Monday, August 15, 2011

Dangerous Precedent Being Set

I have not blogged for almost a year and reason for that was primarily due to me being to lazy and turning in to corporate sell out who is only driven by the phrase " Show me the Money" or that is what I would like to think it is or I am just having way to much fun being back in India and my beloved city of Hyderabad.

Anyway coming to the point of this post, for the past few weeks the news has been pretty much dominated by one topic " Team Anna Vs The Government". When the story first broke about this old guy (no disrespect to him in anyway) and few prominent folks that we all have heard about are getting together to do something about corruption I as typical cynical Indian dismissed this issue/topic as something that the media is reporting on since there no other burning issue in the country/ world. As time passed I noticed that I was wrong, India's dismal cricket tour, US financial crisis, Telangana, London Riots and Fabregas finally moving to Barca (ok this doesn't belong here but its my blog) could not seem to push the issue out media spotlight.

Now what is this issue all about ? I think long story short one can sum it up by saying, given the recent slew large scale corruption instances occurring under governments nose being brought out in the open (such as instances appear to be highly correlated with Cong rule, wonder why ?) a few people who in corporate terminology are "go getters" decided we need to do something about this. Given that the most impactful way to protest in India is to fast ( Thanks KCR !! wonder why he was never taken in to preventive custody ?) Anna Hazare backed by his team decided to fast so that he can get the government to act on dealing with corruption.

Anna and his team read the book on " How to get something from the government when not in power " latest edition and had seem to have a foolproof plan to achieve their objective. Now one would have thought the government would have learnt it lesson by now and would know how to handle such issues but guess what a bunch folks who graduated from some of the most elite schools in the world still had no plan in place to handle such issues (you think they would have learnt their lesson from previous issues).

Alright so he suggested that our politicians be made accountable, great the whole country I am sure has no issues with that. Then they met the government told them what they felt needed to be done, okay so far so good. But then came the twist government decided to tweak his suggestions and change the format of the bill ( ok let it be clear that this bill has been the works since 1968) to what they seemed was appropriate, this was not acceptable to "Team Anna" and thus the melee ensued.

Dont you think it was naive of Anna to think bill would come out in the form they wanted it, as a democracy is about consensus no one gets everything they want. You need to believe in the people or government else the idea of democracy loses its very purpose. My belief is that for democracy to work you either believe in the government and the constitution or the people when it comes time to vote.

Now I have serious question, based on what has unfolded over the past few weeks. Before that let me just clarify I am picking sides, I am justifying anyone's actions or belittling any body. Are we saying that a person who has a mass following can hold the country/city to ransom by going on a fast to death ? You might say the end might justify the means, corruption is ruining this country but are you implying that plight of the people in Telangana for whom KCR went on a fast was/is not legit ? Here is a hypothetical situation, tomorrow lets say some goes on fast saying I will fast to death unless a temple is built in Ayodhaya and he has support of the masses should we oblige ? ( these might be real bad parallels but I hope you are able to understand my point )

When does the end justify the means ? In my very humble opinion this is a very dangerous precedent to set in a democracy like ours where numerous factions of people who have valid grievances that need attention, is this the way forward ?

In all this spare a thought for Irom Chanu Sharmila she has been fasting since 2000 to get rid of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. This act is responsible to disappearance and loss of lives of numerous people in J&K and North East regions of India. I wonder why she is not in the news ? Is her cause less important than anyone else who is fasting ?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Luke, come over to the dark side!!!

The words of one of the most immortal villain's (Darth Vader) of all time, appears to be very apt for my current state of being. I feel as if I am slowly but steadily moving over to the dark side, which begs the question what is the dark side??? 3 years ago when I graduated from VIT, I vociferously denounced the idea of going to the US to do a masters in engineering and fit the stereotypical definition of a "Gult". Then somehow in found myself working at the most awesome company in the world "Google" (Yes, the story about the F3 key in college is true. There I said it) but I still worked at Google and was good at what I did, so in your face !!!!.

But coming back to the point, working at Google I felt I was a long way from the concept of " MS in US" , I had totally forgotten about the desperate measures I had resorted to after going to the CTS training program I had given the GRE and applied to 4 colleges. Then somehow after a strange sequence of events which I find difficult to rationalize now, I found myself in College Station Texas doing masters in Industrial Engineering. I came here saying I would love to get back as soon as I can and I miss every single as aspect of India and find it difficult to get used to most aspects of life here.

Now, two years hence I find that not only have I got used to those very aspects but they have become second nature to me,

I have picked up a moderate accent with respect to certain words like fast = phast, you all = y'all, and many more …

Football no longer relates to F.C Barcelona (would have never imagined) but the Dallas Cowboys/ New Orleans Saints.

I find myself telling people to please state the word "soccer" when talking about the champion's league or at least say European football.

Prefer watching the Superbowl instead of watching a test match which involves India fighting to stay number 1 in the world.

