Sunday, October 08, 2006

Do I need to Go ????

I am all geared up for my 3rd innings in the US and am hoping this will be a long one.

Suddenly I tell my self Whoa whoa whoa whoa .... Wait a Minute dude!!!!! Why the heck am I going to the occident for higher studies ???? What the f*** do I need now?

Money - No.
Better Job - You bet No.
Relationships - No. (I meant greenery)
Seeing the world - No.
Better Roads - (Probably yes but on second thought - no)
Good Safe Life - A Big NO - its still the gun toting Wild West out there...
"Quality of education" - NO man I will miss Arindam Chaudhury's Sunday Sh** Magazine re !!!
Food and Water - 'Warning: No Vada Pav in the US - another BIG NO
Desire to Bunk classes - No man we have done that en masse
Chance to watch good TV - NO NO NO-Not Glenn Beck Again - and DishTV India Rocks !!

What Is the mysterious force that is driving me towards America?? I am not a Poor Huddled Mass, am I??

I have amazed myself already of whatever I thought I would gawk at after going to the land of the free. My aspiration to experience western civilization have been fulfilled thanks to my two fruitful visits to the Silicon Valley. On the professional front, I have already experienced the life we now know as confined-in-the-cubicle-5-days-every- week life that I was expecting to enjoy after a quick 16 month stint at a Masters' degree abroad (lack of moolah kept me home till now). I already have made great friends and live in a great environment (minus Pune's Roads and Traffic) which I aspired to live after I did my Masters and secured a great job. I have already enjoyed life as it came and introspected my failures and smiled at (very few) successes which I planned to do once my engineering degree was over and done. In a just about a few weeks of work, I suddenly realized that the search for true love is futile and "the partner of your dreams" is just a floating myth often boasted by optimistic not-yet-disillusioned folks; sp that takes care of all my heart's desires. I have realized through the myriad machinations of my workplace that how easily the good become bad and the good looking become the star-performers or fast-track employees (note that I am neither). I will soon join a driving school so that in case the Industry busts I can drive cabs to survive and thus I will fulfil my final "ambition" as such. Since I have mastered the art of how to "pretend" to work I can now easily spend about a decade more pretending to work at the Indian IT/Software Industry and make cool cash outta it. I can marry some rich man's daughter and live an even more cooool life. My other meek ambitions in life included taking take part in the democratic process of my homeland which I have done by voting thrice, being member of a group of "thinkers" which I have done via the Pune Quiz club and to express my opinions on any and everything which I can do through blogs.

Then Why? What is it that makes me go to a foriegn land? Is there an ulterior motive that I am destined to accomplish? Or is it some mysterious force that wants me to go out of my homeland?

I can't cancel it now - My tickets are booked, my VISA date secured, my papers ready, my plan ready, my money ready. How is it that I am going for something I feel there ain't no valid reason?

Maybe the decline of my intelligence at the ripe age of 23 is the reason why this question still remains unanswered. The answer might be the same as the answer to that to what life, the universe and everything is all about - was that 42????

[I would like to un-burden myself by saying that the 2 times I went to US on B1 was sheer serendipity and I thank "project requirements" of a generous PSPL Client for those].

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: The Death of TV journalism

From today on, I can solemnly declare (or for my own good - can assume) that TV Journalism in India is dead and buried. From now on the only news I will be watching on Television is the evening 7 ' o clock "Baatmya" on DD-1 Marathi.

Are these stupid "Olds" (refrain from using the word news) channels begun hiring their news readers right out of Commerce or Arts Junior College (some of them look like and sound worse than my Bhaajiwalla)? Does it mean that the only criteria for becoming a news reader is to have the guts of reading out pre-determined script and and asking illogical ratta-oed cliche'd questions (Deepak .. O Deepak !!!!)?

Does it mean that the only qualification needed to become a news reporter (sanvaad-daata) for a TV channel is to possess a hand and a mouth - a hand to hold the channels Microphone and then yell out poorly constructed sentences amid senseless chaotic places and events and try to make a BREAKING NEWS out of every brownie points earned over rivals?

I have read and written about India's biased, lunatic and over-enthusiastic media. They have made a mockery of our well earned freedom of speech.
Please forgive us humble viewers for losing faith in television news .... even the great TV News personalities of India - namely Prannoy Roy, Vinod Dua, Saeed Naqvi, Karan Thapar, Barkha Dutt, Mrinalini Srivastava, Malvika Sanghvi, Arun Singhvi can't save the nut-houses that are our 24x7 News channels.

