Thursday, 13 November 2014


Let’s roll out the list of disclaimers right away. 

     1. This article is by no way an indication of my impending marriage. I still have some years to go before I decide to embrace martyrdom. 
    2. This article is by no way an indication of my impending fatherhood. I still prefer to remain the child in my house.
    3. Step 1 need not precede Step 2.

Children, they say are an extension of their parents’ soul. Parents often make an endeavour to live their dreams through their kids. In some cases, the child has to become a doctor, because "hey! I am a doctor, and hey so was my father, and his father, and his father, and his father. Too bad he aspires to be the next Sachin Tendulkar!”  My father, too wanted me to become an engineer. He is not one and neither was any of his predecessors. So, I could never comprehend why he wanted his son to become the first engineer from the clan (and I grew up in an era where you thought you had arrived in life, if a day went by without you getting spanked by your dad). So, naturally, I never asked. So, my managing a forceful 15/100 in my Class 10 pre-boards in Physics, or a mysterious 5/100 in Chemistry was not a deterrence as far as his resolve to make an engineer out of me was concerned. So, naturally, when I took up Commerce in my plus 2, I had waged a bitter battle against him. And then when he thought that may be I’d do my B.Com and become a C.A. (still a respectable profession among the Bongs), I chose BBA. And, then when he thought that I’d probably finish my MBA (still a respectable degree among the Bongs), and will choose a white-collar job, I opted for Journalism. And today, I am engaged in a profession, that I can’t explain to my parents or my 85 year old grandmother (who thinks I am an actor) or for that matter to any of my relatives or those who are not connected with the media. I AM A NEWS PRODUCER, and no neither do I finance my channel, nor do I appear on TV. 

Sorry, for taking a detour and exploring into the darkest pits of my academic career, but I always wondered what was it that gave me the ‘balls’ to choose a steam slash degree slash profession that didn’t have the parents’ stamp of approval. Was it courage/endless desire to follow your heart? Or was it the neatly scripted strategy of staying away from books and lectures? Frankly, it was neither or may be both. And, as a 27 year old single man, who has been attending a wedding every four  months for the last two years, and has been getting more wedding invitations than friend requests , I must admit, these days the thought  of  fathering a child some day and making a foray into Parenthood some years down the line is a fascinating dream which I can’t wait to be realised. Frankly, fatherhood is more than a ‘Michael Phelps’ of a sperm making it to the finishing line. It’s about instilling in your child the confidence that he/she can live in this world on their own terms, make their own mistakes, learn their own lessons, choose their own goals, chase their own dreams, make their own pegs, and worship their own God. Probably, for someone(yours truly), who still depends on his Maa to discover his pair of socks every morning, a lecture on Fatherhood may sound like a pontification, but trust me, this basic question will come to haunt you one day: What kind of a parent would you be to your child?
We live in an intolerant society. We don’t have the slightest patience for someone who doesn’t subscribe to our views. The Lefts think that the Rights are communalising the environment. The Rights think  that the Lefts are too Bourgeoisie for their own good. The ‘Nationalists’ think the ‘Pseudo-Secularists’ are pushing the nation back. This vicious cycle of hatred goes on spinning endlessly. Our opinions are no more our views, it’s a poisonous tonic that we wish to thrust down someone else’s throat, against their wish or consent. Well, I am no cynic (I am still hopeful that Salman would get married eventually and SRK would start making more sensible films). But, I sometimes wonder how can we, who stereotype people on the basis of their opinion/ideology/choices, choosing to like or dislike them depending on the side of the axis we ourselves are on, give our children a world they believe can exist. BUT, while, I have no crystal ball to foresee the future and make an accurate prediction of what the future holds for me, I am pretty certain about the Father, I am going to become to my child. I am henceforth going to refer to my future child as a She, from here on (I don’t want any sexist tirade coming my way, at least for this blog post)
 1. My kid can choose her own dreams, and chase them on her own terms. As a father, I’d never stop my kid from falling, but pick my child up and put her back on the the path of her dreams. She can choose to be a painter, singer, lawyer, teacher, actor, environmentalist, activist whatever she wishes to become. I’d always be proud of her.
 2. My kid can choose to follow/unfollow my religion or any religion for that matter. I never knew I was a Hindu, until my mom told me I was. I believe I wouldn’t have been a tad different had I been a Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Catholic or for that matter an Atheist.
 3. My kid is not my fixed deposit, who I shall wait to mature. She will be independent to fly on her own wings, and I’d be the air beneath her wings and not a cog in her wheel.
 4.  She will be free to love the person she wishes to, go on dates, marry the person she wants to. As a teenager, I mostly went to weddings where the groom and the bride were not only Bongs, but also happened to be from the same community, same gotra (I have no clue what that means), and at times even shared the same surnames. I don’t know how this blends into this pluralist society of ours, that we claim to be a part of.
 5. Our kids would grow up in a world way different than the ones we grew up in. But, they’d still be children. And as parents, we need to ensure that the advent of technology and commercialisation and internet and Whatsapp, do not rob them of their innocence. And though, there would be times when we’d fail to see logic in their views, we’d have to accept them and move on. Remember, our parents never understood us either, and their parents didn’t understand them.
 6. I’d never want my kid to be a reflection of me. She’s d be her own reflection, her own shadow, her own portrait. I’d actually be cool if she prefers Vodka over Whiskey or Breezer over Beer. Hmmm, actually, I’d want her to love whiskey the same way as I do!
And maybe one day, when I have turned old (but still young at heart), and while the Mrs. Is at the parlour, my child and I can sit down with a print out of this blog, and do a performance analysis of my role as a father. I hope I can pass with flying colours.


