Friday, December 08, 2006

Revenue Budget

Under Article 112 of the Constitution of India, the Annual Financial Statement has to distinguish expenditure of the Government on revenue account from other expenditures.

Government Budget, therefore, comprises of:
Revenue Budget
Capital Budget.

Revenue Budget consists of the revenue receipts of Government,
Tax revenues
Other revenues like - 
        Interest and dividend on investments made by Government
        Other receipts for services rendered by Government,

 and the expenditure met from these revenues.

Revenue expenditure is for the normal running of Government departments and various services, interest payments on debt, subsidies, etc.

Broadly, the expenditure which does not result in creation of assets for Government of India is treated as revenue expenditure. 

All grants given to State Governments/Union Territories and other parties are also treated as revenue expenditure even though some of the grants may be used for creation of assets.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Of students and their PDA

One of the things that has fascinated me these few months in Hyderabad is the rapid change that I have noticed. The change is apparent not only in the monstrous “new-age” buildings that have sprouted all over the city or the flyovers but the open Public Displays of Affection that I see in certain areas of the city. When I stayed here in the eighties such things were unheard of. Come to think of it even an open mingling of sexes was something that was not all that common

One of the pleasures that I now have is getting out of the house at 5.00 am to reach my class at 6.00 am. I teach a motley group of topics (and in my opinion do a damn fine job of it) to those who aspire to get through the recruitment process of the IT biggies. But it is not my superlative teaching that I want to discuss but certain activities that one notices in secluded corridors of the classroom blocks where I teach.

All sessions end at 8.00 am but it depends on individual lecturers when they finish the session. And that day my lecture happened to be the only one on the third floor. As the other sessions got over a bit earlier the students had trooped out dutifully except for this enterprising couple.

Placing themselves strategically at the top of the stairs, where they had a view of both the corridor and the staircase, they were busy in a world of their own. A world that saw a lot of entangled limbs and paws. Now in spite of their strategic location they made a simple but egregious mistake. They forgot that there was a third floor and chaps like me were likely to walk down those steps any moment.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I caught the couple in flagrante delicto. And that is where the fun started. Innocent me saw them and took a second or two to figure out where the guy’s hands were and why and why the young lady was standing at the top of the stairs in such an arched position.

Of course gyan dawned immediately but I kind of ignored them – as much as it is possible to ignore happenings of this nature – and continued to walk down the stairs. That is when the dude saw me, noticed I was a “Prof” and then took off like a scalded cat leaving a rather bewildered, backwardly arching young woman.

She then saw me and ran down the stairs onto the corridor. By the time I got onto the corridor I noticed that the guy was making good progress at the other end with the girl just a few steps in front of me. As soon as I caught up with the girl I obviously had to decide whether I should play the Prof who is scandalized by this behaviour and who threatens to “call your parents” or be the cool dude Prof who winks and lets it go. I, unfortunately, decided to “dialogue maro” a bit and said, “Discretion is a better part of amour” and walked away.

I know, I know. Not terribly inventive but that was all I could think of on the spur of the moment. And please remember I was quite taken aback too.

When I was thinking about the episode, apart from kicking myself for not making a better comment and wondering whether I should report the two to the “authorities”, I did wonder about the behaviour of this dude.

I mean, here you are caught while necking your girl and the moment you notice a figure in authority you take off. What if I had decided to take the young girl to task? Given the general climate of intolerance exhibited when dealing with young couples and the environment of moral policing, quite frankly, I could have made things quite messy for her. Just cannot figure this out.

Call me old fashioned or whatever you will I still think that this dude should have held his ground and in the unlikely event that I did say anything should have been in a position to cover for the girl and taken the rap himself. But he did quite the opposite. And to think that the girl was almost threatening him with words like, “come back or I’ll kill you” while walking along the corridor

Well! Maybe I am wrong and that is the way to handle things.

Welcome to the New Age Man.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Woes of a 30+ Bachelor

Much like Mrs. Bennet & Co. my family has had this opinion that a single man in good health and wealth is in urgent need of a wife.

My woes began a couple of years ago when I hit the dreaded 30-year mark, with each cousin/uncle/aunt/neighbour/carpenter, etc. expressing their opinion freely and frankly about it being high time I got married.

Being the shrewd military strategist that I am, dealing with sundry cousins, aunts and uncles has been easy. Much in the manner of Napoleon and his military victories, I tackled them on a one-on-one basis and never once did I allow them to gang up against me. This strategy held me in good stead, but then Napoleon too had his Waterloo didn't he?

This happened a few months ago when all of us met in Hyderabad. I, for once, let my guard down and there I was amidst a cacophony of dear cousins, dearer uncles and dearest aunts.

First came an assault from the Left Flank by a cousin. Let's call him M. M wondered why I was mudiri poyina bendakaya laga unnavu (resembling an over-ripe, withered Okra/Ladies' Finger) and that it was high time for me to get married. It was now or never.

"Absolutely!" chimed in an uncle R, leading a sortie against my Right Flank. "And look at your hair. In a couple of years you will be as bald as a coot. Who will marry you then? You know, it was my flowing locks that had swept your aunt off her feet."

And what was threatening to become a longish account about their courtship, such as it was, was interrupted by M.

M still with his "over-ripe okra" theme decided it needed a bit of a variation. "The older you get the less chances of getting a "good" girl. You will have to make do with...rejects."

Aaah!! Now what is a reject? Who rejects who? What? Why? No clue but I said, "Yeah, sure".

An aunt G asked me, concern writ large on her face, "But, when you pass by good looking women, do you not want to look at them?" My reply was short. "No," I said in my best "butter wouldn't melt in mouth" imitation. A white lie, of course, I am the biggest lech this side of the equator.

Then suddenly M got up and started to pace the floor excitedly. He obviously had his Eureka moment.

"But why are you without even a girlfriend?" he asked, his eyes aglow with naughty thoughts.

"Well!" I spluttered, "you know how it is."

Actually I did not, but was obviously trying hard not having to answer that question correctly. After all, why would I want to admit that women do not, er...ahem...find me attractive enough and that too to M.

"Work and travel and no time basically," I managed to say.
And almost before I finished out came the question, "are you, you know ….er….ahem…like that?" "Like what?" I asked, all bewildered.

"You know, do you like um…like…you know, you don't like girls...."

Oh! God, things were going from bad to worse here. I figured out what he meant (obviously have slowed down due to age). B, a cousin who stays in Bangalore, started to guffaw at this interpretation and slowly all the snickers around the drawing room turned to guffaws.

And in the centre of all this stood M, resplendent in his faded, black, baggy, draw-string Bermuda.

