destination india

Monday, September 26, 2005

rave about dev

Dev Anand turns 82 today – and, he stills remains the evergreen hero of yesteryears. Even now, when we see him in Hum Dono or Guide or CID or Prem Pujari or Asli Naqli or Johnny mera naam or Teen Deviyan or Hare Ram Hare Krishna we long to relive those lost days. His mannerisms of dropping shoulders and raised shirt collar have remained unique to his personality. His songs in his film Sharabi had a haunting touch and the lively numbers of Teen Deviyan are unforgettable. That is why remixes of songs from his films have become popular with the youth of today. That is the beauty of melodious tunes, of meaningful lyrics – they remain for eternity. Today’s sizzling numbers will fade into oblivion, fifty years hence no one will consider remixing them but, believe me, songs of Teen Deviyan or Hare Ram Hare Krishna can still rule the roost fifty years down the line. He is of the vintage of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor and, it does him credit that he did not venture into the field of politics – to him, the profession that he had chosen was sacrosanct.

The inimitable M F Hussein is another birthday boy of September – he turned 90 on the 17th of September. An artist par excellence, he loves to walk barefoot and, even at the advanced age of 90, has the energy and ingenuity to put younger persons to shame. A few master strokes of his brush bring alive his dream characters. He is one who believes that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Dev Anand holds beliefs similar to Hussein’s – that is why he is releasing yet another of his creations. Age, to these masters, is never considered to be a deterrent to enjoy the good things of life.

other interesting links –

amaar duniya

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

opportunities galore

A couple of news items in the recent past (last week to be more precise!) have surfaced that throw many accepted beliefs out of the window. These reports need to be studied by the various ministries involved and conduct some sort of manthan session to appreciate the fact that things are not really as bad as they are made out to be. The ministries are the ones for human resources and finance.

Yes, that should make one sit up and take notice.

The official number of educated unemployed in the country is mind boggling and the governments of the day, no matter which color they owe allegiance to, are troubled whenever the subject comes into the limelight. Therefore, when a report is published in one of the most prestigious of newspapers it surprised me. The heading of the report is ‘Indian geeks freelance their way to billions’. A rough estimate indicates that they earn at the rate of $5 per hour and, for a working day of 7 days spread out over 300 days in the year, each of them nets approximately $10,000 – translated into Indian rupees, it works out to nearly Rs 4.5 lakhs, without any outflow towards Income Tax! If the report is to be believed, (and there is no reason not to!) it seems there are more than one lakh software professionals who pursue this channel to line their nests. In all probability, they are registered with the Employment exchanges but prefer to retain the status of ‘Educated Unemployed’, for whatever reasons.

One more lucrative venture is that of being a part of the crowd on the TV shows. As a report under the heading of ‘Canned applause’ goes – co-coordinators pay anything from Rs 100 to Rs 400 for common guests,. The rate goes up to Rs 1500 per appearance for good looking ‘model crowd’. Once upon a time, film extras were roped in to make the crowd. Later with the advent of KBC, rules have changed, the crowds have learnt to demand for more and get them. The channels pay them handsomely and even accede to their requests.

Times have, indeed, changed. Junior artistes are not welcome any longer. The craze today is for well fed, well groomed members in the audience.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

catty tales

When our PM Dr. Man Mohan Singh, in one of his talks with George Bush, points fingers at Vajpayee back home, it doesn’t go down well with the masses.

He should have known better because, emboldened by his utterances, Sourav Ganguli spills the beans on what transpires in the dressing rooms. These raise more ruffled feathers. The effect on people at large is one of astonishment. Wise men have said ‘never wash your dirty linen in public’. Difference of opinions should be resolved in-house, not brought out in the open. Dragging them into controversies does more harm than good.

And, to cap it all, Rahul Gandhi, the young first time MP, opens his mouth at an inopportune moment, speaks out of context and is in immediate need of fire fighters to pour water on troubled waters.

Dispute with neighbors is a situation that practically all of us have faced at some time or the other – one has to be real fortunate to boast of understanding neighbors. Naturally, disputes surface. Such disputes need to be sorted out between the two parties without the involvement of a third party. We speak in that tone but, fail in the implementation part. At that time, we invariably choose to meet on a neutral territory and look up to a third person to mediate without letting on that he is mediating. Correct me if I am wrong but, issuing a joint statement on a foreign soil after the individuals have met the host separately reeks of involvement of a third party to the power of infinity!!!!

