Showing posts with label Corruption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corruption. Show all posts

Friday, March 02, 2018

The Great Bank Robbery

Our biggest strength as a species is our ability to realize our fate. When we are conscious of the consequences of our actions, we have the ability to pause, evaluate and correct our course. 

When the Great Recession of 2008 struck, millions around the world were outraged by the sheer greed of the super-rich bankers. The scandal was so convoluted that many never understood how we could actually allow a few dozen bankers manipulate billions around the world. We swore to never let them cheat our trust again. 

Earlier this year, India's second largest national bank reported a scandal that should change our financial and political futures. 

Unless you've been living under a rock the past month, it is inevitable to miss the finer details of how a single man managed to choreograph a heist of $2 billion over a period of 6 years. So I won't tire you with the details.

Once billed as the youngest billionaire, he is the now the poster boy of how perfect greed can make any enterprising businessman a Forbes billionaire. 

Depending on whose bed they shared, politicians are having a field day mud-wrestling each other with accusations while the common tax-paying public (all 2% of us) are buckling under the collective weight of taxes, both direct and indirect since the last 4 years. 

Nirav Modi and his cronies have been lining their wallets with the money of a million investors. 
This was just the dessert the opposition ordered. Former rulers of our nation wasted no time in piling in the usual litany of blame. 

But I won't blame the ruling regime. They have enough blood on their hands. 

We have a flamboyant PM with a penchant for diplomacy and hugs and a fervent urge to rename every social scheme from the previous regime and an itch to travel. 

Over the course of the past 2 years, he and his party have done what no other politician/dictator/tyrant has ever dared to do to their country. He and everyone in his crony party have been trying to defend demonetization and GST.

In between traveling the world, he has been relentlessly campaigning for his party in internal elections whilst also managing a well-greased PR machine. Yoga is surely doing wonders for the platform tea-seller.

Alas, his white knight routine is slowly waning. He won a shaky majority in Gujarat by the skin on his teeth and now this. For a country that lampooned Manmohan for being silent, Modi's silence is familiarly loud. 

The last few years have seen more fraudsters pulling off financial scams with impunity and frankly, it isn't the sin of a single regime. 

While farmers and salaried tax-payers have been harassed by bankers the moment they miss a payment, how did one jeweler manage to fly under the radar and swindle $2,000,000,000 of public money? 
This is the singular important question in our collective minds.

If this is what one non-descript jeweler can do, I'd shudder to think what larger conglomerates are doing with the custodians of our wealth. 

Ofcourse the government won't allow its second-largest bank go bankrupt. Our politicians will bail them out, pretty much like any other crony capitalist would. But consider this - If only our government didn't resort to bailing out entities and practiced fiscal discipline, then we'll have enough money to fund things that our nation really needs without the burden of taxes. 

How is it that banks like ICICI have been able to track down defaulters when they miss 2 payments but our national banks are not able to flag and stop willful defaulters leave to a country with poor extradition records?

How is it that our government still doesn't know where Nirav Modi is? Or maybe they don't want to know that. 

How is it that businessmen like Nirav Modi were able to accept cash transactions when the government has been trying hard to push for digital payments?

Why aren't we asking the hard-hitting questions? If you ask me, every RBI governor and finance minister must be in the dock for looking the other side.

How is confiscating a used Porsche and Maybach going to matter? Our archaic laws will ensure none of what is confiscated will ever be monetized to cover our losses?

How did one man mastermind the failure of all the checks and balances that were supposed to protect the wealth of the country?

Ofcourse the guilty will run scot-free. Because if he could engineer an eloquent plot to hoodwink the second-largest national bank in India, then you can be pretty sure the rot runs all the way to the top. Everyone, on both sides of the fence, would have been paid off to look the other way. And admitting it now will have untold repercussions for our fragile nation.

When Harshad Metha rigged the national stock exchange, the government made an example out of him. 
When the fake stamp paper scam broke up, the government in Karnataka made sweeping changes that made sure this never happened.

To all the Westerners who think Slumdog Millionaire when they hear India, we aren't a poor nation. 'Fraudstars' like Nirav Modi, and Vijay Mallya and countless others prove that we are a nation of serious money. 
We are a nation where the 2% of the population pay an exorbitant amount of tax every month. Money that will eventually end up in the wallets of our fraudsters.
We are a nation which Forbes lists as the country where the number of billionaires has grown the most. Why not? The PM is our answer to Trump.
We are a nation which lost the highest number of billionaires, simply because they chose to get out while they still had the chance.
We are a nation where the chasm between the rich and the poor have deepened in the last 5 years.
We are a nation where our fraudsters can buy anything, including the silence of our prime minister, for the right price.
I could go on.. but you get the point.  

