Friday, February 07, 2014

People's movements in politics

Arvind Kerarival is the flavour of the season in India right now. He manages to grab all the media attention without spending the huge amounts of PR (Public Relations) money his peers, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi have been spending. And that's not surprising. His party has born out of a people's movement and hence had recieved support from the media right from the beginning. His mentor and former Guru Anna Hazare's IAC movement(India against corruption) was widely publicised. When Anna's movement failed, Arvind could not sit back and watch hopelessly from the sidelines and entered politics. After a great debut in Delhi in 2013, he wants to capture the national stage in 2014. He might well be the party pooper for the major alliances.

There are others too who could to enter politics on the fringes of a people's movement. In Italy, a movement of a similar kind called Five Star Movement is become active under comedian turned activist Beppe Grillo. They contested the 2013 general electiosn and got 25% of votes. They were the in the top 2 largest parties by number of seats won but lower than the majo political coalitions. They will probably get their turn in the next general elections.

Imran Khan in Pakistan has also been a social crusader before his entry into mainstream politics. He has won power in a province, and might get to power in the next general elections.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Open up

I have been growing a a person in the  last few years. I have come to start respecting different cultures and languages, trying out new cuisines and doing things which are not in my comfort zone.Flexibility and willingness to adapt is the hallmark of a evolving person. I look at myself wanting to develop into such a person. One who understands different cultures, open to experimentation and looking forward to discovering new things. If one is willing to keep one;s mind open, it opens up new doors of opportunities. It also helps you to assimilate with other people more easily and be acceptable.

I have notices that being a people person is not a challenge as long as you can understand other people and learn by observing. Being one dimensional does not really work today. It is the era of mutifacetness and multi tasking. Those who can't adapt will be found out. Very much like how a T20 batsman will be found out in a test match

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Sinful Tongue

It is so true that most sins are committed by the tongue. It can erase all the goodwill and good work that you might have done with a particular person or on a a particular project. It can harm relationships - the damage depends on the amount of venom you spew .

How many times we regret what we say, just after saying it, and wishing we never said it. And although people do 'take back their words' , does it really work that way?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

I happened to be in Delhi this weekend as it was the main city on the way to my destination - Khurja - to observe fieldwork. Khurja – unknown to many - is a small town in western UP some 150 Kms from Delhi. The town's population is only 1 lac in sharp contrast to neighboring Delhi's population of 1.26 crores.

The contrast was alarming in a lot of other ways too. The 150 KM seems like a time trail with a gap of 150 months between the towns. Apart from one being a small town and another the country's capital, yet the differences are too stark and even surprising for me.

First let’s talk of basics … Khurja full of overflowing gutters, and garbage strewn around and monsoons only made it worse. There was only one "khotwali' in Khurja where I couldn’t even spot one havaldar. Khurja had only one Hotel with only10 rooms! The town had no restaurants. Yes not even one! There was a roadside Dhaba where we had to go to have our fill. The main mode of transport within the town is cycle rickshaw and if you want to go to the railway station (5 KM from main town), then its a tempo rickshaw ride. People are filled in like sardines and I was lucky to be inside the sardine tin and not hanging out like some others.

In sharp contrast, Delhi was much better and cleaner, except some parts in East Delhi. Accommodation for visitors to the capital is not at all a problem as I am sure Delhi has more than 2000 hotels. In Delhi one can see that even security is very well taken care of. Transport in Delhi is well taken care of with its Metro or Rickshaw and the nice CWG buses which some commuters use.

Now let’s come to other things. Delhi is known for eve teasing but even then the advent of the metro has changed the way the women in the city feel about their safety. Girls are no longer afraid of being groped at as in the Blue Line buses and are free to wear what they want and travel in the ladies compartment of the Metro. In Khurja post 7 PM it is difficult to see women folk. Even in the day they walk in groups or with other male members of their family.

Cinema being one of my passions I was irked that Khurja has only 2 theatres. One theatre, which looks the younger of the two, currently plays the Imran Khan Starrer 'Delhi Belly' while the older one plays a suggestively titled ' Taank Jhaank'. This feels so distant from the many multiplexes sported in the capital city.

I strongly feel that this disparity in the distribution of developmental resources is somewhere close to the whole poor - rich divide which haunts India. The silver lining to the cloud is that there is hope though - I saw all the top FMCG brands in Khurja. Maybe not the really classy ones like Loreal but definitely the Garnier Shampoos and the Gillette shave gels were there.

All in all a question that comes to mind … if the FMCGs could see hope in the Khurjas of the country then why can't the government?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rains and the Economy

We all know the co-realtion between good rains and the economy. In India we always thought that as we are an agriculture domianted economy, we are very dependent on rains .

However an interesting thought came to my mind the other day. Rains are great for the urban economy too. Look at Mumbai as an example. The moment it rains, all rickshaw and taxi drivers who otherwise have no 'bhada' are in business. people who normally take buses / trains will take rick / taxi to reach their destinations. The other day there were no ricks at the arrivals where normally there is a serpentine queque of ricks and supply overshoots demand. Why? because it was raining and the rickshaws in the area had already got long haul passengers to bother waiting at the airport.

talking of rains, we in mumbai are hoping it rains well this year and fills all our water supplying lakes. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Morning after

Monday 26th April...the day after Mumbai Indians lost the IPL finals

the scene in mumbai in the morning was pretty much like a funeral procession. There were people who had mustered up the strength to get traveling, but the usual energy was fights, no pushing for seats

In office too people worked like silent zombies...the depression getting to them.

Quite a contrast to Sep 2007 when Dhoni and Co got the T20 world cup did the same Mumbai celebrate and air bus to welcome the heroes home!!!!

