Vantage point

Monday, September 29, 2003


For over a year I have been raving about how the sky and the clouds in Lucknow look so much prettier than anywhere else. How the most picturesque evenings are in Lucknow.

Finally, thanks to Satyen, I get a chance to show you the famed "shaam-e-avadh ka nazaara".

Here are the cloudy pics I have taken.


Now as soon as Fotolog starts accepting new members, i am going to be one of them. :-)

Saturday, September 27, 2003

For the past month, Lucknow has been caught in the frenzy of election fever. All the hoardings displaying names of the candidates, posters with their mugs plastered all over the city, loudspeakers, speeches, everything. The whole city is literally submerged in campaigning paraphernalia. It is no coincidence that most of the hoardings bear the colours of the samajwadi party that rules UP currently.

Now the politically aware reader might say that the parliamentary elections are a year away and UP assembly elections got over just around a year back. So what elections have captured(or been struggling to capture) the Lucknowite's attention?

I asked myself the same question when I saw every corner of the city telling me to vote for some dude for the most of "Mahaneta". First I thought they were the city council elections. But on closer examination of the hoardings, I realised that the whole Samajwadi parety machinery has devoted itself to an event as small as Lucknow University Student Union Elections!!!!!!!!!!

I was shocked. But the UP-ites or even Delhi-ites on campus weren't surprised by this. Spending so much time and money over student elections? How vainly political can some eladers get? In Pune or Mumbai, I have never even come to know when the student elections fact I doubt if there are student elections at all. What do we need student leaders in the university for anyway? There are bodies like ABVP etc in Maharashtra who raise their voice if there are any delays in result declaration, or some infrastructural need arises. And frankly, if the cause is big enough, there is a sort of "spontaneous order" among the students to protest against the establishment. These LU student elections seem nothing like a fresh frontier for politicking of the big guns.

Mayawati had done the people a big big favour last year by banning student elections. It was the right thing to do because all these student leaders do is harrass people. I came to know recently that there is a 40 year old who has been deliberately flunking every year just so that he can be in politics through students elections. There was another guy who had beaten up some college principal and so in mayawati's time, he had been banned from entering the campus.

However Mulayam Singh takes over as Chief Minister and all hell breaks loose. Not only is he in a frenzy to release terrorists and gangsters, he also restarts student elections in LU. Apparently the day this announcement was made, all the so called "student" leaders went to campuses drunk and celebrated this decision with with drums and colours. Some teachers were pushed around and some girls were harrassed by these great leaders.

All this makes me sick. Is this what North India has degraded to? UP at one time was such a great centre of learning. Allahad, Benares, Aligarh etc were places people used to come to study from miles away. And now all these venerated institutions have become are battleground for political parties and shooting ranges for arrogant goons.

No wonder people are now headed to the West and the South of the country for education. There, barring a few bad eggs whom you rarely get to hear about, most students are interested in education rather than browbeating other students.

So when I hear of Northies coming to Pune for education, I don't mind it. Howevere the key words are "for education". Unfortunately most of them don't come for that reasons. Most Northies who come to colleges like DYPatil, Bharti, Sinhagad, SSPMS, Symbi, ILS etc in Pune are "bade baap ke bigde" with a lot of money to waste. They will spend more sleepless nights on getting the money from their parents to spend on the latest gizmos than during exams. Funny thing is all these people are apparently children of civil servants who aren't known to get a salary big enough to justify this kinda expenditure.

The unfortunate thing is these bad examples, these kids of so called Industrialists or IAS officers spoil the name of other innocent Northies in Pune.

As long as they keep their drinking-smoking-doping-splurging habits within the confines of their group, I don't think Puneites have a problem with it. But when they start harrassing others, then it becomes a problem as was seen in the ILS ragging case.

In case you haven't heard about it, here are a few links.

July 19 - Ragging: college students face disciplinary action
August 17 - Out of town bullies
Sep 10 - Pune college expels 26 students for ragging

As if the actual act was not bad enough, they worsened their situation. After the college threw them out in July, the parents of all these culprits, very predictably industrialists, politicians and IAS officers from North India, camped in a hotel in Pune and started their nefarious activities to protect their kids. First they pulled strings with someone really high up and got the ILS Chairman Y V Chandrachud(famous as the guy who conducted the match fixing inquiry and let everyone off the hook) to declare that the students won't be expelled until an inquiry is conducted.

