Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011’

Headlines:

Anna Hazare on fast unto death

Baba Ramdev on fast unto death

Medha Patkar on fast unto death

…….

Four cars with beacon lights on the top, and driven at high speeds, screeched to a noisy halt outside the Jain temple.

The peace and the quiet of the temple was broken. There was concern inside. So much noise and commotion had not been seen or felt here, for a long time.

The meditation and prayers of many devotees were broken, and their minds diverted to the gate. Some of the people rushed towards the gate to figure out what was going on. Finally, the main trustees of the temple walked ahead to enquire the details.

Just then, first a couple of security guards, and then some assistants, and finally the opposition MLA walked out of the car, and into the temple.

At the gate, the temple security stopped the gun wielding security guards from going inside. There were glances exchanged between the MLA’s security persons, the MLA’s PA and the MLA himself. And it was decided that the gun totting security men, could stay outside.

And the MLA and his PA proceeded inside. Meanwhile the trustees had come out, and started enquiring, “How can we help you? What is the matter?”

And the PA responded, “Yes indeed, we need your help. MLA-saab would like to discuss with you. Can we sit somewhere?”

And some chairs were laid out there. Sensing some seriousness, the trustees asked the public that had gathered around (the devotees at the temple) to go away. They went away a small distance, but still had their eyes and ears on this meeting and the discussion.

Finally, after the MLA, the PA and the trustees had sat down, the MLA spoke.

“Bhai-saab, the country needs your help at this time. You know how pathetic the conditions in our state and our country are, right? This is the time when all citizens have to do their bit, and this is the time, when you can do something for your state and the country.”

The peace loving Jain temple trustees were bewildered. What can we do for the country, they were wondering. And then one of them spoke, “Sir, you are right. There are many of our regular devotees who are quite well to do, and they can certainly give donations to your party. But we do not have any such process from the temple. These are all personal decisions which all devotees can take at an individual level. Our rules do not permit us to promote political donations via the temple.”

The MLA replied, “No, no. We are not talking of money. That of course, I have many Jain friends, who are contributing to our opposition party funds.” And glancing at the PA, he added, “they are also giving to ruling party funds – I am not sure who is getting more!”

The MLA continued “What we are looking for is something different, and which you have a lot to offer”.

Now the trustees were very curious, and asked “Sir, we don’t know what you are referring to?”

The MLA clarified, “You must have heard of Anna Hazare and his fast. How effective it was to get the government on its knees!”

The trustees nodded away.

MLA: “Well, indeed, the fasts unto death are the rage of the day. They are the master political moves, based on which a lot can be accomplished. Now Baba Ramdev and Medha Patkar are also going for the same.”

The trustees, still not clear about their role, continued to listen intently.

MLA-ji: “The situation has become very bad for us. As opposition party, we want to take credit of pulling down the government. But these Anna Hazares and Baba Ramdevs and Medha Patkars will walk away with all the credit. So we had a meeting of our party, and we came up with a brilliant idea. And which is what brings me here today.”

The trustee asked, “Ok, so what is the idea?”

MLA-saab: “Well, in our party, and even in our youth wing, we did not find too many people who could stay without food for more than 1-2 days. And then someone pointed out that, in your Jain community, you have many people who fast for many days together. So what we want is to recruit your fasting people, for our causes!”

Trustees in unison: “WHAT??”

MLA: “Please listen to me. The plan is full proof. See, you have at least 50-100 people who are fasting for long periods? We will make them our ‘fasting army’. We will use them one at a time, and pick up one cause of corruption, one scam at a time. We will put your person ahead, for the cause, and our team, will prepare all the banners, posters, and also bring the 100s of volunteers outside Mantralaya. We will arrange for air conditioned mandap outside the Mantralaya, and we can also arrange for newspapers, TV etc. whatever it is that your person requires. All he needs to do is to sit quietly, very peacefully, as the media comes and reports the goings on. All media interviews will be done by our people.”

Trustees are aghast at the idea. Then one of them asks, “But our people are NOT on fast unto death. They are fasting for few days only.”

MLA: “Don’t worry about that. We only write fast unto death. Death does not happen. The government has to give in before death happens. Our media pressure and public pressure will ensure that.”

The MLA is excited in his own plans. He continues, “In fact, our plan is so perfect. One cause after another, one of your persons after another, and we keep pegging away at the government. Lets look at an average of max 1 week for each cause. Then with 50 of your people, used 1 at a time, we are through for 50 weeks of andolan.”

Almost jumping out of his seat, he continues enthusiastically, “And if we have got them to bend down on 50 items in a year, can they ever return to power in the next elections?? No way! Government will be ours.. ha ha ha.. ”

The trustees are staring at him unbelievingly. They ask another crucial question, “What if on some occasions, the government does not bend down and the fast goes on for many days? What if it hurts our fasting person?”

The MLA is stumped by that question. He pauses. Does not have an answer to that. But being the astute politician, he recovers quickly, “Nahi, nahi. Aisa ho hi nahi sakta. Don’t worry. We are there for you. We will never allow that to happen. Not even one of your persons will have to die!”

