Monday, December 28, 2009

I shall not be misquoted.

Kotla shame..


3 idiots is a rousing success..


N.D. Tiwari resigns.. Probe on..


Ex-DGP gets 6 months in jail…


These are some of the headlines I have been reading in the papers today.


Honestly, does any of this matter? Why are our newspapers and TV channels and internet media all giving us crap to feed off?


Has the fragmentation of the information media left each bit member of society with a channel of their own, and they don’t have a common conscience?


Is that all we need?


A voice, a public voice, that is the conscience of today’s society?


Can this be that voice?


Would someone listen if this is that voice?


Would anyone even bother to listen?


Or is it just a media hype?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Farewell Dajji

नसतेस घरी तू जेव्हा
जीव तुटका तुटका होतो
जगण्याचे विरती धागे, संसार फाटका होतो
नभ फाटून वीज पडावी, कल्लोळ तसा ओढवतो
ही धरा दिशाहीन होतेय अन चंद्र पोरका होतो
येतात उन्हे दाराशी, हिरमुसून जाती मागे
खिडकीशी थबकत वारा
तव गंधा वाचून जातो
तव मिठीत विर्गाल्णाऱ्या मज स्मरती लाघव वेळा
स्वसा विन हृदय अडावे मी तसाच अगतिक होतो
तू सांग सखे मज काय मी सांगू ह्या घर दार
समयीचा जीव उदास माझ्यासह मिणमिण मिटतो
ना अजून झालो मोठा, ना स्वंतंत्र अजुनी झालो
तुझ्या वाचून उमगत जाते, तुझ्या वाचून जन्मच अडतो
नसतेस घरी तू जेव्हा
नसतेस घरी तू जेव्हा


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Things I think I think

- It's been quite a while since I ran this feature.. Partly because I hardly get the time to jot down a series of thoughts, and more so because I am now on Facebook and Twitter so whatever I think is normally out. But you could say that your first love is your dearest, so I guess here I am back.. There's some sort of restriction in Facebook & Twitter (not necessarily limited to a limitation on the number of characters). I guess it has something to do with it being so public.. I mean, I really doubt that many people read this blog (regardless of the shameless promotion I do, on Facebook no less) so it is somewhat a bit more of my inner thoughts than FB..

- I shall be in the US again next week. 2 years and counting since the last time I visited the place. One could actually say that the last time I traveled to the US, GWB was president, the US economy was strong, Iraq was looking like a quagmire and Afghanistan was the winnable war. It also reminds me how much I hate being in airports. It's part of the job I know, but an airport is by far the loneliest public place. I am now so used to being in company, that I hate being lonely. The only place I like (or prefer) being lonely, is when I am writing this. So you get the picture..

- I think every morning one should wake up and read the newspaper with a cup of tea / coffee in their hand. Unfortunately the quality of the Times of India is such these days, I'd rather surf the net with my tea. And I do make it a point to visit The Random Thoughts of a Chaotic Being - a blog by Vivek Sharma. I landed on this chaotic site purely through a case of mistaken identity. There was an ex-colleague known as Vivek Sharma who was also an IIT alumnus. These two guys share a very similar side profile (at least I think so) and so I selected "The Chaotic Being" as a friend.. My ex-colleague is nowhere to be seen on FB, but I now have a friend and a poet / philosopher to boot.

- Last night watching TV, I finally found the Hindi movie I am going to make. I am going to remake Bad Santa with Nana Pateker in the lead. I just find the movie waiting to happen...

- Every once in a while, when work is shitty as usual, I decide I am going to give all of this up, and take up a new profession. I decide to be a writer. I have a story in my head, and have Chetan Bhagat as my idol. I have never read a word he has written, and to be honest my wife says he writes closest to trash, but hey, he has a presence. And if he can, I can. Then I go to bed, wake up the next day and go to work. Unfortunately the cycle continues.

- I think Sri Lanka missed out on a great chance to win their first test in India. They had no business scoring 760. On a track like that, there was no way they were going to get 20 Indian wickets in the amount of time they had. They should have declared it at about 100 plus lead. If Prasanna whatever can score 150, you think you're going to get a lineup like India's out twice in India in 130 overs??

- That's it for now. I am now back writing, so I hope to write more in the coming days. Hopefully for some time you will see my thoughts and not stray links that I'd like to share..

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's just a matter of perspective

I have a University Rank, a degree from Stanford, have been shortlisted (once) for an MBA from IIM-A. I have direct responsibility for 37 team members, and in addition have been extremely instrumental in growing a team from 1 to 300. 

For some reason, the sense of achievement in all of this pales in comparison to putting Annika to sleep.. 

It's just a matter of perspective.. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Grapes are, for want of a better word, SOUR..

Decision Making Avoided :)

Their Loss..

I never wanted it so bad anyway. Had I tried real hard, I'm sure I would have gotten it..

Heck, it's only for people who are confused about what they want to do anyway..

But these are excuses. Recently I applied for something which, had it worked, would have had the potential to change my career forever. Had applied on a lark, but when I did get shortlisted, I must admit I had my hopes up. The damn thing was expensive that I would have required additional loans and liabilities. But everyone I asked, agreed that it was a small price to pay..

But I didn't get through. Just got the result today.

Based on your interview performance and application ratings, we regret to inform you that you have not been selected.

At some level, I feel relieved, yes. It has indeed saved me from lots of tough calls and decisions. But, I do feel a little light.. Like it would have been better if I had got through, and rejected it, so that I could be proud of it for the rest of my life.. But I got rejected, so I do feel a little sad.. So, I'm trying to console myself

Just let me be for the time being...

Monday, September 28, 2009

BlackNeutral asks

In the comments from the last post.. Nicely written, so thought of publishing it whole..

