destination india

Monday, October 31, 2005

the googly in the gulley

India humbled Sri Lanka third time in a row. In the bargain, we discovered the hidden talent of a winning combination that had been eluding us no matter how hard we tried to reverse the trend. We rejoiced in grabbing one more world record – young M. S. Dhoni becomes the wicketkeeper-batsman in ODI with the highest score.

There was, once upon a time a little master named Sunny Gavaskar who even today holds a world record of the highest number of centuries in Test cricket. He had for company Gundappa Vishwanath - two ‘G’s for you. They surrendered the stage to Dada Ganguli, also a ‘G’ – who, in his own typically special way, imparted to the game an attitude of bonhomie that added to its charm. Now, yet another ‘G’ has come on the scene of Indian cricket – Greg Chappell. He has taken on a difficult job with his sights on World Cup 2007. His strategy has worked three times in a row. When the visitors reached a score of 299 in the 3rd game, and when Sachin perished to a shot that he could have very easily left alone, a hush descended in the field and the spectators feared the worst. But, Dhoni rose like the knight in shining armour and belted the visitors to all parts of the field. He ultimately notched up ten sixers. Howe long can Greg-ji sustain the winning streak?

‘G’, the 7th alphabet of the English language, has a very positive influence on our lives. The salutation ‘ji’ has permeated into all levels of modern society and, thanks to the umpteen plus soaps on the telly, we have created a new lingo of Mummy-ji and Daddy-ji – how wonderfully the East has blended with the West has to be seen and heard to be believed. On a different plane, there are leaders with ‘G’ in their names who have dared to venture where lesser mortals fear to tread. Gandhi-ji was an example followed by others who carried the name like Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul. We continuously hear of the G-7 summit and the G-4 declaration – in these cases, ‘G’ indicates a select group of Nations who have come together with certain objectives. Our sacred rivers Ganges and Godavari as also our holy scripture the Gita and the deity of deities Lord Ganesh alias Ganapati all fall in this elite bracket.

To return to cricket – here, as in other fields, ‘G’ has always played a prominent role in re-inventing the game, much to the delight of its supporters and, there is no shortage of them. The game is, after all, one that ensures that the googly gets your man in the gulley!

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

return of the feel good factor

It makes all of us feel good to be on the winning side. In a country where emotions run high at the very mention of the word cricket and when polls are conducted at the drop of a hat to discover the pulse of the masses, the spectacular win in the first ODI of this series with Sri Lanka seems to carry a message – it is clear and simple: we have locked our sights to 2007. The select group proved without doubt that the fight is not lost in us; we can still make people chew their words. It was a perfect display of a well knit team where each and every member knew what was expected of him. The experimentation with Irfan Pathan was a master stroke – he turned out to be a surprise weapon. As the coach had said – thanks to technology, today all the players are aware of each other’s weaknesses and strengths. They capitalize on these traits. Hence, to maintain the one-upmanship, you must always possess special weapons.

There are any numbers of talented players and, if one does not deliver, another will. There is no place for complacent players. Tight schedules of shooting for ads in exotic location with beauties for company should not affect the performance on the field.

All said and done, a score of 350 with useful contributions by the top order was always going to be difficult to overhaul for the visitors, as it turned out. Sachin has changed the number on his shirt – it is now 33. His tennis elbow is a thing of the past; he has shifted gears and, hopefully, will ensure that 2007 belongs to us. It is a pity that he missed out on yet another century. And – Rahul Dravid has proved once again that he is not just a wall and a dependable player but also one who can change his style to suit the requirements of the situation. There was a point in his career when he was written off as one fit only for the bigger version of the game – he, however, is a player to the core. He can mould himself to any version – and deliver. He rightly deserves the MOM award. We expect his team to continue the winning spree.

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

old age tearjerkers

Tearjerkers of the Saas-bahu genre are on their way out. Modern day tearjerkers evolve around the lonely senior citizen whose children have moved to greener pastures leaving the elders to fight it out for themselves. That is the impression one gets through special editions of popular magazines that hit the market during Durga Pujas. Each of these masterpiece of the pen features the latest literary outputs of established authors and brings to the forefront the changing face of Society, the modified scenario in which elderly people discover themselves in and tries to suggest solutions to problems.

There seems to be utter confusion as to who earns the privilege of moving into this super deluxe niche - while one group has defined the age as sixty (the railways) others have designated it as sixty five (the airlines). It appears that all those who superannuate from active service are burdens to not only their families but also to society. On top of that, in their families there is no place or room for elders and old fogies. As a result, lonely couples find it hard to fend for themselves and fall easy prey to anti social elements. The crime rate (of murders and dacoities in flats of these persons) is on the rise irrespective of the metro involved. It is a global phenomenon – every day there are headlines of old people done to death for robbery, the culprits are usually the domestic helps or errand boys or youngsters who turn up at the doorstep and call themselves as members of the maintenance staff like the plumber or the electrician.

