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THE SAME STORY

Posted on September 28, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized |

When I was in school,me and my friends received postcards that were feared.In most instances, we didn’t even bother to read the contents.The cards were torn and thrown away.We were discouraged from reading the cards.

Now what was in those cards that sent the proverbial chills down our spines?

The cards didn’t have any sender details.The recipient of the card was in the name of some god was asked to write the same message and forward it to 100 people.In case the recipient followed the instructions, there would be a reward in the form of blessings from the almighty.This is not the end of the story.Anyone who read the message and did not follow the instructions was threatened with divine retribution.So it was better not to read.

Now in the age of the internet and the social networks,things have changed but not the attitudes.I have come across such messages in my Facebook timeline. The message is tagged and shared and the tagged person is required to do the same for the fear of attracting divine wrath ! 

Such messages contain images of gods,goddesees and also godmen- even those with dubious reputations.

A couple of days ago a former colleague of mine put a photo of his better half where he professed his undying love for her.There is nothing amusing but for the fact that are a happy couple staying together.A better alternative would have been for him to say those words directly to the missus instead of broadcasting it on the internet.

Times have changed but it is the same story- people are always ready to make themselves fools.

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EU(RO) EXIT AND FALL OUT

Posted on June 28, 2016. Filed under: FOOTBALL, EURO 2016, SPORTS, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

First it was the exit from the EU (European Union) called ‘BREXIT’ and then it was the exit from EURO 2016 that brought England into focus, albeit, one on the front page and the other on the last page.But in both the cases, the failures resulted in some casualties.

As a student of Economics, it always is interesting for me to read about how things like free trade areas, economic unions etc. work in practice.That for me, was the reason why I felt connected with the referendum that resulted in the people of Britain deciding to leave the European Union. The Prime Minister of England, David Cameron, predictably announced his intention of leaving office after the ‘leave’ vote. It always has been a contentious issue in England.

The second exit of England relates to the ouster of football team from the EURO 2016 held in France. The opening minutes saw Wayne Rooney giving his team the lead from a penalty. But as is the case, the English players only flattered to deceive and at the end, Iceland were the winning team. As the match went on, the English players simply looked like going through the motions and waited for the final whistle. The manager of the English team, Hodgson made public his decision to quit his post almost immediately.

England has never won any major international football competition since the win at home in 1966 edition of the World Cup. The Germans still are not happy with one particular incident from that finals even after all these years. The best performance in the EURO is a last four finish in the 1996 edition of the tournament when it was hosted by England.The loss to Iceland is surprising to say the least.It is a surprise since the English Premier League produces quality football, of course, with a great deal of help from ‘foreigners’.

I am now interested in finding out the impact of BREXIT on English football in the years to come. The Bosman ruling allowed many players ‘free transfers’ and many players from other European countries could ply trade in England and also in other EU football leagues. With the leave vote, it remains to be seen as to how the English FA decides to tackle the new problem. The earlier restrictions relating to the number of foreigners at any time on the ground may create difficulties for the football bosses of England. At the same time, the English league may be left behind in terms of quality.

Experts are still wondering over the economic impact of BREXIT. The exit of Britain from the EU was not entirely unexpected as also the progress of England in EURO 2016.I am thinking about the effect on English football.

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DISAPPOINTMENTS OR MISAPPOINTMENTS?

Posted on June 26, 2016. Filed under: INDIA, POLITICS, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan to the post of Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India(FTII), Pune was controversial to say the least. The students went on a strike for over a 100 days demanding a different chairperson. The protesting students wanted someone with a greater ability and talent in line with some of the ‘illustrious’ predecessors of Chauhan. Those opposed to this appointment wasted no time in showing to the world the ‘body of work’ that displayed the immense talents of Gajendra Chauhan. Politicians, predictably, jumped into the picture making it ugly and most of the time, comical. Even Rahul Gandhi could not contain himself and made for another hilarious attempt at grandstanding.

Now comes another appointment. The Central Government has appointed Chetan Chauhan to be the Chairman of the National Institute of Fashion Technology(NIFT). Chetan Chauhan played test cricket for India and opened alongside the great Sunil Gavaskar. There is no denying the cricketing abilities of this Chauhan. But heading the NIFT requires talent and ability which is simply not available with Chetan Chauhan. Again, there were debates and discussions from both sides.

