Showing posts with label Governance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Governance. Show all posts

Monday, December 08, 2014

While I was away... November 2014!

Take a seat.. this will take a while.

The other day I was on my way to work and I saw a smart young techie in his mid-sized economy sedan. Now we are all stuck in this kilometer long traffic that was barely moving and every other motorist decides to wait it out. Except for this chap. He is fuming! He starts honking like he's got a coronary valve about to explode. 
The motorist in front of him gets furious and doesn't budge an inch while the rest of us zip past him. 
I couldn't help but laugh at the way his impatience got the better of him. 
This is a scene that gets repeated at every rush hour in every road in Bangalore err. Bengaluru. I so want to buy a bumper sticker that reads - Honk if you know you are an Asshole! But I digress.

Earlier this month, desi etailer and India's answer to the Amazon announced the 'Big Billion Sale'. It was the perfect bait. Indians love a bargain and we actually salivate at the sound of the words - 'Big' and 'Sale'. And we all waited for 8 am on the 6th of October. The rest as they say is history. There was a sucker born every second and we all got 'flipkarted'. The euphoria didn't last. Sachin and Binny Bansal should have known better than to promise us a bargain and deny it. Couch shoppers vent their fury online and the Government decided to look into consumer complaints.

Meanwhile, Amazon India and the Future Group announced a tie-up that will retail Future Group's merchandise on Amazon's etail platform. Checkmate, Flipkart!

But not everyone got jacked. Employees at the Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd, Surat got their Diwali bonuses and how! Its owner Savjibhai Dholakia announced a bonus of Rs 4 lakh each to buy a flat, car or jewelry. 

But that was not all
. Smriti Irani, Union HRD Minister, also gave away saris to each woman in Amethi.  

Gauhar got slapped. Twitter didn't crash. #DoubleStandards #InnerStrength

There is something chronically ill about our sense of entitlement. Some of our bright young entrepreneurs felt we need to protest through a kiss. Now, in theory, I can understand how we should protest against moral policing, but do we really have to kiss to do that? To me, kissing is such an intimate act and something that you'd do to express your love to another person. Maybe it works in socially progressive societies, but in a country like ours,

where we frown upon couples who intertwine their hands in public, how could you expect change when you kiss in front of 100s of other people. So by banning the KOL, we have again proved ourselves right that we are grand hypocrites who will ogle and re-watch the shit out of movies like Murder and Jism where the lead couple make out onscreen but when it comes to mere mortals, suddenly you'll find all kinds of indecency laws coming alive from the woodwork. But that said, we are still not ready for an event like this because the Kiss of Love in India only feeds the voyeurs who will take a picture of these couples for their 'private consumption'.

And if you are looking for more discrimination, all roads lead to Aligarh Muslim University who for decades didn't allow women into its library because that would lead to '4 times the boys'. What a bunch of prudes!

And at the other end of the spectrum, some of our cops did want the women dance to their tunes. Now, this is what I call the long arms of the law!

In between clocking all those frequent flier miles, PM Modi rounded up his motley crew of political allies and told them how their tasks have just begun. Really?! Can we have some accountability too?

After calling Modi a mass murderer for years, its fascinating to see the American volte-face. O called Modi 'The Man of Action'. Our 'onsite PM' even managed a diplomatic coup by inviting Barack Obama to attend the Republic Day parade.
Mr O, one piece of advice: Please don't let the women in your family take the cabs when you are here #NoCountryForWomen.

Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, touched the hearts of the nurses when he gave a hand-written 'Thank You' note to all the nurses who cared for him while he was in the hospital.

Mamata's brother beat up a zoo staffer for not allowing him and his entourage into a zoo. If anything everyone will forget about this and nothing will ever change.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court sentenced 5 men to life in prison for raping a BPO employee back in 2010. Terming the 5 married men as 'beasts who were prowling the streets for a soft target to satiate their sexual thirst', this should be a precedent to how future sexual crimes should be treated.

After promising to probe and bring up billions of dollars in black money stashed in dozens of countries abroad, the Modi government finally submitted a list of 627 people to the Supreme Court. Many of them resident Indians and the rest non-residents. While the government will bask on the glory of having come this far, I'll wait before I celebrate. How much of this will be brought back and put to good use? Your guess is as good as mine.