I had to do something about this and fast. I said, "Look guys I am that. Just that I am asexual.”
The guffaws/snickers stopped as though they had run into a solid wall.

The family went into a huddle. As it always does in moments of extreme crises.

What is asexual?!?!?
Does it does it mean? Does it, you know....


This was a killer cavalry charge that I was not prepared for. Well and truly into the fire from the frying pan. I had to explain.


Boss, everything that needs to be there is there. I should know, after all I check once a month. The snickers started again.

Just when I thought the worst was over, in chimed B about BPO Babes and the fact that Navi Mumbai was awash with them. B, the certified cute guy of the Family, forgot his virtuous act for a while and began to instruct me in the art of wooing them BPO Babes, while I realized that not one of the schemes was good enough as most of them seemed to require me to stay up beyond 10.00 pm - my sacred beddy-bye time.

At this juncture Kindly K stepped in.

Her take on the whole issue: Don't get married just for your sake.

Eh!?!?!?! I needed enlightenment. K's logic was, "Get married because it is the right thing to do."

Yeah! Sure, like that logic is going to work with me.

It was at this pain threshold that THE IDEA came to me.

I got up and announced, loudly,

"YES! You guys have convinced me that my life is thoroughly meaningless and the only way to rectify it is by getting married."

I added for good measure that like good cousins/aunts/uncles it was up to them to get me a bride.

I waited until the general torrent of relief, well meaning chaff, congratulations and other meaningless chatter came to an end. And then said,


Interesting, the power a single word sometimes possesses. There was a sudden quiet in the room. Having got their attention I continued, "But I will only marry a high profile MBA thing. Nothing less."

Before the howls of protests and questions of all kinds could reach their collective lips, I continued. I explained very patiently that it was in no way a view that only MBAs make for good brides but a purely practical one. After all, once I get married I would quit working and stay home.

What!!! Shrieked Kindly K. You want to be a...a...House husband?

"Yes" I beamed.

"That is my ultimate aim in life and I can think of no other highly evolved ambition." Eyes narrowed, lips were pursed and quizzical expressions met me at every turn of my bean. The Family had obviously never had to handle something this hot before.
Or from their perspective, this raving a lunatic.

After a space of about a minute or two came the questions, "Are you serious?" "Have you gone mad?" Etc, etc. I put on my totally bewildered act and asked what the problem was. Here I was in total agreement with them that I should get married and yet they were extremely unhappy.

My ultimatum was clear.

Get me a highly paid MBA. And then I'll get hitched. As I delivered the ultimatum the Family went into another huddle, the second of the day, tension writ large on their kindly faces.

That is when it struck me. This was actually a damn good idea.

Me seek MBA girl thing.
Me get married.
Then, me no work.
Me employ many servants.
Me Lord over them.
Wife Busy, Ambitious MBA so she no at home for long.
No have to spend time with her.

WOW!!! This be UTOPIA.

It's been days since the event, but the Family seems to still be in huddle mode. Hope they take up this offer of mine.

Monday, August 14, 2006

India Quiz - 3

Here is the next batch of questions. Please put down the answers in the comments section and get back here for the right answers on April 21, 2006.


1.What was unique about the personal bodyguards of the Maurya rulers?
They were all women.

2.In Vedic times a Brahmin boy was considered equal to an animal until a certain event took place. What was that event?
The Upanayanam (Thread ceremony)

3.Who was the only woman to ascend the throne of Delhi?
Razia Sultana.

4.How many children did Gandhari have?
101. A hundred Kauravas and a daughter, Dushshala. Jayadratha was her husband.

5.Tough but very workable: Indravarma, the king of Malava had something in his possession that helped the Pandavas slay Drona in the battle of Kurukshetra. What was this “something”?
An elephant named Ashwatthama. Bhima killed this elephant and announced that Ashwatthama was dead. At this Drona lay down his arms and was slayed by Dhrishtadyumna.

The scores are:
Saikrishna Budamgunta – 5
Anil Menon – 4
(Sorry Anil cannot accept Namakarana of a Brahmin boy as the right answer.)
Prateek Vijayavargia – 2

Friday, August 11, 2006

India Quiz - 2

Here is the next batch of questions. Please put down the answers in the comments section and get back here for the right answers on April 17, 2006.

1. Mythological heroes in India often had more than one name. Which very famous personality was also known as: Krishna, Kapidhvaja, Bibhatsu, Dhananjaya, Savyasachi, Kiriti.

2. Which Indian ruler was a so impressed by the French Revolution that he even became a member of the Jacobin Club?

3. Who did General Hugh Rose refer to, after the Revolt of 1857, as “the only man among the rebels”?

4. The name of which Indian deity has made its way into the English language and has come to mean “a massive inexorable force or object that crushes whatever is in its path”?

5. How do we better know Mihr-un-nisa in Indian history?

2.Tipu Sultan.
3.Rani Lakshmibai.
4.Lord Jaggannath of Puri. The word is Juggernaut
5.Nur Jahan

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

India Quiz - 1

From today starts a series of Quizzes on Indian History, Mythology and Culture. I will be putting up a set of five questions once every three days. I would like to invite all you folks to take a crack at these questions.

Put down your responses in the comments section and then check back for the correct answers.

The answers to these questions will be put up on the date mentioned below.

Happy Quizzing.

1. In ancient India, this river was referred to as Shatadru. How do we know it now?
2. Who was the ruler of the territory between the rivers Jhelum and the Ravi at the time of Alexander’s invasion of India?
3. Who sent Megasthenes as his ambassador to the Mauryan Court?
4. What was the original name of Mahabharata?
5. Name the kingdom over which Dasharatha ruled.


1. Sutlej.
2. Paurava or Porus as the Greeks called him.
3. Seleucus Nikator.
4. Jaya. It was said of the Mahabharata, “What is here maybe found elsewhere too but what is not here cannot be found anywhere.”
5. Kosala.

Friday, July 28, 2006

"Milse Riday Saar"

One of the great facets of Hyderabad, which I am rediscovering almost everyday, is the fascinating hybrid culture that it possesses. For instance the Hindi spoken here is influenced by both Telugu and Urdu and has developed an identity all of its own.

Apart from Hindi even English seems to have mutated considerably in the Hyderabadi environment.

Having moved back just a few weeks ago I am still in the process of discovering the perfect route to my office and during one such experiment I noticed a small little Andhra restaurant being part-renovated. It was not the fact that it was being renovated that caught my eye but the banner that was put up announcing that while there was indeed some renovation going on the Restaurant was still very much in business.
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The restaurant owner was, probably, using the service entrance to allow its patrons to get in and announced the same with panache.

