Monday, June 25, 2007

A big name in India today

Avul Pakir Jainulbadeen Abdul Kalam.

Big name indeed - I remember reading an old cartoon, where one student is complaining to his teacher regarding the unfairness of his punishment, as compared to that of another student involved in the mischief , writing his name on the board one hundred times, citing the fact that "His name is Raj Ray, and mine is Shreegopala Chandraswamy Venkataraghavan Subramanian".

These .. Indian Politicians (I have tried and failed to find a worse insult to throw at them) seek to replace Avul Pakir Jainulbadeen Abdul Kalam ! With who ? The current candidates may be very nice people (or not!) but APJ Abdul Kalam is not an easy man to replace - If this had been a company, the executive who thought of firing him would be on the streets by now- which goes to explain the state of our country.

The cheap methods employed by both the sides in canvassing their candidates for the role of President of the Republic of India are nothing less than disgusting (and criminally foolish, but the rest of them appear to be even more stupid than I had initially suspected).

One one hand, we have a candidate who was pushed up by the media, which was jumping up and down about the 'first Female president', to a position where she was receiving more publicity than most presidents do. While she is perhaps... 'qualified', according to our eminent political minds, she was part of several mills which have shown large losses. The promoters of her campaign say that she had nothing to do with this, and cite the fact that some 74 other mills were also experiencing less than profitable accounts. That is fine and well, but not a good excuse - we are not asking any of the other mill owners to become the President of the Republic of India, are we ? What I want to ask is this : Do we really want a person who ran a mere sugar mill (was it sugar ?) into the red; Tens of crores into the red, running our country ?

On the other hand, we have a Vice President. A good person perhaps, but a nonentity.

That's what an Indian President was all about - nonexistence. The person chosen was usually a well educated nonentity . but that changed when Dr. Kalam came along. He was the first President whose presence was felt by the world. A man of immense knowledge, potential and moral strength, and he possessed the two qualities I think any person in any governmental position should require - Patriotism, and Intelligence. How many of our politicians are patriotic ? (I shall not mention intelligence. The two do not belong in the same sentence.)

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Padma Bhushan. Padma Vibhushan. Bharat Ratna. Scientist. Known to be a morally upstanding person. Son of a fisherman. Has written books bought by people other than those paid to buy them.

Nonentity #458216. Politician.

(Enough joking around - we all know who's actually going to be the president if those two are not.)

Sonia Gandhi nee Maino (she has her own website). Has written books. Politician.

What is our country coming to ?


Yep. That's what my net service feels like. been offline for two weeks.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Are you pondering what I'm pondering .. ?

It is amusing to note that one of the only jobs in India today which do not require any educational qualifications whatsoever is that of the politician. We find ourselves at a point in time, space, and general incompetence, where we require the lowest office clerks to possess degrees, while we allow ourselves to be ruled (no less !) by fools, criminals, and people who lave long since passed into senility. The imbeciles who 'govern' us are apparently representative of the people of India; If this is true, then such people should not be allowed to vote. Look at them ! Criminals with murder cases by the dozen against them, corrupt to the point that a single honest act evinces astonishment from the intelligent population (if such an entity exists; I merely speak for myself and a few of my friends).

Democracy ? It is with great effort that I am able to restrain myself from cursing this term. The word promises much. It brings before us a beautiful vision. Nonsense. That's what it is. Democracy ? Mobocracy is more like it. We allow ourselves to be ruled be people elected by a mob. A country, in the end, is just another team effort, just like any large business; the employees must be happy.. the customers satisfied, and the surplus (I like this term better than 'profit') generated for the shareholders as large as possible. What company allows a person with no qualification (And I do not speak in mere educational terms - an illiterate person is patently qualified if he or she has the knowledge and ability required, while a person with a doctorate may be entirely unqualified for the position ) to become its head ?

Any team effort requires a leader, or at least a manger, with the capability to lead. This person, then, must be inspirational, intelligent, and most importantly, must want to do what needs to be done to take the country forward. What we have is incompetent buffoons with IQs which have raised suspicions that they were switched at birth with shaved primates, whose primary interests seem to be pecuniary. They have embezzled so much money from their countries that, if caught, their jail sentences would likely cover the rest of their miserable lives.

Ah, how I rant..

The future before us is a bright one, if only we can find the strength to grab it. We come into the world a marvel of evolution; or creation, if you like, but a marvel nevertheless - and what do we do with our infinite potential ? We squander it.

There are good politicians. There are good policemen. There are good people, all over India, and the World, in great numbers. What there is not enough of, is initiative. The will to change, to say, that This Is Wrong, let me change it; the usual answer in our minds, is a 'Why should I do anything.. nobody else is.. Its not my responsibility !' - an answer fraught with our apathy, our fear of being ostracized, and most of all, our inherent mental inertia.

Yet.. what are we likely to do about it ? How many intelligent, competent people will sacrifice the rest of their lives to become politicians ? Because that is what it is - it is almost a vocation; a politician has to do the same thing as the soldier, and give up his or her life for the Country, but where the greatest sacrifice required of a soldier is death, the political arena demands life, a lifetime of service. How many are prepared to give up lucrative careers to do this ? There are no money boxes in the future, only toil.. I confess that I, for one, would not. I had once entertained the idea of governing, but I have long since lost my faith in humanity, as pathetic as it has become, and am unable to find it in myself to care, to care so much that I should give up my life.
And so, we end up with the leftovers of society becoming the rulers of it.

Ah, the irony of it.

