Friday, December 19, 2008

Lesson for Democracy….

Who said the scourge of corruption is rampant only in public sector and mostly amongst politicians? Here’s is a case in the corporate world that shocked thousands of investors in the capital market. Satyam Computer Services Ltd , fourth largest software services company promoted by B.Ramalinga Raju, is said to have breached the trust of its investors by making a decision to invest whooping amount of Rs.6000 crores in a company in which the promoter and his family members jointly own a major stake. This is much like taking a huge sum kept under public trust and enriching the pockets of the promoters and his kith and kin. The Board of Directors of the company approved the investment decision without considering other available options. One wonders if this had been done with best of intentions. No matter how sound the decision is this was a big blow to the investor’s confidence.

Here I would like to draw to attention to the reaction that it kicked amidst investors and the analysts. Just after the controversial decision was approved by the Board and made public the investors of American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) floated by the company in USA smelt the smoke in the air,. The prices of ADRs dropped owing to this very reason. Back home in India investor did not react very sharply though. But analysts and experts were outraged and up in arms against the logic of the decision. A report by Mumbai’s Dolat Capital Market Pvt Ltd called this “Satyam’s Daylight robbery”. Following this the same mood was caught on like fire by investors. As a result the Management of the company had to revert its decision. This proves that shareholder activism is alive and kicking and nothing can go wrong in a vigilant society.

This further reinforced the need for transparency in the corporate affairs and strict measures of corporate governance. Here there is a lesson that needs to be learnt and it has to be deeply pondered over.

Have we ever seen such a quick reaction to any allegations of any scams and kickback cases involving government and politicians that has very much been in our daily newspapers? Or is the functioning of the government not transparent enough? Transparency, accountability and good governance is the philosophies of every country that believes in democracy and its deep rooted values. But these are hard to come by. Not unless people of our country raise their voice in unison against wrongdoings by the government of the day. And not unless government makes its day to day affairs transparent. And not unless people realize that the money spent by government is their money too and theirs only. What we need is Citizens Activism. Their rights as citizens do not terminate in the polling booths. In fact it is only a beginning. Only this beginning would be the true beginning of the rule of the people.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Stop Bleeding Us...

Everyone called the macabre of 26th November as India’s 9/11. May be. But subsequent to 9/11 USA proved to its people that it can protect its citizens at any cost. Indeed people of Afghanistan and Iraq had to pay the heavy price. But likewise can India play USA to Pakistan? There are indications that finally the UPA government is shaken our of its slumbers. Home Minister Shivraj patil whom media and people blamed for his inefficient functioning following bomb blast at various place finally put in his papers holding himself morally responsible for the attack on Mumbai. External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, following the terror attack, announced that all options including military option against Pakistan are open proves that government is committed to put an end to this scourge of terrorism. Everyone is acting and talking, at last.

Mumbaikars who always showed their resilience after any disaster-both natural and manmade have come out of their homes and protested against the politicians for their divisive tactics and to unshackle them out of their complacency. Columnist Ramesh Ramanathan in Mint calls it a political awakening. Never have the citizens of our country whipped the politicians like this in public. And this is good for democracy as it reinforces the principle of accountability. But contrary to this one of the BJP leaders criticized the coming together of people as attack on democracy inflicted by ladies who wear lipstick and powder. What a death blow to gender equality and women empowerment. But I must say Politicians have show their true colors at a time like this.

Here is another instance coming from none other than Chief Minister of a State who is expected to inspire and act as role model to his council of Ministers. He remarked that if it was not Sandeep’s ( an officer in NSG who sacrificed his life while fighting terrorist) house not a dog would have visited. He was obviously infuriated by slain officer’s Father’s unwillingness to let him express his condolence by visiting the house. But such a remark is not expected of a public figure. He should not have taken it personally. Nonetheless no lid can be put upon the boiling emotions of general public. This was evident too amidst people who had gathered in Gateway of India to show their solidarity against terrorism. One of the protestors, a lady, showed a placard that read “ I would prefer a dog visiting my house than a politician”. This is indeed a political awakening.

But I wonder if all the politicians read the newspapers. If only they had been receptive to public criticism and corrected their ways India would not be made to bleed by outside forces like what we just witnessed now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vaaranam aayiram...

Finally the movie that had kept us waiting for a long time is here. Vaaranam aayiram starring Surya, Sameera Reddy, Simran, et all directed by the Kaaka kaaka fame Gautam Menon. Following Patchaikili Muthucharam belonging to genre of drama one would have expected a action filled flick from the Director who believes in making movies with a style and urbane touch. Vaaranam aayiram is a depiction of the connection between father and son. Most of the Tamil movies, especially Dhanush’s ,caricatured father as a villain in son’s life. But this one embraces every child’s unspoken belief in taking father as the first hero. Surya has given an impeccable performance in both the roles of Father and Son.

