Thursday, May 31, 2012

May'ed out [151/365]

Ah, so May is always a special month for me.
As a preschooler, I remember how I'd sit with my 'Kwality Street' chocolate box every morning until my birthday.

While the world celebrated the first anni, I have this distinct feeling that Osama didn't get his 99 virgins when he was gunned down and given off as fish feed. I hear his plane crashed into the tall towers of Hades.

FB fell flat. Period.

Didi in the news again. This time she wants a interest-free loan and her choice for Prez. I'm beginning to believe Didi actually wakes up every morning and plans ways to screw her allies.
Is there not going to be an end to this?
What the hell are the 'intellectuals' doing?

Raja ban gaya free man.
Our politicians for want of real non-issues squabbled over a bunch of satirical cartoons that were drawn half a century ago.

Aamir Khan debuts on the small screen with Satyamay Jayathe. The nation sits up and takes notice. Master stroke!

The Supreme Court orders a ban on sun films on all four-wheeler vehicles across India. Difficult to understand why the apex court in the country had to make such a decision which makes very little sense.

IPL and SRK. Nuff said.

All in all, this was an exciting month and one that won't be forgotten in a hurry.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Against the tide [146/365]

How can a politician with no proven educational qualification or the means to generate revenue come to be the guardian and controller of seemingly endless wealth? The story of YSR Congress president S Jaganmohan Reddy make for an interesting chapter on wealth management (if not a Bollywood biopic.)

The son of former Chief Minister of the southern Indian State of Andra Pradesh YSR Reddy, Jagan as he is fondly called multiplied his income a 100 times in the few short years that his father was the chief. While his financial exploits were there for all to see, his father's political clout ensured that the Congress didnt move a muscle when daddy was around. Fast forward to Sept 2009, pappa dies in an accident and all hell broke loose.
A power struggle that threatens to divide the State ensued and the Congress party at the center in a sudden fit of morality and misjudged justice decides to replace the vacuum left by the hugely iconic YSR by a puppet.

Predictably, the son doesn't take this kindly. And rightly so.
Its a child's guess that the Congress party knew all about the dirty laundry and probably got a few goodies for themselves too. However replacing Jagan, with a puppet of their choice, without placating him first was a bad move. Surely, Jagan had his hand deep inside the cookie jar when his father was killed, but he knew how to play to the masses too. Floating his own flavor of the Congress party, he campaigned and fought for sympathy. CBI, the politician's tool of vengence swooped down to put him and his associates behind the bar. As if on cue, his party swept all the sympathy votes. That's one for Jagan, Nought for the Congress. 

While Jagan is admittedly the richest MP in the history of modern India, has the Congress bitten off more than they can chew this time?
Has India's most powerful lady met her match in Jagan?

While Jagan is clearly not as suave an administrator as Modi, he is smarter than Didi because he still has the sympathetic power of the people he rules.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Everyday Heroes [145/365]

Source: Times Of India
What does poverty mean to you? Does it make you loose all faith in God?
What would you do if you were a young aspiring student in a family that is struggling to make ends meet?
I'm sure we have all read about people who gave up on their lives when the going got tough. I often ask myself what drove a person over the edge to kill themselves.

Today, I read of a young woman who overcame her circumstances and excelled. (Read the heartening story here)
Vikhitha Shetty, from the southern coastal city of Mangalore, lost her father, Vikram Shetty, when she was in high school. Her mom has since been struggling to make ends meet with her mom earning about Rs 500/- (approx $10). Vikhitha not the kind that would brood over the lemons life has dealt her made sure she made her family proud.

By scoring top marks in her pre-university exams, she is proof that working hard has never hurt. While more fortunate students in bigger cities struggle, amidst all the trappings of luxury, in their exams, she is a shining example that you shouldn't really stop dreaming big.

Bravo, Vikhitha! Thanks for showing us true grit!

Other Heroes that I've chronicled:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Petrol on a roll [144/365]

Back when I first arrived in India in '96, a litre of petrol cost just Rs 25/-. I'd even put four litres of fuel out of the pocket money I got every week.
Over the years, I've learned to worry less about the cost of the fuel I put since I've always owned vehicles that were very fuel efficient.
Reading about the latest fuel price hike. I wonder how many of us are really going to change our fuel guzzling ways. Will you stop buying that SUV? Will you stop buying that 150CC motor bike? How many of us will pick up a cycle to commute? Hardly.

While the current price hike is admittedly the steepest, this will not matter in a few months.
Over the past couple of years, we have been fed on a steady diet of hikes in small measures. State owned oil companies have been calling the shots for a very long time when it comes to how much and when they would like their 'bonuses'. Over time, we have become immune to hikes that are irrational and unreasonable. We have come to accept that this is necessary for our companies to survive, and flourish. The government has deliberately let the currency
weaken over the past four years and earned the notierity of slipping even when we could buck up.

So, as Indians flock to fuel stations to tank up their bikes and cars, I ask the pertinent question- Is this hike warranted?
Chances are you will never get a straight forward answer to this, no matter who you ask.

All said, with the kind of protests coming the government's way, I can almost predict there will be a partial rollback soon.
Shocked and Awed!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Murder Who Wrote [143/365]

Crime forensics in India is nascent.
I could be killed for this statement. As much as the truth hurts, a dozen or so homicides in the past couple of years have shown how proving who and how crime has been committed can be like the blind men feeling an elephant.

Four years after her murder, Aarushi and Hemanth is yet to get any semblance of justice. Her parents on the other hand are probably regretting the fact that they demanded justice in the first place. Held guilty by popular perception, the parents are now hoping they never stood up against a sloppy investigation in the first place.

Today, yet another murder. A software professional working in a technology company in Bangalore was found dead. (The gruesome story here)
What hurts more is not why the young man killed himself, but how the cops are quick to assassinate the character of the victim. There is a shocking lack of apathy and respect that victims and their families get in unnatural deaths. I found the conclusions that the police drew about the victim a few days after the death particularly distasteful. But hey, what the heck. Sreeraj is not going to come back to fight for the right to be treated with dignity anymore, so we'll let this pass.

We have animal activists and even environmentalists.
We are a race who are quick to judge and I may be old school, but I believe victims deserve respect, even when they are long gone.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Facepalm moment [141/365]

Okay, I gotta admit.
Normally, I'd be happy when I am right. But this time I wasn't feeling too good about being proved right.
I'd (rightly) said FB had made a huge mistake valuating themselves at the price they did. (Read here)

At the boroughs, the stock debuted at $42.05 but soon plummeted to $38.01 before settling down below their issue price of $38 upon close of market hours.

So what does this mean for investors like you and me?
The closing means FB is worth about $105 billion, which is a shade more than Amazon, McD's, HP and Cisco.

While this should not be a cause of concern for people like us, I think FB disappointed since nearly everyone expected double digit increases on the first day. Clearly, not everyone 'liked' FB.

