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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Some would say it was the Indo-Nuclear deal that did it, others would say it was the sound business sense of Dr Manmohan Singh. I was under the impression that this time around the hung parliament would make matters even worse. Since already 2 terms of coalition governments have concluded leaving a bitter taste with the people. There was also the growing predicament that a spineless 3rd front would emerge from the shadows. The war in the neighbourhood did make matters complicated for a host of parties.

All we observed in the previous government was the incessant bickering of the Left over non issues. The UPA was also challenged with the “no confidence motion” which was won. But not without its share of media coverage of the “cash for vote” scam, being termed as the blackest day in parliament where MPs waved wades of cash in the lower house. There were schemes like the NREGS and the farmer loan waver that made a inconspicuous but major impression with the rural junta. And last but not the least the RTI act which came into being, making transparent governance a possibility within the reach of the common man.

Campaigning began with renowned names campaigning in the sweltering heat. Some had the respite of honey to keep their voices intact, while others drank a lot of water to prevent dehydration. The entire campaigning was a farce meant to confuse people with unrealistic promises of bringing back money form swiss bank accounts, to rice at Rs2/- per kg. Some parties made little or no effort to campaign aggressively, knowing well that the”foot in mouth syndrome was rampant“, and any comments on their part would not make any head way with the aam junta. And of course there were the ghosts like the Q factor from the past with arguments geared to shift focus from the main issues, now even though also since the Q has been deemed innocent after wrangling for so many years and the real facts have been explained. With food costs and the lot in inflationary mode these seemed foolish promises at best. Interestingly the prospects of the 3rd front being ambitious enough to begin negotiations with parties on its formation. What made matters worse were the stupendous claims of each party leader for the post of the prime minister. The obvious fact being forgotten here was that with multiple leaders a third front was a shot in the dark.

57% out of the 714 million voted to say something and the verdict was out on the 16th of may, a truly memorable day in the lives of everyone. The euphoria was evident in the stock market the following Monday where ~98% stocks registered gains that day.Though the losers will have some one or the other to blame for their debacle, but there is a growing sense that the mature voter of this nation cannot be taken for granted by the hardliners. Development was the mantra with India being looked up, to lead all others in tiding over the recession hit economies of other nations.

With only 1% of the fines being imposed by the RTI(as of estimates of todays news paper), and the economy still suffering the after effects of recession, there is a lot the current government has to do in terms of immediate measures. Every newspaper is flooded with the dissection and analysis the next heir, but whether the younger generation will be handed the baton by the mostly sextegenerian government is an interesting question to begin with. As soon as the recession has past and the government has achieved stability i terms of its workings, i believe there will be a cabinet reshuffle where the younger hands will receive their share of responsibility.

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The year has gone by, and with all pomp and show we will be bidding farewell to the worst year as Outlook magazine would have it say, and Rediff would say that this year was not our worst terror hit year. The year that saw the election of the new president of the United States and the year where Tata would have thought of as not having existed, according to me.

From Chandrayaan, which went unnoticed due to the presidential elections in the states and the terror attack, to the Indo-US nuclear deal which was finalized this year.  On a personal front progress meant spiritual growth and a new direction to life as a whole, there were trying times when no solution was in sight but time takes care of all, where a new day is present after every dark hour. It was a time when charge was transferred to a new general secretary after having completed the tenure with two successful and well managed events. Realisation that any responsibility goes with the knowledge of a certain level of discernment with it. This year marked the move from a day full with a flurry of activity to a general slump in activity.

Who would have thought that the biggest business houses in India would be struck with trouble more than twice in a year, the Singur issue where they had to relinquish an investment of about 1500 Crores and then came the terror attack that gutted the Taj, which adversely affected their stock, but as today’s newspaper reads, the most expensive buffet has been created at the Taj for the new year. Though Nano was bound to be in the market soon, it will be delayed for a while. I believe with recession around the corner Nano will soon be the choice of transport for all. Speaking about recession the fall of the Indian stock market which was on a high of close to 21000, to half that value, with stocks plummeting to less than half their value on that high. It was a time to think about the safest investments on the block, with the stock market losing its lustre as a lucrative option. All said and done there are those for whom “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” so this slump could well mean boom time for some. Indian markets were much more stable to the pangs of recession than other markets, but as reports would have it the manufacturing sector has recorded negative growth last month, and another month of the same will spell the words “ recession” for India too. Globalization in its true form showed itself, job cuts, business slowdown, and sad stories of layoffs. What was unnerving was the way in which some people were told to leave their respective companies. Jet airways was the first example of it.

