Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Observe the BJP & Enjoy the Pop Corn!

The irony is killing me!

Just a couple of months ago LK Advani was running for his much desire PMship on a 'Strong, Decisive Leader' campaign.

Now look at his meek, helpless countenance as he helplessly lords over his rapidly imploding party.

Of course, I'm totally enjoying the show. With pop corn too.

I have no intentions of reading Jaswant Singh's book. (Neither does Modi or Sushma Swaraj or any BJP leader except perhaps Advani, for that matter)

But the book HAS been able to rip apart the charade of PURPOSE in a directionless party that doesn't know if it ought to be a leader of a rapidly modernizing India, or a slave to a discredited narrow dogma...[Continue Reading]

Saturday, February 14, 2009


So here it is.

I am finally taking a break from blogging. I'd promised on the Mutiny that I would make a clean break; it took longer then expected but it's here.

Will come back once, the fingers, wrists, forearms, elbows, shoulders & mind permits. If I don't go now, will lose all of these! :-D

Friday, February 13, 2009

On criticism...

I've spoken about the nastiness of criticism or being critical. Forget the unpleasantness, the idea of making someone feel bad about themselves or their work/art etc. is bad. We have no right to make one of God's children feel bad about themselves. So reason yes, but never criticise.

That is one of the reasons why I don't want to criticise SRK (or anyone else) anymore. That is the reason why I would rather review a film/book/album that critique it.

Here are 1 & 2 links to what I've said about criticism earlier.

And here is what "Sacred Space", TOI's pride has to say about Criticism. (Substitute Churchill's use of "criticism" with feedback. He was a politician, not a corporate citizen)

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticise me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.
~William A Ward

I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man's self-respect is a sin.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
~Winston Churchill

Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
~Dale Carnegie

Three-quarters of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would finish if people were to put on the shoes of their adversaries and understood their points of view.
~M K Gandhi

I hope to emulate what one of my idols preached.

On Agassi, other tennis snippets & a tennis joke

My Tennis fascination started when I was 15. We were asked to pick a sport & make a scrapbook on it for a class project. Cricket got taken instantly, not that I cared much for it then, but I didn't know what else to do. Mom suggested that I look at Tennis as an option. So I browsed through magazine after magazine, article after article, cut out picture after picture & by the time my scrapbook was finished, I was a die-hard Tennis fan.

My initial favourite was Ivan Lendl, the # 1 player at that time. And next to him I liked rising young star Andre Agassi best! When Lendl retired, Agassi took his place as my firm favourite.

It wasn't only Agassi's frosted hair & good looks, pop-idol persona that made one his fan. It was his exciting brand of tennis, and the "appetite he generated for combat" that made fans flock to watch him play!

His initial career was a bit of a disappointment, but by the time his body gave up on him, he had won 8 Grand Slam Titles, a Career Grand Slam, and an Olympic Gold Medal, and earned his place among the Tennis Greats. That he did so in an era dominated by Sampras is commendable. (If it wasn't for Pete Sampras, Andre would've had the Grand Slam record.) That he did so at an age that most players retired was even more amazing! The man ate, breathed & lived Tennis!

He left an indelilable impression not only on fans, but also on the tennis stars of today.

When I watch Tsonga play or Nadal play, I'm reminded of Agassi.
The blistering groundstrokes, the shots that kiss the lines, the angles, the passing shots, the confidence-crushing forehand winners, all remind me of Agassi!

And I'm not the only one who says it. I'm so glad that what I thought is corroborated by Michael Stich.

And this year's Aussie Open semi-finalist knocked out last year's finalist Tsonga (who last year knocked out this year's eventual winner Nadal!), Verdasco, who grew up idolising Andre, sought his advice & reaped the benefits!

Nadal is like a newer, improved, left-handed version of Agassi. A much stronger serve, Agassi's groundstrokes & passing shots, Chang's legs & his very own mental toughness! I'm an out an out Federer fan, but I will grudgingly admit that Rafa has earned the title of the best tennis player in the World at the moment. He dominates Roger's game & he dominates his mind. Roger is at sea against Rafa. Not that King Roger will not find a way to beat Rafa. I believe he soon will, but it is a tribute to Rafael Nadal that he has pushed Roger Federer where no man even thought possible! It is only fitting that Rafa's greatness is acknowledged on account of his domination of Roger.

As Rafa himself said, Roger will get his 14 Grand Slams, possibly more as others say. It may not have happened at the Aussie Open, but there are 3 more Slams to go. Rafael will of course VAMOS for the Grand Slam 2009 & while it is a superhuman task to achieve, if there is one guy in recent Tennis memory who realistically stands a chance of doing it, it is Nadal! And at 22, with 6 Grand Slam titles already, there's no knowing what number he might end up with!!!

