Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to Revive BJP?

After reading much on this widely discussed topic in media, I am finally writing on it, triggered by this article on ANTIDOTE.

Congress has messed up so much in this country and at so many levels and for so long that it should actually be an advantage for BJP. It can leverage on all these pseudo socialistic policies and inefficient governance in the name of rural development and now "social inclusion". But it's not so easy. It needs a certain level of awareness at the lowest level of society. It requires people to understand how economy works and what opportunities exist if the markets are opened up and the governance is made more efficient. Again, it's not so easy. Each community needs to understand what is there for them in it and what are they missing now and why. BJP will have to sell this dream. In fact, it will have to not only sell it but make them realize how the current systems and policies are doing just the opposite. E.g. how NREGA is counter-productive and is doing more harm to economy than good. Instead building of roads, land reforms, and better irrigation, storage and transportation facilities will facilitate more earning and develop villages into towns and eventually cities. The party will have to develop a road map to implement these initiatives. Big work. How will it accomplish this? Where are the resources? I can't answer that. But if BJP has to survive, it will not only have to survive but also kill the competition.

Second issue is Hindutva. We all know BJP is in process of defining its Hindutva ideology and its taking forever. The trick is to also define the Congress' version of secularism up against Hindutva. Again, not only define but draw a picture of what's in it for everyone. It may have to go one step ahead and articulate how Hindutva is not a religious concept but more than that. It will have to clearly define what Hindutva includes and what it does not include. Needless to say, religious fanatism will have no place here. BJP will have to redefine the principle of Hindutva to mean libertarianism, progress and an Indian Society that works towards a goal; to make India what it should be, strong and prosperous India. The timing for BJP is most opportune to accomplish this. It has lost two elections back to back. There is need to revive the party in a new way. It can easily do away with ideologies that didn't work for it.

You might argue that the party can't just do away with its core principles. Here I want BJP to learn from the Congress. No matter what Congress does, it plays excellent politics. That's what BJP will have to do. And it will all be for a good reason.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Inspiration



Marine Drive is my favorite place in Mumbai. And that's my favourite view above. It inspires me a little. The little blue dot is my Bank's logo shining on top of its building. :)

I also went for a drive down the much talked about Worli Bandra Sea Link today. I was expecting a smooth drive at least at 11.30 at night but no, there was crazy traffic. Probably it would ease out once toll is charged. But today it left me unimpressed. Moreover it wont really solve Mumbai's problem until it completes the construction of all its lanes. Until then there will be temporory dividers and people taking U turns and halting traffic etc. Here's one picture that I took of the engineering feat sealink (dont know why I did that! May be beacuse the side bars didnt shine enough for a brand new bridge and I got a feeling that the Rs.1600 crs were not completely used for the poor bridge and lot of it went into people's pockets!)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sibal’s Super Solution

Congress is just too good at this. Can't solve the solution of providing quality education to everyone? Because that requires allowing private investment in education; that requires more institutes; more courses; more teachers; more infrastructure. So what is the solution? Let's just scrap the damn exam! That ought to reduce the stress!!

What his foolish supporters do not understand is that it's not the exam that's causing the stress. It's the lack of opportunities available after the exam that's causing it. Seats in good colleges are only sufficient for the students with 95%+. It's a do or die situation. Anything less than 95% and u can say good bye to your dream colleges which in most likelihood would be handful of colleges across the country.

I am not really opposing the grading system. But I just think there are bigger issues at hand that need immediate attention rather than this populist measure.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Theatrical Debut

A few months ago I got an sms which read “Audition for an English play – Dreamsellers. if you are interested please drop in at so-and-so place on so-and-so date”. I was intrigued to no end. Was it fraud? Where have we reached with mobile technology? It was one of those days where in was in mood for the not-so-ordinary (actually I always am!). So I called up to find out what exactly the deal was. A gentleman picked up who was himself a banker (there’s 1 point) and was directing the play and putting up a show with non actors. It was a comedy play. Me playing funny? I liked that (1 more point). Well then I googled this dude. Seems like he did have a few shows to his credit and been into this thing for quite sometime now (1 more point).

But I thought nah… Play? Theatre? Me? But on the day of audition I decided in the evening to just go and have some fun at the audition. Will I ever get a chance to do something so crazy? Can the comedienne in me do it? Can I be Rachel (me - a Friends Maniac)? may be.. lets just see… Well the audition went extraordinarily well. I was too thrilled. And I was in. I was in for Dreamsellers!!