Hello there !. Glad you spoke up !. I was very much taken aback by this change in the quality of TOI.The newspaper has lost my respect.Probably this loss of integrity may be due to the marketing war existing between the publishers, which affects the editorial content.

Today Times of India outsells Indian Express, which is far much a better newspaper in terms of quality of the news we get. I say this because I go to the nearby news stand on sundays, at ten in the morning, only to find that TOI papers have long been soldout.I happily pickup the Express, which used to be still there. Yet Express is still traditional, the way I have known newspapers. But I am not sure what it will be like in the future, anyway.Strange, the now generation does not like the old school style.

I am not sure whether you have read the fiction "The fourth estate" by Jeffery Archer. It talks about the war between two newspaper barons fighting for market, who by no means care for the tradition or the respect the newspaper holds in the hearts of millions and go about printing news which people like to read and gossip around. Who is to blamed for this, the people or the publishers ?

BlackNeutral, my friend, if I could've explained it all, I would have in the last post.. As I said in a different post, it's probably a symptom of everything that is weird about this age of hours.. The Times has realized that no one actually bothers about the news as such.. Most people get their news from headlines.. That explains the news tickers that keep rolling on 24 hour news channels.. Business (CNBC et al), Sports (Star Cricket) and Music (MTV / Channel V) also have their own tickers.. It's just us that feels we don't have the time to read the entire news and analyze it.. Honestly, ever since I have known it, a day always had 24 hours, never more.. So how is it that we feel we don't have the time for anything??? Fundamentally, I don't know one thing that is different in our lives compared to that of our parents at the same age..

Why is it then that they were always smiling and we are having to take physicals once a year???

Sunday, September 06, 2009

With great power comes great responsibility

.. So said Spiderman's grandfather...

I know it's a film line, but it's damn good.. It sounds cheesy and filmy, but it's something that gets lost in our day to day fast life..

Every time I read the Times of India, I am reminded of this line.

This is today's front page headline in the Pune edition of Times.. Pune's so-called leading newspaper..

It has all the ingredients of how not to report.. Starting with the headline.. The one-way did not claim the little child's life, it was the bus and the bus drivers... The bus driver hit the scooter ahead of him while trying to overtake another bus, so how is it the fault of the one-way? And is it really front page news? The Leader guards the Reader, it says.. How, is quite another matter.. Power of the Press is only possible when the Press acts responsibly..

The Times is slowly denigrating to a quality worse than the evening tabloids... As I have written in the past, it hurts me when the Times falls to such levels.. It's not so much that they publish news without a soul.. They are now a business, but the Times is slowly becoming a case study for what happens when you lose your integrity..

Monday, August 24, 2009

Change... is a good thing..

Something I saw a couple of days ago told me that the India I grew up has changed forever. The almost Victorian faux morality which existed doesn't any more. It just rears it's ugly head once in a while, when politicians feel like they are getting a little too irrelevant.

And what happened??

There's a bus stop outside Wadia College that, as I write this, has a Durex ad adorning its billboards. It has a girl with a book in one hand and her boyfriend's hand in the other. The tag line says something like "I Live in my Jeans, I Love in my Jeans". It's not that the ad means that there is fundamental change in Indian society. It's just that not a soul has been scandalized yet. Marketing wise, I think it's the best thing to do.. I mean, college kids in India, are probably most in need of a pack of condoms today. I guess many people realize that, and so no one has raised a stink. And this (a condom billboard outside high school) is something I have not seen in the US either.

Don't know why I found it interesting, but I did.

As Dylan said, "Times, they are a-changing"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Desperate Humans - Life in Hysteria Lane.

There’s something which has been bugging me for a long time now. Have not been able exactly understand what and who is causing this irritation, and therefore have not been able to put it down in words to be able to post about. As a result, my posting to this site has reduced greatly, and possibly is another reason why I feel irritated. I am in computer detox, remember? There’s a word in Marathi which is possibly more apt than irritated. Chidchid is what it’s called. However today I have some time to kill so I decided to write whatever comes to my mind and then see what happens.

The main thing that bugs me is that life seems to be going faster than what it used to be 30 years ago. Which is strange, to be honest, for the reasons which go something like this.


Life expectancy has grown in society, and I believe statistically I have a good chance of surviving into my 80s. In short, I have more days on this earth than someone 30 years ago. Ever since I have known it a day has 24 hours. No more no less. In short, statistically I should have more time on my hands than someone 30 years ago. (Since I cannot see the future, these are the odds I have to take.)


Why then, do I feel like there’s no time to do anything?


What happens because of this, is that I do not spend time on details. I take some information (could be anything – newspaper headlines, Grocery lists, Facebook status updates – anything at all),  and because of my self-perceived lack of time, start processing my own conclusions. Thus, anyone with swine flu has minutes to live, and Indian cricketers are drug cheats, and on and on. What doesn’t help is how everything which provides me this information is also catered or customized in such a way that it only provides me the headlines. News channel tickers, Reality TV, Facebook, Orkut, Gmail, Email, SMS, whatever.


Everything is WHAT, Nothing is WHY.


But human minds need to know the WHY.


Without that we are incomplete and insecure.


Why do we not spend enough time to understand why something happens? Why do we have to rely on godmen and gurus and swamis and religion to understand the meaning of why something is happening?


Once we know the WHY, it has a purpose. And you know what you can, and cannot do, in that situation. You are secure in your knowledge that what you do is for the best, and there’s nothing else you can do.


And then, suddenly, magically, life doesn’t go by that fast.


And there’s still 24 hrs in your day

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Blasphemous Thought...

It has been a long long time since I wrote anything.. I really don't feel like writing anything.. Not that there aren't any thoughts in my head, but really.. These days work is hard and long and more importantly, time consuming.. So, I really don't feel like writing much.. Until today.. That's because of a line I read in The Economist

...Most religions began as heresies...