We broke the impasse over a key WTO pact and all is business as usual with Russia.

The UN owes us over $110 million in unpaid dues for our peacekeeping operations. Now that's some serious moolah!

True to our tradition of being tolerant to nations left behind at the sidewalk, we pledged $4 million to rebuild Gaza. Respect!

But there has been a good lot of decision-making too. The government approved 33 long-pending defense manufacturing projects #MakeInIndia.
The Modi government also identified over 1000 archaic laws that will be axed over the next couple of months. 

In more 'feel-good' news, Tata Group's Land Rover has become the only Indian-owned entity to make it to the 100 most valuable brand in the world. Suck on that, Ambani! Oh and Ambu, your private jet has been acting cranky. Please check.

Indian bureaucracy is like quick sand. You can't sink if you won't struggle. The thing is, this is easier said than done. Australian Terry Walsh, India's hockey coach, threw his hands up in frustration and quit.

In political news from elsewhere, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe accepted responsibility for corruption within his cabinet and replaced 2 ministers who swindled millions of Yen to influence and buy votes for his government. Neither Ministers accepted responsibility for their actions.
Across the border, Benazir's idiot son Bilawal showed signs of puberty. And like any irritated teenager he ranted about Kashmir. But I bet he didn't see how he could be booed and heckled at a party's anti-India rally in London. We woke up the angry young man. Rahul thinks angry people are running the country. Why don't you put your pacifier back and mommy will sing some Italian lullabies for youWe have Rahul, they have Bilawal. Same to Same.

And after several incursions and dozens dead, our defense minister warned Pakistan of the pain if it persists with violations.
Closer home, Mamata is like the puny little uncouth brat with the uncanny ability to survive like a roach after a nuclear strike. With growing dissent, and unless she decides to pull a fast one, her days are numbered too. The last month, PM Modi warned her against inaction on the Burdwan blasts. One of the pitfalls of being such a populous nation is that, our lives are expendable. 

China declared war on HK protesters. No surprises there.
And His Royal Crappiness Kim Jong Un appeared in public for the first time in more than 6 weeks. Hell must have a landfill named after people like him.

The US-led coalition (of the willing!) finally decided to target ISIS targets after a string of beheadings. With a history of not completing the job they set out for, this would not end well for anyone. 

Sarita Devi, who shot to fame after the way she protested the decision that cost her a medal at the CWG, was suspended by the AIBA. Ouch! The price of dissent.
A student in the southern State of Kerala, was jailed after being caught 'disrespecting' the national anthem. While you might be outraged that this could happen in a country which immortalizes the freedom of speech and expression, I am appalled at how we 'unpatriotic' we as a society are.

In more Ebola news, the WHO declared Nigeria ebola-free after 42 days of incubation and the news that there hasn't been any new infections in that country. 

In what can be termed as medical miracle, a paralyzed man started walking after a path-breaking medical procedure that brings hope to millions of paraplegics around the world.

