Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sangh Parivar Top Order tumbles as Gandhi Parivar opts Final Power Play

Forget Indians making merry of Mendis and Murali at Kanpur, the stranded but the most-awaited climax of the Sangh Parivar v/s Gandhi Parivar is back to action as the country closely watches. In what could be a decisive blow to the NDA in general and Sangh Parivar in particular, the Congress opted for the Final Powerplay which led to the nation-wide attention back on the 17 year old unfinished match between the Sangh Parivar and the Gandhi Parivar. Sangh Parivar top order and stalwarts like A B Vajapayee, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, second fiddle players from Shiv Sena and substitutes from the Bhajarang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad were at the receiving end from Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan Commission, with adjectives like 'pseudo-moderates' coming their way. Naturally, the publicized report has opened up a stern debate from Parliament to any of the YOU NAME IT 'patli gali' in India.

The report has not got any 'surprise-surprise', the involvement of the Sangh Parivar leaders, particularly L K Advani's role in instigating the mob, which till yester-morning was a popular belief, has now been justified, which will remain as a dark blot on the Sangh Parivar. Though A B Vajapayee's indiction has surprised many a people, getting his name cleared by further process, if any, will not do the Sangh Parivar a world of good. Already shattered by internal disputes, lack of leadership & alliance and recent electoral debacles, the Sangh Parivar has now got to face the brunt of the judiciary, not to forget the wrath from the public, particularly the Muslim brethren.

What options do the Sangh Parivar now have to choose from as face saving exercise(s)?

1. Concede it's stand and accept defeat, which is highly unlikely
2. Rake up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots
3. Rake up the Bofors scandal and eviction of Quattrochi which would hit the Congress where it hurts the most, i.e. the Gandhi family
4. Dig some big but relatively low-profile scams like the Madhu Koda scandal and Spectrum scam
5. Hold the Govt. at 'gunpoint' on the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai
6. Rally behind the Govt. on the Afzal Guru hanging and Kasab's speedy trial
7. Others?

Except for the 1st one, all the others share a equal possibility.

Amongst all this chaos, what is surprising is the issue of farmers' sugercance pricing that has gone under the carpet. Could the unity in the opposition camp over the sugercane pricing episode be a valid reason for the Liberhan report to be 'secretly publicized'? It's a tough call to take, especially, when the PM is on a high-profile visit to the USA. Assuming that the untimely leak of the report was not intentional, which is what the claims are from the Home Ministry and Justice Liberhan, it speaks highly (?) of the level of secrecy and security maintained by our system when it comes to reports that are of national significance. How can one trust that the records pertaining to our defence, high-profile criminal and terrorist records will be safe in the custody? Such questions will go unanswered amidst the helm of political vendetta.

The report is also likely to draw stark criticism for the reported eviction of the then PM Mr. P V Narasimha Rao, who remained a mute spectator to the entire episode on and before December 6 1992. The debacle was followed by claims from the Congress Govt., that, they had gone by the assurance of the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, to provide full security and safety to Babri Masjid which never happened. Though the report now suggests that there was nothing Mr. Rao could do constitutionally to stop the axing of the Babri Masjid, he, being the head of the country, did have to own up moral responsibility and prevent the situation from deteriorating. Sadly, that did not happen and even more sad is, he has been let go scott-free. But the report terming the demolition of the Babri Masjid as 'Neither spontaneous nor unplanned' would ensure that the top brass of the Sangh Parivar are up for some dreadful nights for the next few weeks.

With December 6, which is observed as 'Black Day' by the Muslim brethren and 'Vijay Diwas' by the Sangh Parivar just round the corner and the Liberhan Commission report out and accessible to the public through electronic media, the possibility of unruly behaviour as the debate takes centre-stage cannot be completely ruled out. As responsible citizens and understanding the real challenges of the nation like terrorism from cross-border, poverty, corrupt leaders, lapses in administration by the bureaucracy, the onus of remaining united at this crucial juncture lies solely on the civil-society. A divided house and a vulnerable civil society is indeed detrimental and will only attract further attacks from the enemy. Unity amongst the Hindu and Muslim brethren would be a fitting reply to the 'Mandir-Masjid' politics.

Jai Hind!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A few good (wo)men!

