What’s the Fuss about?

Such a lot of shit is floating around this Presidential Election business. The dignity that surrounds the position of the Head of the State has been hit for a six, further that even Chris Gayle can’t imagine..

True, the names doing the rounds are those of some highly eminent persons, and Pranab Da most certainly fits the role to perfection.

He’ a stalwart in politics and between Abdul Kalam Azad and Pranab Do, I would back Pranab Babu 100%.

It’s such a shame that we politics is raising its ugly head in the election of the country’s top-most post.. It is part of our tradition that we must make those political noises, do as much as mud-slinging as possible and score those brownie points.

For what?

Even though Pranab Da wont have much say i how the government runs, I’m sure his valuable experience will be sought. Of course he will have to perform the ceremonial asks such taking the salute on Republic and Independence Day and other such occasions, but he will be keeping a close watch on the goings-on in Parliament.

He’s a man who swears by the Constitution and as the Constitutional head of State, he’s not one to take irrational decisions like setting 30 murderers pardoned from going to the gallows. Nor is he one to blow up the country’s money especially since he’s the one who pulled the plug on wasteful expenditure and brought about the much needed austerity drive.

Personally, I’m of the view that others vying for the top post ought to withdraw and let a man of high integrity, gifted with political acumen, and allow Pranab Da get elected.

Having said all that, I still can’t understand what the fuss is about?

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Goodbye, Your Excellency…

It’s goodbye to you, Your Excellency, President Pratibha Patil, as your term nears its end. Not that my heart feels sorry to see you go. In fact, the country will be quite relieved.

When I look back at former Presidents of India who were top-notch intellectuals such as Dr. Sir S. Radhakrishnan and Abdul Kalam , I can’t but express an opinion that Pratibha Patil might just have been one of our worst Presidents. I mean, there’s enough evidence pointing towards that fact. President Zail Singh was on my top-of-the-list as the worst and now, Pratibha Patil beat him to that.

Agreed that the post of President in our country is nothing but a mere rubber stamp, and yet, Dr. Sir Radhakrishnan was a scholar and a statesman who received a Knighthood (in 1931), the Bharat Ratna (in 1954) and the Order of Merit (in 1963).

When he became President, his students wanted to celebrate his birthday. He replied, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers’ Day.”

And so it has been ever since.

A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, the 11th President was a scientist. He was the project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near earth orbit in July 1980.

As one of India’s top nuclear scientists, he knew a thing or two about guided missiles, space programmes and authored many books including the much read ‘India 2020′.

What about President Pratibha Patil? With a political background as hers what can one expect? She’s traveled across the globe at tax payers expense, often carting members of her family, not to mention her cooks, chefs and God knows who all, on her many jaunts. At a time when the economy is bleeding, Pratibha Patil has been spending or money on frivolous things.

But the worst was yesterday. She pardoned 30 murderers and rapists under the privilege given to all, and so idiotically called, ‘Presidential Pardon.’

The courts have condemned these people to the gallows and here is the President of our country opening the doors for them to be let loose, like pigeons freed from a cage. But that’s done as a gesture of peace and freedom; not people who have roasted, raped and killed other human beings.

Ever given a thought to the poor parents of the girls who were raped? You’re a woman, aren’t you? Didn’t feel a thing when you distributed those pardons?

I’m a proud India, but momentarily I had to hang my head in shame.

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Life’s what you make of it!

Jails in India as filling up fast. It’s amazing to see so many politicians trooping in out of jails as people do going in and coming out after seeing the Taj Mahal. Except that in this case there is a compulsory period of stay as decreed by the courts. And Tihar is no Taj.

South Indians in particular seem to be the more ‘hep’ crowd and one hears Saravana Bhavan in planning on opening a branch in Tihar Jail. One also hears that the warden and jailers have a change in uniform – dhotis instead of starched knickers.

Once upon a time there were actual convicts being sent to prison; you know, murderers, arsonists, rapists, thieves, etc. But, with changing times that tribe is on the verge of extinction.

These days the crowd is rather elite and consists of MLAs, Ministers, not to mention Bureaucrats and low-level Babus, who, unfortunately, end up in the regular barracks peeing and pooping in an open toilet with a dozen others in the same cell.

The off-take in the air-conditioners market has improved too. These people don’t fall under the ‘aam-admi’ category and hence entitled to certain special privileges, such as attached toilets, TVs, including food from home for some who get upset stomachs eating outside food.

Can you imagine your local ‘neta’ sweating it out in a 10 x 15 VIP cell in the oppressive heat of some 40-plus degrees centigrade without A/c? Not a chance.