News is rife, after the terror attacks, of an impending war with the neighbors but hopefully the administration his a non violent solution to it. What a friend narrated to me made me feel that after all the terror attacks the indomitable spirit of Mumbai is applauded is just to make the financial capitals work horses run after the carrot fervently. West Asia sees the Gaza strip being pounded by Israeli air strikes and a ground offensive in the offing, I strongly hope we do not follow suite, some opine that this is an opportune time to stake claim for POK. The strikes could well escalate and continue for a while. On a more personal level recession spelt the return of a few academicians due to lack of funding.  News trickled in that well known labs closed down in the United States, touch wood it does not happen to others.

The question lies , where do we go from here……………..


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Reunion

There was a sense of nostalgia as i left the Insti that evening and was about to board the bus for home. it was Jan 2007 when we had organised the first of our batch reunions. This was an opportunity to attend another one, memories went back to that cold evening where 70 of a 180 strong batch took time out of busy schedules to spend time with old pals. There was an overwhelming expectation that this one would be similar if not better. I arrived home only to realise that i would have to fresh-in up and leave. There was a meet organised at the school from where we would go to the hill station nearby, its a fort really. One of the famous forts from the Shivaji era, called Panhalgadh. it was here that Baji Prabhu single handedly fought the entire army of the Moguls so that Shivaji could escape. The entire afternoon was spent at the fort playing cricket and recounting old memories of the school.
Later that evening we were invited for a get-together at a water park which doubles up as a marriage hall. This was a gathering of all the past students of our school, judging that the school is 50 years old i had expected to see a lot of people and meet all my teachers there. As i entered the hall/park, there was a sustained sense of incompleteness. There was a felicitation ceremony at one end, and naturally nobody was interested in the proceedings at that end of the park. On the other-side there was the much sought after liquor. people were queuing up for it in large numbers. Interestingly there was a projection of the 4 slain officers of the terror attacks projected on a wall, and some sort of homage being given to them. the question that struck me was “why this at a reunion”, of course the lack of interest was obvious in that direction too.That same image came to mind later that evening as i tried to recall where i had seen the same sort of farce being played out, i had seen the same pictures on a banner in front of the insti immediately after the attacks.
What is a long standing opinion is that “please do not politicize or capitalise on the lives given by these officers, in this manner. This being said since at both instances there was a general lack of interest or for that matter “respect” at the outset.  This is not why they gave their lives for, not for some vested interests by some groups whether political or otherwise. Its time to tell such people that they can’t gain false fame through such facades.

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There is one place that a family is together , always, everyday- its that time of the day when we all sit to eat. I believe where ever we are, whether students or the jobbies the time when we sit to eat is the time we think about mums food and in some cases I have heard people saying ”my dad can make this dish better than my mom” . The underlying fact remains, that there is a distinct association. Whether good or bad, parents and family are all we have. But there must be a lingering question about why parents?? Why family?

There I was sitting in my room, in the hostel with my roommate. There are times when you wonder whether you can take life or not, this was that time. It was a time when I was already wondering where life was going. It was a time to do what I was really meant to do. And here I was sitting in the room, in two minds whether or not to go to the lab. The roomie struck a conversation with me that pulled me into the realms of philosophy though he quite caught me off guard.

Later I decided to go to the lab, as I walked to the lab I thought about the conversation we had. The discussion started with the Kosi River and then went on to marriage. But first let me introduce my room mate. He is a person form Andhra Pradesh his knowledge of things and people are as profound as his name. The conversation that we had shed light on a lot of things, the things that it the conversation brought about marriage was an eye opener.

