Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ek cutting chai

I just went out for a glass of cutting chai to a little chai shop near my office, and yeah at 1 pm in the searing afternoon heat. I just felt like having tea and went for it. It was a shop with a proper shelter and not a tapri, but the culture is almost the same.

These chai tapris/shops are a world of their own. You can see all types of people there sipping chai (very very few girls, of course. You would probably find more female dogs in the vicinity, than female humans). People who you would normally wont notice when you know where you are going. There are old retired men reading newspapers for hours in all languages he can read. And young marketing executives who drive splendor and going through their papers out of a shoulder bag. Then a few college kids who are saving pennies at the end of the month by having chai and wada pav for lunch (well, I too have gone through these days sometimes). A few people from the nearby software companies and banks. The college guys and the IT/bank guys are most likely to bring along some girl for a snack. Private banks I mean, not the sarkari banks, I must add.

Its interesting to listen to their conversations too. You can gain a good amount of gyaan listening in to the conversations. College guys talk about everything except their studies or topic of studies. That includes the economy, industry, good deals and sales, brands, career advice, and , you guessed it, girls. Typical conversation goes "Yaar, shalini kahan gayee hai, dikhti nahi aajkal" or "Neha sahi babe hai, aur tujhse to acche se baat karti hai" or "Dekh ch***iye, goli maar Rajiv ko, tu mere saath shift kar jaa, rent share kar lenge", or "MBA prep ke liye IMS ka material kahin se jugaad kar".

The old retired men generally talk about the old times, and the state of the country in general. Their conversations also include philosophy and most of their conversations have philosophical undertones mixed in a good measure. "Dekhiye, yeh deal India ke liye accha nahi hai" or "Maii son is living in thee states for five years."

The IT / bank guys dont talk much generally, and their faces show they are still thinking about their work. And if they do, its about the office politics or related to their field of work. "Yahan par ek EJB daal diya to sahi chalna chahiye" or "Why dont you use a unix cron job" or "Weblogic/Apache/Windows/Microsoft/Sun/Apple is great/crap" or "Boss ko ek week bola to sirf do din ka chhutti diya, saala #$%#$%!!"

The menu is almost the same across all tapris. The quality differs though. There are tapris that are famous in their own right. You can have cutting chai (its the most famous. Its just a regular little "glass" of chai but not completely filled), chai, espeshal chai, masala chai etc, and a few offer coffee too (Its almost always plain simple Bru instant since its cheaper). Then some offer wada pav (the eternal fav for a quick bite), samosas, bhajias, kanda bhajji, missal pav, etc.

The songs playing there are from all india radio or sometimes radio mirchi. Like I just heard "Ae bhai, jara dekh ke chalo" from "Mera naam joker". Some words I recall from the song, and it hits you that its true, in a way.

"Duniya ek circus hai"
"Jaanwar aadmi se jyada wafadar hai"

Monday, April 24, 2006

Interesting comment on reservations

The below email was forwarded to me by a friend.

ET has opened a debate on "Is Premji right to go against job quotas in Wipro?"
As expected most of the posts agree with him... here is someone who put his put in a very diff way
I think we should have job reservations in all the fields. I completely support the PM and all the politicians for promoting this. Let's start the reservation with our cricket team. We should have 30 percent for OBC, SC/ST like that. Cricket rules should be modified accordingly. The boundary circle should be reduced for an SC/ST player. The four hit by an OBC player should be considered as a six and a six hit by a OBC player should be counted as 8 runs. An OBC player scoring 60 runs should be declared as a century.
We should influence ICC and make rules so that the pace bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar should not bowl fast balls to our OBC player. Bowlers should bowl maximum speed of 80 kilometer per hour to an OBC player. Any delivery above this speed should be made illegal.
Also we should have reservation in Olympics. In the 100 meters race, an OBC player should be given a gold medal if he runs 80 meters.
There can be reservation in Government jobs also. Let's recruit SC/ST and OBC pilots for aircrafts which are carrying the ministers and politicians (that can really help the country.. )
Ensure that only SC/ST and OBC doctors do the operations for the ministers and other politicians. (Another way of saving the country..)
Let's be creative and think of ways and means to guide INDIA forward... Let's show the world that INDIA is a GREAT country. Let's be proud of being an INDIAN..
May the good breed of politicans like ARJUN SINGH long live...

Now, a friend of mine and me were in a pub having some beer over the weekend. We came up with some more ideas. Some of might might be ridiculous, and I have forgotten most of what we came up with (Come on, I was having beer, and it did hit me a little)

The ball should not spin more than 5 degree when bowled to a backward class batsman.
A no-ball or a wide ball bowled to a backward class batsman will invite a penalty of two runs and two extra balls on the fielding side.
There should be 50% reservations for the umpires.
For runout decisions, the crease should be lengthened for backward classes.
If a batsman is caught by a backward class fielder after no or one bounce, he will be declared out.
The boundary should be extended for a bowler from backward classes. A six hit by a batsman off a backward class bowler will be considered a four, and a four will be considered a double.