Once Chandrachud made this announcement, the raggers should have got down to preparing a case for themselves, or maybe apologise or something. Instead they arrogantly distributed sweets in the campus and actually beat up the complainants as well as the students who had agreed to give testimony. They started threatening them to withdraw their complaints and not give testimonies respectively. Just like in hindi films, you know. They assumed that this inquiry would be an eyewash and they would be let go scot free. However at this point, the city of Pune reacted in a way that apathetic cities of North India never do. There was a big uproar about this attempted subversion of the legal process. Apparently all parties and student bodies united to show solidarity towards the ragging victims and the ILS Principal. And finally the law won when on 10 September, the 26 were finally kicked out. :-)

Even after this what surprises me is that instead of condemning the raggers and warning others to desist from ragging, the Northies in Pune wasted their time painting the ILS college principal as some evil witch out to ruin the lives of students.

There was the typical "Yes, they made a mistake but dont ruin their careers" or "This was just a minor case, worse instances of ragging happen and go unpunished" type of thinking from them. However Principal Vaijayanti Joshi thinks otherwise. ��I need not wait till a suicide case is reported to me,�� she says. Bravo!

They sort of turned the trial on its head. Never mind the fact that what the Princi did was perfectly legal. There are rules of the college as well as a law in Maharashtra awarding the strictest punishment for ragging. However these spoilt rich people apparently have an allergy of anything staying within the confines of the law. They are used to getting away with seen in the Jessica Lal case. So for once if the state machinery works in the right direction, they try to screw it up.

Fine, screw it up, but do so in your own states. Don't try to Up-ise, Bihar-ise and Delhi-ise places like Pune. Already in Mumbai, parties like Shivsena and their ideas find support among people for this very reason, the belligerant behaviour of the North Indians. So far Pune has been free of it, because students coming to Pune till a decade back were by and large decent students. But now when they come to the city, see its open and liberal culture where it is safe for a girl to go to a disc alone at midnight if she wants, see there are no existing goondas asserting their authority, no roadside romeos passing lewd comments..........and they want to fill this gap rather than respect the culture.

And it all has its root in the sort of culture and norms there are up north. So much fanfare and violence in Students elections? Seriously, ever since the election commission issued diktats, even parliamentary elections in Pune don't see posters defacing walls. And here every wall has been uglified by 40 year old student leaders.

You want to go to the root cause? This is it. An utter disregard for law and for the right thing at the smallest level. And even worse, a tendency to actually undermine something that is going in a proper orderly way and to screw it up.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Q - How does the BJP win elections?
A - By inciting riots and polarising communities.

Now as the Rajasthan elections draw closer, the bloodthirsty saffron brigade targets that state.

Bajrang Dal blasts mosque, forces Muslims to flee

This is so sickening. For short term political gains, these people are pushing the country closer to the brink of a civil war. It is all very easy to blame incidents like the 25 August blasts in Mumbai solely on the SIMI and the LeT, but even the Mumbai Police have said that these attacks are more dangerous, because the people involved in them are educated professionals. There is a deeper explanation for this than just the usual "ISI did it" chant, and it's time we recognize it.

While every incident like Solapur or Maraad pushes the average Hindu more and more to the right, every incident like this one and Bhojshala pushes the average Muslim more and more towards the waiting arms of extremism and terrorism.

Both communities look at this raging fire, and instead of making any efforts to douse the fire, join in chorus to sing "We didn't start the fire!!" and add a "You did!!" for extra effect.

And yes, to all those deluded RSS bhakts who still claim that the organisation is more about social service than about spreading communal hatred, here is a newsflash. The main accused in this case is RSS's Iklera tehsil karyawahak, Kanwarlal Meena.

Of course, now bring on the conspiracy theories about how this man is knee deep in piety, goodness and social work and is an icon of nation building and how the Congress government there has framed him. Or then take that line - One bad egg does not mean the whole basket is rotten. Of course there is always the "commie-pinko" media to blame for all evils.

Ever notice how both Hindu terrorists as well as Muslim terrorists use the same kind of convoluted logic or readily grab on to conspiracy theories to explain their hate filled activities?

I am sick of this. Beam me up!!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Is Pakistan a Friend or Foe?

