Is the tide turning?


I don’t know how many of you have read about the Occupy Wall Street campaign that has been going on in US. Or for that matter even know about it… But it is happening… And what makes it very surprising is that it is happening in one of the so-called free economies of the world – The United States of America.

Gordon Gecko would have been lynched by the mob on the streets for even uttering the G of  “Greed is good“.

After the crash of 2008, while many would have made statements about recovery, the US economy probably had not recovered. Well economy might have on papers but the man on the street… when the entire life’s saving has disappeared… to recover, would need another lifetime.

The 1% that the protesters are talking about… they are the insulated lot. Insulated, because they have amassed wealth which would last for a few of their generations. But the common man… the common man who let these people get all this wealth by buying their products, spending money on conspicuous consumption because corporates and banks made it easy.

But finally I think there is an awakening. And people have taken to the streets. They are done with a very few making all the money while they suffer day in and day out. Of course, there would be many in the US who would term these protests as meaningless because they have not felt the pinch… yet. But they surely will.

I think this is a protest that needs to go global. The global economy is in doldrums and yet the Governments peddle out statistics (creativity at it’s best). The collapse of Greece would not have happened if everyone was aware of where the economy is truly headed.

And while I am not sure.. the protest in US is a mass movement. They do not have a politician or a person with an ax to grind heading it. It is akin to a flash mob… but flash mob with a purpose.

I think many of you would bring Anna Hazare into discussion. The perception being that he has also started the movement in India. But I think that movement has lost sight. The way they are going about in the current election in the constituency of Hissar… it seems like they are anti-congress. Whereas the movement has to be against the entire political elite. I am sure that none of the candidates in that election are corruption free.

People who had supposedly taken to the street (as I had said in one of the earlier posts too) were there because it was hip… not because they strongly believed in the cause of anti-corruption and would do anything to stop it.

More importantly… the Anna Hazare movement is barking up the wrong tree. Instead of chasing the bucket that gets filled up with the corrupt money.. shut off the taps from where the money flows. Protest in front of the corporates that have been involved in various scams. Stop that car guy who is paying money to the traffic cop. Put up protest tents in front of the the various govt agencies where all the wheeling and dealing is done by the power brokers. Make a website which lists such people.

True awakening will happen when every where you turn.. you see a sign that says “SAY NO TO CORRUPTION“. A sign that says “Is this all your life is worth? Is this only about money and all the stuff that it can buy?”

I am not a socialist… nor a communist… nor are the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street campaign. We are the “common man”

I think the time has come for people to break out of the Matrix that has been constructed by the 1% that actually rules the world and control the governments.

Sign Language from socially_awkwrd on Vimeo.

 

 

 

Whose country is it?


I feel like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show but with a difference. In the movie he has a perfect life… perfectly choreographed life where everything and everyone is happy and shiny and perfect.

Cut to my life (not me as an individual but every Indian who does not belong to any categories listed below) as the country has entered another decade.

Every New Year’s eve leads to hype about the year gone by and bright future awaiting us in the next year. This year of course has an extra edge to it…beginning of  the new decade. A quick google search would take you through various trend predictions for this decade. And as predictions go, they will fall by the way side as the decade moves on because the environment changes so quickly today that any trend prediction has a life span of perhaps days and not a year or a decade. That by the way is my trend prediction! That trends would last for only few days 😛

So here I am… not living in perfect world like Jim Carrey but living in an imperfect world perfectly choreographed by a lot of people around me:

Politicians – JPC or PAC… do I really give a shit?? Either ways truth will never come out as it never did in Bofors. But what this controversy does is to keep people’s minds away from rising onion prices, rising lending rates, rising unrest across many states in the form of insurgency. And no I have no sympathy for the maoists and various other groups… they can’t achieve anything and even if they do, it is all politics to grab all the available money which they can’t lay their hands on for the moment. Nor do I have sympathy for the government which is supposedly fighting battles on many fronts – most of them of their own making. But let me not rant further on this. All political parties are the same.

Corporates and Banks – Seriously… are we supposed to believe that Citi had no clue that fraud of this magnitude was being carried out right from the bank premises? And all these corporates who had ‘invested’ money? Money laundering I say… in connivance with the banks. Of course now Citi would now lean on its small fry – the credit card defaulters… and various loan customers who have probably missed couple of payments (bank needs to cover up the losses in the financial fuck ups done somewhere else) Actually you can replace Citi with any other bank and this probably would be happening… it is just that even as I am writing this post, there would be a witch hunt on for 1. the person who led to this coming out into the open or 2. the PR person who should have been aware of the likelihood of this shit hitting the fan.