"All the world's a stage....", said Shakespeare. Very true. We come, play our part and then depart. But we do encounter many a 'co-actors', whose 'acting' would touch us. It creates a special bonding with those people. Nobody is averse to this. It is the same with me as well. Thought of taking this opportunity to record my thoughts on 'A few good people' whom I have come across so far in my life. The list skips the obvious people - Parents. They would top the charts of anybody, even Kasab's for that matter. So here I go -

1. Kasturi Ma'm - She was our Headmistress in School. I have never seen the 'Iron Lady' Indira Gandhi, but without any iota of doubt, I can say, Kasturi Ma'm was just a replica of her. She was headstrong, pouring with wisdom, straight-forward, authoritative but at the same time co-operative, disciplinarian and honest. She was the one who held our School together during it's initial days of inception when we had nothing more than a room, 40 odd students and one peon. From such a relatively paltry situation to 500+ students, one peon to 30 odd faculties today, a mere 2 classes to a full Schooling system and +2 courses, our School has come a long way. Thanks to the foundation of Integrity, Honesty, Values laid down by her. Of course, students feared her, so did their parents, but it has all been for our better tomorrow. Most events that happen with me or around me today, reminds me of her teachings. Someone who made it mandatory to call the 'Care taker' as 'Akka' and not by name, to instill the courtesy in us to "Treat others the way we would want others to treat us". Nothing holds me back from declaring that she is my 'Second mother'. Truly inspiring lady, even my dad would stammer while speaking to her. Now she has retired, but continues to be with 'Future of tomorrow' by way of taking Bhagavad Gita classes at a very small Krishna Mandir.

2. Dinesh Bhat - He is our family priest but more like a family friend. I have been seeing him for around 20 years now and he is still the same as I saw him then. Very down to earth person. Softspoken man and very humble. A self-made man as well. At a time when priesthood has been commercialized, he considers it as a service. Charges a very meagre amount from those who are not financially sound. An ardent philanthropist which only his close mates know. Like they say, your right hand should not know what your left hand does when it comes to charity, he is a live example for that saying. Very polite in speech and action. But very hilarious and has a good sense of humour. All in all, a simple human being.

3. Prakash Kamath - Prakash Kamath aka Pakiya, is a very good and close friend of mine. He is elder to me by some 6 years, but our wavelength matches. Has got a very practical approach about life and relationships. Simple person who lives his life low profile and doesn't interfere into others' life. Though our dads are also good friends, we have become more close than what they are. He has got an affinity towards cuisines and photography. In the last 10 years that I have known, I have got some very good advice from him and have understood that, whatever he means, he means it by heart. I can count on him any time.

4. Vivek Pai - Vivek and me were of the same age-group, knew each other from the time when we both were 12-14 years old. We became good friends very soon, given our common passion towards Cricket and girls! He was an excellent fielder. I had never seen him dropping a catch or missing the stumps. But his drawback was his ANGER, which he could seldom keep under control. He would easily put up fights with strangers and get into squabbles which at times also turned physical and violent. He was a DOER, solid as a ROCK. Though he basically hailed from a small town in Kerala, close to Mangalore, he soon settled down in Mangalore, some time in 2003-04. Life after that changed for us. He, his brothers, me and 2 other friends would always meet in the evening, discuss the day's happenings, discuss about girls as well!! Sundays would be an adventure for us. The noon would be spent playing Cricket and in the evening we would zoom our bikes to the beach where we would enjoy to the core, pulling each other's legs, playing pranks in each others and playing our version of 'Who dares wins!". We were in our teens and all this went on for 2 more years, until tragedy stuck one fine day. It was Holi after an annual festival at a local temple in Mangalore and Vikki got his hands entangled with an electric wire meant for illuminating the temple premises. I saw him struggling with wire in his left hand. My first reaction was LAUGHTER, I do not know why I was doing that, but that is what it was! It took me atleast a minute to realize that what was happening in front of me was something serious. We were surrounded by atleast some ten thousand people who had come to celebrate the conclusion of that grand festival. After a minute or so, the wire was put off his palms and we friends immediately rushed to the nearby hospital carrying him. He was tested by the nurse there and what she uttered next is still fresh in my ears!! "He is Dead on Arrival!!!". It was February 16th 2005. Life changed fully after that. I finished my graduation in April 2005 and got into Wipro in June 2005. There hasn't been much fun and Sundays haven't been so frolicsome ever afer that day. Have got lot many friends now but once a day my mind gets diverted to those days. It's been 4+ years since his departure but the reminiscences still seem fresh like yesterhour. Got lot to speak but he isn't around. I will always miss him dearly!

5. Sheshagiri & Sandeep Shenoy - Both are my first cousins, however, our interactions with each other has always been limited. Got to know Sandeep a bit during my stay in Mysore, otherwise, regretfully, we haven't been like all cousins. One sits in US of A, the other in Mysore and both of them run a website for the promotion of Kannada language and literature - www.ourkarnataka.com - There is not a single penny income from the site, but only expenses (If asked, Sheshu would surely say "For income, I have a job bro!") In today's busy life, when we hardly have time for our own family and self, here are two brothers who are selflessly thinking of what most of them have forgotten perhaps. 'Kannada'. Mind you, I am writing only facts and this is not a eulogy because they are my cousins!