No political party can claim to be ‘holier’ than the others when it comes to appointments being doled out as favours to a party worker as a reward. All are equally guilty. There is simply no colour or ideology that can be attached any significance when it comes to such appointments.

There is still one appointment that the Central Government has to make and that is concerning the Reserve Bank of India. Given the import, the ruling party would not dare put some party worker to preside over the money supply of the country.

One appointment was made in the last week and it would have made perfect timing if some party worker from the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) were asked to become the Coach of the Indian cricket team. It would not have been controversial since the head of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) is a Member of Parliament belonging to the BJP. Interestingly many politicians have in the past or in the present associated with the running of cricket in India.

At least Gajendra Chauhan was an actor while the other Chauhan does not have any experience, leave expertise in matters relating to the fashion industry.

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COLOURFUL MEMORIES

Posted on March 22, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Holi was one of those days which meant a lot when I was young. It was really difficult to wait for a year to take part in the festival of colours. There were other festive occasions but Holi was the best. On Diwali the celebrations were and are restricted to the confines of the home but Holi was something to be enjoyed outside on the roads in the company of friends. That was the greatest thing about Holi. It was also made special since according to the Hindu calendar, my youngest brother was born the day before Holi, Dolo purnima.

My parents took the responsibility in deciding about the kind of colours that me and my siblings could get access to. We were forbidden from using or rather throwing balloons filled with coloured water on buildings as well as on other revellers. But there was no restriction on the variety of items-sweet and savouries that could be consumed at home. Some were bought and my mother had her specials to mark the occasion.

For a while, I was given the responsibility of captaining the team that included my two younger brothers on the day of Holi. A large group of friends would almost cover the entire town on foot at a time when the town was very small and a lot more friendly. It was past the afternoon that we would return home feeling the after effects of the walking, the hot sun and the hunger. But we had to wait till mother would apply oil-mostly coconut oil to remove the colours before giving us the bath. The wait for lunch was excruciating to say the least and it was difficult to consume the food with sleep affecting our reflexes.

There was the sight of a group of elders of the town moving around the town with coloured powder and sweets accompanied by traditional music. The group was led by a gentleman who was the chairperson of the municipality many times. The sight of pot bellies swaying to the music was a sight to behold.

Once me and my brothers got more friends, we went separate ways in celebrating Holi. There were certain people who did not play fair. My younger brother was on the way back alone and a bully smeared his face with black paint. My brother came running to the home and mother took over with her cleaning methods to remove the paint. My brother was warned not to go out for the day. But within a few minutes after the cleaning he went out and his face was painted black once again by the same person. Meanwhile, I returned home and my parents let loose their verbals volleys on me for being irresponsible. I found my brother sitting with a glum face with the black paint on his face. My youngest brother and sister were trying to console him. Upon enquiry, I discovered that mother was angry for my brother crossed the Lakshman rekha. To this day, we all have a hearty chuckle recounting this and many other episodes related to Holi. Sadly, there were no cameras or smartphones to capture selfies and photos in those days.

Holi was truly an occasion where we could celebrate without any care in the world and being young with no responsibility and chips on shoulders, it was one that has given memories for a lifetime. Of course, with age and the changed priorities of the society, Holi has become less colourful and less enjoyable. The passing away of my youngest brother has had its effect on the celebration of Holi.

But then in the recent years, my five year old son who pushes Dennis the Menace into a distant second place, Holi has become enjoyable once again although I dearly miss the past and the company of friends and siblings who made Holi special. No display technology can really supplant the colourful memories of Holi.

“I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed.”

The video offers a small insight into the joy that comes with Holi.No

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SHARE THE LOAD TO BE A MAN

Posted on March 11, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

We live in a society where people are judged on the basis of variables like caste, religion,family name and even gender and sadly not on the basis of qualification, ability etc. This what development economists call as one indicator of underdevelopment. Of course, when it comes to the opportunities for women, things are not pretty much different even in the most developed of the societies.

Women are stereotyped when it comes to their choice of occupation. They are considered unsuitable for certain occupations that are regarded as manly. Even when women decide to stay as housewives, things are not better. There are certain tasks which are supposed to be taken care by the mother or the wife. At the same time, women are not even taken into consideration when it comes to some important issues.

It is considered unmanly when some man decides to do something as trivial as making tea or coffee for himself. I often have come across friends and colleagues who boast about their lack of any talent in the above mentioned area. If someone opens up, he is laughed at and in the worst case, he is ridiculed. There are also instances where the wife does not allow her husband to stay in the kitchen for any length of time, for she does not want to break the tradition.

