Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Statistics say that Chetan Bhagat is the most sold Indian author now. I am so very happy for him!! But I am not too sure as to how many of them have truly understood his books. Take Mighty Mayawati's latest brainwave! She has put forth a case of Quadra-fucation of UP. Definitely a bad hangover after reading (or hearing about??) CB's 2 states!!! Chetan Bhagat better run for cover!! Controversies these days seem to be the birth right of all celebrities. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a hue and cry that Chetan Bhagat's 2 states has influenced her decision!!

Okay. Enough kidding.

Mayawati has announced her decision to split UP into 4 smaller states, after having "obtained clearance" from her "Cabinet". Yeah right. If there was a cabinet and if there were ministers who would disagree with her. What nonsense! Am wondering what the Iron Man of India would be thinking if he were alive now. He toiled hard to get India unified and now he is seeing his work being dismantled systematically. Telengana, Gorkhaland, now 4 for UP... spare a thought for the kids learning Geography!! And what about us the quizzers who love to keep every google-able detail in our brains?? Mayaji, at least ensure that the names of the states being planned have a pan-India flavor.. We in south India will have trouble pronouncing Paschimmanchal and are bound to confuse with Poorvanchal and Uttaranchal!

Brr...Czechoslovakia seems so easy!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Go Occupy

Occupy your mind that is. Austerity measures is the new karma for Governments all over the world.(You know what Karma is.)Greece and Italy have new goverments. Euro is on a shaky ground. Crude is on a high and the stock exchanges are melting.Above all, the US is seeing an unprecedented movement. The Occupy movement. US folks are asking the Wall street to cut down their golden parchutes and handshakes for the sake of bringing the cost down.

As usual the greatest, top most selling writer of our times, Ms. Arundhati Roy has spoken supporting the movement.Imagine, Ms.Roy delivering such a lecture when our Indian economy is booming, well for the wrong reasons. Inflation is on the stairway to heaven while the dollar is appreciating against the rupee to the great happiness of all my onsite friends :) Unfortunately, it does have a dark side to it. The government is Stuck in a moment it cannot get out of. But, the show must go on. The only way to over come this is to be Comfortably numb.

A Momentary lapse of reason from the Goverment has sent the inflation sky high, adding Another brick in the wall to the common man's life. The delicate sound of thunder is Echoeing on The Wall as the Division bell of the classes is clearly sounded. While we suffer silently, all those Smooth Criminals are attaining Nirvana. Its true that They dont really care for us.But remember, We are the champions and we will rock you pretty soon! Try as you might to Beat it down, The Moment is not far away.

Get over it you biggies, these are Money for Nothing. The change is now Blowing in the Wind.Its a Brave new World out there as We are the Brothers in Arms who have no Fear of the dark. The Final Count down has begun to Run Free on the Open Road, to Change the World.

This is it!Lets come together to stop them from taking the Highway to Hell, after all its a One World!

{Just for fun :) :) :)}

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Latte, Espresso, Cappuccino and Filter Kaapi

It was a HUGGE surprise when our company decided to replace its old powder based coffee and hot (milk based) bevarages vending machine with  "branded" Cafe Coffee Day machines. The highlight? Freshly ground coffee bean based Latte, Espresso and Cappuccino and fresh milk to go with it!!

All of a sudden the exciting aroma of ground coffee is permeating our module. Paper cups got replaced with Stylish Mugs. The coffee break timings are reprogrammed as "As we come into office", "one hour before lunch", "one hour after lunch", "snack time coffe" and "just as we leave".

Each break has us flaunting a cappuccino or a latte or an espresso. Adventurous few did try mixing coffee and tea!! Well you can't blame them right? If we mix coffee and chocolate and call it as Chococcino or Mocha, guess CofTea is acceptable too!

This has been in practice for a good month and a half now. This is when the flavor gets used to and you are tired of telling your friends that "Oh I just had my double espresso coz its a night out today". Today, I honestly needed that shot and that is when I realized something:

Latte : This is nothing but Milk coffee, typically given to 5-6 years old in Tambram household
Cappuccino: A slightly stronger coffe where the Coffee "Dicoction" goes in first and milk is added next. Given till we reach college.
Espresso: Lol this is the best. Known as "Kattan Kaapi" in Downsouth TN and Kerala, a "Dicoction only" kaapi which is taken by people who cannot afford milk!!

Just not able to stop smiling at my cup of Double espresso + Milk .. ohh sorry.. my Double strong Filter Kaapi.

I'm loving it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Divide and Rule comes to Haunt us back!!