Friday, 7 November 2014


Boy meets girl. She is astonishingly beautiful and manages to steal his heart at the first go. He, smitten by her beauty, tries every rule in the book (and those beyond it) to woo her. Three movie and four dinner dates later (by when the boy has conveniently blown up his father’s hard earned-money and helped Airtel/Vodafone earn a fortune, courtesy the late night chats), the girl finally gives in to his earnestness and says 'Yes'. And they live happily ever after!

Right! For all those who think that this is going to be a lesson in romance or a beginner’s guide to the Kamasutra, you are woefully mistaken. I am sure Google has all the answers to your raging hormones. Today, I am going to write about the golden period in a guy’s life, which they pray they never go through, but which in fact make them what they are: Men of character.

 It is the most revolutionary thing that can occur to that any guy post puberty (or in India, post Sunny Leone, these days). Well for a Punjabi, it is KLPD (ask a Punjabi friend to explain it better), for a Gujju, it’s an investment gone bad, for a Bong its that moment when you suddenly realise that not every woman is your maa or mashi. But break ups are honestly the most constructive/educational/life-changing/aspirational/formative experience of your adult life. You cry for a day, whine for two more, play unrequited tributes to Mohd Rafi for four more days, get a boner on the seventh and try to imagine her instead. All these are routine moments that any guy (henceforth we shall refer to them as Bro) goes through. But, if you follow a meticulously planned out approach (drafted by none other than yours truly) to deal with your Break up, Bro, I assure you your heartbreak shall be memorable.

This step involves consumption of copious amounts of Old Monk (not whiskey, not beer, only Old Monk). It also involves occasional bursts of anger, requires a friend who has the guts to tell you that your mom and pediatrician touched your whiner before she did, and usually lasts for four days
This is the time when the Bro should not dwell upon the sweetness of the relationship that has past its expiry date, but rather analyse the cons, that came with it. Inflated phone bills, expensive gifts, remembering dates, remembering periods, analyse whatever you think would help you find solace. Of course, your relationship had its share of sweet, memorable memories. But, now is not the time to dwell on them. Love defies logic, but Break-ups are pure science. You have to balance out the good with the bad. You have to outweigh the pros with the cons.

