Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Amusing Ads...

Why do politicians want to make a fool of themselves by getting their photographs embedded in ridiculous places... Some of the public service ads like this one amuse me no ends.

Why are the faces of ministers on this advertisement - in place of maybe some scary images of insects.

Or is it just to tell people what all kind of dangerous parasites we have around us...? Mosquitos, politicians...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Look what Terrorists have achieved...

Indian Premier League has become Non-Resident-Indian Premier League now...

No, this blog isn't about cricket and the concerns from a cricket lovers point of view, but only the pain of an Indian who sees terrorists win.

19 years ago, the Islamic terrorists managed to hound out a helpless and voiceless community from the Kashmir valley, only because they were not of same faith. Kashmiri Pandits have been living in exile for almost two decades now...

And now, they have managed to drive out something Indian call their second-religion out of India. Jaish', HuJI, LeT et all must be celebrating this win...

Kashmiri Pandits only left the valley - went up till Jammu and Delhi. Cricket has been driven out of the sub-continent...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

India... Olympics and the future...

Posting after a long hiatus... A lot happened in the meanwhile, which I may have wanted to comment on - but didn't find the time or the energy to... and this one would be a brief one too...

The Beijing Olympics is over... and we (all TV Channels) are over the moon with 3 medals... Doesn't matter a single Phelps or Usain Bolt won more than most nations... And I don't quite relate to the over excitement with the 3 medals or even with the post-mortem we always do - on why a country of a billion cant win more... As Vijay mentioned in his blog - a medals tally with GDP factored in is needed, and we may find interesting alterations like Kenya or Jamaica leading the tally.

But why this post?

I think I have a solution for London 2012. A solution to ensure that we go
higher in the medals tally from here on...

How - Lets call it the UPA or JMM Plan...!!!

The UPA government saved itself easily - striking some deals. Shibu Soren is all set to become the Chief Minister of Jharkhand in lieu of the support he extended to UPA during the trust vote. Cash for vote was the other route which possibly helped the government of the day...

Let's just offer something similar to atheletes from Kenya, Jamaica and other countries possibly with lesser GDP than India... I don't expect a Phelps to take the offer...
A 5 year stint as a CM in a state for a gold medal...

Cabinet Ministership for a Silver medal...
MPship for a Bronze medal...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tibet...Olympic Torch... and Aamir...

For last few days... there has been ample debate about Baichung Bhutia's refusal to carry the Olympic Torch when its in India, in support of the Tibetan cause... and Aamir/Saif's refusal to refuse.

While supporters of Tibetan cause believe that Aamir/Saif should boycott the torch run in support of the Tibetans who have made India their home now... there are many others who suggest that Olympics is not about China and the spirit of the game and all that...

Aamir has explained his own position in his blog here... making clear that he would not boycott - for blah blah reasons. He argues that all governments in the world commit human right violations and thus, its not a reason enough to protest and refuse to associate with the Olympic torch...

Now... if you read between the lines - what he basically wants to say – but doesn't have the balls to say is:

"Coca-Cola, Toyota and all other brands which pay me millions have commercial interests in China; and Olympics is the biggest marketing exercise. So there is no way I can disassociate.

Come on!!! If Coca-Cola were to get in infrastructure development projects - I would be actually doing events in support of Narmada dam as well... Not against it. Gujarat bashing etc – just suits RDB my image…"

Forget - Tibet. Does Mr "Supporter of those displaced in Narmada Dam" even have an idea how many villages the Chinese dictators uprooted overnight to create the Olympic infrastructure...?

Double standards? Myopia...? Or just plain commerce...

This takes away nothing from the fact that he is an awesome actor - who made most of India wake-up with TZP... but then he needs to stop acting in real life and get down from that self created high pedestal of free ideology... and admit that its 'pure commerce' that works...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Shame Shame Ponting...Shame Shame ICC !!!

Today the cricket match in Sydney ended – with lot more drama than cricket.

For the record, Australia won the test match in the second last over… and that’s what the world will remember few years down the line. More than that, it would be remembered for the 16 consecutive wins of the Australian team.

And just as the breaking news flashing on screens… now Harbhajan Singh has been handed a 3 match ban for a supposedly racist slur made against Andrew Symonds.

But the ugly underbelly of this match…doesn’t end here.

The three umpires (3rd umpire included) gave a terrible 12 decisions against Indian team…forcing a defeat on India. India was playing against 14 players, it seemed. Both Steve Bucknor and Benson seemed like they were playing for Cricket Australia.

As my wife has been sniffing, Ricky Ponting had a huge prestigious record up for stake – 16 consecutive wins like the one Steve Waugh had earlier. So did he go all-out to ensure the win…? After all, if match fixing can be done by bribing a bunch of players, it’s far easier to fix it by getting just 3 umpires towards you.

Andrew Symonds given not-out thrice and he went on to make a huge score (162). Rickey Ponting given not-out caught behind and he scored double from there on. Steve Bucknor even refusing to refer decisions to third umpire. But what the hell, even the third umpire too acted blind to give wrong decisions in favour of Aussies… Dravid given out today when there was a gap as big as Steve Bucknor’s head between the bat and ball. Ganguly given out by Ricky Ponting – not the umpires. Wasim Jaffer given out on a no-ball. And many more… Heck… India wasn’t playing to win… India had to play to survive a ruckus of cheating and fraud today.

Even if half of these decisions had been given honestly – India was bound to win this match.

But the day ended with even more bizarre news… Harbhajan Singh accused of a racial slur by Aussie all-rounder Symonds. As per known statements of the match refree and the umpires, they didn’t hear or see any thing. The on-screen visuals show that it was Andrew Symonds who walked up to the batsman and said something… Umpires heard no racial comment coming from Singh…the mikes recorded nothing. But since a bunch of white-skinned players are ready to stand witness for their team mate – who were no where close to the either of them when the supposed altercation happened on the pitch; the verdict has been given against Bhajji. The witnesses from India (Sachin – who was on the pitch) be damned. On another occasion, the umpires took the opinion of Ricky Ponting for a decision – against Saurav. That too when Ricky had just earlier appealed blatantly for a fake catch, and for Micheal Clark – who refused to walk yesterday for a very clear dismissal. Ricky himself proved that his integrity can not be trusted – given that he didn’t walk when he was caught in the previous innings.

