Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What a ridiculous IDEA, Sirji!

I always thought that IDEA's television ad was irritating at some level. An IDEA can change your life. What relevance does it have with the product? What is so innovative about this service provider? Its public image is no more than a second fiddle to Airtel. The whole "what an IDEA sirji!" is even more irritating. And the fact that they use political revolution as the backdrop for selling a sim card can only be described as self delusion.

As if their marketing concept was not irritating enough, their new ad harps on how socialist and poverty driven our economy is. There's a contactor who proposes to the Mantri (minister) to build a shopping mall in khet (agricultural land literally – but I guess they are referring to village as a whole). Here the IDEA man Abhishek Bachchan suggests that janta needs to be asked about their opinion. So he sends sms to all the janta (using IDEA!! Voila!!!) for their opinion. And as if to pacify the communists in India, all the poor farmers seem to be dead against it. Only one man sitting in car in a suit is positive for the shopping mall.

WTF. Do you really think villagers would not like to have their own shopping mall. Infact, they would want everything that a city people enjoy. This kind of psyche is precisely why economic reform in our country is almost a mission impossible. It is so ingrained in us that logical thinking has taken a backseat even in a completely irrelevant ad. With the same concept, it could have been the other way round where the minister says we can't have a shopping mall in khet and the public votes positive for it. Would have been the same irritating ad but at least they would have gotten their economics right!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not Guilty, Your Honor!

Lawyers are defending the right to represent terror suspects. For Kasab. First things first; Kasab is not a "suspect". He was caught red handed, for God's sake!

But then they say that everyone has a right to self defense. Agreed; like the lawyer puts it, we can't possibly conduct a national sms poll to decide the fate of Kasab. He has to be tried. But what amuses me is what Kasab's defense lawyer is going to defend him on?

"your honor, yeh ek garib aadmi hai. LeT ke behkawe mein aake 60 logon ko mar diya. He is not guilty your honor!" or if I apply my movie law education – "your honor, isne apna dimaagi santulan kho diya tha. VT station par inhone jo kuch kiya wo sab apne hosho awaaz mein nahi kiya. Your honor, mein appeal karta hoon ki inhe asylum mein treatment diya jaye. Your honor, he is not guilty, he is bimar".

I don't have legal education. But I doubt if there's anything that the defense lawyer can do. And if he can, I am kinda scared.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

WAKE UP

This year there have been many bomb blasts across the country. So many that we had lost our sensitivity for these blasts. Even the media lost its interest. People just took blasts as something which is part of their lives. Terrorists were not getting enough footage. So they have reinvented themselves. After more than 21 hours of terror, I can say this is something we have never seen before. Media have set up their second homes in all critical locations. Mumbai, the city which can never be stopped has indeed stopped.

I just hope it does not stop at the media circus and we, as a country, don't get used to this kind of terrorism too. I hope it's a wake up call for the authorities to realize the state of our security system. Because this brazen open attack by terrorists out in the open is an evidence of their confidence to breach our country's security in any way they want as opposed to placing bombs and remotely detonating them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Job taken too seriously!

Dieting has never been my thing. I love food too much to avoid it. But getting into shape is something I want to do without any sacrifices. And that's when I see my best friend's wedding as an excuse to get back in shape. I have to get a saari-wearable figure in 2 weeks time. So I decided to carry out a gymming marathon for 2 weeks. Yesterday I told my trainer that I mean business. I have to have flat…. umm tummy… in 2 weeks straight.

I think he has taken his job too seriously. He made me do weird crunches for every muscle in my body. I just limped back to my apartment. Fingers are the only thing I can move now which is why I am typing - the only thing I can do without going ooh aah ouch! I hope in I am alive after 2 weeks and have a tummy to put my food into.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pod, Pain, Poverty and P*rn!!!

I have a meeting at Belapur today. As I climb down the bridge to Matunga Central station, busy listening to my ipod, I couldn't help but notice the stark difference between western stations and central ones. The crowd is different. The occupations are different. Even the digital displays are older and about to fall off the roof, which itself has not been repaired in last 50 years. All in all it was a different world just a bridge away from the western line station. Anyone who has visited Mumbai once will know that the city is divided into haves and haves not by west and east along this long coastal cosmopolitan city.