If franchisee loyalty is what IPL wanted, it's engraved by leaps and bounds into the Mumbaikar after this season. people already awaiting the Champions T20 and billing it as revenge time...

For the record - by Tuesday Mumbai was back to life ..the usual way :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

20 minutes at Churchgate Station

Sitting at Churchgate staion is an experience. Varied people. Varied Situations. TC's. Gaurds. People of foreign origin. People wanting to go outstation. What a melting pot

Last weeend, I was to meet up with a friend near Churchgate. Since I came in early, I decided to spend time at the station itself.

I took up a vacant seat at the of a platform and began observing.

It was very interesting. First the symchronisations amongst gaurds. They arrive well before the local arrives. Then they wait pateiently for the motorman gets down and then get in and take command. And when the big digital clock at the strikes time , they blow the whistle and set off the train. Some dont blow whistles though.

People coming in are also varied-some ask the gaurd where the is going, some ask the motorman who bought the local in. Poor guy looks at the indicator and tells them.

Saw a group of woman who loked like have come from the Middle East- asking if the train went to bandra. Problem is she asked the gentleman next to me in English and that guy had no clue. I intervened and helped them. :)
Next came along a young man wanting to go to Valsad. We (me and that other gentleman who doesnt know English) told him that train doesnt go directly and he will have to go to Mumbai central and get an outstation train.

Two young women who just got down from an incoming train were caught by the TC and asked for tickets. As it turned out these girls did not have valid tickets or their pass had expired. They were trying to convince the TC and trying to wriglle out of teh situation without a fine by smoothtalking. I wanted to watch what happens further, but just tehn my friend called up and I had to go. It would be interseting to see what finally happened. maybe they asked the TC to overlook their mistake as it was Women's Day that day...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ganguly's swansong

I really liked the way Ganguly celebrated after he got his 100 in the 2nd Test at Mohali....The joy of the man who knew that he was not going as a sore loser but on his own terms.

He is certainly not the unfit (atleast not as much as Laxman and Kumble currently) but still he had so much to prove to all...and that he did

I read some days ago on how India lost out on 3-4 years of Javagal Srinath in his youth, just because Kapil wanted to retire after getting to Hadlee's record...that is still happening with the current Inidan team...I only hope the careers of people like Mishra, Gambhir and Co go don't go that way.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Most memorable train ride of my life

I was waiting at the Thane railway station, for my train to Mangalore. It was the start of a 1 week break from my work, and i was eagerly waiting to meet my friends in Mangalore and kickstart the vacation. Only one thing was in between - the boring train ride.

What??? Boring train ride does not match with the title of this post? That's cos even before I could settle down in the train I heard a voice call out ''Hi, are you Gary?". I saw this pretty bespectacled face look up to me with a kind of unsure but friendly smile. The face was partially hidden under a fat book (I am not quite sure- I guess it was a non faction book on Ratan Tata) she was holding unto her face. I was quite unsure how she knew my name , and asked if we had met before. She smiled back at my seemingly ignorant question, saying that she and her sister (who had come to leave her on the train on the earlier station ) had read the reservation charts. I later came to know that they had imagined my as a 80 year old man ! (c'mon, girls - I am sure that an age column would be around somewhere :)

Anyways, I introduced myself back and then settled down on my seat. The next 5-10 minutes were spent in knowing each other's backgrounds and instantly I knew that there was some kind of 'Kismat Konnection' between us. There was definitely some chemistry between us (she had done her Grads in chemistry). We were both kind of very happy to have found just the right kind of company in that train. She soon put her book down and got lost in our conversations.

It seemed we knew each other from kinder garden and not from a few hours. She shared with me many stories from her college days, about her family, her hobbies. She was quite different in the sense that she wasn't a TV or movie freak, she spent her time developing other skills like cooking, driving , teaching ...the list is amazing.

I was amazed by her personality and various instances she narrated about her life. The journey I wanted to get done with earlier - now seemed like i wanted it to last a little longer. Her love for food, her phobias of public restrooms, her limited knowledge of the Indian railways, her anxiousness about getting a return ticket back to Mumbai ...everything was so cute.

We exchanged numbers and mail ids promising to get in touch later. We are to let each other know if the return journey was as exiting (both of us are travelling alone by train ..again...but from different locations on different days) I am sure there would be more meetings . talks and interactions with her, but am sure it will be difficult to beat this experience of the first meeting.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight - A review

The Dark Knight

Rating 4/5

One of the best superhero movies recently made (sorry for putting Batman in that genre - as Batman has no superpowers), this one is a thrilling ride all the way.

The opening few minutes , where the Joker and his bunch of cronies are robbing a bank is just the perfect setting for 2 1/2 hours of great entertainment. The script is the real winner - the characterizations of the major characters - specially Batman / Bruce Wayne, Harvey Dent, and the Joker are so detailed, that you actually feel like you are sitting inside the mind of these characters - as they go about their business on screen.

This is a Batman movie, and as in most Batman movies, the bad man (Joker) gets the meatiest role. The way the character is portrayed by the late Heath Ledger is simply remarkable. His interaction with Batman - in the interrogation room and with Harvey Dent = at the hospital , are scenes which are simply out of this world.

The movie is a bit long by Hollywood standards, but you wont get bored even for one bit. In fact the intermission, a sad compulsion in Indian cinema - was the only point when i got irritated.

The Dark Knight has already set records for the opening day in the U.S., with some predicting that this movie may well turn out to be the highest grosser of the decade.

Go catch it before it is taken out of the cinemas to make way for some mediocre Bollywood movies.