However, not all is lost here. Looking ahead, the company now has it's task cut out for them. The focus lies in understanding how the company will remain relevant in the mobile scheme of things.

Facebook needs to deliver on their promise to be the bigger better deal.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

For your benefit... [139/365]

I enjoy watching 'Keeping up with the Kardashians'.
For the uninitiated, the show trails the life and 'struggles' of Kim Kardashian and her family.
The show is also a case study of how a socialite can achieve stardom and become a faux celebrity because of a 'leaked' sex tape. While it is fun to see absolute nonsense, you'd also realize how a well oiled PR can do wonders for lady who clearly does not have any talent outside the bedroom.

Reality shows have always been a wonderful way to stretch that 15 seconds of fame into a lifetime. 

Closer home, Shilpa Shetty has shown us how a B grade actress who was on her way out can actually turn fortunes around. I've been amazed how Ms Shetty made lemonade out of the lemons that life dealt her.
She got rich, married richer and even has a perfume of her own.

Veena Malik, the former girlfriend of a shamed Pakistani cricketer, is now a celebrity that makes Indian men go weak at the knees. 

Sunny Leone, the pornstar that has done Indian men proud abroad, is reviled and loved at the same time. And depending on who you ask, she is the Indian to emulate. Conceited Indian men and closeted women will argue that making a movie with Sunny in the lead is bad for Indian culture. But you got to admire the Bhatts for the nerve they showed in getting the one woman who can seduce Asians and Americans at the same time, to star in a movie franchise that first showed how raw sex could be sold in mainstream Indian cinema.

Bring on the bikini wax, hurray to Sex!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Indian Feud League [138/365]

Source: The Internet
I enjoy watching the WWE. Or rather I used to. The feuds between the Face and the Heel eventually tired me.
The actual fights were far and few in between.

The Indian Premier League is cricket's WWE.
SRK has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this season. Sometime ago, I wondered (aloud) why we let SRK even get away with all the tantrums he throws.
He kicked up a storm by smoking in a stadium during a match. I mean, c'mon. In full glorious view of a billion people, I begin to think if he even realizes that he is a role-model. If not to the millions who worship him, to his children. In the West, smoking in public is such a giveaway to how prehistoric your mind is. I know of several westerners who would be so careful as to not light up even when they are in India.

Besides, some pointers on etiquette, someone's also gotta remind the show-Monkey that IPL is about Cricket and not the fight league.
Roughing up security guards, while serving the choicest 'gallies' will be something that SRK will be (in)famous for a long time. Which got me thinking:
So SRK got really pissed off when a bunch of lowly guards stopped him from sheparding a bunch of gigly teenagers into a restricted zone. I wonder why he didn't rough up the US Customs Agents when they stopped him. Twice. Couple of reasons I can think of.
This is India. He is the King of all he surveys here. He knows he can bully his way through anything he is arrogant enough to demand.
In America, he is just another Asian. If he so much as raises his pinky, he will be thrown out of the western seaboard faster than he can say 'My name is Khan'.

Suck on that, SRK.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just(mal)ice [137/365]

Talk to the hand Source: The Internet
15 months ago, when the government finally shoved it's telecom minister behind bars, the collective Indian conscience sighed and wished that corruption would end. After all, the government did make all the right sounds and told us all the things we wanted to hear. Justice, is seemed, finally arrived.

Today, two days after Raja was released on bail, it looks like hell did freeze over.
Jaya'little'ta is understandably upset. But how did he manage bail?
I mean the proof of all that corruption was there for everyone to see. Or did it disappear a'la Adarsh documents?

Released on a whooping surety of 25 lakhs, he was given a hero's welcome. Nonetheless.
Ofcourse, from the other side of the fence, the former minister has vowed to not interfere in the investigation and come clean. And seeing how the UPA will not stay for long at the center and understanding how the law enforcement works in India, he could indeed come cleaner than a baby bottom after a change.
C'mon, who are you kidding?
In a land where a petty party worker can wield incredible clout, how much more can a Union minister do?

Last heard, Raja is back in Parliament. Nice.

Next scam, please?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Games Men Play [136/365]

Men need crutches. Men need religion.
In India, Cricket makes for a lousy crutch.
In a sport that is played by a dozen countries, it would seem easy to excel. It should be easy to resist the lure to cheat. Sigh!
Indian cricket has always been mediocre. Driven by corporate greed and short shelf-life, players who break into the big league find it hard to resist the lure of million dollar betting scams.
And just in time. A day after a national television sting on a bunch of players in the IPL, Indian cricket's governing body BCCI seems to be reading statements from it's time-tested book of PR responses.

Predictably, there will be an inquiry commission. Suspects will be framed, arrested and released. Allegations will fly. Denials will follow and the whole scam will have a shorter public memory than that of a housefly.
And until the next scam all the players will go back living a life less ordinary.
This is the mystery of our religion. We know our gods are less than perfect. Yet, we'd rather let them be than regret worshiping them.
The Poster boy of Indian betting Source: AFP

Among the many things that ail our public conscience our endorsement of sports-persons who sully the spirit of sport is what makes us look bad. We know what

needs to be done to punish temptation. It's been done before, but the fact that we have newbies indulging in this sin is a dangerous trend. In the corporate

world, when freshers who start a career indulge in unethical behavior, the employee is terminated and made an example of.
In public life, however, there will be an inquiry and an acquittal.
No matter what.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Adam and Eve! [135/365]

This is something nearly every person does yet won't admit it. One habit that is very addictive and totally exciting. Bordering on being taboo yet nearly everyone who has done it once will testify to how wonderful it is.
One habit that is frowned upon if you'd do it outside but is almost commonplace indoors.
I know lots of people who do it yet and they simply love it.
Adam and Eve were the first people to do it.

And no, it is not what you had in your dirty minds.
I am talking about staying nude. And no, I'm not talking about those awkward instances when you realise you don't have anything to wear after you've stripped or when you are singing to your heart's merry at the bathroom.

Recently a very dear friend of mine confided in me that her husband and she walks around au naturale when they are at home. Considering the hushed tones she told me this, I assumed that this is not something that would normally appear in her regular non-confidential conversations. I didn't think much of this then but then this is something that most Indians would never discuss about.

Walking around nude is taboo. And somehow, the concept of being naked at home is indecent and will make you cringe.
And you'll immediately try and picture them in their buff walking around and sitting in that sofa, doing chores and stuff, all in the buff and cringe. More so if you've only recently visited their home.