Teenagers and Youth – Busy in their own virtual world of social networks and mobile phones and whiling away time at the various malls till they get into race for making obscene amount of money by applying for CAT and various firang universities. we talk about youth being the future of the country given the high % of them but seriously… take a good look around at the youth and you are left wondering if the future should be left to the Frankenstein monsters that we are creating or the monsters we have already created – the politicians. Now I got nothing against the teenagers and the young… they have a great life now as compared to the earlier generation or couple of previous generations. We are the ones who have made them what they are by providing them everything we could never have.

The Protectors – CBI or a local thanedar… it doesn’t matter.. they can’t find the clues even if they were shoved up their nose. It is always easy to blame the nearest person you can get hold of for the crime and close the case or keep the case hanging to see how much money can be made. Harry Bosch.. we need you in this real world. And while you are here.. can we clone you into a few million?

Media – The less said about media the better. Typical editorial meeting at any of the channels or even newspapers would revolve around which story has the possibility of being news and how long can it be juiced till the next story… nothing transformational.. Hell.. news is not about transforming.. it is about building personalities and like a business.. making money… One  Radia is gone so what… there are 10 others around and it would be business as usual…

Cricket and Movies – Am sure both are funded by the government to keep our minds away from stupid little things like increasing expenses and dwindling balances and such other stuff.

So coming back to the question in the title… probably the country belongs to all of them and they have come together to create this perfectly imperfect world and just like Jim Carrey I don’t realise that I am just the lead in a reality show who is being manipulated in every scene to respond in a certain way. Of course his life is so perfect that it sucks…

Am waiting for that sail boat from the climax of the movie which can take me across the seas to that perfect world and meet Jim on the way and tell him to turn around and to tell him that his world is better than mine…

Enough of this depressing shit… belated but still… A HAPPY NEW YEAR… no… actually A HAPPY DECADE… make the most of it…

Honor Killing?


First up… No killing ever can have the word ‘honor’ attached to it.

Second, the police must immediately arrest all the people who have justified the killing of Monica and her husband by saying its good for the community.

Third, our media needs to stop calling these cold blooded murders as honor killings. Stop sensationlizing these murders and show these communities as murderers.

A while back when the so called racial killings were turning into great opportunity for our media, I had written a post saying that we Indians are one of the most intolerant bunch of people in the world.. And the spate of these killings has proved the point yet again.

Lets not talk about economic advancement and India being a power to reckon with on the World stage when right within the boundaries of the capital city young lives are snuffed out so brutally.

Lets face it… for all the talk about progressive urban India… the mindsets have not changed one bit. Under the garb of protecting our culture, we indulge in violence of the most virulent kind. And this violence would not happen if there was a political will to curtail it. Caste and regional politics ensure that we would continue to live a schizophrenic existence. Its old news but I sure would want to know from Mr Naveen Jindal as to what right he had to support the tradition of khap panchayat.

In this day and age if the political parties are strong enough to care and work for what is good for the country, there would be no casteism, regionalism or these archaic and senseless traditions. Sorry… let me not even call them traditions because any system that promotes and propogates violence cannot be a tradition.

This post would be debunked as ranting of the educated people who do not understand the Indian culture and are influenced by the western cultures (or rather corrupted) but seriously… WHAT IS INDIAN CULTURE. It most definitely is not Mayawati talks about… it is  not the expensive shindig that Karunanidhi is organizing even as I type this… it is not what Raj Thakeray believes in… and the list would go on…

Everybody counts or nobody counts


The title is courtesy Mr Michael Connelly, a superb author and creator of an awesome character  – Harry Bosch. Have read every Harry Bosch book and for those who read so called self help or enlightenment books or ghost written auto biographies of the rich and famous… read Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deavers, Nelson DeMille and many such authors.. even Stephen King… its a learning experience.

“Everybody counts or nobody counts” is a statement made by Harry Bosch in the book  – The Last Coyote. The context is that Harry will not differentiate between a prostitute’s murder or a mayor’s wife when it comes to justice and bringing criminals to book.

A very simplistic statement on the face of it. Many would say so whats the big deal but then read the statement again… with the thought in mind of how the world is around us today…

Do we treat everyone equally? Does the government and its various functions treat everyone equally? Do banks treat everyone equally? Do  organizations and brands treat everyone equally?

People with capitalist tendencies… people who have it all… people who are safe and secure would treat this statement or the blog as a ranting of a socialist… Socialism would have been a good thing if the socialists had not taken an extreme view of equality and had not padded their ownselfs instead of truly working towards equality.

