Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Mode - Serious.
Mood - St. Anger Round my Neck (and He will Get Respect).

Please read the following links:-

Well, i suppose the government hasnt seen the slums that are ... Bang in the Middle of Mumbai. I think these harebrained morons who constitute the civic bodies suffer from severe near-blindedness. They cannot see slums and illegal constructions right across their street.

Actually, we Sindhis are not large enough a votebank to matter to the politicians, and I suppose the government is looking for some easy money. I feel cheated and discriminated against when I see slums on the western express highway, in the prime industrial areas of Mumbai being regularized , while at the same time marking a whole goddamned city as illegal. Hahh.. laughable.

There are slums in the middle of Mumbai, starting right from Fort and in Dadar, Matunga, Wadala areas. From there on, you will find illegal slums and constructions all over Mumbai, on the eastern and western express highways, near every railway station and along the tracks, and heck.. even the airport is surrounded by slums.

Most of the times, you will find a picture of a politician displayed prominently, or a board proudly announcing one as the "owner/benefactor/guardian angel" of the slum. Also you will find symbols of the political parties they are votebanks for. The slums of Bandra and Andheri are patronized by Sunil Dutt. Ohh.. what a respectful man, isnt he.

He and his son and daughter live in the posh Juhu area, away from the slums , but will not bother about the rest of the common public who has to face public nuisance everyday. And that guy is respected. Really funny, the very same people, some of the Mumbai elite, and press wallahs who honour him and sing paens to him might some day have been late or lost out or beaten by the slumdwellers. And the guy was an honoured MP. He was called at functions and for cutting red tapes (thats what he seemed to be good for, like most politicians). The same "Sunil Dutt ka banaya hua public nuisance", which he kept for a few measly votes. Sunil Dutt could have done better to actually improve his constituency instead of nurturing slums !!! Haa..

Similarly, most of the slums in Pune bear the picture of another Pune page3 politician, who owns a petrol pump and an automobile showroom in the city. You know who I am talking about. The same guy lives in a posh locality, and is a businessman making money out of selling petrol (i m not sure if its adulterated, but most of the petrol pumps in Pune sell low quality fuel). I am not sure if he is involved in any criminal activity, but "owning" a slum on public land is close to that. The slumdwellers vote and canvass for him, and he in turn manages to let them live illegally. Neat deal :-) . The administration/courts cannot do anything to the public nuisance brawlers created by the "respected" likes of these politicians, but would then turn their attention to .. what else.. Ulhasnagar and schools in Delhi.

No, i m not arguing for making two wrongs to set things right, but this is blatant discrimination. The people who bought the flats there with their lives savings are being cheated, while the builders, corporators and politicians go scotfree. There are illegal slums/constructions which have been in existence for a shorter duration than Ulhasnagar and they are being legalized/regularized. So whats the problem with a *city*.

Is it because Ulhasnagar doesnt return a Congress MP/MLA/corporator/anydamnthing , that such a thing is being done. ??
Anyway, we Sindhis have worked hard to reach where we are, from scratch, and we will do it again.

Also , another memorable fourteenth of February.

One of the Valentines Day that we were in college, me and two of my friends decided to go out and check out the chicks, since we were doing nothing that day. We walked down the road at a happening place (well, sort of) in town a few times. All we saw were couples wearing various shades of pinks and reds. Hardly any single gals. Whew lot of competition these days. For numbers on the piece of paper that decides your future (ie marksheet), competition in careers and competition for gals.

Voila!!! four single gals sitting on the staircase of a shopping mall. I dont know what took me over, but while we were walking past them, i just walked away from my friends, and approached the girls. "Excuse me, can you please tell me where is {anything}, I think its somewhere around here".
One of the girls said "Go right at the next chowk".
Then another "No I think you should turn left".
Another one "Turn right at the alternate chowk".

By that time, my friends had come near me. I said "Ok, thanks. I will find out.". I paused, and then introduced myself. "By the way I am Satish, and my friends Keith, and Vivek". The girls smiled and one of them introduced themselves. They were fellow engg students like us. Not really hot babes, but not bad either. They offered us to sit. Vivek smiled slyly at me. He was the smart one amongst us. We talked about things in general for a while.

Then one of the girls said "So you wanted to go to that place". I said "Yes, but we will go later. " The reply : "So you wanted to talk to us. You knew where it is". After she knows that we have been here for quite some time, she also knew that we had to know the important landmarks. I replied, "Yes , we wanted to. ". She replied, "Nice trick". I replied , both of us now laughing : "Yeah, but it always works". The only time I felt like running away, was when one of the girls said she was in final year of law.! I started thinking if I did anything illegal.

We kept in touch for a while via email, but later lost contact. We had our share of good clean fun, and both the groups were saved from boredom. A plain day turned out to be quite exciting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine day rant.. from the shadows.

Its valentines day today. I am somewhat neutral to the idea of Valentines day. I have been unattached throughout my college life and 3 years into my professional life. Not that I was single every Valentines Day, from age 18 to age 27, but the two times that I had a date, it was less of a date and more of meeting a single female friend and chatting about things in general over coffee. No different than any other normal day.

This one too is pretty normal. I stayed back in office late on 13th Feb, woke up at 11 am today. I had to hurry. I reached office, the usual bugfixes and changes as requested by the powers-that-be, and I am still in office. I will go home, watch TV or read the papers for a while, and sleep. Another pretty normal day.

One good thing about Valentines day is that the poor kids, men and women selling flowers and balloons earn quite a lot that day. ( A Rs 10 Rose sells for anything above Rs 50 on Valentines Day). And yes, of course, lot of moolah for the greeting card companies too, who sell cards with almost similar mushy mush stuff. The wordings are almost similar on different cards, and I wonder if they hire first class post-graduates in English to write all that stuff. Or they just copy paste it off the net. I think they make more money on this day than Diwali, Christmas and New Year combined. No wonder its marketed so well.

The grouse I have against Valentines Day is that it makes singles turn off the lights, the radio and the TV, and crawl under the bed. I have been on both sides so I can understand. There is so much for those in love (or under the impression that they are in love ), that it makes the singles feel ignored. The usual restaurants and pubs will not allow you entry unless you have anyone who looks like a girl with you. You have to manage with one of those seedy bars where 40+ men with two buttons of their shirts open, have n number of quarters of regular whiskies.

There are times when you feel that you join the Sena brigade and join in driving irritating couples (creating traffic problems) away, who would like to coochie coo (or anything) on the streets rather than at their home. You feel like stoning the shops which display those heart balloons, heart pillows, teddy bears, etc. Its irritating in the sense, if you are walking down the road, you find such couples everywhere.

It seems like you have committed a crime if you dont have a girlfriend on Valentines Day. And the noise is too much to ignore. (Anyway, in the last few years, I have become quite immune to it, and it hardly matters to me). You have friends ( not the close friends variety), asking you "Hey what are you doing this Valentines Day". Either you reply,"Nothing much, watch TV and meet Vikky and Nitin" or you reply, "Oh I am meeting this special friend of mine". In the first case, you hear "tsk, tsk" and in the second, more prying questions. Either way, you are trapped :-) Worse, there are theories cooked up, regarding why you are still single. Maybe its his attitude, blah blah.

V-day is just an excuse to be with your lover publicly, after hunting for privacy all the year round. V-day celebration is ok, but it seems too much hyped and your senses are assailed by soft teddy bears and various hues of pink and red. All those pinks, reds and soft toys are sickening. Its lost its charm. Anyway, doesnt matter much. V-day is ok, once a year. Nothing much compared to other challenges facing us.

The most paradoxical thing is that affairs last from 14th Feb to 2nd Aug (i suppose thats the Friendship Day date). Friendship Day has the least to do with friendship, in fact it fully seems like V-Day Reloaded. Why August was chosen as the month for friendship day is an easy guess. If you break off and find another partner within six months, you can celebrate with him/her before waiting for the next February. Waiting for February increases chances of losing him/her before celebrating some "day" with him/her. So it solves the problem of having a "special so-and-so day" during the average timespan of a relationship these days.

Things to do this Valentine, for singles.

1. Switch off the lights, close the doors and windows, cover your ears with the pillow and sleep (or atleast try to sleep)
2. Wear any colour other than pinks and reds. (Black if preferable)
3. Do not look/blow your horn at any couple that obstructs you in traffic, you will be met with a cold stare unless you too have a girl with you. (in that case , you will be greeted with a smile or a thumbs up). If you blow your vehicles horn, you might be met with a cold stare or the hero might hit you for hurting the eardrums of his damsel in distress.
4. Join the moral police for a day
5. Dont call up any old girlfriends, or "just friends who are girls". You might be disappointed. Do that earlier than Feb14 if you wish to.
6. Dont ask your male friends -"how was your Valentines Day" You can spare yourself inane details and extra brags.

Happy V-day - And my blogs Happy Birthday

Happy V-day !

I have a number of thoughts going on, in the earlier days as well as these days. Some funny (my friends think so), some dark and cynical. I thought I will try experimenting with this blog thing. I live and work in Maharashtra, India, and in the 27 years of my life, I have lived in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Also since today is V-day, of course, there will be some of my comments on that too.