Lastly - Breaking News !!! GET DISH TV and stop watching the stupid news channels. Enjoy all the goodness from Cartoon Network to the History Channel in English (not the dubbed boring Hindi versions we get through these criminal cable-wallahs)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Freedom of Speech - Whatever is that !!!

USA First Amendment states the following

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Being a Liberal Democracy India should hav e a similar clause - We have something like this

  • To freedom of speech and expression;
  • To assemble peaceably and without arms;
  • To form associations or unions;
  • To move freely throughout the territory of India;
  • To reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;
  • to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of _16[the sovereignty and integrity of India,] the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

Nothing in sub-clause (b) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of _16[the sovereignty and integrity of India or] public order, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

This Mumbo Jumbo is enough for our (Indian) Government to impose sanctions on its citizens - Like they banned PTV in Kargil, blocked satellite TV for Kashmiris, blocking cellphones during the blasts, lathi-charging innocent youth who protest unjust policies or the recent ban on blogs ... Have we become another Pakistan with a senseless political and legal agenda to keep the public quiet...

Does this eventually mean that the sacrifices of so many Indians for getting her freedom are eventually going down the drain !!!!

Where is Mr Aamir Khan and his RDB bullsh** now !!

As far as the blog-blocking is concerned, we saw this guring the Gaurav Sabnis Episode and now we see it again - If Terrorists want to spread hatred, I guess us bloggers are mature and mentally sound no to fall into the vice and hatred that most of the terror organization are brainwashed for - (I hope enough virgins are available Up there - sadly our foeticides will add more numbers in heaven, I guess)..

And people's angst against our stupid TV journalism was vehement for showing the ugly and gory scenes - but many people are hurt and feel disgusted when they see death live especially people with weak hearts or high BP ... then I guess TV folks realized the potential ease of the Internet to spread the individual views and first hand experiences.. and seconded blog-banning !!! What the F is happening to the world :(

Saturday, July 15, 2006

No doubt India's Second Most Popular Sport

My first tryst with WWF came in as a strange pack of "Trump Cards" (No Donald in this one) during my 3rd Standard Lunch break . I don't know how but in less than a week I was totally hooked onto WWF - The small screen and the cards made the mere mortal wrestlers seem to be mythical Gods - Hulk Hogan, British Bulldog, Undertaker, Yokozuna, Bret Hart the Hitman, Shawn Michaels and many more superheroes became household common names. Strangely it was the school kids who were so much interested in wrestling. And with help of Star's Prime Sports channel and later Star Plus - Star Sports duo, there was constant access to the match ups.

I guess not even a single rupee was spent in propmoting WWF in India - it grew on its own. When I was in 7th or 8th, somehow TNT broke up WWF and a small lull followed only to bring on The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Trissh Stratus and the entire McMahon family out into an even more frenzied fan following - this time it was WWE - Sports Entertainment the ultimate place for kids to see and enjoy senseless violence, intense made up rivalry and theatrical dangerous stunts - better than Bollywood anytime dudes !!!

13 years after my first tryst with WWF/WWE I still joyfully enjoy the both the NBC Saturday Main Event in the US and the TEN Sports RAW and Smackdown every Monday-Tuesday nights in India. There is this strange vibe that makes you feel that the senseless pre-planned and practiced wrestling matches are real and lifelike. It makes you forget the painful realities of everyday life.

In my opinion TV wrestling is our nations second most popular sport which neither needs a BCCI or an AIFF or IHF -- it needs not a single rupee spent for promos or associatins or for training. It needs just the awe and cinematics and excitement through the small screen....

Saturday, June 24, 2006

America v/s India

The bay areas ethnic diversity is profound and quite visible. Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, African American and now South Asians mingle amoong the majority Caucasians.

Also as expected, except us techie Desis and a few richer Chinese, the other groups seem to be pretty much occupying the "lower middle class " here .. as far as income is considered.

I read some cool statistics of the San Fransisco Bay Area here.
Notable is that over the past few decades the number of Asians and Hispanics has almost doubled here mostly dou to a mix of growing opportunity and growing illegal immigration.

It is worth noticing that although from the outside it may seem that America is a nice racial and cultural mix, but outside business its always starkly visible that people from these ethnic groups do not mingle with people from other groups. Something very different from us cosmopolitan Indians, where even if we come from so many parts of India, Bhaiyyas, Mallus, Surds, Gujjus, Marus, Bongs, Kobras and Debras, we never distance ourselves from other groups. Maybe we are more secure about our identity in India. I think, America as an entity does not exist, so people here stick to their original ethnic roots and superficially pretend to be Americans.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Back in California

Well, I am back in the Golden state. This time had a fabulous Memorial day weekend spent in short but fabulous visit to LA - visiting Disneyland and Hollywood - Universal Studios.

