Thursday, March 30, 2006

misbehaving elites

The so called elites of Mumbai have got involved into controversies recently. First there was an opposition to the Pedder Road Flyover, with high-profiles like Lata Mangeshakar allegedly threatening to leave Mumbai. And yesterday there was a bust-up at Malabar Hill over the parking issue, which resulted in some Police were attacked by the elites in the nearby buildings. Isn't this behaviour arrogant and haughty?

There have been many flyovers built in Mumbai in the last decade. However, no flyover has raised as much debate as Pedder Road Flyover. Some have suffered from the flyovers in the past, but it hadn't raised much hubbub as this one, as people know that they have to give something to gain something. The residents of Pedder Road claim that they are going to face inconvinience after building flyover and hence this project should be cancelled. Because of their clout in the Government they have been successful in delaying the project by 2-3 years. If there had been any opposition in any poor areas, then it would have been crushed ruthlessly ( e.g. look at Narmada Sarovar project). But this is different case. It involves a lot of high-profile people. So even after the expert reports Government is reluctant to go ahead with the project.

Is might of money overpowering public interest? Isn't the wider interest of public more important than a bunch of people? Governement should not budge under the pressure from these people and should go ahead with the project to reduce the traffic congestion, which would help ordinary Mumbaiite. That would be victory for common man in Mumbai!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bharat Darshan!

Yesterday, India beat England in ODI in Delhi. Good win for India considering its miserable performance in Mumbai Test. But Indian batsmen failed to perform one more time. In the last few series Indian top-order has failed consistently ( especially Viru and Sachin) and lower middle order has saved the blushes for top-order. A point to ponder about Mr. Chapple.

In India, ODI series is a chance for visiting team to do some Bharat Darshan! The ODI series invariably consists of 7 matches which are held on all the corners of India, from Guwahati in east to Rajkot in west and from Mohali in the north to Cochin in south. Just check out the England itinerary for this ODI series.

28 Delhi

31 Faridabad

3 Goa

6 Cochin

9 Guwahati

12 Jamshedpur

15 Indore

Consecutive ODI's are held at Cochin and Guwahati. There is too little time to practice. Many of the touring teams have complained BCCI in this matter, but it continues to draft schedules in this manner. Apart from the travelling factor, there is no attention paid to the fact that matches are not held on Saturday-Sundays or any other public holiday. 2nd match is on Friday and third is on Monday. Only pattern the Board seems to follow is the two-day gap between two consecutive matches. BCCI knows that, be it Sunday or not, people are going to flock to the stadium. Compare this to Australia or SA, where ODIs are only held on Fridays and Sundays. Perhaps, it may save some human hours. Par apne Board ko kya? They are only interested in making money!

There was some heated discussion about the Rotating Policy, when the Test match at Chennai was cancelled because of monsoon. Because of this policy matches are not held on a fixed date in any city. e.g. in Australia there is Boxing day Test match in Melbourne or New Year Test match in Sydney. I know, it is not completely feasible, but at least Board can assign particular month for particular region. Wouldn't it be great, if say there is Diwali Test match in Mumbai, held each year!

So what I think is - there should be regions assigned to each tour. Say, South region for all Feb- March tours ( so no monsoon problem). And all the Tests and ODIs will be played in this region only. So less travelling. Fixed month and dates for Test matches. And there is no need to dish out Test status to each and every small venue in India. Small centres like Kanpur and Cuttack can be easily done away with.

There are problems in it-like every region would like to host Australia and nobody would prefer Bangladesh. If Australia tour is held in one region the other regions will be deprived of watching Aussie performance live. Or small centres will not get many matches. But in a Big country like India such things are bound to happen. As there are advantages of scale, so are disadvantages!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

some musings

Finally midterm is over! Now only final exams and viva are remaining. So in just three months, I'll be engineer! Not a big deal. Mumbai university churns out more than 40000 engineers each year. But nonetheless, something to cheer about.

This week has been a roller coster of results for me. First there was CET result, in which I performed very well, as I had expected. Then just after a couple of days, there was XLRI final result. I didn't get through. My interview was OK. So result didn't raise much emotions. Not too disappointed. Then there was midterm. And yesterday I got first admit, from USC. Not a great achivement. Everybody in India gets admit from USC ( and everybody wonders "How"?). But it was first admit after two rejects. So it's good that admits have started. And I am hoping to get good ones. It will help to solve my dilemma.

The sem is almost over. This sem just zipped through. Being a last sem and as almost everybody had their future plans ready, very few cared about the studies. But now it's time to study. Busy months ahead!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

ek pe ek free - you cannot do that with newspapers!

It's really coincidence that my secondlast post was on the Electronic media. But one offer prompted me to write on newspapers. This month ToI are starting new offer. You can get Maharastra Times free with ToI. Isn't that ridiculous? It was OK with Mirror, being a "pulp" newspaper. But I think Mata is a responsible and one of the better papers and 'ek pe ek free' shouldn't be applied to it. ( I really admire articles and editorials by Bharatkumar Raut, editor of Mata!)