While I'm waiting for my train,I read my newspaper which tells me about the elitist problems in the finances of the richest street in the world. I just look up to see if the train is arriving and right in front of me beyond the railing I see this woman taking bath. Out of the nala water (open waste/sewage line) which was flowing beside the railway track!!! I don't know what to feel, disgusted or sympathetic. The woman is topless in front of a child (and 100s of passengers at the station) and having bath in waste water. She has a plastic polybag which she is using to fill that yellow water and pour on to her naked body. The child is brushing his teeth with that water. All this was a jolt out of my ipod and my economic paper.

Oh now the lady is now talking. To four other women. All topless and coming to take a bath! It's a sad scene. I am getting goose bumps while I am watching them. And I looked around hoping to see no one staring at them. Apparently, it was not a sad scene anymore. It was a porn show being watched by 200 men and one woman. Oops, time to turn my back to this whole scene as I was the only female gawking in that direction. All others were already looking the other way.

And just like that, I was again jolted back to my ipod and my paper. I am looking forward to the meeting where I am going to discuss our data requirements with my IT department.

Doesn't it make you realise how each minute and each second that is wasted in the name corruption and sheer laziness of our policy making agencies, our government, and our bureaucrats is injustice or rather cruelty to human life? And even if we manage to do it all right and perfect, will this particular woman ever have her own bathroom IN HER LIFETIME? With a confidence level of 99.9999999% I can reject this hypothesis. And I feel what I am reading in the newspaper is all so rubbish and meaningless. Even as an avid supporter (or rather fanatic) of free markets, at this second I wish if only our government could just give them money to build their houses and bathrooms. If only.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bubbling Complacency

These days, newspapers are all about the US financial markets. Housing bubble just doesn't seem to bust completely. Last one year was marked by events which experts would term as the ultimate bust of the bubble. But the bubble just doesn't stop busting. It wiped out the whole investment banking in US and converted them into traditional banking business models. I like to believe that they are following Indian footprints.

As I walk towards my office gate, I realize that tremor of this earthquake have reached all the way to Indian banks too. There's a strike in my bank and all nationalized banks. Ha.. got you.. if you thought we have some sophisticated complicated convoluted complex problem related to financial quants!! No sir, we Indians have more humane problems. Like the union issues!! Really sad.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Do you own your own time?

Really… These days I get a feeling I don't own my own time anymore (ridiculous as it may sound!). There was a time when I could decide what I wanted to do when I wanted to do. But off late I notice if I decide to delay any activity for any reason, I will eventually never get time to do it. Its like procrastination is no more an option. Even if I plan efficiently to do something later on, something completely unexpected would come up and I would miss the deadline. And worse, I am not the only one who's affected by it anymore, but a lot of people around me are too. And I am not just talking about work but even personal errands.

The truth suddenly dawns on me. I never had to manage time before. And now that's not the case. And I don't think time is going to turn back again. It's like end of an era. I am going to miss the old time when I owned my time.

Common Minimum Corruption

I always refer to the rural development programmes as corruption programmes. Now have a look at this.

It's about implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Main observations by Transparency International are that 61% of rural population were selected beneficiaries, 23% got job cards, 11% got paid and only 5% could demand unemployment allowance. And 1 out of 10 households had to pay bribes to get jobs, which amounts to Rs.7.15 cr paid by 9.65 lac rural households.

I really believe that there are no free lunches and if there are, there's got to be something fishy there. What is required here is roll out of much needed agricultural reforms and create opportunities for these rural households rather than creating opportunities for the bureaucrats and politicians.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Singh is King!

Indian politics is giving serious competition to bollywood masala flicks these days. I would really want to see this allegation by BJP to be investigated to the bottom. I personally feel there is equal probability for it to be true or be a complete hoax. But either way, it is serious bollywood masala stuff.

And our news channels make it all so entertaining. NDTV played "Singh is King" for Manmohan Singh when he won!! Talk about dramatic! I love India. This is one of the crazy (not so fabulous!) times I am going to remember.

On a serious note, I would want to see the nuclear deal through now and a dramatic topple of government once the bribery charges are proven. Ok… the second part was just to make it more dramatic. I too am an Indian afterall!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Criminal inside me

So…… I have been living in Mumbai for last two years and have been travelling by Mumbai locals for my daily commute using the three month 1st class pass. And I buy it for Andheri to Churchgate even though I live in Matunga because I hate to stand in queues during one of those rare occasions when I might have to travel to Andheri on some weekend. And because of this I always have to renew my pass from Churchgate rather than Matunga, because (weirdly enough) pass between two stations could either be purchased from one of the two stations only and nowhere else.

