after the embarrassing statement of Prashant Bhushan on J&K, he says, "J&K is a complex situation, and decision should be within the constitutional framework".
See, what I mean?? He has come a full circle... suddenly he seems to see value in our constitution. God help us!

October 11, 2011

Open letters have gone viral:-)

I've caught the bug too!! This is the season of open letters... Anna writes open letter (OL) to PM; Digvijay Singh writes OL to Anna; India Inc writes OL to PM; Narendra Modi writes an OL... I am joining this august bandwagon:-)

I write to every Indian across the globe...

Dear Indians,

I know things have been crazy and chaotic in India, more so in the past year. We have been hit by scams of huge proportions, the ruling party seems lost, opposition is in disarray, civil society has become militant! People have become polarised to extreme cynicism / apathy to complete idealism / utopian ideology. Inflation has hit the common man hard, as prices of all the essentials - food, housing, fuel, healthcare, education are at all time highs. Loans have become dearer and interest rates unattractive. Government appears to be at a standstill with many, many pending decisions relating to mining to power projects to other infrastructure projects, as they are busy firefighting for their scam hit colleagues or negotiating with Team Anna.

But amidst all this, I urge you all to work hard and not be disillusioned by these temporary setbacks. Today, India is a force to reckon with in the world, not because of these politicians and policy makers, but despite them. So, lets get the focus away from these energy sapping news channels and politicians and lets concentrate on work. Lets work towards our dream like there's no tomorrow. Lets look forward to a new set of  industrialists, other than the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis, Bajajs, Ruias and Mahindras, to name a few. Lets get going and chase our dreams furiously and demonstrate how hard work and innovations can drive India out of poverty!

Jai Hind

October 10, 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

After hearing rabid, extreme views on the issue of corruption for the past few months, its such a relief to hear from India Inc, a balanced, sensible and wide ranging reforms that they have asked, in their letter to the PM. I am so glad that we have people who are influential, and yet balanced and centred. I almost thought such people didn't exist anymore.

I was particularly very distraught with the goings on, both by the ruling goverment and Team Anna, with each of them taking a moral high ground and bringing the country to a standstill. I really thought there was no hope and that we would continue to be ruled or misruled by people who have very narrow and rigid views.

This letter has come as a huge hope and silver lining, to use a cliche. I really wish policy makers at all levels, take the views raised by India Inc very seriously, as these suggestions have the potential to take India forward. The views are balanced and does not have rhetoric and jargons that we seem to be fed with. I really wish media can focus on these and invite the signatories of the letter as panelists instead of running behind cheap sensationalism.

I really hope and pray that this marks a turning point of good things to come!

October 3, 2011

Flip side of having a disastrous tour in England

Most of us in India agree that cricket has hogged away the limelight and overshadowed other sporting events and players. All of us think the players are not worthy of the adulation and cult status they enjoy. But none of us are able to do any further! Neither could other sportspersons, save a Sania (for all the wrong reasons) or a Saina (for the right reasons) could alter the God like status cricketers command.

I guess the cricketers came to our rescue and other sportspersons in our country. They finally decided to play so badly and throw their matches that people lost interest in them and the game. The disastrous tour of England has turned the spectators away and hopefully will wean them away for good. The current CT T20 tournament are witnessing the change among the audience. Eventually, the sponsors will not flock as before and hopefully the game will resemble the sport as it should be, instead of the extravaganza and entertainment show that the game has been reduced to.

Apparently, other sports' bodies and associations are quite thrilled at the development and are secretly celebrating the debacle in England. Some cricketers have received anonymous mails thanking them for their good deed towards Sports in general, in the Indian context. Yours truly was privy to a conversation about Mr. Pawar contesting for the post of President of the Indian Hockey Federation. He has sent feelers to some officials and has promised to bring in money to the cash strapped organization, so they can pay their players, if elected, unopposed! 


I love the new blogger interface and the options.. Looks cool. My very staid and drab blog suddenly looks so refreshing and hep. I really love Google's attempt to keep things fresh and current. I also think it has sparked more interest in me to do new posts and even read some of my earlier posts.

This new interface makes it very easy to browse older posts unlike the earlier version. And the options on offer, from magazine to sidebar to mosaic to flipcard look awesome! I keep flipping between each of the layout designs and have liked the 'magazine' look, the best!

September 23, 2011

Social media & upgrades

Like most people, I have parked myself in cyberspace and signed up for Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, LinkedIn & Google+ accounts. I am fairly active on Fb and blogger but haven't used the others much. Not that I prefer these over the rest, just happens to be so, right now... Yes, there are days when I find facebook boring and listless with inane status updates or filled with PJs. But I have got back in touch with close friends from school and college through Fb, so it does have its place. And if you want to catch news, logging into Fb and twitter will keep you abreast of the newsmakers, be it in politics, sports or science. Blogging, for me, is more a relaxing hobby and not to be with the herd, so to speak. I discovered my love for writing and to be able to share my thoughts.

Recently, I have just got myself an Android based phone and learning about the Android market... the buzz all around me is App and was feeling so left out! While its all fun, I just realised how we are all programmed, these days! Today, these gadgets and media are so part of our life, much like a television was in 1970s in India, I guess.