Pope Francis was in the news. A lot. For all the right reasons, he is the Pope that the Vatican needed 50 years ago.
As usual, another Baba Baba Black Sheep, Rampal, was in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Starting this month, we'll have the DILLIGAF section.. 
  • Many of you might have heard about the NY Times cartoon lampooning ISRO after we put Mangalyaan into the Martian orbit. And then in our own distasteful way, we pointed fingers back at NASA when one of their cargo ships exploded shortly after launch. And then we had a dozen other conspiracy theories and hoaxes circulating the web. None the wiser.
  • When there isn't too many real achievements, it is time for us to celebrate the mediocre and unusual. So when the newly appointed Defense Minister (and former Chief Minister of Goa) traveled 'cattle class', that made news. The Congress celebrated Nehru's 125th birth anniversary.
  • PM Modi kickstarted the 'Swache Bharat' movement and did the ice-bucket. Nice effort but look outside your air-conditioned offices and you'll see educated, socially-aware youngsters litter and spit. These are the same people who will forward the 'Swache Bharat' message on Whatsapp and the same glorious idiots who will jump the red light, ride their motorbikes on the pedestrian footpath and the cut the barricades to take a illegal thoroughfare. Hypocrites!
  • The Congress fired its most famous twitterati and MP Shashi Tharoor for 'praising and supporting' Modi's campaign. The first sign of a rot from within is when organisations try to muffle voices of dissent and criticism. 
  • ....and protected its prodigal son (in law) from fire. 
  • Yeddy got fingered, again and Shashi might get the roast.
  • Indian MPs in the grand old tradition of being treated like royalty vent their fury against our National Airline, for being treated like a commoner. Gosh! The torture they go through for us. 
  • Down south, a Bangalore top cop found it disrespectful that he wasn't allowed entry a prestigious Club because he didn't have his membership card. All hell broke lose! 
  • Jayalalitha left her jail in style. All hail Ram Jethmalani !! The pittance that the court ordered her to be paid is a farce.
  • Five Indian fisherman were also pardoned by Sri Lanka. Hero's welcome
  • And back in China, a man who made his millions when the government bought his land drives his BMW to his job as a sanitation worker. If this was an Indian, he would have built his third bungalow on encroached land and bought his second Land Rover by now.
  • So, vegetarian men may live a decade longer than the meat-eaters, but recent studies have shown that they have lower sperm count. 
  • 10 standup comedians vied for the title of the 'World's Funniest Person'. Applause!
  • A Saudi's US wife filed for divorce over email after being denied the right to see her kids.
  • Monica Lewinsky, the most famous Whitehouse intern to date, revealed that her affair with Bill Clinton cost her her integrity and reputation, in her first speech in 13 years when she joined Twitter. Well, atleast it gave us plenty of fodder for jokes since.
  • A US court allowed a human rights group to challenge the American government's 'suggestion of immunity' in a case against PM Modi. More drama. Oh this in the same year that India is re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council
  • And the UN questioned Israel on claims of abuse against Palestinians. Predictably, Israel defended its record. That's right, gentlemen. Let us all believe that.
  • A fraudster, who conned his elderly neighbor out of £40,000, faked being in a coma for two years in a bid to avoid being punished for the crime. 
  • Prince William and his wife Kate is expecting their second child, who will be fourth in line to the British throne, and is due in April 2015. Right On
  • PM Modi 'invoked' Nehru and Gandhi and hit Level 10 on the Indian sycophancy meter. 
  • Like a cockroach trying to get out of a flooding drain, AAP led the 'Swachh Raajneeti' or 'clean politics' in the run up to the polls in Haryana. Oh and not one to be outdone, the BJP used the Modi card and won. Touche` With the wave of anti-Congress rippling across the nation, it appears we will have political stability after decades of turmoil. The only problem is BJP's victory has also become one of its biggest albatrosses. With a motley group of fractured parties in the opposition, Modi will have to deploy all of his political acumen to have any of his bills passed. This is going to be a long session.
  • So while the BJP was on a winning streak in the legislative elections, the Congress, err... not so much. MNS lost its status as a regional party and ate humble papdi chaat.
  • The Shiv Sena cuddled up to the BJP and snuggled like long lost lovers. Oh I missed you so much, honeyAfter stiff lobbying, Haryana and Maharasthra got their first BJP chief ministers. 
  • Next up: Jammu & Kashmir.
  • And the flavor of the month was Priyanka Chopr.. er Gandhi. All hail the Dynasty.
Shweta Basu was released from the remand home and allowed to stay with her family in Mumbai. What surprises me is how we have had no qualms about dragging her reputation through the gutters when her 'high-profile clients' go Scot-free. I wish Shweta well and I hope she has the courage to come out stronger and not become an sad obituary tomorrow.
But if we believed defaming her will kill the world's oldest profession, we are fools. Supply is driven by demand after all. It is time we thought of bringing the millions in the sex trade into a legalized framework where they can be a part of the accounted workforce. The National Women's Commission (NCW) placed a proposal to legalize prostitution before a SC panel but considering how coy we are about this, I wouldn't hold my breath for a verdict anytime soon.

In a fit of misplaced linguistic pride, the central government ordered Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country to replace German with Sanskrit language classes. The SC and the German consulate had to step in and slap
common sense into the government.