Also This time the weather in CA is awesome.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Good Movie and A Great Book

I blew my weekend this time by reading a fantastic book DOT.CON by John Cassidy. To top it I saw (V) for Vendetta - the much awaited Wachowski Bros. movie on Sunday.

To start I have few comments about the Warner Bros. film - It is pretty cool. It has some really great action sequences, and fine dialog delivery and mature acting. The story though is a mixture of many classics - A pickle of "1984" by George Orwell, "The count of Monte Christo" by Alex Dumas, more recent "Along Came a Spider" By James Patterson. Set in London in the near Future, the background contradicts the free world we live in today, London (and UK) is under dictatorship by a Big Brotherish leader and the public is in fear of terrorism and biological warfare (by terrorists), (V) whose face is hidden by a Guy Fawkes Mask, takes vendetta using unrealistic methods. (please London, 2025 A.D. is not the Matrix) Also the Orwellian London setting is too 1984ish to believe. But the movie is a nice entertainer and pretty decently done it is worth the money you pay.

Next is the fantastic book I read DOT.CON, which is a delightful story of how the bubble of the late nineties and early 2000 was created and how the DOT COM bubble burst.
Strikingly familiar to previous stock-market crashes, the dot com bust did not create a Depression, only because the overall economy (the old economy) held on despite 9/11 and the aftermath of the dotcom bust. I recommend that every aspiring entrepreneur and wannabe investor and economist should read this book. Available in Paperback for about 200 bucks.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Al Syriana

Frankly, my friends invited me to watch Syriana and they thought that it would be an action packed thriller or something. Little did they know that this was more of a Geo-Socio-Politco-Economico-Non-Thriller film. Many of the 300 odd folks in the E-Square - Screen 4 were equally confused and later disturbed (most of them were engineering and management students and yuppies like me) by the fact that this movie was too much to take for their "specialised" brains.

However for me Syriana was a much awaited political, realistic and conspiracy-driven film that I was dying to see. (Also looking forward for "V For Vendetta" coming soon in Pune).

It is also an intensely complex and Multi-Threaded movie - follows the so called the Hyperlink Paradigm of film-making.

Here are the Threads -
George Clooney plays a CIA Agent and more looks like a fat Americized Sean Connery.
Matt Damon is at his ambitious best (I have liked many of his roles including the one of PRivate James Francis Ryan in SPR). There is a ficticious Arab Emirate whose control is t stake, There is a story of Pakistani migrant labourers working in the oil wells - Lot of hindi dialogues.
There are 2 Oil conglomerates finalizing a merger. The dept. Of Justice is investigating the allegations of corruption in the merger. There are Oil Barons, an Investigating attorney and betraying agents - all intermingled in the movie. Also there is Amanda peet playing Matt Damon's wife. You have to watch the movie and make sure you conect all the links.

Also the entire cast is well selected. The film is all about the Gulf-Oil and the politics, corruption and deception that revolves around control of the world's oil reserves.

Please read candid reviews later.

If you know the recent situation in the arab world (Pakistan to Morocco), I guess the film will definitely be thought provoking if not "thrilling" or "entertaining". If you expected that Syriana is an entertainer or block-buster then this film not the right dose of meidcine for you.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Where have all the Good Women Gone ???

[Continuing discussion thread here on Amardeep's Blog]

Its really shocking and apalling that female foeticide is co-inciding with wealth, irrespective of religion, caste, lifestyle or region.In India, abortions following the sex-determination tests have become a way of minting money for both India's high-qualified as well as quack doctors. Take the wealthy areas like Western-Maharashtra sugar belt, Haryana-Punjab, NCR, Greater Bombay, Gujarat, western UP and South Indian capitals; data from all these regions show that the sex ratio has declined to alarming levels. Now-a -days the dowry system has been superceded by lavish marriage-parties. My friend says in her community (Agarwals), the cost of a girl's marriage easily costs 50 lakh bucks (thats more than a hundred thousand US $). Indeed such mind-numbing figures are one of the main reasons for parents to opt out of giving birth to girl child and murder the baby in the womb. The doctors who gleefully abet this crime are all linked amongst each other. The Ultrasounds often is connected to the abortion centre and the gynaecologists. The lure of easy money has led to several cases where eventhough the child whose sex was determined was male, the USG doctor declared it (him) to be a girl (business for the abortion doc)!!!