The real victims here aren't the millionaires or the poor. They neither pay income tax and every 5 years the government will always pander to their greed.

The real victims are the middle class. Period.

'There has been no government other than Modiji's that has taken prompt and most stringent of action against any frauds...' - Spake Amit Shah (BJP President)
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please - Mark Twain.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

And that's the way the cookie crumbled ... until now [2014]

Well, that was some Q1, wasn't it!

Arvind Kejriwal came in with a bang, and left at the same speed he came. He cried hoarse and we all sympathized with him.
So what if he isn't in power, his stock has only gone north since. Armchair campaigners everywhere are sitting up and googling him to their heart's content. They say he will be the best PM India can ever have. Sigh! Thousands said the same thing about our beleaguered Singh a few years ago.

In other familiar news, a 28 year old Mumbai girl was raped and left for dead by Pramod Upadhyaya, the night watchman at her own apartment complex.
A couple of clicks away, a homemaker in Mumbai was raped and filmed. What followed will shock your senses - The rapist's wife saw the video and went back and blackmailed the victim. The victim promptly killed herself.
And finally, a 17 year old girl escaped on the way to her 6th wedding in Hydrabad, to an Arab sheikh. I'll leave you to google the sh*t out of these 3 stories.
And I am pretty sure our government is sipping the good stuff right from the pond, in statistics that will either make you proud, or cringe in pain (depending who you are), India has the lowest non-partner sexual violence in the world.
But if you are a female (of any age) and would like to avoid getting raped, please listen to our beloved Asha Mirge of the National Women's Commission and 'Check your body language...'.
I'll now let you marinate in these nuggets of wisdom.

But not all was lost, the Shakti Mills dual rape set a precedent and the rapists got the noose. No, don't celebrate. Not yet.

In tragedies normal yet avoidable, an overcrowded ferry sunk off the coast of the idyllic islands of Andamans. 21 were killed. Many of them honeymooners. It is a sheer atrocity that we are citizens of a country let tragedies like this repeat.

So what if the government thinks a large percentage of us are dispensable resources, the SC did a second guess and ruled that gay sex is illegal.
But if you think you'll need acid anytime in the future, better buy them in bulk now before the deadline allowing sale of acids over the counter comes into force. News is that acid is literally flowing over the counters these days and the suppliers are laughing all the way to the acid factory.

Our western arch-rival cum estranged twin went to the headmaster and complained that we are getting more golden stars than him. Now, repeat after me - AWWWWWW

Our MPs might have lost the red beacons but they sure are flying in style in the land of maharajas. The Committee of Privileges (they even have a committee for that?!!) decried that all private airlines must allow MPs and their coterie the dignity of a maharaja. You think?!

And Microsoft launched the Chastity bra. Great! I just hope it doesn't hang (no pun intended) and give you the BSOD. 

Talking about Microsoft, Indians' came one step closer to world domination. We got our boy 'elected' as the king and CEO of MS. And we couldn't stop talking about how proud we were that we didn't give him (and thousands like him) the creative and academic nourishment here in India, so that he ended up having to go abroad. Brain drain, anyone?

In another case of brain drain, Americans got fed up with Beiber. Finally! They got 50,000 signatures asking Beiber to be deported. Epic!

Our shy and reticent Defense Minister, AK Antony came back from vacation, answered all his emails and got to work. And how!

The land of a billion, sent 3 athletes and 4 officials to the Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia. Go figure.

Malya, the king of good times, surely knows how to give the tough run too. It appears that banks won't recover even a third of what they lend to the beleaguered airline. Gee, I so like it when one of my predictions come true.

Srini Saar got ICC but lost the BCCI. So folks of the Western World, this is how we are. We just can't let go!

And if you thought we only discriminate against Pakistanis, you are wrong. We cannibalize our own too. Nido Tania became the latest statistic of our hatred towards people who don't look like the rest of us. Delhi went into 'Kill the Chinky' mode. Chaos!

Li Na, one of the only top seeded Tennis player from Asia who actually wins tournaments and is easy on the eye(pun intended at you, Sania) won another tournament. Saina did us proud too! Girl Power!

Yuvi sold himself for a prince's ransom - at Rs 14 crores, he is Bangalore's newest blue eyed boy in IPL 7. Who said Malya doesn't have money? In your face, Kingfisher staffers, In your face!

Bloodbath at IBM! So was at Thomson Reuters, and a dozen other companies that wanted to shed those extra calories.

Penguin stripped The Hindu. No, not in Gotham. The pen was traded for the greenbacks and the fanatics. Being the pacifist people that we writers are, the most we will do is - take a hike.