Sheetal Mafatlal is miffed and so are many others because she got arrested… but whats wrong in that? You commit a crime and you pay for it… peddle all the excuses that you want… but if you are a regular international traveller, how can you not know what is legal and what is not! It’s a different issue that there may have been other forces at work in this case. Customs I am sure dont catch only one person a day or night… Bet they catch many more…. some with intent on mind and some just pure innocent and not aware… and yet these people don’t make news. They are nobodies…

And Sheetal Mafatlal by the way was caught with lakhs of jewellery on her when Indian Express says that Mafatlal Group is in deep trouble financially.. wonder what must be going through the minds of the the people who work in that organization…

General Motors executives were globe trotting in private planes when since 2004 they were getting into debt every year… Read somewhere that US$ 88 billion was the accumulated debt since 2004… laying off people because the company is not doing well and yet I am sure nothing was amiss for these executive’s lifestyle…

Raju got caught dipping into company’s kitty (ok so he confessed) and who is suffering? not him for sure… the way government and justice system functions… very soon he would be out on bail and the case would continue and media will stop talking about him… his political connections would ensure nothing happens to him…. after all, in this country you cannot build an empire if palms are not greased (and you only need to read the report about how corrupt this country is)

Corporate America is shuddering and there is fair amount of  negative PR already because or President Obama’s policies… They are afraid to share their wealth. After all, America is about opportunity and making money… For so long it has been a symbol of money power and how everyone can make it big if they have an idea… Though President and his wife could have gone easy at their inaugration (wearing a 75 carat diamond at the inagural ball is not a good idea)

Why do we discriminate? Why should banks keep giving loans to industrialist and not be as vicious and demanding to return the loan as they are when it comes to common man?

I am not against money at all.. I love it too… But I believe it should be about wealth creation for all and not just for a few…

I am all for EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.

Times are tough… go easy with conspicuous consumption… go easy with page 3… go easy with putting yourself on display… Economy would turn around because there is always a cycle… but remember.. revolutions happen because man on the street gets tired of living a stressful life… scrounging for money while the swankiest cars drive by and people inside the car give him a glare when he obstructs the way while crossing the road…

Humane is the word that needs to be part of everything that we do or say… Old cliche about ‘be nice to people on the way up because you would meet them on the way down’ holds true.

Give the majority of the population some breathing space… they are stifled right now and someone getting caught with  such expensive jewellery is not what they want to read…

Media has a huge role to play…. move away from politics… move away from cricket… focus on issues that are burning right now… The power of media can bring about the changes if only media can do some introspection and figure out the reason for their existence… Just for a while, let go off the race for advertising revenue and sensationalism and be the proactive force that can transform countries, economies and lives of people…

We need to be inclusive and not exclusive… and make EVERYBODY COUNT…

The world is racist… we are holier than thou


Before carrying on with the post.. a disclaimer – I do not condone all the on going attacks in Australia or the fiasco at the French airport or any racial attacks in US or UK or anywhere else against Indians or any nationality. 

I do not condone discrimination basis skin color and what is happening in Australia should be condemned in strongest voice. The authorities should have taken swift action and also shown restraint towards controlling the protests.

The images coming on TV from Australia… chilled my bones… we are “human” beings but what I saw was anything but human. And this is supposed to be a progressive world.

I support the parents of all the students who have suffered and wish for the speedy recovery of the ones who have been injured.

The scary thing is that this happens everywhere… not specifically to Indians but racism exists in some form all over the world. Took America so long to get a President who is not white. South Africa is going through its own transformation… Europe is the same..

Which made me ponder…

Signboard outside few up market housing complexes – “Foreigners and students are not allowed to rent apartments here”.

Foreigners being african or middle east origin!

These signs are not in any so called white countries but right here in India. Unbelievable huh?

The media goes up in arms about the incidents in Australia. They talk about discrimination shown by Air France… the net buzzes with people commenting but I believe we are the most racist and intolerent society in the world.

And if you dont believe me, step into any of the hotels and watch the staff fawning over guests whose skins are white while they neglect people from their own country.

Racism is not discrimination purely on the basis of skin color… it is discrimination of any kind based on color, caste, gender or origin and we Indians indulge in it big time… sometimes blatant or sometimes under the garb of uplifting the so called downtrodden of the society.

And politicians in this country have always used this racism for their own advantage.

They don’t want north indians to be in Mumbai.

There are reserved constituencies for “backward classes”.

Congress and parties like SP are supposed to be protecting the interests of Muslims in the name of secularism.

BJP discriminates against the Muslims under the pretext of saving Hindutva.

Fair & Lovely is such a huge brand for Unilever because we Indians like fair skin.

There are temples where “backward classes or women” cannot enter. Or for that matter people of different religion.

If people convert to a different religion, they are brutally murdered.