My role? I am this young consultant who has a secret crush (which I make public and not subtly either) on her supposedly married boss who is also sleeping with his secretary. And my client has a crush on me. So there are big misunderstandings, hiding in boss’ closet and getting caught and suchlike events. My director told me I was playing the smart lady in the play. But my character turns down a job with a package of Rs.5crs per annum (FIVE CRORES!!!). So I am thinking, not so smart!

Play was on 31st May. And the days leading up to it have been an experience in itself. Met some really nice people. Mostly different people! Different from people I am used to. I am getting regular sms for “auditions” now. I guess I am out there in the “theatre circle” now!! :P

Below are some picture from the play. Don’t I look like Rachel? Oh I knew you would say yes. Thank you thank you!








Saturday, April 18, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

So I have been tagged Ani. And I need to list 25 random things about myself. It's funny that this happens just after I start the 'faboddity' section. So here it goes. Let me start with the one that you already know.

  1. I like grocery shopping more than shopping for clothes (I am a girl!)
  2. My world is black and white. Most of the times I can work out binary logic to everything. I don't like the grey areas.
  3. I hate conventions. I hate traditions for traditions sake.
  4. My favorite show during childhood was "I dream of Jeannie" and I almost believed that one day I might find a Jeannie of my own.
  5. My favorite blogger is Greatbong.
  6. My recent favorite movie is Gulaal. I am completely floored by its music. I am completely in love with Piyush Mishra. And I hate people who admire rubbish of a movie like Slumdog and can't appreciate an Indian movie like Gulaal. On a scale of Slumdog Oscar, Gulaal would win 100 oscars.
  7. I work out only to be able to eat fatty food free of guilt. I am a complete foodie.
  8. I like to engage in new activities. I am rehearsing for a play these days. it's an English comedy. Unfortunately they have dance sequences in it. And I have discovered that I have two left feet when it comes to coordinated dancing. Oh, by the way, you are all invited to watch me make a fool of myself.
  9. I don't find bald men unattractive (what's wrong with me?). Infact I think I have a thing for them. ;)
  10. I am a F.R.I.E.N.D.S. maniac. I want a Ross for myself.
  11. I think Laloo Prasad Yadav should be our PM. God, think of the entertainment! But the political ideology which I would like to support is that of libertarianism and capitalism. I wish we had such a party. Meanwhile I support BJP.
  12. I like people who have the guts to be politically incorrect.
  13. My latest crush is Arnab Goswami, the news anchor of times now. He is good! My first crush was Byomkesh Bakshi. And I just realized they are both in TV. Shucks!
  14. I love everything about Mumbai, except its humid weather.
  15. And I hate Vodka (gasp!).
  16. I like to read my newspaper FRESH. As in no one else should have read it before me. I like the fresh crease and enjoy reading it in the loo.
  17. I like to keep my laptop, memory drives, music, magazines, books and some food just at an arm's distance. So you'll find my bedroom arranged in perfect ergonomic manner to be able to reach all this with minimal effort.
  18. I can only run. I don't know how to swim or fly.
  19. My quote – "Live a Life to Remember!"
  20. I am not religious.
  21. I am not allergic to anything. And somehow I like to sneeze. It eases a lot of tension.
  22. Biggest phobia I have is of marriage. Do they have a name for that phobia?
  23. I think IPL is a revolution. Last year I blogged it here. I thought it was a superb mix of cricket and economics. This year I think it's become a heady cocktail of cricket, economics, bollywood along with globalization. Simply mind-blowing and something great, which stands out amidst everything that seem to be going wrong with Indian economy and politics today. I do wish our country had the political will to conduct the game in this country.
  24. My first career ambition was to become a mad scientist. Not just a scientist, mind you. A mad one.
  25. I love Google. My secret career ambition is to work for it.

I hope I have managed to bore you all enough. Let me now tag my friends Arnab, Kartik, Preeti, Sam & Sreejit.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Faboddity :O

They call it retail therapy. For girls mostly; one of the major mood elevators is shopping. That's true for me too. You would be picturing me shopping crazy for dresses, tops, etc. That's where the twist is. I love shopping; but GROCERY. I noticed it recently. I simply love going to a grocery megastore and do a cost benefit analysis, analyze the varieties, the sizes, their marketing strategies and then zeroing in on something I like. I like to take out good amount of time when I have to shop for grocery because I like to analyze every product even if it's not on my list. Not that I don't like shopping clothes but its too much work; trying out clothes in suffocating changing rooms, bad hair; they just kill the fun. Bags and shoes are better but nothing beats good old grocery!