In this context, I recall my personal experience. My father from the southern part of India is an expert in the art of making filter coffee. He would start the process before going to bed for the filter to do the magic so that the morning would witness the strong aroma of coffee. My wife from a different part of the country only knew about one variety of coffee-the instant one. She was not happy with my father being the master coffee brewer of the family for that would bring shame to the daughter-n-law and she decided to set things right. But for a considerable length of time, my father would beat her to the first cup.

So think of one task that is the exclusive domain of the women-washing of clothes. Many of the menfolk boast loudly that their clothes are cleaned and also pressed by the ladies at home. Before marriage, the mother and post marriage, it the turn of the wife to wash the dirty linen, albeit, not in the glare of the public eye. For the poor, the women wash the clothes of their families at public taps.

My mother was a teacher in a high school who always had her hands full with the task of managing the house as well as her occupation. With four kids who often were like Dennis the Menace, things were difficult for us. Come Sunday she would spend a lot of time taking care of the dirty clothes, when washing machines were not accessible for ordinary folks like us.

As me and my siblings came across some friends who washed their clothes, a tiny bit of load was taken off the shoulder of my mother. Later, all the four of us spent varying amounts of time in hostels for our post graduation studies, washing of clothes became a necessity and to this day the trend continues, much to the chagrin of my wife. It is not that I am here to give any sermon to anyone, but I honestly believe in the sharing the load. I cannot take the load related to cooking and taking care of my son, and I can lend her a hand when it comes to the washing of clothes. I must confess that I only wash my clothes since my wife does not allow me to take care of her clothes as well as those of our son.

Just as charity should begin at home, so should the so-called empowerment of women. The sharing of the load as far as washing clothes is concerned, is just a small token of our gratitude to mothers and wives. It is manly to care and protect our women. This should not be very difficult in a society where even the top job could be handled by a woman. Of course, there is the most developed country in the world which is yet to witness a contest involving a woman for the top job.

With apologies to Bob Dylan, I am paraphrasing the lyrics of the great song “Blowin’ In The Wind”

“How many tons of clothes should a lady wash to be called a woman.The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind”.

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation

There is the following video to help #ShareTheLoad

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A GREAT PARTNERSHIP

Posted on February 21, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

The relationship between #MUSIC and films in India is something of a symbiosis. They are complementary and either on its own can carry the other to a long distance as far as the memories of the connoisseurs are concerned.It is only in the recent decade that good music is also created outside of the realm of the movies.

There have been films which have remained in our memories not so much for the acting or the storyline but more so because of the #PEPPY music. Good music has the power of #NAVIGATION that makes the stay at the theatre a pleasant experience. The #IMPACT of good music is felt when we listen to the music even after the curtain falls at the theatre. This leads to results in the word #FANTASTICO coming out of the mouth.

My father listens to a lot of music and songs from movies form an integral part of his collection. He regales with stories and legends behind the music and its makers. There is nothing short of bliss when he listens to his favourite song.                    

In recent times the lyrics and the music accompanying it are largely disconnected from the storyline of the movie. The music in such cases largely plays the part of the useless fifth wheel.The pleasure of watching the movie gets lost.

My younger brother talked a lot about the music given by Amit Trivedi for the film DevD directed by Anurag Kashyap. The music was fresh and it still sounds good. The music featured many genres. It was after a number of hours of listening to the music that I felt the urge to watch the movie and I was not at all disappointed. At no place did the songs felt out of place or out of context. The songs in a way helped in the flow of the movie.Both the versions of the song ‘Emotional Atyachar’ sound delightful.

Speaking of Amit Trivedi, there are a couple of other movies that are worth mentioning. One is ‘Udaan’ and the other is ‘Kai Poche’. The songs were extremely important in the narrative behind the movies. In Udaan, the songs helped the movie become a success. In times of today when one has to be very careful about writing or saying something, the words of the song ‘Azaadiyan’ are extremely motivating, to say the least. Kai Poche has few songs, but thoroughly enjoyable.

The title song from the movie ’Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’-both versions sound like anthems, thanks to the lyrics, singer and the music.The talent  of A R Rahman has contributed tremendously to the box office success of many movies. The music from the movies like ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ still hold a place of importance as far as the very large catalogue of Rahman.