Initially, I would always forget to renew my pass on time and travel for 2-3 days without pass without even realizing that I don't have the pass. I would invariably remember after I reach office or back at home and could do nothing except swear that I'll buy it the next time I am in Churchgate. So if I am at office I would have to buy it while I return from Churchgate and if I am at home I would have to buy a one day ticket next morning from Matunga and then in the evening buy the pass while returning. So I have explained the entire logistics involved in this small story! Phew. If you have managed to read till now, it's going to get better.

Now I used to really wonder that how inefficient is the security at Mumbai stations because I never got caught without ticket for that pocket of 2-3 days. I wondered how many people actually took advantage of it. With scholarly like wisdom I concluded that Mumbai locals may not be so crowded if they keep a stringent security check. I could not have been more wrong.

After a year or so, one day I REMEMBERED to renew the pass ON TIME. Well not really on time; I remembered it on my morning journey to Churchgate while I was in the train. Now I had the choice of jumping out at the next station and get a one day ticket or go ticketless. Lazy as I am I decided to trust my luck of umpteen escapes and get the pass while returning. Note that I chose to go with my criminal instinct. And bingo, today there's a surprise check on the very next station. A lady gets into and started asking for tickets. I started sweating profusely. Oh the humiliation; I wanted to jump out of the train. So before she would come to me, I went to her to say that my ticket expired yesterday, blah blah blah (my old trick at school to tell my teachers that something is wrong before they find out and earn a brownie point… I know very kiddo). And apparently the kiddo way didn't work. She sternly and loudly (I wanted to hit her in the head and ask her to lower her voice!) asked me to pay up Rs.260 as the fine.

You would think the next time I wouldn't forget to renew it on time. But I do. And I don't get caught too again!! It's freakish.

On my latest renewal day, I remembered to buy my one day ticket right on time. I reached Matunga station all determined to buy one day ticket in the morning. And there's this unusually long queue which is exactly the same thing I try to avoid all the time. Now I had two options, take a cab to office or go by train and try my luck again. I can't be unlucky two times. And traffic is so bad in morning that going by cab is real pain. So I board my train. And in train my criminal mind was on work (praying also that the lady doesn't show up today!). I planned that I will get down through one of the subways which leads directly out of the station so I don't bump into one of those officers who sometime stand at the main entrance. So I get of the train and like a criminal I walk out of the small subway. Now there are two ways to get out of the subway and I couldn't remember which one lead out into the open directly (you do not want to be forgetful if you engage in criminal activities). Even though I am not religious I took Lord Krishna's name and took a left turn. And as if just for me, an officer appears out of nowhere, at the end of the subway. I have never seen an officer in the subway ever before!!!! It was too late to turn back and he indicated me to show my card. There you go. Rs.260 and my dignity.

There are major conclusions from this story:

  1. Mumbai Security is actually VERY effective in catching the real criminals and not the innocent forgetful ones.
  2. And I am never ever going to travel ticketless. Even if that means jumping right off the train at the moment I realize I am without ticket.
  3. Finally, the criminal inside me is a poor, poor criminal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Camera, Action!!! ........ But the Lights???

Watched Sarkar Raj today. It was not half as good as original Sarkar and I was not impressed by Abhishek Bachchan's acting too. Aiswarya Rai was as usual so plastic. Plus it was a badly made movie. There are cameras from all weird angles and it was not because it would give an impact to the scene but just for the heck of it. Then there was intolerable "Govinda" chime in all different notes and pitches for different scenes.

Most interesting trivia, which I observed, was that all the scenes were shot in dimly lit rooms. There's only one remote dim source of light from a dingy window, in every damn scene and all the ultra strategic political decisions by heroes and villains were made without seeing each other's face. May be that's the reason the whole movie was about building a power plant for Maharashtra. It was high time there was some light!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Math and Gals

You think they don't gel? Well, that's the exact reason why they don't gel. This attitude, the gender bias, is directly related to math skills in girls.

Found one interesting study by Kellogg School of Management.