The black patch that our Cricket team is going through brings back very old memories of how our earlier captains were welcomed with "Chappal Mala" et al. Though the things are not so bad this time around, the definitive whacking we received from our colonial enemies is a rude slap on our face. The England tour
of 2011 has laid bare the fact that we lack a quality fast bowling department. Agreed our batsmen also failed fantastically. But it was the bowling department which allowed the English to mount unsurmountable scores for a Sehwag-less India.

Well our depleted bowling attack can also be blamed on the British. They have depleted our nation of the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. And the run machine Yousuf Youhana or should I call him Mohammed Yousuf? As I was reading Shoaib Aktar's claims that Sachin was afraid of facing him, I wondered what a team it would have been if were an undivided India!! The divide and rule and partition has literally come back to haunt us. Imagine a team line up with Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Gauti, Dhoni, Yousuf youhana, Kumble, Saqlain mushtaq, Wasim Akram, Waqar younis, zaheer khan (12th Man) and bench consisting of Raina, Yuvraj, Afridi, Harbhajan ......

This would have been the world's super team. The British sure had a lot of forward thinking done!!

Well if wishes could be horses...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Kranti

Only a life lived for others is worth living - Albert Einstein.

Anna Hazare. You can like him, hate him but cannot ignore him. Will Anna Hazare be the person who brings down Dr.Manmohan Singh? Honestly, I am waiting for Dr.MMS to drop his facade and say: "Enough is Enough. I am sick of being a person who can make no decision". What else can you expect from our ageing Prime Minister? I felt angered when Loh Pursuh LK Advani called Dr.MMS a weak PM. The whole nation was aghast when this tirade went on. But now, the entire nation says in unsion that our PM is not the person we expected him to be.

In the past 48 hours, the Central Government has come across as being powerful, authoritarian, confused, afraid, and stupid in front of world's second most populous nation. The Government has tried every trick in its bag to prevent Anna Hazare's movement, with little success. Had it ignored Anna Hazare and let him begin his fast, this movement might have fizzled out. No, they never learn from past mistakes. They made Baba Ramdev a hero by scooping down on his protest and now they have made Anna Hazare a Goliath, with the heart of David!

But unlike Baba Ramdev, Anna's protest is seeing unprecedented support from public, on its own. It is heart warming and totally shocking to see that the "Aam Admi" (this word being the only success of UPA) support swell for Anna and his team. All of us are feeling the effect of a corrupt system. We never raised our voice as we had our lives to lead.

No change is possible unless there are sacrifices. We need not look beyond our own struggle for freedom. We all know that Corruption is rampant and we have come to accept it as a way of our lives. The powers that be have also ensured that we live in a country where action against a corrupt minister takes years to come where as Police action against an activist can happen in 3 minutes. Irony is that both are lodged in the same prison. So, basically we are 1) Afraid to dirty our hands 2) Lack that conviction to see things to its logical end and 3) Lack that guidance for fighting against the system.

Now that Anna Hazare has emerged as that leader, the Government is in a fix. This government appears to be the most corrupt one since Independence and that must be rankling high on their minds. With the leader, starts a movement and with the movement starts a following. In the new age, Twitter trending shows the popularity of a person or an incident and certainly Anna Hazare seems to be red hot, so hot that the Government cannot handle. The Delhi Police must be at its wits end having to act as errand boys for the power corridors.

Maybe the Jasmine Revolution has reached Indian shores. This is not what our country needs. Dr.MMS should take moral responsibility for what is happening. I cannot believe this is the same person who gave economic freedom to India is now stifling the right to lead a corruption-free existence. Well, if things have come to this level, then Dr.MMS is surely responsible for this fiasco. Cutting up of the Indian Melon aka the License Raj has enabled corruption to take strong roots in India. Being the architect of our economic freedom, Dr.MMS is also responsible for its side effect: Rampant Corruption. I am sure after this term gets over (hopefully soon), Dr.MMS will come out with an autobiography or an authorized biography stating how helpless and singled out he was in all his decisions and that given a chance might like to redo or undo certain decisions.

Its things like these make me believe in proverbs like No use crying over spilt milk etc. Like Russel Peters says: "Some body gonna get real hurt today. Be a Man" Its time that our ruling powers wake up and face the nation like Men. If you are so sure of your decisions, dissolve the government, take moral responsibility for huge corruption in the country, cleanse your party and face fresh elections with relatively cleaner candidates. If you come out honest, we will support you too.

Quid pro quo. Game?

Till then, its high five to Team Anna. I think he is now following Gandhiji's words: Be the Change you want to see.