Selfies became all the rage. And poor Leonardo Di Caprio didn't even get himself into the most famous selfie. He is as jinxed as Sreeshanth!

So we know that India is a land of glorious opportunities. Who you know is what matters.
Let me present to you the story of 2 princes -
Tarun Tejpal, convicted of rape and packed off to jail.
Shashi Tharoor, thrice married and probably the luckiest widower alive! Wife #3 dies in mysterious circumstances. Autopsy revealed several injuries and a couple that proved fatal. The man has neither been jailed on circumstances nor being investigated. The staffer that discovered the body quit her job and has been unreachable. Is it just me or does this stink of a coverup? Whatever it is, Aarushi's parents would've loved to use the Shashi Tharoor privilege card.

In Europe, Crimea burned. Russia took back its prodigal son and turned the dial back 20 years.
And Facebook got Whatsapp. So now Zuckerberg is responsible for the 50% of the time we waste every day.
Saharashree Subrata ran out of his 'Get out of jail Free' cards and was thrown into jail. He now plans to ask his 'faithful-as-a-dog' employees to raise his bail money. Where do you get people like this?

And its election fever - every political scumbag worth their black money wants to become the next Prime Minister.

Malaysia Air, the airline that boasts of being the finest in Asia, lost one of its planes and all on-board. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Malaysian PM declared that the aircraft crashed with no survivors, offering no proof of the crash. WOW!
But wait, this just gets better. The authorities want the crisis to settle down so that it won't affect the Grand Prix. Malaysia is Truly Asia!
Back home in India, our $133 million C130 crashed. That's coming straight out of our pockets.
And a local bus was lost, and found. Because, we are that amazing?

The chief minister of Karnataka woke up from his slumber and declared that he would commission the world's tallest statue here in Bangalore. Great! The government may not have money to pay its civic agencies but has plenty to pour in a pissing match with Modi.
Both of you, take a page from these slum girls. They raised thousands of dollars to fund a free library of books for underprivileged children from the Dharavi slum. Take a bow, scumbags. Take a bow.

In other news, Blade Runner Pistorius is in sh*t deeper than his prosthetic can hold him up from.
The makers of RayBan will soon manufacture Google Glass.
Sunny Leone did some justice to Bollywood and did what she does best, In Ragini MMS 2. Cheers to Horrex!

Khushwant Singh (99) passed away. His humor will live longer..
Muthalik was in and out of BJP faster than his disciples could say Attack! No regrets, eh Old Man?!
Egypt sentences over 530 to death. There goes another democracy!
And if you are a girl studying in a school in UK, feel free to pick up a condom before you head home and a morning-after pill when you get back in the morning. The story of our times, eh?

Finally, we truly are a nation of people who are always thinking of saving money. Listen to this - an American boy of Indian origin has proposed to the American government to change the fonts on their documents and save $400 million. So this means they can now save more of the money they don't have.

So this is how the cookie crumbled this year. We had a pretty strong start to another glorious year. With the FIFA World Cup and the IPL round the corner, I could continue to keep you entertained.

See you all soon!

Friday, May 31, 2013

The chickens that didn't hatch: The truth you need to know

So it is a fact that Arindamn doesn't like his critics.
He is a sore loser and a cry baby.

I feel compelled to post a series of links dredged from the internet on one of the largest education scams to hit modern India, so at the risk of getting my post banned/blocked with juicy lawsuits, here goes:

Studying in this "B-School" [note the quotes] can make you the best in .. errr... who are we kidding - nothing. Tall claims busted.

And if you'd still like to play Russian roulette with your hard earned monies, then I suggest you read the truth here.

And if this post does wake the pony-tailed phony from his daze, then you can be pretty sure that I will meet the same fate as this poor chap. Ahh!! the pitfalls of being indexed and famous!

And so he did the cardinal sin of dissing one of our pride and joys - IIMs. And yes, we dared to think beyond the IIPMs too.

But why have we descended on Mr Pony-tail like a bunch of vultures? 
Do we really care about the thousands who fall prey to his slick SRK advts? 
Are we really concerned about the damage he's causing? I don't think so.

Strip away all his facades, and its easy to see that he is just another businessman out to make his billions, hook or by crook . So? 

Look around and you'll see atleast 10 other unscrupulous business(wo)men who have the same goals too.
Why bother?

The only reason why we've latched onto him like a hungry lioness is because of the way he has 
tried shutting us up. Given to ourselves we would have shut up, in time. In the words of Fasttrack, we would've 'moved on' to the dozens of other juicy scams that our politicians supply us with.