Being updated and getting periodic upgrades are now a way of life... a few months without these and you will find yourself alone! Just got me thinking on how fragile and vulnerable we are letting ourselves be, emotionally. Strong family bonds, and catching up with real friends will actually be more satisfying and relaxing but these have been short-changed and substituted with a make believe, fast paced, largely virtual world, that actually makes our lives more complicated, restless, and emotionally weak.

The mature, balanced and strong-willed see through these illusory lifestyle, but the weak and unstable people are the ones who become victims. 

September 21, 2011

Protests in India

As I write this post, there is uncertainty on whether the Kudankulam nuclear plant will be commissioned! Media and many politicians from the opposition hail people's power and some of the debates on news channels border on absolute rubbish. As many people are pointing fingers at scientists and modern technology /science, for various past accidents and disasters and therefore justifying the closure of the nuclear plant, what agonises me is that the government is let off so easily!

The main cause of such protests are very clear.... people are not against nuclear plants in Kudankulam or Jaitapur or use of modern science but are against government officials. Indians have lost their faith in their government.

This in my opinion is what needs to be addressed, the government needs to instil the confidence in people and demonstrate that their decisions have peoples' interests in mind; engaging with people and having meetings with activists is not the solution. Activists are always against "something"... they never have solutions; they never bother to introspect on solutionsJ. However, the man on the street wants to have improvements in his quality of life, jobs, etc.

I really do hope such protests get the government to start working in the right direction. I am so reminded of this same government that took such a regressive decision on GM brinjal, based on activism on the roads by people who didn't know the spelling of Biology! Now, this same government says the people on the street don't understand nuclear energy!! That's just the point; these protests are actually a blessing in disguise for all scientists working in modern sciences.

Confidence building measures (CBMs) are confined to action in Kashmir, but the need of the hour is CBMs across the country, to improve public acceptance and government credibility. Its time for the government to stop passing the buck to the poor scientists (pun intended)!

September 18, 2011

Smartphones are for smart people!

Recently, yours truly made the transition to a smartphone, yeah, the bug got me too... Since its a transition from a humble Nokia 6233 (a great phone) to a smartphone, I was told to get a mid range phone, to get the hang of things (read my husband didn't want to buy me iphoneJ). Well, being a good girl I bought the argument and got myself a Samsung Galaxy Ace...

Believe me, its funny initially... I felt a total rustic...and there is no manual to get going. To beat it, the salesman couldn't even demonstrate making a call as my sim card was too old and couldn't be read by the 'smartphone'J.

Thus began my saga of learning to use the phone... it’s now a month and I must say I have become a lot smarter

J. I certainly haven't learnt all about it yet, but I must say graduating to a smartphone can be a challenge for some. Right from receiving a call, to forwarding a text, is completely different. But once you know how to do them, it’s a breeze... Oh yes, there were moments in the first couple of days when I wondered why I invited this needless complication in my lifeJ. And to top it, the phone would switch off and seemed to have a mind of its own... I realized there was something to do with the settings but I was so tempted to go to shop and complain. Another problem is with managing contacts. As it syncs all your Fb and Gmail contacts, there is quite a bit of confusion if you have more than one person with similar nameJ.

A quick googling solved my problem of the phone switching off and I realized there were many people across the world who had similar experiences and there were the wise geeks who shared the solutions... Yes, it’s fun learning and exploring the phone... As someone said, learning to use a touchscreen is an intuitive process unlike the regular basic phones.  And without a doubt, I will like to state that smartphones can turn even dummies, smart!

September 16, 2011

Arnab G - role reversal?

Breaking and trending news today is that Arnab and his team are being questioned and grilled by CBI. Apparently, this team is in possession of too many secret, leaked documents from the government offices!! I knew it would come to this... he has been waving far too many documents circled and highlighted for his own good. The CBI has been with the team right through the day and sources reveal that Arnab is not amused at being questioned... He has always been the one asking the questions.. Infact, in the first hour of interrogation, the CBI officers had a tough time explaining to Arnab that he couldn't ask questions, instead he had to learn to answer themJ, as Arnab seemed to be hallucinating that he was anchoring the Newshour programme, while he was actually being interrogated!

This news story has many politicians grinning from ear to ear; across party lines... impromptu parties are planned tonight, in many homes in Delhi. Many Tihar inmates are also pleased with the recent developments. So are the other news channels. They can't believe this unexpected festival bonanza.. apparently, Diwali celebrations have been pre-poned and festive spirit is in the air, in Delhi. Team Anna, however, is not too pleased as they have lost their main TV anchor.

This is how yours truly woke up this morning!! Bad dream, huh??