The story opens up with the father taking his last breath. On hearing this news Surya (son), while he is away on Army mission, narrates his life and his closeness with his father .But this narrative style of presenting a movie has had one disadvantage. Just for the reason that the movie has a foregone conclusion. Son finally comes to father’s funeral. And that’s the end. The director could have won over the audiences had he tried to unravel some new elements at the end. And the rescue operation that Surya heads looks patched up and disconnected though it explains that something of an urgent nature had taken the son away from seriously ill father. These are few flaws.

But ,by and large the movie touches you. It definitely does connect with some part of your life. The meeting between Surya and Sameera Reddy and the way surya courts her love is every man’s fantasy and a dream that we aspire to realize one day. It looks cute and convincing on the screen. But real life is hard all around. Love between Father Surya and mother (Simran) is aesthetically picturized . It reminds us of MGR-Saroja Devi on screen and it looks as though colour is added to those black and white pictures. But I may not call this a new idea.

Harris Jeyaraj like always for Gautam’s movies has composed music for this one too. The song “Mundhinam parthenae” and “ Nenjukkul peidhidum” would definitely steal your heart . This movie is definitely going to take Surya places. He has proved as a capable actor. His hard work and dedication is written all over the movie.

Watch this if you really the one who appreciate good cinemas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Freedom, baby... is never having to say you're sorry.. This is a line from the movie The devil’s advocate. And that kind of freedom is available in abundance in our country. One has the freedom to urinate in public. Facing the wall, of course. You have all the rights to litter all across the road. And commit petty crime with impunity like breaking traffic law, smoking in a public place when its actually banned. You never have to feel or say sorry to the society at large. In fact these bunch of law breakers and nuisance creators are very much the society. He could be your neighbour, your friends and your own folks at family. But all of them hoping that someday this country would change and look spic and span. Distant dream, though. But what pains me more is the image you see on the pictures here. I captured them on one fine chilly morning at a road which used to make me feel oh god! at least this stretch of road is clean. The cause of my pain is not the dump that is lying there. It was just that it was heaped right outside the FICCI auditorium in Barakhamba road. The make-shift arrangements for the dinner the previous night in the open space of the auditorium premises was visible from outside. Yes, FICCI – Association of some of the largest companies in the country.

This happens at a time when the concept of corporate social responsibility is gaining prominence. Of course credits must be given to several Indian companies that have taken up the social cause zealously. But this kind of callousness evokes a bad image of the organization, at least in this regard. I know it is only a auditorium, run by FICCI , let out on rental basis. May be. But is it not the responsibility of the FICCI or whosoever in charge of the auditorium to refrain their users of the auditorium from causing any inconvenience to the society by committing any such act. And that is not all . On the other side of the wall along side the Tansen Marg our men folks attend to their nature’s call without any sense of guilt nor shame. This is indeed everyday sight. I wonder why such thing has been overlooked by the administration of the auditorium.

Cleanliness is one thing that needs to be taken seriously by all. Would we?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Petty Politicians...Pity People..

If there is one thing about India that amazes Western countries it is primarily India’s integrity to stay together as one nation despite its diversities in every aspect of a civilization. This becomes more sacrosanct when we come to think of it in the light of various secessionist forces acting in various countries across the world. In fact world’s history is replete with such bleed-a-nation-to-death stories. The controversial Holocaust, “Ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia , breaking up of Serbia and Montenegro, UN orchestrated separation of Kosova from Serbia, Russia backed breakaway of South Ossetia from Georgio, Clash between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims in West Asia are some of the bloodily written pages on it. And looking at the war going on in Srilanka against LTTE one wonders if they would ever arrive at a solution. Here again there are accusation against Srilankan Army forging to wipe out Tamils in their fight against LTTE. And the story in our backyard is equally bad too casting a doubt on the virtue of our nation’s integrity.

Secularism remains an ideal thing to talk about. But the order of the day among fundamentalists is showing not a modicum of tolerance towards other religions. The act of vandalism against churches in Orissa and Karnataka performed shamelessly by the Hindu Fundamentalist and a rape of a nun is all highly condemnable. Worst thing is hundreds of people were displaced and turned into refugees in their own land. This situation was close to a civil war. The lethargic action by the governments of both the states reeks of vote bank politics.

