Friday, August 30, 2013

in Abolitis viro

I have a Latin title for my post this time, its just that sometimes a foreign language title shows the magnitude of the topic that is being written, it invokes a sense of curiosity which I must accept bodes well for my blog and it just sounds damn cool. As far as the title goes I am guilty as charged on all three counts mentioned above.

Coming to the point though, the title means "THE FORGOTTEN MAN". This page is a homage to a forgotten hero in our country. He is not a sportsman or a military man, he is a statesman and a "politician"............... yes a politician. Let's get real, how much ever each of us hates the politicians in our country, the fact is you need them, you have to elect someone to run the country and make the policies. It doesn't work otherwise, so once in a while to appreciate one of them is not a crime.

The man in question here is P.V. Narasimha Rao (PVN), the ninth prime minister of India and the first outside of the "royal" family to serve a full term. He was prime minister from 1991-1996, a period that saw India almost go bankrupt before bouncing back with such furor that it literally scared the rest of the world. He oversaw a sea of changes, from abolishing outdated socialistic policies to economic reforms that set the bar for others to follow. He ran a minority government for 5 years, passing bills in parliament with his sheer statesmanship. Such was his popularity and respect even among rival parties that the main opposition in his home state of Andhra Pradesh did not field a candidate against him in the bye-election when they realized that he was participating in the election to accept the post of PM. Even today he holds the world record for the largest margin of victory in a parliamentary election.

So has he been forgotten? Damn right he has been forgotten and by his own party more than anyone else. The man who steered India out of a crisis has never been accepted into the very party that he belonged to. The congress party chose to ignore him ever since 1996. He was never given another post of any importance and they didn't even allow his remains to be placed at the AICC head office in Delhi for people to pay last respects. It was only at the intervention of the then CM of Andhra Paradesh Y.S Rajshekar Reddy that his body was allowed to be kept for public homage at the Hyderabad congress head office. He died a poor man with having to sell of his house to pay debts. His youngest son was educated with money provided by his son-in-law.

There was not one mention of him by Sonia Gandhi in her speech at Jaipur. She spoke in length about Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. But no mention about PVN or Lal Bahadur Shastri. Even our present PM, Manmohan Singh, whose very existence in politics was due to PVN has never given him due credit or has ever made any fond remembrance of their lives together. While newspapers and TV channels are filled with ads during Rajiv or Indira Gandhi's birth dates, there is not one such remembrance of PVN's birth dates. While every other scheme in India is named after the "family" not once have they thought about PVN and that his name should be revered in India.

He was a man who put the country first. In a fond memory by our beloved former president APJ Abdul Kalam, he mentioned an incident when he was the head of the nuclear program. When congress lost the 1996 elections and PVN had to resign the post of PM while Vajpayee was set to become the next PM, he called both Vajpayee and Kalam to his residence late into the night. Once there he told Kalam to brief Vajpayee about the Nuclear program and to continue with him to conduct the nuclear tests. This resulted in the Pokhran tests of 1998 which saw the world sit up and take notice of India and warned the rest of the world that India can retaliate if provoked. PVN had the magnanimity to accept defeat and put country first and have a meeting with the man who just defeated him in the elections for the sake of the country. While most people credit Vajpayee for the nuclear tests, the fact is PVN had an equally important role to play in it.

This man showed India that growth can be far better than what we anticipated and showed the world what India can achieve. But alas we have the habit of ignoring our true heroes and instead celebrate those who had very little to contribute or those whose contributions were only for personal gains.

No doubt that the biggest black spot of his tenure will be the Babri masjid demolition, and it has always haunted him. But if a PM is to be judged by a riot that happened in the country then every single PM from Nehru to Singh is culpable.

While there are many forgotten heros like Bhagat Singh, Vallabhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shashtri, this man is the modern hero of India, the CEO of India Inc. And for his own party to forget him and unceremoniously throw him out is the biggest social crime that any one can commit!! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

An open letter to Dr. Manmohan Singh

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I write this open letter to you as an ordinary citizen (aam aadmi, as per your party's preferred lingo). You have been the PM of our nation for 9 yrs, the third longest serving PM. In these 9 yrs you have shown that it is possible to survive at the highest levels of Indian politics by virtually taking no decision of your own. You have proved that silence is golden when you have nothing to say and most of the time you have nothing to say.

You have proved that to survive in Indian politics you need quantity and not quality. You have proved that a highly qualified individual can take orders from a sparsely qualified individual. You have proved that you can survive as the highest executive officer of this country without inspiring the people, without exuding confidence among the people and most of all without saying anything.