Indian army estimates more than 2000 terrorists are waiting to cross into India. Well, give them all an Aadhaar card and let them live the Indian dream.
Oscar Pistorius is 'genuinely remorseful'. Remorse can't bring back the dead and won't heal wounds. This should be a reminder that a violent history has a tendency of catching up.

Hitler was a meth addict. Here's a toast for the 5 minutes that you wasted.

The subcontinent got some worldwide recognition when the Nobel committee awarded the 2014 Peace Prize to the Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai and Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi. Much brouhaha followed and Malala released her book. While I subscribe to her cause, I wonder how she deserved it. Giving her the Peace prize is like giving the Param Veer Chakra for fighting a stray dog. A year ago, when she was shot to be killed, the world adopted her. Since then, I don't see how Malala has improved the welfare of the people she left behind. The villagers are still being hunted down, girls are still living perilous lives in a country that is being run by armed goons and brainless idiots. Ideally, a prize like the Nobel is (and should be) awarded in recognition of efforts past and plans future. As much as we fawn over her, what Malala has done barely meets either. Somehow, I feel the Nobel committee treats the Peace prize as a political brownie point that is given away for good behavior. On the other hand, Kailash has had a proven track record of rescuing and protecting children who would have otherwise lived horrible lives or died trying. 
Past recipients like Obama (who was nominated in the year he became the US Prez) smacks of political favoritism. Besides starting new wars instead of stopping it, I pray how Obama has contributed to world peace then or since.

So we all know how corruption and nepotism is prevalent in the corridors of power. The greater the power, the tougher to resist the fruits of corruption. However, earlier this month, when I read how Hunter Biden, US Vice President's son was thrown out of the navy for using cocaine, I thought to myself 'Gee, this can never happen in India'.

Diwali is also one of those times of the year when the cash registers start ringing. 
We had Farah Khan's Happy New Year, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
Need I say more? Their last outing together gave us the terrible terrible Chennai Express. There is nothing happy or new about HNY. This is atrocious and like nearly all of SRK's movies in the past many years is something you watch only if you are sucker for extreme torture and cruelty. The story-line as kitschy as a gypsy's underwear, the premise as fragile as dried dog poop and the acting will make you cringe in embarrassment. SRK looks like a hairless chimp with shriveled face.
SRK: Please retire. 
Deepika: hmmm.. Nevermind. 
My Rating: 0.02

Bang Bang. Another movie that came out this month which went kaput! There isn't any semblance of a story-line and you should be flogged for indecency if you were lured by the posters, which by the way has Katrina Kaif (famous for the way she orgasms at the drop of a particular brand of mango juice) showing her lingerie. 
When scantily-clad Indian actresses intertwine themselves with macho men, that's art. When Aamir Khan stands buff, let's set the lunatics with their pitchforks free. 
My Rating: 0.02

But be sure to catch Haider. May not be a blockbuster but definitely, one of those few Indian movies that has been made well. 
My Rating: 8.0

And this past month, millionaire banker, Tory advisor, member and supporter of Countryside Alliance Sir David Scholey shot himself into infamy when he was photographed with a lion he killed for game. 

Our own 'Srini Saar' acquitted himself and demanded that he be appointed as the head of BCCI. And if you ever wondered why he's being clinging on like a starved leech, here's the math - BCCI being the cash cow that it is, ICC is like the Principal's office (nothing much of value in there) but the BCCI is like the treasure chest. But with the SC dousing any such aspirations, this is going to be a long winter for him.

In this month's 'Let's give a moment of silence' section,
The head of Iran's top Islamic clerical body Ayatollah Mohammad passed away after lying in a coma for several months. Let's wait for the next radical loony toon

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) barred India’s largest real estate developer DLF Ltd and six officials, including chairman K.P. Singh, from accessing the capital markets for three years after finding them guilty of engaging in fraudulent and unfair trade practices. Chances are the convicted will still continue to run these corporations through proxies.
And talking about proxies, Mukesh Ambani appointed his children to the boards of his telecom and retail businesses. Incredible India : The land of the rising children!