Actually, I really don't know any religion which has been around since time immemorial.. If only the orthodox followers of every religion understood this, we'd probably have had much less religious wars...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Facebook killed the blogging star..

If this blog goes to waste, you can blame Facebook

Sad but true..

I use it to populate a daily list of what I think rather than the once in 10 days post that I used to put..

That, plus the fact more people see my Facebook profile than my blog..

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Random Musings..

You'd like to raise your kids the way your parents raised you.. Or maybe better..


Give her the same love, care, affection and upbringing.. Teach him manners and how to respect everyone.. Show them good things, read them nice books..


Raise them such that you hope they become what you never became... A good person with morals and integrity.. 


But if you never turned out the way you should have after all that your parents did for you, is it realistic to expect your kids to???

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Title... Blank Thoughts..

I know I have not written anything for a long time.. Not sure if it is writer's block or just that I have other priorities as the father of a one-year old.. But I use little Annika as an excuse for not sitting and gathering my thoughts on what I want to write about..

There's a whole bunch I want to write about..

About how the Air France jet crashing was an unmitigated disaster and, regardless of what the Times of India says, the World T20 was not..

About how traffic in Pune has improved and how someone actually told me that Pune has better streets than Hyderabad

About Roger Federer

About Rafael Nadal

About the movie strike, and how it made absolutely no difference to our lives (That's one thing I can blame the one year old for)

About how it would have been an unmitigated disaster had it happened 10 years ago..

About how Facebook is addictive, and Orkut seems to have lost its charm..

But I have not written.. Because I don't feel like writing.. Don't know why, but I just don't want to sit in front of a computer once I get home.. and I don't write from office, that leaves me without any place to write from ..

I tried Twitter, but it's just not that into me..

Let's see.. Maybe things would change..

Thursday, June 04, 2009


This is my favourite poem..

I like it so much, I have a blog tribute lined up (in my head) ....

It is also the only poem, besides the Charge of The Light Brigade, that I can quote from..

It adorns my desktop at work..

And now it adorns my blog, recited by two of my favourite sportsmen, as one of them tries to become the "Greatest Ever" partly because the other lost..

Friday, May 15, 2009

Interesting Stimulus Package

In times of economic strife, stimulus packages are the in thing.. An interesting stimulus package found out by the New York Times

Monday, May 11, 2009

Parenting 101

She cannot walk,

Can barely stand..

But if crawling were an Olympic sport, she'd definitely make it to the medal round..

She practices crawling on the bed, you see..

Crawls right to the edge..

Turns back to see where you are..

You know she won't try to dive down..

Or will she??

She'd get hurt.. She shouldn't get hurt..

But she doesn't know that..

Will she or won't she??

She looks back again... Looks for you specifically..

You know if she gets hurt she wouldn't try it again..

And it's not like she'll get seriously hurt.. The bed is barely a foot above the floor..

Do you let her try the dive??

Do you let her get hurt??

Do you take the risk??

The number of times you correctly answer that question, would be directly proportional to your success as a parent...

Can someone please explain what this shot is called?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Blogger's ego

Site visitors as of April 4 – 2640

Site visitors as of May 4 – 2794


How does 150+ site visitors over a 4 week period compare with the best bloggers in the world?


Not much, I think.


But statistics suggest that most blogs have a single reader – the blogger himself / herself.


Counting roughly 20 of those 150 visitors being me checking the score of visitors, 130 ain’t bad in my not so humble opinion. S

Sunday, April 26, 2009

One flu over the pig sty

I thought we had to be ready for Bird Flu? People stopped eating all sorts of fowl and poultry for a year to prevent the deadly pandemic from occuring. Places of worship raked up billions, as poor souls wanted the Big Dude to save them from this outbreak which had the potential of being worse than the great Influenza outbreaks of the 18th century..

Turns out the flu showed a right indicator and turned left..

It should have been the pigs we should have been worried about

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Main toh raste se jaa raha tha...

Expectation is a funny animal. Almost always set to let you down. In my personal experience, my best work has always come through when I have had the least expectations out of the work. Be it at work or in personal life, when I expect too much, I end up disappointed. So, I try not to expect anything. Expectations from self causes too much pressure to perform well, and you end up disappointed.

Why did I think of this now?

Just generally, actually. But more because of the Fake IPL Player, a fantastic blog which has come up on the web. Supposedly written by someone on the inside from the Kolkotta Knight Riders, it has created a storm on the internet. So much so, that the KKR team management is out to get him. They had promised to find him within 24 hours but that was 3 days ago, and still no news of who he is. Various cricket bloggers have him listed as Sanjib Sanyal, Ranadeb Bose, even Saurav Ganguly himself.

But that's not what I am writing about. I am writing about his writing style.

He started off unknown, and wrote amazing stuff. Now, the expectations of a fantabulous blog post are getting to him. And the quality suffers

That right there shows, he's not a true writer. My guess is he's a cricketer and my money is on Murali Kartik

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How not to report the news

Here is the front page news report in today's The Times of India(italics are mine)

New Delhi: In a bizarre directive, vulnerable to be misused by the authorities,Election Commission on Tuesday said the electronic media cannot telecast anything which can influence voters in areas where elections are to take place, in the 48 hours preceding voting.

In a separate order, EC has also banned dissemination of results of opinion and exit polls by the media.

The gag on electronic media, issued under section 126 of the Representation of People’s Act that prohibits displaying any election matter on television or any related medium 48 hours before poll, is seen as unsuitable for multi-phase elections as well as innocent of the ways the media functions. With their satellite uplink, the channels beam programmes of all-India relevance completely uncircumscribed by the geographical division that the commission wants to enforce.
It also carries the danger of harassment of the media by local authorities.
Take the case of a national news channel which may show a programme on starvation deaths in Andhra Pradesh or impact of Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh which, like most of others, have multi-phase polls. Both starvation deaths and Salva Judum are issues that can have impact throughout the state, and any functionary can easily argue that their telecast was violative of the EC order and, therefore, liable to be punished. How will EC check the misuse?

