Saturday, December 01, 2007

Moment of Introspection

Life has various phases. Each one of them filled with its own share of happiness, sorrow, love hatred and regrets. every single day can be a chapter, in a book called life, waiting to be told. But at times we all go through what we had already lived in the past- may be when we were a child or a even a week back or 2 or 3 years ago. You may call it dejavu. This is what i am going through exactly at this point of time.

The long drawn process of my mains exams have finally ended. I could sense the same freedom, relief and pressure upon me not to falter in my duties that I felt last year. and this time I have a vivid precedence to fall back on. Its rightly said experience is the best teacher. I guess I have learnt my lessons well.

I have resolved to myself not to commit the same mistakes, I did last year, until my results are out. And I am not direction less like I was then. So Lord, preach me patience, perseverance and tolerance.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Running to win...

There’s been one question that haunted me for a while since last few weeks. What has kept me away from my blog? I wouldn’t really say I was bereft of ideas. I always get one when I sit down to update my blog. This procrastination was in anticipation of one of the few good things I was expecting to happen. So I did not want to reel in a story of what it is and what it means to me. It is a contingency solely counting upon my performance , to assess which I did not have even a bit of courage. Well, for those who are losing patience, I am talking about my preliminary exams .UPSC has put me back on the race again. A race which I not only have to run but win it too, unlike last time.The race is fierce I know. So here I take off…
(I apologize to the regulars on my blog. I couldn’t find a better analogy to the civil service exams. Its always a race to me)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Vroom Vroom..Pom Pom...

Chennai, the good old Madras, is brimming with the same energy as I had seen two years back. And people on the roads of chennai are still the same flouting rules if no cops around. In fact they have even become worse. Tout the economy for almost touching a two digit growth and easy-available vehicle loans. Roads are blooming with vehicles and it is utter chaos all through the day, not just during the peak hours. Motorcyclists jostling for every little space they see to glide through before the traffic signal turn red. Corporate honchos at the steering honking restlessly to crawl in. And poor pedestrians woefully sidelined in this celebration or you might see one or two running as if their house is on fire.

No doubt chennai's traffic has reached its peak and its evident for all. I was happy, when i found a house for me to stay in with my mother, at a locality i had once lived. Its road, dubbed as Chief Minister's Road, for it housed the Party chief of both DMK and AIADMK, was know to have a smooth traffic except when CM's convoy sped through at 90 kmph. This stretch of road, hardly 2-3 kms, i need to take to reach my CA institute, takes 15 minutes which once used to take just ten minutes. And its a nightmare with seven traffic signals to pass through. Almost all of them turning red before I were to cross the stopline.( The only time most of the two wheelers ,including myself, wait with patience is when the policeman stops everyone for all the girls of Stella Maris College to cross over the road. But colleges have some fixed timings, you see.)

May be these are signs that confirm the UNPF (United Nations Population Fund) report which says that world's populations is steadily moving to cities and town. Did someone say I just did that? It also says that the demographic transition is set to cross milestone in 2008, where very second person on the planet will live in urban area. Looks like the craze to live in cities is not going to relent. And that means more number of vehicles. Its high time that Tamilnadu government starts thinking and improve its public transport system. What the metro needs is not just more number of buses but sophisticated Metro trains, only which can bring a sigh of relief to the road users of Chennai. And not to forget the immense good it will do against what everyone is talking as global warming.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Salman versus Islam??

Not long ago was the theme “Clash of Civilizations”, put forward by Samuel Huntington, booed by people across the world through a widespread survey. But the recent honour of Salman Rushdie, by British queen, with knighthood and the tumult of protests that followed in some Muslim countries has cast a need for re-look at the theme again. Is it really a clash of civilizations? Many perceived it so. Iran and Pakistan denounced it as an insult to the 1.5 Billion Muslim population across the world. Leave alone the street protests. Even the Pakistan parliament and provincial assembly saw it as part of campaign by Europe and west to hurt the feeling of Muslims.

It is his book “The Satanic Verses” published way back in 1988 and the Fatwa against him that still keeps him as an apostate. And the honour of Mr.Rushdie by British government is just another Islamaphobic act. May be the protests and furore over this issue is another sign of Islamic fundamentalism. But the men who had taken to the streets must realize that Salman Rushdie was not honored for his “Satanic verses” but for his illustrious contribution to the literary world with a work of nine fictions and four non-fictions. And the writing on the wall is clear to the creative workers too. Book authors and publishers should be part of the solutions than be part of the problem itself.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Feeling at home....