Meals Served in the Backside.

If I had a camera phone I would have gotten off the bus immediately just to click a photograph of this banner.

The pity is that now I do not even remember the area where I saw it. Else I would have taken a day off just to get that photograph.

I guess this banner puts to shame other creative ventures that I have noticed like:

Dormantary and Sute available for Gents


Fost Food Avilible here

Time for a burger break, guys.
A Guide for the Linguistically challenged. ;-)
Milse Ready Saar=Meals Ready, Sir

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Mumbai Deluge

Got up this morning and realized that it is July 26 once again. My thoughts immediately drifted to the events this day, last year in Mumbai thanks to the unprecedented floods. Not that I could have escaped thinking about it given that the Television channels are once again going on and on about the Deluge.

I must, of course, also salute the much hyped (and of late much abused) “spirit and resilience” of Mumbai. Having been through all the madness of last year, I realize that it does take some spirit on the part of the citizenry to carry on even in such adverse conditions.

The Call
At around 1.30 pm, Sameer called to say that the trains had stopped running because of the heavy rains and that it made sense to leave work a "bit" early. I ignored the advice completely as I had a meeting and wanted to keep that appointment. Apart from that, heavy rains and trains stopping due to water logging on the tracks are not exactly a new phenomenon in Mumbai.

The meeting was scheduled at 5.00 pm. At Tardeo!!! This was probably the only place in south Mumbai that was water logged that day. Of course the meeting never happened but it ensured that I was in office till 4.20 pm.

On the Road
By the time we cancelled the meeting the situation was already chaotic. No trains and apparently no BEST buses. Everyone in the office had already left and I lost no time in rushing immediately to the bus stop hoping to hop onto some stray bus. Once on the street, however, I found that buses were plying. The moment I saw a bus at a distance I began wondering how much of the problem it really was. But the way I looked at it was, I have got off a couple of hours early so why complain. And I went my merry way to the Century Bazar bus stop at Worli.

However when one of the buses arrived at my stop I realised that forget getting in I would not be able to place a toe in it. The enormity of the situation was yet to sink in, but I kind of realised that this was not just another manic monsoon day in Mumbai.

My immediate concern was, as usual, What About FOOD? I decided to have some grub immediately because I noticed that most restaurants were filling up with people (I once experienced the situation where due to a similar kind of emergency restaurants had run out of food). Had a quick dosa and went back to office thinking that I would make another attempt at around 7.00 pm. By then I figured the crowd would have dispersed.

Back in Office
Ha! Little did I realize the chaos that I would get to witness at 7.00 pm. The arterial Annie Besant road was choc a bloc with traffic and not one of the vehicles was moving an inch. That was when I decided to stay back in office.

My office overlooked the Annie Besant Road and I was peeping out of the window every 20 minutes to figure out if it was time to get going. And in the meantime, to add to the fun and games, water started seeping in through a crack that opened up near the window frame. I spent the next hour or so shifting all the books and VCDs that were liberally strewn (in cardboard cartons of course) on the floor to some place safer.

That done and with my back complaining quite a bit I decided to stay back in office. I informed Uncle Pai and then settled in for the night.

Of course I asked the HOT secy to stay back too. Just Kidding dudes no such post exists. The only female in the office is Mrs. Pai.

Luckily the office had both electricity and Net connections. That enabled me to chat with my friends. I had a longish chat with my school friends who happen to be in the US. So it was convenient for all of us.

July 27, 4.00 am
At 4.00 am I decided that I would leave because I wanted to catch the "First" bus and head home.

I was back at the Century Bazar Bus stop by 4.15 am and waited for a bus till 5.00 am. Got a bus and was zooming home. The bus zoomed homewards for about 10 minutes and I was already thinking in terms of a nice hot bath etc. Just as the bus approached Dadar I noticed that there was this huge crowd milling around on the road.

The alarm bells started to ring.

The problems started from here with the bus remaining stationary for an hour or so because of a major traffic jam. At 5.00 am.!!! The reason was that a lot of people had abandoned their cars the previous evening on the roads and had left. This left very little space to move.

July 27, 8.00 am
At 8.00 am the bus finally reached a place called Sion Hospital. This is about 5 km from my office. (At this point I still had another 20 km to reach home) There I got off the bus as I just could not take sitting in cooped up in the bus anymore. I then walked a bit and found Route No. 521 and that too empty. (This is the Route no. that runs up to Navi Mumbai where I stayed.) Such things don’t normally happen. I quickly ran and got into the bus. And felt mighty relieved that I got the bus.

I asked a co-passenger at what time he had got the bus because I felt I had missed it because of the stupid traffic jam that the other bus was in. This chap glared at me and then said, "Kal shaam ko 5.30 pm ko. Bharaah ghanton say issi bus mein hain."

After a while, I kind of realised that something was wrong. For one, the bus was not moving and then I noticed that both the Driver and the Conductor were missing. They were having chai in a stall outside.

I quickly got off that bus and walked for about 25 minutes to get to Everard Nagar, the place where this Photograph was taken. I just did not feel like going into the water. Especially because I know what happens on the sidewalk and the open areas next to it.

July 27, 10.00 am
Well! I hung on for about almost a couple of hours mulling on where, if at all, any toilet facilities existed close by and other such interesting thoughts. In the meanwhile I asked the driver of a bus that was stuck there if the water was receding. He pointed out to a half submerged truck and said, "Kal raat ko woh bus dikh nahin rahi thi." He seemed majorly happy at his keen sense of observation. Anyway still hung on and watched people struggling through this waist deep water.

What I found interesting was that all of them were half submerged in dirty water and yet ALL of them chose to use their umbrellas to shield themselves from the drizzle. To each his own, I guess.

And then suddenly out of nowhere along came a cop and tried to clear the path for the bigger vehicles to go through.

July 27, 11.00 am
At last a truck carrying LPG cylinders started to move. I quickly clambered on to its side (along with about 15 others) and clung on. This truck then ploughed gleefully through the water. There was a Maruti car half submerged and because of the waves that this truck created that car went completely underwater for a second or two. Was a sight to behold.

At Kurla junction I thought the water level was quite low and jumped off. I was wrong. As usual. The water level was not too low. I waded through that water taking care to not look at the sides of the road and reached Chembur Naka.

Trust me there was no water logging at all. Absolutely clear roads.

I bumped into a couple of former students and then walked with them for about 20 minutes. Luckily the brother of one of the students had come looking for her. And more importantly he had got his car. We walked to the car which also had the mother sitting in there.