We look down about people who can’t communicate in English.

The huge North – South divide and the names we have reserved for people from specific regions.

Under the pretext of “unity in diversity” we have so many official languages and there is anything but unity in this country… We are regional chauvinists… Try speaking in Hindi in Chennai! or any south indian language in the north.

We kill over temples, mosques and churches… merciless killing. With so many Goddess that we worship, we still treat women in the manner that we do.

Travel to Agra and watch the locals ogling at the people of white origin. The commercial featuring Aamir Khan about Indian tourism is so true.

I could go on and on… But nope… all this cant be true… After all we are such a tolerent society. Society which goes into a tizzy when sporadic incidents happen involving Indians…

More and more we are witnessing discrimination right here in our country but we have the gall to point fingers at other countries.

And talking about the passengers of Air France being discriminated… I have travelled abroad often and have never seen one Indian smile at another Indian or talk to them at the airports… they are very happy to strike a conversation with whites but nose in the air when it comes to people from your own country.

I believe that discrimination happens when we or anyone else is in another country, we dont become part of that society. We wear our values and our indianness on our sleeves. We live in US, get the green card and yet live in very close communities and think that the outside culture will corrupt us! If we are so worried, why leave the country at all? And the way we behave when we travel abroad… the less said the better

And Mr Bachchan, very nice of you to have rejected the award from Australia… now can we see you delineating yourself from the people who pander to narrow caste and religion politics too?

I believe that I am a global citizen… ready to accept everything that makes my life better and makes me a better person… nothing else should matter… no color.. no caste… no religion…

I am a free citizen of the world and free to live my life… on my own terms.

Can smokers “live” in peace please…


So this post if read, would probably elicit a lot of negative comments and these comments would just prove the point I am making…

Sure we became smokers by choice (thats debatable though… can always blame the advertising… the eternal scapegoat for all evil addictions… in my case it was the whole package of  ‘denim crumple pack’ of Charms) but then as it happens with all addictions, it takes over and the usual withdrawal symptoms of irritation and ……

But the point is.. will alienation and making a whole lotta places “no smoking” help? The sneers and the upturned noses and smoking chambers…

We all know smoking is supposedly bad and we should give it up… but then there are a host of things that we should give up on (most western countries after decades of abusing the environment point fingers at Asia and Africa to say that these continents should cut down on all the luxuries that the west enjoyed for so long)

And if the smoking is so bad and governments all over want people to stop smoking… how about shutting down all companies that manufacture the nicotine sticks? Put a complete stop once and for all. But can they? More importantly… will they? And then they should stop all the automobile manufacturing too where the fuel is petroleum product… and stop everything that creates ‘health hazard’. I would love to know how much do these product manufacturers contribute to the government revenue by way of taxes…

I am not propogating that smoking is good… nor am I saying that measures should not be taken to help people get rid of the habit. The evolution of smoking was a direct result of a certain freedom given to individuals in a society and was perpetuated by “Marlboro Man” and “you have come a long way baby” and many other catch phrases and imagery which the youth identified with as a sign of rebellion in some cases and ‘need to belong’ in many others and once the fashion becomes a habit, it sure is difficult to give up…

I believe in a right to choose… I can choose to smoke or not smoke… I can choose to enter an establishment which allows smoking or I can find another outlet. In India, we have “pure vegetarian” restaurants and then there are restaurants which serve everything… take your pick… Why ban smoking everywhere!

Create and regulate the measures that every public establishment should follow. Measures that ensure that non smokers dont have to inhale second hand smoke… and no it does not mean putting smokers in fish bowls or being forced to smoke behind the kitchen in an alley…

Trust me… a beer just doesnt taste good enough anymore in a pub and while smoking has not gone down… going to pubs and having a good time (not getting drunk but soaking in the atmosphere) has sure gone down..

I would love to give up on smoking and would ensure that my kids dont pick up the habit… But then… I WANT TO GIVE UP ON MY OWN… dont want government to force it down my throat (it’s actually worse than the smoke going down my throat!).  And if the government is serious, let them shut down shops for all manufacturers (you cannot have your cake and eat it too)

And to all non smokers and the ones who have given up smoking… you have a choice too but do not shove it down our throat… As responsible smokers (and yes there is a growing breed of such smokers) we also dont want you to consumesecond hand smoke… so how about being responsbile and respecting us too… If the smell of smoke is bad… so is body odor and bad perfumes… If you want the freedom to live without smoke… we also want freedom to smoke till we are able to give up or (till as most social advertising created to win awards says…) we die… You want to enjoy a good time… so do we…

Travelling from Mumbai to New York and not being able to smoke for close to 24 hours aint funny…

There is always a way…