Monday, August 27, 2012

Lies and Statistics...

"What makes me a blogger is the physical discomfort I get from knowing a terrible idea sits out there needing to be destroyed so badly" - Modeled Behavior

Or so it says on top of this page.

And I think there sits a terrible idea out there, which is waiting for me to destroy it “with great vengeance and furious anger

However for the last month or so, I have been unable to articulate it enough. I briefly indicated what I wanted to post, as a follow-up to a previous post, but never really got the angst or the burden of the proof.

But something I saw this morning as I was surfing the net while sipping my morning coffee made me sit up and try to make another attempt at culling the sort of nonsense that gets peddled these days.

And that something was this FDI by state chart on the Financial Times “Beyond Brics” blog.

What’s so weird you ask?

Despite the annual road show that highlights the “Vibrant” nature of the state, despite the standard Google Ad Sense Advert that comes on my blog bestowing the strong leadership presence in the state, it looks like “industry friendly, dynamic, business minded (and whatever other nonsense you want to scope out)” Gujarat lies 6th in FDI invested over the last two years.

Surely something was wrong. I distinctly recall doing some research for my MBA Macroeconomics assignment, where there was an official site which said the state gets 22% of all investment in India. Heck, I even put it in my paper!!!

Sure enough, here it was..

In any case, a single chart does not signify reality, so I decided to do some more research, and landed on this analysis from Business World on India’s most competitive cities.

Published last week.

The most competitive city in Gujarat is Ahmedabad (not surprising) but ranked only 10th in all of India, behind at least 6 cities currently being misgoverned by UPA coalition partners. 10th is not bad, definitely, but somewhat like the disappointment you get when Indian Olympians end 10th in their events.

But then these are numbers which are only showing one element of the entire dynamic. What about the people of Gujarat? How are they performing? Surely they must be doing very well, given the dynamic leadership of their state government?

Voila!!! Google Zindabad.

There is a fabulous report released on Human Development Factors released last year. That can provide some guidance. . You can read it if you have some spare time. All 261 pages of it

Again, not bad, somewhat good, mostly distinctly average.

So what’s the point, here?

Seriously?? You still don’t get it???

Simply put, Is Narendra Modi - who my Facebook wall tells me is our saviour if there is a God above, and is the only one who truly deserves to rule  lead us come 2014 - all fart and no shit???

Thursday, August 23, 2012


A few days ago, this month, this blog completed 8 years. Statistically that’s not a long time. It’s no jubilee year, no ruby, diamond, paper, golden, platinum, whatever anniversary. But it is 8 years, and it hasn’t been easy. If you think it’s sustaining a blog for 8 years is easy, you could do one of two things –

There’s a button to the top left of the screen – NEXT BLOG. Clicking it will take you to a randomly generated blog site. Click it, and chances are you will see a blog which has not been updated for at least 6 months. Click the NEXT BLOG button on that blog. Same thing. Rinse. Repeat. You’ll see what I mean.


Start one of your own. We’ll speak in 8 years. We can share notes. Hopefully by then, this blog will be in its 17th year of updating.

That said, I think over the last 8 years, a lot of changes have happened. In me, in my writing, in my likes, dislikes. It’s like I am a different person altogether. It’s not only the blog which has contributed to this change – family, parenthood, relocation, maturity (I hope) and many other things I am sure have definitely played a part – but through these 8 years, this blog with its 445 published posts (and infinite unpublished ones circling in my head), has given me company.

Or you could argue, has kept me (mostly) sane.

(In case you haven’t yet figured out, there is no purpose, moral, angst, emotion hiding behind this post. Once in a while, it’s good to reflect on where we are and what we’ve achieved, without the burden of a specific milestone celebration)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Standing on the shoulders of giants...

As a kid, I was an average sportsman. Not exceptional, but probably average enough to make the team if I really tried, and that’s about it. I was never the athletic type. I could play decent enough but I don’t think anyone from my school days, would swear that they remember a special talent called Chirag Panjikar. I don’t think even my mom would say that.

But I was a sports fan. A fanatic, is more like it. I knew the games, the rules, and downright anything that was related, the championship records, the scores, patterns, you name it. Forget Maradona, Becker or Gavaskar, I knew my Greg Louganis from my Greg LeMonds, and my Daley Thompsons from my Morten Frosts. I was that kind of a sports fan.

But that’s not the point.

Sports were serious business in my school. And boys who represented the school in sports were the closest thing we had to rock stars. The kind, who were the heroes of boys from the younger classes. (Riklin Cup, 1990-91: Vincents 4 – Loyola’s 1, I remember it like it was yesterday..) And there were boys, who were real good. The kind of caliber, that opposition school coaches planned about. We had the best coaching in town, the best facilities, (definitely the best school ground in Pune, even today), the best talent. Talent that won our school the Inter School championships, 50 years in a row (That record is still going on). Hockey, Football, Athletics, Tennis, Basketball, (everything but cricket), was something that we prided our wins. Kids from other schools were in such awe of the kind of facilities we had, that I’m sure every year, we had at least 2-3 wins out of the opposition giving up just because they were playing us. We would take newspaper clippings of the inter-school events, and put it on the notice boards.