There should be 50% reservations for entries to the pub.
50% of the beer in the pub should be sold to backward classes.
There should be discounts on beer to backward classes.
50% of the rock that is played should be sung by a backward class rock band or singer.
There should be reservations for the job of the DJ.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reservations for me please...

Ok, so Arjun Toxic Singh is back to the old Mandal/reservation game. Just when we thought that things were beginning to stabilize after Weepy Singhs reservation vote-bank games, this Toxification Factory comes up and extends it further to IITs and IIMs. He also talks of reservations in the private industry and autonomous educational institutions, while at the same time, keeping the minority institutions out of it. Well, the accusations of minority appeasement are definitely true, they have had a long history of such activities.

What I propose instead of upto 70% reservations (inspite of the SCs order that reservations should not exceed 50%) in some states, we should have reservations for general category now. Let there be 25 or 30% reservations for non-quota instead. So that the people who are non-quota now get quota, and the general category cannot opt for 70%. Seems more logical now. Like disk quotas on Linux/Unix systems for different users, quotas are *generally* understood to be a part of the whole thing, and the part does not generally exceed 50%. Each user of the system uses a slice of the pie, which is reserved for him/her. If there are two users, if one user has 70% disk quota , the other user automatically has 30% quota.

But alas, things in Indian government do not work the same as computers. This is the worst part of reservations. An quota candidate is eligible for both quota seats as well as non-quota seats. A quota candidate can also "encroach" upon a general category seat, while a general category candidate cannot enter the quota field, even if there is space empty for him. So we have examples of people having scored 2 out of 900 in a medical entrance examination getting a medical seat.

Another scary incident that I am reminded of. A distant cousin of mine is in a medical college in Delhi (dont know which one, have met him only once till date and dont even recall his name) told me this. He was in his third year of medicine. In the lab, the professor was asking students to point out various organs on a body on a stretcher. He asked a SC girl student "Show me where is the heart"? The girl pointed out to the kidney. Whooaa.. a third year medical student does not even know where the heart is. I suppose even a high school student could have pointed that out in her place, using some logic and sense. And my cousin noted - she pointed to the right kidney. ROFL... :))

The scary part is that someone might die because of such things. The girl , in case she graduates, goes on and operates on the patients "heart", its going to be the end of all diseases for the poor patient. Another scenario, say you are alone at home, feeling unwell and need to visit a doctor. Since you will go by yourself and to prevent much travel, you would opt for the nearest doc. What if that doc is a quota student like that girl who mistook the kidney for the heart. Will you trust your health with such a doc.

Just hope you never have to drive over a bridge built by a quota category "sarkaari injeeneer".

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Jal Seva - Kripya jyada paani na peeyen

Water - which was once considered free. Its literally a traded commodity in the vast majority of dry Gujarat lands. Plastic pouches of warm water are available for a rupee at most pan shops and general stores. I admit life is still easier for people like us who get limited quantity of water delivered to our homes. There are people who travel miles with drums in their tractors or jeeps to get a fill of water. There are tribal regions too in the dry lands. Not very different from the tribals who live on the banks of the Narmada.

I doubt the credentials of Narmada Bachao Andolan. The way they have protested and put forward their points reveals that they have other agendas on their mind. Their aim was/is to stop the dam project altogether. First they cited environmental reasons for opposing the dam, and the vegetation that would be destroyed. The Sardar Sarovar Nigam Ltd had carried out replantation activities but still NBA could not see reason. Then came the argument regarding siltation. And now its about the rehabilitation. The NBA seems to be looking for reasons to protest. Of course, the dam will have its advantages and disadvantages like most things in the world. You dont stop using cellphones because of its disadvantages.

As far as I know, the rehab process is going on. It has not stopped. Now the rehab cannot be done just overnight. It takes time, given the way governments work. There are going to be complications. Does that mean NBA should get the dam construction stopped. Why dont they genuinely concentrate on rehab rather than meddling with the dam project. The way NBA is projecting its lies, it would appear that no rehab has been done. As earlier, it tried to project that no replantations have been done.

Now, even the state Congress protested against NBA and Aamir Khan. Isnt congress supposed to be a liberal/secular/progressive/ party. Most pseudo-liberals and pseudo-seculars favour the congress, given that Sonia has carefully cultivated an image of a sacrificing leader. Why are even the congress against the NBA then. I think even the state congress sees it as an attempt to hijack progress.