This is probably one of the reasons why old age homes have sprung up and why those with money prefer to invest it in creating still more such retreats. But, are all senior citizens really as helpless as they are made out to be?

In the place where I stay, there are any numbers of superannuated persons. That they lead lonely lives is to be expected. We meet during festivities and cultural programs like marriages, we exchange notes, we even joke as we used to ten years back. Yes, age is gradually leaving its mark but it has not been able to dampen the spirit in them in any way. Many of their children are settled abroad, they make occasional visits to meet them. Otherwise, they are at complete ease with the changed times. None of them have patronized any old age home! The point I am trying to make is that most of the novels that deal with old age problems are figments of the imagination. The topic has unlimited potentials for tearjerkers – hence authors seize the opportunity.

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

Monday, October 24, 2005

how to curb suicides

The news of a Security guard of a bank shooting down the Manager and then taking his own life is a shocking state of affairs – this paints a gory picture of how each and everyone of us lead a life of tension, where the tiniest of sparks can ignite the fuse and set off an explosion. The action of an individual in the heat of a moment brings untold miseries to all those whom he leaves behind.

Suicide is the worst type of killer diseases that is devouring people – it has no relevance to age. Old, sick persons jot down a few lines of apology and swallow a handful of sleeping pills or consume rat killer poison or hang themselves. Those that make injudicious investments and discover themselves to be in debt, take the easy way out. Sometimes, the complete family takes the drastic step. Then there are youngsters who are unable to come up to the expectations of their parents. The number of kids who commit suicides because the mother scolded them or the father did not allow them to watch a TV program or some such seemingly innocent reason is also on the rise. Along with these are suicides of the lovelorn ones and persons of the armed forces or the police who find the workload too difficult to handle and duty hours so demanding – a shot in the head from close quarters does the job.

Psychologists and social workers are continuously trying to educate the society at large but, when someone is intent on taking his life, there is very little that anyone can do. Obviously, society has to play a major role - how to prevent such tragic events is a subject that needs to be dealt with in details. Agreed there are help lines, there are counselors, there are guidance committees. All of these are useless if people who manage them are not serious about the activities involved. In this connection, I remember a masterpiece of a movie of the sixties on this theme – it was called ‘the Slender Thread’ and had an electrifying performance by the legendary Sydney Poitier. The slender thread was the telephone and Sydney receives a telephone call from an actress – she says that she has swallowed sleeping pills and has very little time left. Sydney scribbles ‘trace the call’ to his assistant and keeps the woman talking till she is traced and rescued!

It is this sort of commitment that is required.

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

unravelling the mysteries of the web

Viewers of the Natgeo channel are treated regularly to the mysteries of the oceans – the vast multitude of marine creatures that swim and dive and pounce and laze in the crevices of rocks hundreds of feet underwater have to be seen to be believed. And, in order to bring them to our notice, the Natgeo commissions teams to go to the depths of the oceans, scour the waters and come up with new, exotic finds. Apart from whales, sharks, octopuses and hundreds of thousands of varieties of fish, algae and plants, we can see the ruins of the Titanic and the sea gull swooping down and flying away with a fish held tightly in its claws. Even after putting in so much effort, there still remain mysteries of the Oceans that have literally not seen the light of day.
Unfortunately, the skies are not that easy to capture or probe. Whatever little has been revealed are due to the courtesy of space missions. Therefore, when we discuss the World Wide Web, we realize how difficult it is to find out reasons of why someone should take the alias of ‘Frankenstein’; or why a beautiful young lady prefers to be known to her net pals as ‘Mother Hubbard’; or why one who has the ability to run the marathon prefers to be known as ‘the cripple’ on the net. Agreed that the internet is a medium where predators crouch in every corner and wait to entice innocents to their doom. But - how careful can you be? That is why the response to queries are not readily forthcoming.

Just to experiment, I posed a simple question to members of one of the sites where I contribute my literary pieces. Being a Bengali, I wanted to find out how many Bengali members are there out of the 8000 odd members. Well, the count is miserably slow – no one wants to reveal any part of his identity! And, the final result does not need any calculating machine. But, in the bargain, quite a number of feathers got ruffled – a seemingly innocent exercise led some to believe that a handful of Tagore’s own people were intent on creating a mountain out of a mole hill.