Cats have kept us enthralled for years. One thing that has to be remembered when handling cats is that they must never be let out of the bag. Cats need to be handled with care. As kids we were mesmerized by the cat and mouse games of Tom and Jerry. (I still do not miss them on the Cartoon network!) When we grew older, the cat that is supposed to have nine lives turned big and fearsome – it became all capitals. CAT: an acronym for Common Admission Test. Unlike the ordinary cat, this CAT did not boast of nine lives. Its companion the mouse jumped on to our desk tops and transformed itself into one of the most desirable and indispensable object in our lives. One click on this mouse and you entered the wonder world of the computers and internet. Of course, if you encounter a live one, you still shriek and run for cover but, as long as it is of the inanimate variety, you love it dearly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

escape routes

Houdini mastered the art of engineering his escape from chains; he displayed his powers on a number of occasions. Born on 24/3/1874, he expired on 31/10/1926.

However, everyone is not the magician that Houdini was and, escape from the chains of life is not an easy affair. In spite of the hurdles, when we get tired of routine and mundane activities, we do plan an escape on weekends, to relieve the boredom - this is especially true for those of us who are compelled to stay in cities for the sake of earning a decent living and fulfilling the aspirations of those near and dear to us. If unmarried, they are our parents or guardians; if married, they mean our family and children. An outing in the countryside does wonders to ones outlook on life, it rejuvenates him – a weekend in a village, with no access to modern amenities is an ideal retreat for tired minds. Alas, there are very few villages that fit the bill: in the remotest of villages, you will be bombarded with ads of bubbly cold drinks or toothpaste that impart a unique identity to make you irresistible to the opposite sex or a toffee that gives a new dimension and strength to your breath. If visuals are to be believed, it has the power to ring a bell from a distance – it changes the very concept of ‘who is the boss’, it results in a mass movement of sorts when the mass literally changes loyalties!

City folks plan their escapes into the mountains or the sea shores – it is a common practice in the Western culture. With five-day working, it is expected that people occupy their weekends in search of recouping their energy from their surroundings. Unfortunately, many of us here do not know how to enjoy our weekends – the more ambitious ones put in extra hours of work and keep their bosses informed about it, or they arrange teeny-weeny parties where the boss is the center of attraction or they sit in the company of friends and nurse drinks while commenting against any and every thing under the sun. These are our greatest assets – we praise someone sky-high or criticise him to his doom, depending on whether he is useful to our way of thinking or not.

It seems that large American employers arrange for paid annual vacations for their staff – it is a compulsion. The company ensures that you really and truly take time off not only for your sake but for the sake of your family and the Organisation. In contrast, we keep on accumulating our entitled leave and slog day in and day out to create an impression that we are indispensable to the organization. This accounts for premature aging. Some of us may reap dividends via this route but, at what cost? It has to be understood that regular escapes add years to your life and are more useful for survival.

Monday, September 12, 2005

propagate inventive thinking

‘……Ban on plastic pouches can increase the cost of milk by nearly 100% - Alarm bells are ringing in the dairy department over the proposed ban on plastic in the state. Milk prices could rise sharply if the government does not exempt milk pouches from the purview of the ban……. Given that a litre costs anything between Rs 12 and 30, a rise of Rs 15 could make milk costlier by as much as 100%.......’ (TOI report):

The Chief Minister of Maharastra has taken a bold decision to ban plastic bags of all shapes and sizes. As is known, milk is served in pouches for well nigh fifteen years now – we have got used to this. Earlier they were dispensed in bottles, these were liable to break which meant loss to the poor vendor or the boy who delivered these bottles dutifully at your doorstep come rain or shine. I know of a couple of boys who did this as part time jobs early in the morning and then ran to school. The money they earned went towards school fees, books etc. Now, with the directive and its likely consequences there is every likelihood of going back in time. Just to ensure that a debate rages and a mass movement is launched against the decision to ban plastic bags, a report has surfaced that – ‘if the Government insists on an alternative, customers have to be ready to shell out more’. This is a case of the inability to look beyond ones nose.