One advertise had appeared in Indian Express couple of years back.
ToI had claimed that it was the largest circulated daily in Pune. On the following day, an ad in Indian Express showed ToI attached in toilet insted of tissue paper. The ad said-
"People buy people for different reasons. Indian Express- highest readership in Pune".
Today, newspapers are not at all interested in increasing "readership", they only want to increase 'sales'.

Look at the offers by newspapers. ToI pe Mirror free. HT annual subscription for Rs.200. Same with DNA. Are we hare for sale? But does any of this newspaper care, if the paper is being read and enlightening, influencing people? No because in the process of making more and more profit, many paper have forgotten their prime responsibilty- to create awareness among people! Unfortunately, as I talked about the electronic media, the irresponsibility is creeping in the print media as well. No wonder, all the newspapers are trying to become more and more attractive and glossy, at the same time trimming the content. "Cut for You"! Rubbish!

Media is supposed to be the fourth pillar of democracy. That pillar is being decorated from the outside, but there is no effort to fortify it from the inside. It's bound to crumble, along with the other three pillars. Or maybe, the internet media will strengthen it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

ETA announces ceasefire

In one of my previous posts, I had written about the Basques. I had briefly mentioned about the Basque separatist group ETA, the organisation responsible for the Madrid train bombings. Today is a historical day for Basques. ETA has declared permanent ceasefire!

ETA is demanding a separate state for Basque people in Spain and France. ETA has used violance to achive their objective. But in a complete turnaround from their previous stance, ETA spokesman today announced that "they are ready to use democratic process to create a Basque country". This could be the first step of the peace process.

In last few years, there has been increasing pressure on the terrorist groups to stop the violance. Governments all over the world are taking stern measures to crack down on terrorism. With globalisation economic matters are taking precedence over the political issues. This has accelerated peace processes in some regions of the world, like India-Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Palestine. Of course, there are terrorism is on the rise, like Iraq, Nepal. It is interesting to note that, these regions are not integrated in the global economy and are facing the consequences. On the other hand, flourishing economies of India and China have prompted them overlook the contentious issues and join hands on the trading front.

Ireland serves as a perfect example of this. It has made tremendous progress after IRA had given up violent means. With the flourishing economy in the last decade, there is hope that more and more terrorist organisations will follow the suit and world would be a safer place.

Friday, March 17, 2006

news channels

There are more than news channels in India. If you don't believe, go and count. In the last couple of years, spates of news channels have started. With so many news channels on offer, competition has really heatened up to draw a large chunk of audiance. So in that attempt, they have become more and more laughable. Most of the news channels are becoming nothing but a joke. Let's look at them one by one.

Times Now- Newest entry on TV, backed by media tycoon, Times Group. But I really detest those childish ads. There are better ways of saying 'feel the news'. BTW, this catchline is not catchy. So kind of OK channel, not bad!

NDTV- IMHO, the best Indian news channel. Especially NDTV Profit, with its wide variety of shows. Experienced and expert reporters. Excellent presentation. Nice punchline-"Khabar vahi jo sach dikhae". Perhaps the only Indian news channel which goes beyond the daily news.

CNN-IBN-Clone of NDTV, because of Rajdeep Sardesai. This turns out to be an advantage when it comes to presentation and reporting. But one gets the feeling of watching NDTV revamped.

Star news- Ever since NDTV started their own channel Star News are struggling to find their own niche. They have good presentation, thanks to Star. But they have resorted to pandering audiance with a tinge of sensetionalism. Shows like 'Sansani' exemplify it. Worst thing is that justify their stand, saying that lowest strata of society watch and like these programmes. Isn't this behaviour irresponsible?

Aaj Tak- It is the first and no.1 news channel in India. It is good news channel, but I think its standard has deteriorated from its DD Metro days. It has some excellent shows, but at the same time some with sensationalism. Let's hope they do not follow the suit of Star News.

CNBC- Used to be no.1 business news channel, but its position has been taken over by NDTV. But it has some shows worth watching.

Sahara News, Zee News, Janmat, India TV, Sahara Mumbai, etc.- All are in the same league. Nothing special about any of them. Just another news channel.

CNN- They claim that it is CNN International. But I can't figure out, how? For CNN, World Sport means, Baseball, NBA, NFL and NHL. Same with other news. American propaganda machine, you may call it.

BBC- This is my favourite news channel. Not because of it's news, which show a bit of British bias and superciliousness. But the documenatries and weekly programmes are the best. They cover various issues and regions.