Whenever you have made a bad decision you have blamed it on either the opposition or coalition politics. You have not taken responsibility for anything that has happened to the country but proudly display your ads on television enlisting few triumphs. While I congratulate you on your triumphs, they are too less and far apart to make up for the bad governance that this country has gone through during your tenure. You blame the present economic condition of India on global slowdown, then please explain to me sir, how is that 46 countries have had better economic growth than us in these same years that India has lost all its economic shine. When we "GOT" (not elected, for we didn't even know you were in the fray) a super educated prime minister for our country we were practically crying with happiness expecting our country to now climb greater heights and truly be a super power and enriched society, instead we are now crying looking at the poor economic condition of the country.

Why is it sir, that while leaders of many nations shower praises on you and regard you as one of the greatest economic minds of the 21st century, India as a nation is still failing? Are we so weak and dependent on resources from elsewhere that a global slowdown affects our very ability to feed the citizens. And if you claim that global factors are the real problem that why is that in the last 9 years of your "leadership" you have not given a thought on self sustenance?

I request you sir, to kindly vacate the position of the PM of this country and hand it over to someone who can own up to the responsibilities, since you blame everyone else around for all the mess. I am one citizen who does not want you to remain in the executive position handed over to you. While I will exercise my right (voting) in the hopes to keep you off the chair, I would surely appreciate it if you did it yourself!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Lankan odyssey

"Guys.............. which is the place out of India where we can all go without spending all of our life's savings and still call it an awesome vacation"....................??

When we look for vacations outside India, our thoughts wander around the world. We start with Europe, then decide it's too expensive and save it for later. The same happens to the U.S and south america. Then we sling shot around the world in a millisecond and reach Thailand (one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world). But how many of us actually think about that little island of our south east coast. So close by that as per mythology there existed a bridge linking us to the Island.

The truth is Sri Lanka was never an option while I was thinking about places to see outside India. But when it was suggested by one of my friends, it suddenly sounded brilliant.

What do we want from a vacation, peace (read as phone switched off), fun (read as accompanied by booze) and anything else that is not routine. Lanka had all of it and accompanied by great friends, it was just an awesome idea.

So we planned and planned and planned and kept planning .............. until the friend who suggested Lanka said "cock ur hole, stop planning and let's book the fucking tickets"............... So we did. After 15 mins and Rs. 12,300/- per head of investment, we were all set. But now, we seriously had to plan cos the tickets were non refundable!!!

We didn't know anybody who had been to Lanka before, so we had to resort to the internet (of course this means Google) and books. And one of those books was our savior.

"Lonely Planet"; this book is now famous world over, its gives you information that is practical and almost impossible to find, even on the web. We found all our hotels, transportation through the book. It also saves you from being taken for a ride. It gives detailed reports about pricing of each and every tourist attraction and warns you of possible dangers. The book was our Bible in Lanka and we never let it go. In fact there was a time during the trip when we thought we had lost the book and it got everyone really upset, made me wonder if we would have been that upset if one of us had got lost??!!!.

The trip was just AWESOME. Of course, not all things went as per our "PLAN", but what the hell, a bunch of single guys on an amazing trip, who cares about the plan. We rocked the place and it was a trip to remember for ages. Writing about every aspect of this trip would take too long and make this blog more of a bore than it already is, so I'll probably do it in parts some other time.

But if anybody is wondering where to go for a budget vacation, I vote for Lanka. This place is a gem in the Indian ocean!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When in Rome..............

In the recent past I met a prospective client. They wanted the interiors of their recently purchased apartment done and sought professional help. A middle aged couple probably in their mid and late thirties. The man was from Jabalpur and the lady from Chandigarh. During our initial meetings I took them around Bangalore to show them some of the projects that our firm had completed. During one of these trips the lady started up a conversation about Chandigarh. I had never been there but had learnt a lot about it in college. Chandigarh is one of the few designed cities in India, designed by the acclaimed Le Corbusier.

She was going gaga over the city and how things were amazing there. I didn't doubt her, I had heard and learnt from books that Chandigarh was indeed very well planned and was a great place to live. But what irritated me was how at every step of the way she was comparing Bangalore with Chandigarh, finding fault in Bangalore at every juncture. In the whole conversation (actually it was a speech cos she hardly allowed me to speak) there was not one good thing she had to say about Bangalore.

But what I don't understand is that if they had a huge problem with Bangalore then why live here, why buy an expensive apartment here and worse, do up the interiors to make it a home. Why not go back to your own hometown which you feel is the most amazing place on earth. I don't understand the attitude where you stay in a city for the job (read as money) and then keep criticizing it and never do a thing to improve it. "When in Rome do as the Romans do". It's not just a fancy saying, it actually makes sense. Ok........... maybe you don't have to do as the Romans do but at least don't come here and spoil it for the rest of us.