So through all this, Mr Pony-tail ought to remember how futile it is to try and muzzle mouths he can't shut. He blocks one Site, 10 other will replicate the posts. He muzzles one writer, 20 others will gain inspiration and fight. Ironically, by doing what he is doing, he is justifying his critics and echoing their suspicions. He is validating what they think he is- Nothing but a wonderful fraud!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

While I was celebrating... May 2013 [2/2]

It was a month where we saw an unabashed love for money and power.
IPL, the flavor of the month went through the regular wash cycles of scam and scandals, and you can bet (pun intended) your shorts that none of those arrested will ever be punished. Our greed knows no bounds and we simply don't have the legislation or the balls to punish the scum of our sports.


In the finals, CSK went down without a whimper. It was a win-win. 

Indians could finally retire the god of cricket, when we dedicated another win to him. And foolhardy CSK fans felt vindicated that its captain faced defeat like a grown man. Well, what did he expect? A medal? 
We shouldn't expect the VP of India Cements Inc. to squeal against his boss, or should we? 

As the skeletons tumbled out, a 'Bollywood star' found his spotlight of glory. Vindu Dara Singh sang like a canary and we had more drama than the 'Bold and the Beautiful'.

They say hindsight is 20/20, so with what we now know about CSK's shadowy CEO/team owner/team principal/odd-job guy, is it anybody's guess how the team always reached the finals even with many mediocre matches. BCCI head honcho/CSK Managing Director N. Srinivasan refused to step down. No surprises there either. 

In happier times

Sreeshanth is small fry and is just that village boy whose eyes lit up when he saw the big city lights, but his Company tells another story. From being called the Kerala Express and revered in God's Own Country, his fall from grace was faster than his bowling spells. We could argue till we are blue in the gills, but as long as we still buy tickets and throng cricket stadiums, corruption in cricket can not be contained.

Angelina Jolie replaced her sagging mammaries with ones that came with a warranty and we all celebrated her unselfish act. So does this mean we replace everything that could go wrong before it does and say we did it for mankind?

What does surprise me is why a successful A-lister like Piggy Chops have to resort to doing item numbers in random movies! I'll let you figure that out.
Meanwhile, banks have managed to recover about Rs 1000 crore from Kingfisher. Seeing how Malya was smart enough to not pledge sufficient collateral, I'd be surprised if the banks recover even half of what he owes them.

The boston bomber got no grave and if it wasn't serious already, we now have a new sexually transmitted superbug that is deadlier than AIDS.
Choli ke peche..

The Chinese premier came and we played dumb (charades). Later, we cleaned up after they left.

Sanjayda felt betrayed. Really?! After we allowed you move into the jail like a techie was moving into a new hostel room. If anything, we all think the court should've thrown you into prison years ago and made an example out of you.

Talking about cops and prisons, we saw 2 Indian cops beat the living crap out of eachother in broad daylight. It was almost like two knights dueling eachother. To the victor, the spoils of fame.

The Sharada chit fund made plenty of news. From sex  workers to other bankers, it looks like they looted everyone. Hook, line and Stinker. In familiar news, an Indian couple was apprehended for duping several banks and financial institutions for millions of rupees. 

Our fledgling financial outsourcing industry took a beating when perpetrators withdrew about $45 million after hacking into secure terminals.
While this might lead to more dumb regulations and restrictions, what I fear is how all this will affect genuine customers.

Our national bird, CBI was hauled through the coals again. And our Navy fought a losing battle against itself. Our insatiable thirst for forbidden sex is indeed proving to be the bane of our existence both here and across the pond.

Pakistan did the unthinkable. It demanded an international probe on the incident and we did a Pakistan - Shift+DELETE

Nothing Official about it!

Meanwhile, BJP lampooned the government (read Sonia G) for making the PM a mere puppet. It took our leading opposition 9 years to say that?
Rahul resorted to some petty threats. So what is he? The school Prefect?
A minister from Down Under was left red-faced after he 'liked' a picture of a young teen mooning himself. And while you are on facebook, 'like' at your discretion but post anything you want, for the apex court of the country has spoken. Take note, Shiv Sena scum. But bloggers, Beware! You could still land in prison.

The public sector in India is funny. As millions of graduates struggle, we have murderers, rapists and spies have no problem finding favor and employment at public sector organizations. Latest from the realm of Incredible Indian opportunities, is the news that a man was found spying for Pakistan while working in the Army. Background checks ring a bell here?

In an innovation that might benefit humanity, an Indian teen invented a 20 second battery charger. This could be the biggest invention since the wheel.

In Weird News of the Month, Sherlyn Chopra showed off her black chuddies and buddy Mallika Sherawat had the usual bout of chronic verbal diarrhea. Her interview was a verbal equivalent of an Indian landfill after a rain. Where are the culture police when we need them

Queen of sewer talk

Elsewhere, a man 'demaned' himself and we found out that  pigs that taste better when they are high.