But there is nothing dirty about being nude. It is infact every bit as liberating as singing in your bathroom. Ofcourse, you will have to adhere to a few basic rules and here's some I could think of to make sure your transition to a nudist is as trauma-free as possible.
  • Always make sure your neighbors are not getting a course in human anatomy.
  • Do not step in to the balcony while you are still in the buff. You don't want the neighbors going blind at the sight.
  • Never cook in the buff. Especially if you are cooking Chicken. And if you have windows and a pesky neighbor who has the annoying habit of peeking in every time they pass. Trust me, you don't want to hear it from your landlord that you have been caught flashing the pan.
  • Always make sure you have some thing decent to wear handy in case there is someone at the door. You wouldn't want to start raiding the cupboards then. And no, fig leaves are not an adequate option.
  • Be aware of the laws of physics. Tinted windows at night is not really going to hide you when you turn on the lights and you think no one is going to see you. Loser!
I'm pretty sure there are a few more, so I ask my esteemed readers/secret nudists to contribute generously.
And no, I was not nude when I wrote this. Atleast not yet.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Man Down [134/365]

Spot 'the man' in this picture
Man has always been the provider, the hunter and the gatherer.
He gets out before dawn in search of food, and comes home so that his wife and children can eat. He is the strength of his wife, the sole breadwinner of the family and the role model for his offspring.
This was how it used to be when men started living as a family, probably in prehistoric caves and huts.

Thousands of years later, Men have evolved.
Men are no longer the sole breadwinner of a family. He is no longer the hardworking of the two, and is definitely not the best role model for his children.
Across India, there is a sight that is getting increasingly common. Drunken men sprawled on footpaths, in drains, by the sides of roads and every place they can possibly fall onto. But not all of them fall into a stupor on their way home. Nearly every passer-by will see the man down, but not one will come to move him to safety or better still, help him home. But some actually want to make it home by themselves and stagger dangerously into the path of oncoming vehicles. I've once encountered a man who was so drunk that he could not even open his eyes, staggering into the path of trucks and vehicles on a National highway. I stopped to help him get off the road but he would not have it. I finally had to use force and make him lie down by the side of the road away from danger. After more than a minute of struggling to get up, he passed out. That would have not been the last time he staggered. 

What makes a man so addicted to the bottle that he drinks so much and passes out?

A former friend of mine was a very active social drinker. He started when he was still a teen and could handle copious amounts of booze. I could barely handle a glass of wine but he could easily down several bottles of vodkas. I've never understood what made men addicted to alcohol but it could be because the booze made you sound smoother, more slicker, funnier and the life of the party. 
I've never liked the smell or the hangover. But that does not mean I never drank. The last time I drank was 7 years ago, on New Year's eve. I remember I had the mother of all headaches (aka Dante's 4th Circle of Hell) the next day. That day I promised myself I would not drink and I think that is one promise I've kept since.

Every night, as we pass by minor by-lanes and roads adjoining bars, we see men sprawled out with a leg sticking out perilously onto the road, or with their heads falling off the pavement as if ready to be guillotined, in positions and places that he would otherwise be embarrassed of, two things come to my mind.
  1. That's one less husband and father who'll be home for his Wife and kids.
  2. That's one more wife who will worry where her husband is tonight.
But then, this is not something that strikes only the poor and disadvantaged, but the rich and famous too. Come New Year's eve, you'll see men and women sprawled across dance floors and bathrooms just as well too.

Is this evolution?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Movie Review: Boredom Avenged [133/365]

source: Wiki
Hollywood has always tried to better itself. That might explain it's obsession with sequels and prequels.
And looking at it's BO record, I think they have done a pretty good job.

America's obsession with superheros is legendary.
The past couple of weeks has been a treat for fans of the Superhero genre.

Avengers. Opened a week earlier in India than the US, to packed audiences, broke all BO records. It is set to rake in a billion $'s and is one movie you cannot miss.

Directed by Whedon, known for his supernatural genre with series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, this movie has an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Clark Gregg (Coulson), Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Pots),Tom Hiddleston (Loki) among others.

The movie begins with Loki's encounter with The Other, an extra terrestrial race that has been plundering other planets, to retrieve the Tesseract (which is the source of limitless power) in return for an army with which he can conquer and subdue the Earth. Meanwhile, the Tesseract opens a portal that brings Loki back to Earth. Using his scepter he enslaves a couple of Nick's best agents and escapes. To deal with this crisis, Nick Fury reactivates the Avengers program. The Avengers congregate and are forced to work together. The conflict that their separate egos cause and the way that they come together to fight is a treat to the eyes. 

Strip the movie of its superheros and it is just a movie where the good fights over evil and eventually wins. There is an uncanny resemblance to a dozen other superhero and extra-terrestrial movies but Marvel Comics does a pretty decent job bringing a new twist to this genre.

Technically, it has one of the best action superhero movies that I've ever seen. There isn't any one single actor who outdoes the other, but where all of them excel. Even the supporting cast get meaty roles.
But does this movie really make use of it's 3D? While some of the sequences are mindblowing, I think it could have done better. That said, this is one movie you definitely need to watch in a movie hall in 3D. The climax is cinematic excellence.
It's humor is witty and never stale. Tony Stark with his sarcasm and satire sparkles, Hulk amazes, Thor is fresh. Chris Evans, who many will recall from the Fantastic Four series, brings his own brand of humor to this movie.
'Why can't Bollywood movies have humor that is non sexual and tasteful?'

Would I recommend Avengers?
Hell ya. And I would even suggest that you watch it more than once just for the kicks.

My Rating: 8.5

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Atithi Devo Bhava [132/365]

source: crimeanddeviance.
Today, I read an article that is bad news for Incredible India. A french tourist was raped before she died of an drug overdose. What is uncanny is how this death has gone under-reported in a country that is obsessed with rapes and murders a la Aarushi.
Searching for more information, I could barely find any mention of this gruesome murder but I did manage to dredge up a wealth of information and grim reminder on how our 'nation of extremes' is female unfriendly.

Four years ago, on a cold February morning, British teen was found half nude and dead in a Goan beach.
What followed were months of 'finger pointing' and insensitive journalism. While Indian media picked on the 'bohemian lifestyle' of the teen, her childhood, her family and her sexuality, the British harped on how sexual abuse is a common occurrence in India. All was fair in rape and grim murder.
Many years later, when the guilty were brought to book all was forgotten.

The government tried damage control but it was too little, too late. While there is a lull in raping foreign tourists, our women are not faring too well either.
To think we have always projected ourselves as a nation that cares for and loves it's strong women, rapes like this are really bad for a whole lot of reasons.

Officially, we've had an average of one rape every quarter since the turn of the century. Unofficially, the numbers could beat Sachin's batting records.

Strangely, we are still the only country that wants to call itself the house that welcomes and treats it's guests as God. But looking at the statistics, we are more like demons waiting for our meal of flesh.

GuestSpeak: When pictures speak

Carter's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph
Before I come to the point it’s important for one to understand where I am coming from. Here is an account of a relevant story that I feel would help me express my feelings and the message I am trying to convey in a better way.