So what’s the picture we get…

If a white player gives witness for something they were no close to – it must be true. No matter if a non-white player was present there on the pitch and says nothing happened. If a white man says he said it, he must have….

If a white player says that the catch was clean – he can’t be lying… No matter what the TV camera’s show. If Ricky picked a catch from turf or Clark picked a bump ball, as long as they say it was clean – they must be correct. The truth be damned…

To me – that is racism…!!!

ICC must be banned for owning such a racist game…

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ranganthitu Bird Sanctuary, near Mysore (Part 7)

At Ranganthitu Bird Sanctuary, near Srirangapatnam (15-20km from Mysore)... on 1st Jan 2008

Mysore Zoo - (Part 6)

At Mysore Zoo on Dec 30th...

Brindavan Gardens... (Part 5)

At Brindavan Gardens... on Dec 29th evening...

This place could be great, only if they utilized the tons of money they collect with the entry fee/tickets etc for some proper management and beautification of the place.

Karanji Nature Park - Mysore (Part 4)

At Karanji Nature Park, near Mysore Zoo... on Dec 30th.

A fantastic place...should have spent more time here.

Its closed on Tuesdays... Other days, its open till 6pm

Namdroling Monastry...(Part 2)

At Golden Temple in Bylakuppe's Tibetian resettlement... about 100km from Mysore, towards Kushalnagar/Coorg...

Sivasamudram Falls - (Part 1)

At SivaSamudram Falls on Dec 29th 2007...

At Mysore Palace - Mysore Trip Part 3

At Mysore Palace, Dec 30th 2007...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Karnataka's Political Cry Baby...

Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa resigns

Scene 1: A bunch of kids playing cricket in a residential complex... The boy at the crease is bowled out. The umpire rules him out... all players vouch for the verdict. But the boy refuses to move from the crease. Or let anyone else take the bat. Reason? He owns the bat and the ball they are playing with... and his Papa is the secretary of the housing society they live in.

If they wont let him bat on, he will walk off with the cricket gear - ensuring no more play happens. And also make sure his papa-dear forbids any play in the vicinity for good.

Cry baby... spoil-sport...? would you say...?

Scene2: Karnataka political scene since Sept 2007...

First, HDK did not want to let go the post of Chief minister... then very reluctantly he let go after crying a lot over it, but wouldn't let the other party form the govt. Then after realizing that he could not form it himself either, reluctantly let BJP form the govt. only to pull the plug on day one.

All the while, Papa King Gowda is playing the king maker... taking care of his family interests. After all, how can he let his kingdom Karnataka be ruled by someone else other than one of his sons.

HD Kumaraswamy and his ilk, led by his grumbling father have made a complete mockery of the state.

One can not help feel amused and baffled by the politics in India... Karnataka taking the cake lately...

What baffles me - what the hell was BJP thinking? How could they trust Deve Gowda at all? DG is very well known for his self-serving politics. He became the Prime Minister by fluke - a stroke of luck which will never happen to him again. Unfortunately, having been PM once - he can not step onto the CMs chair anymore... He is practically forced into a political vanvaas... except for play the political Godfather from background.

Were they hoping for some mis-trust luck? Remember the 13 day govt they formed in New Delhi - only to return for a longer tenure. Height of superstition, if its so...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NDTV...independent media house???

While browsing through news channels today evening, I was stopped at NDTV for a while. Prannoy Roy was the news anchor - and thats what amused me and made me stop at the channel - wondering how attrition in his ranks must be troubling him, like it does in my industry.

But beyond this initial amusement - I was shocked to see what was on the news.
First it was an news report defending Leftist parties against the scathing attack most leading newspapers had launched today - accusing CPI/CPM of anti-India and pro-China bais, in context of their opposition to the Nuclear deal. Prannoy and his team had compiled a rather lame news story supporting CPI/CPM and countering the accusations. Nothing impressive... and it would have left more centre leaning people seriously wondering about the real-left.

But this wasn't all... This was followed by another amusing news item - This time about how Pranab Mukherjee is the most wise, astute man in Congress, the man to get Congress out of troubled waters, his seniority and experience... and how Congress has always sidelined
him at important time (ignoring him for Prime Minister-ship and also denying him the candidature for Presidentship this year...)...

The two news items looked surprisingly sinister... NDTV top boss Prannoy Roy is related to the communist top boss Prakash Karat through marriage (Prakash's wife Brinda Karat and Prannoy's wife are sisters)...

Is NDTV the pseudo-spokeschannel for Communists party of India...?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Great Indians...!!!

Normally, I don't like all those "Proud to be an Indian" emails floating around... Not because I am not proud to be an Indian, but because they tend to be make a 'head-in-sand' impression, making Indians revel in the glorious past and ignore the sad state of the present day India..

But when this email came floating bye...for some reason I felt like archiving it here... Maybe it's just the pictures which make it different.


Born in 476 CE in Kusumpur (Bihar), Aryabhatt's intellectual brilliance remapped the boundaries of mathematics and astronomy. In 499 CE, at the age of 23, he wrote a text on astronomy and an unparallel treatise on mathematics called "Aryabhatiyam." He formulated the process of calculating the motion of planets and the time of eclipses. Aryabhatt was the first to proclaim that the earth is round, it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space - 1000 years before Copernicus published his heliocentric theory. He is also acknowledged for calculating p (Pi) to four decimal places: 3.1416 and the sine table in trigonometry. Centuries later, in 825 CE, the Arab mathematician, Mohammed Ibna Musa credited the value of Pi to the Indians, "This value has been given by the Hindus." And above all, his most spectacular contribution was the concept of zero without which modern computer technology would have been non-existent. Aryabhatt was a colossus in the field of mathematics.