To make matters worse its often seen in adoption centres that only boys are adopted. Orphaned girls are left in the lurch and you all know what happens to them when they grow up (unless they are very fortunate to get education). Also the percentage of girls dropping out of schools is alarmingly high than that of boys. Add the fact that still in 2006 girls are married off at ages of 15 to 16 (now it is 100% legal), we see that we are moving back to the dark ages of society.

In work too, it is so abvious that women are forced to the back-seat even when they deserve to be ahead. Be it panchayats, our parliament and legislatures, our companies, commercial and media establishments, we see that only a handful of women are in charge. India's inability to even out things related to sexual discrimination against women has been very poor. My sister who is studying post-grad radiology in the local Government College often has seen cases where parents never let girls get any check-ups done, but if its a boy they are ready to spend every last penny on him. I have also heard more first hand reports on various such things - like girls being forced out of school and also forced into work by their families.

In affluent classes and the middle class, the situation only worsens in previous mentioned communities during wedding time. When will people ever awaken? Coming from the city of Pune that pioneered women's education in India through great examples like Savitribai and Mahatma Phule and Anandi Gopal Joshi (India's first/second lady-doc), I am really ashamed by the depths that our society has reached in being so prejudiced against the female child. No matter what the government, NGO's or police does in this regard; female foeticide and injustice against the female child cannot be eliminated without socaial uprising.

Rang De Basanti, which wanted to awaken a generation, perhaps forgot concerns like this one and went ahead with a hopeless message to kill corrupt politicians. I hope some director comes up with a better theme especially like the issue I have discussed here!!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoons v/s The Islamic World: Blasphemous Or What

The hulla-bulloo over the Danish Paper Jyllands Posten's cartoons (links here and here) that caricature Prophet Mohammed took an even more violent turn with a shootout in Afghanistan.

While the west defends the freedom of speech and expression (as we all should), the Islamic world has erupted with anguish, provoked by French, Italian, German and other European (and later websites) widely publishing the same cartoons.

Being strongly anti- fundamentalist and pro - freedom of expression, I stand in support of the Danes who are using web forums (fora?) and other means to justify their right of freedom.

Too bad no one can police or censor the Internet completely ...

Nyaa na nana naa naa

PS: Will we be provoked by this brilliant Big Bazaar Women's Day Ad ??

is the question

I still hope IIPM sues me !! :)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mother, I bow to thee!

First of all visit here to know our national song fully (I have put the English Translation as the title).
Wee hours of Monday 26th December 2005. After 18 ardudous hours of cattle class travel, the 747-700 is finally gonna touch down at Chattrapati Shivaji International terminal 2A in Mumbai. At that point all I was thinking was - Vande Maataram.

So what if the clock was showing 14-50 at two fifty am outside the airport.

So what if the taxi drivers spit on the footpath (no longer sidewalks).

So what if I saw two more toppled trucks on the Expressway.

So what if I had to take my bike to office (at 10 am - though I just reached home at 8 am)

So what if I had to endure the same Nal Stop madness.

So what if I had to open the newspaper and read the news of some rich kid murdered for ransom by a son of a Bihari Judge (satra nyayadheesh).

So what if I watched on TV how the aam aadmi's government does not bother to pay the soldiers guarding the Kargil-Drass sector of LoC.

So what if another plane (this time a Jaguar and later Kiran Trainer and not a MiG 21) crashed.

So what if another senior citizen fell victim to rash driving.

So what if the baggage counters at Mumbai Airport take 1 hour to dispense luggage to passengers while every other country manages it in 20 minutes with half as many employees.

So what if the kachra petis are still overflowing.

So what if the Shiv Sena Split (again)

So what if Red Brinda is out all guns blazing with (Thanda matlab Toilet cleaner) Ramdev Maharaj (Yog va Ayurved dwaara asaadhya rog theek karne waale shraddheya swami .... )

So what if my tire got punctured again on Bhandarkar Rd while I tried to dodge Rainy Season leftover potholes.

So what if the first gift I got on my return from USA was a nice 3 hour power out by MSEB (Now the MAHA-DISCO !!!)

So what if my company makes sure I am home for 2 hours a day only.

So what I still cannot get my favorite cartoons on TV shown in English (that Hathway asked me for 4000 bucks for tht - huh I can download all that stuff in a tenth of that amount)

So what if the fruits of four years BE was conferred to me by a peon who shouted "Ikde thambaycha nahi ugach gardi karoon line lambvoo naka - he kon ahe Kulkarni Shriniwas - he ghe ani pal" !!!!!

The bottomline is that, whatever be - its my home land - my mother land, my sweet hometown, my very own Punya nagari, Mamma I was coming home.....

To her sujalam and sufalam and malayaja sheetalam self.