Your Heart: She was beautiful.
Your Mind: So is your mom. Next
Your Heart: She made me feel complete.
Your Mind: So does a large pizza, and she oozed out all your pocket money
Your Heart: She was the first love of my life
Your Mind: Ya bitch, but not your last!
Remember, a Bro’s break-up is neither the first in this big bad world, nor the last. Give the anger seething within you an opening, let the stock of Old Monk exhaust itself. Your neighbourhood wine shop owner would be blessing you.
Do not, and I repeat, Do Not call her! It’s not worth it. Remember, she left you for someone else. She’s the villain! Yes, there is no place for rationale in this step.

The bro might have had a break up, but the world is not over. Go out and meet people. Remember, the time a break-up hangover can last is inversely proportional to the number of people you meet. Catch up with old friends, who you have been neglecting thus far, as a parlour date with your ex-lady was far more important. What more, you can draw solace when you see your male friends fretting over their partners, with the latter driving them to the wall. It is also important that you meet the right kind of friends. People who treat you like a victim, as if you have just been sodomised or give you that ‘oh, so sad, he had a break up look’, should strictly be avoided. Remember, you are still the master of your destiny. The author of the 'best post break-up pep talk' should be you and only you. Ah, and before I forget, try not raking up your personal life in front of strangers, or for that matter, even friends. Preserve the sanctity of your relationship. Let it not become a matter of public debate.

Bros, I know your former lady was possibly the person, you’d imagine as the mother of your kids(I remember I had) and someone you'd imagine would accompany you to the bank to collect your pension, but for god’s sake, look at Women!. One honest soul who once had a drink too many said, ‘There’s a lot of fish in the river.’ Trust me, there is no other better visual exercise. As long as you are not ogling at a friend’s girlfriend or the next-door married aunty, it's perfectly normal for you to admire pretty women. After all, they are God’s most beautiful creation and far more superior to us men. We’ll leave that debate for another day but Bros, if you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a plethora of hot, eligible women, trust me its not a conspiracy. They were always there. Probably, you were too busy with your lady love to notice them. Try engaging in some platonic(I use the word in an academic way) female company. Nothing boosts a male ego better than some quality time spent with a beautiful woman. So Bros, try looking at pretty women. You’ll realize that your break up was the stepping stone for something far more fascinating that awaits your destiny.

Bros, when in a relationship, couples shower each other with gifts, ranging from clothes, bags, shoes to souvenirs to parlour bills in some cases. Now that your relationship has hit the shore, try not being too judgmental about the gifts. Remember, the gifts were fine, it was the relationship that fizzled out. It’s time to be rational, the step I had mentioned of in Step 1. You can lock up the gifts at a corner in your wardrobe. A corner that you would never venture into. But do not entertain ideas of burning gifts and disposing them. It makes for good sitcom, but in reality, it sucks. Do not disrespect your relationship, it had you at one point.  Break ups, though a possible low-point of your life, is not judgement day. Try analyzing where it went wrong, and what you could have done to salvage it. But if it involves more than ten minutes of hard thinking, I think you are overdoing it! Focus on your priorities, do things which make you happy. Keep your friends close to you, and the dreams you nurture, closer. Expect a miracle coming your way and before this starts sounding like a Personality Development Workshop, let’s shift gears to Step 5.

And one day, a common friend would inform you that she has got engaged, probably to the same guy she dumped you for. And you would thank God, for pulling you out of it before it was too late. C’mon, you have moved on. You would have had numerous crushes post that. You would have shaved a thousand times, gulped down beer/whiskey a zillion times. Chill, the world is still a better place. This step is called the Closure, where you have obliterated the person from the desktop of your life forever. Well there are some memories left in the recycle bin. But your desktop is free from the virus called ‘Ex-Girlfriend’. Well, if you don’t feel all this, go back to Step 1.