Former South Korean model Hang Mioku, is a testament to our pursuit of vanity. Big Mistake!
Like a dog returning to its vomit, iGate's Phaneesh Murthy was fired for sexual impropriety and misconduct. Deja Vu`. He cried coarse. Heck, he could be innocent too. But surely, he could've been smarter than to crap on the plate he eats from.

Husbands and mother-in-laws, Beware! Those suicide threats could come true. And if you are a man who likes to keep his wife's privates private, you've just scored the 'Go to Jail' card. Congratulations!

The Mango People spoke about The Mango People's Party. Question is, are they listening?
Google Glass made news. And I've got 2 words - More Porn.
Indian students celebrated when CBSE announced their results and Comedy Central ran foul with the foolish folks at the Centre. 

Maoists killed yet another  victim and Congress began frothing at the mouth. 
Dabbawallas ran, Amway is on its way out and so is Ram Jethmalani.

As the cycle of life shifts gear, we are halfway through this wonderful year. Sit back and enjoy!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Ze List v2.0 [365/365]

So I finally reached the end of my 2012 Challenge!

Ze List v1.0 was the most read post last year with about 6000 unique readers. Ze List v2.0 hopefully builds on that with my take on what was interesting and what made the cut (or not)

We've had incredible ups and downs this year but looking back, I now know the meaning of 'Be still and know that I am God'.

The Great Indian Circus
We had the government and all its cronies do a sequel by sleep-walking through parliament this year. There were plenty of misses and a few hits though no-one can pat themselves on the backs for.

It's all relative. From sports stars to wannabe bimbos, it doesn't look like they learned anything from the last year. Great year for Raja though!

Censorship and the Year of Hacks
The year kicked off pretty bad for folks like me who depend on freedom of speech. Governments everywhere realized it was simply not worth trying to muzzle free speech.

Will be remembered as the year when a ill-conceived prank took its toll.

End of Days
Surprisingly, this year was supposed to be the last. We were not supposed to survive the Apocalypse. But seeing how we did, let's hope dumb-asses like Harold Camping won't spoil us with another doomsday warning.#BrittanicaEncyclopedia #BigBang

One of the reasons why I think we all believed 2012 was the end was because of the way many economies in the West unraveled. Austerity is still the dirty word that must not be uttered.

Continues to be the speck in the eye for the West. When threats didn't work, embargoes did. But frankly, Iran is much too strong and well-built to be cowed down by a bunch of Caucasian bullies.

Bush'ism (noun)
Term given for the unexplained and outrageous insanely things that politicians became famous for saying. 
Synonym: Verbal Diarrhea.
Subject of intense research done by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Scientists are hoping to extract blood samples from Obama in the hope that they can create politicians who will be as refined and skilled as the American president.

Sexual Miss Conduct
Children and Indian women got the raw end of the stick (quite literally, too).
While Delhi and other Indian States notched up rapes like it was going out of style, it took just one 'brutal' rape to get us out with our creatively written banners asking for stricter anti-rape laws and legislature. Apparently the only women who are truly safe in Delhi is Sonia and Sheila.
No one wants to talk about the 26 year old mother who was blindfolded and gang-raped for several hours before being dumped in Kolkata. 

'Brutal' and 'Castration' became household words and it was just another year for Incredible India.

Pirates Ahoy!
Two Italian marines on-board an Italian cargo ship shot dead two Indian fishermen. What followed was a sordid tale of how the victim's family fought for a whole lot of money and won. Seeing how sluggish our judicial system works, the marines may have all the time in the world to learn some new Indian languages.

King No More
Bad year for the aviation sector. While Air India got the kiss of life, Kingfisher landed and never took off. Mallya may not be poor but he surely has a strategy. Or has he lost interest in his 5 star airliner?

Famous Deaths
An interesting line up of obituaries this year and with the kind of talent that left us unlucky mortals, I think God is casting for an Epic soon.

Full Tension Release
Our over-paid, under-worked pot-bellied politicians put their time to good use- porn in their palms.

Above the Line
If the govt said you were not poor if you earned more than Rs32/- a month and you laughed at the thought of that, then you'd have died laughing when our conscientious politicians declared that millions moved up the ladder this year.

From Master blaster with a bad hair day to Average Joe with shoes of concrete, the greatest batsman cricket has ever seen became a Rajya Sabha member and retired from ODIs. From one source of income to another, he executed a fine knock over the boundaries.

2012 was truly Didi's year. Or was it?
From being chuddi buddy with the ruling party to being isolated as a failing chief minister of an impoverished Indian State, the transition was complete.