I seem to have gotten so caught up with the whole "school spirit" thing that my wardrobe is 75% maroon ... almost everything I wear says Texas A&M or Aggies on it ... I so need a wardrobe change its not funny people might actually start thinking I have only 2-3 t-shirts.

Use the word "soda" with reference to Pepsi and Coke and find almost impossible to have a meal or watch a movie or watch a game without them by my side.

I find myself guzzling down Gatorade/Powerade like nobody's business before playing/while playing/after playing.

All of sudden temperatures between 13-17 degrees is pleasant weather, this coming from the same guy who used to wear a sweatshirt in Vellore and used slept using a bedding that contained 2 bedsheets and a blanket.

The last full soccer game I watched was the el classico and before that was the champion's league final.

I used to think people who hit the gym were just too lazy and crazy to play organized sport but now I hit the gym almost 4 times a week ( so jay watch out I still have an outside chance of making good on our bet).

I seem to developing a strange liking for mashed potato and beef in most forms. (Hope my mom never reads this, she ask me to go to the Ganges to take a bath before enter the house again.)

It has got to the point where even " Taco Hell " seems alright , even though in actual truth it is not !!! I have just let my standards slip so much ...

Beer seems to be the form of only alcohol that I can take, Rum and Vodka are things of the past (so guys no more crazy shot nights like the last time we in eXcess or at Jatti's place for me)

I just love watching Desperate Housewives, there I said it. I just cannot understand why people cannot digest the fact that I love watching that series!!!!!

Don't get me wrong my love and longing for India or to be back in India has not diminished by even an inch but somehow I find myself enjoying the very things I could not even stand initially. At point this point of time I find myself looking for a job here in the US and even dabbling with idea of delaying my graduation so as to get a job. Sometimes I feel like a major hypocrite of an insane measure. I find myself becoming the one thing I vowed to not become "a stereotypical gult".

No disrespect to those of you who are. I just do not want turn in to one of these people who visits India once in a blue moon forgets about life there and loses sync with life in India, forgets about his friends and does a pathetic job of staying in touch with his friends (extremely guilty of the later, especially with regards to my friends from VIT, I might be out of sight and not very active with regards to the phone …but I will never forget you all) Basically I don't want be stop being the one thing I want to be most "Indian "and then a " Hyderabadi".

Guys please do not hesitate to slap me back in to my senses , if I ever lose sight of that.

So this goes out to all my friends in India,

Special mention: lieutenant Tarun Chauhan, Kevin John ,Billu,Harry, Anoo, Amlaan and Bunny.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Does It Really Matter???

In the past few months there has been a lot of hue and cry about the personal indiscretions of many a famous sportsperson. John Terry and Tiger Woods are the most recent to suffer this fate. The media as usual is a sucker for sensationalism and has turned these personal issues in to a stupid circus. Channels running shows in which some stupid sports psychologist living his 10 minutes of fame tries to explain why player did what he did and the impact of it on his mind, game etc if his wife should divorce him or not ?? I mean seriously… get a life. Then this guy is most often accompanied by a "has been " or " never was" player who tries to estimate the impact of the incident on the legacy of the player.
We all know who Muhammad Ali is right?, I can guarantee that most of you have never watched a boxing match or have any interest in watching one in the future. Here are some tidbits about his personal life the man changed his religion publicly, refused to go Vietnam as part of the draft, went to jail for it, has been married 4 times and has 2 children from extramarital relationships. Despite all this turmoil in personal life, He is considered one the best Heavyweight Boxing Champions ever and man was voted "The Greatest Sportsman of the Century" by BBC . If Ali's life played out today, the media would label him as unpatriotic and a man of low moral character who will never be anything more than a footnote in the history of sports. And as usual they would have been wrong because Ali's greatness was because of his ability to overcome these obstacles in his personal life, you stupid morons.

Look at Agassi , the man recently confessed to using crystal meth during his playing days. He was vilified by most of the media for using and most of them portrayed it as if, he used Performance Enhancing Drugs. But fact being Agassi had stated in autobiography that he used it during one of the lowest points of his career 1997, while suffering poor form(Ranking outside 100) and to quell worries about his upcoming marriage to actress Brooke Shields. And promptly the stooges who run the media jumped on the band wagon to vilify him and said that he tarnished his legacy. Well In my eyes if anything, my respect for him has grown for the fact he overcame his addiction, came back to sports to win the French Open in 1998 and the U.S. Open in 1999. If anything he is a role model for all of us, he exemplifies the fact that we all fall make big mistakes but you are never really down and out unless you choose to give up.

Now look at kobe Bryant, In 2003 was accused of sexual assault and later agreed to having a sexual encounter with accuse but said it was consensual. Everyone said it was the beginning of the end for him. Now fast forward to the present, he became the highest scoring Laker in history and four million dollar ring sure did help to save his marriage. And will go down in basketball history as one of its greatest players.