The next evil that is gaining strength is regionalism. It has been apparent in a subtle way so far. But the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has blown up the evil to a size larger than life. The recent event involving MNS activists, of course this is not their debut act, beating up North Indians aspiring to take Railway Board Exams on the claims that Marathis are denied jobs is hooliganism that needs to be nipped in its bud. Raj Thackeray, MNS chief, following the attack addresses a gathering, “ Press your demands in such a way that they would have no alternative but to accept your demands”. He dared the government to arrest him and said “Maharashtra would burn if he gets arrested”. If he claims he is for People of Maharashtra why would he let it burn and let the people suffer. This is a utter display of what power can do. To everyone’s surprise Maharashtra government mustered courage to court his arrest.

And in another event in Tamilnadu there is widespread protest against attack on Tamils in Srilanka by its army. The State has some prominent political leaders who are known to be sympathizers of LTTE, an organization banned as terrorist organization across the world. Vaiko one among such leaders made an uncalled for statement. He said his party cadres would not hestitate to carry arms to Srilanka Tamils in their struggle for Tamil eelam. And as if adding fuel to fire his party chief warned centre not to force Tamils in the State to launch a struggle for a separate Tamilnadu. The Tamilnadu government in no less time arrested them on sedition charges.

What has become evident is that politicians who are expected to adhere to the constitutional principles are blatantly violating them. In their fight for power it is the people’s day to day life that takes the bashing. And as long as these leaders have followers that are very much likely to thrive on.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Rock On!!

Rock on-just as what the title says it thoroughly rocks you. For those who are thinking this is another film about friends much like the greatest hit Dil Chahta Hai you are in for disappointment. No doubt DCH is the greatest movie ever made on friendship in Bollywood. Though this movie directed by Abhishek Kapoor with lead role played by Farhan Akthar co-starring Arjun Rampal ,Koena purie and others is short on friendship there is lot of rocking music in it. This would indeed fit into the genre of “ Musical”

The movie opens with the touch of reality showing the diverged lives of four friends. Each one of them is class apart. This truly portrays how once celebrated and cherished friendship is pushed into oblivion in the struggle for livelihood- either in search for more riches or just to create an identity for oneself in the life of uncertainties. Debutant Farhan Akthar , the famed director of DCH, plays a role of Aditya, wealthy Investment banker who keeps pretty much to himself even at the cost of making his wife Sakshi feel like he is stranger in her life yet staying under one roof. The story moves forward as his wife finds out his past as lead vocalist in a fledgling Rock band in Mumbai. In an attempt to bring a smile back on the face of her husband Sakshi invites the other three friends played by Arjun Rampal , Purab and Luke Kenny to Aditya’s birthday party.

Later the movie switches between the four friend’s endeavor to make a music album in the past life and their dissection from music in the present life. Here the story unveils why their lives have found differnt direction. Each one of them realizes how their music created magic and they vow to resume what they had left unfinished. And then the story has an happy ending.

The debutant Farhan Akthar has not made a great impression as an actor. But he has proved himself to be a scintillating singer with his unique voice. My personal favorites are “Pichle saath Dinon Mein” and “Rock on” sung by Farhan himself. The music by Shankar-Eshaan-Loy has lot of energy and is set to create trend in Indian music. Rock music is soon to be heard and be played all around the corner. May god keep the moral policing self-styled protectors of Indian tradition off the road.

The movie Rock on though did not meet the great expectations I had it is a great feast for your ears and would definitely give you a feeling that you are in the midst of thousands of audiences swaying left-to right in a Live concert. If you really want to get yourself rocked on and take a break from the regular bollywood style movies then Rock on is for you. Go ahead and get perspired in the heat of rock music.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Beginning to End

Its been five months since I blogged. I can give umpteen reasons for my abstinence from this little space that belongs to me. One of them being my journey to success has been stretched a bit. And it is not that I have dispossessed the time that I should reasonably spend for things like blogging or taking a stroll across the street on a moonlit night or even a movie show. I just despised that thought of having to put down the misery of my failure. Yeah, I know that failure makes one stronger and makes one learn the lessons the harder way. But the raise from the fall is ain’t that easy. Its painful and its more than a struggle. One thing is sure the success is going to taste a lot sweeter than the sweetest thing I have ever known.

This journey has brought me to Delhi again, the place where I reached the threshold of success once. And I see lot of changes. The competition level in the exam has gone up and looks even fierce some just like the rental values here in Rajinder Nagar. The place which once had my favorite tea shop had to wind up for it couldn’t afford the daily rent. A single room which would give enough space for a cot, a table and for you to move about a little bit costs a rent of minimum five grands. I really wish if someone could take the pain of suing the House Owners here for charging such exorbitant rent.