6. Roshan D'Souza - I have never met Roshan. He works in USA and is basically from Mangalore. Our interactions so far has been only through mails. A gem I must say. Like my cousins, he too runs a website, dedicated to all his fellow Mangaloreans - www.mangalorean.com - The highlight feature of this site is, it's unbiased reporting. Reporting Mangalore incidents aren't as simple as said, where most issues are always communal in nature. Yet, Roshan and his Team have maintained very high standards of journalism. Hats off to him and I hope to meet him personally one day.

7. Susheelakka - Not my sister, not related to me any way. She was a peon in our school and knows me as much as my parents and teachers know me. She has dedicated all her life for selfless service to our school and children studying there. Very dear to all parents and children and is a well respected lady. Someone who has taken good care of us during our childhood days, be it from cleaning our wet shorts to dropping me home when my dad was late to pick me up. She never had any complaints about maintaining the entire school all alone or cleaning the washrooms - she has done it all. A rare case of dedication and committment towards a job, however paltry it might seem to the privileged ones. Will always remember you Susheelakka!
Meanwhile, today is Vivek's birthday. I started typing this piece 3 days back and somehow I could not complete it on time. But as I was typing about Vivek today, it struck to me that it is perhaps his birthday today. I took out the 'Obituary' photograph (which is always in my purse) which had featured in the newspapers a few days after his departure. Yes! It is his birthday. Destiny always has different plans. Wonder why!
Some day I must write about our teenage adventure, I am sure I will have a lot to type with Vivek in the forefront and rest of us playing second fiddle to him. It will also make an interesting read.
What spurred me to write this piece BTW? Last week, I was reminded of a quote made by my one of my favourite Professors - "One can see greatness in every walk of life"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wanted for immediate joining - BCCI


Your dream of representing Team India has shattered after 4 ODIs in 3 years and 1 Test Match? You are not being entertained for the position of an assistant-coach even by KPL teams?? Tired of coaching school kids on summer vacations??? Then this is where you should be!

BCCI, India's sole and ultimate Governing Body for Cricket, is looking for talented professionals for immediate joining. Following are the details -

1. Job Profile - Lower Order Batting Consultant

2. Job role - Mentoring and instilling common-sense in the lower order batting of Team India.

3. Job responsibilities - Plenty, copious, mammoth, uphill, myriad, tedious. To mention a few -
  • To upgrade the current scores of the lower order batsmen from less than 5 to 10-15.
  • To work closely with the lower batting order to teach them forward-defence.
  • Responsible to make them understand the importance of defending the last ball of the over when there is a specialist batsman at the other end.
  • To remove the myth that by exposing the stumps and going for a blind heave doesn't make them Adam Gilchrist.
  • To motivate them to score some runs by giving examples of batsmen who have given a breakthrough to the team when needed or have filled the lacuna of the 5th bowler most times.
  • To ensure running between the wickets doesn't look like mommas running on Parents' Day at kids' school.
4. Job location - National Cricket Academy, Bangalore. However, the Consultant needs to travel with the team.

5. Eligibility criteria -
  • Age - No bar
  • Experience - Scored minimum 10 twentys or 4 thirtys or 2 fiftys in First Class Cricket in any batting position below No. 7 (Candidates with century in University Cricket need not apply)
  • Applicant must hold a valid passport.
6. Salary - Rs. 5,00,000-7,00,000 p.a. + Incentives (depending upon the performance of lower order batsmen) + Travel benefits (Economy class ONLY)

7. Interested candidates can send their resume to onlymoneyandipl.zeromanagement@bcci.com

Note - Reference from IPL Team Franchisee owners, Sports Minister, Sharad Pawar will be an added advantage. Any previous affiliations with ICL will be liable for rejecting the application.

S Sreesanth.
Recruitment Team (Demoted for bad behaviour),

Saturday, November 7, 2009

(Heart) Breaking News!!!

Of late, News Channels (NCs) have become our daily mates. News programme has come a long way over the last decade or so. From the Hindi and English news on DD-1 at 8.30 PM every evening of the late 80s and 90s to the hourly news for 2 minutes in the late 90s to combat the advent of satellite television to the modern day Big Fight, Devil's Advocate, The News this Hour - News programme has indeed been a paradigm for sea change. If you think only Sachin Tendulkar or Vishwanathan Anand have fans and followers, you should do well to know that even the Sardesais and the Thapars and the Goswamis have created a niche of their own. If braveheart for you is only Indira Gandhi, then Barkha's achievements so far are copious enough to prove you wrong. The 'monopoly' situation of DD-1 has transformed to a 'many sellers-numerous buyers' situation - thanks to the advent of private NCs like NDTV 24x7, CNN-IBN, Times Now, Aaj Tak and the likes!