September 13, 2011

Trendz in Bollywood

Gone are the times when we got to know about the movie on the Friday of its release... that was two decades ago... Then came the time when the main actors began giving titbits while doing interviews for Cine magazines, to just prove a point on how busy they wereJ. Soon that changed and we had the directors and actors promoting and marketing their movies a month in advance through road shows and interviews in News channels at prime timeJ - a media blitzkrieg was their mantra. Soon, many got very intelligent and relied on generating a controversy 2 weeks prior to a movie release to ensure a 'hit'. Some two bit guys still adopt this practice, todayJ

Today, the scene is all too blurred and confusing.... we get to hear and see posters of movies that is yet to start shoot, for which shooting is in progress, movies which have their official music /audio launch, movies that are scheduled for release a month from now, and of course, movies that are showing in cinemas... This is all so confusing, and by the time a movie is released, we have heard /seen /read so much from the hero, heroine, producer and whoever is connected with the movie, that we wonder if we have already seen it!! For example, the papers are full of Bodyguard (released), Mere brother ki dulhan (released), Mausam (scheduled for a release), RaOne (scheduled for a release), Heroine (yet to be shot), Agent Vinod (shooting in progress), etc etc. See my point?

And the best part is, most of them don't stand apart (much like the actresses – you can’t tell one from the otherJ), nor do they make any original stuff. All play safe in doing remakes from other regional movies or from good old Hollywood. So much for marketing and hype and noise! ‘Wonder if an MBA is behind all this!! 

September 9, 2011

Miracles - Indiashtyle

As we come to the end of the Ganpathi festival, I hear people praying for miracles, everywhere:

·         The Indian cricket team has been praying since July
·         The Congress Party is asking for a miracle to disentangle from Lokpal, anti corruption movement, CAG reports, Supreme Court, Amar Singh, etc.. (the list gets added every hour)
·         The BJP is not sure what they want, so they want a miracle for clarity of mind
·         Mayavati has asked her Dalit God to punish the anti dalit Assange this moment
·         DMK (an atheist party) is secretly asking for a miracle to keep their leaders in thier homes and not in prisons
·         Corporates want a miracle to get the government to start reforms in earnestness
·         Media channels want a big scam or a bomb blast / hoax every day, to justify their existence

The Gods’ reply, so far...

·         Gods sent Messi to India to divert people from cricket
·        Since the Congress party list is too long, for now, he has sent them their Prez back. Sent Agnivesh and Kejriwal for Silence courses... working on the other demands on the list.
·         Advani has been asked to do what he can do best... go on a Rath Yatra
·         Mayavati has been mollified by hiring Assange as her cook cum house keeper
·         DMK patriach has been asked to become ‘God loving’ if he wanted miracles from HIM!
·        Corporates have been asked to first observe reforms within their company and refrain from staying in Antilla style mansions
·         Media houses have been asked to report news as it is, and not 'create news'

Ganpathi Bappa Morya, Mangala Murthi Morya!!

Arnab G sure needs a break!

Its my earnest appeal to Times Now to have another set of anchors for their Newshour capsule. Arnab needs a vacation. And viewers will welcome the breakJ. While I enjoy his interrogations in Newshour, (not for his prowess but for sheer entertainment and his ‘holier than thou attitude’), yesterday, for the first time in years, I sat through his programme without flipping channels. He has surely lost it and looked jaded.

He was quizzing (yeah, just like a quiz master would) Shri Praful Patel on the CAG report and clearly had come ill-prepared. While I have no knowledge on the topic, it was apparent that Praful Patel came out more impressive than ever, a seasoned politician that he is. There were more than 3/4 occasions when Arnab had egg on his face although he pretended to be on top of the game. And his discomfiture was so apparent that he was often repeating sentences like, "my first question to you is, my first question to you is.."

I am always wary of people (more so, media guys) who think they have a halo around them, but our man clearly needs a long vacation. He has had better days on his show, believe me. He was clearly out of sorts and was nodding his head like he couldn't believe his terrible show, tooJ. And those of us who were watching couldn't help but sympathise with him while Praful Patel looked pleasantly surprised to be let off so easily.

And to top off the total comedy show, he announced very grandly that he had a set of 3 rapid fire questions to end the interview... by now I was sure Arnab has made some alternate career plans... And needless to say he managed to ask only one and had to gracefully bid adieu to the comedy showJ. I think Siddharth Basu has a new apprentice joining him!

September 7, 2011

Another blast and the all too familiar reactions from our leaders

I refer to the bomb blast outside the Delhi high court this morning. A quick scan of the news report and we have the usual standard responses. The words seem all empty and far from they ought to mean.

Mr. R. Chidambaram says the NIA will investigate the bomb blast and also added that there was no intelligence report to warn him of the blast!! He expects an email 24 hour in advance, I think. Mr. Advani has condemned the attack and asked for citizens to be united! Now, what could that mean? J & K CM is quoted to have condemned the bomb blast! Isn't that but obvious. I wonder why our leaders make it a point to condemn the attack. Can anyone compliment it or support it?? I wonder why our leaders engage in this display of profoundity.

Going by recent past events, Anna Hazare may ask for the perpetrators of the crime, to be hanged! (Wonder if Team Anna have other ideasJ) I dread to think what Arnab will say at Newshour tonight. He may have his 10 questions ready by now.

We all know what our PM will say, "I am not aware"; but to give him credit, he is touring Bangladesh and may therefore be excused for speaking the truth.