This is the question Time magazine asks its American readers, and answers implicitly through this article that lists the innumerable sins committed by 'Pak'istan.

A few excerpts -

Just how devoted is President Pervez Musharraf to fighting terrorism? Is Pakistan undermining stability in neighboring Afghanistan? Is it flirting with the potential disaster of a new war on the subcontinent by harboring militants fighting India in the disputed region of Kashmir? What role does Islamabad play in the proliferation of nuclear weapons worldwide?

We all know the disturbing answers to these questions, don't we? But the Americans have been wasting their time running after Iraqis for the past year instead of concentrating on attacking the root cause of the problem.

After India and Pakistan, both nuclear armed, nearly went to war over the conflict in May 2002, Musharraf assured Bush that there were no militant training camps in Pakistani territory. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage reminded Musharraf of that guarantee when the two met in the northern city of Rawalpindi before Musharraf's last meeting with Bush in June. Armitage then produced a dossier of satellite photos showing camps of that nature. "Musharraf acted outraged and upset," a State Department official tells TIME, but it wasn't clear to the Americans whether he was angry that the camps were functioning or that the U.S. had uncovered them.

LOL and ROFLMAO at the last line!! :-P

Ultimately, the most explosive issue between the U.S. and Pakistan is the nuclear one. American intelligence officials believe Pakistani scientists have shared�with North Korea and Iran�the technology they developed on their way to becoming a nuclear power.

Given these facts one would have thought the Americans would take some steps to sterilise the place that Advani so lovingly calls the 'epicentre of terrorism'. But no, when there are soft(!!) targets like Iraq to occupy, why worry about the headache of tackling a pesky foe like Pakistan?

The best way out - call the foe a friend. Then all problems will go away.

Reminds me of ostriches burying their heads in sand.

This piece from the latest issue of the onion says it so aptly -

U.S. Invades Non-Oil-Rich Nation To Dispel Criticism
LUXEMBOURG VILLE, LUXEMBOURG�In an effort to quiet criticism of U.S. military policy, 50,000 U.S. troops invaded and soundly defeated the non-oil-rich Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Monday. "Once again, the U.S. claims victory over a rogue nation," said President Bush after the 45-minute war. "The people of Luxembourg, although prosperous and living in peace, have suffered under the tyranny of a monarchy for centuries. And allow me to point out that Luxembourg has not one drop of crude oil." Troops will return home Friday, following the public hanging of Grand Duke Henri de Luxembourg.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

I have been ruminating on this story for months now, but the idea always failed to get past the Quality Assurance department of my mind. Today, the story managed to bribe its way through and its relative mediocrity manifests itself as a blogpost. It is semi-fictional-semi-autobiographical. So dyed-in-wool Mumbaikars, please don't point out factual inaccuracies.


I got out of the rickshaw at the Borivli railway station and dragged my huge suitcase out. I hated this suitcase. It was so damn big that a stupid packer like me ended up taking with him a lot of unecessary stuff. Somewhere deep down inside, I believe that any space is there just to be filled (spare me your Freudian analyses :-P) and this belief translates into me taking the most unnecessary stuff with me for the shortest journeys. When I go home for a weeklong term break, I take so many clothes with me.....out of which I use barely 20% because face it, once you live in a hostel, your term break is spent romancing that estranged mistress called TV.

The point is that I walked into Borivli Rly Stn that day carrying a suitcase that was too heavy and probably contained everything except for the proverbial kitchen sink. Was I shifting base? Not exactly. This was during my summer internship and having spent 1 amazing month in Mumbai, I had to go to Delhi for approximately the same duration. So both of us(the suitcase and I) were going to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus(CST) to board Punjab Mail...or some such train headed for the capital. It was around 3 p.m. in the afternoon and I was planning to take a local to Churchgate, the last stop on the Western Line, and then take a taxi to CST.

Fortunately a lot of local trains start from Borivali, and it being afternoon time, I easily got a place to sit after depositing the suitcase on the shelf above. The seats filled up very fast, as did the shelves. I had managed to bag a window seat and I sat there looking outside, taking in my last sights of trackside Mumbai for the next month or so. The train started and I noticed with astonishment that even at 3 p.m., the bogie was almost full with a lot of people standing.