But there are few things to cheer about. A few yards away from my room, across the shankar Road, lies another tea shop which really makes a tasty special chai. And not just that. There is a huge tree out there and under its shade I spend the few minutes of pleasant morning with a nice Chai to sip on. And there’s a park too where I go for my regular morning walk. But sad that most of the people who come there are old people fighting Arthritis and other old age related illnesses. It’s difficult for a person like me who had spent nearly the last twelve years of life in the company of lots of friends to sit in a lonesome room with no souls around to talk to. But the Library I have joined in Barakambha Road and some new friends I have made are a big relief.

Now this is just another beginning to end what I started. And I hope success is not so far.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sab Khade Ho Jao...

Solidarity amongst citizens of a country is felt when they stand together and sing their National Anthem or while its being played. Well, all of us are taught in schools that National Anthem reflects a country’s traditions, its riches and its struggle. So far I have known, in India (of course I have never been out of India ) , National Anthem is played at the end of the formal occasions. And therefore its not unnatural that I was in for a shock when the National Anthem was played in a cinema hall before the start of the movie. They say it is quite a custom in USA. This initiative by the Satyam Cinemas, one of the multiplexes in Chennai, deserves appreciation. And many other institutions could also emulate this idea though it may have very little effect on the fundamentalists or regionalists like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who are determined to bleed our nation to death.

One thing must be remembered is that while playing the National Anthem no disrespect is made to it. It just happened that in Satyam cinemas when the National Anthem is being played on the screen the usher outside the hall kept himself busy sending people in . The new entrants were more obsessed with finding their seats either aware or unaware of what was going on.

You might know that last year a album titled Jana Gana Mana, comprising of the National Anthem sung by various artistes like Lata Mangeskar, S P Balasubramaniam, Balamuralikrishna and others, was released with the music by A R Rehman. And it was the one that was sung by SPB got played in the cinema hall. The song had duration of more than 100 seconds, contrary to the standard 52 seconds. The government of India must make clear as to what standard, in terms of duration ,tune,etc, one should follow while singing or composing National Anthem. This would curtail the liberty that many musicians take and even certain organizations that plays National Anthem in some unheard tune.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Its not about cigars!!

Who said it’s a globalised world? Apart from people still surviving on less than a dollar a day yet be part of the country which claims to have embraced globalization there are many countries which are embittered by seclusion, in varying degrees. Cuba is one such nation not quite far but just 90 miles from USA, the solo superpower of this world. Cuba’s tussle with USA dates back to some decades back and it has remained relentlessly without acquiescing to US hegemony despite economic embargo for 47 years. It’s a different story that this pride of Cubans is at the terrible cost of their sufferings, sorrow and deprivation.

This enormous power of a tiny island nation against the mammoth comes from its charismatic leader Fidel Castro, a revolutionary who led a 9000 strong guerilla army to eject out Fulgencio Batista, the military ruler in 1959. Since then his rule over the nation for 49 years has been invincible. This 81 years old ailing leader brought the world’s eye suddenly on Cuba when he announced on Tuesday that he has stepped aside as Cuba’s president. This is clearly a victory for the octogenarian against the US which had orchestrated many assassination plots on him with the aid of CIA. Some as unimaginable as fixing bombs in cigars and under the shells of turtles when Castro was out scuba diving. This news of descent of the staunch socialist brought cheer amongst the exiled Cubans, living in Miami, waiting to return and take control of their seized properties. And many American Investors in Florida are waiting with millions of money to rebuild Cuba.

The travails of life of Cubans may or may not undergo transformation. However, the leader of the socialist nation assured its people that the revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who are very young in the early stage of process. What remains to be seen is would USA be able to instill a transitional government which it has been trying hard by supplying aid to the Cuban dissidents ever since the rise of Mr. Castro. But the pride Cubans, to whom the socialist regime had offered free education and health care, may not let Cuba turn into just another colony of USA.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heart for Art...

If there is one thing I must credit my civil service mains exams, other than the prospect of success, it must be the way it has tried to broaden my horizon. But it’s a different issue as to how far I have been swayed by such positive influences. What else could one expect to go on in the mind when you have been just confined to one creepy room with books of all sizes. The temptation to day-dream is irresistible unless you are shaken by the fear of reappearing in the exam. Well, am just pointing out the strange thoughts and bizarre aspirations I used to get during those days. When I see a painting exhibition going on in the city my mind just wants to be there gazing at unfathomable modern art with a critic’s point of view. And when I see a dance performance scheduled that evening I wonder why I hadn’t become a dancer. Or at the least being present there myself. The thoughts go on, after all, it has no limits. Ain’t it??