I think this would be the first post that I write after a gap, as long as three weeks, ever since I started to blog with a resolution to update once in a week. But I do have an explanation. And there are many questions that need to be answered. Well, I wouldn’t say many questions. Its just one question that dangles here on my blog demanding a conclusive sequel to the story that I had passionately built here. What happened to my results? Did I come out successful at the end of my final lap?

I would be accused of being weak-at-heart if I keep it out of this place. So here I am finally breaking the news. The period of mourning is over. I had just walked through the trails of failure to the castle of success which is still out of sight. Why am I being so subtle? Alright, let me make it clear. The simple fact is that I could not make it to the final list. Marks weren’t big enough.

On the day of my result, mulling over my failure, the first thing that my mind sprang up to decide was to shift back to Chennai. But the spark came from my heart. I just thought I should go closer to the place I belong to and my parents who nurtured my dream of becoming a civil servant. I needed to feel stronger. And this decision I have come to still continues to haunt me. Delhi like we say America is land of opportunities is like a place where an IAS aspirant meets with opportunities to shed his weaknesses and harness his strength. Of course, the credit goes to its coaching institutes. I would be denied this. But I have kept the option to go back to Delhi open, at least not until I feel stronger to face what is more to come. But I think I would be able to overcome this with a good progress in my work. Go gugan, go!!

Now with the diastrous results I have come back to the place where I had started (yeah, had to take the prelims again). Literally too.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A soldier sobs

My love, here I am on the battlefield
Fighting the war- To uphold our nation’s
Freedom, Sovereignty, rights and pride.
Holding in my heart the pain
Of your unfathomable words you reeled out
On the night before I was to leave.

You said: I would die one day young and brave
To the swords of my foes, leaving you
And our unborn children downcast
On the coast of dejection and depression.
Remorseful you were
For having made a bad choice.

I know, all young men in our village, lined up
To catch a glimpse of your ravishing beauty
Your long braided hair that swayed graciously
Eyes that could intoxicate even the strong-at–will
Dimples that could bring back life of a deadman.
Ruthlessly stunning, you were.

The deep love I have for you is not unknown too.

Ask the river on whose banks we laid
Hand in hand for hours, Hear those trees
Speak of the veracity of our love. And talk to
The holy idol in our temple- you’ll realize that
The bond of our love is fortified with truthfulness and trust
Unshaken it will remain.

Hold on till I return unruffled.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Looking back....

Anniversaries are part of our life. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, business anniversaries and many other. Now here on my blog I’m going to celebrate the first anniversary of my entry in to this blogosphere. It’s a world filled with ideas and thoughts coming from people with different interest in variety of fields. I guess each one of us here would have a different perception in owning a blog. I am not really very sure what impelled me to start this blog of mine. But there are few things that I have gained and lost from this space.

Things I gained :

1. I became more conscious of the world outside and the things that happened around me. Not that I was desperate to post them here. But it gave a sense of fulfillment in life.
2. It kindled my thoughts and ideas provoking me to explore whatever creativity (please allow me to use this word) I have and got me playful with words. I even tried my hands on poem. (Wordsworth, to take note)
3. It give me a new identity ,not very much different from what I am already in real. But the fact is that I live here.
4. It got me new friends and I got myself exposed to new world of ideas and people with incredible prowess, which taught me humility without affecting the little pride I take from my contributions here.
5. It gave me a sense of belongingness in this blogosphere. Yes, I am part of this blogging revolution.
6. It got me more curious to the new technological developments. (But it’s the question of money, anyway)
7. I adopted a new hobby that was worth filling my civil service exams forms with. And it even formed part of my interview session and it helped my tread on path that I was at ease with.

Things I lost:

1. Doled out time and some money on surfing hoping to see some comments and new visitors to my blog. I have no regrets.
2. Accused of “self-advertisement”. But my argument is: aren’t blogs a form of online diary.
3. I guess there is not much I lost. So I’ll stop with this.

Anyways, thanks a lot for your gracious presence on the day of my blog-anniversary. Please do stay back for dinner :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A day with UPSC....