In another instance of its naive understanding of working of media, EC has said programmes like debate/panel discussions may be telecast provided they are not in the nature of election campaign or promoting/prejudicing the prospects of any particular party or candidates.

But since most of the news channels call representatives of key parties for panel discussion, will it be possible for EC to make the fine distinction between harmless debate and promoting/prejudicing prospects of any party? It may all boil down to the subjective assessment of the local official

Given the legion of cases of harassment of the media in districts on various excuses, EC clearly seemed to have erred big time by not factoring in the risk of arbitrary enforcement of its directive.

As part of the order, EC has also said the programmes involving the candidates from the constituencies that are going to polls including interviewing or projecting the candidates should not be telecast/ broadcast during the prohibited period of 48 hours

Now here is the same article without the italics. Request to read independent of the news report above.

(The) Election Commission on Tuesday said the electronic media cannot telecast anything which can influence voters in areas where elections are to take place, in the 48 hours preceding voting. In a separate order, EC has also banned dissemination of results of opinion and exit polls by the media.

The gag on electronic media, (was) issued under section 126 of the Representation of People’s Act that prohibits displaying any election matter on television or any related medium 48 hours before (the) poll

As part of the order, (the) EC has also said the programmes involving the candidates from the constituencies that are going to polls including interviewing or projecting the candidates should not be telecast/ broadcast during the prohibited period of 48 hours

Notice any difference there?

All I did was remove the opinion pieces from the news report. Nobody wants to know what some news reporter thinks. He is just like you and me. Not an expert on anything worthwhile. Hence he has a job to report the news. If he wants the world to know what he thinks about this order of the Election Commission, he write a blog. But not on the front page of (supposedly) India's leading newspaper.

Unfortunately, the Times of India today, is a newspaper which has sold it's journalistic soul to the corporate devil, who demands that newspapers sold count more than it's own integrity. Why it disappoints me is because the Times more than any other thing has a special place in my memories. It is the disappointment that comes when someone close to you breaks your trust. You get bitter towards that special someone.

When I was a kid, my grandpa would read me the Times of India. From front page to last (or rather in reverse) we would go through the previous days news. With no TV, and definitely no internet, the Times would serve as our eyes and ears to the world. My world views were definitely formed in a large part by the newspaper, which in it's own words was "The Leader (who) guards the Reader". It would be neutral and almost sage-like. News reports would be on the front pages and the opinion pieces would be in the middle pages. The news reports would not be judgemental, just report the facts. The middle pages would use these reports and pass their analysis. Life was quite simple. You want to know what someone said, you read the front page and if you want to know what he/she meant, you read the op-eds.

One more noble profession bites the dust.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Are you a proud Hindu??

I am actually..

Regardless of the fact that I don't quite understand the logic of a God most of the times. What I do like about Hinduism, is that it is not forcing you to do anything.. You want to eat meat on Ganpati day, go ahead. You don't want to, no-one's forcing you to.. There's no self-styled expert in Hinduism, who I HAVE to follow just because he has read some books which I haven't..

As they say in the business world, there are no rules, just guidelines.

But articles like this one tend to dilute my pride in being one.

It's not what is written that bugs me. Dogs bark and journos write. It's their job to write. But it's the tone. It's one of anger and hatred. It's one of taking yourself and your so-called Gods so seriously, that you put down others. Even putting them down would be fine, but reading this, can someone tell me how this writer is any different from the "neocon Christian right", or the Taliban or any of the other hatred spewers of the world? I am debating whether by putting his article on my blog, I am only giving him encouragement. But since I have to denounce him, I have to link to his writing.

Anger leads to hatred. When a majority shows tendencies of hatred, genocides happen.

And responsible journalists go scot-free.

Side Note: I didn't know this, but apparently Sanskrit and Hawaiian are the only two known languages which do not have a word for religion. Shouldn't that give you a hint?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Things I think I think -- Election edition

- I know I am not contesting the election, and I thought I had made it clear that I wouldn't be, but I got a call this morning, from an old friend from my college days asking if it was true that I was contesting. Which means, someone reads this blog after all. I think I ought to do something about it.

- Now, all the obstacles for my candidacy for the next elections have cleared. The only thing I didn't have on my political CV was nepotism and family history of politics. No more.. My mom's elder brother is indeed contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Pune. His symbol is the torch, so request everyone to take a look at the candidacy of Dattatraya alias Deepak Talgeri. You're in for a fun ride if he were to win.

- Why the BJP / NDA ought to win -- Your "enemy" has presided over the scariest terror attack in the history of the nation, has ruled during the times of the biggest global meltdown in the history of the world barring the Depression, has lost its base support base in the biggest states, doesn't hold the power in any of the major states barring Rajasthan by itself, and really has no dynamic leader barring one, though a dynastic choice, who has said he doesn't want to be the leader. You ought to win, right??

- Why the Congress / UPA ought to win -- You led the country through 5 years with rampant growth despite support from Communists, your policies ensured that even during the greatest trough since the Depression, the economy is at 6% growth, you had to deal with terrorists, but at least you killed them all, and not released some, your leader is a renowned economist, your rural sector growth (roughly 60% of the electorate) has been enormous over 5 years with employment guarantees and proposed national pension schemes. You probably deserve another try (without the Communists this time)

- Why the Third Front ought to win - I don't know. Why Not???

- Why any of them don't deserve to win -

The BJP has no one beyond Advani, who's 81 years old. He says he's 81 years young, but I don't want to hand over my country to an 81 year old. I am not discriminating. I don't want an 81 year old running the coutnry, just as I don't want a 22 year old. And as long as the BJP cannot get to 272 by itself, Mr. Modi is going to remain in Gujarat. He won't even become sports minister, so they do not have another PM. I'd take Rahul Gandhi over Rajnath Singh any day. That, and that they have hijacked my blog with their crappy ads..

The Congress doesn't deserve to win because it is the Congress

The Third Front doesn't deserve to win either because it is simply too regional with too many regional heads figuring in there. It's never going to go 2 years, let alone 5. In times of austerity, I'd rather vote for any of the other two combinations so that we don't have to go through this entire cycle in 2011.

So who deserves to win??


And my uncle..

And all independents..

Because they're the reason why India is truly the greatest democracy in the world..

Monday, April 06, 2009


Something that I had been itching to know is finally common knowledge

I don't know why I am posting this.. But I am .. So you better read it..

Saturday, April 04, 2009

How to increase viewership of your website

This has been a question in my mind for the longest time. I have tried everything from dava to dua. I have my blog mentioned in my email signature. I have created an AdSense account, tried couple of different layouts, tried to put up a counter of the viewers 1000+ in the last 8 months.. Not bad, but when you find out that possibly 500 of those are you checking if someone has commented, that means there are very few people who bother to come back.

But nothing worked..

So, I said I shall try saying I am contesting the election.. To stir up some interest in my blog more than anything else. We all know how that ended up. Even my wife was not sure if she would vote for me. So much for manipulating the public.

But there must be something.. Something that can increase viewership and participation on my blog.. So, I have decided to do what rediff does..

Say bad things about the BJP.

I have nothing personal against it, I only want more people to see my blog and write on it.

Why do I think this will work?? It seemed to work for the Economist so it might work for me.

The BJP has so many supporters on the web, who are so passionate about the party of old people that minor hint to their "communal" aspects stirs up a debate unseen on the site. People call each other names and write long letters..

Hey.. might work.

FYI, at the time of publication, this site had 2640 hits as of 4/4/09. Let's give a week's worth of hatred to all main political parties, and see where we stand.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Poem of a Non-Poet

You hate them at first,
Especially the good ones..
They don't rhyme, you can't sing along.
As every kid knows, poems should rhyme. They better rhyme!!!
If it doesn’t have similar sounds, it's not worth the time..
(See.. Even I can rhyme with time)
But then you grow up.
Rhymes are childish.. What's the point, you say, of forcing words on to feelings just because they ought to sound the same?
And then you hear Bachchan..
The son
And the father..
The son reciting the father's poems..
And it sounds as if you're just listening to someone speak..
Someone with a great voice
And a way with words..
And you realize, as the Chocoholic once said,
You've been a poet all along…

Friday, March 13, 2009

Praise or criticism comes when someone exceeds or fails your expectations.
The difference between the expected and the actual, defines the scale of the praise.
Some times on an exponential scale.
But I do not have expectations of others. 
I do not control them, so I cannot expect them to act the way I would.
So I shouldn’t criticise others.
And I try not to.
Am I, then, a hypocrite to praise them?
But that's supposed to be my job..

The Elections are coming..

Just because I am not contesting, doesn't mean I won't cover the elections..

When Chiranjeevi is covered in the Economist, you know that the world will be covering it too..

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sandgroper sees the future

I have seen the future of communication..

Where job interviews can be done face to face sitting oceans apart..

Where the boy doesn't have to come down from the US to see the girl..

Where your 3G cell phone is 18th century..

Presenting Cisco's telepresence..

Just wait till Ambani gets his hands on this baby..

Sandgroper Pulls out

There's been crap loads I have been wanting to write for the last so many days.. So here I am, going late to work and blogging instead.. (The late going is officially permissible, by the way).. But the point remains, I have been wanting to write so many things, about life in general, but have not been doing so...


Because I decided to run for the elections, that's why..

So, I have decided not to contest the elections..

At least then I don't have to worry about freely speaking my mind.. I don't have to worry about hurting someone's religious, cultural, linguistic, artistic feelings..

Not that I have no pride or drive to do something for my country.. I can do that without contesting elections..

Not that I have any closeted skeletons.. I pay my taxes and adhere to traffic..

But everything has a proper time..

And it is time to do other things right now.. Time to do what I do best..


Speak my mind..

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Look Ma.. I made it to the Financial Times!!!!!

This is my post on Jan. 24.

On a lark, I also sent it to Tim Harford at his Undercover Economist blog on the FT site.

And... Looks like I made it to question of the week.. ..

He found my question so intriguing, that he even referred it to the Oxford expert on the economics of corruption..

This is possibly the most exciting thing that has happened in a long long time.. I feel like a teenager who shook hands with Obama, like a rock nerd who met Metallica, like a sports freak who has Michael Jordan's autograph..

Ok ok not all that much.. but close..

No one ever published my questions / comments before.. That was one of the main reasons for starting this blog..

Who cares what he actually wrote in his reply!!!

PS: Those of you who are in search of something logical in life, Harford's Logic of Life is heavily heavily recommended..

Friday, February 27, 2009

When good is bad..

You ask anyone around, and they'll tell you that there's a recession going around. There's gloom all around, and most everyone is unsure of what's going to happen in the future..

Then you read this.. India grew at 5.3%.

So imagine what's going to happen if we shrink by 6.2%

And then people ask me why we moved back from the US...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Ground Rules of the Sandgroper Election campaign

I know this is more like Next week's edition than Tomorrow's edition, but it's the next edition all the same. So, like a shameless politician, I shall discount the fact and proceed with the basic ground rules of the election campaign..

  1. Regardless of the ability and aptitude and moral decrepitude of the opposition and our personal opinion of their character, we shall not name names. Thus, you might think that Kalmadi is a corrupt so and so, but we shall not say it during the campaign. Arun Bhatia might be a weirdo, but on this campaign he shall be a noble civil servant. Running for elections requires fortitude of the testicular nature, (or balls one might say), and we salute all those who have shown it publicly.
  2. We may or may not have the best policies or followers. We shall however strive to have the best website among the candidates. Based on number of hits, we seem to be winning the popular mandate.
  3. While we may not name names, we do reserve the right to make fun of the candidates who have shown the above mentioned fortitude to contest the election
  4. We shall not say that politicians are bad people. If they were, I wouldn't be here.
  5. The campaign shall not harp on things that the competition has not done. Instead, we shall harp on what we would do.
  6. We might harp on things the competition has done if it reflects their usual crapola.
  7. We might even harp on things the competition has done if it doesn't make any sense to us.
  8. Unlike other so-called noble politicians, we shall not advertise our candidature through any media outlet other than the internet (and may be cell phone). This is cost cutting at the highest. Therefore for an apples to apples comparison, we shall use only the internet outlets of the competition for our reference material about the competition.
  9. We shall also not require any one to donate anything to the campaign other than their time.
  10. Every campaign blog post shall contain a reference to one of the above mentioned ground rules.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sandgroper's Election Manifesto

I know I promised that my next post would detail what I would do as MP - Pune, and I promptly followed it up with a picture of people believing in evolution..
What can I say? If I want to be a politician, I better learn to break promises..
And you better learn to live with it..
OK… So, here's the situation..
We know the election dates are not out yet.. So, it's pointless to decide what I would like to do once elected, right?
But it is definitely useful to chart out a plan.
So, I am going plan. And the plan goes thus.
Every day, I shall write a "policy document" on what I would do on the topic of the day. So, for example, let's topic #1 is Pune Traffic. What I would do to improve it, yada yada yada..
It's easier this way. I only have to think of one topic a day, for one. People can give me their inputs on what they would like to see me address at priority for another.
Also, it would give me the chance to forever tweak my election campain manifesto.
So, keep watching this space.
Tomorrow's edition: The Ground Rules of the Sandgroper Election campaign.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Things I think I think --- Part 2 (of 3 hopefully)

Where was I???

"The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"..

Is not my favourite movie.. But it is my favourite title.. I don't know why, but I just love the title.. Just the concept of what the title implies, is so nice.. So serene.. That, in 7 words is what a movie title should be ..

The movie may or may not have been worthy of such a title..

No movie can be..

I think the fundamental difference between life in India and the US is this.. When someone in the US sees something (on the TV / freeway / Supermarket) he promptly imagines that it could happen to him.. In India, when he sees it, he promptly thinks that it could happen to anyone but him.. People might be waiting at a traffic light, when they might see someone jump the gun, get hit by a bus, and promptly jump the light themselves.. No bloody clue why..

It's funny that when I say I want to contest the election, every one tells me that I won't win.. I am not contesting to win.. I am contesting to make a statement.. A statement that says that I can do what I want in my country..

Which is not something I could have done if I was born Chinese

That, plus the fact that it would cost less than my mobile phone, to have a story for life..

Slumdog Millionaire.. People here either loved it (lovvvvvvvvveeeeeddddddd it would be more precise), or really hated it.. Me, neither.. It's ok.. I had fun watching it, but not as much as I expected I would.. The adult Jamal does not have the same spark that the kid Jamal had... Plus, my admiration for the kid for jumping in a pile of human shit, was somewhat diluted when I found out that it was actually chocolate.. It's a Bollywood movie.. Om Shanti Om types..

The worst thing that mankind did for itself was to define God in human form.. So, God has a gender, has a face, has a name, has kids, etc.. So, when one man's God differs from another man's God, we have problems..

I really wish that I had studied a little bit of economics growing up.. The more I read of the topic, the more exciting it sounds..

Number 16 - 11 were typed like 4 days ago .. Tata went tata at the last minute before posting.. Luckily I have a habit of copying everything on Word whenever I have a doubt that something like this might happen.. Good for me.. Would have missed my eternal sunshine confession

Ten years ago, almost to the day possibly, I did something that I play again and again in my mind.. It was the final of "Mr. Personality" contest, and I was killing.. In the minds of the audience, I was the clear leader till the last round.. When Beauty Pageant style there was a single question round.. I was asked, besides the computer, which is the best invention of the 20th century.. Totally stunned, I gave a crap answer saying all are equally good, but I would go for contact lenses or something.. Came second.. Everyone consoled me that there would be next year .. (I was in the third year of college).. The next year the contest never happened.. So, I have replayed that answer again and again in my mind for the last 10 years.. And every time I see something new and interesting, I think of how that could have been my answer 10 years ago.. If I had to do things all over again, this would possibly be the only thing I would change.. It's so trivial that I possibly should let it go..

But it was the closest I have ever come to winning something on my own..

Since I am on confession mode, I am going to confess this.. My grandfather, who died 4 years ago, still comes in my dreams as if he were alive.. I was never there when he died, since I was in the US.. The last I saw him alive, he was fine and dandy.. Even though I knew and he knew that the meeting could be our last, we parted as if there's always next time.. His death was sudden, and possibly that's why at a subconcious level I have not yet come to terms with it.. That, and appearing for my board exams are the recurring dreams that I have..

My wife says that she will vote for me only if she knows what I stand for.. SO I promise you guys this.. My next post will contain my manifesto..

It's ironic, but Annika, Neil, Rohan and Tvisha have a combined age of 7 years. All of them have email ids and blogs.. They live time zones apart.. But everyone knows what happens in their lives.. There you go.. Network capacity.. possibly a better invention than the computer..

I must write this, since I am on confession mode.. Most straight men are afraid of gay men.. It's not fear as in fear of heights or snakes or any of those sorts.. Not a mortal fear.. It's just that most straight men are willing to get laid with just about any woman if given a chance.. They just assume that all men are equally horny, and therefore by association, gay men would therefore like to do it with any man they find, even the straight ones.. And that they don't want.. So the fear..