But all is not lost - there are Harsh Manders in our India, and a hundred Teesta Setalvads whom we walk past in the street. A Dilip D'Souza types away in the shadow of the dilapidated building to the right. The dim, flickering light from the unstable looking lamp post, casting more shadow than light reveals a Ram Puniyani in deep thought, looking up at the skies. Perhaps its the 'Accusation : Its the Management's fault' syndrome which is to blame for much of the unhappiness - either way, a long road lies before us - forget the thousand miles, and take the first step !

Aviroop. You're it.

Todays Tidbit : Sacred Games (Vikram Chandra)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Twist and Shout - The Soap is Watching You

Television, of late, has become an instrument for transmission of so called 'entertainment', which, as the days go by, has become increasingly inane. This aforementioned noun has come to represent some of the most potent mentally damaging elements imaginable, all packed into a good-sized multiple-hour chunk of what little leisure time we have.

I have become so irritated with the programs these fools air, that I have stopped watching television, save for reruns of Numbers, Friends, and the occasional movie. Most of the shows are not only bad, but downright unwatchable; the rest are reruns. These shows are apparently aimed at the general public; the makers' excuse being that "this is what our consumers want", and they carry on making these pathetic excuses for serials and reality shows - and these programs are driving the average IQ down even further.

First, the infamous soaps. Let me speak of the good before the bad : Hum Log, Buniyaad, and even some others .. say Tara, Saans, Banegi Apni Baat and Kora Kaagaz were, on the whole, not as full of fæcal matter as expected. The rest ? Well..

The Indian soap opera is Stereotypical with a Capital S. It is full to the brim with plot holes, and the storyline is more unrealistic than that of most fiction/fantasy novels. As for the excuse .. " this is what the audience wants" ? Excuse my language; Bullshit. Every single person I know and respect dislikes these soaps. I know some who watch them, but they do so purely out of .. well - desperation (!) ; I quote , "There's nothing else to watch. I have nothing to do all afternoon - and the only thing on is this.".

What must be understood by these producers and directors is that there is a great dearth of quality programs of Indian television. What does one watch when one does not wish to watch Engineering the Impossible, or Lonely Planet, or a News channel (this last one shall be the subject of a future post, dattebayo) ?

The soaps of India are of a special variety - they contain stereotypical Indian housewives, for the most part (the audience they are aimed at ), and then, these housewives have adventures. Of what Kind, you ask ? Well, there is, of course, the silent battle between different females in a joint family to wrest control of the 'ghar ki chabi', which, apparently, is more sought after by these people than the Crown Jewels. There is, of course, luxury - 300 crores ? Pah ! That's nothing - make it 600, and we'll talk. This, of course, is aimed at the middle class families - targeted on their dreams of wealth. The serials give an entirely erroneous portrayal of the corporate world, with takeovers being performed on a word and a document, in a matter of minutes. The legal aspects are woefully handled, with the levels of sheer incompetence in plot research sinking to incomprehensible depths.

The dialogue is unnecessarily grandiose and filled with false melodrama, with the most pathetic music in the background - There are tribal music drum beats with people shouting chants from the Mahabharata (when the Good people in white, or at least light coloured sarees and Kurtas are successfully standing against the Bad people, who are usually richer, and wear dark colours). There are ghostly sounds, punctuated by cat screeches , and (pathetic) hip hop songs; there are even parts with full blown music from hindi films, usually at 'parties' (these may be identified by the presence of balloons and cake, regardless of occasion).

These serials can be identified from the following Irritating Characteristics -
  1. Crying scenes - female protagonists will inevitably burst into tears at every available opportunity (and the scripts provide for plenty) and the Evil Female will stand and watch, with dramatic music adding to the loathsome mix.
  2. The "Bees Saal Baad" feature; one can identify this occurrence by the sudden appearance of grays in hair, of otherwise unchanged characters, as well as the introduction of new young individuals, who are the children of the now older characters. This time shift is performed with an air of careless contempt, with children who were just born transforming into business tycoons, and others who were touching their teens becoming 20 somethings 'just out of college'.
  3. The Face Off Trick - This plot twist has a person (The Good One, of course) be the unfortunate victim of some sort of mishap or the other,which results in amnesia, while the Bad One Has plastic surgery performed - which makes (usu.) her face look exactly like that of the unfortunate amnesiac (this includes differences in height, the voice, and even eye colour and defects ), and this Evil Person now goes on to wreak whatever havoc the script commands.
  4. Massive attention to the quintessential 'Indian Family' ideals.
  5. Money money money - If you hear a few hundred crores being carelessly shuffled, you're watching a soap.
  6. The camera spin - The camera will spin wildly during many important scenes, with music, usually of the high octane melodramatic kind.
  7. The never ending road - If you see episode 420 being aired, you're here.
  8. Zero attention to current issues - if you see a show where the only thing people mention, even when using metaphors being the Mahabharata and other family members, The Soap is here. (never a mention of rural society, Aids, ie., general issues which ought to be of interest of every educated individual)
  9. Aesthetics ? What's that ? Never heard of it. Does it have something to do with horses ?
  10. General bull. You don't exactly need to know the finer points of baloney detection to get this.

Hm.. And I haven't even reached reality television yet. Oh well... I'll continue tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day.

Petrol costs less than bottled water in Venezuela.


And if you don't like these, feel free to add to the list.

I know I've been off for quite a while.. oh well. Now that I'm back, I find myself in a quite a situation - there is the Mandatory Post On Nandigram to write, as well as one on bedbugs and one on the importance of food habits.. so much to do, so little time. .