Sahara's beleaguered chief Subrata Roy will remain in prison, after his company failed to rustle up funds for his release. The higher they are, the harder they fall.

But if you are wondering where all that money is going, look skyward. Air India has been spending millions every year insuring aircrafts that haven't flown in years. Right stuff!

Bangalore used to be called the City of Lakes and Pensioner's Paradise. I've got a new one for it - 'Delhi of the South'. In the 3rd (unofficially this number could be in the high 3 digits) instance in the past 4 months, a 3 year old girl was raped inside a private school during school hours. And between the time I wrote this and when you've read it, atleast a few hundred more women have been molested, raped or touched inappropriately.

Relatives and loved ones of trekkers who were killed in a Japanese volcano eruption mourned over the loss. Many of them left their last moments on film.

Nirbhay, India's answer to the US Cruise missile was test-fired successfully. As the raging debate of priorities go, I lean towards a nation that should work on economic and social security and can't accept it when we still spend billions of dollars on arms and ammunition. Sure, we share porous borders with neighbors who want to fight us. But so does every other country in the world. Why we can't make all these weapons at home? We have the brains, the brawn and the bitumen.

In this month's 'Interesting News of the month' section, 
  • ...check out interesting graveyards here.
  • One more reason for Indians to have their chest swell up in pride. We finally have a strong scientific presence in the Arctic. Let's get busy!
  • In a sign of the times, a Detroit man has put up an advt where he is willing to sell his house in exchange for an iPhone. Living the American Dream
  • Read about the Chinese farmer who refused to sell his land and ended up living in the middle of the highway.
  • Want a patient ear and shoulder to cry on? Have 7 cups of tea.
  • What do you have that beats the world's most powerful camera? Megapixels, baby. At 576 MP, your eye is more powerful than the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), which can take pictures of Dark Matter. Touche
  • Read about the vanishing sand of our coastlines.. 
  • Paranoid about your internet security? Read this then.. 
  • Read about the man who 'loves' his cars and ...
  • ...the epic response of a police man in court.
And in Ebola news, after bungling up the WHO finally declared it under control in Nigeria. Good for them.

...and this is what happens when you park your car overnight
The government ruled that tobacco vendors will no longer be allowed to sell cigarettes individually. Considering how millions of smokers buy cigarettes in one's and two's for their hourly nicotine fix, this could be the noose around the neck of tobacco companies. ITC and Godfrey Williams' stock plummeted.

Now, in something that will blow your shorts away, read about the wife who secretly recorded her husband's gay encounter and the newspaper article that revealed the identity of the husband. #

Watch out for Ze List v3.0, coming soon!

That's all, folks. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Calling the bluff [51/365]

And the obsession with Iran continues.
The West threatening Iran with punitive sanctions while its business as usual in Iran. I wonder why all the posturing when it is obvious that we need the Iranian oil as much as they need our petrol-dollars.
Amidst the war cries and the many claims, Iran defiantly went ahead and processed nuclear fuel. (Read the startling news here)

Call it modern age propaganda or just the result of the West's influence on the media, Iran is a very progressive nation.
Unlike the Cubans, Russians, Iraqis or the Koreans, Iran has managed to make huge strides in infrastructure. With a GDP close to a trillion dollars, its economy is something that only a handful of nations can match.
Being one of ten most tourist worthy places in the world, I had the wonderful chance to visit the country a decade ago.
I noticed how broad the roads were, how friendly the people were and the enormous respect that its citizens had towards Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.
With all the war-mongering going on, I was surprised at how peaceful you feel on the streets.
Their emphasis on protecting culture and history is a lesson that India can truly learn. Iranian cinema and musicians had been quietly gathering accolades for themselves for a while when I had visited. Sport is taken seriously, both as a recreation and as a career, which is much more than what I can say for other countries with the resources but lacking the will.
Many of us tend to confuse Iran with its poorer Asian neighbors. But their ingenuity, perseverance and almost limitless ability to excel inspired me.

Today as the war cries reach a crescendo, I recall how my perception about Iran changed. Iran is indeed the West's favorite punching bag. Today, I realize why the West and more importantly the US cannot bear an empowered Iran.
The same reason why the US could not stand a powerful Russia. 

More power to Iran.

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