Indian Politics – Finally the pussycat roars!!

After more than three years of dithering and hiding behind the saree of “Madam”, our honorable prime minister finally proved why he is noted as the worlds best economist…while disapproving the popular claim as India’s worst Prime Minister.

Policies which were in lock jam for the last 2 years were finally passed much to the chagrin of dissenters like Mamta Benarjee and other BJP so called leaders.

With direct foreign investment being allowed, India has opened a Pandora’s box for the world and I feel that while it is definitely going to give a much needed boost to India’s economy, It will also play a small hand in giving direction to world investors, who are hungry for growth markets in an otherwise floundering world financial system. Having brands like Walmart entering in, might in the short run be detrimental to the unorganised home business sector. However, one must argue that to grow in the long run, some sacrifices are a must, and if organising these units into larger ones, gives end users economies of scale as well as quality products, then it can only benefit everyone in the long run. Very cleverly the law has been very clear in laying emphasis on the fact that while large international brands can open shops in India, 30% of its sourcing needs to be done within the country itself. This will again provide more employment opportunities and industrial and agricultural growth.

When the entire country grows, the people grow with it as there is a plethora of jobs and new businesses. Competition from these companies will force a large number of the local complacent companies to pull up their socks.

Another brilliant arrow from the PM’s archery is the increase in diesel and LPG rates. I have never been able to understand how we can keep subsidizing LPG to 50% and pay from the government treasury. The increase though a big jump has been long overdue. It is not going to impact the general user for more than Rs. 1200 a YEAR, but will be a huge relief for our stretched budgets. Anyways, a large percentage of the LPG cylinders are booked by commercial establishments, and there is no reason why this should be subsidized.

While Petrol has been increasing multiple times a year for many years, disel prices have been almost constant. This disparity had to stop at some point. A lot of the disel is consumed by the rich luxury car owners and transport industries, who can very well afford to pay for the same.

Giving connectional rates for necessary goods is needed, but it cannot be at the cost of the tax payers money. There are barely 3% (I being in this percentage) who pay taxes in India. Why is it that these 3% people who pay the tax, need to bare the burden of 97% of the population. It is about time everyone moved and took onus of their own lives, instead of demanding rights without doing their duties.

Politicians who oppose these laws are extremely digressive, self centered and corrupt. Their aim is to keep India poor by keeping its people poor.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resolve to go down fighting is what the Sikhs of this country are known for. It will take a lot of courage to stand up against the monkeys in the circus, but my sincere prayer is that there are no roll backs.

Now if we could take some calls on our education system and infrastructure, India would be heaven. But I guess I am asking for too much at this point…Lets take one step at a time…As long as they are giant steps

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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in India, lifestyle, Politics


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Pushkar – Much more than a place of worship

When my daughter suggested a trip to Rajasthan, we scoured the match for a place which not only had we not visited, but was fun as well. A religious journey was not really our agenda at all, though we did want to visit the acclaimed Ajmer Sharif.

We zeroed in on Pushkar for its sheer proximity to Jaipur and Ajmer Sharif. Someone had recommended a new spa resort which was on it’s outskirts, and a weekend getting ourselves pampered sounded just about right.

We had not really expected much from Pushkar apart from a relaxing weekend, and were pleasantly surprised. The weather was outstanding. After the oppressive heat of Bombay (even though it was the so called monsoons) the cool weather with a slight drizzle which greeted us in Pushkar was sheer bliss. The hotel was again beyond expectations. If anyone is looking at a visit, the Ananta Spa Resort is luxury personified… and a real value for money.

At the spa we got an education on the historical and religious anecdotes of the location. The stories were as varied as interesting, but it was enough to pique our interest to take a trip down to the “sarovar”

Pushkar Sarovar

The Sarovar at Pushkar, Rajasthan

The story goes as this: Lord Brahma did not have a place of worship in the world he helped create. As is known in Indian Mythology, Brahma is regarded as the creator of the universe. Therefore he dropped a lotus from heaven, and the pond – Sarovar flowed from the spot. People from all walks of life come here to take a dip, and pray for the souls of their ancestors.

Rows of sacred ghats front a mystically magnetic lake, where hundreds of milky-coloured temples and weather-touched domes sit beneath a shifting, pale grey sky.

Ghats around Lake Pushkar

Ghats around Lake Pushkar

What intrigued me about the picture I took of the ghats was not so much the almost symmetrical temples with columns upon columns of steps reaching down to the waters from all sides. What captivated was the bright yellow spattering of messages on all the temple walls which stood out in the otherwise monsoon ridden grey and misty aura.

With a weekend well spent, we have promised ourselves many more of these trips. We hope to taken in at least two new places each year. Lets keep our fingers crossed on that thought.

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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in lifestyle, Travel


30 pieces of silver by Carolyn McCray

30 Pieces of Silver30 Pieces of Silver by Carolyn McCray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really love reading history and travel based fiction, so when I first heard about this book, I naturally grabbed it. I have been a huge fan of the Da Vinci series and this book promised to be more – and I must admit I was not disappointed.

The book is a surprise and gets you thinking of the possibilities. i am sure it must have shaken up a number of religious beliefs. While I realize the story is fictional, it does leave a lingering doubt in your mind, that makes you think all that you have learned about the bible might not be as it seems.

The story weaves brilliant historical facts, which leave you a bit confused and at the same time asking for more. Just when I thought I had understood something, I was lost again. I felt I was almost moving with Brandt and Rebecca in their adventures. The detailed and picturesque description of the different places and monuments almost made me book the next flight to see it for my self. This is truly a travelers delight.