Since the blast has happened in New Delhi, we will be spared the usual dose of how resilient the Mumbaikars areJ

September 6, 2011

Withdrawal symptoms of a new kind

Apparently, both Anna Hazare and Team Anna (they are two different entities) have been diagnosed with a new disorder affecting their normal functioning. Times Trends has reported that both the groups are hale and hearty physically, but all of them reported a funny gut feel - all of them were not able to eat their two square meals fully and had nightmares of Diggy, Kapil, Salman, Ramdev etc.. plotting against them.

After subjecting them to a battery of tests, using sophisticated instrumentations, the doctors, on question of anonymity, have inferred and delivered their confidential prognosis. After some cajoling (read bribingJ), a news anchor proudly announced that they have a scoop, the only channel to obtain the confidential report on Team Anna's health... and we had to wait for a 2 minute commercial break! On resuming the story, we were told that all of them are suffering from a very rare withdrawal disorder, post their anti-corruption campaign. Having been under the arc lights 24/7, negotiating and doing street plays, etc for more than 2 weeks, they now faced the ignominy of fading from the front page on newspapers and news channels.

Apparently, doctors have advised each of them to stay away from each other's company and get back to their old ways of leading normal lives. This has reportedly not gone down very well with Team Anna and they can actually smell a rat. I heard that a press conference is in the offing within 2/3 days (they are waiting for a new picture of Gandhiji to be ready as a backdrop) where Team Anna will explain how the government has bribed and corrupted the doctors treating them.

Apparently, the main opposition party have got wind of the impending press meet and have offered a set of doctors, certified by Advani and Modi. Meanwhile, Team Anna sympathisers and facebookers have offered their own free advice - some of them have suggested that they start a new campaign on land acquisition bill, another has asked Team Anna to start a campaign on using ONLY renewable energy - solar, gobar gas, windmills etc. An ardent Team Anna and Facebook fan has requested that the Team start a campaign to thwart an Anonymous group's plan to kill Facebook on November 5, 2011.

I guess we Indians have no respite from campaigns for the next few years!!

September 2, 2011

News channels want another campaign to be led by Team Anna

Apparently, news channels have gotten together for the first time, and agreed to shelve their egos and differences (much like the political parties) to debate and plan for improving viewership on their channels. Since this topic is on survival strategies, the media guys have agreed to chalk out a common strategy to "create news" (aka common minimum programme).

All of them have realised the current trending topic to be Team Anna and have zeroed down to having them start another round of their media blitzkrieg... Apparently, the point of discussion now veers on the title of the campaign. While Arnab wants a campaign on "Action taken Reports" on CAG findings, Rajdeep has shot the idea down as it will give one channel too much limelight. Karan Thapar wants to grill every Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MP with Team Anna on the sidelights, at the Ramlila. Shekar Gupta disagrees and considers it not newsworthy, suggests walking with a bunch of them. Barkha Dutt apparently suggested a roadshow with Team Anna in every state, to be covered within 15 days and requested they take up local state/town issues. Sagarika Ghose shot it down and thought it to be boring. Prannoy Roy was conspicuously absent from the deliberations.

After two days of intense brainstorming and cerebral discussions, they decided to approach Team Anna themselves for ideasJ. All of them came in for a rude shock when Team Anna told them that they were choc-a-bloc till end of 2012 as they have offers from across the world to start campaigns for serious issues like "Right to Leave" in some European countries; USA has signed them on to show the world on how only USA can save the world from global economic crises; UK is negotiating with the Team to bring back the lost glory of England after they started playing second fiddle to USA; etc etc. The Mayans are keen to rope them into a month long agitation on the Apocalypse in Dec 2012!!

Needless to say the media barons came back to their studios, hugely disappointed at the missed opportunities to increase TRPs. Unconfirmed reports said the apparent bonhomie and truce amongst them has been called off and a huge wrestling match ensued with quite a few of them requiring emergency hospitalization. The Indian citizen is hence saved!

August 20, 2011

Freakonomics - India style

According to the latest medical research conducted by a team of doctors and psychiatrists from Amethi University, a number of youth today are complaining of loneliness and reporting attention deficit disorders. Times Trends reports that the team finally came to the conclusion that this sudden spurt in loneliness amongst the urban youth is directly proportional to the number of friends who are 'online' in their Facebook, and those who participated in the Anna movement and were offline!

Apparently, the downside of the Anna movement has many youth staying offline and getting on the streets and facing the real world. Among the data analysed, the team found that an equal number of youth who took to the streets and those who logged in and found their friends offline, reported similar ‘loneliness syndrome’. While those on the street felt disoriented with the noise and din around them, they were only used to the noise of the keyboardJ When contacted, one boy confessed that he missed the fact that there was no 'like' button for him to agree to a slogan or when a patriotic song was played.

The lazy youth who stayed in their usual hostel/ homes also reported the same loneliness syndrome. Their self confidence hit rock bottom when they saw only 2 friends online whereas it was always a minimum of 20, at any given time, till a week ago. They felt insecure and had the tell-tale signs of chewed-up nailsJ

Times Trends contacted Facebook to check if they noticed any change in logging patterns of account holders from India and they were relieved to know the reason, as they were actually worried that they had lost the youth, to Google+ J

August 19, 2011

Best news channel award for the month goes to....

Many many thanks to Congress and Team Anna's Civil Society, news channels are thanking their stars and loving their TRPs like never before:-)...