And then in a whisper, he tells his PA, “But if one had to die, then the government will fall immediately, and we will be in power the next day.. ” and smiles wickedly..

And just so that they have the proposition well covered, the trustees ask this final question, “But why should we do this?”

And the MLA quickly responds, “Ah, now you  are talking. I knew you Gujaratis understand the language of negotiation. So I am going to make it very interesting for you. When we get into government, we will institute a Ministry for Minority Affairs at the Cabinet level, and your person can be a minister there. AND we will also have a special committee for Jain affairs, with a budget of Rs. 100 crores, and of course, you can have your people there.”

MLA: “So should I consider this a DONE DEAL??”

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First there were iconic individual restaurants..

You remember Khyber, Copper Chimney, China Garden, Little Italy and many more of such type.

Far some of these may have been, but we’d drive down on the Saturday evenings, wait in queue, but ensure that we get a table and enjoy the great fare they’d serve.

And then came franchising.

And suddenly we had many Copper Chimneys. And we were tempted to go to the ‘nearest’ Copper Chimney.

Unfortunately, not every F&B brand can do franchising like McDonald’s does. With the result that the different outlets would not have consistency. So you start missing the ‘real’ Copper Chimney, for example. But by now, the brand has given you a disappointment, and now you are not so sure, if you want to take the trouble to go all the way to the ‘original’ Copper Chimney. Also you have a doubt whether the quality is down for the brand itself, since you did eat from a Copper Chimney itself, didn’t you?!

Well, if this was not enough to damage the brand, we now have the Food-Courting of good F&B brands!

The temptation of those huge spaces in the malls, where there are thousands of footfalls, got these branded restaurants to open cubby hole spaces in the food courts as well. Well know and very popular restaurant brands like Little Italy, Swati Snacks and others have started opening these mini-outlets in the food courts of malls.

With disastrous effect!

In most cases, they are unable to live up to the overall quality or experience standards associated with their original branded outlets. I have personally had very disappointing experiences with both, Little Italy (at K Star Mall in Chembur) and Swati Snacks (at Oberoi Mall in Goregaon). Food quality, service levels and apathy on the part of the people on the counter were the main reasons for feeling bad!

So what happens? The goodwill that the brands built painstakingly over the years, is damaged, due to being unable to maintain those standards, perhaps constrained by the format of the food courts.

Why then, do these brands still get to the food courts? Are they not killing the golden goose in the process?

Subhash Ghai and his company, Mukta Searchlight, seem to be encouraging some young filmmakers doing alternate cinema. I saw two trailers of films coming from his stable, even as I saw the one that was actually released, viz. Kashmakash.

Kashmakash is based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, called Nauka Dubi. Story-wise, there are elements of a Salim Javed lost and found style of old. But other than that, there is no resemblance to typical Hindi cinema at all.

In fact, it is a classical Bengali style, based in the 1920s, and superbly directed by Rituparno Ghosh.

The story is about dialogue, and moves slowly. Yes, there are times when it seems too slow too. But if you can take the slow pace, there are enjoyable moments in the film.

There are elements of small town, and of periods gone by. Old houses, pianos, villages by the river, traditional Bengali wedding, all have a certain charm about them. Make for excellent visuals too.

The director has ensured details – the old style fans and regulators, the short and puffed sleeved blouses of the women, typewriters, fountain pen written letters that needed to be “air-dried” before folding the paper, etc. Nice touches, all.

It is interesting that the director uses the otherwise more glamorous sister, Riya Sen to portray the illiterate village girl, and the other sister Raima Sen to be the city girl. Not that it would have made much difference. It was not a modern day story, which would have allowed Riya to play a real glam-doll that she does in other modern cinema!

Gulzar’s lyrics have his magical touch, and the end, is surprising but interesting.

I can only say that I am even more of an admirer of Bengali culture, art, writing, cinema etc. now, than I was before! If you like that kind of stuff, you may enjoy this film..

I understand that IPL is all about entertainment, for the viewer, the spectator. And which is fine!

After all, entertainment is good business.

But for the business owners, is it about entertainment, or is it about business like any other?

So how would it be, if all businesses ran like the IPL business??

I mean, as business owners if the family and friends came together and partied, not really worried about where the business itself was going?!

So at the tender opening of the infrastructure project, the owner gets along his wife, sister-in-law, and a few (20-30) friends to the opening. And even as the officials get down to the business of opening the bids and discussing them, in the reception lobby outside, champagne and cheese is served. And the ladies appreciate the new diamonds and the Gucci bags that some of them have carried on them. Light music’s in the air.

People keep coming and going, with papers and intense discussion going on inside.

Once in a while, the sis-in-law asks the wife.. “when will jiju come and join us here?” and the wife peeps inside, and looks at the hubby who’s in the middle of the tender opening. And the wife shouts out to him, and he looks up, and kisses her an air kiss. And she winks back..

And comes and tells her sister, “soon now.. “.

And when he comes out, he is offered a ready glass of champagne.

Did anyone ask about the tender itself? Oh.. who cares?!

And as for competition? Hey, it’s all fun. We are friends. And we party together.. !

So who cares about market share or profits or other such boring things, right?