The best example is my Dad. He came to Bangalore 40 years back, he made this city his home and now refuses to go anywhere. He still loves his hometown, a village in Kerala, but he knows what this city has given him, "His entire Life", and he will stand by the city no matter what. As far as he is concerned, for him, Bangalore is the best place to live.

I love my city and as long as I my livelihood is here I will do everything I can to make it better. Anyone who feels there are better places to live can find the bus stand and railway station at Majestic and the airport at Devannahalli waiting for you!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The charm that was..............

I saw a mallu movie a couple of days back, a new mallu movie that is. An hour into the movie and I regretted the time spent. Make no mistake, the movie starred one of my favorite or rather my most favorite actor Mohanlal. But I just couldn't fathom the fact that an actor of his caliber can be in a role like this.

I remember what can now be termed as the glory days of Malayalam cinema, the 90's. This was the time when every department was at its best. The stories were something you could relate to, the music was soulful and the directors were the cream of Indian cinema. Many of the stories from that era are now turning into bollywood movies. The actors including the above mentioned hero stole the show with performances that only few of his peers could match. But now it looks like the Australian cricket team, the only difference been that the players in the cricket team retired while in the Malayalam industry the actors are pushing the limits of old age and not playing roles suited for their age.

It's gonna take some time before I can sit for another mallu movie. Call me a prude but I don't think the present stories have anything to do with life in Kerala or any Mallus around the globe. I am not a film critic but as a Malayalam speaking individual I believe I have the right to question the cinema I watch.

I don't know if the glory days are gonna come back ever. But all I hope is that they don't keep churning out crap for the sake of movie making!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The rescue

A typical evening at office, pending work, just the low hum of the systems and the irritating Pomeranian dog next door barking (rather yelping). All of this changes in an instant when my friend Shilpa walks in. She has in her arms a cute little brown pup. Musaiyab and me have a shocked look on our faces, I mean waz a pup doing in an architect's office.

But all that shock disappeared the moment I saw that puppy face, he was scared, hungry, cold and had no idea of what was happening around him. We took him outside before our landlord could find out. Shilpa, who came fully prepared was pouring the milk into a container. She found the pup lost, away from his mother on the Koramangala 100ft road waiting to be run over. Must admire her resourcefulness when she convinced a kid who was around there to hold the puppy while she rode her two wheeler to my office.

Once the pup licked the milk container clean, he obviously went to sleep, comfortably in my arms. Then started our search, to find "Mr. No more hungry and completely sleepy" a home. CUPA was the choice, they complied, but would come only in the morning to get him. Now that posed another problem, where to keep him until the next morning. Her place was a no, I lived in an apartment where pets aren't allowed and the office was a definite no. Many phone calls later, she finally found a home for the little guy. As we were headed there the pup rolled up like a fur ball in my arms trying to stay warm. Oh, how I wish I could have taken him home.

Anyway, he lay in large box until the next day, in the meanwhile driving Shilpa crazy with all the antics that is associated with a 2 month old pup. CUPA finally came along and took him away from Shilpa (who was teary eyed I am sure). All we can hope is that he finds a home where he is "Man's best friend".

Monday, February 7, 2011

Urban "disaster" planning

Its a change my city topic folks. And I am not talking about managing a disaster that strikes the city, nope, I am talking about the disaster that is the city "Namma Bengaluru". I am gonna take one example here; "The elevated highway on Hosur road".

Oh boy, I can't help but wonder that our politicians actually agreed to throw away 1000 crores of the tax payers money to build this monstrous piece of shit. Spanning 9kms, a beautiful stretch of road that gives you no idea of what is happening below it. And thanks to this road the road width on ground level is even less now making matters worse.

Who the hell came up with this idea, to build a road claiming that it will help clear traffic for the software supremos in What about the rest of the public, and even if the concern was for only the supremos, what about the bunch that has their offices on Hosur road before reaching What about the residential apartments, offices, commercial establishments on this stretch. And even if the thought was to benefit a small group then why are they being charged for the facility. 35 bucks for a one way trip!!! And if you are not aware, you don't come to know that you have to pay until you have finished the ride. (The toll booth is only on one end of the stretch for both directions)

There are exactly seven junctions from silkboard to, the road width was already 10 lanes and with enough free or at least cheap land on either side. Wasn't clearing these junctions with underpasses and flyovers enough so as to give a clear path to the "Supremos" and at the same time help the general public too. Noooooo of course not, they had to build a good for nothing king cobra which leads to just one place and then charge people for using it.

This has to be a case study for disastrous planning. If anyone is of a different opinion, I would invite them to cross Bommanhalli junction at 7:00PM and head towards on the "ground level".