A year ago, any scam worth thousands of crores was a sureshot winner with news channels, not anymore, though! Arnab really worked hard with obtaining copies of CAG reports on CWG scam part II, Air India etc.. but the public were so numbed, that nothing could really interest them anymore. With IPL another 10 months away, and elections another year away, and with everybody blaming the media for the overdose of everything... Arnab and gang were a worried lot, till the India Against Corruption picked up steam, thanks to government handling (or bungling).

Never mind if the visuals were repeated every 3 minutes, the anchors were going hysterical with the reporting, much like the sloganeering youth on the street. It was pathetic to watch them but we had no choice but to endure them. Its like as if there is nothing else happening in the country or the world!! But apparently, there is the usual stuff, if you do happen to read the newspapers... there are floods in North India, Dengue in Orissa, floods and protests in West Bengal, Bombay preparing for the annual Chaturthi festival, farmers protests in Pune and UP. A US Senator was visitng India and met with politicians in Kashmir. Indian cricket team continued their show with Test cricket.. World economy very precarious and bleak.. Indefinite Truckers strike from today etc. etc..

Having watched TV this past week, with little to choose between them, I would say NDTV scores over the rest with a more balanced and mature reporting.. There seemed to be an attempt at genuine understanding and debate on the topic, with some quality experts on the panel.

August 16, 2011

The Red and Blue pills

We human beings as a species seem to have lost our sense of balance and pragmatism. Look at the political scenario in US / UK / other  European countries / India, etc. The main political parties seem to take positions that swing from one extreme to the other... Nobody seems to be value the prospect of the middle path.

Look at the politics in India, either you are with the Congress or you are branded communal and fascist. In such a polarised scenario, we see the emergence of the so-called civil society movement led by Anna Hazare. Unfortunately, he is also falling into the same weakness, that of extremism. While it is important to keep corruption in check and punish the corrupt, the means to achieve a corruption free society looks set to get derailed with almost clownish, immature, extreme, militant behavior of the team associated with Anna. We all know that more than 200 years ago, Lord Acton coined the now famous phrase, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". History shows that corruption, in some form, has always been there in society. What is new is the % of corrupt people and the magnitude:-)

To resort to a fast at the drop of the hat, or threaten a fast if his demands were not met is certainly not Gandhian behavior. There seems to be a rebellious, arrogant stance in this movement that can also describe the Congress party. So, as, citizens, we actually have not much to choose, far from the red and blue pill that the movement had originally promised. Back in April 2011, I was really taken in by the simplicity of Anna Hazare, but in less than four months the halo around him has vanished and he is just another wannabe. The corruption he wants to fight, probably started at the top, but today, it is a systemic disease and just attacking the leaders at the top will never weed out systemic corruption.

Greed is human nature.. But what is alarming is the extent and magnitude that is shocking us, today. Look at the reasons of the global economic collapse in the world.. it has been individual greed that has been the root cause. White collar crimes are becoming common place everywhere and in India too. Can this Jan Lokpal bill address all aspects of corruption?? Unlikely. If I could have a word with Anna today, I would tell him, "Great work done my friend, to force the government to introduce the Lokpal bill. Now, allow the bill to be debated and then influence changes and allow the bill to evolve, instead of attempting to perfect a bill and bringing the country to a standstill."

August 10, 2011

Mumbai to be renamed Shipumbai

Apparently, there is another ship drifting towards the Mumbai Coast! This is going to be the third in as many months. What could the reason be? Media don't seem interested, as on date. Who should the concerned citizens go for help? Somebody came to me and asked for suggestions. I was quite blank but not one to look dumb, I managed, "Well, err, make a list of names who will not show any interest and then you end up with the right person". I thought that was a decent answer but nay, he persisted, "make the list for me".
As I had pretty nothing much to do on that Sunday evening, I said, "Lets see, let me jott some names randomly - Times Now, Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, the Supreme Court, CAG, PAC, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, The Hindu, Ministry of Shipping, Barack Obama, Greenpeace, Kapil Sibal, Digvijay Singh, Subramanium Swamy, ED, Home Ministry, IB, perhaps?" "Why not some prominent Mumbaikars like Udhav Thackeray, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Lata Mangeshkar, or Mukesh Ambani?"
I could see the enthusiasm levels fall dramatically in my friend and he was probably wondering why he had asked me for help.... Not to let him off so easily, I had after all by now, gotten deep into the thick of things... I continued, "the Civil Society (not the one led by Anna) does not feature in this exhaustive list and is probably the right forum," I declared triumphantly...
The Civil Society was called in and was asked to prepare a detailed report on why ships were drifting towards the coastline, ever so often. They were asked to look at an obvious Paki hand, whether some money was getting pumped out through these ships, whether this was Mukesh Ambani's plan to get in oil to India, etc. etc. Or is the Home Ministry working through these ships since they are all at sea, anyway. Since no media showed any interest in this activity, the civil society was asked to look at collusion with media and politicians. A strict two month deadline was offered and the civil society went to work. They toiled hard and took their brief very seriously. And their findings took everyone by surprise. They said that the ships like the friendly Mumbai coast and gave a clean chit to everybodyJ. They ended their 786 page report by recommending a name change for the city to Shipumbai!