That Roger Federer is the Greatest ever will only be in dispute for a few more years at best. He will settle that with his 15th Grand Slam title. Then we'll start looking at Nadal's expanding trophy shelf. Very exciting times for men's Tennis! It could be even more exciting if 2 guys who have the game to dominate these 2 could get their acts together, but it seems unlikely that they will ever have the mental edge that these two possess. I'm talking about the unbeatable brand of Tennis that Marat Safin & Jo-Wilifried Tsonga are capable of playing!

Interesting times for Indian Tennis too! Sania Mirza wins her first Grand Slam title-tte. GREAT show from her & Bhupati! Now to see how she translates the confidence into Singles victories!
And Yuki Bhamri! Yet another Junior Grand Slam win! Boy to watch out for!
Interesting times indeed!

Observation & Question:

When Marcos Baghdatis plays at the Aussie Open, throngs of Australian fans of Greek & Cypriot origin cheer for him, wave flags of his country.
When Nadal plays, Aussies of Spanish origin wave Spanish flags. Ditto for Fedex. Swiss face paint & flags!
Thankfully no ball-tokre types live in Australia!

My Original Tennis Joke:
When Serena Williams plays at the net, her butt is still at the baseline! THAT's called Court Coverage! ;-D

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Media & some other thoughts...

I've criticised the media rather harshly in the past, even referring to the word as profane.

I've called some of them biased, some of them over the top & some sometimes slightly opinionated, I've questioned Pune Mirror, and decided that some of them (I mean the TOI here) had indeed sold their souls. And all of rightly so I believe.

Recently I was thinking about the awakening that we've witnessed in the masses recently. My uncle in far off Calcutta is doing his bit, awakened by the 26/11 attack on Bombay. Friends from Pune to Paris are doing something. Practically everyone is trying to say or do something to change the situation or the attitude to the sitation.

There's a campaign afoot to dress pramod muthalik up in lacy pink lingerie. They better wax his black ass before they do that, if they want it look anything like Beyonce's! The campaign has touched an instant chord with the masses & netizens alike. People are sending pink chaddis, suggesting wearing them on the steering wheels of their Mercedeses, others are blogging about it in a newer, fresher, more welcome vein! Scroll right down to the last widget on the right side this blog for more details.

People in India are doing something about the things that bother them. It's not enough yet, but it is a start. And we only need more people to keep joining in to bring about that change!

I believe that it is our Media whom we malign (often with just cause) that we have to thank for this awakening.
So we can criticize the excessive coverage of 26/11, the horror stories, the strong opinions being voiced.
We can accuse the media of being sensationalist (& we won't be wrong); but one thing we will have to give them, however much we don't like it, & that is the fact that their sensational, excessive, opinionated coverage has been able to awaken us out of our lethargy!

My dear friend TB seems to be missing this positive aspect of the Pink Chaddi Campaign & the media in general. (Edit: Oops! As usual, that comment has mysteriously disappeared! Trailblazer, any clue of what happened to the comment?)

Are you forgetting my dear friend that there was a karni sena who had indulged in nonsense sometime last year over the release of Jodha-Akbar. What happened to them? Is that karni a hero? He appeared on NDTV & everything. Does anyone remember him?? And what do you expect people (media are people too) to do when faced with these idiots? Keep quiet? Haven't we done that for far too long? It's much better than retaliatory violence, or long drawn PIL's or having to watch his goons pillage pub after pub. The people are standing up to a goon, without taking the law in their hands. It's a saluteworthy move! It's not enough, but it's a start!

And in case you missed it, this initiative too comes from someone who is associated with your favourite magazine Tehelka! :-) (do visit it & read through their "Vendors of Anarchy" piece to change your opinion.) Nisha Susan, more power to you!
You may also want to see what VS Naipaul has to say about Tarun Tejpal's latest novel.

So time to say it, however grudgingly... Indian Media, take a bow!


Continuing from our earlier discussions on war & capital punishment, I'd like to leave you with a few thoughts that appeared in an article in Verve:

Acharya Suryoday Surishwarji & Acharya Rajratna Surishwarji Maharaj of the Amichand Pannalal Adeshwar Jain Temple, Walkeshwar, Bombay, say that:
"Religion ordains that we should make our enemies our friends. A hundred guilty people can go free, but one innocent person must not die.
Politics or Governance demands that we finish off all our enemies. A hundred innocent people can die, but one guilty person shouldn't go free."

Hopefully you get the difference between governing human beings & living as human beings.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The REAL %@$#@^&$!!!

I'd spoken earlier about prices of groceries & real estate not coming down, despite inflation having come down wonderfully well.

The basic reason is obvious to everyone: Greed. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. If only these guys were devout enough... but their god is made of bank note paper.

Let's focus, for now, on the real estate prices joke that we've witnessed for the past few years.

One can understand the scarcity of space in Bombay & it's status as India's premier city, therefore one can understand rising prices there. But not to the degree that they rose to!

Beyond a point, the fault lies with people who're willing to buy at whatever rate is being quoted. The fault lies with the so-called investor (I prefer to call them gamblers), and the unawakened customer. They should just refuse to buy beyond a price point!