The train was a fast one and so it skipped the smaller stations and made only the big stops. At Andheri a bunch of people got down, but a bigger bunch of people got in. At Bandra, same story. The next stop was the busiest one, Dadar. Here the compartment almost emptied completely. The guy sitting next to me, who was sweating profusely....even more than the usual Mumbai up, and a lady clad in a burkha sat next to me. I noticed that she wasn't the only one. There were 3 more burkha clad figures sitting around me, and one old man with a long flowing beard and a cap, wearing a lungi. There were other people in the bogie as well, and I assumed all of them were going to Churchgate like me, since the shelves were still almost completely empty.

As the train left the Dadar station I noticed how different the compartment looks when it is relatively Mumbai empty means that only 3-4 people are standing up, and all the seats are occupied. Another thing I noticed was the relative peace that came with this sparse population. Usually when the compartment is full of chattering office goers, or is standing at crowded railway stations with blaring announcements, you can't hear yourself think. Now however I was actually noticing other sounds, as I looked out of the window.

So many different sounds in this quiet, i said to myself. The bark of a dog by the railway track, the laughing of kids in the seat next to mine, music from the radio of a man sitting a few feet away from me, the sound of a clock ticking, hum of the engine......hold on...back up a bit. A clock ticking???? In a local train??? OH SHIT!!! I thought to myself.

The picture of the devastated compartment of the Mulund blasts immediately filled my mind, as did the picture of a BEST bus that blew up in Ghatkopar. I could sense a tide of terror starting to flood my heart and mind. Though you read the news and feel sad and angry at the blasts, thinking that you might actually be the victim of one any moment now is a totally different experience. I strained my ears to figure out where the ticking sound was coming from.


Oh no, it was right above me. Sitting perched between my suitcase and another one, was a cardboard box, with a string tied around it. I started sweating, and every passing moment seemed like an excruciating eternity. My eyes fell on the burkha clad ladies and the man who were conversing in what seemed to be Malayalam......yes, the police had said they suspected the involvement of a Muslim couple. What should I do? I need to tell someone. No, i first need to get out of this train. Man, hope Mumbai Central comes soon....I am not sticking around till Churchgate.

What are you panicking for? a part of me said. Dont go stereotyping people, and dont give in to paranoia. Even if there is a bomb on the shelf, what makes you think these people put it there? For all we know, the culprit has gotten away. If they had kept the bomb they would have gotten down at dadar, where it is easier to dissolve into the crowd. But what if they got in at dadar in the first place? I was looking out of the window all the time. Shit, this is too much.....I can still hear the ticking....should I mention the sound to the guy? But he seems to have a bag in his hand....what if it has the remote control to blow up the bomb?

OK, OK, let us not lose our head here. There is a simple thing that can be done. See if these people take the box with them when they get down. Oh good, we are nearing Mumbai Central.

The foursome was still talking heatedly in Malayalam, and I had no idea what they were saying. It seemed as if there was some argument going on. Suddenly all of them got up and gathered different things from the shelves in a hurry. However they did not touch the cardboard box. I stood up and dragged my suitcase towards the door. As the train slowly came to a stop at the crowded and chaotic Mumbai Central station, the 3 women and 1 man got off without the cardboard box. I got off with my suitcase, wondering what to do. On an impulse I put my hand on the man's shoulder as he was walking away and said,

"Bhaisaahab, woh baksaa aapka hai na jo abhi andar hai......"(Isnt the box on the shelf yours?)

As i said this I saw panic spread on his face. He shook my hand off, said something to the ladies, and the four of them started rushing towards the exit.

Shit, I thought to myself. They have planted the bomb and are running away to a safe distance so that they can blow it up using the remote control. I stood rooted to the spot for a few seconds as the comprehension of what was about to happen dawned on me. The logical thing to do would have been to start running, but even then I thought of the marksheets and certificates in my suitcase, and dragged it with me as I made a run for the exit. The 4 bombers had disappeared by then. The bag was heavy and it was a bit tiring to run with it in tow, but fear of death will make you do superhuman things. In a few moments I was outside, breathless. I put my hands on my knees to catch my breath and regain my composure. My eyes fell on a policeman standing 20 feet away from me. Once I realised that there was no danger to my life, the dutiful citizen in me woke up and I was about to run to him and tell him about the bomb and the Muslim family on the train. But as I took one step in his direction, I froze, for I had just heard a similar sound.