With a plethora of NCs coming into the forefront, an obvious economic terminology too gained prominence - COMPETITION, in fact, a cut-throat one. Each channel wants to prove itelf as faster than the fastest NC and also increase it's TRP ratings. This gave rise to the concept of 'Breaking News' which was an alien in the DD-1 era. A 'Breaking News' most often is not something by hearing which you will break your heads. It's just that every NC wants to grab attention of the viewers and get them glued on to their channel, for which, they are glorified. Don't you worry with 'Breaking News' - sun will still rise in the east, birds of the same feather will still flock together, it's the female gender that would still carry. So one doesn't have to be chaotic to 'Breaking News', most often atleast.

NCs now have become yet another entertainment channel, atleast for most part of the day. Say for example, at 6 in the evening, you might get to watch a programme "Amitabh ko Jaipur mein thanD aakhir kaise lagi?" or, could be even "Gufa mein chhipe booDey bangaru!". It would not have created furore with the world economic growth, of course, not by any means would it weaken our 'Mixture of regional parties' alias 'Central Government' in anyway. On any given day, when India wins an ODI, be prepared to watch a special show with 'our experts', titled, "Trinidad mein Tiranga!". If you have bet your fortune that NCs are pro-Indian Team, do be prepared to watch "Sydney mein shikast" the next time India loses. But yes - it is indeed 'Breaking News' :-)

Media plays a vital role in a democracy. Unbiased information is what we seek. It is anyone's guess if we obtain them or not. Earlier this week, it was shocking to read in 'The Hindu' that, several regional newspapers 'sold' space to political parties for a certain sum. If this is not an isolated case but has spread like a virus, then, it reflects the detriorated journalism in the nation. One such instance of 'heinous journalism' I came across was some 10-12 days after the death of Aarushi Talwar. In a television interview of Nupur Talwar, Arushi's mother, the reporter's question went as follows - "Aaj agar Aarushi hoti, toh woh 15 saal ki hoti. Magar woh aap ke beech mein nahin hai. Aap ko kaisa mahsoos ho raha hai??!"

I can go on and on and on with many such bitter instances and sub-standard journalism. But at the same time, I give due credit to them who have always given us real-time information, made news-watching a pleasant experience, exposed several issues which otherwise go unnoticed. At the same time, the fall in the ethical standards too need to be restored to regain it's lost glory. Plenty can be said and plenty can be written, but the fact remains that NCs today have become a part of our lives. What condoms are to a newly married couple, NCs are to the society - SIMPLY INSEPARABLE!!!

Laptop HP ke saath, samvaad-daata Nagendra, Straight from my Heart, Bangalore :-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sach(in) is our Life!!! - Heartbreak at Hyderabad :-(

As Praveen Kumar scampered for the 2nd run and fell short, India fell short by 3 'mammoth' runs. It was one more 'So near and yet so far' situation for a team which has seen several such situations in the past. We were almost there... every boundary of Sachin, especially after his century was an assurance that we would make the impossible possible.... every six of Raina ensured that the difference between the balls remaining and runs required contracted.... every confident stroke of Ravindra Jadeja instilled a confidence into the game... But alas!!! All this went in vain as India managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It was a mixed game... But more sorrow and less joy!

As usual, Facebook walls and G Talk status messages have become a platform to express anguish over the defeat. e-Debate forums witnessed a lot of 'Cricket experts' suggesting what Sachin should have done and what Raina shouldn't have. Thanks to Christ, India is not Saudi. Most fans in dismay have requested to behead Jadeja. Like always, everyone including the author did find a scapegoat for defeat. Public opinion (or outburst) indicates, it is Jadeja.

But spare a thought for a man, who for the past 20 years has been walking out to bat with a bat in hand and a whole nation's expectations. Sachin Tendulkar - Once again he proved a jinx to the Aussies. Aussies are a bunch of hard men and it needs a rock to face them. Who better than Sachin could it be! The first 4 matches of the series weren't so encouraging for Sachin and his fans. The opposition had scored, his team-mates had scored. But somehow he wasn't able to corss the 30-40 run mark, which by his standards is nothing short of 'mediocrity'. He had a point to prove, not that he was the Numero Uno, but that, the man who walked to bat with Sehwag in the first 4 ODIs was Sachin himself. He had a point to prove to Ponting, who termed him as 'a run accumulator' and 'not a threat anymore' after the 4th ODI. He proved yet another point - India's fortune is yet to come out of the shadows of Sachin's fortune. It is still Sachin that holds the Indian Team together. As challenges keep mounting, our expectations move from the Yuvrajs and the Dhonis to Sachin. Every time India has been in a 'Do-or-Die' situation, the focus has been on Sachin.

Congratulations to Sachin Tendulkar on scoring 17000 ODI runs, of which 11000 runs have come on foreign soil. And about his prolific 175 of 141 balls? It is for the Sachin critics to comment on it this time! ;-)

Su(chi)n never sets in the English empire..... and Australian, South African and Indian as well.