(1114-1183 CE)


Born in the obscure village of Vijjadit (Jalgaon) in Maharastra, Bhaskaracharya's work in Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry catapulted him to fame and immortality. His renowned mathematical works called "Lilavati" and "Bijaganita" are considered to be unparalled and a memorial to his profound intelligence. Its translation in several languages of the world bear testimony to its eminence. In his treatise "Siddhant Shiromani" he writes on planetary positions, eclipses, cosmography, mathematical techniques and astronomical equipment. In the "Surya Siddhant" he makes a note on the force of gravity: "Objects fall on earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon, and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction." Bhaskaracharya was the first to discover gravity, 500 years before Sir Isaac Newton. He was the champion among mathematicians of ancient and medieval India. His works fired the imagination of Persian and European scholars, who through research on his works earned fame and popularity.


(600 BCE)


As the founder of "Vaisheshik Darshan"- one of six principal philosophies of India - Acharya Kanad was a genius in philosophy. He is believed to have been born in Prabhas Kshetra near Dwarika in Gujarat. He was the pioneer expounder of realism, law of causation and the atomic theory. He has classified all the objects of creation into nine elements, namely: earth, water, light, wind, ether, time, space, mind and soul. He says, "Every object of creation is made of atoms which in turn connect with each other to form molecules." His statement ushered in the Atomic Theory for the first time ever in the world, nearly 2500 years before John Dalton. Kanad has also described the dimension and motion of atoms and their chemical reactions with each other. The eminent historian, T.N. Colebrook, has said, "Compared to the scientists of Europe, Kanad and other Indian scientists were the global masters of this field."


He was an extraordinary wizard of science born in the nondescript village of Baluka in Madhya Pradesh. His dedicated research for twelve years produced maiden discoveries and inventions in the faculties of chemistry and metallurgy. Textual masterpieces like "Ras Ratnakar," "Rashrudaya" and "Rasendramangal" are his renowned contributions to the science of chemistry. Where the medieval alchemists of England failed, Nagarjuna had discovered the alchemy of transmuting base metals into gold. As the author of medical books like "Arogyamanjari" and "Yogasar," he also made significant contributions to the field of curative medicine. Because of his profound scholarliness and versatile knowledge, he was appointed as Chancellor of the famous University of Nalanda. Nagarjuna's milestone discoveries impress and astonish the scientists of today.


(600 BCE)

Acharya Charak has been crowned as the Father of Medicine. His renowned work, the "Charak Samhita", is considered as an encyclopedia of Ayurveda. His principles, diagoneses, and cures retain their potency and truth even after a couple of millennia. When the science of anatomy was confused with different theories in Europe, Acharya Charak revealed through his innate genius and enquiries the facts on human anatomy, embryology, pharmacology, blood circulation and diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, heart disease, etc. In the "Charak Samhita" he has described the medicinal qualities and functions of 100,000 herbal plants. He has emphasized the influence of diet and activity on mind and body. He has proved the correlation of spirituality and physical health contributed greatly to diagnostic and curative sciences. He has also prescribed and ethical charter for medical practitioners two centuries prior to the Hippocratic oath. Through his genius and intuition, Acharya Charak made landmark contributions to Ayurvedal. He forever remains etched in the annals of history as one of the greatest and noblest of rishi-scientists.



A genius who has been glowingly recognized in the annals of medical science. Born to sage Vishwamitra, Acharya Sudhrut details the first ever surgery procedures in "Sushrut Samhita," a unique encyclopedia of surgery. He is venerated as the father of plastic surgery and the science of anesthesia. When surgery was in its infancy in Europe, Sushrut was performing Rhinoplasty (restoration of a damaged nose) and other challenging operations. In the "Sushrut Samhita," he prescribes treatment for twelve types of fractures and six types of dislocations. His details on human embryology are simply amazing. Sushrut used 125 types of surgical instruments including scalpels, lancets, needles, Cathers and rectal speculums; mostly designed from the jaws of animals and birds. He has also described a number of stitching methods; the use of horse's hair as thread and fibers of bark. In the "Sushrut Samhita," and fibers of bark. In the "Sushrut Samhita," he details 300 types of operations. The ancient Indians were the pioneers in amputation, caesarian and cranial surgeries. Acharya Sushrut was a giant in the arena of medical science.



renowned astrologer and astronomer who was honored with a special decoration and status as one of the nine gems in the court of King Vikramaditya in Avanti (Ujjain). Varahamihir's book "panchsiddhant" holds a prominent place in the realm of astronomy. He notes that the moon and planets are lustrous not because of their own light but due to sunlight. In the "Bruhad Samhita" and "Bruhad Jatak," he has revealed his discoveries in the domains of geography, constellation, science, botany and animal science. In his treatise on botanical science, Varamihir presents cures for various diseases afflicting plants and trees. The rishi-scientist survives through his unique contributions to the science of astrology and astronomy.


The Science of Yoga is one of several unique contributions of India to the world. It seeks to discover and realize the ultimate Reality through yogic practices. Acharya Patanjali, the founder, hailed from the district of Gonda (Ganara) in Uttar Pradesh. He prescribed the control of prana (life breath) as the means to control the body, mind and soul. This subsequently rewards one with good health and inner happiness. Acharya Patanjali's 84 yogic postures effectively enhance the efficiency of the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and endocrine systems and many other organs of the body. Yoga has eight limbs where Acharya Patanjali shows the attainment of the ultimate bliss of God in samadhi through the disciplines of: yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahar, dhyan and dharna. The Science of Yoga has gained popularity because of its scientific approach and benefits. Yoga also holds the honored place as one of six philosophies in the Indian philosophical system. Acharya Patanjali will forever be remembered and revered as a pioneer in the science of self-discipline, happiness and self-realization.