There have been many films whose music is not remembered once the public steps out of the theatre. In some cases, things become so bad that people go for a break while some song is being played out !

I have never driven a car but hope to drive one someday. Zica from the house of TataMotors is one car that has received positive reviews right from the day it was launched. Zica has a good engine to make driving fun and #PEPPY. The infotainment system from  Harman can make the ride enjoyable by making #MUSIC sound as it is meant to be  The smartphone enabled Turn-by-Turn #NAVIGATION app makes driving easy. With many features Zica has the potential to make a great #IMPACT on the Indian roads.

It would be #FANTASTICO to get the Zica in my frontyard.

This post is my entry into the blogging contest  #TataZicaMarathon                                    organised by indiblogger and TATA ZICA.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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MOMENTS OF LOVE TO LAUGH

Posted on February 11, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

In the journey called life, marriage is an important station in the process. The station can make us better persons by revealing new facets about you and your partner, in my case the missus. There are misunderstandings and things lost in translation that can make everyone less confident at the prospect of going forward in the journey.

Even as mine was an arranged marriage, I decided to marry outside of the comfort zone of the same language. The language difference was not an issue as everyone in my home are quite familiar with it. There were some differences when it came to customs and traditions. The learning curve was not too steep.

After a few months of marriage, I took my wife out on a long drive-of more than fifty kilometres to a small town where the wife of a friend was recuperating after a major surgery. While returning home along the road covered on both sides by greenery, my wife was pleasantly surprised as she came from a city where the trees were made of concrete.

WIth wind, small mangoes fell from the trees on to the road and my wife picked some. She wanted to make a tasty dish and prove her culinary skills when she did not have any ! The following day I was greeted by a strange looking dish and it was the mango one. Before I could have a go at it, my wife took it away and ran to the kitchen. After a few minutes she emerged with tears in her eyes. I got worried and after cajoling that went for a few hours, the secret was out. She tasted the chutney and found it extremely unpalatable. She took the blame on herself for not keeping upto the standards. It did not help that I tried to dissuade her the previous day about the poor quality of the mangoes. Now after all these years, my wife has become a good cook and now whenever we sight raw mangoes, the above mentioned incident comes to mind and we laugh uncontrollably. It was love on her part that she tried too hard and failed for no fault of hers and it was the same love that is making us both laugh wholeheartedly.

My wife was very much of the opinion that I was not prudent when it came to the spending of my rather small salary. She took it upon herself to set the matters right with regard to the fiscal position of the household. She brought home a diary to list all the details of the income and expenditure in a manner that would be a lesson to any budding accountant. To her horror she noticed how it was difficult to manage the finances, leave alone save something substantial. The ball or rather the keys of the treasury were handed over to me ungrudgingly. I do not make any budgets, for they cause more unhappiness with things like inflation going to dominate our discussions, even in the bedroom ! We both laugh at her inability to manage the finances and my inability to earn a bit more.

Where there is love, there is laughter. The laughter can only make the love for each other stronger even as sometimes, the laughter is due to pure helplessness.

One of my favourite cricket player while growing up was Desmond Haynes of the West Indies who still wears the golden chain that has the words ‘Live,Love & Laugh’ I believe that to live one has to love and be loved and laugh with the partner to make life appear less troublesome than it actually is.

This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.

There is the video from Caratlane

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ANOTHER GREAT GIVEAWAY

Posted on January 17, 2016. Filed under: GIVEAWAY, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Techguru at techquark.com is hosting a great giveaway and this time the prize is the Nexus 6P.

Many have come to the conclusion that the Nexus 6P is the best Android phone for the year 2015 and that is not a mean achievement.

The specifications are simply out of the world giving a powerhouse performance. The hardware details are something that are clearly above the ordinary when it comes to Android phones. Added to it is the great experience of working with a pure Android version that gets updated as and when it is released. I know the pleasure of working with a Nexus tablet where there is no messing with the operating system.

In earlier giveaways and contests, I promised to give the phone to my wife but the specifications of 6P have made me change my mind. She has to wait.

To get the phone, a few simple tasks need to be performed.

Best of luck.

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NOT A GOOD MOVE

Posted on January 17, 2016. Filed under: MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I had a lot of expectation from the Bejoy Nambiar directed ‘Wazir’. I was also attracted by the cast-Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar and Manav Kaul. I was impressed by Nambiar’s earlier work ‘Shaitaan’. The trailer of the movie also appealed to me.