*Any resemblance to any character, living, dead or sleeping is purely coincidental.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


Folks, my words are generally not perceived to be pearls of wisdom. For those who have known me long enough can vouch for my immaturity, my idiosyncracies, my handling of critical situations, which has only gone from bad to worse after my deft handling. I may not have solutions to the global warming crisis, the communalization of politics, why SRK is not taking a VRS etc etc. But, my credentials as a Baraati or the Grooms' friend is exemplary and above any scrutiny. As some one who has attended five weddings in the last year and a half, that's by no mean a small feat.. So what does a Baraati need to do at a wedding. Here's a small tutorial that can help you survive any Indian wedding.. What more, you can actually have loads of fun... So, let's get started

1. GET THE BASICS RIGHT: Get one thing drilled into your head right from the start. It's your friend's wedding or martyrdom, however you may wish to call it, not yours. So try not to hog the limelight as you won't get any.. Remember,as the Baraati, you are there for exactly 3 purposes:

1. Eat like a Pig
2. Drink like a fish
3. Dance like a maniac...


So, keep it plain and simple. Focus on the Kababs, Get drunk and and once you are three pegs down, noone cares how you dance..

2. LAST MAN STANDING: Folks, remember, you've had the best time of your life while you were drunk. All those adventures or misadventures you and your friend indulged in, that time when you cried your heart out over the girl who you loved, the post break up conversations where he lifted your morale, the time when you burst a cracker outside your landlady's apartment, and all those drunk texts you sent out to your crush-- none would have been possible without copious amount of alcohol. So, once you are at your friend's wedding, remember he is just paying you back for all your love and support... and the Bar is all yours.. It doesn't matter if you are standing right next to the groom's mamaji or fufaaji or mausajii at the bar. Remember, they don't know you.. you don't need to know them. no pleasantries required.. it's time for Black Label on the rocks...

3. FIRST MAN STANDING: Taking into consideration the fact that no Baraat in India starts before 8 o clock, you have enough time to change into your sherwani, gulp down some vodka shots and kickstart the Baraat proceedings.. And since you are high anyways, and you have anyways been shameless always, do not hesitate in taking the lead and being the first man to start grooving at the baraat. I suggest you advice the bandmaster to start with 'yeh desh hain veer jawano ka'.. It's a safe bet always.

4. SCREW THE PROCEEDINGS, FOCUS ON THE KABABS: Now, remember.. you are the neither the pandit, nor the bride's brother. your attendance while the wedding rituals are on is not paramount. Instead. its time for you to satiate your tastes buds. Plus the fact that your friend, who has probably paid for the buffet is starving, should motivate you to eat on his behalf as well.. Take a good look at the spread once.. Focus on your strengths. For example, if you prefer continental food more, don't try the biriyani right at the beginning. You can come back to that once you are done with the Pasta. You can go back to attending the ritual once your tummy has been satisfied and you have stocked up booz for the night. This is really important. So, I suggest you don't waste your time attending mehendi ceremonies and high tea functions, and instead focus on stocking up alcohol resources for the night.. The mehendi. the sangeet and the pheras are for the family members. Your focus areas should be: the pre-sangeet cocktail party in the groom's room or the post-sangeet party in your room.. Stay focussed, Stay High..

5. GREETING THE COUPLE, A FORMALITY: Now this can be tough. No matter how hard you try staying away from the wedding ceremony, your attendance on the dais for that exclusive snap with the couple is  a must.. There is also this customary 'hey I am so happy for you guys' type greeting that one has to indulge in.. I suggest, just walk up to the couple, utter those magical eight words... 'HEY I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS' and walk down

6. BE THE BEST MAN: Know your USP and be ready to deliver. Who will the groom come to when he is nervous before his dance performance and needs a swig or two? You. Indulge him
Who will the groom come to when he is bogged down by the weight of his sehra and sherwani and wants a shot off your glass?? You.. Indulge him..