Gradually my neck turned and my eyes fell on my own suitcase. I muttered an expletice out loud and got to my knees, pulling the suitcase in a horizontal position. I got the keys out of my pocket and opened the suitcase right there outside the Mumbai Central Railway Station.

I saw clothes, shoes, cassettes, books....and a small rectangular alarm clock that had been performing diligently the duty of waking me up every morning at 6:30 so that I wouldn't be late for office.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

On the virginal white peaks
With a soldier by my side
Misty beauty of majestic grandeur
How every shade of white
Colours my eyes in a different way
But the soldier's face is hard
His eyes are colder than snow
For he sees not what I see
He sees his next ambush
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder

Friday, September 12, 2003

He looked at the tiny vase near the window. Nowadays he woke up every morning admiring the vase. Something was different today, though. It sat there empty....the maid had probably removed the wilted flowers. His living room was full of bouquets that he had received the previous night on his birthday. Tearing open the plastic wrapping of a diverse looking bouquet, he took it to the vase. He put a couple of roses in the vase and went into his room to get his towel. As he walked out into the living room again to go to the bathroom, his eyes fell on the vase. No, it did not seem right.

He tried replacing the roses with carnations....but it did not go well with the vase either. Irritated at this imperection, he tore open some more bouquets and tried to fill the vase with flowers that he didn't even know the names of. He spent half a neurotic hour without any satisfactory result.

The clock showed that he was late for work. With an exasperated cluck of his tongue he rushed to the shower, and got ready.

All the way to work, he wore a scowl on his face. Finally his mind hit on the answer. It was so simple.....why did he spend so much time trying to beautify the vase with different flowers?

He reached for his mobile phone and dialled the number of a florist he knew.

"Please deliver a bunch of Frangipani to my my place", he said and gave his address.

The next morning he woke up and saw the vase. Yes, it was beautiful now....and he ehaded into the shower.

The Pune Bloggers Meet happens at 7 p.m. in Doughmain on M.G.Road tomorrow. So far Nikita, Shuchita, Vikram and myself have confirmed. Rest of you, turn up there. seeya.

The Pune Bloggers Meet happens at 7 p.m. in Doughmain on M.G.Road tomorrow. So far Nikita, Shuchita, Vikram and myself have confirmed. Rest of you, turn up there. seeya.


This happened last week during endterms. All my elective exams got over before my other friends since I didn't have a single finance subject. So the morning of the toughest Fin exam of the term - "Investment Management"(IM), I ambled into the mess for a luxurious breakfast. there I met Kanishka, a hardcore Fin guy, and Ashish, whose electives I wasn't very sure of. The following dialogue ensued -
(Disclaimer - This was just a frivolous leg-pulling session and does not reflect my true views on finance electives or what it takes to make it big in the stock market.)

Me: So Kanishka, ready for IM?
Kanishka: (nodding) Still studying.
Me: And you, Ashish?
Ashish: No, no, I don't have IM. I am a hardcore marketing guy.
Kanishka: (derisively) Ashish and IM? Hahh.
A: Hey, anyway, those finance subjects are useless.

Now he had touched upon my favourite source of breakfast-table humour, and I launched into a monologue

Me: Yeah, what use are these fin subjects? Investment management and all that bullshit! This may be applicable in the American markets and all.....that too is doubtful nowadays. This is all just theory. In India what matters is whether you know when the next artificially induced bull-run is going to be. You need to know someone like Harshad Mehta or Ketan Parekh on a speed-dial basis. That is all that will help you make it big in the Indian financial world. Contacts with biggies like them is the only factor.

Ashish was nodding and smiling while Kanishka had a very disapproving look on his face. This firther spurred me on...

Me: In fact you Kanishka, instead of those 10 electives that the Finance Department here offers, we should have only 1 elective, cos only that elective will be useful in the fin world.
K: And what would that fin elective be?
Me: Gujarati! :-P

Even the usually stony faced Kanishka started laughing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

How about a Pune Bloggers Meet? I am here till saturday.



No no, i am not referring to the colour of the idol. I am referring to the hugely successful drive undertaken by environmentalists in Pune this year during the Ganeshotsav.

In Pune we have this thin little waterbody flowing through the city, that we affectionately call a river - Mula Mutha. Every year thousands of Ganesh idols are immersed in the river. All these clay or PoP idols cause a really major pollution in the already polluted Mula Mutha.