They claim that math skill in girls is direct indication of the gender equality. So countries that have lesser gender bias have girls having better math skills than those countries with higher bias. Mathematically high correlation was found between women "emancipation" and absence of gender gap in math skills. In fact the effect is observed from a very young age. So that means from a very young age it is ingrained into them that boys are smarter and intelligent.

Another Indian study also says that, gap in math skills "are not because boys are inherently better in mathematics than girls, but due to social messages encouraging boys to do better in this subject and probably discouraging girls".

Isn't it quite obvious when you come to think of it? And there are so many other skills that are very much a product of such social conditioning. Such as sensitivity (women are supposed to be more sensitive), understanding and other such motherly qualities. To prove this wrong I would like to bring to your notice the fact that, societies with equal opportunities are seeing a rise in divorce rates and rise in number of single working women. India too has seen a spike in divorce rates and I think it is something to be celebrated (as opposed to the moral police in our country) as it implies equal opportunities for women.

I have a question. Consider the population of women having better math skill than their male counterparts in a society with high gender bias. Would these women be open minded and feminist, as a rule (another angle to this finding)? I think they would. What do you say?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I too, toast…

…. to the achievements of the UPA government.

Came across this wonderful post, to which I cannot agree more.

It so happened that I wrote my first post on the eve of this year's budget and it so happened (again!) that I mentioned that we are back to the times of rural _______ programmes (fill it up with anything you want; they all mean the same – corruption!).

And it so happened (and again!)that right the next day the baap of all rural programmes was announced. The farm loan waiver. The scheme is flawed on so many levels I can't even begin to spell out. It's not just corruption this time. They are ruining the credit discipline of the entire agricultural sector. They are punishing the good borrowers. And they are not even covering the farmers who need it the most! We all agree agriculture is the priority sector for economy and yet such irrational and ruinous policy that backfires from all directions?!? I can't fathom how an economist prime minister could make any economic sense of it.

And when banks try to make business decision of restraining from further farm loans, government arm twists them into giving in. oh that's right, take the banks also along with them.

What is needed here is use of this Rs.71000 crores for improving irrigation, incentivize investment into supply chain for better delivery of farm goods to customers to improve margins for farmers (more than 40% of fruits and vegetables produced are wasted because of lack of proper cold storages or transportation facilities), crack down on hoarding, incentivize land consolidation and improving efficiency, etc etc.

What is not needed here is pouring tax payers money into farmers' pockets for free (not to mention nobody knows whose pocket it is actually pouring into), arm twisting banks to cough up more money that is going to default, create a whole generation of farmers who know they don't need to pay back loans because they are majority vote bank.

The funny thing is that it is going to backfire on the government also, because after all, we are talking about our politicians here and so we know where the money is actually going to go.

There, I toast again. I think I am drunk now.

Oh, read this too…

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

School boy!

Yesterday I watched the Kolkata Knight Riders Vs Delhi Daredevils. I have always been a Ganguly fan. And main reasons are that, he's a great leader, a great player and undiplomatically expressive on the field. But yesterday, he was overtly expressive and behaving like a school kid. I commented to my roomie, "why is he behaving like a school kid today?" Guess what, during the presentation, he was asked the same question. And he cheekily replies that he hopes selectors see him behaving like that! I love dada.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Developers Developers Developers Develop!!

Watch this video preferably without any distraction at full volume.

That's what I call passion. I love this video.

No, I'm not intending to make this another youtube. But when I watched this video for the first time I got the hardest goose bumps EVER and I am very sure some strong chemical reaction took place in my body because I felt it. I saw this video almost four years ago and found it again today, jai ho YouTube!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Office 2007

I just updated my office. And guess what I found?!? One of the main menu items is "publish blog"!! Do so many people blog? Well, I guess if I can, anyone can!

Oh by the way, I liked the new look. It will take some time to get used to various options but once you do get it, old versions are gonna look prehistoric. But it has slowed down my Mozilla Firefox really bad. I love it too much but I thought of giving Explorer 7 a try. IE 7 is quite good too; I especially like that it softens the font to the comfort of eyes. It has incorporated all Mozilla features and improvised them; although it's a lot more heavier than mozilla. Typical microsoft deal. Mozilla will remain my first love but I'll sacrifice it for blogging from Word.