PS: This protest has not caused any problems in the stock market, Infact, Sensex has gone up by 110 points today. So our India Story is unshakable just that the side effects are starting to kick in big time!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Relativity of Wrong

Two and two makes four. Have we ever contradicted that? Or questioned that? What if two and two makes some thing else, a car? Odd? Rightly so. These are something which we have been told and we follow it with out questioning it in any way,as there is some logic associated with it. Issac Asimov in his book, The Relativity of Wrong questions this logic of ours. Introduced to his writing by my cousin, who researches on renewal energy in the US, I took to his works immediately. A self confessed Physics afficianado, the book was nothing short of a revelation. Physics is some thing which I can very easily relate to. This comes from my belief that everything in life is centered around physics and marketing/sales. Another loose end? Well, let me tie them together.Physics and its principles are present in every single activity we do. Right from brushing our teeth to walking, from lying down to eating, every single action is governed by laws of physics. Now why do we do all this? Brush, groom ourselves etc?? We need to sell ourselves every single day. The planning is what I call marketing. You may argue, biology, chemistry and maths all play their part in our lives. But still, the blood that flows is in a liquid state. The mitochondria in our cells, have a defnitive shape. The number of chapatis we eat is still a shape. The our very soul is encased in an entity called our body, which is again a shape. All these things are fundamentals of physics. So in essence physics rules the world.. or the science behind physics runs the world.

Is physics God then?

Relate to my first question. We have not questioned His presence. And people who do so are shunned from society. I dont say there is no God. To a beLIEver, religion/God is the faith he has in a particular set of rules that guides his path to enlightment. My belief is my strong relation to Physics. Doesn't this branch of science help us in understanding the arrangement of the planets in our solar system? The same Ragu and kethu etc that we follow, is explained by physics in a different name. Temples are supposed to be the residence of the God Almighty. It is believed that the altar is the concentration of the ominous powers. I dont contradict that either. Infact, the design of the tall towers and spires of temples have been constructed in such a way that the energy concentrates through it and is maximized in the sanctum sanctorum. If you take the hymns and mantras that are revered, you can immediately see that even these mantras hold the five forces viz, Water, land, sky, fire and wind to be the most important thing in world. Rudram, Namakam, Chamakam, Sree Suktham and Purusuktham are one of our most important hymns which I was introduced at a very very young age. When I set about finding the meaning of these hymns, I learnt that even these hymns sang praise of these five forces.

Sandhyavandanam is one of the customary rituals that has to be performed by every brahmin who has undergone Upanayanam. This is a ritual that is meant to wash away our daily sins. I love doing the Sandhyavanadanam as they have a logical flow to it. Starting from the Achamanam, where we take 3 sips of water to the way we finish it, there seems to be a reason for doing it. We utter mantras throughout the 20-25 minute ritual while being seated, doing breathing exercise and also standing up. Even the achamanams have been so placed that after a prolonged spell of chanting mantras, these drops of water really help in
quenching the parched throat. Also, the 10 Pranayamas in the ritual help in breathing. The "namaskarams" we do at last also help in stretching our body. Finally, all the mantra that we utter help in exercising our facial muscle and gives a chiseled look to person who religiously practices Sandyavandanam. Its another fact that I have stopped doing it because of sheer laziness.

Now, my family is orthrodox in every sense. And so its no surprise that my family is aghast when I say that I am not a complete believer. They consider that being blasphemous. And when I said that I am stopping my visit to the temples, they almost gave up on me. I tried explaining that I cannot view God in the form that we worship, an idol etc, they strongly believe that I am a gone case. If God is omnipresent, then what is the need of visiting temples? Moreover, I am a strong believer in the five natural forces, which I am able to relate to. I don't see what is wrong in this. If there can be a reason that I am able to relate to, then I will be more than happy to visit temples. Another major factor is the way temples are fucntioning these days. Its more of a commercial center than a place of worship.

If my questioning the age old traditional practices, visiting the temples have rankled seniors and the learned, is it not their duty to explain things to me and set me on the right path? I prefer a logical explanation to each of our practices, which I can follow without an iota of doubt. But unfortunately, people find it wrong and stop short of even having a discussion with me on the topic. All I asked was this: Why should we go to temple to worship? Why should we idolize? What is the meaning or logic behind each of our rituals?

I'd be more than happy to understand this and follow my religion in full earnest. Until such time, I prefer staying agnostic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Nano Dream

People at Tata House must be desperate I believe. What else can you call if the Tata Motors tries to push its Nano at discounted prices to one of its largest companies in the group? Last week, all of us at our company received an email from our CEO asking us to be a part of the Great Nano revolution by availing Nanos at 25k lesser than the market price. The clincher? Limited Edition versions of Nanos with Mr.Ratan Tata's autograph on it.