This student on being polite offered a lift. I usually do not accept a lift from students but this time around I changed my policy got into the car immediately. The next 10-12 km was covered in 15 minutes. Got dropped off at Vashi (in Navi Mumbai) and then walked to a restaurant and got my self lunch and then got home at 1.00 pm.

Not bad.

25 km done in 9 hours flat

Monday, July 24, 2006

Intent Blog - My article

There cannot be a greater proof of my ever increasing laziness than the fact that I am posting a write-up that I had done for the Intent Blog. But I thought why the hell not.
Intent Blog has been set up Mallika Chopra, daughter of new age Guru Deepak Chopra. Has a few interesting articles.

Anyway here goes my stuff on it:

The past couple of weeks have seen a lot of changes in my life. Chief among them being a change of job, which has meant moving back home. I have now moved bag and baggage to Hyderabad after spending 16 years in Mumbai.

My last stint in Mumbai was with Mr. Anant Pai a.k.a. Uncle Pai, the man behind the “Amar Chitra Katha” series and “Tinkle”, the monthly comic book for children. (The “Amar Chitra Katha” series deals with Indian history, culture and mythology in the comic book format. I have a feeling that most of my generation had its introduction to Indian history and mythology from Amar Chitra Katha.)

Two years ago, at 75, when most people are well into their retirement (at least in India) Uncle Pai decided to use the animation and television medium, along with comic books, to popularize Indian culture. To this end he set up an animation and television software firm. I can’t think of too many people who have set up new ventures at 75. His enthusiasm and energy is absolutely unbelievable and totally infectious.

It was a delight to interact with Uncle Pai on a daily basis. He would recite shlokas from the Vedas, talk about Kabir and his life & times, quote from Zauq and Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan – all in the line of business.

Working with him was a breeze also because I loved doing what I did. And that was handling the promotional activities for our products (in an earlier stint I did the same for the comic series “Amar Chitra Katha” and Tinkle). I enjoyed interacting with the bright young kids and their parents. The interesting part was that almost invariably whenever we conducted a promotional campaign we would have parents come up to him and say that they had participated in some competition that he had conducted in 1979/1985/1990 (or whatever) and that they were delighted that their children were now participating in the same event.

The other reason that I loved working with Uncle was because of my own interest in Indian history and mythology. I found that I could pick his brains about almost any aspect of our history.

One of my favourite books is the Mahabharata (An epic that has at its core the battle for territory between two sets of cousins – the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Pandavas, the good guys, triumph in the end. The Mahabharata also contains the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna’s advice to Arjuna delivered on the battlefield of Kurukshetra). I have read and re-read the epic and every time there is something new about it that I appreciate.

Indian history is another area that fascinates me. But it is more of ancient Indian history that I like. I feel completely depressed when I read the later medieval and modern Indian history. This is so because this period in Indian history is replete with:
• internecine battles
• ignorance and poverty of a large mass of people
• lack of foresight of the ruling class and
• a tepid response to external aggression
All these allowed a bunch of traders to gain political control over the whole of India. This segment is so gut-wrenching that I have decided to ignore it completely.

I succeeded in doing that but how am I to block out the fact that these are the very same ills that are plaguing India even today. Try as I might I cannot ignore the events of the past one week in Srinagar and Mumbai. Especially the Mumbai train blasts.

What really gets to me is the seeming inability of the Indian state to act with firmness. All of us know, with a reasonable degree of certainty, who is behind this latest terrorist attack on Indian soil and yet all we get are bromides from the powers that be that India will no longer tolerate acts of violence against itself. Wow! I am sure the terrorists are quaking in their boots after listening to this statement.

Contrast that with the Israeli response to the kidnapping of two of their soldiers and the difference in approach is starkly apparent.

The other thing that irks me is the way everyone has gone on and on about how resilient Mumbaikars are. Yes we are (oops, I am no longer a Mumbaikar…but the spirit lingers on). But why do we need to be?

Mumbaikars are termed resilient when we pick up our lives after there is unprecedented flooding, after riots and when bombs go off. Mumbaikars are always termed resilient. The rest of the country applauds as they see us come out onto the streets to help people in distress. They even applaud us when we hand out water and food or when we offer a ride home to stranded fellow citizens during an emergency.

I find this applause quite sickening.

Why do we need to exhibit this legendary “spirit” and “resilience” year after year? It would help if the world stopped applauding us and instead got down to the business of making the life of the average Mumbaikar a bit easier and safer.

I realize that I have come across as angry and a touch bitter but there are times when anger is a virtue and patience a vice. I do not subscribe to the view that being patient and virtuous and “spirited” is the way forward. There has to be constructive anger that the citizens have to express against the government. And hopefully that will force the authorities to act in a more decisive manner and all of us can get on with our lives in peace.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Battle of Khardla: The Begum & her Tantrum.

I asked a friend, who is a history buff, whether he could give me some reasons due to which rulers lost battles in medieval India. He was immediately up and running with his reasons.

Bad Planning
Incompetent generals
Ill-equipped and ill-disciplined troops
Inferior equipment

That was when I bowled my googly. I asked, “How about a tantrum throwing wife?”
This reason threw him completely out of kilter.

“Eh! What’s that again?”

He absolutely refused to believe that a tantrum throwing Begum could be a possible reason for losing a significant battle.

However this was precisely what happened to the Nizam of Hyderabad. He lost the Battle of Khardla to the Marathas because his Begum threw a tantrum and demanded that……… but hey, I am getting ahead of the story.

Before I plunge in and “reveal” all about the Begum’s tantrum let me give you a, not so brief, historical background to the battle.

The Marathas, under Peshwa Baji Rao I, routed the forces of the Nizam of Hyderabad in the Palkhed campaign of 1728. Following this victory the Peshwa levied Chauth (1/4th of the land revenue collected) and Sardeshmukhi for the very first time on Hyderabad.

The amount to be paid was hotly contested and continued to be so even up to the 1790s. By this time Nizam Ali Khan was on the throne of Hyderabad and the Maratha Machiavelli, Nana Phadnavis, the real power in Poona.

Nizam Ali Khan tried, unsuccessfully, to sneak out of the commitment entered into by his father Nizam ul Mulk. Of course, the amount that needed to be paid could have been negotiated but there existed such bitter personal animosity between Azim ul Umra, the Nizam’s minister and Nana Phadnavis that such an option was just not on.

Azim ul Umra tried getting the British to help him in battle, but the British Resident under strict instructions from Sir John Shore, the Governor General, declined to do so. Shore wanted to preserve the fledgling British Empire and not antagonize the Marathas who were a more powerful force than the Nizam was.

The Nizam, in spite of this setback went ahead with his decision to go to war.