A personality from Indian cricket, Vinod Kambli made a bigger splash than Tendulkar when he arrived on the international stage, many say he probably was more gifted than Sachin and that theory is definitely backed up by his early career stats but rest as they say his history. Despite his fall from grace, many an ardent Indian cricket fan will tell that he was one of the very best batsmen that India had ever produced, the fact that someone is even mentioned in the same breath as one best players of an era is testament enough to their sporting talent.
So now in this case of Tiger Woods I really don't think he has anything to worry about with regards to legacy even if he decides to call it quits. The man monopolized golf during his time and one can take away his 14 championships because he happened to be a serial adulterer. Same with John Terry, affair or not he is one of the best defenders in world football if not the best and as sports fan I will tell you this, I would watch these guys play any day of the week and twice on weekends (confession I really don't like watching golf and probably would not but… it just sounds good). 20 years from now, if anyone asks me who these men were? I would say he was the one man monopolized golf to extent Google has monopolized the internet and the other was a hard as nails defender who made one half of the blue wall at Stamford Bridge.

Basically the legacy of a sportsman is rarely tarnished or reduced by his indiscretions off the field, if anything it his success after it only adds to his legacy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


In the spate of recent events that have unfolded in India, maybe it is time that one seriously looks in to making some serious amendments to the judicial system in India. An IPS officer can get away with being a sex offender, a convicted murder can become a chief minister, the trial of terrorist can go on for more than a year, the chief justice of India considers himself above the law and if you have money & know people in high places the law is what you want it to be. Currently the citizen of India is not protected by the constitution or judiciary in any way or form.

Of late the phrase the "common man" has been used by the media and politicians so loosely, that I have been unable to figure out which demographic that it actually refers to? I mean Shasi Throor's tweet about the "Cattle class" offended the common man but at the same time a 5-10 rupees rise in price of some commodity also hurt the common man. Come on are you serious… the guy can get on a plane but cannot pay a few rupees extra for vegetables? In a country where 42% of the population lives below the poverty line, 2% pays taxes I sincerely doubt the common man is the one drives to work in car or rides on plane. For the mango people ( have been dying to use that phrase) of the country justice and the idea of every one being equal in the eyes of the law must be as far fetched as India winning the soccer world cup ( possible but not in my life time).

The molestation case was shocking to say the least for many reasons, first it took 19 years for the court to give a judgment then, the punishment for molestation of minor was a fine of 1000 rupees and 6 months in jail!! Are you kidding me???? The girl goes commits suicide and that is what he gets??? The guy would have been sentenced to death in most parts of the world. The punishment has to equivalent of the crime and in what world is 1000 rupees a fine; I mean the fine for lack of attendance in VIT is more than that. To make matters worse he was a public servant who could even influence the CBI. But I still cannot understand how his wife did not divorce him ?? and worse be his defense lawyer ?? I do not know who is more disturbed ?? the wife or the husband??

Then we have Shibu Soren, the man was convicted of murder and has several other criminal cases against him but somehow has managed to become the chief minister of a Jharkand. The man should even be allowed to stand in an election for a building association president let alone chief minister. Is not common sense to not allow criminals to stand for election? At least not convicted criminals!! All you know next a Dacoit/Naxal will stand for election … oh wait... sorry that happened too .. maybe next is a Terrorist. Then there is the saga of Ajmal Kasab, whose trial is still in progress. His trial has been going on and on and on like some stupid Duracell battery advertisement. I mean seriously does it really take so long to get a conviction ? is not one of the slam dunk cases ??? if the length of his trail is any indication of the amount of time to convict a man of a crime. It is no wonder then that most crimes against women are not even reported. Women can get groped in the middle of Mumbai on TV and you still get away with it.

Another example of how everyone is not equal before is the case of Irom Chanu Sharmila. The lady has been protesting the use of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state of Manipur, this act is considered a "dated and colonial-era law that breach contemporary international human rights standards" by the United Nations. Irom Chanu has been on a hunger strike since 3rd November 2000. On 6 November 2000, three days after she launched the strike, she was arrested by the police and charged with "attempt to commit suicide", which is unlawful and was later transferred to judicial custody. Then the police then forcibly used nasogastric intubation in order to keep her alive while under arrest. Since then Irom Sharmila has been under a ritual of release and arrest every year because under IPC section 309, a person who "attempt to commit suicide" is punishable "with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year ( Source:Wikipedia). Compare this to what unfolded in Hyderabad with respect to the actions of Mr. K Chandrashekar Rao. Does it even seem fair? Basically if you are "loaded" and "well connected", the law of the land is what you make it to be.

The sad state of affairs is best exemplified by that fact the supreme court in India was fighting a case in the Delhi high court that the right information act (RTI) should not apply to the office if the chief justice of India ( implies the community of judges ). The verdict of the Delhi high court was in favour of people of India. But the office of the chief Justice of India has challenged the judgment and thus the case will now move to the Supreme Court. To sum it all up, the Supreme Court of India will now decide if the chief justice of India (head of the Supreme Court) falls under purview of right to information act.