This comes at a time when the market is abuzz with talk about the colossal failure of India's automotive marvel. All the leading magazines and news channels have aired special programs and cover page articles on what went wrong with Tata Nano. With a sunk cost of close to Rs.3500 Crs, and the sales yet to really take off, its seems a bad move from the top corporate house to see sales through its affiliate companies.

Nano was undoubtedly the most expected automotive product in a long time. But when it did debut, the excitment fizzled out seeing a product that at best can be called a "4-wheel drive". The sporadic "thermal incidents" (as the company refers to the incidents of Nano catching fire) have created a huge doubt in the minds of potential buyers. This product might have clicked in a big way had been introduced in 1998 or there about. Now, with a growing income and better options to choose from, it does look like a misplaced product.

It is indeed commendable that Mr.Tata had a great vision to give India its cheapest car. I am still amazed by the way Tata motors captured the small load vehicle market by introducing Tata Ace, a well researched, relevant product. But somehow, Tata Nano still doesnt have that connect that Ace had. Ace served its purpose and opened up a whole new market. It had all that an Piaggio diesel load-auto didnt have. But with Nano, it wanted to people to migrate from two wheelers to 4 wheelers, which in any means is a huge shift. It was a mouthwatering deal to own a car within the 1lakh rupees bracket.

Neither did it stick to the promise of Rs.1 lakh nor did it fulfill the fantasy of people who wanted a real car. It looks like a richer cousin of a 4 stroke autorickshaw. The rear-engine's sputter just about underlines that fact.

May be the intentions were very right, just that the project parameters were too unrealistic?? I am happy that Mr.Tata could realize his vision.It will indeed be interesting to see how many of us in Tata Group grab this chance of buying ourselves a Nano. With a sizeable population of the country being employed by the Tata Group, may be the reaction to this special campaign will decide the future of Tata Nano.

Lets wait and see.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post is entirely mine. Any conclusion arrived at based on this article is entirely at the reader's discretion.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thank God, Its not Sashi Tharoor!

Oslo has been targetted by "home-grown" terrorist. Why is it that none of the nations are able to foil such dasterdly acts? I happened to see the photo gallery of the blast and shoot out victims on The Hindu a moment ago, and call it coincidence, I was listening to the "Bombay Theme" by AR Rahman. Unknown to me, I felt anger, helplessness, frustration and pity looking into the pictures. The grim reality was only hightened by the haunting tunes. What bloodshed!

Amidts all the reports, there was one customary note from the Chief of UN, Mr.Ban Ki Moon, deeply condemning the cowardly act. What bullshit! Buck up Mr.BanK-i-Moon.. your organization has become the most unbankable one. What is the point in having an organization that talks so much, has conferences all round the year with zero results?

It really brings us back to the funadmental question : Is the UN really relevent in current times? All they do is make a hue and cry when any disaster, be it Man made or natural, strikes and then go back into their air conditioned offices and conduct meeting. In a way, its like one of our IT companies, albeit a non functional one. Our IT Companies talk about being Proactive rather than reactive. Its another irony that there is no word called proactive. Its either act or react, isn't it? 

Crime in any form is deplorable. But when a global watch dog becomes a mute spectator and just reacts to all these acts, its just unacceptable. And thats why I said, thank God its not Sashi Tharoor at its helm. At least we are saved from knowing the UN's reaction through his tweets!!That would have been a total disaster!!

Last week Mumbai, this week Oslo and Kabul keeps erupting everyday. So,all you conspiracy theorists, out with your claim of Armageddon. For once, you could be true and it would be a pity as it looks like none would survive to record your achievement.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mumbai attacked - AGAIN!

Can you believe it??? Mumbai is under attack again! This is the nightmare I used to carry every single day I used to travel on the Western line from Andheri to Churchgate. And now, 3 bomb blasts in South Mumbai today.. at peak hours again. The details are not clear yet but already reports suggest that the blast has claimed 9 lives.

Though I do not travel by the local trains now, it still is shuddering to think of travelling in Mumbai. Already the security checks at major places and offices are too much.. with this it will only make life more difficult for Mumbaikars.

7/11, 26/11 and now this: 3 IED devices went off at Dadar West, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar today between 6:50 and 7:00PM claiming 9 lives and injuring over a 100 as of now.