"I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken (recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek) if I am that lucky" excerpts from suicide note of Kevin Carter who took his own life by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the passenger-side window. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carter's prize winning photograph was sold to the New York Times; the photograph first appeared on March 26, 1993. Hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask the fate of the girl. The paper reported that it was unknown whether she had managed to reach the feeding center. In 1994, the photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

My inspiration to write this post came from above mentioned story, my own real experience follows -
Few years back I watched a programme on migrating animals, where an injured baby baboon unable to keep up with pace of other baboons is left behind by the mother. Towards the end of the programme they showed baby baboon being watched by some vultures while mother though concerned about the baby but left with no choice decides to move on with the rest. Being an animal lover I could not bear the thought of baby being attacked by the vultures so I immediately switched over the channel .I kept on brooding over and wondered why couldn't the camera man rescue the baby, treat him, feed him and drop him where he belonged, I cried and cried for months together finally went into acute depression. There on I am not allowed to watch discovery channel. I totally understand the law of nature and phrases like 'Survival of the fittest'. But we as human beings and an intelligent species can avert few of the tragedies that we tend to ignore.

Several times we watch a man or a woman beaten up in an inhuman way or someone run down by a vehicle bleeding to death I can cite any number of such examples that I must have watched on news channels. In each case I have simply switched over the channels for the reason that neither I can bear the inhuman act nor insensitivity of the camera person, or an anchor who takes pride in narrating the whole incident that took place in front of his or her eyes but made no effort to save a life. Their selfish concern seems to be making breaking news that goes like “murder caught on camera" and I wonder is the camera person/photographer as a human being not  morally responsible to avert such tragedies or  should they simply concentrate on what they are getting paid for ??

There is a need for all such photographers, camera men, journalists to take a lesson from Carters case that was much criticized for having not saved the child, who while on a trip to Sudan, was preparing to photograph a starving toddler trying to reach a feeding center when a vulture landed nearby. Carter reported to have taken the picture, because it was his "job title" and leaving.  He came under criticism for failing to help the girl.

The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this of Carter: "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene."
Alka Narula (c)

Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Alka Narula.
Find more information about her at Indiblogger

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Bubble burst [131/365]

It's officially the largest gift of money that any IT Company has got so far. And naturally as it comes, has attracted more than it's share of brickbats.

A couple of days ago, I blogged about how the IPO could be a fantastic mistake or an accidental triumph, a lot of people thought I could have made the wrong judgement. But as it's owner in his hoodie and his grand PR team begins to whip up the markets into a frenzy, it's the moment of truth.

The most important questions that face the social networking company are:
  • Valuation: The social network is aiming for an IPO at $28-$35 a share, for a value of up to $95 billion. But as a *Breakingviews analysis shows, sanity resides at the low end of the valuation scale.
  • Governance: It could take decades or only a few years but the overwhelming control investors are ceding to the 27-year-old Facebook founder will eventually cease to be in their best interest.
  • Dependence: It’s not just social networking junkies that are hooked on the firm. Businesses such as Zynga have been created on its back. Bankers are pegging their careers on floating the firm. And California needs the impending IPO to help close its yawning budget gap.
With remarkable dexterity, Mark has made investors fall in love with a company of 900 billion users. So at $35 a share, the moolah is good not only for Mark but for his country too.

Behind the facade, facebook is just a company built on consumer addiction. A recent article by Forbes predicts how companies like Google and facebook will completely disappear in the next five years. No doomsday prediction this, but some hard facts here.

This is not a kind of news that many would click 'Like' to, but for a company that is preparing one of the largest IPO coups of the world, this could be Reality!

Recommended Read:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The indomitable Spirit [130/365]

source: The Province
The beauty of this world are in people with an indomitable spirit.
People who have incredible odds stacked against them, but who rise up to the occasion.
With panache.

In a world that teaches us to take calculated risks and bargains, an article about how a paralyzed woman beat incredible odds to finish the London marathon was an incredible story by itself.
Being a paraplegic is a terrible thing. Trapped in a body that can't obey your mind, is something an active person will find hard to live with.
The most famous paraplegic was the original 'Superman' Christopher Reeve, who fought for the cause of paraplegic until his death. Why do we have some people who give up too easily and some find new energy to fight?
In a world where we complain too often and compliment too less, life is complicated.

Again, I can only imagine the daily struggles that people like Claire faces and applaud the immense power of the mind over body. Euthanasia (or Assisted Suicide) can be the easier solution for a paraplegic. But life is just too amazing to give up so easily.
I hope we can all learn from the lesson that people like Claire wants to teach.

Another Hero I've chronicled:


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Creative Visualization: La Cinquième Partie [129/365]

Television commercials are getting increasingly sexist.
While gender roles have reversed over the past several years, our corporate minds seem intent on reminding us that the man is supposed to attract all the hot women around and the women are supposed to cook breakfast and be the sole caregiver and care-taker for her husband and kids.

Forgive me for ranting but I think we need to stand up and kick the shit out of those advts.
Perhaps the most annoying series of ads are the ones for male deos. Argh!
I never used an Axe and probably will never use one ever. I mean, c'mon, are we supposed to believe that applying a coat of the deo is supposed to magically beam all the hot women to his living room?
And what if he already has a girl in the bed?
Are they all going to fight over him? 
Or is he going to say, 'Relax ladies, there is enough of me to go around'?

As outrageous as the ads are, I think many of these ads are very effective on a subconscious level. For experts that say violence on telly affects the mental and social makeup of young impressionable and the not so young teens in a way that drug abuse does, I would like to know how ads that show how men are supposed to 'have' the girl are damaging our future citizens.

Can our children overlook the stereotypes and actually appreciate these ads for their creativity? I doubt.
Case in point: An ad for a famous jewelry brand shows how two wives and their husbands (probably friends, neighbors and coworkers) shopping for jewelry. The husbands are shown waiting for their wives to finish shopping for expensive diamonds. While the wives are taking their time choosing the diamond of their desire, the husbands are discussing ways to overcome their impending financial doom. The humor in the conversation is not something that can be funny by any stretch of your funny bone. Infact, it is outrageous the men are actually discussing how their wives are pushing them to ruin. This is not true. The educated women of today are not folks who go out and ruin their family wealth.
I think the women of today are strong, career women who have an identity for themselves. They have their own bank balances and know how to save and buy things that they want. They are not the women or wives that the ad tries to promote. Today's women are not dependent on their husband's wallets and definitely not ones who will want to spend more than what the husband earns.
But ofcourse, the women in the ad were dependent on the men to pay for their diamonds. And surely, atleast one of the women expressed anguish at having spend so much. Surely, she doesn't ask him for his opinion while buying. And surely, her name is not Shirley. The wives are just one of those odd examples of women who think for themselves and not to be taken as a shining example of the modern bharati naari, who is well educated, career oriented lady capable of balancing both work and family with panache. That said, not all men are typical partners who squeal on their wives/girlfriends when they pay for jewelry. I know men who are caring, understanding and magnanimous. Men who are practical and excellent husbands at the same time.

Perhaps this is how the world will always be. While we talk of women's liberation, freedom of expression and the equality, the battle of the sexes will always be one-sided.