Acharya Bharadwaj had a hermitage in the holy city of Prayag and was an ordent apostle of Ayurveda and mechanical sciences. He authored the "Yantra Sarvasva" which includes astonishing and outstanding discoveries in aviation science, space science and flying machines. He has described three categories of flying machines: 1.) One that flies on earth from one place to another. 2.) One that travels from one planet to another. 3.) And One that travels from one universe to another. His designs and descriptions have impressed and amazed aviation engineers of today. His brilliance in aviation technology is further reflected through techniques described by him:
1.) Profound Secret: The technique to make a flying machine invisible through the application of sunlight and wind force.
2.) Living Secret: The technique to make an invisible space machine visible through the application of electrical force.
3.) Secret of Eavesdropping: The technique to listen to a conversation in another plane.
4.) Visual Secrets: The technique to see what's happening inside another plane.
Through his innovative and brilliant discoveries, Acharya Bharadwaj has been recognized as the pioneer of aviation technology.



Celebrated as the founder of Sankhya philosophy, Acharya Kapil is believed to have been born in 3000 BCE to the illustrious sage Kardam and Devhuti. He gifted the world with the Sankhya School of Thought. His pioneering work threw light on the nature and principles of the ultimate Soul (Purusha), primal matter (Prakruti) and creation. His concept of transformation of energy and profound commentaries on atma, non-atma and the subtle elements of the cosmos places him in an elite class of master achievers - incomparable to the discoveries of other cosmologists. On his assertion that Prakruti, with the inspiration of Purusha, is the mother of cosmic creation and all energies, he contributed a new chapter in the science of cosmology. Because of his extrasensory observations and revelations on the secrets of creation, he is recognized and saluted as the Father of Cosmology.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kyunki Junta Bhi Pagal hai…

Over years, audiences have gotten used to Ekta Kapoor hyping and promoting her otherwise un-‘kCharismatic’ brother Tushar Kapoor and her other serials/movies through her tele-tortures.

But yesterday, I got the shock of my life… when in one of her serials on Star Plus, the whole Virani family was shown blatantly promoting “Karyasiddhi Graha Shanti Dhoop”. I didn’t notice the promo till they focussed on the packing which carried Ekta Kapoor’s picture on it. What got my goat was the shameless promotion done in the soap. It seemed like a paid advertisement instead of soap… I for a while thought it was a joke or a spoof, till my wife (who happens to be the know all of tube-world and soaps… and the reason I have to watch this stuff) confirmed that it was indeed a product Ekta had launched in the market.

I am still amused as to why a media house like Balaji Telefilms would diversify into manufacturing ‘dhoop’ and incense sticks – maybe coz it didn’t make sense to make toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo, given their portfolio of soaps sucks… and coz they have 300+ year old brand ambassadors like Baa’ to cash in on.

I was left wondering if people will actually buy this product…imagine buying Graha Shanti Dhoop from Ekta Kapoor – to get the kind peace Aggrawal’s, Bajaj’s, Basu’s, Virani’s etc have in her stories. Damn!!! I would believe this dhoop if anything is a curse – to never-ending family feuds, conspiring relatives, multiple failed marriages, women with multiple husbands, men with multiple affairs and marriages, illegitimate children and what not.

Do you want such ‘Graha shanti’ in your home…? At least I don’t want the kahani of ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar ki’ to be the kahani of my ghar…

Yeah yeah… I know the co-relation is illogical. After-all, using Anchor toothpaste doesn’t mean your teeth get electrified. Huh… but Ekta Kapoor Dhoop… still makes me laugh.

This thread reminds me of another news item from last month which referred to a survey revealing “that jawans posted to remote locations around the country love watching saas-bahu serials to de-stress in hostile terrains. Do you know how it de-stresses them? Well, simple. They figure out that they could in far more stressful situations back at home than dealing with the terrorists here, just if the “kahani of their homes were to be just a shade of kahanis of Ekta’s homes”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tele-Marketing jokers..!!

Industry pundits and news reports tell us that there are about 180 million mobile phone subscribers in India, growing rapidly at 5-6 million each month.

I wonder how many of the 180 million have been spared by the telemarketers so far.

Not many…!!! Must be just a handful of lucky one’s who are yet to get an irritating tele-marketing call.

I, like most of the other harassed customers still get 2-3 calls a week, in spite of having signed up for all DND lists I know of. Most callers’ still don’t understand my disgust and anger – and call back within seconds of me blasting them and cutting the call. Offers for personal/home/auto loans, credit cards, vacation packages, membership to Country club, etc are a routine.

Responses on being asked to not-call again from dumb tele-marketers like this one “Why sir, why don’t you need a loan?” are old news now.

But this one I got the other day just took the cake…

Tele-marketer(TM): Sir, I am calling from XYZ Bank. We have a great offer for you, Sir. We are offering a life time free credit card to all employees of your company.

Me: Wait!!! I don’t want any credit cards, loans, memberships… nothing at all.

TM: Sir, please give me a minute to explain. Sir, we have a special offer going exclusively for your company. All employees of your company can avail of this special offer specially designed for you – since you are our preferred customer.

Me: Wait…!!! How am I your preferred customer? I never dealt with you…

TM: No Sir, your company is our preferred customer.

Me: I am sure my company has no dealing with you at all. My salary account isn’t in your bank either.

TM: Sir, this is a special offer designed for your company only.

Me: Which company? Do you know which company I work for…?

TM: (silence)…

TM: Sir…can you tell me which company you work for?

Me: But you have a special offer specifically designed for my employer. So you should know…

TM: Yes Sir… (silence)

TM: Sir, we can offer this special package for you also, your company too. Employer doesn’t matter. We have given this offer to many companies in Bangalore. Most IT companies have enrolled for it.

Me: But just 1 minute back it was an exclusive offer just for my company, because of being a privileged customer. Are all IT companies in Bangalore your special customers?

TM: (Silence)…

Me: How do you even know I work for an IT company?

TM: (Silence)…

TM: What company you work for then?

Me: Keep guessing… (Cut)

Friday, June 22, 2007

One-Upmanship in Indian TV: Quite Literally!!!

Continuing on my previous post on the spate of talent hunt contests going on across TV channels in India, and the mindless TRP hunts they are involved in… I was amused by an interesting aspect of one-upmanship going on between Sony, Star and Zee.