Yes, the WWW needs a tag of ‘delicate - handle with care’. While cyber policing is a new concept and metros have introduced special police cells in strategic locations to track down those who indulge in cyber crimes, the most important weapon is awareness. Occasional write-ups in the print media are fine but a lot more needs to be done. We need visionaries like Christopher Columbus and Dr. Livingstone to emerge and help us unravel the mysteries of the WWW.

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

improved index of corruption

India continues to languish at the half-way point on the international index of corruption, even as corruption grew in rich countries as well as poorer ones, the world's most authoritative anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) has said, just weeks before the recently ratified United Nations Convention against Corruption comes into force. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1266961.cms

Therefore the directives of Sonia Gandhi have not come a day too soon. If implemented meticulously, India is sure to improve her standing in the World of the Corrupt!!

It is customary that pre Diwali cleaning of houses be carried out so that when the golden moment arrives on Diwali night, Goddess Lakshmi can find herself in relatively clean surroundings and be happy to shower her blessings on her devotees. That is probably the reason why Ministers of the Congress are overjoyed that Sonia-ji has given certain directives to ensure that the present deteriorating culture be replaced forthwith by more austere measures. Of course, such directives are nothing new – once in a while, when the clean-up bug bites, such measures are drawn up and implemented for a while till dilution sets in. A recently conducted survey discovered that people in Pune are among the happiest of persons in the World and that Indians are the second sexiest Nation in the World, next only to Brazil! Therefore, with Indians looming up large in different spheres, it is but natural that our Politicians rise to the occasion and try to win the honor of the Nation of the best behaved and honest Politicians. Eyebrows may be raised, the lips may twitch to suppress the smiles – but, as they say, there is no harm in trying. Events like these have been known to happen; hence, the old faithfuls of the Congress may still repent and toe the line drawn by Sonia-ji. They may, in fact, consent to refuse gifts and bouquets at functions – on the dais or stage or podium or whatever. As a cynic remarked, they may wink and tell the organizers to put the gift quietly in the dickey of their car.

The 18 point agenda that Sonia-ji has formulated aims at cutting the ostentatious and ugly display of power by ministers and organizational bigwigs. 5 of these are for the PCCs and 13 for the governments of Congress ruled states. A few of them are –

Only economy class travel for ministers and officials
Putting a cap on official telephone bills of ministers and officials
Cutting STD and International call facilities on official phones
Red lights and sirens to be used only on vehicles of the Governor and the CM
Ministers should have only one official vehicle
Foundation stone laying ceremonies should be discouraged
Celebration of New Year and religious festivals at government expense be stopped

These instructions were conveyed to the states on September 12 but implementation of sorts has only just begun in the form of relinquishing of some posts of Heads of Commissions or Corporations by the Politicians of Uttaranchal. Obviously, the time has been used to read between the lines and understand the finer prints. And, to ensure complete implementation, a 12 member Ethics Committee has been set up. It seems that MLAs and MPs of New Delhi are being asked to declare annual statements of their assets and incomes.

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

kids are no kid stuff

After the release of the film Chocolate, it is rumored that there is a rush to register a whole host of similar names like Toffee, Biscuit, and Lollipop. Yes, kids are no kid stuff, they rule the day. The power that they wield was understood long ago by those who create those lovely ads that show the smart, beautiful kids up to innumerable pranks. Whether it is an ad for a brand of paint or detergent or washing powder or of pens and pencils or fast ready-made food or health drinks or toothpaste and dandruff removal preparations or even of contact lenses, they have captured the fancy of the young and old alike. There is hardly any ad that does not showcase the child. Starting with the ‘I love you Rasana’ to the ‘utterly butterly delicious’, the jilebi culture has graduated to the cutting-shutting one and kids are invariably those who influence the decisions of elders.

These kids have been discovered to be God’s own gift to those who have to always be ready with their bagful of tricks and diversionary tactics. Whenever a Politician senses a crisis looming up in the horizon, he taps the kids to bail him out! Sounds strange but recent events tend to lend credence to such a theory – kids are kidnapped, the parents cry their hearts out, the police swing into action, the class mates of the missing child perform rituals like a day’s token protest which mobilizes support from other children and they all send silent prayers to the kidnappers. The electronic media has a field day with on-the-spot coverage throughout as the events unfold minute by minute. Finally, the kidnapper has a change of heart and returns the kid unharmed and without bothering about the ransom that he had demanded. That is what co-operative ventures can achieve. They can melt the mountains!

In the world of today, kids are held in esteem by not only their parents (expectations are that the kids will grow up to be endowed with every conceivable good quality related to studies, sports and fine arts). That is the reason why they are made to feel important right from their crèche days and learn very early in life that they possess the power to demand for the moon and get it too!