By now you must have figured out that there is no order of preference for this.. It's not in any priority or anything.. Just whatever is coming to my mind is coming on paper..

I am going to write a story in a novel format.. I don't care if no one reads it.. The story is building in my head.. And especially after reading 300 pages or so of the White Tiger, I am convinced that if that chump can get a publisher, I can too.. If I don't get a publisher, I shall blog the story.. Might be better.. don't you think..

I think Rafael Nadal has the potential to be the best tennis player the world has ever seen .. And I am crying like Federer when I type that..

Phew!!! 25 .. Finally.. Gosh.. Even my mind is not used to thinking so much.. Over 3 days even.. And Thanks to Tata Indicom, I didn;t even need to have 3 separate posts..


Monday, February 02, 2009

Things I think I think - Hopefully 25..


I've kind of challenged myself to come up with 25 things to think about.. no other reason, than Anand had 25 things.. He's a professional writer .. Not fully professional I think, but he has published a novel.. That makes him a pro writer.. If I can write 25, I can at least say I have the potential..

I wish 30 years were not so long.. I'd love to go through them again but it's just too long.. So, if one were to ask me, if I'd do it all over again, I'd say only if it can be done in 45 minutes.. I have a meeting at 4..

Writing is tough.. Especially when you challenge yourself to write.. There's a quote I read somewhere once.. "Where were the critics when the paper was blank???"..

Life came full circle recently.. I wrote a recommendation letter for someone for admission to graduate school in the US.. Two guys actually.. And both have got admissions to at least one school.. SO, I have some contribution to this you can say.. Which means if I really apply myself, I might get someone to read a story of my own..

Facebook is fun.. But I wonder how long it will stick with me.. I have a 7 month itch so to say.. As usual, like most of the social networking sites, you end up meeting more people from the past 30 years.. But, once the fad part of it goes, I really really doubt I'd be on it this time next year..

Chatting with old friends these days is tough.. Honest.. Those who are better of than me, hardly get a chance to write back.. Those who aren't are the ones online.. And I feel mighty guilty for being doing well.. So, I assume that those who're doing better than me are not writing back, partly because they feel guilty themselves..

I really wish I could swear more often in public.. There are times when swearing in public is liberating.. I can't swear or write obscenities here.. Too much of a "family" audience if you know what I mean.. I need like a secret blog or something.. Anyone with a better idea??

I think I shall make this a 3 part series.. It's easier that way when everyone has gone to sleep..

So "jor se bolo.. Mata ki Chowki.."

Kya Chirag pahunch paayega apni manzil tak??? Kya Tata Indicom dega uska saath?? Kya koi usey vote dega election mein??

Dekhte rahiye... "Things I think I think"..

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lipstick Mata

Saturday afternoons are one of the more boring ones in the week. The five days of the week, better known as work days, needless to say, are filled with work.. Sundays, are generally the one we all look forward to since God made Sunday afternoons for humans to sleep... But Saturday afternoons are the most boring ones, since there is nothing really to look forward to.. Annika sleeps, Devika works, and I am not used to sleeping in the afternoons.. So, I watch what Maushi watches..

Mata ki Chowki

The story thus far..

Vaishnavi's husband was killed.. So, believe it or not, she goes to purgatory to speak with Yamraj to get her back.. Since she's a huge devotee of the Mata (not sure which Mata as of now), Yamraj is having her take a test, after Bramha scolds him.. The test has her crossing a major bridge with 3 matkas of water stacked on top of each other, with man-eating creepers (yes, boss.. man-eating creepers). As I type this, she's praying to her Mata (the goddess or her mother, not sure)

Oh and I forgot.. She's hidden her husband's dead body, since he died of unnatural causes, if he has to undergo a post-mortem, then Yamraj also will not be able to revive her..

And that's it.. That was 30 minutes of entertainment.. For more, watch Sahara One daily 10pm

As I typed that itself, I was feeling weird.. The Mata looks like a Revlon commercial, while Lord Bramha has teeth stained with tobacco.. The Yamraj dude, is given the role not for any other thespian capability, but because of his skin colour and size.. Vaishnavi the widow has a spotless white sari, which based on her mannerisms, looks as if it has been draped over her top and jeans.. A geek might mistake the bridge she's crossing for Stage 6 of the Prince of Persia..

We have someone in this country who has decided that this story makes such compelling viewing that this is running every day at 10 pm. If this is really what the public wants today, we are in trouble.. The thought of someone sitting at home and eagerly looking forward to this, is troubling.. I think men are working too much, that women are sitting up at 10 pm waiting for their husbands and this is better than the wait.. And mind you, I am not acting sexist or anything.. Vaishnavi comes at the end, and addresses her sisters and asks them to follow her travels (or travails) every day at 10 pm.. SOOOOO.. someone does think that the only people watch are women..

As I said, Saturday afternoons are really boring..

Friday, January 30, 2009

Credit Crunch in 12 Easy panels

As always.. Nostradamus Calvin had predicted this long ago..
Hat Tip: To my Father-in-law..

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finally on Facebook

The Times of India recently had an article on the lack of an Indian Obama..

So I volunteer..

As a first step, I now have a Facebook profile

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dear Economist: Would more politicians mean less corruption?

Here in India (as in most other parts of the world), we have an unwritten rule that all politicians are corrupt. Therefore, politics is not the first choice of occupation for most individuals. However, if all politicians are indeed corrupt, wouldn't that mean that all politicians benefit more than the rest. Shouldn't the rational choice therefore be that more people join politics? Also, if more people get into politics, should the "competition" reduce the amount of corruption?

Friday, January 23, 2009

They can't stop me....

The Election Commission of India says they cannot stop me from contesting the elections.

So, I think I ought to give it a bit more of a serious thought...

Ping me or comment back, if you can be one of the 10 people who can agree to endorse my nomination..

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thought from the pot

Perception is the only difference between greenish blue and blueish green..