So, that's it folks... Follow these basic instructions, and become the most awesomest Baraati at a wedding!!

Brocode Zindabad!!

Sunday, 25 December 2011


  It was a chilly Saturday afternoon. Also an afternoon, I was anxiously awaiting for the longest time. After all, there I was perched on a seat inside a Noida hall, endlessly waiting for the curtains to go up and for the drama to unfold. Don 2, probably the most anticipated film of the year. Mainly for two reasons: 1.Farhan Akhtar had done a fabulous job 5 years back. Chandra Barot’s Don is a classic and its legacy is unquestionable. But Farhan, who is known to add his own perspective to his work(DCH and Lakshya replete with such moments) had offered us a slick, technically superior film with edge- of- the- seat moments.

2. SRK’s rendition of Don in the 2006 version was a testimony to the fact that the King Khan was not only the King of Romance but also the Guru of Grey characters.. The swagger, the smirk, the dialogue delivery everything catapulted the character of Don to the highest level of cinematic experience.

So expectations from Don 2 had reached fever pitch. But 30 minutes into the film, it glared at us with its borrowed yet flawed storyline, an even weaker screenplay and  all hopes of Don 2 turning out to be a treat disappeared with a whimper.
The movie starts on a promising note, amidst the meandering backwaters of Thailand as the camera artistically zooms into the profile of the Don, now the undisputed king of the Asian drug cartel.His next mission- to establish his supremacy within the European drug mafia as well. All this while Roma (Priyanka Chopra) works on his sole mission in life- the put the Don behind the bars. Her character doesn’t evoke much interest in the film except a scene where her exposed back in a dance sequence with Hrithik (yes, he makes a cameo, and an annoyingly stupid one that is) which exudes her hidden sexuality.

Clearly, Don 2 lacks a story and is nowhere near the engaging thriller that Don was. Farhan, whose films always smack of superb story-telling seemed to have handed over the reins of direction as well to SRK. He dominates every frame right from the beginning till the credit rolls. He does have some riveting moments to himself, but his overpowering presence reduces Don 2 to little more than a SRK portfolio trailer that lasts more than 120 minutes.

The pace of the film, is slower than the government’s approach towards the Jan Lokpal Bill. The screenplay scampers at such a sluggish pace that even the breathtaking stunts and the daredevil action sequences do not evoke much response. Jason West’s camera work earnestly captures the picturesque town of Berlin. Never has Berlin been portrayed so extensively in a Bollywood film. West does a commendable job in capturing the globetrotting adventure as it kicks off in Thailand, and then unravels in Europe. Some of the stunts exhibited in Don 2 match up to international standards. But the SRK free fall from a Berlin skyscraper though sleekly shot, suffers from the MI4 Tom Cruise- Burj scene hangover.

The second biggest disappointment of the film closely following the heels of its weak script is the music. Though Don 2 does not give much scope for music to take centre-stage, but even the title track ’ Aa Gaya Laut Ke’ is a thumbs down. Shaan’s emphatic vocal cords had made the prequel’s title track a runaway hit. But Shankar- Ehsaan- Loy this time has failed in their department.

Don 2 honestly is a display of SRK’s histrionics. He lends a leaner and deadlier feel to the character with his swagger, his cocky smirk but is letdown by a heavily weak script. Priyanka doesn’t have much to do, as the script doesn’t have much scope. Kunal Kapoor back in the big league after a long time shows promise while the role of Lara Dutta who plays the Don’s moll is nothing more than that of an extended item number. Both the beauty queens have been wasted in the film. Boman Irani delivers an endearing performance yet again, and his versatility is the silver lining in an otherwise disappointing take of affairs.

In the end, a word of caution for SRK, Farhan and those willing to invest their (or their father’s) hard earned money on the film:

Dear SRK, it is time you stop taking your fans for granted. You were the very reason I got glued to Bollywood. But of late your films are giving birth to strong withdrawal symptoms when it comes to watching Hindi Films. Your star power is and shall remain unmatched. Please stop being insecure about yourself . Next time, give some space to the director.