Update: "internet Explorer cannot open Internet site http://mail.google.com/mail/..... Operation aborted" This is the message I get when try to open gmail with IE7! And I can open the same in my mozilla at the same moment. Is it a cheap one that Microsoft pulled out or is it some technical error?? Whatever it is, I dislike Microsoft even more.

Game Theory and Men

I always had a feeling that no man was worthy of me. Guess what, I have a theory to support my feeling now. LOL! Here's where I found it and here's the original article. Here's how it goes.

The whole marriage proposal is analyzed and compared to an auction and then game theory is applied to come to the conclusion. Lets chuck the technicality and talk in basics. In a classic version of the marriage proposal: A woman makes it known that she is open to a proposal, the man proposes, and the woman chooses to say yes or no. The structure of the proposal is not, "I choose you." It is, "Will you choose me?" A woman chooses to receive the question and chooses again once the question is asked. This may not be true in India but it probably true for our generation to some extent.

Now you would think that since the power of choice lies in the hands of women, strong and confident women (strong bidders in the auction) would get to pick the best men and weak women (weak bidders) would be left alone. Here's where game theory says that it's actually the other way around. Game theory predicts, and empirical studies of auctions bear out, that auctions will often be won by "weak" bidders, who know that they can be outbid and so bid more aggressively, while the "strong" bidders will hold out for a really great deal. You can find a technical discussion of this here. But you can also see how this works intuitively if you just consider that with a lot at stake in getting it right in one shot, it's the women who are confident that they are holding a strong hand who are likely to hold out and wait for the perfect prospect. And while the weak bidders, lure men in their womanly ways!!

So at the end, what is left is a below average male population and an above average female population. Here's the best line in that study:

Where have all the most appealing men gone? Married young, most of them—and sometimes to women whose most salient characteristic was not their beauty, or passion, or intellect, but their decisiveness.

Now let me put in my personal touch. Why are men so stupid? Why is it that "strong bidder" men succumb to the worldly wiles of "weak bidder" women and not hold out for a woman to match their "strong bidder" type characteristics? I had this theory that men somehow don't evolve as much as women. They somehow don't understand that marriage or getting "settled" has long term implications. As liberated women, we think of work home balance, independent incomes, broad minded outlook towards life and other suchlike attributes which contribute to a quality life. But men don't seem to have come out of stone age, where only criteria is that women would give birth and look after offsprings' and his own needs. For a long time I couldn't understand why men seemingly cant understand this and evolve according to changes in society; until one day when I was discussing with a friend, I popped the question, "why are men not open minded?". I got a reply which shook me, "its cos they don't need to, women NEED to be open minded to be able to do things to fulfill her own ambitions, but men can do that even without being open minded! That's society!!" So simple and it never occurred to me. I never thought from a man's point of view.

Well so much for the depressing theory. But there are some exceptions to every theory I guess, there would be certain "strong bidder" lucky women who get their men; and also certain "strong bidder" type men who hold out. So girls, go find the one who is worthy and then bid with all your heart!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

All I want is you.....



Is this the cutest song ever?? Or is it just the little girl inside me?

Friday, April 18, 2008

IPL, Knight Riders and Ganguly, my sweetheart!

Just saw the first IPL match. Few months ago, when the players were auctioned, I had a feeling 'crazy' times were about to begin. Players were going to be traded like stocks. It all sounded so fascinating. And India is the center stage for all of it.

It will revolutionize cricket. Each player would be playing to be in the game, to earn more, to survive. Best player increases his value subsequently and losers get out, something like free markets. Cricket will no longer be just a sport, rather a gentleman’s game; it will be pure entertainment. Like a movie.

It will revolutionize the economics underlying all of it. Look at the kind of people who own these teams and are sponsoring the event; ranging from film stars to real estate dealers. All of them agree that this is not an investment which will give them any return for at least 5 years. And yet they all seem to be hungry for their share of IPL. Clearly we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg called the IPL. There is obscene money involved and it’s only going to go on an upside. And every one is and can get money out of it. Like insurance companies???

It will give birth to a new culture. I am thinking, in a few years, I will have a choice between going to a movie or to catch the cricket match running in my city. If I were a typical girly girl, I will have a difficult time to woo my boyfriend to watch a romantic movie with me.

