Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Worli Sea Link

The megapolis has something to cheer about. The Bandra-Worli Sea link was inaugurated today. Having driven through S.V Road (either in personal transport or more on Mumbai's B.E.S.T) a zillion times in my life, I can imagine what a relief this bridge will bring to commuters.

S.V Road could not take it anymore. It needed a partner to share the burden and this sea link looks like a good friend in need.

Mumbai pays 60% of India's income tax, and unfortunately, it has little to show for all it's tax money.

What really gets me the goat though is to see these self-serving politicians all lined up to take a picture. Look at these lecherous souls all smiling ear-to-ear.. Look how they all show up when "it's done" finally. Now they can have their claim to fame. Like Shiela Dixit, who's still milking the Delhi Metro cow. And how!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Begger's Paradise

Ajmer, apparently has a 100 million rupee begging industry..
The rate varies depending on the handicap. Someone without hands or legs can hope to pocket Rs 2,000 a day. The rate drops sharply to Rs 950 who still has the use of one eye, a hand and a leg..

Says a subject matter expert - "Begging is not only about standing and asking for money, but one must know how to play on the emotions of the donor and one must know the place where he or she should stand and beg"

And this completes the whole wtfness of this..
The 'master' is not an outsider. He's been a beggar himself. But now he can operate behind the scenes and control his team through cellphone messages

Friday, June 26, 2009

The King is Dead

In the end, he couldn't "Beat it"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Theories of conformity

"The two leading theories of conformity are that people look to the group because they're unsure of what to do, and that people go along with the norm because they are afraid of being different,.."
Cannot agree more. In recent times I have seen cookie-cutter, almost template like views across board from people. Almost a blind following of a certain brand of view..
"One reason behind conformity is that, in terms of human evolution, going against the group is not beneficial to survival, [..]. There is a tremendous survival advantage to being in a community, he said."
yep. That hit's the bull's eye.

Link here

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Genie is out..

Some quick notes on Iran..

- For what it's worth, the post election situation has broken all stereo type about Iran society.

- It is striking to see, young men and (more importantly) women on streets openly defying a brutal regime

- Unless Iran does a Tienanmen Square, it's hard to see how they can put the genie back in the bottle

- Even if it was assumed that CNN and it's ilk are streaming only one side of the story (as it suits them), the fact that even some %age of population is out on streets still means a seismic shift in middle-east universe.

- This may not be a game changer , in the same sense as, say, a Berlin Wall or implosion of East Block, yet in many ways, it is a precursor of the trajectory the region is likely to take..

- If it's Iran now, it may be Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon next.

- Like India, 60% of Iran is "young". The message is clear. And it says loudly and clearly; "Talk Economics and Opportunity".

- Technology is name of the game. This could be the first Twitter Revolution of our times

- And finally, watching the "Neda" video was heart breaking. Hope she becomes the rallying cry of young Iran and her sacrifice augurs something fruitful..

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I looked up the word Socialite in wikipedia, after reading this piece of news about Sheetal Mafatlal's arrest. The word has an interesting description..
A socialite is a person who is known to be a part of fashionable high society because of his or her regular participation in social activities and fondness for spending a significant amount of time entertaining and being entertained. Some socialites may choose to use their social skills and connections to promote and raise funds for various charitable or philanthropic activities. Socialites are usually in possession of considerable wealth, whether gained by inheritance or otherwise,that can sustain their steady attendance at social functions.
"Of fashionable high society"..., "entertaining and being entertained"... Whoa! those are some heavy words to describe something superficial, no? In essence something frivolous. What considerable amount of effort was needed by that wikipedia editor to come up with such a random description for the term; and yet in the end, it din't hit close.

If I have to cut through all the crap and well spun ed out and sweetened definition of wikipedia, a Socialite is really a nothing. A zero. Someone who just happened to be part of a certain privileged lifestyle as a matter of accident and/or Life's random draw.

I think the first time I read that term was in an Indian glossy magazine called "Society" (what a surprise :)), and I think it was Parmeshwar Godrej, the trophy wife of Indian billionaire Adi Godrej , who was being referred to as a socialite. And ever since, that word got associated in my mind with a certain glamor quotient.
Well, the ways of high society...

[Posting this under : tit-bits and random]

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Take your pick : Some call him Akhmanadinajad and some call him Ahmadinajad. You guyz, pick one! (He won anyways)

B-Grade Actor : So this bollywood 'actor' called Shiney Ahuja has been accused of raping his maid. What is clearly a perverted piece of news, has now been converted into a public orgy of ridiculous proportion. Check the rediff.com message board. (Sample this : all that shines aint gold!!truth is ugly always preferably covered nice masks...)

T20 : And by the way, its now official. SA is cursed. Next time they should just show up on the day of semis and go back. That's as far as they can go anyway.

Not you 2 : There has been a demand in certain quarters that Delhi should be named Dilli. That would complete the full circle. Delhi is last citadel holding on.

Office Sport: TT, Yes. This would be my next new thing. Although I still feel I am a decent foosball player, I think I am getting better @ ping pong. If I can get past office champ Mohammad, I think I may break the glass ceiling.