In my post last I had discussed about the 13th of April, the day that was fixed for my interview. First, I was thinking if I should sit here in front of the computer and type the entire details about it. Then for the sake of record I decided to do that. Here’s the transcript. (please leave your comments)

I was put under Dr. Bhure Lal’s panel. And I was the third person to go in the group of 5 candidates. I was waiting for my turn outside when the second candidate was being interviewed. He was out and said the panel members were very cordial. He wished me best of luck and left. I asked the attendant for some water before I was to go in. As luck would have it, there was no water there and he had to go to fill the bottle. Meanwhile the door was opened for me by another attendant there. I did not wait for the water and delay the process that was to begin. So I entered the room with mouth almost run dry.
There was a lady member among the 5 panel members,including the chairman.
First I wished the lady member and then others.
I was asked to take the seat by the chairman.

Chairman (CM): hello! Guganesan. How are you??
Me: I am very fine, sir.
CM: (he looks at the form again) G ganesan (and just moved his body forward)
(I sensed here that he was in a good mood)
Me: ( I just smile at him) yes sir, Guganesan.
CM: So, you are a chartered Accountant.
Me: yes sir!!
CM :why do you want to come to civil service after CA?
Me: sir, I had decided to join civil service even before doing CA. In fact after clearing my CA I came for civil services preparation immediately.
CM: What is money laundering?
I explain that to him
CM: What is the link between terrorism and money laundering?
I tell him about how terrorism is funded ,about drug deal and all that.
CM : what are the three stages involved in money laundering???
I started explaining. There he stopped me and asked “ do u know the stages or not”
Me: No sir. This is all I know
Then he explained me the stages with its specific names (this was moreover close to what I said, except for the jargons he used)
CM: What are the duties of CA under prevention of money laundering Act?
Me: sir, I’m not aware of any provisions under the Act.
CM: oh, I though they’ll teach u all that in CA.
CM: how much is our Forex reserve?
Me: sir, its 199 billion dollars.
CM: ok, that’s fairly 200 billion dollars. Do you think we are secured?
Me: yes sir. It is said we have so much of reserve that it can fund 13 months of our imports.
CM : I don’t feel secured.
Me: (after giving serious thought) May I ask you why,sir.
(Both the chairman and the lady member bursted in to laughter )
CM: Yes. You have every right to ask me.
( He explained me the reason to which I almost agreed)
CM: How do you manipulate stock market?
I explained him about insider trading, one of the manipulative practices.
CM: why there’s so much of volatility in the stock market now?
I gave two reasons and explained them.1. hike in interest rate. 2. Appreciation of Japanese yen.
Then the chairman showed sign for the lady member to ask questions.

Member 2 (M2): Guganesan, explain over invoicing and under invoicing in foreign trade.
I explained her about that transfer pricing practices which related companies follow.
M2: ok. That relates to transfer pricing . Tell me in general. Suppose I’m an exporter in Tiruppur and you’re my client. I’m billing you at a price less that what it actually is.
I explained how it affects India and said the balance proceeds can be siphoned off to someother countries ( I guess she was looking for that word ‘siphon off’. After I said that she seemed more convinced)
M2: do you think India should accept foreign aid? I want your opinion on that.
Me: Yes Ma’am. I feel India should accept foreign aid. Although India is a developing country and sitting on huge forex reserve it needs so much of fund to finance our infrastructure needs.
M2: Ok. What is the legislation that regulates foreign aid.
Me: (think for a while) Ma’am ,its foreign contribution regulations Act.
M2: that’s. right. But do you think we need such kind of legislation. You know, NGO’s accept lots of foreign aid . do you think it needs to be regulated?
Me:Ma’am I’m not aware of the detailed provisions under the Act. But I know that NGO’s are under an obligation to file some kind of return with RBI after the receipt of the aid. I feel we should have these kind of regulations. B’coz some accountability is ensured on that part of NGO’s . It ensures that money is spent for the said purpose.
M2: But that’s between NGO and the foreign agency why should govt get involved.
Me: yes ma’am. Its true that its only between NGO and foreign agency .but NGO’s involve in social sector projects. So I think that it concern the government. So there is need for regulation.
M2: Ok.what are the preferences u’ve given?
Me: Ma’am I’ve given IAS as my first preference and IFS -2nd, 3rd-IPS and 4Th IRS.
M2: (she just smiled and nodded her head )ok, thank you. (she showed her hand to the third member) I just thanked her and looked in to the eyes of the third member.