Sony’s Indian Idol originally started the race – having 3 judges on the panel. (Sonu, Farah and Annu Malik)

Zee thought they need to be one step ahead. So when Zee started its Saregama talent hunt – they got in 4 (3 guru’s and a rotating judge). Then came Star TV – with its own “Voice of India” contest. Aah… but 3 judges or 4 judge shows had already been done. So they innovate – by introducing a 5 judge panel. Wow!! What a master-stroke!! How Innovative!!! No wonder 5 judges will give more drama and action than 4 or 3 judges.

I wonder what the hell the creative gurus in these channels eat for breakfast. Can’t be the normal stuff you and I eat – because with that stuff going in, we would assume that this is stupid differentiation. But maybe not for them.

This actually reminds me of a scene from the english movie "Something About Mary" - where a rather pshyco kind of man tells the lead actor of his new revolutionary idea. He intended to capture the health and fitness market by beating the popular "8 minutes to fitness" videos by coming up with a "7 minutes to fitness" video. Bulb!!! Some of these creative heads in these channels must have absorbed this really well.

Another trend – rather fad catching on is having a 30% reservation for contestants from Pakistan. This was started by Laughter Challenge show on StarOne. And well – how could others not copy it to be innovative and different. They have had a long trend of uniqueness in their shows for ages – so what is all the serials in all the channels are the same or even cooked by the same chef. Or when one KBC kicked off a chain of me-too's. Or even the spate of imitation laughter shows flooding the channels.

Is the Indian audience really so dumb?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Good Samaritan!!!

I should have posted this earlier… but better late than never.

This is just to acknowledge and thank an unknown ‘Good Samaritan’ who came to our rescue at an odd hour – even though we were pre-condition to suspect him.

On our way back from a friends place, we ended up with a flat tyre while driving on the Outer Ring Road stretch between KR Puram and Marathali in Bangalore. It was past 10pm and as anyone who has read through the crime reports in TOI Bangalore would know the track record of such unlit wide stretches in Bangalore. Stranded midway between Bhagini and Marathali Bridge at an almost deserted point, there was no way to either go back to the nearest landmark or leave the vehicle there. Called up the mobile puncture service guy I had on my phonebook – only to find the cell phone switched off. Called up my friend whose place we had just visited to solicit help. Groping through the darkness, managed to retrieve the wrench and jack – all the while keeping a keen watch on the vehicles approaching us. Each biker slowing down near us was a cause for alarm and a suspect. Having heard and read of several stories of techie getting mugged, kidnapped and murdered in such spots, there was no room for easiness. My wife took off whatever gold she had on her and tucked it inside the car.

In some time, my friend arrived – and together we tried our hand at getting the jack into the right spot to change the tyre, under the light of a small hand torch. No wonder, the ‘keyboard junkie techies’ that all of us are – we struggled with getting it right for a while.

It took us some time to figure out the right approach – and by that we were already wary of the success we could achieve. While we were still bent down looking under the car and struggling with the jack, a man in late 20’s walked up behind us from no where and asked “Do you need help?”. All three of us looked at him with reasonable hope but also a lot of suspicion. Where did he suddenly come from…? From his looks we mentally graded him as a ruffian and conversed amongst ourselves in our native language – that we should be careful. My friend assured that he had his cricket bat handy in his car boot to ward off a threat – should a need arise. I was glad that I was holding the iron rod/wrench used to raise the jack. But we did need help… so after scanning the surroundings for any hidden accomplices, we reluctantly handed him the wrench…and he instantly got onto the job. And he did indeed know how to change a tyre…unlike three of us “engineering degrees” holders.

10 minutes into the job, tyre was changed and car in shape to run again. By now we were ashamed of our suspicion for the guy and thanking our stars that we didn’t let him know of our suspicion about him. Otherwise it would have been hurtful of a genuine person. Even as we were trying to figure out how to thank him – and what monetary reward we should offer him – he instantly and briskly walked off towards a tempo standing at some distance. Our requests not withstanding, he refused to wait or accept any money. He was actually the driver of that tempo/goods carrier, and having seen us stranded stopped at a distance, just to help us. And here we were all ready to brand him a suspect…

While our suspicion wasn’t altogether unjustified under the current times we live in, we did feel a sense of shame on ourselves (- and also for not being good enough even to change your own tyre).

This post is just a “Thank you” note to the good intentions of every such Indian...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Indian Idol 3 - Idle Indians...

Indian Idol is back

Watching the snapshots of Indian Idol Season-3 today on television, I was left wondering... "What the hell are most of these people thinking?"

Don't get me wrong... of course there are a handful of good talented singers out there.

But what is the vast majority of the crowd out there thinking... worse so what kind of feedback have their friends, parents and well wishers given them. Most of them can't sing a line right... even a stone deaf person can tell that they have no business even singing in their own bathrooms – least of all coming for an audition. Yet there are such characters in hordes' each time, making complete fools of themselves on camera in front of the whole nation.

Are we a nation of hugely delusional people? Or is it a new pass time to prove how stupid you can be to the whole nation? Most of the time, the audition rounds look more like a laughter show than a music talent search... Do these folks really believe that they are 'good' singers… didn't their friends or people at home show them the mirror…? Its actually funnily shocking to see parents and guardians of some of these people get wild when their wards are rejected...Geez!!! smell some coffee.

But then maybe many of them are banking on just being sheer lucky to get a ticket to Mumbai – and then hope that some regional vote bank will catch fancy of them and push their envelope further. It's not impossible – we have seen Qazi Tauqeer get to the top with less than a spoonful of singing talent, or a Sanjay Malakar fight it out for long with just popular vote bank support.

Why does the channel actually show all this to viewers instead of cutting straight to the selected lot? Maybe Sony is indeed fighting the dilemma of combating TRPs of both Star One's Laughter Challenge and Zee's "Music Challenge" at the same time... thereby making the initial rounds of the music search more of a comedy show.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Banking Blues...