Lyrical Gangsters
So what if the he didn't have the look or the moves, the whole world got obsessed with the horse-rider from the East. Oppan Gangnam Style. 

Natural disasters and Fiscal Cliffs
From Japan to the United States of America, it really didn't matter how rich or powerful they were, nature and money showed who's boss.

Hanging up the Boots
Several high-profile retirements left Indian cricket worse than it was. And oh yeah, let's not forget F1 either.

Guest Posts
I saw my ratings soar thanks to enthusiastic guest bloggers who wrote for me this year. One of my most popular guest blogger was AJ whose posts got about 5000+ hits. Thanks to you all!

Free Ads
A fairness cream for down under caused such a furore and tons of free publicity.
Honey Singh was thrown from relative obscurity to outright (in)famy with his 'Balatkar' lyrics.

Vidya Balan
She showed us how grit and sheer determination can bring success. What a Kahaani!

Indian Olympics
From winning our largest haul of Olympic medals to being kicked out from the IOC, we came full circle. Touche`

India lost an Aarushi about 4 years ago. Her parents are still paying the price for asking who did it.

From loosing terrorists to loosing face, our western neighbor had a pretty busy year.

Touted as one of the biggest IPO launches this year, FB fell flat on its face. Made for a great Kodak moment though. #Facepalm.

Unsung Heroes
'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' featured some unlikely heroes that you won't hear, will never see and would probably forget very soon. They made the list because of their sheer grit, dedication and character.

This section will probably be repeated in every single list of every single year. This year India saw the steepest increase and some token decrease in its prices. Suddenly cycling and walking looks like a better option.

Sunny Leone
She came. We came.
'nuff said.

With an obsession for attention, SRK cartwheeled himself into my List a second year in a row. #IPL5.

Aamir Khan's Sathya Maye Jayathe placed a mirror in front of us and we were forced to take a long hard look at ourselves.

One of the most anticipated Superhero movies made us all laugh, fight and believe in the supremacy of American vengeance.

Vicky Donor
Surprise package. Literally and otherwise.

Indian Presidential elections
Probably the first time, anyone ever fought to have their (wo)man at the Rastrapathi Bhavan. Predictably, logic took a back seat and Pranab bailed himself out from a sinking ship. Nice move!

US Presidential elections
Fodder for standup comedians and couch potatoes. No prizes for guessing who won.

Woof Wolf!
Pinky & Pascal Mazurier. Names that many have forgotten by now, became the unwitting victims of vengeful partners who took advantage of the quagmire called the Indian Justice system.

Of Money plants and Mud
Time and Outlook got at eachother's throat for calling their respective leaders a lame duck. Each saw their rating soar and we forgot who won.

Mass Shootings
We saw a new kind of jihadi.

From crazy lunatics firing into a packed theatre to socially-inept children killing other children, 2012 was all about ducking the bullets. #GunControl

Kasab Khatum
After years of fattening him up, we finally slaughtered him. Indians celebrated.

Naked Royals
Just three words: Pasty White Skin.

Bangalore Trash
We wanted our government to act on our trash. Not because we cared for the environment but because we had see (and smell) our trash every single moment of every single day for months.

From winning a billion dollar lawsuit against Samsung to unveiling new gadgets, Apple did it all.

Julian Assange
When all else failed, he simply walked into the Ecuadorian embassy. Now why didn't he do that earlier?!

Of spoiled sons and sons-in-laws...
This year, we heard (a lot more) about the famous sons and sons-in-laws.

...and wayward Generals and TV hosts
While Jimmy Savile was spared the embarrassment, Gen. David Petraeus was caught with his pants down. 

You've been flashed!
If libdubs were a rage, the past year saw plenty of flash mobs taking bystanders by surprise. Corporates and NGOs took to flash mobs like a duck to water to spread their message and brought a little bit of Bollywood into their lives.

The untimely death of an Indian dentist in Ireland ignited the debate supporting abortion in exceptional cases. What good is religion when it can't save precious human life?

Have a great year ahead!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pocket Money [285/365]

So we all saw how a grandiose plan to bring an end to corruption in the time-honored tradition of non-violence and non-cooperation degraded to Team Anna breaking up. 

Kejriwal announced that he would launch his own party and released a teaser of his party's manifesto.
The politicians guffawed at how a simpleton like Kejriwal would take on the combined riches of the BJP and Congress. All hell broke loose when he starting spewing venom against the high and mighty. Caught first in the cross-hairs, was Robert Vadra; son-in-law of the (Sonia) Gandhi family and 'an ordinary businessman'.