Recommended Read:
Creative Visualization: Part 1

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Oops I did it again! [128/365]

Source: The Daily News
Every year around November, I have a recurring nightmare.
I imagine myself walking into work wearing one of those dhotis. Fastened with nothing more than hope, I also imagine that my dhoti comes undone when I am walking. And I am completely oblivious. And I have clients visiting us. And there are cameras too. And I am being streamed live. Not a pleasant nightmare, you see.

Wardrobe malfunction, a euphemism made wildly popular by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during the XXXVIII Super Bowl, is anybody's nightmare. But for obvious reasons, many celebrities and faux celebrities seem to have embraced this particular brand of fashion faux pas as a way to make a bold statement. 'Look at me'

Google the term and you'll be surprised at all that flesh that peeks back at you. Oopsie! That ill conceived strap was simply not meant to fall like that. Couple that with a mortified look and you'll quickly be forgiven.
But you've got to admit it- Getting a peek at something you didn't want anyone to see but don't mind them noticing is the cheapest PR that a celebrity can get. Women with their malfunctioning wardrobes are the easiest way to show the world how they still have the curve, with none of the inhibition.
After all, skin sells. Pictures and videos of your infamous slip would have gone viral even before you sleep that night.

What amazes me is how virtually all the malfunctioning is only happening with women's clothing. I mean, why aren't men having any of those malfunctions? Or maybe, we already do.

So what if the wardrobe doesn't malfunction at all? What if that plunging neckline and the slits hold their fort and refuse to flap or lift inappropriately? As disturbing as that thought is to most men, this will also mean the wearer of the perfect dress will go unnoticed.
And if you are someone like Poonam Pandhey or Malika Sherawat, that means another day where you are not in the news. But for celebrities who'd do anything for that dress to malfunction, and for fans of this genre, the recently concluded 2012 MET Gala is the place to be. Those Anthony Vaccerello gowns and Givenchy couldn't have looked any less.
Women who wore it and the men who watched realized one truth- 
'What is revealed is significant, what is covered is crucial'

GuestSpeak: Warriors

source: The Economic Times
Lot of nonsense is being spewed on the net about the controversy involving the Army Chief. Unfortunately, the gentlemanly, week, effete and our non functional figurehead prime minister is being dragged into all this. The entire Sikh community is being maligned. Some officers and others from the chief’s camp have made this a communal issue. This is a first for a proud and secular Indian Army. The fact of the matter is that neither JJ , VK or even Bikram are officers of any great stature or brilliant and no where near outstanding. Indian Army looks back with nostalgia and yearns for officers of the caliber of Thimmaya, Manekshaw, SSP Thorat, Chotu Sen, Inder Gill, Satinder Singh,Eric Vas, Prem Bhagat, Harbaksh ( this is by no means an exhaustive list, or anywhere near it, its only representative), to make a comparison. Present day generals are just careerists. Only expectation I would make is AK Singh( present Southern army commander).

Recently, “Outlook” magazine( C S Dogra’s article), and a mossufil vernacular paper called “Chauthi Duniya”, have been writing uninformed articles about the army , the Sikh community and the present controversy. One Maj Gen Sinha has been fwd the same to army officers. And there has been an angry, hard hitting, apt,and logically reasoned  rebuttal by an officer K J Singh who is a friend of mine . I am reproducing the rebuttal and the mail fwd. by Mag Gen Sinha which i strongly feel should be made public.

Two Army Chiefs after 31st May 2012?

The current issue of Outlook has come up with the future scenario of Army’s succession: Sting in the Tail:Will There be Two Army Chiefs on May 31? by C.S. Dogra. Inspite of the cacophony to remove Genereal  V.K. Singh from the post of Chief of Armed services, both in an embedded media and the Parliament, he continues to stay and the issue of his fading away is deferring like Derridean trace. Magazine Outlook outlines how there will be two Army Chiefs on 31st May,2012 since the issue of age has still been not settled after the government withdrew its order of 30th December,2011. Another linked up news pertains to the filing of caveat by the government in the Supreme Court against  a PIL  on the issue of not making Bikram Singh as next  Chief.   The coming month is going to witness a see-saw battle between votaries of General V.K.Singh, the honest activists, the enraged nations on one side and the votaries of General J.J.Singh’s communal succession plan, the crooked, corrupt and bought-up media on the other side. General V.K.Singh’s enemies are few but powerful since they are the brokers masquerading as editors, retired generals, “stateman”like politicians and product of ‘crony capitalism”. They have singular mantra- to infect India with ‘crony governance’ which is quite evident and needs no description. But, the most powerful attempt to remover General V.K.Singh was made under the aegis of a suave gentleman  of ‘Walk the Talk’ fame, Shekhar Gupta, now nicknamed “Broker Gupta”.

The Indian Express published an intended scoop on 4th April claiming that the two troops of Army based in Hissar and Agra marched towards Delhi on 16th January night, a day when General V.K.Singh filed writ in the Supreme court on age issue. The  target was General V.K.Singh. There was obvious attempt to discredit honest Army chief by suggesting that he intended coup, and thus to pave way for his sacking. Only a week ago, a secret letter that the Army chief had written to the PM on the preparedness of armed forces was leaked and hue and cry was made by a particular lobby in media to sack the Army chief for the leakage. The government ordered an IB enquiry into the alleged leakage and it is being reported that the Army Chief has been given clean chit.

But, questions have been raised against the IB Chief, Nehchal Sandhu by Sunday Guardian.  The newspaper claims that  Sandhu is very close to former army chief, JJ Singh, the incoming army chief Bikram Singh and the retired Lt.General Tejinder Singh against whom General V.K.Singh has forwarded complaint to the CBI for attempt to offer him bribe in the year 2010.The obvious  reason is the regional and communal lobbying. It is merely the kinship, since all of them are turbaned gentlemen including the source of the story to the Indian Express .  The role of Sandhu is under scanner in escalating the controversy to discredit General V.K.Singh.

There is  growing perception in the armed forces that the Sikhs officers have usurped meritocracy within armed forces and with the access to the highest political level , indulged in nepotism and clan-kin favoritism, which has created fault-lines within armed forces.

All this started with the UPA I coming into power when Sardar Manmohan Singh Kohli was anointed the Prime Minister. There was push to appoint a Sikh General. In the preceding months, as Gen. NC Vij’s term  was coming to an end, there was speculation that JJ Singh might be superseded by Lt.-Gen. Shammi Mehta, an Armoured Corps officer. Name of Lt. General Hari Prasad and Shantanu Chaudhary too were making rounds. The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabanthak Committee issued a strongly worded statement favouring JJ Singh .  Finally, Gen. JJ Singh of Maratha Light Infantry took over as Chief of the Army Staff on 1 February, 2005. He was the first ever Sikh to become the Chief of the Army. The communalization of Indian Army began from this very incidence. General JJ Singh cried before the camera in his very first press conference on 23rd November, 2004 upon receiving news of his elevation as Army Chief in Chandigarh.. That was such a sensational image.    General JJ Singh’s tenure saw the rise of corrupt Generals

Sometime in 2005, General JJ Singh  initiated the ‘look down policy’ to determine the ‘line of succession’ to the top position in the Army .He was not looking for immediate succession as he was to be succeeded by kinsman, general Deepak Kapoor. But, he  was looking to the year 2012 and found one  Sikh kinsman, Brigadier Bikram Singh from Ravva village in Amritsar. JJ Singh  realized that events and dates relating to the then Major General VK Singh, who was sure shot to become Army Chief in 2010, needed to be manipulated if Bikram Singh was to succeed him in 2012!

