an "a to z" of thoughts, conversations, remarks, observations,musings about

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

been a long time since i up and wrote

its been quite a busy week..and mostly its been good. I find that sitting on the bottom of the swimming pool for a minute every day is very good for my thought patterns. After a few weeks of this underwater yoga, i am now seeing the world much more clearly. All the little mysteries of life and intrigues that surround us are laid bare and I confidently leap to answer any question that floats up in the air around me.

This leaping-to-answer-questions approach sometimes backfires. Like in a pub when a drunk guy asks aloud, "why is my wife such a bitch". Still I do get a sense of satisfaction on answering these questions and quickly moving on.

Some questions I could satisfactorily answer this week were -

Q : Who is going to win the world cup?
A : France. This because I never find anyone supporting the Les Bleus so it makes sense that they would win, since they seem to not need any support. Every other team has people wearing their shirts, praying and painting wierd stuff all over.

Q : Why did the stockmarket have to crash just now?
A : Because its the middle of the summer, most people go to the beach or mountains with their kids leaving subordinates in charge. These inexperienced people panick and are easily stampeded.

Q : We used to have surplus wheat rotting in warehouses, why is India having to import wheat now?
A : The wheat that was rotting finally rotted away, leaving the warehouses bare. The new crop was bought by the foreign companies, and now they are selling it back to us.

Q: Whats Bill Gates' foundation gonna do with all the money?

A : I refer you to this article - "Gates gives 500 hookers smart cards" . Its just the start, soon they will get blackberry's too, 500 today, tomorrow the world.

Q: When is the monsoon gonna come?
A: Look outside the window. Its raining.

Q: Why is petrol and diesel becoming so expensive?
A: To discourage people from driving so much. The environmentalist maniacs have persuaded governments to take this step.

Q: What will happen when we run out of petrol?
A: We will walk or teleconference.

Monday, June 19, 2006

facts of the day

3500 people die in train accidents in Mumbai every year.

30,000 foreigners are working in India currently.

Dharavi, the largest slum in Mumbai and India, has a GDP of $1 Billion.


Every year devout hindus trudge up the mountains, braving the kashmiri militants, to offer prayers at the amarnath cave. This cave has a naturally occuring Shivalingam, a ice formation that resembles the traditional round headed obelisk that symbolises lord shiva. This year the ice shivlinga looks funny and there are stories that say that global warming has led to the non-appearance of the shivalingam and the one that is being worshipped as the very symbol of Lord Shiva- is fake! Newspapers have printed before and after pictures which do add credence to this theory. The current shivalinga looks very much like a stone and cement and white paint job. Its rather too geometrical to be a natural ice formation. This is one story that we are all following eagerly as it mixes global warming and conspiracy theories witha healthy dose of religion and geopolitics thrown in..

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

quote of the day

Joey Adams - "Marriage is give and take. You'd better give it to her or she'll take it anyway."

travel memories

2 August, 1998 Delhi. I’m waiting to collect my salary. Elsewhere Arshad was doing the same and we were to meet on the Brahmaputra Express. I just made it and soon spotted an outsized grin coming towards me. "Arshad Miya" I yelled and we got settled in. Two young girls, their mother and three tough guys made up our cabin.

At night a hand slithered down over the girl sleeping in the lower bunk. She shriveled into a corner. The train clanged over the moonlit swollen Son River and I saw the scene being repeated with her sister. I walked down and found a railway constable, offered him a cigarette. We had to come back to my cubicle for matches ;)

In the morning they (not the guys) shared breakfast with us and we got off at Alipurduar with a mother’s blessing warm on our foreheads. The trip was on.

Friday, June 09, 2006

sad but true

America is drowning in the shame of war crimes. One monstrous slaughter of civilians after another, each denied and covered up until brought to light by photos and eye witnesses. The once proud US Marines, unable to defeat the resistance that is picking them off one by one, is now a frustrated, demoralized force that is getting even by murdering 3-month old babies and old women

Thursday, June 08, 2006

some thoughts

well its a sunny day here in gurgaon...the monsoon seems to have disintegrated and only a few wispy clouds drift across the sky. So many things happening here in india, and mostly its all bad news..lets do a quick round up of what these last few weeks have been like.

1. The great indian reservation saga - this still commands some space in the newspapers. Unfortunately only the top 5% of indians earn more than 500 dollars a year and yet they claim to be the middle class of india. They are visibly agitated because of certain government moves which aim to please the underpriveleged castes in india, by granting them reservations in colleges and jobs. This has raised howls of protest from doctors, engineers and suchlike, and they claim that this move would lead to a lowering of standards in Indian education and industry. Noisy visible protests are being staged and most people after protesting realise that they miss their air conditioning more and beat a hasty retreat. The government wants the votes of the 95% of the population and the money from the 5% of the population and is trying to please everyone and failing spectacularly. The searing heat has stopped all the protests and most people are now indoors conducting discussions and negotiations in the shade of split-unit airconditioning plants.

2. Fuel price hike - Every rupee that an indian pays for petrol, half of it goes to the government in the form of taxes. This is because petrol is considered a luxury item :). Petrol costs 1 dollar per litre here. If you remember from above, 5% of indians earn more than 500 dollars a year. So it definitely is a luxury. In the aftermath of global fuel price hikes, thanks to our new pal, George Bush and his middle east adventure, the prices of petrol and diesel were raised by about 10%. This led to howls of protest from opposition parties, threats of agitations and strikes and might have led to acts of self-immolation ( burning oneself alive - a standard protest form in india ) were it not for the fact that it would be too expensive. The summer heat derailed these protests too, and the concerned parties are holding press conferences in air conditioned meeting rooms.

3. Stock Market Meltdown- This is a painful topic, because yours truly believes in putting all his savings in stock markets, specially in the riskier stocks, which have a habit of diving down like a soccer centre forward when approached by a defender. The markets have been falling and keep on falling, 33% in just over a month down, and there seems to be no end in sight. This bear hug is painful and specially for the less than 1% of indians who own any shares whatsoever. All the incredible india stories now seem jaded, the summer heat, the failing monsoon, the cynical government, the rising cost of oil, the global downturn are the new stories of the day. If this moves your heart, please send a  cheque to me .... i am 33% poorer than before.

4. One in every two Indian children is malnourished - 90% of india's rural family spend over 60% of their income on food. Against this backdrop, it is understandable that there was very little rejoicing when the price of wheat was incresed. Parts of india are so poor and backward that people starve to death. In this hot summer there will be countless tragedies that happen in villages and towns. Dead bodies lying by the roadside as the cars whizz by. Mothers starving to death as they try to keep their children alive. Farmers eating rat poison to escape the indignity of life where their children scream all day of hunger. Government schemes will be launched and fat officials will become fatter. The old farmer sitting on a dry piece of earth, looking to the heavens for signs of rain knows that no one will help him, only the gods can do something and he prays that they send him a raincloud or two which softens the earth below his feet, so he can hitch a iron plough to his 100 pound 60 year old body and till the soil and try and raise a few crops which will feed his family.....we all pray for those clouds...but it seems this year  the weather patterns are disturbed and the monsoon is not moving forward as it should...and we all wait anxiously. It is in June that we realise that this poor beautiful lonely little country still lives and breathes because of the grace of god and his clouds. All the computers and all the dams and all the government schemes are forgotten and only the clouds matter now.

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