Yes, I am starting a section for the weird oddities in all of us and life in general! So do you have some weird but cute habit which you would rather not abandon?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Reader Vs. Slumdog Millionnaire

The Reader. What a movie! So perfectly made and so perfectly performed by Kate Winslet and Ralph Piennes, its mindblowing. The movie is about an illiterate woman who is ashamed of her inability to read and write. It's about an illicit affair that she starts with a 15 year old boy and how it grows into a beautiful one over a lifetime. So simple and yet picturized so well that it's actually gripping.

I won't write more about the reader but it made me finally write about Slumdog Millionnaire. Before I begin, disclaimer – I am proud that A.R. Rehman got two Oscars for Slumdog but I also feel that if this song got him Oscar he deserves Oscar for more that 90% of his songs; infact I cant recall any of his song which was bad.

So why did the reader make me write about Slumdog. Because now, I finally know why I didn't like Slumdog. When I first watched Slumdog, I was like – "ok… a good movie… but not an Oscar good movie". It's just not a well made or well directed one. Just because you show one heart wrenching scene after another, you don't make a good movie. The love story was a beaten to death story. And even if we discount that factor, the love story didn't really seem like the centre story. Its was poverty, the infamous jumping into the river of human shit, eye being popped out of children, the beggary, animal like policemen, how kids travel on the train tops, how they steal food because of hunger, how a show like "Who wants to be a Millionnaire?" will not allow a chaiwala to be a contestant. Yes, these were the central characters. These are the scenes that move you and get captured in your mind for a long time after you watch the movie. Cut, to the reader. Set in the backdrop of Hitler's Germany and concentration camps and suchlike horror, the movie is not about the Germans, the Jews, the Second World War or anything except that one woman. The backdrop is just backdrop, supporting the story so beautifully that you admire the guy who actually wrote it. The actors play their characters so well that you can't help but admire them wholeheartedly. A British Kate speaks German English so well and the make up makes her look like those typical Germans. Cut to our Jamal Chaiwala – our slumdog speaks in British accented English (Remember he is illiterate?) and his looks so cute that I almost got a crush on him. He didn't look like a guy who has seen so much in life. He just looked like a normal cool college kid.

Slumdog Millionnaire is a well cinematographed, patched up story. So what do we have in India? Poverty, riots, orphan children, hunger, petty crimes, beggary scams, rapes, children jumping into human shit (please tell me who in slums, do that? I mean really…), corrupt policemen, uncivilized people (host making fun of a contestant because of his financial status!! Where does that happen??). So we have a list now. How can we put our hero go through all of this in time frame of 2 hours? Bravo, there's an Oscar winner!

What I want to stress on is that when I watched the reader, I loved the characters, I admired the film making, I couldn't move because it was so gripping just with the human emotions, and the fact that the story was set in a beleaguered Germany was testimony of the brilliance of the writer. When I watched Slumdog on the other hand, I couldn't help but feel a constant let down against the crazy hype the movie created. The story seemed like a patch up of various elements that were standing out like a sore thumb out of the central story. Like everytime Anil Kapoor made fun of Jamal, I just felt irritated by his performance which was so pathetic and the fact that there is not even a hint of realism in it. I have inkling that it was a bad movie packaged a little too well.

Friday, February 27, 2009

OH... MY… GOD… !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTFness has scaled new heights. I refrained from writing about Slumdog Millionnaire so far even when my blogger friends made it perfectly clear that not writing about Slumdog is like a crime in blogosphere. But UPA has forced me to. Of all the people who would want a piece of Oscar, our government was the least expected.

"In an unmistakable resonance of the previous NDA government's `India Shining' slogan, Congress floated the idea of an `achieving India' and listed among the milestones the Indo-US nuclear deal, Chandrayaan, near 9% growth and the total sweep of the Oscars." – TOI

But of course they are right; if UPA was not there, could we have sustained the poverty on which they could make a movie? Duh….. I mean aren't our politicians at least adults. How could anyone make such comments I simply fail to understand.