Also, the protest against the dam has been linked to Narendra Modi subtly. Now now wait a min, how is Narendra Modi, whether you like him or not is a different matter, related to the dam project. Its not his brainchild. How is the fact that narendra modi hate is linked to the anti-dam protests. Of course, you defeated the very purpose. You wanted to corner modi by stopping the dam by using NBA as a front, but it backfired. Even the state congress is united behind modi now. So who stands to gain. Its like the jaya bacchan disqualification case backfired on the congress and the great gandhian leader sonia matajee. Whether narendra modi or chiman patel is the CM of gujarat, dam construction is another thing altogether. By painting the people of Gujarat as villains, the media is alienating Gujarat kee janata, and I dont think this is good in the long run.

Whether intentional or not, the analogy of the media and the liberal rabble rousers is this - Riots took place in Gujarat. Lot of Muslims were killed (doesnt matter that equal number of Hindus were also killed in reality). People of Gujarat are bigoted fundamentalists. Ignore them and paint them as villains. Always downplay or refute the good work done, highlight the bad ones. Like the Ishrat Jahan case, where a female terrorist was gunned down by Gujarat police, media was quick to attack Modi and play "all people of gujarat are fundamentalists". When it was proven true, no word from the media. Ok, nobody is perfect. Modi has his faults. I am not his supporter. But to brand every action of his as communal or wrong is fundamentalism is not correct. In fact, mata soniaji fired some economist who rated Gujarat as first in economy. The report of the sarkari committee he headed was withdrawn. Now that was not an insult to Modi as dimwitted sonia and congress thought it would be, it was an insult to the entrepreneurs of Gujarat, to the hard working people who made it happen. It seems that media takes it for granted as the universal truth - all people in gujarat are modi supporters. Well, I am not, in fact I dont support any of our dhoti walas.

Another fact which I was told by a mechanical engineer from the SSNL. The imported kaplan turbines (these are turbines that resemble aircraft propellors the other way round, instead of using motion to create air flow, they use water flow to generate motion) were kept for quite some number of years without putting them to use. These turbines are delicate. Even a dent of a millimeter on the blades or axle or the bearings can imbalance them and break the turbines at high speeds. It cost crores of rupees just to maintain them in the as-is condition. Who is responsible for such wanton misuse of taxpayers money.

Regarding my tirade against Aamir Khan (hasnt he spawned a lovechild with some british actress and another british poet and left his wife for a younger woman), he is using his popularity to lend support to a cause where the right and wrong are not clearly defined. Rehabilitation of displaced villagers is a must, just like the dam is. But by taking sides, he is lending weight to one side, while the other side is not totally wrong. He seems to be taking his social responsibility image too seriously. Like in Rang de basanti, its not really known whether the defense minister is actually responsible or not, or whether anupam kher was responsible or not, aamir khan kills both. Similarly, without knowing both sides of the story (or even one side of the story properly), he blindly rushes ahead to do *what he thinks* is right. It would have been proper for him to have lent support to Jessica Laal case, since here the position of the two sides is clear. One is right, and the other is wrong. In the narmada case, both sides have valid points, and by giving credence to one side, he is twisting the logic of the argument. A public outcry will occur, media will generate unnecessary hype, and the right voices of the other side will be suppressed.

We often see images of Kutch and Saurashtra on TV. Colourful sunburnt inhabitants playing garba, and wearing large turbans. Women walking across the dry lands with pots of water on their heads. Flat lands where you can see for miles. An occasional tree in the vast sparsely populated expanse. A place where the biggest worry of the people is - will it rain good this year? Will I get to drink water tomorrow? How much should I keep aside for buying water? Yes, its that bad, I have travelled these places quite a lot and seen it first hand. Come summer, and there are news about people dying of sunstroke. Of course, the media does not report it, it has to sell copies. And yes, Medha Patkar and Aamir khan are glamourous, people dying for water isnt. Will aamir khan visit the people of these places and speak for those million people, the way he did for 18000 displaced villagers.

Links if you are interested further to explore the other side -



Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Me tooo ... Me tooo ..

Now our dear ponytail management guy, Arindam has got a full page IIPM advertizement in TOI(ToiletPaper of India). As usual, same old stuff that he has been printing for years. A new addition to those ads is management training workshops and seminars by the "experts of IIPM". Arindam charges Rs 3 lac per hour!! Hey, who actually pays for this. Another guy charges 1.25 lac per day and "Amway cannot do without him". Well, IIMs must be careful now, hehe..

Now the point of the post. The ad also carried an article by Arindam in which he rants about Narmada dam and supports Medha Patkar. Seems like he too wants some limelight like Aamir. I did not want to read it but when "Narmada" flashed across my eyes, I started to read. And I dont regret it, it was good entertainment reading 8th Standard level English essays. Now, he says "Millions will be displaced for a dam which will benefit few". Oh Yeah, mr ponytail. I wonder if your parents are really proud of you. You got it the other way round, Ponytail. It will benefit millions, and as per the news 18,000 people are being affected.