Preparations for the War:
The lead up to the war was obviously characterized by intense military preparations. As any good military strategist will tell you chief among military preparations is always the attempt to bribe members of the opposing court. The Nizam was rumoured to have spent a colossal amount of Rs. One Crore (Maybe about Rs. 4000 crore in today’s currency) in the hope of getting the Scindia to desert the Marathas. Nana Phadnavis in turn spent a more modest Rs. 7 Lakh bribing members of the Nizam’s court.

Once these preliminary preparations were completed the two sides hit the road.

On the Road:In early 1794, after additional preparations that involved nautch girls who sang about the Nizam’s victory and Azim ul Ummra thundering that he would send Nana to Benaras in a loin cloth, the Nizam with his darbar moved to Bidar (Bidar was the Hyderabadi fortress closest to the Maratha frontier) and began to put together a large army.

Finally in December 1794, the Nizam’s army set off from Bidar. It lumbered along the Manjira River towards Poona with the Nizam insisting, all the while, that he was not planning to attack the Marathas but was merely out on a holiday with family and friends.

Given the composition of the touring party it almost seemed true. For apart from the army there was also a huge caravan of covered elephants that had the Nizam’s harem. I am sure they were meant to bolster the morale, among other things, of the Nizam and his men. The harem also had a dedicated regiment of female infantry brought along to protect it from harm.

The Battle:
After meandering along the road for three months the Nizam’s forces reached a ridge called Moori Ghat on the 14th of March. On the morning of 15 March, 1795 the Nizam gave orders for attack. And the army swooped down from Moori Ghat on the Marathas who were assembled at the bottom of the hill.

The Nizam’s French trained artillery and even his Zuffur Plutun (Woman Battalion) succeeded in reaching their planned spot about 6 kilometers from the slopes of the Ghat. Once they reached the position they dug in for the night and prepared for the battle on the morrow. Smug in the belief that victory would be theirs.

The Begum & her threat:
However the silly stiffs did not reckon with the boss’ wife.

Occasional cannonade by the Marathas during the night scared the wits out of the Nizam’s begums. Especially Bakshi Begum who was the Nizam’s senior wife. Obviously the good Begum was not expecting all this noise and confusion during what she felt was just another Nawabi outing. Bakshi Begum then ran around in circles beating her breasts wondering what to do. It was then that inspiration struck.

She simply went up to the Nizam and threatened to unveil herself in public if the women of the zenana were not shifted to the “safety” of the Khardla fort which lay at the foot of the Moori Ghat. (Now in the Muslim society of that period this threat was equivalent to a President’s wife threatening to strip on live Television.) Unnerved by this threat and being the good husband that he was, the Nizam agreed to take all of his women to the fort.

Movement of this nature at the time that it took place (11.00 pm) obviously created some amount of confusion. During this confusion a small band of Maratha soldiers, who were out looking for water, bumped into a Hyderabadi picket and a short exchange of fire in pitch dark conditions, was enough to throw the Hyderabadi troops into complete and utter confusion. They rushed as quickly as they could into the fort.

Once inside the fort there was wild cheering and general happiness among the Begums that this complicated military procedure (of retreating to a fort from a position of strength) was accomplished.

Once the celebrations subsided someone noticed a SLIGHT flaw in the maneuver they felt was a super success: the Hyderabadis had left behind their guns, ammunitions, food supplies, pack animals, horses etc. And they were all holed up in a small fort, totally at the mercy of the Marathas.

In the morning the Marathas found that the Hyderabadis had not only left their strategic advantage but also left behind quite a lot of gifts for them. The Marathas obviously took complete advantage of the situation. By 10.00 in the morning they had brought about 400 guns, 2000 camels and 15 heavy canons onto the ridge. By 11.00 am they had completely surrounded the fort and started to blast away. It was all over bar the shouting.

The Nizam was forced to sign a humiliating peace treaty on April 17.
Wonder what the Begum had to say about that.

Monday, June 12, 2006

MBA admission interviews – A view from the other side

I have noticed over the past few years that the mindless craze for a management degree is getting worse, with almost every young man/woman and their grandmothers wanting to do an MBA.

Oops I meant the enthusiasm for the coveted MBA degree is just getting better and better.

A couple of weekends ago I was invited to assist in the selection process for the MBA programme at my Alma Mater, SIESCOMS at Nerul, Navi Mumbai. Since I had also taught there my being on the panel has become a routine.

The process followed is the same as in most other MBA programmes in India. A written test followed by a Group Discussion followed by an interview.

Whenever I am invited to be a part of the selection procedure I try my level best to get out of moderating a Group Discussion because I find assessing candidates in a GD a real pain.
Most of the GD sessions I have moderated have fallen into two categories.

The first one is where the candidates have very little to say and after the initial burst of enthusiasm, incomprehensible logic and factual errors end up looking at each other with silly grins. Then some wise guy starts off again and they effectively repeat whatever has already been said and just wait for the bitter end.

The second category is where all or almost all candidates are highly enthusiastic. Having been told in the coaching class that starting first shows leadership skills or some such crap they all start talking. Simultaneously. And keep going hammer and tongues at the topic till they, and not the topic, are completely exhausted. Or the time limit is.

Now my problem is that in the first instance I tend to fall asleep while judging the GD. In the second type of GD it is very difficult for me to keep track of who is saying what. And I invariably end up awarding points of one candidate to the other. Which I think is unfair even if they are MBA aspirants. Anyway to cut a long story short (too late probably) whenever I am called upon to assist in the admission process I always ask to be part of the interview process. It is something that is always safer for me.

When the actual interview starts I have a standard set of questions that I always ask:

1. Well! Frankly I am a bit ashamed at digging out this hoary old chestnut but the fact remains that I do ask, “Tell me something about yourself.”
2. Why Management?
3. Academics. Why are the marks so poor? Why are the percentages going down? Etc etc.
4. Questions on business awareness. E.g. Top 5/10 headlines in business in the past month etc.
5. Where do you see your self 10 years down the line?
6. If the candidate has any work experience then something about the job that he/she does.

Most of the questions that I have mentioned are those that are the usual suspects. These are questions that students tend to anticipate, especially those who have attended MBA coaching classes.

It is therefore very surprising that most students make an absolute pig’s meal of even very basic questions.

Tell me something about yourself:
I have always thought that this would be the easiest of questions to answer. All a candidate needs to do is talk about himself/herself in the context of wanting to enter an MBA programme. And what do I get?
I have a father. I have a mother. I have a sister. I have a dog.
I won a painting contest in Class V.
I am very hardworking.
I am very honest.
I am very sincere.
Seriously, if you want to meet Indians who are scrupulously honest, sincere and extremely hardworking then an MBA admission interview is the place to be.
Not one of them, incidentally, is doing an MBA to make money.