An operation was  started  to work out a plan to retire V.K.Singh only in May,2012 so that Bikram Singh could take over. It had to operate at two levels. All the competitors of the Brigadier were to be sidelined and General V K Singh’s term was to be reduced.  Those to be neutralized included Brigadiers Padam Budhwar and MM Chaudhary, and Major-Generals Shujan Chatterjee, AK Singh and Ravi Arora, a gold medalist from the same batch as Bikram Singh.
One also must ponder that General V.K.Singh  was born in the Army’s hospital in Poona on 10 May, 1951. MH Kirkee birth cetificate, Birth Certificate issued by the authority under Births and Deaths Act 1880 (Central Act),  Rajput Battallion  DO Pt II Order where his father, Lt. Col Jagat Singh who  was working as Major  at that time,also records this date. The birth has been verified as 10 May 1951 under the provisions of Army Order 773 of 1973.

The same date was recorded in  his matriculation certificate and General Singh's  Identity Card which is a document issued by the Academy after his commissioning. Other documents like  Passport, Voter’s Card, Driving License, PAN Card have the year 1951 as date of birth. His  each and every Annual Confidential Report (ACR) initiated since the commissioning  bears 1951 as  date of birth.
Even a confidential communication dated 1 July, 2011,(A/4501/01/GEN/MS(1) from Lt-Gen. GM Nair, Military Secretary, to the Defence Secretary, and seen by Defence Minister  A.K.Antony, categorically states that 10 May, 1951, was taken as the DOB by various Selection Boards for promotion of VK Singh to Brigadier in September 1996, to Major-General on  25 October 2001 and Lt.-General on 30th September 2005.All the honours   that General V.K.Singh has been conferred has the citation bearing 1951 as the birth year. As per Supreme Court Judgement in Feb 2010, the permissible document in DOB is birth certificate.

But, once the Operation to install another Sikh as future General started, someone   in the MS Branch ‘discovered’ VK Singh’s UPSC application form mentioning 1950 as his year of birth, which was filled not in General Singh’s handwriting, but by his teacher  Mr. BS Bhatnagara  at school, while General V.K.Singh  was legally a minor . On 3 May, 2006, the Military Secretary branch was asked to raise VK Singh’s date of birth issue based on this error .General JJ Singh and his succeeding kinsman, Deepak Kapoor forced VK Singh to accept this anomaly as his date of birth, before elevated as Army Commander without which he could not have become the Chief of the Army.

By ensuring the reduction of  VK Singh’s tenure  by 10 months and eliminating other competent Generals, the two kinsman paved way for elevation of Bikram Singh as Army Chief in May,2012. A memorandum signed by thousands of ex-servicemen, including high ranking officers of the three services, was submitted to the President in her capacity as the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, to do justice with VK Singh, but the same has not disposed off.  The MoD issued an order on  30 December, 2011, and  changed the DOB of the Army Chief arbitrarily, this was the handiwork of another Punjabi kinsman, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry. The General rightly moved the supreme Court  and had to withdraw application once the government submitted to the Court that the order dated 30 December,2011 has been withdrawn.

But, then an uproar was made seeking General Singh to quit his post. Once it was not done, various lobby that included corrupt retired generals, arms dealers and kinsman of the succeeding General   planted news that the Army  was tapping the  phones of Defence minister in South Block using mobile interceptors in Raisina Hills.  Army HQ issued a press release on March 5  and charged Lt. General Tejinder Singh with planting such rumours to create rift between political and military authority. It is against this press release that Tejinder Sigh moved theDelhi Court to initiate defamation proceedings against the Army HQ.Tejinder Singh was provided ample space on English news channel controlled by same vested foreign interest who are also hands-in-gloves with arms market.

The institution of army is facing the ripples in whole controversy which is meant only to see that Bikram Singh succeeds as the Army chief. MG Devasahayam, former IAS officer and chairman of an NGO Citizens Alliance for Sustainable Living in Chennai and activist working for transparency in governance, has claimed in various writings that  TKA Nair,  is reported to have told his confidants that VK Singh had to go in May 2012 because the‘Prime Minister had assured his wife that General Bikram Singh would be the next COAS’. So, here is the clue to the controversy. Crony governance and the nepotism is happening at the very top.

Chauthi Duniya  weekly magazine was the first to report that  PM Manmohan Singh  met General JJ SINgh and Lt. General Bikram Singh at his sister’s house in Kolkata.  Further enquiry reveals that while on official trip to West Bengal on 21-22 August,2011,  PM  Manmohan Singh had dinner at his sister Govind Kaur's house inSouth Kolkata along with his nephew Ravinder Pal Singh and his wife Kuki Sahni. The surprise attendee were General JJ Singh, Governor of Arunacahal Pradesh  and architect of age prolongation of General V.K.Singh and Lt. Gen Bikram Singh, who is incumbent Chief of Army now. What transpired among them can be guessed  by any sane person!

Now, the government has announced that after General V.K.Singh, another Sikh Bikram Singh will succeed. He will be succeeded by another Sikh gentleman, Dilbagh Singh Suhag. It is not that Marathas and Bengalis and Telugus, Biharis, Tamils are less capable general. The fact is that it was a Bihari   Major General  J.N. Chaudhary who got the obstinate Nizam of Hyderabad to accede to India. It is Thimmaiya , a Manek Shaw, a General Jacobs who led India to momentous victories. While Bangladesh war was won by the brilliant acts of General Jacobs, the then Corp Commander of Eastern Command, the whole credit was taken by General Jagjit Sigh Arora, a Sikh gentleman. From 1857 onwards to 1942 movement, from 1984 dissent to nowadays open corruption in Armed forces, if a community which has to be figured for their act of compromising national interest, it is the Sikhs. But, what message is being given that out of five successive  Generals of Armed Forces, four has to be  Sikhs and many of them purely corrupt who got the virus of corruption into the most puerile institution of Armed Forces. This itself is going to cause major dissent whenever the next gentleman succeeds. The signs are already visible. General V.K.Singh has forwarded complaint from a Trinamool M.P. Ambika Banerjee against Lt. General Dilbagh Singh Suhag to the CBI. But, inspite of this fact, the MoD chose to appoint him as the next Corp commander of the eastern Command in place of Bikram Singh. A group of retired officers and bureaucrats have moved the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army chief on the ground that he was allegedly involved in a fake encounter in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001.