For some yars now environmentalists have been urging people to immerse diols in buckets at home, and then dispose off remnants of the idol. However public response was lukewarm. This year several NGOs got together with the municipality to build huge tanks right next to the river. All the mandals as well as people have risen to the ocasion by cooperating with them. So this year no idols are polluting the river.

There are volunteers helping people with the final aartis and the immersion procedue. There are separate tanks for the idols and separate ones for the flowers. There has been a custom of throwing money in with the idols. There are separate boxes for that, and the proceeds will be given to charity.

It is good to see people actually doing somthing to improve our environment and not letting religious obstinacy standing in the way.

Way to go, Pune!!

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Tiny specks of water race
From all over the leaf's face
Gathering in the vein's ridge
Crossing every little bridge
Rolling into a full shiny drop
Falling and yet coming to a stop
Hanging above the lovely abyss
Locking the leaf's tip in a kiss
That short tantalising moment
Today i live that delicious torment

Thursday, September 04, 2003

YACCS, my comments service, is down till 8th of September. So as a temporary measure, I have installed squawkbox.


Most people I know say things like "You know, I believe in the Almighty and my faith is staunch. I pray everyday but I really dislike rituals and all".

So I guess I am a bit of an anomaly when I say that I don't believe in any almighties or prayers, but I have recently realised that I love religious rituals. Not because they help me achieve some spiritual goal or anything, but simply because they are fun and they give me a sense of belonging to my region/country. Families have annual picnics. Friends have parties. Schools have proms and reunions. Communities/Societies have festivals. I always knew that I loved the family picnics, parties with friends and school reunions. But one year away from my hometown has made me realise how much I miss the rituals related to festivals back home.

I had gone to the city on janmashtami (Birth anniversary of Krishna), and it just did not feel right! There were no pots hanging 4-5 storeys high, no groups of thin and lanky youngsters devising strategies on how to combine into a lasting pyramid, no girls standing in the balconies throwing water at short there wasn't a single dahihandi like we have in maharashtra on that day. I remember that in school, we had dahi handi every year. And in the evening, all of us would go to the nearest square to see which group managed to bag the 10K or 20K prize for bringing down the lofty earthern pot filled with prasad.

After I returned to the hostel feeling very nostalgic about the great fun we would have at those dahi-handis, I ran into a fellow I know to be very religious. He did his engineering from Pune so I thought he would understand how I felt that the U.P. janmashtami celebrations were drab. However he didn't share my nostalgia as he said "You know, dahi handi isn't mentioned anywhere in the Shastras. So true hindus should not mind if some such local rituals are not observed everywhere else. In fact the UP way of celebrating it is the Hindu way. If we follow the shastras, our emphasis will be on spirituality where it should be, rather than ritualism". I asked him to name a shastra which mentions the word "Hindu". He's yet to get back to me.

Have been getting the same nostalgic feeling this week, since it is Ganpati time. In Pune I would crib about the traffic headaches, the congestion and the noice levels during the 11-day festival. But here as I don't see a single pandal with a ganesh idol and innovative decorations, I long for Pune even more. Because Ganeshotsav means going out with your friends to downtown Pune and roam around all night visiting different "mandals" and admiring their decorations. Stop at some restaurant and have a 2 a.m. dinner. These restaurants are jam packed and serving their full menus throughout the night during Ganpatis. You know, there is a very unique pleasure that you derive from "bird watching" (the two legged kinds) at 2-3 a.m. Maybe the darkness enhances their beauty.

Last year I was in Lucknow for all 11 days of the Ganeshotsav. This year though I will be home for the last two days. Though the gang with whom I usually roamed the streets at night - Chaitya, Shantya, Satyen, Mihir, Anya, Chinya etc are not in Pune, I intend to catch hold of the remaining people - Ameya, Mitali, Vallari, Tushar...and spend the whole night of Ganesh Visarjan on the streets.

After having tapped into my "Memories" account for the past year, it is time to make some fresh deposits under the 'Pune' section.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003


Read Praful Bidwai's latest diatripe on rediff today.

Cancel the Sharon visit!

I usually prefer to ignore his rants but this is really too much. How stupid can leftists get? Cancel the Sharon visit a week before he is supposed to come here? Give me a break!!