About Academics:
A few questions on their subjects and we have people protesting that it is unfair to expect them to remember all that they learnt in their first year in college.
“So will you forget everything that you have learnt in your B-School after 2 years?”
“No of course not. MBA is different.”
Eh? What was that? Never been able to figure that one out

Business awareness:
My question on what is happening in the world of business elicits a blank most of the time. Those who manage to mumble a few headlines feel very elated. Once a rather aggrieved student retaliated saying that if he knew all about what was happening in the world of business he need not come for an interview to get into B-school.

Another chap confessed that the business pages in the Times of India bored his pants off. Just when I thought that it was the result of the Times’ brand of journalism he hastened to add that most business issues bored him. As my fellow panelist and I sat gaping at this dude he went on to say that the worst were the bits related to the financial sector.
To my question about why he wanted to join a B-school he unfortunately had no answer. Sad. Because that reply might have been interesting.
I find business intensely boring but I want to do an MBA. Cool.

5/10 years down the line:
Almost everyone who was asked the question on career goals & the 10 years wallah question told me that they wanted to be “managers in a good organisation”. Till the end of your careers? Huh hmmmm, well not really. I want to grow with the organisation and make an impact on society. That is when one knows yeh banda coaching class join kiya hai.

On the other extreme end of the spectrum was this chappie who decided that he would be CEO by the time he was 27. Not that is not achievable but why did he think so? No particular reason. He just felt it in his bones. I asked him if he joined the Reliance group would either of the brothers make him the CEO of one of their outfits. Sure thing. And why would they? Because I have the confidence in myself. I did not know that mere confidence could take a person that far.

Once there was this guy who had done his stuff by correspondence and was very defensive about it. No real reason if you ask me, but then he was. And it got to a point where he went on with a single word answer. So.

You have done graduation through a correspondence course. So?
You have not been in a classroom scenario for a while. So?
Your classmates will be much younger to you. So?
What do you do before you reap? So?
Ok. PJ maaf.

In contrast to all these the interviews to the E-MBA (Executive-MBA) course were better. The range of aspirants was also quite vast. However certain answers appeared too trite even here. The one reason that every one mentioned when asked about why they wanted to pursue an E-MBA as opposed to a regular full-time one was that they had family responsibilities. A 38 year-old executive saying that, I can understand but when so many 22 year-olds say that then I begin to get suspicious.

The interviews with the E-MBA guys was good because they knew what they were doing, where they were headed and more importantly why an MBA programme was useful to them.

Most of these interviews turned into discussions that ranged from the viability of Panun Kashmir (a farce, according to a Kashmiri Pandit candidate.) the skills of Reliance to set up large projects, to the reasons that the Sensex was behaving the way it was.

Given the stark contrast in the way the candidates for the E-MBA and the regular MBA programme conducted themselves, I wonder whether we should make work experience mandatory. Else we will keep having fresh graduates, who have no clue about the entire management game, coming in for interviews and floundering their way through the two years of an MBA.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Video: Tenali Rama and the Thieves

A delightful story about Tenali Rama. Tenali Rama served Sri Krishnadeva Raya the greatest of the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. (The Vijayanagara Empire flourished in South India between the 14th and 16th centuries.) Rama was the king's constant companion cum Court Jester.

This animated story has been narrated by Uncle Pai. The VCD has many other stories based on Indian Folklore.

The VCD/DVD is available at:
Lalit Media & Education Ltd.
305 A, Manish Commercial Centre,
Dr. A.B. Road, Worli,
Mumbai - 400025
Tel. No.: 91-022-24936702

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mumbai Street Food - Meet the Puris

Eating out has developed into a passion with me. Of course the fact that I stay alone and cannot cook to save my life has helped me immensely in developing this passion.

My eating out has ranged from 5 Star restaurants to the boutique restaurants that have sprung up of late. However the most uniquely satisfying, divinely tasty and totally unhygienic indulgence is the street food in Mumbai.

Those of you who have not tasted it are really missing something good.

Where do I start?

Hmmmmm, Bhel Puri, Sev Puri, Pani Puri, Dahi Puri, Pav Bhaji and the ubiquitous Vada Pav. How can I play favourites here? But let me try.

My favourite is undoubtedly the various members of the Puri family.

Chowpatty in South Mumbai and the Juhu beach in the north are supposed to be the best in business for this. But frankly I think they are overrated. The best that I have had is near the Ramakrishna Mission in Khar, Mumbai. (Actually it is on the Santa Cruz side but that is of minor importance).

Woof! It be good. I especially like the Dahi Puri there.
Boiled potatoes are chopped and then stuffed into the puri (6 per plate) and then half a spoonful each of theekha (hot & spicy) chutney and meetha (sweet) chutney is added to the puri. On it are sprinkled the various masalas. Then comes a liberal (one of the privileges of being a long standing customer) hand of dahi poured over the puris. The puris are then garnished with a masala that consists of chopped coriander, raw mango, boiled black gram and moong. Needless to add they are served with a flourish even as the dude wipes the sweat off his brow.

Eating into it is wonderful too. The crisp puris (you need to eat them quickly, else the puris lose their crispness.) the stuffing inside and the Dahi. Not to forget the garnish. They all combine to make the dish divine.

I was once rhapsodizing about the food there and someone, a cousin I suspect, asked me to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 on hygiene.


Well! How daft! Obviously this ranked 0 on that particular scale. For those who are finicky about absurd things like hygiene, cleanliness etc. please treat this as a statutory warning and go no further than reading this. For those of you who are a bit more accommodating and who don’t mind an occasional bout of illness this is the place to eat Dahi puri.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wake-up calls from Uncle Pai

This post was prompted by the reaction of friends to the closing remarks in my previous post: “Statutory warning: All reactions are based on reports that have appeared in the mainstream media”. A couple of friends even asked me why such a statement was required.

Now the only brush that I have had with the mainstream media was when I was featured recently in an article about Mr. Anant Pai a.k.a. Uncle Pai the man behind “Amar Chitra Katha” and “Tinkle” comics. (I work for Mr. Pai in his new venture that is focused on creating animation and live television software for children.)

In fact the article begins with me. The scenario is Uncle Pai calling me up and talking about narrating all tales in rhyme format for our forthcoming publication. And when I look at my watch it reads 5.30 am.