M3: who are mafia?
I just gave an vague explanation.
M3: can we call phoolan Devi mafia?
Me: No sir. Mafia operate as network. They are widespread. Whereas Phoolan Devi just had a set of people.
M3: tell me who are the constituents of this Mafia.
Me; (I think for a while. Couldn’t really make out where the discussion is heading) sir, mafia would have set of musclemen.
M3: ok. They’re field staff. But what it takes to organize a crime?
Me: they need a proper plan before anytning is to be committed. And they collude with people on the other side.
M3: who are this people on the other side?
Me: sir, it’s the officials of the government.
M3: do you know chartered accountants play a major part in legalizing their money?
(here I realized why he started this discussion. So much of grudges against CAs, I thought)
Me: sir, there would be very few chartered accountants who are involved in such activities.
M3:Very few? (he looks at the papers in front of him) u’ve given reading as your hobby. What kind of books you read?
I answer that .(both fiction and non fiction)
M3: Have you read this book called “ Sacred game” by Vikram Chandra.?
Me: No sir, I haven’t read that.
M3: Read that book. It talks about how chartered accountants involve in legalizing the mafia’s money. They’re even called counselors.
Me: ok sir I’ll read that.
M3: what is the legislation that exclusively covers organized crime?
Me: no sir, I’m not aware of any specific legislation.
M3: ok. Blogging is your other hobby. On what kind of issues you write.
Me: sir, I have not restricted myself to any field. I write on anything that is interesting . It could be something interesting that happened in my life.
Me: once I wrote about the rag picker boy in my street. (I explained what I wrote in that post. The lady member seemed to be interested too although I dint make any eye contact with her)
M3: So you are interested in human behaviour?
Me: yes sir, u can say that.
M3:ok, now looking at the psyche of Indian people. Why there’s so much of adulteration in our country. Its not found much in other countries. Why only this subcontinent?u know, law allows some qty of stone in rice. There’s adulteration in drugs. Why is it so.
Me: sir, its because of the erosion of values among people in our country. India is a country where so many movies made every year. I think people pick such things from these movies.
M3: but adulteration has been there even before the movies came.
Me: yes sir. That’s true. But after movies these things increased in numbers.
M3: but where do we learn all this. Does historical books and religious books teach us?
Me: no sir. Our religious books and historical book don’t teach us these practices. I think its people’s desire to make easy money. They come out with new ideas and get involved in such things. I think its all about money, sir,
M3: suppose there’s a shop keeper who mixes stones in rice. One day his son falls sick. He buys medicine which is adulterated and his son dies. Do you think he’ll change.
Me: sir, it depends on the person. If he’s really learnt a lesson from this incident I think he’d change.
M3: I don’t think he’ll change.
(he thanked me and put me onto the 4th member)

M4: so you are from kancheepuram. What’s the name of the famous temple in your town.
Me: sir, its kamakshi amman temple.
M4: what is the name of the legendary who laid the statue there?
Me: I’m sorry sir. I’m not sure of the name.
M4: its adi shankara. How far is that temple from your house.
Me: sir, its 2-3 kms from my house.
M4: oh, so close and still u haven’t bothered to find out that. What is the relationship between culture and reading?
Me: sir , If one person had been unaware of his culture, he can know them by reading any books. That way one can come to know about one’s culture and get them imbibed in his life.
M4: what is culture?
Me: sir, culture is one’s way of life. One’s way of dressing, food habits. It covers these many things.
M4: why do we have so many myths in our life?
I explain him something.
M4:no,,no. u have not really understood what is myth. U know we celebrate diwali.someone killed someone.
Me: (having got the flash in mind)yes sir. We have these kind of festival in life. Although they are based on myths they bring our families together. We celebrate and stay happy. It even disciplines our lives.
M4: “churning milk out of sea” what do you interpret on this.
Me: (almost puzzled) its like getting the best out of something which is in abundance.
M4: how education has churned u?
ME: (having no clue how to address) sir, eduction has helped to meet people from different background. I have learnt to interact with them. And also I;ve been able to understand the values in their life and tried to take it if they are good.
M4: why filmstars are raised to the level of god in tamilnadu?
(M3 interrupts and says even temples have been built)
I explain something .
M4: that’s there’s everywhere. There’s one particular reason. What is it?
Me:no sir. I can’t think of any particular reason.
M4: ok, think on ur way back u;ll get it.
(he thanked me and passed onto the 5th person)