What amazes me is that our system is such that once they are out on bail, they can attend Parliament. They laugh and joke sharing jail experiences and there is that broad grin whenever TV cameras are focused on them. I sometimes wonder what is that news channels find so interesting to focus on jailbirds?

But I guess bail is important. I presume its the time to quickly destroy evidence, count the stashed loot and transfer it from one place to another, leaving no traces behind. And I presume bail is also the time to call up witnesses, sweet talk them, bribe them, threaten them so that they turn hostile.

A witness who initially swore on his mother, father, the entire family tree that so-and-so did commit the crime, suddenly turns turtle and says, ‘What crime?’

And in no time he’s sold or gifted his rickety bicycle to the cobbler and bought himself an Innova, moved out of his tiled-roof house to a swanky apartment in an upmarket locality and his children removed from the Corporation School are now chauffeur-driven in a Nissan to an English Convent.

Life’s what you make of it!

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Stand up and Salute…

On this unproductive ‘Bharat Bandh’ day, while our countrymen are busy burning buses, scooters and making a nuisance on the streets in general, let those of us who have a sense of appreciation and patriotism stand up and salute Vishwanathan Anand for making this country proud.

In his hard-fought victory, one hopes that this true gentleman and patriot can wipe out a tiny portion of the huge black smear this country has been painted in. And continues to receive fresh coats of paint on an almost daily basis.

Anand will be long remembered as this country’s finest sportsman, but destruction of property – as is going on even as I write – will not bring petrol prices down.

Political parties are shouting themselves blue in the face claiming that the bandh was an All-India success, and the day is not over yet.

But that so called success is trillions of miles away to what Anand has achieved.

Chess is a game for the intelligent and played by gentlemen. Burning and stoning buses is a game played by ruffians and those who have nothing better to do but to stalk the street with stones.

Cheers to Anand, the Gentleman!

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Who Cares?

Isn’t it a pity that our glorious country with thousands of years of heritage is riddled with scams?

And now, all that hoo-ha we made of it being a super economic power is slipping down the drain?

Ask yourself this question? “Have we lost faith in the values our forefathers taught us to uphold? Have we no respect for the blood our freedom fighters shed to get us Independence? Have we become so accustomed to doing things wrong than doing things right because doing wrong brings brings in quick profits?

What confuses me is that all those scam-tainted waste not a single opportunity to pray at temples for the well-being of their families and themselves. And God watches all this happen right under his nose?

We forgive the wrong-doers because they belong to their caste or community and castrate wrong-doers if they belong to another caste or community. Isn’t that lopsided logic?

Ask yourself another question – are caste and religion so important that cheating people can be forgiven, if the cheats are from your caste or community?

India is slipping down the precipice and we watch as it does.

Who cares?

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Bofors Booms Again…

In 2001, I had the opportunity to personally inteview Chitra Subramaniam at her uncle’s home in Koramangala, a Club Member friend of mine. Chitra broke the Bofors Scandal way back then and she’s in the new again, pulling out more skeletons from the cupboard.

She received many threats but she didn’t buckle under pressure.

Read about this gutsy Brahmin lady who stuck her neck out by exposing one of India’s major scandals.


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Marry, Marry; Not from CPM but…

Ah! This is too much.

A Minister from West Bengal’s ruling party, Trinamool Congress (TMC) has asked party workers to ‘say No to any sort of relationship with the Communist Party Marxist (CPM). No marriage, no relationship, no girlfriends/boyfriends, no puppy love, no chatting in tea stalls or attend social gatherings organized by the CPM. Apparently, this is now laid down party policy.

The TMC has vowed to boycott CPM totally so as to ensure the party workers build resolve amongst themselves.

Which means if a lady CPM worker is offering her ‘oomph’ on a plate, the TMC worker should turn his face the otherway. Maximum they can do is get a close look, but no touching or feeling. Of course, if no one is around watching, a ‘quickie’ may be in order, but don’t get caught if you want your sex life in tact.

It’s conditions such as these that makes me wonder, what the hell do we elect people for? To tell me what I can do, what I can’t? I thought India was a free, democratic nation. We are called ‘Citizens of India’ and we are bestowed with certain Fundamental Rights. And these Fundamental Rights cannot be vetoed by political set-ups.

I keep asking the question, are we a global nation and if so, when and where did we begin? Is the world really looking up to us as a would-be super power in the years to come, and if yes, which angle of vision are they seeing from?

The CPM, according to the TMC, destroyed growth in West Bengal. And this super-brainer of an idea is how the TMC intends to revive the fortunes of the State? Will they chop off you-know-what in Taliban-style? Who the hell are they anyway?

