Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Mysterious Case of the Falling Buildings

Not so mysterious really, again there is only one suspect - The Bombay Rent Control Act, a dilapidated old piece of legislation that itself is in urgent need of reconstruction if half of South Bombay is to be kept from falling apart. Every newspaper in this town has been going ballistic with the sad case of MHADA and corrupt landlords, but I don't see why public money should be spent on updating buildings in downtown Bombay where the tenants only pay Rs 100 or less a month. And I'm no rich, spoilt son-of-a-bitch saying this but really, look at it logically. Anyway, MHADA is just as corrupt as another other urban development corporation in India, so calling them more evil than the DDA/GDA/HUDA is strange. But nope, in Bombay MHADA is evil, tenants paying next to nothing are the poor victims and the landlords and lazy, and only once in a while will someone remember the strange act which is responsible for Bombay crumbling.
Anyway, I move in tomorrow or day-after, so that should be nice. Brand new building and all, so I doubt it'll fall down. All the new private banks in India are desperately slipping in their service standards, I applied for a salary account at HDFC Bank over three weeks ago, and still the fuckers haven't done anything. And an outstation cheque takes ten days to deposit, I'm a bit bugged. In a new city, and the salary takes forever to come, plus all my friends earn next to nothing.
On the note about the airlines starting up like moths attracted to a flame. There are a couple of more points over here, airlines in India do not have the labour cost arbitrage that European or American start-ups have. While a JetBlue can pay a check-in agent only $2000/month or use Mormon housewives to take their resrvations in Salt-Lake City at low prices, they pay half the price that say a Delta or a United does, but in India paying a call-centre agent or check-in girl Rs 2000/month less than Jet or Indian Airlines doesn't really make up for cost savings. Plus ATC and landing charges are above the global average, in fact ATC (navigation) charges are among the highest in the world, and fuel-prices after taxes (the government has to fund their hare-brained employment guarantee scheme somehow) are also among the highest in the world. Plus, ATC here in low-density, Delhi and Mumbai airports can only handle 25 movements and hour versus say 55 an hour at Chicago. And that is on one runway only, Chicago has seven runways and even if four are used at a time (usually five or six are used) that is 220 movements an hour. Indian Aviation has a long, long way to go and despite the glowing reviews, all that PeePee has done is to make a Ninety-five minute DEL-BOM flight into a two and a half Bharat Darshan. Though that said he is a lot better than his predecessors as well as half the clowns in this cabinet.
On another note, I love the way the opposition has cornered Chiddu about his wife's appointment as legal counsel for the CBDT. The irony of the matter has me in splits.
EDIT : If you are a fan of Flash Movies, Hindu Epics, Womens Rights and the Blues - this is the funniest thing I have seen/heard in a long time. It's called 'Sita Sings the Blues' and is awesome Flash animation done by American animator Nina Paley. Paley spent some time in Kerala a few years ago with her ex-husband and she got fascinated by the story of Sita in the Ramayana and who can blame her, the Hindu epics are quite fascinating. Yes, its good to be irreverent about one's religion at time. They're longish downloads, but totally worth it. I don't know how the right-wing bigots in the various Hindu organisations will take it though! I already have a mental picture of Praveen Togadia frothing at the mouth at some descretion of Sita Mata (How can she show so much cleavage/skin etc?). And then LK Advani will say something about how this is a 'secular' video, and yet another RSS v. BJP v. VHP v. ABVP v. Khurana v. Advani v. Vajpayee v. Mahajan v. Jaitley battle will start about a small flash animation. Now that would keep the front pages occupied. One can hope, can't they? (Via Don't Drink the Koolaid)

1 comment:

thalassa_mikra said...

They had a screening of her work (the Dandakaranya episode) in Artwallah, an Indian-American art festival held in LA. The animation is super (check out Sita's proportions!), and very well edited. See all of them.