I did feel that the action got too descriptive and long and some time unfocussed from the actual story, but then I guess that is my opinion and am sure many of my fellow readers might disagree with me on this one.

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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Books


Power and Politics

I just got back from a brilliant talk by Sudhir Kakar, Zareer Masani and Fatima Bhutto. What really got my attention was Fatima Bhutto’s candid confession “Politics didn’t tear my family. Power did. Power is more destructive than politics.”

In recent times, with the ongoing circus Indian politics have become…politics is referred to as a cesspool. Fatima’s words led me to rethink this belief. Is it POLITICS which is the cesspool, or the POWER which people in politics crave which is the cause of our downfall. Most youngsters most likely enter politics with the idealistic view of “changing the world”, “making the world a better place” or “doing something for my country”. This ideology gets distorted as one starts experiencing success, and start realizing that the by-product of this success is probably POWER. Awareness hits, that they have the ability and power to do anything they want, and thereby get away with anything they want.

But WHO gives them this power. It is not just the simple act of being in politics which is responsible for it. It is WE THE PEOPLE who are responsible for giving it to them. We appoint them to an office, and then give them duties, responsibilities and tools which enable them to perform their duties. Slowly our so called leaders use these tools to give them power, and the people who gave them the tools, forget about making them accountable for their duties…which was the primary objective.

Power and politics is not a phenomenon reserved for politics or government alone. It is there in every sphere of our lives. In our homes people who have the most responsibility, probably wield the most power. For business men or industrialist, making money beyond a point ceases to be the driving force. It is the POWER associated with an office, which becomes the intoxicant.

As humans is it truly possible for a person to detach the power from the office? Would love to hear what you think.

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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Books, Uncategorized


Rockstar – An absolute star

RockstarWith a spate of bad movies getting released. (Read, double dhamaal etc etc) I had totally decided that I would not spend a Rs. 1000/- on another bad movie. I am going to read the reviews and only then go for one. As a result, I did not see Rockstar for almost 4 weeks after its release – Thanks to the negative reviews it has been getting.

I am so glad my daughter finally convinced me. She was absolutely on target when she said that A.R. Rahman has outdone himself. This is definitely his best work to date. It is amazing how versatile he is. The range of music in the film is unbeatable. The different moods are captured perfectly! Even with your eyes closed, you can feel the pulsing  tempo. I could actually feel the hair on my arms stand up during the song in the masjid. There is definitely no composer in the world like Rahman.

Rahman’s brilliant work is bought to life by Ranbir Kappor’s mind blowing performance. I don’t think there is anyone in the present generation of actors who can so convincingly play a lost boy look, an intense musician and a frustrated lover so perfectly, that too in the same movie. If he does not sweep away every single award, then what the media and public believe so strongly is surely true. All movie awards are rigged!!!

Imtiaz Ali has once again not failed to live up to his expectations. He gets more brilliant with every film. Putting together a film like this and executing it so beautifully requires immense talent AND guts. The visualization of the films is something which needs to be seen to be believed. It is ethereal and passionate. Only someone who has loved can make a film like this. Imtiaz Ali is not only the most delicious man in the hindi film industry but one of the most talented.

Three Cheers for Rockstar!!!

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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Movies


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Tintin – Back to Childhood

Adventures of Tintin I finally managed to catch the 3d version of Adventures of Tintin, and I must say “What an experience!!” As one of the million who belong to a generation who have grown up on Tintin, this movie was the best thing that ever happened.¬†Spielberg is certainly a master of his trade. The pages of the comics suddenly came alive. The histrionics of snowy was extremely amusing.¬†Haddock simply, took the cake with his droopy eyes and the screaming insults (who does not remember “Blistering Barnacles“), and it came rushing back as to why I loved him so much.

The chase to recover the scrolls was so well executed that it left you on the edge of the seat, madly clutching your stomach, eyes popping open in wonder. I think I must have looked as much a comic site watching the movie as the film itself.

As a professional graphic artist, I could not ignore the humongous scale and the technical perfection which went in creating the movie. You could see the hair on the arms of Tintin, and the sand storm turning to a water storm was something which needs to be see to be believed.

Though the movie was interrupted 4 time because of a technical error at PVR Cinemas, and we as the audience were screaming in frustration, I could not find it in my heart to remain mad at them, as the experience itself was so brilliant.

As a kid I have devoured ALL the Tintin comics, and now I am sure I am going to do the same with every movie which is released.

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Books, Movies


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Review: Indigo

Indigo by Satyajit Ray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Satyajit Ray has always intrigued me and I have been wanting to read some of his books for a long time now (Specially Feluda, which i have heard is his most popular book). While this remains on my wish list I managed to get my hands on Indigo which is a compilation of his short stories.

Indigo explores the world of the super natural, magic and occult through its stories…truly a brilliant color in the rainbow of generes. The stories are written in a simple natural flow, which is amazing. It is brilliant how Satyajit Ray uses ordinary men, whom you would overlook i your day to day life, as his protagonists. The hidden characters of these people have made me aware that the most ordinary, mundane person around me, probably has a deeper, secondary life that I am unaware of. Since reading the book, I am looking at each person I meet in a new light, trying to understand the hidden not so obvious persona.

The brilliance of Satyajit Ray as a film maker can be felt even through his literary works. There is very little descriptive text in the book, but while reading a story, you can actually visualise the entire scene and it seems surreal. It is an enigma as to how Ray almost makes a reader feel that they are part of the story…lurking in the background…watching the events unfold in front of them. I felt goosebumps at the site of dead animals suddenly alive in the room, and almost shouted out hallelujah, at small victories of the children in school.

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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Books


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