When milk was dispensed in bottles, the consumer had to pay a one time charge for the bottle and, every morning, a replacement bottle was delivered. The same logic can be applied here – let the existing system of milk pouches remain, only make it mandatory that the consumer must return the old pouch. These can be returned to the originator and destroyed suitably without causing any harm to ecology. Automatically, a control of sorts will get inbuilt into the system and clogging of sewage and drains will be avoided – at least the used milk pouches will not be responsible for it any longer.

At a time when children are encouraged to go in for ‘inventive thinking’, it is expected that elders follow suit and set examples. Hope the message reaches those in authority and suitable instructions are issued.

Friday, September 09, 2005

the untold stories

News item No. 1 - Terming the 1965 war as "wrong," the then Pakistan Air Force chief Nur Khan has said that it was the result of attempts by Pakistani Army to push a large number of militants into Jammu and Kashmir.

News item No. 2 - China today said it does not want any more hiccups in its relations with “strategic partner” India though the two sides don’t see eye to eye on what sparked the 1962 war.
“We are now partners, not rivals. We are friends, not enemies.... If you talk too much of the past, it is out of fashion,” China’s ambassador in New Delhi Sun Yuxi said.
“We will make sure that what happened in history will never happen again (Telegraph India, Kolkata, 7/9/2005)

These are two news items that promise unfolding of many untold stories. The exact reasons for one Nation waging war against another are always shrouded in mystery. Historians try their best to dig up the past as truthfully as possible but, invariably, present different versions depending upon individual perceptions. The concerned historians may not, necessarily, subscribe to the views; the interested parties manipulate the facts to suit their needs. In this connection, the famous findings of a scientist are relevant.

He was experimenting with a grasshopper. He tied a string to one of the legs of a grasshopper and shouted ‘jump’ – the insect jumped. The scientist measured the distance and made a note in his chart. Then he removed one leg of the grasshopper and again shouted ‘jump’ - the insect jumped. The scientist made a second entry and noted that the distance had reduced. In the next steps, the legs came off one by one and the distance jumped kept on reducing. When the sixth leg came off and the insect did not obey his order, he thought for a long while and noted his conclusion – ‘when all the legs of a grasshopper are removed, it becomes deaf’.

This is what history is all about. When the history of Saddam and George Bush are recounted a hundred years hence, what will people say – did WMDs really exist in Iraq? Did Bush push things too fast, was it fair on the part of Blair, did he say his prayers?

Monday, September 05, 2005

teachers and the taught

The 5th of September is celebrated as the Teacher’s day, to honor Dr. Saravapalli Radhakrishnan, the ex President of India (1962 to 1966). He was born on September 5, 1888 and died on April 17, 1975.

In order to pay homage to him, schools play role reversals on this day – one student from the class takes over the duties of the teacher to appreciate the innumerable problems that a teacher faces each and every day. Even, the Principal of the school is a student! Imparting such knowledge improves the relationship between the teachers and the taught. The teacher has always been looked up to for guidance, consequently, it becomes the basic responsibility of the teacher to ensure that only the best of lessons are passed on to the students, they have to set examples for the students to follow. Unfortunately, a situation has come when many in the honorable profession of teaching have thought it fit to exploit situations. They possess certain advantages that are denied to the commoner and, greed for easy money lures them to perform acts that do not speak well of the profession. The days of getting the child admitted to a prestigious school and sitting back and relaxing are over – today, even if you cross the first hurdle of admission, you have to be prepared to continuously shell out money for innumerable reasons. In addition, in order that the child may excel and leave its mark in each and every field, it is made to attend coaching classes and, if a girl, has to learn singing and dancing. Today’s parents want to see the fulfillment of their desires in their children. It is the child that ultimately suffers – when it is unable to meet the expectations, it succumbs to peer pressure and lands up as yet another case of suicide.

Much has been said about reducing the burden of books from the school going kids – the proposals remain on paper. Here again, vested interests come to play. If you have one combined book for a number of related subjects instead of several, the authors lose out on recognition and royalty. Hence, there must be at least one book for each subject. It doesn’t make much sense, but then what does?

In this connection, two of my earlier pieces (of November-2004) on the subject may be referred – these have been viewed more than 4000+ times. The links are as follows: