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Monday, December 01, 2008
Body politic

The tragedy unfolding in Mumbai doesn't necessary relate to scores of people murdered in cold blood by 'cowards' deemed 'terrorists'!

The tragedy is with our politicians and the garb of certain animals that they choose to wear. Today's cartoon in the TOI is brilliant proof.


The silent one, in particular, apalls me. With all due respect, let me state this unequivocally. Mr. Manmohan Singh-ji, we in India totally respect you as an economist and finance whiz. But as Prime Minister, you just don't show enough guts and steel. Your voice is a dead giveaway to your seeming lack of spine. The events in Mumbai and your speech thereafter have conclusively proved that you are unsuitable for the post. People throughout the world and in particular, across the border, are having a good laugh.

Besides, lets get this straight - we've always suspected that you are only a front for Madam Soniaji, pulling the strings from behind.

Now that you've taken over PC's portfolio, perhaps its time for you to relinquish yours. We don't need a pliant politician at one of our highest offices. We want a man of steel.

Hand it over to Madam. And since she's also been through a similar tragedy, perhaps she understands grief and the need to take action more than you could ever envision. Besides, with elections a few months away, this is the best chance that she'd ever get to holding top office.

With 200 bodies as evidence, lets see what she's made of.


Posted at 09:37 am by Ravi
What's your opinion?  

Friday, November 21, 2008
Bolting to Madagascar?

I think my previous post of yesterday was waaaayyyy too serious. And yes, I admit I have been fooled quite a number of times. Why even today morning, my 8 year old daughter sweet talked & hugged me in a surprising show of early morning affection only to follow with a request - "Dad, you *will* iron my school uniform, won't you?" Of course, I did. Always do!

Anyway, if there is one thing that is guaranteed to bring on a smile and a tremor of excitement, it is in reading the release of animation films with all the creativity, imagination and storytelling they bring to the screen. Take Toy Story for instance. If anybody could honestly say that they were not affected by the antics of Buzz and friends, I'd say they are lying. Similarly, the pathos in Bambi and in Lion King. The beauty of animation films is that they enable one be on the same level as kids. You can also be guaranteed being in their good books by buying them the same. There, that does say something about me, right? Go figure.

Anyway, here's a new film from Walt Disney titled 'Bolt' that seems to be the handiwork of former Pixar dude John Lasseter, he of the Toy Story hits! Can't wait to see / own it, man! The twins absolutely love pets and since this involves one, I know that it will be a monster hit with them.

Another film, sequel actually, that released recently and which I know we'll enjoy is this: 


But the one that I personally just can't wait to see & own is surely this from Pixar.

Animation movies....life would be dull without their magic.


PS: The sensex seems to be rising...I wonder if I should still jump...perhaps, just reach for a lifejacket? :)

Posted at 04:00 pm by Ravi
Comments (1)  

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Red riding markets

Apparently, a very good time to buy stocks or to invest is when, in the words of an eminent worthy, there is "blood in the streets."

The way the stock markets are falling over the past few months and are continuing to fall even today, one is convinced that there is absolute blood letting on the financial streets.

In such a scenario, all the red running from negative returns on one's portfolio over the past few months has been enough to make one go pale. Yet, one held on with steely resolve, investing in this and that, determined to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Alas, the blood letting has now turned into a gushing stream now and forget me, even the most hardened investor is feeling faint. Is it now necessary to even mention that the portfolio was built assiduously over time with a lot of sweat, tears (as in sacrifice) and hope for future needs?

And, though there is a corollary to the above mentioned worthy's quote "Buy when there's blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own", forgive me as I jump ship.

I'm no bloody fool!


Posted at 10:59 am by Ravi
What's your opinion?  

Thursday, November 06, 2008
Can do? Just did!

Okay, no more chestbeating along the lines of my earlier post(s) about Obama being the inevitable winner. Let me focus on his victory acceptance speech in this post. But first, reading the newspapers today and comprehending the scale of the victory was eye-opening. 95% of African Americans voted for him as did 43% of their white brethren. 50% of all US male voters gave him their vote as against 56% of women! That number '66' really ruled. 66% of all Hispanics voted for Obama while 66% of mid-westerners voted against. This was truly astounding: 71% of 'first time voters' gave him the trump card as did 66% of the 'under 30' group. I mean, does this tell something or not to all governments everywhere about youth power? You better change, baby, is what they are saying. Anyway, I'm digressing.

I wasn't lucky enough to take a day off yesterday to watch the US election results unfold on television followed by the victory acceptance speech of Mr. Obama. Thank God for the internet though. Completely distracted at work and  almost immediately, I was able to read the text of the President elect's speech online as soon as he delivered it. 

Later, in the comfort of home and family, I saw his equanimity, poise and the unforgettable speech that followed. Inured as we are to mind-numbing images of war, violence and excess on TV, having turned blase was natural. Not so yesterday night. This was one event which turned one's eyes moist and threatened to make tears roll. And so, its not hard to step into the shoes of those who have carried the injustice of history and see why this event has affected them so truly.

(Images source: The New York Times)

Mr. Obama's speech contained elements of every kind of emotion of the historic moment. Credit to the vanquished. Gratitude - to his family, his team, to volunteers,  donors, voters and finally to all Americans. Acknowledging the support of well-wishers beyond their borders. The promise of hope. Of strength in unity & patriotism. The need for co-operation & sacrifices. Of burying cynicism forever. Acknowledging that anything is possible today, if you dream and work hard enough. Stoic acceptance that not everybody may / can be pleased with his style of functioning. Yet asking for help. Promising to listen and provide opportunities that will bring about change. Lastly, epitomising grace in victory.

And it was delivered oh-so-flawlessly in near extempore(I think my eldest will now never forget what extempore means; associating that word with Obama's speech, perhaps!) and with just the right amount of oratorical flourish, brilliance and feeling.

Truly, it was stirring to listen and compelling in its promise; perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime moment truly enjoyed with in the company of the torch bearers of tomorrow: children!


PS: Could a Barack Obama from India step up, please!

Posted at 11:03 am by Ravi
Comments (2)  

Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Victory, Sweet Victory for Barack Obama

About 5 months ago, I went out on a limb and publicly proclaimed here on my blog that Mr. Barack Obama would be the next President of the United States. It did not matter to me that he was black. It did not matter to me that his middle name was distinctly Muslim. All it mattered was that he inspired change, something very difficult for many of us, and showed us the promise of leadership, something totally missing here in India.

Today, that instinctive feeling that he would emerge victorious, riding on the cusp of something transformational has come true.

Barack Obama will indeed be declared the 44th President of the United States. Congratulations, Mr. Obama!

It was time for voters in the US to wipe the slate clean and not feel themselves being fooled once again, like they felt when John Kerry lost in 2004. That too was a moment for change. This time, they have shown convincingly what they have wanted. 

Outgoing US President is reported to have said "May God bless whoever wins tonight," at a dinner yesterday at the White House. Unfortunately for him, he will take with him, not blessing but curses by a large number of people - in and outside the United States - for his debacle of a presidency.

The wounds of his misrule will take some time to heal but with this result, the tarnished image of the US is already showing the first signs of redemption.

And the world feels - after a long time - to be a good place to be in. There is hope indeed for all of us! 


Posted at 10:42 am by Ravi
What's your opinion?  

Monday, October 06, 2008
Visit to Gowribidenur

Gowribidenur, a small town, about 100 km. from Bangalore, past Doddballapur, is well known on two counts. One for being a place where the 'Second Jallianwallah Bagh' type shooting took place. Two, for a temple that is steeped in mythology.

On April 25, 1939 or thereabouts, about 9  - 10 people - including innocents - were fired upon and killed during a peaceful Jathre ( village fair ). Apparently, there was a demonstration by Satyagrahis demanding lowering the British flag and hoisting one of Bharat Mata. Furious that such an event could even be contemplated, officers from a police station nearby opened fire killing 9 people. Check out the photos for a memorial honouring the martyrs.

Mythology, as the temple here - Vidhura Aswathnarayana temple - was consecrated and blessed by none other than Krishna after the Mahabharat war. Apparently, the court advisor, Vidhura, apprehending the terrible consequences of a war between the Pandavas and their cousins the Kauravas, was advised to leave the kingdom by Krishna. The latter was of the opinion that it was Dharmic war and hence its necessity. Vidhura, dejected, leaves the kingdom and comes to South India for solace and meditation. Finding himself at the ashram of Maitreyi Maharishi on the banks of the Pinakini River, he resides there. Later, after the war, Krishna in disguise appears at the Ashram and advises Sage Maitreyi to plant a tree in honour of Vidhura. This tree, now gnarled, bent, withered and supported by a wall is supposed to be life giving. Hence, childless couples or those facing difficulties finding a lifepartner, come to worship the Aswathnarayana temple sorrounding the tree. On having their wishes fulfilled, they leave behind a set of three Nagakals for having their 'naga dosha' removed. So goes the story that was told to me by a teacher at the Satyagraha High School.

Check out the pictures here. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts.

More on Vidhura here http://www.mypurohith.com/Epics/Dharma1.asp 


Posted at 11:05 am by Ravi
Comments (4)  

Friday, September 05, 2008
Belur & Halebid Visit

After a long time, got to travel. Finally, you say? Like they say, good things come to those who wait. Now, if you are one of those with an interest in temple art and architecture, you cannot get anything more sublime that in Belur & Halebid. One can go on and on about the work showcased there and words will still not do much justice. So, rather than get verbose and all that, all I would like to say is this: If you like listening to stories & the art of storytelling, just drop into Belur & Halebid, hire a good guide and be captivated by the hundred's of stories that the sculptures will convey, captivate and mesmerise you!  Here are a couple of pictures that will give you a clue of the treasure that abounds over there in those 2 temples. I'm very grateful to fellow blogger and friend Shiv who made these pictures possible, in a manner of speaking!

Update: So many images to upload ...... so little time!!! *sigh* Will do so soon..have been travelling this month like crazy. Take a look at my recent trip on my new online album. *Yay*

Posted at 01:25 pm by Ravi
Comments (2)  

Friday, August 22, 2008
Wrong number, Apple

'The phone you've were waiting for'  screamed the ads about the launch of the Apple Iphone.

Well, now that prices have been announced for the 2 models - Rs 31,000/- and Rs 36,000 respectively - many are thinking to themselves, you guys certainly ain't gonna get 'the money that we've been slaving for.'

At those prices, no phone is worth it, methinks, for whatever it offers. Yeah, yeah, a couple of egoists intent on showing off will buy.

Somebody ought to tell Apple/Airtel that being India specific in their pricing would have got the hordes thronging to buy. Now, their pitch has been queered, so to speak, and in fact, may put people off from owning something so blatantly overpriced. 'The moment you have been waiting for' as per the ads appears like a movement away from the iconic thingy.

Yes, I know the bundling bit in the US by Apple with AT&T kept the phone prices low. Perhaps that couldn't be done here. Yet, at these prices and with an intent to attract the classes, they have missed the masses. This is India and that's where the bucks are, baby!

Someone get Mr. C K Prahlad to talk to them, please.


Posted at 10:20 am by Ravi
What's your opinion?  

Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tripped up

Twin blasts rock Pak cantonment, 20 killed read the breaking news on Rediff.

Don't know why but the news eyes registered the same (along with a gasp!) as " Twin blasts rock Parliament!"

Moments later, I have to acknowledge that, following the bombings/explosions here and in other cities recently, some of us - me, definitely - are still living with a seige mentality.



Posted at 05:59 pm by Ravi
Comments (2)  

Monday, July 28, 2008

15 days in the hospital. 3 visits to the ICU. Innumerable injections. Umpteen blood transfusions. Sleepless nights. Countless anxieties. A ravaged body, a numb soul. Culminating in gasping for very life, perhaps wishing for an end to the prolonged suffering and finally, release.

Ambulance, freezer box, tears & wails, cemetery, cremation, ceremonies...a blur of moments. 

An ordinary life. An extraordinary, painful end.

Death will never be pretty--its sights and smells too close and crude. And it will never come under our control: it gallops where we tiptoe, rips up our routines, burns our very breath with its heat and sting.

From here.

Posted at 04:13 pm by Ravi
Comments (4)  

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