The Vanishing Thin Line

Any cosmetic industry will get excited at the word "vanishing" but I am referring to the thin line between activism and violence. Increasingly, this seems to be the norm, in every part of the world. Most of us seem to be less strong in handling situations and challenges. And the phenomenon is rampant in the so-called developed / developing / third world countries, infact more so in the developed world as the citizens are probably not as resilient.

Let’s take the past two weeks and look at some events around the world...

  • one insane citizen massacred ~ 90 people in Oslo
  • a small unrest against police killing in a suburb of London has paralysed the whole city due to widespread arson and looting!
  • Virginia Tech Univ, already with a past history of the worst shooting incident in an University campus, spotted an armed man in the prowl, that has the students jittery
  • the less said about the Indian students in Australia, the better
  • apparently the Chinese province adjoining Pakistan is ridden with armed conflict

While the above stories do not shock us Indians and similar countries where violence, bomb blasts are becoming common place, we ought to look farther and see a similar pattern. Most often the reasons are disparities, lack of opportunities, racial hatred and unemployment.

Lets look at India a little more closely, a huge melting pot, where we have the best of technology firms jostling for space with sprawling slums, where the disparity levels have reached alarming levels. We have myriad problems, from population explosion, to corrupt political practices, to weak governments, to inflation, unfocussed agriculture policy and land acquisition, across all Indian states.

Corruption, however, is being singled out as the root cause of our problems and we have some bunch of activists-turned freedom fighters who claim to follow Gandhian values leading the movement. Never mind that they are resorting to violence by burning copies of Lokpal bill in public.. this is today's Gandhi for you, staring you in the face...

The profile of people flocking to these venues in Delhi and Bombay are either those with time on their side or those who are unemployed... the former are the ones who are the 'bribe-givers' and therefore feel indignant while the latter are the ones who don't have the means. It is indeed easy to get very romantic and think ourselves to be freedom fightersJ. However, nett nett, these movements have successfully brought the country to a standstill. There is been no policy level decisions taken, as all of them are always doing some fire fighting with respect to the Lokpal bill or the myriad scams that have hit the country in the past one year.

I beg to differ from these activists. I would root for growth, strong governance, strengthen internal security, be inclusive in sharing of resources with tribals and villagers. And most importantly, focus on quality education for every citizen. Such positive approaches will serve Indians far better, in the long run.  

August 8, 2011

Interesting anecdote

I work for a very distinguished and accomplished citizen in our country, Prof M. S. Swaminathan. Being his 86th birthday, we had the who's who come and greet him on the occasion. We had many people over, from a Central Minister, to International Scientists; to the most well known media personality of Chennai felicitate him. There were people who called him the most distinguished living Indian citizen and another said he prays for his work to be immortal and then another recommended him for India's highest Civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.

I sat there as part of the audience and looked at Professor and wondered how gracefully he handled the compliments and praise. When it was the turn of the birthday boy to speak, he shared a lovely anecdote that was the answer to my thoughts. He thanked one and all and said he was extremely grateful for all the love and affection shown. He ended by saying that once when Sir C. V. Raman was asked how the compliments never went to his head, he apparently remarked that he wore the turban tight to ensure the head didn't swell with compliments!! Professor added that he didn't have a turban to sport and so he apparently assumes the compliments are for another "Swaminathan" and that keeps his head intactJ. It’s so rare to see and work with such a genuine, humble and dignified person in spite of his yeomen contribution to transforming Indian Agriculture and the feeding the millions. It’s an honour to meet and interact with him.

August 4, 2011

The News Tonight

Philosophically speaking, one can wonder on what is 'real' and what is a 'dream'... taking a cue from this seems to be the 24/7 news channels and the print media... At the time these 24/7 channels first began reporting, one could catch up with the headlines of tomorrow's newspaper by watching the 9 pm every night. Not anymore, it seems...

Often what seems to be 'breaking news' and headlines at prime time newshour does not find mention even in a remote corner in any page on the newspaper the next day!! I have been watching this strange news reporting for the past year or more and sometimes get confused on what is the ‘real headline’ news:-). I am sure I can be forgiven as I hope to have company! Last night for example, we had some breaking news on Ms. Sheila Dixit involved in CWG Scam II which we were told was bigger than CWG Scam I... There then followed a detailed discussion on whether she ought to resign, and a parallel in Karnataka CM resigning was cited. A very interesting discussion then ensued on the difference between "financial irregularity" and "corruption". However, there was nothing in the Times of India this morning, about this "very big scam"

Brings me to the question, what is real and what is not? 