 Farhan, your films have always been uber, sleek, cool and a torchbearer of the changing times in our film industry. Don 2 was a colossal disappointment. Next time please have a story to tell. Remember, a story drives a film and a screenplay is the catalyst. Do have a word with your dad.

If you are an SRK loyalist, Don 2 warrants a one-time watch. But somewhere in the middle, if you are forced to yawn, keep it low. You might just wake up the person snoring away next to you!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011



For all those contemplating the idea of buying a new car or purchasing a new home, the headlines on all leading dailies in the country on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 would be nothing less than disappointing. As the Reserve Bank Of India announces hikes in car and home loans in a desparate attempt to wrest the rising inflation, the ‘aam janta’ may have suddenly found an unlikely villain, RBI Governor D Subbarao
But before you go all guns blazing at the good old man, just ponder on for a moment. Afterall, he is just trying to make amends for the lavish expenditure that the central government has incurred in the last few years, and trying to bridge the enormous budget deficit left in its wake. The RBI’s action might get the brickbats flying towards it, but it is just trying to clear the mess created by the Central Government.

Anyways, coming back to the topic of my article, buying cars, homes as present would perhaps be a forbidden territory for a majority of the tax-payers.But there are a lot of other products that you could buy.  And what more, our top politicians, ministers, those in the corridors of power are endorsing them. You don’t believe me, well you just might after gazing through the article.

Dr. Manmohan Singh- Product:  ‘Bose MS’ Soundbox

The latest joke doing the rounds on the social networking websites is that patrons entering a movie hall are being implored to put their mobile phones on ‘Manmohan Singh’ mode. At a time when his government is embattled with corruption charges, the latest rant being from A. Raja himself about his alleged knowledge about the dubius dealings in the 2g case, Singh resorts to his greatest weapon- Silence.

Being an economist himself, isn’t it time he took the reins in his hand and formulated a policy to swerve us straight out the ‘inflation blitzkrieg’? As someone, who leads the government of the world’s second largest democracy, what stops him from coming clear on all the charges levelled against his government?  Is his allegiance only restricted to 10 Janpath Road or does the domain extend to the entire nation as well?

I am sure the last time Manmohan Singh called upon his dentist for a check up, the latter must have taken a dig at him as well. He must have said, “Atleast open your mouth now”

P. Chidambaram – Product:  PC Security Alarm System

As three bomb blasts on 13/7 ripped through the city of Mumbai, India’s commercial hub, thereby exposing India’s vulnerability to terror attacks, Mr. P. Chidambaram, Union Home Minister seemed a content man the very next day while addressing the press in Mumbai. Retorting to a question directed by a journalist, Chidambaram insisted that Mumbai was a ‘safe haven’ and that there has been no terror attack on the city for the last 31 months. To deconstruct his statement further, what he meant was that the security deployed in Mumbai is so ‘extraordinarily’ tight, that those intending to strike terror on the shores of the city had to wait for 31 months after 26/11 to finally get an opportunity. Any sane person’s instant reaction to such a statement would be, “ROFLMAO”.

The reality, that our Home Minister perhaps would choose to ignore, is that every nook and corner of the country is on the brink of terror. We are at the mercy of the terrorists for our lives. For it is they who draft up the ploy to sabotage the peaceful fabric of our nation. And all we get in the name of security and in return for the tax we pay to the exchequer are policemen  equipped with 3-not- 3 rifles and the famous danda to thwart the bullets from  AK 47 and other automated machine guns.

The Maoist insurgency in around ten Indian states remains the biggest internal threat to India till date. In 2009, Manmohan Singh had bluntly pointed out that the country was losing the battle against the Maoist rebels. Come 2011, the government  it seems have surrendered to the Maoists and have dug up graves for them to do the needful.