Challenging the appointment, the petitioners, including former Navy Chief Admiral Ramdas ,veteran journalist Sam Rajapa of the Statesman and former IAS, MG Devasahayam, and former Chief election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy, alleged in their PIL that Lt General Singh was involved in the fake encounter and the case is pending in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. There is another allegations of fake encounter of  the killing of five persons in Pathribal after the incident in Chattisinghpura during Bill Clinton’s visit to India in which 36 Sikhs were killed. Reports  suggest that  CBI filed the report after three years and Army HQ vide its Letter Number A/38240/MO/3A dt 30 Dec 2004 took protection  of AFSPA to ward off allegations against Bikram singh. Further while Lt Gen Bikram Singh was the Commander of the Indian contingent of UN peace keeping mission to Congo in 2008, serious allegations were made against 51 personnel of a coy of Sikh Light Regiment for rape and molestation.Lt Gen Bikram Singh had headed the Congo mission for a part of the period. The CoI ruled that  relationships with Congolese women  were  paid for or were consensual!!!

Bikram Singh’s daughter-in-law is a Pakistani. Her father is a Pakistani and mother, Central Asian .When various M.P.s complained to the government, an IB clean chit was provided. It is interesting to learn that if a government servant communicates with a foreigner particularly from enemy nations, he is liable for prosecution. One has seen the case of a junior diplomat, Madhuri Gupta who is lying in jail for having a relationship with a Pakistani gentleman while posted in Islamabad.. But, here a senior Army Officer who will be the hub of nation’s security would have a Pak national within his own courtyard. Army rules also provide that if  one has  close relative who happens to be  a citizen/national of some other country ,the same  has to be  informed  in writing. It is learnt that even this was not done in his case.

When the matters came to the light, to scuttle any controversy, the government had on March 3 announced the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army chief.This smacks of subterranean reasons.  A small mistake  by General  V.K. Singh"s  teacher,Mr. BS Bhatnagar becomes a national "C" issue(Curious), but so many controversies and apparent complicity of another gentleman has to be pardoned off in the interest of the kin-clan greasing.

Since the government has not decided upon the age as of now,  no Retirement proceedings of General V.K.Singh have been  set into motion . This is done only after a Retirement Warning Letter has been issued, generally about eight months-one year  before the date of superannuation. In the absence of a “legal order” from the government following the withdrawal of government order dated 30 December,2011, the Military Secretary’s branch in the army headquarters is in a fix. The issue has turned complex after the government filed a caveat in the Supreme Court yesterday on the PIL filed by Ramdass and his colleagues upon Bikram Singh’s appointment.What if the appointment of Bikram Singh comes under legal scrutiny? What if General V.K.Singh's age does not get decided within next 30 days? What if General V.K.Singh emerges as a national icon against the corrupt bureaucracy and the  communal patrimony? (The Supreme Court has now dismissed the PIL. It is evident that the highest Court does not want to be dragged in the dirty affairs of the Executive as of now and has taken a hands off approach.)

In all probability, the government would either elevate General Singh as the CDS(Chief of Defence Staff )and let  Bikram Singh to take over as COAS or would sack  General V.K.Singh. In the second situation, V.K.Singh will emerge as a hero and would stir the nation’s imagination by joining  hands with  Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare  in the agitation scheduled for 3rd June in New Delhi. In case of his elevation as CDS, he would rather opt for not joining and declare a victory against the crooked network in the governance system and join the  civil society movement with the Army pensioners, who had already  extended support to two  movements against black money and issue of Lokpal. There are more than 15 lakh ex- Army Pensioners in the country. A strong cadre of army pensioners, Baba Ramdev’s followers and Anna Hazare’s appeal among the disenchanted, networked youth who are longing for ‘authentic’ action and not merely “clicktivism”; it would herald the beginning of purge of corrupt and goons who have glued to India’s every strategic point in governance under the worst political CEO . A political CEO who has emerged as  a Machiavellian and a Paretoan wolf  masquerading as "silent statesman"  is to be blamed for replacing   Meritocracy with communal  patrimony . He will be accused by the coming generation for heralding ‘crony governance “in India.

Dear Gen Sinha,
I am surprised that a officer of your ranking should fwd such silly , ill informed and a nonsensical mail. It is not only factually incorrect but scurrilous. You as a responsible officer should not be forwarding every crackpot ejaculation spewed by cranks. If you troll the net you come across many such absurd and far fetched tattletale blabbermouths. It is when they are given credence by a person of your rank( rank only , not standing or stature) that it encourages the riffraff and rumor mongers.

Now, my point by point rebuttal.

All right JJ was no great shake as a chief or as a Gen officer. But he was the senior most Army commander. Why should he have been superseded by Shammi Mehta or any other XYZ. This donkey ,CS Dogra has spewed venom against one community by indulging in innuendoes and hearsay.

Look down policy from Brig onwards? You serious?Arre bhai you were a Maj Gen ?

Yes, VK does have a point , in as far much as his DOB is concerned. Pune MH records. DO Pt 2 orders etc. Sterling, impeachable evidence, tenable under the evidence act in a court of law. But for Lord’s sake why the hell did he buckle under pressure /duress to give in writing twice, accepting his DOB as 1951? Does this man deserve to become COAS? Good Lord man , tomorrow he will surrender under duress. He should have stood up like a man and refused to buckle under, and taken the matter to court then. He would have definitely won hands down . He chose the easy way out. Surrendered. Now he is making a nuisance of himself . He is belittling the entire officer class. Its very very very embarrassing. Chiefs do not , I repeat do not, put up statutory complaints and ROG’s and definitely do not go to court. This man has made an Ass of himself. He lacked the courage and the will to go and seek legal redress when he should have done so as a Maj Gen and corps commander. He goes to court when he has nothing to loose, other than the reputation of the military officer class as a whole. Big Deal.

Now, some mofussil rag called Chauthi Duniya( about whom nobody has heard of) is given credence. In the PM’s sisters house in Calcutta, a conspiracy is hatched by the PM,  JJ , and Bikram. Oh Gen, come on now , grow up man.

And my dear wise guy, Gen J N  Choudhary, was from Bengal , and not Bihar. Jonny Jacob was Chief of Staff  Eastern Command and not a corps commander in 1971. Aroura, was the Army Commander Eastern Army. Now, in the Army who is responsible for success or failure, the commander or his staff officer? If the Eastern campaign had resulted in a balls up, would Jacob have taken responsibility?

All right,all right, its Dilbeer Singh Suhag and not Dilbagh Singh Suhag. DSS is not a sikh but a jat.

Bikram did not head the Congo mission . He was in the UN head quarters in Congo as adviser to the Secty Gen . He had no command over troops.

Bikram’s daughter in law has absolutely nothing to do with Pakistan . Both her parents are from Tajikistan. Both are US citizens, and so is she . Yes , she is a moslem. So?

Insinuation , that Sikhs are anti national hurts the most.