M5:I’ll just ask you few questions. (I was happy to hear tht)
How do you classify land?
Me: sir, agricultural land and non-agricultural land.
M5:ok. That’s one way of saying. U know , u can classify it as mainland and hinterland. (I uttered the word ‘hinterland “along with him, as he was very slowly talking)
And we have islands. Tell me the name of an island in Arabian sea.
Me: sir. Its lakshadweep.
M5: what is the total surface area?
Me:no sir, I’m not aware of that.
M5:ok, I thought since u were staying close to that place u might know that. Ok. Why British came to India, first?
Me: Sir, they came for trade.
M5: but there’s one incident that prompted them to rule India. What is it?
(Here this member was very vague in framing this question. Then the M3 explained it in a better way for me.)
Me(after serioulsly thinking) no sir, I have never come across any such incident.
M5: now I’ll give u a topic. I want you to deliberate on this and speak for and against. “All people who come for civil service preparation should not do that”
(I know it sounds confusing)
I spoke about why people want to come to civil service. Reasons like public service, improving the functions of govt. For against the topic I said there;’s so much o f corruption and abuse of power.Said “ civil service is even considered first resort of scoundrel “
(only after coming home I realized that what I spoke under :For” was actually “against” and vice versa. )
M5: do you really think people come for service?
Me: yes sir. There are many people who come for preparation with the public services in mind. In fact, I’m one such person myself.
(then M5 looked at the chairman. )
CM: guganesan, you interview is over . you can leave.

I thanked everyone and left the room. Wow. What a relief when I came out. Now I have to wait for the results. That could be anytime during the second week of May.

Here is another transcript of interview I had on 31st March,2010:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

13th Friday: Black or red

Now I have only few more days to pass before I go knocking at the doors of the interview panel at UPSC. It is on the 13th of this month. It falls on Friday. I have heard stories of 13th being an unlucky number. And even know that this number is most despised in western countries. There you’d see tall buildings which does not have 13th floor but 14th ,15th and so on. You won’t find a street that is numbered 13th. Those who do not believe in those superstitious stories would be dumping it as non-sense and say its just another number.

But to me its not so. No, I’m not afraid that my performance at the interview would be upset just because it falls on the 13th. In fact, the experience of preparing for this interview is quite bizarre. In all those written exams I have faced in life I had been under some stress. I have almost felt suffocated. But this is different. I feel the knowledge I have acquired over this few years is adequate enough to prove what I have in those 30 minutes of test. Yet, there is sense of incompleteness but without any pressure to finish them off. Strange it is ,indeed. Everyone here are telling me that it just takes a bit of attitude. Right one, of course.

Whatever it is. The 13th of April is a big day for me. Is it going to be a Black Friday or a red letter day in my life? The future holds the answer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Final lap...

Finally the wait is over. No!!No!! Its not the ICC cricket world cup. That hardly interests me. This is about civil service(mains) exam results which just got declared this morning. Whatever little hope I had were shattered by the long wait that the results had put me through. Plus the speculation on the possible dates made me more restive.

Now let me get to that point. The results are out. And I am in for the interview. There’s whole one month for the preparation. Hope everything goes well till the final race…

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The drug debacle

It took ten years of time for India to prepare itself for the current mayhem that has surfaced in the pharmaceutical industry. They call it the IPR regime. This regime promises protection to patent holders, copyright holders and curbs piracy. But all of them comes at a cost. There is fear across the world among many NGOs and poor people themselves. It’s the fear of being deprived of the fruits of technological advancement, as they have to pay exorbitant prices which would include royalty to the patent holders. The case in point is the Novartis AG’s claim to have the patent for its drug “Gleevac”, registered in India and its determination to fight it in the court at the stake of its own reputation. Can you imagine a life saving drugs company infuriating the masses and bringing them onto the road?

Novartis AG’s act of obstinacy stems from the flexibility that TRIPS agreement provides to its members. And this what actually has cast the world’s eyes on India. As the TRIPS agreement did not provide for a firm definition of what is patentable, India restricted its right only to drugs invented after 1995, the year in which WTO regime was kick started, and new and “ more efficacious” version of older drugs. Backing on its legislation it rejected the patent application of Novartis AG which had filed a law suit against India contending that its patent laws violate WTO rules.