Ok, let me make myself clear. I fully support the demand to rehabilitate the displaced people, but not at the cost of the dam. Do these illiterates like Medha, Aamir and Arindam (Arundhati might be educated, but a compulsive protester, so she has to be ignored) know what are the repurcussions of reducing the height of the dam from the planned height. How will it affect the quantity of water stored in the dam, how will it affect the hydraulics of transportation of water, how will it affect electricity generation. Turbines for hydel power generation are designed taking consideration of the height of the water column. They wont work properly, might be damaged or will be plainly very inefficient if the height of the dam changes. And all the public money spent over 30 years goes waste. It might have been completed and operating 10 years ago, if Medha Patkar and company wouldnt have interfered. It was a just cause 10 years ago, not now Medha Patkar.

Also comes in the communal angle. Now, its the case of "poisoning the well" and "confusing the container and contained". Things that have nothing to do with the Gujarat communal riots are linked with it. Even the Narmada dam issue is now being linked to Gujarat riots and Narendra Modi, even though it has nothing to do with either. The communal riots happened in Gujarat, the dam is being built in Gujarat so it must be bad. The container is the same but the contents are no way related to each other. One is bad does not mean that the other contents too are bad. (Is it possible to drill some logical reasoning skills into the brains of these clowns).

I wonder why such low life tards like Arindam and Amir Khan have to meddle in serious stuff like this, without knowing both sides of the story.

Disclaimer: I am not a Gujarati, but I have spent half my life in Gujarat. I am trying to present the other side of the story, a story of struggle for even the basic necessities which are taken for granted by many of us.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Rang De Basanti effect

I did not watch it. Heard about the story and got mixed reviews. And I am too lazy to go to theaters and waste Rs 150 to watch some movie which isnt highly rated. And the storyline did not appeal much to me. Yeah now I do care about our air force pilots but not the way some bunch of college dropouts do. I know the story so I did not watch it.

Aamir Khan seems to have taken his role in the movie seriously. He has gone out to support Medha Patkar on the Narmada issue.

Now the place where I spent my early years. A small town in Gujarat, a state where about three fourths of the land has perennial water problems and constantly under drought threat. I visited my old home town, since someone in the family had expired. Quite some number of relatives visited home. The water is supplied about once in two days and in small quantities. The water is quite saline and the salinity keeps increasing over the years. It just about suffices for a family of four. Deodorant sales must be good in Gujarat, I had to bath alternate days to save water. Quite often, we had to pay for tankers of water to deliver at home. There are announcements by the local municipal authorities about when will water be delivered. You have to keep notice of that. Most housewives deal with water management issues at home daily. There are days when you have to keep notice that you have water left for only a day and the next time water will be delivered will be after two days. So you try to avoid drinking water!

Now would our dumb dear Mr Aamir Khan go to the interiors of the dry Gujarat heartlands and live like the people do for about a month. Would he pay Rs 500 for a tanker of water everyday to make sure that he has sufficient water to bath himself, his ugly wives and his dogs (in case he has any). It is easy to support a cause without knowing the whole picture. Now the way mostly commercial page-3 type newspapers like TOI (Toiletpaper of India) present it, makes the people of Gujarat look like villains. I wholly endorse the protests in Gujarat.

Aamir Khan on TV says that he is not against progress , but for rehabilitation of people affected by the dam. Oh yeah, what do you think Aamir, the people will lap up whatever trash you speak emotionally on TV, is it. If you dumb nuts are not against progress, why are you putting a stop to work on the dam. You can agitate for rehabilitation without getting the construction of the dam stopped. NO, you are agitating for stopping the dam construction, and not for rehab. How come then you are not anti-progress.

Aamir, you typically sum up a Bollywood actor - Dumb people who cannot even operate a cellphone properly. You are considered the most intelligent in Bollywood. If this is the best you can be, I can judge other film actors as well, where they stand. Plus you are not an engineer, so you wouldnt obviously know how the height of the dam affects the hydraulics of the system. You need pressure to push the water over long distances with minimal use of pumps in the pipeline. So the height needs to be higher to send water to remotest parts of the state, and use of pumps be minimized. Greater height also means greater amount of electricity generated. But of course, all these advantages are lost on you, like they are lost on Medha Patkar.

Bhakra Nangal project in Punjab transformed the state. IIRC, the waters from the Beas enabled Rajasthan to carry out some wheat farming. The same thing can be done for dry parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra.

It would be good for him if Aamir Khan sticks to mouthing inanities on the silver screen, and lusting after women on and off screen, rather than meddling in serious issues. That way he wont reveal his IQ ;-)