In 1849, after a series of battles namely , Chinnanwala, Ferozepur and Mudki, the Sikh army was defeated by the British ( Bengal Army, now Eastern command), commanded by Lord Dalhousie. Read in history what Dalhousie had to say about the battle of Chinnanwala ( he wrote later that he thought this was the end of the British Empire in India).The Bengal Army breakdown in the Sikh wars was as follows:

INDIAN                              ENGLISH

74 Bengal Inf Bns                 20 Inf Bns

52 Madras Inf Bns               4 Cav Regts

26 Bombay Inf bns              Total 18000 British Troops

20,000 Indian Cav

Total 103,000 Indian troops

The Sikhs were livid . They were defeated by fellow Indians(?). There was no concept of India, before the British came . It was the white man who created India. Neither Ashoka, Nor Chandara Gupta Maurya, nor Akbar ruiled over India as we know today. So, therefore, do you blame the Sikhs who did not support the mutiny just 8 years later ? Eureka, they were supposed to forget what happened just 8 years earlier and integrate themselves as Indians? Think, man think.

All right here is some more.Since 1860 onwards in the fight for freedom the British hanged Jailed killed etc. , the figures are as follows:

Total Indians killed by British 2175 , out of which 1557 were Sikhs.71.58%

Total Indians sent to Kalapani ( Celluar jail in Andamans) 2646, out of which 2147 were Sikhs.81.14%

Total hanged demanding freedom 127 out of which 91 were Sikhs.71.65

INA   total 20000 out of which 12000 were Sikhs.60%.


And out of the remainder 30,20,30 and 40%,nearly 90% were from Bengal or were punjabi mussalmans.

Your call Gen.
By the way Gen , what arm do you belong to? How much active soldering have you done? I am curious.

Hope you will fwd this to all to whom you fwd the earlier mail.

K J Singh

Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Alka Narula.
Find more information about her at Indiblogger

Monday, May 07, 2012

Epic Journey or Grand Delusions [127/365]

Starting today, facebook [fb] will go public.
Valued at $90 billion and set to mop up as much as $20 billion, this IPO is touted as one of the largest IT IPO's ever,  and is hoping to have dream run at the boroughs.

Judging by several factors, buying stock in facebook could easily be one of the best things you can do. Considering how it's grown in just eight years, learning from the mistakes of it's predecessors - Orkut, MySpace - facebook now has a worldwide community that rivals any of it's compatriots.
To a layperson like you and me, buying a facebook stock makes as much money-sense as tanking up on the night before the fuel prices go up.

Is the Facebook IPO really what it is made out to be?
Are we really witnessing the rise of a giant or another bubble about to go bust.

First the facts:
Facebook has the largest online population of humans. Ever. Infact if facebook was to become a country, it will be the third most populous in the world. And growing.

Owner and founder, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world. With an estimated net-worth of $17.5 billion, this IPO will make him the richest human being in history. The flip side is that he ends up paying almost 80% of what he will earn from sale of his share of stock mandatory taxes in the United States. And yes, of course the fact that he can get fired too.

And now, for the reality:
Can you really trust an IPO which is being advertised as the biggest thing that will ever be, where the founder/owner chooses when and how much he/she needs without considering how that extra $ will add to the value, is like playing Russian Roulette.

Facebook is Zuckerberg and Zuckerberg is Facebook.
Simple. $20 billion is the price we pay to be able to access 900 million users. And sources say Zuckerberg will still retain his 57% voting stake in the company. Voila!

Notorious for the way he's handled his company and his rivals so far, what remains to be seen is how much power will he relinquish when it goes public.

While the company itself is profitable, this alone cannot guarantee a golden egg for its eternity. Analysts will tell you that it's revenue has fallen in the past couple of years. And Mark knows this. He acquired Instagram, an online photo editing software company, for a whooping $1 billion dollars a few weeks ago. Speculations ran thick and wild on why a company like facebook would buy a startup with just a handful of people for such an amount, but the fact is that this acquisition has only sweetened the deal for facebook.

Lastly and most importantly, no one can really tell how or why internet companies reward themselves a billion dollar price tag. While facebook's business model is extremely robust, it's valuation is something that may need closer scrutiny.
Nonetheless, IPO's are about optimism, and facebook has certainly drummed up enough supporters to feel good about it's IPO.

Considering how big this IPO has been in the news, I would take Warren Buffet's word when he says 'I think the worst mistake you can make in stocks is to buy or sell based on current headlines'

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Review: Vicky Donor [126/365]

Movies are a wonderful thing.
They entertain you. And then they also make you introspect. They can touch a chord in your heart and if that chord is a raw one, then you'll end up in deep thought.
Vicky Donor is one of those movies which will touch you. This movie touched a very personal chord in our hearts.
source: Wiki

We managed to watch the movie in a theater that was half empty and half filled with men with overflowing testosterone, who hooted and whistled every time the heroine appeared onscreen.

Vicky Donor is produced by John Abraham, and if you haven't figured it already from the movie posters, is about sperm donors, infertility and a funny yet serious look at the stigma surrounding it.

Ayushmann (Vicky Arora) is the only son of his widowed mom who runs a beauty parlor. The movie revolves around how a reluctant Vicky is convinced to become a sperm donor to supplement his family income and gradually is able to afford all the luxuries that his family desires. Everyone makes a ton of money. Enter Ashima Roy (Yami Gautam), a bank employee and they find themselves falling in love with each other and marry inspite of the fact that Ashima is a 'Bong' and Vicky is a 'Punjabi'. A short honeymoon and one intense love making scene later, they realize that she is infertile and cannot conceive. Meanwhile, Vicky still hasn't told his wife that he was a sperm donor and all hell breaks loose when she does find out. He is arrested on suspicion of black money and she walks out of his home.

The movie cannot be the greatest movie I've seen by any stretch of imagination. It is very mediocre and Dr Baldev Chadha's (Annu Kapoor) obsession with the word 'sperm' can make you squirm after the 15th time. He seems to have a sperm souvenir of every possible kind - as a paper weight, stress buster, in the car, on the desk and every poster in his clinic. How many doctors do you know carry around a souvenir of their specialty everywhere and in everything they carry. I am not a huge fan of Punjabi Hindi, so the fact that almost the entire movie is in Punjabi Hindi is a little distracting.
The jokes appear contrived and very dry. There is only so much 'bong' and 'punjabi' jokes that you can take, you see.
Ayushmann is intense and quite convincing at times, but for a debut, he did a pretty decent job.Yami is eye candy and very into the character and redeemed the movie towards the end. No item numbers, thankfully.
The supporting cast is wonderfully fresh and actually does an incredible job. 

Now, for the pertinent question- Would I recommend this movie?
Maybe, with the following disclaimer:
Don't go into the theater expecting fireworks, because this has none.
No John Abraham. So that rules out any eye candy for the women. And gay men. 
This is a time-pass movie.
One that you would go to watch when you don't get a ticket for the Avengers or if you don't have anything else more meaningful to do.

My Rating: 7

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

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