I am not going to sit here and defend Israel or Sharon, because frankly, I don't care much. The only reports I like reading about Israel are about how they managed their agriculture and economy very well. Unlike some of my brethren, I do not go into throes of delight everytime Israel "retaliates" by the way of military action. Neither do I rejoice when a suicide bomber kills some Jews. Both the parties in Middle East are locked in an endless spiral of violence and painting one side as evil and the other side as the victim is pure propaganda that only lefties or extreme rightists are capable of.

However I don't see why Sharon is any more unacceptable than most world leaders. Why did Bidwai not protest when 'Comrade' Fidel Castro visited India......oops..."comrade"...I answered my own question. Forget the comrades. Even if all he says about Sharon is true. It can all be applied to Musharraf as well. Yet I did not see Bidwai asking the government to withdraw the invitation to the General in 2001! If you notice Bidwai's writings, he will never refer to it as terrorism when Indians are killed, it will always be "militancy". However when Palestinians die, it becomes terrorism.

This is something we in South Asia are hopelessly afflicted with. Wanting to take on others' sorrows even when they have nothing to do with ours. People here wanted to be human shields in Iraq. They wanted to go and "entertain" Iraqi if we don't have millions of homeless kids here who could be entertained. They will come out on streets in huge numbers to protest the attacks on Afghanistan...but will not move a muscle to protest the killings in Kashmir or the North East. They will destroy Indian property because some American professor abused Prophet Mohammad (!!!!!), but will be totally nonchalant if a lower caste woman is paraded naked in a village.

Why do we have to care so much about the world when the world doesn't care about us? We are not in Chacha Nehru's times, when sermonising the world was our wont. Let us look after our own interests. Everyone is doing that. Who cares what Sharon did? Who cares what Arafat did? They are both heads of states and when they come here, we treat them like heads of states. If we can benefit in the fields of business, military, agriculture, why not? Anyway it is not as if Israel needs Indian cash to bankroll its military operations when it has Fort Knox at its disposal. Why do we keep 'aunty'ing the world? Recent governments....Rao as well as Vajpayee...have shown a pragmatic approach in this regard.

Now look at the Pakistani attitude. I mean I have no problems if they continue doing what they do, but it is just as stupid as us. They will march on their streets by the thousands when someone attacks Iraq or Afghanistan...but their reaction to killings in their own country, like the blasts in so nonchalant. If you read their papers, they are full of Middle-East stuff. If you read the papers in the Middle east, they don't give a damn about Pakistan or the Kashmir issue. Not one Arab country has ever voiced their support to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. All they've given is petro dollars, which come attached with their brred of Arabic extremism. Yet they keep singing about the Palestinians, even though Arafat will come here and sing praises of the Indian nation and Indian state. There are so many issues plaguing Pakistan right now...just like India....but what gets them moving is West Asia!!

South Asia is full of such weird people. Which is why have not lived up to our own potential. Look at Prafool. He has the power of the pen to influence people's thoughts, which he can do by addressing issues relevant to India. And yet, he writes about such useless issues. When he is not berating Indian achievements, he is furthering the agenda of a people(Palestinians) most of whom would be hard pressed to name the capital of India.


Tuesday, September 02, 2003

With all respects due to the late John Denver, here is something I came up with during one of my more homesick moments.

If you are miffed over sahyadris being called "mountains" or Mula-Mutha being called river, check my wallet and you will see the "Poetic License" numbered D4-6363501, valid upto 25th August 2080.

Take me home

Almost heaven west Maharashtra
Sahyadri Mountains Mula-Mutha river
Life is old there older than the trees
Younger than the mountains blowin' like a breeze
Country roads take me home
To the place I belong
West Maharashtra mountain momma
Take me home country roads
All my memories gather round her
Engineer's lady stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine teardrop in my eyes
Country roads take me home
To the place I belong
West Maharashtra mountain momma
Take me home country roads
I hear a voice in the morning how she calls me
The radio reminds me of my home far away
Drivin' down the road I get a feelin'
That I should been home yesterday yesterday
Country roads take me home
To the place I belong
West Maharashtra mountain momma
Take me home country roads
Country roads take me home
To the place I belong
West Maharashtra mountain momma
Take me home country roads
Take me home country roads
Take me home country roads