August 1, 2011

Anna is in great demand

Just heard from uninformed sources that there is frantic back room lobbying by the Congress and the BJP (the ruling & opposition parties, for those with blurred visionJ), to get Anna onto their camps. Apparently, both parties see an excellent spokesperson in Anna, for their respective parties. He seems to have no qualms in talking to the media and giving vent to his feelings, never mind, if it contradicts what he said a few days earlier. This, according to a senior party member, is an amazing trait that will bowl the media and citizens alike. And yes, Anna also seems to have the ability to relate to Aam aadmi, that both parties would like to exploit as the netas seem to have got disconnected with the Aam aadmi, offlate. We were probably better off when we were with 1G communicationsJ
Apparently, the activity had reached feverish proportions on the eve of the Monsoon session in Parliament. While, initially, the media thought the parties were sending feelers with regards to the Lokpal bill, it is now unreliably learnt by a news channel, TV Now, that Anna is being sought out by both parties and a tug of war over him has broken out. Some sources claim that a Rajya Sabha seat is being promised to get him on their side! Some unconfirmed reports claim that he will be their official Presidential nominee in 2012J

Anna, as on date, has not spoken about the recent developments. We wonder if he may want to protest against this news by sitting on a fast in his own village in Maharashtra, as that seems to be the only place where he would be welcomed :-)

July 30, 2011

Rohtang Pass Scam and UPA II

The headlines in the papers announced that the snow had melted in the Rohtang Pass, much earlier than usual. I was expecting some boring, dull scientist or a weather report on how the climate change was to be blamed for the melting snow. However, it looks like its another scam, as big as the 2G or is it 3G? This very inocuous news has the government on the edge, all thanks to our 24/7 news channel. The anchor, Rahul Goswami has 20 uncomfortable questions to the Congress spokesperson, Manoj Tiwari who looked distinctly unwell. Not to let the heat dissipate, lest the snow further melt, the grand old party tried their best to send their two best men, into the studios, Kapil Singh and Digambar Swain. "It is a mailicious campaign by the opposition, the snow began to melt during the NDA regime; the UPA government only continued the policy of the previous government were some of the replies.. They sure sounded jaded.

Kapil Singh went to the extent to explain that its part of any economic growth and development of a country and there is absolutely nothing alarming, as making profits have always been the idea behind development projects, that are aimed at Aam Aadmi!! Not to be buying this argument, Rahul Goswami, said, "Mr. Kapil Singh, India has the right to know why this news was not available one week ago and it was due to the painstaking efforts by this channel to source this secret correspondence between the Environment and Tourism Ministries." Mr. Kapil Singh was unruffled and said that media and civil society are always welcome to the offices in North & South block and can always discuss issues over a cup of coffee (there is now an Open House every 4th Saturday of the month, "Koffee with Kapil" - this new initiative is thanks to Lokpal, we are told)

Picking up the thread from this news channel, another channel had a detailed discussion on how this could be the handiwork of China and Pakistan. They even had inferences on the discreet help they sought from the USA and it maybe so that this Operation was outsourced to the US Army, as they didn't have many projects in hand. The discussions even veered to the possiblity of the visit by the Secretary of State to distract us from this Operation Snowstorm.

This post is inspired by

July 28, 2011

The Oracle of Chennai

After two months of being tutored about the 'Market / Street', I feel compelled to share the knowledge gained or not gainedL (no, it’s not a reflection on the tutor but on my intelligence). It’s about my hubby - this post. You see, he always had this gamblers' streak in him and I always knew he would pursue this full time, one day. No, it’s not the illegal bets and match fixing deals I am talking aboutJ. Ah yes, I am referring to the little money he stakes on equity, commodity and whatever else he takes fancy that moment... seems pure fun? Well, not for me, I can assure you.

Let me give you a sample of our daily conversation... "Petrol prices are going to touch Rs. 100/-", I say. Pat comes the reply, "never mind, we have x barrels of crude"L. I was naturally horrified & speechless!

Another day, I remarked about a news headline on 2G scam or some other scam being the trending topic, he just looked up abstractedly from his screen and gave a lecture on how to study trendlines of stocks!! I gave up and stuffed my head into a book. And needless to add that the only channels we get to watch are Bloomberg, NDTV Profit, ET Now or some such... The favourites setting in the TV have either these or CN! Talk of bipolar tastesJ

Talking of books, years ago, I had mentioned about joining the British Council, he guffawed and said it was archaic and old fashioned, in the internet age, to read booksJ But now, its suddenly trendy to hangout there and sip hot chocolate and browse through reams of print - on markets, and read up on 'how to be a successful trader, investor'. There is even a book titled, “Make more money than God” or some such thingJ that he reads like the Bible. Does it make any sense??

He announced very gladly that he had enabled internet on his BB. No, he doesn't surf the net or catch up with friends on Fb or twitter, he has downloaded Apps that stream stock prices 24/7J Can anyone get more mundane and boring than that?
In any average household, people would talk about family and the usual stuff... but here, I have to endure a lecture about the lives and times of famous traders. I get to hear about the different categories of men – the employee, employer, entrepreneur, investor… get the drift? One day, I got home after my usual round of stocking up of groceries and veggies for the week and our man looked up absent-mindedly from his laptop and asked me if I had heard of some Big Five Corporations in Agriculture. I almost faintedJ

July 21, 2011

Upgrades can mean bad news too!