Other than the TMC there have been lots of do’s and dont’s diktats from many political parties in the recent past. None, however, has given priority to growth, development and elimination of poverty. Oh, programmes and policies have been written on reams of paper and gallons of ink poured into them. The whole idea is to get sanctions for funds and live happily ever after.

You didn’t know that? How silly can you get!

I’m reminded of an old Chinese saying – Out of a Dog’s mouth will never come Ivory Tusks.

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In Saudi Arabia? One Swish of the Sword

This fellow Umar Farooq bludgeoned his 3-month old daughter to death and he’s still alive. Waiting for, I presume, “the law to take its own course”, whatever that means.

And what if he escapes? We know how reputed our prisons are. They might allow him “just this once” to go for a movie, do some shopping and wallop some mutton gosht and a couple of biryanis and its “Farooq’s Day Out’ never to return.

Guess what they’d do in a country like say, Saudi Arabia? Flog him first, then chop off his hands, and perhaps his balls too considering the act was so despicable. And crowds would come to watch the event, pretty much like the IPL, but with no cheerleaders, unfortunately.

I read in the papers that he was beaten up by the inmates of Bangalore’s Central Prison where he’s lodged and that none wants to share the cell with this cold-blooded killer. The guards and wardens in the jail are keeping a close watch because they sense that he might get beaten up again given half-a-chance.

Come to think of it, this ruthless act of Farooq’s makes Jack the Ripper sound like Wile E. Coyote, that cunning fox from the comic strip ‘The Road Runner’.

I don’t know how many months it will take before Umar Farooq is brought to trial. And then, it will drag on and on and on forever. In India it happens all the time, we all know that. It’s kind of customary. We have the Court Vacations, the Judge goes on leave, the lawyer falls sick, the advocates go on strike, even as the prison authorities go into some sort of hibernation. And finally, there are the periodic Judge transfers which can set the clock back quite a bit.

Finally, if and when there is a conviction in the next 15 years or so, and let’s assume he’s sentenced to death by hanging, Farooq will find himself at the end of a long ‘Q’.

Then this rubbish of mercy petitions will be filed, His/Her Excellency, the President of India will then sit on it for a few years, again, this is pretty much customary for President’s to do. By then it’ll be time to elect another President and he/she has to follow his/her predecessor – sit on it.

Flying around across the globe with family, not to mention the cooks, the chefs, the bhel-puri wala, the gardener, the shoe-shine boy, the ‘istriwalla’, the neighbors, long-lost cousins and a host of others in Big Boeings at tax-payers cost is more fun.

Now, three – actually, four – things can happen. Farooq will either die of old age; the other inmates will poison him or beat him to death; he can bribe his way and drive out in a City Taxi waiting outside the prison gates; or, like Andy Dufrense in the popular movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ dig his way out to freedom.

If he opts for the last one, he’d better start ASAP.

I have a better suggestion. Why have blood on our hands? Why waste tax-payers money on lawyers? Send the bugger to Saudi Arabia or hand him over to the Taliban (with a little help from our Indian Muslim community) and let “law take its own course”.

One swish of the curved sword and the chap is a gonner!

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Junk …Food or Report?

The Centre for Science & Environment (CSE) is once again gunning for multinationals such as PepsiCo, KFC, McDonald’s, Maggi and Indian company, Haldirams, accusing them of misleading the public through wrong and insufficient information in the labeling.

The contention is that foods like potato chips, burgers, noodles, etc, contain bad fat, salt and sugar beyond permissible limits. And they go to list the daily permissible intake for adults and children.

This CSE exercise is not new. Every once in 2-3 years they come up with new findings and shout themselves from the rooftops, thumping their fists and seeking stricter regulations.

I’m not saying that all the facts and data present is hogwash. Perhaps, there’s lots of truth in it. Having said that, I for one wish to take a practical approach.

Now, I’m no scientist neither am I a ‘Foodie’ in the true sense of the word but I sure as hell am a consumer of the above mentioned foods and lot more. I love Burgers and during my travels abroad I never missed a chance to drop by at McDonalds, pick up a few burgers and Coke. At times I even breakfast on large Submarine Sandwiches.

CSE’s figures pertain to permissible daily intake and the harmful effects if consumed in excess. Agreed. I wonder how many resort to gluttonous eating of these foods on a daily basis? I mean, these are expensive and even college kids or bachelors with loads of cash wouldn’t sort of sit down at a fast food joint and tell the waiter, “A Chicken Burger, Potato Chips and a Pepsi every one hour, and half-a-dozen plates of KFC Chicken Wings and Coke to go along with, please!”