For e.g. we nearly fought about the fact that marriage as I believe about two families according to me, where as he begged to differ with me. I tried to explain that for the overall development of the children when they are born, the parents of the couple are needed, since of course the mother of the child many a times is not in a position to handle most matters. Another example I gave was that in case of any differences between the couple it would ultimately be the parents who would bring them together. His argument was that if couples who have chosen to marry at a later age of 25 are mature enough to handle their differences, and parents being there or not is not a prerequisite.

Well as the discussion went on he also mentioned that since we have been educated in good institutions we must be able to think differently and make choices accordingly and sensible one too. “Are we sensible enough” was the thought that cropped in my mind instantly.

I reached the lab, but there was still this lingering question of whether “ Are we………..”. Work goes on as usual.

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Cooking requires taste of the basic ingredients of the dish you are about to embark on. It requires you to plan your movements in the kitchen, as you would plan your movements in life; arrange all the spices and prepare the settings. Hope it turns out well and you don’t get caught at the drawbacks of the dish you have prepared, if a trained critic were to be around.

Talking about being caught, here I was wondering to my self whether it was me that they had brought it, part of me was slightly proud that I had been quarantined but then my conscience did not allow me to be that free. All and all it was interesting to be sitting near a BTech who was bragging about how he had raked in the votes in his wing. He did not know why I was in, and I was some-what proud that the stuff he was talking about was not even close to why I had been booked. There is something called a black list that each contestant gives to the election authorities so that his opponent does not have the edge on him. I was not even on, but much later I found out why I was in.

It all happened during the hostel elections; there is a place, lets call it the “jail”. I happened to be the passing out General Secretary. So evidently I was the center of all attentions. I had a few prominent friends who I was looking out for. There came the campaigning where I conveniently stayed out of all attentions., People thought that since I was silent, I was out of the game; I wanted to be out, but eventually there are external forces that make you do things that you don’t want to do. Then came the day of elections, and I was in my lab working, and coordinating some activities, later realized that I should have done indirectly. It was a classical case of being on top of the world as long as you are not caught. I was called to the Dean’s office for some official work relating to the elections held in my hostel (that’s another big story 🙂 ). After which I just went for a cup of chai, where I received a call from the election authorities about my whereabouts. They asked me to wait there, by the time I knew what was happening I was on my way to the “jail”. I went, had no choice of course

Later I realized that one of my own friends had given it all away, and I became the most sought after person during the elections. As it happened someone I knew was there in the jail, he was on someone’s blacklist, and that did not go down so well with him. There were quite a few people in there, some of whom had come to enjoy, there was tea and samosas being served, I guess that’s since the duration of the wait was very long. I sat at one side with this BTech student and began listening to what he had to say, as I said before. He was quite enthused. I also heard that there were some people who were caught with more than 1 cell phone. It took some heckling and the promise that I would leave, leaving behind my cell phone. That they assumed would restrict my activities. On the contrary, I went to the lab and began “working again”.

While I was there, I was intrigued by the people there, some were complaining at the injustice done to them, while others as I mentioned were enjoying their stay there, some like me were just thinking of innovative ways of getting out of there. We always want to resort to unfair means to get things done, without that nothing really is possible(!), I guesss. And the worst part is that some feel proud to do such things :(. The notion of a clean system with only the meritorious, getting their dues is not really an option. Only those who are meritorious and have an aptitude for such trivialities get ahead with such things, or those who have the power to push their way through. Most of us just like to remain in the shadows rather and enjoy the benefits that such a world has to offer (people who have contacts). I feel the knowledge of such trivialities is necessary in a scene that you know the planned moves people have in place, in this world of “the crab in the basket” to get ahead. It would not be befitting to say that everyone needs the knowledge but some of us are not lucky enough in life so as to counter all the variables necessary to get ahead. Oh! did I mention that after the elections I had this discussion with my counter part of another hostel that we have to do away with such a system of unfair practice? I guess you need to know how the system works to bring about any change.

As the results were being announced that evening, I was sitting outside the election office with a few friends and the person I was supporting. he won of course and earned the worthy sobriquet from me for being “PO***”

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