The allegations were serious enough to cause concern. One of India's largest real-estate companies DLF had apparently given a massive sum as an 'unsecured loan' to Vadra, who in turn purchased properties that were undervalued at less than 10% of what they cost in the market.
50 crores is barely loose change and is a shamefully small amount when compared to the billions of rupees that the members of the UPA government have siphoned off.
Vadra, who enjoys VVIP treatment in Indian airports, was naturally indignant. He claimed innocence and transparency. Madam would've clucked her tongue and uttered an Italian curse and every single cabinet minister ran to his aid. The speed at which the government responded to allegations against one of its citizens was admirable.

Some questions here:
  • Why rush to defend a man who claims to be just another honest businessman?
  • Would audited books of accounts that are in public domain lie? 
  • How can DLF and Vadra explain why the loans were unsecured were given and why the properties were not accounted for in the books until 3 years later?
  • Is what DLF did an acceptable standard practice?
We may never know the bitter truth here either, but the reality is Kejriwal has set the cat amongst the pigeons. He has opened a can of worms and it sure isn't going to be smelling likes roses for a while.
That said, I doubt if Kejriwal can claim to be a saint himself. He has battled charges of misusing funds in the recent past but ofcourse being the media's darling, you'll not find any dirt on him even if you trawl google. But then we can overlook minor infractions like this and seeing how he has taken the political path to clean up a really messy situation I don't know if coming into the ring spitting and slinging mud was the best way forward. 

Ideally, the activist turned politician should have build a water tight no-nonsense manifesto before engaging in a sludge-match. He did have the aces but when you are taking on the most powerful son-in-law in the country, you are playing with nukes. Nonetheless, there could be a method to the madness, and the Haryanvi is surely playing to the youth who have begun to see him as a role model and a 'guy like us'.

In Round 1 of Mr manicured Armani tux vs rest of India, the mangoes and bananas got much unwanted attention.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The money-plant [270/365]

My girlfriend is an avid gardener. She loves collecting exotic species of plants and after two years of collecting and some TLC, our balcony garden is now the greenest of them all. We have flowers of every hue and size blooming every other day. Ofcourse, we also have the slimy slugs that invaded our garden a few months ago, but our balcony is truly a wonderful place to spend an evening.

While she loves flowering plants, I love creepers, specially one that is called 'money-plant'. I guess it is the name that intrigued me. Why would you call a plant that does not sprout money or serve any practical purpose such? My partner tells me that we are supposed to steal a money plant for it to work its 'aura' in our house. So after stealing the shoots of several money plants from friends and relatives, we finally have half a dozen money-plants on our two balconies. Ideally, this means we need to be rich by now.

Unfortunately, money does not grow on trees. And our PM just confirmed that. Duh!
So where exactly is all money in? Ofcourse in coal, iron-ore, spectrum and other resources of national importance. Nonetheless this statement has got the opposition rolling on the floor laughing. Real mature, I know.

Surely the PM meant well when he said we need to contain subsidies to propel our economy ahead. But I can bet he never imagined all the guffaws and limericks that he got for saying the truth.

Okay, so does the PM really need our undivided attention while he tries to bring peace into an unruly classroom when there is just 5 minutes for recess? I think he does. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned how parties that bring the nation to a grinding halt must be penalized. One of my reader was outraged. He wrote how I was being pretentious. He reasoned that the UPA doesn't deserve to be forgiven because of the way they have looted the nation in the 2 terms they have ruled. My answer: Well, so did any other party in power.

The truth is as long as we entrust our freedom and our resources to people who know they cannot be held accountable, we put ourselves at the risk of being cheated. This is as true as it is in India as it is the US of A. The only difference is the way we treat the guilty. In the US, a politician can bid his career adieu if he is proven guilty. Here, politicians are never guilty as long as they are in power. What happens when they loose power is a totally different story.

As long as we have people who think caste-based reservations and subsidies are necessary and as long as we have politicians who can't see beyond their own yardsticks, we are doomed to be citizens of a third world country.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coalling it [241/365]

In the future, there wont be a single government deal that will be honest.
And the future is now.

Desensitized by the number of scams in the past five years, my head reels under the sheer amount of money that we have (lost). Whoever says India is poor must be flogged and sentenced to death for making unpatriotic statements.

While Coalgate is going to make much noise for the next couple of weeks or until the next big scam/scandal, I wonder how much we have learned from the mistakes our leaders have made until now.
A quick peek into our past- Nira Radia tapes, CWG Scam, housing loan scam, 2G spectrum scam, porngate, Barak missile scandal, Tatra truck scam, Ice-cream parlour scandal, Hawala scam, Kargil coffins scam, Adharsh Apartment scam, Toilet scam, Kinetic finance ltd scam, IGI airport scam, Granite scam, Land allotment scam, Bellary mining scam, BBMP scam, cash for votes scam and the list just goes on...
I will bet my last buck that not one of these will see justice. No, I'm not being cynical nor am I pessimistic. I am a realist.