In 2010 alone, we lost over a thousand lives to Maoist attacks. In 2011, the toll stands  at over 300 till June. God only knows, how many more fatalities has been hidden under the radar and concealed from the media. And yet, there has not been a single foolproof strategy to counter the threat in the Red Corridors.Or for that matter, constructive efforts to bring back the Maoists to return to the mainstream of society.

Reports of violations of Line Of Control by the Chinese Army pour in on a regular basis. The People’s Liberation Army even has the audacity on marking the presence of China on boulders and rocks belonging to the Indian soil. What steps has the Home Ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Defence taken to avert such perpetual infiltrations?

So if you want your home , ‘safe and sound’, its time you got the PC Security Alarm System installed.

BS Yeddyurappa: Product: Mantra healed ruby gem stone

Indicted along with other Karnataka heavyweights by the Lokayukta Report for causing a loss of Rs 16085 crore through illegal mining, the beleaguered Karnataka Chief Minister now invokes the blessings of God to save his throne. The other damning charges pressed against the CM are donations to the tune of Rs 10 crore by a mining company to the trust of the CM’s kin and him selling private land to a mining company for a whopping 20 crores.

But a vividly optimistic and defiant BSY, who just returned from the exotic climes of Mauritius after a family holiday still expresses a fervent desire to continue for two more years and passes the buck to the PM and the Home Minister, questioning their moral right to continue in office after the recent charges levelled against them by the tainted former Telecom Minister A. Raja.

With clamours for his removal within the BJP itself getting stronger by the day, party President Nitin Gadkari, it seems would have to engage in a lot of permutation , combinations before arriving at a decision. Though after Wednesday’s indictment, his exit seems imminent, the party would have to pre-empt the backlash it could face from the Lingayat community in Karnataka, of which he remains a popular leader.

A cat has nine lives. BS Yeddyurappa has eleven. In the past few years the ‘Destiny’s Child’ has survived eleven attempts of assassination of his political career. Well, this time however, he finally might have to vacate the CM’s post but his tenacity and zeal to fight back has is praiseworthy.
So, if you’re in search for luck in your professional and personal life, contact Bookanakere Siddhalingappa Yeddyurappa at his Race Course Road residence in Bangalooru.  Extra charges are to be levied for private consultations.
In a similar fashion, Nitin Gadkari would shortly be endorsing ‘Slimming Belts’, LK Advani would  sign up for an ‘anti-ageing cream’ campaign and Sushma Swaraj would soon be roped in as the brand ambassador for the next big Dance Reality Show.
Wonder, what/ who a certain Mr Digvijaya Singh who pledged political exile in 2003  would endorse?  The Gandhi family scion Rahul Gandhi, may be.

P.S- The writer of this article does not endorse ‘slander and profanity’.The right to freedom of speech and expression? Well, may be!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224

The stage was set for Dr. Manmohan Singh to rise to the occasion. Embattled with charges of corruption against the coalition he leads, rattled by the tirade of the Civil Society, this was the septuagenarian’s chance to  give a befitting reply to his critics and the nation; that as a Prime Minister, his integrity and probity was unquestionable, that the cabinet reshuffle as he had promised, would truly be ‘expansive’
But, in the end, the Cabinet Reshuffle just turned out be a damp squib, lacking both credence and conviction, reminiscent of a tale of missed opportunities.

Jairam Ramesh, as the erstwhile Environment Minister raised the most potent and relevant questions.  An activist in the garb of a politician, he single-handedly prioritised ecological concerns and put it right on the UPA’s agenda. Here was a man who never shied away from calling a spade a spade. His crusade against the development enthusiasts and corporate lobby was perhaps the most fascinating “untold’ story of 2010, though it made him a ‘not so favourite’ in the corridors of power and that of 10 Janpath.
Jairam blocked the FDI to the tune of 51000 crore by Posco in Orissa, vetoed the final approval to Lavasa for infringing on environmental laws, made Praful Patel sweat over the Navi Mumbai. Mr. Patel even went all guns blazing against Ramesh on national TV for his obsession with environmental laws. Though, his decision to surge ahead with the 9900 MW nuclear plant project in Jaitapur,Maharashtra propelled him in the epicentre of controversy, the bigger picture tells a different story. Jairam Ramesh, his gaffes notwithstanding, was assertive in putting environmental concerns ahead of India Inc. In his vendetta on behalf of the mangroves, he may have antagonised the elite who love the malls and airports instead.