What adds more fun to this whole lot of issue is the controversy that R.A. Mashelkar committee is embroiled in. the committee report evoked allegations of “technical inaccuracies and plagiarism”. To throw more light, it was accused of plagiarizing a report, verbatim, made by another institute, Interpat, which is sponsored by a group of MNCs. And Novartis is one of the sponsors. The very agenda of the committee is to examine whether limiting the granting of the patent to “new chemical entity” is in compatibility with the TRIPS obligations. And it is very much the bone of contention between Novartis AG’ and government of India. The committee chairman said he is unaware of this fact. In this case Novartis had just tried to be the judge of its own case.

But all this cannot shake Daniel Vasella, Chief Exective of Novartis. He is poised to continue his action against India. “We don’t want popularity awards. We want to serve our patients and remain competitive” he said at his company’s AGM. There he has made it clear who the company wants to serve and who it does not want to. Bold move, my boy!!!

The drams ,of this sort, of globalization are still to continue….

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Colours of Life

Winter of Delhi has come to an end. Its time to roll back your blankets and give your fleece, jackets , pullovers to your local dry cleaners and pack them back in the corners of your wardrobe. Now, the people of Delhi would be getting ready to welcome spring and to celebrate Holi with colours, symbolizing the victory of good over evil

This festival of Holi had some relationship with what is going to occur in my life in few weeks. Of course, there is room for skepticism. The question is: Would there be colours- of joy, excitement and satisfaction? Would the flowers of the plant, I sowed with the seeds of my hard work, bloom to life? Would it be, as my dad says, golden throne (I always don’t agree with his metaphor) or the same tattered chair that I sit on with my books?

Yes, those who had regularly followed my posts here(I guess there should be one or two) would know that the results to the civil service (Mains) Exam that I gave in Nov ’06, is just around the corner. Anytime between 9th and 12th of march. I know, I cannot boast of an outstanding performance in each one of the 7 papers (leaving out the language papers). But I earnestly believe and hope it was decent enough to skirt myself through to the next stage of the selection process- interview.

While my days lingered on, waiting for the results, I had indulged myself in profligate spending of time. And money too. I spent the entire month of December at home, as my books gathered dust here. Thanks mom, I weigh 5 kgs extra now. (2 months of tasteless food,back here in delhi, hasn’t really helped my to lose them.). Luckily, the course I had joined with British Council brought me back to Delhi. But my miseries did not end there. Dhoom 2, Guru, Parzania, Trafic signal, rocky Balbao. There goes 5*130 down the drain. And don’t ask me about the off season sale here. I almost a burnt a hole in my pocket, though I din’t shop much. It was only my friend Sudheer, whom I had accompanied, who was on the inexorable shopping spree.

But there was one thing that gave me solace. I was sincere in reading my daily newspaper, The Hindu, which is like oxygen to IAS-aspirants. And it did not help much as I had scored meagerly low in the mock test I had taken, putting to end whatever fulfillment I had in life. ( To be on the safer side or to be prepared for the worst, I need to spruce up for the next round of preliminary exams) My institute director, whom I consider as my mentor, reprimanded me. It was clear to me that he was disillusioned with my performance and my lethargic approach. I felt ashamed and hated myself. But there he was again convincing me that all is not lost, there is still hope and wished me good luck for the results. I walked out of his suite with a clear agenda in mind, at least, until my results.

To many, I know, this would sound like a confession of a man stung by guilt. You are righteously entitled to consider so. And now I have something to look forward to in life like every man who has walked out of the confession box. While people of Delhi prepare themselves with colours for Holi I would be waiting for the new colours to paint my life with joy and jubilation. Happy Holi, to all those.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I see that I am caught in the clouds of darkness
Like a ship on the high seas of storm;
But not I have a choice of SOS
Still take a flight I must
Though directionless...

I see that I am stranded in the circles of haze
Like a tourist uphill on a foggy winter;
But not I have a comfort of tavern
Still glide through I must
Though directionless..

I see that I am sweltered in the complex of heat
Like a traveller on the sands of desert;
But not I have a coziness of oasis
Still stroll steady I must
Though directionless..

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Life goes on...