Our prayers are with the family of the unfortunate few who lost their lives today and with the injured who are admitted in various hospitals.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crazy Crazy World

What has the world come to? Doomsday on 21 December 2012 was hard to believe even a couple of months ago. But the amazing turn of events in the Arab world makes us revisit the prophesy again. Most disturbing is the turn of events in Libya where the government got cracking on its citizens opposing mad man Muammar Qaddafi. This actually began in Bahrain which first unleashed its Army in the wee hours of the morning on its citizens in Pearl Square. Wisely though, the Royal House withdrew this audacious attack, fearing backlash from the Western powers. But no such effect is evident on Qaddafi who has the guts to state that all Libyans love him. The Mad man's regime continues and its effect is felt world over in tumbling bourses and spiraling oil prices. God help all of us who are just coming out of the worst recession in world history.

The major reason for the populist Arab uprisings seems to be because of the oppression which the people suffered at the hands of rulers who in some cases have been around for more than 40 years! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. How true is this in the case of Arab nations where absolute Monarchy or Dictatorship is the only power center? Arab citizens are of the view that a democratically elected parliament based on a nationally accepted constitution is the only way out. But is it really the case? They have just given vent to their anger on all the possible forums and have also successfully toppled long stable governments in the wink of an eye. Is it all really worthwhile?

Change is the only thing that is constant. But a change without a proper direction is like a rudderless ship. It will have its bottom torn apart. I have always had this opinion that a military rule in India will lead to a more organized society than what it is now. But, being in an Arab nation which is called a welfare state and also taking in consideration all that is happening around me, I can see that that too is not a correct solution. In fact I am confused.

To draw an analogy, let’s see how the state I grew up in, Tamil Nadu is shaping up. We have a democratically elected government running our affairs for close to 10 years now. How has it helped the people? Well, the average income of a household has definitely increased and the lifestyle has also seen uplift. But is the government ruling the state responsible for it? Not really. We have always yearned to be like our counterparts in the Western country so as people; we have made this state a safe haven for investment. We, as normal law abiding citizens, want to lead a life of contentedness and hence we are burning the midnight oil to ensure that we are wealthy and prosperous enough in the years to come.

But, is the government actually doing anything at all? I would say the answer is no. India on the whole is riding on the great Indian story with galloping stock markets and blazing IT Superpower. But, somewhere in the middle of things, we have forgotten to ask: What about governance? What about our growth plan? Things have come to such a position that we don't care whether its Ram or Ravan who is ruling the state as long as we get our monthly cheques. Slowly, the aam admi is feeling the pinch of inflation on his wallet. He is starting to question why prices have to double each year when the Price of a liter of milk in US hasn't changed in a long time.

With the plethora of scams hitting the country, our taxes meant for improvement of our country's infrastructure is falling into the hands of a few powerful lot who in turn enrich themselves, but cleverly masquerading in the public as a good government servant. For instance, the print, visual and audio media in Tamil Nadu is completely controlled by the first family. So, all the medium of propagation is already in their hands. It is they who will decide what its citizens need to hear, see and read. Is this any different from the likes of Qaddafi and his son? I don't think so. It’s a well known fact that booth capturing in the southern part of the state is a long time activity and is noticed, but ignored completely by the state and central officials. I am surprised people don’t see this as tyranny!

Cinemas were one area of relaxation for the public. But, now, even the movies are produced, purchased, released by companies and theatres owned by the first family and also reviewed and ranked high in channels owned by them. WOW! Amazing.. THIS can happen only in Democratic, Republic nation called India.

If this is not enough, the government decides that its people do not have enough outlets for entertainment, so it decides to give a TV Set free to all of them! And since that TV can accommodate 100+ channels, the government sees it fit to start its own Cable/Satellite TV! Little do people realize that this will take their view of Tamil Nadu to each and every home in a single move and also ensure that the channels held by them gets better revenue!

Wait wait.. you cannot completely write off the government, can you?? ;). It did have a brainwave when it realized that giving the people TV alone won’t suffice as they will end up being lazy and earn less. What did it do? Give Rice at Re.1/- per KG and other commodities at such low price that people will have sambar, pongal and vadai at home and keep watching the Government TV beaming the First family's political propaganda. The family head doesn't stop there. He further enters the visual and print medium with his books and scripts that are converted into movies that bomb without a trace. A good move to convert black money to white??

And if this is not enough, the MP from the ruling party also thought that he could get his hands on a couple of, if not more, telecom companies so that they also give free Mobile handsets to people for the next election. Thank God he is lodged in Tihar Jail.

With all this happening in front of our eyes, we are still content with it as long as our pay packets are on time and we can maintain the current lifestyle.

NO.. please don't get me wrong.. I am not asking to replicate a Tahrir Square at Marina Beach or MGR Samadi. Just trying to let the Tunisians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Yemenis, Bahrainis and Libyans know that grass is always green on the other side.

This is the world as it is. People come, people go. Corruption, Greed and thirst for power will always be there as long as Earth lives, just like the cockroaches.