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

Monday, October 17, 2005

the wonderland of blogs

To reach a milestone of 250 posts on a single blog is a result of the encouragement one gets through visitors to the blog. In this case (‘Rediscovering India’ on indiatimes.com) the number of visitors is approximately 65,000 as on date!! On this special occasion, I dedicate this post to the tired and weary family of Devi Durga. She has successfully destroyed all the evil asuras that were present as on the day of Dussera / Bijoya Dasami this year and, satisfied at the outcome, has returned to her familiar surroundings amidst the snow capped Himalaya Mountains. There she is in peace and solitude. It exists in abundance there and, also, on Mars and Moon and distant planets that have not yet been affected by globalization. Her family members have heaved a sigh of relief – they spent the weekend chitchatting and exchanging notes. There were so many new things to talk about, to get educated upon, and to add to the GK. The world around them is changing at a tremendously fast pace: it is becoming well nigh impossible to keep in step!

For example, the word ‘yahoo’ – it was the trade mark of Shammi Kapoor. He rolls down the hill yelling the lines ‘yahoo – chahey koi mujhe junglee kahey…..’ in the film Junglee. Today, ‘yahoo’ is an integral part of the internet; it offers fantastic search engines that can retrieve information in seconds. You define the search criteria and, like the great Aladdin of yore, the results are served to you on a platter. Wonder why no one thought of the name ‘Aladdin’ for a search engine.

‘Google’ is another rather confusing word – we are accustomed to words like ogle and goggle. While the former carries sinister meanings, the latter is used to hide those mischievous eyes so that they carry out their surveys on the sly. Google has no relevance to any of these – Google is one more search engine.

Another modern word is ‘blog’. We have heard of ‘bog’ and ‘log’, we also know of ‘slog’ (slog overs in cricket are those dying moments when wonders can and do happen, when seemingly innocent shots can turn the tide, when sudden spurts of inspiration can shake the bails off to the amazement of the fielder!) ‘Blog’ we are told has no connection to any of these. A ‘blog’ is an outlet for the creativeness in you. It is your own private slot in space leased out to you absolutely free of cost by websites to encourage you to let others view the world through your eyes. Grammar and spelling take the back seat - after all we know u means ‘you’, r is the short form of ‘are’, b4 is used in place of ‘before’, imho is an abbreviated form of ‘in my honest opinion’ and gr8 is ‘great’. And then there are terms like ‘lol’ (laughing out loud), ‘asap’ (as soon as possible), ‘btw’ (by the way), etc. The internet lingo has done away with superfluous matter and believes in abbreviated forms – unfortunately, in real life, it is not so simple to do away with superfluous stuff or resort to shortcuts.

The Blog will shortly be bestowed with respectability – it seems ‘yahoo’ is testing a new search tool that includes results from thousands of mainstream media outlets and, alongside, a separate results columns for Blogs!! News item ‘Can you tell Blogs from Real News?’ in the Times of India dated 12/10/2005. Add to these the plastic money in the form of credit cards and you have the world in your grasp.

It is an accepted fact of life that Evil can never be conquered; hence Devi Durga has to keep descending to the plains and come to our rescue every year. Probably, another 100 years down the line, she will find it more convenient to travel in a spaceship.

another interesting link –

amaar duniya

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

links in the chain

The word LINK has the alphabet K embedded. This alphabet influences our lives to such an extent that we are completely at sea without it. KBC has it, KFC has it and now comes KGB – it also has it. What do they have in common you might very well ask? Well, for one, they all have the alphabet as an integral part of their identity. Very similar to the serials of a well known producer who is obsessed with it and believes that a liberal sprinkling of this alphabet in the titles adds to the TRP. KBC has surprises at every turn and takes one to extraordinary heights of imagination (of how to spend the two crores if ever it really comes). KFC is here today gone tomorrow because those who care for your physical and cultural health decide that enough is enough – why should you rush to taste chicken of other brands? You must delete it totally from your menu, if you are unable to do so, patronize the local market. KGB, of course, has stolen the limelight. When first the news surfaced that half a century ago it had its fingers in each and every Indian pie, it took everyone by surprise. Quick to seize any opportunity to establish foreign links with those in power, leaders rubbed their hands in glee. Here, at last, has come a weapon with which the ruling party can be cut down to size. The report made a mention that some present day leftists also were in the good books of the Soviets and obtained favors – that came as a dampener to those with left leanings. But, the game was far from over. The latest revelation came when one of the parties wanted a white paper to be published on the subject.

http://www.indiademocracy.com/news/viewdescripton.jsp?newsid=270

It seems that the Pandora’s Box has quite a number of skeletons. The more you dig, the more it will stink. Therefore, let sleeping dogs lie. What can’t be cured must be endured.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1251124.cms

other interesting links –

amaar duniya