If you thought this service from citibank was is something that takes the cake...!!!

Here is a snapshot of an actual transaction I have been having with HSBC for over many days…

The back-drop: Sometime in March 2007, HSBC decided to award me a Gold Credit Card in view of my excellent repayment track-record for my existing home loan with them – which has been in existence since 2005. Don’t ask me why they didn’t bother to send the credit card earlier for so long. The world’s local bank was probably sleeping all the time... For some strange reason, I decided to keep it too… basically deciding to consolidate the bunch of dealings with one bank and do away with my Standard Chartered card and HDFC cards… So I sent in the response coupon that came along with the card with a copy of PAN card back to HSBC for activation of the card about 3 weeks ago.

3 weeks gone, several calls made to their call centre – yet the card has not been activated. And here’s just a snapshot of some amusing conversations I have had (over email/online and Phone) with the “Customer Service Executives” (they should rename them as Customer Harassment Executives). The wordings are a close reproduction of the actual exchanges as I recall them…

Me: I am waiting for the activation of my card – I sent in the request for activation 3 weeks ago. Why has not this been activated yet?

HSBC: Yes sir!! We have received your request and its been sent to the concerned dept for processing.

Me: But I talked to an exec earlier who confirmed that the card has been activated. I went to an outlet and it was rejected.

HSBC: Yes Sir… your card is activated.

Me: Then why did it get rejected at the shop when it was swiped.

HSBC: Sir, it will work after activation.

Me: Urrrrgh… So it is not activated yet…You just said it is activated.

HSBC: Please be on hold…(hold for ages and back with same confusion)… Sir your card activation has been sent to concerned department.

Me: So when will it get activated.

HSBC: (Again put on hold…) sorry to put you on hold…Sir please send us your response coupon and PAN Card copy through post or drop it at any HSBC drop box - and we will activate it within 2-3 days.

Me: But I have already sent the activation coupon and PAN card copy and you confirmed its been received.

HSBC: Yes sir…

Me: So then why another response coupon and request…?

HSBC: (again put on hold)… Sir, please send us a scanned copy of response coupon and PAN card over email to with reference no 1954556.

Me: Urrgh… how can I send it to you. I already sent it once.

HSBC: No problem sir…just send us a scanned copy of response coupon over email.

Me: Is this rocket science? I told you I don’t have the response coupon anymore because I sent it already to HSBC. So how will scan it for you?

HSBC: Yes sir…that’s right sir. But we will need the response coupon for this activation.

Me: Darn!!! You don’t get it. Why the hell do you need all this anyways? What are you trying to validate/verify from the response form.

HSBC: Sir, your PAN card details, address etc needs to be recorded.

Me: Damn!!! You already know my address – you sent me the card on it. What the hell? I am an existing customer of HSBC – have had a home loan from HSBC for over 2 years now. Why isn’t verification enough?

HSBC: (again put on hold)… Yes Sir, you are an existing customer and seeing your record with us only we have offered you this Gold card.

Me: Good… so why the fuss over a response coupon for verification when you know who I am already? So can u get it activated now…

HSBC: No sir… we need the PAN card copy and response coupon for verification to activate the card.

Me: To hell with your card. Just cancel it… I don’t know why I even bothered to ask for activation. I have a bunch of cards already – I better not bother with this anymore. Please cancel it.

HSBC: Sorry Sir… I will file an issue on this and one of our senior executives will call you in 2 hours. Is 98xxxxxxxx your contact number?

Me: Yes… but forget it. Just cancel it.

HSBC: Thank you sir… We will call you back.

It’s been 3 days… yet HSBC’s 2 hours haven’t ended yet. That’s the World’s local bank for you !!!

Actually wait... my experiences with ING Vysya Bank have been the extreme case of worst service... So they take the cake. More on that later...

Monday, April 23, 2007

From my wall...

Tanjore Plate


If you thought violation of confidentiality by Airtel was too much, here is something which takes the cake.

This weekend I received my account statements from Citibank N.A through a courier at my residence address. It contained the usual stuff – few pages of quarterly bank statement, statement of my credit card dues and also a page for the reward points. However, right at the end, stapled along with the 5 sheets was 6th one – carrying the Statement of Annual interest credited.

First I was amused and confused – I never received any interest from the bank through whole of the year (April 2006-March2007). Then how come this statement claims that 5 figure amount had been credited as interest into my account on so and so dates. I was shocked, confused and at same time thrilled – was I about to get some money which I didn’t know I was supposed to get. But on the other side I was sure I wasn’t due to get any interest – since I don’t park much funds in this account at all.

Few scalp scratches later – I found that the bank had been kind enough to share this confidential banking information of another customer (who incidentally is also a colleague at work). I tried calling the Call centre today to lodge a complaint – but then after few minutes of wait – dropped the call. Those call centre people will not do any thing more than their parroted answers “We apologize for the inconvenience caused. We assure this will not happen again” – all of which are ridiculously useless responses. And they will make sure that any demands to talk to a senior person will be rewarded with a “Please be hold while I transfer you to my supervisor” and then an endless wait. Only God knows where those ever elusive senior personnel always are.

I resorted to a lesser headache method – filed an online complaint (Reference no. 4207047763). I know, I know… there answers won’t be any different. After all they are from the manual Customer Harassment manual that the phone guys have been tutored from – but at least I save myself the hassle of being on endless ‘hold the call’ – which is a literal pain in the neck. Moreover, none of these banks offer you a Toll Free helpline – so you are expected to pay for telling them their mistakes as well.

Anyways the inconvenience caused is not mine alone. While I am still fretting and worried about which all places my confidential bank statements might have gone to – the colleague whose statement was made public to me won’t even be apologized to. (Of course, I handed over his document to him in due confidentiality).

So next time some agency asks your for a bank statement or a proof of income – you can as well approach Citibank. They will be able to oblige by giving you bank statements and other confidential information of whatever kind you need.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Got this over email from Shrimati ji... interesting interpretation of somethings interesting. Happy weekend...