Apparently someone also said it is "a film of India, for India, by India"?!?!? Gasp! Gasp! Cant take more WTFness…

Monday, February 23, 2009

Crazily Fabulous or Fabulously Crazy?

When I started to blog sometime last year, those were good days. We were riding the boom. Infact, that's how I named this blog. I thought it were the crazily fabulous times. The IPL had started and it was like the epitome of the great Indian growth story for me. I wanted to capture this mood in my blog. Then the Lehmen fell. Like a pack of cards, all major financial institutions US followed its suit. In less a year, this crisis has grown in such large proportions that a capitalist US has started using words like nationalization. That's drastic.

India also got the hit; first by rampant inflation, and now in the aftermath of US crisis and world at large, we are faced with a steady and steep fall in consumption and jobs. Growth estimates are getting revised downwards almost every month. Not only that, terrorism has taken a life of its own. Whole year had an average of one attack every year with a grand finale in Mumbai. Outside home, there's constant violence in the Middle East. And Taliban is getting closer to home. Only in the late 80s, world saw the end of colonialism. Now barely after 2 decades it seems we are again entering a dark phase of financial depression riddled with terrorism.

Back in home we have a new breed of creatures that go by the name of 'sena' (milder and desi version of Taliban); with utterly twisted sense of culture and nationalism, out there to push our country back in time, as if all these other problems were not enough to meet that objective.

I observed today a few of my earlier posts, which are nothing but cynical comments about everything. That's when I suddenly realized that it's no longer crazily fabulous times; it has turned into fabulously crazy times. Am I being too much of a cynic here? I wish I was!   

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Politics fixed!

After Cricket fixing, Azharuddin is back in media; now about to join the next best career for him – Politics. Our politicians truly don't know their audience. In a cricket crazy country like ours, I think everyone hates Azharuddin. Why would they vote for him? Or may be they know their audience a little too well. How foolish we-the-people are!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pink Chaddi Campaign

I am sure everyone now knows about the Pink Chaddi Campaign. I can't be more excited about this. There is no more fitting reply to Muthalik than a flood of Pink Chaddis from all over the country. I have joined their facebook group. Although I couldn't send them the chaddi on time, I plan to participate in the Pub Bharo action.

I believe this is the first of its kind of protest taking place in our country where we are not defending any of our actions and openly saying that as "pub-going, loose and forward women" we don't want anyone preaching us what is right or wrong. The word "loose" may be a problem for some but I think the message that we are sending out is that we don't care what you think about us… but you have no business of telling us what we should and shouldn't do. It delights me to see so many men come forward and support this cause.

I hope to see this campaign reach far and wide and leave a lasting impact on our culture and outlook towards women. Also, I hope to see these vanar senas across our nation, die of the stink from our pinkies!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ulta Logic!

This is the height of WTFness! Some BJP leader is talking about why girls should not be going to pubs - "After drinking, boys lose their controls and can be doing anything to girls". When people commit crimes, generally law punishes the criminal. Here somehow the victim is supposed to be under house arrest after 7pm so that the criminals can't commit crimes against them. Raghu does bring this in later in the debate, but this is a point which can't be over emphasized!! For a second if we forget that it is a very accepted norm in our culture to protect girls by restricting them at homes, you would realize how ridiculous this is. How can this old dude make this statement so openly? Oh, guys are guys, they will drink and lose their "controls" and if girls start going to pubs our culture will be compromised. If the guys are losing their "controls" then they should be banned from going to pubs; they should be arrested. That is the role of the law makers and our politicians; not beating up girls.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cynicism

Obama is THE President. Obama is THE Hope. Obama is GOD!!! I don't understand this over enthusiasm over Obama, especially in India. News channels covered the sworn-in ceremony live. People are crazily cheering for Obama. I have had people clapping for Obama in my living room, while asking, "So do they have a Prime Minister too?" in the same breath! It was beyond any absurdity…

Murphy’s Law for Single Gals

Whenever the guy you really want to talk to calls, you are inevitably away from phone or busy at work. So much so that he stops calling you for khaoing so much bhaav!!! And when the guy you desperately don't want to talk to calls, you are free and eager to talk on phone. And then of course ignore that call. So the single gals don't get to talk to any guy; only a few stalkers during the free time!!!!

Sigh…