The first category doesn't do that (despite them not needing the damn houses at all!) because they're greedy gamblers. They want to speculate on rising prices, in order to sell to the next idiot who is willing to buy it at a substantially higher price, either out of more greed, or because the idiot is a customer who needs a house to live in, but doesn't understand the logic of not giving in to the seller's price!

The unawakened customer is the one that I seek to address through this post.
Jaago Graahak Jaago!
The money is YOURS! Unless buying a house is an absolute necessity (& to understand necessity, please put yourselves in the shoes of a homeless person who sleeps on the cold footpath!), don't part with the money at a rate that doesn't make sense!
The problem is that today we have access to loans. The bank is willing to give us money. So we make the mistake of believing that we have the money, we can afford it! THAT is not your money!
Imagine if banks weren't handing out loans. What would we have done? Looked at our meagre bank balance & postponed buying of a house till we had enough. And when we had enough, we'd just look for options that fit our budget.
With no one spending easy money in the real estate sector, the sector would behave itself! We wouldn't see the kind of imagined pricing that we see today!

I have a few suggestions, apart from the one above & the link above:

1. Start a non-profit, non-aligned, price regulation body. It can be a real-estate consumer rights NGO, that will survey every locality in every town & publish what the buying rate should be.
And no awakened consumer should buy above this recommended rate!
To ensure incorruptability, a panel (of 12?) should decide the prices instead of 1 or 2 people.

2. With price control in the real estate market, it will also become a less lucrative investment for goons, the underworld etc. A cleaner industry, with less arm twisting, less black money, more transparency is what we will get!

Reader thoughts solicited.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Poet in me (Part 2)

Inspired again. By Hitch Writer this time. (Am I doing sequels or what?)

Beware of Idle pursuits on Sunday...
Lest they set the tone for Monday! :-D

And since you like rhyming so much,
I'll leave you with some rhymes, free verse & such.

This piece of random rhyming from Zig,
Will make you break into a jig!

My poetry, I know, stinks like poo,
But it serves the purpose it sets out to! ;-)

You want better poetry? You'll find it here.
It'll make you gasp, it'll make you cheer!

But if you want verse that'll AWAKEN,
Go here! You'll find yourself SHAKEN!!!

Kya qhayaal hai?

rooTha dost...

Somehow Trailblazer has got it into his head that I am waging some kind of a blog-war against him.

Upset by the reactions to one of his recent posts, he has enabled comment moderation (which he should have had on in the first place!), though his doing so & his reasons for doing so now are indicative of his very young age.

Anyway, he's a guy I very much like. And this is to tell him (in response to his"Saturday, February 7, 2009 12:02:00 AM PST" comment):


- I logged into Google Adsense & blocked the 2 offending URL's that were being advertised on my blog.
Total Boycott of the offending people! Freedom Movement style! :-)

- I know you hate them as much. I've stated that in my earlier comment.

- One last thing to think about:

Yes Pakistan is in deep trouble. Political assassinations, corrupt leaders, areas under the strong influence of the Taliban.
Yes their cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad are racked by bomb blasts.
But don't people bravely carry on in those cities like they do in ours? Aren't their cricketers playing cricket happily, corrupt businessmen doing business happily as well?

Now consider India: Political assassinations, corrupt leaders (like the one in the ads), areas under strong influence of taliban like bodies (gujarat, orissa, karnataka?)
Bombay, Delhi, Jaipur carry on bravely despite bomb blasts. Our cricketers play cricket & corrupt businessmen conduct business.

What is the difference really? Are we really that different?

Just think for a moment. When we say America (or pakistan) has immense social issues, aren't those statements as generic as the one against India that you are protesting?

PS: Good latest post. And fantastic twitter link on the upper right hand side of your blog! :-) :-)
Keep writing.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Andhe ho kya...???

So Simon Beaufoy can see the development from one visit to another in Bombay. Can't find the darn link (please submit if you find it, Wiki style!), but it talks about the new flyovers & skyscrapers that keep coming up in Bombay everytime he visits!

A visitor to Pune can gawk at the spanking new, Excellent road from the airport Kalyani Nagar, or at the changed face of Baner (the 4 lane roads on each side, the bences on the ample sidewalk, the promenade) in just 12 months!!!
The Commonwealth Youth games have indeed given the city, specially the roads & the railway station a facelift!

But our media, businessmen & celebrities seem to have a very selective view of development.

They can't seem to give vilasrao deshmukh any credit for Bombay & Pune, nor can they talk about this man in their newspapers or interviews. Don't they read good newspapers or good blogs???
A few questions:
There were terror attacks on Jaipur & Ahmedabad as well as Bombay...
  • Why were vasundhara raje & her Home Minister not asked to resign?
  • Why were modi & his Home Minister not asked to resign?
  • Why did only vilarao deshmukh & patil have to resign?
  • Does it point to a difference in the attitude of the parties in question?


Have added a new blog to my list of preferred reads!

It's a pleasure to read him. If you want enlightenment, go visit his blogs.