Stallone : In a new bollywood flick, Sylvester Stallone and Dennis Richards have been cast. This is a loaded with symbolism. Remember a time when we had the the one-offs, sprinkled here and there. A Kabir Bedi , an Om Puri, an Amrish Puri.. playing something trivial in Hollywood. The wheel is turning....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lee Kuan Yew

I was re-reading one of the Time magazine's - "The Year in Review" and it had a post on Global Warming. There was a picture of floods in Assam; two young kids - around 10 years - paddling their boat , trying to survive nature's onslaught. The huts around them were all but submerged completely in the water.

It is possible that those two kids may not have survived or may have, depending on how soon the response came in from the Government. The picture was poignant, to put it mildly.

It's a given that this year again Assam will have floods. Scores and scores will perish and Indians will have no response to nature's fury. Assam will continue the way it has been.. and it will take decades or even centuries before it comes out of this vicious cycle. It can be said without much thought, that this generation will at least never see Assam as a prosperous state.

That brings me to Lee Kuan Yew. I have seldom if ever been impressed by an authoritarian regime or a person who runs such regime. But there are two iconic exceptions, I feel we should see in positive lights; although in some sense both were considered dictators and authoritarian in some people's lexicon.

One being Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and other being Lee Kuan Yew.

What is so remarkable about this old man of Singapore? Was it that he had a vision to convert a once swamped-with-mosquito-and-disease place into a First Asian Tiger Economy or was it his extremely tight fisted approach to fiscal discipline and hardline towards corruption? Was it his dictatorial ways of dealing with opposition keeping the big picture in mind or was it his drive to convert Singapore's disadvantage into advantage. (It may be noted that like huge population, small population is also a disadvantage)

We Indians have now conditioned our selves to hide all our failures behind our population. "Our systems don't work because we have such a huge population" is the regular cliche that has now become the de-facto explanation for all our failures. It's almost an alibi for our crime, if I may say so.

One person did not believe in such alibis. Lee Kuan Yew was that man. The grand old man of Singapore, a tiny city-country that has witnessed one of the most remarkable turn around in history. A once 'good for nothing place' that became a hot-bed of Asian trade or for that matter world economy. And what's remarkable is that this change happened in One Generation flat and on Lee Kuan Yew's watch.

Lee Kuan Yew was so focused in getting Singapore out of the rut, no hurdles big or small seemed like an excuse to him. For him it was a mission. Change the way the poor think. Change their mind set. Make strategic partnerships with West and East that suits his people the best. He couldn't care less. For him big picture was that city. He had to get that city out of the catch-22 of politics and socio-economic puzzle.

He based his ideas on three principle pillars - national security, law and order and economics. For anyone who is remotely interested in socio-economic science and financial history of the world, Singapore is a great case study. And Lee Kuan Yew, is a great hero who helped script a fascinating story.

While Lee Kuan Yew was spinning the prosperity wheel for three decades, our leaders were inventing new and better ways to rationalize poverty. Almost to a point of making a virtue of being poor. We became some kinds of expert in multiplying poverty year on year, bringing home same rulers who would enjoy the lever of powers from Delhi, who would then find excuses year after year, blaming everyone in the world but themselves. Blame game mechanism was the most convenient charade our leaders could play to justify a failed system that took us on a "high" growth rate of 2% per annum for four decades. (We still consider those PMs as heroes by the way)

And as for those kids in Assam... I can only say, "you guyz be patient, for another 100 years before we figure it out"!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

'Define Nuisance'

This clearly implodes with WTF-ness...

A nudist couple , blissfully ignorant of their free willy exposure to the outside world has lodged a complaint with the police that their landlord is discriminating against them!
"We want our freedom," said Robert Pierce, 58.
To be fair to this nonchalant couple who apparently carry no inhibitions what so ever, the Law *is* actually on their side. It is legal for them to roam around the way, they do..

My favorite part of the story though is this..
Betsy Martens, executive director of the Boulder Housing Partners, which administers Boulder's affordable housing program, told the Daily Camera newspaper that defining the word nuisance is difficult.
I would have to agree here. Difficult it is. You cannot define nuisance. One man's nuisance is other man's right in this case.

Boy! what a pickle.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Weekend Listee

French Open : So it was Roga all the way! What a mincemeat he made of poor Soderling in the no-match finals. I am guessing Roger's win would have been sweater if Nadal was the one he was taking for breakfast. Nevertheless he is the undisputed King of the lot. (I am still not givin in the notion that he is the 'greatest ever'. That would take a lot of convincing)

Obama : Lot of fuss was made over Obama's 'historic speech' to the "muslim world" this week in Cairo. Not sure what was so different about the speech. He pretty much spelt out the same old stuff, only in a more immaculate manner. But since it came from Obama, mainstream media as a rule has to go gaga.

'Left-wing extremism': This article in Times of India made an interesting read. I feel like we've seen this before .. "..which extort the money hardly pump it back for running the movement but instead use it to maintain luxurious lifestyles for their masters". Mmm... I am reminded of messrs Yaser Arafat,Castro and Co.

Bizarre : There's something freaky about this piece of news.

Rajeev Motwani : Became more famous after he died, than he ever was when alive. And also because of this tribute

On a lighter note : My wife's friend who visited us this weekend commented that I have put off a lot of weight. I instantly jumped on the scale only to see no change whatsoever. Nevetheless, I could not bring myself to tell her that I was more worried about my 'pait' than weight. (If only my PJs had the more edge)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009