However I was worried about one thing. Who am I going to cheer for? I always cheered for India and abused the others. Now I have Andrew Symonds playing with Laxman. So I thought of going with my favourite player, Saurav Ganguly. My second favourite is Dhoni, but I want dada to answer all those who doubt his capability. I am not being emotional here. Why I like dada is because he has passion for the game and is an honest upfront person. You can see his passion on his face, in the field!!! If the game is going well you can see his face lit up, if its not you can see the frustration. You can see him communicating with the team all the time on the field. He has supported some good players despite the whole media and country being against them. He has been against some players even though everyone loved them. May be, its not all right, but I like undiplomatic people. I like people who just do what they feel is right. That makes them unpopular but not with me. And the fact is that before he became the Indian captain, cricket was almost dying in India.

Anyway, about the first match… what can I say; dada played the first ball and won the match by 140 runs. He didn’t contribute much in terms of runs. The whole show was run by New Zealand player B..something McCullum (please I cant google it now, too tired and office tomorrow!). But the team fielded well (not great but better than Bangalore) and they had Ishant Sharma. Dada also took two wickets. Well what can I say? Shah Rukh Khan picked a good team. Or may be dada recommended these people. They have Ponting, Agarkar, Ishant; kind of people dada would want in his team. I didn’t know about McCullum before the match but he also seems to be dada’s choice.

Plus I don’t know how many of you enjoyed, but I was so amused to see Ponting and Ishant Sharma celebrating the dismissal of Dravid. Never thought I would see that. It was an indication of crazy and fascinating times, I always keep talking about.

[Update: More links on IPL Economics – Limits to commercialization, IPL’s main challenge, Lessons from business,Nothing wrong in being commercial.]


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Idiot Ignorant People

There are two kinds of people; the idiot ignorant people and the idiot ‘aware’ people. I belong to the unfortunate second group. Whenever I goof up, I realize it the next second and then live under the shame of my profane idiocy for the rest of the day or may be even two. And it is times like these when I see the other fortunate group of people who reach the heights of idiocy and yet remain unaware of the total situation. In fact, these are the overconfident ones who think they are the smartest on the planet. Yeah, yeah these are the ones we all make fun of…. But think of the stress free life they lead. Its not like they understand they are being laughed at.

I envy green after these ignorant people. Of the two groups of people, the ignorant group is at a definite advantage…. sigh…

Trivia about Brad Pitt

I could not resist sharing my thoughts on Brad Pitt after last post. I have never liked him before. I thought he was pathetic actor who just sells looks which aren’t even that great. But that is past. Then something happened. I saw Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen.

I don’t remember which of the sequel it was, but in one of them he’s eating a mayonnaise filled burger or roll every time he was in the scene. And, I fell for him. Why?

Well no one can eat as seductively as he does in that movie. And sound technicians included all yummy noises he makes, and then he licks his fingers….. well, you get the picture. In fact, I didn’t even know eating could be so seductive!!! Therefore ladies and gentlemen, I take back what I used to say about him. He is THE sex god and I love him.

Girls go and watch him, and after you watch it you will want to indulge in most sinful pleasure of all………….. Hey you all dirty minds, I was talking about eating a mayo filled burger. That’s what I did after the movie….. ;)

I don’t wanna float around in the sky!!

The other day I got a pamphlet from Tata Sky cable (usko laga dala to life jhingalala!!). Anyway, they have these ACTIVE channels where they offer movie on demand, games, cooking and other customized channels. And one of them is ACTIVE Darshan. I got to know that on ACTIVE Darshan you can see temples across India. It’s like “Darshan” sitting in living room. “What a concept!!?? Height of absurdity!!!”, I exclaimed. So a conversation started between me and my colleague. Here it goes:

Colleague: I know. Why can’t they understand that they don’t need a TV to have Darshan at home?

Me: I know. Now what next? Advertisements for Gods and temples? Which God is more popular and listens to more prayers?

Colleague: There will be an option list on TV: which God's Darshan do you want? And a list of Gods.

Me: Are you kidding me? There are thousands of Gods in India. The list would never end. And God forbid (what a pun!) if you leave out one God there will be a community with hurt feelings after you.

Colleague: yeah… But it would be fun! Lets say Lord Vishnu would promise Moksha. And Lord Shiva will sell nirvana………… (Lots of giggling!) What’s the difference by the way?