Nothing of that sort actually happened.
The author got the idea for this opening because I had (I think) casually mentioned that whenever we have any event or promotional activity Uncle Pai always calls me up early in the morning to discuss the same. This is to ensure that everything has been planned and taken care of for the day. In course of the conversation I mentioned that he once called me up as early as 6.15 am.
However 6.15 a.m. and preparations for a promotional campaign were not deemed interesting enough and the time shifted to 5.30 am. and the discussion shifted to rhymes and stories.
Purely from the point of view of maximizing the dramatic impact.
That there is dramatic impact in the opening line I do not deny, but it is not exactly what I want my Boss to feel I have said.
Especially not when I was trying, very subtly, to get a good increment.
And definitely not when the statement is not a 100% accurate.
Luckily all that the sentence elicited from Uncle Pai was a guffaw and all was well.

But it led me thinking about how much of media reporting, in general, is a 100% accurate and how much is because the author decides to sex things up a bit. Nothing malicious mind you, just to make things a bit more interesting and dramatic.

And how much of the reporting is based on the author’s own judgement, background and point of view? Does this mean that any given story can be viewed differently by different journalists depending not on facts but on their affiliations? Or the Network they belong to? And if the answer is yes, then what about that boring, pesky little thing called Truth?

Interesting questions don't you think? Will ferret around for answers; meanwhile do let me know if you have any opinion on this.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Taj Mahal in Pakistan with Tipsy Feroz Khan & Angry Mahesh Bhatt

So bald-pated Feroz Khan, fuelled by a liberal dose of alcohol in puritanical Pakistan, spake the truth. Or so he (and I) thought. But of course Mush & Hesh won’t agree. Oh! My, what a shocker!

I started out thinking that I would offer my two paise worth on the ban on Feroz Khan entering Pakistan and a few pungent remarks about banning the entry of terrorists into India sent by ex-commando and current Fat Ass General Pervez Musharraf.

To get down to writing my stuff I did a bit of research as I was not au courant with what really happened in Pakistan last month. The moment I read some news reports I immediately changed my mind. Now I just had to react to the comments of our very own Mahesh Bhatt, even if it meant giving him some more publicity.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have immense respect for the man. He is the only one I know who is absolutely comfortable on TV in his loud Jackson-Heights-meets-Juhu-Gully accent when he gives us his 99% content-free gyaan. On any topic under the sun. He just takes the topic by the scruff if its neck and launches ahead.
Amazing guy.

For those who have come in late let me quote, from media reports, what Feroz Khan apparently said at the function:

"India is a secular country, Muslims there are making a lot of progress. Our President is a Muslim, the PM a Sikh. Pakistan was made in the name of Islam, but look how Muslims are killing each other.”

Now for the life of me I cannot see any comment that is untrue. Please feel free to mention the ones you feel are incorrect.
I have even tabulated the stuff just to figure out what was wrong in the comment. Still can’t see any.

India is a secular country
Muslims there are making a lot of progress
By and Large True. Could be better though.

Our President is a Muslim

the PM a Sikh

Pakistan was made in the name of Islam
but look how Muslims are killing each other

However good old Mahesh went ballistic against Feroz Khan. Media reports state that he said:

"Feroz was part of a Bollywood delegation that had gone to Lahore for the premiere of an Indian film after 41 years. But he was intoxicated and said that in India the president is a Muslim and the prime minister a Hindu. But the Muslims in Pakistan don't get the same treatment as they do in India. This led to the argument. All of us were so embarrassed. The damage has been done. The situation became unmanageable as the party was well attended by the who's who of Bollywood and Pakistan."

Embarrassed? At what?
  1. That analysts believe that Pakistan is fast turning into a failed state?
  2. Or that the raison d'être of the creation of Pakistan has been falsified?
  3. Or that it took an inebriated actor to bring it up?
Can’t figure this one out.

And that the damage was done. The damage to what? Pakistan? India? India’s relations with Pakistan? Probably to the chances of doing business in Pakistan?
Aah, now we are talking.
Given that it is a military dictatorship obviously there will be none of the checks and balances that are present in India and therefore the cause for concern was obvious and in some sense acceptable.

But then our man went ahead and said, "All of us apologised to the people and the high commissioner of Pakistan. And they were magnanimous enough to look away when they heard him. I have apologised to Fakr Alam and the people of Pakistan for Khan’s behaviour, and I hope they will forgive us,"

I am sure they will forgive you. But may I ask why this kind of ass licking? Here he goes hell for leather at most people but the moment he touches Pakistani soil he is concerned about how to behave etc. That is quite a change and all it required was a crossing of the border. And again, someone please tell me what is he apologizing for?

I remember Riaz Khokhar making all sorts of comments against India when he was High Commissioner here and was invited to all Page 3 parties. I do not remember a single protest from any of the celebrities, including Mahesh bhai, present. And definitely none from Pakistan. To top it all Mr. Khokhar was the official representative of Pakistan in India. Feroz Khan was not. So why is Mahesh Bhatt getting so hyper?

Bhattji goes on to add, “I hope we can put this behind us and march ahead. We owe this to the millions of Indians and Pakistanis who want a peaceful South Asia."

Now what on earth is the bloody connection between peace in South Asia and Feroz Khan telling off a bunch of Pakistanis? And since when has Mahesh Bhatt become responsible for peace in South Asia? This is delusions of grandeur gone crazy.

Of course to top it all is Akbar Khan’s comment.

"We are very upset about the comment made by BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in which he has called my brother a ‘true nationalist’. He is viewing my brother in a wrong light.”

Eh?!? Does he really mean what he says?

Statutory Warning: All reactions are based on reports that have appeared in the mainstream media.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dr. Karunanidhi & his sense of Humour

Larger than life political adversaries, film stars, giant cut-outs, loyal party workers who are willing to immolate themselves at the drop a cape etc. all form the rich tapestry that is elections in Tamil Nadu.

The recent elections were no different. It was interesting watching Amma and Dr. Karunanidhi have a go at each other.

This time however I was more fascinated by the developments after the elections. No sooner did M. Karunanidhi take over the reigns of power than he affected a change of personnel. Not just anyone, but N. Narayanan, the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu – the most powerful bureaucrat in the state.

Ho hum might be your reaction.
All political dispensations do it.
Nothing special about this “shuffle” you might say.
Well! You might only be half right.

The thing is nobody has done this with the sense of humour that Karunanidhi has.

Which powerful and important department was the most powerful bureaucrat under Amma’s dispensation sent to? He was sent to … and here it comes…


That is rich. From controlling the fate of the entire state of Tamil Nadu this dude now controls the fate of Tamil Nadu’s archives. He probably has a rickety bench in the middle of torn and tattered papers and one peon for company. Imagine the poor guy’s culture shock.