Ironically, things changed after exams. I no longer seem to be interested in any other things. Except the movies I watched passionately. I tirelessly pursued this pleasure of watching pictures. But my interest in dance shows took rebirth when I incidentally met some of the dancers who had come to give their performance in Chennai. And moreover the Auditorium (Music Academy) was pretty close to my house. I know that the Music academy is of very high reputation and takes only the best performers. So I finally landed watching the show.

It was my first experience to watch contemporary dance. They say it’s a collection of system and methods from modern and post modern dances. This group of dancers, part of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, consist of graceful and electrifying youngsters who are trained in various dance form from Bharatanatyam, Kuthchipudi, Tai Chi , Ballet to Kalarippayatu martial arts. They performed a theme called “Purushartha”, etched on an Indian philosophical concept, blended with Japanese digital and sonic arts.

Throughout the show the dancers looked vibrant and their movements were observed by each one in the audiences with such an awe. The theme tried to portray the dilemmas in life through dance movements and the digital lighting at the background. Honestly speaking, there was very little I could figure out from the performance. And after the end, during the discussion with the artistes few from the audiences had the courage to ask what exactly the theme was about. But the concept maker Jayachandran Palazhy dealt with it very subtly giving the freedom to audiences to perceive the way their mind desired. In my opinion, these form of art should not remain open only to the arm-chair analysts and reviewers but also should pull the first timers and people wedded to Bollywood and Kollywood ( Stands for tamil film industry).

Nonetheless, the dance was engaging and exhilarating.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Distant dream

Ethnic conflict in Srilanka has remained alive and kicking ever since its independence in 1948. And it came as a bitter reminder to the people of Srilanka on the eve of their 60th independence day with suicide bomb attack by the LTTE aide killing around 12 people in colombo railway station. This comes at a time when LTTE is facing setback in terms of its military power with Srilankan army closing in on their heels capturing areas which were under the control of LTTE. The history of Srilanka is replete with instances where both the srilankan army and LTTE have fought over territories to gain control over it. And the current attempt by the army is only a repetition of the same. And undoubtedly the Eelam War-4 has begun. But one wonders if there would be a solution to the conflict irrespective of who wins. India and other international community are of the view that only a political solution, not a military one, would bring peace to the island nation.

What needs to be seen is what it holds for India particularly the State of Tamilnadu whose people are connected ethnically to Tamils of Srilanka the very soul of the issue. With the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE and post active intervention period (1987-1990) the mindset of politicians of Tamilnadu excepting few has changed. Tamils issue in Srilanka is no longer a political issue. And the recent clamoring by the Tamilnadu’s Opposition leader Jayalalitha for the arrest of few politicians who still espouse the cause of LTTE in Srilanka vouches to this fact. However the rise in the inflow of Tamil refugees to Indian soil is imminent. This would again demand India to actively involve with srilanka . And its time that LTTE realized that creation of Tamil Eelam is only a distant dream as only a federal state with devolution of power is the immediate solution.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Taare Zameen Par

Taare Zameen Par had reached us well with its trailers. And now the movie is rocking too across the country. Aamir Khan as we all know always plays for the perfection on the screen. That wonderful actor has just added another feather to his crown by directing his debut film TZP.

TZP deals with today’s parents and what they end up doing in trying to put their child on top of everything. The story revolves around a 8 years old boy Ishaan (played by Darsheel safary) who is in third standard for the second year. Yet struggling. He plays the role of a naughty boy and a lovely son to his parents and a caring lad who takes pride in his brother’s achievement. He has played his role stupendously making us laugh and making the parents and parents-to-be to think within. That’s clearly the handiwork of the Actor-cum-Director, the Amazing Khan.

As the story unfolds Director himself enters the movie doing what he is best known for. He plays the role of a teacher- the type which we wouldn’t find in our schools. He helps the child restore the self-confidence that had been shattered due to constant bickering, nagging and bullying.

TZP has a marvelous music made by the trio-Shankar Ehsaan Loy. The background music at many places simply moves you. Especially the music from the guitar makes you tap your feet. The song “ Kholo Kholo” is the final song in the movie that conjures up the spirit of the entire film.

This movie would definitely trigger your brain cells to go back to your school days. And more so if you had been to a boarding school. And this movie is truly for those who love kids. Please don’t miss it.

Here’s the official site of TZP: (Highly recommended. It has an amazing designing)