Yeah, you read the title right! Lets talk of the most discussed topic on social networking fora.. "Will Google plus overtake Facebook?".. And the discussions go on and on and people pretend to be a Nostradamus - in predicting the future of social networks:-). To add my own two bit, I am a diehard google fan but I do aceept that I chose facebook over Orkut, so far. I think its too early to call

And Facebook, not to be outdone by all the news space that Google + was hogging, launched video calls on their site. This was hailed as "awesome" by Mark Zuckerberg and many others but it meant that facebook would be blocked in most offices. Most offices had blocked social networking sites but with video calls and conferencing options in Fb, it has definitely gone to the 'blocked list' of sites in offices that earlier allowed access to Fb.

So, there you see, upgrades and awesomeness may not be a good idea, always, and may actually boomerang for the company! I suggest Fb must commission a study to see if the active users are now less active or if they show altered / noctural times in their activity. It must be interesting for them and many others who are in this business.

July 10, 2011

Aadhaar card is a good joke

With great fanfare our PM announced the Unique Identification Authority of India programme, that will serve many purposes, and requested Nandan Nilekani to head the project, in February 2009. Papers were full of the great opportunity ahead for him, and everybody had high expectations. Its two and a half years now and there seems no sign of the card being issued! I read about its launch in a remote village in Maharashtra a year ago. Surprisingly, media has not gone hammer and tongs at the UIDAI, yet. They have their hands full with scams and fasts unto death to cover, this past year. And our Chairman Nandan Nilekani still manages to talk of it (planning and promise) without drawing ire from the audience. 

My personal experience appears a big joke, so far. One day in April, my office was abuzz with excitement, that an extension counter is doing the Aadhaar project (well that's the desi name) and will wind up in 3 days! So, as is expected, a mad rush ensued, tokens given and after many futile unsuccessful trips to the bank, I finally managed to get my fingerprints and biometric information taken. I was also promptly given a slip with date and time of my application and was told that the card will be couriered in 2 months! I came away impressed. An application number on the slip was one way to track the status of the card, we were told.

Well, its 3 months and more and there is no sign of the card:(. Not to lose heart, I told myself that its a mammoth project and prone to get a little delayed. My hopes are however dashed, as Wodehouse would have said... according to their website, none of our applications are traceable!! I would still have had hope but for the fact that our Chairman's application alone, the status message reads "under process". So, in India, the fancied Aadhaar card that has been hailed for the masses, is being done for VVIPs:-), as of now.

I am sorely disappointed with Nandan Nilekani, not because of my personal experience, but because he has failed to execute a project as he would have done in Infosys. I have a couple of grouses on the methodology used: why use bank staff premises and allow all and sundry to apply? Ideally they should have done this street wise and get all residents covered in 2 days for each street. Secondly, there is absolutely no information of the Aadhaar cards being issued in the papers. For such a prestigious project, I think its being very sadly executed and this is where we fail, most often. I certainly expected better from Nandan Nilekani but I guess he couldn't break the Babudom stranglehold, and has let us down!

Perhaps, he misses the Infosys culture and feels he would have been better off there:)

July 8, 2011

Favourite Things

Sometimes an ordinary routine turns out to be special. This morning was one such day for me. As it happens often, I was running late to work and left a good 15 minutes late! I was dreading the traffic and the delay in getting into office. But the road seemed like everyone else decided to be home or left early this morning! I reached office in record time, like I would on a holiday:). Every painful traffic signal was green and the whole drive made me feel like they were waiting to make my day. 

It was a wonderful feeling to reach office on a working day, during peak hours without being in a traffic snarl. Such a very small event, very trivial, but had me beaming as I parked and got into office. Like Maria Von Trapp lists a few of her favourite things, I guess I can make mine too:-) 

July 6, 2011

Only in India!

There is in an uproar in Chennai over the killing of a 13 year old boy, he got shot when  scaling the wall of the Army campus. And why was he there in the first place? He was stealing almonds from the tree insideJ. The jawan / officer (?) has certainly over-reacted in shooting the boy, instead, of reprimanding him, but the public reaction borders on the ridiculous. That the boy ought not to be trespassing or stealing from inside the campus is all forgotten... The public want the jawan / officer to be handed over to them!! And even the State Government is baying for the his blood..Why, pray?

What do they want from him? What will the public do when they get their hands on him? Lynch him, most probably. One wrong cannot be set right by another. This is an important principle we all need to bear in mind. Actually, we need to put pressure on the Army and get them to initiate action against the jawan / officer, instead, we behave so irresponsibly. Such a response is so typical of India! Its always a knee-jerk, band aid reaction that we love to exercise, and make a hue and cry about. And promptly, these very 'public' will forget the whole episode in few days. My point is neither of these reactions are wise.

As I was cruising on the IT corridor yesterday, I had to slow down as a mob crossed over.. oh yeah, they were crossing under an overhead footbridge:-). Public (in this case, pedestrians) often break rules and get let off but the bad guys are the ones in cars / bikes... I wondered what would happen if my car had touched or hit one of them, as its hard to apply sudden breaks at high speeds... No guesses here, yours truly would get abused / beaten by the rest, and languish in the police station for a few hours,  and be let off after paying a compensation or bribe:-) [aha, civil society members, don't read this line:-)]. But the point is the pedestrian ought to have used the footbridge in the first place, built just for him to cross the road!

I truly empathise with the all those who are often, for no fault of theirs, are made to pay a price!