I could name these kids, but the list would always be smaller than the actual set of heroes from my school. I don’t want my failing memories, of 20 years ago, being the reason for missing out on not naming the sports stars from my school days. Some I am in touch with, some I am not. They’re all well settled now. Some are doctors, Ph. Ds, software engineers, one is a lawyer in Singapore. One, I think is a stock broker. Couple of them are in the army, quite high up now.

Pretty much the gamut of professional achievement has been achieved by these guys

Everything except sports.

Not one.



The best facilities, the best talent, the best possible set up for a school setting, and zero professional sportsmen.

That’s the reality of our 6 medals, and that's why it’s going to be a slow, painful climb to the top of the Olympic medal tally.

Forget 2016, I’d say 2024 or maybe 2032.

Because sports, like art, is not a chemical formula that can be achieved overnight (unless you’re the Chinese, but even there, there are some suspicions of chemical formulae being involved). Making a living out of sports is a lot of toil. It’s about living in the insecurity that you may never be able to provide for your family if you’re not good enough, and still thinking that it’s worth the risk.

And you cannot do it without heroes.

Heroes, role models, guiding lights, whatever. The kind, who have been in your shoes before, and who can guide you that everything will be all right in the end. For every Saina and Sushil Kumar, there is a Gopichand and a Satpal Maharaj, who briefly tasted success, but couldn’t sustain it. Who, knowing your insecurities, can convince you that they have seen the light, and that you have what it takes to touch that light.

Someone who knows, what it was that kept them from reaching the top, and who will guide you to that one missing ingredient.

Someone that a generation of Indians never had – a generation that is today spending their lives in air-conditioned offices as engineers, doctors, army men, lawyers, because that was easier than hitting their collective heads against a brick wall.

Someone that generations of Indians going forward will have for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Critique us.. Pity us.. Stupid us..

Has been a while since I wrote anything.. Anything worth reading actually.. the last few posts have been for want of a better word, pretty much crap.. the angry, frustrated tenor of the posts is not really me.. But I write for want of a better hobby, so you have to live with it, till I come up with something better… This post is just a general rambling of whatever is coming to my mind. I am writing just my thoughts. No guarantees whether this would come up anyway close to what I am capable of.
In that regard, I think I am pretty much like this country, and the people of this country. Capable of much more, but strangely producing drivel, just because we need to do something, so that people don’t think we’re dead. Scream so that people know we’re alive. Without screaming, everyone thinks you’re dead, and really we have enough dead around here. The situation is ripe for a satire of the most blistering kind, but I am afraid no one will quite understand the satire underneath it all.
It’s not like I am very frustrated with life. If anything, it’s quite the opposite. There is so much to be optimistic about, that my frustrations are directed generally towards the pessimists of the world. This apparent need to get worked up about everything is beyond my modest level of understanding of this world. I like my life leisurely, laidback if you will. It is quite beyond me to cry outrage at the drop of a hat. You could say that my parents taught me to trust people, and look at the brighter side of things. This conspiracy theory about everything and everyone is way beyond my league.
Take for example, this constant meme going on about how India is having a disappointing Olympic games, and how our system is to blame. How cricket rules everything, leading to disproportionate attitudes towards the rest of the sportsmen and women in this country. Maybe we are having a disappointing Olympic Games. Maybe we’re not. I really don’t know. What I do know is the same bunch of people who wrote/said that we’re going to win every bloody medal in sight and each of the 87 (or whatever) sports persons is going to come back with at least a bronze, are now saying that the team is having a disappointing Games. Truly, I didn’t know who the hell Deepika Kumari was, till I was told that she is the world’s best archer and is going to win and obliterate every known record in sight. No one told me that she is 17 years old. I know how I was when I was 17. If someone is ranked world number 1 at the age of 17, that’s a mighty fine achievement. Better than pretty much anyone in my family (before or after me) would achieve. Even if she doesn’t win the damn medal. For myself, I find it a very creditable achievement that I can change a diaper on a baby that is attempting wiggle away and turn towards the multi colored beach ball right behind, and I am TWICE her age!!!
It’s sports. A game. At the end of the day it nothing to do with winning and losing. All that nonsense about winning is everything is beyond me. Some win, some lose. Terming those who have lost as “losers” is stupid, especially when I am sitting on my couch watching an idiot box. It is very difficult for me to get worked up only because ESPN paid a billion dollars to broadcast the games. In that sense, the old days of DD National were so much better. Free to broadcast, with the most boring hosts and sets, and no advertisers, and zero incentive to attract the last set of eyeballs on the planet to eke out a profit.
What about patriotism, you say? What about all the pride and joy you get out of hearing the national anthem and the national flag? What about the chance to show what progress India has made in the field of sports? They are representing me and you and why on earth would you want the world to think that we suck at sports.
Hold that thought. Think about that for a second. They represent you and me. Now imagine yourself on a sports field. Imagine how things are going to turn out. Suddenly things seem crystal clear.
It is because they represent you and me that they never win at the Olympics!!!!