This picture is timed during Israel-Lebanon conflict during Aug, 2005. And that’s the picture that got the “ World press of the year 2006” award. When I saw that news few days back in TIMES OF INDIA I felt a strong impulsion to post it on my blog. No, its not for the females who are sitting pretty on some good old sports car.
I know you must be wondering on what grounds this photo was considered for the award. It needs no photographical skill to click this except for a camera with a basic knowledge which any beginner should have.
But you know why it was chosen for the award. World Press Photo jury chair Michele McNally describes the winning image: "It's a picture you can keep looking at. It has the complexity and contradiction of real life, amidst chaos. This photograph makes you look beyond the obvious." Yes, it’s the real life. When people die in your neighborhood your life doesnot end.Nor need to. Innit?? It just goes on. Work. Worship. Party. Sex. Sports.

For more pictures of world press photo:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

All in the game of Politics

Democracy thrives on the strength of the opposition party, they say. No doubt, the largest opposition party of the present time, has its own bizarre way of displaying its strength to pit against the weakness or anything else, that they fancy, of its arch rival, congress. Take this case. When the country went for the general election in May 2004, BJP’s star studded campaign, along with its India Shining theme, was: would you like to be ruled by a Non-Indian? It was a personal attack against the Italy-born Indian bahu, Sonia Gandhi. But in the end, BJP was dethroned, as its previous regime disillusioned the people for whom life never shines, although “ No rule by a Non-Indian “ won support among the Indian middle class.

But the whole country, including the Hindutva party, gasped in astonishment when Sonia Gandhi renounced the post of Prime minister, nation’s highest office and, placed Dr. Manmohan Singh on the throne. She subtly proved that she has seen the power too close to her for too long. But BJP, for the sake of opposition, started to show tantrum by describing Sonia Gandhi as the “Super Prime Minister” and called Dr.Singh puppet in her hands. Also claimed that it is Sonia who calls the shots and makes the important decisions. Don’t they know that Manmohan Singh is world-renowned economist and spearheaded the country into the era of globalized world?

It’s a three yearlong story. But, now when the country is grappling with up surging inflation due to rise in price of essential commodities, amongst the already-a –culprit oil price, SEZ policy that astutely nurturing the skepticism about the food security and the threat of foreign investment in retail sector, BJP has given a new twist in the story, like we saw in Fardeen khan’s Don.

I was intrigued when my eyes caught the headlines “ UPA DOES NOT LISTEN TO SONIA: BJP” in today’s (7th Feb,2007)The Hindu (Pg.12). Of course, we agree that there is room for opposition in democracy. But it has got to be constructive opposition based on ideologies and public welfare. BJP realized, but not very early, that Dr. Singh makes policies on his own terms. But BJP reserved some degree of sarcasm here when it said that letter written by Sonia Gandhi advising PM on FDI policies, inflation and SEZ policy had not yielded results. They explain further: Sonia asked PM to curtail inflation but was not done. She spoke about SEZ but government did not protect farmer from being thrown out of their land. And conclusively, they have said UPA does not listen to Sonia.

Why is that BJP’s opposition strategy always, if not, most of the times revolve around Sonia? Are they showing the country here that congress chief is interested in public welfare whereas the people at the helm of affairs are not? Or is it a cheap strategy to create an internal rift between Sonia and Singh in the party politics?

Its high time BJP involves in constructive opposition keeping in mind the greater interest of the nation.

And please do not brand me as a supporter of congress nor am I an admirer of Sonia Gandhi. I am only pointing out the way today’s opposition party has stooped down. And of course, congress is replete with dramas of this kind in this big game of politics.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A film with a purpose....

Type “communal riots” in the Google search engine. The screen would flash with the links to the site that unfolds the story of Gujarat communal violence occurred in 2002. After all, the intensity of the violence is appallingly gruesome. But the Indian film industry, whether bollywood, tollywood or kollywood, which is almost running out of ideas and dusting the old movies off the shelf has brushed aside this incident that took lives of thousands of innocent Muslims.

But now, film director Rahul dholakia has shown the audacity to make a movie on this ruthlessly executed pogrom. Do not call this business opportunism. This is not an attempt to make money out of a tragedy. This is a film with a purpose.

This movie, titled “Parzania”, is a depiction of sufferings of a parsi couple who lost their son during the cowardice act. Its based on a true story of a parsi family who live in Gulbarga housing society, in Ahmedabad, which was assaulted mercilessly for the reason it was predominantly occupied by Muslims and it was a revenge to the burning of 58 Hindu passengers in a train by Muslim "terrorists" . The film shows the dastardly killings of innocent lives- young and old, men and women- without any discrimination. But Muslims, of course.