My commiserations to him.
He hehe hehe he he he

There was a time when I really really wanted to get into the Civil Services. I even attempted to sneak into the IAS/IPS cadres but was rudely stopped by the UPSC. Twice. And until three days back this has been the biggest regret of my life. Not anymore.

Now whenever I think of what might have been just four words are enough to bring the smile to my face.

Hehehe hehe he he he.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Photography not allowed

I stay in Navi Mumbai (the satellite city of Mumbai – the commercial capital of India) which is fast turning into a city of malls. Some small. Some huge. Some ugly. And some insipid. And all of which will be operational in a few months time.

Of the ones that are already in existence the one that is frequented the most is the Centre One mall near Vashi Railway station.

It is a smallish one (as compared to malls in Gurgaon or so my friends inform me) but the food plaza on the top floor has become a hang out joint for teens and others like me who are young at heart. All very nice and neat and occasionally populated by pretty young things.

But I have a small little grouse. It is the fact that near the entrance to the mall is a forbidding notice that says “Photography not allowed”. Why is that so?

I can understand this notice in top secret Indian military installations. (I mean why would I want to make it easy for the enemy to get pictures of our secrets? Let them at least take the trouble of buying bottles of Scotch)

I can understand why this notice makes sense on Railway platforms in India. (I mean why would I want the rest of the world to know how terrible these things really look like?)

But why no photography in a mall? And one that is doing so well. And one that looks quite nice? I have no answers. Maybe you guys can supply me with one.

Oh! By the way, my photograph featured in this article was taken at this mall. ;-)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wardrobe Malfunction & Pramod Navalkar

I genuinely did not want to write about the wardrobe malfunction at the Lakme Fashion Week held last week. I thought a Tits & Bum show at a Fashion Show was bit too trivial an issue to be addressed here.

But hey! What do I know of issues that are important and those that are not?

I now, in all humility, acknowledge that the "T & B" show is a matter that is important enough to be brought up in the Maharashtra State Legislative Council; it is a matter for two police probes to be instituted and for concerned politicians to express their anguish and more.

Mr. Pramod Navalkar, the senior Shiv Sena politician from Mumbai, is rightly livid at the shoddy "investigative" work done by the Mumbai Police on this issue. Totally dissatisfied with the inefficient Mumbai cops he has set down his parameters for a thorough probe.
I reproduce below, with pride, some of the investigative techniques that he would want to use and some intellectually penetrating observations that he has made. And being an unabashed admirer of the man I have added my own comments too.

Here we go:

Seize the dresses Carol Gracias and Gauhar Khan wore. Check the hooks and the zips to see if they were correctly attached.
That sounds good sir. But I hope you meant that you would seize the offending dresses that are now on the rack and not the ones Carol and Gauhar might be wearing at that moment. Not that you do not have the right to do so. Of course you do. Anything in the interest of Indian morality.
Oh! By the way I strongly suspect that the stunning babe who stays next door might just have a wardrobe malfunction one of these days. I think I will go over this evening and check on her clothes. See, sir I am such a devoted follower.

I would view with great suspicion the calm and composed reaction of both Carol and Gauhar in handling the embarrassing situation. Looks like they were trained for the situation.Poor Mr. Navalkar, didn't you know that a week before the LFW Carol and Gauhar were practicing the same maneouvre? I should have tipped you off then and you could have zipped in and saved the world from the catastrophe that unfolded. Sorry sir, will be more vigilant next time.

People are going ga-ga over the way they handled the situation -- how Carol graciously held the dress together and completed the walk. I would have liked them to just slump down in shame, abort the walk and rush backstage. This is what I would expect from an Indian woman.
How wonderfully right Mr. Navalkar. I too like my women to slump down in shame at almost every turn. That is what an Indian woman is good enough for anyway. I am also appalled at the sheer chutzpah that these shameless models exhibited. To top it all they did not even cringe for a second at this monstrosity. This is Kaliyug Mr.Navalkar, absolute Kaliyug. There is nothing that right thinking people like you and I can do.

Now that you have brought up this issue I want to warn you that a lot of people will attack you. They will view this issue of grave national importance as something of no consequence at all and will bring up a few other pesky issues. They might also ask you for your reactions to them. Being your ardent supporter I have put down a few questions and also your possible reactions. I hope they are in order.

What about farmer's suicides in Maharashtra?
Well! They happen. All who are born have to die one day. Don't they?

What about Mumbai losing its position as the Urbs prima of the country?
Well! What did you idiots, the citizens of Mumbai, expect? That it would be the number one city for ever? Hah!

What is your reaction to the chaos on the roads of Mumbai?
Hmm! Hota hai, hota hai.

The huge budgetary deficit?
Huh!!! Budget??? What's that?

The skin show at The Lakme India Fashion Show? (This question might also be asked just to confuse you)
Oh! My God. Such a serious issue. One that concerns the zeitgeist of our proud nation.

Right on Mr. Navalkar grope your way to the bottom of this issue. Hum aapke saath hain.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ab tera kya hoga Madan Mohan? [The "Office for Profit" wallah dude]

I love Indian politicians and have good reasons for doing so. After all they have always come to my aid, even in my lowest hour, by providing me with a few moments of unadulterated mirth.

Take for instance the Congress gambit of getting Jaya Bachchan evicted from the Rajya Sabha. It went like clockwork with the poor lady turfed out by the President for holding an office of profit. So far so good. Then suddenly a pesky someone realised that, hey! The Queen Bee (Madam Sonia Gandhiji, please do I have to spell out everything?) herself occupies an office of profit.
And as it turns out the whole episode returned to bite the Congress in its collective ass.
Of course, Sonia Gandhi is attempting to emerge as the one who sacrificed her post for the sake of propriety in public life but this time it might not wash. Hopefully.

Meanwhile on the Left flank:
The Left parties are traditionally the ones who go on and on about morality in public life. But suddenly they find that they cannot do much this time. And why is that? Oooo well! 10 of their own MPs apparently also hold an office of profit. This list includes the much respected Mr. Somnath Chatterjee, who just happens to be the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. So, to hell with all this morality shorality business, none of them will resign.
Fair enough. But if they think Didi (Mamta Bannerjee) is going to let them off the hook they are sadly mistaken. I am sure Didi is going to go after them in her shrill Bonglish till the time she heads into the assembly elections. If I was a Left party MP I would probably resign just to keep her quite.

However what hurts me, really really hurts me, is that no one is talking about dear Mr. Madan Mohan, the dude who started it all. If the Congress is to be believed then the complaint against Jaya Bachchan was filed by Madan Mohan in his individual capacity. If that really is the truth I wonder how he must be feeling right now. He must have become a virtual pariah in his own party. Tch tch.

Ab tera kya hoga Madan Mohan?