Me (seriously): yeah what is Moksha? Why do people want Moksha? Life is so much fun.

Colleague: Dude you are a bhogi…you want all luxuries of life… you are like at the lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy… Think of self actualization.

Me: Hey self actualization still falls IN the life… IN the Maslow’s pyramid. Moksha falls out of the pyramid!!! Why do you want to out of the pyramid?

Colleague: It’s a freedom from suffering that we all get from our boyfriends and bosses. It’s like no responsibility. Only freedom. You have no body, no material, only soul floating around in universe.

Me (yawn): Yaar I would rather sit and watch a movie… I don’t wanna float around in the sky!!!

We had big laugh obviously… then my colleague saw the light of the logic in my argument… “Yeah flying around may have some supernatural fun but I think we are content with normal natural fun!!!”

If the gods heard us, our candidature for Moksha would be forfeited for at least seven lives!!!

Now, seriously, if I start believing that reincarnation happens (which I don’t) and Moksha is getting out of the cycle of life and death, why would I want Moksha? Isn’t life worth the little suffering that we go through? Isn’t the love, pain, laughter, learning and struggle in life worth coming back to? I think it is.

Like Brad Pitt says in Troy, “The Gods envy us!”

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Times

I was born in 1983 and I have always been weirdly proud of the times I am born into. As a little girl, during the 90s, I was proud that I belong to the special generation which is going to see the turn of a millennium. I distinctly remember feeling bad for my folks and other elder people because they would retire when the great times would start and they will miss out some great moment in human history. I hardly knew what 2000 would bring but I knew it was huge. It was not just a century! May be I expected some great technological breakthrough at the turn of the millennium (Fiction novels gave me ideas!). I don't know know why but I was immensely crazy about the year 2000, for at least half a decade before it came.

For India specially, 80s and 90s were great times. Visible changes in economy and vibrant political scenario again led me to believe that these were special times. As a kid, I noticed DD channel giving way to DD1 and DD2, and then to Zee and Star, and then to Star movies, HBO, MTV and discovery, which, for the first time opened my eyes to other cultures, music and dialects and how unique each one was. It was like traveling across the world from my living room. Needless to say, crazy times.

Post 95 politics was so interesting that even as a 13 yr old teen like me was intrigued. In 1996, with BJP coming into power for 13 days, followed by an extremely turbulent politics with nuclear tests thrown in, I really knew the times are definitely changing. The nuclear tests was something I held dear as a proud Indian. I still have all the HT paper cuttings related to nuclear tests. I followed Indian politics closely while NDA was in power. Those were good times. It was different from the clich├ęd rural employment, empowerment, electrification programmes(anything which starts with rural and read as "corruption programmes") which previous governments declared and inevitably after a couple of years we would hear that not even 5% reached the poor. Instead, papers were filled with privatization stories. Numerous industries got freed from the shackles of government. Sensex crossed 5000 mark in 1999 and then 6000 in 2000. I knew shit about stock market but I knew it was huge. Indo-US and Indo-China collaboration started in a way never seen in history. Basically, there was an increased pride and self esteem in India as a whole. Suddenly at the turn of the millennium, India was topic of discussion across the world . Needless to say again, crazy times.

(I think I was more shocked when NDA lost in 2004 than Vajpayee himself!! And of course we are back to our rural _____ programmes)

Then came 2000. I was surprised it was just like another year. But somewhere inside I knew something will happen and I still keep on believing in that.

Biggest thing after 2000 for me personally was discovery of Google by me. I did not use it earlier. I love Google. Let me repeat, I absolutely LOVE Google. I love google so much I want to kiss google. I don't claim to be internet guru. But for me internet is google and google is internet. I am in so much love with google I don't even want to try competitors. Google is the first page I open daily and last page I close. Its search, mail, news, reader, social group, videos, books............ and million other things in one place. I am not denying that there may be better providers out there but why go there when you have everything at one place with computing power which is superior to any other player and is cleaner than any competition. If I was an engineer probably I would have been working for Google. Its one of the best when it comes to employee satisfaction.

Anyway, I'll end my rather long first post here. But there are million other things I am crazy about and two million others which make me crazy!! Will continue writing about my fanaticism for fabulous things happening around us and my loathe towards some other things, also happening around us.

Hope you provide me with valuable suggestions and inputs. Best of luck to me!!! :)