In spite of having so many channels, India needs a good news channel, perhaps combining features of NDTV and BBC! Electronic media has to play a responsible role in a democracy like ours.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Mahabaleshwar trip on weekend was really a respite from the hectic life in Mumbai ( though I've to admit that life has become less hectic after taking DVC. I really pity for the Wireless guys!). I really enjoyed it. I think, it would be last trip with the class, as everybody will be busy after 8th sem. It will definitely bring some good memories in the future.

Mahabaleshwar is an ideal place for such weekend trips and the hotel was good. Excellent place for playing. For the first time in the life I played TT and won, of course thanks to Swanand. But nevertheless, a memorable experience.

The only thing which was not upto the expectations was food. Typical veg food, which is not my taste. I noticed this thing all over Mahabaleshwar. Most of the resorts and hotels were pure veg, barring few in the market. Or maybe I did notice only veg hotels. Perhaps there is Gujarati influence on tourism in Mahabaleshwar. Every tourist spot targets a particular class of tourists and tries to lure them. Malaysia did the same thing with Indian tourists. And now every country is doing it, New Zealand, Mauritius.

I always wander away from the main topic of the blog. But let it be!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's a cruel, cruel game!

Champion's League always produces enthralling matches. And yesterday was no exception. Most of the eyes were fixed on the clash of the European giants, Chelsea and Barcelona. And, it lived upto the expectation. Another dazzling display and yet another goal from the World Footballer of the Year, Ronaldinho. The vengeance is complete. Chelsky are dumped out of the Champion's League. Yet another lesson of Roman Army that money can't buy everything.

But the game of the night was Juventus- Werder Bremen. It was a battle beween David and Goliath. And Werder Bremen almost triumphed. It was a heroic display, but finally Juve just edged ahead, by away goals rule, thanks to a horrendous mistake by German keepen Wiese. A cruel end to an almost fairytale. A heartbreak for Bremen who fought so hard to oust the Italian Champions.

Bremen were ahead by 3-2 from the first leg. Nobody gave them chance in Turin given the defensive prowess of Juventus. But they went ahead on thirteenth minute through a superb finish form France International Micoud. Another Frenchman, this time from the Italians, equalised. Juventus kept on pressing on the Werder goal, but the German backline stood firm. Werder keeper Wiese, who was playing just his second game in the Champoion's league, produced many stunning saves, keeping Germans in the game till 88th minute. And then that moment arrived. Wiese caught an innocuous cross from Nedved and somehow (yes, you can't explain such things in words!) he fumbled it. Emerson, who was returnig to his defensive position, bolted it to the back of the net. All the good work for two legs, undone in two seconds of insanity! It's really a cruel, cruel game! The Old Lady just scrambled through to the next round.

It reminded me of semi-final in last year's Champion's League. Another clash involving Italian giants. This time AC Milan. PSV Eindhoven fought hard throughout the match, but lost through a last minute strike from Rosaneri's. It's really amazing the way football brings out the emotions out of the people, how it gets intermingled with the life of the people. As the Fifa 2006 start says- " It's all about passion and commitments and loyalties and triumphs. It's not just a game, but a way of life!"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oscar fever

This year's Oscar produced many surprises. Especially in the 'Best film' catagory. I haven't seen any of the nominations or winners. So I don't know if it's right to comment on the. But from whatever I have read and heard about them, I think this Oscars have really been historial because of the subjects of the award winners.

The winner of the best film award is on the racism in America. Syriana is on the oil issue. Brokeback Mountain and Capote are on 'gay' issues. Good Night, and Good Luck is on the suppression of media. It's really refreshing to see that Hollywood, an integral part of the US media, criticizing Bush administration. Even George Clooney's words were pro-liberals.

I think, I better watch the films first before commenting any further.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bush visit

The recent George Bush visit to the subcontinent was marked by two things. Nuclear deal and the anti-Bush protests. US has done many bad things in the Bush regime, including attack on Iraq and Afghanistan. And people were right to protest against it. But one must also look at the positive side of this regime as well.

Republicans have always been positive towards outsourcing to India. During the presidential campaign in 2004, John Kerry supported anti-outsourcing movement and was critical of Bush government as they supported outsourcing. So Bush was on India's side. Then consider the recent nuclear deal. I know US has ulterior motives in the deal. They are going forward because they don't want the oil prises to be hikes. But so be it. As long as the deal is helping India to get nuclear technology, why should we worry about it? I always wonder why are there different standards for nuclear and other technologies. I mean, when there is latest, say, mobile technology is available from Korea, we are ready to accept it. But when government talked about getting nuclear technology from US, many people, including scientists, opposed it arguing that we can get it indiginously in 'few years'. Why should there be different criteria for nuclear technology?

So the question we face is-- should we accept bounties from evil? Will this evil turn his wrath towards India some day? Or is he really an evil at least for India? Only time will tell.

P.S.: As I am writing, I just heard that he has no opposition for Ind0-Iran oil pipeline. So another problem resolved.