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A funny thought happened on the way to work..

Like most parking spaces in building basements, our cars are parked in parallel.. Just like planes at an airport gate.. You reverse out of the gate making sure no planes are exiting the gate, make a 3 point turn to get line with the stream of planes waiting to leave the airport. The Air Traffic Controller opens the gate and says you're all OK to depart... And the planes leave one by one to their destination..

I don't know why, but that was the first thought which came to me as I saw two cars reverse in parallel in my rear-view mirror..

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sandgroper's Movie Minutes - Slumdog Millionaire

I could write on and on about the movie, but it's kinda pointless.. Critics paid to write by the word, and knowing more about the movie world than me, have heaped praise on it.. Golden Globe winner, Sure-fire Oscar nominee, etc..

So, is it any good?

Can't say.. If this can win a Golden Globe, surely Om Shanti Om can too..

It's a Bollywood movie..


The only difference is it shows Mumbai different from what our guys would have.. Simply because the slums of Mumbai, the tourist scams of the Taj Mahal, the seedy underbelly as the smart asses call it..

It depicts Mumbai like the book Shantaram did.. It does so, because it's so novel to the director.. The grime and the crime.. You can only be from the outside to show such things..

Because if you're from the inside, you're inert to all this..

Monday, January 12, 2009

That last post reminded me of a graffitti sign I had read somewhere…
Bad Spellers of the World … UNTIE …

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bhanaps of the world unite

From time to time, the Bhanap in me arises in pride, when I see an article about one us..

Presenting the thoughts of one of the more renowned ones.. Shyam Benegal..

Like everyone else, I have many identities. But there is one that I love to flaunt. Of being a Chitrapur Saraswat. I cannot advance a single convincing reason why, except that it gives me the somewhat harmless and naïve pleasure of seeming exclusive. The census of the community taken in 2001 says that we are all of 22,000 in the whole wide world, i.e. much less than the Parsis. We are, I have been assured, not quite as endangered as the Veddas, Jarawas or the Todas. Nevertheless, a micro minority in a country of considerably more than a billion. The very idea of being part of such a tiny and exclusive community gives me a great high. They have their own home language; one of the many dialects of Konkani. To make the Konkani we speak specially exclusive, we dispense with the term Konkani and call it ‘our language’ or ‘our tongue’. Nothing could be more exclusive than that.Try as I might, I have not yet found any historical records that tell me where the community originated from. One thing is clear. They are not originally from where they settled; be it the two (now three) coastal districts of Karnataka or even from Goa. A community that has foregrounded the value of education for several centuries has a home language without a script. There are some people of the older generation (older than me, that is) who believe that the community is part of the great diaspora from Kashmir, having started more than a millennium ago; families travelling down the riverine plains and valleys into the heartland of India and then across peninsular to the west coast before finally settling in Goa. The Portuguese invasion and colonisation of Goa brought with it the threat of conversion that made them migrate once again down the coast into North and South Kanara districts where they finally settled. This latter part is historically known. The earlier part is largely apocryphal. Like all communities, the Chitrapur Saraswats have given themselves mythic backstories of migrations full of divine miracles and serendipitous discoveries. Much of the community has now moved out of the villages whose names they carry. Dotted on the countryside in the three districts are villages that are familiar Chitrapur surnames; Padukone, Kumta, Basrur, Mulki, Honavar, Hattiangadi, Nagarkatti, Karnad and of course Benegal.My parents were born and educated in South Kanara; my father from Udupi and mother from Basrur. After their marriage they settled in the then princely state of Hyderabad where they raised their family. At that time there were not more than three other families belonging to their community in all of the Nizam’s State of Hyderabad. For all practical purposes they became Hyderabadis. They learnt the two locally used languages for everyday communication outside the home, while within the family they spoke in Konkani. Since both of them had learnt to write in Kannada they used the script to write Konkani as well, particularly to different members of the extended family. I never knew them to feel a longing for the place they had migrated from. If there was any kind of nostalgia or an emotional tug of the place they had removed themselves from was to be seen in my maternal grandmother who had been widowed at a very young age, and had since moved in with us. The songs she sang and the stories she told us when we were children suddenly made us aware that we were from somewhere other than where we were born. This sense of being part of, yet out of it, has in some unexplained sense remained with me.The world outside my home had given me an identity of a Hyderabadi. The Telangana Telugu and the Dakkni Urdu spoken there along with ‘Convent English’ helped to integrate one into the several layers of Hyderabad society. Even now 50 years after having left Hyderabad, visiting it brings a sudden rush of emotion. Mumbai actually has been my home for 50 years. When I came here it had pretensions to being a world city. In recent years, a reductionist vision has been working hard to make it a provincial town. Having lived here for most part of my life, I have never felt a stranger here. Yet there are so many people here who like me carry within themselves, hidden from general view, identities that are special to themselves with their dialects and languages, much like ‘our language’ with a mythic mindscape of its own, full of real and imagined migrations, carrying narratives of somewhere else. To be urban is perhaps to be in a state of perpetual exile.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thank you JD....

...I can't do this all on my own,
No, I know..

I'm no Superman..

Those who know me really, really well, know what I am talking about..

I'm sitting here today, desperate to write something.. Have been meaning to write something, anything.. For a long time.. For the longest time, have been trying say something, but feeling gagged.. Want to write something profound, and something soul searching, and something funny and something interesting and something poignant, and something touching..

Because I am in a bad mood actually for all these days..

Someone took me for a ride, and I fell for it..

Hook, line and bloody sinker..

But, alas, I have nothing.. These pages, where I wish to write, are but blank.. Not blank with words, but with ideas..

So I watch Scrubs instead.

And life is good for those 30 mindless minutes again..

Corporate Chicken and Egg Theory

Do you get a salary because you go to work, or do you go to work because you get a salary?