When Vayalar Ravi took over the reins from outgoing Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel in January, 2011, the humongous losses suffered by Air India stared blankly at him in the face. Losses pegged at almost Rs.720 crore then, Ravi’s biggest challenge was to restore the old glory of the national carrier. Air India, a monopoly at one time today is just a frail shadow of itself, retaining as much as 13% of the market share. Today, a passenger shudders before boarding an Air India flight. Delayed flights, bad timings, unreachable customer care rule the roost at Air India.
Six months, down the line, the bleeding carrier is contemplating approaching the RBI for a special waiver after defaulting on payment of service tax and interest, and owes to the tune of 48000 crore.
Vayalar Ravi is certainly not to be blamed for the mess. A certain Mr. Patel might take offence. But a sneak peek into the steps he has taken since his tenure, and Mr.Ravi  cuts a sorry figure. He has done NOTHING, to hasten AI’s speedy recovery. In the last six months, there has been no positive signs from the ageing politician that could help us nourish hopes about the cash strapped airlines’ turn around. The AI obituary has been written. He is perhaps copy-editing it!
At this juncture, Dr. Manmohan Singh should have relieved Ravi of his duties and instead appointed a more dynamic, forthcoming person to script the aviation industry turnaround. Someone who could formulate ideas to tap profitable routes, ideate on rebuilding the brand and take eager steps in re-instilling the respect for AI in the minds of the jetsetters and the common class. But instead, he chose to retain Ravi. This shows utter lack of pro-activeness on the part of the PM.

Why is Vilasrao still in the Cabinet? – Is a question that journalists have asked for long. Former Maharashtra CM & recently nominated Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Earth sciences is an accused in the infamous Adarsh Housing Scam for marking the Adarsh file as ‘tatkal’. A Mumbai collector testified against Deshmukh last week, thereby bringing his very integrity under the scanner. In such a scenario, the PM in a rarest show of propriety should gave handed over Deshmukh a VRS and instead inducted someone with adequate knowledge about the ambit of the ministry, someone who not just be a namesake minister but contribute to the pivotal role of the ministry in promoting science and technology in the country. Vilasrao, anyways has no remarkable achievement as a Rural Development Minister to vouch for.

Rahul Baba, for long has been looked upon as the ‘PM –in-waiting’ .  The media’s blue eyed boy, Congress loyalists have never lost an opportunity in vouching for  Rahul’s Prime Ministerial qualities on national TV. Their comments may have appeased Rahul’s mommy, but has he really proven himself at the national level. If the Congress is so affirmative about Rahul’s PM credentials, shouldn’t he have been given or rather compelled to take up a ministerial post to prove that’ the taste of the pudding is in the eating’? Merely shaking hands with villagers or eating at a Dalit household wouldn’t make him pass the acid test. The rule is simple: If you desire to become the captain of your team, be a part of the team first.
Rahul, as far as my memory serves has never openly craved for the PM’s post. But if he wishes to be the messiah of the farmers, why doesn’t he take up a post of responsibility and change things around. For heavens sake, the guy in 41 and has been in national politics for seven years. Mrs Gandhi, what stopped you from telling your boy to take up a position of responsibility and accountability in the government.
The Cabinet Reshuffle , thereby in my opinion is a tale of ‘missed opportunities’.  Being the class monitor, he should have dealt with the bullies with an iron hand and encouraged those who showed spark of good work. Guess, the PM needs to go back to school!