There is a dangerous virus being passed around electronically, orally, and
By hand. This virus is called Worm-Overload-Recreational-Killer (WORK).

If you receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your boss, or anyone else
Via any means DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will wipe out your private life

If you should come into contact with WORK put your jacket on and take two
Good friends to the nearest grocery store. Purchase the antidote known as
Work-Isolating-Neutralizer-Extract (WINE) or
Bothersome-Employer-Elimination-Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote
Repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should forward this warning to 5 friends. If you do not have 5 friends,
you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life.

Friday, February 23, 2007

To Dear Mr Finance Minister!!!

It’s the Budget season again…and every one has a guess on what PC might have in store this Feb 28th. There is guesswork at play whether he will reduce the tax slab, move to EET for most tax exempt savings, increase the saving limits, reduce VAT on housing projects, waive off FBT, etc…

Let me not add to any guess work. On contrary I have some suggestions for PC – steps which will yield him much higher tax collections, and hopefully that can allow him to give some respite to a common man like me.

Some new taxes should be imposed on

  • All film award shows. Come January, you have an award show being conducted every weekend – Filmfare, Screen, Zee, Gifa iffa, fifa rita sita geeta awards… Even television has N awards…HHITA, ekta kapoor shows awards, parivar awards, saas-bahu awards, Star Parivaar, Sony ka Parivaar… A simple “Award show Tax” should be imposed. AT at 40% of ticket collections, 5% of the show revenue and 5% of the revenue of the award winner. Hopefully, this will stop the me-too awards proliferating any further – and dissuade each Tom-Dick-Harry vying for them – and hopefully bring back some relevance and value to an ‘award’.
  • Ekta Kapoor and ilk. Tax their earnings at an addition 10% for each instance of a ‘Mihir’ changing or a dead character reappearing. 20% extra levied on earnings each time a character is shown living beyond 100 years. 5% extra each time there is a mother who looks 10 years younger than her on-screen kids. All serials, TV shows, movies with names starting with a ‘K’ will be taxed at 50% - call it a ‘Ekta tax’. A 10% surcharge levied each time a serial takes a 10-20 year leap. A special tax rebate should however be offered on serials which close within 100 episodes (as spare the audience benefit)
  • All Reality shows. 50% revenue from SMS’s votes/opinions/messages sent in. All SMS’s for give your opinion and vote – things which don’t count at all. The collections from this tax be given to TRAI for some cell-phone consumer welfare.
  • India is a cricket sick country. We need some health insurance for people to recover from cricket mania. This can be generated by a cess on Crickets endorsement earning towards this fund. Any cricketer in ICC top 10 rankings get taxed only 10%. Cricketers in ICC 10-20 rankings will get taxed at 20% of their earnings… and so on with an 10% increment for each bracket. So, this would ensure that the cricketers strive more for excellence in the field than in the studios’… If they do, the cricket heart-breaks will reduce. If they don’t, there will be enough tax collections to fund the heart-break treatments.
  • Tax MP’s at the %age of time they spent in parliament causing or being part of walkouts and ruckus. Parliamentarians who spent 100% time should have their earnings (white and black both) fully tax exempt. A tough one to implement.
  • Have you ever taken a look at the cost of living in Bangalore…? Its as costly as any other metro… Yet the tax deduction rate for HRA is just 40% of HRA. This ought to be at par with the other metros. Hey this is a serious suggestion…!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Identity Crisis!!!

This must have happened to every other Kashmiri… As I said, Kashmiri’s can recognize another Kashmiri by facial recognition. A long nose, a specific angular jaw line, a certain cut of the brow or a tone of skin – there is always something that makes a Kashmiri go ‘S/he must be a Kashmiri’ – Pandits or Muslims alike.

And at times, your face is such a give away – that in spite of trying you can’t hide the fact that you are a Kashmiri.

More than a decade ago – I was at a training program in Mussorie. Among my group of friends – who were also attending that same event – was Harsh (from Jaipur) who had just recently become a proud new uncle. His nephew was barely a year old and he wanted to take back home a special gift for the kid. Somehow he had got fixated on a fur coat with a cap which he had seen in a “Kashmir Art and Handicraft” shop on the Mall Road. Well, how can’t you find one such shop in a tourist place? Now a days you will find Kashmiri’s selling even Rajastani, Gujrati or Tibetian art and handicraft, imitation stuff of all kinds at all such tourist destinations or malls. But that’s a different topic.

Alarmed by the fabled tales of how Kashmiri traders dupe unsuspecting tourists by charging them 1000/- for a 100/- buck item, I warned Harsh against buying anything from the Kashmiri shop lest he was ready to get duped. But Harsh couldn’t find anything else as interesting and apt for his nephew – so he was adamant on striking a bargain. In all my naivety, I too became a silent partner to the adventure – agreeing to help him evaluate the right bargain by using my Kashmiri expertise. However, we strongly admonished Harsh from making it known to the dealer that he had a Kashmiri friend along with him to ensure that he was being asked the right price. As per plan, I and another friend decided to enter the shop only once Harsh had selected the piece he wanted to buy and the bargaining was to begin – coming in as customers unrelated to Harsh and give an opinion on the bargain – without revealing the Kashmiri identity.

But as luck would have it – the moment I stepped into the showroom, the patron there had a loud – “Aslaam waleykum!! Pandit ji yapaer kithkaen” to greet me.