As the ruling coalition and it's main opposition is locked in yet another battle, it is anybody's guess who will blink first. Eventually, it doesn't matter who sits on the moral high horse, because we are doomed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

66 and Groaning [223/365]

I love birthdays!
Ofcourse, it is said that as you get older, you will begin to love it less.

With a week left for the big day, I doubt if India or her fathers are looking ahead to the future. Eliminating poverty is still number one on all our politicians manifesto, last on their wish lists. Women and minorities are the new untouchables, and insurgency and civil unrest is at an all time rise.

But there are so much to cheer too. Indians are highly visible in almost every stream of natural and pure science. We are incredible hardy and persistent, almost like a drug resistant virus. And inspite of decades of corruption and incompetent leaders, we are still a force to reckon with. Surely, our priorities are misplaced and we need the occasional whip to behave.
At 66, we are still experiencing growing pains of puberty. We cannot decide if we must please the citizens or the polity. But we stoop to sycophancy with the ease of a trained monkey. Our bureaucracy has slowed down to such an extent that it cannot move without the essential grease of bribes and kickbacks.
Infrastructure, a nation's lifeblood, is in perennial ruin. There are no kucha or pucca roads anymore, but tolled and toll-free roads. Corruption is no longer just an essay you'd imagine and write in your 10th grade exams. Poverty is not something you can miss anymore.

Many years back, I wrote a competitive essay on what it would take to tackle corruption. A few days ago, I wrote on how endemic corruption has become in India.
Like any parasitic virus, corruption has weakened our defenses. We can no longer judge fairly, rule justly or act morally.

With a week to go, this is a pretty bad prognosis. Had this been a human, her children would have left her to rot in a government mental asylum.
Happy Birthday, India!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Badminton Racket [219/365]

Days after my prediction about Lee, Hesh and Sania came true, Saina has given us a cause to cheer.

After winning the bronze in a match that was well fought, Saina truly is the embodiment of a new era in Indian sports. She may not have the curves of a Sania but today's match proved that she is truly a world class athlete. But again, she is not a one match wonder and has struggled through the ranks in full public view.

Winning this medal wouldn't have come as a surprise to her, but knowing the kind of sportsperson she is, I am quite sure she would have liked the gold much better. The diminutive shuttler is of a new breed of sportspeople who have their head firmly on their shoulders.

Seven days into the Games, we stand 45th in the medal tally with 3 medals. Considering how we got only one medal and none until a few games ago, this is incredible improvement. Lest we rest, and the law of averages continue to work in our favor, we could try and send a larger contingent the next time.

And talking about contingents, China had her badminton players being disqualified before of irrefutable evidence of foul play and 'playing against the Olympic spirit'.

Let's drink to that!

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?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Stooping to conquer [111/365]

Power is addictive.
You could be the statutory head of a country or a prayer group.

As an active member of a Church that I go to, I signed up to be a member of the House Fellowship Group.
The group didn't have a head, and since I had considerable experience coordinating and leading large groups of people, I volunteered to be a Convener. Bang!
The outgoing convener didn't take this too lightly. Out came the claws. Writing an elaborate email he cited breach of protocol and procedure.
Erring on the side of caution, we apologized. Several times. Profusely.
He wouldn't back down. He demanded the proper procedure and protocol be followed and reiterated that he would not want to walk away because he 'didn't want to create a bad precedence'.
When I reminded him that this really wasn't a contest or an election and that he was free to continue to be a Convener, he promptly retaliated with unhelpful reminders that this all about propriety and how he 'didn't want to cling on to power or money'. I know what you're thinking. Yes. Well, some people are just incorrigible.
His wife took up the cudgels to defend the honor of her beleaguered Husband.
While such infighting is a sign of a rot that is deeper, all this just for the post of a Prayer Group Convener. Really?!

Power, at any level, is exhilarating. The competitiveness can get very addictive. I've led large groups of people on corporate projects and thoroughly enjoyed being responsible and in charge.
I've enjoyed delegating tasks and overseeing people and making sure that everyone had a task they loved and worked as a team.

But how would you define an awesome leader?
Someone who can work under pressure, delegate tasks, foresee eventualities, be able to accept and deliver constructive feedback, nurture talent and achieve objectives. All while having fun. Someone who makes his/her job look really easy.
I've come to understand that people enjoy being in a team when they are all equal partners and responsible for the outcome.

Leadership matters, even when the position does not. 
But the money and fame is real, bubba.

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