The film has Naseerudin shah, playing the role of head of the parsi family, Sarika, elegant looking mother and a little girl and a boy who light up the screen with their innocence. The film starts with the depiction of good time that the family has.-Husband and wife romancing in the kitchen, the family at the dining table and the father pampering his children. “ Parzania “, as the boy describes to his sister, is a place with mountains made of chocolate and ice-cream and rivers of kheer. It’s a imaginary world to which he is delighted to take his sister. The film, as it slowly builds up, also shows the lives of other Muslims and handful of Hindus in the locality. The director had brilliantly created scenes, prior to the assault, which very well bonds with the rest of the movie.

Director also points out the nexus between the Hindu fanatics (viz, VHP & Bajrang Dal), politicians and the police administration. This he shows through a character he’s planted – an American who is there in Gujarat working on a thesis about Gandhi. Rahul Dholakia shows the injustice caused to the India’s largest minority community through his eyes from the position of neutrality. In fact, he has made good use of all characters portrayed in the film.

Speaking of the performances of the protagonists, Naseerudin shah deserves a standing ovation in the hall. Every bit of his action conveys a pertinent message. Even a person who has never heard of his acting prowess and has no idea about what acting is would discern words through his mere action. It’s a marvelous acting from this veteran star. And sarika too has flawlessly played her role in spite of the long break in her career. And the kids are a real feast to the eyes.

This is a movie that evokes lots of emotions. In fact I watched this movie with a heavy heart and eyes filled with tears. And the lady who was sitting to my right was holding her seat handle tight when sarika speaks of her sufferings to NHRC( National Human rights commission) members at its hearing. The dialogue,” the doors my children would walk in without knocking, were even closed”, Caught my attention and sank my heart.

”Parzania” is worth watching as it comes as a reminder of loathsome genocide that India has ever seen, while the parsi family, in Ahmedabad, hopefully wait for their son to return. The movie carries the picture of their son Azhar at the end. And truly, this is a movie with a purpose.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Venting out feelings...

What you are seeing is the image of the place where the future administrators (they call themselves IAS aspirants) of the country bask under the sun with teacups in hands. I guess you could see the teacups strewn all over the place. I learnt district collectors have the responsibility to ensure the cleanliness of their districts. Pity those districts of our country. Welcome to a nameless tea shop (they serve Samosas and bread omelets as well) in Rajinder nagar. And thanks to some unknown Moneybags who had constructed that building u see in the picture with granite laid steps. Those two shops with shutters down has always remained closed ever since I came to Delhi. Of course, once one of the shops housed a ice cream parlor last year. The only visitor it had, as far as I’ve known, was my friend Amit. I would say the time of the year the shop opened was a misfit. It was during the winter. And you know Delhi’s winter, eh? Its heartless.
Well, without drifting away let me get to the point. That place ever since then were occupied by the “Tea-Drinkers”. It’s hard for civil service aspirants to survive without tea. Pity those who don’t drink tea because to go for tea outside, while your seat cools down, is a de-stressor. Going by science, it may sound oxymoronic. But believe me it’s a real de-stressor. Oops!! Why am I dwelling on tea as if my father owns a tea estate?
Actually I am here to vent my feelings out. To bemoan the fact that people who sat in that place for tea had not a bit of urge to throw their teacups in the trash bin, which was kept just 10 meters away. And not to mention that remnants of “Manikchand” Gutka that added more color to already red granite. What pains me more is that they are all, at least most of the people who came to the shop, IAS aspirants. I don’t know, maybe they would learn their basic duties and gain responsibilities overnight once they become IAS officers.
But who do we blame for all this negligence. Blame Mr. Moneybags who never pulled up people for this act? Or “Tea-Drinkers” who littered graciously, as if giving alms to beggars? Or, the minions of the shop for not cleaning it? Or those MCD sweepers who thought it wasn’t within their jurisdiction?
Blame it on the magnificent freedom this country has given us. Would we do this when our country had law to sever hands of those who littered? Or for that matter a nominal amount of fine for the breach? It is the lack o fear and the absence of palpable consequence that has ruined us. Our country needs not just education, but value education. They need to imbibe value in to the lives of our country men.

(This post was not intended to mortify IAS aspirants nor to harbor grudges against this society. But I cry within. )