10 things about a typical Kashmiri…

  1. A Kashmiri will never like or appreciate a Kashmiri cuisine dish served in a restaurant, club or a hotel anywhere – say a Kashmiri Dum Aloo. Guess why? Simple. Because a real Kashmiri would know what a real Dum Aloo is supposed to be – and they never serve you even anything close to that.
  2. First thing when in a new place, hunt for a reliable and close by source of collard greens, lotus stem vegetables, good quality red chilly powder, dry ginger powder and other such typical Kashmiri cuisine ingredients; find out that they aren’t easy to get there (at times it’s a pretty damn simple thing to guess that it won’t be available in that place, yet its mandatory to try) and then settle for a supply from the native.
  3. When in a new place, always try to find other Kashmiri’s in that area, company, organization, city… There won’t be a Kashmiri who hasn’t run a search on his company directory (where it make sense to run a search) for the surnames Kaul, Koul, Raina, Dhar, Razdan, Ganjoo, etc…
  4. And when s/he finds another Kashmiri and then wonder to themselves – “Ah! Where all on earth these Kashmiri’s have reached? Is there a corner on earth where I won’t find a Kashmiri”
  5. And when finally met – ask the other Kashmiri – “where in Kashmir you originally hail from” – notwithstanding the fact that it’s been over 17 years now that s/he hasn’t visited that place.
  6. Always try to tell a non-Kashmiri in certain indirect way that such and such celebrity is of Kashmiri decent – irrespective of relevance to the context. People from Anupam Kher to Kunal Khemmu, Vivek Razdan to Suresh Raina, Jeevan to Jawahar Wattal, Nidhi Razdan to Shirin Bhan, all names have been counted umpteen times. For that matter, its pretty secular here and also unconstrained by time. So Kashmiri decent of Alama Iqbal and Salman Rushdie or Katrina Kaif are no different in the above context. Or that Shahrukh Khan's great grandmother was half Kashmiri...
  7. Which ever tourist destination they may go – end up comparing how the place is worthless compared to such and such place in Kashmir. Always find a tourist place without mountains and fresh water as worthless…
  8. Always try and find out by face recognition other Kashmiris. 9 out of 10 times, a Kashmiri can tell another Kashmiri even in a crowd of 50 – just by facial features, and even say with same accuracy whether it’s a Kashmiri Pandit or a Kashmiri Muslim. I have some rather interesting anecdotes on that. Even just recently, a newly appointed head of sales in my organization jogged down to me after a group event – asking me my full name – just to check if I was really a Kashmiri as he had guessed. I myself had been in the same dilemma earlier, but in spite of my confidence – got misled by a wrong input on his surname.
  9. Always secretly believe that they are an intellectually smart race – and often allude it to the food habit of eating rice; and then co-support it with Bengali’s and South Indian’s being equally smart intellectuals because they are rice eaters too.
  10. Always talk about Kashmiris in the third person.

Crazy kiya re!!

Cell woes… A Buyer’s dilemma…

Today I spent a good time of an otherwise fine Saturday – roaming the markets of Bangalore in search of my next mobile handset. Having browsed and researched different models in my shortlist over weeks now – I finally thought it was time to head to the shop and have a touch and feel decision. After all, reviews and user feedback on all these websites would tell only that much – and not make the decision for me.

Armed with a basic shortlist of 4-5 models: Nokia 5300, Nokia 5200, Sony Ericsson 700i, Sony Ericsson W550i/Z550i, Motorola Rizr Z3, LG Chocolate, Samsung Ultra X820, I went around hopping from one showroom/dealer to another – looking for the right bargain. But the hop-a-shop exercise turned out to be a rather interesting one – leaving a confused, undecided and rather introspecting me head back home without a new handset.

Having used my old Nokia 3530 to death and then the current Samsung one to its live-a-day battery state now, I must confess that I am not the current to the trend type of a person. I am not the one to buy a new model or the latest in-thing just because it’s cool and it’s in – unless I need it. Old school… I guess.

And somehow I did convince myself that the need of having to recharge my cell phone every night – is reason enough to get a new one.

But it didn’t seem so easy after all – at least for the old school person I am. Hey, but I am still on the right side of age and right side of the yuppie generation. But it didn’t help me when the sales guy would try to edge me towards a pricier model – for obvious reason – by just highlighting the additional features it had. “Sir, this has a 1.3 megapixel camera, this even has a flash, this even has a memory slot extendable to 2GB. You can carry all your music”… and I kept thinking of a Nokia ad which tried to tell us that “phone sirf baat karne ke liye nahi hota hai”. Nokia did well for them selves – but did the customer really need all that. I am not so sure anymore.

Why are we so obsessed with getting everything into and onto a single device? First it was getting your watch and alarm clock merged into the cell phone, then it added your personal organizer, then your money manager, then it some video games, then it also replaced your camera, and then the FM radio, and walkman music player, then email and the works. All in one single device.

What next do we need in our cell phone – a mini-refrigerator? Or a cell phone on which I can actually sit and go to work.

Some of the sales pitch the sales guys wanted me to buy into just turned me off – and I was left counting the existing devices which I barely used. I have a Canon Powershot A590 5MP digital camera – a great camera which I barely use. I have a 1GB Creative Zen MP3 Player which again is lying somewhere around… My wife hasn’t used the camera or the music player on her Motorola V3i much either. If I am not the customer who is really using so many of the existing products or features they have – why am I even looking at a cell phone which has more of the same stuff?

Maybe one reason is that somewhere inside me I am trying to silently fit into the crowd – a society where upgrades every quarter have become a norm. Its not that I couldn’t entirely afford some of those models – but I wasn’t convinced at the end of the touch and feel exercise that spending 15k of my good hard earned money on something – of which I was going to use only 5k worth of features was a good bargain. If I am not the tech savvy gizmo freak kind of nerd – or the ‘cool hang out in the right gang’ kind of kid around the block – nor the image conscious techie who needs to make a point about the designation he has arrived – then why do I need the N and E or the P or Q series of the latest gadget. But the market will still ensure that you are told what you ought to buy… what is the right thing you should be seen with? The sales agents were probably second guessing my salary and thereby what budget they should make me raise the bar to.

As I said, the whole exercise left me all the more confused and I returned empty handed – still
wondering at 5AM right now… am I being too much of an ‘old school’.

Maybe I am asking a blasephemous question at a time when there is all the new buzz about the iPhone - and even more blasephemous given that my own bread and butter depends on people adopting newer technology...

At the end of Nokia 5300, 6270, N72, N83, SE 880, SE 770, Moto Ming, Ping ting, Pebble, RAZR, RIZR, KRZR… Krazy kiya re!!!