CSE wants the government to impose strict regulations on these companies for violating maximum recommended norms and that the labeling be more informative so that consumers are aware of the what they are eating.

Sure thing! So now, each time I buy a pack of Lays or sit down at a fast-food joint to eat a juicy burger Chicken Burger, must I open my quality control kit of Salt Content Tester or a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer to analyze the trans-fat content?

Come on, Man! I’m not James Bond who carries survival gear on my person, such as, a tracker in the heels of shoes or self-defense spray filled into a fancy ink pen clipped to the shirt pocket or briefcases that blow up in ones face if the latch is turned the wrong way.

I just eat the potato chips or the burger and sit back and enjoy it with a glass of chilled beer even if half the salt from the sea disappears.

The only instance I recall is of Elvis Presley who they say died of excessive hamburger eating. Poor chap; how much he must have loved those king-size burgers he consumed with gastronomical delight.

Another point. Why target multinationals always? On the one hand we want them to set shop here so that they bring in huge dollar investments and provide hundreds of jobs. Then, we run after them to sponsor sporting events, the IPL for instance, which has both, Pepsi and Coke as major sponsors. If they were to withdraw I can hardly imagine MTR or Ponnuswamy or Saravana Bhavan or Adiga’s making good the loss.

I wonder if the CSE has ever bothered to test roadside/street food. The Iddly, Dosa, Bhel Puri, Chinese Noodles, Fried Chicken, is actually extremely delicious. Each roadside cart is surrounded by people with plates in their hands enjoying the delicacies. What about the salt content, the quality of cooking oil, trans fats, general hygiene? Would they pass the CSE test? I don’t think so; and yet, people throng with family in tow to eat roadside/street food.

Maybe CSE can make a beginning testing the so-called Mineral Water manufactured by the unorganized sector with claims like “natural water straight from mountain springs”. And roadside ‘nimboo pani’ and sugarcane vendors use ice they claim is made from clean and pure water. Not too sure about that part, but on a hot, sweaty day they are real thirst quenchers.

Does the government have the balls to shut down street food vendors? Ridiculous. And erode the vote bank?

CSE, for a change, leave the multinationals alone.

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IPL Opening Ceremony

I watched it, not ‘live’, but the repeat telecast.

It was S.H.I.T.

The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI), the Event Management Company should be instantly tried for treason. And if found guilty, they ought to locked up in prison for the next 20 years.

Pity Alcatel Prison has shut down.

A metal-wire strapped-up Priyanka Chopra floated in air for a while. I wondered what it was all about. Anyway, I’m sure her heart was in her mouth praying hard the wires didn’t snap, because, below sat an audience waiting to “gobble” her.

What shocked me was that most of the time she and a few others were speaking in Hindi to a primarily Tamil crowd. Even Captain Cool, Dhoni replied to her in Hindi.

Amitabh Bacchan’s poetry – which I thought was beautiful and presented with that touch of class as only AB could have done – was in Hindi too. Rather silly if you ask me.

The South African percussion band and the duo “Colonial Cousins” were nice to watch, but Prabhu Deva’s performance was despicable and outright cheap. I wonder if any of those moral policing groups, who generally have nothing much to do, might have noticed a glaringly obvious obscene gesture and have plans to haul up the dancer?

Perhaps not; They do it at home all the time for want of anything else to do. Maybe they’ll take dancing lessons from Prabhu Deva and improve upon dirty dancing to the tune of ‘why this Kolavari Di’.

God knows how much money flowed into the dirty Cooum River and then sidetracked its way into some dirty pockets. I mean, after all it is dirty money isn’t it and has to take a dirty route?

Time will tell if we hear of another scam called “IPL Scam”.

The cricketers were bored to death. They looked it. Some of them probably haven’t never seen anything as bizarre as that before. But then fellas, it can’t be more bizarre and frightening than some of the females who escorted the team captains through the sliding doors that opened to “Open Sesame” as in Alladin’s hideout.

Who choose those women with faces that looked like a donkey’s ass struck by lightening, and that too, twice in succession?

Ah, well!

Strange enough, somebody was missing. Anna Hazare! I mean, there’s corruption in sports and sports management. Right?

Maybe he was there in disguise, sans Gandhi cap, and Khadi kurta, pyjama, his one plate and one glass. How could he undertake a fast on an evening when Bollywood, Kollywood, Sandalwood, and other forms of timber were present in large numbers clapping to the rubbish of a feast out there?

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