However, by the time I came out of the theatre, I was a different person with all expectations becoming futile. The plot was as wafer thin as can be in today’s world of instant gratification with the nearly two hour length of the movie looking exaggerated. The director wanted to have a ‘psychological thriller’ that only succeed in the paying viewer feeling anguished. I was not surprised to find the story coming out of the head of ‘the great’ Vinod Chopra.

The director struggled at every turn to reveal the plot of the so-called thriller and by the time the suspense is revealed, the viewer knows it !The Kashmir and the terrorist angle was simply wasted.

As far as the acting is concerned, Amitabh looked like he didn’t care a shit about the movie. He looked like acting in one of the dozens of television commercials that bother us everyday. Farhan tries to be an actor and that is it. Things became so boring that there were loud cheers in the theatre the moment John Abraham was shown.

Not the best move to start the new year, at least for me.

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SPREADING THE POSTIVE VIB(E)RATIONS

Posted on January 10, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

In these times of negativity and cynicism we can hardly expect people or acts that are meant only to provide succour and not to enrich self. So one is extremely surprised to hear someone or something that brings a smile to a face when everything seems lost and gone.

During the flooding of Chennai, there were a lot of people who helped others not for a selfie or for a photo op. It was simply a spontaneous gesture. In some cases, the help providers also were affected by the flood waters. I read about a young person who opened the doors of his home to unknown strangers in those times. It was heartening to see mosques welcoming people of all religious denominations to escape the grim situation caused by the flood. There is no way of ever knowing the names of the people who came up with this idea nor are they ever going to be the recipients of any awards !

In recent times, governments believing in all kinds of ideologies have been accused of resorting to populist policies in order to stay relevant in the minds of the voters. I don’t disagree with this view and at the same time I also appreciate some of the good that comes out of such schemes. On such scheme is the ‘Aahar’ launched by the Government of Odisha on April 1,2015. Under this scheme, the government started offering meals at some selected urban centres at only Rs.5. The meal consists of rice and ‘dalma’( made up of dal-lentils and vegetables)

Critics questioned the ‘real’ intentions of the ruling regime. They argue that such a scheme would only make the poor people of the state more lazy and unwilling to do any work much as in the same way that the ‘one-rupee-a-kilogram’ rice is alleged to be. In other words, these cheap goods have the effect of reducing the desire or the willingness of the people to work. I firmly believe that there are some genuinely needy people of the society who have benefitted from such schemes. The politicians are not always known for their vision which is clouded by short-term electoral gains, but even then such schemes are laudable.

The Government of Delhi is known for staying in the headlines. Not a day passes by without any allegation of a conspiracy hatched by the Union Government to defame and destroy the Government headed by Arvind Kejriwal ! Some of the charges and counter-charges appear very silly. But then the Aam Aadmi Party cannot be accused of lacking seriousness when it comes to certain issues. I am coming to the (in)famous ‘Odd and Even’ policy where on a trial basis the citizens of Delhi are supposed the reduce the usage of their four wheelers in order to improve the air quality.

The jury is still out about the outcome of the much discussed policy that in the first place not an original idea, having been introduced in countries like China. But what Kejriwal and company should be commended for is the vision to look for a genuine solution to a very serious problem. This policy is certainly not a pro-poor populist idea that would fetch votes in the next election.
But one has to give credit where it is due. The idea has been introduced on the first day of 2016 but the foundations-theoretical or otherwise were laid out in 2015.

The Ministry of Railways managed to get into some serious media space not because of accidents but because of certain good deeds, coming from the top. Simple tweets ensured that people got what they deserved and certain ones were taken to task for their misdemeanours.

We are living in a country where the victims of accidents on the road are not helped by fellow road users for the fear of being harassed. The politicians are thinking about a law to help the ‘Good Samaritans’. Certainly, in that kind of a world where helping others where no self interest is involved is something of a rarity and one that is nothing short of a miracle.

It is said that bad news travels fast much as in the same way that bad money puts good money out of circulation. But in the end, it is the good and the positives that stay in our minds creating a hope for the future.

I am thankful to indiblogger.in and Youth Ki Awaaz who have provided me with the opportunity to speak of some good deeds.Of course, I am motivated by the rewards on offer.

Everyone at least needs to #SpreadTheVibe

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