On a relaxed Sunday, happen to catch about half of Jewel Thief, the Dev Anand classic from old times.

The movie was a lot of fun, but I was again (as I have been in previous viewings) amazed by the absolutely fantastic dance sequence on the song, Hoto Pe Aisi Baat.

Note these facts:

  • The song is from those days where technology was so much poorer compared to today,
  • Which means that they didn’t have sharp edits that could get stitched together, and look like one single camera sequence,
  • So if you see a single camera capture of Vyjantimala’s magic, it was ACTUALLY done in a single shot,
  • See HOW MANY of such long, single shot sequences are there in the song? Unbelievable, from today’s times, where they cut and chop and somehow put  a dance together (e.g. Deepika in Dum Maro Dum – pathetic compared to this!)
  • Think of the choreography with the support dance troupe, and other stars like Dev Anand, floating in between the long sequence otherwise focused on Vyjantimala,
  • That was the time when actresses were actually trained (long term!) in dance. Vyjantimala of course, was the best of the best. But others like Waheeda Rehman, Hema Malini and others have also given some great dance sequences.
Check the song out – it is outstanding:
If I ever get to meet Vyjantimala, I’d want to touch her feet in salute, ONLY for this dance!! All else she has done is bonus.. !

I clearly suffer from this.

And I have heard similar thoughts from some friends.

About forgetting names and sometimes forgetting words.

Struggling on them, and suddenly, they come back. Ahh… eureka!

Like how a typical Windows machine, sometimes takes a little time to fetch a file, sometimes slows down..

And we are recommended that we need to de-frag the hard disk, and maybe, things will be fine again…

Do I need to de-frag the disk in my head too? 🙂

Well, the situation is not much different.

All of a sudden, we are seriously stretched for things to remember. The number of individual points or references that get into our heads has multiplied many fold.

Take for instance, the number of people we “know”.

In traditional times (and I am talking no more than 10 years back), we had a few of our school and childhood friends, some college friends, neighbours, relatives, in-laws, and perhaps, we belonged to 1-2 clubs or gyms and knew people there.

And now???

Hundreds or thousands of additional ‘connections’ / ‘fans’ / ‘followers’.. ! You know what I refer to, right?!

How often have I been greeted at events by smiles and handshakes with “thankfully, you look like your DP on Twitter – so I could recognize you”, or “We connected on Linkedn, remember?”

Heck, I DON’T. Remember!!

I just have a few thousand connections on LinkedIn, and a few thousand followers on Twitter or few hundreds of people I met and shook hands with, at various events.

No, I am NOT trying to make myself look busy and important. At all!

I am saying, this is life. And if the person opposite to me feels I should remember him because we connected on LinkedIn, it is only a matter of time, when HIS LinkedIn connections go to a large level as well, that he will realize why I didn’t remember him today.. !

And besides people, think about the things that we need to remember today.

Earlier, you forgot what they taught you in school, when you went to college. And then when you went to work, you could forget your college stuff. It was enough to remember what you were currently involved in. And read the papers for a bit of this-and-that on current events. Could safely take you through an evening party, in terms of conversation pieces.

And suddenly, the world has expanded in terms of the bits and pieces of information that people talk about. At parties. Not just in R&D labs!!

Cloud computing, Quora, Android, Wikileaks, Kanimozi, KG basin, derivatives, Miss India, Get Idea, leopards and Mukesh Ambani, the Land Rover, Kate’s dress at the royal wedding, nano tech, Warren Buffet, China, tsunami, etc. etc. etc. etc.

And words.. new words thrown at you everyday. So Wikileaks is a common noun now? What about Radiagate? And those twitter / SMS short forms. You are supposed to know what FTW means, and that WTF is not just a Welcome to Facebook 🙂

Can my head cope with all this??

Hey you medical types? Have you come up with a concept of de-fragmentation of the head, just yet? I might be interested..

They say there were more than 30 women and children, in the safe house (well, not-so-safe ultimately) of Osama Bin Laden, in Abbottabad. Some even saw the killing personally.

I am reminded of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Mission Kashmir.

Where a young Hrithik (well, a child artist) is witness to a killing in the family, by an Indian security force (Sanjay Dutt), and grows up with revenge in the mind, and becomes a terrorist.

We don’t want a Mission Abbottabad!

On the other hand, these women and kids and perhaps, other mute witnesses who are not that harmful, have a huge economic opportunity.

I am sure the big publishers of the world, and the television networks, are all clamoring to get to these survivors.

For book contracts, to begin with:

“My Days in Abbottabad”

“Osama: The Last Days at Abbottabad”

“Know The Man Behind the Terrorist: Personal Encounters with OBL”

Ah.. I am sure, the publishers are salivating at the thought of these titles, and the multi million dollar opportunities that each convey.

And the television networks?
What a scoop if CBS can get an exclusive of ‘the child who was in the room, when the Navy SEALS reached Osama in Abbottabad’, or an interpreter assisted first time to the world, interview with ‘women of Abbottabad’.

Oh, the riches that these survivors will get, will hopefully make them forget the stress of “that night in Abbottabad” and we will not have a repeat of Mission Kashmir..

What do you think?